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May 28, 2014

Where's the Coverage? Israeli Arabs Like Israel


According to a study by Professor Sammy Smooha of the University of Haifa, 63.5% of Israeli Arabs consider Israel to be a good place to live. The study, titled “The Index of Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel,? draws on 700 face-to-face interviews with a national representative sample of Israeli Arabs and 700 phone interviews with Israeli Jews. It has been conducted annually since 2003.

The Tower reports that, not only did nearly two-thirds of Israeli Arabs say Israel is a good place to live in 2013, this is an increase from 2012’s figure of 58.5%.

And that is not the only number that is up. The percentage of Israeli Arabs who accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state rose to 52.8% from 47.4% the year before. That is a majority.

Further, the number of Israeli-Arabs who accept their identity as such without identifying as Palestinians increased from 32.5% in 2012 to 42.5% in 2013. That is a nearly 33% jump.

While the Israeli press in Hebrew and English has reported this news, no mainstream news outlets have deemed it worthy of coverage.

The fact that Israeli Arabs like Israel is an important element for news consumers to understand, yet it does not fit with the narrative promoted by the majority of the mainstream media so they don’t cover it. In fact, when there is just about anything positive to say about Israel… Where’s the coverage?

Israeli Arab voting.jpg

Posted by SC at 07:20 PM |  Comments (0)

CAMERA Prompts Improved AP Coverage of Temple Mount Clash

An Associated Press news story early today about Temple Mount disturbances failed to adequately address the basic five questions that news stories are supposed to cover: who, what, where, when and how. The article reported:

ap Temple Mount Jerusalem Day.jpg

Who were the masked protesters? Arabs? Jews? The article doesn't say.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted earlier today:

Micky Rosenfeld Temple Mount.jpg

Haaretz clearly identifies the protesters ("Israeli police clash with Arab protesters"):

The Israeli police officer was lightly wounded by a rock thrown by masked Arab protesters at the Temple Mount.

(Also, the Haaretz story, which was published after the AP story, reports on injuries among the demonstrators and police.)

Following communication from CAMERA's Israel office, AP editors commendably refiled the story, and included the key piece of information about who was involved in this incident:

AP Temple Mount clash.jpg

By contacting wire services during the very same news cycle in which a flawed story first appears, CAMERA proactively works to ensure more accurate and informative coverage in newspapers around the world.

For AP corrections prompted by CAMERA, please see here.

Posted by TS at 06:18 AM |  Comments (0)

May 27, 2014

Zochrot Veers Into Realm of Anti-Semitic Comedy

Logo_of_Zochrot.jpg   zochrot_1.jpg

The radical anti-Israel organization Zochrot, which promotes the abolition of the Jewish State, has recently garnered attention in major newspapers regarding its GPS app advertising the Palestinian narrative of Nakba (catastrophe). Some of these media reports resemble promos for Zochrot's app and downplay the group's radicalism by describing it simply as an Israeli group "advocating the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants." What receives little to no attention is the extreme, anti-Jewish agenda of those Israelis involved in the organization. NGO-Monitor points to a grotesque YouTube clip, made with the involvement of several Zochrot officials, that mocks the Holocaust by attempting to turn anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hatred into comedy.

On April 23, 2014, a highly disturbing video was posted on YouTube, “The Holocaust’s Visit to Yad Vashem,? featuring radical activist Natali Cohen Vaxberg. In it, she visits the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and adopts the persona of the “Holocaust,? claiming to be “the best thing that ever happened? to the Jewish people.

Paul Leslie in The Algemeiner draws a comparison between this "comedy" and that of the anti-Jewish agitator and French comedian Dieudonné who was banned from entering the UK after his hateful performances were cancelled in France. Leslie demonstrates how anti-Semitism is rendered acceptable in certain circles by parading as anti-Israelism:

The growing influence in certain intellectual, journalistic, and cultural circles exerted by even the most extreme detractors of Israel has contributed to a significant increase in anti-Jewish prejudice – either expressed openly or manifested in the guise of “anti-Zionism.? One consequence of this mounting anti-Israelism is that the kind of mockery and lampooning of Jews that would cause outrage if directed at other ethnic or religious groups has become respectable among those who would like to think of themselves as “progressive? or “liberal.?

Dieudonné, the French comedian, failed politician, anti-Jewish agitator, and frequent mocker of victims of the Shoah, has often taken advantage of the hypocrisy mentioned above. He has continued to exploit the anti-establishment and libertarian attitudes that have emerged in the milieu of stand-up comedy and among its supporters in order to bash Jews and the Jewish State of Israel.

When it is “Zionists? and Jewish supporters of Israel who the comedians and satirists choose to attack, there is good reason to see this as being motivated consciously or unconsciously by anti-Semitic feelings,...

That Zochrot officials participate in similar anti-Jewish mockery is appalling. That countries and NGO's supposedly friendly to Israel continue to fund this organization and those involved is a disgrace, as Leslie points out. That the media continues to portray Zochrot as a legitimate organization even while condemning Dieudonné's Jew-baiting and hate-mongering is simply hypocritical.

Posted by rh at 02:38 PM |  Comments (0)

New Footage Contradicts DCI-P's Account of Betunia Casualties

Newly released footage of the May 15 disputed fatal shootings of two Palestinian teenagers during "Nakba Day" clashes in Betunia contradicts the account that emerged from a heavily-edited video released by Defence for Children International - Palestine, which alleged that the two were killed after the violent clash had died down.

As The Los Angeles Times put it:

But questions arose after rights organizations circulated videos Tuesday that purport to show the incident. The videos, released by the Palestinian branch of Defense for Children International and the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, or B'Tselem, appear to show the boys were unarmed and not engaged in confrontation with soldiers or close to them when they were shot.

Indeed, Fakher Zayed, a Palestinian interviewed in the DCI video, (see video below) claims:

At the moment of the killings, nothing was going on and no stone-throwing was taking place.

Based on the heavily-edited DCI-P footage, The New York Times reported:

Neither of the teenagers appeared to be engaged in provocative behavior at the time they were shot, though a photograph shows one wearing a black ski mask, and the video shows another individual hurling stones from the same spot seven minutes before the first shooting.

The 11 hours of footage that B'Tselem released today shows hours of rock-throwing before Nadim Nawareh and Muhammad Salameh were shot.

It also shows that Nawareh was part of a group of youth who continued to throw stones up until one minute before he was shot, not seven minutes. DCI-Palestine's deceptive editing made it appear that the stone-throwing ended fully seven minutes before the shooting, and this is what The Times reported. (See 39:22 minutes into the video below.)

The difference between one minute and seven minutes is significant. Was Nawareh shot in the midst of an ongoing violent conflict, or after the violence had dissipated?

The second fatality, occured only 2.5 minutes after rocks were thrown. However, at this point Salameh had been throwing rocks for hours. (View from 21:54 minutes from the video below.)

That the media was misled by DCI-Palestine is not particularly surprising. NGO Monitor documents, for instance, how DCI-Palestine Section promotes the "Jenin massacre" myth and advocates BDS, and its director, Rifat Odeh Kassis is also the coordinator and spokesman for the vitriolic Kairos Palestine document.

-- With research by Gidon Shaviv

Posted by TS at 07:14 AM |  Comments (4)

May 26, 2014

NY Times Misses Deicide Theme in Bethlehem

Downplaying the significance of a Palestinian photomontage exhibit in Bethlehem's Manger Square, erected in time for Pope Francis' visit there yesterday, The New York Times reports:

The pope offered a spirited Mass in a crowded Manger Square, which was bedecked with photomontages blending Christian iconography with images of Palestinians’ difficult daily reality.

Palestinian Media Watch provides more information on the art exhibit commissioned by the Palestinian Authority:

The exhibit consists of visual displays merging classical paintings of biblical scenes with photos of Palestinians and have been "designed by the Palestinian Museum at the request of the Presidential Higher Committee for Church Affairs." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 20, 2014]

As Palestinian Media Watch has documented, the PA has misrepresented Jesus for years, claiming he was not a Judean as in Christian tradition, but rather a "Palestinian," thereby claiming a Palestinian history dating back to the time of Jesus. Mahmoud Abbas recently said Jesus was “a Palestinian messenger.? This exhibit reinforces the pretense that Jesus was a Palestinian by visually merging the image of Jesus in classical art with pictures of Palestinians.

Some of the displays at the exhibit also reiterate another PA message - that Palestinians suffer as Jesus did.

Moreover, as our colleagues at CiF Watch, a CAMERA affiliate, noted:

. . . .one work in the exhibit even evokes the decide charge (that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus) by using Raphael’s The Deposition (1507) which shows the dead Jesus being carried to his tomb.

Here’s the original by Raphael:


Here’s the Palestinian version from the current Palestine Museum exhibit:

Palestinian museum deicide Bethlehem.jpg

As you can see, “Jesus’ legs have been replaced by a photo of the wounded legs of a Palestinian, which are being carried away by a man as an Israeli soldier looks on?. This image likely represents an attempt to draw a historical line from the crucifixion of the ‘Palestinian’ Christ two thousand years ago to the violence committed today against modern day Palestinians by Israeli Jews.

Of course, the Roman Catholic Church repudiated the deicide charge in the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Pope John XXIII, who initiated the first session of the Council, declared more broadly that “the sacred events of the Bible and, in particular, its account of the crucifixion, cannot give rise to disdain or hatred or persecution of the Jews?.

As CAMERA’s Christian Media Analysis Dexter Van Zile argued, in the context of Christian-Jewish relations, visual language which plays upon the decide charge (which has preceded and justified the killing of Jews for nearly two millennia) “is the [moral] equivalent of a noose hanging from a tree in the Old South?.

But, then again, only those journalists who take modern-day antisemitism seriously would consider addressing the moral and political significance of such supremely cynical efforts by Palestinian leaders to undermine Christian-Jewish relations by evoking such historically toxic themes within the long history of Christian anti-Judaism.

Posted by TS at 06:06 AM |  Comments (2)

May 22, 2014

CNN Overreaches in Early Coverage of Betunia Deaths

CNN Betunia Bullet.jpg
Did this bullet enter and exit a young man's torso? An Israeli ballistics expert says no. (CNN screenshot)

The deaths of two young Palestinian rock throwers in Betunia in the West Bank on May 15, 2014, has generated a huge amount of attention in part because their deaths were apparently caught on tape.

One video, which was distributed by the Palestinian branch of Defence for Children International (and which has gotten more than 466,000 views on Youtube), shows the two young men falling to the ground.

Brad Parker, a representative of the Defence for Children International Palestine declared that the videos "clearly show two kids being hit directly with something other than a rubber bullet."

It’s tough to know how Parker can discern what hit the young men, but it is pretty clear that he’s accusing Israeli soldiers of using “live? ammunition against the rock throwers.

This accusation gained further momentum when CNN aired a segment that showed Israeli soldiers shooting in the direction of one of the young men at the time he fell and then pans to a crowd putting him into an ambulance. During the segment the anchorwoman boiled the controversy down as follows:

It comes down to two very different accounts. Israelis say their military was firing only rubber-coated bullets, essentially ball bearings with a thin coating of rubber designed to hurt, but not penetrate. But the video apparently shows the two teens hit with what’s called “live fire,? real bullets that doctors say passed through their bodies, killing them.

During the remainder of the segment, CNN reporter Ivan Watson speaks with Siam Nouwaran, the father of one of the young men who died. During the course of the interview, Watson describes the contents of a backpack he was wearing at the time of his death. “Inside, the backpack, a blood-stained textbook and a bullet, not a rubber-coated projectile.?

The father holds a plastic bag that contains a bullet.

“You think that this is the bullet that killed your son?? Watson asks. “Yeah, of course,? the father answers. “Inside the bag. I found it inside the bag.?

The image of a father holding the bullet that caused his son's death makes for a compelling story, especially on television.

But is it true?

One Israeli ballistics expert doesn't think so. Appearing today on Israel's Channel Two, Yosef Yekutiel stated that if the bullet actually went through the victim's body the way Palestinian doctors say it did, it would look entirely differently from the one displayed by the boy's father.

This bullet, if it did what the doctor claims, passed through the chest, came out through the body hit the backpack and passed through several books – this bullet didn't do that.

Everyone who understands bullets, knows that the moment it passes through the chest, the torso and hits some sort of bone, it ends up with a distortion. The moment it enters and hits the papers of the books it is expected to be crushed in the front section in a very prominent manner.

Clearly, CNN has some more reporting to do.

Posted by dvz at 04:21 PM |  Comments (6)

May 21, 2014

More Misinformation from Presbyterian Peacemakers

Irving Wesley Hall.jpg

Earlier this year, the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church USA, an organization with a well-documented history of demonizing Israel and American Jews, issued a text called Zionism Unsettled. True to form, the IPMN’s booklet includes a chapter that accuses American Jews of "living in a bubble.?

Who is living in a bubble, really? American Jews who support Israel or IPMN leaders?

It's a reasonable question to ask after watching one of the videos on a DVD that accompanies Zionism Unsettled. In an on-camera interview, Irving Wesley Hall (pictured above in a screenshot from the video) reports that prior to the Six Day War, Israelis and Jews did not care too much about Jerusalem.

Up until the 1967 conquest of Jerusalem, it was not regarded by any element of Israeli society or any of the streams of Judaism as somehow central to God's plan for the Jews.

But that all changed in 1967.

The notion that the city was unimportant to Israel and to all of the "streams of Judaism" prior to the Six Day War is, to put it politely, an outrageous misstatement of fact.

In his book The Chosen (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), Avi Beker reports:

In Jewish tradition, Jerusalem is the great physical link between the Chosen People and God. From David's time until the city's destruction by Titus in 70 CE, it was the Jewish religious center and the seat of government. At its heart where the First and then the Second Temples with their Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of the Divine Presence. In Diaspora, the Jews never ceased longing for Zion, synonymous since biblical times with the city itself, and more particularly with the Temple Mount. Jerusalem was (and is) embodied in their prayers, their holidays, and their hopes for redemption. It is to them their once-and-forever spiritual home. (Page 158)

On page 159, Beker reports "Jews have referred to Jerusalem for three thousand years as the abode of the Shekhina (the divine presence of God) and as their only eternal capital."

And on page 160 he reports:

The centrality of Jerusalem in Jewish life can hardly be exaggerated. In addition to mentioning Jerusalem several times in their daily prayers as well as in the grace after every meal, prayers for Jerusalem are included in the Jewish marriage ceremony. The bridegroom crushes a glass underfoot to symbolize his grief over the destruction of the Temple. In a house of mourning, visitors recite the traditional consolation: “May the Almighty comfort you and all the mourners of Jerusalem and Zion."

Hall simply does not know what he is talking about. Jerusalem has been a touchstone for the Jewish people, and all streams of Judaism, for a long, long time.

Did the folks at IPMN not know this when they decided to include Hall’s testimony in their “educational? video?

If they did not know this, they have no business publishing a book about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

If they did know this, then they have intentionally misled their readers.

Either way, the inclusion of Hall’s testimony in a DVD about the conflict is just another example of the IPMN violating its mandate to educate, not misinform, Presbyterians about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Posted by dvz at 03:06 PM |  Comments (6)

May 20, 2014

CAMERA Analyst Highlights Ugly Polemics from Retired Archbishop Elias Chacour


CAMERA Analyst Tricia Aven, Ph.D., has exposed the ugly rhetoric used by Palestinian Christian leaders in an article published on First Things' website. The piece is valuable because it highlights some of the ugly statements made by Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb and retired Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour, who have both spoken at events organized by the Telos Group.

In the piece, titled, “Check Your Speaker List,? Aven reports that Chacour (pictured above), “argues that Jesus and his disciples were not Jews at all. He identifies the people of Galilee as distinct from the Jews when he talks about the gathering of the disciples in Jerusalem after the death of Jesus. He states that “the men from Galilee? were in an Upper Room and ‘the doors were locked out of fear from the Jews. I don’t know why the Jews frighten everybody with whom they live. Is that a problem I think?’?

Chacour is author of Blood Brothers, a text regularly invoked by pro-Palestinian activists.

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by dvz at 01:05 PM |  Comments (1)

May 15, 2014

Newsweek Publishes Unsubstantiated Allegations of Israeli Spying


Newsweek was once a leading news magazine. It fell on hard times, stopped publishing its hardcover editions and now has only an internet edition. Unfortunately, if its May 6, 2014 article on alleged Israeli spying is any indicator, its standards have declined in parallel to its importance. The writer of the piece, Jeff Stein, is a self-styled commentator on issues involving the intelligence community. For his piece on Israeli spying, Stein mostly relies upon anonymous sources, always a red flag. But one of the sources he does identify is Paul Pillar, who recently appeared in a March 2014 convocation, called the National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel Special Relationship, featuring a who's who of promoters of conspiracy theories alleging nefarious Zionist influence over the United States government. This is not surprising, as Stein himself is no stranger to vitriol against Israel. In his blog Spytalk, commenting on speculation that former Senator Jane Harman might be appointed to head the CIA, Stein wrote, "Congress is already Israeli-occupied territory. The last thing Washington needs is to cede another settlement in Langley."

As for Pillar, he is a former CIA analyst, who has built a second career condemning Israel at every turn. He is a frequent contributor to National Interest, an online magazine that claims to offer an alternative point of view on American foreign policy. Pillar often writes about Israel and his positions are automatic; they are always opposed to whatever the Israeli position is, whether it be on Iran, the Peace Process, or American-Israeli relations. He even weighed in on the recent American Studies Association boycott of Israel, describing it as a "righteous action."

A review of Pillar's writing on Israel and its supporters in America should cause any serious journalist to hesitate before accepting his accusations. Pillar displays a willingness to falsify the historical record by playing fast and loose with the facts. In an article published by National Interest, he wrote,

Less than five years from now will be the 50th anniversary of the war that Israel launched and used to seize the West Bank and other Arab territory...

In reality, the facts about who started the Six-Day War are well-documented. Egypt imposed a naval blockade of Israeli shipping through the straits of Tiran. It ordered the removal of the UN buffer force in the Sinai, and then moved its army there in an aggressive pose. These were unmistakable acts of belligerency. Furthermore, it was the ill-advised decision by Jordan's King Hussein to strike at Israel that resulted in the Israeli capture of the West Bank. But apparently for this former intelligence analyst, when the facts conflict with the narrative, it's the facts that must go.

Pillar sees no distinction between Israel and South Africa. In an article published by the internet site Occupied Palestine, Pillar wrote, "the Israeli system of apartheid warrants just as much active international opposition as the South African system did."

Like most dedicated enemies of the Jewish state, he ignores reality when it doesn't suit his views. Israel's Arab citizens possess full legal rights. As for the West Bank, Pillar will not recognize the dissimilarity between the circumstances of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that of apartheid-era South Africa. Israeli measures that impose restrictions on the Palestinian Arabs were a reaction to non-stop terrorism against Israeli citizens. Furthermore, the Palestinians were offered a state in 1947 and rejected it. Since then, the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly rejected Israeli offers of a self-governing state because it would entail recognition of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and require the Arabs to formally end their conflict with Israel. Arab demands that are incompatible with the continuing viability of a secure Jewish life in Israel has no parallel in the demands by opponents of apartheid in South Africa.

Pillar reveals a darker side to his sentiments, seeing disloyalty among American Jews who express support for Israel. In National Interest Pillar wrote of the influence of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson: "the Republican party isn’t even his first love among political parties. That would be the Likud party [of Israel].

What really gets Pillar incensed is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserting that Hamas is “dedicated to the destruction of Israel.? Pillar positions himself as an apologist for Hamas by casting Israel as the guilty party. Praising the Islamist group for its supposed willingness to make a "Hudna," a temporary peace with Israel, he then asserts, "It would be more accurate to say that Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Hamas." (Antiwar blog 4-29-2014)

Consistent with his reliance on unsubstantiated partisan sources, in a follow up story on May 8, Newsweek's Stein offers a fantastic story of an Israeli spy infiltrating through an air conditioning vent into the hotel room of Al Gore during the former Vice President's visit to Israel. Stein writes,

“So the room was all quiet, he was just meditating on his toes, and he hears a noise in the vent. And he sees the vent clips being moved from the inside. And then he sees a guy starting to exit the vent into the room.?

On May 12, the internet newspaper Algemeiner carried an interview with the manager of the King David Hotel, Dannino-Forsyth, who stated,

I can confirm that the story is ridiculous. There is a small pipe that brings some fresh air into the room, and it is so small that even a cat cannot walk in it.

Since the Newsweek story's publication, American Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has gone on record dismissing the allegations contained within it stating, “I’m not aware of the facts that would substantiate the report.?

Posted by SS at 11:42 AM |  Comments (4)

May 14, 2014

Where's the Coverage? "Palestine was the Home of the Jew"


In August of 1947, a Middle Eastern leader wrote a letter to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). It read in part:

It is an incontestable historical fact that Palestine was the home of the Jew and of the first Christians. None of them was of Arab origin. By the brutal force of conquest they were forced to become converts to the Moslem religion. That is the origin of the Arabs in that country. Can one deduce from that that Palestine is Arab or that it ever was Arab?


The Holy Places, the temples, the Wailing Wall, the churches and the tombs of the prophets and saints, in short, all the relics of the two religions, are living symbols, which alone invalidate the statements now made by those who have little interest in making Palestine an Arab country. To include Palestine and the Lebanon within the group of Arab countries is to deny history and to destroy the social balance in the Near East.

Who wrote this?

The Maronite Archbishop of Beirut, Ignace (Ignatius) Moubarak (sometimes spelled Mobarac, Mobarak, Moubaraque and otherwise).

UNSCOP was engaged in dividing the mandatory territories and, as Bashir Assad’s grandfather feared for his Alawite minority in Syria, the Archbishop feared for the Christians of Lebanon.

The letter continued:

What has the role of the Jews been in Palestine? Considered from this angle, the Palestine of 1918 appears to us a barren country, poor, denuded of all resources, the least developed of all the Turkish vilayets. The Moslem-Arab colony there lived on the borderline of poverty. Jewish immigration began, colonies were formed and established, and in less than twenty years the country was transformed: agriculture flourished, large industries were established, wealth came to the country. The presence of such a well-developed and industrious nation, next to the Lebanon could not but contribute to the welfare of all – the Jew is a man of practical executive ability, the Lebanese is highly adaptable and, for that reason, their proximity could only serve to better the living conditions of the inhabitants.


The letter is documented in United Nations records as part of Annex 9, "List of principal documents and written statements submitted to the Special Committee," Section V, "Other Documents," Number 45, "Memorandum submitted by the Maronite Archbishop of Beirut. Beirut, August 1945."

The Archbishop had reason to fear. As Christians fear today across the Middle East… except in Israel. And yet... Where's the coverage?

Archbishop Moubarak.jpg
Archbishop Ignace Moubarak

Posted by SC at 10:00 PM |  Comments (1)

LA Times: Terrorists Conspired With Those Hamas 'Militants'

LAT logo.jpg

Major media outlets all too often mislabel Hamas as "a militant organization," despite the fact that the United States, the European Union and Israel, among others, have all designated it as a terrorist organization, given its countless suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and shootings of Israeli civilians.

A case this week in The Los Angeles Times is particularly striking. On Sunday, a news brief reported:

Egypt's chief prosecutor charged 200 people with carrying out more than 50 terrorist attacks, killing 40 policemen and 15 civilians and conspiring with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The defendants, 98 of whom have not been apprehended, are suspected members of Ansar Bayt Maqdis, or Partisans of Jerusalem, which has claimed responsibility for the bloodiest attacks since a wave of violence picked up after the military overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi last summer.

The prosecutor's statement refers to the group as "the most dangerous terrorist group."

So, while the Egyptians are charged with "terrorist attacks" for, in part, conspiring with Hamas, The Times still whitewashes Hamas as a "militant organization."

Posted by TS at 05:07 AM |  Comments (0)

May 09, 2014

Stones Thrown at Christianity’s Living Stones

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The scene near St. George's Church on May 6, 2014.

Just how serious is the Palestinian Authority in protecting Christians in and around Bethlehem?

That’s the question Palestinians – and pilgrims to the city – need to be asking in light of the ugly and violent confrontation that took place at St. George’s Church in Khadar, just outside of Beit Jala on May 6, 2014. In addition to stone throwing, there was a stabbing.

Details are sketchy about what started the confrontation, and there are even contradictory reports about who was stabbed during the fight.

An initial report sent to Snapshots, indicated that a Christian was stabbed and others say, no it was a Muslim.

And while one source indicated that police were not on the scene, other reports indicate they were in fact present during the celebration of St. George’s Feast Day, which was attended by Greek Orthodox officials from Jerusalem.

Despite the contradictory reports, it seems pretty obvious that whatever police presence there was at St. George’s on its feast day, it was insufficient to prevent an outbreak of violence, which resulted in several injuries including one broken nose.

The Youtube video of the confrontation (which has gone viral) and photos obtained by Snapshots (posted above and below) reveal that was an outbreak of violence at St. George’s on what should have been a happy and festive celebration at the church.

In sum, stones were thrown at Christianity’s living stones near the city of Christ’s birth.

No matter how you look at it, the episode represents a failure on the part of the Palestinian Authority, one that local journalists and Christian leaders are – for understandable reasons – reluctant to highlight.

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The emotional aftermath of an attack at St. George's Church on May 6, 2014.

High-ranking church officials are telling people that the confrontation is over and that everything is fine. Given the circumstances, one can understand why church leaders want to put this story to bed.

One ugly confrontation can lead to another, particularly in a political environment in which the Palestinian Authority has recently reconciled with Hamas, an organization that seems intent on preparing yet another generation of Palestinian young people for a fruitless war with Israel.

Given the precarious position of Christians in Palestinian society, rocking the boat by complaining about Muslim violence and Palestinian Authority ineptitude is not a good idea.

The people who visit Bethlehem and the people who live there are faced with some important questions.

Has there been an uptick in expressions of hostility toward Christians in Bethlehem and the surrounding towns in the aftermath of the PA’s reconciliation with Hamas? Have the extremist elements in Palestinian society been given a boost by this reconciliation?

And if yes, is the Palestinian Authority equipped and willing to protect Christianity’s living stones from having rocks thrown at them?

Christian pilgrims and tourists from around the world will be paying very close attention to events in and around the city of Bethlehem for some time to come.

Posted by dvz at 12:18 PM |  Comments (0)

May 08, 2014

Church Near Beit Jala Attacked

Reports are starting to trickle out of the West Bank about violence St. George's Orthodox Church near Beit Jala. The details are sketchy, but the violence took place on May 6, 2014. One person was allegedly stabbed and several others hurt during a confrontation between Muslims and Christians at the church, which was celebrating the feast of St. George, its patron saint. Above is video of the event that was posted on Youtube soon after the attack. Injured parishioners can be seen moving past the camera and at one point, a stone can be seen flying into a crowd.

More details as they are available.

Update: 11:10 a.m. May 8, 2014: Here is what Lela Gilbert, author of Saturday People, Sunday People, Israel through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner, reports:

A Bethlehem Greek Orthodox Church (St. George's Church - Khadar - near Beit Jala) was attacked by Muslims during its annual St. George's Day services on May 6. ... Some local Muslims either tried to park a car too close the church and/or tried to enter the church during a service honoring St. George - the initial instigation isn't clear. But when the intruders were asked to leave, one of them stabbed a Christian man who was outside the church serving as a guard. He was hospitalized. Several then started throwing stones at the church. 7 or 8 Christians were injured and some physical damage was done - broken windows etc. The police didn’t show up for an hour.

Posted by dvz at 11:01 AM |  Comments (1)

May 07, 2014

Where's the Coverage? Hamas Video Promotes Destruction of Israel, Murder of Jews


In “honor? of Israel’s Independence Day, the terrorist group Hamas, which is in the process of forming a unity government with the so-called moderate Fatah-run Palestinian Authority (PA), released a video parodying Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah. But the Hamas version is a bit different:

The Zionist army was built of wax
And now it has melted and has no hope.
The bastard Jews that were once here,
Somebody tell what is left of them.
Two parts: the first will be deported
To their country of origin, if they choose that.
Whereas the stupid ones who persist in staying
Their fate is sealed underneath the dust.
The name of the holy city will revert to what it was,
Our capital – Bayt al-Maqdis – not Jerusalem.

Note Hamas hopes Jerusalem will be known as Bayt al-Maqdis. This is ironic as the Arabic “Bayt al-Maqdis? derives from the Hebrew “Beit ha-Mikdash,? referring to the ancient Jewish Temple which preceded the founding of Islam by centuries. This, even as Palestinian leaders frequently deny the Jewish connection to Israel or that there ever was a Temple on the Temple Mount. Oops.

But that is a side show.

Much more important is the fact that the video’s imagery is chilling, featuring computer animation of Jews being loaded onto transport ships with the bodies of Jews and IDF soldiers littering the ground. This video clearly advocates the destruction of Israel, as well as the murder and ethnic cleansing of Jews.

Yet, none of the mainstream media covered this video. Only some blogs, Jewish and Israeli press found it newsworthy.

Now, it’s not as if The New York Times didn’t know it was Israel’s Independence Day, the paper even celebrated the holiday in its cafeteria.

NYT cafeteria.jpg

Yes, the Grey Lady felt diners should know that Israel’s food is delicious but did not see fit to let readers know that Israel’s enemies are genocidal. Apparently Times executives are more concerned with Hummus than Hamas.

In its coverage of the Hamas deal, The Times called Fatah “moderate.? So did many other news outlets.

Is joining with a terrorist group that advocates murder of civilians, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of a U.N.-member state moderate? No. Is painting a full and accurate picture of Israel’s enemies the responsibility of the news media? You bet. So… Where’s the coverage?

View the Hamas video here:

Posted by SC at 03:02 PM |  Comments (1)

Press TV, Like Haaretz, Pushes Bogus PM Quote on Home for Jews

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Iran's Press TV, along with Israel's Haaretz, falsely reports that earlier this week Israeli Prime Minister stated that Israel is home only for the Jews.

In fact, as we noted Monday, the prime minister said in the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday that Israel is "the nation-state of the Jewish people -- and no other," and ensured "full equal rights to each and every citizen." Read here for his whole statement.

The difference is vast. If Netanyahu said Israel is "home" only to the Jewish people, then he was indicating that 20 percent of Israel's population -- or nearly 1.7 million Israeli Arabs -- are not welcome or entitled to live freely in Israel as citizens with equal rights.

This false picture suits Iran's Press TV just fine.

Israeli Prime Minister is pushing ahead with plans to change basic laws in order to define Israel as the home of the Jewish people alone. . . .

The PM added that although all people are equally treated in Israel, it primarily remains a place of Jews and no other people.

In addition, much of the broadcast includes the false banner at the bottom: "Netanyahu proposal: Israel must be home of Jewish people alone."

Meanwhile, Haaretz editors have yet to correct their false headlines and social media items.

May 11 Update: CAMERA Prompts Haaretz Correction on Netanyahu Quote

Posted by TS at 05:17 AM |  Comments (0)

May 05, 2014

Every Jew Should Be Shot, Hamas Teaches Children

This video of a May 2, 2014 Hamas TV program speaks for itself.

(Via Palestinian Media Watch.)

Posted by at 11:59 AM |  Comments (0)

May 01, 2014

Are Truth-Tellers Enemies of the Palestinian People?

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The first of two breakout sessions for students at the 2014 Christ at the Checkpoint Conference (Photo: Luke Moon)

"What happens when a Palestinian doesn’t hate Israel enough?"

That’s the question Luke Moon, a researcher at the Washington, D.C. based Institute on Religion and Democracy, asks in light of the angry and vituperative response to Christy Anastas’ April talk in Uppsala Sweden. During the talk, Anastas spoke openly about the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and about the hostility shown toward Christians and women in Palestinian society.

This was too much for many of her fellow Palestinians and for “human rights? activists in the West. Christy was denounced by her family, demonized by her fellow Palestinians and portrayed as a victim of a Zionist kidnapping plot (and worse) by “peace and justice? folks in Europe. Palestinian Christians are simply not allowed to speak openly about what is actually going on in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – unless of course they blame the suffering on Israel.

In his piece, published this morning in The Federalist, Moon writes, “It is becoming increasingly evident that anyone who speaks out in a way contrary to the party line will be publicly reprimanded and disowned.? To buttress his case, Moon cites an article by Jerusalem Post journalist Khaled Abu Toameh published in the Gatestone Institute that describes what happened to Mahmoud al-Habbash, the Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs after he lamented the assassination of an Israeli in the West Bank just prior to Passover. Al-Habbash was “disowned by his family for stating that Palestinian blood is like Israeli blood.?

Moon also describes events at a break-out session for students at the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference that took place in Bethlehem in March. In the session for students, led by Rev. Dr. Gary Burge from Wheaton College, young Palestinian Christians talked about how it was like for them to live in the West Bank. When one student from overseas asked what it was like to live as a Christian in the Muslim-majority West Bank, another Palestinian Christian came in and stopped the student from responding. Moon describes the interaction as follows:

During the recent Christ at the Checkpoint conference in Bethlehem there was a breakout session where student delegations from the US and Europe could interact with students from Bethlehem Bible College. One of the foreign students asked how the Palestinian Christians were treated by the Muslims. One student began to describe how he and his fellow Christians were treated as second class citizens, but before he could expound further he was silenced by one of the professors.

Silenced by one of the professors? How can this be? Wasn’t the whole point of the session to get an unfiltered view of what it is like for Christians living in Palestinian society? And did the foreign students who were attending the session perceive what just happened?

Very interesting stuff. Read the whole thing here.

Posted by dvz at 11:21 AM |  Comments (1)