September 28, 2012
Their Victims Could Fill a Stadium
“The people of Egypt, the Muslims who want the Islamic trends and Islamic rule, are not the majority. Most Muslims believe in the separation of religion and state.”
That was the assessment offered about the revolution in Egypt offered by Rev. Samih Mouris (pictured above), an Evangelical Protestant pastor from Egypt at the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference held in Bethlehem in March 2012.
Mouris, pastor of the largest Evangelical church in the Middle East – Kasr El-Dobara in Cairo – was unable to attend the conference in person but addressed the audience through a video interview recorded with Munther Isaac a few months before the conference.
Unfortunately, totalitarians do not need a majority to impose their will on the societies they wish to control. That reality was well understood by Sabina Wurmbrand, wife of Richard Wurmbrand, an Evangelical pastor who was tortured repeatedly in Communist prisons in Romania in the years after World War II.
For a while after the war it looked like Romania was going to have a democracy, she reports in her book The Pastor’s Wife. “Scarcely anyone realized what lay ahead,” she wrote. “’After all,’” they said, “’this is a country of twenty million people. We haven’t got enough real Communists to fill a football stadium.’”
Eventually, the Communists took over, threw Sabina’s husband into prison and terrorized an entire country for decades.
A similar pattern is manifesting itself, this time in the Middle East.
Rev. Mouris’ church in Cairo was the target of repeated fire bombings earlier this month. Ray Ibrahim reports:
According to Al Masry Al Youm, Kasr El-Dobara, the largest evangelical church in the Middle East, located in Egypt, was recently besieged by "unknown people" hurling "stones and gas bombs." The first gas bomb thrown at the church Thursday afternoon, September 13, was signaled as an error by police, but it was soon followed by other bomb attacks, which went into midnight and early Friday. Worshippers locked themselves inside the church and put on masks to avoid gas poisoning.
Some of those trapped inside looked for help by trying to contact politicians, journalists, and even the "moderate" Muslim Brotherhood. All the latter did was announce on TV that the attackers were not members of the Muslim Brotherhood. After the besiegers left and the trapped Christians finally came out, not a single police or security agent to counter the attacks or protect the church could be found.
And today, Reuters reports that "Most Christians living near Egypt's border with Israel are fleeing their homes after Islamist militants made death threats and gunmen attacked a Coptic-owned shop."
The Islamists who attacked Mouris’ church and who terrorize Christians throughout Egypt do not represent a majority of that country’s citizens. They do not represent a majority of Egypt's Muslims.
But their victims?
They could fill a stadium.
September 24, 2012
Where's the Coverage? Conference on Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries
On September 21, 2012, Israel hosted an event at the United Nations highlighting the stories of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries in the last century. What? You thought all refugees in the Arab-Israeli conflict were Palestinian Arabs? Nope.
The event, "Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries," featured firsthand accounts from Jewish refugees, along with remarks by Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor, former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. Normally, when Alan Dershowitz sneezes, there's an article in the press. He's been mentioned in The New York Times on literally thousands of occasions.
But, when Israel tries to tell the story of the 850,000 Jews living in Arab countries who were dispossessed and forced out between 1947 and 1972, there is virtual media silence.
Ancient Jewish communities had existed in Arab countries for millennia until the Arab League defined all Jews as enemies of the state in 1947. State-sanctioned violence, arbitrary arrests, and forced expulsions followed. Arab governments confiscated billions of dollars of Jewish property. The total area of land seized from these Jews is five times the size of the state of Israel.
At the conference, Ambassador Prosor called on the UN to "establish a center of documentation and research to tell the 850,000 untold stories of Jewish refugees from Arab countries," saying:
Every year, the United Nations hosts World Refugee Day. Events take place in all corners of the world. Millions participate. Celebrities flood the airwaves to raise awareness about refugee populations. They speak about Africans, Asians, South Americans, Europeans and, of course, Palestinians.
One group never makes the cut: the Jews who were torn from their homes in Arab lands.
While CAMERA has covered the story of Jewish refugees from Arab countries extensively (see here, here, here, and here), few major media outlets cover the issue and fewer covered the symposium. There was an article in The Washington Times but, other than that, only Jewish and Israeli media covered the meeting.
As Ambassador Prosor noted, "Not a single syllable about the Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries can be found in any of the 1088 UN resolutions on the Middle East or the 172 UN resolutions dedicated to Palestinian refugees."
The same can be said for the pages of our major newspapers and the airwaves of our broadcast media. Where’s the coverage?
To help raise awareness of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, you can like "I am a refugee" on Facebook.
To watch a video on the issue, click here.
Coptic American Reveals Egyptian Hypocrisy, Incitement
Michael Armanious, a Coptic Christian who now resides in the United States as an American citizen, reveals the hypocrisy behind the riots that took place in Cairo on Sept. 11 in his new blog, The New Egypt.
In his Sept. 20 entry, Armanious reports that, “While Islamists in Egypt demand that Westerners engage in self-censorship when speaking about the Prophet, they have been using the mass media in their country to vilify Americans – and Christians – on a grand scale.”
He provides some interesting details about how Dr. Hisham Qandil, Egypt's prime minister tried to shift the blame for the riots away from the protesters themselves.
Dr. Hisham Qandil, Egypt’s Prime Minister, said the protesters were paid to attack the U.S. Embassy. This was the same story used to explain the murder of Coptic Christians, and other activists, outside a television station in October 2011. Speaking with the BBC’s Arabic service on Sept. 15, Qandil said, “Egyptians, Arabs, Muslims - we need to reflect the true identity of Muslims, how peaceful they are, and talk to the Western media about the true heart of the Muslims, that they condemn violence.” In other words, the rioters, being peaceful Muslims, would not have attacked the embassy if it were not for the money.
Later that day, Hani Salah Eldin, a reporter form Youm 7, an Egyptian newspaper, and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood said exactly where the money came from. In a TV interview he reported that Zionists and Coptic Christians from outside Egypt paid young people to attack the Embassy. Eldin had made these assertions in a column published the day of the attacks.
Following Eldin’s Sept. 15 accusation, Islamist preacher Ibrahim Sheikh Ahmed Mahallawy issued a fatwa: Kill the emigrant Copts, and will you be rewarded. That fatwa is directed at me and my fellow Coptic Christians in the U.S. –your fellow citizens.
LA Times Ignores Extensive Arab Construction in Jerusalem
Edmund Sanders' Los Angeles Times article Friday on overcrowding in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City gives an accurate picture of the Muslim Quarter's situation, and a misleading impression of the overall housing situation for Jerusalem's Arabs.
While Sanders notes correctly that the Muslim Quarter's "overcrowding is a side effect of the larger demographic battle between Jews and Palestinians over control of Jerusalem," he gives a very distorted account of the "larger demographic battle."
In particular, he writes that city planner Israel Kimhi
said a more permanent solution is to build new housing for low-income Arabs in other parts of the city to reduce Old City congestion.
Despite promises to alleviate the housing crunch, the most recent major effort to develop housing for Arabs in Jersualem was in the 1980s, he said.
Critics note that tens of thousands of new housing units have been built in the Jerusalem area for Jewish families in the last 30 years.
Kimhi, of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, is the author of a CAMERA monograph (1997), "Arab Building in Jerusalem 1967-1997," which details the extensive amount of private Arab construction in the city, both legal and illegal. As the executive summary states:
Municipal tax records show that since 1967 the number of Arab-owned residences in the city has grown at a faster rate than the number of Jewish-owned residences. Aerial photographs taken of the same areas in 1968 and 1995 corroborate this expansion and disprove assertions that Israel has prevented Arabs from building in the city.
And the trend has continued in recent years. This writer has attended Kimhi's geopolitical tours of the city every year, for the last several years, in which he repeatedly points out new construction in Arab neighborhoods like Shuafat, Beit Hanina, Beit Zafafa, Isawiyaa, At-Tor, Sur Bahar, and Um Tubha.
So while Kimhi tells CAMERA that Sanders accurately quoted him, he also confirms that he described the massive Arab construction, both legal and illegal, to Sanders. And yet Sanders, in his article touching on "the larger demographic battle between Jews and Palestinians over control of Jerusalem," gives no hint about the extensive Arab construction. Why confuse readers with nuance?
Aside from the overcrowding of the Muslim Quarter, another "side effect of the larger demographic battle" is the fact that east Jerusalem Arabs, and those who had left the city for the West Bank and are now returning, are also seeking out housing in primarily Jewish neighborhoods, such as French Hill, Neve Yaakov, and Pisgat Ze'ev. But this aspect of Jerusalem's complex realities also does not make it into Sanders' story.
September 23, 2012
CNN's "Situation Room" Resituates Israel's Capital
On Sept. 17, "The Situation Room" host Joe Johns (standing in for Wolf Blitzer) and guest Frances Townsend, a former U.S. national security advisor, refer to Tel Aviv as Israel's capital. Johns reports:
Iran is blaming Israel and the U.S. for what it says was an attempt to sabotage an underground nuclear facility. It says explosives were used to cut power lines, a move that could damage centrifuges used to enrich uranium.
Washington and Tel Aviv deny involvement.
Likewise, Townsend states:
If you step back and look at the things and now you add to this the explosion of power lines, one has to really question whether or not there's not some state-sponsored organized effort. Nobody here in Washington is obviously talking. Both Washington and Tel Aviv deny it . . .
Just as reporters regularly use "Washington," the U.S. capital, as a shorthand for the U.S. government, the correct shorthand for the Israeli government is Jerusalem, Israel's capital.
This would not be the first time that CNN confused Tel Aviv for Israel's capital. Other media outlets have corrected erroneous identifications of Tel Aviv as Israel's capital.
Among them are the Washington Post and Boston Globe, which published the following corrections:
Error (Washington Post, Scott Wilson, 3/21/12): Obama's more aggressive message this year reflects the increasing concern in Washington, Tel Aviv and other capitals about Iran's enrichment program, which Israel believes will be used to produce a nuclear weapon.
Correction (3/30/12): A March 21 A-section article about President Obama's annual message to the Iranian people incorrectly referred to Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel. Israel designated Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, although many countries maintain embassies and other diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv because of the Palestinians' competing claim on Jerusalem as their capital.
Error (Boston Globe, 7/14/03): The refugees and many other Palestinians publicly say there can be no peace with Israel until Tel Aviv recognizes the refugees’ right to return.
Correction (7/17/03): Because of an editing error, a story on a Palestinian protest in Monday’s World pages incorrectly suggested that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel. The capital is Jerusalem.
September 21, 2012
Context Breaks Out Over anti-Israel Forces
Context occasionally peaks through often superficial Middle East news coverage. It did so in an Associated Press dispatch headlined “Syrian rebels win control of key crossing on border with Turkey” published by The Washington Post (September 20 print edition).
AP correspondent Nebi Qena reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “told Iran’s visiting foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi that the fight against his government ‘targets resistance as a whole, not only Syria,’ an apparent reference to countries and groups opposed to Israel’s existence. The ‘axis of resistance’ includes Syria and Iran, along with the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group in Lebanon and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.”
Regardless of the failure to describe Hezbollah and Hamas accurately as terrorist organizations, the wire service’s explanation of what “resistance” or “the resistance” means to those who so describe themselves is crucial. News media including The Post sometimes suspend journalistic scrutiny and echo Hezbollah, Hamas, Syrian or Iranian claims of “resistance” or that they are “resisting the occupation,”
Implied is that “resistance” is aimed at Israeli control of the West Bank, or of “Shebaa Farms,” or the Gaza Strip. Usually left unsaid is that the Palestinian Authority administers more than 90 percent of the Arab population of the West Bank; that “Shebaa Farms” is a small part of Syria’s Golan Heights, held by Israel but claimed by Hezbollah as Lebanese and used as a pretext by the group to retain its weapons in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701; or that Israelis withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip—now run by Hamas—in 2005.
“Resistance” had an honorable pedigree once, epitomized by various anti-Nazi movements in countries occupied by Germany during World War II. No doubt this contributed to its propagandistic confiscation by groups and countries quite Nazi-like in their ideologies and actions toward Jews and the Jewish state. AP clarifies in one two-sentence paragraph that “resistance” in this context means “opposition to Israel’s existence.”
If only this small paragraph in a short article were to start a journalistic trend ….
September 20, 2012
Megachurch Pastor Bob Roberts Falls for Jew-Hater's Message of "Peace"
Bob Roberts, Jr., pastor of Northwood Church in Keller, Texas wants the whole world to know that he is offended by "The Innocence of Muslims," a movie made by a Coptic Christian in the United States by the name of Nakoula Nakoula. He offered this denunciation on his blog on Sept. 18.
Roberts, a prominent speaker at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference held in Bethlehem in March 2012, unequivocally denounces the film and reports that the trailer which he has seen is “not consistent in the least with the Koran.” He says this after having met Muslims in the U.S. and throughout the world.
The movie he says, “was cheaply produced, and made to produced, and made to provoke and enrage people.”
He also suggests that it's necessary to consider restraining the production of movies like "The Innocence of Muslims" despite the U.S. commitment to free speech.
Roberts acknowledges that debating ideas is absolutely critical but trying “to incite riot, war, along with civil and global unrest is wrong. There is a ‘clear and present’ danger the US courts have ruled in regard to freedom of speech – I think that has to extend globally.”
Roberts also wants the whole world to know that some people “are trying to bridge the chasm between Muslims, Christians, and the West.”
Some of these folks are Muslims, Roberts would have us know.
To prove his point, he provides quotes “from key Islamic leaders” condemning the violence against American embassies and diplomats in the Middle East.
Ironically enough, one of the “key Islamic leaders” Roberts invokes is … Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a man who has praised Hitler, supports female genital mutilation, supported the fatwa calling for the assassination of writer Salman Rushdie and to top it all off, has called for a second Holocaust against the Jewish people!
How is that for trying to “bridge the chasm between Muslims, Christians, and the West”?
When Roberts was informed via twitter about Qaradawi’s call for another Holocaust he said he “would disagree” with it.
So there it is.
Roberts “unequivocally denounces” a movie made by a Coptic Christian but he “would disagree” with a statement made by an Islamist calling for the murder of the Jewish people!
How is that for moral and intellectual leadership from our clergy?
Qaradawi was not the only “key Islamic leader” that Roberts invoked in his effort to highlight the possibility of peace. He also quoted Egyptian Sheik Mahmood al-Masri who, like Qaradawi condemned the attacks on American embassies.
Al-Masri, like Qaradawi, has said some other things as well. He’s endorsed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and has called on Allah “to unleash earthquakes, volcanoes and Jews” on his theological adversaries, Shiite Muslims. “Let us pray that Allah rids our nation of such apostate dwarfs” he said.
Qaradawi and al-Masri have promoted an ideology in Egypt that has made riots like the one we saw on September 11, 2012 a virtually certainty. But when these riots actually take place, they call for calm.
And Pastor Bob Roberts falls for their shenanigans hook, line and sinker.
September 19, 2012
Where's the Coverage? Israeli Prisons are… Festive
When you hear the words "Israeli prison," what image springs to mind? If you read the popular press, it's probably not a "festive environment" where "nothing is lacking." You most likely do not envision meditation rooms with glow-in-the-dark fish tanks, petting zoos, art and dance classes, satellite television, internet access, smartphones, advanced education programs including university degrees and even PhDs in some cases. But, if you watched "LOCKUP World Tour: Israel," that's exactly what you saw.
"LOCKUP" is a documentary series that depicts life behind prison walls and airs on MSNBC. The episode featuring prisons in Israel originally aired in May, 2012, and has not received much media attention since though there was a post on the BuzzFeed Web site in the spring. The Israel episode re-aired the weekend of September 15 and 16 and international affairs commentator Tom Gross wrote:
At Rimonim prison, inmates are allowed to bring their own clothes and personal appliances with them to prison. Inmates cook together in communal kitchens, and prison staff eat food prepared by inmates. Jewish and Arab inmates socialize both with each other and with the guards, in what MSNBC terms "a very social and festive environment."
"I feel like I am in a hotel," says one Palestinian inmate as he shows MSNBC around his cell -- which is bigger than many New York apartments I have visited -- with kitchen equipment, bookshelves and a private bathroom. "Nothing is lacking."
The Times of Israel reported:
Lockup producers were consistently surprised by the level of coziness and normality found in Israeli prisons. Israeli-Arabs are interviewed about their lives in Hebrew, with paintings of large pomegranates and Disney characters filling the walls behind them. One Israeli-Arab inmate spoke about pranks he pulls on the guards, including pilfering cell phones from under their noses and returning them with a laugh.
The program mentions that Israel has lower incarceration and recidivism rates than most Western countries and generally paints a positive picture -- considering it's about prison. It is to the credit of MSNBC that the network aired it, though the series is produced by an independent company called 44 Blue Productions.
Perhaps the news division at NBC, along with the news operations at CBS, ABC, CNN, FOX and others could take a page out of the playbook of the reality programmer because when it comes to positive aspects of Israeli society… Where's the coverage?
"Dignity… Or Dhimmitude?"
In his article "Dignity… Or Dhimmitude?", published in the Algemeiner, CAMERA's Dexter Van Zile states:
The World Council of Churches has a decision to make. Is the organization going to advocate for religious freedom or is it going to side with Muslim extremists intent on harassing non-Muslims who say things they do not like?
Read the entire article here.
September 13, 2012
British MP George Galloway, Subsidized by U.S. Tax Payer Dollars, Slanders Israel
During his June 27, 2012 call-in show on New York’s WBAI radio station (that reaches New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), George Galloway, a long-time defamer of Israel, challenged a left-wing caller’s vituperative attack on “the Jews” for alleged bad treatment of the Palestinians. During his defense, Galloway told a whopper of a lie about scientist Albert Einstein and his attitude toward Zionism (the national movement of the Jewish people). He said:
“It’s not the Jews who are doing anything to the Palestinians. It’s Israel. It’s the Zionists and not all Jews are Zionists and most Zionists are not Jews. ... Some of the greatest progressives in all history are Jews – Albert Einstein – the greatest perhaps – who was offered the presidency of the state of Israel – and who refused it – saying that he could never be president of a country whose future happiness was built on the past misery of another people [Palestinian Arabs].”
Galloway is correct in saying “not all Jews are Zionists and most Zionists are not Jews” (world-wide, Christian Zionists outnumber other Zionists) but Galloway’s lie about Einstein is contradicted by Einstein’s own words:
I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel [to serve as President], and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it. All my life I have dealt with objective matters, hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official functions. For these reasons alone I should be unsuited to fulfill the duties of that high office, even if advancing age was not making increasing inroads on my strength. I am the more distressed over these circumstances because my relationship to the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond, ever since I became fully aware of our precarious situation among the nations of the world.
Einstein had said about Zionism,
Long before the emergence of Hitler I made the cause of Zionism mine because through it I saw a means of correcting a flagrant wrong. ... the Jewish people alone has for centuries been in the anomalous position of being victimised and hounded as a people, though bereft of all the rights and protections which even the smallest people normally has... Zionism offered the means of ending this discrimination. Through the return to the land to which they were bound by close historic ties... Jews sought to abolish their pariah status among peoples... The advent of Hitler underscored with a savage logic all the disastrous implications contained in the abnormal situation in which Jews found themselves. Millions of Jews perished... because there was no spot on the globe where they could find sanctuary... The Jewish survivors demand the right to dwell amid brothers, on the ancient soil of their fathers.
How is Galloway’s radio show supported by U.S. tax dollars? Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), an entity created and substantially funded by the U.S. government, provides a major amount of the financial support for NPR, PBS and other entities such as PRI and Pacifica (WBAI is one of five Pacifica owned and operated stations in America).
Click here to listen to archived broadcasts of Galloway’s weekly (Wednesday) “Mother of All Talk Shows!” most of which defame Israel.
Galloway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
September 12, 2012
Where's the Coverage? The Gaza Strip Millionaires
In the numerous articles written about Gaza, the press nearly always describes the Hamas-controlled area as "impoverished." But that description is at odds with the findings of a recently completed study of the region. Khaled Abu Toameh writes at the Gatestone Institute:
The world often thinks of the Gaza Strip, home to 1.4 million Palestinians, as one of the poorest places on earth, where people live in misery and squalor.
But according to an investigative report published in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, there are at least 600 millionaires living in the Gaza Strip. The newspaper report also refutes the claim that the Gaza Strip has been facing a humanitarian crisis because of an Israeli blockade.
Mohammed Dahlan, the former Palestinian Authority security commander of the Gaza Strip, further said last week that Hamas was the only party that was laying siege to the Gaza Strip; that it is Hamas, and not Israel or Egypt, that is strangling and punishing the people there.
You read that correctly. There are at least 600 millionaires living in the Gaza Strip. Maybe even more. In August, The Economist quoted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas talking about the "800 millionaires and 1,600 near-millionaires" in Gaza.
None of this information made it into Isabel Kershner’s article about a United Nations report in The Boston Globe, ("Gaza may be unlivable by 2020, report says"):
Despite some economic growth last year, 80 percent of Gaza households receive some form of assistance, according to the report, and 39 percent of the residents live below the poverty line. Unemployment was 29 percent in 2011. The report said many Gazans faced food insecurity, primarily because of poverty rather than a shortage of food.
And what does the "newspaper of record" have to say about the millionaires in Gaza? Not a mention in Jodi Rudoren’s "'Forgotten Neighborhood' Underscores the Poverty of an Isolated Enclave" (Also noted by Leo Rennert in The American Thinker):
In the Forgotten Neighborhood, houses have walls but no floors: people sit, eat and sleep on the sand.
During Ramadan last month, several neighborhood families slaughtered a lame horse and used its meat for kebabs because they could not afford beef or lamb; some mornings, Reem al-Ghora did not wake her daughters for the predawn, prefast meal, she said, "because there was no food."
It's just a thought, but maybe some of the millionaires in Gaza could help these people out. You haven't heard much about the millionaires in Gaza? Hmmm… Where's the coverage?
Oh, and in case you're wondering what became of these unfortunate people, The New York Times published a "world brief" September 12 about the demolition of more than a dozen homes in Gaza… by Hamas. In the wake of the previous Times article -- or maybe it's a coincidence -- Gaza authorities sent bulldozers to raze the neighborhood, as reported in the article:
Amal Shamaly, a spokeswoman for the Land Authority, said that all "illegal building" on government land would be removed, and that a security compound was planned for the area.
The original "forgotten neighborhood" article, which of course blamed Israel for the plight of Gaza residents, ran almost 1400 words. The brief on the demolitions that can't be blamed on Israel ran 169 words. Without pictures. And not on the front page, above the fold either.
New York Times Downplays Attacks, Death of Ambassador
When totalitarian Islamists killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens (pictured above) and three other Americans in Libya and stormed the embassy in Egypt, The New York Times put the story on page A4. Apparently, the death of a U.S. diplomat, the storming of an embassy and the invasion of a consulate is not worthy of front-page coverage.
This caught the attention of Newsbusters, which joked that the paper is not printing all the news fit to print, but all the news “fit to downplay.” Dan Drezner asks in a tweet (also highlighted at Newsbusters) “How in the hell do the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi not make the front page of the New York Times? #pageA4? #really?”
This question becomes more salient when in light of The Times coverage of the arrest of five Israeli Jews for the beating of an Israeli Arab in Jerusalem on Aug. 16, 2012. When the arrest took place the New York Times put this story on the front page on Aug. 21, 2012. A few days later, it published a page 3 story on how the beating highlights problems in Israeli society.
Why is a beating in Jerusalem more worthy of our attention than the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the death of a U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans? Under international law, embassies are the sovereign territory of the countries that own them. Attacks on embassies are by their very nature, acts of war.
How is this not front-page coverage?
Sept. 21, 2012 Update
Several respondents in the comments posted below report that their editions of the Sept. 12, 2012 New York Times did include front page stories about the attacks on American diplomatic interests in Egypt and Libya.
CAMERA’s did not and the Nexis-Lexis archive states that the article appeared on page A4 of the paper.
It is important to note that the Washington Post’s first story about the attacks appeared on page A10 and the Wall Street Journal’s first story about the attacks appeared on page A8 of that paper.
The NYT’s placement seems most noteworthy because the newspaper has a history of of a striking double-standards and questionable judgment when it comes to what is featured on its front page and what is relegated to its back pages.
September 11, 2012
CAMERA in Times of Israel: Palestinians Exploiting Children for a Photo Op
Tamar Sternthal, director of CAMERA's Israel Office, writes today in the Times of Israel:
There’s nothing like a photograph of an innocent child caught up in military conflict to elicit sympathy, rage, and at times, international intervention. In 2000, the iconic footage of 11-year-old Mohammed Al-Dura enflamed the Muslim world against Israel and generated world-wide outrage. By the time the evidence emerged, proving that the Israeli army could not have killed the boy, the damage had been done.
In the 1997 fictional film “Wag the Dog,” a Hollywood producer and a Washington spin doctor fabricate violence in Albania in order to divert attention from the president’s sex scandal. To persuade the country of the need for war, they manufacture footage of a young orphan girl fleeing from mayhem.
On a media stage far away from Hollywood, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, where photographers gather every Friday to document repetitious scenes of Palestinian residents and international activists clashing with Israeli soldiers, Palestinian activists are placing their children in ever-more-visible roles. Unlike scenes in “Wag the Dog,” a black comedy, there’s nothing funny about parents exploiting their own children to score propaganda points in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Unfortunately, that’s just what happened on Friday, August 24, when A’hd Tamimi, and her cousin Marah Tamimi, both 11, were photographed by Agence France-Presse tearfully being restrained by Israeli soldiers. . . .
September 09, 2012
Survey: Public Trust in Israeli Media Dips
Public trust in the media, as measured by the Israel Democracy Institute's annual Democracy Index, dropped by 5.5 percent in the past year, from 51.8 percent in 2011 to 46.3 percent in 2012. That puts it second from the bottom of the list of institutions respondents said they trusted. The survey was conducted by Prof. Tamar Hermann.
The decline in trust in the media ran counter to the trend in this year's survey, which saw a rise in public trust in most public institutions.
With the exception of 2011 public trust in the media has dropped every year since 2006. It reached a nadir of 33.8 percent in 2010.
The findings underscore the value of Presspectiva's work. Presspectiva, CAMERA's Hebrew-language Web site, documents cases of Israel's media failing to live up to its journalistic responsibilities.
September 05, 2012
Where's the Coverage? Corrie Lawyer Says Israel is Worse than Nazi Germany
Last month, an Israeli court dismissed the lawsuit brought by the family of pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie who was accidentally killed by an Israeli military bulldozer while serving as a human shield in a military zone in Gaza in 2003 as part of the International Solidarity Movement. The judge ruled that the Israeli military was not at fault and that Corrie had put herself in danger.
Virtually all the coverage of the Rachel Corrie case – and there was tons of it – quoted the plaintiff's attorney Hussein Abu Hussein decrying the verdict. But none of the popular press mentioned previous statements from Abu Hussein comparing Israel unfavorably to Nazi Germany.
Palestinian Media Watch translated and posted an excerpt from an interview Abu Hussein gave in July:
"Nazi Germany was a state based on the rule of law for a short while and it found refuge in the law. [However,] the State of Israel was founded from the start on robbery and theft of a nation's homeland. Actually, the correct and true legal definition of what happened to the Palestinians is homeland theft... We suffer from a great injustice from the giant monster. This monster attacks us daily and bites into our flesh in the Negev, the Galilee, the Triangle [region in Israel], Jerusalem, and the occupied territories, the West Bank and Gaza. Every day it bites into our body."
So, if some of the attorney's comments are worthy of coverage, why does the media ignore other, less sympathetic comments he makes?
In addition, CAMERA could find no conventional media that described the truly insidious nature of the International Solidarity Movement, which condones terrorism, nor could CAMERA locate any press piece that included this photograph of ISM “peace activists”:
Where's the honesty? Where's the integrity? Where's the coverage?
In The LA Times, the Picture Tells the Story
On Thursday, August 30, 2012 in the print edition, and August 29 online, The Los Angeles Times ran an article about “SuperPacs” and political groups raising funds at the Republican National Convention. In the print edition, the article ran on the front page with the headline, “Money on the unofficial agenda for groups, donors” and was accompanied by a photo of two bearded men wearing kippot. Page one:
The jump page featured a second picture from the same meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Ask yourself why editors didn’t feature this photograph or a photo from another event on page one. Jump page:
Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, in their controversial book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, charge that the “Israel lobby” has distorted the foreign policy of the United States in favor of Israel to the point of serious damage to U.S. interests. CAMERA research shows this book to contain fraudulent scholarship but the thesis that Jews manipulate U.S. policy for the benefit of Israel appears in the media in various forms, whether that be New York Times opinion columns or National Public Radio broadcasts.
While The Los Angeles Times article mentioned other interest groups, the Republican Jewish Coalition is the only religious group mentioned, though others held events including Christian groups like Patriot Voices and the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Even an atheist group called the Secular Coalition for America was represented at the convention, though not mentioned by The Times.
Does the fact that only a Jewish group was mentioned coupled with the page one photo -- the only photo to accompany the article’s online version -- play into the stereotype of rich Jews working behind the scenes to control the political system?
In Story on Internal Syrian Strike, NYT's Israel Obsession Endures
Time and again, Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and a favorite media source on Syria, has been wrong. As excellently detailed by Jamie Kirchick, he claimed that "Western accounts of the protest movement in Syria have been exaggerated"; he argued that "el-Assad himself seems to have been shocked by the level of violence used by Syria's security forces," as if the strong-handed ruler was totally unaware of the activities of the forces which were under the thumb of his very own brother; and he attacked critics of Vogue's embarrassing paean to Bashar Assad and his wife Asma.
Regarding Landis' unfortunate take on the Vogue fiasco, Kirchick wrote: "As with nearly everthing he writes, Landis was parroting the Syrian regime, in this case, its attempts to rouse populist anger against Israel as a means of distracting attention from its own failings."
The New York Times, which has quoted or cited Landis on Syria five times this year, has taken a liking to the professor. In an important story about vitriolic anti-Alawite hatred harbored by Syria's Sunni child refugees in Jordan, David Kirkpatrick relies on the oft-cited and oft-erroneous professor to falsely smear Israel with a gratuitous swipe. He writes:
The roots of the animosity toward the Alawites from members of Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority, who make up about 75 percent of the population, run deep into history. During the 19th-century Ottoman Empire, the two groups lived in separate communities, and the Sunni majority so thoroughly marginalized Alawites that they were not even allowed to testify in court until after World War I.
Then, in a pattern repeated across the region, said Joshua Landis, a Syria scholar at the University of Oklahoma, French colonialists collaborated with the Alawite minority to control the conquered Syrian population — as colonialists did with Christians in Lebanon, Jews in Palestine and Sunni Muslims in Iraq. After Syria's independence from France, the military eventually took control of the country, putting Alawites in top government positions, much to the resentment of the Sunni majority.
How exactly did the Zionists collaborate with British to control the conquered Palestinian Arab population? Can the professor provide even one tiny example about how the British colluded with the new Israeli leadership to control Palestinian Arabs?
Nevermind. While facts have never been Landis' strength, he still puts up a good show standing up for Assad. He goes on to write: "Now the Alawites believe -- possibly correctly -- that the Sunnis are going to try to kill them, and that is why the Alawite army now is killing Sunnis in this beastly way."
In 2011, Landis could get away with saying that Assad's slaughter of his own citizens was really not as bad as the press says, or that Assad himself was not involved. In 2012, that no longer flies. But you have to give the guy credit. His message has evolved. Landis now acknowledges the regime's brutality, but insists forces outside Assad's control -- like colonial intervention -- have forced Assad's hand. Why examine Assad's own role in fanning sectarian hatred when you can manufacture the flimsiest excuse to drag in Israel?
September 04, 2012
In LA Times, Half the Story on Half a House
In a blog post about a disputed property in Jerusalem, the Los Angeles Times' Maher Abukhater reports selectively. Writing about the eviction of members of the Hamdallah family from one room of their house in Ras el-Amud, a neighborhood in Jerusalem, Abukhater writes in the first paragraph: "The family must turn the house over to its new owners, Israeli settlers." He continues:
After dozens of court hearings and back-and-forth lawsuits and appeals, an Israeli court decided in 2005 that Moskowitz was the legal owner of the plot located in the heart of the Arab neighborhood. . ..
Khaled Hamdallah said his family has lived on that land since 1952, long before Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967.
If the court had ruled that Moskowitz was the legal owner, then why does Abukhater refer to the Hamdallahs as owners? And while the reporter (rightly) mentions that the Hamdallah family has lived there since 1952, which he may believe is relevant to the question of ownership, he does not mention the property's prior history. As Ynet reported:
The land was purchased by the Chabad and Wohlin Hasidic yeshivas during the Ottoman period but they lost control of the area in 1948.
The land was taken over by a man who was registered as the owner in the Jordanian Land Registry Bureau and in 1952 it was given over to the Hamdallah family. Over time additional buildings were constructed on the land and connected to one main structure.
In 1967 the yeshivas discovered what happened and filed a claim with the district court, which voided the land registration. In 1990 Moskowitz purchased the land and in 1995 filed a petition for the eviction of the Hamdallah family.
September 02, 2012
Not Asking for The World, Just Balance
As with their earlier film, Budrus, the creators of My Neighborhood are enjoying a warm, uncritical reception in the mainstream media. PRI's "The World," from the BBC, PRI and the NPR affiliate WGBH, had this enthusiastic endorsement of the film about the eviction of 11-year-old "Mohammad [al-Kurd]’s family and his neighbors from [Sheikh Jarrah, in eastern Jerusalem] homes they’ve lived in since 1956, part of an ongoing push by Jewish settlers for more control over Palestinian areas." The PRI feature details:
'“I live in Jerusalem in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood,” Mohammad says. “This is my father. This is my library. I have lots of books.”
It’s a peaceful introduction. And then Mohammad’s life is upended.
Soon, we hear Mohammad’s grandmother shouting at Israeli settlers in 2009. . . .
You hear so often about this conflict but it’s translated into these broad political processes that people can’t really think of in tangible terms,” said Nadav Greenberg, the film’s associate producer. “Seeing someone kicked out of their home in the middle of the day, and then other families moving in in front of their very eyes is something that’s very difficult to remain indifferent to.”
Indeed, telling the story through the point of view of the grandson and grandmother definitely depicts the situation in "tangible terms." Tangible terms, but not accurate and balanced terms. While the independent filmmakers are free to present a one-sided documentary, PRI, BBC and WGBH are obligated to maintain impartiality.
Specifically, PRI never mentions that the property in question, where the Kurds had been residing for decades, is Jewish-owned. Furthermore, while "The World" describes the disputed neighborhood as part of "Palestinian areas," the area, known to Jews as Shimon HaTzaddik, has a centuries-old Jewish significance and presence: As detailed by former Ha'aretz reporter Nadav Shragai, writing for the JCPA:
The mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzadik has for decades been a vital corridor to Mt. Scopus, home for 80 years of Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital. For hundreds of years the Jewish presence in the area centered around the tomb of Shimon HaTzadik (Simon the Righteous), one of the last members of the Great Assembly (HaKnesset HaGedolah), the governing body of the Jewish people during the Second Jewish Commonwealth, after the Babylonian Exile. His full name was Shimon ben Yohanan, the High Priest, who lived during the fourth century BCE, during the time of the Second Temple.7
According to the Babylonian Talmud, he met with Alexander the Great when the Macedonian Army moved through the Land of Israel during its war with the Persian Empire.8 In that account, Shimon HaTzadik successfully persuades Alexander to not destroy the Second Temple and leave it standing. According to tradition, Shimon HaTzadik and his pupils are buried in a cave near the road that goes from Sheikh Jarrah to Mt. Scopus. He appears as the author of one of the famous verses in Pirkei Avot (Sayings of the Fathers) which has been incorporated into the Jewish morning prayers: “Shimon the Righteous was among the last surviving members of the Great Assembly. He would say: ‘The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of G-d, and deeds of kindness.’”9
For years Jews have made pilgrimages to his grave to light candles and pray, as documented in many reports by pilgrims and travelers. While the property was owned by Arabs for many years, in 1876 the cave and the nearby field were purchased by Jews, involving a plot of 18 dunams (about 4.5 acres) that included 80 ancient olive trees.10 The property was purchased for 15,000 francs and was transferred to the owner through the Majlis al-Idara, the seat of the Turkish Pasha and the chief justice. According to the contract, the buyers (the committee of the Sephardic community and the Ashkenazi Assembly of Israel) divided the area between them equally, including the cave on the edge of the plot.
Dozens of Jewish families built homes on the property. On the eve of the Arab Revolt in 1936 there were hundreds of Jews living there. When the disturbances began they fled, but returned a few months later and lived there until 1948. When the Jordanians captured the area, the Jews were evacuated and for nineteen years were barred from visiting either their former homes or the cave of Shimon HaTzadik.
Furthermore, "The World" does not mention that the Kurd family was evicted because they refused to pay rent to the Jewish owners. As the New York Times reported:
In the 1950s, Jordan and the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees gave 28 refugee families homes there. The families say that Jordan promised them full ownership, but the houses were never formally registered in their names.
In the early 1970s, the Israeli courts awarded two Jewish associations ownership of the compound based on land deeds that were a century old. The Palestinian residents were allowed to stay on as protected tenants on the condition that they paid rent to the Jewish groups.
Rejecting the court ruling, many of the Palestinian families refused to pay rent, making them eligible for eviction.
Ha'aretz Disputes Time Report on U.S.-Israeli Drill
In today's print edition, Ha'aretz's Amos Harel disputes part of Time Magazine's article yesterday concerning a reduction in the number of U.S. troops slated to take part in a joint U.S.-Israeli military drill this October. Harel writes:
Time implies that the reason for the downgrading of the drill -- called Austere Challenge 12 -- is related to differences concerning the Israeli willingness to strike Iran's nuclear facilities in the near future. But, in practice, it is highly unlikely that these differences are the true reason.
The drill was initially supposed to take place last May, but was then postponed to October.
At the time, Israeli officials said that the October drill would be smaller than originally planned. The reason is primarily U.S. budget considerations. The decrease in the number of U.S. soldiers in Israel for the drill doesn't carry deep significance, since the U.S. presence in Israel during the weeks of the drill is already noteworthy -- and these are the critical weeks as far as the Iran strike is concerned.
Officials believe that if Israel strikes the nuclear facilities in Iran, Tehran would, in any case, accuse the U.S. of being part of the planning, pointing at the forces present in Israel at the time of the strike. From that perspective there is no substantial difference if there will be between 1,000-1,500 soldiers on the exercise, or 5,000 -- the original number planned for the May maneuver.
In May, the U.S. Department of Defense released this report about budget tightening affecting drills with allies.