What happened in QMUL?
Dear Alex (and Cub Magazine),
I'm a student here at QMUL, and frequently enjoy your publication. However, having read the recent edition of Cub magazine, I was both shocked and appalled by the front page "inside story", as you claim, of "What happened in Lebanon".
What upset me most was the journalist's complete ignorance of the war itself. Kate Connelly describes the "Israeli army attacking Lebanon". Not only does she provide no background information or details as to what happened but she has got a number of vital, elementary facts wrong – the Israeli army did not attack Lebanon, but rather respond to the Hizbollah kidnapping of two of it's soldiers serving inside Israel.
Hizbollah, let me remind you, is a Syrian and Iranian-supported terrorist movement as defined by our Government, and were not only made welcome in South Lebanon, but also hold two seats in the Lebanese government.
But to the layman, Connelly does an excellent job of twisting facts and misrepresenting information. Hardly, one would have thought, characteristics that should merit column inches on fish-wrapping paper, let alone a university newspaper.
Now undoubtedly mistakes were made on the Israeli side - many innocent civilians were killed and the Israeli army will have to bear the blame for that. But the Israeli army did not go out with the objective of killing civilians. They dropped leaflets prior to bombings, informing the inhabitants of places they would be targeting and encouraging them to leave. Hardly a tactic you'd expect from an army who were "taking pictures of our house", to target it, as Malika suggests.
Contrast this with Hizbollah - intentionally firing missiles INTO civilian areas, trying to maximise civilian casualties, lamenting the occasions when their missiles explode in local fields and not highly populated civilian areas. And it's the Israeli's who are the murderers as Malika points out. ………
But why should this perspective receive any coverage in a Muslim-dominated university?
As for the vehement, unashamed claims that Israel is "murderer", "tyrant" and "cowards". What sort of impact would you expect this to have on campus, where vehement anti-Israel groups have been known to operate (as attested to by the Evening Standard), not only with regard to Jews who study at Queen Mary, but also the Israeli's studying here?
But I suppose, what harm is a little threat and hostility, as long as we provoke debate?
And all this during a month in which incitement to violence has been a watchword on every TV and radio station, with transgressors continually being arrested and tried in the courts for it, and MP's speaking of their determination to pass greater legislation to stamp it out.
I feel that this has been a sub-standard piece of inaccurate reporting and would suggest that future "sensitive" issues be dealt with greater caution. I sincerely hope you will find an appropriate method of amending this inconsistency from what is normally an excellent publication.
Eagerly awaiting a reply,
As a second year, and reader of Cub from the first issue I picked up, I was
astonished to find such a narrow-minded, inflammatory article such as the
one found in the latest (Novembers) issue of Cub. Whilst I realise that the
intention was most likely an attempt to raise debate, I found the tone of
the interview not just disturbing but inciting and fuelling unwarranted
anti-Israeli aggression, which is most likely to be seen on campus as
attacks on JSoc members, or vandalism on any of the prominent Jewish parts
to the university.
Whilst it is obviously not possible to retract copies of the cub, it would,
I feel, make sense to remove the page from the Cub website, at least until a
actual fact based political or social debate can be shown, preferably one
where some background to the war, possibly commenting that it was not
started as is suggested in the article by Israel with “Israel has been
planning to attack for a long time” but by Hezbollah kidnapping Israeli
soldiers, holding them and demanding the release of known terrorists.
What might be even more impressive is if the Cub stops being a sheep to all
of England’s press, who like your publication regularly accuse Israel of
being “a tyrant and a murderer”, and remember that Israel is regularly
attacked on all sides, it does not purposefully target civilians (again
something which they are accused of in the article) and are the closest
thing to a true democracy in the entire Middle East, something which does
not give them the right to be the local bully, but gives them the
responsibility to defend themselves, and their people from attack.
I apologise if this has tured into a pro-Israeli diatribe, but the article
is still very fresh in my mind.
Charles Berry Ottaway
Hi, my name is Nicola Santen, I am a first year Historian at QM,
I am just writing this email regarding the article "What happened in Lebanon'.
Obviously i appreciate that Cub is a very successful magazine that many students enjoy reading, as do i. However, i have to say that i was shocked and deeply saddened by this months main story. It is not the subject that i am targetting, but the way that this highly vulnerable situation was handled.
Even the headline is a disturbing generalisation "What happened in Lebanon", suggesting a factual and accurate depiction of the events in Lebanon.
The article is not an account written by an unbiased source but in fact a personal experience written by a Lebanese student. The comments made in the article are all based on generalisations and opinions and rarely contain factual knowledge on the issue. Whilst i appreciate and welcome free speech, is it unfair to label this article as "WHAT HAPPENED IN LEBANON".
The article is completely biased and in fact of no educational value what so ever. This is not to say that i completely agree with Israel's actions, however i do feel that this article was completely slanted.
I have no doubt that this was an issue that needed to be dealt with because I along with others need to be educated on the real issues. However, i feel that Cub have approached this issue wrongly. Perhaps a better idea would have been to have actually given a neutral account along with both an Israeli and Lebanese perception.
I do feel that it is the Cub Crew's responsiblity as journalists to now correct this injustice and give a balanced and honest account. An Israeli students account of events is not only a consideration but a NECESSITY! Your magazine has the potential to influence people significantly and i feel that some sensitivity was needed with such a delicate issue. In handling the issue in this way i fear that you may have created more social tension in a university that is multicultural and holds a multitude of religions. If we can learn one thing from the situation in Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestine conflict, it is that we will be bigger than those involved and encourage harmony amongst students. That people of all religions can co-exist and work together and that we can present a positive outlook to the world.
Please correct this problem and restore my faith in Cub
I have recently read the article in the 'cub magazine' regarding the war in
Israel and Lebanon.
Unfortunately, I read an utterly biased atricle which resembled propaganda
rather than an informative news item.
I felt disturbed by the fact that, as the editor of the magazine, you would
allow such inaccurate information to be published which will possibly lead
to increased anti- semitism within the university campus.
I would therefore appreciate a chance to share a different perspective of
I hope that in the future, the magazine will seek to assist in harmonising
relations between the students of the university, rather than arousing
tensions based on international politics.
Thankyou for your time.
Written by email@example.com
I appreciate that you're bearing the brunt of complaints from the article in the latest issue of CUB. I guess it comes with the job. I would like to express however, that like Norman and Itamar, I find it completely disturbing. Bearing in mind I have no connections to Israel or Judaism (not that it has anything to do with that), I strongly believe this particular article was completely unprofessional and tactless. I understand that you're in negotiation at the moment to rectify the problem, but I would also like express my concern that this un-professionalism does not happen again. Words are powerful tools, and I would expect that such a reputable magazine to be conscious of its readers and it's agenda's, especially considering the political environment we are in. I hope you take these issues and concerns seriously.
I don't normally get politically involved in this country, nor usually write letters to editors.
I am an Israeli student at QMUL, one of the few there are. I usually get along fine in the university and don't feel out of place or like I don't belong here. but in my own university paper I was called names such as "murderer", "tyrant" and a "coward". Any person who would have bothered to speak to me even once, would have understand how far these remarks are from the truth.
The war started when Hizbolla bombed the northern towns of Israel, kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others on the 12 of July. all for no apparent reason. Your interviewee conveniently "forgot" to mention this ordeal started by the Hizbolla, a Lebanese organization and from her (well, her family's) side of the border. Shouldn't at least some of her criticism be addressed to the Hizbolla???? Your reporter made no effort to ask this question.
After the highly emotional description of visiting an ill grandmother, I only wanted to draw your attention to the fact there are ill grandparents on the Israeli side as well. my 80 years old grandparents had to run away from their home after one morning, a few Hizbolla rockets landed near their small shop in Naharia, Israel. I could go on and to tell you about my aunt, who's pregnant, and had to flee from her house with her two little girls, and there are more stories I could tell.
The entire reality in Israel changed within a couple of hours, you could no longer go anywhere in the north. a third of the country was too dangerous to go to, and the people who did stay there had to live inside bomb shelters for a month.
My family lives in northern Israel. Luckily I live in the center of the country. I "only" had to worry if they are still alive… towards the end of the war the Hizbolla launched missiles that reached all the way to Hadera, only 15 minutes from where I live. Try to think how that might feel.
I have lived in the Middle East all my life, and unlike your former interviewee who seemed to have come for a visit, I have different insights into the whole situation. Firstly, nothing is ever just black or white, right or wrong. Things are slightly more complex – if matters were so simple the conflict would have been solved years ago. The events that we are being tested with present us with horrible moral choices.
I feel sad for every innocent life that was lost in this needless stupid war - on both sides. In wars often the ones who pay the highest price are us, the civilians.
I am still optimistic about the Middle East. I try to see the other side and not demonize it, I think the solution lays with us, the common people, and not politicians or generals.
Since I came to London I have had the chance to meet people I would have never met otherwise, from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. And yes, it is possible to get along, it's possible to discuss matters calmly, even if we disagree. And no, your article which contained false information, as well as quite narrow-minded and painfully uninformed remarks, will not improve matters. See, in the situation we are in, it is very easy to hate, but I refuse to give in to that. nothing good ever grew out of hatred. I think it takes a lot of courage to see things for what they are and to acknowledge the "other" is just as human as you are. With hopes and dreams, family and friends. I can only hope your last interviewee will find that courage some day.
And to you guys in the paper: please make sure that when writing on these sensitive issues you include both sides (since they both exist…………) and try to verify some of the basic facts you write about… a quick glance would have informed you that Israel is still a democracy, for instance…. (and not a "tyrant")
I understand you tried to approach a difficult subject, which is a good thing to do. but in the future you should at least consider some of the things I said.
Lastly, I want to draw your attention to the hypocrisy this article showed: let's say someone else would have been interviewed and said that all people of another ethnic origin were murderers, would you have printed that? I hope not, because you shouldn't print such things, because guess what – it's wrong, it's not the truth - and it simply encourages hatred and prejudice and is an inch away of being racist. But then again, printing the same words against Israelis has the same affect….
Have a nice day,
I have just read the article "What happens when the bombs go off?", and I am
absolutely apalled by the fact that the article was published in such a form in
the university magazine. There is enough anti-semitism on campus already - why
increase it by publishing a biased article full of anti-Israeli propaganda that
can only make things worse?
It would have been easy to publish both sides of the story in the same issue.
Had you contacted the JSoc before publishing the article, you would certainly
have found someone willing to give you an Israeli point of view. Then you could
have printed both sides of the story, which would have been fair.
You say in your statement in response to former complaints by JSoc members that
you realise your intention to print the other side of the story "should have
been more clearly expressed at the bottom of the article in question".
What do you mean by MORE clearly? There was no mention of this in the article
itself or anywhere else in the magazine! For all we know, this could have been
the end of it.
In addition to objecting to the fact that you only printed a Lebanese point of
view, and not both that and an Israeli account, there is something else I feel
very strongly about: the use of language in the article.
"This war showed the true faces of everyone. This time it showed Israel as a
tyrant and a murderer. ... They're cowards."
Would you have been happy to print an article featuring such sweeping
generalisations about other groups of people apart from the Israelis? I
severely doubt it.
While Malika is entitled to have her narrow-minded opinions and express them,
you as the editor of CUB magazine have certain responsibilities. I am not sure
that increasing anti-semitism by publishing biased articles is one of them.
However, part of your responsibilities is certainly to tell the CUB readers
1.) there is another side to this story, and that you are very sorry you did not
print the two side by side straight away, and
2.) that the opinions expressed in the article are only those of one particular
person. There are many students at QMUL who feel differently. (And no, Alex,
saying that "this is why the article was an interview and not a feature" is not
I hope you have the courage to react appropriately to the complaints you receive
about this article.
I wish to follow up the recent article "Lebanon" printed in CUB magazine. While I have sympathy for any innocent civilian who lost their life, family member or home in both Lebanon and Israel, I think allowing such a one-sided, ignorant and extremist account to be published is dangerous for any reader not properly informed of the situation. There are many aspects of the article I could pull up for factual incorrectness, but what worries me most is the incitement of hatred against the jewish people, and even our own British Government, as well as clear support for terrorism. Rather than be the account of a student, it seems this article was just an excuse to spread propaganda and stir up trouble.
For some reason Israel has been portrayed as the "bad-guy" in this conflict. Perhaps because it has the organised army, or maybe because there was a greater loss of life on the Lebanon side. However, one should examine what really went on. Firstly, this was started by the Lebonese - spontaneously murdering 6 solidiers and kidnapping two others. Until then Israel had been putting up with Hizbollah rockets firing into Northern Israel, of course not mentioned in the British media. These rockets which intensified during the conflict were aimed at civilian areas. Israel may have the organised, conventional army, but at least this means army targets are clearly separated from civilian areas. However, Hizbollah chose not to discriminate between the two. On the other hand, Hizbollah fighters purposely hide themselves among civilians for protection. What are the Israelis supposed to do. One thing is for sure every Lebanese civilian death is regretted in Israel. In Lebanon, if the manage to kill a jew, civilian or soldier, there are parties on the street.
There is so much more I could write. I just beg you to think more carefully before letting such an article go through. This is supposed to be an institution of education, not misinformation.