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April 27, 2006

Senior Israeli Official: Sweden is the Country Most Hostile to Israel

The Jerusalem Post reports the claim by a senior Israeli official that Sweden is the country most hostile towards Israel.

The latest anti-Israel indications are the Swedish government's recent decisions a) to withdraw from an international air force exercise because Israel is a participant and b) to grant Hamas terrorist leaders visas to enter Sweden.

Israeli newspapers report that Sweden's Ambassador to Israel Robert Rydberg was invited to the Foreign Ministry to clarify these decisions.

During their Jerusalem meeting Director-General Ron Prosor expressed his grievance to Swedish envoy Robert Rydberg that his nation rejected Israel as a colleague in the European exercise. “Whoever rejects Israel rejects itself as a player in the peace process,” Prosor emphasized to Rydberg. He added that Stockholm’s move “could be interpreted as support for those in the international community who call for the de-legitimization of Israel.”

As for the decision to grant visas to anti-Israel terrorists:

The [Israeli] Foreign Ministry Director General expressed his concern regarding reports that Sweden was planning to breach the West’s boycott of Hamas, and offer entry permits to areas of Hamas activity. Prosor noted that this could be a precedential step by a European country, which could be interpreted as approval of terrorism and terror organization.



Posted by RH at 12:46 PM |  Comments (0)

April 21, 2006

Hotbeds of Extremism Exposed

With few exceptions, the American media has tended to ignore the widespread Palestinian incitement to anti-Israel violence which has continued ever since the Palestinian Authority, along with Israel, committed under the Interim Agreements (aka Oslo II) to "foster mutual understanding and tolerance, and ... abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda ...."

CAMERA conveyed to the former Public Editor of the New York Times, for example, that

the single greatest failure of the New York Times in its reporting since the beginning of Oslo has been the omission of anti-Israel hate-indoctrination purveyed via Palestinian schools, mosques, television, radio, newspapers, summer camps, public rallies, political pronouncements and more.

Now, with Hamas—whose charter is a prime example of such inciteful material—in power, the issue certainly continues to be relevant.

So it is commendable, as well as timely, that the German Der Spiegel published a report a couple of days ago entitled "What Muslims Hear at Friday Prayers." The piece pointed out a number of examples of benign and commendable sermons, but did not shy away from describing and commenting on the toxic, hateful homilies that are unfortunately all too common in the Muslim world.

It notes:

Islam has many faces, and on the Friday before the Prophet's birthday, SPIEGEL correspondents visited mosques from Nigeria to Indonesia to listen to the sermons of the imams. They were there in part to look into a suspicion that has taken hold in the West, especially since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Have the mosques been transformed from a place of prayer into a hotbed of extremism and center of Islamist indoctrination?

Some certainly have. At an April 14 sermon in the Gaza Strip, the magazine reports, Imam Talal al-Majdalawi had this to say to the faithful:

... your battle with the Jews is still a long way from coming to an end. It proves that the conflict is not taking place among us and between us, but with the infidel Jews.

(See here for another Gaza preacher's comparison of Jews to AIDS.)

Posted by GI at 01:07 PM |  Comments (0)

April 20, 2006

AP Downplays Terrorist Group's Activities

Reporting on the lastest move by the new Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, the Associated Press today states:

The new Palestinian interior minister from Hamas on Thursday named a Palestinian whose group has carried out attacks on Israel to head a new security force made up of Islamic militants, a direct challenge to the authority of President Mahmoud Abbas.

The minister, Said Siyam, issued a decree appointing Jamal Abu Samhadana, the head of the Popular Resistance Committees, as director general of the Interior Ministry. Samhadana's group is responsible for many of the homemade rockets launched at Israel in recent weeks.

True, the group is responsible for many rocket attacks against Israel. But the wire service might want to check its own database. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, on April 2, AP more accurately and thoroughly described the Popular Resistance Committees as "an umbrella group of about 200 gunmen that has been linked to explosions of Israeli tanks and a deadly attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy in 2003."

That's better, but still not the entire picture. Here's an excerpt from a Feb. 9 AP report:

In other violence, two militants with a bomb belt threw hand grenades and opened fire on Israeli forces at the Erez checkpoint, where thousands of Palestinian laborers cross from Gaza into Israel every day. Israeli troops shot and killed them, and their bomb belt exploded, the army said. No Israeli soldiers were wounded, and the army closed Erez.

The Popular Resistance Committees and Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed joint responsibility for the attack at the checkpoint.

So the group is also responsible for cynically attacking a crossing point that thousands of Palestinian families—not to mention the Palestinian economy as a whole—rely on for their well being.

What else? AP, July 23, 2005:

Palestinian gunmen opened fire on an Israeli vehicle traveling on the main road connecting the Gaza Strip settlements to Israel early Sunday, killing a husband and wife and wounding four other Israelis, rescue workers and the army said. ...

In a phone call to The Associated Press, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad said the attack was carried out by a member of his group, together with gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and a group calling itself the Popular Resistance Committee.

That is, the group not only attacks Israeli military vehicles and official US diplomatic convoys, but also Israeli civilians.

AP, Jan. 4, 2005:

Palestinian militants set off a large truck bomb as gunmen stormed an Israeli base at a vital Gaza crossing Thursday, killing six Israelis and wounding five others in an attack that defied peace efforts by new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. ...

A spokesman for another group, the Popular Resistance Committees, said militants filmed the attack.

AP, April 23, 2004:

Palestinian militants stormed a Palestinian police station in Gaza City and released three men with possible links to a deadly bombing of a U.S. diplomatic convoy, an American official said Friday.

A fourth man refused to leave with the three, saying he was waiting to be formally released by Palestinian authorities in accordance with a March decision by a Palestinian court.

"We succeeded in freeing three of our brothers," Abu Abir, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees militant group, told The Associated Press. "An effort is being made with the Palestinian Authority to release the one who remains behind bars."

The Associated Press also has noted that the Committees took responsibility for killing Palestinian security official Mousa Arafat.

The aftermath of a deadly Palestinian attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy
gazaconvoy.jpg

Why is it that on the day that the Popular Resistance Committees leader becomes officially involved with the Palestinian government, the wire service started ignoring all these attacks, including the deadly attack on American diplomats, describing the group merely as one responsible for firing "homemade rockets"? Hopefully it is only a coincidence. And hopefully, future reports about the group will be more accurate about its past activities.

Posted by GI at 04:21 PM |  Comments (0)

April 19, 2006

Good Resource on Divestment Issues

A Presbyterian delegation meeting with Hezbollah in 2004
presby.jpg

On June 15, members of the Presbyterian Church general assembly will be meeting to vote on, among other issues, whether the church should stick by its decision to divest from Israel. Although the Assembly decided two years ago to begin initiate a process of selective divestment from companies doing business with Israel, a number of groups within the church are looking to overturn that decision.

A great clearinghouse of detailed information regarding the upcoming Presbyterian vote—and all things related to divestment from Israel—can be found at the informative Committee for Responsible Peace in the Middle East Web site. It's worth checking out.

Posted by GI at 05:21 PM |  Comments (0)

Confusion at the Guardian on Iran

Despite the unrelenting rhetoric of Iranian President Ahmedinejad against Israel, London's Guardian has recently published commentaries explaining Iran's desire for nuclear weapons as a response to Israeli or Western threats and suggests a conciliatory policy to wean Iran from its nuclear ambitions, describing Iran as a country that should not be driven to the "extreme." The paper tends to blur the distinction between Iran's aggressive intentions and the defensive position of Israel. Yet today, the newspaper carried a piece exposing the lengths to which the Iranians are willing to go to attack Israel, highlighting an Iranian organization's recruitment drive for British Muslims to carry out suicide bombings against Israel.

On April 4, former Guardian correspondant David Hirst, who set the tone for the paper's strident anti-Israel reporting decades ago, tried to shift the focus from Iran's threatening posture to his favorite bogeyman, Israel:

"Israel has always behaved like a 'rogue state'. It came into being as a massive disrupter of the established Middle East order, through violence and ethnic cleansing.

...For it isn't so much "the world"... that finds a nuclear Iran so intolerable, but the world on Israel's behalf; not the risk that Iran will attack Israel that makes the crisis so dangerous, but that Israel will attack Iran... But, like Israel's, Iran's nuclear quest is essentially defensive..."

This was followed on April 12, by a commentary titled If ever there was a nation not to drive to extremes it is Iran, in which Simon Jenkins writes:

One country in the region that has retained some political pluralism is Iran. It has shown bursts of democratic activity and, importantly, has experienced internal regime change. If ever there was a nation not to drive to the extreme it is Iran. If ever there was a powerful state to reassure and befriend rather than abuse and threaten, it is Iran. If ever there was a regime not to goad into seeking nuclear weapons it is Iran. Yet that is precisely what British and American policy is doing.

Today, the Guardian published an article, Iranian Group Seeks British Suicide Bombers on an Iranian group that has initiated a recruitment drive among British Muslims for suicide bombings against Israel. The group, The Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign, seeks to take advantage of the relative ease by which bearers of UK passports can enter Israel. The article reports,

the claim came hours after nine people were killed by a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv, and days after a prediction by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Israel would be blown away in a "storm".

Several hundred volunteers have signed up in the past few days. The Guardian article reported a tribute to Rachel Corrie featured among the posters of Palestinian suicide bombers decorating the exhibit for the recruitment drive.

Western diplomats "played down the significance of the group's threat, saying it was primarily a campaign to gather signatures of protest against Israel" according to the newspaper.

According to the group, recruits are instructed in target planning and military discipline before progressing to intensive urban guerrilla warfare training, involving the use of bomb belts. However, the group's spokesman, Mohammad Samadi gave assurance that "with the exception of Israel, we do not target civilians."

Posted by SS at 11:51 AM |  Comments (0)

April 18, 2006

Palestinian Incitement

An analysis piece in the Jerusalem Post by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook discusses Palestinian incitement to violence:

What drives a young Palestinian to turn his body into a bomb? Children are not born hating. It is something they learn—and the Palestinian Authority has been the ideal teacher. It has perfected the art of fomenting hatred, and promoting suicide terror.

Click here for the authors' documentation. And for more on incitement, see here and here.

Posted by GI at 05:25 PM |  Comments (0)

April 11, 2006

Who Really Pays for Public Broadcasting, Anyway?

National Public Radio’s supporters are fond of asserting that the network receives only a small portion of its annual funding from the federal government. NPR President Kevin Klose set the tone in a letter to The Washington Times (June 12, 2003): “NPR’s major source of support are [Sic.] its member stations, and only limited support — between 1 percent and 2 percent of our annual budget — comes even indirectly from the federal government through competitive grants.” Network proponents advance this minimal government support argument whenever Congress or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting threaten to review public broadcasters’ compliance with their statutory obligation of “strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature.”

Nevertheless, an important source of funding for NPR member stations — who then pay the network sizable programming and other fees — does come from the federal government by way of CPB. The entry “Who Pays For Public Broadcasting?” at CPB’s Web site (www.cpb.org/aboutpb/faq/pays.html) suggests disingenuousness by Klose and others who make the “less than 2 percent support” claim when trying to hold government overseers at bay.

CPB currently posts fiscal 2003 figures, which show federal grants and contracts at 3.9 percent — twice Klose’s “between 1 and 2 percent’ — of public broadcasting’s total revenue. But that is merely the iceberg’s tip.

Total public broadcasting revenue in 2003 was $2.3 billion. Total non-federal revenue was $1.9 billion, or 80.5 percent. But 15.5 percent, or $362 million, was provided by Congress through CPB. (The corporation is required by law to allocate 95 percent of its budget to local television and radio stations, programming, and improvements in the broadcasting system.) As noted above, a significant share of this 15.5 percent passes through the affiliates to NPR.

In fact, federal funds are, after individual and corporate donations (which make up 26 percent), the largest single source of support for public broadcasting. But government support doesn’t end there: state universities — which themselves receive federal funds — supply 13.6 percent of public broadcasting’s total revenue; local governments kick in another 2.4 percent; private colleges and universities — which also receive federal funds — are good for 1.6 percent, and other public colleges and universities supply another 1.1 percent. These figures don’t include big subsidies for conversion to digital broadcasting and network interconnection.

So, when NPR officials and others allege that by virtue of receiving merely “between 1 and 2 percent of our annual budget ... from the federal government” NPR is not “government” radio, they deploy a narrow truth to obscure a broad reality: Public broadcasting, with NPR as a major component, is in many respects government broadcasting. And governments have an obligation to account to taxpayers for expenditure of funds. NPR, as a recipient, cannot escape its own obligation to meet the law’s objectivity and balance standard. When it comes to Arab-Israeli reporting, NPR — as CAMERA has documented — too often has failed to uphold that standard. The failure comes at taxpayers’ expense.

Posted by ER at 03:52 PM |  Comments (0)

More on McGreal's "Apartheid" Canard

CAMERA's two-part analysis of the Guardian's feature comparing Israel to the old South Africa shows how "McGreal’s arguments are uniformly based either on materially false assertions, or on assertions wrenched grotesquely out of context."

Here is some more, from It's Almost Supernatural blog, on McGreal's very selective quoting of a South African Holocaust survivor:

... I spoke about [McGreal's] selective use of quotes from Don Krausz, chairman of Johannesburg's Holocaust survivors association. What better way to depict Israel as a fascist state than to use quotes from a South African Holocaust survivor to support that view?

I said I would get hold of Don Krausz and determine whether or not Chris McGreal misled us with the quotes used from Don Krausz.

I have since been in contact with Krausz and below is the email I received from him.

The email is reavealing. Read it all here.

Posted by GI at 01:31 PM |  Comments (0)

April 09, 2006

BBC Bias Continues

Criticized in the past by CAMERA for highlighting Palesitnian grievances and blaming Israel, while miniimizing or glossing over Palestinian violence and terrorism, BBC is at it yet again.

A quick glance at BBC Web site headlines this week would suggest that Israel is always the aggressor and Palestinians the perpetual victims. For example, on the increasing Palestinian rocket fire into Israel and the IDF's response, BBC headlines were:

Israeli shells kill Palestinian ( 4/9//2006 )

Six die in new Israeli air strike (4/8/2006)

Israeli missile kills two in Gaza (4/8/2006)

Six killed in Israeli air strike (4/8/2006)

Israel launches air raids on Gaza ( 4/7/2006)

Israeli missiles hit PA compound ( 4/4/2006)

Skimming these headlines, one would never know that this past week, Palestinian terrorists fired over 40 Kassam rockets from Gaza into the Negev or that since Israel withdrew from Gaza last summer, over 440 rockets were launched from PA-controlled Gaza towards western Negev communities.

Similarly, an article by Alan Johnston entitled "Jailed MPs a symbol for Palestinians " seems more like a Palestinian press release than news analysis. It paints a sympathetic portrait of jailed Palestinians and suggests that while some may have been jailed for planning suicide bombings, Israel often uses petty excuses to detain Palestinians in order to "suppress resistance" to occupation. In other words, Johnston echoes the Palestinian propaganda line. Nowhere in the article is there any description of the heinous massacres committed by the jailed terrorists.

Posted by RH at 12:22 AM |  Comments (1)

April 06, 2006

Dershowitz Responds to Walt and Mearsheimer Paper

Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government Web site has published on its Web site Professor Alan Dershowitz's paper responding to the Walt and Mearsheimer "Israel Lobby" piece.

Dershowitz, whose paper cites CAMERA's detailed refutation of Walt and Mearsheimer's claims, states:

As an advocate of free speech and an opponent of censorship based on political correctness, I welcome a serious, balanced, objective study of the influences of lobbies — including Israeli lobbies — on American foreign policy. I also welcome reasoned, contextual and comparative criticism of Israeli policies and actions. Let the marketplace of ideas remain open to all. But, as I will show, this study is so filled with distortions, so empty of originality or new evidence, so tendentious in its tone, so lacking in nuance and balance, so unscholarly in its approach, so riddled with obvious factual errors that could easily have been checked (but obviously were not), and so dependent on biased, extremist and anti-American sources, as to raise the question of motive. ...

This is not academic writing. There is no weighing of evidence. Mearsheimer and Walt simply chose the most insidious explanation – which also happened to be the least plausible explanation – and dismissed all other possibilities without even an acknowledgement that other interpretations are possible.

Read it here.

Posted by GI at 02:48 PM |  Comments (2)

April 05, 2006

"Yes, It's Anti-Semitic"

An Op-Ed in today's Washington Post, entitled "Yes, It's Anti-Semitic," weighs in on the widely criticized Walt and Mearsheimer working paper on the "Israel Lobby." After explaining why he calls the piece a "wretched piece of scholarship," Eliot A. Cohen, the Op-Ed writer and a professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, reaches a couple of conclusions.

On whether the paper is anti-Semitic, he writes:

If by anti-Semitism one means obsessive and irrationally hostile beliefs about Jews; if one accuses them of disloyalty, subversion or treachery, of having occult powers and of participating in secret combinations that manipulate institutions and governments; if one systematically selects everything unfair, ugly or wrong about Jews as individuals or a group and equally systematically suppresses any exculpatory information — why, yes, this paper is anti-Semitic.

Hinting at the paper's underlying attempt to repress pro-Israel voices, Cohen writes that

To dispute [Walt and Mearsheimer's] view of Israel is not to differ about policy but to act as a foreign agent.

Might Cohen, then, be acting as a "foreign agent"? He notes:

I am a public intellectual and a proud Jew; sympathetic to Israel and extensively engaged in our nation's military affairs; vaguely conservative and occasionally hawkish. In a week my family will celebrate Passover with my oldest son -- the third generation to serve as an officer in the United States Army. He will be home on leave from the bomb-strewn streets of Baghdad. The patch on his shoulder is the same flag that flies on my porch.

Other supposed members of "The Lobby" also have children in military service. Impugning their patriotism or mine is not scholarship or policy advocacy. It is merely, and unforgivably, bigotry.

Read the whole piece here.

radioislam cartoon.gif
Cartoon found on the virulently anti-Semitic Radio Islam Web site.

Posted by GI at 09:53 AM |  Comments (0)

April 02, 2006

Coddling Syria’s Dictator on PBS

rose-assad.jpg

Airing on PBS stations on March 27, Charlie Rose’s March 23 interview of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad indulged the Syrian dictator. While Rose did challenge Assad’s appalling ignorance of the true nature and extent of the Holocaust, he didn’t do nearly as well with Assad’s explanation of terrorism against Israel.

In reply to Rose’s question about Hamas terrorism, Assad blamed Hamas terrorism on “occupation of the Palestinian territory” and said:

If you want to see the picture you have to see the whole picture. If you talk about violence, let us talk about four thousand Palestinians killed during the last five years while on the other side, the Israeli side, few hundred are killed. So if you want to talk about the violence and you call this violence terrorism, Israel killed more Palestinians than the Palestinians killed Israelis.

Rose failed to mention that the Oslo agreements brought an end to nearly all Israeli military presence in the West Bank until the Palestinian suicide bombings required a reversal of Israeli policy.

As to Assad’s numbers game, Rose could have mentioned that the last five years or so of Palestinian violence claimed approximately a thousand Israeli lives (not a “few hundred”) of whom approximately 80% have been innocent civilians. Whereas on the other hand, the three thousand or so Palestinians killed through Israeli actions were mostly combatants (about 35% were non-combatants). (See ICT for details.)

That is, as these statistics show but as Rose failed to mention, Palestinian terrorists target innocent civilians while the Israeli Army targets terrorists only, with collateral casualties being unintended.

Rose also failed to correct Assad’s misstatement of the meaning of UN resolutions (passed just after the 1967 War) pertaining to Israel’s borders:

ASSAD: Security Council resolutions define the borders by June 1967.

Rose should have been aware that no Security Council resolution defines Israel's borders. Resolution 242, which calls only for undefined "secure and recognized boundaries," was carefully worded to call for the withdrawal “from territories,” not “the territories.” This language, leaving out “the,” was intentional, because it was not envisioned that Israel would withdraw from all the territories, thereby returning to the vulnerable pre-war boundaries. The resolution’s actual wording calls for “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”

The British U.N. Ambassador at the time, Lord Caradon, who introduced the resolution to the Council, has stated that “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial.” Likewise, the then American Ambassador to the U.N., former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, has stated that, “The notable omissions–which were not accidental–in regard to withdrawal are the words ‘the’ or ‘all’ and the ‘June 5, 1967 lines’ ... the resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal.” This would encompass “less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territory, inasmuch as Israel’s prior frontiers had proved to be notably insecure.”

For more on Charlie Rose, click here.

Posted by MK at 08:24 PM |  Comments (1)