August 30, 2011
Israel and Jerusalem in International Law: The Importance of San Remo
The Unity Coalition for Israel (UCI) and the European Coalition for Israel (ECI) have introduced an ECI film which explains, in historical detail, the legal foundation in international law for the modern State of Israel. The film highlights the key importance of the San Remo Conference following World War I: at San Remo, in 1920, the right of the Jewish state to be re-constituted was incorporated into international law and remains in effect to this day.
In April, 2010, upon the 90th anniversary of the San Remo Conference, Eli Hertz writes,
Reaffirming the importance of the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920 - which included the Balfour Declaration in its entirety - in shaping the map of the modern Middle East, as agreed upon by the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers (Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States acting as an observer), and later approved unanimously by the League of Nations; the Resolution remains irrevocable, legally binding and valid to this day.
He goes on to write,
Jews are in the Land of Israel as of right and not on sufferance. It is important to point out that political right to self-determination as a polity for Arabs, was guaranteed by the same League of Nations in four other mandates - in Lebanon and Syria [The French Mandate], Iraq, and later Trans-Jordan [The British Mandate].
The film can be seen here.
August 29, 2011
Larry Derfner Will Not Be Rattling The Cage Anymore at the Jerusalem Post
Larry Derfner's regular column in the Jerusalem Post , entitled "Rattling the Cage", was meant to provoke readers. (While we notified the Jerusalem Post in the past about some of his factually incorrect material, CAMERA generally did not bother to monitor Derfner's over-the-top column.) But after the recent multiple terror attacks against Israeli civilians near Eilat, Derfner went even further in trying to provoke controversy: He essentially justified Palestinian terrorism in a blog post entitled "The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror". The post appeared on his personal blog (not in his JPost column) and while he did not express outright support for terrorism, and even stated that he does not "want the Palestinians to use" such tactics, Derfner outraged readers by blaming Israel for Palestinian terror and by stating that Palestinians have a right to use violence and even to kill Israelis. (The post has since been removed but is reprinted below.*)
Faced with readers' fury and suggestions that criminal charges of incitement be brought against him, Derfner withdrew the blog post and published a half-hearted apology (see below**).
But this time Derfner had evidently gone too far, and his apology was deemed insufficient. After receiving hundreds of notices of cancellations of subscriptions to the Jerusalem Post as a result of the columnist's blog post, Derfner was fired.
Here is the ex-columnist's own announcement of his firing, posted today on his blog, replete with self-justifying claims that his meaning was distorted.
Read his post and apology below and see what you think...
*Derfner's controversial post on his blog:
The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror
Posted on August 21, 2011 by Larry Derfner
I think a lot of people who realize that the occupation is wrong also realize that the Palestinians have the right to resist it – to use violence against Israelis, even to kill Israelis, especially when Israel is showing zero willingness to end the occupation, which has been the case since the Netanyahu government took over (among other times in the past).
But people don’t want to say this, especially right after a terror attack like this last one that killed eight Israelis near Eilat. And there are lots of good reasons for this reticence, such as: You don’t want to further upset your own countrymen when they are grieving, you don’t want to say or write anything that could be picked up by Israel’s enemies and used as justification for killing more of us. (These are good reasons; fear of being called a traitor, for instance, is a bad reason.)
But I think it’s time to overcome this reticence, even at the cost of enflaming the already enflamed sensitivities of the Israeli public, because this unwillingness to say outright that Palestinians have the right to fight the occupation, especially now, inadvertently helps keep the occupation going.
When we say that the occupation is a terrible injustice to the Palestinians, but then say that Palestinian terror/resistance is a terrible injustice to Israel, we’re saying something that’s patently illogical to anyone but a pacifist, and there aren’t many pacifists left, certainly not in Israel. The logical, non-pacifist mind concludes that both of those statements can’t be true – that if A is hurting B and won’t stop, then B damn sure has the right to hurt A to try to make him stop. But if everybody, not only the Right but the Left, too, is saying that B, the Palestinians, don’t have the right to hurt A, the Israelis, then the logical mind concludes that Israel must not be hurting the Palestinians after all, the occupation must not be so bad, the occupation must not be hurting the Palestinians at all - because if it was, they would have the right to hurt us back, and everybody agrees that they don’t. So when they shoot at us or fire rockets at us, it’s completely unprovoked, which gives us the right, the duty, to bash them and bash them until they stop – and anybody who tries to deny us that right doesn’t have a leg to stand on, so we’re just going to keep right on bashing them. And when the Palestinians complain about the occupation, we Israelis can honestly say we don’t know what they’re talking about.
This, I’m convinced, is how the Left’s ritual condemnations of terror are translated in the Israeli public’s mind – as justification for the occupation and an iron-fist military policy.
But if, on the other hand, we were to say very forthrightly what many of us believe and the rest of us suspect – that the Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back, that their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified – what effect would that have? A powerful one, I think, because the truth is powerful. If those who oppose the occupation acknowledged publicly that it justifies Palestinian terrorism, then those who support the occupation would have to explain why it doesn’t. And that’s not easy for a nation that sanctifies the right to self-defense; a nation that elected Irgun leader Menachem Begin and Lehi leader Yitzhak Shamir as prime minister.
But while I think the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us, I don’t want them to use it, I don’t want to see Israelis killed, and as an Israeli, I would do whatever was necessary to stop a Palestinian, oppressed or not, from killing one of my countrymen. (I also think Palestinian terrorism backfires, it turns people away from them and generates sympathy for Israel and the occupation, so I’m against terrorism on a practical level, too, but that’s besides the point.) The possibility that Israel’s enemies could use my or anybody else’s justification of terror for their campaign is a daunting one; I wouldn’t like to see this column quoted on a pro-Hamas website, and I realize it could happen.
Still, I don’t think Hamas and their allies need any more encouragement, so whatever encouragement they might take from me or any other liberal Zionist is coals to Newcastle. What’s needed very badly, however, is for Israelis to realize that the occupation is hurting the Palestinians terribly, that it’s driving them to try to kill us, that we are compelling them to engage in terrorism, that the blood of Israeli victims is ultimately on our hands, and that it’s up to us to stop provoking our own people’s murder by ending the occupation. And so long as we who oppose the occupation keep pretending that the Palestinians don’t have the right to resist it, we tacitly encourage Israelis to go on blindly killing and dying in defense of an unholy cause.
And by tacitly encouraging Israelis in their blindness, I think we endanger their lives and ours, their country and ours, much more than if we told the truth and got quoted on Hamas websites.
There’s no time for equivocation anymore, if there ever was. The mental and moral paralysis in this country must be broken. Whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week, however vile their ideology was, they were justified to attack. They had the same right to fight for their freedom as any other unfree nation in history ever had. And just like every harsh, unjust government in history bears the blame for the deaths of its own people at the hands of rebels, so Israel, which rules the Palestinians harshly and unjustly, is to blame for those eight Israeli deaths – as well as for every other Israeli death that occurred when this country was offering the Palestinians no other way to freedom.
Writing this is not treason. It is an attempt at patriotism.
Posted on August 26, 2011 by Larry Derfner
I have an apology to make for “The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror,” which I posted here and on Facebook on Sunday. I didn’t mean to say anything “good” about Palestinian terror against Israelis – I see nothing good in it whatsoever, and I thought I made that clear, but I see now that I didn’t.
I wrote that because of the occupation, Palestinians are “justified” in attacking, even killing Israelis, that they have the “right” to do so. Later on I stressed that I didn’t want them to kill my countrymen, and that I would do anything necessary to stop it. I meant those two points to show that I wasn’t “for” terrorism, that while I thought the occupation justified it, that didn’t mean I supported it. But I see now that the distance from “justified” to “support” is way, way too short – and I am as far away as anybody can be from supporting attacks on Israel and Israelis.
Writing that the killing of Israelis was justified and a matter of right took a vile image and attached words of seeming approval to it. This, I’m afraid, produced an “obscene” effect, as one critic wrote. I don’t want to write obscenity about Israel. I didn’t mean to, and I deeply regret it.
I meant, instead, to shock Israelis and friends of Israel into seeing how badly we’re hurting the Palestinians by denying them independence: It’s so bad that it’s helping drive them to try to kill us. This is something I believe, something liberal Israelis and friends of Israel believe, and I wrote that if we were to start saying so publicly, it might force other Israelis to finally confront the reality of what we’re doing to the Palestinians, and thereby get them to see that it’s wrong and must stop.
My intention was to shock people into recognition, but I ended up shocking many of them into revulsion, and twisting what I wanted to say into something I didn’t and don’t mean at all.
What I mean is this: The occupation does not justify Palestinian terror. It does, however, provoke it. Palestinians do not have the right to attack or kill Israelis. They, do, however, have the incentive to, and part, though not all, of that incentive is provided them by the occupation. I believe that if Israel gives the Palestinians their independence, we have enough military power to neutralize whatever leftover incentive they would have to attack us. So my purpose with regard to Palestinian terror against Israelis is not to legitimize it, God forbid, but to end it.
Again, I regret what I wrote on Sunday. I apologize to everyone who was offended by it, and I apologize to my countrymen. The post is no longer on my blog; I’ve taken it down.p>
August 28, 2011
Abbas Rejects Recognizing Israel as the Jewish State
In an August 28, 2011, article, YNET reports, "the Palestinian Authority will not be recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday, adopting a belligerent tone ahead of his planned statehood bid in September."
Highlighting this ongoing rejection of the Jewish State, the YNET article goes on to report,
The Palestinian leader also criticized demands made by the International Quartet of his Authority, urging the international community to back off. "Don't order us to recognize a Jewish state," Abbas said. "We won't accept it."
Abbas, as well as, the Fatah group which he leads, are often presented as moderates. Yet, they, like Hamas, their counterpart in the unity government, continue to reject the basic principle of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.
The international Quartet (US, Europe, Russia and the UN) set three conditions for any Palestinian government to attain international legitimacy. These basic conditions are recognizing Israel's right to exist, renouncing terrorism and violence, and accepting previous agreements and obligations. Violating all three conditions this past week, Abbas rejected the Jewish State, failed to condemn the recent terrorist attack against Israel, and continued to move forward on the bid for statehood through a UN vote, in clear violation of previous agreements.
August 26, 2011
Conceals Islamic Jihad Casualties
Update: CNN has commendably inserted the relevant information into its article.
CNN posted an article at 6:19 am EDT this morning stating:
An Israeli airstrike killed two men in Gaza Thursday evening, while a mortar attack knocked out power at a border crossing into Israel, Israeli military officials and Palestinian security sources reported.
Palestinian sources said the Israeli airstrike targeted two men on a motorcycle west of Gaza City. The Israeli military could not immediately confirm the report. . . .
The attacks were the latest in a week-long round of violence that began with a series of attacks on Israelis that left at least seven civilians and one soldier dead. Israel has responded with attacks on what it called "terrorist infrastructure sites."
Nowhere does the article state that those killed, "two men on a motorcycle," were members of Islamic Jihad, a fact widely reported, including by the Palestinian Maan News Agency, as early as yesterday.
New York Times Calls Attack Against Israel "Terrorist"
CAMERA has repeatedly criticized the New York Times for not -- even twisting themselves into knots to avoid -- labelling obvious terrorist attacks as "terrorist". (See, for example, "The New York Times and Itamar", "Double Standards on International Terrorism at the New York Times and AP", "New York Times Apologetics for Terror", In New York Times, Hamas Attacks are "Armed Resistance'", "New York Times Whitewashes Palestinian Terrorist Groups Again", among other critiques.)
The newspaper, however, has begun to correctly refer to the most recent, multi-pronged terrorist attacks near Eilat as just that -- "terrorist attacks".
On August 20, 2011, an article by Heba Afify and Isabel Kershner began:
A cross-border terrorist attack and an Israeli retaliation that left three Egyptian officers dead are threatening to undermine a decades-old cold peace between the two countries that had already begun to fray since the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
The Israeli military said its aircraft hit terrorists preparing to launch rockets at Israel from three separate locations on Friday afternoon and evening.
An article today by Fares Akram about retaliatory strikes by Israel mentioned "terrorist attack" several times:
The recent round of violence started a week ago, with a terrorist attack on southern Israel in which eight Israelis were killed.
Israeli officials said the perpetrators and planners of the terrorist attack were originally from Gaza, and Israel has retaliated with strikes that have killed at least 23 Palestinians.
Israel’s first retaliatory strike in Gaza killed leaders of the Popular Resistance Committees, a pro-Hamas group that Israel said was behind the terrorist attack.
Hopefully, this marks the beginning of more accurate reporting by the Times.
August 25, 2011
Free Speech 'Authority' Levels Baseless Charge
The Los Angeles Times' entertainment writer James Rainey may have thought he found a good source with serious academic credentials when he quoted Professor David N. Lowry last week:
"Nations such as Libya, Israel, Iran and China are known to limit or ban social media during times of crisis," wrote professor David N. Lowry.
The professor failed to respond to CAMERA's request to substantiate his unfounded charge that Israel limits or bans social media in times of crisis. There's nothing entertaining about journalists giving a stage to academics who use their titles to spread baseless misinformation.
August 24, 2011
NY Times Editor's Snide Tweet
Twitter sure can be helpful to readers, as an offhand tweet by New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal demonstrates. His Twitter page includes a noteworthy entry for August 14, 2011. Commenting on a speech by recently announced GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry, Rosenthal took the opportunity to observe:
Perry announce speech. Did he miss a GOP cliche? One fave: Isreal (sic) won't have to worry about him. As if it ever has to worry about a US prez.
14 Aug via TweetDeck
The editor's sardonic (or, depending on interpretation, his snide, sarcastic, negative) comment that Israel has an automatic, no-worry relationship with every president is factually absurd and troubling coming from the man who heads the editorial page at the Times.
Israel has had rocky relationships with a number of presidents. Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama, for instance, have all been perceived by Israelis as tilting toward the Arabs and away from the Jewish state.
The implication that Israel enjoys automatic favor at the highest political levels also carries with it the whiff of Walt/Mearsheimer and their fevered Israel Lobby paranoia.
Reading too much into a tweet? Probably not.
(Hat tip to an anonymous visitor to the CAMERA Web site)
Australia Withdraws From UN Durban Conference
In an August 23, 2011, news article, The Australian reports that a "spokesperson for Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Australia had decided not to attend the High Level Meeting on the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action scheduled to be held in New York on September 22." In a statement, the spokesman said,
We have not been convinced that the High Level Meeting will avoid unbalanced criticism of Israel and the airing of anti-Semitic views. This occurred at the original Durban World Conference on Racism (2001) and the subsequent Review Conference (2009).
As Anne Bayefsky, Senior Editor of Eye on the UN, has repeatedly noted,
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.
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.”
Australia now joins Canada, along with Israel, the United States, the Czech Republic, Italy, and The Netherlands who had previously pulled out of the conference, citing similar concerns.
August 23, 2011
Israel Under Fire: The Growing Threat From Sinai
Responding to the horrific acts of terror committed against Israel, which began on Thursday, August 18, 2011, when terrorists opened fire at an Israeli bus, and which has continued for many days, with nearly 130 rockets and mortar shells fired into southern Israel, Jacques Neriah of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs analyzes the growing threat to Israel and the entire region. He writes,
The armed incursion into Israel, across the Egyptian border, of more than twenty Palestinian terrorists from the Popular Resistance Committee...which left eight Israelis dead, set off the latest round of fighting in southern Israel. It would not have been possible without the growing weakness of the Egyptian regime’s grip on Egypt as a whole and the Sinai Peninsula in particular...Israeli spokesmen as well as politicians repeatedly stressed the fact that Egypt had almost lost control in Sinai. Israelis noted that Egypt’s gas pipeline to Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon had been sabotaged five times... Israel also issued warnings to its citizens not to stay in Sinai since it had become a haven for terrorists, smugglers, and arms trafficking.
He goes on to say,
To stop the loosening of the Egyptian grip on Sinai, Israel agreed twice to significant Egyptian troop increases to their force deployment in the peninsula...However, from day one of the operations against the extremist organizations in northern Sinai, the Egyptian authorities realized to their dismay that the phenomenon is not limited to Sinai but engulfs the whole of Egypt. Islamist cells have been created all over Egypt so as to topple the regime by force...In January 2011 Egypt’s former interior minister, Habib el-Adly, charged that the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamist group Jaish al-Islam was responsible for a New Year’s Eve attack on a Coptic church in Alexandria that left twenty-three Egyptian Christians dead.
Weeks ago, the concern that Sinai was becoming the meeting ground for terrorist groups, was raised by Khaled Abu Toameh when he said, "If the Egyptian authorities do not move quickly to crush the extremists and regain control, the Sinai Peninsula could soon become a separate Islamic emirate run by Salafis, Hamas and Al-Qaeda."
Bruce Riedel, of The Daily Beast, in his August 21, 2011, article writes of the growing threat to the region as these terrorist groups take up positions in the Sinai:
Since the Egyptian revolution in February, law and order has broken down in the Sinai, as Egyptian police stations have been abandoned or attacked. Prisons across the country have been opened or abandoned, allowing many accused jihadists to escape. Many fled to Sinai...At the end of July, a group of dozens of armed men attacked the police station in El Arish, the capital of the peninsula...In the wake of the attack on El Arish, pamphlets were circulated announcing a “Statement From Al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula.” The statement called for creating an Islamic emirate in the Sinai.
Even as Israel hopes to work with Egypt to contain the growing terror network in the Sinai, YNet reports in an August 23, 2011, news article of additional fallout from the terror attack on Israel. Islamic scholar Dr. Salah Sultan, a lecturer of Muslim jurisprudence at the Cairo University, issued a religious decree according to which "it is permissible to kill 'any Israeli on Egyptian land;' and 'every Muslim who meets a Zionist is entitled to kill him.'"
The threat from Israel's southern border is growing.
Outside the Frame: Palestinian Journalist in Hiding
We recently blogged about news that doesn't fit the "frame." So, here's a story which doesn't fit the frame and which therefore went unreported by the mainstream press.
As reported by the Palestinian Maan News Agency and the Jerusalem Post, Majdoleen Hassouneh, a Palestinian journalist, has been forced into hiding and her two brothers have been arrested by the Palestinian Authority's Preventative Security Force. Maan reported:
Preventative Security forces raided the house of a Palestinian journalist in Nablus on Saturday and arrested two of her brothers in an apparent attempt to force her surrender.
Majdoline Hassouneh has refused a summons to appear for questioning about her work, and even posted a copy of the document on her Facebook page along with an explanation of her refusal to appear.
The Maan and Jerusalem Post articles appeared over two weeks ago, and yet there has been a resounding silence from the Western press. Likewise, Reporters Without Borders, which today spoke up for Palestinian journalists reportedly mistreated by Israeli forces, has nothing to say about the reported mistreatment of a Palestinian journalist by Palestinian forces.
As journalist Khaled Abu Toameh notes:
Palestinian journalists, political activists and human rights workers have all been targeted at one point or another by Palestinian policemen, all trained and funded by Americans and Europeans.
Western journalists and human rights organizations often tend to turn a blind eye to human rights violations by the Palestinian government. As far as many of them are concerned, a story that does not have an anti-Israel angel is not fit for print.
Failure to deal with such practices has only encouraged the Palestinian Authority to step up its offensive against actors, political critics, journalists and other activists.
August 19, 2011
Photo Tilt at the NYT
The New York Times rightly featured an image of the Palestinian terrorist attack in southern Israel on its front page on August 19, 2011. It was, after all, a deadly, multi-pronged attack from the Sinai of a kind not seen in many years. (The Times itself, needless to say, refrained from actually calling it a terrorist attack.)
Yet, while the attacks primarily targeted and killed civilians, the image was one of soldiers.
And, in what is virtually an art form of misdirection and circumlocution at the paper, editors managed to shade the language of the caption to omit the targeting of Israeli civilians, even to leave unclear the attack occurred inside Israel, and to omit identifying the perpetrators -- Palestinians. In contrast to the un-named Palestinian actors in the attack, a bolded headline above the caption made clear how Israel responded -- by bombing Gaza -- and this was repeated in the text of the caption. It read:
Israel Responds to Attacks by Bombing Gaza
Wounded Israeli soldiers were treated Thursday after gunmen attacked them near the border between Israel and Egypt. Eight Israelis were killed and more than 30 wounded in multiple attacks in the area. Israel responded with air strikes on Gaza.
The original AP photo caption that accompanied the image was far more clear and direct, making clear the attack occured in Israel and identifying Palestinians as involved. It read this way:
Wounded Israeli soldiers are treated at the site of a shooting attack along the border between Israel and Egypt, southern Israel, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011. Assailants armed with heavy weapons, guns and explosives crossed into southern Israel from the neighboring Egyptian Sinai peninsula on Thursday, killing six Israelis and wounding at least a dozen more in an audacious string of attacks that stoked concerns about Palestinian militants exploiting the recent instability in Egypt. (AP Photo/Yosi Ben)
August 18, 2011
UPDATED: People (aka Israelis) Die, Palestinians Killed
Israel has launched airstrikes on Gaza after blaming militants in the Palestinian territory for deadly attacks near Eilat earlier in the day.
Militants said five Palestinians were killed in the strikes.
Earlier at least seven people died when squads of gunmen armed with heavy weapons and explosives crossed into southern Israel from Egypt and attacked buses, cars and an army patrol, officials said.
3:30 PM Update: The Guardian has updated its opening paragraphs, which are now somewhat more open about who "died" and how they were killed:
Israeli civilians and soldiers came under sustained attack on Thursday by militants in the south of the country in a co-ordinated and audacious assault spanning three hours that left at least seven people dead and around 40 injured.
The Israeli government and military said the assailants came from Gaza, and promised to use "full force" in retaliation. Hamas denied it was responsible and said it would defend Gaza with "all its strength".
Within hours the Israelis had made good on their promise, killing up to six Palestinians in an air strike on Rafah, the Gaza town next to the border with Egypt. The dead were said to include the commander of the Popular Resistance Committee, Abu Awad Neirab.
In southern Israel, gunfire erupted again in the evening, with two people reported to be critically wounded.
Update II: Aug. 19, 8:25 AM EST: The Guardian has further improved its original language, transforming the people who died into Israelis. The story now states:
Israeli civilians and soldiers came under sustained attack on Thursday from militants in the south of the country in a co-ordinated and audacious three-pronged, three-hour assault that left at least seven Israelis dead and about 40 injured.
August 17, 2011
Eradicating Judaism’s Holy Sites
Palestinian attempts to erase the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, and all of Israel have been well documented. (See “REWRITING HISTORY: ERASING THE JEWISH CONNECTION TO HOLY SITES AND CREATING A FICTITIOUS ARAB HISTORY")
These attempts seem to be on the increase – and not just by those who are considered radicals and on the fringe.
Just last week Palestinian Authority (Fatah) TV aired a documentary that referred to Jews praying at the Western Wall as “sins and filth” and discussed ultimate Palestinian plans to take over the area and erase its Jewish sites. Palestinian Media Watch exposed this recent example in the clip below.
BBC Bias on Display Again
The entrenched bias of the BBC is evident once again in its guide to the Palestinian plan to ask the UN to recognize its statehood. The guide, titled "Q & A: Palestinian Statehood Bid at the UN", selectively omits key historical facts in order to portray Israel as the obstacle to peace.
The following examples expose the BBC's evasive presentation of the circumstances that led to the Palestinian decision to pursue a UN General Assembly vote:
1) The guide states that
The Palestinians ... have long sought to establish an independent, sovereign state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem - occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six Day War. Although the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said he would prefer to achieve this through negotiations, two decades of on-and-off peace talks have failed to produce a deal.
The statement implicitly connects the Israeli control of these territories since 1967 with the failure to establish a sovereign Palestinian state. This ignores the central fact that a sovereign Palestinian state does not exist because Arab leaders rejected the UN resolution to establish it in 1947 since this would have required them to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state as well. The statement also ignores Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and offer to cede as much as 95 percent of the West Bank.
By claiming that Abbas would like to negotiate a solution while making no mention of Israeli efforts, the guide leaves the impression that Israel is responsible for the failure of negotiations. BBC should have clarified that Abbas, not Netanyahu, has refused to negotiate despite Israel's agreeing to a ten month freeze on building on the West Bank in 2009.
2) The guide discusses how
The Palestinians and their supporters are also looking at ways to press for UN General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947 to be enforced. The resolution calls for the partition of British Mandate Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab one.
The BBC fails to inform that it was the Arabs who rejected the resolution and are responsible for it not being enforced.
3) In discussing UN Security Council Resolution 242, the BBC asserts,
Although Israel disputes the precise meaning of this, there is wide international acceptance that the pre-1967 frontiers should form the basis of a peace settlement.
In fact, as CAMERA has amply documented, the framers of the resolution, including British diplomats Lord Caradon and Baron George Brown, clearly established that the resolution does not require Israel to return to the pre-1967 boundaries. It is not, as the BBC contends, an Israeli dispute over the "precise meaning."
4) While mentioning Hamas's commitment to the destruction of Israel, the BBC emphasizes that "the main opposition comes from Israel." The phrasing emphasizes Israeli opposition to the UN plan in order to portray Israel as unreasonable in demanding negotiations, while presenting Hamas as acting reasonable for going along with the plan even though it has not modified it's eliminationist stance.
The guide is a striking example of the unwillingness of the BBC to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict objectively even in what is purportedly an objective information piece.
August 16, 2011
Hamas Summer Camps Incite -- Media Snoozes
Who cares if 50,000 young Gazans spend their summer getting paramilitary training and a large dose of radical politics? Not the New York Times! Or most any other news outlet.
AFP (Agence France Presse) was unique in covering the story. But reporter Adel Zaanoun should have dug a little deeper, instead of repeating the benign claims of the organizers. Zaanoun reported:
"These camps have no military or political dimension; they are held outdoors, with sports, cultural, educational, social and recreational activities," said Saleh Hamdan, a member of the central committee for summer camps.
As the Terrorism and Information Center documents, the "recreational activities" definitely do have a military dimension! The report notes:
[A]s in previous years, in addition to the diverse social activities (soccer, swimming, entertainment), the summer camps also included three major themes reflecting Hamas’ agenda: paramilitary training, dissemination of Hamas’ political messages, and religious indoctrination in the spirit of radical Islam.
Hamas' political messages include such statements as:
"The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews." (Hamas Charter, Article Seven)
If Hamas' ongoing indoctrination were on the front pages of a few newspapers or on CNN Hamas might have a harder time educating new generations of Israel-haters! But first there needs to be a new generation of journalists -- that understands filling young minds with hate is an obstacle to peace -- and worth reporting.
Widow Continues Battle to Unseal Suppressed Balen Report
From the Telegraph:
For six years, Steven Sugar pursued a one-man legal battle against the BBC in an attempt to force it to disclose a secret report.
He was trying to get the corporation to publish an internal assessment off its coverage of the Middle East conflict, which he believed would reveal bias against Israel.
Mr Sugar won an appeal for a full court hearing but when he died of cancer in January at the age of 61 it appeared his mission was at an end.
Now, his widow, Fiona Paveley, has taken up the fight to reveal the contents of the 20,000-word document and the case is to be heard at the Supreme Court.
August 15, 2011
News Media Mum on Questionable Legality of Proposed Palestinian Nationhood
With the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) pursuing a declaration of recognition of a Palestinian state from the United Nations in September, little is heard from most major news media about the questionable legality and diplomatic contradictions such a declaration would entail.
Meanwhile, the U.N. will not consider the case for Kurdish statehood, which is far stronger than that for the Palestinian Arabs. Not surprisingly, mainstream media have all but ignored this glaring contrast.
New York Sun columnist Hillel Halkin put it succinctly:
The Palestinians have many friends, the Kurds have none. And so, viva Palestinian statehood -- and down with statehood for the Kurds. Since principles have nothing to do with it, it may be beside the point to observe that, in principle, the Kurds have a far better case for statehood than do the Palestinians. They have their own unique language and culture, which the Palestinians do not have. They have had a sense of themselves as a distinct people for many centuries, which the Palestinians have not had. They have been betrayed repeatedly in the past 100 years by the international community and its promises, while the Palestinians have been betrayed only by their fellow Arabs.
The charters of both wings of the Palestinians -- Fatah and Hamas -- call for the elimination of Israel. This puts them on the wrong side of the U.N. charter since they vow enmity toward a member of the U.N. But the U.N. cares not about this.
Secondly, ethnic cleansing is specifically forbidden by the U.N. General Assembly but the Palestinians openly demand a Jew-free state which of course entails ethnic cleansing of Jews residing in parts of ancient Israel known as the West Bank and claimed by the Palestinians and in the parts of Israel’s capital of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians.
Thirdly, Palestinian incitement to hatred and violence against Israel and Jews, continues in violation of U.N. decrees. Article 26 (2) of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights implicitly condemns incitement to hatred/violence against other ethnic/religious groups in textbooks but Palestinian textbooks previously and currently have continued to contain incitement against Jews and Israel. The U.N. Commission on Human Rights resolution 2003/37 (No. 4) ”Condemns incitement of ethnic hatred, violence and terrorism” but the P.A. seems to be doing all it can to demonstrate their hate-indoctrination causing even the U.S. State Department to take notice.
The lack of a legal basis for acquisition of Palestinian statehood through a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) via the U.N. General Assembly, rather than through negotiations with Israel, is documented by a CAMERA Backgrounder which notes that P.A. is bound by the 1993 Declaration of Principles and subsequent Oslo accords agreements to solve outstanding issues with Israel through direct negotiations, and that U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 call for Arab-Israel peace to be reached through talks between and among the parties.
If the U.N. General Assembly -- in violation of previous U.N. Security Council resolutions and international agreements supported by the United Nations -- complies with the request for a declaration recognizing a Palestinian Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip outside of and in contradiction to the established procedure of direct negotiations in accordance with the relevant measures, even if the recognition lacked immediate effect, it would imply an imposition of international borders on Israel without Israeli input, including taking parts of its capital, Jerusalem, away from it and giving the parts to a new country.
August 12, 2011
News Fit to Frame: The New York Times and the Crown Heights Riots
A must-read piece by former New York Times reporter Ari L. Goldman isn't directly about coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but it does provide insight into why and how the newspaper misleads about that conflict.
The article examines how journalists' eyewitness reporting filed from Brooklyn during the Crown Heights riots was changed to fit the "frame" preferred by editors back at Times headquarters in Manhattan.
Goldman begins by noting that
Journalists initially framed the story as a “racial” conflict and failed to see the anti-Semitism inherent in the riots. As the 20th anniversary of the riots approaches, I find myself re-examining my own role in the coverage and trying to extract some lessons for myself and my profession.
I am telling my story in print for the first time because it is important that we journalists examine our mistakes and learn from them. Fitting stories into frames — whether about blacks and Jews, liberals or conservatives, Arabs and Israelis, Catholics and Protestants or Muslims and Jews — is wrong and even dangerous. Life is more complicated than that. And so is journalism.
Read the whole story here.
August 11, 2011
UPDATED: Atlantic Wire Corrects
UPDATE: The Atlantic Wire commendably corrected the misstatements described below.
If it's true that for two Jews there are three opinions, as an old Israeli adage claims, how will the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo cope with the influx of 1,600 new mayors? According to the Atlantic Wire, 1,600 hundred new "settlements" will be built in this small enclave.
A settlement, of course, is the name given to villages, towns and cities in the West Bank. So how is it possible to fit so many villages into one small neighborhood? It's not.
As made clear in the Reuters story linked to from the Atlantic Wire piece, the recently approved plan calls for the building 1,600 homes. It's bad enough to take sides by referring to Jerusalem neighborhoods as settlements when this characterization is a matter of dispute. Calling every home a settlement is simply ridiculous.
The Atlantic Wire has been informed of the error, and we'll update you if they correct — or if they don't.
Episcopal News Service Does the Right Thing
Earlier today, blogger Adam Holland discovered a bigoted article on the website run by the Episcopal News Service and tweeted about it. CAMERA contacted the news service and complained about the outrageous bigotry in the article (detailed at Holland's blog). The ENS responded by apologizing for publishing the article and taking it down from its website.
Good work, Adam.
Update Aug 15, 2011 : The article has been removed from ENS' archives, but is still showing if people click on pre-existing link to the article. CAMERA has spoken to a staffer at ENS to address the problem. The assurance CAMERA has gotten is that at some point in the future -- we do not know when -- the offending paragraph will be deleted and an editor's note will be put at the top of the article to inform readers that the article has been edited.
Is there a debate over Sabeel in the Netherlands?
According to this "tweet" from Sabeel Jerusalem's twitter account, a group of pastors in the Netherlands are unhappy with their churches involvement with Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center.
Snapshots has been unable to find any information regarding this petition, but if our readers can find any links about the controversy, they can provide details in the comments section posted below.
For background about why Sabeel would be a topic of debate for pastors in the Netherlands, read "Updating the Ancient Infrastructure of Christian Contempt: Sabeel" written by CAMERA analyst Dexter Van Zile and published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Update: A poster has kindly provided a link to an article providing some background about the debate in the Netherlands about Sabeel. The article, "How the Dutch Gaza Flotilla Backfired Politically," written by Yochanan Visser and published by Pajamas Media reports that "a group of clerics and members from the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) organized a petition demanding an end to ties between the Protestant NGO Kerk in Actie and Sabeel after it was shown that officials of Kerk in Actie collaborated with Sabeel — an Arab-Christian group — in propagating blatant lies about Israel."
August 10, 2011
In Memory -- Bernadine Healy Fought Exclusion of Israel from ICRC
A fearless and outspoken former president of the National Institutes of Health and the American Red Cross, Dr. Bernadine Healy died August 6, 2011 of brain cancer. At the helm of the Red Cross, Dr. Healy championed efforts to end the exclusion of Israel's Magen David Adom from membership in the International Red Cross, cutting US funding to the international body.
Two months after assuming command of the American Red Cross in September 1999, Healy flew to Geneva to address a large assembly of the International Red Cross movement. And, in the eyes of international officials, she charged in like a bull in a china shop.
''She comes in and makes a speech in which she harangues the assembled membership about the inequity of the exclusion of M.D.A. and how the American Red Cross is going to make inclusion happen now, whether we liked it or not,'' said Christopher Lamb, an executive of the international federation. ''She spoke about the movement, describing everyone as cowards and failures and people who didn't understand.''
Lawrence Eagleburger wrote in a Washington Post op-ed column
that Healy simply refused to turn ''a blind eye on a moral wrong.'' And persuaded by her passion, the American Red Cross board went right along with her. It agreed to start withholding its $4.5 million annual dues to the international federation; that money is 25 percent of the federation headquarters' budget.
On June 21, 2006, Israel was finally admitted as a full member to the ICRC. Dr. Healy's unequivocal leadership years earlier gave crucial impetus to that outcome.
She will be remembered for many achievements, among them her moral clarity and courage.
EAPPI's Narcissistic Grandstanding
Last week, the Presbyterian Church (USA) published an article about the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine Israel. CAMERA responded to the article, originally produced by Ecumenical News International, with a letter to The Layman, published by the Presbyterian Lay Committee.
The letter is republished below the jump.
EAPPI assails and demonizes the Jewish state
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Last week, the Presbyterian Church (USA) published an article produced by Ecumenical News International (ENI) about the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine Israel (EAPPI). The article misinforms Presbyterians about the nature of the EAPPI. The organization, founded by the World Council of Churches in 2002, does not qualify as a peacemaking organization, but is in fact a centerpiece of the WCC’s decades-long campaign to assail and demonize the Jewish state at the behest of the Middle East Council of Churches and church leaders in Jerusalem.
EAPPI materials do not provide an accurate map of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but excite the imaginations of its supporters and activists with a mythology that portrays innocent Palestinians suffering under the lash of the uniquely evil Jewish state.
The EAPPI is quite selective about whose violence it confronts. The organization does not confront all violence in the Arab-Israeli conflict, but merely confronts Israeli settlers and soldiers – without drawing attention to or confronting Palestinian terrorism.
Look at EAPPI materials for yourself (they are readily available at the WCC’s website) and you will see hardly any reference to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Hezbollah. Like most other peacemaking organizations, Islamist violence and the theology used to justify this violence is a taboo subject for the EAPPI. It is simply not talked about. For the EAPPI, the cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict is rooted solely in the occupation, which itself is rooted in the evils of Zionism.
The security barrier – which has undeniable impacts on Palestinians – is depicted in EAPPI materials as a bit of Mordor straight out of Tolkein’s trilogy. Nowhere does the EAPPI acknowledge the terrorism that preceded its construction. After reading EAPPI materials about the barrier, one is left with the impression that the Israeli people and their leaders are monsters who decided to build a barrier out of a desire to make Palestinians suffer, not to protect themselves for acts of terror.
There is a troubling narcissism about the manner in which the EAPPI has approached its so-called peacemaking work. The EAPPI has turned the tragic geography of the Arab-Israeli conflict into a theme park where wealthy Westerners can act out heroic, self-aggrandizing fantasies and post the videos on the Internet for [their] friends to see when they return home.
The group’s website pictures EAPPI activists standing heroically with rustic and beleaguered Palestinians who are waiting in line at checkpoints, watching forlornly as their homes are being demolished or recovering from the effects of tear gas launched by Israeli soldiers at peaceful protests. For some reason, Israeli suffering has not found its way into the EAPPI narrative about the Arab-Israeli conflict, possibly because such suffering would upstage the heroism of the group’s activists.
Ultimately, the EAPPI’s focus is not on the underlying realities of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but on the putative moral and intellectual superiority of EAPPI activists.
This is not peacemaking, but grandstanding.
Dexter Van Zile, Christian media analyst
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
August 08, 2011
Facts Blockaded in Washington Times Gaza Story
Associated Press reporter Ibrhaim Barzak writes that “…there are no longer acute shortages of foods or basic household items.” There never were such “acute shortages.” Since Israel and Egypt started the blockade in 2007, Israel regularly has transferred food and humanitarian supplies into the Strip. For example, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, between June 16, 2007 and Sept. 22, 2008 — before the May 2010 raid on the first anti-blockade flotilla referred to by The Washington Times — Israel permitted 35,542 trucks carrying 813,870 tons of food, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.
The AP dispatch never mentions Palestinian responsibility for the Israeli blockade. But this responsibility includes more than 11,000 mortars and rockets fired from Gaza by the ruling Hamas movement and other terrorist organizations at Israel after the latter’s unilateral withdrawal in 2005.
The article also notes that “there are restrictions on exports, along with entry of raw materials” but it does not tell readers why. Cement, iron and piping have been used by Hamas to build fortified positions, including underground bunkers, and rockets. However, since the first flotilla, monitored imports of truckloads of cement, iron, and other building supplies are regularly coordinated with international parties.
Gaza suffers because Hamas and its terrorist allies continue to threaten Israel’s security. The Washington Times/AP report missed the story’s central point. — by Sophie Linshitz, CAMERA Washington research intern.
Extremist Trends in Tahrir Square
In an August 2, 2011, Wall Street Journal report, we learn that "Mobs of ordinary Egyptians joined with soldiers to drive pro-democracy protesters from their encampment in Tahrir Square here Monday, showing how far the uprising's early heroes have fallen in the eyes of the public." Shadi Hamid, of the Brookings Institution's Doha Center comments,
The liberal and leftist groups that were at the forefront of the revolution have lost touch with the Egyptian people...For some time they've been deceiving themselves by saying that the silent majority is on their side—but all evidence points to the contrary.
Making a similar observation, Randall Lane and Douglas Schoen, on July 26, 2011, reported on a Newsweek/Daily Beast poll of Egyptian voters:
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest Islamist group, is poised to win the largest share of the vote in parliamentary elections; the man who appears to have a clear shot at the presidency, Amr Moussa, has made his name criticizing Israel; and a large majority of respondents favor amending or revoking the cornerstone of regional stability, the Camp David Accords.
Subsequently, a New York Times, July 29, 2011, article covering the supposed "Friday of Unity" in Tahrir Square, describes, "Tens of thousands of Egyptian Islamists poured into Tahrir Square on Friday calling for a state bound by strict religious law and delivering a persuasive show of force." The article goes on,
Some activists were already calling Friday’s demonstration a turning point — a remarkable display of the Islamists’ ability to monopolize space, be it Tahrir Square, the streets or the coming elections, and of their skill at organization and mobilization, which for secular activists served as a bitter contrast to their own shortcomings.
Confiming these extremist trends, Khaled Abu Toameh writes, in his August 5, 2011, analysis of the current situation in Egypt, "Extremist Islamic groups are working toward turning Egypt into an Islamic Republic." He goes on to say,
The Salafis have become a major player in the Egyptian arena since the downfall of the Mubarak regime. Their supporters have been accused of targeting Churches and Christians, as well as secular, liberal-minded Egyptians. What is most worrying, however, is the fact that the Salafis and their erstwhile rivals, the Muslim Brotherhood, have joined forces in a bid to form a united front against the secular movements in Egypt.
Khaled Abu Toameh concludes with the determination that, "the Sinai Peninsula could soon become a separate Islamic emirate run by Salafis, Hamas and Al-Qaeda," and that, "it is only a matter of time before Egypt turns into an Islamic Republic that is aligned with Iran, Hamas and Islamic Jihad."
August 05, 2011
Nabi Saleh and a Photographer's Charge Against the IDF
The West Bank village of Nabi Saleh has become the focal point for what Palestinian activists there are calling the start of "something big...Like a third intifada.” The initial cause of the weekly protests was the seizure of a spring, and while Palestinians acknowledge that Israel's Civil Administration "was ready to offer the spring back to the village in exchange for an end to the demonstrations," they refused, escalating the confrontations and adopting a much more ambitious goal -- "to bring down the occupation." (See "Nabi Salih, A Growing Movement")
Photographers gather every week in Nabi Saleh to record the clashes and B'Tselem has equipped Palestinian activists with cameras to document alleged abuses on the part of Israeli soldiers in the area. CAMERA has highlighted one instance in which a B'Tselem photographer abused the project, staging a scene in Nabi Saleh.
Now, an American-Israeli photographer charges Israeli soldiers with deliberately targeting him and other photographers in Nabi Saleh with tear gas and stun grenades. He accuses the soldiers of directing a sustained attack against the photographers for 3-5 minutes. No one was hurt, and no photographs or videos of the incident have been released. The IDF Spokesman's Office claims that "full information on this incident was not submitted" making it impossible to examine the complaint. Meanwhile, an organization called the International News Safety Institute is lumping together this complaint against Israeli soldiers with one against NATO forces in Libya which carried out an airstrike on the Tripoli headquarters of the state television station, killing three members of the press and wounding 21.
Assad Murders, WCC Tweets
BEIRUT - Syrian security forces are summarily executing people on the streets of Hama, a human rights group said yesterday, raising fears that bloodshed could escalate dramatically in the besieged city even as world condemnation of the violence continues to mount.
That's the opening paragraph of an article published by Washington Post on Aug. 4, 2011.
While the WaPo talks of "world condemnation" there is one organization that has remained virtually silent over the violence in Syria: The World Council of Churches.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton estimates 2,000 people have died at the hands of the Assad regime, and the best the WCC can do is offer a couple of tweets that fail to mention who is actually responsible for the violence.
When will the WCC name and shame the killers in Syria?
The organization has published at least three articles about the massacre in Norway, which resulted in more than 90 appalling deaths, but aside from four tweets, has said nothing about the Assad regime's responsibility for the deaths of more than 20 times that number.
Three feature-length articles for approximately 90 Norwegians.
Four tweets for 2,000 Syrians.
Does the WCC value the lives of Norwegians over Syrians?
August 03, 2011
Unfit to Print?
Some might see it as a wise political move. Others might say it's capitulation.
We can all agree, though, that Benjamin Netanyahu's leaked decision to soften his opposition to references to the "1967 lines" thus far has been completely ignored by the New York Times.
Why would a newspaper so obsessed with the Arab-Israeli conflict ignore this reported development, when so many others — the Irish Times, the Hindustan Times and the Times of Oman, never mind the Washington Post, AP, AFP and Reuters — agree it is newsworthy? Does the New York Times feel it must first find a way to spin the story to fit its preferred narrative? Is it so desperate to avoid publishing a headline like "Palestinian Authority dismiss Israeli 'peace proposal'"?
The newspaper may argue, in its defense, that it was waiting for uncertainty to be resolved. After all, the unnamed Israeli official who spoke with journalists appears to have been floating the idea as a trial balloon, and as such, information about the exact nature of Israel's proposed compromise is vague and even contradictory.
But this is hardly the first bit of inconvenient information concealed by the Times. It chose not to report, for example, that France has explicitly sided with Israel's position that the Palestinians recognize its right to exist as the Jewish state. Its readers, then, would not know that French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said at a recent press conference,
France has a very clear position that joins that of Spain and all of our European partners: It is that there will be no solution to the conflict in the Middle East without recognition of two nation-states for two peoples. The nation-state of Israel for the Jewish people, and the nation-state of Palestine for the Palestinian people. There is no getting away from this.
Newsworthy? Of course it is. Palestinian rejection of the principle of two states for two peoples has been one of the central sticking points between the parties. And consequently, when senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath insisted after Juppe's press conference that the Palestinians will "never accept" the principle — in other words, that they are opposed to what most of the world understands as the two-state solution — this was also newsworthy. And it was also ignored by the New York Times.
"Peace Partners" in Their Own Words
In Ha'aretz, July 29, 2011, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a prominent member of Hamas, a terrorist organization which has the stated goal of destroying the Jewish state, is quoted as calling President Mahmoud Abbas's UN bid for statehood within Israel's borders a "political scam." The Ha'aretz article states,
He (Mahmoud al-Zahar) is equally unequivocal on the so-called two-state solution, which aims at an Israeli state and a Palestinian state existing side by side. 'We are not going to recognize Israel. That is very simple. And we are not going to accept Israel as the owner of one square centimeter...'
How does Fatah, which formed a unity government with Hamas this past spring, and is often held up as a "partner for peace" with Israel, weigh in on this "two-state solution?" Nabil Shaath, Head of Foreign Relations in Fatah declared in a July 13, 2011, broadcast, "We will never accept the 'Two States for Two Peoples' solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."
Fatah is regularly cited as the "moderate" group.
August 01, 2011
Praying the Wrong Way
Writing in the Aug. 1 Jerusalem Report about the status of Jerusalem in Islam, Danny Rubenstein claims that "Muslim's pray in the direction of the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third most important mosque in Islam after Mecca and Medina."
Of course, the qibla, or Muslim direction of prayer, is toward Mecca, not Jerusalem. And consequently, Muslims only pray "in the direction of the Al-Aqsa mosque" if it happens to lie in the same direction as Mecca.
The Jerusalem Report knows about the error, and we'll update you if they publish a correction.