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February 25, 2009

Time Magazine Fails to Correct Errors

UPDATE: Time Magazine Published Clarifications, but they obfuscated more than they clarified.
Click here to read about the Dismal Clarifications.
**********************************

It is now clear that, even according to the UN, Israel did not attack the UN school in Gaza in January of 2009 and no one inside the school was killed. CAMERA contacted Time magazine editors, urging them to correct the January 7, 8, and 14th articles, as well as any others which made similarly inaccurate claims that Israel shelled a UN school and killed 40 civilians seeking shelter inside the school. As of February 24th, Time has failed to set the record straight.

As reported by Ha'aretz, February 3rd,

"Maxwell Gaylord, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Jerusalem, said Monday that the IDF mortar shells fell in the street near the compound, and not on the compound itself.

"Gaylord said that the UN 'would like to clarify that the shelling and all of the fatalities took place outside and not inside the school.' " [ www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1061189.html ]

Israel struck back at Hamas combatants who were launching rockets at Israel from near the school. 3 Israeli shells landed in the vicinity of the school, but not inside the school compound. Not a single person inside the school was killed, although 9 Hamas terrorists were killed and unfortunately 3 (not 40) nearby civilians.

Following are Time magazine articles that need to have corrections published, particularly the online versions that people continue to read.

Online versions of these articles should have corrections placed at the beginning of the article.

* UN Says No Hamas Fighters Were in Bombed Gaza School
by Tim McGirk, January 07, 2009
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1870087,00.html

Inaccuracy: Headline states that "Gaza School" was "Bombed"

Inaccuracy: "Before the school was hit by Israeli bombs..."

* Can Israel Survive its Assault on Gaza
by Tim McGirk, January 08, 2009 [ appears in online January 19 issue ]
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1870314,00.html

Inaccurate statement:
"Instead, the deaths of at least 40 civilians taking shelter at a United Nations-run school north of Gaza City are more likely to become the dominant image of the war. "

The dominant image, pushed by McGirk, is an utterly false one.
Israel did not attack the school, and no one in the school was killed. Israel did attack Hamas combatants who were launching rockets from nearby the school, killing 9 of them and unfortunately 3 civilian bystanders.

It is a double war crime for Hamas to launch rockets at Israeli civilians, and to launch the rockets from a Palestinian civilian area, thereby endangering the civilians nearby who are at risk when Israel fires back at the combatants. It's interesting that there are no separate articles describing Hamas' war crimes.

* Fighting the Media War in Gaza
by Andrew Lee Butters, January 14, 2009
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1871487,00.html

Inaccurate statement: "When Israeli forces shelled a United Nations school that left more than 40 dead,"

Israel did not shell a UN school and 40 people inside the school were not killed. No one inside the school was killed.

Israel did fire back at Hamas terrorists who were launching rockets at Israeli civilians from nearby the school, killing 9 Hamas combatants and 3 civilians (not 40).

CAMERA looks forward to seeing the corrections of these serious errors. So far, as of February 24th, Time magazine has failed to set the record straight.

Other articles debunking the myth of Israel shelling the UN school, killing 40 civiliians.

http://camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=1633

http://camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=1625

http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/new/Did_Israel_Shell_a_UN_School_The_Truth_Exposed.asp

Posted by LG at 11:50 AM |  Comments (4)

February 23, 2009

Harsh Critic of Israel Rethinks Stance

Observer (UK) columnist Nick Cohen wrote a surprising essay,"Hatred Is Turning Me Into a Jew," published in London's Jewish newspaper, in support of Israel's military strikes against Hamas. "Surprising," because Cohen has long been a harsh critic of Israel. What turned him around? His disgust with the escalating anti-Semitism and the fascist behavior that comes along with it, the double standards applied to Israel and Jews, and the realization that Jews are the canary in the coalmine.

Here are some excerpts:

British Jews are living through a very dangerous period. They are the only ethnic minority whose slaughter official society will excuse. If a mass murderer bombed a mosque or black Pentecostal church, no respectable person would say that the "root cause" of the crime was an understandable repulsion at the deeds of al-Qaeda or a legitimate opposition to mass immigration. Rightly, they would blame the criminal for the crime.

If a synagogue is attacked, I guarantee that within minutes the airwaves
will be filled with insinuating voices insisting that the "root cause" of
the crime was a rational anger at the behaviour of Israel or the Jewish
diaspora...

As the struggle between theocracy and liberalism intensifies, I can see some
being pushed into taking the same journey I have taken and finding their
views towards Judaism and Israel softening as they realise that antisemitism
helps drive the fascistic ideologies of the 21st century just as it drove
the Nazism of the 20th.

I will tell them that the opponents of totalitarianism must never be
frightened. If their enemies say they are Jews, they should shrug and say:
"All right, I am."

For the whole column, click here or read below.

Hatred is turning me into a Jew

Nick Cohen
The Jewish Chronicle
February 12, 2009

The more the British Left indulges antisemitism, the more kosher I feel
My name is Nick Cohen, and I think I'm turning into a Jew. Despite being
called "Cohen", I've never been Jewish before. It's not simply that I am an
atheist. My Jewish friends tell me that it is hard to find an educated
London Jew who is not an atheist, but that I have no connection with Jewish
culture.

The Jewish side of my family is my father's (which is not a help, I gather).
My great grandparents fled from the Tsarist Empire at the time of the
pogroms, but their son, my grandfather, revolted. He became a Communist and
married outside the faith. My father was brought up with no connection to
Judaism and, inevitably, so was I.

My sole interest in Jewish concerns came from being a left-wing opponent of
the far Right, and the blood-soaked antisemitic superstitions which turned
Europe into a graveyard. When I was young, such attitudes seemed
unproblematic. You did not have to be a Jew to oppose fascism; everyone I
knew did that regardless of colour or creed.

Today the old certainties have gone because there are two far-right
movements: the white neo-Nazi parties that the Left still opposes; and the
clerical fascists of radical Islam which, extraordinarily, the modern Left
succours and indulges. I am not only talking about Ken Livingstone, George
Galloway and their gruesome accomplices in the intelligentsia. Wider liberal
society is almost as complicit. It does not applaud the Islamist far Right,
but it will not condemn it either. From the broadcasters, through the
liberal press, the Civil Service, the Metropolitan Police, the bench of
bishops and the judiciary, antisemitism is no longer an unthinkable mental
deformation. As long as the conspiracy theories of the counter-enlightenment
come from ideologues with dark rather than white skins, nominally liberal
men and women will not speak out.

Fight back and you become a Jew, whether you are or not. Mark Lawson
recently described an argument at the BBC over the corporation's decision
not to screen the charity appeal for Gaza. His furious colleague declared
that the only reason Lawson supported the ban was because he was Jewish.
Lawson had to tell him that he was, in fact, raised a Catholic.

A furious Labour MP was no different when he told a colleague of mine that I
had gone off the rails when I married a "hard-right" Jewish woman from North
London. My friend replied that this would be news to my wife, a liberal
Catholic from Stoke-on-Trent.

It was kind of him to point that out, but I would no longer protest that I
wasn't Jewish, and I don't think Lawson should either. It is cowardly to
stammer that you are not a Jew because you concede the racist's main point —
that there is something suspect about being Jewish — as you do it.

In any case, my experience of left-wing antisemitism has changed the way I
think and made me, if you like, more Jewish.

Although I want to see every Israeli settlement on the West Bank dismantled,
it was clear to me that when Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel it
had declared war and had to accept the consequences. I would not have
thought that five years ago.

You do not need me to add that mine is a minority point of view among
liberals, and that British Jews are living through a very dangerous period.
They are the only ethnic minority whose slaughter official society will
excuse. If a mass murderer bombed a mosque or black Pentecostal church, no
respectable person would say that the "root cause" of the crime was an
understandable repulsion at the deeds of al-Qaeda or a legitimate opposition
to mass immigration. Rightly, they would blame the criminal for the crime.

If a synagogue is attacked, I guarantee that within minutes the airwaves
will be filled with insinuating voices insisting that the "root cause" of
the crime was a rational anger at the behaviour of Israel or the Jewish
diaspora.

Put like this, the position of British Jewry sounds grim. Remember, however,
that the first aim of radical Islam is to subjugate Muslims. When brave
feminists, gays, democrats and liberals in the Muslim world and in Britain's
Muslim communities make a stand, they, too, are accused of being the tools
of Zionists.

As the struggle between theocracy and liberalism intensifies, I can see some
being pushed into taking the same journey I have taken and finding their
views towards Judaism and Israel softening as they realise that antisemitism
helps drive the fascistic ideologies of the 21st century just as it drove
the Nazism of the 20th.

I will tell them that the opponents of totalitarianism must never be
frightened. If their enemies say they are Jews, they should shrug and say:
"All right, I am." As long as readers of the Jewish Chronicle don't object,
of course.

Nick Cohen is a columnist for The Observer. His latest collection of essays,
'Waiting for the Etonians: Reports from the Sickbed of Liberal England', is
published this week

Posted by LG at 01:37 AM |  Comments (6)

February 22, 2009

Israel's Actions Legal & Restrained

Too many in the media fail to note Hamas' real war crimes, yet they condemn Israel for military actions that are actually quite restrained and entirely legal. Below is a summary (from www.dailyalert.org) of an INSS report rebutting the most serious and erroneous allegations against Israel.

Israel's Gaza Operation and International Law - Robbie Sabel (Strategic Assessment-Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

* International law and the UN Charter recognize the inherent right of states to use force in self-defense against an armed attack. The right applies even if the attack is by irregular forces.

Hamas has not denied that its attacks were targeted at Israeli towns; such attacks are a violation of the laws of war. The IDF correctly saw itself as being bound by the laws of war in its conduct, notwithstanding the total disregard of these rules by its opponents.

* The IDF repeatedly warned civilians of impending attacks, using leaflets and mass telephone messages. It does not appear that any other military has ever taken such steps to minimize civilian casualties, nor is there any other similar conflict on record in a built-up area where the percentage of civilian casualties in relation to combatant casualties was lower.

* Israel uses phosphorous shells in flares and smoke shells. Such shells are standard equipment in all NATO militaries as well as the Arab states' armed forces. They are of course dangerous to handle when burning but absolutely legal. The International Committee of the Red Cross has confirmed that there was no evidence that these shells were used in Gaza in any irregular way.

* Once an armed conflict develops, international law does not require proportionality of response. A state defending itself may indeed strive to cause disproportionate damage to its enemy's military targets and military capabilities. Let the attacking state or organization beware.

Dr. Robbie Sabel, a former legal adviser to the Israel Foreign Ministry, teaches international law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.


[ hat tip: www.dailyalert.org ]


Posted by LG at 04:22 PM |  Comments (0)

February 20, 2009

Omission of Key Kerry Quote Slants NY Times Gaza Report

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"All the News That’s Fit to Print" (but don’t mention the selective omissions)

The Feb. 20 report - about U.S. Senator John Kerry’s trip to the Gaza Strip - by NY Times correspondent Taghreed El-Khodary was unbalanced and unfair to Israel due to at least one important omission. This statement made by Senator Kerry speaking to a Palestinian lawyer is not found in the El-Khodary article, "Congressmen and Kerry Visit Gaza":

"Your political leadership needs to understand that any nation that has rockets coming into it over many years, threatening its citizens, is going to respond."

Some television newscasts of Feb. 19 showed Kerry making this statement and Reuters news dispatches carried the statement.

Not surprisingly, the Boston Globe edited version of the El-Khodary article (also omitting the Kerry statement) is at least as slanted as the Times story.


Posted by MK at 10:00 AM |  Comments (0)

February 17, 2009

Hamas Suspected Of Stealing Unexploded Weapons In Gaza

Unexploded weapons have mysteriously gone missing from a repository in Gaza while under Hamas guard.

The Israeli government has accused Hamas of the theft.

UN officials are desperately trying to locate the arms.

Posted by MMS at 10:53 AM |  Comments (1)

February 16, 2009

Hamas Turns Medicine Into Grenades

Hamas turned medicine bottles into grenades. Has the mainstream media in your town reported on this sickening example of Hamas' misuse of humanitarian aid? If not, urge them to report the story. For photos of the medicine bottle grenades and for more details, click here to read the Jerusalem Post article.

Posted by LG at 12:05 PM |  Comments (2)

February 15, 2009

C-SPAN's Disgraceful Behavior

csp8.jpg csp-scully.jpg

Robb Harleston and Steven Scully

“These European Jews - they are pretended Jews. They are the scum of the planet Earth and they are just like their father, the Devil.”

These hateful words concluded the uninterrupted tirade of a Dec. 30, 2008 7:53 AM phone call aired by C-SPAN (aka Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network) on the Washington Journal broadcast hosted by Robb Harleston. Washington Journal continues to air calls containing hateful, slanderous messages about Jews and Israel – and the hosts routinely indicate tacit approval of these messages by simply continuing on without disassociating themselves - either verbally or through body language - from these tirades. Because no condemnation is heard or sensed, it tends, for numbers of viewers, to make anti-Semitism seem normal and acceptable discourse. CAMERA's C-SPAN report cited shocking instances from the period Nov. 29 to Dec. 30, 2008. One cannot reasonably imagine that such hateful views would be tacitly accepted if the target was say, African-Americans, Asians, Muslims or Arabs.

The February 8, 2009 Washington Journal broadcast, hosted by Steven Scully, asked viewers for comments on the topic, "Obama administration's foreign policy." The "comment" supplied at 7:49 AM by a caller from Gardner, Kansas consisted of a slanderous attack on Jews and Israel. As is the usual case, the host allowed the caller to proceed uninterrupted and neither the host nor guest (a White House correspondent) condemned the anti-Semitic nature of the call or pointed out any of the wild inaccuracies. This call can be viewed on the C-SPAN Web site.

Here is this rant in its entirety:

I have a polar opposite point of view from the previous caller. I think our biggest problem is how much money we are sending to Israel. We are sending $20 billion a year since 1961. If you add it up, that's nearly a trillion dollars. That is why we are so in debt right now. We are essentially financing it on the backs of our children to keep Israel busy and to make sure that they have plenty of arms to kill innocent Palestinians with. I also do not believe that Israel has any right to the land that they are on. If you look back in the history, in 1949 and back to 1914 - the Balfour Declaration - England had trouble with all of the Jewish people coming out to England from the wars and they essentially settled them on the Palestinian land. It was Palestine. The first thing that the pre-Israelis did was to burn the courthouses and they also massacred three villages of people, two Muslim and one Christian, and therefore the entire land did open up in front of them, that was in '49, to where they could march in and say, "Oh, gee, the land was abandoned." It wasn't. There were businesses, restaurants, orchards, courthouses. Everything there that you would expect a populace to have. The media in this country have for years tried to tell us that the Palestinians were nothing but a nation of nomads. That's complete fallacy. Some of them were nomadic because they, frankly, moved their herds from grazing land to grazing land as the grazing land got depleted.

The host, Steven Scully, gave a green light to further such anti-Semitic, preposterous tirades by following it up only with:

Issues that this gentleman, George Mitchell, will be facing. He is on the cover of CQ Weekly. (The magazine is shown on the screen).

Likewise, the guest indicated tacit acceptance of defamatory calls by simply following up on Scully’s remarks.

The rant consisted essentially entirely of complete falsehoods and wild exaggerations. No reputable source could ever be cited for the accusations. The actual amount of financial aid to Israel is a tiny fraction, only about one seventh, of the amount falsely claimed by the caller. No massacre of villages took place, no burning of courthouses took place. The history cited by the caller was bogus history, and Israel doesn’t target civilians. The anti-Semitic remark concerning England and Jews is a falsehood.

The question arises, how could Mr. Scully fail to realize that the figure of $20 billion is wildly inflated? Is Scully not prepared educationally or professionally to refute any of the preposterous claims of the caller? One would think that as President of the White House Correspondents' Association he would have at least a minimal knowledge of the size of foreign aid packages.

Callers who base their arguments on wildly inaccurate allegations rather than facts should either be weeded out in the screening process, or the host should be prepared to point out that their allegations are false or unsubstantiated. And outright anti-Semitic comments should not be allowed on the air, or they should be soundly condemned by the host.

One would hope that the inappropriate behavior of C-SPAN hosts would alarm its Board of Directors which consists of cable television industry presidents and CEOs. The cable television industry is the source of funding for C-SPAN.

Posted by MK at 08:35 AM |  Comments (2)

February 13, 2009

BBC Still Fighting To Stop Balen Report Being Published

Balen report.gif

The BBC has lost its latest round of court battles with Steven Sugar, the British attorney who is campaigning to get the BBC to publish the Balen report - a 2004 internal report, conducted by the BBC's senior editorial advisor Malcom Balen, investigating allegations that the BBC's reporting of the Arab-Israeli conflict was skewed.

However, the BBC is still sticking to its guns. After the latest court ruling, a BBC spokesperson stated:

The Law Lords have not ruled that the Balen report should be released. What they have done is clarify the law around the jurisdiction of the information tribunal.

Mr. Sugar has stated that he will take the case to the European courts if need be.

Posted by MMS at 04:01 PM |  Comments (1)

Jimmy Carter's Difficulty With Numbers

Being a nuclear engineer may not have the same caché as a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon, but the assumption is that if you are a nuclear engineer, you have a facility with numbers that the rest of us do not have.

This assumption seems justified, unless of course the nuclear engineer in question is former president Jimmy Carter and he is writing about the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian violence over the past decade. Then it's a pretty good idea not to rely too heavily on the former president's math skills.

In his most recent book We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work, Carter substantially discounts the number of Israeli deaths at the hands of Palestinians since 2000.

On page 62 Carter writes:

During the Second Intifada and before a Gaza truce was accepted in June 2008, reliable human rights organizations reported that 334 Israeli military personnel and 719 Israeli civilians were killed. [The total is 1053 Israelis.] There were 4,745 Palestinian fatalities ...

Then on page 94, Carter writes:

B’tselem reports 1,787 Palestinians killed in the West Bank by the Israel Defense Forces and 41 by Israeli settlers between September 2000 and 2008. Qassam rockets were launched from Gaza into the nearby Israeli village of Sderot, and retaliatory strokes against Gaza cost 2,974 lives, while 580 Israelis were killed.

The problem with these numbers is obvious. While the number of Palestinian deaths is about the same (4,745 on page 62 versus 4802 on page 94), there is a significant discrepancy between the Israeli deaths (1053 on page 62 and 580 on page 94). Why the 45 percent drop in the number of deaths?

An examination of B’tselem’s website reveals the problem. The 580 figure Carter used on page 94 includes only Israelis killed inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders and omits Israelis killed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This glaring error removes almost 500 Israeli deaths from Carter’s narrative.

The problems with Carter’s statistics do not end here. On page 132, Carter reports that “from November 2000 to mid-2004 nearly four hundred Israeli soldiers and citizens were killed.” In fact, more than twice this number of Israelis were killed over the time frame Carter enunciates.

According to a report published by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), 879 Israelis were killed in the years 2001, 2002, and 2003. According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 28 Israelis were killed in the last two months of 2000, and 63 were killed in the first six months of 2004, yielding a total number of 970 Israeli deaths – far exceeding Carter’s estimate of 400 killed.

Former President Carter does not seem to have any problems accurately recounting the number of Palestinian deaths, but does seem to have a problem documenting the number of Israeli deaths in his text.

Posted by dvz at 12:00 PM |  Comments (6)

Israelis: 673 of 1134 Dead in Gaza were Terrorists

An Israeli report published today in Haaretz tallies 673 combatants among the 1134 Gazans killed in the Israeli Cast Lead operation. 288 are identified as civilians. The remainder, some 173 are not specified. Of the dead who are identified, 70 percent were combatants and 30 percent were civilians.

CAMERA's own analysis based on the data of PCHR, a leading Palestinian source, showed that at least 75 percent of those killed were males of fighting age (15-50 years old). Assuming a rate of civilian deaths among 15-50 year old males proportional to their share of the population, the data from the CAMERA analysis calculates a ratio of combatants to civilians similar to the Israeli report.

Several questions remain unanswered. Of the 30 percent of the dead who were civilians, how many were killed by Hamas ordinance? Are the Fatah loyalists killed by Hamas during the operation included in civilian figures?

Despite the international outcry and accusations of Israeli war crimes, it appears that the Israelis took considerable measures to target combatants. This is especially evident in light of Hamas's use of children as human shields, its penchant for launching rockets and mortars from civilian areas and reports of fighters commandeering civilian residences to fire upon Israeli troops.

Posted by SS at 11:03 AM |  Comments (0)

February 11, 2009

From Venezuela With Hate

A picture is worth a thousand words......especially in Caracas, Venezuela.

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The Banner reads:

Just like the Nazi Fascism of Germany didn't exterminate the Jewish people, the Genocidal Yanqui-Zionist government of Israel will not exterminate the Palestinian people.

Yanqui = Yankee

Posted by MMS at 01:53 PM |  Comments (3)

Time, Then and Now


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The headline to Time Magazine's online article about the results of Israel's election yesterday is "Israel's Election Dashes Hopes for Peace."

That is, when a centrist party that seeks a two-state solution gets the most seats in the Israeli Knesset, but the center-right block — part of which seeks a two-state solution and part of which has called for Palestinian self-rule without an independent state — is larger than the center-left block, Israeli voters are cast as having "dashed" hopes for peace.

Now let's flash back a couple of years. It wasn't too long ago that Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections. Hamas is sworn to the destruction of Israel, and it's overtly antisemitic charter states that "There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are a waste of time and a farce."

Surely, Palestinians "dashed" hope for peace when they elected Hamas, right? Not according to Time's not-very-consistent logic. The magazine's headline after that election cast peace prospects as uncertain, as something to contemplate: "Can Militants Make Peace?"

Its answer, in the article itself, was "maybe"; and the difficulties in reaching peace was cast as being related to Israeli policy as well has Hamas's.

Ah, how the times change.

Posted by GI at 12:02 PM |  Comments (2)

February 10, 2009

Hamas Slammed By Amnesty International

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A report by human rights group Amnesty International accuses Hamas of a recent and ongoing "deadly campaign" to silence opponents and 'collaborators' in the Gaza Strip.

Since the end of December 2008, during and after the Israeli military offensive which killed some 1,300 Palestinians, most of them civilians, Hamas forces and militias in the Gaza Strip have engaged in a campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of “collaborating” with Israel, as well as opponents and critics.

Amnesty also states:

The targets of Hamas’ deadly campaign include former detainees accused of “collaborating” with the Israeli army who escaped from Gaza’s Central Prison when it was bombed by Israeli forces on 28 December 2008, as well as former members of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces and other activists of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party.


Most of the victims were abducted from their homes; they were later dumped – dead or injured – in isolated areas, or were found dead in the morgue of one of Gaza’s hospitals. Some were shot dead in the hospitals where they were receiving treatment for injuries they sustained in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza’s Central Prison. The perpetrators of these attacks did not conceal their weapons or keep a low profile, but, on the contrary, behaved in a carefree and confident – almost ostentatious – manner.

The report continues:

There is incontrovertible evidence that Hamas security forces and armed militias have been responsible for grave human rights abuses and that the victims of such abuses and many others are being intimidated and discouraged from testifying about their ordeal. The Hamas de-facto administration has displayed a flagrant disregard for the most fundamental human rights norms, not only allowing such abuses to be perpetrated, but actually facilitating and encouraging the abuses by justifying them and by granting absolute impunity to the perpetrators.

Amnesty International calls on the Hamas de-facto administration to:

- immediately end the campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats in which Hamas forces and militias have been engaged since the end of December 2008;

- agree to the establishment of an independent , impartial and non-partisan national commission of experts to investigate human rights abuses committed by its forces and militias and any other parties since December 2008, and pledge to cooperate with such a commission and allow it to carry out its work;

- guarantee that victims, witnesses and others who testify or otherwise complain about human rights abuses will not be targeted, harassed or intimidated;

- undertake to take the necessary steps to address the findings and recommendations of the investigation, which should be made public;

- undertake to hold accountable those responsible for the abuses, according to internationally recognized fair trial standards and without recourse to the death penalty.


Posted by MMS at 02:38 PM |  Comments (5)

February 09, 2009

Anti-Semitic Attacks In South America

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A climate of fear has hit Jewish communities in South America after recent attacks on Jewish targets in response to the war in Gaza.

Jews, particularly in Venezuela, Argentina and Bolivia, are experiencing increasing anti-Semitic onslaughts.

For example:

Jewish leaders said it had never before happened in Venezuela: a break-in with anti-Jewish intent at one of the city's most prominent synagogues. A dozen armed men overpowered guards, spray-painted office walls with anti-Semitic insults, desecrated historic Torah scrolls and made off with computers containing personal information on congregants.

President Hugo Chávez condemned the Jan. 30 attack, which has shaken the country's political establishment. But Jewish leaders, supported by Israeli and U.S. officials, have said the populist government's often incendiary rhetoric toward the Jewish state, coupled with rising anti-Semitic diatribes in pro-government media, has helped foster a climate of intolerance that might have prompted assailants to target the Tiferet Israel synagogue.

And

In Bolivia, where President Evo Morales expelled the Israeli ambassador over the Gaza war, residents have held peaceful protests in several cities. But with the demonstrations have also come troubling signs of anti-Semitism. In the Plaza Israel in the capital of La Paz, for instance, vandals removed a large Star of David from a monument and spray-painted "plaza palestina" on it.

Julio Schlosser, secretary general of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association states the attacks have created "a climate of worry, a climate of terror."

Unfortunately Schlosser speaks from experience — his association's building was bombed and destroyed in 1994, killing 85 people.

And according to Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League in New York, the anti-Semitic trend "is the worst that we have seen it in all the years."

Foxman succinctly summarizes the attacks on Jews:

There is no longer even an effort to differentiate between criticism of Israel and criticism of the Jewish people.

Read the full article here.

For more information (in Spanish) on anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment in the Spanish-speaking world, see ReVista de Medio Oriente.

Posted by MMS at 02:53 PM |  Comments (0)

February 06, 2009

NY Times’ Biased Review of the Politicized Opera The Death of Klinghoffer

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Jan 31, 2009 concert performance of composer John Adams’ opera "The Death of Klinghoffer"

Anthony Tommasini’s Feb. 2, 2009 NY Times music review, “In a New Generation, a Searing Opera Breaks Free of Polemics,” in praise of the Adams opera, contains an anti-Israel message as does the highly politicized opera itself. The opera characterizes the Arab/Israel conflict through use of an actual murder that took place in 1985 following the Palestinian hijacking of a cruise ship. Leon Klinghoffer, an American Jew, had been shot and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by members of Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Army.

While Tommasini’s text is more nuanced than the headline which falsely states that the opera is suddenly now free of polemics, his bias is indicated in describing an anti-Israel polemic contained in the opera:

One scene seemed especially timely in the face of the roiling Gaza war. Mamoud tells the captain of the brutality his family has faced, his mother driven away during a raid, his brother decapitated.

Thus, Tommassen is able to present, without challenge, a baseless accusation - that Israeli solders commit decapitations of Palestinians - and even link it to the current conflict in Gaza thereby echoing the mainstream media’s tendency to accept wildly unsubstantiated claims by Palestinians of brutality perpetrated by Israeli soldiers.

Tommasini, while mentioning what some critics said of the opera at its American premiere performance (the hijackers were given “sympathetic voices” while the passengers were depicted as “stereotypical self-absorbed Westerners”), could have gone further as did a March 16, 2003 Newsday article:

When it opened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1991, Newsday's Tim Page protested that it treated the Palestinian thugs as "real men - Rousseau's noble savages made flesh - as opposed to the opera's nattering, ineffectual Jewish characters." Alice Goodman's libretto was widely denounced as naive at best and anti-Semitic at worst, and Adams was cast as her musical enabler.

The opera has not fared well since its debut in 1991, seldom being performed especially in major venues.

Posted by MK at 03:24 PM |  Comments (2)

Most Palestinians Favor Targeting Civilians

From the January 2009 JMCC poll:

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Posted by GI at 02:09 PM |  Comments (0)

UNRWA Suspends Gaza Aid Due To Thefts By Hamas

UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) has been forced to halt aid deliveries in Gaza after Hamas seized the shipments at gunpoint.

But this is Hamas' usual practice, so no surprise there.

Posted by MMS at 11:17 AM |  Comments (1)

February 04, 2009

Demonization Before Verification at Time Magazine?

"In the end," write journalists Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, "the discipline of verification is what separates journalism from entertainment, propaganda, fiction, or art."

They make the assertion in their book The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect.

But apparently, not all newspeople do know of this difference between journalism and other disciplines.

A crowd of reporters, most prominent among them Time Magazine's Tim McGirk, has in recent weeks reported on the death of two Palestinian sisters during the Gaza fighting. The common theme of the news stories is that Israeli troops reportedly shot the Palestinians as they were surrendering.

Had the journalists paid enough attention to their obligation to verify, though, they would have found that not everything the family has claimed is true. In fact, it can't all be true — different journalists asking the same questions have been given different answers. And different answers to the same question is certainly cause to doubt what is being said.

Did the excitement about an opportunity demonize Israel trump the journalistic obligation to verify?

Read all about it here, while recalling the words of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walter Lippmann in 1920: "There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the information by which to detect lies."

Posted by GI at 06:11 PM |  Comments (1)

Some Questions for Former President Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter has enjoyed pretty sympathetic (bordering on fawning) coverage during his book tour in support of We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Would Work (Simon and Schuster, 2009). Journalists who interview Carter allow his factual errors go unchallenged and steer clear of the controversy surrounding his error-laden and factually-challenged text Palestine Peace Not Apartheid published by Simon and Schuster in 2006.

They also sit idly by as the former President, a well-known "human rights advocate," affirms the legitimacy of Hamas – a group that has uses human shields, murders its political opponents and has stolen humanitarian supplies shipped into Gaza. Most people would see a contradiction here, but the journalists who interview him fail to raise this and other issues.

Here are a few questions that journalists interested in fulfilling their role as promoting public discourse in the United States (remember that?) can ask the former President.

Question One: What about the tunnel that Hamas was digging in the Gaza Strip (which was destroyed by Israel on Nov. 4, 2009) makes it a “defensive” tunnel?

Background: In a Jan. 8, 2009 op-ed in The Washington Post, Carter wrote that a “fragile truce” between Israel and Hamas “was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.” (Emphasis added.)

In his assessment, Carter seems to disagree with Israelis who believed the tunnel was being dug to infiltrate Israel and abduct an Israeli soldier, as it had in June of 2006, when Hamas took Cpl. Gilad Shalit hostage. Does the former President know something the Israelis do not?

Question Two: Why is it that you seem to have such a difficult time getting an accurate number of Israelis killed in the 12 months before the “lull” between Hamas and Israel that began on June 19, 2008?

Background: In his interviews promoting We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land, he states that “only one” Israeli was killed by rocket attacks, or that only one Israeli was killed at all during the 12 months prior to the “lull” in fighting that took place. He has also downplays the number of rockets and mortars launched into Israel during the six-month lull.

In fact 10 civilians (nine Israelis and a visitor from Ecuador) were killed by Hamas during the 12 months prior to the "lull" that began on June 19, 2008. Four were killed by rockets, the rest by gunfire and a suicide bomber.

Yet Carter keeps repeating his assertion that only one Israeli was killed. This sounds like a talking point the former President got from meeting with Hamas leaders. Is it?

Question Three: If Hamas threw the wrench into the 2006 Palestinian elections, how can we be sure that it will not throw the wrench in a peace settlement in 2009?

Background: In his recent book, Carter obliquely chides former President George Bush for insisting on Palestinian elections in 2006 despite the possibility of a Hamas victory. These elections, did in fact, result in Hamas gaining control of the Palestinian National Council.

On pages 83-84 of his most recent book the former president writes that Washington “prevailed in demanding that the election be held” and that this decision was the consequence of then President George Bush’s misinterpretation of Natan Sharansky's book, The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror (Public Affairs, 2004). He writes: “Although Sharansky had called for a Palestinian society that would be free and without fear, it is unlikely that he was contemplating a free election with unlimited participation by Hamas candidates.”

Here, Carter invokes Sharansky’s book to suggest that Hamas should not have been allowed to participate in the 2006 elections or that the elections should not have taken place given the threat the organization posed to Palestinian society.

If President Bush got it wrong about Hamas and the elections in 2006, then how can we be sure Carter has not gotten it wrong with Hamas and negotiations in 2009? What about Hamas’ ideology and worldview has changed in the past three years?

Question Four: Does insisting that the West and Israel must negotiate with Hamas in a peace process help legitimize a regime that terrorizes the people it rules with violence?

Background: Hamas’ behavior since the 2006 election has contradicted one of the goals of the Carter Center – advancing human rights. In particular, Hamas has violated the right of dissent in the Gaza Strip by intimidating its opposition (Fatah) through murder and leg-breaking. It has also recruited (or forced) civilians in Gaza to serve as human shields, and has stolen humanitarian aid sent by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) into the territory.

All of these are serious violations of human rights and international law. Nevertheless, former President Carter insists that peace can only come through the negotiations with Hamas and has offered little, if any, criticism of the regime's behavior toward the people it rules. Instead of acknowledging Hamas' human rights abuses, Carter's book portrays the organization as enjoying popular support amongst the Palestinians and emphasizes the social servies it provides to Gazans. Events of the past few weeks demonstrate that there is more to Hamas than what the former president discloses in his most recent book and during his media appearences.

Question Five: Just how serious were you when you said you wrote Palestine Peace Not Apartheid to spark debate?

Background: Former President Carter has stated that he wrote Palestine Peace Not Apartheid in an effort to spark debate about American policy in the Middle East. He made this point in his We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land, writing that there was “no discussion in our country of issues involved, and little interest in the subject” and that one of the underlying purposes of his book was to “stimulate debate.”

Nevertheless, he refused to debate Alan Dershowiz and while appearing on Larry King Live after the publication of Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, Carter even refused to answer questions raised by Dershowitz, stating, “it’s not worth my time to waste commenting on him.”

Ironically, in his most recent book, Carter writes that he “underestimated the debating skills of those with whom I was no engaged …”

Carter, a former U.S. President, was the one who wanted the debate and now he complains about the debating skills of his opponents!


Posted by dvz at 09:24 AM |  Comments (2)

UN Backtracks on School Shelling Claims

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Probably thanks largely to the hard-hitting investigative report by Patrick Martin of the Globe and Mail, the UN has backtracked on its claim that Israel shelled a UN school during the Gaza fighting. Ha'aretz reports:

The United Nations has reversed its stance on one of the most contentious and bloody incidents of the recent Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza, saying that an IDF mortar strike that killed 43 people on January 6 did not hit one of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency schools after all.

It seems that the UN has been under pressure to put the record straight after doubts arose that the school had actually been targeted. Maxwell Gaylord, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Jerusalem, said Monday that the IDF mortar shells fell in the street near the compound, and not on the compound itself.

Gaylord said that the UN "would like to clarify that the shelling and all of the fatalities took place outside and not inside the school."

UNRWA, an agency whose sole purpose is to work with Palestinian refugees, said in response Tuesday that it had maintained from the day of attack that the wounded were outside of the school compound. UNRWA said that the source of the mistake in recent weeks had originated with a separate branch of the United Nations.

Senior IDF officials had previously expressed skepticism that the school had been struck, saying that two mortar shells could not kill 43 people and wound dozens more.


Posted by TS at 01:44 AM |  Comments (0)

February 03, 2009

The Power of the Petitioner Upon the Media (An Example)

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A Boston radio station was compelled by listeners' protests to rehire two broadcasters who had been recently let go in a cost saving move. The protests to WBZ had included vows to boycott advertisers and picket broadcasting facilities. The story was reported by the Boston Globe and elaborated on at the WBZ Web site.

A Web site audio clip says that the protestors registered their feelings with WBZ by use of many "e-mails clogging the system, notes (letters) and phone calls that rang off the hook." In addition, the protestors had blogged at various Web sites, some containing petition forms and a list of WBZ contacts.

Posted by MK at 11:05 AM |  Comments (0)

February 02, 2009

Petition Against Boycott

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East is working to get signatures on a petition protesting discrimination against Israeli academics and institutions.

Click here to view the SPME Statement on Discrimination Against Israeli Academics and Institutions.

To sign the petition, click here.

Please forward this petition to professors and others who work for a university or college.

Posted by LG at 01:43 PM |  Comments (4)

Israeli Law Expert Considered Libel Suit Against Ha'aretz

Daniel Reisner, the former head of the IDF International Law Division, told the Jerusalem Post he had considered suing Ha'aretz for libel after it wrongly claimed he criticized his successor, Pnina Sharvit-Baruch. According to the Post article, Ha'aretz

claimed [Sharvit-Baruch's] predecessor at the head of the army's International Law Division, Col. (res.) Daniel Reisner, had criticized her enabling of the military's "trigger-happiness" during the war.

The response to the assault on Sharvit-Baruch was quick in coming.

"I was cheated outright by Haaretz," Reisner told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. "In an hourlong interview, I told them the opposite of what they wrote. [Sharvit-Baruch] was my deputy for 15 years. She's an incredible lawyer and a friend. Many of her interpretations actually continued my own legal developments. I have considered suing the newspaper for libel."

According to Reisner, the newspaper even rejected his on-line talkback on the paper's Hebrew Web site, in which he denied he had criticized Sharvit-Baruch.

If true, this wouldn't be the first time Ha'aretz "cheated" in its reporting.

Posted by GI at 09:13 AM |  Comments (0)

February 01, 2009

UNRWA School (Not) Hit

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Patrick Martin of the Globe and Mail examines earlier media and UNRWA claims that an UNRWA school was hit on Jan. 17. He writes:

Most people remember the headlines: Massacre Of Innocents As UN School Is Shelled; Israeli Strike Kills Dozens At UN School.

Yes, we remember in particular, a headline from the International Herald Tribune.

They heralded the tragic news of Jan. 6, when mortar shells fired by advancing Israeli forces killed 43 civilians in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The victims, it was reported, had taken refuge inside the Ibn Rushd Preparatory School for Boys, a facility run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. . .

There was just one problem: The story, as etched in people's minds, was not quite accurate.

Physical evidence and interviews with several eyewitnesses, including a teacher who was in the schoolyard at the time of the shelling, make it clear: While a few people were injured from shrapnel landing inside the white-and-blue-walled UNRWA compound, no one in the compound was killed. The 43 people who died in the incident were all outside, on the street, where all three mortar shells landed.

The non-shelling of the UNRWA school reminds us very much of the fate of the Al Quds Hospital, reportedly destroyed, but up and running again a few short days later.

Further on, Martin takes aim at UNRWA's John Ging:

"Look at my statements," he said. "I never said anyone was killed in the school. Our officials never made any such allegation."

Speaking from Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as the bodies were being brought in that night, an emotional Mr. Ging did say: "Those in the school were all families seeking refuge. ... There's nowhere safe in Gaza."

And in its daily bulletin, the World Health Organization reported: "On 6 January, 42 people were killed following an attack on a UNRWA school ..."

The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs got the location right, for a short while. Its daily bulletin cited "early reports" that "three artillery shells landed outside the UNRWA Jabalia Prep. C Girls School ..." However, its more comprehensive weekly report, published three days later, stated that "Israeli shelling directly hit two UNRWA schools ..." including the one at issue.

Such official wording helps explain the widespread news reports of the deaths in the school, but not why the UN agencies allowed the misconception to linger.

Posted by TS at 06:51 AM |  Comments (2)

Siegman's Lies

Martin Kramer's blog Sandbox documents lies by Henry Siegman and Rashid Khalidi concerning the cease-fire terms.

And, while we're on Khalidi falsehoods, be sure to check out the New York Times correction on a bogus quote.

Posted by TS at 03:01 AM |  Comments (0)