On August 4, HonestReporting critiqued a feature in The Sunday Times by advocacy journalist Sarah Helm. Given her track record of lies and distortions, it was not surprising that the article focusing on Palestinians injured at the Gaza border fence took a distinctly one-sided and biased approach.
Read the original critique here: Propaganda for Gaza in The Sunday Times
Upon further examination, the story is even more problematic than we initially realized. Helm focused on Bilal Masoud, a 29-year old Gazan who sustained crippling injuries after being shot during violence at the border fence at the Great March of Return.
Masoud, unable to live with his injuries and a lack of support from Palestinian authorities eventually commits suicide, setting himself ablaze with kerosene. Certainly a harrowing story and Helm clearly intends to elicit sympathy for Masoud who is consistently referred to by his first name throughout the piece.
Masoud is portrayed as someone who offered a very limited threat to Israelis or the IDF soldiers stationed on the other side of the border fence.
Bilal always took his slingshot: a piece of frayed nylon cord with a patch of Velcro for the stone, which Khalil now keeps. “It was part of him,” he says, demonstrating how Bilal, who was known as the “lion of the border”, would stand whirling the cord. I wonder whether “the lion” ever hit an Israeli soldier. Khalil shakes his head, saying he was lucky if he ever hit a watchtower.
This image of Masoud is taken from The Sunday Times article. This is how Sarah Helm wants you to picture Masoud before his injuries. A young man armed only with a simple slingshot.
This is a man who, according to Helm’s article, merely threw stones yet paid a terrible price:
“Bilal said, ‘I don’t care. I will throw stones,’ so we walked up close.” Were they close enough to see the soldiers? “Of course not! The Israelis were behind their hills. But they saw us,” and Khalil imitates a sniper. “Cowards,” says his mother.
The man who merely “cut the fence “a small bit”.”
After the publication of our original post, Joe Truzman, researcher of terror organizations and author of the GroundBrief newsletter contacted us. His online research revealed the Bilal Masoud that Sarah Helm and The Sunday Times didn’t want you to see. He sent us these photos:
Does this look like an innocent protester armed only with a slingshot?
Masoud may not have been carrying an AK-47 automatic rifle when he was shot by the IDF. These images, however, put into context that he was clearly a dangerous man with ill intent towards Israel and capable of deadly violence had he managed to do more than cut the fence “a small bit.”
There is no doubt as to the man’s identity. Joe Truzman supplied Masoud’s ‘martyrs poster,’ the Arabic on which we had translated by a native speaker.
The Arabic reads:
The Higher National Commission for the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege acknowledges its martyr Bilal Mohammed Masoud.
We Shall Meet in Paradise.
Sarah Helm and The Sunday Times want you to believe that “Bilal is one of thousands shot by Israeli soldiers since the Great March of Return protests began near the fence in March last year.”
They want you to believe that the majority of those who have been shot were ordinary men, teenagers, even journalists and press photographers.
Helm’s article has elevated Bilal Masoud to a status of martyrdom beyond that given by Palestinians to those of their number who lose their lives while committing acts of violence against Israel.
This is advocacy journalism in action. Whitewashing Palestinian violence turning all Palestinians into victims of Israel no matter the circumstances. Disguising Masoud’s background demonstrates a lack of transparency. Were Sunday Times editors made aware of this by Sarah Helm before the article was published?
You can read the original critique of Sarah Helm’s article here to see how it presents Israel as being responsible for Gaza’s woes while virtually exonerating Hamas.
This new takeaway from Helm’s piece is yet further evidence that she should not be allowed to write for any mainstream media outlet, least of all The Sunday Times.
We will be lodging an official complaint with The Sunday Times. Please help us to expose the truth by sharing this HonestReporting post on social media.
Source material can be found at this site.