February 23, 2017
NY Times: Hamas Seeking to Put Off War, Israelis Itching for Conflict
There's a peculiar juxtaposition in yesterday's front page New York Times story, contrasting how Israel and Hamas supposedly view the possibility of renewed confrontation. The insinuation seems to be that Israelis are seeking war, while Hamas is seeking to put it off.
Here's what the story says is happening "on the Israeli side":
On the Israeli side, the political right talks of a new war in the spring over Hamas’s rearming and expresses a desire to inflict a decisive blow. …
Sounds like they're chomping at the bit.
Then there's Hamas. The piece does note that the group's new leader is "hard-line," and that weapons are "presumably" being constructed in, and smuggled into, the Gaza Strip. But regarding attitudes toward renewed fighting, we're told that its leaders are seeking to "put off as long as possible what they see as the next inevitable war":
Leaders of Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the United States and by many other countries, do not have the same backing from the West. Interviews with political and business leaders, academics and ordinary people can divine only a basic strategy: improve the lives of frustrated residents as its leaders put off as long as possible what they see as the next inevitable war, then fight when it happens. (Life could be better, Hamas’s critics contend, if the group spent less on war preparations.)
So Hamas leaders want to avoid war, readers are led to believe, but are resigned to the fact that Israel will force it upon them — never mind that Gaza's major wars tend to begin with Hamas rocket barrages or cross-border kidnapping attacks against Israelis.
In unrelated news, Hamas recently released a Hebrew-language music video about launching a war and killing Jews.
The video, at least, isn't shy about predicting that the hypothetical next war will begin with Hamas firing rockets at Israel. The opening line of the song, sung over animated images of a Hamas rocket attack, says, "For my Zionist enemy I've prepared all kinds of rockets that reach where he lives," and that "he will die if he doesn't immediately leave my land."
Other images include Jews being sliced in half by rockets and a severed Haredi head being impaled on a sword.
Check out the full video here.
Diminishing Morale and Dissension Within Hezbollah
Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia and terror group, has been fighting in Syria for 5 years at the behest of Iran. An article by Lebanese journalist Hannin Gadar contends that the group's most experienced fighters are chafing under the command of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and are leaving.
Gadar writes of emerging social problems in the Lebanese Shiite community from troubled returning fighters. Western societies with unfettered media frequently describe dissension in the ranks, troubling questions about their mission and difficulties experienced by returning war veterans. There is less disclosure of increasing demoralization due to prolonged conflict and subsequent substance abuse among members of terrorist groups operating within closed societies where such discussions are proscribed and problems denied.
Articles such as this one are important to raise awareness and to counterbalance the Western media's propensity for critical self-scrutiny and highlighting problems within our own military forces and among returning veterans. As the article makes clear, closed, authoritarian societies are not immune to disintegrating morale, dissension in the ranks and substance abuse.
February 22, 2017
Success: PBS Ombudsman Blogs About Miko Peled Interview
Earlier this month, CAMERA sent an alert to our members and posted an article on our website regarding Tavis Smiley and his interview with radical anti-Israel activist Miko Peled, which was aired on PBS. During the interview, Peled made several false claims that were not corrected or challenged by his host. Many of our letter-writers wrote to Smiley, as well as to the PBS Ombudsman, Michael Getler.
Getler responded in a column late last week, in which he linked to our article and discussed our critiques. He agreed that Smiley could have challenged Peled more, and that he “could have bounced some of Peled's most controversial assertions off on his follow-up guest, Rabbi Leder, which Smiley did not do.” Getler also noted that he forwarded CAMERA’s critique to Smiley.
Although Smiley did not respond, he will have hopefully taken the critique under consideration and will think about these issues before bringing similar guests to his show in the future.
In his blog post, Getler also published excerpts from many of the letters that CAMERA members and others sent in. Below are the letters as Getler published them:
The guest, Miko Peled, on the show made so many incorrect assertions that it would take a very long letter to point out all of them. Mr. Smiley, you, as an informed journalist, should have at least questioned, if not corrected, some of them. Peled's description of Israel as an apartheid state has no basis in fact. In an apartheid state the oppressed do not have recourse to the courts nor do they have equal transit and health opportunities. Patently untrue in Israel.
Describing Israel as a “union between racism and colonialism” ignored the fact that Jews are indigenous to Israel and have been a presence in Jerusalem since 1004 BC! The assertion that Palestinians get only 12 hours a week of water may be true but their water is controlled by the Palestinian Water Authority. Israel has nothing to do with it. These, and many other, statements of Mr. Peled are not surprising in view of his past statements. Minimal research would have shown this. It is necessary to correct these mis-statements to maintain PBS' claim to journalistic integrity.
Lawrence H. Levine, Pleasantville NY
(Ombudsman’s Note: Peled has likened Israel treatment of Palestinians to apartheid but not on this program.)
~ ~ ~
I am writing to protest the content and tone of your [Tavis Smiley’s] interview with Miko Peled on 2/2/17. Miko Peled is well known as an anti-Israel extremist who frequently veers into anti-semitic territory. For example on your show he termed Jewish history a "myth," denied that Jews have a right to self-determination via a state of their own, and repeatedly libeled Israel's water policies towards the Palestinians.
Had you been fulfilling your role as a talk show host with some degree of objectivity and concern for the truth, you could have pointed out archeological evidence for Jewish history in Israel which is abundant, including the Western Wall of Solomon's Temple. You could have pointed out that denying Jews the right to national self-determination essentially meets the U.S. State Department's definitions of antisemitism. You could have pointed out that Israel supplies Palestinians with twice the water specified in the Oslo Accords, and that Palestinians would have even more water if they stopped refusing hookups to Israeli water infrastructure in their opposition to "normalization,” and stopped refusing to use effluent drip irrigation techniques employed by Israel to conserve water.
Instead you had another guest on, a Rabbi who weakly offered some minor corrections and whose stance seemed to reflect the typically misguided, left-of-center utopian fantasy that Israeli and Palestinian actions have been morally and politically equivalent. In fact Israel has made great concessions of land and rights to Palestinians in search of peace, and has been met with unceasing terrorism and refusals of generous peace offers. This is because the true and only goal of the Palestinians is the destruction of Israel…If your purpose was to provide your listeners with accurate information, you could have corrected or challenged Peled's falsehoods. You could have had an additional guest on 2/2/17 to forcefully and effectively respond to Peled.
Daniel H. Trigoboff, Ph.D, Williamsville, NY
~ ~ ~
I am disturbed about Tavis Smiley’s program with Miko Peled in which Peled made false statements about Israel that went unchallenged by Smiley. Several of these false statements include calling Jewish history a myth, calling Israel an illegitimate state, calling the Haganah a terrorist group even as he justified terrorism against Israelis and perpetuated the falsehoods about the water libel. When PBS knowingly invites radicals to appear on their shows, the host should do their homework and be prepared to aggressively challenge their narratives and false claims. Smiley should announce corrections of Peled's false statements on his show, particularly the implication that Israel denies water to Palestinians and that the Haganah was a terrorist organization.
~ ~ ~
Almost every phrase that came out of Mr. Peled's mouth had some disinformation that had a single goal: to portray Israel as an illegitimate state based on some mythical story and to portray Israelis as bunch of evil racist white Europeans oppressing indigenous population.
Here few most outrageous lies that I heard in the interview:
1) Jews suddenly showed up few decades ago and took land from the people who lived there forever. FALSE! To say something like that is to disregard well established historic and archaeological facts. Jews have always lived in Israel, despite regular massacres perpetrated against them by Arab Muslims, crusaders, Turks and numerous others. 2) There have never been a Palestinian nation. This nation was invented in 1960's in Moscow by the Soviets. Those who call themselves "Palestinians" now are in fact a conglomeration of different nationalities, most of which came to the area in the middle of 19th century as migrant workers. The rest settled there between 1948 and 1967 by the Jordanian King in violation of Forth Geneva Convention after Jordan (with the blessing of England) illegally captured West Bank in 1948. 3) Few Bedouins came to Judea from Arabia and are not indigenous people. Israel has always tried to accommodate Bedouins and their lifestyle…Most Bedouins are loyal Israeli citizens.
Valery Tsimmerman, MD
~ ~ ~
The Tavis Smiley talk show with Miko Peled is a new low in responsible broadcasting. The selection of Rabbi Steve Leder as an ineffective "balanced view" indicates, at best, a pathetically inept PBS. In light of other broadcasts with overt slants, any thinking person surmises the worst: PBS’s actions are only open-minded to accusation about Israel. PBS open-mindedness has apparently allowed the facts and their brains to fall away - neither are used.
Hillel Hammerman, New York, NY
~ ~ ~
On February 2, Tavis Smiley hosted Miko Peled, an extreme anti-Israel activist who has made outrageous statements about Israel and claimed that Jews have no history there. Peled falsely claimed that the Haganah was a terrorist group, but he does not accept the idea that Israeli Jews have any right to defend themselves from real terrorists. Mr. Peled claims he can’t be anti-Semitic because he is Jewish, but he is on record making statements against Jews, and being technically Jewish does not stop someone from hating Jews.
Forest Hills, NY
~ ~ ~
In your recent broadcast by T. Smiley, the well-known Mr. Anti-Semite and Anti-anything-Jewish Paled was invited. I know the Freedom of Speech and Right to Expression are very important. But why invite the well-known hater to the program with the moderator who is either badly prepared, or sympathetic to Mr. Paled views, or simply intellectually lazy? And even if Mr. Tavis's sympathies are with Palestinian Arabs -- he has no right to reveal it in his work as Journalist.
Dr. R. Ogulnik
~ ~ ~
When you have anti-Semites like Miko Peled on your show why don't you mention the wise and prescient words of Dr. Martin Luther King JR spoken in December 1967: "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism." Also why don't you mention that the Obama State Department stated that it is anti-Semitic to claim you oppose the State of Israel, but not its policies. Your silence when confronted with anti-Semitic drivel raises the issue of whether you agree with the drivel.
Richard Sherman, Margate, FL
To join CAMERA's letter-writing team, sign up here.
February 15, 2017
Israel and U.S. Military Aid
One common narrative in media reports about Israel is that Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid. The Brookings Institution’s Shibley Telhami, for example, made the claim in Newsweek in September (“Is America Giving Too Much Aid to Israel? Key Poll Findings,” September 16, 2016). That same month – the month that the most recent U.S. aid package to Israel was finalized – CNN wrote “the US has made Israel its largest recipient of military assistance for decades…” and the New York Times called Israel “already the largest recipient of American aid...”
(“Largest-ever US military aid package to go to Israel,” and “U.S. Finalizes Deal to Give Israel $38 Billion in Military Aid,” both September 13, 2016).
In the past, CAMERA has been one of the few to question this conventional wisdom. In 2006, CAMERA’s Alex Safian wrote that the costs of U.S. military personnel stationed in Europe and Asia “are gigantic costs that truly dwarf what we spend on aid to Israel.” He noted at the time that Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, in their paper that year lambasting “The Israel Lobby,” ignored the tremendous financial cost of U.S. troops abroad.
Now, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies has reexamined this claim. Professor Hillel Frisch has written:
The response to the charge [that, at $3.1B per year, Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid] is simple: Israel is not even a major beneficiary of American military aid. The numerical figure reflects official direct US military aid, but is almost meaningless compared to the real costs and benefits of US military aid – which include, above all, American boots on the ground in the host states.
There are 150,500 American troops stationed in seventy countries around the globe. This costs the American taxpayer an annual $US85-100 billion, according to David Vine, a professor at American University and author of a book on the subject. In other words, 800-1,000 American soldiers stationed abroad represent US$565-665 million of aid to the country in which they are located.
Once the real costs are calculated, the largest aid recipient is revealed to be Japan, where 48,828 US military personnel are stationed. This translates into a US military aid package of over US$27 billion (calculated according to Vine’s lower estimation). Germany, with 37,704 US troops on its soil, receives aid equivalent to around US$21 billion; South Korea, with 27,553 US troops, receives over US$15 billion; and Italy receives at least US$6 billion.
The post-World War II agreement between the U.S. and Japan, pursuant to which the U.S. stations troops there, includes a “U.S. pledge to defend Japan in the event of an attack.” It wasn’t until 2015 that the agreement was updated to permit Japan to come to the aid of the U.S. or other allies. It’s clear, therefore, that Japan directly benefits from U.S. troops stationed in its country, at U.S. taxpayer expense.
As Professor Frisch explained, the in-kind military aid given to many nations around the world, including Kuwait, Qatar, and the Baltic states, puts U.S. service members on the line. In contrast, the cash aid given to Israel puts no U.S. service members in danger.
Jewish Voice for Peace Hosts Convicted Palestinian Terrorist
Jewish Voice for Peace, the misnamed anti-Israel organization, will be hosting a convicted Palestinian terrorist at its upcoming conference in Chicago on March 31 to April 2, 2017.
Rasmea Odeh, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terrorist group will be a featured speaker at the event, according to an Algemeiner report by Lea Spyer (“Jewish Voice for Peace to Host Convicted Palestinian Terrorist at Upcoming National Conference,” Feb. 6, 2017).
Odeh will be speaking, along with three other speakers, during a workshop titled “All In!” In addition to Odeh, another panelist at the JVP conference is Linda Sarsour, an anti-Israel speaker who, among other things, has called to remove the vaginas of her female critics (“#WomensMarch Co-Chair Linda Sarour’s Twitter attack on victim of female genital mutilation,” Legal Insurrection, Jan. 27, 2016).
Odeh was convicted for her role in two terrorist attacks: In 1969, she set up explosives in a grocery store, murdering two Hebrew University students and wounding nine others. Four days later, she set up explosives targeting the British consulate. In 1970 she was sentenced to life in an Israeli prison for her crimes, only to be freed in a prisoner swap ten years later.
The Anti-Defamation League has described JVP as the “most influential anti-Zionist group in the United States.” ADL has asserted that JVP’s role in the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) effort is to provide the movement with a “veneer of legitimacy” and camouflage against identification as antisemitic.
Despite ADL’s apt characterization, JVP is often misleadingly described as a “left-leaning” or “progressive” Jewish group by many major U.S. news outlets. As CAMERA has noted, JVP has often been given Op-Ed space by The Washington Post, The Hill, and others (“Jewish Voice for Peace Repeats anti-Israel Clichés; Post Provides a Platform,” June 29, 2016).
Similarly, Sarsour, a co-organizer of the Jan. 21, 2017 “Women’s March on Washington D.C.,” has been feted by journalists who often fail to disclose her history of inflammatory statements, including accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and dismissing reports of al-Qaeda terror attacks as conspiracy theories (see, for example “CAMERA Rebuts Zogby Op-Ed in The Hill,” Aug. 27, 2015).
A Jan. 23, 2017 article in Elle Magazine, for instance, claimed that “conservative news sites” and “Islamophobes” were attacking Sarsour for her role in organizing the women’s march. However, the article by Mattie Kahn failed to note Sarsour’s decidedly anti-feminist, anti-human rights exhortations.
It remains to be seen if future news reports treating JVP as a credible source will inform readers of the group’s associations and advocates.
February 13, 2017
Hamas Members Defect to ISIS
Hamas, the U.S.-designated terror group that rules the Gaza Strip, is losing operatives to the Sinai-affiliate of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The two groups, while rivals, share similar long-term objectives.
According to a recent Times of Israel report, a high-profile member of Hamas’ naval commando unit, Abed al-Wahad Abu Aadara, defected to ISIS a year ago. Numerous other Hamas members have also joined ISIS in the Sinai, which is both a competitor and a sometime collaborator with the Gaza-based terror group.
Avi Issacharoff, a Times of Israel Middle East analyst, noted:
“In recent years Hamas has lost dozens of members of its military wing — the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades — to IS’s Sinai Province, including a number of its fighters from the elite Nukhba unit. Many of these operatives left for Sinai with their families and relatives and now serve as the Sinai Province’s main points of contact with Hamas. These defectors include a number of Hamas’s experts on operating anti-tank missiles and assembling roadside bombs, who have provided substantial assistance to IS in its war against the Egyptian army.”
Some of the Hamas defectors have been fairly high-profile operatives. Abu Malek Abu Shweish, a former “top assistant to the commander of Hamas’ military wing in the Rafah area,” and Abed al-Hila al-Qishta, a leader in Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, are among the more noteworthy defectors, highlighted by Isaacharoff.
Despite the defections, Hamas and Islamic State operatives have cooperated on certain mutually beneficial objectives. For instance, members of Hamas’ military wing in Rafah assist Islamic State Sinai operatives with weapons smuggling and transporting injured ISIS fighters into Gaza for medical care.
CAMERA has previously noted (“Hamas Cooperates with ISIS-Sinai,” March 3, 2016) allegations of cooperation between Hamas and the Islamic State’s Sinai province—including claims from an ISIS fighter that Hamas was providing communications and weapons systems to its fellow terror group. Both movements, while differing on strategy and tactics, share the same goals: The imposition of sharia law and the destruction of the West and Israel.
Despite their similar Islamist ideologies, some commentators have previously claimed that Hamas would never work with the Islamic State. Vox magazine’s Max Fisher (now a New York Times reporter) treated with contempt Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 2014 tweet comparing Hamas to the Islamic State. In an Aug. 25, 2014 article (“Hamas is not ISIS. Here’s why Netanyahu says it is anyways”) , Fisher wrote:
“As an analytical matter, Netanyahu's argument is flatly false. While Hamas and ISIS are both rightly classified by the US as terrorist groups, both target civilians, and both espouse Islamic and Arab supremacism, that does not make them at all linked, much less identical.”
“The two groups are totally distinct. It's not just that there is no known connection, operational or otherwise, between Hamas and ISIS, although there isn't. They ultimately follow very different ideologies: Hamas will talk about Islamist extremism, but it is ultimately a Palestinian nationalist group first and foremost, one that is fighting to establish its vision of a Palestinian state.”
Moreover, Fisher noted, “Hamas leader Khaled Meschaal [sic] publicly rejected any Hamas-ISIS comparison.” Perhaps Fisher shouldn’t have taken a Hamas leader at his word.
As CAMERA has noted, Hamas is only a Palestinian national group if one takes Palestinian nationalism to have as its cause bête noire the destruction of Israel—a fair argument, but one that Fisher, a frequent Israel critic, is unlikely to make.
February 12, 2017
In Haaretz in English, Petah Tikvah Attack Is Only 'Suspected'
On Thursday, an assailant opened fire on shoppers in the central Israeli town of Petah Tivkah, and stabbed one, injuring a total of five people. The suspected attacker is an 18-year-old from Nablus. That this attack happened is not in dispute.
Yet, Haaretz's English edition, both online and print, referred to a "suspected" attack, as if was not yet verified that a shooting attack had taken place. The first sentence of the print article refers to the attack as "suspected":
Five people were hospitalized following a suspected shooting attack in the central city of Petah Tikvah yesterday.
The front-page headline of Haaretz's English edition Friday was "Five people wounded in suspected Petah Tikva terror attack."
The digital edition in English also qualifies the attack as "suspected." Its headline is: "Five Wounded in Suspected Shooting Attack in Central Israeli City."
Likewise, the first sentence online reads:
Five people were hospitalized following a suspected shooting attack in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikvah.
The Hebrew edition, in contrast, both in print and online did not qualify the attack as "suspected" and reported it just as it was: an attack. The Hebrew print headline states (CAMERA's translation): "Petah Tikvah Market Attack: Five Lightly Wounded from Shooting and Stabbing, 18-Year-Old Suspect from Nablus Arrested."
The first sentence states: "Five people were lightly injured yesterday in a shooting and stabbing attack near the market on Baron Hersh Street in Petah Tikvah."
This latest instance of what we call "Haaretz, Lost in Translation" follows another English edition article last month which described an incident in which a Bedouin driver ran over and killed an Israeli policeman as a "police claim." Yet, the fact that the driver ran over and killed the policeman was not disputed; the reason, however, was disputed (the Bedouin driver either intentionally attacked the policeman or, alternatively, lost control of the vehicle after police shot him). CAMERA prompted corrected in that case. We have contacted editors again about the Petah Tikvah attack. Stay tuned for an update.
February 10, 2017
Igor Sadikov’s Insincere Apology at McGill
Igor Sadikov, a student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada has revealed the underlying hostility toward Israel and Jews motivating the BDS campaign on college campuses.
Sadikov, a BDS activist and a member of the Legislative Council and Board of Directors of the Students’ Society of McGill University, did this by calling on his Twitter followers to “punch a Zionist.” Sadikov “apologized” for his call to violence in the face of criticism from B’Nai Brith in Canada.
In his “apology,” Sadikov expresses regret for harming his fellow students and adds that as a Jew, he wants to be “disentangle” Jewishness from Zionism. Sadikov has since deleted the threatening Tweet and his Twitter account.
His Facebook account currently includes the text of his apology, the replies to which indicate that a fair number of his supporters support violence against Zionists. Oliver Melancon, for example, offers to punch a Zionist on Sadikov’s behalf. And sadly enough, Sadikov “liked” this comment, indicating that his apology is insincere. Apparently, he still thinks its OK to punch Zionists.
By the way, international students can expect to pay between $19,000 and $44,000 CDN for one year of attendance at McGill University.
February 07, 2017
E.U.-Supported Palestinian University Calls to ‘Blow Up’ Jews
A Palestinian university with strong U.S. and E.U. ties held a militant parade graphically calling for the murder of Jews.
Birzeit University, just outside of Ramallah in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), held festivities to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the Fatah movement on Dec. 31, 2016. Fatah is the dominant movement in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and is led by the authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an organization that translates Arab, Iranian and Russian media, recently issued a report on the event.
MEMRI footage showed armed masked men in military fatigues conducting drills and chanting at Birzeit University’s campus. The men belong to Fatah’s Shabiba student movement. According to MEMRI, during the drill, the student movement members praised deceased Palestinian leader and Fatah head Yasser Arafat and shouted:
“Blow up the head of the settler!”
“We are the guardians of the borders!”
“Oh shabiba, this is a call to arms!”
As CAMERA has noted, Palestinian officials often refer to all Israelis as “settlers,” regardless of where they live.
Birzeit University has frequently held events celebrating terrorism. In December 2015, students decorated a Christmas tree on the college’s campus with ornaments of prominent Palestinian terrorists and murderers. Fathi Shaqai, the founder of U.S.-designated terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a Birzeit alum himself, was one of those whose image was placed by university students on the tree. Abu Ali Mustafa, the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), another U.S.-designated terrorist group was similarly celebrated.
February 03, 2017
The Atlantic Stumbles on the Truth About Potential Palestinian State
A January 28 piece about the city of Hebron in The Atlantic by Zach Dorfman contains a few errors and omissions, some more egregious than others, but also includes an unusual moment of honesty about the settlements there.
The most glaring omission in the piece comes after Dorfman details the Oslo II agreement, including that in that agreement, “Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) formally agreed to the terms an independent Palestinian state [sic] by 1999.” He omits, however, that such a state was offered to, and rejected by, the Palestinians three times. While it’s unfortunately commonplace for journalists to ignore Israeli peace offers, in this case the omission is particularly bad because the implication is that Israel agreed to Palestinian independence and then reneged on that agreement, when in fact it was the Palestinians’ own leaders that turned down statehood.
Another issue is Dorfman’s statement that “Jews believe the Temple Mount, where the mosque now stands, is where the two great Jewish temples were once located.” The statement that “Jews believe” that the Temple Mount is the location of the two ancient Jewish Temples implies that this is something that is legitimately in question, something that can be subjectively believed or not. In fact, as CAMERA has noted in the past, there is ample archeological evidence of the Temples, and there are “no credible scholars who question the existence of the two temples or who deny that they stood somewhere on the Temple Mount.”
Turning to Hebron, the main topic of the article, Dorfman recounts that he “asked a senior Israeli military official … about the IDF’s efforts to prevent violence by settlers against Hebron’s Palestinian community.” He ignores, however, the spates of violence against Hebron’s Jewish community that ensued particularly after the signing of the Hebron Protocol in 1997 and in the early 2000’s when Shuhada Street was briefly reopened. This is especially notable because Dorfman discusses both Shuhada Street and the Hebron Protocol in some detail.
Dorfman makes a basic error when he asserts that Jewish settlers returned to Hebron in 1979. In fact, Jews returned to Hebron to reconstitute the ancient community there almost immediately after the Six-Day War, on the eve of Passover in 1968. (Dorfman may possibly be conflating the 1968 event, in which Jews checked in to a Hebron hotel and initially refused to leave, eventually establishing the adjacent town of Kiryat Arba, with the 1979 establishment of the Committee of the Jewish Community of Hebron.)
Dorfman also claims that the December passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 “reaffirm[ed] long-standing international consensus: that Israel’s settlement-building in the territories it has occupied since 1967 is illegal under international law.” He then adds parenthetically that “[h]istorically, U.S. officials have massaged the issue by calling settlements ‘obstacles to peace’ and refrained from explicitly referencing their illegality." In fact, however, it is Dorfman that is “massaging” the issue. As CAMERA has shown repeatedly, successive US administrations have not considered the settlements illegal. And his description of then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech following that vote as “largely recapitulating U.S. policy,” is contradicted by the Washington Post’s fact-checker.
At the same time, Dorfman includes some history that is rarely discussed. He writes that Hebron was home to a Jewish community for centuries, and that the community persisted until a bloody 1929 pogrom in which a “mob of Arabs traveled house-to-house, killing 67 Jews and wounding scores, wiping out the city’s Jewish community.” He includes a witness’s account of one incident of more recent, fatal violence perpetrated against the Jews of Hebron. He also includes the information that Hebron, the site of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, is a holy city to Jews.
Most notable, however, is the very rare acknowledgement of the real reason that withdrawal of the IDF would necessitate removal of the Jewish settlers. He writes:
In any future peace deal, the IDF would likely be required to uproot over 75,000 Jews from the West Bank, some of them religious ideologues, from their homes near some of the holiest places in their faith. In this equation, the settlers of Hebron seem unlikely to voluntarily quit their second-holiest site. This is the paradox: The Jews of Hebron cannot leave, but neither can they stay. If the IDF withdraws—as it must under any future peace deal—the radical settlers of Hebron and elsewhere could face another massacre, another 1929.
In contrast, no journalists appear to have questioned then-Secretary Kerry’s claim in his December 28 sunset speech about Israel and the Palestinian territories that:
Now, you may hear from advocates that the settlements are not an obstacle to peace because the settlers that don't want to leave can just stay in Palestine like the Arab Israelis who live in Israel. But that misses a critical point, my friends; the Arab Israelis are citizens of Israel, subject to Israel's law. Does anyone here really believe that the settlers will agree to submit to Palestinian law in Palestine?
The question of whether Kerry had any basis for the claim that Jews would be unwilling to live under Palestinian law, or the question of whether such an assumed unwillingness to live under Palestinian sovereignty was really what would prevent them from doing so, doesn’t seem to have been addressed in the mainstream media. Though Dorfman still ignores statements by Palestinian leadership that Israelis won’t be permitted to stay in a future state, he deserves credit for the candid admission that it is not Jews’ willingness to live under Palestinian sovereignty that causes a problem. Rather, what complicates efforts at partition is the danger to any Jews that would stay behind in such a deal.
January 31, 2017
German School Hails Opposition to Holocaust Remembrance Day
In Germany, Muslim students of Arab and Turkish origins refused to participate in International Holocaust Remembrance Day events—and the school applauded the students’ decision.
Benjamin Weinthal, a Jerusalem Post correspondent and fellow at the Washington D.C.-based think tank, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, covered the widely underreported story (“German Muslim Students Protest Holocaust Remembrance, Attack Israel,” Jan. 27, 2017).
Muslim students at The Weiterbildungskolleg Emscher-Lippe high school in Gelsenkirchen, Germany refused to participate in Holocaust commemoration events held at the school. Part of the event included students holding signs saying “I Remember” or “We Remember.” Instead, some Muslim students reportedly defaced the school’s blackboard, writing “F**ck Israel, Free Palestine.”
The school’s director, Günter Jahn, approved of the student’s decision, telling German newspaper Der Westen: “It is important that there is criticism. That is the basis for a discussion.” Yet, as CAMERA and others have noted, antisemitism often masks itself as anti-Zionism; unprincipled and frequently discriminatory opposition to the world’s sole Jewish state.
Antisemitism in Germany is on the rise, as Weinthal noted. Earlier in January 2017—shortly before the 75th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference in which Nazi leaders decided on the “final solution” for the so-called “Jewish problem”—German courts reaffirmed a legal decision that excused the torching of a synagogue in the city of Wuppertal by three Muslim men. The court claimed that the arson was merely an attempt to “draw attention to the blazing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Antisemitic attacks in Germany doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to a World Jewish Congress report cited by Weinthal. The actual number of attacks may in fact be higher due to the “lack of standards to identify contemporary antisemitism in the Federal Republic.”
That lack of standards is readily apparent if certain German schools and courts are an indicator.
Nor is Germany alone in Europe for blaming Jews for anti-Jewish violence. In France, for example, 60 percent of French citizens believe that Jews are at least partially responsible for rising antisemitism (“Poll: Majority in France Believe Jews Responsible for Antisemitism,” CAMERA, Feb. 12, 2016).
As CAMERA has noted, many Western news media outlets routinely underreport the burgeoning antisemitism in Europe. A 2015 study by Tel Aviv University found that anti-Jewish violence went up forty percent in 2014 (“Violent antisemitic attacks up 40 percent—Where’s the Coverage?” April 21, 2015). That report went received scant mention in the press.
By contrast, The Jerusalem Post’s Weinthal frequently writes on antisemitism in Europe. His most recent report can be found here.
Yusef Daher At It Again, Lionizing “Terrorism’s Christian Godfather”
Yusef Daher, a Christian “peacemaker” in Jerusalem who enjoys the support of the World Council of Churches, is at it again. Daher, who serves as executive secretary of the WCC-supported Jerusalem Interchurch Center (JICC), recently posted a statement on Facebook asking for George Habash to “pray for us.”
Daher posted this entry (screenshot above) on January 25, 2017, one day before the ninth anniversary of Habash’s death in 2008. Daher’s friends on Facebook responded with variations of the phrase, “God rest his soul.”
Habash was a terrorist. He was a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which was responsible for the Lod Airport Massacre, which resulted in the death of two dozen tourists, most of them Christians, in 1972. In 2008, Time published an article declaring Habash, “Terrorism’s Christian Godfather.” Here’s a brief excerpt from the article:
January 30, 2017
You Can’t be Pro-Peace (Or Pro-Palestinian) If You Don’t Hold Palestinian Leaders Accountable
In early March, an organization called the Telos Group is going to hold its annual leadership conference in Washington, D.C. Billing itself as an activist organization that is pro-Palestinian, pro-peace and pro-Israel, the Telos Group is allegedly promoting a new understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict — an understanding that allows outsiders (Evangelical Protestants mostly) to embrace the flattering notion that they can somehow bring peace between Jew and Arab in the Holy Land.
It’s a naïve and arrogant view for people to embrace because it portrays the Israelis and the Palestinians as pawns that will do the bidding of well-meaning Christians from North America, as if the two groups of people are unable to discern for themselves the decisions they need to make for peace. Such a narrative denies the agency, intelligence and accountability of people in both Israel and in Palestinian society.
The condescension however, is mostly directed at the Palestinians. Examine the Telos Group’s website for yourself and you’ll find very little information about the antisemitic incitement in Palestinian society, nor will you see much condemnation of the corruption of Palestinian elites. By failing to hold Palestinian leaders accountable for their misdeeds, Telos Group activists reveal their underlying contempt for the Palestinians.
Noah Summers, an analyst writing in the Gatestone Institute has examined the organization and has documented some contradictions with the organization’s message. She writes that while Telos staffer Greg Khalil (pictured above) invokes UN Resolution 242 in a manner that obligates Israel to yield territory to the Palestinians, he “neglects to mention that this "land-for-peace" resolution was premised on the Palestinians halting all violence against Israelis and recognizing the State of Israel."
Supports Silent on Trump Travel Ban
"PM's anti-Jewish support for Trump's anti-Muslim decree" is a front-page headline of Haaretz's English print edition yesterday.
Similarly, Haaretz's online headline states: "Netanyahu’s anti-Jewish Support for Trump’s anti-Muslim Decree."
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not expressed any support for President Trump's move against immigration. In fact, Netanyahu has come under criticism for keeping silentabout Trump's executive order. The Times of Israel reported yesterday:
Former Likud party stalwart Dan Meridor on Sunday harshly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to condemn the new US administration’s entry ban on citizens from certain Muslim states, arguing that the Jewish state should place Jewish values above political expediency. . .
In December 2015, Netanyahu himself issued a statement rejecting then-presidential candidate Trump’s vow to ban Muslims from entering the US. On Sunday, however, he did not comment on the matter, and his spokesperson refused to respond to several Times of Israel queries.
In December 2015, Netanyahu himself issued a statement rejecting then-presidential candidate Trump’s vow to ban Muslims from entering the US. On Sunday, however, he did not comment on the matter, and his spokesperson refused to respond to several Times of Israel queries.
January 27, 2017
Major Catholic Outlets in U.S. Pass Over Archbishop’s Death in Silence
Death came for the Archbishop; it got a lot of press. When Hilarion Capucci, a Melkite Archbishop who spent two years in an Israeli prison for smuggling guns for the PLO, died on Dec. 31, 2016, the New York Times wrote about it.
His death was lamented in a number newspapers in the Middle East as well.
The secular press covered Capucci’s death, but most, if not all, Catholic media outlets in the United States appear to have passed over the Archbishop’s passing in silence.
America Magazine didn’t cover the story. Neither did the National Catholic Reporter, nor did the National Catholic Register. And interestingly enough, the Catholic News Service made no mention of Archbishop Capucci’s death. CNS, did however, report about Capucci’s involvement in a Gaza flotilla in 2010. (Screenshots of efforts to find articles related to Capucci's death on the websites of the outlets just listed are appended to the bottom of this entry.)
January 24, 2017
Updated: Peacemaker Supported by World Council of Churches Promotes Lie About Israel
Update: January 25, 2017
Yusef Daher has edited the Facebook post described below, deleting a link to an article from a fake news site that broadcast a lie about Israel’s President Reuvin Rivlin. Here is a screenshot of the post below.
CAMERA commends Daher for doing the right thing and calls on him to remove other hateful posts from his social media accounts. It's what a peacemaker would do.
Here is the original post that drew attention to the fake news article on Daher's Facebook page:
Yusef Daher just can’t help himself.
Daher, who works as executive secretary of the Jerusalem Interchurch Center, an ecumenical “peacemaking” organization supported by the World Council of Churches, has a nasty habit of posting ugly anti-Israel propaganda on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. For example, in January 2016, he posted a picture an Israeli soldier getting kicked in the rear end by Jesus who is hanging on the cross.
Posting images like this is in direct contradiction to Daher’s status as part of the ecumenical peacemaking community in Jerusalem supported by the World Council of Churches. Instead of promoting peace, Daher posts images that incite hostility toward Israel. CAMERA has prepared two articles about Daher’s work, but the World Council of Churches has not responded publicly to Daher’s postings, nor has Daher himself refrained from posting anti-Israel propaganda.
He’s still at it.
CAMERA Featured Letter-Writer
After CAMERA researcher Gilead Ini highlighted the New York Times' double standard with respect to Israel in an article in The Tower, letter-writer D. Lubinsky sent the following to that newspaper:
Dear NY Times,
In recent articles you refer to "occupied Palestinian territory" rather than "disputed land" or even "occupied West Bank." Why does the Times use such distorted terms against Israel and no other country?
You don't talk of Kashmir as "occupied Pakistani territory" or "occupied Cyprus" or "occupied Cypriot territory" for the Turkish controlled part of the island, nor use analogous terms on Tibet, Kurdistan, Western Sahara ...
How long will it take the NY Times to stop its singling out of Israel? There never was a Palestinian state in the West Bank and when Jordan controlled that land till 1967, it did not talk of it as Palestinian territory. Moreover, Israel conquered it in a war of survival, and was prepared to hand it over to Palestinian leadership, if the latter were only prepared to agree to a peace that would end the conflict and allow a permanent Israel with definite boundaries.
In no other conflict, is so much bias directed at the party that was repeatedly attacked (namely Israel) over vitally strategic land, conquered in a war of survival, and that, if handed to implacable foes, would lead not to peace, but to more attacks - as stated openly by Palestinian leaders. How long will it take the NY Times to live up to a semblance of fairness?
January 23, 2017
Where’s the Coverage of Iran’s Military Buildup?
In a widely underreported event, Iranian lawmakers voted on Jan. 9, 2017 to expand military spending.
Citing Iranian Tasnim news, Reuters noted that the Islamic Consultative Assmbly, also known as the Majils, voted to increase military spending to five percent of the total budget. Iran had previously allocated slightly less than two percent of its 2015-16 budget for military expenditures.
In its report, Reuters described the vote as a “boost to Iran’s military establishment (“Iran to expand military spending, develop missiles,” Jan. 9, 2017).” The increase is part of a growth plan for 2016-2021 that was announced Iran’s Supreme Ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in July 2015. That plan calls for developing long range missiles, armed drones and cyber-war potential.
One hundred seventy-three Majils members voted in favor of the increase. Only ten cast votes against the buildup.
Many U.S. news outlets failed to report the vote, despite Iran being a frequent news topic. A Lexis-Nexis search of major print media, including The Washington Post, USA Today and The Baltimore Sun, among others, turned up not a single mention of the vote.
The lack of coverage is puzzling. The day before the vote, four Iranian vessels aggressively approached an American navy ship in the Strait of Hormuz—prompting the US Navy to fire warning shots. That event, reported by The Washington Post and others, received only a few sentence brief in USA Today and The Sun. As CAMERA has noted, Iran has previously threatened U.S. ships and personnel, although the media has often failed to cover such occurrences.
Reuters also highlighted that in a recent U.N. Security Council report, the organization’s departing Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, “expressed concern that Iran may have violated” a U.N. arms embargo “by supplying weapons and missiles to Hezbollah." Hezbollah is a Lebanese-based, Iranian-backed Shi’ite terrorist group that calls for Israel’s destruction.
Iran itself has frequently pledged to destroy the Jewish state. As it arms itself and its proxies, it’s worth asking: Where’s the coverage?
January 18, 2017
UKMW Prompts Correction to SKY News Claim on US View of Settlements
On January 15, 2017, Sky News ran a segment titled ‘Two-state solution under Trump’, focusing on concerns that Israeli settlement construction and the president-elect’s pledge to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could “spell the end of the two-state solution”.
At roughly the two-minute mark of the roughly five-minute segment, the presenter, Sky News Middle East correspondent Alex Rossi, asserts – in an effort to contextualise construction across the green line – that the US views the settlements as “illegal”.
This claim is not accurate.
The US position since the early 80s has been that settlements are “illegitimate”, not “illegal”. Most notably, in September, Associated Press (AP) issued a correction (following communication with CAMERA’s Jerusalem office).
UKMW alerted Sky to the error in the following tweets – which we followed up with an email to the network.
Earlier today, UKMW heard back from Sky producers that they upheld the complaint and thanked UKMW for bringing the information to their attention – particularly the AP correction. Sky deleted the video in question, and re-published it without the false information on the US view of settlements. Sky also revised the accompanying online article, and deleted the Tweets and Facebook posts linking to the original video.
The full report on the correction can be read at:
January 16, 2017
If Hamas Assaults a Journalist, Does it Even Make the News?
On. Jan. 12, 2017, Hamas, the U.S.-designated terror group that rules the Gaza Strip, assaulted an Agence France-Press (AFP) photographer and detained—at gunpoint—an Associated Press journalist. Western media outlets largely ignored the violence against members of the press.
The unidentified photographer and journalist were covering a protest in which “thousands” of Palestinians “took to the streets…to protest chronic power cuts in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip,” the AP reported (“In Rare Demonstration, Thousands Protest Power Cuts in Gaza,” Jan. 12, 2017).
Hamas blocked journalists attempting to cover the event and the AP journalist “was briefly detained at gunpoint until he handed over his mobile phones to plainclothes security men.”
The Foreign Press Association, which represents international media, reported that an AFP photographer was severely beaten in the head by Hamas members after he refused to hand over his camera.
Iyad Bozom, a Hamas spokesperson, denied that that the assault happened and that a journalist had been detained at gunpoint.
In its statement on the incident, the FPA said it “condemns this violent behavior in the strongest terms, and finds it especially shocking in light of verbal promises we have received from the Hamas officials to respect the freedom of the press. We hope that Hamas will properly investigate this incident and provide an explanation and apology for this unacceptable behavior by their forces.”
As CAMERA has frequently noted, Hamas is a violent terror group—and similar to its rival Fatah that rules the West Bank—it has a long history of lying and intimidating and manipulating press outlets.
What is shocking isn’t that Hamas—in a despicable act—attacked members of the press, but how little press coverage the assault received. The AP, for instance, expended three sentences on this incident. Curiously, in their report on the protests, The New York Times failed to mention the attack (“With Electricity in Short Supply, 10,000 Protest in Gaza, Defying Hamas,” Jan. 13, 2017).
Other major U.S. news outlets, such as The Washington Post, USA Today and The Baltimore Sun, failed to provide their own reports on either the protests or the assault on the journalists. The Post, for example, merely carried an AP dispatch and only online. It’s hard to fathom a similar lack of coverage had Israeli officials assaulted a journalist or thousands of people protested in Israel.