September 28, 2007
UCU Boycott Deemed "Illegal"
"UCU announced today that, after seeking legal advice, an academic boycott of Israel would be unlawful and cannot be implemented."
See the details here.
September 25, 2007
Columbia Privileges Dictator Over His Victims
Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, gave Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a dressing down yesterday, calling him a petty and cruel dictator who lacks the intellectual integrity to respond to questions put to him. It made for a dramatic confrontation, but President Bollinger's challenge to Ahmadinejad raises a few questions.
If Ahmadinejad is an intellectually dishonest and cruel tyrant who oppresses his people, denies the Holocaust, intimidates scholars and intellectuals and is intent on destroying Israel, as Lee Bollinger says he is, then why give the man a podium at Columbia University? Isn't the UN enough?
And while we're at it, why not give his victims a chance to speak? Why not invite them to speak in response to Ahmadinejad's appearence at the UN?
Gays and lesbians live in fear for their lives in Iran. Representatives of the Bahai faith here in the U.S. have been working tirelessly to generate coverage of the mistreatment their co-religionists have suffered in Iran. The Bahai are denied access to colleges, vocational education and to jobs in Iran. They are subject to routine attacks. Read the reports and you'll see that the treatment of the Bahai in Iran is eerily similar to the treatment of the Jews in 1930s Germany.
Who has a greater moral claim to podiums at prestigious universities like Columbia -- Iran's persecuted religious and sexual minorities or Ahmadinejad, the public face of the regime that terrorizes them?
It's a simple question.
The sad fact is, the official news agency in Iran has spun Ahmadinejad's appearence at Columbia into a public relations coup, stating that he got a standing ovation.
Institutions like Columbia that enjoy freedom in the West have an obligation to those who do not. At the very least, they should not help legitimize or mainstream cruel and petty tyrants. They also have an obligation to allow victims of tyrants to speak on their own behalf.
The testimony of Ahmadinejad's victims would have been much more powerful, meaningful, and educational than any dressing down given to Ahmadinejad by a university president looking to salvage his school's reputation.
Top 200 Chomsky Lies
Paul Bogdanor has compiled a handy list of Noam Chomsky's top 200 lies on topics ranging from Israeli-Arab wars and Communism to Latin America and himself.
September 24, 2007
Avoids issue: Washington Post on 'Mideast Core'
Washington Post editorials on Arab-Israeli and larger Middle East issues have been generally clear-eyed and factual for the past year and more. They often contrast favorably with The Post’s Arab-Israeli news coverage. But “The Mideast Core; Condoleezza Rice nudges Israelis and Palestinians into talking about the terms of a final settlement,” fails.
Logical contradictions sink this September 24 editorial. The Post:
* Recommends that Secretary of State Rice should “discourage Israel from intensifying the ongoing conflict with Hamas-ruled Gaza by shutting off its electricity and fuel supplies. It’s hardly possible that [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert will be able to negotiate peace with one set of Palestinians while waging war against another.” No. One set of Palestinian Arabs, those in the Fatah-run West Bank, will be unable to negotiate peace while another set, those in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, are waging war on Israel. The Post inverts responsibility for aggression, responsibility for stopping it, and then argues against effective Israeli self-defense.
* Suggests — having confused cause-and-effect — that “Instead, Israel should be open to striking a cease-fire with Hamas and opening peace talks with Syria.” Hamas has used previous de facto “cease-fires” to rearm while letting Palestinian Islamic Jihad, “Popular Resistance Committees” (reportedly including Hamas members), and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (Fatah) continue attacks. The Post gives no reason to suggest things would be different now. Meanwhile, the government of Syria, like a brazen Mafia family, collaborates in the assassination of Lebanese politicians and journalists; assists Iran with the rearming of Hezbollah; reportedly cooperates with North Korea on nuclear weapons and Iran on chemical ones; and subverts U.S. interests in Iraq. “Peace talks” with Israel would help Damascus deflect international pressure.
* Proposes that, if Israeli and Palestinian negotiators fail, “the United States could offer its own specific bridging proposals on such issues as Israel’s final borders.” An agreement based not on compromises negotiated by the parties but rather on outside “bridging proposals” will lack the political investment of the parties directly concerned. It will present a target to domestic critics and likely be unable to muster lasting popular support. And an Israel that turns issues including its borders over to the United States may undercut its legitimacy in the Middle East and beyond.
Three days earlier, The Post editorial “Shock Waves From Syria; Did Israel bomb a secret nuclear facility equipped by North Korea?” commented in a measured, illuminating manner on important, if ambiguous, news. Though “The Mideast Core” uses the same analytical tone as “Shock Waves From Syria,” and acknowledges that “many of the necessary conditions for a Middle East [Arab-Israeli] settlement are conspicuously absent,” it illogically asserts that the Bush administration has “set the stage for an Israeli-Palestinian breakthrough” and so “must spare no effort to make it happen.” The editorial avoids “the Mideast core” issue it claims to address: When it comes to Arab-Israeli negotiations, the Arabs still do not want to negotiate — they want a settlement, based on Israeli concessions, pre-cooked by outside powers. A Post editorial on the real core problem would insist A) other concerned Arab states, especially Syria and Saudi Arabia, recognize Israel diplomatically, and B) Arab and Israeli negotiators actually negotiate a compromise, with U.S. mediation, not U.S. initiation.
NYT/IHT Remake of a Hamas Militant
Over the weekend, the New York Times and International Herald Tribune incorrectly reported that a Palestinian casualty was a civilian, completely ignoring Israeli claims and independent evidence to the contrary. Jerusalem bureau chief Steve Erlanger reported:
During the [Nablus] operation, one Israeli soldier and two Palestinians -- one gunman and one civilian -- were killed.
CAMERA contacted the papers, pointing out that the Israeli army maintains that both Palestinians killed were militants, and that other news agencies such as AP and UPI reported the discrepancy in claims.
Furthermore, Ha'aretz reported that "Palestinian sources said Salim was, however, 'a Hamas member.'" Even more compelling evidence of Salim's status as a militant comes by way of the photographs of his funeral, such as the one above, in which he is wrapped in the Hamas logo.
Thus, while it is disputed whether or not Salim was involved in fighting at the time of his death, even Palestinians acknowledge that he was a Hamas member, and therefore not a "civilian."
The Israeli Army said upon investigation that both the Palestinians who died were gunmen. No civilians were killed.
But why should anyone believe the Israeli army over the "Paper of Record"? The only way to fix the situation is to print a clarification explaining that while Palestinians say one of the Palestinian casualties from Nablus was not involved in fighting when he was killed, the Israeli army disputes this. Furthermore, the slain man was a Hamas member, and therefore not a civilian.
Anything less is a copout.
September 23, 2007
The Los Angeles Times' favorite Op-Ed writer Saree Makdisi is back, this time slamming Israel's decision to declare the Gaza Strip "hostile territory" as a "war on Gaza's children." He is countered by Benny Morris, who defends the Israeli policy.
But, for a stronger rebuttal, see blogger Carlos' "Collective Hypocrisy: Justifying Gaza's Rocket War."
Also, Marty Peretz addresses the charge that Israel's move is a violation of international law:
Immediately comes Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, saying that this would violate international law. What international law? He didn't specify. Because there isn't any that prohibits such action in these circumstances. When does a designated enemy which is attacked daily supply enemy territory and an enemy population with provisions necessary to carry out aggressive action?
Complicit in Jihad
American terrorism expert Steven Emerson talks with the Jerusalem Post about how the U.S. media and government are complicit in the spread of Islamic radicalism in America. He excoriates the press:
There is a criminal trial presently under way in Texas of a suspected Hamas charity. The revelations that have emerged in the trial - probably the most striking findings since those that came out in the 1949 Alger Hiss trials - are that the Muslim Brotherhood had secretly set up shop in the US under the cover of "charitable" organizations, with the specific purpose of waging jihad from within and subverting the United States until it became a Muslim country. Yet, neither The New York Times nor The Washington Post published these findings. . . .
The elite newspapers, with the exception of The Wall Street Journal, systematically censor the news in order to downplay the threat, or at worst, literally distort the facts to falsely portray radical Islamic groups in the United States as victims, which is exactly in line with the victimology propagated by these groups. If misreporting were a crime, a lot of reporters would be in jail. . . .
Though it's true that moderate Muslims may interpret jihad as a spiritual struggle, radical Islamic clerics who aren't trying to "spin" the West say openly that jihad means only one thing: fighting for the sake of imposing Islam. And it's both obscene and corrupt that certain media outlets talk about it as though it were no more than quitting smoking or cleaning up the environment. The 3,000 killed on 9/11, and the 1,500 Israelis killed during the second intifada, died because the perpetrators were carrying out jihad.
September 21, 2007
Stephen Walt's Best Reasons to Abandon Israel
And the number one reason Stephen Walt thinks American should dump one of its closest and allies and the only functioning democracy in the Middle East is ...
September 20, 2007
French Court Demands Release of Al Dura Tape
The Israeli army isn't the only one demanding that France 2 release the uncut raw footage from Charles Enderlin's Mohammed Al Dura story.
September 18, 2007
UNRWA Head Sees No Evil, Hears No Evil
UNRWA commissioner-general Karen Koning-Abu Zayd wears glasses, but they don't appear to be doing her much good. In a softball interview today, Ha'aretz's Akiva Eldar asks her: "If you were Israeli, would you trust the Palestinians?" To which she amazingly responds:
Yes, and I believe that this will work, and that they are really interested in a two-state solution. Even Hamas people talk about the two-state solution and the Israeli state. They've accepted that.
Really? Well nevermind, then, the numerous Arabic statements by Hamas leaders to the contrary, like:
Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan, speaking April 2, 2007 on Al Manar TV:
In other words, I will not accept a agreement saying that at the end of the day, Haifa, Jaffa, and Acre are Israeli cities, and part of the Israeli land. It should, at the very least, say that these cities cannot be liberated or regained today, but I will not accept any solution that prevents any future Palestinian generation from acting to liberate and regain the rest of the Palestinian land, if the current generation is incapable of accomplishing this.
[...] This [Zionist] entity is incapable of making peace. This entity is based on plundering and aggression. Seeking peace with it is a waste of time. What should be sought is a true solution, which will restore all the Palestinian rights, and will lead to an end to the existence of this entity in the region. (Translated by MEMRI)
Ahmad Bahr, then acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, from Hamas, said on Sudan TV April 13, 2007:
Allah willing, 'you will be victorious,' while America and Israel will be annihilated, Allah willing. . . Oh Allah, vanquish the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, vanquish the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one. Oh Allah, show them a day of darkness. Oh Allah, who sent down His Book, the mover of the clouds, who defeated the enemies of the Prophet - defeat the Jews and the Americans, and bring us victory over them. (Translated by MEMRI)
Palestinian Media Watch brings us more such statements:
Dr. Khalil Al-Hayyah, member of the Hamas political leadership and the Palestinian Legislative Council, stated:
The Hamas movement bases its strategy and its policy on that the option of resistance is the only option that can liberate Palestine from its [Mediterranean] sea to its [Jordan] river [ie destroy Israel]. [Al-Risalah, Hamas newspaper, April 19, 2007]
Hamas spokesman, Dr. Ismail Radwan, confirmed …that his movement will not recognize any existence of the Israeli enemy on an inch of Palestinian land and said,
We will liberate Palestine, all of Palestine...Palestine will not be liberated by negotiations, committees and decisions, it will only be liberated by the rifle and the “Al-Qassam” [rocket]. Therefore, prepare yourselves. [Al-Risalah, Hamas newspaper, April 9, 2007]
In a video of Ahmad Yassin broadcasted regularly March – May 2007, the founder and former head of Hamas anticipated the destruction of Israel:
Tel Aviv is gone. They are defeated, they have no words left. ... When this process will end, they will become a state with no ability, helpless. They established a state to protect the Jews from death and murder. If death and murder chase them in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya and everywhere among them, then they will say: 'What am I doing here? I founded a state to protect me from death, and if death chases me, I want to flee and go back to Europe and America.' [Al Aqsa TV, regularly, March – May 2007]
Former Foreign Minister and Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, stated:
Our position is the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine. This is the final and strategic solution for us. There is a Quranic message for us, that we will enter the Al-Aqsa mosque, and the entrance to the mosque means the entrance into all of Palestine. This is the message, no one can deny it. Anyone who denies it must check his faith and his Islam. [Al-Ayyam, March 25, 2007]
'Jenin, Jenin' Opens In Court
Hearings begin today in the 2.5 NIS lawsuit brought by five Israeli soldiers against Israeli Arab actor and director Muhammad Bakri for producing the film "Jenin, Jenin," the Jerusalem Post reports:
Basing itself mainly on interviews with Palestinians in the refugee camp after the fighting ended, but also on film clips, Bakri portrayed Israeli troops as committing a series of war crimes. Although he described the film as a documentary, he did not interview Israeli officials or give them an opportunity to refute the allegations contained in the film.
The Post goes on to list several of the disputed allegations.
CAMERA's review of "Jenin, Jenin" details additional apparent falsehoods.
September 17, 2007
IDF: Turn Over Uncut Al Dura Tape
On September 10, the deputy commander of the IDF's Spokesman's Office, Col. Shlomi Am-Shalom, submitted a letter to the France 2 television network's permanent correspondent in Israel, Charles Enderlin, regarding Enderlin's story from September 30, 2000, in which he televised 55 seconds of edited footage from the Netzarim junction in the central Gaza Strip purporting to show IDF forces shooting and killing 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura. . . .
In his letter, Am-Shalom asked for the entire unedited 27-minute film that was shot by France 2's Palestinian cameraman Talal Abu-Rahma that day, as well as the footage filmed by Abu-Rahma on October 1, 2000. Am-Shalom requested that the broadcast-quality films be sent to his office no later than September 15. France 2 has yet to hand over the requested film.
The IDF's move came against the backdrop of French media watchdog Philippe Karsenty's legal battle with France 2 regarding the network's coverage of the al-Dura affair.
September 10, 2007
NYT: 'All the Journalists Are Worried, Scared'
Steven Erlanger of the New York Times reports today on the state of fear and censorship that Gaza journalists live in under the Hamas regime:
Trying to nurture a reputation for honesty and legal behavior since they conquered Gaza in bloody fighting in June, Hamas’s leaders promise journalists freedom of action while the police intimidate them.
One result is a kind of self-censorship, local journalists say, that goes beyond what they traditionally practiced under Fatah, which also tried to pressure, manipulate or own the Palestinian press.
In other words, while talking heads like Mousa Abu Marzook in the Los Angeles Times promise to treat journalists with dignity, Hamas thugs on the ground arrest and beat journalists and confiscate their cameras.
Palestinian journalists describe a confusing situation, in which Hamas, as a fundamentally religious organization new to politics and used to obedience, is putting undue pressure on the news media, especially with regard to the use of television images and photographs. . . .
One policeman told reporters, according to The Associated Press, “If a single shot is on TV, you know what will happen,” then drew a finger across his throat.
September 09, 2007
Reporters Without Borders Notes Hamas Abuse
Reporters Without Borders has issued a press release condemning Hamas' Sept. 3 closure of the
Gaza Strip branch of the Union of Palestinian Journalists, most of whose members are affiliated to Fatah or support it. At the same time, Hamas has decided to create a Government Committee for the Media.
“Even if the union was very pro-Fatah, this interference in a journalists organisation is unacceptable,” the press freedom organisation said. “After its decision to apply a press law going back to 1995 that allows it to step up control of the media, Hamas has again adopted arbitrary measures designed to restrict journalists’ freedom even more.”
The press release notes the Aug. 31 wounding of two foreign journalists by Hamas' Executive Force and the arrest of a Palestinian journalist.
So much for Mousa Abu Marzook's promise to treat journalists "with dignity."
September 06, 2007
Ha'aretz Editor to UN: Israel is Apartheid State
The JTA reports that Danny Rubinstein of the Ha'aretz editorial board is unrepentant for his Aug. 30 comment at a UN Palestinian conference that Israeli is an "apartheid state." UN Watch describes the conference itself as "a wolf in sheep's clothing" which "excluded anyone representing Israel's position."
Speaking later in London under the sponsorship of the New Israel Fund, Rubinstein pointed out that "apartheid" is a term "he and his newspaper increasingly use." While Rubinstein maybe representative of Ha'aretz, it is becoming ever more clear that Ha'aretz is not representative of Israel.
In the conference's one-sided lineup, Rubinstein joined Raji Sourani, who justifies Hamas attacks as "resistance;" Jamal Juma, who describes Israel as a "colonial racist apartheid state;" Leila Shahid, Palestinian envoy to the EU and cousin to late PLO leader Yassir Arafat; several other Palestinian officials; and Middle Eastern or European representatives of pro-Palestinian lobby groups and campaigns for boycotts and sanctions against Israel.
Rubinstein has proven himself as a worthy member of the small group "of selected Israeli presenters who are ardent advocates for Palestinian claims," as described by UN Watch. According to UN Watch head Hillel Neuer, "by citizenship they may be Israeli, but only a scoundrel or a fool would imagine these token Israelis as representatives of their nation's point of view."
September 04, 2007
Washington Post Praises Israeli Terrorism Courts
In an editorial remarkable for its contrast with much of the paper’s own Arab-Israeli news coverage, The Washington Post’s “Israel’s Example; Fighting terrorism without sacrificing due process” (September 4) reports important basic facts. The lead sentence:
“No one would say that Israel is soft on terrorism, which makes it all the more fascinating that a country that essentially lives under siege provides so many legal accommodations to those it detains as unlawful combatants.” One can read much Washington Post foreign reporting without getting the sense that Israel “essentially lives under siege.”
The commentary notes that “even non-citizens captured outside the country and designated unlawful combatants are entitled to due process in Israeli civilian courts.”
The editorial errs by referring to the West Bank only as “the occupied territories” without noting that the occupation is legal, the result of Israel’s successful self-defense in 1967, and that the area’s status also is that of “disputed territory.” And the commentary’s purpose is not to compliment Israel but to allow The Post to contrast unfavorably U.S. judicial treatment of non-combatants with Israeli procedures.
Nevertheless, “Israel’s Example” gives readers important, fundamental information, and should be commended for that. — ER
Chronicle: Hamas Abuse of Journalists
The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has compiled a list of such incidents as well as demonstrations protesting the control and mistreatment of journalists.