[Guardian anti-Hamas advert Anti-Hamas advert produced by This World: The Values Network, published in the Guardian, 11 August 2014. Photo: Guardian]
The Guardian published on August 11 a full-page advert calling Hamas a ‘death cult’ who use children as ‘suicide bombers or human shields’.
This drew heavy criticism from its readers and caused the ‘Stop the War Coalition’ to write a public letter to the Editor of The Guardian condemning his decision to publish the offending advert. Within just a few hours of the publication of the advert, over 100,000 people signed a letter condemning The Guardian.
The letter describes the advert as ‘wildly inaccurate and inflammatory’ and that it denounces the advert calling, Palestinians in Gaza as ‘child killers’.
The advert says the war between the Israelis and Palestinians is “a battle of civilisation versus barbarism.”
The Coalition said, “This is especially sickening when Israel’s latest bombardment of Gaza has killed over 400 Palestinian children. Amnesty International has condemned the deliberate targeting of schools and hospitals by Israel as a war crime.”
The Guardian is also branded as having a ‘pro-Israeli bias…editorial policy’ in the letter and calls on the editor to ‘redress the balance in future coverage’.
The Stop the War Coalition are not alone in protesting against this advert, in fact there have been many Guardian readers objecting to it on the Guardian ‘letters page’. One reader, Nigel Osborne from London said that he was ‘appalled’ by the ‘racist ad’ and that there is ‘absolutely no evidence to support the claims’ made in the advert.
After receiving 140 complaints about the ad at the time of publication, The Guardian News & Media responded to the criticism, stating that: “The decision to run any display advertisement in The Guardian is made on a case-by-case basis and there was a full discussion about accepting the advert in question. However, the acceptance of advertising from any organisation does not equate to support or endorsement for the views expressed in that advert. The Guardian is fully committed to reporting from the Middle East and our coverage will continue to be independent and robust.”
The advert was produced by ‘This World: The Values Network’ which promotes ‘Jewish values’. The advert was rejected by The Times paper which refused to run it.