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May 31, 2013

Jodi Arias Versus the Emerging Regionwide Shia-Sunni Conflagration

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Every channel-flipping news junky knows that "human interest" stories trump coverage of bigger, more complex issues that affect our world. It requires a concerted effort to avoid staying up to date on every twist of the never-ending saga of crazy Jodi Arias. But as the region-wide Shia-Sunni sectarian conflict breaks out of its containment shell, it is harder to ignore. Hopefully the 24-hour news networks will provide more extensive coverage.

Some news items you might have missed:

Hezbollah is now fully engaged in fighting for the Alawite regime in Syria. Numerous reports indicate that thousands (3000-4000 is the figure usually cited) of Hezbollah fighters are leading the regime's assault on a strategically important town of Qusayr. Casualties on both sides are reported to be heavy.

The Alawites are regarded as an offshoot of the Shia sect. It is a watershed event that a foreign Arab militia backed by non-Arab Iran is now acting as Assad's shock troops battling the regime's own citizens. This confirms the precedence of religious sectarian loyalties over ethnic or national identification. And it appears to be fueling even further sectarian alignment in the region.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Assad regime has now enlisted the support of Shia fighters known as Houtis from Yemen.

Not surprisingly, the war is spreading to Lebanon. The Jerusalem Post also reports that Hezbollah has ordered Hamas out of Lebanon. The sectarian strife is now so deep that even their shared enmity toward Israel can't keep them on the same page. Apparently the enemy of my enemy can also be my enemy.

The pace of sectarian terror bombings has picked up in Iraq as well. During the month of May the number of fatalities exceeded 600 and fears of an all out Shia-Sunni sectarian war are increasing.

The situation is just starting to heat up. More will come. Who knows, maybe the news networks will actually deem it worthy of interrupting their coverage of the Jodi Arias saga.


Posted by SS at 10:18 AM |  Comments (1)

May 29, 2013

Where's the Coverage? The Proper Way to Beat a Wife

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The Women Deliver 2013 conference runs May 28-30 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Organizers call it, “The largest global event of the decade to focus on the health and empowerment of girls and women.”

Though not getting a lot of coverage from major dailies in the United States, the conference is getting press attention including from Forbes magazine, Ms. Magazine, the Huffington Post, Voice of America and others. The Guardian newspaper of the U.K. ran several articles and an opinion piece. (Not surprisingly, the newspaper could not keep itself from zinging Israel, by running a photograph of a sad little girl in Hebron, even though Israel and the Palestinians are in no way a focus of the conference.)

On the schedule for the second day of the conference is an hour-and-a-half session entitled, “Ending Violence Against Women.” (One of the panelists scheduled is the former Minister for Women’s Affairs of Iran. Yes, the same Iran where women accused of adultery can be sentenced to death by stoning. But we digress.)

Despite this conference on the health and empowerment of women –and even the panel focusing specifically on violence against women– and the fact that the conference convenes in a predominantly Muslim country, there has been virtually no coverage of the sanction by some prominent Muslim clerics of the widespread practice of wife-beating.

Though not specifically related to the conference, the Tanzania Daily News recently ran a story about wife-beating in Zanzibar, also predominantly Muslim:

Does Islam permit husbands to beat their wives? Majority of the people in Zanzibar are Muslims and there have been conflicting views from Muslim scholars about beating women.

The majority, however, confirm that beating a woman is not good. Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradhawi, one of the most respected Muslim clerics in the world, argues that: “It is forbidden to beat a woman, unless it is necessary. One may beat up a woman only to enhance Islamic behaviour.”

Dr Muzammil Saddiqi says it is important that a wife “recognises the authority of her husband in the house" and that he may use physical force if he is "sure it would improve the situation.” Sheikh Dr Ahmad Muhammad Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, the head of Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's most prestigious institution says that “light beatings” and “punching” are part of a programme to "reform the wife."

Dr Jamal Badawi endorses corporal punishment as “another measure that may save the marriage.” While Egyptian cleric, Abd al-Rahman Mansour, was recorded last year saying beatings would inspire the wife to “treat him with kindness and respect and know that her husband has a higher status than her!”

There are dozens of interviews with clerics with the same message including this one: an interview with Egyptian cleric Sa'd Arafat on Egypt’s Al-Rahma TV, which aired February 4, 2010 and was translated and posted by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute. To prove “the honoring of the wife in Islam,” the cleric explains:

Sa'd Arafat: Allah honored wives by instating the punishment of beatings.

Interviewer: Honored them with beatings? How is this possible?!

Sa'd Arafat: The prophet Muhammad said: "Don't beat her in the face, and do not make her ugly." See how she is honored. If the husband beats his wife, he must not beat her in the face. Even when he beats her, he must not curse her. This is incredible! He beats her in order to discipline her.

In addition, there must not be more than ten beatings, and he must not break her bones, injure her, break her teeth, or poke her in the eye. There is a beating etiquette. If he beats to discipline her, he must not raise his hand high. He must beat her from chest level. All these things honor the woman.

When the media report on women’s rights in the Middle East, they lavish column-inches and airtime on whether or not Israeli women wear prayer shawls or where they sit on the bus but they use not a drop of ink or a flash of the airwaves on this endorsement of wife-beating.

Ms. Magazine purports to be “the media expert on issues relating to women’s status, women's rights, and women's points of view.”

Forbes recently ran its annual, “Most Powerful Women” list. What about the least powerful?

Honoring wives through beatings? Where is Ms. Magazine on this? Where’s Forbes? Where’s the coverage?


Posted by SC at 02:33 PM |  Comments (2)

May 28, 2013

Enderlin's Revealing Statement Lost in Ha'aretz Translation

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The Augean Stables has flagged an old, but very interesting case of Ha'aretz, Lost in Translation. In a 2007 interview with Adi Schwartz, France 2's Charles Enderlin speaks about the Mohammed Al Dura case. In the Nov. 1, 2007 interview, Schwartz asked Enderlin about his reporting from that fateful day in which he stated that the Israeli army shot and killed Mohammed Al Dura and injured his father:

In hindsight, is it possible that you were too hasty that evening?

According to the English edition, Enderlin responded:

I don't think so. Besides, the moment I saw that nobody was asking me anything officially, I started feeling more strongly that the story was true.

But the Hebrew edition has a longer answer which contains a very revealing statement.

"לא חושב. אם לא הייתי אומר שהילד והאב היו קורבנות לירי שבא מכיוון עמדת צה"ל, בעזה היו אומרים, ?איך אנדרלן לא אומר שזה צה"ל? חוץ מזה, ההתנהלות של ישראל אחרי האירוע חיזקה את התחושה שלי שהסיפור נכון. לא הזמינו אותי לבירור, לא פתחו בחקירה רשמית. ברגע שראיתי שאף אחד לא שואל אותי שום דבר באופן רשמי, התחזקה אצלי התחושה שהסיפור נכון.

This means (CAMERA's translation):

I don't think so. If I didn't say that the boy and father were victims of fire coming from the IDF position, they would have said in Gaza "How did Enderlin not say this was the IDF?" Aside from that, Israel's conduct after the incident reinforced by feeling that the story was correct. I wasn't called in for questioning, an official investigation was not opened. As soon as I saw that no one was asking me anything officially, my feeling that the story was correct strengthened.

About this startling revelation, Richard Landes writes in Augean Stables:

Here Enderlin reveals that in the journalist’s daily and constant struggle navigating between loyalty to his sources, and loyalty to his audience, professional scruples of the most elemental sort – heavy accusations need heavy corroborating evidence – answered to the people of Gaza and neither to Israel, nor even to his professional standards. And the ease with which both he expresses it and Adi Schwartz accepts it, illustrates just how encrusted these bad attitudes had become.

Posted by TS at 04:00 AM |  Comments (2)

May 24, 2013

The Church of Scotland’s Fatal Obsession With Israel

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The Church of Scotland has been obsessed with the Jewish claim to the land of Israel for quite some time. In 2003, the denomination, which has been losing members hand over fist since the mid-1950s, issued a document titled “Theology of Land and Covenant” in 2003 that declared the land of Israel a “threat” to the Jewish people because of the rules that come with the land promise as outlined in the Hebrew scriptures.

And while this 2003 document intensely interrogates Jewish claims to the land of Israel, it gives short and distorted shrift to Islamic teachings regarding the land of Israel and the Jewish people. The report states “There is no place in Islamic theology for any particular people to be special to the land – to the abandonment of others.”

Here the Church of Scotland ignores Muhammad’s deathbed call for the expulsion of Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula, where there should only be one religion – Islam. This call was invoked by Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah in March 2012 when he said it was "necessary to destroy all the churches in the region."

The Church of Scotland also ignores another important issue – the theological impossibility of Jewish freedom and sovereignty in land previously governed by Muslim rulers – the modern state of Israel included. This is a violation of the Islamic nomos or sense of order as demonstrated by Mustafa Abu Sway, an associate professor at Al Quds University in Jerusalem, in 1991.

"Theologically there is no possibility of accepting a Jewish state. But Jews should trust Islam. They will be treated justly in an Islamic state, because they'll be under the protection of Allah," he said to Israeli journalist Yossi Klein Halevi. ("Holy War, Holy Peace," The Jerusalem Report, Feb. 28, 1991)

Professor Abu Sway offered a blunter assessment of Israel's existence at an interfaith conference held in Jerusalem in 2003 and covered by Gerald McDermott for Books & Culture, published by Christianity Today, Inc.

Mustafa Abu Sway remarked, to audible gasps from Jews in the audience, that he wished the state of Israel "would disappear." (Books & Culture, March-April 2003)

The Church of Scotland has also ignored Muslim doctrine regarding Jews (and Christians) and the impact this doctrine has in the modern Middle East, but has maintained its obsession with Jewish self-understanding. This obsession manifested itself with the recent publication of yet another document about Jewish land claims. The document, approved by the Church of Scotland’s recent General Assembly is titled “The Inheritance of Abraham? A report on the ‘promised land.’”

CAMERA’s Christian Media Analyst Dexter Van Zile has written two articles about this document. The first, “What about persecuted Christians?” was published in The Commentator on May 9, 2013, a few weeks prior to the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly. In this piece, Van Zile asks why the Church of Scotland pays so much attention to the Jews and Israel while ignoring the suffering of Christians in places like Egypt where Christians have been murdered by Islamists who apply Muhammad’s call to conquer and humiliate non-Muslims to the modern era. He writes:

The Church of Scotland needs to ask itself why it is ignoring the suffering of Christians (and other religious and ethnic minorities) who are suffering terrible acts of violence outside of the Holy Land. Is their blood less valuable to God because it is spilled in Cairo, Baghdad or Damascus and not Jerusalem?

If the Church of Scotland is not careful, its upcoming General Assembly will become an orgy of Israel-bashing and a whitewash of Islamist violence against Christians.

We’ve had enough of that, now haven’t we?

Van Zile’s second article, “The Church of Scotland and its Fatal Obsession,” was published by the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) on May 23. In this piece, Van Zile describes the “The Inheritance of Abraham?” as “a treatise about the transformation that Israeli Jews need to make in order to live in peace with their Arab and Muslim neighbors in the Middle East.” He continues:

The authors of The Inheritance of Abraham? were not so ham-handed as to expect Jews to convert to Christianity, but they do expect the Jewish people, especially those living in Israel, to repent of their exclusivist ways, get over the Holocaust and make peace with the Palestinians.

In order to promote this conversion, the document depicts the land promise as a threat to Jewish wellbeing because of the rules that come with it and the inability of Jews to live up to these rules. Since Jews cannot live up to the rules that come with the land, they risk expulsion and the loss of sovereignty that follows, the authors state. At one point, the authors ask, "Would the Jewish people have a fairer claim to the land if they dealt justly with the Palestinians?"

In sum, the text subjects Israeli Jews to intense theological scrutiny, finds them wanting in their pursuit of peace and implicitly justifies violence against them. At no point in The Promise of Abraham? do we see any attempt to understand or challenge the ideology used to justify violence against Israel and Jews in the Middle East.

The Church of Scotland, like a lot of other liberal Protestant churches in the West, pays a huge amount of attention to the Jews and their state, but pays very little attention to violence -- and the ideas that motivate this violence -- elsewhere in the region.

There has been one sign of hope. As it turned out, there was at least one mention of Islamist violence against Christians at the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly. It was offered, surprisingly enough, by the moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA), a denomination afflicted with an Israel obsession of its own. In his statement, PC(USA) Moderator Neal Pressa spoke of what he heard on a recent fact-finding mission:

There are stories of one Syrian Christian woman who was gang-raped by 80 Islamist radicals then a crucifix stuffed in her throat and left to die. Numerous churches and a number of mosques have been destroyed, leaving Christian minorities to meet and worship in secret.

Similar acts of violence have taken place in Iraq and Egypt in recent years, but it does not appear that this Islamist-perpetrated violence made it onto the agenda of the Church of Scotland’s recent assembly. There was no mention whatsoever of the anti-Christian violence in this countries in the “blue book,” or agenda for the assembly.

Hopefully things will improve by the church’s next General Assembly and the denomination will get over its obsession with the Jews and their state and start thinking about the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christians from the Middle East.

Posted by dvz at 01:20 PM |  Comments (5)

May 23, 2013

In Trouble? Just Say 'The Mossad Did It'

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French existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre, in Anti-Semite and Jew (1948), famously asserted that “if the Jews did not exist, the anti-Semite would invent him.” Humans’ apparently eternal need for scapegoats—and compulsion to scapegoat Jews even or especially in their Zionist incarnation as Israelis—is such that a news item headlined “Chavez ally paints picture of power struggle in alleged tape” didn’t sound at all surprising:

The Miami Herald (May 20) reported that popular Venezuelan talk show host Mario Silva announced he was taking a leave of absence shortly after the leak of an alleged conversation he had with a Cuban intelligence official. A former confidant of the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and self-described Marxist, Silva was said to have blamed “fascists” and called the tape “rubbish put out by the Israeli Mossad and the CIA. We have proof!”

In the recording he crudely demeaned the administration of Chavez’s successor President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s relatives, and other Venezuelan politicians.

Commercials for Southwest Airlines’, after showing subjects in embarrassing situations, asked “want to get away?” Mario Silva, faced with the need to escape hot water by blaming someone else, reached for a favorite of Latin American authoritarians, the United States, and for the oldest scapegoat of all, the Jews. He didn’t say “Jews” but rather “the Israeli Mossad”—that is, the international Jewish conspiracy in its contemporary form, the Jewish state. Silva’s was an old, and unconvincing, reflex action.


Posted by ER at 04:01 PM |  Comments (0)

Algemeiner and JNS: CAMERA Launches New Student Website

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The Algemeiner and JNS report:

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has launched a new website geared towards helping pro-Israel students “win the fight” on campus.

CAMERAonCampus.org, along with its student-oriented blog, In Focus, was recently launched by CAMERA’s campus department.

“This project grew out of repeated requests by students for a site that would provide them very specific information they need, with campus speakers, films, and books,” Aviva Slomich, CAMERA’s campus director, said in a statement.

Read the complete article here.

Click here for CAMERAonCampus.org and the website's blog In Focus.

Posted by at 11:49 AM |  Comments (0)

May 22, 2013

Where's the Coverage? Palestinian Official Declares Desire to Nuke Israel

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On April 30th, a senior Palestinian Authority official, Jibril Rajoub, deputy secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and chairman of the PA Olympic Committee said in regards to Israel, “We as yet don’t have a nuke, but I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning.” Most of the popular press has not covered this threat.

Maybe, you’re thinking, they haven’t reported this shocking statement because they don’t know about it. Maybe he said it in a closed room or maybe to himself. Well, no. Rajoub made this declaration on Lebanese television and the video has been posted, translated and transcribed by Palestinian Media Watch.

The Israeli and Jewish press found out about it and reported on it as did The Washington Times and just as we post this, The Wall Street Journal . In FrontPage Mag, Daniel Greenfield notes:

CBS News describes him in its bio as “Rajoub, a moderate, was a longtime player in peace talks and truce negotiations with Israel.”

The New York Times wrote of him as, “the West Bank security chief, who is known as one of the more moderate and pragmatic Palestinian officials.”

Perhaps these same news outlets don’t want to cover this threat to nuke Israel because it would give lie to their portrayal of Rajoub as a moderate. But what’s the excuse of The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, ABC News, NBC News, National Public Radio, PBS, etc.?

Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to the region this very minute to try to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and one of the PA leaders threatens to nuke Israel. This doesn't strike anyone as newsworthy? Where’s the coverage?

Posted by SC at 08:51 PM |  Comments (4)

Algemeiner Cites CAMERA Inquiry into Meg Ryan Israel Boycott Report

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The Algemeiner reports:

The publicist of actress Meg Ryan, has flatly denied that the star has ever boycotted Israel. The formal denial comes just over two weeks after the Toronto Star published a report claiming that the 51 year old celebrity was among those who “have refused to perform in Israel in recent years as part of an effort to promote the Palestinian cause.”
The denial was prompted by an inquiry from CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, an eagle eyed media watchdog group that only days earlier prompted the Star, Canada’s highest circulation newspaper as of 2011 to issue an apology for claiming that actor Bruce Willis was also among those that have boycotted the Jewish state in a May 8th article.

Read the complete article here.

Posted by at 01:41 PM |  Comments (2)

May 21, 2013

1/4 Star NBC Correction on West Bank 5 Star Hotels

Earlier this month, we called on NBC to correct an online article May 6 which falsely alleged that there is just one luxury hotel in the West Bank. In fact, as noted by Travel Palestine, which bills itself as "Palestine's Official Tourism Website":

International brands are on the rise with top brands like 5 star Intercontinatal (Jericho & Bethlehem Jacir Palalce) [sic] and Mövenpick Hotel Ramallah.

In addition to the three luxury hotels noted by Travel Palestine, we also pointed out the five-star Grand Park Hotel in Ramallah.

Now, NBC claims to have corrected the error, but the "correction" is not even third-rate. Here's a screen shot of the article as it now appears:

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Despite the editor's note at the top of the article stating "This story includes a correction," in fact, the article is uncorrected. The first sentence erroneously referring to the "ballroom in the occupied West Bank’s only luxury hotel" remains completely unchanged. The editor's note, however, is hyperlinked to a separate Corrections and Clarifications page, which contains the not-so-informative, vague correction about West Bank hotels (the second correction below):

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While the corrections above and below the West Bank hotels "correction" precisely identify the erroneous and corrects figures for garment workers' wages and for Mount Everest's height, the hotels correction gives neither the erroneous nor the correct figure.

If NBC were to seriously do its work, and to provide a consistent standard of correction, it would post the following:

A story published on May 6 misstated the number of luxury hotels in the occupied West Bank as just one. The correct figure is four five-star hotels.

And, of course, it would actually correct the article itself.

Posted by TS at 05:20 AM |  Comments (0)

May 13, 2013

Fox’s Discredited Anti-Israel Guest Michael Scheuer

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“Ultimately Israel is a country that is of no particular worth to the United States.” (Scheuer, Jan. 4, 2010, C-SPAN)

For the 12-month period ending May 13, 2013, anti-Israel Middle East commentator and former CIA staffer Michael Scheuer made a total of nine appearances on live national TV. All of the appearances were on Fox News Channel or its sister network, Fox Business Network.

Scheuer invariably includes Israel when listing his villains – as he did on Fox’s “Happening Now” on April 24, 2013 in providing his analysis of the April 15th Boston Marathon bombing:

… the young men who bombed Boston… their activities are a response to our support for the Saudi tyranny, our invasion of Iraq, our support for the Israelis [emphasis added]. Most recently Mr. Obama has invaded two Muslim countries, Mali and Libya.

Never one to be burdened by factual evidence, Scheuer is not reliable here either. The older of the two Chechnyan-American brothers who perpetrated the Boston bombing, openly disdained what he labeled the immorality of American society. News reports so far do not cite Tamerlan Tsarnaev ever mentioning Israel. They do suggest that he seemed to have been influenced by a Sunni Islamic radicalism which emphasizes the requirement for a world-controlling Islamic caliphate. The other major strain of Islamic radicalism is Iran’s Shi'ite version requiring actions to hasten, including by acts of destruction and chaos, the coming of the mahdi, Shiite Islam's messiah (the 12th Imam.)

Scheuer earned a Ph.D. in British Empire-U.S.-Canada-U.K. relations from the University of Manitoba. His credentials as an expert on the Middle East were examined by The Weekly Standard:

In any event, given the wholly irrelevant nature of Scheuer's doctoral research — his dissertation traced the comings and goings of an obscure Canadian diplomat in the years before World War II — assigning him to run the [CIA] bin Laden section [1996 to 1999] … can be taken as a symbol of the entrenched neglect of Islamic terrorism within the agency.

Scheuer’s bin Laden unit had utterly failed to find, kill, capture or stop bin Laden from attacking the United States. In 2004 he left the agency after writing the book “Imperial Hubris,” first published anonymously. As historian and syndicated columnist Victor Davis Hanson wrote,

Once Scheuer was publicly identified, the world could examine what he had to say on various topics. People weren't impressed — especially by Scheuer's assertions in interviews that Osama bin laden shouldn't be identified as a terrorist, and the Holocaust Museum in Washington was a means to make Americans feel guilty about the Holocaust.

Scheuer has been out of government nine years. He has written or said little in that time to burnish what were previously thin credentials as a Middle East expert, his CIA posting notwithstanding. He also seems to be obsessed negatively with the Jewish state and its supporters, repeatedly making false generalizations. Why is Fox so hospitable to Scheuer when he has so thoroughly discredited himself by his antisemitic bias and loony Middle East comments on TV and in other venues?

It's time for the network to upgrade in this regard. The less Scheuer, the more informative the conversation.

Posted by MK at 08:47 PM |  Comments (9)

Update: CAMERA Op-Ed: Newseum Discredits Itself

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Update: Just before its May 13 ceremony, the Newseum issued a statement saying it was reevaluating the status of the two Hamas TV staffers slated to be added to its Journalists Memorial. Their names were on the complete list headed "Honoring Fallen Journalists" that appeared in the morning's print edition of USA Today.

CAMERA's Eric Rozenman writes in the Washington Examiner today:

Located on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and U.S. Capitol, the Newseum claims it "educates the public about the value of a free press in a free society." Then why does it plan to honor propagandists for terrorist organizations and governments today? The Newseum's Journalists Memorial pays tribute to journalists fallen in the line of duty. Yet among those whose names are to be added to the memorial as news-people who died under fire in 2012 are staffers of Hamas' television station, designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist outlet; a representative of Syrian state television, the video face of Bashar Assad's bloody dictatorship; and a "reporter" for Press TV, the Iranian government's English-language propaganda channel.

There is nothing journalistic about them, their activities or their employers. Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the governments of the United States, Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom and others.

Hamas, Syria and Iran are in the business of propaganda and censorship.

"A free press in a free society," the Newseum's proclaimed desideratum, is an enemy they routinely suppress, murderously when necessary. . .

Responding to critics, the Newseum, echoing Hamas claims parroted by some human rights and putative journalists' organizations, noted that al-Kumi and Salama's vehicle "was clearly marked 'TV'."

Given that Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorists have used ambulances to conceal gunmen and weapons and Hamas has a reputation for staged "news" events, that was a little like labeling a machine gun "For Deer Season Only."

See also "Salama, Shalamah, Shamalah, Shamallakh... and Why David Carr is Wrong Regardless"

Posted by TS at 07:53 AM |  Comments (1)

Toronto Star Claims Bruce Willis is a BDSer

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Willis (right) poses next to Avi Lerner, the Israeli-American chairman and founder of Millennium Films, which produced "The Expendables 2" (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

In reporting on Stephen Hawking's boycott of the Israeli Presidential Conference, Raveena Aulakh of the Toronto Star alleges that Bruce Willis supports the cultural boycott of Israel. The environment reporter writes:

Celebrities from around the world have refused to perform in Israel in recent years as part of an effort to promote the Palestinian cause, including musicians Elvis Costello and Stevie Wonder, and Hollywood actors Bruce Willis and Meg Ryan.

Aulakh is apparently relying on the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) as her source, and that's her mistake. Indeed, according to PACBI, in July 2012:

Anti-apartheid fans of Hollywood actors Bruce Willis and Jean Claude Van Damme were relieved the two stars cancelled their planned visit to Tel Aviv, where they were scheduled to attend a local premiere screening of their latest film Expendables.

Reports indicate that Mr. Willis, Mr. Van Damme and Mr. Stallone, along with Avi Lerner, the Israeli-born chairman and founder of Millennium Films, canceled their trip to Israel in which they had planned to promote their film "Expendables II" due to the untimely death of Mr. Stallone's son -- and not due to any cultural boycott of Israel in support of Palestinians. As reported in the Algemeiner:

In an email, a spokesman from the film’s production company explained the cancellation of the premiere.


“I’m sure you heard about the Stallone family’s tragedy that happened in recent weeks,” he wrote. “In response to the unfortunate event we are forced to cancel our Israel premiere, because Sly will not be able to attend, as well as the other actors, due to changes in schedule.”

“Please accept our apologies for cancelling at such short notice,” he added, noting a promise to make it up to Israeli fans. “We will do our best to bring the actors to Israel at a later date in the future.”

And, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, Stallone canceled all of his public appearances following the July 2010 untimely death of his son Sage.

Finally, given the fact that Mr. Willis has come out in the past publicly expressing strong support for Israel, by signing, for instance a 2006 ad (below) in the Los Angeles Times condemning Hamas and Hezbollah, on what basis does the Star allege that his 2012 cancellation was intended to promote the anti-Israel boycott?

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In response to a reader complaint, the Globe and Mail has already commendably corrected the unfounded assertion that Bruce Willis is a supporter of the anti-Israel boycott. The Globe clarification follows:

Editor’s Note: This story has been edited to reflect the fact that although Bruce Willis postponed a promotional trip to Israel, there is no evidence he is boycotting the country.

CAMERA has contacted Toronto Star editors to request a correction. Stay tuned for an update.

(Hat tip: Joseph)

May 18 Update: Toronto Star Corrects: Bruce Willis Never Boycotted Israel

Posted by TS at 04:49 AM |  Comments (1)

Israeli Defense Ministry: Al Dura Was Unharmed

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The Jerusalem Post reports:

Not only was 12-year-old Gazan Muhammad al-Dura not killed by IDF fire in 2000 – he was not even hurt.

That was the preliminary finding of a special commit- tee formed several years ago by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and headed by Brig.- Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, the former head of the Research and Analysis Division of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, and the current director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry. . .

A few days ago, MK Nachman Shai met with Ya’alon to give him a copy of his new book, Media War Reaching for Hearts and Minds , which deals with the role of media in cur- rent military conflicts, including the Dura affair. Ya’alon then surprised Shai by saying that an investigation carried out by Israel shows that Dura was never hurt.

This theory has been circulating on the Internet for a few years already, but this was the first time that an Israeli defense minister was stating so publicly.

Today, Dura should be about 25-years-old, alive and kicking somewhere (unless he was killed later in a separate incident).

Kuperwasser confirmed the committee’s conclusion that that Dura had not been hurt at all and that the video clip, which was filmed by France 2 TV and aired around the world, had indeed been staged. This means that the France 2 TV channel report was erroneous, perhaps even knowingly.

Kuperwasser added that the full results of the investigation would be ready in the near future, and that most of the work had already been completed.

See CAMERA's detailed timeline of the Mohammad Al Dura, as well as our backgrounder.

Posted by TS at 01:47 AM |  Comments (1)

May 12, 2013

Ynet Runs, Pulls Iconic Image of Omar Masharawi

It's been two months since multiple Western media outlets, including the AP, New York Times and Washington Post corrected earlier coverage which wrongly blamed the November 2012 death of 11-month-old Gazan Omar Masharawi on an Israeli strike, when in fact he was most likely by an errant Palestinian rocket. Yet, just last week, Ynet perpetuates the lie.

On Thursday (May 9), the English-language Israeli news site reported on a B'Tselem report regarding civilian casualties in last November's "Pillar of Defense" operation. (For a moment, we will set aside B'Tselem's reported findings that most killed were civilians. B'Tselem has a troubled record regarding civilian casualties, and others have already raised questions about the organization's report.)

To illustrate the report about Gaza civilian casualties inflicted by Israel, Ynet chose to post a screen shot from the Washington Post featuring the infamous image of Jihad Masharawi cradling his son's corpse. Ynet labeled the image "Washington Post reports on year-old Gaza casualty during operation Pillar of Defense," and provided no indication that the baby, Omar Masharawi, was killed by a Hamas rocket, and NOT an Israeli air strike. Here is a screen shot of the page as it appeared for some time last week:

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And here's an enlarged image:

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Ynet editors could not have picked a worse photograph to illustrate this article. Not only did they pick a photograph that actually is not related to a story about Israeli responsibility for civilian deaths, but they chose a photo which has served as an iconic image symbolizing Israeli brutality in anti-Israel circles.

True, a different photograph would not change the substance of the article. Nor would it change the fact that Israeli forces did in fact inflict civilian casualties during Pillar of Defense. Rather, our message to Ynet is the following:

1) First of all, be professionals. Understand what it is you choose to publish, and familiarize yourselves with the facts. You published an image from the Washington Post, after the Post had already corrected the misinformation, apologized and clarified that the baby was not killed by Israel. Most readers were probably completely unaware of those developments, and you therefore promoted a completely false story.

2) You defamed Israel, blaming it for something it did not do. Most readers look only at the headlines and images. You chose a powerful, emotive image. The picture, together with the headline, are a gift to anti-Israel propagandists.

But perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on Ynet's English site. After all, as of press time, the Hebrew site, unlike Western media outlets which have long since corrected, still carries a story falsely claiming that Israeli fire killed Omar Masharawi.

CAMERA's Israel office contacted Ynet editors on Thursday. Editors removed the Washington Post image some eight hours after the article first appeared.

-- Post by Yishai Goldflam. To see the Hebrew version of this post, visit Presspectiva.

Posted by TS at 03:50 AM |  Comments (1)

May 10, 2013

Economist Joins BDS Whitewash

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The Economist is the latest media organization to misinform its readers by whitewashing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The British weekly stated in a recent article that BDS "wants Israel ostracised until it withdraws to its pre-1967 borders."

As we and others have noted before, BDS calls for much more than an Israeli withdrawal to the boundaries that existed before Jordan attacked the country in 1967. It seeks the end of Israel.

But don't take our word for it. Take it from Omar Barghouti, a BDS spokesperson quoted in the Economist's article. Barghouti has admitted that his goal is not for Israel to change its borders, but for it to be replaced with a "unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority."

He has also explained, in so many words, that BDS wants the same thing:

BDS unambiguously defines the three basic Palestinian rights that constitute the minimal requirements of a just peace and calls for ending Israel’s corresponding injustices against all three main segments of the Palestinian people. Specifically, BDS calls for ending Israel’s 1967 military occupation of Gaza, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and other Arab territories in Lebanon and Syria; ending its system of racial discrimination against its Palestinian citizens; and ending its persistent denial of the UN-sanctioned rights of Palestine refugees, particularly their right to return to their homes and to receive reparations.

Got that? While The Economist claims BDS has one demand, its own source has admitted to three demands. And the two demands ignored by the magazine are tied to BDS's dream of a world without Israel. Demand two, in misleadingly noble-sounding language, actually relates to the demand that the Jewish state no longer be the national home in which the Jewish people exercise their UN-guaranteed right to self-determination. Equally euphemistic is demand three, which envisions the influx into Israel of millions of Palestinians born abroad, the descendents Palestinian refugees from 1948. This would lead to Barghouti's dream of rewinding history so that the Jewish people are forced back to the dark era in which being a Jew meant everywhere being an ethnic minority.

If the BDS movement's leaders are willing to tell the truth about the movement, why does The Economist insist on hiding that truth?

Posted by GI at 06:25 PM |  Comments (2)

May 08, 2013

Where's the Coverage? Iranian Sources Accuse Jews of Witchcraft

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The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) recently reported that Mehdi Taeb, who is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and heads Khamenei’s Ammar Base think tank, spoke to students at a religious seminary in Ahwaz, Iran on April 20, 2013, saying:

The Jews are currently subjecting us to an unprecedented trial. As you read in the Koran, [King] Solomon ruled the world… and God ordered a group of sorcerers to come out against him. The Jews have the greatest powers of sorcery, and they make use of this tool.

All the measures that have been brought against us originate with the Zionists. The U.S. is a tool in their hands. So far, they have not used the full [scope of] their sorcery against us.

Just because one Iranian nut accuses Jews of using witchcraft, doesn’t make this a story worth reporting by major media, right? So what if he is a highly placed, influential advisor to the absolute ruler of a country attempting to acquire nuclear weapons with the sworn aim of wiping the Jewish state off the face of the earth? After all, doesn’t one need two points to draw a line? Okay, here’s point number two.

In March, according to MEMRI’s translation, an Iranian Web site associated with the religious seminaries in Qom, posted an article about Jewish use of sorcery and numerology:

The [Jewish] people think that ruling over man, nature, and divine traditions can be achieved only by means of sorcery. They believe that it is possible to conquer nature and control the world, and even to control God's decisions, by using sorcery methods…

Sorcery is known to be a practice of which the divine books [i.e., the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran and] and the monotheistic religions disapprove. But Jewish mysticism regards it as a [legitimate] means to uncover the secrets of the holy book [the Old Testament].

Only Israeli media and the Jewish press covered this story. And it’s not as if The New York Times is above writing articles about sorcery. During this same time period, “the newspaper of record” covered candidates reportedly using witchcraft in Iraqi elections, theme weddings based on Harry Potter, and even witchy fashions including pointy-toed boots and peaked hats.

But in case major media outlets did want to keep it serious, they might take into consideration the fact that Iran is sending sophisticated and dangerous weapons to the Hezbollah terrorist group, committed to the destruction of Israel, and arming and sending fighters to prop up the brutal Assad regime in Syria, a sworn enemy of the Jewish state. So, when Iranian official sources make troubling accusations about Jews, one must ask… Where’s the Coverage?

Posted by SC at 09:08 PM |  Comments (3)

NBC Skimps on West Bank Luxury Hotels

What is it with some journalists and their exaggerated reports of Palestinian deprivation?

In 2008, Ha'aretz Gideon Levy falsely claimed that there is just one swimming pool for Palestinians in all of the West Bank. In fact, there is at least one pool in every city, and Ramallah has at least 10.

In 2009, Noam Ben-Zeev of Ha'aretz wrongly claimed there was not open movie theater in Nablus. In fact, there was the then-brand new Cinema City, with 175 seats.

More recently, last month Carol J. Williams falsely wrote in the Los Angeles Times that "locally made olive oil has disappeared," and that Gaza residents are also deprived of semolina and tehina. In reality, Palestinian statistics show that the number of local olive presses have increased over the last few years, as have their output, and that consumption of tehina and semolina is steady.

West Bank luxury hotels are the latest item to take a hit -- but only in the minds of misinformed NBC reporters. Covering a Palestinian reality TV show, called "The President," NBC claims that there is just one luxury hotel in the West Bank.

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Lawahez Jabari, Ranna Khalil and Dave Copeland, the authors of the May 6 piece, did not do their homework.

According to Travel Palestine, which bills itself as "The Official Site for Tourism in Palestine," there are three five-star hotels in the West Bank: the Mövenpick Hotel in Ramallah, the Intercontinental in Jericho, and Bethlehem Jacir Palace.

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The Moevenpick Hotel in Ramallah, a five-star establishment

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The five-star Jacir Palace Intercontinental Bethlehem

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The luxury Intercontinental Jericho

And the Grand Park Hotel in Ramallah (see below) looks quite upscale. According to Booking.com, it is five stars as well.

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May 21 Update: 1/4 Star NBC Correction on 5 Star West Bank Hotels

Posted by TS at 08:36 AM |  Comments (1)

May 07, 2013

Jerusalem Report Reports on Anti-Jewish Incitement


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Those who can get through the Jerusalem Post paywall to read Jerusalem Report content can find an interesting review of the book "The Sons of Pigs and Apes: Muslim Antisemitism and the Conspiracy of Silence."

Tibor Krausz writes:

In his new book, "The Sons of Pigs and Apes," Neil J. Kressel, who directs the Honors Program in the Social Sciences at William Patterson University in New Jersey, cites ... videos in tackling what he sees as a blind spot — "a conspiracy of silence" — among Western academics, policymakers and journalists about the extent of Muslim anti-Semitism. In Arab societies, he notes, the very words "Jew" and "Zionist" have become generic slurs. "For many [Muslims], Israel has become a central element in a collective obsessional delusion," Kressel writes.

Yet many Western opinion formers, Jews included, remain willfully blind to the issue, Kressel argues. "Otherwise reliable opponents of bigotry too often duck when confronted with massive evidence of Jew-hatred in Arab and Islamic countries," he notes. "They offer either dismissive interpretations or complex justifications in lieu of plainspoken opposition. Those who don't ignore the subject outright prefer to downplay it, dismiss it as a peripheral cultural phenominon, or justify it as a righteous response to Israel's maltreatment of the Palestinians.

The reviewer goes on to cite an Egyptian cleric who admitted that anti-Semitism is not about the Palestinians. "If the Jews left Palestine to us, would we start loving them? Of course not," Muhammad Hussein Ya'qub said, shortly before adding: "They would be our enemies even if they had not occupied anything."

Posted by GI at 12:40 PM |  Comments (2)

Western Intellectuals Who Praised Hezbollah

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The Israeli air strike on Iranian missiles intended for Hezbollah on May 2 and May 3, 2013, highlights the increasing role of Iran and Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs published a report on May 2, 2013, by retired Israeli general Shimon Shapira describing Iranian plans to take over Syria. Two days earlier, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah pledged that the Syrian regime's friends would not allow it “to fall into the hands” of America, Israel and Islamic extremists.

Arab commentators too are increasingly blunt about how they view Hezbollah. Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, general manager of Al Arabiya News Channel, wrote,

Hezbollah is merely an Iranian brigade which has been founded for more than 30 years to serve the aims of the Ayatollah’s regime in Tehran.

In this new spirit of refreshing openness about the Iranian-backed group, it is worth recalling the praise heaped on it by Western intellectuals when its main target was Israel.

There's former U.S. ambassador and Gaza flotilla spokesman, Edward Peck, who was effusive in his praise for Hezbollah and its current leader Hassan Nasrallah. In a July 2006 interview with Fox News, Peck equated Hezbollah fighters with American soldiers parachuting into Germany during World War II.

Former professor Norman Finkelstein told a Lebanese Future TV "I do want to express solidarity with them...I am going to honor Hezbollah... they show discipline, I respect that..."

But no one tops radical icon Noam Chomsky, who, with his wife in tow, paid a visit to Hezbollah in 2005. Chomsky has long been comfortable embracing genocidal groups; he was a defender of the Khmer Rouge during their brief murderous reign in the 1970s. Hezbollah leaders warmly embraced the beaming Chomsky. He in turn made a point of exclaiming that he didn't care what his fellow American citizens thought of his visit and support for Hezbollah.

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One wonders what the Syrians facing the Hezbollah onslaught would have to say to professor Chomsky.

Posted by SS at 10:34 AM |  Comments (4)

May 05, 2013

IHT Rezones Tourist Destination as Military Training Area

The International Herald Tribune ran the following photograph and caption across four columns at the top of page 7 on Friday:

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The caption reads:

A military training zone Thursday in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 war. Mr. Netanyahu rejects any mention of the 1967 lines as the basis for talks.

The iconic signs indicating the distances to Baghdad, Amman, Damascus, and Jerusalem, among other Middle Eastern cities, is situated at a lookout point on Mount (or Har) Bental in the Golan Heights. The Mount Bental lookout is a tourist destination, not a military training zone.

The original Reuters caption got it right:

A sign post near Kibbutz Merom Golan in the Golan Heights shows the distance from Israel's northern border to other destinations May 2, 2013. Israel's military said on Tuesday it had called up hundreds of reservists for a drill in northern Israel where tensions are high with neighbours Syria and Lebanon, but a military spokesman said there was no change in the overall security situation. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed the territory in 1981, a move not recognised internationally. REUTERS/Nir Elias

Here are photographs of tourists by the famous Mount Bental signs:

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Israelis visit on Mount Bental on August 23 2009 in the Golan Heights, Israel.Israel captured it in 1967 war and annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.Photo by Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye

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A tourist takes a photo of a sign showing different distances, including Damascus, near an old army outpost on Mount Bental in the Golan Heights, Israel, July 27, 2012. Israelis and tourists are visiting the sight to look into Syria from Mount Bental. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned that he could use chemical weapons if Syria is attacked by an external force. UPI/Debbie Hill

The Tribune ought to correct this factual error, which is at least as substantive as the error which was corrected in today's paper:

An article on Friday about charges that have been filed against three friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon Bombings, described incorrectly a visit between Mrs. Tsarnaev and another friend who was charged, Dias Kadyrbayev. When the two chatted outside Mr. Tsarnaev's dormitory two days after the explosions, it was Mr. Kadyrbayev who smoked a cigarrete, not Mr. Tsarnaev.

Stay tuned for news of a correction.

May 9 Update: CAMERA Prompts Correction on Golan Heights

Posted by TS at 06:31 AM |  Comments (0)

'Flaky' Evidence, False Flags and Ha'aretz's Front-Page

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Wilkerson on Al Jazeera's Current TV: 'I think we’ve got a basically geostrategically, geopolitical inept regime in Tel Aviv right now'

Not for the first time, Ha'aretz displays questionable judgment in selecting the most newsworthy items to place on the front-page.

Today's page one of the English edition (see below) features an article headlined "Former Bush official: Israel may have used chemical arms in Syria."

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According to the article, by Chemi Shalev:

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who once served as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, believes that the chemical weapons used in Syria may have been an Israeli “false flag” operation aimed at implicating Bashar Assad’s regime.

Wilkerson made his astounding assertion in an interview on Current TV, the network once owned by former Vice President Al Gore and recently purchased by Al-Jazeera.

Wilkerson said that the evidence that it was Assad’s regime that had used the chemical weapons was “flaky” and that it could very well have been the rebels or Israel who were the perpetrators. Asked why Israel would do such a thing, Wilkerson said: “I think we’ve got a basically geostrategically, geopolitical inept regime in Tel Aviv right now.”

At approximately 2 PM EST yesterday, the story was the top item on Ha'aretz's web site, above a story about attacks on Iranian missiles in Syria. So who exactly is this Colonel Wilkerson, an ex-official whose unsubstantiated (some might say "flaky") claims about Israel using chemical weapons in Syria warrants front-page coverage at Ha'aretz? Those who bother to read to the seventh paragraph of the story learn:

Wilkerson, 63, a former Army helicopter pilot who flew combat missions in Vietnam, served as Colin Powell’s chief of staff in 2002-2005. He was responsible for reviewing the intelligence information used by Powell in his by now infamous February 2003 United Nations Security Council appearance on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

After his retirement, Wilkerson described this presentation as “a hoax” and became an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration’s handling of the Iraq war.

So, one of the U.S. officials who apparently flubbed American intelligence on Iraq warrants front-page coverage for his outlandish allegations about alleged Israeli weaponry in Syria? And Wilkerson's record on Israel is no more reassuring. For instance, he has endorsed the discredited Walt-Measheimer study on "The Israel Lobby" as containing "blinding flashes of the obvious."

In another indication of Wilkerson's credibility problem with respect to Israel, on Jan. 31, 2011, he addressed American policy with respect to the Egyptian uprising, saying on MSNBC:

. . . our growing affection and bonding to a state that provides us no real strategic value at all, Israel, and being perceived in that world of so many millions of Arabs and others of Muslim faith, who don`t look on Israel the same way we do, including 70 million Iranians, is not necessarily the best security policy to be pursuing.

If Wilkerson really believes that Israel is of no strategic value to the United States whatsoever, maybe he also genuinely believes that Israel is behind the chemical attacks in Syria. That's his right. And it's not surprising that Current TV, owned by Al Jazeera, gives him air time. But why do Ha'aretz editors feel compelled to upgrade his twisted, unfounded charges to front-page news?

Posted by TS at 05:06 AM |  Comments (2)

Report: Fayyad Denies NY Times Interview

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Salam Fayyad denied giving any interviews since his resignation

Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post reports today:

Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad on Saturday denied statements attributed to him by The New York Times that criticized the Palestinian leadership and Fatah.

Fayyad said that he did not grant an interview to the Times or any other other newspaper or news agency since he submitted his resignation to PA President Mahmoud Abbas last month.

At the request of Abbas, Fayyad continues to head a caretaker cabinet until the formation of a new government.

Abbas was quoted last week as saying that he did not rule out the possibility that he would ask Fayyad to stay in his position and form a new government.

Fayyad was quoted by the Times over the weekend as saying “Our story is a story of failed leadership, from way early on. It is incredible that the fate of the Palestinian people has been in the hands of leaders so entirely casual, so guided by spur-of-themoment decisions, without seriousness. We don’t strategize, we cut deals in a tactical way and we hold ourselves hostage to our own rhetoric.” . . .

The attack on the PA leadership and Fatah clearly embarrassed Fayyad, who said in a statement that the Time‘s Roger Cohen had published an op-ed and not an interview.

(Cohen's piece reportedly citing Fayyad appears in today's print edition of the International Herald Tribune.) This bizarre episode raises at least two points for consideration. First, either the Times or Fayyad is not being truthful about an interview taking place. Second, if Fayyad gave an interview which provoked Fatah's wrath, resulting in the prime minister's subsequent denial, then this is yet another reminder about sources and journalists self-censoring when it comes to unflattering information about the Palestinian Authority.

Posted by TS at 04:10 AM |  Comments (0)

May 01, 2013

Where's the Coverage? Former Egyptian Official: Hamas and Hezbollah Killed Tahrir Protesters

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Former Egyptian Interior Minister Mansour al-Essawy told the independent Egyptian daily newspaper al-Masry al-Youm that Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists killed Egyptian anti-regime protesters in Tahrir Square and were instrumental in breaking Muslim Brothers out of prison during the so-called Arab Spring. According to The Times of Israel:

Hamas and Hezbollah activists were involved in killing Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square, as well as storming Egyptian jails and releasing political prisoners, during the early days of the Egyptian revolution, a former Egyptian minister said on Tuesday.

[…]

Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners broke out of jail just four days after protests began across Egypt in January 2011, aided by anti-government activists who engaged Egyptian security forces in gun battles. Eight prisoners were reported killed.

“Hamas certainly had a large role in storming the prisons,” Essawy said. “All information indicates that members of the movement and members of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah attacked the prisons where political activists were held, smuggled them out, and then opened other prisons by breaking down their doors using trucks, as happened in the Abu-Z’ubul and Marj prisons,” he continued.

Both Hamas and Hezbollah are designated terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department. Egypt, now and under the previous, Mubarak, regime, is an American ally. The upheaval in North Africa and throughout the Arab Middle East is having a profound impact on American interests. And yet, CAMERA could find not one major American news outlet that has covered this story. Not one.

When the protests that eventually led to the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood were taking place in Tahrir Square, the media were falling over themselves to report on the “Facebook revolution” and the “Twitter activists”. Time Magazine named “The Protester” its 2011 “Person of the Year”.

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Yet, now that the unpleasant underside of those uprisings comes to light and the results –Egypt’s faltering economy and violence against Christians, not to mention Syria’s civil war and the tens of thousands killed and displaced– are proving to be anything but spring-like, the media are silent. Now that word emerges that known terrorist groups murdered the very “Person of the Year” once celebrated… nothing. Where’s the journalistic curiosity? Where’s the drive to uncover the truth? Where’s the Coverage?

Posted by SC at 07:12 PM |  Comments (2)

Robert Mackey: Moral Inversion on Palestinian Terrorism

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Robert Mackey, "The Lede" blogger

Robert Mackey, The New York Times’ “Lede” blogger often utilizes the blog as a platform to promote propaganda against Israel. In fact, he is frequently celebrated and joined by anti-Israel activists. A case in point: when Evyatar Borovsky, a 31-year-old Israeli Jewish civilian and father of five, was slain yesterday by a Palestinian terrorist, Mackey managed to twist this into a condemnation of Israelis.

How does one do this?

A) Find anti-Israel activists to whom to attribute the justification of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis.

B) Make a pretense of condemning the murder while justifying the cause.

C) Quickly turn the focus to the supposed misdeeds of Israelis (using as sources unverified posts and tweets by anti-Israel activists ) and make this the focus of the article.

Following the above formula, Mackey put forth the blog posting's “thesis statement” on the murder of Evyatar Borovsky:

From Palestinians and Israelis who oppose the occupation, though, condemnations of the killing were mixed with calls to pay attention to the broader context — that an Arab community of 2.5 million, living under military rule for 46 years, has been forced to accommodate itself to an influx of hundreds of thousands of Israeli migrants to expanding Jewish-only settlements, which are defended by armed soldiers, officers and civilian guards.

He then turned the column into a prolonged indictment of Israel. Talk about moral inversion.

But try commenting about such moral inversion on The Lede, or for that matter, try posting a supportive comment about Israel on that blog, and see whether your comments are posted or censored.

Posted by RH at 02:17 PM |  Comments (3)

CNN Errs on Israeli Victims, Newton's Law

Covering the murder of Israeli Eviatar Borovsky, and Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the aftermath, CNN's Sara Sidner incorrectly reports today ("Settler killed, Palestinians fear reprisals"):

It was the first fatal attack on a settler since March 2011, when Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their children were killed in the West Bank.

In fact, Palestinians killed three other Israelis in the West Bank after March 2011. On Sept. 23, 2011, Palestinians threw rocks at Asher Palmer's vehicle as he drove near Hebron, killing him and his one-year-old son Yonaton. CNN reported on those killings at the time:

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One of Palmer's killers was convicted of manslaughter a few days ago.

In addition, Jerusalem resident Ben Yosef Livnat was killed April 24, 2011 by Palestinian police officers when he entered the area of Joseph's Tomb, near Nablus, without prior coordination with Palestinian officials. Again, CNN reported on that incident:

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Unfortunately, not only does Sidner err on the facts, but she also resorts to facile -- and false -- platitutudes about violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, writing:

Retaliation for harm done by one community to another is a fixture of life. It is almost as certain as Newton's law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Emphasis added.)

If that were really the case, an innocent Palestinian family -- mother, father, and three sleeping children, including an infant -- would have been brutally murdered in their home. Of course, that hasn't happened. While some settlers have undertaken so-called "price tag" attacks against Palestinians, as happened yesterday, Sidner's claim that "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" is a gross misrepresentation.

In a 2011 analysis of B'Tselem's statistics for Israeli and Palestinian casualties in the West Bank, CAMERA's Steve Stotsky found that nine times more Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians in the West Bank than Palestinians were killed by Israeli settlers in the previous 11 years. So much for Newton's law.

Update, 4:30 PM EST: CNN Removes the Error

Following communication from CAMERA, CNN promptly removed the factual error. The text now states:

In March 2011, Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their children were killed in the West Bank.

Posted by TS at 05:46 AM |  Comments (0)

Where's the Coverage? Fatah Celebrates Murderer

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Ignored by the Western media; One of the items on Fatah's Facebook page praising Evyatar Borvosky's murderer (courtesy of PMW)

Palestinian Media Watch reports that Fatah's Facebook page celebrates the murderer of Evyatar Borovsky, who was stabbed to death yesterday near Ariel, praising the killer as "The hero, the released prisoner, Salam Al-Zaghal." Lexis-Nexis searches do not turn up a single Western mainstream media outlet which has covered this information, despite the fact that Fatah is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' party.

Imagine if the Facebook page of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party praised the murderer of a Palestinian civilian. Would the media be silent? Unlikely.

The media was hardly silent two years ago when a couple dozen municipal rabbis called on Jews not to rent their apartments to Arabs. For example, the New York Times covered it repeatedly, including this Oct. 6, 2011 article:

Last year, Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Safed, an ancient Jewish town about five miles west of Tuba-Zangariya, urged Jewish residents to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews.

Despite calls for the removal of the rabbi, who has been accused of incitement against Arabs in the past, he remains in his position on the public payroll.

Rabbi Eliyahu's anti-Arab campaign was also covered by the Globe and Mail, the Australian, the Christian Science Monitor, the Guardian, and many more.

Where's the consistency? Where's the coverage?

Posted by TS at 05:33 AM |  Comments (1)

BBC Amends Claim Re 'Rare' Attacks on Settlers

Yesterday, BBC Watch, affiliated with CAMERA, flagged a BBC report on yesterday's fatal stabbing of Israeli Evyatar Borovsky which wrongly stated that "attacks on settlers are rare." A screen shot of that version of the report yesterday follows:

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BBC Watch reported:

That, of course, is a complete BBC fabrication.

The article also expands that theme later on:

“Tuesday’s attack is the first time a settler has been killed by a Palestinian in the West Bank since 2011.”

Indeed, since September 2011 there have, fortunately, been no fatalities as a result of terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, but that is not through want of trying, as the family of Adele Biton – who is still fighting for her life after the stone-throwing attack on her mother’s car in March – is only too aware.

In March 2013 the Israel Security Agency reported 101 terror attacks in Judea and Samaria. In February, 100 attacks – 84 of those fire-bombings. January 2013 saw 56 terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, including the stabbing of a teenager at the same Tapuach Junction. In December 2012 eighty-one terror attacks took place in Judea and Samaria and in November 2012 there were 122 attacks.

That means that in the one hundred and fifty-one days from the beginning of November 2012 until the end of March 2013, four hundred and sixty terror attacks took place in Judea and Samaria. That is an average of over three a day.

Judea and Samaria are 125 kilometers in length and between 25 and 50 kilometers wide, with a total area of 5,860 km2, and with the areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority off limit to Israelis. The English county of Cumbria is 907 km2 larger than the whole of Judea and Samaria. If the residents of Cumbria were to suffer an average of three daily terrorist stabbings, shootings, fire-bombings, IED attacks or attempted murder with rocks thrown at moving vehicles, we can be pretty confident that the BBC would not describe such attacks as “rare” – even if they did not end in fatalities.

The BBC has since improved the wording so that the sentence now reads:

Palestinians and Israeli troops have clashed recently in the West Bank, but fatal attacks on settlers are rare. (Emphasis added.)

BBC Watch notes:

Whilst the amendment is welcome, it contributes nothing towards accurately informing BBC audiences of the scale of terrorism against Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria and still airbrushes the intentions of those perpetrating the daily attacks out of the picture. “Fatal attacks” – i.e. murder – may not be a quotidian event, but attempted murder certainly is and the BBC’s whitewashing of that fact continues to compromise its reputation for accuracy and impartiality.

Posted by TS at 02:55 AM |  Comments (2)