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July 28, 2011

The Washington Post Omits Novelist’s Antisemitism

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The Washington Post’s “Memoir Review” of Jose Saramago (“Deep Roots in Poor Soil,” July 3) omitted the novelist’s unhinged beliefs about Israel and Jews.

Reviewer Michael S. Roth painted a picture of a humble and intelligent man. But in 2003, when Palestinian terrorists of the second intifada were blowing up Israeli buses and cafes, murdering hundreds and maiming thousands, Saramago charged that Israel security checkpoints at Ramallah somehow resembled Holocaust-like repression.

“In the spirit of Auschwitz,” he orated, “this place is being turned into a concentration camp.” In fact, 2003 was the year in which Arab violence claimed the most Israeli lives since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

As for Jews in general, Saramago proclaimed, “they didn’t learn anything from the suffering [in the Holocaust] of their parents and grandparents.”

“Political bravery and artistic originality” with which The Post credited Saramago, or the old hatred in a new bottle? Would The Post have so indulged another artist who showed such prejudice toward any other national or religious group? -- by Sophie Linshitz, CAMERA Washington research intern.

Posted by ER at 03:22 PM |  Comments (3)

July 27, 2011

One-Way Musings on One-State Solution

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Eric Alterman's July 15 column in the Forward argues that Israeli intransigence is, in effect, the sole reason a peace agreement hasn't been reached with the Palestinians.

The CUNY professor quotes a pro-Palestinian Israeli activist pinning responsibility for the stalemate on a land-hungry version of Zionism:

[I]f all that was necessary were to work out the details of the end of the occupation and the creation of two states based on the finality of the 1947 borders — that is, of the Zionism that liberates people rather than real estate — "[Palestinian academic Sari Nusseibeh] and I could conclude a peace agreement before lunch."

The Israeli activist suggests that Palestinians will be "liberated" only if their borders follow the 1947 lines. This is self-contradictory: If he believes the liberation of people should be valued over the liberation of land, why does he argue that a peace agreement must hinge on specific borders? If Palestinian insistence on those lines has prevented an agreement leading to their "liberation," it is Palestinian leaders, and not Zionism, who deserve blame for valuing real estate above liberation. (Never mind that a majority of Palestinians recently rejected the concept of two states for two people under any borders.)

This passage's focus on "the finality of the 1947 borders" is also misleading since the '47 lines were never considered a border, let alone "final." On the contrary, the Jordanian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement specifically notes that the lines were "agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines." And UN Security Council Resolution 242 was drafted with language underscoring that, in the words of the its chief author, "the boundaries of '67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers, they were a cease-fire line of a couple of decades earlier... . We did not say that the '67 boundaries must be forever."

Most notable, though, is the disconnect between Alterman's quote and the reality of recent negotiations. Palestinians have repeatedly been offered "liberation" — not only in the distant past, as the author acknowledged, but also multiple times in recent years. At Camp David, Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat rejected peace agreements, and Palestinian statehood. And his successor Mahmoud Abbas rejected the same during his negotiations with Ehud Olmert.

Perhaps Sari Nusseibeh would be able to conclude a peace agreement "before lunch." But his leaders clearly have other priorities above liberation.

Posted by GI at 11:56 AM |  Comments (2)

July 26, 2011

A Modest Proposal for the World Council of Churches

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WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

Since its founding in 1948, the World Council of Churches has promoted interfaith dialogue, particularly between Christians and Muslims. This work has been documented in a number of books such as Meeting in Faith: Twenty Years of Christian-Muslim Conversations Sponsored by the World Council of Churches. This book, published by the WCC in 1989, is a compendium of statements issued by more than a dozen world and regional conferences between Christians and Muslims.

At these dialogues, Christians and Muslims (and sometimes people of other faiths) look for common ground and speak frankly about the differences between them. At a conference in Broumana, Lebanon in 1972, conference participants enunciated three principles for guiding interfaith dialogue: Frank witness, mutual respect, and a commitment to religious freedom.

The attendees also stated their commitment to making “a vital contribution to the extension of inter-religious harmony and international justice,” and that “Muslims and Christians are called upon to achieve a wider vision of community, inter-racial, inter-cultural and international.”

In light of these and other commitments affirmed at WCC sponsored dialogues, it is time for the World Council of Churches to promote a frank and honest discussion between Christians and Muslims about a problem common to both faiths: Antisemitism.

Christianity and Islam have encouraged hostility toward Jews and Judaism throughout their history. The early histories of both Christianity and Islam were marked by conflict with Jews who denied the truth of their message. Consequently, anti-Jewish polemics are present in both the Koran and the New Testament and these polemics have had terrible consequences.

The World Council of Churches acknowledged Christianity’s problem with the Jews at its First Assembly in 1948, which denounced anti-Semitism and admitted that the Church had “helped to foster an image of the Jews as the sole enemies of Christ, which has contributed to anti-Semitism in the secular world.”

And on the Muslim side of the equation, Tarek Fatah, author of The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim anti-Semitism (McClelland, 2010) reports that Muslims worldwide “are constantly being told by clerics about the essential deviousness of the Jew and the global conspiracies he weaves.”

This conference would not be one where Christians can brag of transcending the issue of anti-Semitism while Muslims have not.

In fact, if the conference were to have any integrity, one panel would have to be devoted to materials produced by the WCC itself. Amy-Jill Levine, author of The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus (San Francisco: HarperSanfranscico, 2006), reported that some WCC materials include “anti-Jewish obscenities.” Levine reported “the WCC, along with Orbis Books, Fortress Press, numerous university presses, and others, also distributes the “teaching of contempt” for Judaism and Jews.

In her research, Levine discovered “new manifestations of old problems: a view of Judaism not only as misogynistic but also as filled with “taboos,” particularly uninformed understandings of rabbinic literature, a version of multiculturalism that praises all distinct practices except for those associated with Judaism, and a theology that intimates the ancient heresy known as Marcionism by distinguishing the God of Judaism from the God of Jesus.” (See pages 169-171.)

The year after the publication of The Misunderstood Jew, Levine reported that, to its credit, the WCC, had admitted the problem and taken steps to rectify it. There is still a problem, however. “But, what is on the library shelves in Lagos and Lima, Nairobi and Nashville, remains fodder for anti-Judaism,” she said. “In the summer of 2004, when I was living in a Maryknoll convent in the Phillipines, I found such material easily available, waiting to infect another generation.”

The WCC’s Jewish problem is not restricted to its theological texts, which apparently have improved since Levine confronted WCC leaders. Not only has the WCC broadcast anti-Jewish calumnies in its theological materials, the organization clearly has a problem with Jewish sovereignty, which by the way, is also evident in the statements issued by Muslim extremists in the Middle East. To be sure, the WCC’s problem with Jewish sovereignty is not expressed with the same violence as it is by Muslim extremists, but it dovetails quite nicely.

The WCC’s problem with Jewish sovereignty manifests itself in a number of ways, including the double standard so evident in WCC pronouncements regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict. In various WCC pronouncements and publications, Israel – which maintains one of the most democratic, representative, accountable and law-abiding governments in the Middle East – is portrayed as the worst human rights abuser in the region. Israel, a nation subjected to genocidal threats from leaders throughout the region and intermittent rocket attacks from terrorists operating in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, is portrayed as an aggressor-oppressor nation that routinely attacks its neighbors without cause or reason.

By way of comparison, WCC materials depict Palestinians as the most innocent, tortured and beleaguered people on earth, suffering under the lash of Israeli mistreatment. WCC materials portray Palestinian Christian leaders as authentic practitioners of the Christian faith and reliable sources of information about the Arab-Israeli conflict, despite the fact that they have used anti-Semitic tropes to assail the Jewish state while remaining virtually silent about the misdeeds of Muslim and Arab leaders in the Middle East.

Non-state actors such as Hamas and Hezbollah that have expressed genocidal hostility toward Jews and a desire to destroy Israel merit little, if any attention or condemnation from the WCC, which largely ignores grave human rights abuses perpetrated by Arab and Muslim regimes in the region.

For example, a search of the WCC’s news archive conducted on July 26, 2011 indicates that the WCC has offered no statements regarding recent events in Syria, where the government is shooting people in the streets for several weeks. A Nexis search provides the same results. By way of comparison, WCC General Secretary Olav Fykse Tveit was quick to criticize Israel in the aftermath of the confrontation between Israeli commanders and Turkish-sponsored fighters on board the Mavi Marmara in 2010.

In his statement, Tveit condemned Israel “for the assault and killing of innocent people who were attempting to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, who have been under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007.” Tveit simply got it wrong. Yes, the deaths were tragic, but the people who were killed on board the Mavi Marmara were trained fighters who were preparing for a violent confrontation with Israeli soldiers long before they ever set foot on the vessel.

The videos speak for themselves. Apparently, the videos were not enough to convince the WCC, however. The website of the WCC’s Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum currently displays, in its entirety, an article originally published by Ekklesia that describes the events on board the Mavi Marmara as follows: “Nine Turkish activists were shot dead by Israeli commandos. The IDF claimed that they were threatened and released doctored film to back this claim.”

This is down and dirty anti-Israel propaganda.

What is it doing on a WCC website?

The WCC’s anti-Israelism even manifests itself in its organizational structure. Israel’s behavior is so offensive to the World Council of Churches that it has established not one, but two bureaucracies dedicated to assailing the policies of Jewish state.

The first is the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine Israel (EAPPI) that stands with Palestinians living in the West Bank during their time of conflict with the Jewish state. The website of this program is comprised almost entirely of stories detailing the bad acts of Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank. Palestinian violence against Israel is barely mentioned in EAPPI materials.

The second bureaucracy is the aforementioned Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) which among other things has endorsed the Amman Call, which affirms the Palestinian right of return, which if exercised, means the disappearance of the Jewish state. The PIEF has also publicized the Kairos Palestine Document, which the Central Conference of American Rabbbis has characterized as superssessionist and anti-Semitic.

Nice.

While the WCC has two organizations dedicated to assailing Israel and challenging the “occupation,” Christians throughout the globe suffering persecution in Muslim majority countries enjoy no such dedicated support from the WCC. No one from the WCC accompanies them as they go about their lives in Iraq and Egypt, for example.

CAMERA has asked the WCC why no such institutions exist, and the answer is that Palestinian Christians have asked for WCC accompaniment while Christians in Iraq and Egypt have not. These WCC also stated that when dealing with the issue of persecution, it has to be careful in what it says so as not to make persecution worse.

As a result the WCC, like a woman married to an abusive husband, walks on egg shells when dealing with issues related the mistreatment of Christians in Muslim-majority countries but roars like a lion when condemning Israel, and for that matter, the United States.

A similar dynamic played itself out during the Cold War. When delegates at WCC meetings attempted to condemn the Soviet Union for its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, representatives from the Russian Orthodox Church successfully lobbied WCC institutions to mute its criticism of the invasion.

This isn’t to say the WCC does not point out or respond to attacks on Christians in Muslim majority countries in the Middle East or North Africa.

It has.

Look at the WCC’s website, however, and you’ll see the organization simply does not condemn Muslim extremists who attack Christians – and the government officials who fail to protect them – with the same fervid prose with which it assails Israel, nor do WCC institutions challenge the theology used to justify these attacks, which is odd, given the regular dialogues WCC officials have with Muslim leaders and the manner with which it interrogates Zionism.

WCC officials will deny – to high heaven – that their organization has a problem with Jewish sovereignty, but the organization’s website demonstrates that Israel is the perennial scapegoat for the organization. The WCC’s obsessive and focus on Israel, and its inability to deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict in an honest and comprehensive manner is simply obscene.

Maybe the WCC needs to convene two conferences.

The first conference would be the connection between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. This conference could deal primarily with WCC materials, particularly those produced by the EAPPI, the PIEF and another WCC institution – the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA).

If this conference were to issue a summary, it could include an acknowledgement that in its witness regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, the WCC has, to its regret, failed to confront and condemn the genocidal hostility toward Israel exhibited by Muslim extremists in the Middle East.

If it’s bad for Christians to demonize Jews, then it’s bad for Muslims as well and the WCC has an obligation to say so – despite Christianity’s troubled history.

Then after it has gotten its own house in order, the WCC could organize another conference, this one dedicated to documenting Christianity and Islam’s shared legacy of anti-Semitism.

Neither of these conferences will be pleasant junkets for those in attendance, but they are desperately needed.

Posted by dvz at 11:27 PM |  Comments (0)

Israel Hayom on Missile Defense

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Even -- or especially -- in an era of information-overload, new, solid sources on Israel are welcome. The emergence of a daily newspaper, Israel Hayom, in Hebrew has had a dramatic impact within Israel, offering a counterweight to Ha'aretz and Yediot. Now the same publication is providing some of its content in English.

A featured story on the successful testing of a component of the Arrow 3 anti-missile system by reporter Lilach Shoval was a reminder of the threats Israel faces -- and has to confront:

...Arrow 3 is slated to be Israel's next-generation missile interceptor, built to collide "metal-to-metal" with long-range ballistic missiles before they re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. The Arrow 3 was designed as a response to longer range ballistic missile threats.

But it will take time:

Defense officials speculate that the Arrow 3 will not be operational before 2015. The missile is considered unique, and is planned to provide Israel with the needed defense from unconventional missile bombardment. Israel currently deploys the improved Arrow 2, which can shoot down long-range ballistic missiles. The Magic Wand and Iron Dome anti-missile systems were developed to shoot down shorter range projectiles.

Posted by AL at 04:05 PM |  Comments (0)

A Jew and a Pollster Walk into a Bar

From Connecticut's Jewish Ledger:

First there was the poll by Frank Luntz sponsored by CAMERA. Then there was Dick Morris’ poll. And now there is the poll done by Pat Caddell and John McLaughlin. They all say pretty much the same thing: Contrary to the often-expressed mantra in the mainstream media, American Jews do care about Israel and they care deeply.

More about the latest poll results at the Ledger website.

Posted by GI at 03:46 PM |  Comments (0)

Norwegian Ambassador Compares Terror Attacks in Norway and in Israel

In an interview today with the Israeli daily, Ma'ariv, Svein Sevje, the Norwegian Ambassador to Israel, drew a distinction between the recent terror attacks in Norway and a Palestinian terror attack (the Park Hotel massacre, where terrorists murdered 30 people at a Passover Seder) in Israel.

First it is important to emphasize that terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, whether in Israel or in Norway, are completely unnacceptable. I would like to outline the similarity and the difference between the two cases.

The similarity is of course that both attacks targeted innocent civilians and in this sense they are both terrorist actions, but I'm not sure that the two cases (the Norway attacks vs. Palestinian terror attacks) are identical, despite the similarity.

The difference is that Palestinians are attacking Israel through the means of terrorist actions. Never mind how unacceptable or terrible it is, they are doing this with a defined goal that is related to the Israeli occupation. There are elements of revenge against Israel and hatred of Israel. To this you can add the religious dimension to their actions. In any case, there is a principle motive to their actions.

In answer to a question about whether the first-hand experience with terrorism might change the way Norwegians viewed Israel, the ambassador answered, "Almost definitely not."

We Norwegians view the occupation as the reason for terror against Israel. Many Norwegians still see the occupation as the reason for attacks against Israel. Whoever thinks this way, will not change his mind as a result of the attack in Oslo.

Posted by RH at 01:46 PM |  Comments (5)

United Nations Continues to Betray Its Mission

The United Nations, under the guise of a conference ostensibly devoted to combating racism, continues to abuse its role of promoting peace and tolerance among nations, by fostering the very intolerance it purports to be combating.

The UN has had a long history of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activity. The Durban Conferences, the first of which was in 2001, have attempted to enshrine this bias in a sanctioned mandate of the international community.

As Anne Bayefsky, Senior Editor of Eye on the UN, writes of the first Durban Conference of 2001,

The Durban Conference provided rampant antisemitism with a global platform under UN auspices, in a conference allegedly against racism and xenophobia. It also revealed the malevolent antisemitism underlying the campaign to delegitimize the state of Israel.

Later, in describing Durban II, she writes,

Durban II, known officially as the Durban Review Conference, was held in Geneva in April 2009. It was headlined by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who saw the occasion as ideal for issuing another denial of the Holocaust and an endorsement of genocide against the Jewish state.

Finally, regarding Durban III, Bayefsky goes on to write,

By virtue of a 2010 General Assembly resolution, the purpose of Durban III is to celebrate a world conference that reveled in anti-Semitism and to adopt a final declaration that reaffirms the original Durban Declaration (and Programme of Action). That’s the Declaration supposedly to combat racism, xenophobia and related intolerance but that somehow manages to charge just one of the 192 UN members with racism, namely, Israel.

The rampant singling out of Israel for vilification and delegitimization, which Hillel Neuer of UN Watch identified before the Human Rights Council of the UN, has again been made evident through the Durban Conferences.

As Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada described in 2006, "Durban became the tipping point for the coalescence of a new, virulent, globalizing anti-Jewishness reminiscent of the atmospherics that pervaded Europe in the 1930s. In its lethal form, this animus finds expression as state-sanctioned genocidal anti-Semitism."

And as Roberta Seid of StandWithUs wrote in 2008,

In Sept. 2001, the UN's first conference to end world racism met in Durban, South Africa. Unfortunately, despite its idealistic agenda, the conference, and the attendant Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) meetings, quickly turned into an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel hate fest. Celebratory posters of Hitler were displayed. Jews were physically and verbally attacked and intimidated, and denied participation in various meetings...In a tragic paradox, the conference to end racism fomented and embraced one of the world's oldest racisms—anti-Semitism. The late Congressman and Holocaust survivor Tom Lantos (D-CA) wrote that it was "the most sickening and unabashed display of hate for Jews I had seen since the Nazi period." The United States and Israel walked out. The Durban Conference itself became synonymous with hate, Judeophobia and prejudice.

Six countires have now withdrawn their participation in Durban III. Canada, in November of 2010, was the first country to boycott the event, with Canadian Minister Jason Kenney stating that “Canada will not participate in this charade. We will not lend our good name to this Durban hate fest. Canada is clearly committed to the fight against racism, but the Durban process commemorates an agenda that actually promotes racism rather than combats it.”

Israel was the next country to pull out of the conference in December of 2010.

The United States cancelled its participation in Durban III with a statement issued in June 2011 by the US State Department:

The United States will not participate in the Durban Commemoration. In December, we voted against the resolution establishing this event because the Durban process included ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism, and we did not want to see that commemorated.

In 2009, after working to try to achieve a positive, constructive outcome in the Durban Review Conference, we withdrew from participating because the conference reaffirmed the original 2001 Durban Declaration, which unfairly singled out Israel.

The Czech Republic announced this month of July 2011 that it was pulling out of Durban III, concerned about the "unacceptable statements with anti-Jewish connotations” that would ensue.

Italy has also now withdrawn from the conference, with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini announcing that Italy would boycott the Durban III Conference to be held in September due to its anti-Israeli nature. The Netherlands announced its withdrawal from Durban III, with the foreign minister citing that there are countries who use the conference for anti-Israel propaganda and for denying Israel's right to exist.

The institutionalized pattern of anti-Israel bias at the UN, and the singular vilification of Israel that has been the hallmark of these Durban Conferences, have been made evident once again, as these countries boycotting Durban III affirm.

Posted by at 12:48 PM |  Comments (2)

The Banality of Anti-Semitism in Egypt


MEMRI TV has made available a video of a comedy skit aired on Egyptian Television portraying a Jewish grandfather, his granddaughter and grandson sitting around the kitchen table scheming to sell human organs. They are portrayed as bloodthirsty, greedy buffoons in order to elicit chuckles from the audience. A young woman comedian introduces the skit with some "humor,"

the Jews trade in everything, so obviously they have not neglected organ trafficking. I have recently seen someone haggle over a pancreas in order to save five shekels.

The skit exposes the banality of Egyptian bigotry against Jews. In some ways, it recalls the cartoons and children's shows in the early years of American television that used humor to lampoon black Americans with demeaning stereotypes. In the Egyptian skit, however, the message concerning the nature of Jews is far darker.

Posted by SS at 11:31 AM |  Comments (1)

Study: NY Times' Israel Obsession Half a Century Old

Omri Ceren flags an academic study which finds that the New York Times' Israel obsession is nothing new -- it dates back at least five decades. He writes:

There’s an article coming out in the next issue of Communication Research that tries to untangle how and why foreign countries get covered by U.S. news outlets in general, and by NBC and the New York Times in particular. The peer-reviewed piece is a collaboration between researchers spread across Washington state and two Dutch universities, and – like all good academic work – has a soporific title, Foreign Nation Visibility in U.S. News Coverage: A Longitudinal Analysis (1950-2006).

The long timeline means that even regional wars get pushed down the list by Cold War and global diplomacy coverage. So the USSR, China, Britain, and France are all prominent because they’re nuclear powers on the Security Council. Germany and Japan show up a lot because we had just finished fighting them and had troops on their territory.

And then there’s one other distant country with which the U.S. press seems to be preoccupied, above and beyond any country except the USSR:

The first step in our analysis was to examine which countries were most visible during each of the four geopolitical eras analyzed. Table 1 lists the top ten most mentioned foreign nations in the NYT and on NBC during the early Cold War era (1950-1973), the late Cold War era (1974-1991), the post–Cold War era (1992-2001), and the post-9/11 era (2002-2006). Notably, nine countries were among the top ten most mentioned countries in at least four of the eight series analyzed. Specifically, Russia (USSR) and Israel received the most consistent news coverage—followed closely by Britain, China, France, Japan, Germany, Iraq, and Mexico.

Posted by TS at 07:58 AM |  Comments (1)

July 25, 2011

Ayalon Video Sparks Furious Reaction by Palestinians

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Saeb Erekat

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon's video explaining the origin and inaccuracy of the terms "West Bank", "occupied territories" and "67 Borders" has sparked an enraged reaction by Palestinians. In a somewhat hysterical sounding press release, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat expressed the Palestinian leadership's "shock" and outrage over the video, and stated that

With this video, the Israeli government has left no doubt on its pro-conflict agenda. Now, the international community knows the Israeli government is committed to denying the Palestinian people their inalienable right to self-determination and on continuing their illegal and colonial enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territory.

He called on the international community to

to demand an official explanation from the Government of Israel regarding this video, which openly expresses hostility towards the Palestinian people and their legitimate national rights to independence and self-determination.

For his part, politician Danny Ayalon reacted to the Palestinian press release by pointing to what he called Erekat's false claims and asserting that

For too long the Palestinian narrative of international law and rights has gone unchallenged, and this over the top reaction to a public diplomacy video proves that they are acting like spoilt children who have had their way for too long.

Posted by RH at 02:06 PM |  Comments (3)

July 22, 2011

NPR Counter-Terrorism Series Omits Inconvenient Truths

National Public Radio aired a two-part series on counter-terrorism training on July 18 and 19. Omissions as to the nature of Islamic radicalism in the United States made the reports, by NPR’s Dina Temple Ralston, useless at best, misleading at worst.

“Terrorism Training Casts Pall Over Muslim Employee” (July 18) portrays Omar Al-Omari, former Multicultural Relations Officer for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, as a victim of “Islamophobia.” It does so by repeatedly omitting critical information.

“Imam Arrest Shows Shift in Muslim Outreach Effort” (July 19) refers to the FBI arrest of Miami imams Hafiz Khan and son Izhar Khan, along with other family members, on charges of “financing terrorism in Pakistan.” NPR avoids specifics while noting that Hafiz and Izhar Khan have pled “not guilty to all of the charges.”

Listeners never learn from the tax-supported network that FBI agents detained the Khans on four counts of conspiring to support deadly terrorism overseas and funding the Pakistani Taliban with approximately $45,000 from 2008 to 2010.

In installment I, Dina Temple Ralston reports that counter-terrorism trainers “suggested that [Omar al-Omari] had links to bad people — people who were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and even al-Qaida.” She does not report that those claims were not unsubstantiated.

Omitted, among other things, was al-Omari’s publication, in his official Ohio state capacity, of a brochure claiming that the definition of jihad as “holy war” is “a European concept” foreign to Islam. Also missing in action from the NPR segment was al-Omari's listing of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and other Hamas and/or Brotherhood-linked groups – unindicted co-conspirators in the federal Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development trial – as “organizations we are working with.”

NPR likewise avoided information that al-Omari lost his state job for, in part, failing to disclose previous employment at Columbus State Community College, from which, according to The Columbus Dispatch, and as noted by a post on the Center for Security Policy website, he was fired for having a sexual affair with a student.

Installment II focused on heightened FBI cultural sensitivity in dealing with American Muslims. But by avoiding specifics regarding the charges against the Miami imams, NPR failed to provide listeners with any context as to the scope of criminal matters involving U.S. Islamic radicals.

In fact, about 35 of the top 50 domestic terrorism cases since al-Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001 destruction of New York City’s World Trade Center and attack on the Pentagon have involved financing or other support to Islamic terrorist groups, according to the Center on Law and Security at New York University’s school of law.

Who, what, when, where, why and how? The basics of journalism, but not of NPR’s series on counter-terrorism training. – By Sophie Linshitz, CAMERA Washington research intern.

Posted by ER at 05:35 PM |  Comments (1)

On the Cause of Turkish-Israeli Tensions

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Professor Efraim Inbar's explains his thoughts on the reason for Israeli-Turkish tensions — thoughts that contrast with the overly-simplistic media narrative that casts that the Mavi Marmara incident as the primary reason for the deterioration of the relationship between the former allies:

Even a UN investigation (the Palmer Committee) dealing with the issue has apparently concluded that Israel’s actions were perfectly legal – much to Turkey’s chagrin. Moreover, the Turks on the ship were provocateurs, members of a terrorist organization, and violently resisted a legal attempt to take over the ship. As a matter of fact, Jerusalem deserves an apology and compensation.

Yet justice is not always triumphant and/or relevant in international relations. Indeed, Defense Minister Ehud Barak is reportedly willing to bow to Turkish demands, not because justice is on the Turkish side, but because he thinks that only an apology can repair Israeli-Turkish relations.

While good relations with Turkey are indeed quite valuable, the deterioration in relations is not due to Israeli actions in the Arab-Israeli arena or elsewhere, but to a major reorientation in Turkish foreign policy under the ruling Islamist AKP party.

More details in Inbar's Jerusalem Post column.

Posted by GI at 11:55 AM |  Comments (0)

July 21, 2011

The Truth About the West Bank

Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon provides a succinct 6-minute history lesson on the Israeli Palestinian conflict, explaining where the terms "West Bank", "occupied territories" and "67 Borders" originated and why they are misleading.

Posted by RH at 11:53 AM |  Comments (1)

July 20, 2011

Youcef Nadarkhani Faces Death In Iran

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Youcef Nakarkhani (above), the pastor of several house churches in Iran is facing execution. The Voice of America provides some details:

Mr. Nadarkhani was arrested in his home city of Rasht on October 13, 2009 while attempting to register his church after protesting compulsory Islamic religious instruction in Iranian public schools. Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a human rights group, reports that he was originally charged with protesting, however, the charges against the 32-year-old convert to Christianity were later changed to apostasy and evangelizing Muslims.

The pastor was verbally sentenced to death in September 2010. On November 13, 2010, he received the same sentence in writing. Noted human rights lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah appealed the decision to Iran's Supreme Court. Mr. Dadkhah told AFP news agency July 3rd that the Supreme Court had "annulled" the death sentence and sent the case back to a lower court in Nadarkhani's hometown to determine if Nadarkhani had been Muslim prior to his conversion to Christianity, but had also asked Nadarkhani to repent. That same day, however, a court in Tehran sentenced Mr. Dadkhah to nine years in jail and a 10-year ban on practicing law or teaching at university for "actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime".

The death sentence for the charge of apostasy is not codified in Iranian law. If carried out, it would be the first execution for apostasy in Iran since 1990.

"He is just one of thousands who face persecution for their religious beliefs in Iran, including the seven leaders of the Baha’i community whose imprisonment was increased to 20 years for practicing their faith and hundreds of Sufis who have been flogged in public because of their beliefs," wrote Ms. Nuland.

A group of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders has drawn attention to Nakarkhani's plight in a document available here.

Posted by dvz at 09:35 AM |  Comments (0)

July 19, 2011

Mackey Exposes Hoax Video, Promotes Staged Footage

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Karim al-Tamimi's mother, about to join her son in the police vehicle, right before she is pulled away by a Palestinian man

When an Israeli hoax video surfaced in June, Robert Mackey of the New York Times' Lede blog was all over it. There was this detailed June 27 blog post ("Israeli Video Blog Exposed As Hoax"), in which he goes to great effort to track down every angle about Israeli actor Omer Gershon impersonating a gay activist allegedly rebuffed by flotilla organizers. He mentions the Israeli hoax again on July 1, and gets further reinforcements from his colleagues Peter Catapano in the Opinionator blog and from Ethan Bronner in the print edition.

In contrast, when a Palestinian photographer is shown to have staged a scene, does Mackey apply the same no holds barred approach, holding not only the creators to task, but also the disseminators? Hardly. Instead, he posts a warm profile of photographer Narimen al-Tamimi, including the staged scene.

The scene in question shows the arrest of 11-year-old Karim al-Tamimi, who had thrown stones at Israeli police. The father later told Ynet that the Israeli police prevented family members from joining Karim in the police vehicle. Meanwhile, Hebrew speakers who listen closely to the video can hear the police telling Karim's mother to get into the vehicle at least half a dozen times. She is about to, when a Palestinian man pulls her away, and someone instructs in Arabic, "Don't get in." After the policemen closes the van's door, a Palestinian woman wearing a pink shirt pushes the mother towards the vehicle, and then the mother bangs on the door, a heartrending scene.

(The Israel Press Council ruled in CAMERA's favor against Ynet's coverage of this incident.)

All of this analysis was available on CAMERA's site for more than three months when Mackey posted his complimentary piece on photographer Narimen al-Tamimi and her colleague Bilal. By Mackey's double standard, Israelis who stage scenes are exposed as liars; Palestinians who stage scenes are feted.

Posted by TS at 06:31 AM |  Comments (1)

When Israel is Bombed, Where is the Outrage, or the Reporting?

Israel is once again the target of rockets that reached southern Israel from Gaza this month, July 2011.

Thousands of rockets have been fired from Gaza at southern Israel during the past decade. Hundreds of these have been fired since the supposed ceasefire of 2009. As Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor told the Security Council, "290 rockets and mortar shells were fired towards Israel so far in 2011, aimed at civilians, including children. 'We sustain two attacks a day (on average). This is the daily reality.' "

Between 75 to 94 percent of the children of Sderot in southern Israel show symptoms of post-traumatic stress, says Natal, the Israel Center for Victims of Terror and War. Yet many of these attacks are given little or no media attention unless an actual death results, such as the murder in April of 2011, of 16-year old Daniel Viflic, who was riding in a school bus when a missile from Gaza struck. Parents living in Sderot describe their fear of driving with more than one child in the car at a time; if the sirens go off giving the 15 second warning of an incoming rocket, they do not want to choose which child to save.

Noam Bedein of the Sderot Media Center, in an attempt to rectify the seeming indifference of the mainstream media to the ongoing bombing of Israel from Gaza, has written an Open Letter to the Mainstream Media dated July 15, 2011. There, he writes,

Seven rockets, missiles and mortars have been launched from Gaza towards the western Negev’s communities over the last few days...The disproportional coverage of these rocket launchings and explosions is found in a dry, terse report on mainstream media that takes a few seconds of news time. The issue is barely mentioned by the msm...We at the Sderot Media Center urge you to emphasize these strikes more emphatically, to describe them as illegitimate and criminal examples of warfare against innocent civilians.

The letter goes on,

It is crucial to mention each time how many rockets have been launched against Israel since the last ceasefire of January 18, 2009.

As of today July 15th 2011, there have been 788 rocket launchings from Gaza aimed at the southern residents of Israel. This has to be brought home again and again so the world will know.

Would any fair-minded person expect a country to live at the receiving end of rockets from a neighbor, and is the launching of such rockets newsworthy only when they achieve their deadly goal? The intermittent, bland reports of rockets falling in southern Israel do not begin to capture the enormity of the harm done to those residents of southern Israel who have been living as the victims of continuous rocket fire for a decade.

Posted by at 05:09 AM |  Comments (1)

July 18, 2011

Guardian Cherry Picks Poll Results to Conceal Palestinian Extremism

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[The above photograph and caption accompanied a Guardian report on plans to put Palestinian statehood to a UN vote]

Harriet Sherwood's analysis piece in the Guardian on July 16 offers an example of the deceptive coverage that characterizes the British newspaper's treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Reporting on a recent poll by Stanley Greenberg, Sherwood wrote

A recent opinion survey carried out in Gaza and the West Bank by the respected US pollster Stanley Greenberg found that at the top of the priority list for Palestinians were jobs, healthcare, water shortages and education. Mass protests against Israel, and even pursuing peace negotiations, came way down. Asked to choose, two-thirds favoured diplomatic engagement with Israel over violence.

By Sherwood's account, one would believe the Palestinians to be moderate, practical and seeking some way out of the impasse with Israel. But she neglected to report what most of the poll questions (from a preview of the report in the Jerusalem Post) revealed: Unfettered extremism and hatred towards the Jews.

Here are some examples of what Sherwood did not report:
-- 73 percent agree with the Hamas Charter's urging Muslims to kill Jews wherever they can find them
-- 92 percent opposed any form of sharing Jerusalem with the Jews
-- 53 percent favored teaching songs about hating Jews to school children
-- 66 percent see the "two-state solution as an interim stage en route to the ultimate goal of a single Palestinian state in all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea"

CIF watch has an excellent discussion of Sherwood's piece: Peace: Harriet Sherwood’s Palestinian Caricature

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

July 15, 2011

Karl Vick Selectively Reports on Poll of Palestinians

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Earlier this year, Karl Vick, the advocacy journalist most responsible for Time magazine's anti-Israel bias, reported dismissively on Israeli concerns about anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate indoctrination in Palestinian society. Suggesting that incitement is not a real issue deserving of thoughtful consideration — he put the word in scare quotes — but merely an excuse for Israel to blame the Palestinian leadership, he wrote:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas preaches nonviolence, and PA security forces coordinate discreetly with Israeli authorities to suppress attacks . . .

But Netanyahu found grounds to blame the Palestinian Authority, repeatedly calling on Abbas to cease "incitement" against Israel.

That might help explain why Vick, in a July 14 blog entry about a new poll of West Bank and Gaza Strip Palestinians, concealed from his readers some of the more disconcerting results of the poll. He titled his blog post "Poll Finds Palestinians Disenchanted with Hamas, Iran and the Peace Process." But the results revealed far more than just "disenchantment."

According to a more forthright report in the Jerusalem Post about the poll,

Seventy-two percent backed denying the thousands of years of Jewish history in Jerusalem ... and 53% were in favor or teaching songs about hating Jews in Palestinian schools.

When given a quote from the Hamas Charter about the need for battalions from the Arab and Islamic world to defeat the Jews, 80% agreed. Seventy-three percent agreed with a quote from the charter (and a hadith, or tradition ascribed to the prophet Muhammad) about the need to kill Jews hiding behind stones and trees.

Vick insisted in his blog post that "The most striking finding ... was Palestinians' focus on daily life." Vick might not be struck by the popularity of Jew hatred, but he still has a journalistic duty not to hide such information from Time's readers.

Posted by GI at 02:23 PM |  Comments (1)

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Reveals Irrational Thinking

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An interview by roving journalist Michael Totten with Esam El-Erian, a leading figure in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, reveals the irrational, conspiratorial mind-set that can be found within the Brotherhood.
Totten's interview, published on the internet blog Pajamas Media, is especially refreshing because he presents it without significant editing. Erian's disjointed responses to Totten's questions are as troubling for their incoherence as for their content.

Posted by SS at 10:50 AM |  Comments (1)

July 14, 2011

The Huffington Post - Al Jazeera Synergy

The recent controversy over the incident of a Huffington Post reporter plagiarizing the work of an independent journalist shines a light on the popular internet news site's influence on the changing norms of journalism.

Another facet of the Huffington Post's brand of journalism is its symbiotic relationship with Qatar's state-financed news organization Al Jazeera. In early 2011, the Huffington Post ran a series of pieces supporting Al Jazeera's efforts to convince major American cable companies to carry its newscasts.

From Jan. 30 to 31 alone, Huffington Post published four pieces promoting Al Jazeera, including one by Jeff Jarvis titled "We Want our Al Jazeera English Now" which calls the decision not to carry Al Jazeera "un-American."

Another piece by Wadah Khanfar, the Director General of Al Jazeera, was a full page promotional piece for the network, citing its "Journalism of depth."

Khanfar has become something of a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, creating the unusual circumstance where the head of a foreign-based media source owned by an autocratic head of state serves as a guest columnist for a major American news organization. As Daniel Korski, of the British based Spectator magazine wrote,

it cannot be overlooked that al-Jazeera is run and funded by a state, which itself stifles dissent – a subject al-Jazeera sometimes reports on, but rarely in detail. The chairman of the network's board of directors is Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al-Thani, the former Qatari deputy minister of information.

The relationship between the Huffington Post and Al Jazeera only seems to be getting closer.

In March 2011, the Huffington Post published a piece by frequent contributor Shabina Khatri , a former Al Jazeera staffer, extolling life in Qatar, the home base of Al Jazeera. Khatri wrote "Qataris are for the most part known for living a comfortable lifestyle, and most wouldn’t dream of making a public stink about what they consider to be in-house problems in their country.”

As Cliff Kincaid, director of Accuracy in Media (AIM) and an ardent opponent of Al Jazeera's efforts to insinuate itself into mainstream American media, noticed, Khatri steered clear of a blogger named Sultan al Khalaifi, who is sitting in a Qatari prison for writing about things which the authorities apparently disapprove.


In an earlier fawning piece published by the Huffington Post on April 8, 2010, Khatri attempts to explain Qatar's "open door policy" of offering sanctuary to despicable characters like Sadam Hussein and Osama Bin-Laden. Among the pearls in this piece are the musings of Omar Abdel-Qader:

The 20-year-old, whose father now leads Hamas from Syria, works in Doha and aspires to be educated here. "Life here is comfortable - I like Qatar so much," he said. "I feel good here, the sea is next to me. I love the sea."

She concludes the piece with a quote from another Qatari journalist, Abdulazziz Al-Mahmoud concerning Qatar's "open door policy":

But that doesn't mean, Al-Mahmoud added, that the risks outweigh the benefits. "I think it's a good thing," he said. "We cannot ignore the agony of other people."

Kincaid of AIM notes that

While Al-Jazeera English does water down the anti-Semitic and pro-Jihad programming available on Al-Jazeera Arabic, the channels are owned by the same autocrat, the Emir of Qatar. And the "work" the channel has been doing in countries like Egypt mostly consists of provoking and covering riots and demonstrations. At the same time, the channel played down the role of the demonstrators in assaulting CBS News reporter Lara Logan, who suffered serious injuries.

CAMERA too has documented the unbalanced reporting and commentary of Al Jazeera in its English language service. Its Arabic language service carries programs that advance the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. It also is more openly hostile towards Jews, as portrayed by the birthday party - cake and candles included - its Lebanon affiliate threw for child-murderer, Samir Kuntar after he was released from Israeli prison.

Huff-watch is another web site that spotlights numerous examples of Huffington Post's bias against Israel and the presence of American troops in the Middle East- an agenda it shares with Al Jazeera . It too has noticed the frequent contributions from Al Jazeera staffers. Huff-watch has also demonstrated how the Huffington Post favors commenters who defame Israel and denigrate American military efforts in the Middle East and, like Al Jazeera, has a large contingent of commenters from Muslim countries.

Posted by SS at 02:24 PM |  Comments (6)

Hari Suspended

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Incendiary falsehoods about Israel are one thing at The Independent; that is, not a problem. But Johann Hari's reckless plagiarizing of myriad authors and fellow reporters has brought painful professional repercussions for the paper's well-known columnist. Off he goes for two months of suspension while a committee reviews the evidence and decides how to proceed.

Additional infractions have been uncovered, as The Guardian noted (July 12, 2011):

The latest allegations to surface in the past week relate to claims that Hari used a pseudonym to make unflattering edits to the Wikipedia entries for journalists including Nick Cohen, the Observer and Spectator columnist, and Daily Telegraph writer and novelist Cristina Odone.

Among the questions about Hari's future is whether he'll be stripped of the prestigious Orwell Prize, awarded for journalistic excellence. The Media Standards Trust, funder of the prize immediately called for an investigation of the columnist when the story broke. The Trust

addressed three specific questions to the council regarding its inquiry:

"Does the Orwell Prize have full confidence in the articles submitted by Johann Hari for which the prize was awarded?

"Should Johann Hari continue to be allowed to be known as a winner of the prize?

"What more can the prize do to ensure that its winners now and in the future uphold the highest possible standards?"

Posted by AL at 12:47 PM |  Comments (0)

Ha'aretz Lost in Translation, VIII

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Funeral of Hamas member Ibrahim Sarhan

In this month's installment of the Ha'aretz Lost in Translation Series, Ha'aretz's English translators transform Ibrahim Sarhan, a Hamas member killed yesterday by Israeli troops into "a Palestinian civilian." The English news brief, by Anshel Pfeffer, reads:

Military police are launching an investigation into the killing of a Palestinian civilian by an IDF force yesterday in a Jordan Valley refugee camp. During a search for an Islamic Jihad activist in the Al-Fari'a refugee camp northeast of Nablus, an explosive device was thrown at the Duvdevan unit, according to the IDF. There were no injuries, but the soldiers noticed two Palestinians escaping the scene. The soldiers reportedly called to the two to stop. One of the youths continued running, and the soldiers shot him in the legs. Army sources said a military medic treated the man, 22-year-old Ibrahim Sarhan, placed a tourniquet on his leg and transferred him to the care of a Red Crescent team. Sarhan died soon afterward. A military source told Haaretz that Sarhan's condition was stable when he was handed over to the Red Crescent. The source speculated that Sarhan died following some accident during the medical treatment or a complication not immediately obvious to the paramedics. . .

Nowhere does the English edition mention that Sarhan was a Hamas member, despite the fact that the Hebrew version states:

באירוע אחר נהרג אתמול פלסטיני מירי צה"ל במחנה הפליטים אל-פרעה שמצפון לשכם. החמאס הודיע כי מדובר באחד מאנשיו.

Meaning,

In another incident, a Palestinian was killed yesterday by Israeli fire in the Al-Far'ia refugee camp north of Nablus. Hamas announced that he was a member of the organization.

On the other hand, the English edition notes the Israeli source's claim that Sirhan died following a problem in his medical treatment, while the Hebrew doesn't.

Meanwhile, Elder of Ziyon blogs that Maan Palestinian News Agency was also hit by a similar bout of Lost in Translation.

July 17 Update: Ha'aretz corrects online, but not in print

Posted by TS at 02:41 AM |  Comments (0)

July 13, 2011

Baseball, Palestinians and Media Self-Censorship

A recent segment on NPR's On the Media was about self-censorship in baseball reporting. But it could just as well have been about coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Speaking about his reporting on former baseball player Lenny Dykstra, Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist (and former reporter) Frank Fitzpatrick said,

I mean this was a train wreck waiting to happen. And, and we knew this back then and – and, you know, you can't help but looking back thinking, you know, why didn’t I do a little more in portraying this side of Dykstra instead of, you know going out of my way to portray the other, the more appealing to me side of him.

On the Media Co-host Bob Garfield: What kind of stuff did you choose not to share with your readers?

Frank Fitzpatrick: Did we all suspect that he was doing steroids? Yes. Did we all suspect that that he was taking greenies, you know, the amphetamines that were omnipresent in the baseball clubhouse in those days? Yes. Did we know he cheated on his wife on the road? Yes.

We knew all these things, and yet behind everything a baseball beat writer does there’s this fear of severing a good relationship because without them in a competitive news environment, you're dead. So I think we're probably all guilty of hiding the true character of Lenny Dykstra for all those years.

Garfield summed up the problem as follows: "The thrust of your column was that you harbor a sense of culpability, that you, in so cherishing this intimacy with Lenny Dykstra, became an enabler."

The Middle East, too, has its enablers. As Thomas Friedman described in his book From Beirut to Jerusalem, journalists in Lebanon during the 1980s, an incalculably more serious playing field than the baseball diamond, self-censored for fear of severing their good relationships. Wrote Friedman:

The truth is, the Western press coddled the PLO, and never judged it with anywhere near the scrutiny that it judged Israel, Phalangist, or American behavior. For any Beirut-based correspondent, the name of the game was keeping on good terms with the PLO, because without it you would not get the interview with Arafat you wanted when your foreign editor came to town. (73)

The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby devoted part of a 2004 column to the question of whether anything had changed since Friedman's days in Beirut. He noted,

In the wake of the 1993 Oslo Accord, Arafat and the PLO assumed control of the Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank. Reconstituted as the Palestinian Authority, or PA, they lost no time cracking down on the press.

Arafat's "security forces have made more than 30 arrests of journalists and editors," the Columbia Journalism Review noted in 1996. "Although they have been almost completely freed from the Israeli yoke of military censorship, Palestinian journalists are being fettered in new ways. Reporters Sans Frontieres, a watchdog group based in Paris, released a report . . . deploring the Palestinian Authority's policy of suspending newspapers and employing threats and violence against journalists. . . . The result is a tame, compliant press that . . . rarely engages in investigative journalism and publishes only . . . 'vegetarian' criticism of the regime." ...

On Sept. 11, 2001, Americans were shocked by footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets to celebrate the terrorist attacks on the United States. But those scenes disappeared from the airwaves soon after -- not because they weren't newsworthy, but because the Palestinian Authority gave orders to suppress them.

An Associated Press cameraman was summoned to a PA security office and warned not to release the material he had filmed. A top aide to Arafat told the AP's Jerusalem bureau that if the footage were aired, "we cannot guarantee the life" of the cameraman. Other news outlets were likewise ordered not to use any images of the 9/11 revelry. Most of them caved, and the images dried up.

Journalists like to cultivate a reputation for fearlessness, for a publish-and-be-damned commitment to putting out the story no matter what. The reality is not always so heroic. Sometimes the media are not fearless at all -- and their coverage, or lack of it, can amount to collaboration with dictators or thugs.

Rarely is there such clear evidence of collaboration with dictators as there was in the case of Italian journalist Ricardo Cristiano, who went out of his way to assure his "friends in Palestine" that his television station would not have, and will not in the future, broadcast footage of Palestinians murdering Israelis. After a rival Italian station aired footage of the brutal lynching of two Israeli reservists who got lost and ended up in the Palestinian city of Ramallah, the following advertisement appeared in the Palestinian newspaper Al Hayat Al Jadidah

Special Clarification by the Italian Representative of RAI, the Official Italian Television Station

My dear friends in Palestine. We congratulate you and think that it is our duty to put you in the picture (of the events) of what happened on October 12 in Ramallah. One of the private Italian television stations which competes with us (and not the official Italian television station RAI) filmed the events; that station filmed the events. Afterwards Israeli Television broadcast the pictures, as taken from one of the Italian stations, and thus the public impression was created as if we (RAI) took these pictures.

We emphasize to all of you that the events did not happen this way, because we always respect (will continue to respect) the journalistic procedures with the Palestinian Authority for (journalistic) work in Palestine and we are credible in our precise work.

We thank you for your trust, and you can be sure that this is not our way of acting. We do not (will not) do such a thing.

Please accept our dear blessings.

Signed,
Ricardo Christiano
Representative of RAI in the Palestinian Authority
(the official Italian station)

Posted by GI at 10:43 AM |  Comments (0)

July 12, 2011

Washington Post versus "Tiny" Israel. Again

The Washington Post has done it again. That is, referred to a country much larger then Israel as “tiny”. This time it was Azerbaijan (“U.S. relies more on Central Asian road, rail routes,” July, 3).

According to the CIA World Fact Book, Azerbaijan encompasses about 33,436 square miles (making it slightly larger than South Carolina), and has a population of about 8 million people.

Israel has a territory of about 8,019 square miles (roughly the size of New Jersey), and a population of about 7.5 million people.

As pointed out previously by CAMERA, The Post has rarely, if ever described Israel as “tiny.”

It has, however, applied the diminutive to countries such as Jordan, Eritrea and Georgia, as well as to Azerbaijan — all significantly larger than the Jewish state.

The Post can see tiny in Israel’s neighborhood. In addition to Jordan, it has so referred to Lebanon, which is slightly smaller than what, for the newspaper, appears to be its huge southern neighbor.

If The Post put Israel’s size and population relative to that of Arab and Muslims countries into perspective, would that compromise the Palestinian tilt in the paper’s Arab-Israel news coverage?
by Sophie Linshitz, CAMERA Washington research intern.

Posted by ER at 03:30 PM |  Comments (1)

C-SPAN’s Selective Sensitivity to Caller Insults

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C-SPAN’s Washington Journal host on the July 10 broadcast, Libby Casey, took quick exception to a derogatory comment by a caller referring to Vice President Biden as "retarded." Casey admonished a 7:22 AM caller responding to the topic, Speaker Boehner scales back scope of deficit talks:

Well, I'm going to say, Charlie, please be careful when you use that word [“retarded”]. We don't want to insult any of our viewers when we talk about this by saying things that might be considered to be insulting.

Casey’s swift intervention was in reaction to a call from “Charlie” of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Charlie remarked that he and his 12-year-old daughter recently watched Vice-President Joe Biden speaking on C-SPAN: “'We've got to keep spending to keep from going bankrupt' [Biden said] and my daughter looked at me and asked if he [Biden] was retarded.”

C-SPAN's prompt action here is in stark contrast to the chronic silence of hosts who allow the spewing of extreme anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish invective on Washington Journal. Often the language is not only insulting but is blatantly bigoted and incites prejudice. For example, a caller on June 15, 2011 at 7:25 AM defamed Jews with a classic anti-Semitic stereotype:

I would like to see him [President Obama] get out of the wars that we are in. That would be good. And maybe some of the rich Jews could finance the wars, they are the ones who pushed us into most of it.

C-SPAN was indifferent and silent, the smearing of Jews continuing on the network.

C-SPAN can be contacted about its selective sensitivity at (202) 737-3220, journal@c-span.org, viewer@c-span.org.

Posted by MK at 12:13 PM |  Comments (1)

July 11, 2011

Mondoweiss Accused of Fundraising Hoax

Last week, we demonstrated how Mondoweiss promoted a blatant propaganda video allegedly demonstrating Israeli brutality. This week, Adam Holland exposed how the blog put forth a bogus anti-Israel claim to raise money for itself.

...Mondoweiss first published, then rescinded without explanation, a fundraising plea falsely claiming the blog needed help because it was "under Israeli attack". When a regular reader who had seen the original version posted a sympathetic comment asking what form the Israeli attack on Mondoweiss had taken, an editor of the blog was forced to admit that the charge had been false, but failed to explain how it came to be published.

Read about the Mondoweiss hoax and cover-up here.

Posted by RH at 03:51 PM |  Comments (1)

July 08, 2011

U.S. Calls on Radical Rapporteur Richard Falk to Resign

The American representative to the Human Rights Council called on Richard Falk to resign from his position as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967

Ambassador Eileen Donahoe asserted in an online statement,

I am registering a strong protest with the UN on behalf of the United States. The United States has often been critical of Mr. Falk’s approach to his mandate, including his one-sided and politicized view of situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. We hope that he will resign, recognizing that his continued status as a UN mandate holder is a blight on the UN system.

The United States is deeply committed to the cause of human rights. Mr. Falk’s continued offensive postings and biased reporting does nothing to further the human rights of Palestinians or Israelis, nor anything to advance peace in the region.

The call for Falk's resignation comes after he posted (and subsequently removed) a cartoon showing an American Jewish dog devouring a corpse and pissing on a Lady Justice.

Falk, who endorses 9/11 conspiracy theories, was appointed to his position by the widely criticized UN Human Rights Council after compiling a record of virulent anti-Israel statements, including one comparing Israel to the Nazis.

This is hardly the first time Falk has been criticized.

He has been condemned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Britain has described his output as "unbalanced." Former US Ambassador John Bolton said in 2008 that Falk "was picked for a reason, and the reason is not to have an objective assessment — the objective is to find more ammunition to go after Israel." And UN Watch has described him as "a serial offender with zero credibility."

Posted by GI at 11:14 AM |  Comments (0)

British PM Criticizes Press Regulation Body

In the wake of the scandal surrounding British tabloid The News of the World, Prime Minister David Cameron argued that the system currently in place to regulate the British media is a failure. The (unregulated) New York Times reports:

The repercussions from the crisis also spread to the question of media regulation.

At a hastily convened news conference to unveil his plans for inquiries, Mr. Cameron also proposed an extraordinary tightening of limits on the behavior of the freewheeling British press, which prides itself on investigative prowess far beyond the tabloid titillation with which some of its titles are associated.

“I believe we need a new system entirely,” Mr. Cameron declared, saying that self-regulation by an industry body called the Press Complaints Commission had “failed.”

Posted by GI at 10:33 AM |  Comments (0)

July 07, 2011

Washington Post Induces Amnesia over Arab Flight

The Washington Post, its Palestinian-centric filter in place, featured “Building on history; Israeli plans to redevelop abandoned Palestinian village have stirred painful memories” as the lead article in the paper's June 27 "The World" pages. Not only did the substance of the story not justify its prominent display, but Post coverage also unaccountably omitted the context of the news.

The paper emphasized "Building on history" -- with a five-column color photo, three-column color photo, and one-column map -- over more urgent international dispatches including "Among Iraq's Sunnis, growing fears; Recent Baghdad killilngs reflect resurgence, threat of Shiite militias" (no illustrations) and "Afghan government is at a stalemate after election-fraud finding; Parliament, judiciary at odds over court order removing 62 lawmakers" (one two-column color picture).

In "Building on history," The Post's Jerusalem bureau chief, Joel Greenberg, refers to a former resident “who remembers being evacuated from Lifta under fire as a boy.” But the newspaper is silent on the cause of the evacuation under fire. Lifta would not have been abandoned and its residents become refugees had not five Arab countries and Palestinian Arab “irregulars” gone to war against Israel in 1948. Readers are not reminded that they acted in violation of the U.N. partition plan to create two states, one Jewish, one Arab, in British Mandatory Palestine.

The Post quotes the former resident as saying “my strategic goal is to return to my home. But if this is impossible now, leave Lifta for history, to be a testimony to what happened, and a lesson for all of us.” More pertinent history goes missing. The Post does not point out that there is no Arab refugee right to "return home.” That’s why the Arab states voted against U.N. resolutions 194 (1948), 393 (‘50), 394 (‘50), and 513 (‘52). The measures recommended peaceful repatriation and/or compensation or resettlement in Arab lands but did not establish a "right of return."

By all means, “leave Lifta for history” — all its relevant history, in both Israeli redevelopment/preservation plans and Washington Post coverage. (Adapted from an unpublished CAMERA letter-to-the-editor submitted to The Post. The paper did publish a complimentary letter about the article.)

Posted by ER at 03:23 PM |  Comments (0)

Washington Post goes slack over Islamic Society of N. America

The Washington Post, covering an interfaith religious service, took "diversity" at face value (“3 faiths, 1 message of respect; A service at Washington National Cathedral featuring readings by Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy is part of a project among U.S. houses of worship to promote religious tolerance,” June 27).

One of the participants featured was Imam Mohamed Magid, identified as “president of the Islamic Society of North America.” Imam Magid, The Post reported, “chanted a passage from the Koran about the value of diversity.”

In a 2004 talk at Georgetown University, Imam Magid rejected descriptions of the Islamist Sudanese government’s campaign in rebellious Darfur region as genocide. The imam also claimed the number of victims had been greatly exaggerated. In 2005, the U.N.’s International Criminal Court indicted Sudan’s ruler, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, for directing genocide in Darfur.

ISNA has ties to Egypt’s fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, which The Post does not mention. Neither does it report that a member of the society's board of directors, Jamal Badawi, was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Justice Department’s successful 2009 prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. HLF leaders were found guilty of raising millions of dollars for Hamas, (the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement), designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

A speaker at ISNA’s annual convention in 2009 was Imam Warith Deen. Imam Deen has said of the Holocaust that “Jews were being punished for being serially disobedient to Allah.”

News reporting often can do no more than sketch the identities of those being covered. Still, even sketches ought to include relevant background. (From an unpublished CAMERA letter to the editor at The Post.)

Posted by ER at 12:58 PM |  Comments (0)

July 06, 2011

Palestinian Authority Incitement Continues

Karl Vick might pooh-pooh the idea that Palestinian incitement exists, but the Palestinian Authority seems to be doing all it can to demonstrate that hate indoctrination remains a serious stumbling block on the road to peace.

Palestinian Media Watch recently translated three articles published in the PA's official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that promote hatred of Jews and Israel.

The following are two excerpts from the official PA daily's section on religion: Sheikh Ishaq Feleifel teaches religion: "The old-new despicable plot: The struggle between truth and falsehood is as ancient as life upon this earth... yet the mighty Islam, from the breaking of its dawn and the spreading of its light up until our time, has been targeted by its enemies, who do not agree on anything as they agree on cultivating evil against Islam and uprooting Muslims. The challenge still exists; moreover, the enemies have announced in a clear and provocative manner their despicable and terrible plot. Sixty-three years ago, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ben Gurion, stood at the UN after the entire world granted recognition to the malignant cancerous growth known as the State of Israel... The Prime Minister of this destructive cancerous growth stood up to declare the religion of the Jews in Palestine to the entire world. I hope that the [Islamic] nation will study this faith in order to know with certainty that the Jews talk, in conferences and in negotiations, only through their distorted, corrupted, falsified religion which they have adopted, which they glorify and honor, and they are lying when they deny the owner of the right the right... And the conflict between us and the Jews is not a conflict about land and borders, but rather a conflict about faith and existence." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 3, 2011]

Sheikh Ishaq Feleifel teaches religion: "In this lesson I wanted to talk about Cain and Abel - that's the first story on earth, whose victim was Abel, at the hands of his brother Cain - because this story shows a similarity to the Jews and their crimes. The parallel is that when Allah mentioned the rebellion of the Children of Israel and their disobedience of Allah's commandment to wage war against the Giants, He mentioned the two sons of Adam and Cain's disobedience of Allah's words, and his unjust killing of an innocent soul, which Allah forbade. The Jews, by throwing off their yoke, followed in the footsteps of the first person on earth who threw off the yoke of Allah. Their [the Jews'] evil nature is drawn from Adam's first son... I chose this story because of the similarity it contains: here the Zionist Jews kill many of the Palestinian people every day... and they imprison their [Palestinian] youth who are defending their right and seeking by all means to restore the land to themselves. This is our right, and no one is permitted to prevent us from attaining it. We are destined to restore our homeland to ourselves, Allah willing, and we shall raise our flag over Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and the rest of Palestine, Allah willing."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 13, 2011]

The following is an excerpt from an article in the official PA daily: Article in official PA daily: "There was no period [like it] in history, and no other nation has acted with such recklessness, expelling and spilling blood, as the Zionist movement did against the Arabs of Palestine. The source of the name 'Zionism' is 'Mount Zion', one of the four mountains upon which the city of Jerusalem was founded. The Jews believe that their God lives there. Zionism is an extreme religious ideology whose aim is political hegemony and the transformation of a Jewish monarchy in Palestine into a basis for their eternal rule over the world, [and] that others, "Goyim" [non-Jews], must submit to their will, [their rule] which is drawn from the will of God." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 15, 2011]

And just yesterday, PMW noted that "A Palestinian summer camp for children and a girl’s college in the West Bank have continued the Palestinian Authority policy of presenting terrorist Dalal Mughrabi as a role model for children. Mughrabi in 1978 led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history, in which 37 civilians were killed, 12 of them children." Read more here.

Posted by GI at 05:38 PM |  Comments (1)

Updated: The Anti-American, Anti-Semitic Agenda of UN Human Rights Council Envoy Richard Falk

What type of person serves as the UN Human Rights Council's permanent Investigator of Israeli violations? The type who compares Israel's treatment of Palestinians to Nazi atrocities, who promotes conspiracy theories about 9/11 and who posts anti-Semitic caricatures depicting Jews as bloodthirsty dogs on his personal blog.

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UN Watch reveals the latest manifestation of extreme bias by the UN Human Rights Council's envoy who was appointed to "investigate" Israeli "violations." Read about it and UN Watch's letter of complaint to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights here.

UPDATE: Falk Responds to crticism about the caricature posted on his blog by first denying it and then deleting it. Click here to see a screen shot of the blog before Falk deleted the offensive cartoon.

Posted by RH at 05:08 PM |  Comments (0)

July 05, 2011

C-SPAN’s Call-Blocking Policy Fails to Block Chronic Anti-Israel Caller

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Washington Journal host Steve Scully confirmed the existence of a new call-control policy during the Journal broadcast of June 26, 2011 at 8:26 AM:

To your [a caller’s] point about unblocking, we try our very best to make sure that everyone gets through but to those who do so -- abide by our 30-day policy. We also want to make sure that some people who in the past have been able to get through with their own profanities or degradation -- I should say -- of some of the words they use -- we want to make sure they don't get through in the future because they really bring down what we think is the quality of the conversation that we want to have here on C-SPAN.

But caller James Morris, an habitual anti-Israel, "blame-the-Jews" C-SPAN caller cited by the Iranian propaganda outlet Press TV (see below) and frequent Washington Journal 30-day violator, was not only aired (July 2, 2011 – 9:17 AM) but also indulged by host Pedro Echevarria during a “U.S. strategy in Afghanistan” segment. Caller James Morris:

You can go to antiwar dot com and look up ‘Will Israel kill Americans again?’ by Ray McGovern [prominent left-wing, anti-Israel, anti-war activist] who is currently on the “Audacity of Hope” boat to Gaza…

Host Echevarria (interrupting):

Caller, we are on Afghanistan this morning... (indistinct)

Caller James Morris (interrupting):

Yes, I am. I’m going to transition to Afghanistan.

Host Echevarria:

Go ahead.

Caller James Morris:

The root cause of our terrorism problem, as General [David H.] Petraeus [previously commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan] told Congress last year, was U.S. support for Israel. That was not covered in our media. The bottom line is that you will never solve the root cause of our terrorism problem if you don’t take into consideration what General Petraeus told the Congress.

Handling a Mendacious Caller Unprofessionally:

Host Echevarria, omitting scrutiny, allows caller to promote a fringe Web site and article by a left-wing, anti-Israel, anti-war agitator. Likewise, caller’s misrepresentation, “The root cause of our terrorism problem [is]… U.S. support for Israel,” of Gen. Petraeus’ position goes unchallenged. In fact, the officer, addressing the distortions of his position purveyed by Israel-haters (like caller James Morris), explained that the quote that bloggers attributed to his Senate testimony was actually plucked out of context from a report that Central Command had sent the Armed Services committee:

”There’s a 56-page document that we submitted that has a statement in it that describes various factors that influence the strategic context in which we operate and among those we listed the Mideast peace process,” he said. “We noted in there that there was a perception at times that America sides with Israel and so forth. And I mean, that is a perception. It is there. I don’t think that’s disputable. But I think people inferred from what that said and then repeated it a couple of times and bloggers picked it up and spun it. And I think that has been unhelpful, frankly.” He also noted that there were plenty of other important factors that were mentioned in the report, including “a whole bunch of extremist organizations, some of which by the way deny Israel’s right to exist. There’s a country that has a nuclear program who denies that the Holocaust took place.” Petraeus continued, “So we have all the factors in there, but this is just one, and it was pulled out of this 56-page document, which was not what I read to the Senate at all.”

The Iranian government-funded propaganda Web site, referring to James Morris as a “Los Angeles-based political analyst,” provides propaganda video (posted May 23, 2011) of Morris including his photo.

James Morris’ recent Washington Journal calls include: May 25, 2011 – 8:51 AM (James from Los Angeles) and May 2, 2011 – 9:48 AM (James from Los Angeles).

Why stress the hospitality to anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish bigots provided by C-SPAN’s Washington Journal?

According to the network’s Web site, an estimated 28,500,000 viewers tune in each week – making it an information source of potential significance. Among its most popular programs is Washington Journal (broadcast daily from 7-10 AM). Contact C-SPAN at (202) 737-3220, journal@c-span.org, viewer@c-span.org. Note that host Scully's June 26 statement on blocking of repetitious, defamatory callers is important, but, as host Echevarria's dealing with James Morris' July 2 call indicates, remains to be implemented properly.

Posted by MK at 04:06 PM |  Comments (0)

ISM (and Mondoweiss) Demonstrate How to Propagandize with YouTube

The Palestinian-led International Solidarity Movement (ISM) which sends foreigners to Palestinian areas to interfere with Israeli counter-terrorism activities and is behind the illegal flotilla efforts, and whose mission statement "recognize(s) the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle" features a ridiculously crude YouTube propaganda film on their website homepage. The film is also posted on the radically anti-Israel Mondoweiss site.

While the description posted on YouTube describes the film as showing two protesters injured with live ammunition, nothing of the sort is seen on film. Propagandists bank on the fact that many people just read the brief description without bothering to view the entire film. Pay attention to 1:17 -2:10 to see a blatant example of Pallywood at its worst. What's so perplexing is that despite the obviousness of the deception, anti-Israel propagandists feature this on their websites as an example of Israeli brutality.

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Pay particular attention to minutes 1:17-2:10.

Posted by RH at 12:53 PM |  Comments (4)

Hitchens' Questions for the Flotillists

Christopher Hitchens poses a series of questions to the flotilla folks, starting with the following:

It seems safe and fair to say that the flotilla and its leadership work in reasonably close harmony with Hamas, which constitutes the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. The political leadership of this organization is headquartered mainly in Gaza itself. But its military coordination is run out of Damascus, where the regime of Bashar Assad is currently at war with increasingly large sections of the long-oppressed Syrian population. Refugee camps, some with urgent humanitarian requirements, are making their appearance on the border between Syria and Turkey (the government of the latter being somewhat sympathetic to the purposes of the flotilla). In these circumstances, isn't it legitimate to strike up a conversation with the "activists" and ask them where they come out on the uprising against hereditary Baathism in Syria?

Posted by TS at 06:19 AM |  Comments (4)

Hamas, Holy Land and the Flotilla

Here's more on what spooked Dutch journalists who abandoned the flotilla -- Hamas' involvement in organizing the campaign:

Amin Abou Ibrahim, also known as Amin Abou Rashed, is one of the main organizers of the ”Freedom Flotilla 2″ and a founder of the ECESG, a central organization participating in the flotilla. Recently, the Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf cited Abou Rashed as the “brain behind the flotilla”, and noted that according to a Dutch journalist who had spent time with the flotilla organizers, Abou Rashed’s role as the flotilla’s main backer was kept secret until the ships all arrived to Greece. Earlier this year, Ma’an quoted him as simply a “campaigner” in an article about the upcoming flotilla.

Abou Rashed was an active participant in last year’s flotilla as well. His name also came up during the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation by the US government in 2007. The Holy Land Foundation is designated by the US Treasury as a Specially Designated National and banned by the EU for its direct financial and material support to Hamas. During the Holy Land Foundation trial, a letter was shown written by Abou Rashed to Akram Mishaal, a director of the Holy Land Foundation and a cousin of Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal.

In the letter found at Holy Land Foundation headquarters and used as a court case exhibit by the US government, Abou Rashed lists the names, addresses, and bank numbers of “charitable organizations working for Palestine in Europe.” Abou Rashed was writing as a representative of the Al-Aqsa Foundation, an organization designated by the US Department of Treasury as a charity financing terror and “a critical part of Hamas’ terrorist support infrastructure.”

Posted by TS at 05:14 AM |  Comments (1)