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July 31, 2017

Half of Foreign Aid to Palestinian Authority Goes to Terrorists, Media Shrugs

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The new budget for the Palestinian Authority (PA) increases aid to imprisoned terrorists and their families by 13 percent, according to a July 19, 2017 report by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a non-profit organization that monitors Arab media in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), eastern Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Yet, many major media outlets have failed to cover this development.

PMW noted that the PA, which rules the West Bank, is spending $355 million U.S. dollars (USD) this year on directly funding terrorism. PMW highlighted that a “prisoner’s salary increases with jail time”; the greater the crime and penalty, the greater the pay-off.

The United States and some European Union (EU) countries have called for the PA—which is a major recipient of their aid—to halt funding for terrorists. Yet, the authority, currently led by Fatah movement head Mahmoud Abbas, has only increased expenditures.

The World Jewish Congress noted that a teacher in PA-ruled areas makes roughly the equivalent of 640.00 USD a month. By contrast, an imprisoned terrorist can make as much as $3,500.00 USD a month—more than five times what an educator would make. This provides an incentive for anti-Jewish violence.

It also violates several laws that are of interest to both the U.S. and the EU.

According to Alan Baker, a legal expert with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), an Israeli think tank, the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism “criminalizes the provision of funding, directly or indirectly, for any use connected with terrorism.” The U.S., since 2002, has been a party to this convention, and the 1977 European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, reaffirms it.

Similarly, the 2006 U.N. Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Plan of Action repeats, “the resolve of member states to prevent and combat terrorism, including through refraining from financing terror, and specifically encourages states to implement international standards on money laundering and terrorist financing.”

In 2012, the PA was awarded non-member Observer State status by the U.N.

Yet, as CAMERA highlighted in a May 17, 2017 Op-Ed in The Hill, the PA’s very own laws call for financing terrorism. Palestinian laws passed in 2004 and in 2013 stipulate that convicted terrorists receive monthly “salaries.” Additionally, cash grants and priority civil-service jobs are awarded to those who carry out terror attacks. A 2004 law even specifies that this incentive is specifically for the “fighting sector” an “integral part of the fabric of Arab Palestinian society.”

In June 2017, the Trump administration briefly claimed that the PA had stopped payments to terrorists—a claim immediately denied by the authority. Nevertheless, the administration continued to "endorse a budget proposal that would increase aid to the Palestinian government by nearly five percent," The Washington Free Beacon noted ("Trump to Boost Aid to Palestinians Despite Ongoing Aid to Terrorists, June 14, 2017).

Many major media outlets have failed to report PA payments to terrorists. Some, such as The Washington Post and The Hill, even ran Op-Eds that sought to portray the payments as “social welfare,” as CAMERA has pointed out (see, for exampleThe Washington Post Passes on Palestinian Incitement,” Algemeiner, July 24, 2017).

According to a Lexis-Nexis search, many major media outlets, such as The Washington Post, USA Today, The Baltimore Sun, and others, failed to note PMW’s recent report.

The New York Post, however, highlighted the PA’s decision to increase financial incentives to terrorists in a July 28, 2017 commentary by the paper’s editorial board. The paper said that “The Palestinian Authority now uses half of all foreign aid to reward terror.” Given the media’s obsession with the Arab-Israeli conflict in general, and the “peace process” in particular, the failure to report such pertinent information is striking.

Posted by SD at 02:11 PM |  Comments (0)

July 28, 2017

The Washington Post Details Al-Aqsa Incitement

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A Washington Post report by Jerusalem bureau chief William Booth provided readers with a look at Palestinian anti-Jewish violence and incitement (“A young Palestinian vowed to die a martyr, then stabbed 3 members of an Israeli family to death,” July 25, 2017).

Booth detailed the actions of a Palestinian Arab named Omar al-Abed who “stabbed three members of the Salomon family to death Friday night in the Jewish settlement of Halamish, as they began to lay the table with food and drink, with sweets and whiskeys, to celebrate the birth of the newest grandson.”

Prior to the attack, al-Abed called “Jews ‘pigs and monkey,’” The Post noted.

The paper also reported—if not in full detail—on the use of the al-Aqsa libel. As CAMERA has frequently highlighted, Palestinian Arab leaders have a history of claiming that Jews want to “rid” Jerusalem of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is located on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), in a lengthy report on the subject, noted that the, “‘Al-Aqsa is in danger’ is a classic libel that was embroidered in the first half of the twentieth century against the Jewish people, the Zionist movement and, eventually, the State of Israel.” This lie has often preceded Palestinian anti-Jewish violence (for examples, see “The Battle over Jerusalem and The Temple Mount,” CAMERA, July 24, 2017).

On several occasions, including most recently in a July 24, 2017 Algemeiner Op-Ed, CAMERA has pointed out how many in the media, including The Post, have failed to inform readers about the al-Aqsa libel despite its ongoing relevance (“The Washington Post Passes on Palestinian Incitement”).

However, in his July 25, 2017 dispatch, Booth pointed out that al-Abed made a Facebook post prior to the attack, in which he stated “All I have is a sharpened knife and it answers for al-Aqsa.” The report said that al-Abed’s father similarly exhorted, “All of us would die for al-Aqsa” and that many Palestinians “support” his son because “what he did was for al-Aqsa.”

The Post noted that al-Abed’s mother was arrested by Israeli forces for incitement “after a video of her appeared of her sharing sweets with well-wishers and saying she was proud of her son.” As CAMERA pointed out in a 2016 Washington Examiner Op-Ed (“Missing the Palestinian after terror after-party”), Palestinians often hand out candy to celebrate terror attacks—a gruesome tradition that the media frequently overlooks.

To its credit, The Post also dismissed al-Abed’s father’s claims that his son purposefully spared children in the attack—noting, “Survivors of the attack said Abed did no such thing.”

Although Palestinians were claiming that talk of installing metal detectors—a security measure prompted by a July 14, 2017 terror attack in which al-Aqsa mosque was used to hide weapons—was the reason for the violence, some Israelis told The Post this was nonsense. As one woman told the paper, “They don’t really need a reason to stab Jews.”

The Post also quoted an Israeli named Victor Waknine, who said, “The metal detectors? That is not the reason. There were no metal detectors when they murdered the Fogels, no metal detectors when they throw rocks at our cars, no metal detectors when they toss Molotov cocktails.”

Booth then informed readers that “Waknine was referring to a killing in 2011 in a nearby Jewish settlement, when two Palestinian assailants entered the home of Ehud and Ruth Fogel and stabbed them to death alongside three of their children,” including a 3-month-old baby.”

The Post’s report on Palestinian incitement is a welcome change from its previous history of frequently ignoring or minimizing anti-Jewish violence.

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

July 27, 2017

Insulting Apology from Islamic Center of Davis

"If the sermon was misconstrued, we sincerely apologize to anyone offended. We will continue our commitment to interfaith and community harmony."

That’s the dishonest, cowardly, meaningless, and insulting apology offered by the Islamic Center of Davis in California after Imam Ammar Shahin called for the annihilation of Jews during a sermon he gave on Friday, July 21, 2017. [See note below.]

After Shahin’s sermon was recorded and posted on the mosque’s website, it came to the attention of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) who translated it from Arabic into English for a shocked public.

In his vitriolic sermon, Imam Shahin, called on Allah to “liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews,” “destroy those who closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, ” and “count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them.” He also asked that these things happen at the hands of Muslims. Someone in the audience could very well take Imam Shahin’s sermon as an exhortation to kill Jews.

This is the type of incitement people have grown to expect from the imams at Al Aqsa Mosque and from pulpits in Iran, but to hear an imam call for the murder of Jews in such an explicit manner from a pulpit in the United States is another thing altogether.

This is America, where open calls for genocide and the annihilation of people from other religions and ethnicities are contrary to the rules of civil society that allow people from different countries and faith traditions to live together in peace.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has asked Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney to investigate the Imam Shahin’s hateful sermon, with good reason. This is the type of stuff that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini, said to incite anti-Jewish pogroms in 1929 and 1936. It is the type of stuff leaders in Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas said to encourage young Palestinians to murder Israelis during the recent stabbing intifada.

It simply has no place a modern, pluralistic, and civilized society.

Insulting Apology

It was bad enough that Imam Shahin said these things. It is even worse that the Islamic Center of Davis insulted the American people even further with a non-apology apology.

Here are a few excerpts from the “apology” and some relevant challenges:

The ICD states: “The ICD will always stand against anti-semitism similarly to how the Jewish community has always stood against Islamophobia in our close knit community. We have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism or any other form of bigotry.”

Response: If the ICD is so opposed to antisemitism, then why did its members allow Imam Shahin to continue with his sermon? If the ICD has zero tolerance for bigotry, then why did the center post a video of the hateful sermon on its website? Did its leadership not recognize the incitement for what it was?

The ICD states: “He also addressed the recent horrific events including the illegal closure, occupation, and attacks against Al-Aqsa Mosque, in addition to the killing and injuring of Muslim worshipers, including the wounding of the Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the prevention of worship and the call to prayer at the Mosque. Specifically, the Imam was referring to individuals that are contributing to this oppression.”

Response: Why is the ICD ignoring the relevant facts about the events at Al Aqsa Mosque? The recent conflict began with the murder of two Israeli policemen by jihadists who took refuge in the mosque after the attack. Why didn’t Imam Shahin condemn the jihadist murderers who killed two policemen in cold blood? And it was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who called on worshippers to refrain from praying at the mosque after Israel installed metal detectors, not Israel. Along these lines, will Imam Shahin condemn the murder of three Israeli Jews in Halamish by a Palestinian incited by inflammatory remarks from Palestinian leaders? The terrorist who committed these murders could very well point to Imam Shahin’s sermon as justification for his murders.

The ICD states: “MEMRI, an extremist agenda driven organization that supports Israel's occupation of Palestinian land, and other Islamophobic news organizations, accused Imam Shahin of anti-Semitism, quoting edited, mistranslated, passages of the sermon out of context.”

Response: If MEMRI got it wrong, exactly how? Did Imam Shahin ask Allah to kill and/or destroy Jews?

And exactly how were his statements taken out of context? And if MEMRI did take his statements out of context, then why did the ICD take the sermon down? Wouldn’t keeping the sermon up provide people with the evidence they needed to see that Imam’s Shahin’s statements were taken out of context? The fact is, the ICD was wrong to even post the video on the internet, and did the right thing in taking it down, because one way or another, Imam Shahin called for the deaths of Jews. MEMRI got it right and everyone knows it.

The ICD states: “MEMRI’s video included an edited segment about a Prophetic tradition dealing with the apocalyptic battle between Jesus and the Antichrist. Prophetic traditions addressing the end of times are not meant to address modern conflicts, the Imam was using the tradition to address unity and coming back to the faith.”

Response: If “prophetic traditions addressing end times are not meant to address modern conflicts,” then why did the Imam pray that modern-day Muslims have a hand on the destruction of modern-day Jews when he said, “"Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Oh Allah, make this happen by our hands. Let us play a part in this. Oh Allah, let us support them in words and in deeds. Oh Allah, let us support them in words and in deeds. Oh Allah, let us support them in words and in deeds."

This is clearly a call for Allah to bring about murders of Jews and for Muslims to participate in this project — in current time.

Who really needs to be told that traditions addressing end times are not meant to address modern conflicts — Imam Shahin or people who are shocked at his speech?

The ICD states: “During these emotional times it’s important for all parties to use restrained language and maintain respect.”

Response: Does asking Allah to annihilate and/or destroy Jews qualify as “restrained language?” Does it help “maintain respect” to cite hateful passages from the hadith that promote genocidal hostility toward Jews and apply them to modern-day conflicts? Again, who needs to be told about the importance of “restrained language” and “respect” — Imam Shahin or his shocked listeners?

Conclusion

It is time for the members of the Islamic Center of Davis to come to grips with what really happened at their house of worship. Their leader called for the murder of people in the name of God. The ICD’s weak apology indicates they have a lot of soul-searching to do before they come to grips with this reality.

July 28, 2017 Note: The Islamic Center of Davis has removed the apology from its website. The link is to the text archived on the Wayback Machine maintained by archive.org.

Posted by dvz at 11:32 AM |  Comments (1)

July 26, 2017

Israel Dismantles Security Measures, But Palestinian Leaders Continue to Encourage Riots

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Perhaps Palestinian President Abbas did not believe that Israel would so quickly back down from its newly implemented security measures for the Temple Mount following the murders of Israeli security guards near there. Perhaps he didn't think the metal detectors and cameras would be dismantled so quickly. After all, the perpetrators of the July 14th attack came directly from the Temple Mount with weapons they had smuggled there that same morning. And it is not as if metal detectors and security cameras are not routinely used everywhere -- from airports to religious sites -- to avoid such attacks. Visitors to the Western Wall pass through metal detectors, as do visitors to Mecca.

But this was simply another pretext for Abbas and his Fatah party to once again sound their battle cry "Defend Al Aqsa", as they've done before and as did their predecessors before them -- to great effect. Their calls for violent jihad on the basis of the bogus allegation that Jews are trying to destroy or take over Muslim holy sites has resulted in the murders and maiming of hundreds of Israelis, Jews and foreign visitors.

The last time Abbas used this pretext, calling on Muslims to defend their holy sites from Jews who would "defile" the site with "their filthy feet", the result was a wave of violence that included stabbings, car rammings and shootings, in which dozens of innocents were killed and hundreds more wounded. Thus, the installation of metal detectors provided a new excuse to re-invigorate anti-Israel violence. But after just a week of riling up the masses with calls to defend Muslim holy sites (a week in which three people at a Shabbat meal were slaughtered in a bloody terror attack inspired by the incitement), Abbas and his cohorts are not yet ready to stop, never mind the offending metal detectors and cameras having been removed. So they continue to accuse Israel of taking steps to change the status quo and Abbas, as well as Hamas, are calling for a "Day of Rage" (violent riots) on Friday. Palestinian Media Watch reports on Abbas' encouragement to anti-Israel rioters, published in today's official PA daily:

You have objected to all of the [Israeli] steps, and we have supported you in what you have done and what you are doing. We are with you in everything that you have done and are still doing, as you are causing us pride, and you are taking care of your Al-Aqsa Mosque, your land, your dignity, your people, your religion, and your holy sites. This is the response to everyone who wants to harm our holy sites. Jerusalem is ours. It is our capital and it is [under] our sovereignty, and therefore what you [Palestinians] are doing is right.'

Posted by RH at 02:44 PM |  Comments (1)

July 18, 2017

Former Peace Negotiator Acknowledges Mistakes

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Aaron David Miller


A former American Arab-Israeli peace negotiator, Aaron David Miller, acknowledged that the U.S. “overlooked” negative Palestinian behavior in its attempts to fashion a two-state solution. Miller, a former U.S. State Department employee and long-time author and commentator on the Middle East, made his remarks at a July 11, 2017 book launch at the Washington D.C.-based think tank, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD).

The event, attended by the press, policymakers and CAMERA, featured Miller, as well as FDD analyst Grant Rumley and Ha’aretz contributor Amir Tabon, both of whom were promoting their recent book The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas.

Politico’s Susan Glasser moderated a discussion between the three panelists, much of which revolved around the future of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and has been led for twelve years by Abbas.

Miller, who participated in Arab-Israeli negotiations from the 1980s through the early 2000s, reflected on what American negotiators missed, noting:

“We overlooked—in terms of the state-building capacity—we overlooked so many bad forms of behavior in the maybe well-intentioned pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace—corruption, authoritarian behavior, incitement—largely because the Israelis, however annoyed and disturbed they were by these trends, were also prepared to subordinate them to the overall goal and objective, and you see the consequences now. Same issues are there.”

“One of the things that we foolishly never understood about Arafat [Yasser Arafat, Abbas’ predecessor],” Miller said, was that “he never gave up the gun from the beginning…”

Miller pointed out that these Palestinian institutional issues are endemic and stated, “the last thing the Middle East needs now—and Palestinians deserve a functional state for many reasons—is a broken, failed one.”

The panelists’ discussion on Palestinian politics—a topic they all agreed was widely ignored by the media—also focused on who might succeed Abbas, an octogenarian who hasn’t stood for elections in more than a decade. Miller suggested Mohammad Dahlan, a former Fatah operative currently being embraced by the rival movement Hamas, as a possibility. Rumley stated that its currently a “competing race” between Marwan Barghouti, an imprisoned murderer and terrorist, and Jibril Rajoub “who hails from the security apparatuses.”

Rumley also highlighted the chaos and confusion that might happen in the event of a succession:

“What happened when Arafat passed was power went to the speaker of the PA’s parliament for 60 days while elections were prepared. That’s what Palestinian basic law says is supposed to happen. The problem with that now is that Hamas won the 2006 elections, so the speaker of parliament is a member of Hamas. It’s unlikely in any scenario that the Fatah-dominated PA is going to give power, even temporarily, to a member of Hamas.”

Now, if not yesterday, might be a good time for the media to start devoting more attention to internal Palestinian affairs.

Posted by SD at 10:47 AM |  Comments (2)

The Washington Post Notes Growing Hamas-Fatah Tensions

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Mohammad Dahlan


A July 13, 2017 Washington Post report (“Abbas increases Gazans’ pain in feud with Hamas”) highlighted growing tensions between Hamas, the U.S.-designated terror group that rules the Gaza Strip, and Fatah, the movement that dominates the Palestinian Authority (PA), which controls the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). The front-page article is a welcome departure from the paper’s history of underreporting Palestinian affairs, a problem that CAMERA has documented and brought to the attention of Post staff.

Jerusalem bureau chief William Booth and reporter Hazem Balousha noted that PA “President Mahmoud Abbas is pursuing a high-risk campaign in the Gaza Strip” by reducing salaries for Gaza-based PA-employees, withholding permissions for medical patients to leave and cutting payments for the electricity provided to Gaza by Israel.

The Post pointed out that Abbas’ strategy is filled with risks, including Hamas attacking Israel in an attempt to draw Israel into the internecine Palestinian conflict. Citing an interview that Abbas, who also leads the Fatah movement that dominates the PA, gave to Asharq Al-Aswat newspaper, the paper noted that the Palestinian leader was “prepared to go even further, threatening to impose sanctions against Hamas and free funds for its leaders.” Such tactics, Booth and Balousha say, are “unprecedented in the decade-long split between the rulers of Gaza and the West Bank.”

The report noted that the lack of power has resulted in rolling blackouts, factories shutting down and pressure on “Gaza’s dysfunctional sewage system.”

It’s a precipitous time to put pressure on Hamas. The Post correctly highlighted that Egypt has outlawed “the Muslim Brotherhood, the progenitor of Hamas,” and other long-time supporters and enablers, such as Qatar and Turkey, have been facing pressure as late.

Increased tensions between Hamas and Fatah, as well as problems confronting the former, have led to weird bedfellows. The dispatch detailed Hamas’ recent embrace of a former Fatah operative named Mohammad Dahlan, who was exiled by Abbas in 2011. Before the PA President—currently in the twelfth year of a single elected four-year term—expelled him as a possible rival, Dahlan was his enforcer tasked with running the authority’s security services in the Gaza Strip—a role that naturally brought him in conflict with Hamas. Now, under the auspices of Hamas, he’s looking to reenter Gaza and the Palestinian political fray.

In several recent Op-Eds (see here, here and here, for examples), CAMERA has highlighted how The Post frequently neglects internal Palestinian affairs, including Abbas’ autocratic tendencies and possible rivals, as well as the energy crisis in the Gaza Strip. The net effect of only covering Palestinians through an Israel-fixated lens, as CAMERA told Post staff in an June 2017 meeting, is to deprive them of independent agency—and to deprive readers of the full story.

This report is a welcome, if belated, change.

Posted by SD at 10:14 AM |  Comments (0)

Wall Street Journal Wrong on the Wall

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The Wall Street Journal is the latest media outlet to err on the Western Wall, misidentifying it as Judaism's holiest site. The July 14 article by Nancy Shekter-Porat ("Israeli Police Officers Shot Dead in Jerusalem Temple Mount Attack") erred:

Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City, was the location of an ancient Jewish temple. It is bordered on one side by the Western Wall, considered the holiest site in Judaism. Al Aqsa mosque, which sits on the esplanade, is the third holiest site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. (Emphasis added.)

The Western Wall is not Judaism's holiest site; the Temple Mount, the site of the first and second temples which housed the Holy of Holies (the inner sanctuary where the Ark of the Covenant was located), holds that distinction. The Western Wall, a retaining wall of the Temple Mount compound, obtained its holy status due to its proximity to the Holy of Holies. It is the holiest site where Jewish prayer is permitted, as Jews are prohibited from praying at the Temple Mount, their holiest site.

Multiple media outlets including The New York Times and The Washington Post, The Telegraph, BBC and many more, have corrected this identical error.

CAMERA has contacted The Journal to request a correction. Stay tuned for an update.

Posted by TS at 04:19 AM |  Comments (0)

July 12, 2017

Poll: Majority of Palestinians Support Payments to Terrorists

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Ninety-one percent of Palestinians are opposed to the suspension of Palestinian Authority (PA) payments to prisoners, including terrorists, being held in Israeli jails, according to a recent poll by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).

PSR conducted the poll in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between June 29 and July 1, 2017, with a sample size of 1200.

PSR highlighted other important findings, including that strong majorities of Palestinians are opposed to the PA’s decisions to cut employee salaries in the Gaza Strip (88 percent) and to stop covering Israeli-supplied electricity to Gaza (84 percent). Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror group and rival to Fatah, which dominates the PA.

According to PSR, many Palestinians who were surveyed viewed “these measures as aiming at imposing economic hardships on the population in order to force it to reject Hamas’ rule. Very few people think that the PA has taken these measures due to the financial problems [that] it currently faces.”

PSR’s recent poll also noted that 69 percent of Palestinians believed that a recent hunger strike by Marwan Barghouti “enhanced his leadership status.” As CAMERA highlighted in an Algemeiner Op-Ed, Barghouti is a convicted terrorist and murderer who is incarcerated in an Israeli prison. Barghouti used his prisoner status to launch a “hunger strike” in order to gain political popularity and influence—although many in the media omitted this reason behind Barghouti’s political machinations, choosing instead to portray him as a “freedom fighter” protesting supposed indignations he claims to have suffered in incarceration.

Barghouti’s ploy seems to have worked; the survey noted that if presidential elections were held today between PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Barghouti, the latter would be the most popular candidate.

Poll results also reflected strong dissatisfaction within Palestinian society: Only eight percent of Gazan Arabs and twenty-four percent of West Bank Palestinians voiced a “positive evaluation of conditions” in their respective societies. An astonishing 79 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank said that PA institutions were corrupt and 58 percent said that people “cannot criticize the PA without fear.” Indeed, PSR highlighted that the polls showed that “the most serious problem confronting Palestinian society today is the spread of corruption in public institutions.”

Nonetheless, as CAMERA has pointed out in a recent Times of Israel Op-Ed, “When The Washington Post Makes Palestinians Disappear,” many media outlets routinely ignore internal Palestinian affairs and developments; only reporting on them when links to Israel can be made, or even conjured.

PSR’s poll can be found here.

Posted by SD at 09:42 AM |  Comments (3)

July 10, 2017

Hamas: We ‘Salute and Support’ BDS

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The boycott, divestment and sanctions effort (BDS) that seeks to delegitimize Israel received an endorsement from Hamas on July 5, 2017. Hamas, the U.S.-designated terror group that rules the Gaza Strip, tweeted: “We salute and support the influential BDS movement.”

Hamas’ declaration of support is hardly surprising.

Hamas seeks the destruction of the Jewish state and the genocide of its inhabitants. As CAMERA has noted, BDS itself has links to individuals and organizations tied to Hamas. Jonathan Schanzer, a former analyst of terror networks for the U.S. Treasury Department, noted these links in testimony delivered before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on April 19, 2016.

One organization linked to Hamas is American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). Schanzer noted that AMP is a “leading driver of the BDS campaign. AMP’s campus activities are extensive. AMP is arguably the most important sponsor and organizer for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is the most visible arm of the BDS campaign on campuses in the United States. It provides speakers, training, printed materials, a so-called ‘Apartheid Wall,' and grants to SJP activists.”

Schanzer stated that the organization spent $100,000 on college campuses in 2014 alone. The group has a campus coordinator on staff to work directly with SJP and “other pro-BDS campus groups across the country.”

AMP also has strong ties to Hamas-linked “charities,” including the now-defunct Holy Land Foundations (HLF).

According to the U.S. Treasury Department: “HLF support Hamas activities through direct fund transfers to its offices in the West Bank and Gaza that are affiliated with Hamas and transfers of funds to Islamic charity committees (‘zakat committees') and other charitable organizations that are part of Hamas or controlled by Hamas members. Mousa Mohamed Abu Marzook, a political leader of Hamas, provided substantial funds to the Holy Land Foundation in the early 1990s. In 1994, Marzook (who was named a Specially Designated Terrorist by the Treasury Department in 1995) designated HLF as the primary fund-raising entity for Hamas in the United States. HLF funds were used by Hamas to support schools that served Hamas ends by encouraging children to become suicide bombers and to recruit suicide bombers by offering support to their families.”

BDS advocates often claim that the effort has its origins in organic “civil society groups.” Yet, as a CAMERA Op-Ed in The Hill pointed out, U.S. listed terrorist groups, including the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade and non-Palestinian Syrian extremist organizations, played a role in founding and supporting the BDS movement (“More Distortions on Israel,” May 19, 2015).

The media should not ignore the close links between Hamas and BDS.

Posted by SD at 08:04 AM |  Comments (0)

July 06, 2017

AFP's Double Standard on Hebron Massacres: 1929 vs. 1994

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Members of the Slonim family, murdered in the 1929 Hebron massacre

When it comes to two brutal massacres in Hebron, one in 1929 and the other in 1994, Agence France Presse coverage displays an egregious double standard.

Today's article, "Palestinians, Israelis square off on UNESCO vote on Hebron," fails to give even the most basic information about the 1929 massacre, stating only:

There had been a Jewish community there for decades earlier, but they were forced out by attacks in British mandatory Palestine.

AFP fails to note who carried out the attacks (local Arabs). It fails to note the outcome of the attack: 67 murdered Jews and 60 wounded. And it fails to note the nature of the attack: an enraged Arab mob wielding knives, axes and iron bars killed all of the Jewish students in the local yeshiva and the mob slaughtered a delegation of Jewish residents on their way to the police station. The mob also broke into the home of Rabbi Ya'akov Slonim, where Jews were seeking refuges, and murdered him, his family and all those sheltering there. Dutch-Canadian journalist Pierre Van Passen described the scene at Rabbi Slonim's house:

we found the twelve-foot-high ceiling splashed with blood. The rooms looked like a slaughterhouse . . . I intended to gather up the severed sexual organs and the cut-off women's breasts we had seen lying scattered over the floor and in the beds.

Regarding the 1994 Hebron massacre, on the other hand, AFP provides all of the critical information, identifying the perpetrator ("Israeli-American Baruch Goldstein"), the outcome ("killing 29") and the means "opened fire on Muslims praying at the site." AFP reports:

In 1994, Israeli-American Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslims praying at the site, killing 29, before being beaten to death by survivors.

Why does AFP fail to note how many Jews were killed in the 1929 massacre? Indeed, the article doesn't even indicate that there were any fatalities in the "attacks." Why does it fail to identify the perpetrators (Arabs from Hebron) and their means of murder (knives, axes and iron bars used to kill and mutilate), while the key facts do appear with respect to the 1994 massacre?

In addition, in a separate problem in the very same sentence, the AFP inaccurately reported that there had been a Jewish community in Hebron "for decades" before the 1929 "attacks." In fact, Jews had been living consistently in the city for centuries before the massacre. Jews who survived the murderous rampages of the Ottoman Turks in 1517 fled to Beirut, but returned to Hebron in 1533 and the Jewish presence in the city remained unbroken from that time until the 1929 massacre.

This post was updated on July 9 to note that Jews lived in Hebron for centuries prior to 1929, not decades, as AFP had reported.

July 9 Update: Subsequent Article Includes Key Info on 1929 Massacre

A July 7 AFP article ("What is the Hebron row?) included key information about the 1929 massacre that had been omitted from the July 6 article. The more recent article noted:

Jews had been living in Hebron decades before 1967 but were forced out after violent attacks by Palestinians during the British Mandate - the most violent of which saw 67 Jews killed in a 1929 massacre.

Notably, AFP uses the passive voice for the 1929 attacks ("violent attacks by Palestinians . . saw 67 Jews killed") versus the active voice in which Israeli-American Baruch Goldstein "opened fire . . .killing 29," but the very fact that the news agency included the information at all is a step forward.

Posted by TS at 06:37 AM |  Comments (1)

July 03, 2017

Washington Post Book Review Eviscerates Anti-Israel Writers

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Matti Friedman


A Washington Post book review by journalist, author and former IDF soldier Matti Friedman highlighted the inaccuracy and the absurdity of a recently published anti-Israel collection of essays.

The Post, to its credit, published Friedman’s “What happens when famous novelists ‘confront the Occupation’ in the West Bank,” which examined an anthology called Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation. This book features contributions by novelists such as Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Dave Eggers, among others.

Friedman noted that the group of novelists were “shown around by anti-occupation activists and wrote about their experiences.” Yet, as a reading of the book makes clear, “the visiting writers aren’t experts,” nor are they seeking a balanced or accurate portrayal of Israel. Friedman points out that the essays get basic facts, such as when the Oslo Accords were signed, wrong.

The essays are also plagued with poor sourcing, as Friedman notes:

“The writers interview the same people who are always interviewed in the West Bank, thinking it’s all new, and believe what they’re told Chabon, for example, waxes sarcastic that in the West Bank you can spend months in administrative detention if you forget your I.D. card at home. But that isn’t true.”

Indeed, the writers don’t ask—nor do they tell readers—who financed their anti-Israel excursion: Breaking the Silence (BtS). As CAMERA has pointed out, BtS is one of several largely foreign-funded organizations that seek to delegitimize the Jewish state via anonymous testimonials.

Yet, the group’s influence is obvious on the writers. Friedman highlights that “the host’s choreography becomes evident the more you read, because the writers keep going back to the same street in Hebron, the same village near the same settlement, the same checkpoint activist. They avoid Palestinian extremists and average Israelis, so it looks like all Palestinians are reasonable and all Israelis aren’t.”

Nonetheless, “everything,” Friedman says, “is described with a gravitas suggesting that the writers haven’t spent much time outside the world’s safest corners.”

Indeed, according to the review, one monumental fault with the book is its superficiality and the novelists’ own sense of self-importance. Large regional questions that are unfolding near Israel’s borders, such as the Syrian civil war, Hamas’ totalitarian Islamist vision being implemented in the Gaza Strip, internecine Palestinian violence, aren’t given attention in the volume. Why? Because “the essays aren’t journalism but a kind of selfie in which the author poses in front of the symbolic moral issue of the time…That’s why the very first page of the book finds Chabon and Waldman talking not about the occupation, but about Chabon and Waldman.”

“After a while,” Friedman bemoans, “I feel trapped in a wordy kind of Kardashian Instagram feed, without the self-awareness.”

Readers of a Kingdom of Olives and Ash aren’t the only ones being taken for a factually flawed, skewed view of the Arab-Israeli conflict. As CAMERA has pointed out, The Washington Post itself feted the group of the writers while they were on their anti-Israel tour (“Washington Post’s Letter from Israel Should be Marked ‘Return to Sender,’” May 11, 2016).

Matti Friedman’s book review can be found here.

Posted by SD at 03:45 PM |  Comments (1)