June 24, 2017

University Professor Who Cheered Student’s Death is a BDS Supporter

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Otto Warmbier crying in a North Korean court, at an undisclosed location in North Korea. Image courtesy of NBC News

A University of Delaware professor who said that student Otto Warmbier, a victim of the North Korean regime, “got exactly what he deserved,” after he was held and possibly murdered by North Korea, is a supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) effort which seeks to delegitimize Israel.

Kathy Dettwyler, an adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Delaware, wrote on her personal Facebook page that Warmbier was “typical of the mindset of a lot of the young, white, rich, clueless males who come into my class.”

Warmbier was a University of Virginia student visiting North Korea on a January 2016 trip. Accused by North Korean authorities of stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel, he was subsequently arrested and sentenced to 15 years hard labor. On June 13, 2017—to his parents’ shock and horror—Warmbier was returned to U.S. soil, unresponsive and in a coma. Six days later, Warmbier—who was reportedly in good health at the time of his trip—died from his injuries, having been in a coma for at least 15 months.

Gordan Chang, a foreign affairs analyst who specializes in North Korea and China, pointed out that although Pyongyang claims Warmbier had contracted botulism, doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, which examined the student upon his return, “found no traces of botulism but did find dead brain tissue”—likely the result of severe trauma.

In her Facebook post, Dettwyler justified the young man’s death at the hands of a brutal, authoritarian regime. Writing for the News Journal, reporter Jessica Bies noted some of the professor’s troubling remarks:

"These are the same kids who cry about their grades because they didn't think they'd really have to read and study the material to get a good grade ... His parents ultimately are to blame for his growing up thinking he could get away with whatever he wanted. Maybe in the US, where young, white, rich, clueless white males routinely get away with raping women. Not so much in North Korea. And of course, it's Ottos' parents who will pay the price for the rest of their lives."

Dettwyler is also a BDS supporter, according to research by CAMERA that found that she was a signatory for the “Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions.”

The movement's co-founder, Omar Barghouti, has stated that the purpose of BDS is to permanently end Jewish self-rule in the region; he advocates a Palestinian Arab state to replace the Jewish one, not a “two-state solution.” (“BDS, Academic/Cultural Boycott of Israel, and Omar Barghouti,” Feb. 24, 2010, CAMERA).

As CAMERA has noted (“J Street's Unreported Pro-BDS Partner—‘Jewish Voice for Peace,'” June 18, 2015), the “Palestinian civil society groups” behind the founding of the BDS movement include U.S.-designated terrorist organizations Hamas and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah and non-Palestinian Syrian extremist movements. The charter of Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel and genocide of the Jews.

Indeed, in his April 19, 2016 testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Jonathan Schanzer, a former U.S. Treasury Department terror analyst, highlighted ties between the BDS movement and Hamas-linked charities. Schanzer testified that the U.S. Coalition to Boycott Israel (also known as the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine) is led by a Chicago resident named Ghassan Barakat, a member of the Palestine National Council (PNC), and its coordinator is Senan Shaqdeh. Shaqdeh is a former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terrorist group, and a self-described founder of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a pro-BDS group.

Given her support for BDS, Dettwyler’s decision to blame the victim of an autocratic, anti-Western regime, seemingly on the grounds of his racial/ethnic makeup, is perhaps unsurprising.

Amid calls for Dettwyler’s dismissal, the University of Delaware has stated that the professor’s “distressing” comments “do not reflect the values or position” of the school.

Posted by SD at 02:17 PM |  Comments (0)

June 21, 2017

Newsweek: "Why Is Israel So Corrupt?"

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A headline on the Newsweek website today asks why Israel is corrupt. Just how corrupt? "So corrupt," the headline states, followed in the article by anecdotes about abuse of power by Israelis in politics and business.

"So corrupt" sounds pretty bad. But there are more thorough measures out there — for example Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, in which Israel ranks as 28th least corrupt of 176 ranked countries, which is tops in the Middle East and above a number of European countries. The index went unmentioned in the Newsweek article, as did other relevant reports.

The author — who, it should be noted, isn't responsible for the headline's strange wording — said on Twitter that the corruption he perceives isn't in "the day to day doing business," but rather at "the highest levels of business & government."

Posted by GI at 05:02 PM |  Comments (0)

June 20, 2017

Huffington Post Does Not Recognize Vehicle-Ramming Terrorist Attacks Against Israel


In the wake of the recent ramming attack in London, the Huffington Post features a nearly 2 minute video on vehicle ramming attacks as a new form of terrorism. The video states "Here are the vehicle attacks that have occurred in the last year" and then it shows footage of attacks in London, Nice, Berlin and Stockholm. There is no mention of several vehicle attacks in Israel over the past year.

All told there have been over 60 ramming attacks by Palestinians against Israelis.

The Huffington Post has a long and disturbing history of anti-Israel articles, opinion pieces and on-line commenting. The failure of this featured video to even recognize the occurrence of terrorist attacks against Israel is a striking example of implicit bigotry and dehumanization of Jews. The implication is that Israeli victims of terrorism do not deserve recognition or the humanitarian empathy bestowed upon European victims.

This continues a troubling pattern where the British media does not acknowledge ramming attacks against Israelis.

Posted by SS at 02:28 PM |  Comments (0)

Politico Notes Israel’s Security Challenges

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A Politico report on a bipartisan group of political analysts, pundits and lobbyists visiting Israel provided readers with a look at some of the security challenges facing the Jewish state (“Israel trip calms D.C. tensions,” June 18, 2017).

Politico reporter Daniel Lippman noted that “a number of former to Trump campaign officials and prominent Democrats” went on a seven-day trip to Israel that was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation and organized by American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) political director Rob Bassin.

A total of 16 U.S. former officials and political operatives met with Israeli government officials and business leaders and traveled the entire country.

Bill Burton, a former Obama administration deputy press secretary, told Politico that a “stark contrast” existed between the realities and environment that Israel faces on a day-to-day basis as opposed to those present in the U.S.

J. Toscano, a partner at the Democratic ad firm GMMB, observed:

“The fact that you can drive from one border line with an area that’s controlled by Hamas to another border line with a region that’s controlled by ISIS in the same time that you can drive from D.C. to New York really gives you a deep sense of the security challenge that the country faces and that the region faces.”

A Washington D.C.-based publication that focuses on politics and policy, Politico doesn’t often report on Israel—and when it does, its coverage is frequently flawed. As CAMERA has highlighted, the paper has called convicted Palestinian terrorist Jibril Rajoub an “urbane diplomat,” erroneously claimed that Israel occupies the Gaza Strip (“Politico’s Misleading Poll on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” Jan 12, 2017), and frequently omitted Palestinian rejection of U.S. and Israeli offers for statehood and peace (“Politico’s ‘Letter from Israel’ is Marked to the Wrong Address,” Jan. 5, 2017.

Politico should be commended for providing readers with a straightforward, albeit brief, look at the dangers Israel and Israelis face.

Posted by SD at 08:31 AM |  Comments (0)

June 15, 2017

"Tragic Inaction on Congo"

An Op-Ed in the International New York Times today discusses, as its headline puts it, "The U.N.'s tragic inaction on Congo."

The piece focuses on the tragic killing of two Westerners in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The pair were working for the United Nations, which, the authors protest, has failed to investigate the killings. The authors link the incident to a wider phenomenon: "their deaths are a reminder of how little attention is paid to the killings of hundreds of Congolese in the Kasai region since last August," they say, noting the recent discovery of dozens of mass graves in the region.

The passive voice here — "little attention is paid" — means readers aren't told who, exactly, isn't paying attention. But if history is any indication, the same newspaper publishing this Op-Ed is a prominent example of those guilty of paying relatively little attention to violence in Congo.

The book Stealth Conflicts: How the World's Worst Violence is Ignored, by Virgil Hawkins, shows that The New York Times largely overlooked the deaths of nearly two million people during the first two years of fighting in the DRC.

The discrepancy between how the newspaper covered that violence and the fighting between Palestinians and Israel starting in 2000 is highlighted by a striking graphic in Hawkins' book:

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Tragic inaction on Congo, indeed.

Posted by GI at 04:07 PM |  Comments (0)

June 14, 2017

AFP Falsely Reports: Hamas Accepts State 'Limited to 1967 Borders'

Influential wire service Agence France Presse falsely reported yesterday that Hamas' May 1 policy document accepts a Palestinian state "limited to the 1967 borders" ("Gaza: Palestinian territory ravaged by war, poverty").

In no way does the new Hamas document signal an acceptance of a Palestinian state "limited to the 1967 borders." In fact, it says the exact opposite. The wording is:

Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. However, without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity and without relinquishing any Palestinian rights, Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be a formula of national consensus. . . .

A real state of Palestine is a state that has been liberated. There is no alternative to a fully sovereign Palestinian State on the entire national Palestinian soil, with Jerusalem as its capital. (Emphases added.)

In an interview with Reuters, Hamas' Mahmoud al-Zahar emphasized that the new document is a "mechanism" for Hamas' pledge "to liberate all of Palestine." Reuters reported:

One of Hamas's most senior officials said on Wednesday a document published by the Islamist Palestinian group last week was not a substitute for its founding charter, which advocates Israel's destruction.

Speaking in Gaza City, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a regular critic of Israel, said the political policy document announced in Qatar on May 1 by Hamas's outgoing chief Khaled Meshaal did not contradict its founding covenant, published in 1988.

Trailed for weeks by Hamas officials, the document appeared to be an attempt to soften the group's language towards Israel. But it still called for "the liberation of all of historical Palestine", said armed resistance was a means to achieve that goal, and did not recognise Israel's right to exist.

"The pledge Hamas made before God was to liberate all of Palestine," Zahar said on Wednesday. "The charter is the core of (Hamas's) position and the mechanism of this position is the document.

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Posted by TS at 05:27 AM |  Comments (1)

June 13, 2017

CNN Errs on New Hamas 'Charter,' Gaza Unemployment

June 14 Update: CNN Corrects on New Hamas 'Charter,' Gaza Unemployment

In his article today, "What the Qatar crisis means for Hamas," CNN International's Ian Lee errs on Hamas and Gaza unemployment.

First, the article twice falsely refers to a new policy document that Hamas issued on May 1 as a "new charter." The article begins:

When Palestinian militant group Hamas announced its new charter to the world, it wasn't from Ramallah or Gaza City, but from the Sheraton hotel's gilded Salwa Ballroom in Doha.

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Further down, the article repeats the incorrect reference to a "new charter," stating:

Last month, a new leader was announced -- Ismail Haniya taking over from long-time leader Meshaal -- at the same time as the militant group issued its new charter.

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But as CNN correctly reported at the time, in the very article hyperlinked in the first erroneous reference to a "new charter," Hamas issued a new policy document on May 1, not a new charter. As CNN's May 3 article reported: "The Palestinian militant group Hamas unveiled a new policy document Monday . . . " The earlier CNN story repeatedly refers to the document as a "document" and not a charter, because it was not a "new charter."

Hamas itself refers to the new policy statement as "A Document of General Principles and Policies" -- not a charter.

Hamas' own Mahmoud al-Zahar made clear that the new document does not in any way replace the founding charter of 1988. As Reuters reported:

One of Hamas's most senior officials said on Wednesday a documentpublished by the Islamist Palestinian group last week was not a substitute for its founding charter, which advocates Israel's destruction.

In a second, unrelated error, Lee reports:

According to the United Nations, the unemployment rate in the strip hovers around 65% and one million people rely on food handouts from the UN's Palestinian refugee agency.

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In fact, United Nations documents put Gaza's unemployment at below 45 percent, not at 65 percent. According to the "Gaza Situation Report, 197 30 May - 5 June 2017 target=_blank" published by UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East,

In the first quarter of 2017, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate in Gaza stood at 41.1 per cent, one of the highest rates worldwide.

Also, according to this May 3 UN document:

In the fourth quarter of 2016, the joblessness rate stood at an average of 40.6 per cent – 68.6 per cent for women – according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

CAMERA has contacted CNN to request corrections. Stay tuned for an update. Readers may also contact CNN International on Twitter.

See also: "In English, Haaretz Upgrades Hamas' New Document to New 'Charter'"

Posted by TS at 05:23 AM |  Comments (1)

June 12, 2017

The Washington Post: We Print ‘Commonly Used’ Falsehoods

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The Washington Post defends its use of inaccurate language on the grounds that its use is frequent.

As CAMERA has noted (“The Washington Post’s Troubling Trend Towards Israel”) a May 29 Post report (“A daily commute through Israel’s checkpoints”) claimed that “The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip began 50 years ago in June [emphasis added].”

However, as CAMERA pointed out to Post staff: The status of the territories is disputed and no Palestinian state has ever existed. The Post itself noted as much in a Sept. 5, 2014 CAMERA-prompted correction, among other instances. That correction stated, in part: “The Israeli-occupied territories are disputed lands that Palestinians want as a future state.”

Despite this acknowledgement, the paper continues to inaccurately describe the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as “Palestinian land”—including in a Jan. 2, 2015 article that appeared within three months of the correction noted above (“When is a Correction an Error? When The Washington Post Says So,” CAMERA, Jan. 9, 2015).

When CAMERA contacted The Post about the May 29, 2017 report, it pointed out that a story in the June 6, 2017 edition rightfully stated, “The status of Gaza and the West Bank are still in dispute, with the Palestinians hoping the two territories will eventually make up an independent state."

Yet, as it has done on some previous instances, The Post declined to correct its May 29th report. The reason? The phrase “Palestinian territories” is “informal” and “widely and commonly used to refer to the West Bank and Gaza; there have been more than 1,000 such references in The Post alone in recent years.”

As CAMERA pointed out in a June 8, 2017 Times of Israel Op-Ed “The Washington Post’s Cognitive Dissonance,” the paper has a habit of contradicting itself and displaying an alarming inconsistency when it comes to using precise—and accurate—language.

The Washington Post’s own publishing guidelines claims that the paper “always seeks to publish corrections and clarifications promptly after they come to our attention.” Except, it might be added, when falsehoods are “widely and commonly used.”

Posted by SD at 08:08 PM |  Comments (0)

Award-Winning Swedish Journalist Carries Out Terrorist Attack

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Notre Dame Cathedral

The perpetrator responsible for carrying out a June 6, 2017 terrorist attack at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was an “award-winning journalist” who previously worked as a freelancer for Swedish public radio,” according to an Algemeiner article by analyst Ben Cohen (“Islamist Perpetrator of Attack at Paris Cathedral was Award-Winning Journalist in Sweden,” June 7, 2017).

That journalist turned terrorist, Farid Ikken, used a hammer to attack a French police officer outside of Notre Dame, a popular tourist spot and place of worship. Ikken reportedly yelled, “This is for Syria” during the attack. He was subsequently shot by an armed police officer. In addition to the hammer, two knives were found on his person. Ikken was taken to the hospital for treatment and questioning by French authorities.

An Algerian national, Ikken moved to Sweden to 2004 and studied journalism at Uppsala University. He worked as a freelance journalist for several Swedish media outlets, including Swedish national public radio (SR). In 2009, Ikken won a European Union (EU) journalism award for a report on healthcare and asylum seekers in Sweden.

Sweden itself has experienced several Islamist terrorist attacks in recent years. On April 7, 2017, Rakhmat Akilov, an asylum seeker from Uzbekistan, used a hijacked truck to run over men, women and children in a shopping center in Stockholm. The attack murdered five people and injured 15. Akilov had expressed support for the terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Vehicular assaults are a common terror tactic used by Palestinians against Israelis, as CAMERA has noted. Despite the shared threat presented by Islamist terrorism, some Swedish officials have chosen to attack the Jewish state. Among other acts, Sweden has previously granted visas to members of Hamas, U.S.-designated terror group whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jews (“Senior Israeli Official: Sweden is the Country Most Hostile to Israel,” CAMERA, April 27, 2006).

As CAMERA has highlighted, Swedish schools have also been caught distributing schoolbooks that praise anti-Jewish violence and depict all of Israel as “Palestine (“School in Sweden Teaches Pupils Israel Doesn’t Exist,” Feb. 1, 2016).”

Posted by SD at 02:26 PM |  Comments (2)

June 07, 2017

USA Today Coverage of 1967 War Blurs Important Truths

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USA Today’s “50 years after Six-Day War, Israel-Palestinian borders are still fuzzy” (June 5, 2017) omitted important information about the “occupation” of territories seized by Israel during the 1967 war and the anti-Jewish violence that preceded it.

The report, by journalist and writer Noga Tarnopolsky, provides readers with some key details missing in media coverage elsewhere. For example, the article correctly noted that the “Green Line,” the armistice line that followed the Arab-initiated 1948 War against the Jewish state, is “temporary” and that “final borders [were] to be worked out in the future.” By contrast, other major media outlets, such as The Washington Post, have incorrectly implied that the “Green Line” is a recognized and established border (see, for example “The Washington Post’s Troubling Trend Towards Israel,” CAMERA, June 5, 2017).

However, USA Today fails to inform readers as to why final borders weren’t worked out: Palestinian and Arab rejection of peace with and recognition of the Jewish state, even at the cost of creating a Palestinian one.

As CAMERA has noted, the U.S. and Israel have extended numerous offers for a Palestinian state, in 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba and 2008 among other instances. Palestinian leaders, refusing to so much as submit a counteroffer, refused each of them.

Indeed, as foreign affairs analyst Clifford May pointed out in a Washington Times commentary, shortly after Israel seized the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the 1967, from Jordan and Egypt respectively, it extended offers to return these territories—both of which had been occupied by these Arab nations since the 1948 War. Arab leaders spurned these offers at the subsequent Khartoum conference—a fact that USA Today omits (“The Six-Day War and the 50-year occupation,” June 7, 2017).

As May succinctly put it, the 1967 “war and the motive behind it”—genocide of the Jews and the destruction of Israel—“caused the occupation—not the other way around.”

USA Today has previously failed to note Palestinian rejectionism, as CAMERA has highlighted (see, for example “USA Today Omits Israeli Peace Offers While Covering ‘Peace Push,’” May 26, 2017). However, the omission of this pertinent information in a more than 1,500-word article on the “occupation” is stark. Particularly given that considerable portions of USA Today’s report focus on eastern Jerusalem—and the rejected 2008 offer would have given Palestinians a state with its capital there.

Elsewhere, the paper omits crucial context, claiming: “Israel does not treat East and West Jerusalem equally when it comes to spending on infrastructure. The western side gets the lion's share of improvements.” However, this too omits Arab responsibility. As CAMERA has pointed out (“The New York Times, the ‘Newspaper of Broken Record,’” Oct. 18, 2015), Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem often build illegally, without permits, creating infrastructure problems. Additionally, many Arab-dominated areas of eastern Jerusalem refuse to pay taxes or take advantage of their ability to vote in municipal elections; hindering their ability to address such issues.

Posted by SD at 02:32 PM |  Comments (0)

June 02, 2017

The Post Prints Fareed Zakaria’s Fake News on Iran


A May 25, 2017 Washington Post Op-Ed by CNN host Fareed Zakaria misled readers about the extent of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s connection to terrorist groups.

Zakaria’s commentary (“How Saudi Arabia Played Donald Trump”) focused on Saudi Arabia’s connection to Islamist terror groups. The host of CNN’s self-described “flagship foreign affairs show,” entitled GPS, correctly pointed out that “for five decades, Saudi Arabia has spread its narrow, puritanical and intolerant version of Islam—originally practiced almost nowhere else—across the Muslim world.” That ideology, Wahhabism, has influenced Islamist terror groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda.

Zakaria provided Post readers with details about how the Kingdom has exported Wahhabism via Saudi-funded mosques, clerics and programs. But when discussing Iran’s support of terrorism the CNN host stumbled, claiming that it “would be wildly inaccurate to describe” Tehran as the “source of jihadist terror.”

Doubling down, Zakaria asserted:

“More than 94 percent of deaths caused by Islamic terrorism since 2001 were perpetrated by the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other Sunni jihadists. Iran is fighting those groups, not fueling them. Almost every terrorist attack in the West has had some connection to Saudi Arabia. Virtually none has been linked to Iran.”

However, this both minimizes and misleads on Iran’s role in supporting terrorism. As CNN itself has noted, in 2016 the U.S. State Department declared Iran to be the “top state sponsor of terror (“State Department report finds Iran is top state sponsor of terror,” June 2, 2016).” Tehran received this dubious distinction in numerous previous years as well.

Zakaria would have readers believe that Iran is merely a “destabilizing force in the Middle East” that “supports some very bad actors.”

Massive international terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah—which, from its Lebanese safe haven controls about as much territory as ISIS—receive extensive Iranian support. Hezbollah has conducted terrorist attacks in the Western hemisphere, including the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Jewish day care and community centers in Argentina. In 2011, an Iranian plot to blow up a Washington D.C. restaurant—an attempt to murder a Saudi official—was foiled. That plot emanated from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a massive entity that trains U.S.-designated terrorists groups, such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and others as Yaacov Katz and Yoaz Hendel noted in their 2012 book Israel Vs. Iran: The Shadow War.

Indeed, Iran funds numerous Sunni terrorist groups that have murdered Americans. In addition to Palestinian terror groups like Hamas and PIJ, Iran also has ties to al-Qaeda. The bipartisan 9/11 commission report, which investigated the Sept. 11, 2001 al Qaeda terror attacks — the largest mass casualty terrorist attack in U.S. history — pointed out that there was “strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers.” After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, many al Qaeda terrorists fled to neighboring Iran — where they received sanctuary under the guise of “home detention.” The Islamic Republic refused to extradite them to their home countries for prosecution. And, as CAMERA noted in a September 8, 2016 Washington Times Op-Ed, the U.S. has sanctioned numerous top al-Qaeda officials who were residing in Iran—including a son of Osama bin Laden, the terror group’s founder.

Many in the media have frequently failed to note the Islamic Republic’s ties to terror groups, including al-Qaeda and its descendant and future rival, ISIS. Zakaria, with his academic credentials, regular Washington Post columns, and CNN show, has contributed to this misunderstanding.

Posted by SD at 02:02 PM |  Comments (0)

May 31, 2017

New York Times Eliminating Public Editor Position

When The New York Times created the job of public editor, at the recommendation of a committee tasked with a journalism scandal at the newspaper, the newspaper’s executive editor Bill Keller described the position as a benefit to the newspaper and its credibility. It represents “a pair of professional eyes, familiar with us but independent of the day-to-day production of the paper, can make us more sensitive on matters of fairness and accuracy, and enhance our credibility,” he said.

Those eyes will soon be permanently shut. The newspaper today announced it is discontinuing the public editor position, even before the term of current editor Liz Spayd is set to end.

Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. pointed to social media in justifying the move. While the position was once necessary, he insisted, “today, our followers on social media and our readers across the internet have come together to collectively serve as a modern watchdog, more vigilant and forceful than one person could ever be.” The explanation echoed that given several years ago by the Washington Post's Marty Baron. “There is ample criticism of our performance from outside sources, entirely independent of the newsroom, and we don’t pay their salaries,” he said.

But Public Editors (or ombudsmen, as they are often called) should not be confused with random critics on Twitter. Unlike most social media users, they’re able to lace up their shoes, walk down the hall, knock on a journalist’s door, and ask pointed questions about this decision or that coverage. As importantly, they can report back to readers about what they heard, and how they assess the response, on the pages of the same newspaper where the article in question appeared.

As Minnesota Public Radio’s Bob Collins wrote about Baron’s comments, "That’s nonsense. Newsrooms don’t really care about public criticism, which is often uninformed, but historically they have cared when someone with some journalism chops questions the decisions."

Collins said the same about Sulzberger’s statement. “Readers simply do not carry the weight of a fellow journalist where criticism is concerned.”

Other journalists have likewise criticized the decision.

Posted by GI at 12:38 PM |  Comments (1)

May 30, 2017

CAMERA Featured Letter-Writer

Recently, the New Jersey Jewish News featured a flattering portrayal of Breaking the Silence, an NGO with a history of publishing unreliable information attempting to portray the IDF in a negative light. CAMERA Letter-Writer Toby Block wrote to the NJJN:

Dear Editor:

The picture painted by Breaking the Silence defames the Israel Defense Forces while doing nothing to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people. The group doesn’t report incidents of alleged abuse to Israeli military authorities who, therefore, can’t correct problems and punish wrongdoers. In addition, the group promotes an inaccurate Palestinian narrative.

The Arabs of Palestine were denied their first-ever chance at sovereignty when Arab nations went to war to prevent Israel’s rebirth. Jordan illegally held the currently-disputed land for nineteen years, ethnically cleansing it of its indigenous Jewish population but never making a move to establish a Palestinian state. Following Israel’s liberation of the land (while defending her people from intended genocide), Palestinian leaders flatly rejected Israeli proposals for the creation of a Palestinian state. Those who want to end “the occupation” should be pressuring the Palestinian leadership to negotiate with Israel and begin preparing their people to live in their new state, peaceably, beside the nation-state of the Jews.

To join CAMERA's letter-writing team, sign up here.

Posted by kabe at 02:49 PM |  Comments (0)

May 26, 2017

ABC TV Popular Series Quantico Stops Demonizing Israel


As the first season came to an end in May 2016 for ABC TV’s Quantico weekly melodrama series, it ceased to demonize Israel. Its Jewish character “Simon Asher” (played by non-Jewish actor Tate Ellington pictured above) was used by the fictional series to vilify Israel.

Asher asserted that he perpetrated certain acts as an Israeli soldier (“I was in the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF]. They sent me into Gaza. I didn't just see things. I did things. Things that haunt me every single day of my life.”). This suggests the image of post-war Nazis excusing their crimes on the grounds they were just obeying orders. Asher claimed that “greenhouses were bombed by the Israelis in the Gaza Strip” in the 2014 conflict. In fact, in the real world, there is not a scintilla of evidence of this. There is proof, however, that Gazans themselves vandalized these greenhouses abandoned by departing Israeli farmers.

In the real world, contradicting repeated false allegations that Israel’s military has perpetrated inhumane acts against civilians, General Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that Israel had gone out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. "No army in the world acts with as much discretion and great care as the IDF in order to minimize damage. The U.S. and the U.K. are careful, but not as much as Israel," Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified on Sept. 4, 2014.

ABC had described the premise of the melodrama as: “A diverse group of recruits has arrived at the FBI Quantico Base for training. They are the best, the brightest and the most vetted, so it seems impossible that one of them is suspected of masterminding the biggest attack on New York City since 9/11.”

Asher had been confronted with the specter of his and Israel's (alleged) crimes by fellow FBI recruit "Nimah Amin" (a Muslim character played by Yasmine al-Massri, a Lebanese actress of Palestinian Arab descent) who accused him of a major bombing. The melodrama showed that Asher had acquired the material for a bomb and created the plan that led to the bombing of New York's Grand Central Station. He was abetted by another Jewish character. Oren, an Orthodox Israeli Jew, bearded and with side-curls (the facial hair of very religious Jewish men), was the bomb builder.

Season two running from Sept. 25, 2016 to May 15, 2017 contained neither demonization of Israel nor the Asher character. In fact, viewers were surprised that Asher had been transformed from being an anti-U.S. terrorist into an American hero who sacrificed his life for his country and it was shown that “Liam” (Josh Hopkins) was actually the terrorist. It was an amazing reversal for the slickly produced series that began on Sept. 27, 2015, in which only one foreign country, Israel, was defamed.

It is noteworthy that Quantico has been written and directed by a large enough team (17 writers, 29 directors) to produce alternative episodes for any of the broadcasts.

Who or what might have influenced the reversal?

The most potent online exposures of Quantico’s anti-Israel propaganda were provided by CAMERA and Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). CAMERA’s February 2016 report “ABC TV’s Quantico Melodrama Demonizes Israel With Falsehoods” (published prior to the undemonizations) includes a 7.5 minute unique video montage of Quantico’s first season anti-Israel segments.

As CAMERA’s 2016 report points out, inevitably some viewers will grant authenticity to false assertions in a fictional drama if it is slickly produced and staged. Accordingly, what Quantico says matters and such dramas, therefore, need to be exposed.

Posted by MK at 05:44 PM |  Comments (1)

USA Today Omits Israeli Peace Offers While Covering ‘Peace Push’

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. President Bill Clinton and PLO head Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn in 1993

A May 24, 2017 USA Today article on President Trump’s visit to Israel discussed his hopes to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace (“Trump’s peace push a difficult path”). However, Today reporter Gregory Korte failed to inform readers about previous U.S. and Israeli offers that could have led to a Palestinian state.

The paper claimed that “deep divisions” existed between Israelis and Palestinians and noted “Every president since Richard Nixon has tried to bring about a permanent peace agreement…”

Yet, USA Today omitted U.S. and Israeli offers for a “two state solution” in exchange for peace with, and recognition of, the Jewish state. In recent years, such offers were extended to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba and 2008 after the Annapolis Conference. The PA rejected—without so much as a counteroffer—each of these opportunities.

The 2008 offer by the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert included 93% of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and a Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem. Additionally, as The Jerusalem Post noted:

“Olmert essentially agreed to forgo sovereignty of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest site, and proposed that in the framework of a peace agreement, the area containing the religious sites in Jerusalem would be managed by a special committee consisting of representatives from five nations: Saudia Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, the United States and Israel.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas rejected this plan “out of hand,” and literally failed to call Israeli negotiators back.

Not only did USA Today omit this relevant information, but the paper also failed to note recent U.S. and Israeli attempts to restart negotiations. As CAMERA noted in The Times of Israel, Abbas rejected a peace initiative, presented in person, by then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in March 2016. Abbas similarly refused a 2014 attempt by then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to restart negotiations.

In its report on Trump’s visit to Israel, USA Today wrote that the president “sidestepped the question of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, something that he and President Obama have both said do not help the peace process.” Although this could mislead readers to think that Jewish communities in the West Bank have been expanding externally, in fact, they have not; most of the expansion has been internal, the result of natural population growth and not from new arrivals.

Nor are settlements the obstacle to peace that USA Today implies; as a December 2016 Washington Post editorial pointed out, “80 percent of that growth has was in areas that Israel would likely annex in any future settlement.” Further, in November 2009, Israel—in an attempt to restart negotiations with the PA—declared a 10-month settlement freeze. This too was met with Palestinian rejectionism. And this too was omitted in Today’s dispatch.

To its credit, USA Today’s report did note the issue of PA-payments to terrorists, reporting on the “so-called Martyrs Fund that provides payments to families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned for attacking Israelis.” However, the omission of the numerous opportunities spurned by Palestinian leaders—in a report on why a “peace push” has a “difficult path”—is striking.

Posted by SD at 02:37 PM |  Comments (0)

May 23, 2017

More Missing Peace from The Washington Post

PA President Mahmoud Abbas

The Washington Post has, once again, missed an opportunity to inform readers about Palestinian leadership rejecting U.S. and Israeli offers for peace and statehood.

A May 22, 2017 report by Washington Post Jerusalem bureau chief William Booth and reporter Ruth Eglash, ostensibly about President Donald Trump’s hopes to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, noted the cynicism of analysts and area residents. It failed, however, to fully detail why such skepticism exists (“On the Israeli and Palestinian street: Shrugs, cynicism and a dash of ‘crazy hope’ for Trump visit”).

The Post—striking a tone of false equivalency—claimed:

“President Obama’s last effort to make peace between Palestinians and Israelis fell apart in 2014, with both sides blaming the other for the impasse. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama pressed for a 'two state solution' with a sovereign Palestinian nation the goal.”

In fact, Palestinian leadership has long rejected opportunities for statehood if it meant living in peace with and recognizing the legitimacy of the Jewish state. The Palestinian Authority (PA) refused U.S. and Israeli offers in 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba and 2008 after the Annapolis Conference. As CAMERA pointed out in The Baltimore Sun, the 2008 offer included unprecedented concessions, including nearly all of the West Bank and the opportunity for a Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem (“Israeli skepticism of Abbas is justified,” May 3, 2017). Yet, PA President Mahmoud Abbas rejected that offer “out of hand,” and refused to so much as make a counteroffer. Ditto for Abbas’ predecessor, Yasser Arafat, in 2000 and 2001.

One could go farther back: Arabs living in British-ruled Mandate Palestine refused opportunities for statehood in 1937 after the Peel Commission, refused the United Nations plan for partition in 1947 and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Arafat spurned Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s attempts to get Palestinian autonomy in the territories of the West Bank and Gaza as part of the 1978 Camp David accords, among others. In the latter instance, as CAMERA’s Alex Safian has noted, “Arafat refused and did everything he could to undermine Sadat and the Camp David Accords, with PLO gunmen even murdering West Bank Palestinians who supported Sadat’s approach (“Palestinians Rejected Statehood Three Times, Claim Frustration—with Israel,” Sept. 22, 2011).”

The Post omitted this relevant history, while neglecting to mention other pertinent facts. For instance, the paper quoted a Palestinian named Nader Nasser Adin, who claimed that U.S. has “done nothing for the benefit of the Palestinians,” since Israel was reestablished in 1948—an event that Adin called a “catastrophe.” What Adin calls a catastrophe was the decision by Arab leaders to reject a “two-state solution” and to make war on the fledging Jewish state. Further, the U.S. gives copious amounts of aid to the PA. Financial assistance from the U.S. has been preconditioned—since the authority’s creation as a result of the 1990s Oslo process—on Palestinian leaders working towards peace with Israel.

Instead, PA leaders have continually violated the terms under which the authority was created, including that any outstanding issues will be resolved in bilateral negotiations and a stop to anti-Jewish incitement.

The Washington Post has a long history of ignoring Palestinian rejectionism. As CAMERA has pointed out, in 2016 the paper offered numerous reports and editorials detailing “the last gasp” and “the death of the two-state solution.” Yet, the paper habitually fails to detail the party responsible for the lack of a Palestinian state: Palestinians themselves.

Posted by SD at 01:03 PM |  Comments (0)

May 21, 2017

New York Times Downplays Clash as Demonstration

The New York Times downplays a Palestinian attack in an incident Thursday that ended with an Israeli settler shooting dead one of the Palestinians who bombarded his car with rocks. The Times' online headline states that the Israeli fired on Palestinian protesters and ignores the Palestinian rock-throwing, as if the Israeli fired on demonstrators doing nothing more than waving flags:

nyt demonstration.JPG

Similarly, the print edition headline is "Protester Is Shot Dead By Settler in West Bank."

The article's first three paragraphs refers to "demonstration," "protest," "demonstrators" or "protesters" a total of six times to describe violent clashes in which Palestinians attacked soldiers and/or civilians with rocks:

An Israeli settler whose car was caught up in a pro-Palestinian street demonstration in the West Bank on Thursday opened fire on the protesters, killing a 23-year-old Palestinian man and wounding a news photographer.

The protest, held in support of Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike that has now lasted 32 days, was one of several marred by violence recently.

At a protest near the city of Ramallah on Thursday, Israeli soldiers fired on demonstrators, wounding one Palestinian. The day before, a settler fired a gun at protesters blocking roads near Ramallah and throwing stones; a 19-year-old Palestinian was injured in that episode.

Though the second paragraph does refer to "several [protests] marred by violence," it fails to indicate that in the deadly incident Thursday Palestinians used violence, while the preceding paragraph did note the Israeli shooting, which was the result of the unmentioned Palestinian attack.

Not until the fifth paragraph does The Times acknowledge: "Israelis point to video images showing the settler's car, a small silver hatchback, being pounded by rocks and surrounded by dozens of demonstrators." The digital edition also provides a hyperlink to the video.

Contrast The Times' articles downplaying the Palestinians' attack on the Israelis to those of the wire services, which clearly state that Palestinians attacked the Israeli's car. The Associated Press, whose own photographer was injured, apparently by the Israeli, noted in the headline that the "protesters" engaged in violence citing a clash: "Protester killed, AP journalist wounded in West Bank clash."

Continue reading "New York Times Downplays Clash as Demonstration"

Posted by TS at 06:22 AM |  Comments (1)

Reuters Marks Six Day War Jubilee With Skewed Jerusalem Infographic

May 23 Update: Reuters Corrects Six Day War Jerusalem Infographic, But Leaves Flawed Original in Place

Reuters marks the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War with an infographic in English, French and Spanish which explicitly states that east Jerusalem "is home to Islam's third holiest site," but which ignores the fact that the area is also home to Judaism's holiest sites. The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site, and the nearby Western Wall is the holiest site where Jewish prayer is permitted.

Reuters Jerusalem graphic.jpg

Reuters' skewed reference to the holy status of Jerusalem in Islam, while ignoring the city's even more significant sacred status in Judaism, directly counters the 2015 reassurance from a Reuters editor that "[w]hen we say that the Al Aqsa mosque compound (or Noble Sanctuary) is the holiest site in Islam outside Saudi Arabia, or that it is the third holiest site in Islam, we also point out that the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism."

Reuters Jerusalem graphic French.jpgReuters Jerusalem graphic Spanish.jpg

CAMERA last week contacted Reuters editors to request that they amend this tilted infographic, but they have failed to do so. Contact Reuters here to request that they add that east Jerusalem is home to Judaism's holiest sites.

Posted by TS at 01:52 AM |  Comments (3)

May 19, 2017

Politico: Convicted Palestinian Terrorist is an ‘Urbane Diplomat’

Jibril Rajoub.jpg
Jibril Rajoub

Politico, the Washington D.C.-based publication that covers politics and policy, has claimed that a convicted terrorist and virulent anti-Semite, Jibril Rajoub, is an "urbane diplomat." The paper’s May 3, 2017 dispatch (“Palestinians for Trump”) minimized Palestinian terrorism while omitting Palestinian rejection of U.S and Israeli offers for peace and statehood.

Politico, reporting on Palestinian assessments of the Trump administration, used Jibril Rajoub as a source. Reporter Bryan Bender identified Rajoub as a “member of the central committee of Fatah, the moderate wing of the Palestinian leadership.” Noting that he had lunch with Rajoub at a “trendy restaurant…on Ramallah’s Al Jihad Street,” Bender called his source “an urbane diplomat who runs the Palestinian Football Federation and was a longtime adviser to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.” But this innocuous description effectively whitewashes who Rajoub is.

Jibril Rajoub is a convicted—and unrepentant—terrorist who was sentenced to life in prison for throwing a hand grenade at an Israeli army bus in 1970. He was released in 1985 in exchange for three Israeli hostages being held by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

Shortly after his release, Rajoub served as an adviser to top Fatah and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) operative Khalil al-Wazir, whose nom de guerre, Abu Jihad, is Arabic for “Father of Jihad.” Al-Wazir was responsible for murdering 124 Israelis, including 11 athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics Games. He also took part in the 1978 Coastal Road massacre that killed 38 civilians, including 11 schoolchildren. His associate, Rajoub, has—on numerous occasions—voiced his support for the anti-Jewish violence that he himself once engaged in.

As CAMERA has noted, Rajoub expressed support for the so-called stabbing intifada, in which Palestinians attacked and murdered Israelis with knives, rocks, cars and guns over an eighteen-month period in late 2015-2016 (“Palestinian University Honors Terrorist with ‘Cultural Event,’” Feb. 16, 2016). Speaking about such terror attacks, which including the stabbing of an infant, among other atrocities, Rajoub called them “acts of bravery, I am proud of them [terrorists].”

Rajoub’s stated support for the stabbing intifada—along with other top Fatah officials like Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas—runs counter to Politico’s claim that the violence was merely “lone-wolf attacks.” In fact, top Palestinian officials encouraged and praised the attacks. And Middle East analyst Jonathan Halevi of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has alleged that Palestinian leaders helped to “orchestrate” them (“Analyst: Palestinian Leadership Behind ‘Spontaneous Attacks,’” CAMERA, Dec. 1, 2015).

Rajoub has also made use of the antisemitic trope of comparing Jews to Nazis. As The Times of Israel reported, Rajoub has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “Nazi” as well as a “fascist.” Yet, it is Rajoub who has displayed autocratic tendencies, having had a student arrested and imprisoned for criticizing—on a Facebook post—Rajoub’s management of the Palestinian soccer team.

Rajoub—when not speaking to gullible Western journalists—has also stated his tactical reason for supporting negotiations with Israel: To buy time for the Palestinians to increase their strength and destroy the Jewish state. During a May 2, 2013 interview with a Lebanese T.V. channel, Rajoub stated that negotiations were only temporary, exhorting: “I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning (“Guardian’s Myopia Strikes LA Times,” CAMERA, June 19, 2013).

Nonetheless, Politico uncritically quotes Rajoub, who blamed Israel for the lack of peace and a two-state solution. No mention whatsoever is made of the numerous U.S. and Israeli offers for a Palestinian state in exchange for peace with the Jewish state, in 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba and 2008 after the Annapolis Conference. Palestinian leadership refused all of these offers, with Rajoub’s boss, PA President Abbas, rejecting the 2008 offer “out of hand.”

In an article ostensibly about the prospects for a Palestinian state, the twin omissions of Palestinian rejectionism and the Palestinian Authority’s support for terrorism are striking.

Posted by SD at 10:43 AM |  Comments (0)

Where’s the Coverage? New Palestinian Mayor is a Murderer

Fatah logo.gif
Fatah's logo

The newly elected Palestinian mayor of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) city of Hebron is a convicted murderer. Although some outlets covered the story, such as The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel, the U.S. media largely ignored it.

Tayseer Abu Sneineh was elected on May 13, 2017 as part of Fatah’s party list. Fatah is the movement that dominates the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). All three entities are headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Sneineh was “one of four Palestinians behind the murder of six Israeli yeshiva students in 1980,” according to The Jerusalem Post. The Post, describing that attack, noted:

“The students, included two American citizens and a Canadian national, were part of a group that had danced from the Cave of the Patriarchs to Beit Hadassah in Hebron when Abu Sneineh and terror cell opened fire.”

The terrorists—apparently not content with merely shooting the Jewish students—threw grenades at them as well. Six students were murdered: U.S. citizens Tzvi Glatt and Eli HaZe’ev, Canadian citizen Shmuel Marmelstein and Israelis Hanan Krauthammer, Gershon Klein and Ya’akov Zimmerman. An additional 20 others were wounded in the attack (“Palestinian terrorist in killing of 6 Jews elected Hebron mayor,” The Times of Israel, May 14, 2017).

Sneineh and his accomplices were subsequently convicted of murder. In 1983, Sneineh was released in a prisoner swap.

As mayor of Hebron, the convicted terrorist will be leading one of the largest cities under PA control. According to The Times of Israel, residents of the nearby Jewish community of Kiryat reported hearing “gunfire as Hebron residents celebrated the election results.”

Although the PA is a major recipient of U.S. and international aid—and PA President Abbas met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington D.C. the week prior—many Western news outlets ignored Sneineh’s election. A Lexis-Nexis search of major papers, including The Washington Post, USA Today, The Baltimore Sun, among others, showed no coverage of Sneineh’s victory or of the Palestinian elections themselves.

As CAMERA pointed out in an April 26, 2017 Washington Jewish Week Op-Ed (“The Washington Post’s Jewish Home Fixation”), the press frequently fails to report on internal Palestinian political developments. If they were to do so, they would find that terror and murder are frequently prerequisites for a career in Palestinian politics. Abbas himself reportedly served as the chief financier for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games terror attack, in which Palestinian terrorists brutally murdered Israeli athletes.

Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. Secretary of State, once remarked: “The task of the leader is to get people from where they are to where they have not yet been.” By continually choosing terrorists and murderers as leaders, it’s worth asking just where Palestinian society is headed.

Posted by SD at 08:57 AM |  Comments (1)