April 29, 2011
An Arab Journalist Contrasts Arab Regime's Suppression of Dissent With Israel's Response to Palestinian Attacks
An op-ed appearing in the Gulf News, a United Arab Emirates based newspaper, observes that "some Arab armies and security services have proved to be much more brutal than the Israeli army."
Faisal Al Qasim, a Syrian Druze, issued a challenge to journalists, who for years "strongly condemned Zionist crimes against the Palestinians and other Arab peoples," to face up to their double standard in reporting on the brutality visited upon Arabs by their own governments. He asks, "Isn't it a bit silly to bombard the Israelis with criticism and keep quiet about savagery against unarmed demonstrators?"
Al Qasim ventures into a sensitive topic in the Arab media when he observes,
comparing the number of Arab people killed during the wars between Israel and Arab countries with the number of Arabs killed locally, one will notice that Arab dictatorships have killed more people.
Qasim's comments suggest that within the Arab world the unrest has spurred among some a more balanced assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He further notices
Other Arab despots are reported to have asked their security forces to aim their guns at protesters' heads. Have you ever seen an Israeli officer torturing a Palestinian civilian to death in the street for everybody to see? Definitely not. Many of us have seen that in some Arab towns lately.
His more balanced assessment also extends to the situation in Gaza, where he reveals a tempered awareness of the situation.
It is true that Israel is forcing an embargo on Gaza, but I do not think that the Israelis are preventing the Palestinians from getting their daily bread, whereas the security services in some Arab countries stopped cars carrying food from entering certain areas. Nor are the Israelis cutting off electricity, telephone and other communication services from houses, hospitals and schools.
Al Qasim is able to distinguish between the forceful actions of a state that is constrained by its adherence to rule of law and the unbridled violence committed by regimes that do not have any respect for human rights. He notes,
Unlike in some Arab countries, Arabs living inside Israel can organise sit-ins very comfortably. And when the Israeli police intervenes, they never beat demonstrators to death. And if we compare how Israel treats Shaikh Raed Salah with the way some Arab dictators treat their opponents, we will be horribly surprised, as the Israelis are very much less brutal.
It is worth contrasting this balanced assessment by a Syrian journalist with the coverage frequently encountered in Western media sources when dealing with Israeli actions against Palestinian militants and terrorists.
April 28, 2011
Turning a Misspelling into a Fabrication
People can get pretty desperate. One example of how desperate they can get played itself out on Snapshots, when a commenter attempted to discredit an article we linked to a few days ago. The original article quoted an official from the Red Cross as stating there was no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. The person quoted is named as Mathilde Redmatn, deputy director of the Red Cross in the Gaza Strip.
A few hours after CAMERA posted a link to the article, a commenter stated that the article was false because there was no one by the name of “Mathilde Redmatn” working for the Red Cross. A similar statement appeared on the Mondoweiss blog.
Interestingly enough, even the Mondoweiss blog entry acknowledged that there was someone working for the Red Cross with a similar name. A commenter, who disagreed with the premise that there was no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip still had the presence of mind to acknowledge that Redmatn’s name got misspelled in the course of the article being translated from Hebrew into English.
Given Snapshots' interest in the accuracy of the article in question, CAMERA contacted both the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Jerusalem and the IDF website article’s author, Rotem Caro Weizman. The ICRC confirmed that it does in fact have a Mathilde De Riedmatten in its employ – and her title is ICRC Deputy Head of Sub Delegation in Gaza.
And Ms. Weizman confirmed that the name ‘Mathilde Redmatn’ was indeed mistranslated from the Hebrew into English.
Ms. Weizman stands by her story and barring a denial from the Red Cross, it seems reasonable to conclude that the quote is, in fact, accurate.
As to the complaints about a humanitarian crisis taking place in the Gaza Strip, commenters should take it up with Mathilde De Riedmatten.
April 26, 2011
CBS’ 60 Minutes Archeologically and Ethically Challenged
The May/June 2011 issue of the authoritative Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR), contains an article, “The Lion and the Flea,” in which BAR’s editor, Hershel Shanks, writes: “J’accuse! I accuse the television program 60 Minutes of unethical and irresponsible reporting.” Mr. Shanks’ accusation involves a March 2008 broadcast on certain artifacts in Israel alleged to be forgeries. The artifacts, if real, would be the first found connecting Jews directly to the Temple Mount and would obviously support the historical accuracy of the Bible and underscore Jewish ties to the land of Israel. Is this why 60 Minutes might want to distort the facts to portray the artifacts as fake?
The long-running CBS program is no stranger to charges of unfair reporting. Several CAMERA articles have documented distorted 60 Minutes reporting that denigrated Israel.
Ha'aretz Launders Israeli Arab's Column
MEMRI has done a fantastic job exposing Ha'aretz's whitewash of a column by Israeli Arab journalist Zuheir Andreus in which he calls on Arabs to exploit the "Nakba Law" to delegitimize Israel. MEMRI writes:
In his article, Andreus said that Israel's laws were reminiscent of Nazi laws, and called on Israeli Arabs to participate in an international campaign to delegitimize Israel and "expose its disgrace." He proposed ways of circumventing the Nakba Law in order to ensure that the Nakba would be instilled in the consciousness of the coming generations. Finally, he stated that the Palestinians were "neither guests nor sojourners" in Israel and that anyone who disliked this fact could take the next plane back to the country from which he came to Palestine.
An edited Hebrew translation of the article appeared in the Israeli daily Haaretz, with a number of key omissions and alterations.
Ha'aretz's cleaned up version include the following changes:
· In the Arabic version, Andreus writes that "Israel's law book" is similar to "the Nazi laws against Jews and foreigners, which were passed by the criminal Hitler during the Second World War." The Hebrew version says that Israel's laws are reminiscent of "dark periods in history and raise difficult questions regarding the liberty of the Arab [citizen]."
· In the Arabic version, Andreus states that the Palestinians are "neither guests nor sojourners in Israel," and invites any Israeli who dislikes this to "take the next plane back to the country from which [he] came or from which [he was] brought to Palestine." The invitation to leave Israel is missing from the Hebrew version.
· The expressions "country for all its fascists" and "country for all its settlers" are absent from the Hebrew version.
· In the Arabic version, Andreus says that disconnecting Israeli Arab cities and villages from electricity will "cause no small financial damage to the racist [electric] company... which does not pay heed to the 'inside' Palestinians, refuses to employ Arabs, and does not even appoint them to customer service [positions]..." The Hebrew says that disconnecting the power will "cause some small losses to the Israeli electric company."
· Finally, the Arabic version quotes lines from a poem by Mahmoud Darwish ending in the words "depart from our land," which are absent from the Hebrew article.
April 25, 2011
Unbalanced NPR Panel Obfuscates Middle East on Rehm Show
National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm is the host of the talk radio program, “The Diane Rehm Show.” This nationally-syndicated show airs daily on more than 150 NPR member stations, including in major markets such as New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston. The April 7 program, “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in a New Arab World,” upheld NPR’s reputation for unobjective, unbalanced Arab-Israeli coverage (for example, here and here).
The show provided obfuscation and distortion from an imbalanced panel. Members included a spokesman for the Arab side, James Zogby, in addition to Aaron David Miller (former State Department advisor) and Greg Myre (NPR editor). Zogby smoothly delivered pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel propaganda. Neither Miller nor Myre directly challenged Zogby’s partisan presentation. Neither did Rehm, the host. The panel included no pro-Israeli representative to balance Zogby, an author, pro-Arab activist, and president of the Arab American Institute.
A high degree of harmony seeming to reflect a relatively uniform, unquestioned viewpoint was evident among panelists and host throughout the hour-long discussion, as is evident from a reading of the transcript.
Rehm, ignoring Palestinian intransigence and violence against Israel (for example, here and here) provides a banal and misleading characterization of Palestinian tactics: “The Palestinians have been waiting and pushing and waiting and hoping. Is what’s happening in the Arab world going to give them the opening they need to push further?” (14 minutes into broadcast).
Zogby freely defames Israel in the broadcast, for example:
“You know, there were crimes before the Gaza war in 2008 and there have been crimes by Israel since the Gaza war. And Goldstone’s retraction of one single point in this does not nullify Israel’s behavior or its responsibility for what it’s done to the people of Gaza.” (37 minutes into broadcast).
The more things change at NPR, the more they stay the same.
April 24, 2011
PA Police Shoot on Car of Worshippers, Killing One and Wounding 4 Others
Early Sunday morning, Palestinian Authority police officers shot at a group of 15 Breslev Hassidim leaving a prayer service at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. Ben Yosef Livnat, a married father of four who is a nephew of Knesset member Limor Livnat, was shot dead and several others were wounded, some seriously. The shooting took place as the three carloads of Hassidim left Joseph's Tomb in PA controlled territory. They had not coordinated their visit in advance with the IDF. According to the head of the Samaria regional council,, Breslev hassidim routinely attempt to enter Joseph's Tomb without coordination. He said that the Palestinian Police are familiar with this regular occurrence, and would have no reason to shoot at the worshippers. After the incident, Palestinians rioted and set fires near Joseph's tomb. Read about it here and here.
The burning question on Israelis' minds is how such an incident bodes for Israel's security and freedom of worship under a Palestinian state?
April 22, 2011
Machsom Watch Radicals and Fogel Family Killers
Even the murders of Jewish children in their beds in the community of Itamar weren't enough to deter extreme Israeli left-wingers from offering expressions of solidarity with families of the suspected perpetrators. Members of Machsom Watch visited the Palestinian town of Awarta to comfort those whose relatives were under arrest. Spokeswoman Raya Yaron is seen above in what may come to be an iconic image of the far-left alliance with Palestinians against Israel. Israeli media and blogs have taken up the subject. Blogger Yaacov Lozowick observes he'd previously been tolerant of far-left activities but has drawn a line. He writes:
For years I've believed - and have said in print - that for all my disagreements with far-left Israelis, they were a legitimate voice and deserved respect for criticizing from inside the war zone: if proven wrong, they'd be here to pay the price; when Palestinian or Hisballah murderers do their best to kill random Israeli Jews, the far-left Israelis are here along with all the rest of us. This creates a qualitative distinction between them and their foreign fellows in malice.
I'm no longer convinced. As I've long been documenting in this blog, the contribution Israel's radicals make to the Big Lie against Israel is immense; sometimes the entire anti-Israeli argumentation comes from them. Absent them and the hatred of the Jewish State wouldn't go away, but its purveyors could present far fewer arguments.
This week we've had a further example which to my mind crosses all the lines of simple human decency. The Hebrew part of the Internet has been all a-buzz about the story of the Israeli radicals who went to the West Bank town of Awarta to give succor to the families of the murderers of the Fogel family, while disseminating unforgivable slander against the IDF and the law enforcement agencies.
April 21, 2011
"There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza."
"There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza," says Mathilde Redmatn, the deputy head of the Red Cross in Gaza. Pro-Palestinian groups have insisted there is a humanitarian crisis, in part to justify their support for Gaza Hamas government, blockade subverting flotillas, and other controversial stances.
April 17, 2011
Helen Thomas, Keynote Speaker at Anti-Israel Protests
Ha'aretz reports today:
A series of protests against Israeli policy and its support by AIPAC are planned in May to coincide with the AIPAC conference in the U.S. capital and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech there. The protests, under the heading "Move over AIPAC," will include demonstrations opposite the building where Netanyahu will speak and Congress, and a series of lectures and meetings with critics of Israel, including veteran journalist Helen Thomas who lost her place in the White House press room after saying Jews should leave Palestine and go back to Poland, Germany and the United States. Thomas will give the keynote address at the Move Over AIPAC conference, and will receive an award from the women's pacifist organization Code Pink, one of the hundred left-wing American organizations behind the conference.
Also, Thomas is very "happy" that she just received U.S. government press credentials, which gives her access to the Senate and House press galleries, as well as other Capitol Hill events, including some White House press briefings.
April 14, 2011
A BBC Petition
Inspired by Melanie Phillips' open letter to British culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, and CAMERA's video about the BBC's disregard of its editorial guidelines, someone decided to create an online petition asking the BBC to release its Balen Report on BBC coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which the broadcast had commissioned and now hides from the public.
You can read and sign the petition here.
New York Times Fighter vs. Civilian Update
Lenny Ben-David updates his earlier post about the New York Times designating as civilians three Gaza residents whom Ma'an news agency described as fighters. Bottom line: The newspaper stands by its designation. See further details at the source.
Goldstone Commission Members Weigh In
The members of the Goldstone commission -- all who have displayed extreme anti-Israel bias (see, for example "Chinkin's Gaza Letter Reveals Bias, But Also Skewed Facts", "Goldstone Commissioner Suggests Israelis Conditioned to Kill Children" and "The Judges: Israel is Already Guilty") -- are doing 'damage control' to preserve their work, now that Richard Goldstone has retracted the central thesis of their UN investigation and report.
Pakistani human rights lawyer Hina Jilani, professor of international law at the London School of Economics Christine Chinkin and former Irish peacekeeper Desmond Travers jointly released a statement stating that they now find it necessary" to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission's report unsubstantiated." They write:
Calls to reconsider or even retract the report, as well as attempts at misrepresenting its nature and purpose, disregard the rights of victims, Palestinians and Israeli, to truth and justice.
On the contrary. The retraction of a false libel addresses the rights of the victims. But, contrary to what they say, Israeli victims have never been of concern to the commission members.
Karsh on Palestinian Refugee Numbers
Historian Efraim Karsh undertakes a comprehensive look at the various numbers cited for Palestinian refugees from 1948 and accounts for their discrepancies. He writes, in part,
Admitting to having "some difficulty in separating out the real refugees from the rest, and in explaining the reasons for doing so to the Arab authorities," [Sir Raphael] Cilento [director of the UN Disaster Relief Project (DRP) in Palestine] attributed this chaotic situation to a number of reasons:
•Refugees were registered on arrival and fed but their names were not struck off the list if they moved or died;
•Refugees moving from one area to another would check in and be fed at several points en route and at each would be added to the list of refugees in the area, in this way numbers increased on paper in areas vacated as well as at final destination;
•Local destitute persons were included in numbers although they were not properly refugees;
•Fraud and misrepresentation by officials and others to utilize supplies etc.;
•There were people who left their homes owing to disturbed conditions but returned to them shortly afterward, yet were briefly registered as refugees and the records remained.
April 13, 2011
New York Times Gaza Correspondent Designates Fighters as Civilians
After commentator Lenny Ben-David raised questions about the New York Times inflating the number of civilians killed in Gaza during the recent fighting, reporter Isabel Kershner told him that the
reporting of the numbers has been based on the information provided by our correspondent in Gaza. ... [H]e identified three of four killed [in Rafah] on the first day as civilians collecting gravel near the old airport, if I remember rightly.
Ben-David shows that this is not the case. Details here.
The Open Letter Slamming SJP's "Apartheid Card"
We mentioned this story a few days ago. Below is the open letter that the Vanguard Leadership Group, an honor society for top students at historically black colleges and universities, placed in several campus newspapers.
Who Do You Believe?
While Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler is using the pages of Christian Century to downplay Muslim hostility toward Coptic Christians in post-Mubarak Egypt, another priest in the Anglican Communion, Rev. Mark Durie from Australia, is working to highlight the real and undeniable campaign to deny Christians in Egypt their human rights. In an April 11 blog entry, Durie provides context to a number of attacks on Coptic churches reported by the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA). He writes:
The ancient dhimma pact, which determined the status of non-Muslims after Muslim conquest and occupation, includes specific regulations limiting the construction, repair and maintenance of churches, as well as the public display of religious symbols and public performance of rituals. Muslim legal authorities based these regulations on the model of the Pact of Umar, a treaty attributed to the second Caliph, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, around the time of his conquest of Syria in 634-638. A version of this pact can be found in Ibn Kathir's highly respected commentary on the Qur'an (see here), from which various quotations below are taken.
Now, 1400 years later, a series of assaults on churches in Egypt have demonstrated the enduring power of this piece of paper to control the lives of Middle Eastern Christians today.
When readers decide whose testimony is more reliable, they will have to choose between Chandler’s on-the-scene reporting and Durie’s excavation and analysis of the historical record. Durie is the author of The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom (Doror, 2010) and Liberty to the Captives: Freedom from Islam and Dhimmitude Through the Cross (Doror, 2010).
April 12, 2011
Advisor to "Moderate" PA Prime Minister Dismisses Hamas Schoolbus Attack
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) provides a video showing Omar Al Ghoul, an advisor to moderate Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, accusing Israel of making too big a deal of a Hamas attack on a schoolbus in southern Israel last week. Hamas admitted that the school bus was deliberately targed in the laser-guided missile attack. A student, Daniel Viflic, is fighting for his life after being critically wounded, and the bus driver was moderately wounded. Israel responded with aerial strikes targeting Hamas terrorist rocket launching groups.Yet the PA advisor played down the Hamas attack,and instead accused Israel of using the school bus attack as a pretext to wage violent attacks against Palestinians. He said:
This aggression is currently focused on Gaza, under the pretext of a shell being fired at an Israeli bus. The [school] bus wasn't that badly damaged, but Israel wants to use the attack on the bus as an excuse for its latest war crime against our people.
Libya Regime Stages PR Efforts for International Media
The New York Times/IHT has reported on the Qadaffi regime's clumsy efforts to manipulate the international media through lies and staging PR, reminiscent of Hezbollah's media manipulation during its 2006 Hezbollah war with Israel.
Even the Qaddafi government escort could not contain his disbelief at the sloppiness of the fraud: bloodstains his colleagues had left on bedsheets in a damaged hospital room for more than a week as evidence of civilian casualties from Western airstrikes.
“This is not even human blood!” the escort erupted to group of journalists, making a gesture with his hands like squeezing a tube.
Now, when will the A New York Times headline writer apparently couldn't resist. A story involving the arts, performance, and a radical political activist who crosses lines in the Middle East. It must, too, be a story about peace. Right? That's how it should look in a Hollywood tale. And so this story about the slaying of actor and director Juliano Mer Khamis, published on April 7, was given the headline "Building a Stage for Mideast Peace Before the Final Curtain." Except a "stage for peace" is not what the story is about. Reporter Isabel Kershner, at least, managed to resist the romantic story line, opting instead to soberly relay facts about Mer Khamis and his theater enterprise. For one, the reporter explains, a number of his Palestinian actors "became hardened fighters" in the early 2000s and attacked soldiers and civilians alike. The youngest of them joined Islamic Jihad and was killed in a clash with Israeli soldiers. His brother, known as the joker of the group, went on a suicide mission with a friend, fatally shooting four women in the Israeli town of Hadera before police officers gunned them down. A third led a group of militants and was killed. Were these bloody attacks renegade acts that transgressed against the "peaceful" philosophy of Mer Khamis's theater? Not exactly. Kershner notes that Today, the core of the Freedom Theater staff and its supporters say they do not oppose armed struggle and that the Palestinians may resist the Israeli occupation by all means. So the core staff is not opposed to "resistance ... by all means," a phrase generally understood to include suicide bombings and other attacks against Israeli civilians. Perhaps they believe the killing of Israelis is a small price for Palestinians to pay for the goal of future peace between two independent states of Israel and Palestine? Again, no: Mr. Mer Khamis could not accept a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he felt would essentially mean division. Would the New York Times use the word "peace" to describe a hypothetical Israeli cultural institution whose leader opposed a Palestinian state, promoted Greater Israel and accepted violence in the service of that cause? Of course not. But consistency is not the newspaper's forte. Nick Cohen observes in Standpoint: The former US Ambassador to the United Nations Daniel Patrick Moynihan composed an aphorism as he watched dictatorships pile opprobrium on democracies: "The amount of violations of human rights in a country is always an inverse function of the amount of complaints about human rights violations heard from there." Journalists, lawyers, academics and opposition politicians can investigate the injustices of democracies, and because they can investigate, injustice is kept in check. They cannot expose the greater atrocities of dictatorships because there is no freedom to report, and hence their greater crimes pass unnoticed.
I have my doubts about the universal jurisdiction of Moynihan's Law — America was responsible for many great crimes while he was its good and faithful servant. But his insight explains why Jeremy Bowen is blinking at his cameraman in Tripoli, like some startled, uncomprehending mammal who has been shaken by the convulsions around him from a hibernation that has lasted for most of his career. The BBC's Middle East editor is not the only expert whose expertise now looks spurious. The Arab uprising is annihilating the assumptions of foreign ministries, academia and human rights groups with true revolutionary élan. In journalistic language, it is showing they had committed the greatest blunder a reporter can commit: they missed the story. They thought that the problems of the Middle East were at root the fault of democratic Israel or more broadly the democratic West. They did not see and did not want to see that while Israelis are certainly the Palestinians' problem — and vice versa — the problem of the subject millions of the Arab world was the tyranny, cruelty, corruption and inequality the Arab dictators enforced. . .
April 11, 2011
The Lure of Clichés
April 10, 2011
Nick Cohen on Missing the Story
A New York Times headline writer apparently couldn't resist.
A story involving the arts, performance, and a radical political activist who crosses lines in the Middle East. It must, too, be a story about peace. Right?
That's how it should look in a Hollywood tale. And so this story about the slaying of actor and director Juliano Mer Khamis, published on April 7, was given the headline "Building a Stage for Mideast Peace Before the Final Curtain."
Except a "stage for peace" is not what the story is about. Reporter Isabel Kershner, at least, managed to resist the romantic story line, opting instead to soberly relay facts about Mer Khamis and his theater enterprise.
For one, the reporter explains, a number of his Palestinian actors "became hardened fighters" in the early 2000s and attacked soldiers and civilians alike.
The youngest of them joined Islamic Jihad and was killed in a clash with Israeli soldiers. His brother, known as the joker of the group, went on a suicide mission with a friend, fatally shooting four women in the Israeli town of Hadera before police officers gunned them down. A third led a group of militants and was killed.
Were these bloody attacks renegade acts that transgressed against the "peaceful" philosophy of Mer Khamis's theater? Not exactly.
Kershner notes that
Today, the core of the Freedom Theater staff and its supporters say they do not oppose armed struggle and that the Palestinians may resist the Israeli occupation by all means.
So the core staff is not opposed to "resistance ... by all means," a phrase generally understood to include suicide bombings and other attacks against Israeli civilians.
Perhaps they believe the killing of Israelis is a small price for Palestinians to pay for the goal of future peace between two independent states of Israel and Palestine? Again, no:
Mr. Mer Khamis could not accept a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he felt would essentially mean division.
Would the New York Times use the word "peace" to describe a hypothetical Israeli cultural institution whose leader opposed a Palestinian state, promoted Greater Israel and accepted violence in the service of that cause? Of course not. But consistency is not the newspaper's forte.
Nick Cohen observes in Standpoint:
The former US Ambassador to the United Nations Daniel Patrick Moynihan composed an aphorism as he watched dictatorships pile opprobrium on democracies: "The amount of violations of human rights in a country is always an inverse function of the amount of complaints about human rights violations heard from there." Journalists, lawyers, academics and opposition politicians can investigate the injustices of democracies, and because they can investigate, injustice is kept in check. They cannot expose the greater atrocities of dictatorships because there is no freedom to report, and hence their greater crimes pass unnoticed.
I have my doubts about the universal jurisdiction of Moynihan's Law — America was responsible for many great crimes while he was its good and faithful servant. But his insight explains why Jeremy Bowen is blinking at his cameraman in Tripoli, like some startled, uncomprehending mammal who has been shaken by the convulsions around him from a hibernation that has lasted for most of his career.
The BBC's Middle East editor is not the only expert whose expertise now looks spurious. The Arab uprising is annihilating the assumptions of foreign ministries, academia and human rights groups with true revolutionary élan. In journalistic language, it is showing they had committed the greatest blunder a reporter can commit: they missed the story. They thought that the problems of the Middle East were at root the fault of democratic Israel or more broadly the democratic West. They did not see and did not want to see that while Israelis are certainly the Palestinians' problem — and vice versa — the problem of the subject millions of the Arab world was the tyranny, cruelty, corruption and inequality the Arab dictators enforced. . .
Hat tip: Jewish Ideas Daily
US Black Student Leaders Slam 'Apartheid' Label
The Jerusalem Post reports:
African-American student leaders from a variety of historically black colleges and universities took out full page ads in numerous American college newspapers Thursday, displaying an “Open Letter to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP),” to convey that they were offended by SJP’s use of the term “apartheid” at recent Israel Apartheid Week events at campuses across the country.
The 16 signatories to the letter are students and alumni from historically black colleges and universities who are members of the Vanguard Leadership Group, a leadership development academy and honor society for top students. The letter ran or is slated to run in student newspapers at Brown University, University of California- Los Angeles, University of Maryland and Columbia University over the next few days. . . .
“The use of the word ‘apartheid’ by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in its characterization of Israel is patently false and deeply offensive to all who feel a connection to the state of Israel,” the letter reads. “Your organization’s campaign against Israel is spreading misinformation about its policies, fostering bias in the media and jeopardizing prospects for a timely resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such irresponsibility is a blemish on your efforts.”
April 08, 2011
A Beirut-Based Newspaper Raises Questions About Al Jazeera's Coverage
Al Jazeera has been the beneficiary of positive press recently for its coverage of the unrest in the Middle East. Even Hillary Clinton offered words of praise for its coverage. Its advocates express the view that Al Jazeera offers more in-depth and "real" news coverage than the American networks. But there is plenty of evidence that its news coverage is skewed by a pro-Islamist and anti-Western ideology.
Michael Young, editor of the Daily Star, an English language newspaper based in Beirut, Lebanon, discusses the failure of Al Jazeera to adequately cover the Syrian unrest. According to Young,
One gets a nagging sense that the coverage on Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya is an outcome of political compromises, but also, in Al-Jazeera’s case, of the station’s ideological agenda...
Young further charges,
The hypocrisy of Al-Jazeera, the most popular Arab satellite station, is especially worthy of mention. In Egypt, Libya or Yemen, for instance, the station devotes, or has devoted, long segments allowing viewers to call in and express disapproval of their leaders alongside their high hopes for the success of the revolution. In Syria, nothing.
Read more of Young's take on Al Jazeera's selective coverage.
Al Jazeera is not alone in its failure to give adequate attention to events in Syria. The news media in general is not covering Syria with the same interest as it did in Egypt and Libya. In part this may be due to the fact that the Syrian regime does not allow journalists the same degree of access. But news still gets out for those who want it.
A web site called SupportKurds.org has been providing a steady stream of information on the unrest.
This is a video claiming to show a street under fire from snipers on April 8, 2011.
Hamas Admits to a War Crime
According to the New York Times, a 16-year-old boy was critically injured while riding on a school bus, which was hit by laser-guided missile launched by Hamas. The Times reports that in addition to claiming responsibility for the attack, Hamas said it intentionally chose the target in revenge for an Israeli attack that left three "holy fighters" dead.
By calling its dead "holy fighters," Hamas obliquely acknowledges that the Israeli attack was on a legitimate military target. And by stating that that it intentionally attacked a school bus, which is clearly a civilian target, Hamas has admitted to committing a war crime.
It doesn't get any clearer than this.
April 07, 2011
Liz Taylor Defied Israel-Boycotters
Mainstream American media reporting on the passing of Elizabeth Taylor generally ignored her support for Israel. A notable exception was a March 27 Washington Post (Outlook section) commentary which noted that Ms. Taylor “was also a supporter of Israel to a degree that largely went unmentioned this past week.”
A Partial list of Elizabeth Taylor’s Israel-related activities:
• In 1959 Ms. Taylor bought $100,000 in Israeli bonds. As a result, The United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria) officially banned all her motion pictures.
• In 1962 Ms. Taylor was barred from entering Egypt as she was blacklisted for being Jewish. As a result, the filming of Cleopatra filming had to be moved from Egypt. The Jerusalem Post (April 6, 2011) noted that: "Gen. Essam Elmasri, head of the Cairo regional bureau of the Israel Boycott Office, [in 1962] said in the Egyptian capital that Miss Taylor will not be allowed to come to Egypt because she has adopted the Jewish faith and supports Israeli causes."
• In 1976 Ms. Taylor offered herself as a hostage for the more than 100 Air France hijack victims held by terrorists at Entebbe Airport in Uganda during the tense days before the Israeli rescue raid.
• Ms. Taylor raised over 2 million dollars for the State of Israel.
• In 1967 Ms. Taylor canceled plans to attend the July Moscow Film Festival because of opposition to the Soviet diplomatic offensive against Israel.
• In 1982 Ms. Taylor signed a letter denouncing the United Nations’ racist “Zionism is racism” resolution.
• In 1987 Ms. Taylor helped launch an appeal to free Soviet Jewish refusenik Ida Nudel.
The Washington Post story pointed out that Elizabeth Taylor’s support for Israel stood in sharp contrast to a number of celebrities who have gone along with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) crowd –– “an international activist network that sees Israel as an oppressor and seeks its isolation in virtually every realm” –– and cut ties with Israel. “The same artists usually have nothing in particular to say about China, Russia or repressive Muslim regimes,” it noted.
Ha'aretz's Shavit Condemns Double Standard on Jenin Murder
Ha'aretz columnist Ari Shavit decries the double standard of his own newspaper, as well as the Israeli left in general, with respect to its reaction to the murder of Israeli filmmaker Juliano Mer-Khamis in Jenin on Monday. He writes:
It is not hard to imagine what would have happened had Juliano Mer-Khamis been murdered by Jews. The murder would receive a huge headline in Haaretz. Under the headline, five furious analyses would appear - one of them mine.
The writers would harshly denounce the Jewish murderousness and urge a culture war against Jewish fanaticism. Others would demand not to repeat the mistake made after Baruch Goldstein's murderous rampage and to evacuate the settlements immediately. Others would demand to look into the goings on in the Hesder yeshivas, which offer Torah studies alongside military service, and the state-run religious education system.
Selected racist quotes would be pulled out of primitive rabbis' writings, historic comparisons would be made to Emil Gruenzweig's murder and Yitzhak Rabin's murder and Martin Luther King's murder.
Within a day Mer-Khamis would become an icon. On Saturday night thousands would gather holding torches to mourn the peace hero and rise up against the powers of darkness. Mer-Khamis' murder at the hands of Jews would rebuild the left, reunite it and send it to a new battle against murderous Jewish fascism.
But Juliano Mer-Khamis was not murdered by Jews. So instead of a huge headline he got a story below the fold. Instead of five angry essays, he received only one (beautiful ) eulogy.
Nobody talked about racism, fanaticism and fascism. Nobody spoke of education systems spreading hatred and about primitive clergy. Mer-Khamis did not become an icon and thousands of people did not demonstrate.
Shavit also extends his criticism to "Western enlightenment," charging:
A post-colonial complex makes Western enlightenment systematically ignore injustices caused by anti-Western forces. Thus it loses the ability to see historic reality as a whole, in all its complexity. It also makes it act unfairly and unjustly.
It discriminates between different kinds of evil, different kinds of blood and different kinds of victims. It treats third-world societies as though they are not subject to universal moral norms.
Indeed. Thus, as documented earlier this week by CAMERA, the International Herald Tribune has no trouble featuring Palestinian grievances against Israeli, but completely ignored Mer-Khamis' murder, as well as the indictment of an alleged Hamas rocket expert.
April 06, 2011
More Attacks on Christians in Iraq?
According to the Associated Press, an organization called The Islamic State of Iraq, has issued a statement declaring Christians "legitimate targets" and that the "killing sword will not be lifted from ... (their) necks."
The story is here.
Goldstone Tries to Downplay His Retraction of Report
In an interview with AP, Richard Goldstone tried to downplay his retraction of the central tenet of the UN report, namely that Israel was guilty of crimes against humanity for deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians. He said that while "information subsequent to publication of the report did meet with the view that one correction should be made with regard to intentionality on the part of Israel" he has "no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time."
Only "one" correction? That "one correction" as Goldstone puts it, reverses THE entire premise and theme of the report. Almost everything else spins the "proof" for this central theme. When the most essential and slanderous conclusion of the report is negated, all that is left are the polemical contortions that prop up this false premise.
Jerusalem Post Discusses CAMERA BBC Exposé
Today's Jerusalem Post discusses CAMERA's video exposé of the BBC' Trust's abandonment of its editorial guidelines regarding a biased Panorama show on Jerusalem that aired last year. The article explains why CAMERA made the video and presents some of its key points.
32% of Palestinians Support Fogel Family Slaughter
According to a joint Israeli Palestinian poll, 32% of Palestinians support and 63% oppose the slaughter of the Fogel family in Itamar last month.
The same poll, by Prof. Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) and Prof Yaacov Shamir of the Hebrew University's Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, finds that two thirds of Gazans feel it necessary to organize demonstrations against the Hamas government and that only 36% of Israelis think the likelihood of such demonstrations against the Hamas government is medium or high. Most Palestinians (66%) and Israelis (73%) do not consider demonstrations against the Israeli government in the West Bank to be capable of ending military occupation or stopping settlements. For more on the poll, see PSR's press release here.
April 05, 2011
Thomas Friedman, Belligerent Or Not?
The Israeli Hebrew daily Yediot Achronot published a very bizarre item today. The last paragraph of a news item about the New York Times' denial that it refused to print Richard Goldstone's retraction states:
Yediot Achronot would like to clarify that contrary to what was reported yesterday, journalist Thomas Friedman did not publish columns belligerent towards the State of Israel. We apologize for the error.
Perhaps Yediot was compelled to publish this sentence following some sort of threat by the New York Times. This apology does not reflect well on Yediot in light of the fact that the earlier statement that Friedman published columns hostile towards Israel is 100 percent accurate.
On Oct. 19, 2011, Friedman wrote ("Just Knock It Off"):
. . . when America asks Israel to do something that in no way touches on its vital security but would actually enhance it, there is only one right answer: “Yes.” It is a measure of how spoiled Israel has become that after billions and billions of dollars in U.S. aid and 300,000 settlers already ensconced in the West Bank, Israel feels no compunction about spurning an American request for a longer settlement freeze . . .
Yes, I know, Netanyahu says that if he did that then the far right-wingers in his cabinet would walk out. He knows he can’t make peace with some of the lunatics in his cabinet, but he tells the U.S. that he only wants to blow up his cabinet once — for a deal. But we will never get to that stage if he doesn’t blow it up now and construct a centrist coalition that can negotiate a deal.
On Nov. 13, 2010, Friedman wrote ("I believe I can fly,"):
If you jump off the top of an 80-story building, for 79 floors you can think you’re flying. It’s the sudden stop at the end that tells you you’re not. It’s striking to me how many leaders and nations are behaving today as though they think they can fly — and ignoring that sudden stop at the end that’s sure to come. . . .
Well, first there’s Israel’s prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, who has been telling everyone how committed he is to peace with the Palestinians while refusing to halt settlement building as a prerequisite for negotiations. At a time when Israel already has 300,000 settlers in the West Bank, Bibi says he can’t possibly take another pause in building . . .
Netanyahu toys with President Obama, makes Israel look like it wants land more than peace and risks never forging a West Bank deal . . .
That’s the sudden stop at the end — unless the next war comes first. But, for now, Bibi seems to think he can fly.
On Dec. 11, 2010, Friedman wrote ("Reality Check"):
The failed attempt by the U.S. to bribe Israel with a $3 billion security assistance package, diplomatic cover and advanced F-35 fighter aircraft — if Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu would simply agree to a 90-day settlements freeze to resume talks with the Palestinians — has been enormously clarifying. It demonstrates just how disconnected from reality both the Israeli and the Palestinian leaderships have become.
Oil is to Saudi Arabia what unconditional American aid and affection are to Israel — and what unconditional Arab and European aid and affection are to the Palestinians: a hallucinogenic drug that enables them each to think they can defy the laws of history, geography and demography. It is long past time that we stop being their crack dealers. . . .
Israel, when America, a country that has lavished billions on you over the last 50 years and taken up your defense in countless international forums, asks you to halt settlements for three months to get peace talks going, there is only one right answer, and it is not “How much?” It is: “Yes, whatever you want . . .
On Feb. 1, 2011, Friedman wrote ("B.E. Before Egypt, A.E., After Egypt"):
But Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel is in danger of becoming the Mubarak of the peace process. Israel has never had more leverage vis-à-vis the Palestinians and never had more responsible Palestinian partners. But Netanyahu has found every excuse for not putting a peace plan on the table.
On Feb. 13, 2011, Friedman wrote ("Postcard from Cairo, Part 2"):
Israel today has the most out-of-touch, in-bred, unimaginative and cliché-driven cabinet it has ever had.
Rather than even listening to what the democracy youth in Tahrir Square were saying and then trying to digest what it meant, this Israeli government took two approaches during the last three weeks: Frantically calling the White House and telling the president he must not abandon Pharaoh – to the point where the White House was thoroughly disgusted with its Israeli interlocutors – and using the opportunity to score propaganda points: “Look at us! Look at us! We told you so! We are the only stable country in the region, because we are the only democracy."
True, the New York Times likely distinguishes between State of Israel and the Israeli government, but in any event Yediot Achronot was justified in calling Friedman's columns belligerent. Too bad editors did not have a backbone to stand up against the unknown pressures that the Times apparently applied.
-- By Yishai Goldflam
NYT Responds to Reports That it Rejected Goldstone Op-Ed
Israeli media outlets reported yesterday that sources close to Judge Richard Goldstone said that the author of the infamous U.N. report on Gaza first turned to the New York Times with his mea culpa, but that the paper of record rejected his turnaround column.
Yediot Achronot (available in Hebrew in print) follows up today that both the New York Times and Goldstone himself confirm that Goldstone submitted an Op-Ed to the New York Times on March 22, but not the Op-Ed that ran last week in the Washington Post. The New York Times and Goldstone did not divulge the content of the March 22 submission, which raises the question: Did it go even further than the Washington Post piece in rejecting his earlier conclusions concerning alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza?
April 02, 2011
But Why Didn't Goldstone Know Then What He Knew Then?
Richard Goldstone's public "reconsideration" of the Goldstone Report, in which he seems to withdraw his endorsement of the report's most inflammatory conclusions, is certainly significant.
He wrote in the Washington Post:
We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.
April 01, 2011
Norwegian Bigot Explains Himself
Professor Alan Dershowitz's recent Wall Street Journal column about the academic cold shoulder he encountered in Norway when all three of the nation's major universities refused his offer to speak on the subject of Israel and International Law included reference to the strikingly bigoted statements of academic Trond Andresen. This assistant professor at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), who'd previously led an attempted boycott of Israel, was evidently stung by exposure in the Journal and wanted to clarify his opinion of Jews.
He insists in a column in Norway's Aftenposten newspaper that "I'm not an anti-Semite, Dershowitz" and writes:
I was attacked by Alan M. Dershowitz because I publicly expressed my attitude about the problems of the global Jewish community.
The quote that AMD used from me included two distinct fragments that were taken out of context, from a post I wrote during Israel's Gaza bombing. But such criticism is - whether correct or not - taboo. It is met with shouting "anti-Semitism." But I have no racist attitudes towards Jews, and reject such a label.
Let me use another group, the Muslims, as an example. For years they have been subjected to public and persistent criticism of not only Islamic terrorism, but with regard to the large (and peaceful) majority of Muslims, of the attitudes towards women, gays, religion and more. Public opinion is that Muslims as a group must work to address their attitudes. I agree. Criticism is warranted and should be repeated in public. Many Muslims also take this criticism seriously.
Then it is reasonable that a similar debate about Jews as a cultural group (whether religious or secular, those who identify with his background) must be allowed. And I think that a prominent concern is their "tribal mentality" believing "we are worth the most, we are the best."
My assessment is shared by many Jewish dissidents, such as the late Israel Shahak (survivor of Bergen-Belsen), who wrote books on the subject. And writer and musician Gilad Atzmon. None of us are racists!
Israel is heading for the cliff with its policies today. Self-reflection in the global Jewish community can help to change course. Therefore, such criticism is useful for the Jews themselves.
It seems Norwegian academia is heading off the cliff and, like Andresen, needs a lot of self-reflection.
Washington Post Fails Mid-East Economics
There was a “Where’s Waldo?” element in The Washington Post article “Despite oil wealth, Arab economies lack traction” (February 24). It reported that “hundreds of billions of dollars in hydrocarbon wealth and other receipts” have done little “to create globally competitive economies or employment” in the Arab world. “The reasons for this poor record are varied, including repeated wars with Israel and each other, widespread corruption and the overwhelming presence of ruling cliques in the economy.”
Odd, those repeated wars Israel has had to fight with the Arab countries have not kept it from creating a globally competitive economy or employment, and doing so without hydrocarbon wealth. Israel’s high-tech sector, for example, has emerged as a recognized world leader, producing innovations ranging from cell phone technology to medical diagnostics.
The Post article, by staff writer Howard Schneider, observed that “growth in per capita income among the Arab countries lagged behind Asia, Latin America and Africa as a whole during the past 30 years ....” It reported that, within the Middle East, while Saudi Arabian per capita income fell six percent in constant dollars from 1981 to 2010, non-Arab Turkey’s grew 357 percent. The article doesn’t mention that Israel’s per capita income jumped almost 500 percent in the same period.
Maybe the “Where’s Waldo” factor also led the article to refer to “tiny Oman.” At 82,000 square miles, Kansas-sized Oman is eight times “less tiny” than Israel.
Whether or not size matters, it would appear that repeated wars with Israel have had less to do with economic stagnation among Arab countries than the “widespread corruption and overwhelming presence of ruling cliques” the article mentions and other factors it does not. These include lack of individual, women and minority rights; poor education; religious fundamentalism and “deficits” of democracy cited by the annual U.N. reports on Arab human development.
Video Exposes BBC Flouting of Editorial Guidelines
A new video reveals the BBC's lies about Jerusalem, and the broadcaster's utter disregard of its own Editorial Guidelines. See it here.