April 30, 2014
Where's the Coverage? Fatah Leader Calls for Israel's Eradication
By now you have certainly heard about Secretary of State John Kerry’s troubling remarks warning that if Israel does not agree to a his idea of a peace agreement, it could become “an apartheid state with second-class citizens.” You have also doubtless heard that Secretary Kerry has tried to walk back that remark stating, “if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution.”
What the media has been pretty quiet about is the fact that Israel is not the party standing in the way of a “two state solution.” Despite numerous offers of statehood, prisoner releases, construction freezes, relaxation of security measures and numerous other concessions from Israel, it is the Palestinian leadership that refuses to entertain a two state solution because it will not relinquish the aim of eradicating the one and only Jewish State.
Just days ago, Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi said, as reported by Palestinian Media Watch:
Our people, people of Gaza, Gaza of resolve, of nobleness and struggle: Your freedom is near. Our prisoners' freedom and your freedom are also near, Allah willing. You will return to the bosom of legitimacy, to the bosom of the homeland, which is represented by [the] Gaza [Strip] and the [West] Bank, by Palestine -- all of Palestine, from its [Jordan] River to its [Mediterranean] Sea. This is our goal; this is the lantern that lights our way; these are our principles in the Fatah Movement: Palestine -- [the] Gaza [Strip] is part of it; the [West] Bank is part of it; and it is Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, and it is all of Palestine, which will be an independent state for us, Allah willing.
Haifa, Jaffa and Acre are, of course, cities in Israel that are not the subject of any negotiations. How then does Tirawi propose to make them part of Palestine? Well, he has previously said, “We in this movement have not cast down the rifle and have not let go of the rifle. The rifle is here!”
Only Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin has reported on Tirawi’s goal to eliminate Israel, framing the issue:
President Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry never tire of telling Israel all the ills that will befall it if it doesn’t make peace with the Palestinians. However, they studiously ignore the Palestinians’ refusal to embrace a two-state solution. We’re not talking about Hamas; the Palestinian Authority refuses to relinquish the one-state solution. Moreover, Palestinian Authority officials’ repeated comments amount to calls for genocide.
Kudos to Rubin. And, to the rest of the news media… Where’s the coverage?
Watch the video of Tawfiq Tirawi’s remarks here:
Emmaus Group Responds to Intimidation
The Emmaus Group has issued a response to the controversy that began when one of its co-founders, Christy Anastas, spoke in Uppsala earlier this month.
It reads as follows:
EMMAUS GROUP STATEMENT
Released Thursday 30th April 2014
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good
men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke
Over the last two weeks the founders of the Emmaus Group have been subject to a considerable onslaught of accusations and criticism following a speech made by Christy Anastas in Uppsala, Sweden.
To all those who have been angered or shocked by Christy’s talk we understand your reactions. For too long, violations of Palestinian human rights have taken place internally, unexposed, masked by the popular belief that Israel is the major perpetrator.
We appreciate the concerns expressed for her safety and wellbeing in the UK. To satisfy these concerns, she attended a British police station yesterday to confirm that she was not being coerced or used by anyone, that she speaks freely of her own will, and that such claims were politically motivated.
What the Uppsala talk proves, evidenced by the virulent campaign to silence Christy using threats, discrimination and intimidation towards her family, is that there is no freedom of speech in the Palestinian Territories. Her siblings avoid attending education establishments for fear of humiliation. The family have been sworn at and disrespected by the community, and endure a constant stream of abusive phone calls. Crowds have gathered outside her house and tourist organisations in Bethlehem now boycott them. Such actions demonstrate a basic cultural lack of understanding of true freedom of speech.
However, we have also received great support from people around the world, notably from Palestinians and other Arabs nationals too, who cannot speak out for fear of reprisals,proven by the reaction to Christy’s talk. For any Palestinian resident in the territories to expose the internal problems, discrimination and corrupton, would be extremely dangerous.
“blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My name’s sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven……….”
Matthew 5: 11-12
April 28, 2014
Christy Anastas On the Stone Pavement
This article has been corrected. See note at bottom. Also, Christy has visited the police station without incident.
Christy Anastas, the 24-year-old woman who has fled the West Bank (where a journalist was recently sentenced to a year in prison for mocking Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas on Facebook), will present herself for inspection at a police station in England on the morning of April 29, 2014.
Because a self-styled “peace and justice” activist has called the police in England, informing the authorities that she may be a “missing person.” Consequently, Christy will present herself at a police station somewhere in England this morning to assure them that she is not being held against her will.
That’s the report from Howard Stern, who along with Christy, is a co-founder of the Emmaus Group, an activist organization that promotes awareness of the mistreatment of Christians in Muslim-majority environments. Stern reports the following:
Christy has lived with my wife and I and our other two grown up kids for two years. We are family. We love her dearly. She is totally part of the family, free to come and go as she pleases. She has friends, drives a car and enjoys church where she helps at youth club. As a family we are all upset by his actions and words as Christy has, is and never will be coerced and forced to do anything she does not want to. We are a Christian household. We are all protective of her and I do chaperone her a lot and speak with her where appropriate but she is strong-minded kid and knows what she wants and what she believes in - taken after her mother in that dept!! [Author's Note: Christy’s mother, Claire Anastas, is an ardent anti-Zionist activist. More about this below.]
When the dust settles, Stern hopes to obtain a formal apology from the self-styled “peace and human rights’ activist who called the police in an attempt to “help” Christy.
In the meantime, Stern writes, “We have reported the matter of his reporting to MPs, our lawyers and senior church officials who we liaise with. Christy will attend a local police station in the morning to confirm all is ok and well.”
One has to wonder why so-called “human rights” activists have not expressed any concern over the possibility that Christy’s mother, Claire, has been testifying under duress on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
It’s a real possibility. Claire has been pretty energetic – if not frantic – in her efforts to focus attention on Israel and legitimize the Palestinian Authority. If she has ever said anything critical of the PA or Hamas – two institutions clearly worthy of criticism – it hasn’t gotten much attention.
In addition to being a favorite of the “peace and justice” types on Twitter, Claire Anastas was a centerpiece in the now notorious 60 Minutes episode that demonized Israel in 2012 and was a prominent source in Yasmine Perni’s 2013 movie, "The Stones Cry Out," which offers a distorted view of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Claire has also spoken at a number of conferences in the U.S. where she has condemned Israel.
Given the dependence of Palestinian Christians on the Palestinian Authority for their safety, why isn’t anyone asking if maybe Claire’s testimony is being coerced or offered under duress?
The reason is simple. Christy Anastas’s testimony is a threat to the narrative embraced by Western “human rights” activists who have been serving the interests of a combine of theocrats and kleptocrats in their fight against a self-critical democracy, Israel, for the past few decades.
Claire’s testimony is exactly what these activists want to hear. Christy’s testimony, by way of comparison, raises the possibility that maybe they have picked the wrong horse in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
No doubt about it, the different treatment received by Christy and Claire Anastas reveals an interesting dichotomy. Palestinian Christian testimony, when it cuts against Israel, is immediately accepted as reliable.
But now that Christy Anastas, a Palestinian Christian, has done the unthinkable by calling out for the PA for its corruption, violence and ineptitude – which no one really doubts – so-called human rights activists question her mental competence and treat her like she’s a modern-day incarnation of Patty Hearst.
In the minds of the pro-Palestinian activists who want to "help" her and in the minds of the Palestinian Christians who denounce her, it's just unthinkable that a sane and rational person could honestly believe what Christy says. And so they describe her testimony as "dodgy." They imply she has been kidnapped and is being held against her will by evil manipulative Zionists. And if these explanations don't work, Palestinian Christians come right out and say she has been bought and paid for.
It’s a form of hysteria, actually. This hysteria is patently evident on the Facebook page of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, where EAPPI's “peace and justice” activists have shown they have bought hook line and sinker, the story offered by news outlets in the West Bank. The story told in these outlets is that Christy Anastas was spirited away by operatives working on behalf of a vast Zionist conspiracy who have corrupted her mind and soul.
One poster offers his version of this narrative as follows:
If this is as it seems a case of a confused young woman and a zionist organisation showering her with attention and money to undermine the Palestinian story I think this can be exposed to scrutiny. At same time very worrying for family that has ongoing problems. What is being called ongoing stress syndrome as no end in view. If what she needs is other friends and contacts then contact needs to be established if they are operating like a cult. More info needed. Family thinks she is being abused.
The comments posted by Western activists on EAPPI’s Facebook page walk a fine line between expressions of “concern” for Christy and a desire to portray her as mentally and emotionally incompetent, but the comments apparently posted by residents of the West Bank in response to Christy’s original video on Youtube are downright hateful.
One of her former school teachers has denounced her.
Why the violent denunciations from the Palestinian Christians? Why the questions regarding Christy’s mental competence from "human rights" activists?
Christy Anastas has committed two unforgivable sins.
First, she has spoken publicly about the ineptitude and corruption of the Palestinian Authority. This is something that Palestinian Christians simply do not do.
Second, she has exposed the manner in which so-called “human-rights” activists have served the interests of a gaggle of theocratic thugs and kleptocrats who have dominated Palestinian politics for far too long and who sadly, will not be replaced by anyone more competent and honest for the foreseeable future. In a functioning democracy, which the PA's chief negotiator Saeb Erekat promised Christy that the Palestinians will have, the current crop of leaders would be thrown out of power. But who is there to replace them? Really?
For her sins, Christy Anastas has been placed before the seat of judgment where she is being denounced by her family and excoriated by Palestinian Christians in the West Bank. And now her friends in the United Kingdom are being subjected to an act of thinly veiled harassment by a “human rights” activist in the United Kingdom.
When Christy started speaking honestly about the problems in Palestinian society to audiences in Europe (quietly at first and then more publicly), she probably had no idea that she would be scapegoated the way she has been, but now that she has been placed on the stone pavement, the people who have put her there – her fellow Palestinian Christians and "human rights" activists in the West – should hang their heads in shame.
Note 1:08 p.m., April 29, 2014: This article has been corrected to report Christy Anastas's correct age. It is 24, not 26 as originally reported. The author regrets the error.
April 27, 2014
Location, Location (And Where the Media Got it Wrong)
April 28 Update: CAMERA Prompts Haaretz Correction on West Bank Barrier
April 30 Update: NY Times Corrects Photo Caption on West Bank Clash
In the convoluted map of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the same event taking place in two slightly different locations could have two vastly different significances. In other words, in a region divided up by a Green Line, Area A, Area B, Area C, Palestinian towns, Israeli communities or settlements over the 1967 Armistice Line, location matters. And given the geopolitical sensitivities, media outlets have a particular responsibility to accurately cite locations.
Twice this past weekend, major media outlets, The New York Times and the Israeli daily Haaretz, erroneously identified the site of Palestinian demonstrators (one violent, one apparently peaceful).
The following photograph and incorrect caption appear on the front-page of The International New York Times today:
This photograph is not from "an Israeli settlement." Palestinian demonstrations do not take place in Israeli settlements. If they did, that would be very big news.
According to the original caption provided by European Press Agency (which we accessed from the Newscom photo archive), "Palestinian protester holds his gas mask during clashes over the Jewish settlement of Qadomem, near Nablus, West Bank, 25 April 2014."
In a second misidentification of setting, Haaretz published the following photograph and caption on page 5 of its Weekend supplement this past Friday (April 25):
The houses in the background are not from the city of Modiin, a bedroom community in central Israel within Israel's pre-1967 boundaries. In no place does the concrete barrier reach within that proximity of Modiin. According to Haaretz's Hebrew edition, this photograph shows Modiin Illit, also known as Kiryat Sefer, a Haredi town several kilometers away from Modiin, over the Green Line.
The Hebrew caption states: "A Palestinian woman in front of the separation barrier near Modiin Ilit, 2011" (CAMERA's translation).
April 25, 2014
Eviction Notice Containing Threats Against Jewish Students Termed a "Prank"
A Prank. That's how a threatening flier distributed at a predominately Jewish dormitory at New York University has been characterized. The flier, distributed by Students for Justice in Palestine bears the name of a group that calls itself the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. It states,
If you do not vacate the premise by midnight April 25, 2014, we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings. We cannot be held responsible for property or persons remaining inside the premises. Charges for the demolition will be charged to your personal accounts.
NYU Spokesman, John Beckman, expressed rather under-stated concern despite the evident threat to both property and persons. According to the New York Post, Beckman said,
while the school encourages open discussion, the prank crossed the line. “It is disappointingly inconsistent with standards we expect to prevail in a scholarly community,” Beckman said. “Our Residence Life and Housing Office will be communicating with the students in the dorm, looking into the matter, and following up appropriately.”
A NYU alumni who was more alarmed about the university's tepid response said he contacted Beckman by phone. When he questioned how the university would respond if the "prank" had been directed at another minority group, Beckman hung up on him.
Interestingly, NYU publishes on its Web site a document called a Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy which establishes:
Prohibited harassment includes conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic or residential environment
A question to ponder is that even though a disclaimer statement at the bottom of the flier establishes that it is not a real eviction notice, does that mean the threats contained in it are not real and should not be taken seriously? We'll have to see if threatening the property and well-being of Jewish students is considered harassment. Or is it merely a "prank."
April 24, 2014
"Intimidation" If You Do, "Discrimination" If You Don't
If you've ever had the feeling that Israel is criticized regardless of what it does, rest assured: It isn't paranoia.
The absurdity of much of the conversation about Israel is summed up neatly by two recent articles about Israeli Arabs and army service.
A year ago, AI Monitor published a piece in which Israel was charged with "discrimination" because it does not require Israeli Arabs to serve in the army or volunteer for national service.
And yesterday, Christianity Today reported that Israel is accused of "intimidating" Arab Christians by urging them to serve or volunteer.
And there you have it. If it doesn't encourage service, Israel discriminates. If it does, it intimidates.
Saeb Erekat Exonerates Hamas
Saeb Erekat is the gift that keeps on giving—for those tracking the Swiss cheese-like consistency of “the Palestinian narrative.” Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator in PA-Israeli talks, has a habit of making Pinocchio-like assertions. For example:
* In 2002, he insisted to Cable News Network (CNN) that Israeli troops had destroyed the refugee district in the West Bank city of Jenin. In truth, they killed 55 Palestinian Arabs, almost all combatants, losing 23 of their own in house-to-house fighting.
* Earlier this year he declaimed on his people’s descent from ancient Canaanites who allegedly preceded the Israelites in the Promised Land by thousands of years. Never mind the much later arrival of Arabs or that the Palestinian Arab national movement essentially began in 1920.
Now Erekat has done it again. According to Middle East Monitor, the PA representative declared, “Hamas is a Palestinian movement, is not and will never be a terrorist organization .” Apparently the United States, Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and other countries have erred in designating Hamas (the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement) as terrorist. Perhaps the hundreds of Israeli non-combatants murdered by Hamas members since the late 1980s, including children and the elderly, were actually secret agents.
By now, indicted by his own statements, Erekat would seem to deserve little credibility with members of the news media. That he continues to be treated as a viable source appears to speak volumes about the shortage of self-professed moderates, fluent in English, on the Palestinian side.
Iran Elected to UN Commission to Protect Women After Scheduling Execution of Raped Woman
On April 14, Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, reported on the case of an Iranian woman who was scheduled to be executed for killing in self-defense an Iranian Intelligence Ministry official who she claimed lured her to his apartment and sexually assaulted her. Shaheed demanded that
The Iranian authorities should review her case and refer it back to court for a re-trial, ensuring that the defendant due process rights guaranteed under both Iranian law and international law.
This case follows a well documented history of incidents in Iran of women being stoned to death under government auspices.
An article in the Daily Telegraph on May 30, 2013, reports on Iranian progress in human rights. The Iranian regime passed a law allowing for the hanging of adulterous women instead of burying them up to their necks and stoning them to death as was previously the punishment. Men are given a better chance. According to the Telegraph article, they are only buried up to their waists and if they can free themselves they can avoid being stoned to death.
On April 24, 2014, Iran was re-elected to a coveted post on the Commission on the Status of Women in the United Nations Economics and Social Council charged with promoting women's rights. The appointment has received minimal coverage in the media. An internet search on the morning of April 24 revealed, so far, articles in the Canada Free Press and CNS news discussing the topic in any detail.
While alternate media like the Canada Free Press draw attention to such stories, The New York Times meanwhile publishes an Op-Ed in its April 13 edition "Are Iran and Israel Trading Places?" suggesting that Iran is liberalizing and Israel becoming a theocracy. The Times Op-Ed brazenly states, "One is liberalizing while the other is flirting with theocracy." Right.
April 23, 2014
Where's the Coverage? Videos Prove Arab Violence against Jews NOT Because of Israel
It seems as though “peace talks” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have hit another stumbling block – or completely fallen apart perhaps – as Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party has entered into an agreement with the terrorist organization Hamas to form a Palestinian unity government.
The Wall Street Journal notes:
Wednesday's declaration wasn't the first time the two sides have vowed to unite and follows past agreements that eventually fell apart over bickering.
But the timing of the announcement, however uncertain its outcome, was certain to complicate peace negotiations with Israel. Hamas is pledged to Israel's destruction.
Arab violence against Jews is often alleged to have begun with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 or as a result of Israel's capture in 1967 of territories occupied by Jordan. But even before the Mandate for Palestine was assigned to Great Britain by the Allies at the San Remo Conference (April 1920) and endorsed by the League of Nations (July 1922), Palestinian Arabs were carrying out organized attacks against Jewish communities in Palestine.
CAMERA details the infamous 1929 massacre in Hebron:
According to Dutch-Canadian journalist Pierre Van Passen who was in Palestine at the time, fabricated pictures of Muslim holy sites in ruins were handed out to Hebron Arabs as they were leaving their mosques on Friday, August 23, 1929. The captions on the pictures claimed that the Dome of the Rock was bombed by the Zionists. That evening, armed Arabs broke into the Yeshiva (Talmudic academy) and murdered the lone student they found. The following day, an enraged Arab mob wielding knives, axes, and iron bars destroyed the Yeshiva and slaughtered the rest of the students there. A delegation of Jewish residents on their way to the police station was lynched by an Arab mob. The mob then proceeded to massacre Hebron's Jews — both Sephardi and Ashkenazi — who had lived peacefully with their Arab neighbors for years. With only one British officer supervising, the Arab police made no attempt to prevent the massacre.
The head of Hebron's Ashkenazi community, Rabbi Ya'akov Slonim, had been on good terms with his Arab colleagues and offered his home as a refuge to Hebron's Jews, believing that they would be spared. But the mob broke in and killed the Rabbi, members of his family and all those assembled there. Van Passen gave the following account, revealing an attempted cover-up by British officials:What occurred in the upper chambers of Slonim's house could be seen when we found the twelve-foot-high ceiling splashed with blood. The rooms looked like a slaughterhouse. When I visited the place in the company of Captain Marek Schwartz, a former Austrian artillery officer, Mr. Abraham Goldberg of New York, and Mr. Ernst Davies, correspondent of the old Berliner Tageblatt, the blood stood in a huge pool on the slightly sagging stone floor of the house. Clocks, crockery, tables and windows had been smashed to smithereens. Of the unlooted articles, not a single item had been left intact except a large black-and-white photograph of Dr. Theodore Herzl, the founder of political Zionism. Around the picture's frame the murderers had draped the blood-drenched underwear of a woman.
We stood silently contemplating the scene of slaughter when the door was flung open by a British solder with fixed bayonet. In strolled Mr. Keith-Roach, governor of the Jaffa district, followed by a colonel of the Green Howards battalion of the King's African Rifles. They took a hasty glance around that awful room, and Mr. Roach remarked to his companion, "Shall we have lunch now or drive to Jerusalem first?"
In Jerusalem the Government published a refutation of the rumors that the dead Jews of Hebron had been tortured before they had their throats slit. This made me rush back to that city accompanied by two medical men, Dr. Dantziger and Dr. Ticho. I intended to gather up the severed sexual organs and the cut-off women's breasts we had seen lying scattered over the floor and in the beds. But when we came to Hebron a telephone call from Jerusalem had ordered our access barred to the Slonim house. [Van Passen, Pierre, Days of Our Years, Hillman-Curl, Inc., New York 1939]
In total, sixty-seven Jews were killed and 60 were wounded. The Jewish community in Hebron was destroyed.
In the last week, British Pathé has released thousands of videos from its archives, including some newsreels relating to Palestine under the British mandate. Here, American Jews in 1929 are so concerned about their brothers and sisters in Palestine that a reported 35,000 marched in front of the British consulate in New York City demanding protection for them:
And in Jerusalem, nervous Jews erect makeshift barriers and patrol the streets to protect themselves:
Though the video declares that the arrival of British troops meant that “the situation is well in hand,” this was not the case. There were many other incidents of anti-Jewish violence predating the establishment of the state of Israel.
These videos are a treasure trove of new evidence to an old reality: Arab terrorism against Jews in the land of Israel is not about occupation, settlements, the contours of future borders or refugees. It is not even about the existence of a Palestinian state. Arab terrorism against Jews is about the existence of a Jewish presence and it has been for ages. So… Where’s the coverage?
National Post Columnist Lauds Scarlett Johansson
National Post of Canada Columnist Robert Fulford seems to have grasped something that the organizers of the Celebrate Israel Parade, New York City's Jewish Community Relations Council and United Jewish Federation, apparently have not yet comprehended; the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) is anti-Semitic. Fulford wonders why it is that so many people don't recognize the obvious, or don't want to.
In devising their purposes the BDS campaigners have never shown even the beginning of a sense of proportion. It’s remarkable that the world needs a 29-year-old movie star to point this out.
Fulford notices that,
Like the great majority of Americans in the film industry, Johansson is a liberal Democrat. She took part in the last three presidential elections and raised money for Barack Obama.
But according to Fulford, Johansson apparently possesses a quality that most in her crowd lack.
Unlike many who fall into that category, she also thinks for herself.
The May issue of Vanity Fair carries a cover story about Johansson. The author of the piece, Lili Anolik, asked her how she explains why she has been viciously criticized for the SodaStream ads. Johansson answered, “There’s a lot of anti-Semitism out there.”
April 17, 2014
Misinformation and Moral Stupidity from World Council of Churches
The World Council of Churches has a long history of inciting hostility toward Israel. It has demonized Israel while remaining relatively silent about the misdeeds of its Arab and Muslim adversaries, even when these adversaries are responsible for murdering and oppressing Christians in the Middle East. For some background about the WCC’s antipathy toward the Jewish state (and tendency to appease totalitarian countries and political movements, go here).
For people who know the WCC’s feckless history when dealing with issues related to Israel, it’s hard to be surprised at the pronouncements that come out of the organization’s headquarters in Geneva.
But today, April 17, 2014, the WCC issued a statement that is a surprise.
The statement, signed by the WCC’s General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit, expresses “solidarity with the nearly 5000 Palestinian men, women and children languishing in Israeli prisons.” The statement says that this decision will disrupt “an already fragile peace process,” and that it has “deepened heartache for many families, relatives, friends and indeed, the entire Palestinian people.”
Predictably, Tveit offered no gesture indicating that he understood the suffering and heartache that some of these prisoners, especially those convicted of murder and terrorism, have caused to Israelis.
But that’s no surprise. While the people who organized the WCC did express some shock over the Holocaust in the 1940s, the organization has always been more bothered by Israeli efforts to defend Jewish lives than it has been by attempts to end them.
The statement also expresses disappointment that Israel cancelled a hoped-for release of prisoners who had been in jail since before the Oslo Agreement of 1993.
But that’s no surprise either. The organization has always had a soft-spot for “liberation” movements no matter how violent or totalitarian.
The surprise comes when the statement declares “Some prisoners have been in Israeli jails since 1948.”
With this statement, Tveit indirectly asserts that there are Palestinians who have been in Israeli jails for the past 66 years!
Now that’s a surprise!
But surprise, surprise it’s not true.
In December 2013, Haaretz reported that two Palestinians, “Karim Younis and Maher Younis, will begin their 31st year in prison next week, making them the longest-serving of all the Palestinians currently doing time for terrorism in Israeli jails.” Haaretz also reports that the two “were convicted of involvement in the murder of soldier Avraham Bromberg of Zichron Yaakov in 1980. In July 2012, a parole board recommended commuting their life sentences to 35 to 40 years.”
So there it is. In addition to lamenting that Israel did not release terrorists and murderers, the WCC’s General Secretary falsely stated that some Palestinians have been in Israeli jailes since the middle of the last century.
After today’s statement, no one is going to mistake the Reverend Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit as a responsible or knowledgeable religious leader. They will see him for what he is – a pro-Palestinian partisan who will sign off on whatever statement is handed to him.
Syrian Rebel Leader Speaks of Peace With Israel
Since the outbreak of the "Arab Spring", examples of influential regional figures offering a balanced and flexible perspective of the Israeli-Arab conflict have emerged. These more moderate voices in the region contrast with an opposing trend among Western academics, particularly in humanities disciplines, who rigidly adhere to a Marxist-derived ideological fantasy that is detached from both historical reality and the existing situation in the Middle East.
An example of a more flexible, balanced approach was revealed on March 19, 2014 by MEMRI, the non-partisan organization that translates Arabic, Farsi, Urdu-Pashtu and Dari media. MEMRI posted a video of Syrian rebel leader Kamal Al-Labwani on Syrian Orient TV. Labwani was asked by a skeptical interviewer about his views on Israel. The following is a portion of the exchange:
I am opposed to the dogmatic mentality that classifies all Shiites, all Jews, and so on as our eternal enemies. Since the Battle of Khaybar and until the establishment of Israel, we lived together with the Jews, and there was no war. The problem began with the entity that they established as a result of WWII. This problem can be resolved another way, not like that. The proof is that the Arab countries made peace with [Israel]. We would not be the first. We would be the last.
But Israel has genuine fears about its security. If we realize that and allow Israel to feel secure in its Sunni surroundings – after all, it is Arab Sunni land that Israel has taken – and if we make Israel feel more welcome, it may yet give up its hostile mentality which is the cause for the destruction.…
Interviewer: Is it really in the interest of Israel to see the Syrian people live in prosperity and democracy? Israel thinks about the long term. It must know that after a period of reconstruction, the Syrian people will return to its principal cause.
Kamal Al-Labwani: You insist on thinking that Israel's raison d'etre is to kill the Arabs.
Interviewer: Israel has expansionist goals.
Kamal Al-Labwani: Not true. The people of Israel fled persecution in the Nazi Holocaust, and they want to live in peace.
Interviewer: But this peace at our expense. You talk with such sympathy to Israel… Israel occupied land that does not belong to it.
Kamal Al-Labwani: That's true. But so did Germany. We too massacred one another. We too massacred one another. When we conquered Homs, we drove its people out. What the Lebanese are doing…
Interviewer: Does one crime justify another?
Kamal Al-Labwani: Such is life, such is history. This is a people that fled persecution and the Holocaust, and came to this region. They were exploited by colonialism, which prevented them from going anywhere else. We have not dealt with the issue rationally. Let me tell you, it is in our interest today to engage in a peace process. Instead of letting the displaced Palestinians continue to suffer…
Interviewer: Even if the [Jewish] people were displaced and suffered, they found their peace and quiet by conquering the land of other people…
Kamal Al-Labwani: True, but the Arabs had also come and conquered this land. Such is history. People never stay put. The Armenians came, the Circassians, came, the Turks left, and the Ottoman Turks came, and now the Safavids are coming… " The land belongs to Allah, and He gives it to whoever He wills of his servants." Nobody has a historical right to a piece of land. Historical right is a Nazi, racist, French, German concept, which has caused problems all over the world.
"He gives the land to whomever He will of His servants." After 40 years, the statute of limitation applies to all these crimes. A person who was born in Israel and whose parents came and did all those things – are you going to hold him responsible for what his forefathers did? Long ago, the Sunnis and Shiites had a dispute, and eventually Hussein was killed. Am I supposed to pay the price today? Does that make any sense?
If only the academics who signed the ASA boycott petition or the numerous anti-Israel agitators dispersed throughout academia were able to overcome their ideological fantasies and deal with the history and contemporary reality of the conflict as honestly as this Syrian leader has.
April 16, 2014
Where's the Coverage? PA Official's Doublespeak
On the way to a family Passover seder near Hebron, Baruch Mizrachi was shot dead by a terrorist sniper and his wife and son were wounded. It is unclear whether or not Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned this heinous act.
According to The Jerusalem Post:
Contrary to the accounts of the meeting in Ramallah of Israeli [opposition] members of Knesset Horowitz and Bar, Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh says Abbas has not condemned Passover eve killing of Baruch Mizrachi.
But it is clear that another high-ranking PA official has condemned the terrorist act. According to Artuz Sheva:
PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash met with Israeli journalists and condemned the murder on IDF Radio.
“This Israeli who was murdered, it hurts [. . .] we condemn the killing of any person,” Al-Habbash stated. “The principle of killing and violence is completely unacceptable.”
But wait, Palestinian Media Watch reports that, on official PA television:
Just two weeks ago, this same Al-Habbash defended and honored all Palestinian terrorists who are in Israeli prisons:
“All the Palestinian prisoners who protected [our] land, honor and homeland are prisoners of freedom; they are prisoners of war. They are not criminals, will never be and have never been. Their hands committed no crime. They were defending themselves. They are an inseparable part of this national Palestinian movement and one of its authentic elements.”
That doesn’t sound like much of a condemnation of terrorism. In fact, Al-Habbash has made a number of troubling statements in the past including glorifying terrorists, calling for jihad in Jerusalem, and alleging that Israel intends to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque in order to build the Jewish “alleged Temple.”
You may also recall that CAMERA previously posted that Al-Habbash admitted that peace talks are nothing but a ploy, using as a “model” an instance where Mohammad concluded a peace treaty and then came back and breached it through violence.
A high ranking PA official says one thing to Israelis and the opposite to Palestinians. He calls for sham peace talks. And yet, the media is silent on this duplicity. Where’s the coverage?
Watch a video of PA President Mahmoud Abbas applauding after Al-Habbash says, “I don't think that there is anyone who doesn't know where Jihad is supposed to take place… Jerusalem is the direction, Jerusalem is the address.
April 09, 2014
Where's the Coverage? NY Times Wrong on Hitler, Wrong to this Day
If you have noticed that the New York Times news pages are slanted against Israel, you have probably also noticed the predominantly anti-Israel voices given a platform on the editorial pages. CAMERA has. CAMERA is undertaking a campaign to inform the public about The Times’ anti-Israel bias and how the newspaper omits key information and misrepresents facts.
Unfortunately, The New York Times has been wrong for decades. On December 20, 1924, the newspaper ran this article:
It goes without saying that Hitler was absolutely not “tamed by prison.” However, Times readers did not get a full picture of how wrong this assessment was because, as historian Laurel Leff proved in her book, “Buried by The Times,” the newspaper downplayed the horrors of the Holocaust by printing stories on little-read back pages, running items without headlines and burying key facts within larger articles. Failing to give proper weight to arguably the most important news story of the twentieth century is clearly wrong.
And Times wrongness continues to this day. CAMERA’s six-month study of The New York Times details how the newspaper treats Israel with a harsher standard, omits context, and shows a clear preference for the Palestinian narrative. As for the opinion pages, The New York Observer recently ran a story quoting current and former Times reporters savaging the pundits, particularly Tom Friedman:
…One current Times staffer said, “It really isn’t about politics, because I land more to the left than I do to the right. I just find it …”
He paused for a long time before continuing and then, unprompted, returned to Mr. Friedman. “I just think it’s bad, and nobody is acknowledging that they suck, but everybody in the newsroom knows it, and we really are embarrassed by what goes on with Friedman. I mean anybody who knows anything about most of what he’s writing about understands that he’s, like, literally mailing it in from wherever he is on the globe. He’s a travel reporter. A joke. The guy gets $75,000 for speeches and probably charges the paper for his first-class airfare.”
Another former Times writer, someone who has gone on to great success elsewhere, expressed similar contempt (and even used the word “embarrass”) and says it’s longstanding.
“I think the editorials are viewed by most reporters as largely irrelevant, and there’s not a lot of respect for the editorial page. The editorials are dull, and that’s a cardinal sin. They aren’t getting any less dull. As for the columnists, Friedman is the worst. He hasn’t had an original thought in 20 years; he’s an embarrassment. He’s perceived as an idiot who has been wrong about every major issue for 20 years…”
If you read Friedman’s column on Sunday you know that some things never change. The Times was wrong on Hitler and is wrong today on Israel. As for a balanced and contextual assessment of Israel-related issues, in The New York Times… Where’s the coverage?
You can watch a lecture by Laurel Leff by clicking here or watch a shorter presentation by Hunter College High School student Anna Blech:
Brandeis Caves to CAIR, Hirsi Ali Responds
Brandeis University has announced it's rescinding an honorary degree that was to be given to Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, best-selling author and human rights activist. Hirsi Ali participated in CAMERA's 17th Annual Gala Dinner on April 6 as keynote speaker.
Capitulating to a campaign by CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) and voluble student and faculty protests, Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence issued the statement withdrawing the honor. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism funding case involving Hamas.
Hirsi Ali has received numerous awards previously, including in 2006 as recipient of the American Jewish Committee's Moral Courage Award.
Hirsi Ali issued the following statement in response to the Brandeis action:
Yesterday Brandeis University decided to withdraw an honorary degree they were to confer upon me next month during their Commencement exercises. I wish to dissociate myself from the university’s statement, which implies that I was in any way consulted about this decision. On the contrary, I was completely shocked when President Frederick Lawrence called me — just a few hours before issuing a public statement — to say that such a decision had been made.
When Brandeis approached me with the offer of an honorary degree, I accepted partly because of the institution’s distinguished history; it was founded in 1948, in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust, as a co-educational, nonsectarian university at a time when many American universities still imposed rigid admission quotas on Jewish students. I assumed that Brandeis intended to honor me for my work as a defender of the rights of women against abuses that are often religious in origin. For over a decade, I have spoken out against such practices as female genital mutilation, so-called “honor killings,” and applications of Sharia Law that justify such forms of domestic abuse as wife beating or child beating. Part of my work has been to question the role of Islam in legitimizing such abhorrent practices. So I was not surprised when my usual critics, notably the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), protested against my being honored in this way.
What did surprise me was the behavior of Brandeis. Having spent many months planning for me to speak to its students at Commencement, the university yesterday announced that it could not “overlook certain of my past statements,” which it had not previously been aware of. Yet my critics have long specialized in selective quotation — lines from interviews taken out of context — designed to misrepresent me and my work. It is scarcely credible that Brandeis did not know this when they initially offered me the degree.
What was initially intended as an honor has now devolved into a moment of shaming. Yet the slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles. The “spirit of free expression” referred to in the Brandeis statement has been stifled here, as my critics have achieved their objective of preventing me from addressing the graduating Class of 2014. Neither Brandeis nor my critics knew or even inquired as to what I might say. They simply wanted me to be silenced. I regret that very much.
Not content with a public disavowal, Brandeis has invited me “to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.” Sadly, in words and deeds, the university has already spoken its piece. I have no wish to “engage” in such one-sided dialogue. I can only wish the Class of 2014 the best of luck — and hope that they will go forth to be better advocates for free expression and free thought than their alma mater.
I take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me and my work on behalf of oppressed woman and girls everywhere.
Prodromou Ignores Christian Safety and Freedom in Israel
Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, Assistant Professor at Boston University, Visiting Professor at Tufts University, and former vice chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, wrongly identified Israel as one of the countries in the Middle East where Christians are persecuted and the survival of Christianity is in danger.
Dr. Prodromou (photograph above) did this during a presentation titled “Myth Busting and Reality Checking,” which she gave at a conference in Brookline, Mass., on March 28, 2014.
During her talk, Prodromou stated that the current persecution and cleansing of Christians in Syria reflects broader realities in the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
In an ironic twist considering the title of her talk, she presented as “myth” the reality that Israel protects Christians and that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christianity is growing.
Dr. Prodromou was one of several participants in the annual mission consultation co-sponsored by the Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity and the Boston Theological Institute International Mission and Ecumenism Faculty Committee of Boston University. The meeting was held at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA. The subject of this year’s consultation was “Christians in Syria at the Crossroads, The Middle East: The Future of Ecumenism in an Age of Strife.”
A common theme in each of the presentations was the difficulty of addressing the need for ecumenical solidarity among Christians in the midst of the current persecution of Christians in the Middle East. This is a very real need and the violent cleansing of Christians in most of the region is a stark reality.
However, Israel is not one of the countries where Christians are persecuted and Christianity faces extinction.
In the case of Israel, it is Prodromou’s claims that are the myths; myths disproved by a number of realities. As stated in articles on CAMERA's website, the Statistical Abstract of Israel reports that in 1949, there were approximately 34,000 Christians living in Israel. This figure was not broken down by ethnicity, but the vast majority of these people were Arab Christians. At the end of 2011, there were approximately, 125,000 Arab Christians living in Israel. This is a 268 percent increase in Christian population since 1949!
So much for the myth that Christianity faces extinction in Israel.
After declaring it to be a myth that Israel protects Christians, Prodromou claimed that the reality is that in Israel, Christians are caught between extremists. This statement implies that Jews treat Christians the same way Muslims treat them – a “reality” that is not supported by facts.
In reality, Christian holy sites have always been respected and protected by the Israeli government. Following a recent wave of vandalism at various holy sites, both President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu issued statements condemning those attacks and promising increased security.
So much for the myth that Christians are not protected in Israel.
Indeed, Israel protects religious sites and freedom of religion for others. The exception to religious freedom in Israel is the restriction of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, which is controlled by Muslim authorities. Jews caught praying or worshipping on their holiest site are arrested and forcibly removed by Israeli police, who have been instructed to prevent any occurrence that could incite violence.
Dr. Prodromou must know about the activities of Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth, but she chose not to include him in her discussion. Prime Minister Netanyahu has recently recognized Father Nadaf for his proactive support of Israel, which includes encouraging Israeli Christians to integrate into Israeli society and to enlist in the Israel Defense Force.
Christians who want to enlist in the IDF are welcomed by the IDF and by the government of Israel. At a recent meeting with Father Nadaf, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:
Members of the Christian community must be allowed to enlist in the IDF. You are loyal citizens who want to defend the state and I salute you and support you. We will not tolerate threats against you and we will act to enforce the law with a heavy hand against those who persecute you. I will not tolerate attempts to crumble the state from within. The State of Israel and the Prime Minister stand alongside you.
Again, so much for the myth that Christians are not protected in Israel. The reality is that Christian enlistment in the IDF tripled in 2013, and 500 young Christians volunteered for Israeli National Service programs. Young people don’t volunteer to serve and fight for a country in which they are persecuted.
The reality is that Israel protects Christians.
The reality is that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christianity is growing.
In light of the very real dangers facing Christians throughout most of the Middle East, it is rather unfortunate that Prodromou diluted her effort to bring much needed attention to their plight by confusing reality and myth when it comes to Israel.
(CAMERA's attempts to reach Prodromou by email and phone have been unsuccessful.)
April 02, 2014
The New Yorker Equates Israel's Annexation of Jerusalem with Nazi Anschluss
The New Yorker likes to insert into its articles digs at Israel. Another one popped up in the introduction to a piece on the Russian annexation of Crimea. George Packer writes,
Annexation has an ugly sound, owing to an unhappy past. The term describes, among other tragedies, Saddam Hussein’s attempt, in 1990, to swallow Kuwait whole, as the nineteenth province of Iraq; Indonesia’s invasion, in 1975, of East Timor; Morocco’s absorption, the same year, of Western Sahara; and Israel’s declaration, after the 1967 war, of East Jerusalem as part of a united capital. The German word for it is Anschluss. Like most coerced unions, annexations come wreathed in clouds of lofty, dishonest language—key themes are popular will, historic grievance, divine providence—but they almost always happen at the end of a gun.
The magazine has a reputation for skillful writing, but not so much for accuracy or for making sound historical analogies, especially when it comes to Israel.
With the exception of Israel, the annexations Packer lists - by Iraq, Indonesia, Morocco and Germany - share common traits; they were unprovoked acts of aggression ordered by authoritarian rulers. Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem was the result of a defensive war fought by a democratic state responding to aggression committed by Jordan. That's a big difference.
There are other differences too. Some of the annexations involved territories on which the annexers had dubious historical claims. There is no reasonable doubt about the connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. Furthermore, the city had only been divided for 19 years as a result of Jordanian aggression in 1948.
But the fact that Packer lumps together these distinctly different events, each with its own historical context, is of no importance to The New Yorker. All that matters is that it sounds clever and allows the smug writers at the magazine to take another swipe at Israel.
April 01, 2014
Where's the Coverage? Palestinian Official Admits "Blackmailing" Israel for Release of Terrorists
The Washington Post reported:
U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry is canceling a planned trip to Ramallah on Wednesday to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas amid new threats from the Palestinian leader to circumvent U.S.-backed peace talks with Israel.
Kerry had planned to make an emergency trip to Abbas’s West Bank headquarters in hopes of announcing a breakthrough, according to a senior State Department official.
An official familiar with the talks had said earlier Tuesday that negotiators were discussing in broad outline a plan that would require Israel to slow settlement construction and release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. The Palestinians would in turn agree not to pursue recognition of a Palestinian state or other redress through the United Nations in order to keep alive the hope for a solution negotiated between the two sides.
But this is evidently not to be. As The Times of Israel wrote:
In an apparent breach of understandings with the US and Israel, and with a proposed agreement to extend peace talks awaiting a Palestinian response, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday evening signed an official appeal to join 15 UN bodies.
At a PLO meeting in Ramallah, Abbas president formally requested membership in the international organizations for the “State of Palestine.”
“The Palestinian leadership has unanimously approved a decision to seek membership of 15 UN agencies and international treaties, beginning with the Fourth Geneva Convention,” Abbas said on television after signing the demand.
This should come as no surprise to anyone observing – and especially conducting – the negotiations. Less than two weeks ago, the spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, Ahmad Assaf, stated on official Palestinian Authority television, as translated by Palestinian Media Watch:
Our membership in the UN is also a weapon. And that’s an important card. It’s a weapon that’s in our pocket. I didn’t use it on day one. I didn’t say, as soon as I got membership in the UN, that I want to go to the International Criminal Court - no. We’ve been waving it around for two years now: We’ve obtained the release of the prisoners, we blackmailed [Israel], that is, in quotation marks, and we’ve taken important positions because we have a card that we’re waving around.
This has apparently always been the plan: pocket irreversible Israeli concessions such as the release of murdering terrorists, and then go to the United Nations and international organizations to pursue isolation, persecution and prosecution of Israel. These can hardly be seen as “good faith” negotiations. And yet, while the media lionize the released terrorists on page one, on Palestinian Authority double-dealing, they are silent. Where’s the coverage?
Watch the video of Assaf’s statement:
Contradictory Stories from Christ at the Checkpoint
What a difference two years can make!
At the 2012 Christ at the Checkpoint Conference, Munther Isaac, (who recently got his Ph.D. from Oxford Center for Mission Studies), told attendees that Palestinian Christians “have always enjoyed the support of the Palestinian leaders” and that they “worship with freedom and exercise [their] rights like all Palestinians.”
Isaac made this statement while introducing Salaam Fayyad, who was then serving as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.
Two years later, attendees heard a different story. The first night of the conference, Munir Kakish, the leader of the Council of Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land called on the Palestinian Authority to recognize Evangelical churches and accord them their civil rights. Here is what he said:
As a religious group, we are still unable to practice our basic civil rights to issue marriage certificates, register our church properties in the name of the church, or even open bank accounts to manage our churches’ financial affairs.
One of these statements cannot be true.
If Christians “worship with freedom” and “exercise rights like all Palestinians,” then why can’t Evangelical churches open bank accounts in Palestinian society?