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April 30, 2019

Professor John Quigley Falsely Condemns Israel and U.S. Support in His Syndicated Column

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John B. Quigley

In his widely distributed April syndicated opinion piece mainly about ISIS, the Islamist terrorist entity, John B. Quigley, an Ohio State University law professor, argues that claims of an imminent ISIS resurgence in the Middle East “are overblown” but this is likely to change if U.S. support of Israeli actions continues. Clearly, this is nonsense. It's well known that ISIS is driven by the goal of creating  a worldwide Islamic caliphate. What stands in the way of this is opposing persistent armed force and effective military intelligence. 

In his concluding statement he echoes the false “war crimes” charge against Israel and makes other dubious claims:

Trump unfortunately has a knack for giving ISIS issues to use to incite against the United States. Last year, as Israeli snipers shot 6,000 Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border — shootings that the UN called “war crimes” — Trump insisted that Israel was doing nothing wrong.

Last May, Trump moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a city that few in the Arab world see as belonging to Israel. More recently, Trump said that Israel owns the Golan Heights, which it seized from Syria in 1967. Actions like these are a gift to ISIS.

Even though ISIS is weakened, it remains a force. We should stop helping it recruit.

Quigley echoes the U.N. Human Rights Council’s charge of “6,000 Palestinian protesters” shot (over a period of time) at the Gaza Strip border. But the accuracy of this charge is unreliable. Note that UNHRC has received widespread international criticism for its anti-Israel bias. Even its own founder makes this charge.

The false “war crimes” charge against Israel is not new. But Israeli tactics and actions have not changed since General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2014, reacting to similar false war crimes charges, commended Israel: "I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths [in the Gaza Strip] to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties.” Likewise, Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified on Sept. 4, 2014 about Operation Protective Edge [Gaza], and basically reiterated his testimony about a previous such operation before the U.N. Human Rights Council in October 2009: “During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of war.”

In his zeal to vilify Israel and U.S. policy, Quigley grossly exaggerates any negative impact of the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The embassy move generated no noticeable violence anywhere except among Palestinians and even that didn’t last long. And anyway, the majority of Palestinians are quick to anger about nearly anything American or Israeli thanks to cradle to grave incitement by their political and Islamist religious leaders.

The Golan Heights matter caused little if any outrage in the Arab world although it riles Quigley. Even the New York Times, generally quick to criticize Israel for any perceived infraction, reported that the U.S. declaration “was met across much of the Arab world with a shrug.” But Quigley thinks he knows better. The Times also noted that the 22,000 Arabs inhabiting the Heights are “Arabs from the Druze sect who mostly retained Syrian citizenship and avoided politics. The area has avoided the violence that has riled the Palestinian territories. Israel offered the Arab residents citizenship, but few have accepted it.”

This is not the first time Quigley has falsely characterized Israeli actions (more below).

Publications
UPDATE: Subsequent to the publication of this CAMERA Snapshot, the hyperlinked Web pages below (and, as well, those same ones found on Google search results for “Quigley and ISIS”) were removed by Chicago Tribune and Arizona Daily Star (Tucson). The Star replaced the linked page with a different link. The Miami Herald Quigley Web page remains as of May 25, 2019.

The column was distributed by the Tribune Content Agency (TCA) syndication company which is owned by Tribune Publishing. TCA was previously known as the Chicago Tribune Syndicate.

The Chicago Tribune, carried the column on April 18, 2019 under the title: “Con: Talk of looming major attacks is overblown.”

The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) carried the same column on April 18 under the title “Claims of looming major attacks by Islamic State are overblown.”

The Miami Herald carried the column on April 23 under the title of “Despite panicked predictions, ISIS is not a threat to the West.”

The column was also carried by numerous lesser known newspapers.

The U.N. is unreliable regarding Israel

Quigley relies on U.N. claims but the organization is clearly biased in matters pertaining to Israel due in small part to the influence and voting power of the dozens of Arab and other Islamic member states. For example, in 2018, the U.N. General Assembly passed 21 resolutions condemning Israel, and a mere 6 for the rest of the world, according to U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based NGO that monitors the international body. Israel, a democracy, was condemned seven times more than the brutal North Korean dictatorship, which still runs gulags, and was the subject of a mere 3 resolutions. Indeed, just on Nov. 15, 2018 the General Assembly adopted nine resolutions against Israel—all while ignoring human rights situations in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Turkey and Pakistan. Quigley’s “war crimes” characterization is in reference to a U.N. report that is consistent with the pattern of U.N. bias against Israel.

Refuting the U.N. report relied on by Quigley

Israel's acting foreign minister rejected the findings outright: "The Human Rights Council's Theatre of the Absurd has once again produced a report that is hostile, mendacious and biased against Israel," Israel Katz said. "No-one can deny Israel the right to self-defence and the obligation to protect its citizens and its borders against violent attacks."

U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer's speech at the U.N. Human Rights Council debate (March 11, 2019) included this statement:

Mr. President, let me be the first to state for the record that everything we just heard from the world’s worst dictatorships, and their apologists, is unfounded, unreal and untrue. For example, the accusation that Israeli soldiers are war criminals for defending their citizens from massive attacks on the Gaza border, organized by the Hamas terrorist group, is absurd. The claim that these are civilian protests, and peaceful in nature, is deceitful and dishonest.

The truth is that 70,000 Israelis live within a few kilometers of these attacks, including three communities which reside right on the border. The truth is that these so-called “protests” include attempts by terrorists to infiltrate into these Israeli communities, and involve shootings, grenades, firebombs, and improvised explosive devices. The truth is that mines and booby-traps have been placed on the border, to be detonated on IDF patrols. Now, for the UN to call these “peaceful protests” is nothing but an insult to every genuinely peaceful human rights activist around the world.

Now it was said here by the Palestinian representative that “anyone who aspires to preserve this Council, should remain in the Council, and work in it; those who do not wish to respect the values, should leave.” I ask: Is it his position that Council members such as Saudi Arabia, which is now torturing women’s rights activists, as we just heard; and China, which is now holding a reported one million Muslims in “re-education camps,” are the one upholding human rights?

Ignoring context

Quigley ignores the unique Jewish connection to Jerusalem when he writes, “Jerusalem, a city that few in the Arab world see as belonging to Israel.” However, the reality is that Jews have continuously lived in their ancestral home in the Holy Land including Jerusalem. In 1948, the re-establishment of the Jewish nation of Israel, with the capacity of caring for Jewish refugees, was supported by the United Nations. Israel sought to accommodate the Arabs but was immediately rebuffed by Arab Armies that attempted to annihilate the Jewish state. And thereafter Arab forces attacked, or gathered to attack, Israel several times in order to destroy it.

Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest city, is mentioned hundreds of times in the Hebrew Bible (but not even once in Islam's bible, the Quran). It was the capital city of ancient Jewish kingdoms and home to Judaism’s holiest place, the Temple. Jews from all over the ancient world would make pilgrimages to the Temple three times a year to participate in worship and festivities, as commanded in the Bible. The Jewish wedding ceremony concludes with the chanting of the biblical phrase, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,” and the breaking of a glass by the groom to commemorate the destruction of the Temples. And Yom Kippur services and the Passover Seder conclude each year with the phrase “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

As to the Golan Heights, Israel had seized it in the defensive Six-Day War of 1967. The Syrian military had repeatedly used it to shell the Galilee area of Israel from the Golan high point putting Israeli population centers in jeopardy. Currently, if Israel were to lose control of the Golan, the area would be undefended against the predations of Iran which is intent on destroying the Jewish nation-state. As legal scholar Alan Dershowitz observed recently, “No country in history has ever given back to a sworn enemy, militarily essential territory that has been captured in a defensive war” (Alan M. Dershowitz, “Trump Is Right about the Golan Heights,” Gatestone Institute, March 30, 2019).

Furthermore, the historical/biblical reality of the Golan is that the ancestors of today’s Jewish Israelis resided in the Golan long before any Arabs arrived in the area. Evidence of this is found in the Bible; references to the Golan are contained in Deuteronomy 4:43, Joshua 20:8, Joshua 21:27 and 1 Chronicles 6:56. The region known today as the “Golan Heights” was a part of the area of Bashan in the territory assigned to the Israeli tribe of Manasseh thousands of years ago. And there is no reason to believe that these ancestors ever willingly relinquished their rights to the land.

Previous Quigley anti-Israel propagandizing

• In 2018, Quigley was a featured speaker at a conference run by The Middle East Monitor (MEMO) which specializes in anti-Israel propaganda.

• In 2014, Quigley bashed Israel as a featured speaker at the “National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel ‘Special Relationship’" which was run by notoriously anti-Israel groups such as Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA).

• In 1997, numerous charges by Quigley condemning Israel were refuted in a lengthy American University Law Review piece by Professor Louis René Beres of Purdue University.

• In 1992, a Quigley report condemning Israel was refuted in a Duke University law paper by Professor Eugene V. Rostow, Dean of Yale Law School.

Concluding

Publications providing Quigley material that misleads readers should be mindful of journalistic ethics. For example, Quigley’s anti-Israel claims generally run afoul of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics.

Key editors for Quigley's April article include: Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) (Jill Spitz jspitz@tucson.com), Miami Herald (Rick Hirsch rhirsch@miamiherald.com), Chicago Tribune (John McCormick jmccormick@chicagotribune.com), TCA (Zach Finken zfinken@tronc.com).

Posted by MK at 01:11 PM |  Comments (0)

April 17, 2019

New York Times Adopts Erroneous 'Palestine' Terminology

In two recent articles, The New York Times has incorrectly referred to the present day West Bank or Gaza Strip as "Palestine," contrary to Times style. References to modern "Palestine" in the West Bank and Gaza are inaccurate, and those areas should be referred to as the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or, where, appropriate (in the West Bank), "Palestinian Authority territories."

First, a book review by Jouman Khatib errs, stating "When [author Isabella] Hammad, 27, first visited Palestine six years ago. . . "

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In addition to appearing online, the article also appeared April 4 in the Books section, then again April 5 in the New York edition, and a third time April 11 in print in the International New York Times.

A separate online article ("She was forced to marry in Bangladesh . . .") likewise errs: "As of mid-March, 73 women had stayed at Asiya -- all immigrants from Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, or Yemen . . . "

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In August 2017 and in December 2016, The New York Times commendably corrected this identical error. Other media outlets which have corrected in the past include National Geographic, The Los Angeles Times (screen capture below), and Voice of America.

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Posted by TS at 03:41 AM |  Comments (0)

April 04, 2019

The New York Times' Slow Reaction to Hamas Crackdown on Palestinian Protesters


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The New York Times took a slight jab at Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, in a recent story about Hamas's crackdown on Palestinian protesters who spoke out against its policies in Gaza.

The March 24 story, which points out that Hamas beat protesters and journalists and arrested about 1000 of its citizens, made a point of contrasting the government's "assiduous" reporting on casualties during violent anti-Israel riots with its silence about those injured during the internal protests:

Gaza’s Health Ministry, which has assiduously reported on the nearly 200 Palestinians killed and thousands wounded by Israeli troops during often-violent protests along the fence dividing Gaza from Israel, has not reported the number injured by Hamas in quelling the protests.

Indeed. What the Times doesn't tell you, though, is that it's guilty of the very same discrepancy.

While the newspaper gave some press to last year's anti-Israel protests already during the planning stages, days before rioters first gathered on the Israel-Gaza border, its March 24 story was the first time the reporters seriously covered the Hamas crackdown, which had been going on for two weeks with hardly a passing mention.

Here's a (partial) timeline that shows when Times reporters, eventually, decided to run a story on the violence:

March 10: Hamas arrests, and reportedly tortures, 13 Palestinian activists planning the demonstrations.

March 14: The protests and crackdown begin. The Associated Press covers the story, noting that "Videos circulated on social media showed police firing live rounds in the air, beating protesters and hauling them into police vehicles."

March 15: Haaretz reports on "Hamas police officers shooting, beating and arresting protesters, as well as detaining journalists and human rights activists," and CBS News is among the news outlets worldwide picking up AP coverage about how Hamas "violently broke up a rare protest by demonstrators angry about the dire living conditions in Gaza."

March 16: AP, China's Xinhua, and Palestinian reporters in the West Bank are among those reporting on the unrest.

March 17: Reuters and the Jerusalem Post are among those covering the crackdown and noting that the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process strongly condemned the "campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against protesters, including women and children, in Gaza over the past three days" and the "brutal beating" of reporters and rights activists.

March 18: Amnesty International decries "beatings, arbitrary arrest and detentions, and torture and other forms of ill-treatment since 14 March." In the UK, the Telegraph reports serious injuries as "videos appeared to show officers clubbing unarmed protesters."

March 19: AP, CNN, NPR, Al Jazeera, the Independent, and Ma'an are among those covering the Hamas violence.

March 20: Human Rights Watch publishes a report and
Hamas itself acknowledges the story, apologizing " for any psychological or material harm inflicted on any Palestinian citizen."

March 21: On the Opinion pages, a New York Times columnist criticizes his own newspaper's failure to cover the crackdown, saying it, and the Western press in general, "for too long has been depressingly incurious about any form of Palestinian suffering for which Israel cannot be held responsible."

March 22: etc...

March 23: etc...

March 24: ... and finally, the news pages of the paper that promises "all the news fit to print" gets around to writing a story about the crackdown.

Why so slow? See the March 21 entry above.

Posted by gi at 03:08 PM |  Comments (0)

April 03, 2019

CNN’s Zakaria Deals With U.S. Proclamation Recognizing Golan As Part Of Israel

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Fareed Zakaria hosted an eight-minute discussion of the Golan matter at the end of his weekly (weekend) program, “Global Public Square “ (GPS) hour-long Cable News Network (CNN) broadcast. The broadcast, on both CNN and CNN International, aired on March 30, Saturday, with repeats on Sunday.

In his introductory comments in the Golan segment, Zakaria claimed that there is a question “about the legality of that gift [President Trump’s proclamation recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israeli territory].” However, he failed to elaborate on what he meant by the “legality” question. Presumably he hoped that either of his quests would pick up on it but that didn’t happen.

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Zakaria discussed the matter with Peter Beinart, author and commentator, and Einat Wilf, author and former Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset (parliament) and had previously served as an Israeli military intelligence officer.

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Beinart, persistent critic of the Jewish state, has routinely authored error-laden commentaries disparaging Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

The segment featured an interchange of views in which Beinart criticized the recognition of Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan, saying that “[While] nobody thinks that Israel is going to give back the Golan Heights to Syria during a civil war… there are two dangerous precedents. The first is the notion that if you take territory by force, you can keep it, which the Russians are already saying is a precedent for what they've done in Crimea. The second is the precedent that Israel might apply this to the West Bank to annex parts of the West Bank, settlements in the West Bank.”

Wilf disagreed, saying, “The only precedent that was set was that Syria and other Arab actors were allowed to operate for decades with zero consequences for aggression. Syria could invade Israel, refuse to recognize Israel, refuse to set an international border, use the plateau of the Golan Heights in order to shell down on Israeli civilians, host terrorist organizations that were responsible for some of the worst attacks on Israeli civilians.”

Beinart expressed disagreement with Wilf’s assessment on precedents and noted that the proclamation “was a blatant American interference in the Israeli election … if we want people to stay out of our elections, we should stay out of their elections.” Beinart here had the last word.

This seems like generally good advice although overstated (at the least) or misplaced in this instance. This advice seems applicable to the 2015 Israeli election. The interference, at that time intended to hurt the chances of the prime minister, has been documented by, among others, the Washington Post. Unsurprisingly, there’s no indication that Beinart has ever complained about U.S. interference in that Israeli election.

The inadequacy of the discussion

Wilf was not able to provide adequate balance mainly since Beinart was allowed to dominate, including having the last word. Viewers could have been informed of the historical/biblical aspect of the Golan. The ancestors of today’s Jewish Israelis resided in the Golan long before any Arabs or any Muslims arrived in the area. Evidence of this is found in the Bible; references to the Golan are contained in Deuteronomy 4:43, Joshua 20:8, Joshua 21:27 and 1 Chronicles 6:56. The region known today as the “Golan Heights” was a part of the area of Bashan in the territory assigned to the Israeli tribe of Manasseh thousands of years ago. Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that these ancestors ever willingly relinquished their rights to the land.

Zakaria’s legality point

Zakaria might be referring to the claims that Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights violates international laws and resolutions condemning the acquisition of territory by war. But these condemnations apply only to offensive wars. Israel had seized the Golan in the defensive Six-Day War of 1967. The Syrian military had repeatedly used it to shell the Galilee area of Israel from the Golan high point putting Israeli population centers in jeopardy. Currently, if Israel were to lose control of the Golan, the Galilee would be undefended against the predations of Iran which is intent on destroying the Jewish nation-state.

As legal scholar Alan Dershowitz observed recently, “No country in history has ever given back to a sworn enemy, militarily essential territory that has been captured in a defensive war” (Alan M. Dershowitz, “Trump Is Right about the Golan Heights,” Gatestone Institute, March 30, 2019).

CNN and Zakaria are problematic

Fareed Zakaria is not the best person, given his problems regarding Israel, to host such a discussion although he was relatively muted here. Zakaria has demonstrated a compulsion to view Israel darkly, regardless of facts. In 2015 he implicitly equated the Irgun group to ISIS, the Islamist terrorist organization. Irgun was a Jewish underground military organization in 1945-1948 that fought to establish a Jewish state while usually managing to avoid non-combatant casualties. Previously he had cast the Lebanese terror group, Hezbollah, as a model of religious tolerance. Additionally, in 2014 his journalism ethics were called into question when he was caught plagiarizing.

On CNN, given its dismal record regarding coverage of the Israeli-Arab conflict, as well as the predilections of Zakaria and Beinart, the Jewish state could have come off worse here. But the broadcast still managed to mislead viewers.

Posted by MK at 07:53 PM |  Comments (0)

April 01, 2019

Is a Fake Twitter Account Outed by NY Times Really Real?

In the New York Times and Israel's Yediot Ahronot, reporter Ronen Bergman relays charges that a network of fake accounts has been activated to support Benjamin Netanyahu's drive for reelection.

An Israeli watchdog group has found a network of hundreds of social media accounts, many of them fake, used to smear opponents of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in next week's election and to amplify the messages of his Likud party, according to a report to be released Monday.

But there's been some controversy about the claims Bergman makes, including because the single example of a fake account he names in the Times article has purportedly spoken out, and insists he is a real human tweeting his real thoughts under his real name

According to the Jerusalem Post's Lahav Harkov and Alon Einhorn,

The people behind other Twitter accounts named in the Yediot report outed themselves on Monday, saying that they are not bots or paid operatives.

“What is this nonsense? I’m not allowed to support the Right?” Moshe Mahlev of Rishon Lezion told 103FM. Mahlev, who used a photo of a Greek male model for his Twitter account, was used as an example of a pro-Netanyahu bot in the article. He said he had not been called by anyone from Yediot or the Times for a reaction.

“Everything there is real, except for the photo,” Mahlev added. “What do they think, real people don’t vote for Likud in this country?”

The Washington Post likewise mentions the emergence and protest of real Twitter users in the wake of Bergman's reports.

It is certainly possible that the report, of which Bergman received in advance of its release, exposes fake accounts that violate Twitter's rules or organized efforts to violate Israeli election laws. Still, the Times in its handbook of ethical journalism promises a right of reply as follows:

Few writers need to be reminded that we seek and publish a response from anyone criticized in our pages. But when the criticism is serious, we have a special obligation to describe the scope of the accusation and let the subject respond in detail. No subject should be taken by surprise when the paper appears, or feel that there was no chance to respond.

There is no indication that the Times sought out comment from the person behind the account with the mane Moshe. The need to seek out comment by those "criticized in our pages" isn't only for the sake of the accused, but also for the sake of readers and the pursuit of truth. It's certainly possible that Moshe isn't identifiable in the real world, and that his analog reputation is safe. It's also possible that his analog reputation is at risk — Bergman doesn't know whether a real-world Moshe told friends and colleagues about his online activities.

Regardless, the claims by people who say they were named in the report but are real people posting their real views on their own behalf are clearly relevant to the story. And they counter-claims would have been part of the Times story—scrutinized and either accepted or disproved—if editors took seriously the promises in their codes of ethics.

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