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August 31, 2015

Washington Post Ignores Reality in Gaza

Washington Post reporting on Gaza Strip’s small middle, or perhaps better, upper middle class by William Booth (“A parallel reality in Gaza,” Aug. 24, 2015) attempts to highlight an incongruity evidenced amid post-war recovery in the territory. The Strip is ruled by Hamas, a U.S.-listed terror group. But in one important regard Booth, the Post's Jerusalem bureau chief, highlights the newspaper’s too frequent failure to explore in depth important observations mentioned only in passing. This failure can lead readers’ to infer Israeli responsibility for problems more accurately the result of Palestinian actions.

The article begins by noting that “media images beamed from the Gaza Strip rightly focus on the territory’s abundant miseries,” which include “bombed-out neighborhoods.” But The Post then details what the report calls “the Gaza outside the war photographer’s frame.”

The paper asserts that Gaza City, while having “the highest unemployment rate in the world,” is also home to “personal trainers, medium-rare steaks, law school degrees and decent salaries.” The Post describes clubs, a struggling luxury car dealership, a “$100-a-month” newly opened and “air-conditioned sports club,” a soon-to-debut sushi bar—even a reopened five-star hotel.

In detail, the paper chronicles the prices, opportunities and travails of what it presents as the “small, tough, aspirational middle class” of Gaza City. The Post describes the economic “revival” as “jarring” when compared with areas that remain unreconstructed following last summer’s Hamas-initiated war.

Yet, one reason such inequality is “jarring” lies with the government that has ruled the Gaza Strip since its election in 2006—an election The Post ignores by asserting that Hamas simply “took control of the coastal strip.” It did oust its Fatah movement partner in the Palestinian Authority from Gaza in a “five-day war” in 2007, but won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council the year before.

The Post says “not a single one of the 18,000 homes destroyed in last summer’s war is habitable. Reconstruction moves at a glacial pace. Black market cement is the currency of the realm.” These sentences describing reconstruction efforts resemble the description given in an August 22 New York Times article (“One year after war, people of gaza still sit among ruins”).

However, unlike The Post, The New York Times reported that not only does 37,000 tons of cement sit unused in Gaza warehouses, cement and other reconstruction materials are being used by Hamas to construct tunnels to attack Israelis. The Times said “Mr. Hassaina [Mofeed M. Al Hassaina, Gaza-based minister of housing and public works], other Palestinian leaders and United Nations representative all said that Israel has done its part in reasonable time and had allowed cement into Gaza. The unmentioned 800-pound gorilla in The Post’s feature is Hamas’ priority, preparation for renewed aggression against Israel, not reconstruction and not the economy.

The newspaper fails to remind readers of this despite editorializing that an Israeli TV news report was “snarky” for asking if guests arrived at the Gaza resort hotel by tunnel. Similarly, while mentioning an “Israeli blockade, with…tight restrictions on travel and trade” that The Post claims has “squeezed” Gaza’s middle class, it omits mention of the more stringent Egyptian blockade of Gaza. By contrast, The New York Times observes that the Egyptian blockade—and delay of reconstruction material by the Palestinian Authority—reflect concerns over how Hamas will use those materials.

The New York Times also says that Arab countries have failed to meet their promised aid for Gaza reconstruction. Qatar has only “provided $6 million of a pledged $50 million to rebuild 1,0000 homes.” Kuwait, which “has promised $75 million,” has failed to deliver any funds. In its coverage, The Post omits these important facts that The Times reported.

The Post did give readers an interesting look at a relatively unexamined part of the Gaza Strip. But if failed to pursue questions it implicitly raised. Yes, Gaza’s middle class maybe small and struggling, but still seeking opportunities to enjoy itself and relieve the stress of life in the Strip. No, sluggish reconstruction—like the original destruction itself—is not primarily Israel’s responsibility. Those bucks stop on the desk of Hamas and its supporters.—Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 04:16 PM |  Comments (1)

August 27, 2015

CAMERA Rebuts Zogby Op-Ed in The Hill

(The CAMERA Op-Ed below was posted on The Hill newspaper's Congress Blog on Aug. 27, 2015 in response to an omission-laden commentary by Arab-American Institute head James Zogby. Zogby alleged a pattern of discrimination by Israeli immigration authorities against Arab Americans. The Hill serves members of Congress, staff, policy analysts, lobbyists and others.)

James Zobgy’s recent commentary “US passports scoffed at by Israel; US stands by” (Aug. 24) misleads readers through omissions. Zogby, the founder and President of the Arab-American Institute, falsely asserts that “in the past year Israel has continued…their practice of discriminating against persons of Arab descent” and cites the stories of what he implies to be two disinterested parties to advance this allegation.

The author cites two specific individuals who he claims were detained, interrogated and denied entry into Israel at Ben Gurion International airport—and relies exclusively on their accounts to allege mistreatment. Zogby identifies the two men, George Khoury and Habib Joudeh as simply “American citizens of Palestinian descent.”

Yet, Joudeh, identified only as a “pharmacist” by Zogyby, has been the vice president of the Arab American Association of New York since 1994. The director of that association, Linda Sarsour, has falsely accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and has dismissed reports of attacks by terror group al-Qaeda as conspiracy theories.

George Khoury—identified only as a “professor” and “deacon at his church”—is an anti-Israel activist who has previously alleged that as a nation, the Jewish state commits crimes “daily.” By failing to disclose the background, biases and associations of the two men, but uncritically recounting their unsubstantiated allegations, the author misleads readers.

Zogby also claims that “because both men were of Palestinian descent, Israel would not honor their U.S. passports or recognize the men as American citizens. Both were told they had to acquire Palestinian IDs and then, as Palestinians enter the West Bank.” However, for identifying the men as Palestinian Arabs and not as American citizens, it’s not Israel that Zogby should be faulting. It’s the Palestinian Authority.

According to Article 5 of the Palestinian National Charter those who were born in what is today land governed by the Palestinian Authority—as both Joudeh and Khoury were—are Palestinian. Apparently Israeli officials were following a definition made by the Palestinian National Charter. Unless Zogby is advocating that American officials should nullify Palestinian laws, rules for entry for those defined as Palestinian are well-known and publicly available.

Israel—similar to most other countries—has laws and procedures that stipulate points of entry. Unless individuals are approved in advance and special permission granted, entry to Israel for those classified as Palestinian Arabs is through the Allenby Bridge border crossing.

That two men with unmentioned histories of anti-Israel advocacy attempted to subvert long-standing, well-publicized procedures and cross into Israel illegally instead of by the Allenby Bridge crossing—as thousands of others have done—seems to indicate a purposeful attempt to create an anti-Israel narrative.

As for Zogby’s claim that Israel discriminates against “persons of Arab descent” in general, it overlooks that the last national elections in Israel were overseen by an Israeli Arab and that Arab citizens in Israel have increased their representation in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Israeli Arabs have sat on Israel’s Supreme Court and been appointed to cabinet-level positions. Arab citizens in Israel, a minority, have vastly greater social, economic and political rights than in most Arab countries, rights equal to those of the Jewish majority. By way of contrast, the small populations of Jews remaining in Arab countries have no such comparable rights, often in law, always in practice.

The numerous omissions in the author’s commentary indicate an agenda that, without essential context, leaves readers ill-informed.

Durns is Media Assistant for the Washington D.C. office of CAMERA—the 65,000 member Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 03:20 PM |  Comments (1)

Like a Bourbon: Palestinian Leader Questions Holocaust

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas questioned the Holocaust while nevertheless comparing Israelis to the Nazi regime that murdered millions of Jews in an Aug. 23, 2015 speech.

In remarks broadcast on official PA television, Abbas told a group of Polish journalists visiting Ramallah: “They [Jews] say they made sacrifices in World War II—we respect what they say.” As Palestinian Media Watch notes in their report on the Fatah leader’s comments, Abbas with that wording presents the Holocaust as “something Jews say” happened.

The PA president and Fatah movement head then proceeded to compare the world’s sole Jewish state—reestablished in the wake of the Holocaust and that has provided refuge to millions of Jews who faced antisemitism in other lands—to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime:

“They [Israel] should not treat us the way they were treated [by the Nazis]. We must not be a victim of the victim. I did not do anything bad to him.”

Abbas was born in 1935 in British Mandatory Palestine. The genocide of European Jewry took place between 1939 and 1945. However, Abbas has sanctioned terrorist attacks against Israelis and helped finance the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre that killed 11 Israeli athletes, one of whom was also an American citizen. As Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat’s right-hand man for decades, Abbas was complicit in PLO terrorism generally.

Often described by U.S. and some Israeli officials as a peace partner, Abbas in his comments also ignored the role that Palestinian Arab leadership played during World War II. Before Arafat, the most notable representative of Palestinian Arab nationalism was Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem.

During World War II, al-Husseini was forced by the Allies to flee to Berlin for having supported Hitler and the Axis powers. The mufti personally met with Hitler in November, 1941 and thanked the Nazi leader, stating: “The Arabs were Germany’s natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely…the Jews.”

“The objectives of my fight are clear,” the Mufti wrote in his diary after the meeting. “Primarily, I am fighting the Jews without respite, and this fight includes the fight against the Jewish National Home in Palestine” (The Siege: The Saga of Israel and Zionism, Conor O’Brien, 1986).

Yugoslavia later sought to indict al-Husseini as a war criminal for his role in recruiting Muslim volunteers into the ranks of Hitler’s SS, who went on to murder Jews in Croatia and Hungary.

The next generation of Palestinian leaders, led by Arafat, would transition from working with Hitler to being clients of the Soviet Union and its communist-bloc satellites. It was under Soviet sponsorship that Abbas, then a mid-ranking PLO emissary, completed his Ph.D. from the Oriental College in Moscow.

Abbas appears to be rehashing allegations from his Soviet-era dissertation charging Zionist collaboration in Nazi persecution of European Jews and revisionist denigration as to the scope of the Holocaust.

That work, later published as a book, was entitled “The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism,” as CAMERA has previously documented (“Where’s the Coverage? Abbas is No Angel,” May 20, 2015). In it, Abbas claimed the figure of six million murdered Jews in the Holocaust to be a “fantastic lie” and a “myth”—statements he would try to distance himself from after being elected PA head.

Characterizing anti-Zionist, rejectionist Palestinian Arab leadership in the 1930’s and 40’s, the usually sympathetic head of the Arab Legion, British General Sir John Glubb, once remarked, “Like the Bourbons, [they] have learnt and forgotten nothing in the past 10 years” (The Road to Jerusalem: Glubb Pasha, Palestine and the Jews, Benny Morris, 2003).

It seems little has changed.

The Palestinian Media Watch report on Abbas’ remarks can be found here.—Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 02:21 PM |  Comments (0)

August 26, 2015

Daily Beast Refuses to Correct Its Incorrect Headline


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In our article about a State Department official and The Washington Post fabricating Israeli praise for the nuclear deal with Iran, we briefly mentioned an inaccurate Daily Beast headline. We wanted to update you on where things stand with that.

That headline, above a piece by Jonathan Alter about Israel's former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon, stated, "Ex-Intel Chief: Iran Deal Good for Israel."

The problem is, Ayalon has explicitly noted that he doesn't believe the agreement is good. "I think the deal is bad," he told the Jerusalem Post. This means, contrary to the headline, the former security official actually believes the deal is "not good" (also Ayalon's words), even if he begrudgingly backs the deal because "it is the best plan currently on the table."

The Daily Beast is aware of what Ayalon has actually said. We brought it to the attention of editors. But it nonetheless has refused to correct its distorted headline.

Posted by GI at 04:17 PM |  Comments (1)

Radio Free Europe Flacks for Iranian Terrorist Commander

U.S. tax-payer funded Radio Free Europe (RFE) recently echoed Iranian propaganda meant to show the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds (Jerusalem) Force, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in a favorable light. Soleimani has led Quds Force—designated a terrorist entity by the U.S. government—subversion and aggression in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Entitled “Wanted for Terrorism, Commander of Iran’s Quds Force is Actually Kind and Emotional, Brother Says” (Aug. 25, 2015), an article on RFE’s website appears as part of the Persian Letters blog. The blog describes itself as offering “a window into Iranian politics and society…bringing under-reported stories, insights, and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers” including “clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.”

RFE was created by the U.S. government to help win the Cold War by countering Soviet propaganda. That it would pass off accounts from members of a paramilitary organization, the Basij, controlled by the mullahs and used to suppress regime critics is disturbing. That it fails to challenge a work of hagiography originally presented as fact by an Iranian state-run outlet, Fars News, about Soleimani, a U.S.-listed terrorist and murderer of U.S. service personnel and non-combatants defies description.

RFE acknowledges that Soleimani is a “wanted man” who has been “linked to support for terrorism,” and was sanctioned in 2012 for his “alleged role in an assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador in Washington.” After calling Fars News Agency a “Persian-language news outlets affiliated with the powerful IRGC,” the U.S. broadcasting agency proceeds to uncritically repeat its Soleimani puff piece.

RFE briefly mentions that “the Fars interview appeared to be part of Iran’s efforts to boost the IRGC commander’s profile and portray him as a selfless national hero who plays an instrumental role in the volatile Middle East.” Writing in The Weekly Standard, Lee Smith, a senior fellow at the D.C.-based Hudson Institute, observed that Tehran’s efforts to give the Quds Force leader publicity are meant to impress upon the “Obama White House” that if they “want anything done in the Middle East, you’ll have to go through Iran and you’ll have to deal with Qassem Suleimani.” (“The Iranian Regime’s Mr. Fix It,” June 30, 2014)

The U.S.-broadcasting organization, while including its qualifications, nevertheless provides free media for a terrorist once called by retired U.S. General and former CIA Director David Petraeus a “truly evil figure.” Petraeus’ description stems in part from the Quds Force’s role in setting up Iranian factories to manufacture deadly roadside bombs called EFPs (explosively formed projectiles). These are estimated to have caused the deaths of up to 1,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Soleimani’s deeds and Petraeus’ categorization contrast sharply with the article posted by RFE. It repeats family member descriptions of the terrorist as “a serious person, but very kind and emotional.”

Soleimani’s brother, Sohrab Soleimani, mentions “Qassem has a [belt] in karate, he used to work as a fitness coach in a bodybuilding club.” In addition to recounting the murderer’s fitness regimen, his brother explains that the Quds force commander “loves the children of the martyrs [Iranians and IRGC members killed] so much that sometimes his own children become jealous.”

Sohrab notes that the Quds Force leader’s globe-trotting terrorist activities often keep him from his family, leaving him “little time to devote to his own life, yet his attention for his [family and friends] has not diminished.” In RFE’s words: “[Sohrab] Soleimani also said that his older brother has always made sure that his close relatives did not take the wrong path in life.”

RFE failed to portray Soleimani accurately—as a ruthless terrorist leader responsible for countless combatant and non-combatant deaths as part of Iran’s drive for regional dominance and international influence. It did not challenge the propaganda of a theocratic, totalitarian government but rather disseminated it. It thereby failed to fulfill its mandate of providing news, information, and analysis to countries “where the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed.” And it did so at American taxpayer expense and oppressed Iranians’ need for truth, not propaganda, about their rulers.—Sean Durns


Posted by ER at 02:29 PM |  Comments (0)

August 25, 2015

New York Times Publishes Notoriously Dishonest Palestinian Propagandist

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The New York Times’ opinion page has become a forum for those who like to vent their bile against Israel. Some are pro-Palestinian activists who welcome an international platform from which to air their grievances against the Jewish state, while others are far-left Israelis who prefer to condemn their leaders and society before a global audience. The New York Times eagerly obliges both.

There is no one, apparently, who is considered too unreliable for the NYT’s opinion pages, as long as they are criticizing Israel. Most recently, the NYT website and international edition carried an-Op-Ed by Mohammed Omer, a Palestinian propagandist whose dishonesty has been repeatedly exposed. (See “"New Statesman Publishes Falsehoods by Palestinian Propagandist” and “Mohammed Omer Levels Unsubstantiated and Contradictory Allegations Against Israel.” )

Describing Omer as an “independent journalist in Gaza,” the NYT avoids mentioning that his articles find placement in such publications as the Palestine Chronicle, New Statesman, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and other radical or fringe publications that do not much care about the accuracy of his claims.

In his NYT online Op-Ed, “ Gaza, Gulag on the Mediterranean” which also appeared under the headline “Gaza One Year On, Still in Ruins” in the International New York Times on Aug. 25, Omer trots out the same old tired and refuted clichés that are so popular among anti-Israel propagandists: “Israel continues to block sufficient reconstruction materials from entering Gaza,” “The Israeli military, despite its withdrawal in 2005, remains the de facto occupying power in Gaza,” Palestinians in Gaza are “locked in an open-air prison”, and so on. Of course, nothing is mentioned about Hamas' reconstruction of its arsenals and infrastructure in Gaza, and of course, nothing about the rockets lobbed into Israel from Gaza.

Omer also adds some head-scratching new ones: Palestinian society is “diverse,” “Christians have always been integral to it. And Palestinians embrace interaction with people from other cultures.”

In direct refutation to Omer’s claim, a 2012 article by Palestinian reporter Khaled Abu Toameh describes how Christians in the Gaza Strip are being kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam.

Another questionable new assertion by Omer is that the numbers of Palestinians in Gaza who are “attracted to the Jihadist ideology” are “extremely low”.

Elder of Ziyon has demonstrated how disingenuous Omer’s claim is by “pretending that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not jihadist groups.” As Elder points out:


No matter that Hamas' Al Qassam Brigades attracted 26,000 youths to its summer camps this summer to learn - jihad. The head of military training in these camps calls himself "Abu Jihad." Press releases from the Qassam Brigades end off with "JIhad victory or martyrdom."

Not to mention that the idea that Islamic Jihad isn't a jihadist group would be funny if it wasn't for the fact that the NYT accepts this propaganda as legitimate.

The New York Times has reached a new low. In its quest for more anti-Israel material for their Op-Ed pages, its editors have stooped to publish a Palestinian propagandist who is known as much for his dishonesty as for his anti-Israel activism.

Posted by RH at 06:03 PM |  Comments (1)

August 24, 2015

CEO of Embrace the Middle East Responds Evasively

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Jeremy Moodey, CEO of the British Charity Embrace the Middle East, has issued an evasive response to criticism directed his way by CAMERA researcher Dexter Van Zile.

He issued his response in an entry posted on the charity’s website on Friday, August 21, 2015.

In the post, Moodey reports that he was accused of using photos in a simplistic way to confirm his own prejudices about the Arab-Israeli conflict, a charge he denies.

At issue are two photos, one he posted on Embrace the Middle East’s blog in 2012 and another he posted on Twitter on Aug. 17, 2015.

First Photo

The first photo was of Omar Misharawi, a young boy who was apparently killed by a Hamas rocket during fighting between Israel and Hamas in 2012. In his original blog post, Moodey asserted the boy was killed by shrapnel from an Israeli bomb and then described him as having “just been murdered.” The accusation was plain as day: Israel had murdered the young boy.

It took a while, but eventually Moodey retracted the blood libel that the boy was murdered by Israel.

In his most recent defense, Moodey writes that he, along with a number of other sources (such as the BBC, the Guardian and the Huffington Post), had “reported the boy had been killed by an Israeli rocket.”

Here, Moodey reveals that he cannot even report accurately what he himself told his readers in 2012. He did not just report that the boy “had been killed” by an Israeli rocket. He said the boy had “just been murdered.” With a dishonest turn of phrase, Moodey turned a tragic death into an anti-Israel blood libel.

Moodey fails to come to grips with another issue. As stated in an article published in The Commentator, even if the boy had been killed by shrapnel from an Israeli bomb, Moodey’s charge of murder would still have been defamatory. By Moodey’s own admission, Misharawi was not the intended target of the attack. (See this article for more details.)

Moodey’s defensiveness is particularly apparent when he writes:

But you can see what is going on here. A quadruple whammy of wisdom-after-the-event, data mining on the internet, taking quotes out of context and malicious and groundless insinuations of antisemitism (shameful references to a ‘blood libel’ against Israel) is being used to discredit the messenger and divert attention from the key issue, which is the deaths in three successive wars of hundreds of innocent Palestinians in Gaza, many of them children and the vast majority at the hands of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Including […] possible war crimes by the Israeli forces.

Moodey’s tendency to focus exclusively on alleged Israeli misdeeds is particularly troubling coming from the CEO of a Christian charity. The fact is, Hamas has launched rockets at Israeli civilians from civilian installations and residential neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip. Exactly how does Moodey expect people to respond? By doing nothing?

Apparently so. Moodey has expressed frustration over the Jewish rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. In light of this frustration, it’s unreasonable to expect him to fairly assess the actions of the Jewish state as it seeks to defend itself from attacks.

Second Photo

The second photo that Moodey defends is one he posted on Twitter on Aug. 17, 2015. It shows a piece of heavy equipment being used to lift a large olive tree from the ground. In his tweet Moodey said the photo depicted the demolition of ancient olive trees near Bethlehem and was evidence of “the reality of settler colonialism.” The photo invited some challenges on Twitter and a blog post on Snapshots that asked for more information about what was actually happening. It did not look like the tree was being demolished, but being replanted. (A screenshot of the Tweet in question is posted at the top of this entry.)

After a few tweets and a blog entry on Snapshots, Moodey issued a clarification in which he was forced to admit that Palestinians were able to replant some of the trees that were removed. He also revealed that the olive trees were being removed to make way for the construction of a security barrier in the West Bank.

Here a word about the security barrier is in order. Indeed its construction has a negative impact on the lives of Palestinians living in the West Bank. But what of the terror attacks that prompted its construction? These attacks killed more than 1,000 Israelis and maimed many more. The forced replanting of these trees is a sad consequence of the Second Intifada.

You can see what is going on here: Moodey is using his position as the CEO of a registered charity in England to hinder Israel’s efforts to defend itself in a tragic conflict with the Palestinians. He has done this by leveling a false accusation of murder at Israel, by downplaying the role Hamas has played in causing the suffering of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip and by irresponsibly relaying propaganda handed to him by Palestinian activists to his audience in England.

Posted by dvz at 01:26 PM |  Comments (0)

August 20, 2015

Is This Tree Really Being Destroyed? Or Replanted?

Jeremy Moodey, the CEO of the British Charity Embrace the Middle East, is very quick to condemn Israel. His antipathy toward Israel is documented in part here.

Predictably, Moodey’s Twitter feed is filled with a number of links to anti-Israel polemics and propaganda, but one Tweet, posted on August 17, 2015 is worthy of closer scrutiny.

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Moodey’s Tweet accuses Israel of “demolishing” an ancient olive tree in Bethlehem

But is that what’s really going on in the photo he Tweeted?

If one looks closely at the photo, one can see that the workers have taken great care to keep its root system intact. If the tree was being demolished, why would they treat the tree with such care?

It doesn’t look like the tree is being demolished, but replanted.

Moodey has been challenged on Twitter by analyst J.E. Dyer.

@JeremyMoodey Perfectly pruned, lifted out with intact root ball - looks like a tree being routinely transplanted from here. #Palestine

— J.E. Dyer (@OptimisticCon) August 20, 2015

In a subsequent Tweet, Dyer provides a link to the website of a horticulturist in the United States who specializes in replanting olive trees. The technique used by the horticulturalist in the U.S. appears to be about the same as what's going on Moodey's photo. In another Tweet, Dyer also provides a link to an article in the Wall Street Journal that indicates that there is a booming market for old olive trees. People pay serious amounts of cash for these trees.

Can Jeremy Moodey provide any more details regarding the photo and the event it records?

For example:

Who took the photo?

Where is the tree located, exactly?

Who told Moodey the tree was being “demolished”?

Who are the people moving the tree?

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

August 19, 2015

Palestinian Document Retreats from Peace Process Vows; Where’s the Coverage?

Now that negotiations between the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany with Iran over its presumed nuclear weapons program have been completed, some commentators and politicians have anticipated renewed U.S. involvement in Palestinian-Israel diplomacy. But a position paper submitted by head Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat to Palestinian Authority leaders on June 18, 2015 suggests a retreat from previous commitments to end terrorism and support a two-state solution.

According to a July 1 analysis of Erekat’s paper by Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi (Israel Defense Forces, Ret.), now with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the main points include:

1. Annulling Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO’s) recognition of Israel;

2. Insisting on the “right to return” of Palestinian “refugees” along with their descendants to Israel;

3. Strategic cooperation with Hamas and Islamic Jihad by integrating them into the PLO’s institutions;

4. Waging an all-out “peaceful and popular struggle” against Israel (defined by Palestinian leadership as local terror attacks), coupled with a legal battle against Israel in the international arena aimed at constraining Israel’s ability to defend itself against Palestinian terror; and

5. A diplomatic campaign to recruit international support to coerce an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines.

CAMERA has pointed out both Western news media’s reliance on Erekat as a source and the Palestinian negotiator’s tenuous acquaintance with facts. See, for example “Saeb Erekat—Highly Visible, Highly Unreliable,” March 3, 2015

Halevi’s analysis, “The Palestinian Leadership’s Regression in the Peace Process” based on what Erekat proposed to his peers, not statements to Western reporters, offers an important perspective on relations between Israel and the Palestinian leaders. Halevi’s interpretation is informed and provocative. It should have been the subject of significant reporting. It was not. Where was the coverage? —Rosie Lenoff, Research Intern

Posted by ER at 12:30 PM |  Comments (0)

After barring Matisyahu, Sunsplash Apology Cites BDS "Coercion," "Threats."


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Make what you will of the apology by Rototom Sunsplash, organizers of the Spanish reggae festival that directed anti-Semitic demands at Jewish singer Matisyahu before ultimately barring him from performing.

Whether or not the apology is sincere or sufficient, at least one passage in their statement rings true:

Rototom Sunplash admits that it made a mistake, due to the boycott and the campaign of pressure, coercion and threats employed by the BDS País Valencià because it was perceived that the normal functioning of the festival could be threatened.

This description of coercion and threats matches similar accounts by artists who been prior targets of bullying at the hands of BDS extremists. As we've noted here in the past, Italian author Umberto Eco called their ideas "absolutely crazy" and "fundamentally racist"; Irish writer Gerard Donovan referred to them as "idiots" who try to bully and cajole and are guilty of "outright intimidation”; the band Dervish was intimidated by what it described as their “avalanche of negativity”, “venom” and "hatred"; and jazz musicians Erik Truffaz, Jack Terrasson and their manager Christophe Deghelt slammed the "sheer harassment" and "blatant denigration" at the hands of "intellectually dishonest" activists motivated by
"intolerance" and "pathological hatred."

Matisyahu criticized Sunsplash for singling him out, as a Jew, in order to "coerce" him into political statements. And they certainly deserve to be held accountable for their decision, however temporary, to join forces with the bigoted BDS activists. But considering BDS's well-documented history, there is no reason to doubt the organizers' account that they, too, were the subjects of "pressure, coercion and threats."

Posted by GI at 09:56 AM |  Comments (1)

August 18, 2015

Rabbis Urge Support for Iran Nuclear Treaty, Meanwhile Iran Threatens Inspectors

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Two items reported in the news today provide evidence of the vast chasm separating those who champion the nuclear deal with Iran and those who see the deal as clearing the path for Iran's ascendance to the status of nuclear weapons power and regional hegemon.

The first item is the release of a letter signed by 340 American rabbis urging support for the Iranian nuclear deal. The signators include more than a smattering of fringe radicals. The letter was organized by Ameinu, an organization that bills itself as representing liberal values and a progressive Israel.

Among signators is a strong presence of those whose ideological orientation would be at home at a J Street conclave. There are those who have shown no hesitation cavorting with fringe extremists of Jewish Voice for Peace [JVP], a cultish group that routinely shows up at the most virulent anti-Israel demonstrations and has been described by the ADL as propounding the "complete rejection of Israel."

While among the signators were many rabbis who do not espouse radical agendas, they need to consider the impact of signing a statement that contradicts the overwhelming opinion of Israelis who feel most immediately threatened by Iran and lends respectibility to groups like J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace whose political agenda is hostile to Israel.

There is, for example, Arthur Waskow, who welcomed JVP as part of the "spectrum" of acceptable Jewish groups, telling a friendly interviewer from Tikkun magazine "I sort of feel attracted to its tone and method." Unsurprisingly, the founder of Tikkun magazine, former 60s radical turned rabbi, Michael Lerner, is also a signator.

Some signators have received support from the New Israel Fund [NIF], a controversial organization that has come under severe criticism in Israel for funding the "lawfare" campaign to isolate Israel and criminalize its leaders. NIF funds anti-Zionist groups like Breaking the Silence that travel the world spreading harmful lies about the Jewish State.

The signators also can be found in droves on petitions that come down hard on Israel but are mostly silent on Palestinian hatred and the horrific violence it engenders. For example, many of the names on a petition called "Jewish Solidarity with the People of Gaza," are also found on the Iran Deal letter. The Gaza petition called for unconditional negotiations with Hamas. It says nothing about terrorism or Hamas's responsibility for the plight of Gaza, but remonstrates, "As Jews and people of conscience, we can no longer stand idly by Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza."

Undoubtedly, further scrutiny of the 340 signators would reveal much more troubling activity and beliefs out of step with the majority of American Jews.

The second item, provided by Adam Kredo, correspondent for the Washington Free Beacon, reports on a threat issued by the spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization [AEOI] to harm International Atomic Energy Agency Director Yukiya Amano if he reveals the contents of secret side deals between Iran and the agency. It will be interesting to see how, or even if, this explicit threat from an Iranian official is covered by the mainstream media, especially by those organizations supporting the proposed nuclear agreement.

Posted by SS at 12:20 PM |  Comments (1)

August 17, 2015

Is it Certain That Iran Aims to Eliminate Israel’s Jews?

While it’s uncertain how long Iran’s current leadership will remain in power, it is certain that this leadership is fanatically determined to eliminate the Jews in Israel. Among evidence supporting this view is one item generally overlooked: The very name of the regime’s elite “Quds Force.”

Iran’s venerated Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of its Islamic revolution, is credited with naming the organization. Khomeini’s “founding vision [was] the eradication of Zionism [as] an inevitable precondition for redeeming contemporary Islam” (The Nuclear Deal: No Pause in Iran’s Vow to Destroy Israel, by Michael Segall, Aug. 16, 2015, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs). According to Segall , Khomeini’s obsession “keeps guiding the current generation of Iran’s religious, political and military establishment. To him the destruction of Zionism was an axiom never to be questioned or strayed from and an objective to be perpetually and actively pursued. According to this vision, Israel should be fought as part of a protracted global struggle between Islam and the West, which ‘planted intentionally the Zionist Entity in the heart of Islamic World.’ ”

In the Islamic world, Jerusalem, Israel’s ancient and modern capital, is most commonly known by a word transliterated as “Al-Quds” meaning “The Holy” or “the holy Sanctuary.” Al-Quds is an Arabic phrase that may reflect the earlier Hebrew beit ha-Mikdash, or “the holy house”— the First and Second Temples.

The Quds Force operates as Iran’s military special forces arm. Any of countless other names could have been applied to the unit if not for Tehran’s central obsession, elimination of the Jewish state of Israel — Allah’s Force, Allah’s Commandos, perhaps the Warriors of Ali (Shiite Islam’s original martyr) or something similar.

Jerusalem (or any variation of the word) is not mentioned anywhere in Islam’s holy book (attributed to Islam’s prophet, Mohammed or Muhammad), the Quran (Koran). The phrase transliterated as “Al-Quds,” mentioned several times in the Quran, is taken in the Islamic world to refer specifically to the Al-Aqsa mosque located on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Temple Mount is the site of the ancient Jewish Holy Temples of Israel mentioned prominently in the Hebrew Bible and Christian New Testament. Al-Aqsa was constructed in 711 C.E. after the Islamic conquest, on the remains of the Byzantine Church of St. Mary of Justinian.

How important is the Quds Force? A news item currently reports the defiance of an international travel ban by the head of the organization, Qassem Souleimani, in traveling to Russia to discuss the delivery to Iran of surface-to-air missiles and other weapons. Such missiles could help protect Iran’s presumed nuclear armaments facilities.

Quds Force reports directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei, Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor as Iran’s ultimate boss, who recently published a book called Palestine on the destruction of Israel.

Posted by MK at 05:02 PM |  Comments (0)

Supporters Flog Dated Poll as Proof of American Jewish Support for Iran Deal

Commentary presented as fact in The Washington Post by Professors Todd Gitlin and Steven M. Cohen misleads readers through omissions, distortions, and a lack of context (“The Jewish leaders who don’t speak for American Jews,” Aug. 16, 2015). The authors use a dated poll from The Los Angeles Jewish Journal to claim that a majority of American Jews support the Iran nuclear deal reached July 14 between the United States, Russia, France, China, United Kingdom, Germany and the Islamic Republic over the latter’s purported nuclear program.

A closer examination reveals significant problems with their presentation.

Gitlin and Cohen assert that a majority of American Jews support the Iran nuclear deal in its current form. They make this assertion based on a July 16-20 Jewish Journal survey, conducted mere days after the agreement was reached, purporting to show 63 percent of American Jews favoring the deal. However, other more recent polls indicate that as the particulars of the agreement have become more well-known, American Jews increasingly oppose it. This is similar to the rest of the American public.

A week after The Jewish Journal poll, The Israel Project—referred to only briefly by the professors—conducted a poll showing 51 percent of respondents opposed the deal. Further indication of this trend can be seen in a July 30-August 4 Quinnipiac University opinion survey showing 53 percent of New York Jewish voters opposed the deal.

Dismissing or ignoring more recent polls while citing as proof of Jewish majority support a poll conducted in the first week after the deal was announced—before controversial details were more widely reported—is misleading at best and disingenuous at worst.

The authors correctly noted that most major Jewish organizations oppose the deal. They explain away this contradiction to their claim of majority backing within the Jewish community by making the unsubstantiated claim that these organizations are not truly representative of American Jews. They point to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations denial of membership to J Street. But J Street seems to be the sole Jewish organization, self-described as pro-Israel but whose lobbying has been mostly pro-Palestinian, supporting the deal in its current form.

Yet, Gitlin and Cohen fail to mention that the reason for J Street’s exclusion may be the not-so thinly veiled anti-Israel character of some of the group’s alliances and backers. The latter includes a member of J Street’s board who has argued that Israel should not exist, the former partnership with the National Iranian American Council, an anti-Iran sanctions outfit whose researcher, Beheshteh Farsheshani, has falsely asserted “Israel spends our money on terrorism, war, fear, racism.”

The professors also omit that affiliated members of Jewish organizations—akin to “likely voter” categories in other politically oriented polls versus the general public—tend to be more involved and better informed regarding subjects of concern to the organized Jewish community, such as the Iran nuclear deal, than those with no affiliation or, in the specific case of the Jewish Journal poll, do not identify as religiously Jewish. Instead, they assert that differences in support can be explained by affluence of those affluent contributors polled. This overlooks that pro-deal organizations like J Street have received much of their funding from affluent contributors. Billionaire anti-Israel investor George Soros was a primary source of funding for J Street, a fact founder Jeremy Ben Ami initially denied.

By flogging a poll already overtaken by events—and explaining away its inconsistencies through omissions and canards, Gitlin and Cohen mislead Post readers both on the opinions of American Jews more likely to be informed and active on the Iran nuclear deal and on the representative nature of major Jewish organizations.

Are most black Americans members of the NAACP or the Urban League? No. Does The Post consider those organizations representative of African-Americans? Yes. Please drop the double standard when it comes to American Jews.—Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 04:28 PM |  Comments (1)

USA Today Overplays Anti-Palestinian Attacks, Underplays Anti-Israeli Violence

USA Today correspondent Shira Rubin falsely equated anti-Israeli violence with anti-Palestinian violence in her article “Israel cracks down on Jewish extremists in West Bank.” (Aug. 6, 2015). Immediately, on Aug. 6 CAMERA requested a correction that would more accurately reflect the disparity in the amount of attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank and those of Israeli settlers. The unpublished letter to the editor listed below was sent following the newspaper’s refusal to issue a correction.

“Dear Editor:

Shira Rubin’s article 'Israel cracks down on Jewish extremists in West Bank' (Aug. 6) claims that 'Jewish settlers and Palestinians have long engaged in tit-for-tat violence [emphasis added].' However, suggesting that violence between the two groups is comparable is not borne out by figures from the pro-Palestinian advocacy group B’Tselem showing that from 2000-2011, Israeli civilians were murdered by Palestinians nine times more than the other way around. Twenty-three Palestinian Arabs were killed by Jewish settlers in circumstances that were not independently confirmed whereas in that same period 215 Jewish civilians were murdered by Arabs in the West Bank. If violent but not fatal attacks by Palestinian Arabs against Israeli Jews and planned or attempted strikes against Jews aborted by Israeli security forces were also included, the fallacy of the 'tit-for-tat' comparison would be even clearer.

Sean Durns
Media Assistant, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
Washington D.C.”
Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 02:56 PM |  Comments (1)

New York Times: Reporter For Jewish Paper Finds No Anti-Israel Plot in Iran

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Photograph of Iranian protester killed by the Iranian regime's Basij thugs.


The New York Times published a piece on August 13, 2015 conveying the report by a journalist from an "American Jewish pro-Israel publication" that "found little evidence to suggest that Iran wanted to destroy Israel, as widely asserted by critics of the Iranian nuclear agreement."

The journalist, Larry Cohler-Esses, is the assistant managing editor for news at The Forward, a Jewish newspaper that trends left and has been known to feature the views of anti-Zionist Jews. Cohler-Esses paints a relatively benign picture of Iran. In an interview with the Times' Rick Gladstone he stated, "Far from the stereotype of a fascist Islamic state, I found a dynamic push-and-pull between a theocratic government and its often reluctant and resisting people." Although he found "no one had anything warm to say about the Jewish state" when "pressed as to whether it was Israel's policies or its very existence to which they objected, several were adamant: It's Israel's policies."

What is missing here is factual context and intellectual integrity. It is as if Cohler-Esses and the New York Times operate in a vacuum, devoid of historical awareness or even common sense.

Concerning the metaphor of "push-and-pull" between the Iranian government and its people, there seems to be a lot of pushing, not much pulling. Here is some context from the last "free" elections Iran had:

Human rights campaigners say anecdotal evidence suggests the number of demonstrators killed in clashes with government forces after last month's poll was far higher than the official death toll of 20 and may amount to a "massacre". (July 16, 2009 by the Guardian, a leftist, anti-Israel newspaper)

The United States Institute of Peace published a report on the Green Movement that opposed the theocratic regime that recounts the widespread torture and killing of political activists.

Radio Free Europe published accounts of the regime murdering hundreds of Iranians demonstrating for political freedom.

But it is the contention that it is Israel's policies not its existence that the Iranian leadership objects to that is most dishonest. The evidence of the genocidal intent of the Iranian regime is vast and overwhelming. One tweet from the Ayatollah Khamenei will suffice. On July 23, 2014, the Supreme Leader tweeted, "This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated." The Ayatollah's prescription suggests that his objections to Israel run deeper than just policy complaints.

Gladstone's piece on Cohler-Esses recalls the epithet "useful idiots" often attributed to Vladimir Lenin, but more likely coined during the terror regime of Joseph Stalin.

In a piece recounting a BBC interview with Doris Lessing, herself a self-admitted youthful "useful idiot," Professor Donald Rayfield author of Stalin and his Hangmen, provides a working definition of the term:

The phrase (useful idiots) seems to have been around for about 70 years. It's someone who doesn't think they're an idiot, who thinks they're highly intelligent but is so easily persuaded by flattery from people in power that they're prepared to sacrifice their principles and allow themselves to be duped, or even just to lie, for the sake of advantage.

The term was used in the context of western intellectuals and journalists who served as apologists for the brutal Soviet regime and helped conceal its enormous crimes.

The Times puff piece on Iran is part of this long and unsavory tradition. Among the most famous examples comes from New York Times itself. As famine engulfed the Ukraine in 1932 and 1933, the Times star reporter, William Duranty posted dispatches, dutifully published by the Times, with titles like "Russians, Hungry But Not Starving" and "Soviet Industry Shows Big Gains." Although he admitted food was scarce and disease due to hunger had taken a toll, he saw no one starving and impressed upon readers that such claims were exaggerations.

Duranty received a Pulitzer prize for his reporting. Maybe Gladstone and Cohler-Esses have similar aspirations. Or maybe they're just clueless.

Duranty claims to have not seen those who died from starvation, although it is suspected by many that he did know and intentionally concealed this information. But a conservatively estimated 3 million perished in what most credible historians regard as a man-made famine imposed on the Ukrainian peasants and others in order to break their will to resist the Communist regime's absolute control.

Similarly, Cohler-Esses may not have seen the terror imposed on Iranian citizens or the psychopathic hatred of Israel, but it is irresponsible of him - and the Times - to present such a naive and deceptive piece, especially since its timing indicates that it was intended to sway the political debate over the nuclear agreement that is vehemently opposed by Israel and its supporters.

The times have changed, but apparently the Times has not.

Posted by SS at 01:58 PM |  Comments (1)

August 14, 2015

Former Joint Chiefs Chair Cites Iran Deal’s "Deadly Consequences"

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In an Op-Ed in the Miami Herald, Gen. Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expresses his opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the proposed “Iran deal” negotiated between the U.S., Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran.

Gen. Shelton writes:

The main opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and its many supporters in Western countries — myself included —understand that a regime that can’t be trusted with the lives of its own people can’t be trusted with a weak nuclear deal. The deadly consequences of such an agreement will not come 10 years from now when Iran has the acknowledged ability to launch a nuclear weapon; they will come as soon as the current regime is granted legitimacy on the international stage and gains economic or political leverage over democratic nations, which will happen as soon as their coffers are filled with unfrozen assets and the oil flows unfettered.

If the administration can’t be bothered with the voice of the over 75 million Iranians, there is no shortage of American former officials, military officers, and academics who can attest to the power and legitimacy of the Iranian people and opposition working towards democracy. Former CIA Director James Woolsey, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and retired General George Casey are among them. All are men of unimpeachable integrity.

President Obama would do well to heed the serious, thoughtful and constructive criticisms about the nuclear deal.

Posted by SC at 04:11 PM |  Comments (2)

August 13, 2015

Global Post Omits Key Facts While ‘Interviewing’ Iran’s Jews

USA Today featured reporting by Peabody award-winning reporter and GlobalPost special correspondent Reese Erlich (“Iran’s Jewish community gets behind nuclear deal with U.S.,” August 7, 2015) that omitted key details on the treatment of Jews in the Islamic Republic of Iran. By uncritically relaying comments of a people under surveillance and failing to fully note the threats they face, the article misleads readers.

Interviewing Jews in Tehran, Erlich asserts that “most Iranian Jews strongly disagree with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” over his objections to the agreement between the United States, Germany, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom and Iran over the latter’s purported nuclear program. The reporter bases his claims on responses from individuals in the “city’s small Jewish community” he interviewed.

But, why is Iran’s Jewish community now so “small”?

Erlich briefly mentions that “over 100,000 Jews lived in Iran prior to the 1979 revolution, but many left right afterward”—leaving a population of only 12,000 to 30,000. Not only does he fail to account for the discrepant estimates of the current Jewish population, he fails to elaborate why so many Jews fled—in some instances perilously over mountains and desert—and why those who remain might be reluctant to publicly identify themselves as “Zionists.”

After taking power in 1979 and ushering in the Islamic Revolution, some wealthy Iranian-Jews found themselves put on show trials. The first private citizen to be executed by tribunal was Habib Elghanian, an Iranian Jew who stood accused of “economic imperialism” and contacts “with Israel and Zionism.” As Moment Magazine noted, “his real crime was that he had failed to follow established custom for Jews and maintain a low profile.” (“How Jew-Friendly Persia Became Anti-Semetic Iran,” Nov. 2006)

This relevant background may have something to do with why Iranian Jews stressed to Erlich that they “consider themselves Jews but not Zionists.” Not only does Erlich fail to provide context, he also uncritically notes the comments of an Iranian Jew who tells him, “There (is) no need for guards in front of our synagogues.” This omits that one possible reason is the iron fist of the regime, which suppresses all sectors of society and uses controlled violence for its own ends. The brutal suppression of peaceful protests in 2009 over the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is perhaps the most conspicuous example of Iran’s enforced police state conformity.

In other words, a reporter was granted access to the dwindling members of a Jewish community suppressed since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought the mullahs to power and—not surprisingly—they stated publically that they support the nuclear deal and that conditions in their community are just fine. One can imagine—in a country that persecuted other minorities, the baha’i’s for example—what would have happened to Jews quoted by Global Post/USA Today if they expressed anything but support for the theocratic government.

The annals of journalism record other instances of reporters failing to appreciate the nature of the leaders and regimes they covered. Dispatches from The Nation journalist Lincoln Steffens in 1919 infamously lauded the “imagination” of dictator Vladimir Lenin and were filled with testimonies from people throughout Russia supporting the newly-created Soviet Union and what was a rapidly decreasing crime rate —while failing to note the brutal means used to stabilize and support the regime

Outlet—i.e. Kansas City Star journalist Edgar Snow—whose exclusive access during China’s civil war in the 1930’s to Chinese Communists and their leader Mao Zedong, but not the opposing Chinese Nationalists whom he privately disdained—led the reporter to look past despotic tendencies already in evidence. Instead he wrote approvingly of future mass murderer Mao and his Communists as “agrarian reformers” who sought peace.

Similarly, New York Times reporter Herbert Matthews—labeled by biographer Anthony DePalma as “the man who invented Fidel”—was granted access to rebel and future Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Matthews claimed in 1959 that the future Communist leader was “not only not a Communist, he is decidedly anti-Communist.”

Perhaps most infamously, exclusive access to another of the twentieth centuries largest mass murderers—Soviet dictator Josef Stalin—led to New York Times reporter Walter Duranty becoming an apologist both for Stalin’s show trials against regime opponents and his forced starvation of Ukrainian peasants.

Erlich—who previously wrote an article with actor and counterculture iconoclast Peter Coyote referring to the terrorist-supporting regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad as a possible “ally”—would have better served Global Post and USA Today readers by disclosing in greater detail the history of Iranian Jews under the mullahs. Had he provided more context—instead of transcribing statements uncritically—readers would have been much better informed.—Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 03:07 PM |  Comments (0)

Former NPR Reporter Asserts False Israeli-Palestinian Equivalence

Author Kai Bird’s review in The Washington Post of former National Public Radio (NPR) correspondent Sandy Tolan’s book The Lemon Tree (“The Middle East: A Land of Two Peoples,” June 25, 2006) failed to note the false Israeli-Palestinian equivalence that drove the narrative of Tolan’s book. In a July 9, 2006 letter published by The Post, CAMERA observed:

“Kai Bird's review of Sandy Tolan’s The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East (Book World, June 25), refers to two people. One is a Palestinian who ‘cannot relinquish U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194’, which resolves that 'the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so.' The other is an Israeli who ‘cannot accept that measure, which she believes means bartering with the Jewish character of the Israeli state.’

Resolution 194 (adopted in 1948) recommended ‘at the earliest practicable date’ the return of refugees who intended to live in peace with their neighbors in what became Israel in 1948, or their resettlement in Arab countries and compensation for damages or loss of property. The Palestine Conciliation Commission was instructed ‘to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees.’ But the ‘earliest practicable date’ never arrived. The Arab states, expecting to win the war they had begun by violating U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 (which called in 1947 for the partition of British-ruled Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab one), voted against Resolution 194. The refugees and their hosts rejected resettlement and compensation. Later, having lost, the Arabs began claiming that Resolution 194 had established a ‘right of return’ to homes inside Israel proper. The central figures in Tolan’s book remain symbolic, but in fact the Palestinian holds nothing to ‘relinquish’ and the Israeli is not obligated to ‘accept’ or ‘barter.’

ERIC ROZENMAN
Washington Director, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
Washington, D.C.”

CAMERA has previously documented biased reporting by Tolan (“NPR Bias Triggers New CAMERA Action,” Sep. 1998). The former correspondent, now an Associate Professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, seems to have continued to take the Palestinian narrative. His most recent book, Children of the Stone, focuses on Palestinian participants in the First Intifada who became musicians.

An April 28, 2015 talk by Tolan at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California to promote his new book was co-sponsored by supporters of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement Jewish Voice for Peace and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). AMP was created in 2005 from the Islamic Association of Palestine—a propaganda arm of United States listed terror group Hamas. The Anti-Defamation League has noted AMP “seeks to delegitimize and demonize the Jewish state.”—Eric Rozenman

Posted by ER at 01:27 PM |  Comments (1)

Congress Asked for Better Deals Hundreds of Times in the Past

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In an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal, a law professor and former lead State Department attorney for nuclear affairs outlines the many precedents for congressional revisions to international agreements.

Orde Kittrie writes:

Congress has flatly rejected international agreements signed by the executive branch at least 130 times in U.S. history. Twenty-two treaties were voted down. According to 1987 and 2001 Congressional Research Service reports, the Senate has permanently blocked at least 108 other treaties by refusing to vote on them.

Moreover, the 1987 CRS report and an earlier study in the American Journal of International Law note that more than 200 treaties agreed by the executive branch were subsequently modified with Senate-required changes before receiving Senate consent and finally entering into force

[…]

The historical precedents for Congress rejecting, or requiring changes to, agreements involve treaties or other legally binding international agreements. The Iran deal, formally titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is unsigned and not legally binding. Mr. Kerry has repeatedly referred to it as a “political agreement.” Nonbinding, unsigned political agreements receive less deference and are considered more flexible than treaties or other legally binding international agreements. Congress should be comfortable sending one back for renegotiation.


Posted by SC at 11:32 AM |  Comments (0)

August 12, 2015

Expert: Concern about Purported Iranian Nuclear Facility at Parchin “Urgent”

David Albright is both founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS). Albright first came to the public’s attention as a nuclear expert who questioned whether Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and for his work in identifying attempts to build nuclear weapons by the al-Qaeda terror group. In a Washington Post commentary (“What Iran’s hostile reaction to the Parchin issue means for the nuclear deal,” Aug. 11 2015), the scientist and former weapons inspector called attention to satellite imagery suggesting that Iranian officials are attempting to erase evidence of nuclear activity at Parchin.

Albright notes that Parchin is a “site...linked by Western intelligence and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to past work on nuclear weapons.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded to the publication by the institute of evidence that “Iran could be again sanitizing the site to thwart environmental sampling that could reveal past nuclear weapons activities there.” Zarif called the images lies.

The nuclear expert observes that “instead of acknowledging the concern, the Iranians chose to deny the visible evidence in commercial satellite imagery.” Albright said that his organization has taken a neutral position on implementation of the deal negotiated by the United States and five other countries with Iran. He added that information about renewed Iranian activity at Parchin doesn’t come from opponents of the July 14 agreement reached between America, Germany, France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and Iran over the latter’s purported nuclear program—but rather a neutral observer.

“Iran’s reaction,” Albright notes, “shows that it may be drawing a line at Parchin.” This development troubles the veteran weapons inspector who notes “concern” about the site have “become more urgent now that there is a debate raging over whether the IAEA will have adequate access to this site under the terms of its deal with Iran….concern is further heightened because Iran demanded to do sampling itself instead of letting the IAEA do it.”

The nuclear expert called that Iranian proposal “risky and unprecedented.” He noted that in previous instances of nuclear detection at the Iranian Kalaye site and the North Korean plutonium separation plant at Yongbyon, “the success of sampling that showed undeclared activities depended on samples being taken at non-obvious locations identified during previous IAEA visits.” Yet, if the Iranian’s demands are met and possible evidence of previous military-related nuclear activity is destroyed it will be “doubtful” that inspectors can convincingly verify that Iranian nuclear weapons work has ceased.

Albright calls on the Obama administration and Congress to not lift sanctions unless Iran addresses IAEA concerns about past military dimensions of Tehran’s purported program. “To do otherwise,” he states, “is to make a mockery of the nuclear deal.”

David Albright’s article in The Washington Post can be found here. —Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 04:00 PM |  Comments (0)

Iranians: U.S. Initiated and Began Nuclear Talks with Holocaust denier Ahmadinejad, not Rouhani

News media often report that U.S.-led negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its purported nuclear program were initiated by Tehran following increased international economic sanctions. Both journalists and President Obama himself—who announced on July 14, 2015 that talks concluded “after two years of negotiations”—have asserted or implied that negotiations began in 2013 after the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani is a regime-insider often misleadingly labeled a “moderate” despite his supervisory role in terrorist attacks in Argentina and political assassinations in Europe, as CAMERA has previously noted (“Iran Becoming Responsible Player,” July 8, 2015).

Yet, several high-level Iranian officials made assertions that—if true—would indicate that the often cited chronology of nuclear talks with Iran is mistaken. They claim the Obama administration secretly initiated contacts in 2011 through the government of Oman, following a letter from then-U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Ma.) recognizing Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium. This would mean that talks began not with Rouhani’s administration but with the government of Holocaust denier and anti-Western extremist, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

According to a recent report from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, delivered a June 23, 2015 speech proclaiming:

“This issue of negotiating with the Americans is related to the term of the previous [Ahmadinejad] government, and to the dispatching of a mediator to Tehran to request talks. At the time, a respected regional figure came to me as a mediator [referring to Omani Sultan Qaboos] and explicitly said that the U.S. President [Obama] had asked him to come to Tehran and present an American request for negotiations. The Americans told this mediator: ‘We want to solve that nuclear issue and lift sanctions within six months, while recognizing Iran as a nuclear power.’”

Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam, an advisor to Majils [the Iranian Parliament] Speaker Ali Larijani echoed the ayatollah’s version.

Larijani told Tasnim news agency on July 7 that Kerry had given a letter to Iran recognizing its right to enrich uranium. “We came to the [secret] negotiations [with the United States] after Kerry wrote a letter and sent it to us via Oman, stating that America officially recognizes Iran’s rights regarding the [nuclear fuel] enrichment cycle.”

“Sultan Qaboos was dispatched by Obama to Khamenei with Kerry’s letter…..On this basis the negotiations began, and not on the basis of sanctions, as they [the Americans] claim in their propaganda.”

More recently Iranian Vice President and head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, who served as foreign minister from 2010-2013, agreed with these accounts. Salehi stated that after entreaties through Omani officials, he put forward the precondition that the United States must recognize the right of Iran to enrich uranium—a demand which “received a positive response.” The former foreign minister claimed that Kerry “had already been appointed by Obama to handle the nuclear dossier [vis-à-vis Iran]” when he was acting as “head of the Senate Foreign Relations committee.”

MEMRI also notes that the ‘Nuclear Iran’ web site, affiliated with Iran’s former nuclear negotiation team, reported on Apr. 20, 2014: “Before the 2013 presidential elections, three rounds of talks took place in Oman, and at these talks the Americans officially recognized Iran’s [right] to enrich [uranium].” MEMRI reported that a relative of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ahmad Khorshidi, told the website Entekhab in 2014 that three rounds of talks took place prior to President Rouhani taking office.

The full report by MEMRI on Iranian officials contradicting U.S. media and public officials can be found here.—Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 03:40 PM |  Comments (1)

August 11, 2015

What Intell Tells about Iran, Contrary to Baltimore Sun Commentary

The Baltimore Sun published an evasive opinion piece by a conspiracy theorist in favor of the nuclear weapons deal reached by negotiators for the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany with Iran. It did not publish CAMERA's rebuttal letter, so here it is:

"Commentary writer Ray McGovern (“No more ‘military option,’” July 21, 2015) omits essential details regarding a prepared U.S. intelligence report on Iran and its purported nuclear program. By failing to note documented problems with the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the program and omitting geopolitical context, the author misleads readers on an important issue.

"McGovern—who routinely expounds conspiracy theories regarding the Iraq War and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (some of which appear at a “9/11 truth” Web site)—claims the 2007 NIE “concluded in November 2007 that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon at the end of 2003 and had not resumed that work.” Yet, he fails to note an important factor that may have influenced this alleged Iranian decision. By the end of 2003 large U.S. military forces had overthrown regimes in two countries that border Iran—Afghanistan and Iraq—and remained in place.

"Nor does McGovern reveal that even now the U.S. cannot be certain that Iran did in fact stop its program in 2003. That’s because the recent agreement reached between the Islamic Republic and the United States and its partners fails to commit Tehran to fully disclosing the history of its nuclear effort.

"McGovern, a former intelligence official turned fringe activist, also omits problems that can be found within the pages of the NIE itself. One big one: A footnote to the line proclaiming “in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program” clarifies that the estimate defines "nuclear weapons program" to exclude "Iran's declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment." Knowledge gained in such activity can be transferred, at least in part, to weapons development.

"Sun readers deserve more than a superficial gloss like McGovern’s when it comes to Iran’s alleged nuclear program.

Sincerely,
Sean Durns
Media Assistant
CAMERA
Washington, D.C."

When Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank described McGovern as a "liberal activist," CAMERA noted ("Washington Post-Watch: Post Trips When Bibi Meets Obama," July 8, 2010) that McGovern is "a former CIA official who helped found VIPS — Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity — [and] he's long blamed 'O.I.L.,' oil, Israel, and logistics, which he defines as the desire for permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, for dragging the United States into war against Saddam Hussein. He signed a petition claiming the U.S. government knew about the 9/11 plot; he blasted Obama for 'caving into Israel' in 2009 for not sustaining the pro-Saudi, pro-Chinese, anti-Israeli Chas. Freeman's nomination to chair the National Intelligence Council; he insists Israel intentionally attacked the U.S.S. Liberty spy ship during the 1967 Six-Day War although U.S. and Israeli investigations determined the assault was accidental. " The Baltimore Sun could benefit from a little more due diligence when vetting freelance Op-Eds.


Posted by ER at 11:26 AM |  Comments (0)

August 10, 2015

Saudis and ISIS Versus Each Other and Shi'ites

The Washington Post reminded readers that the brutal Islamic State movement and Saudi Arabia’s U.S-supported monarchy “espouse similar conservative views of Sunni Islam” (“Suicide blast hits Saudi mosque; Islamic State claims attack near Yemeni border, threatens more,” Aug. 7, 2015). A suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State on August 6 in Asir, Saudi Arabia reportedly killed more than a dozen people.

The dead included at least 10 Saudi security personal and three workers. The bomber struck a Sunni mosque near the border with Yemen in an apparent attempt both to hurt the Saudi monarchy, which opposes the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS or the Islamic State), and generate more tension along the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. While Saudi Arabia’s influential Wahhabi clerics as well as ISIS deem “Shiites as apostates… Saudi officials permit Shiite worship and rites.”

Although both the Saudi government and the Islamic State adhere to puritanical schools of Sunni Islam, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for numerous recent suicide bombings in the kingdom, The Post reported.

In Yemen, the Saudis are leading a military intervention by several Sunni-dominated Arab countries against Houthi rebels believed to be supported by Shiite Iran’s Islamic revolutionary government. “Suicide blast hits Saudi mosque” was a useful reminder that, among other things, in intra-Arab and intra-Muslim conflicts, pro-Western doesn’t necessarily mean moderate.--Rosie Lenoff, Intern

Posted by ER at 04:09 PM |  Comments (0)

WSJ Book Review Takes on "Holocaust Syndrome"

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Author and former AP reporter and editor Matti Friedman has previously, like CAMERA, drawn attention to the inaccuracies in media coverage of Israel. Now, in a sharp and funny book review in The Wall Street Journal, Friedman turns his gaze to “non-fiction” inaccuracies. In a review of Padraig O’Malley’s “The Two-State Delusion,” Friedman points out:

More work should have gone into ensuring accuracy. The author asserts, for example, that Israel’s military victory in 1967 resulted from “massive U.S. assistance,” when there wasn’t massive U.S. military assistance before 1967. (France was then the main arms supplier; the planes that won the war were Mirages and Mystères.) We learn that Ariel Sharon was an agriculture minister in 1971 and that this has something to do with the genesis of the settlements; he wasn’t, and it doesn’t. The author describes Israeli soldiers carrying their Uzis “nonchalantly,” which is a nice touch. But no Israeli soldiers carry the Uzi, which was deemed obsolete after the 1973 war and removed from frontline service after that. The word “homeland” is quoted pointedly from the Balfour Declaration of 1917, where that word doesn’t appear. Would it have been too much trouble to check the text? It’s a single sentence.

The sub-headline of the review is “The idea that a collective memory of the Holocaust renders Jewish judgment defective is somehow acceptable these days,” a point Friedman illuminates with this passage:

The “bonding, primal element” of the Jewish psyche, we learn, is the Holocaust. Israelis are in thrall to weapons because of the Holocaust; they are obtuse to the suffering of others because of the Holocaust; and in general they are sort of crazy because of the Holocaust. Actually, half of the Jewish population in Israel has roots in the Islamic world. Their families were displaced by Muslims, not Nazis. Israelis think many of their neighbors are out to destroy Israel not because of the Holocaust, but because many of their neighbors say they are out to destroy Israel. Israel’s actions in the Middle East, in other words, have to do with its experience in the Middle East. The country’s objective success against long odds would have to indicate that at least some of its decisions have been reality-based, if not quite reasonable.

The idea that a collective memory renders Jewish judgment defective seems to be something acceptable to say aloud these days in connection with Israel, which is why I’ve dwelled on it. It’s important to point out not only that this observation is wrong, but that it is a patronizing ethnic smear. I don’t like the careless generalizations in Mr. O’Malley’s book or his shaky grasp of the facts. But I don’t think they have anything to do with the potato famine.

The entire review, unlike the book apparently, is worth reading.

Posted by SC at 12:17 PM |  Comments (1)

August 06, 2015

USA Today Good on Israeli PTSD, Until the Last Line

USA Today’s “For Israeli kids, a trigger for trauma” (June 4, 2015), noted the emotional toll on children living under constant threat of terrorist rocket attacks. And not just children; reporter Michele Chabin showed the effect even civil defense drills can have on adults in Israel.

However, the otherwise informative dispatch ends by observing that “in Gaza, the children don’t even have” access to bomb shelters like most Israeli youngsters do.

It doesn’t tell readers that in the Gaza Strip—ruled by U.S.-designated terror group Hamas—the leaders spend billions of dollars on rockets and cross-boundary tunnels to strike at Israelis while they expect their own civilians to serve and sometimes die as “human shields.” Why no civilian shelters in Gaza? They’re not a Hamas priority.

(The above item is a slightly-expanded version of a CAMERA letter to USA Today that was not published.) -- by Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 05:23 PM |  Comments (1)

Antisemitic Regimes Should be Taken at Their Word, says Historian of Holocaust and Islamic Radicalism

University of Maryland Prof. Jeffrey Herf is the author of acclaimed works on the Holocaust, modern European history and antisemitism. These include Reactionary Modernism, The Jewish Enemy, and Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World among others. His July 2 essay for The Times of Israel, “Taking the Ideas of Others Seriously: A Lesson From German History and the Iran Nuclear Issue,” is based on Herf’s May 3, 2015 address to CAMERA’s annual board luncheon in New York City. The essay relates to the current debate over the agreement reached between the United States, Germany, France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and the Islamic Republic of Iran over the latter’s purported nuclear program—and what Herf insists is the concurrent need to heed Iranian rhetoric that is a “mix of Nazi propaganda, Islamist ideology, and a peculiarly Iranian vision of world domination.”

“The Iran debate has never been about Right and Left in any conventional sense of those terms,” Herf observes, “It has been about whether the leaders of the United States government actually believe that the Iranian leaders believe what they say again and again.”

Herf warns that the Islamic Republic—which regularly calls for “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”—should be taken at its word.

The professor notes that “the problem of underestimating the role of ideology in politics remains very much with us.” It’s a problem evidenced in Adolf Hitler’s rise and simultaneous inability of “intellectuals and policymakers” to take the German dictator’s Jew-hatred seriously.

“On numerous occasions beginning in 1939,” the CAMERA speaker noted, “Hitler publicly announced that he intended to ‘exterminate the Jewish race in Europe.’…Contrary to some conventional wisdom, he did not keep his policies about the Jews a secret, nor did he speak in euphemisms. He spoke bluntly and often about his intention to exterminate the Jews.” In a Jan. 30, 1941 speech the dictator proclaimed that “the role of Jews in Europe would be finished.”

Herf notes that in an editorial the next day, The New York Times brushed off Hitler’s proclamation, calling the dictators words “worthless.” Why did it do so? Why—he wonders—did so many feel that Hilter could be appeased and his threats were meaningless?

In Herf’s estimation this dismissiveness stemmed from a “Western tradition” in which “sophistication or ‘realism’ about the ways of the world means the refusal to take the ideas of others seriously as guides to their actions. It means,” Herf says, “viewing the ideas of others as tools, instruments, techniques, and methods in the service of other unstated but actually far more fundamental purposes. For the realist and the sophisticate, in this sense, to take the ideas of others seriously, especially when these ideas offend our understanding of common sense, is a sign of naivety and gullibility.”

Put bluntly, it’s a “rationalist bias” which allows self-styled “realists” to dismiss antisemitic conspiracy theories and threats of violence against Jews as being ridiculous on grounds that those issuing such threats and espousing those theories can’t “possibly believe such rubbish.”

Yet, Herf notes that the antisemitic beliefs of Hitler are alive and well today—including among the leaders of an Iran purportedly seeking nuclear weapons. “At its core,” he says, “the debate about Iran is one about how we interpret the core beliefs of the Iranian regime and whether we take these ideas seriously as policy.”

The noted Holocaust historian warns:

“Hilter was exceptional in many ways but he was not unusual in history in acting on the basis of firmly held beliefs. Previous generations found it hard to take those absurdities with the seriousness they deserve. We have no excuse for repeating their blunders or for reassuring ourselves optimistically that things will turn out for the best.”

The full text of Prof. Herf’s article derived from his speech to CAMERA can be found here. —Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 03:29 PM |  Comments (0)

August 05, 2015

Most Palestinians want economic cooperation with Israel, poll shows

A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion and sponsored by a D.C.-based think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has findings that may be new to those who’ve followed the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Washington Institute fellow David Pollock characterized as a “surprise” a response that most Palestinian Arabs in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank (Judea and Samaria) want economic cooperation with Israel. He notes that “a majority (55 percent) in the West Bank, and nearly as many in Gaza (48 percent), also say they would ‘like to see Israeli companies offer more jobs inside’ those areas.”

This desire for jobs corresponds with what residents in areas polled stated to be their priorities: family and money. Only 14 percent of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and 24 percent of Gazans polled said that “working to establish a Palestinian state” was their top priority. In contrast, “making enough money to live” and “having a good family life” polled much higher in both areas.

The Palestinian emphasis on increased economic cooperation contrasts with the stated objectives of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, advocated by groups like the Jewish Voice for Peace and others who support the economic ghettoization of Israel. BDS was founded by Palestinian “civil society groups”—including U.S.-listed terror groups Hamas and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade of Fatah, and Syrian extremist groups. The latter of these groups have the stated objective of destroying Israel; the BDS movement seeks to wage economic warfare against the Jewish state. Although such a goal appears to be in conflict with many Palestinian Arabs—as this data illustrates.

The poll also showed a sharp difference in the opinions of West Bank Arabs and those in the Strip regarding “responsibility for the slow pace of reconstruction in Gaza.” Forty percent of the former put most of the blame on Israel. Conversely, a plurality (40 percent) of those actually living in Gaza blamed Hamas—which has ruled the region since the first and only elections in 2006—more than they blamed Israel (29 percent).

By a large majority, Gazans (88 percent) said the Palestinian Authority (PA)—which through the corrupt Fatah organization currently rules the West Bank and was ousted from Gaza by a violent Hamas-led coup in 2007—“should take over the administration” there.

When it comes to peace with Israel, 58 percent of West Bankers and 65 percent of Gazans polled said that even if a “two-state solution” is negotiated, “the struggle is not over and resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine [Israel] is liberated.” In other words, Palestinian Arabs in both areas want to see Israel destroyed. 56 percent of the respondents in the West Bank and 84 percent in Gaza support the use of violent attacks to achieve this end. Despite this pronounced support for violence, 74 percent of West Bankers and 83 percent of Gazans say “Hamas should maintain a ceasefire with Israel.”

The survey firm, based in Beit Sahour in the West Bank, conducted its poll from June 7-19, interviewing representative samples of 513 Palestinians in the West Bank and 408 in Gaza, with an estimated margin of error of about 4.9 percent. The rest of the findings of the poll can be found here.Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 03:31 PM |  Comments (1)

Kerry in The Atlantic: Israeli Opposition to Iran Deal "Emotional"

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Secretary of State John Kerry gave a lengthy interview to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in which he tries to make the case for Congress to support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran Deal.

Perhaps deal supporters should ask Kerry to stop trying to sell the deal.

In the interview, he says that Congressional rejection of the deal would be “the ultimate screwing” of Iran. To the majority of Americans, that may sound like a good thing.

Kerry claims the Iran deal is good for Israel:

Kerry: Look, I’ve gone through this backwards and forwards a hundred times and I’m telling you, this deal is as pro-Israel, as pro-Israel’s security, as it gets. And I believe that just saying no to this is, in fact, reckless.

Goldberg: So why do you think you can’t convince the majority of Israelis, or the majority of the organized Jewish community, of this?

Kerry: Because there’s a huge level of fear and mistrust and, frankly, there’s an inherent sense that, given Iran’s gains and avoidance in the past, that somehow they’re going to avoid something again. It’s a visceral feeling, it’s very emotional and visceral and I’m very in tune with that and very sensitive to that.

In other words, Israeli leaders across the political spectrum, Israeli military experts and the vast majority of the Israeli people are just hysterical. In fact, he seems to think Israelis make too much of constant Iranian threats to destroy the Jewish state:

Goldberg: Do you believe that Iranian leaders sincerely seek the elimination of the Jewish state?

Kerry: I think they have a fundamental ideological confrontation with Israel at this particular moment. Whether or not that translates into active steps to, quote, “Wipe it,” you know...

Goldberg: Wipe it off the map.

Kerry: I don’t know the answer to that. I haven’t seen anything that says to me—they’ve got 80,000 rockets in Hezbollah pointed at Israel, and any number of choices could have been made. They didn’t make the bomb when they had enough material for 10 to 12. They’ve signed on to an agreement where they say they’ll never try and make one and we have a mechanism in place where we can prove that. So I don’t want to get locked into that debate. I think it’s a waste of time here.

Kerry “doesn’t know” if Iran is serious about eliminating Israel and that considering that issue is “a waste of time.” That may be true for Kerry and the rest of the Obama administration, but for Israelis, it’s hard to imagine what would be a better use of time.

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Posted by SC at 09:34 AM |  Comments (0)

August 04, 2015

Where's the Coverage: Jewish Athletes Threatened in Berlin

The European Maccabi Games—a Jewish sporting event held every four years and also open to non-Jews—took place this July in Berlin, Germany. Jewish athletes were faced with threats and intimidation that went widely unreported in most major media outlets.

According to The Jerusalem Post (“Euro Maccabi games marred by anti-Semitism in Berlin,” July 1), Berlin police noted that two “youths” hurled antisemitic insults at six Jewish men while tossing “an object” at the group, before fleeing. The incident occurred in the city’s Neukolln district, which has a large Muslim population. It was not the only case of violence and harassment apparently connected to the Maccabi Games.

“A man with an Arab background” was arrested for yelling antisemitic slurs at two security guards at the hotel housing more than 2,000 athletes and others associated with the games. The Jerusalem Post notesd that hotel is only “900 meters from the Al-Nur Mosque, a hotbed of radical Islam.”

Jewish athletes were warned about traveling in large groups in Neukolln and told not to wear “visibly Jewish items,” such as Stars of David and kippahs. It was also recommended that Jews travel in taxis and avoid “sensitive areas of Berlin”; those with high Muslim populations often hostile to Jewish people.

Many athletes—mindful of the Olympics hosted by Hitler’s Germany in 1936 Berlin—harbored high hopes for the games, The New York Times noted in its pre-event coverage (“At Maccabi Games, Jewish Athletes Vie for Medals While Mindful of Past,” July 27). As The Times noted, descendants of Jewish athletes barred from the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin were invited to “honor the past while sending a clear message about the survival of Jewish life into the present.”

Yet, while The Times covered the expectations of the games, it did not report the attacks against Jewish athletes. Many other major media outlets similarly failed to provide coverage. The Los Angeles Times alone—in a 96-word Times Wire Report item—mentioned that a “well-known” Berlin landmark was “defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti”(“World Briefing; Germany; Anti-Semitic slogan mars Wall,” Aug. 2). That landmark was a painting on a remnant of the Berlin Wall showing the Star of David in the middle of a German flag.

More detailed coverage of the targeted attacks against Jews in a city and country defaced with its own history of murderous antisemitism was largely absent from U.S. papers.

In his coverage of the attacks for ,The Jerusalem Post, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Fellow Benjamin Weinthal noted 2014 witnessed “192 criminal acts of anti-Semitism in Berlin…..The American Jewish Committee’s Berlin office told The Post that there were additional 15 acts of violence and 70 incidents of anti-Semitic outbreaks.”

This corresponds to a 2015 study by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center, which found a marked increase in antisemetic violence, as CAMERA has noted (“Violent antisemetic attacks up 40 percent—Where’s the Coverage,” April 21).

Violent attacks on Jews in Germany’s capital during a sporting event meant to transcend the Nazi ban on Jewish competitors in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Where’s the coverage?—Sean Durns

Posted by ER at 04:59 PM |  Comments (1)

Americans Oppose Iran Deal 2 to 1

USA Today has reported on a new Quinnipiac University poll:

American voters oppose the Iran nuclear agreement by a two-to-one margin, with 57% in opposition and just 28% in support, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll released today.

A similar margin, 58%, said the pact will make the world less safe.

[…]

“There’s not a lot of love for the proposed nuclear deal with Iran. Only a bare majority of Democrats support the pact,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

The detailed release on the poll shows that an overwhelming majority of both men and women disapprove of the deal and believe it will make the world less safe:

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Posted by SC at 10:02 AM |  Comments (0)

In AFP Captions, Only Palestinians Are Peace Activists

On Sunday, an Israeli peace group organized an event drawing together Israelis and Palestinians who stood together against violence and for peace. Why did Agence France-Presse call only the Palestinians "peace activists" while referring to the Israeli participants as "Jewish settlers"?

The Aug. 2 event, organized by the Israeli peace group Tag Meir, took place along a major West Bank between Jerusalem and Hebron. In captions accompanying a series of photographs, the AFP wire service drew a remarkable distinction between Israeli and Palestinian participants.

Out of all seven of the captions, AFP consistently identified Palestinian participants as "Palestinian peace activists." At the same time, in all seven captions, the news agency called Israeli participants "Jewish settlers," or, in one instance, "Jewish man." A sampling of the images and captions follows.

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CAMERA has asked AFP: Are the Israelis demonstrating against violence and in favor of peace not "peace activists?" Why the partial and inconsistent terminology?

Posted by TS at 06:29 AM |  Comments (5)

August 03, 2015

Iran Deal Enforcement Hoax Revealed in, Yes, NY Times

Even the New York Times sometimes gets it right. In this case, not with its reporting but by bucking the editorial pages’ usual practice and running an Op-Ed that doesn’t wholeheartedly embrace Obama administration arguments.

In “The Iran Deal’s Dangerous Precedent,” former American Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton writes about the extremely flawed enforcement provisions in the proposed Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action:

If Iran is caught transgressing, Mr. Obama’s plan is not to use force, but to apply “snapback sanctions.” His administration has argued repeatedly that such sanctions (or even new sanctions) will deter or punish violations, keeping the deal on track and Iran clear of nuclear weapons. This rationale conforms to the underlying logic for the talks themselves: If sanctions brought Iran to the table, then sanctions will keep the deal viable once implementation begins.

Unfortunately, the mechanism to address violations is as flawed as the deal’s underlying logic. For the president’s predictions of Iranian behavior to come true (and they are central to successful implementation), Tehran must recognize the inevitability of the pain their country will suffer for straying from compliance.

Yet the very language of the Vienna deal demonstrates the opposite. In two provisions (Paragraphs 26 and 37), Iran rejects the legitimacy of sanctions coming back into force. These passages expressly provide, in near identical words, that “Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA” — Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — “in whole or in part.”

Thus the inexorable pattern will not be: Iran violates the deal; sanctions snap back; Iran resumes compliance. Quite the reverse. The far more likely future is: Iran violates the deal; sanctions snap back; Iran tells us, using a diplomatic term of art, to take our deal and stuff it.

Abrogating the deal, of course, would come only after Iran had reaped the economic benefits of having its assets unfrozen and the sanctions ended.

The Times has a documented practice of tilting its opinion pages against Israel, and has embraced the proposed Iran deal which Israeli leaders across the political spectrum believe poses a serious, even existential threat to Israel. At least in this case, the paper has freed a few column inches for a real opposing point of view.

Posted by SC at 03:14 PM |  Comments (1)