August 29, 2008
Firing 40 Rockets Still Qualifies as Ceasefire
The media's attempt to be "evenhanded" or sympathetic in its coverage of the Palestinians has often been complicated by the failure of the Palestinians to abide by agreements. This has required the media to engage, at times in verbal gymnastics, redefining terms to suit existing circumstances. The term " truce" is an example. By most definitions, a truce requires both parties to cease attacks. Since Israel and Hamas agreed to a truce on June 19, rocket and mortar fire continues to fall upon Israeli territory from the Gaza strip, albeit at a much reduced rate. But since Israel has refrained from any military response, the truce, according to some in the media, remains intact. This creates a situation where only Israel can effectively breach it, or alternatively, truce compliance is defined in such a manner as to allow the Palestinians to continue acts of violence against Israel as long as these attacks remain below some indeterminate level.
A recent example of this redefining of terms appeared in an otherwise unobjectionable article in the Economist on Aug. 28 :
Since the truce began, militants have launched some 40 rockets and mortars into southern Israel. Though the makeshift Qassam rockets are seldom lethal, and have caused few injuries, they enrage the Israelis. But Israel has so far refrained from firing back, so the truce is more or less holding.
August 28, 2008
Judea Pearl Speaks Out on US Media
In an Aug. 28 column in Ha'aretz, Judea Pearl discusses the tendency of U.S. newspapers to publish outrageous criticisms of Israel and even calls for the country's dissolution, the question of responding to such charges, and the shortcomings of "balancing" Op-Eds:
Each year, in preparation for Israel's birthday, American newspaper editors feel an urge to invite Arab writers to tell us why Israel should not exist. Typical this year were the Los Angeles Times (Opinion, May 12 "Forget the two-state solution", by Saree Makdisi) and the Christian Science Monitor (Ghada Karmi "A One-state Solution for Palestinians and Israelis", May 30, 2008), where the elimination of Israel were advanced under the usual euphemism of a "one-state solution." ...
... Israel is put on trial for its very existence, while less radical commentators, if they are invited, deal with Israel's future, difficulties and achievements, but leave the accusations unanswered.
There is some wisdom to ignoring insults and unfounded accusations. By answering one tacitly bestows credence, however minimal, upon the arguments that put you on the accused bench -- the last bench that a birthday celebration deserves.
So, perhaps it is wise to write chapter and verse about Israel's achievements (as Bill Kristol did May 12, and Tom Friedman did June 8) and let the "colonial" and "apartheid" accusations hang there, unanswered, as living testimonies of the Orwellian mentality of the accusers?
I am not totally convinced. ...
... articles calling for the elimination of Israel are often balanced by articles discussingthe prospects for a peaceful settlement of the dispute. But, ironically, this "balance" is precisely where the imbalance cries out loudest, for it gives equal moral weight to a provocation that every Jew in Israel considers a genocidal death threat, most Jews view as an assault on their identity as people and most Palestinians view as an incentive to undermine or forestall peace negotiations.
Balance has its norms, logic and responsibilities, mirrored and shaped by sound editorial judgment. We do not rush to "balance" each celebration of Martin Luther King Day with articles by white supremacists, and we do not "balance" a hate speech with a lecture on breathing technique; a hate speech is balanced with a lecture on the evils of hate.
Read the entire piece here.
The Washington Post: Right, and Wrong, on Free Speech
In its August 22 editorial, “Random Error: Fearing the risk of violence, a publisher capitulates,” The Washington Post castigated Random House for cancelling publication of The Jewel of Medina. Objections — not from Iranian ayatollahs, al Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood, but from Denise Spellberg, professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas — spooked the venerable publisher.
The Jewel of Medina is described as a romance novel about Muhammad and his wives by American author Sherry Jones. According to The Post, Prof. Spellberg fulminated that “you can’t play with a sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography.” She apparently has never read The Harlot By The Side of the Road, by Jonathan Kirsch (and published by a division of Random House) or seen Monty Python’s Life of Brian and suffers preemptive clientitis. Prof. Spellberg “warned Random House of a ‘national security issue’ and told the publisher to dump the book.” After consulting “credible and unrelated sources,” Random House did so out of fear that Jewel of Medina might offend some Muslims and could incite violence by “a small, radical segment.”
Pronounced The Post, “the spirit of liberty needs reinforcement at one distinguished American book publisher .... [F]or the first time in its history — Random House capitulated, even though its own experts told it the book might be offensive only to ‘some,’ not most, Muslims. Now an “intolerant fringe, newly empowered and emboldened by this victory, will be around for a long time to come. Lending cultural institutions must stand up to it — lest the most violent acquire a veto over our most precious freedoms.”
Amnesia must have had something to do with The Post’s free speech-free press battle cry. As Joe Schwind pointed out in his August 27 letter to the editor, “Throwing Stones At Random House”:
“ ....[Y]ou would have a little more credibility on the subject if you hadn’t allowed the same potential threats to dictate how you reported the controversy two years ago over cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. The Post had its chance to assert its right to report current events as a major newspaper should by printing the cartoons, but instead you caved in to the mob just as Random House has done.”
Readers still expect The Post to publish those Danish cartoons, better late than never, and in the process of upholding the rights of free speech and a free press, show Random House the way.
August 25, 2008
Fighting a Slow Genocide with Balloons and Hearing Aids
A boat full of "peace" activists has made its way from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip, where one of the passengers, British journalist Yvonne Ridley,asserts a "slow genocide" is taking place. (By way of a reminder, the Palestinian population has quadrupled since the 1948 War.)
And what gifts did the peace activists bring to the Gaza Strip, to counter this "genocide"? According to the Associated Press, "The group delivered a symbolic shipment of hearing aids and balloons."
Hearing aids and balloons? That is the best they could do? Hearing aids and balloons? How do these activists expect to stop a supposed "genocide" with hearing aids and balloons?
If these people were serious about helping and not just getting their pictures in the paper and their faces on network television, the boats would have been filled to the gunwales with foodstuffs and medical supplies.
The lack of foodstuffs and medical supplies was not lost on everyone. Ynet reported that Gazans who showed up were disappointed at the lack of food and medical supplies on board the vessel.
Gaza activist told Ynet Saturday that local residents were disappointed by the small quantities of food brought in by two boats carrying international leftist activists.
"Many people thought these boats will make a significant contribution to break the siege, not only politically but also in terms of bringing in goods, equipment, food, and medicine," he said. "However, once it turned out these boats contain too little food and mostly activists…some people left the beach disappointed."
This episode is further proof that for certain Western "peace" activists, the Arab-Israeli is a stage upon which they can take their star turns and preen before adoring crowds on the beach of the Mediterranean Sea.
Seems they must realize that Gazans aren't in any real danger of "genocide."
August 22, 2008
NY Times Defends Slur
"Solomon had gone over the edited transcript with Gabriel before it was published," and Gabriel "had no problems with the questions or the answers, as depicted in the piece."
However, the slur "radical Islamophobe" wasn't in the article itself, but in the Table of Contents blurb promoting the article. For Hoyt to write that Gabriel agreed the questions and answers in the article were accurate doesn't in the least mean that she accepted as true the label of "radical Islamophobe." And it also doesn't mean that she didn't think the questions were for the most part preposterous. It just means that the article reflected what was asked and answered.
Gabriel is accustomed to dealing from time to time with ill-informed and arrogant reporters, so despite Solomon's obnoxious questions, Gabriel was still able to convey her important message and stimulate interest in her books:
"Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America," and "They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It."
The public is weighing in on Hoyt's lame response in the comments section that follows his column. Here are some excerpts:
Thank you for attempting to address the error made by Solomon but the ‘phobe’ does not fit. "Islam expert" perhaps, but no more ‘phobe’ than Paul Revere and his bunch warning that the British were coming. Soloman would, of course, interview Paul and write the next day of a Britophobe. Flight attendants giving instructions would be crashophobes, and so on. Should I interview Solomon I would, of course write of a truthophobe and your newspaper an apology-o-phobe.
— Posted by Paul, FL
...when we label someone phobic because they react to FACTS, we are the ones who are indeed phobic and inaccurate.
— Posted by William Buffton
We hope you will add your opinion in the comment section after Hoyt's column. Click here to go there.
August 19, 2008
Shales on Helen Thomas & Her Anti-Israel Rhetoric
In an August 18, 2008 Washington Post article, "Story with a Few Holes; Portrait of Helen Thomas Obscures Flaws," film reviewer Thomas Shales reminds readers of how unprofessional and partisan former reporter Helen Thomas was regarding Israel:
What's disappointing about Thomas, and troubling about the film, is her stridency in criticizing Israel and defending its enemies. Other than a passing reference to Thomas's parents as having been Syrian immigrants, the film never hints at Thomas's anti-Israeli rhetoric.
Especially during the current administration, her "questions" at press briefings have been more like tirades, on one occasion prompting Tony Snow, the late journalist who was then press secretary, to respond, "Well, thank you for the Hezbollah view." This would have been a pertinent and amusing clip to include in the film. Not for nothing was Thomas recently hailed as "the epitome of journalistic integrity for over 57 years" -- by the Arab American News.
On Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism
German author and journalist Henryk Broder didn't pull his punches when speaking at a public hearing on anti-Semitism before the Budestag's Domestic Affairs Committee.
Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are two sides of the same coin. ... The modern anti-Semite pays tribute to Jews who have been dead for 60 years, but he resents it when living Jews take measures to defend themselves.
... If I may in all modesty make a suggestion: leave the good old anti-Semitism to the archaeologists and antiquarians and historians. Devote your attention to the modern anti-Semitism that wears the disguise of anti-Zionism and to its representatives. You will find some of the latter among your own ranks.
You can read Broder's full speech, translated by John Rosenthal, here.
August 18, 2008
Andrew Roberts' Salute to Israel
Although it is now several months old, a piece celebrating Israel's 60th anniversary published in the London Daily Express on May 8, 2008 by noted Anglo historian Andrew Roberts is well worth the read. The editorial, "Happy Birthday, Israel and Shalom", cheers Israel's remarkable survival in the face of unrelenting hostility from its vast surrounding enemies. Roberts' intimate knowledge of British history shows in his reflection on the unsavory role that the British government played in assisting Arab efforts to squelch Israel at its birth. Roberts also raises the interesting question as to why no member of the British royal family has ever visited Israel. The piece is reproduced below in its entirety.
Regarded as one of Britain's most eminent historians, Roberts has over the years written a number of pointed articles reflecting upon aspects of the conflict. His piece in the London Times in April 2004, "Lessons of history no. 52 : those brains at the Foreign Office always got it wrong," reveals how Arabists at the foreign office blinded by their Arab sympathies and ambivalence toward Jewish survival were consistently wrong in their judgements about the Middle East conflict.
At a time when the BBC and its British media cohorts routinely engage in Israel-bashing and give precedence to a pro-Palestinian narrative over truthful reporting, the Daily Express editorial stands out for its encompassing perspective on the miracle of Israel's survival and success.
The State of Israel has packed more history into her sixty years on the planet – which she celebrates this week – than many other nations have in six hundred. There are many surprising things about this tiny, feisty, brave nation the size of Wales, but the most astonishing is that she has lived to see this birthday at all. The very day after the new state was established, she was invaded by the armies of no fewer than five Arab countries, and she has been struggling for her right to life ever since.
From Morocco to Afghanistan, from the Caspian Sea to Aden, the 5.25 million square miles of territory belonging to members of the Arab League is home to over 330 million people, whereas Israel covers only eight thousand square miles, and is home to seven million citizens, one-fifth of whom are Arabs...
The Jews of the Holy Land are thus surrounded by hostile states 650 times their size in territory and sixty times their population, yet their last, best hope of ending two millennia of international persecution – the State of Israel – has somehow survived.
When during the Second World War, the island of Malta came through three terrible years of bombardment and destruction, it was rightly awarded the George Medal for bravery: today Israel should be awarded a similar decoration for defending democracy, tolerance and Western values against a murderous onslaught that has lasted twenty times as long.
Jerusalem is the site of the Temple of Solomon and Herod. The stones of a palace erected by King David himself are even now being unearthed just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Everything that makes a nation state legitimate – blood shed, soil tilled, two millennia of continuous residence, international agreements – argues for Israel’s right to exist, yet that is still denied by the Arab League. For many of their governments, which are rich enough to have solved the Palestinian refugee problem decades ago, it is useful to have Israel as a scapegoat to divert attention from the tyranny, failure and corruption of their own regimes.
The tragic truth is that it suits Arab states very well to have the Palestinians endure permanent refugee status, and whenever Israel puts forward workable solutions they have been stymied by those who interests put the destruction of Israel before the genuine well-being of the Palestinians. Both King Abdullah I of Jordan and Anwar Sadat of Egypt were assassinated when they attempted to come to some kind of sane accommodation with a country that most sane people now accept is not going away.
The process of creating a Jewish homeland in an area where other peoples were already living – though far fewer of them than anti-Israel propagandists claim – was always going to be a complicated and delicate business, and one for which Britain as the Mandated power had a profound responsibility, and about which since the Balfour Declaration of 1917 she had made solemn promises.
Yet instead of keeping a large number of troops on the ground throughout the birth pangs of the State of Israel, Britain hurriedly withdrew all her forces virtually overnight on 14 May 1948, thus facilitating the Arab invasions the very day, one of which was actually commanded by a former British Army officer, John Glubb (known as Glubb Pasha). Less than four years earlier, Britain had landed division after victorious division in Normandy, now “Partition and flee” was the Attlee government’s ignominious policy, whose consequences are still plaguing the world half a century later in Kashmir and the Middle East.
“We owe to the Jews,” wrote Winston Churchill in 1920, “a system of ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind, worth in fact the fruits of all wisdom and learning put together.”
The Jewish contribution to finance, science, the arts, academia, commerce and industry, literature, philanthropy and politics has been astonishing relative to their tiny numbers. Although they make up less than half of one per-cent of the world’s population, between 1901 and 1950 Jews won 14% of all the Nobel Prizes awarded for Literature and Science, and between 1951 and 2000 Jews won 32% of the Nobel Prizes for Medicine, 32% for Physics, 39% for Economics and 29% for Science. This, despite so many of their greatest intellects dying in the gas chambers.
Civilization owes Judaism a debt it can never repay, and support for the right of a Jewish homeland to exist is the bare minimum we can provide. Yet we tend to treat Israel like a leper on the international scene, merely for defending herself, and threatening her with academic boycotts if she builds a separation wall that has so far reduced suicide bombings by 95% over three years. It is a disgrace that no senior member of the Royal Family has ever visited Israel, as though the country is still in quarantine after sixty years.
After the Holocaust, the Jewish people recognised that they had to have their own state, a homeland where they could forever be safe from a repetition of such horrors. Putting their trust in Western Civilisation was never again going to be enough. Since then, Israel has had to fight no fewer than five major wars for her very existence. She has been on the front line in the War against Terror and has been fighting the West’s battles for it, decades before 9/11 or 7/7 ever happened. Radical Islam is never going to accept the concept of an Israeli State, so the struggle is likely to continue for another sixty years, but the Jews know that that is less dangerous than entrusting their security to anyone else.
Very often in Britain, especially when faced with the overwhelmingly anti-Israeli bias that is endemic in our liberal media and the BBC, we fail to ask ourselves what we would have done placed in their position? The population of the United Kingdom of 63 million is nine times that of Israel. In July 2006, to take one example at random, Hizbullah crossed the border of Lebanon into Israel and killed eight patrolmen and kidnapped two others, and that summer fired four thousand Katyusha rockets into Israel which killed a further forty-three civilians.
Now, if we multiply those numbers by nine to get the British equivalent, just imagine what WE would do if a terrorist organization based as close as Calais were to fire thirty-six thousand rockets into Sussex and Kent, killing 387 British civilians, after killing seventy-two British servicemen in an ambush and capturing eighteen. There is absolutely no lengths to which our Government would not go to protect British subjects under those circumstances, and quite right too. Why should Israel be expected to behave any differently?
Last month I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, researching a book about the Second World War. Walking along a line of huts and the railway siding where their forebears had been worked and starved and beaten and gassed to death, were a group of Jewish schoolchildren, one of whom was carrying over his shoulder the Israeli flag, a blue star of David on white background. It was a profoundly moving sight, for it was the sovereign independence represented by that flag which guarantees that the obscenity of genocide – which killed six million people in Auschwitz and camps like it – will never again befall the Jewish people. Happy birthday, Israel and Shalom.
NYT Maligns Brigitte Gabriel as Islamophobe
In the August 17th New York Times Magazine, the author Brigitte Gabriel is unfairly and inaccurately labeled as a "radical Islamophobe." To be a radical Islamophobe means to have an irrational fear of radical Islam/Muslims, or to be prejudiced against them. It's interesting, and outrageous, that the Times' editors apparently believe that opposition to Islamic totalitarianism and supremacism must by definition be irrational or arising from prejudice.
Since when did it become irrational or prejudiced to oppose supremacists who scorn, harass and/or murder people for not being the "right" religion? Does the New York Times similarly label as crazy or bigoted the many Americans who oppose white supremacists?
* What oh-too-clever title did the Times use for this article about a Lebanese Christian activist who opposes the spread of Islamic totalitarianism? "The Crusader."
While normally calling an activist a "crusader" is a compliment, in the context of a Christian opposing Islamic totalitarianism, it inappropriately juxtaposes Gabriel's legitimate criticism of Muslim extremists with the Christian Crusaders who murdered thousands of Muslims (and Jews) in the Crusades.
* Furthermore, in the interview itself, reporter Deborah Solomon posed several inappropriate questions, such as:
"Are you an agent of the U.S. government? "
"Are you underwritten by the C.I.A.?"
"But I see that R. James Woolsey, a former director of the C.I.A., serves on the board of American Congress for Truth, your educational foundation."
Apparently in Deborah Solomon's world, one must be on the U.S. government payroll to want to sound the alarm about militant Muslim supremacists.
Another stunningly absurd question from Solomon:
"If you are worried about death threats, why would you put a glamorous photograph of yourself on the cover of your new book?"
Presumably Solomon feels that Brigitte Gabriel should wear a burka, or hide altogether, to appease the Islamists who want to kill her for speaking out against them? Why does Solomon feel it is somehow questionable for Gabriel to be "glamorous"?
Earlier Complaints about Solomon from Tim Russert, Ira Glass and her own editor
This is not the first time that Solomon's judgement and professionalism have been called into question. Times' Public Editor Clark Hoyt and New York Times Magazine Editor Gerald Marzorati did so themselves in a long column last year about Solomon's questionable questions and quotations. Click here to read their complaints, as well as those from Tim Russert, Ira Glass, and the current "Ann Landers."
Who is Brigitte Gabriel?
We urge the Times to publish an apology/correction regarding the inaccurate label of "radical Islamophobe" for Brigitte Gabriel. They should also remove the inaccurate description from their Web site.
Below are the blurb and article:
Table of Contents Blurb:
NY TIMES MAGAZINE | August 17, 2008
Questions for Brigitte Gabriel: The Crusader
Interview by DEBORAH SOLOMON
The best-selling author and radical Islamophobe talks about why moderate Muslims are irrelevant, the lessons we should have learned from Lebanon and dressing like a French woman.
August 17, 2008
Questions for Brigitte Gabriel
Interview by DEBORAH SOLOMON
As a Lebanese-Christian immigrant who spent her girlhood amid the bloody devastation of the Lebanese civil war, you have lately emerged as one of the most vehement critics of radical Islam in this country. Are you concerned that your new book, "They Must Be Stopped," will feed animosity toward Muslims?
I do not think I am feeding animosity. I am bringing an issue to light. I disapprove of any religion that calls for the killing of other people. If Christianity called for that, I would condemn it.
What about all the moderate Muslims who represent our hope for the future? Why don't you write about them?
The moderate Muslims at this point are truly irrelevant. I grew up in the Paris of the Middle East, and because we refused to read the writing on the wall, we lost our country to Hezbollah and the radicals who are now controlling it.
In your new book, you write about the Muslim presence in America and bemoan the rise of Islamic day schools and jihad summer camp. Is there really such a thing?
Yes. Instead of taking lessons on swimming and gymnastics, the kids are listening to speakers give lectures titled "Preparation for Death" and "The Life in the Grave."
You also lament the public foot baths that have been installed at the University of Michigan and elsewhere to accommodate Muslim students.
I lived in the Middle East for the first 24 years of my life. Never once did I see any foot-washing basins in airports or public buildings. So why are they pushing them down the throats of Americans?
I can't get upset if people want to wash their feet before they pray.
This is the way they are taking over the West. They are doing it culturally inch by inch. They don't need to fire one bullet. Look what is happening in Europe. Do we want to become like "Eurabia"?
But relatively few Muslims live in this country - about three million, or 1 percent of the population, whereas Amsterdam, for instance, has been estimated to be as high as 24 percent Muslim. They started as guest workers in Europe; they grow at a much faster rate than any other religion.
Your last book related the story of your childhood in southern Lebanon, where you hid out in a bomb shelter for seven years after your house was destroyed by a Muslim militia. Were you surprised it became a best seller?
No, I was not surprised. Anyone can relate to a story about human suffering inflicted by radicals.
Are your parents still in Lebanon?
I became an orphan at the age of 23. Both my parents are buried in Israel, on Mount Zion, with Oskar Schindler.
Why did you bury them in Israel?
I wanted to honor my parents. After all, it is the Holy Land. And I wanted to ensure that both my children will know where my loyalty lies - with Israel, because Israel for me represents democracy, respect and human rights, something that no other country in the Arabic world offers.
Are you an agent of the U.S. government? No.
Are you underwritten by the C.I.A.? No. Are you kidding? In 2000, I voted for Al Gore.
But I see that R. James Woolsey, a former director of the C.I.A., serves on the board of American Congress for Truth, your educational foundation.
We also have John Loftus, a staunch Democrat and former Justice Department prosecutor. We are not Red or Blue.
Where do you live?
I do not share that information because of the death threats I receive.
Threats from anyone we know?
Al Qaeda mentioned my name on their top Internet sites and recently sent a press release about my work.
If you are worried about death threats, why would you put a glamorous photograph of yourself on the cover of your new book?
In Lebanon, we were raised to be glamorous, feminine and sensual. It's the only good thing we inherited from the French.
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED, CONDENSED AND EDITED BY DEBORAH SOLOMON
August 17, 2008
AP: Israel "Traded Threats" w/Iran
AP Equates Israeli Self-Defense with Iranian Threats of Genocide
The Associated Press article "Iran tests rocket for future launch of satellite," by Nasser Karimi, offers a particularly flagrant example of media moral equivalency between Islamist terror and Israeli self-defense. The story notes that Iran's "fledgling space program, like its nuclear program, has provoked unease abroad." But its only reference to Iran's repeated threats to destroy Israel appears in the 14th and final paragraph, which states:
"Israel, which is about 600 miles away from Iran, has often traded threats with the Islamic republic."
Iran has repeatedly threatened to annihilate Israel and its citizens, but Israel has never threatened to destroy Iran and its people. In the past, the Israelis have responded to potential nuclear threats (e.g. in Iraq and Syria) with pinpoint strikes against the nuclear facilities, but they generally do not announce or "threaten" these actions ahead of time, and such actions are hardly comparable to genocide.
Israel has "traded threats with" Iran? Is that how AP sees the conflict between Iran and Israel?
Let's see ... on Oct. 26, 2005, in a speech to a "World Without Zionism" conference, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed that "Israel must be wiped off the map." He also said that "Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury."
On August 3, 2006, he said that "the main solution for the conflict is elimination of the Zionist regime."
On November 13, 2006, he said "Israel is destined for destruction and will soon disappear."
On January 23, 2007, he said "the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives."
On February 28, 2007, he said "Zionists are the true incarnation of Satan."
On April 18, 2007, he said Iran "seeks peace and security all over the world and wants to have relations with all nations and states except for the Zionist entity."
On June 3, 2007, he declared that "the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed" and said that "we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future."
On October 5, 2007, he said the "creation of the Zionist regime, [and the] continuation of its existence ... are an insult to human dignity," and insisted that the world should not think that Iran and other countries in the region "will take off their hands off the throat of the Zionists and their supporters."
On January 30, 2008, he said "I warn you to abandon the filthy Zionist entity that has reached the end of the line" and said "the life of Zionists will sooner or later come to an end."
On February 20, 2008, he said "World powers have created a black and dirty microbe named the Zionist regime and have unleashed it like a savage animal on the nations of the region."
On May 8, 2008, he referred to Israel as a "stinking corpse."
And on June 2, 2008, he stated that "The Zionist regime has lost its raison d'etre. ... [T]his germ of corruption will be wiped off," and asserted that Israel "will soon disappear off the geographical scene."
Perhaps his most ominous recent threat, however, was on May 13, 2008, when he said that "the life of Zionists will sooner or later come to an end" and stated that "regional nations hate this fake and criminal regime [Israel] and if the smallest and briefest chance is given to regional nations they will destroy it."
These statements of contempt for Israel, dehumanization of Israelis, and repeated vows to bring about Israel's annihilation are clearly very serious threats -- not just to Israel's security, but to its very existence and the lives of its people.
By contrast, while Israel has made clear that it takes these threats seriously and will act to defend itself if necessary, it has not "threatened" to target Iran's civilian population, nor has it expressed an intent to annihilate Iran in the manner that Iran has threatened Israel. For example, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz recently stated: "If Israeli, U.S., or European intelligence gets proof that Iran has succeeded in developing nuclear weapons technology, then Israel will respond in a manner reflecting the existential threat posed by such a weapon. Israel takes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements regarding its destruction seriously. Israel cannot risk another Holocaust." This is clearly an assertion of Israel's right to self-defense, not a threat.
Notably, when Israel carried out successful pinpoint strikes against nuclear weapons development sites in Iraq in 1981 (after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had publicly vowed to "burn half of Israel" with the nuclear weapons he was developing) and in Syria in 2007, Israel took steps to prevent civilian casualties.
Surely, the Associated Press is aware that there is a difference between Iran's president REPEATEDLY threatening to carry out a genocide against tiny Israel, on the one hand, and an Israeli deputy minister responding to these repeated threats by acknowledging that his country takes Iran's threats to Israel's existence seriously, on the other hand. Yet the AP report whitewashes the extreme nature of Iran's threats by summarizing this exchange as merely a case of Israel "trad[ing] threats" with Iran.
- Stephen A. Silver
August 13, 2008
NBC Olympics Web Site Awards West Bank to “Palestine”
There is currently no state of Palestine, and no international border between Israel and Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank). The borders and territory of any future Palestinian entity are disputed. However, the NBC Olympics Web Site includes a map showing Judea and Samaria (the West Bank, along with with the Gaza Strip) as part of a country called “Palestine.” Conversely, a map of Israel is shown minus that territory. In other words, NBC mapmakers are playing political arbiters and have awarded the disputed territory to the Palestinians.
The Palestine country page shows:
The Israel country page shows:
August 12, 2008
UPDATED: Reuters Rewrites Rulership of West Bank
|UPDATE: To its credit, Reuters has corrected the erroneous language.|
Today's Reuters story about Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's peace offer to the Palestinians gets wrong the basic history of Palestine.
The piece, "Palestinians reject proposal by Israeli PM," asserts:
Under the proposal, Israel would return to the Palestinians some 92.7 percent of the occupied West Bank, plus all of the Gaza Strip, according to Western and Palestinian officials briefed on the negotiations.
In fact, it is impossible to "return" West Bank land to the Palestinians, as they never were the sovereigns of this territory.
Before 1967, when the West Bank came into Israeli hands, the territory was ruled (and annexed) by Jordan. Prior to that, it was under British rule. Before that, it was Ottoman territory. The Egyptians ruled for some time, as did the Mamluks, the Crusaders, Arab Caliphs, and a number of other ancient empires.
But the Palestinians are not on this list. So while the West Bank could technically "return" to Jordanian or British sovereignty, it could not, however, return to Palestinian sovereignty.
August 08, 2008
The Power of Numbers?
"We don't boycott a quarter of humanity."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy made this comment this specifically about China, in response to criticism of his presence at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic games.
One can't help but wonder, though, if a similar calculus has fueled what Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini recently described as the European Union's "unbalanced stance vis a vis Israel."
The population of the Arab world is roughly 300 million. Israel's population is about 7 million (5.5 million of whom are Jews).
Not Reassured by Kristof's "Expert Reassurances"
In Aug. 7 column in the Jerusalem Post, Calev Ben-David weighs in on "Tough love for Israel," the recent piece by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.
Kristof doesn't write often on Israel, and has no particular expertise or experience in this region. The Far East is more his bailiwick. But that doesn't deter him from occasionally dropping by here and penning the odd piece, usually dedicated, for the most part, to berating Israel's policy toward the Palestinians, and laying on it most of the blame for failure to reach a peace agreement with the Arabs.
August 03, 2008
IHT Corrects Jerusalem Error
Report: Hamas Tortured Cameraman
The head of ARD's Tel Aviv bureau, Richard C. Schneider, told German radio that Sawah Abu Saif, who was released overnight after being held for five days, had been badgered for information about the network's reporting in the region.
"He was tortured during his detention," he said. "We was questioned about the work of ARD. They wanted to know everything about the staff and correspondents and why ARD reported so much negative news about Hamas."
Schneider said Saif had been told that he would remain under surveillance after his release and that the cameraman was afraid of further mistreatment. . .
The head of the broadcaster, Fritz Raff, said he was shocked by the abuse of Saif and his condition when he was released.
"If Hamas wanted to know while interrogating Saif why ARD reported news that was supposedly negative about it, they certainly gave us another reason to do it," he said.
Raff said ARD would now have to examine how it could continue to report from Gaza while Hamas "trampled on freedom of the press".
August 01, 2008
Arab States Renege on Commitments to Western Diplomacy
Western leaders have invested much time and energy into finding a path to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is in large part a response to pressure from Arab states, who have impressed upon Western leaders their view that Western support for Israel is the chief cause of hostility towards the West.
Yet when offered the chance to play a constructive role, the Arab states do not act in a manner consistent with a desire to assist Western efforts. Last December, Western and Arab governments agreed upon a plan to help prop up the West Bank Palestinian Authority as an alternative to Hamas, because, unlike the intractable Hamas, it is viewed as a partner in any future peace agreement with Israel. Wealthy Arab states pledged to provide a large share of the needed funds.
A Jerusalem Post article on July 31, 2008 highlights the fact that the Arab states have so far reneged on their commitment despite desperate appeals for help from Palestinian President Abbas and Prime Minister Salam. According to the Post, the Arab states have set as a condition for providing the promised aid that the more moderate West Bank leadership bury its differences with Hamas, the Islamist organization irrevocably opposed to peace with Israel.
Their is as yet little discussion in the media as to what Arab efforts to reconcile the Iranian-backed Hamas and the West Bank Fatah government implies for peace prospects. Much of the Western media continues to micro-focus on minor disturbances in the West Bank, disputes over visas for Fulbright fellows in Gaza or allot precious space to providing a forum for a convicted Lebanese terrorist to deny his witnessed atrocities. The Jerusalem Post deserves praise for its exposure of the broader issues of the conflict, like the Arab states' reneging on their commitment to support Western diplomatic efforts.
Wash Post Distorts Jerusalem History
In its July 29, 2008 article "Olmert: No Accord on Jerusalem This Year," the Washington Post referred to "East Jerusalem, which Israel seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war."
The word "seized" is prejudicial in this context because it suggests that Israel deliberately set out to capture the Jordanian-occupied part of the city in an unprovoked war of conquest. This turns the facts of the Six-Day War on its collective head, as it was Israel that was besieged and attacked in what the Arabs had intended to be a war of destruction for Israel. If Jordan hadn't attacked Israel, Israel would not have had to fight back and end up gaining eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.
In the month leading up to the Six-Day War, Egypt expelled United Nations peacekeepers from its border with Israel, poured hundreds of tanks and thousands of troops into the Gaza Strip, and blockaded Israel's port of Eilat -- an act of war under international law. On May 26, 1967, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser declared bluntly: "The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel."
Israel pleaded to Britain, France and the United States for help. All refused to intervene on Israel's behalf, leaving Israel to fend for itself, alone against the Arab world. Taking notice of the situation, Time magazine's June 9, 1967 cover said ominously: "ISRAEL: The Struggle to Survive," and its cover story about Israel's plight was titled "A Nation Under Siege."
When war did erupt between Israel and Egypt on June 5, Israel begged Jordan to stay out of the conflict, but King Hussein rebuffed Israel's pleas and attacked. Jordan struck Israel's Knesset building, prime minister's office and Hadassah Hospital (Ein Kerem), all in Jerusalem, and indiscriminately targeted Israeli communities from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, killing 20 Israeli civilians and wounding more than 1,000.
Only then, after Jordan had attacked Israel and killed Israelis, did Israel respond militarily, leading to Israel gaining control over eastern Jerusalem and reuniting it with the rest of Jerusalem, from which it had been separated by Jordanian occupation since 1948. There was never a government policy before the war to reunite Jerusalem, even though eastern Jerusalem included the Western Wall, Temple Mount, and the ancient Jewish Quarter of the Old City, from which all Jews had been ethnically cleansed and thereafter barred by Jordan since Jordan seized the city in 1948.
These facts notwithstanding, Post stories on the Middle East frequently refer to Israel as having "seized" eastern Jerusalem (e.g., Jan. 23, June 29, Oct. 31, Nov. 19, 2000; May 9, Oct. 24, 2001; Feb. 10, 2004; May 30, 2006; Feb. 10, 11, June 21, Nov. 24, 2007), as though, through repetition alone, the Post could turn this fallacy into a fact.
The Post rewrites rather than reports history when it repeatedly claims that Israel "seized" eastern Jerusalem in 1967, rather than point out that it took the Jordanian-occupied part of the city in a successful war of self-defense.
- Stephen A. Silver