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Showing posts with label media bias. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media bias. Show all posts

Thursday, August 14, 2014

AP buries the facts under the rubble of a mosque

Al Qassam Mosque with a conveniently placed child
From AP:

Only the minaret still stands after an Israeli airstrike reduced Gaza's Al-Qassam Mosque to a heap of concrete, iron rods and dust. Hours after the pre-dawn attack, rescue workers searched in the rubble, residents gathered — and plainclothes Hamas security agents mingled among them.

Also known as the Grand Mosque, it was one of 63 that Israel has destroyed in its monthlong war with Hamas, according to Palestinian officials. The reason, Israel says, is that Hamas is using mosques to stockpile weapons and rocket launchers, and to hide tunnels used to infiltrate into Israel and carry out attacks.

Gaza's Hamas rulers deny the accusation, saying Israel is waging a war against Islam. On the ground, many Gazans react the same, saying Israel is attacking their faith.

In its determination to go after what it says are militant arsenals, Israel is throwing aside any reluctance it had in the past to hit religious sites for fear of a diplomatic backlash. In Israel's week-long 2012 air campaign in Gaza, not a single mosque was hit. In the three-week 2008-2009 war with Hamas, Israel shelled 17 mosques and toppled 20 minarets, saying they were used as Hamas military antennas.

During recent visits by The Associated Press to a half-dozen Gaza mosques destroyed by Israeli strikes, residents categorically denied they were used by Hamas as hideouts for its fighters or as storage places for its hardware.

"None, absolutely none," or "I never saw members of the resistance anywhere here" were the most common responses to queries about whether the militants used them for military purposes.

And, indeed, most of the targeted mosques did double as social, education and health centers for residents, offering them medical care, classes to memorize the Quran and eradicate illiteracy, as well as sports events like soccer and table tennis tournaments.

...Standing atop the ruins of the Al-Qassam Mosque in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Abu Bilal Darwish, the director of Islamic Endowments for central Gaza, echoed the same argument.

"This is aggression against Islam," he declared. "The occupiers realize that our mosques raise men and people who desire martyrdom for the sake of God."

Then, in paragraph 18, after the reader was exposed to information of how mosques are important to gaza's social fabric as well as perfunctorily mentioning that Israel says they are often used for terror, AP actually reports some facts - the only paragraph in the entire article that indicates the slightest deviation from the theme of Israel attacking mosques to hurt Gazans:

Of the mosques visited by the AP, Al-Qassam stood out as the most suspicious given that three senior Hamas officials perished in the pre-dawn airstrike Saturday and judging by the heavy security presence in the aftermath of the attack. Underlining the tension, an AP reporter was briefly detained by plainclothes Hamas security men after he took down the names of two religious books recovered from the rubble.
The strike was at 3:30 AM, according to PCHR.

Not too many table tennis tournaments happening then.

But instead of a story about how it proved that Hamas indeed uses mosques for military means - why else would Hamas security be detaining the reporter - AP buried that fact and highlighted how Israel seems to be targeting them for no reason, or as an attack on Islam itself.



Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Dead Gaza children win again, at the NYT

The New York Times has an article about the looming war over statistics of what percentage of the Gaza casualties were civilian and terrorist.

It pretends to be even-handed, although it falls very short.

The article downplayed the fact that Hamas killed collaborators and counts them as civiiians killed by Israel, and the possibility that many of the victims were killed by Hamas rockets and bullets and mortars. It didn't mention that Hamas took steps to ensure that terrorist casualties were not reported or named - something that the PCHR, a group mentioned, adhered to. It didn't mention that PCHR goes out of its way to minimize the number of terrorists counted. It didn't mention the flawed methodology of the information gatherers that the UN relies on, at Israel's expense. It gives credence to  the uninformed guesses of a volunteer from New Zealand - a volunteer for Hamas. It didn't mention that at the end of Operation Cast Lead, Hamas had claimed only a few dozen killed; only much later did they admit that Israel's statistics of 709 terrorist deaths were largely correct. It didn't mention comparable statistics of civilian dead in other wars in urban areas, including wars fought by Western powers that killed orders of magnitude more people. It didn't look up the latest statistics from the Meir Amit ITIC published on their website, only saying that their much earlier statistics before the ground war were impressive. It didn't mention that on Sunday, the day of the casualties outside the Rafah UNRWA school, even according to the Hamas-obedient PCHR more than 60% of those killed were terrorists.

But even if Jodi Rudoren's team had done all of that, it wouldn't have made a difference. Because accompanying the article was a large, poignant photo of a dead child.


There is no such thing as objectivity when there the subconscious message is that Israel is murdering babies. The message from the photo overwhelms the article, no matter what it says. 

Of course it is newsworthy to mention civilian casualties. But anti-Zionists and antisemites are using the photos of dead children as their most potent weapons. Even though this article notes that the proportion of children and women killed were far smaller than their percentage of the Gaza population, all of that is meaningless when there is a dead child's hand hovering over the article. 

The Israel-haters are repeating over and over, implicitly and explicitly, that the rules of war do not allow a single civilian to be killed, and every violation is a war crime.  This is nonsense, but you wouldn't know that from reading the NYT. On the contrary, the newspaper is playing up that lie, without explicitly saying it. 

Did the New York Times ever a similar number of photos of dead children killed by Western armies in Afghanistan or Iraq or Pakistan? Did the newspaper ever investigate the number of civilians being killed in Egypt's similar battles against Islamists - that are being covered up

The photos may be accurate, but they poison any accuracy that may have been in that article. No amount of IDF videos showing Hamas shooting rockets from civilian areas and the IDF avoiding innocent civilians can counteract those images.

And the haters of Israel and Jews couldn't be happier at this coverage.

(h/t EBoZ)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Spanish journalist - off the record - says Hamas would kill Gaza reporters if they filmed rocket fire

I have been on a bit of a rant about Gaza reporters giving only one side of the story.

This post by Israeli media figure Michael Grynszpan helps explain why:
I met today with a Spanish journalist who just came back from Gaza. We talked about the situation there. He was very friendly. I asked him how comes we never see on television channels reporting from Gaza any Hamas people, no gunmen, no rocket launcher, no policemen.. We only see civilians on these reports, mostly women and children.
He answered me frankly: "It's very simple, we did see Hamas people there launching rockets, they were close to our hotel, but if ever we dared pointing our camera on them they would simply shoot at us and kill us."

Wooh, impressive. Then I asked him "would you mind saying that on camera? I can film you explaining this..."

For some reason I cannot really understand he refused and almost ran away. I guess my camera is as dangerous as Hamas threats...

So just for you to know, the truth will never appear on the images you see on television.
While this can - to some extent - excuse the reporting directly from Gaza, it does not excuse the media organizations that employ them. In fact, it makes them more culpable.

It is worth reminding people about how reporters in southern Lebanon dealt with Hezbollah intimidation in 2006.

CNN's Nic Robertson dutifully accompanied Hezbollah on a planned tour of a bombed out building, repeating Hezbollah's talking points about not seeing any military targets there and not telling viewers that it was staged entirely by Hezbollah. Only when he was safely back in the US, and challenged on TV about his report, >did he admit the truth, as reported by Newsbusters
Hezbollah has “very, very sophisticated and slick media operations,” that the terrorist group “had control of the situation. They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn't have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath,” and he even contradicted Hezbollah’s self-serving spin: “There's no doubt that the [Israeli] bombs there are hitting Hezbollah facilities.”
To his credit, Anderson Cooper was the only one of scores of journalists who exposed the facade of impartiality while he was in Lebanon:
As the video showed a group reporters and photographers interviewing a single woman on a blanket, Cooper explained, “Civilian casualties are clearly what Hezbollah wants foreign reporters to focus on. It keeps the attention off them — and questions about why Hezbollah should still be allowed to have weapons when all the other militias in Lebanon have already disarmed.

“After letting us take pictures of a few damaged buildings, they take us to another location, where there are ambulances waiting.

This is a heavily orchestrated Hezbollah media event. When we got here, all the ambulances were lined up. We were allowed a few minutes to talk to the ambulance drivers. Then one by one, they've been told to turn on their sirens and zoom off so that all the photographers here can get shots of ambulances rushing off to treat civilians. That's the story that Hezbollah wants people to know about.

“These ambulances aren't responding to any new bombings. The sirens are strictly for effect.”
CNN knew this and yet allowed its other reporters to act as if they were doing real reporting instead of being actors in Hezbollah's play.

This was eight years ago, and the media continues to do the bidding of terrorists without informing their viewers.

What can responsible media organizations do to counter the threats by Gaza terror groups?

If they were responsible, for every report from Gaza, the anchor introducing the segment should say:

"Our viewers should be aware that the Hamas leadership in Gaza and terror groups operating there threaten journalists both implicitly and explicitly. We care for the safety of our reporters and staff and are not requiring that their reports be as even-handed as we would like."

They would also take pains to have their reporters in Gaza be replaced with new ones every week or so, and have the old ones go in front of the cameras and then report what they really saw, and how they were intimidated and manipulated.

Because without doing that, the media is losing what little trust they still have in their reporting.

(h/t pm)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reuters shows its bias against Israel again


But it doesn't get any better:

(Reuters) - Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, saying no ceasefire was near as top U.S. and U.N. diplomats pursued talks on halting fighting that has claimed more than 600 lives.

..."A ceasefire is not near," said Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, viewed as the most dovish member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's inner security cabinet.

"I see no light at the end of the tunnel," she told Israel's Army Radio.

Dispatched by U.S. President Barack Obama to the Middle East to seek a ceasefire, Kerry held talks on Tuesday in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri.

"There is a framework ... to end the violence and that framework is the Egyptian initiative," Kerry said at a joint news conference with Shukri.

"For the sake of thousands of innocent families whose lives have been shaken and destroyed by this conflict, on all sides, we hope we can get there as soon as possible," he said.
The Reuters dispatch does not say a word about Israel accepting the Egyptian framework for a ceasefire, and Hamas rejecting it. And while it does mention Hamas rockets, in no way are they characterized as somehow being against the concept of a ceasefire.

The entire article is meant to give the exact opposite impression from the truth.

Not surprisingly, one of the reporters is Noah Browning (@SheikhNB on Twitter), who I have shown to be a liar more than once.

And this is the most pervasive source of news in the world.

Friday, April 11, 2014

NYT and Reuters fall for "Gaza runner" propaganda

From Reuters:
Kicking up dust on the back roads of northern Gaza within sight of the Israeli fence that seals off the enclave, Olympic athlete Nader Al Masri is still training, despite being barred from competing in his people's largest sporting event.

Masri, who has participated in 40 international contests including the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, was denied a permit by Israeli authorities to travel to the occupied West Bank for the Palestine Marathon on Friday.

"I'm sad. This is a race for all Palestine and I wanted to participate, but unfortunately the Israeli side coldly rejected me," said the 34-year-old policeman.
Ah, having a consistent policy in who can enter your country is now considered "cold rejection."

The New York Times  - in a front page story - gives a slightly more accurate account:
In denying Mr. Masri’s permit request — made through Gisha, an Israeli group advocating free movement — the Israeli government said in a March 30 letter that “the present diplomatic/security situation” meant that Gaza residents could cross into Israel only “in exceptional humanitarian cases.”

One of the organizers of the marathon disingenuously claims to the New York Times that the event is not political:
“It illustrates the whole concept,” said Lise Ring, one of the two Danish women who founded the Palestine Marathon, which is expected to draw 3,000 runners this year, half from the West Bank. “We want people from around the world to see a Palestine that’s not about the conflict,” she said. “But it’s hard to say ‘Palestine’ without talking politics.”

This is of course a lie.

The entire purpose of the marathon is meant to be a political weapon against Israel.

The very course of the marathon was chosen for political reasons - going past two refugee camps and the separation barrier with a turnaround at an Israeli military checkpoint.

Here is how the event is described in the "Right to Movement Palestine Marathon" site:
Running is a means of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. Having the right to move means that you have the choice, possibility, and right to move from A to B at any time and for any reason. The right to movement is a basic human right as stipulated in Article 13 of the UN Human Rights Charter: "Everyone has the right to freedom of movement"

Everyone has the right to freedom of movement, but not everyone has the option. Restriction on movement is one of the major challenges for the Palestinian people living under occupation. Palestinians cannot move freely on roads, or from one city to another. The Palestinians right to move is controlled by their ID, permits, which city they live in, or who they are married to. The environment that Palestinians were supposed to move freely in is occupied and thus controlled by a foreign army. An army that controls their movement with roadblocks, checkpoints, military zones, an illegal wall and a complex set of discriminatory laws. Ever been through Qalandia? Then you know why we do this! The EU and the US talks about a two-state solution, an independent Palestine, but we cannot even find the 42 KMs needed for a marathon. This is why we do it.
The website doesn't quote the entire sentence in the UDHR, which says "Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state." If the PLO would have seriously negotiated a peace plan instead of using the pretence of talks to get the US to force Israel to make unilateral concessions, they would have had a state by now with no restrictions on movement.

But that nuance is lost on mainstream media reporters.

Also lost is the difference between Israel not allowing Gazans to enter its territory and "Israel barring Gaza runners from competing." Could, perhaps, Nader al Masri get to Bethlehem by going through Egypt and Jordan? If he did, would Israel "bar" him from the race? Is adhering to a policy that applies to everyone equally the same as a "bar" on a runner?

Speaking of Egypt, there was a marathon in Luxor, Egypt in January and a half-marathon in Cairo in February. Did al-Masri apply to run in those marathons? I don't know, but if he did I must have missed the stories about how Egypt "blocked" him by not allowing him to enter the country.

Those Egyptian marathons weren't political, so no one bothered to call the lazy media to hand-feed them a story tailor made for the front page.

Monday, March 31, 2014

HuffPo sneaks anti-Israel propaganda in cute animal pics

The Huffington Post published one of those ubiquitous "cute animals of the week" stories.

But in the middle of all the cute dogs and tigers one can find this:


Israeli Bedouins walk next to their sheep near rally commemorating Land Day on March 30, 2014 in the Abu Quedar village, currently unrecognized by Israeli authorities, near the southern city of Beersheva. The annual Land Day demonstrations are held to remember six Arab Israeli protesters who were shot dead by Israeli police and troops during mass demonstrations in 1976 against plans to confiscate Arab land in the Galilee. There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev in the aria [sic] south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities and many also live in extreme poverty. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

And why are the villages unrecognized? Because they built hundreds of them illegally, willy-nilly, in recent years!

The Bedouin issue is a real issue and one that requires real solutions while ensuring the rule of law. But it is not the one-sided narrative that the Israel-haters love to spout.

HuffPo, and the Getty Images caption editor, obviously prefer to use it to demonize Israel rather than treat their readers like adults and show that it is a complex problem for which the Bedouin are also to blame.

But the sheep in this photo are hardly the reason HuffPo decided to include them in the animal pictures. They just wanted another chance to bash Israel on a page that animal lovers, not Middle East news junkies, would read.

(h/t Leslie)

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

AP badly misrepresents Israel's role in Gaza exports

From AP:
Gaza farmers have begun growing mint, basil and coriander, saying such herbs can serve as a remedy for some of the blockaded Palestinian territory's economic woes.

Looking for blockade loopholes, five Gaza farmers began growing herbs a year ago, most in greenhouses on land where Jewish settlers used to raise the same crops until Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. "The motive ... was to find new products that we can grow here in Gaza and that return a good income and can employ more people," said farmer Jamal Abu Naja, 47.

...Some argue that cultivating fresh herbs makes more sense economically because they require less water, grow more quickly, cost less to ship and are always in high demand.

"This can elevate the Gaza economy," said Mohammed Abu Ouda, an expert in agricultural development.

Even if herbs offer a new opportunity, Israel's export policies make it harder for Gaza farmers to make a profit.
AP makes it sound like enterprising Gaza farmers, within the past year, have found a way to get around those evil Israeli restrictions on exports, and their success is in spite of Israel's desires to keep them poor and destitute.

Let's see what the IDF's COGAT unit had to say about the first spice export in 2012:
In addition to the usual exported agricultural goods- peppers, a variety of tomatoes, strawberries and flowers, for the very first time, Gaza farmers are exporting spices.

This represents a significant accomplishment for Gaza farmers and merchants, as the average revenue per spice truck is roughly 40,000 NIS, compared with approximately 25,000 NIS per truck with other produce.

The entire project was initiated by the ICLA Gaza [Israeli Coordination & Liaison Administration] and coordinated with the Khan Younis Association and the Arava Export Growers as part of the continuous support for agricultural development in the Gaza Strip.

Farmers in Gaza were given tutorials on how to grow spices and they were then provided the seedlings from Israel. This morning, Sunday, 21 October 2012, the inaugural export through Kerem Shalom proved a success. Special arrangements at the crossing were made to accommodate the needs of the exported spices, including capabilities to perform refrigerated quality and security inspections.
Spice exports from Gaza was Israel's idea! From conception through training through giving the seeds and working with the Gaza farmers on export requirements, everything was initiated by Israel!

AP's misinformation don't end there:
Israel only permits the farmers to export abroad, but not to Israel and the West Bank, traditionally Gaza's main markets. Gaza's agricultural exports are trucked through Israel to Jordan and from there flown to far-flung destinations, including Europe, the United States and Russia.
No. Most of the exports go through Israel's port in Ashdod, sometimes they are flown out of Ben Gurion airport, and sometimes they go through Jordan - whichever makes economic sense.  So exports of produce to Saudi Arabia probably go through Jordan, but most of the exports to Europe and the US go through Ashdod.

It is also interesting that in an article about how supposedly difficult it is to export through Israel, for some reason, no one seems to ask about why Gazans can't export goods to or via Egypt.

Do you think that AP's Ibrahim Barzak has a bias?

(Information verified with COGAT)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Arab SodaStream workers say they are against BDS

From the Christian Science Monitor:

[T]hose most familiar with the factory – Palestinians who work there – largely side with Ms. Johansson.

“Before boycotting, they should think of the workers who are going to suffer,” says a young man shivering in the pre-dawn darkness in Azzariah, a West Bank town cut off from work opportunities in Jerusalem by the concrete Israeli separation wall. Previously, he earned 20 shekels ($6) a day plucking and cleaning chickens; now he makes nearly 10 times that at SodaStream, which also provides transportation, breakfast, and lunch.

As a few dozen men in hoodies and work coats trickle out of the alleys to the makeshift bus stop where they wait for their ride to the factory, another adds, “If SodaStream closes, we would be sitting in the streets doing nothing.”

Speaking anonymously on a largely deserted street, with no Israeli SodaStream employees present, all but one of those interviewed said they opposed the boycott, given the lack of alternative job opportunities in the West Bank. That underscores Israeli claims that a boycott would be counterproductive, undermining the cooperation and prosperity that could boost peace prospects in the region.

Omar Jibarat of Azzariah, the father of a newborn, is one of those who works in Israel, leaving home well before 6 a.m. for a construction job in Tel Aviv. Though he makes good money, he spends four hours in transit every day and would rather work at the SodaStream factory 15 minutes away.

“I would love to work for SodaStream. They’re quite privileged. People look up to them,” Mr. Jibarat says. “It’s not the people who want to boycott, it’s the officials.”

That’s a common refrain among the SodaStream workers who show up after Jibarat catches his ride.

Leaning up against the cement half-walls of the bus stop, jackets pulled up over their cold hands and faces and cigarette butts glowing in the dark, they blame the PA for failing to create jobs while taking a political stand against Israeli business that do.

“The PA can say anything it wants and no one will listen because it’s not providing an alternative,” says one man, a 2006 political science graduate of Al Quds University bundled in a jacket bearing the SodaStream logo. As for reports that the company doesn’t honor labor rights, that’s “propaganda,” he says. “Daniel [Birnbaum, the CEO of SodaStream,] is a peacemaker.”
The writer did find one disgruntled employee, bolstering my thesis of the interview bias employed by Reuters' Noah Browning and Electronic Intifada's "reporter" who found possibly that same disgruntled employee (his statement sounds a lot like what EI's employee said):

One of the workers waiting for the SodaStream bus this morning says he hates the fact that he’s working in an Israeli settlement, and lies to people when they inquire about his work.

“I’m ashamed I’m working there,” he says. “I feel this is our land, there should be no [Israeli] factory on this land.”

He feels like a “slave,” working 12 hours a day assembling parts – drilling in 12,000 screws a day, he adds.
The Christian Science Monitor is hardly pro-settlement, and plenty of the article explains the viewpoint of the Israel-haters, which gives this account far more credibility.

My update to my previous post about this showed that NPR also found employees at the plant were happy. Which means that JTA, NPR, CSM and The Forward all agree that workers at SodaStream are happy, and the only ones who disagree are Reuters' Noah Browning and EI - both of which have records of, frankly, lying.

Again we see the difference between how real journalists work and how dishonest, advocacy "journalists" work. Electronic Intifada and Reuters' Noah Browning should not be trusted as being honest about anything in the Middle East.

(h/t Benny)


Saturday, January 04, 2014

NYT again downplaying Palestinian Arab rejectionism and embrace of terrorists

The New York Times has an editorial about the current negotiations, and as usual it places the blame for poisoning the atmosphere primarily on Israel.

Signs of failure are everywhere. On Thursday, standing beside Mr. Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a harsh assessment of his Palestinian counterpart, President Mahmoud Abbas, and, implicitly, the prospect of a Middle East peace agreement. Days earlier, Israel let it be known that it would build more settlements in the West Bank, further poisoning the political atmosphere while shrinking the territorial space for a deal. Hard-liners in Mr. Netanyahu’s government are pushing a bill that would annex settlements in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank, where about 6,000 Israeli settlers and 10 times as many Palestinians live.

There are questions about the Palestinian commitment as well. Palestinian leaders have said that any new settlement activity could lead them to seek membership in the International Criminal Court and sue Israel there, a move they had promised not to take when peace talks started in the summer. An official close to Mr. Abbas has dismissed Mr. Kerry’s push for a "framework agreement" as biased toward Israel.

In his remarks on Thursday Mr. Netanyahu claimed that members of the Palestinian security force were involved in a recent attack against Israelis. Mr. Abbas should investigate the claim and, if it is true, bring those responsible to justice. He also needs to crack down on the incitement of hatred against Israel in Palestinian schools, textbooks and government-controlled media.
To its credit, the NYT at least mentions incitement, an issue that it has been all but silent on in its news pages. Even so, the bulk of the complaints are against Israel.

It is silent about the daily insistence by the PLO leadership of their "red lines." As I wrote yesterday, here is one recent list given by Saeb Erekat:

First we can not accept Israel as a Jewish state. Secondly we can not accept any Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, without Jerusalem. Thirdly we can not accept any Israeli on Palestinian territory, sea or air, after the completion of the gradual withdrawal. Fourth we can not accept any solution without the exercise of the refugees' right of return according to Resolution 194, the right of return and compensation, and (fifth) the release of all prisoners at the signing of the agreement. This is the Palestinian position.

It doesn't exactly sound like the PA is preparing its people for any compromises whatsoever. The hawkish, absolutist position of the PLO has not changed in over 25 years. Yet the NYT doesn't bother to mention that, as it never does.

Here, though, is where the NYT again shows that it is willing to give Abbas the benefit of the doubt, no matter what he does:

As part of the negotiating process, Mr. Netanyahu agreed to release 104 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails over nine months rather than halt settlement construction. But when Mr. Abbas welcomed the latest group to the West Bank this week, Mr. Netanyahu accused him of embracing terrorists, even though Mr. Abbas never condoned the prisoners’ crimes.

He never condoned their crimes? He called them heroes, multiple times! It's not like he was hiding it - Abbas was there, in the middle of the night, to greet them and embrace them personally, one by one, to kiss them and then to speak out about how they were heroic!

It takes a special kind of wishful thinking to look at that scene and then try to minimize it by saying that Abbas didn't condone their murders. The PA is offering these murderers free jobs for life, paid for by Western funding.

 But the NYT, like other mainstream media, has its narrative of a "hawkish" Israeli leadership and a "moderate" Palestinian Arab leadership and it will do everything it can to protect that narrative. Thsi op-ed is a prime example.

(h/t Herb)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

AP lies about Israelis' acceptance of settlements

Once again, a news service is substituting what it wishes for for reality.

AP has a story about three extreme leftist Israeli actors refusing to perform in Ariel  - and it is pretending that this is becoming the Israeli consensus:
A trio of Israeli stage actors is refusing to perform in an acclaimed play before a theater in a West Bank Jewish settlement, part of a burgeoning domestic movement against the government's settlement policies.

The protest mirrors a global movement against the settlements that has put Israel's government in an increasingly difficult situation as the current round of peace talks with the Palestinians continues.

The international community, including the U.S., has long considered Israeli construction of homes for Jews in the West Bank, captured territory claimed by the Palestinians, as an obstacle to peace.

This sentiment, long held also by Israel's dovish left, now appears to be gaining steam at home following a string of harsh global condemnations of settlement construction in recent months. Some on Israel's left fear the scale of the settlements soon will pass the tipping point where a pullout may become too difficult, and Israel will be forced to essentially absorb the West Bank and its millions of Palestinians.

In a joint statement, the Cameri and Beit Lessin theaters said that three cast members in their production of "Best Friends" had asked to be excused from performing at the cultural center in Ariel, a settlement built deep inside the West Bank. It said they were granted exemptions and will be replaced by alternates, allowing the show to go on.

It doesn't look like it was too hard to find replacement actors, does it?

So what is the evidence that three actors represent a growing movement?

None. Nada. Zero.

In fact, as this recent Globes article shows, Israelis increasingly consider many areas whose houses routinely generate international condemnation as being an integral part of Israel. The Israeli national consensus is moving in the exact opposite direction. This article is a must-read:

[Y]ears of building freezes have caused pent-up demand in settlements in the territories, boosting home prices, as a result, contractors which previously avoided the area are now bidding in tenders there.

In early November, the Israel Land Authority published a tender for a lot in Ariel zoned for 90 apartments. No less than 15 bids were submitted, and the tender was won by Malibu Investments Inc. (TASE: MLBU.B1) with a bid of NIS 12.6 million, plus NIS 4.8 million in development costs,. The tender's minimum price was just NIS 271,000, and the assessor estimated the lot's value at NIS 3.5 million. Seven of the fifteen bids exceeded NIS 8 million, highlighting developers' confidence in Ariel.

This confidence is shared by Gindi Holdings Ltd. and Meshulam Levinstein Contracting and Engineering Ltd. (TASE:LEVI), suggesting that a change in the national consensus has occurred, as neither company had ever bid in a tender beyond the Green Line.

...The latest home sales data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics show that the contractors are right. In January-October, 943 new homes were sold in Judea and Samaria, almost 5% of home sales nationwide, compared with 609 homes sold in 2012 as a whole (2.7% of total sales), and 550 homes sold in 2011 (2.8% of total sales).

"Locations where it is possible to offer apartments for less than NIS 1 million are often found beyond the Green Line, because in high-demand areas the land component and development costs exceed NIS 1 million," says Malibu. "In settlements beyond the Green Line, it's easy to obtain Palestinian workers, which cuts construction costs by 20%. It's easier for a Palestinian worker to go to Modiin Ilit than Ramat Gan."
Keep in mind that Palestinian Arab workers in the settlements make twice the average salary of those who work in Areas A and B.

The Israel Land Authority also saw strong demand in a tender for a lot zoned for 30 apartments in Efrat in late November. There were 7-9 bids. The price per land per apartment was NIS 300,000.
Anglo-Saxon Real Estate Mate Benyamin concessionaire and general manager Arik Vaknish says, "Many people who want a better home than what they can get in a city like Jerusalem are moving to settlements in the regional council. Young couples and people seeking bigger apartments are coming from neighborhoods such as Pisgat Zeev, Givat Zeev, and Neve Yaakov, which are becoming haredi (ultra-orthodox), to settlements such as Anatot, Adam, Kfar Adumim, and Nili. Homes which sold for NIS 600,000 are now going for NIS 1 million, and the strongest demand is for five-room apartments."
...Dona Engineering and Construction Ltd. built apartments in Ma'aleh Adumim in the 1990s through 2006 and sold houses in Ariel in 2009-10. "We do not consider Ma'aleh Adumim, the Etzion Bloc, and Efrat as the territories, but as Jerusalem's suburbs," says Dona VP marketing Ohad Saban. "Settlements such as Ariel, Shaarei Tikva, and Elkana are suburbs of central Israel."
This is the truth about Israeli attitudes towards the settlements beyond the Green Line. AP is creating a story that has no evidence.

(h/t EK, JW)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Outrageous anti-Israel article in The Independent

An unbelievable column from Mira Bar Hillel in The Independent:
The Prince of Wales has often spoken of aspiring, when he is King, to be known not as Defender of the (Anglican) Faith, but “Defender of Faiths”. His open attitude towards other religions has been established long enough for him not to need to worry of being accused of Islamophobia.

But recent events in the Middle East have forced him into an intervention he would have been happy to avoid.

“Christianity was, literally, born in the Middle East and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ”, he said at an interfaith gathering in Clarence House. And he urged Christians, Muslims and Jews to unite in “outrage” as he warned of the elimination of Christianity in much of the region in which it developed.

The problem is becoming especially acute in Syria and Iraq, where the West appears powerless to help beleaguered Christians. But is the Prince aware of what is happening in the actual places where Christ was born and grew up, and where international pressure could be very effective?
Oh boy - here it comes:
When I was in Israel a year ago there was talk of an passing urgent bylaw which would have criminalised the placing of anything resembling a Christmas Tree in or near restaurants or places of entertainment. This did not actually happen, but it is typical of the Jewish State’s attitude to Christians.
Someone proposed a law, it was defeated, and this is evidence of Jewish hate for Christians!

But now Mira needs to make it sound scientific:

In 2012 there were 125,000 Palestinian Christians in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem (excluding the West Bank and Gaza), or 2 per cent of Israel’s population, down from 8 per cent in 1946, just before the end of the British Mandate in 1947.
See her sleight of hand? She is comparing the Christian population as a proportion of the British Mandate areas - 8% in 1946 - to the percentage of Christians in the Green Line today! This makes it sound like Israel has decimated its Christian population by 75%!

The truth is that the Christian population of Israel has always been in the 2% range. This is the worst kind of misuse of statistics.

In that year, Christians made up 85 per cent of the population of Bethlehem, but by 1998 the figure had declined to 40 per cent. Most left for the lack of economic and educational opportunities, exacerbated by draconian Israeli travel restrictions, and the exodus continues.
The majority of Christians have left Bethlehem while it was under Arab rule, both Jordanian and Palestinian. But Bar Hillel blames only Israel, as if it treats Palestinian Christians differently than Palestinian Muslims in Bethlehem.

Bar Hillel goes on to say that Israel is threatening Christians in Nazareth, using bizarre evidence. Here's the truth:
A senior Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land says the Christian community is in danger of dying out in Nazareth, an Israeli Arab city where Christians believe Jesus spent his youth. Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo says many of Nazareth's minority Christians began emigrating more than a decade ago largely because of tensions with local Islamists who tried to build a mosque next to the city's main church. ....

The bishop says the main cause of that emigration is a campaign by Islamists to boost their political power in Nazareth at the expense of Christians and moderate Muslims.
Then, Bar Hillel talks about illegal African immigrants and implies that Israel persecutes them because so many are Christian!

In a sane world, such a column would be laughed out of the editor's office. But we live in a world where basic fact checking is nonexistent when the Jews are the ones who can look like racists.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Radio Canada ombudsman admits anti-Israel bias

From the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (Canada):
Radio-Canada’s news department should “change its attitude towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” says the Ombudsman of the CBC’s French-language service in his annual report released today, adding that there were“ this year again, very real problems with the coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict with regards to the Palestinian question.”

In the past 6 years, CIJA filed dozens of complaints about egregious instances of factual errors and bias that regularly undermine the public broadcaster’s coverage of Israel and the Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of which were upheld by the Ombudsman. CIJA also met with senior managers at Radio-Canada to raise concerns about its last correspondent in Israel who was blamed on some 10 different occasions by the Ombudsman for erroneous and biased reporting.
Honest Reporting Canada, which was named along with three other pro-Israel groups in the ombudsman's report, translated some relevant passages from the French:
There were thus, again this year, very real problems with the coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

That said, we cannot pretend that the work of journalists at Radio Canada , whether radio , television or the web , was not scrutinized by a very well organized lobby which was as determined as it was effective. This attention has had the merit of at least identifying the elements of the coverage which the management of news and information needs to improve. I am realistic: In a file as difficult and thorny as this, other errors, unfortunately, will be made.

I am aware of the efforts that have been made since my report last year to improve the situation. But there need to be more, perhaps changing their attitude towards the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

After all, this conflict has existed since the creation of Israel in 1948, even before, and nothing and no one really seems to want or be able to break the stalemate . I have in the past invited the leadership to think in this direction. I repeat this invitation , knowing that this is an ongoing process that belongs solely to it.”
One interesting staistic in the report: On all other topics, the percentage of corrections after complaints hovers around 2%. For the Israel-Arab conflict, it is an astounding 16%. Considering how reticent the media is to ever issue a correction, this is quite high. It indicates not only that the bias is endemic but also that the Israel-supporters in Canada are documenting their complaints very well.

A small victory but an important one.

(h/t Manny)



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Roger Cohen's malice towards Israel continues

Predictably, Roger Cohen in the New York Times praises the Iran nuclear deal in  glowing terms:
Let us be clear. This is the best deal that could be had. Nothing, not even sustained Israeli bombardment, can reverse the nuclear know-how Iran possesses. The objective must be to ring-fence the acquired capability so its use can only be peaceful.
Given that the UN and the US had previously insisted that Iran doesn't have the right to enrich uranium, caving on that technical capability is far from "the best deal that could be had." Essentially, Cohen is saying that since Iran would never agree to anything beyond its red line, that must be accepted as gospel. Meanwhile, US and Israeli red lines are flexible.

But beyond that, Cohen tries to conflate Israel's position on Iran with its position on allowing a terror state sworn to its destruction to be set up next door:

Israel is the status-quo Middle Eastern power par excellence because the status quo cements its nuclear-armed domination. Any change is suspect, including popular Arab uprisings against despotism. As changes go, this U.S.-Iranian breakthrough is big, almost as big as an Israeli-Palestinian peace would be.

Just as the United States has had to adapt to a world where its power is unmatched but no longer determinant, Israel will have to do the same. With enlightened leadership this adaptation could strengthen the Jewish state, securing the nation through integration in its region rather than domination of it. For now Israel is some way from this mind-set. Its overriding prism is military.
Cohen obviously does not inhabit the same planet as the rest of us.

In the real world, Israel has sought for 65 years to be integrated into the Middle East. It sought peace with its neighbors; and its main goal after peace plans are signed is full normalization with its neighbors, with free travel and economic cooperation on both sides. Hell,  Israel even values and integrates Arab cuisine and culture in its own state, which Arabs consider "theft." Nothing would please Israel more than to be able to cooperate with Arab states on issues like water conservation and desalination, deforestation of deserts, medicine and a host of other common issues.

Who is against such integration? One guess.

Security is uppermost in Israeli minds, not its military. Cohen is obviously too obtuse to understand the difference.
Diplomacy involves compromise; risk is inherent to it. Iran is to be tested. Nobody can know the outcome. Things may unravel but at least there is hope. Perhaps this is what is most threatening to Netanyahu. He has never been willing to test the Palestinians in a serious way — test their good faith, test ending the humiliations of the occupation, test from strength the power of justice and peace. He has preferred domination, preferred the Palestinians down and under pressure.
During Netanyahu's first term, he signed the Wye River agreement with Arafat, that transferred land from Israeli control to PA rule. Imagine that.

However, it is true that Bibi wasn't in office when Israel offered a Palestinian Arab state in 2001, and the Palestinian Arabs responded with a wave of suicide bombings. He wasn't in office when Sharon withdrew from Gaza which led the way to unprecedented rocket attacks on Israeli communities. He wasn't in office when another state was offered in 2007 only to be rejected again.

One would have to be either blind or maliciously biased against Israel to think that the Palestinian Arab good faith wasn't tested these multiple times - and they failed every single time.

Cohen isn't blind.

(h/t PC)

Arabs want to bring back "Palestine Pound" currency. They don't know much history. (update x2)

From Ma'an, by Alex Shams:
In markets across historic Palestine, tourists can buy old coins and bills emblazoned with the phrase "Palestine pound."

The bills often catch visitors off guard, a stark reminder of a world that existed prior to the partitioning of the Palestinian homeland in 1948.

Indeed, the Palestine pound gives lie to the oft-repeated Zionist mantra that Palestine was a "land without a people for a people without a land" as it demonstrates the existence of a shared currency used throughout the British Mandate of Palestine for nearly 30 years by Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike.

The Palestine pound is an inconvenient reminder for many Israelis that a cosmopolitan and tolerant society thrived in Palestine before its dismemberment and exile by the emerging Israeli state.

But the creation of the State of Israel on the majority of mandate Palestine and the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, alongside the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by Jordan and Egypt respectively in response, put an end to the currency's usage.

After Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, all of historic Palestine came under the rule of the Israeli lira (and later the shekel), while the Jordanian dinar and eventually the US dollar circulated alongside.

One Palestinian researcher, however, is determined to bring the Palestine pound back, this time as the currency of the newly emerging State of Palestine.
This is the illustration of the Palestine Pound used in the Ma'an article:


Would the revived Palestine Pound include Hebrew?

Now, let's look at the bank name. Hmmm. "The Anglo-Palestine Bank Limited." What is the history of that bank?

It was formed in 1902 - as a subsidiary of the Jewish Colonial Trust, created at the Second Zionist Congress in 1899. Wikipedia notes "The bank opened its first branch in Jaffa in 1903 under the management of Zalman David Levontin. Early transactions included land purchase, imports and obtaining concessions. Branches were opened in Jerusalem, Beirut, Hebron, Safed, Haifa, Tiberias and Gaza. The Anglo-Palestine Bank offered farmers long-term loans and provided loans to the Ahuzat Bayit association which built the first neighborhood in Tel Aviv....During World War II, the Anglo-Palestine Bank helped to finance the establishment of industries that manufactured supplies for the British army. After the founding of the state of Israel, the bank won the concession to issue new banknotes. In 1950, the bank was renamed Bank Leumi Le-Israel (National Bank of Israel). "

The note illustrating the article is in fact the first currency of Israel, used for four years before the Israeli lira was established to replace it. It was not used by Palestinian Arabs who fled to Jordan.

The earlier Palestine Pounds, issued by the British - never by the Arabs - also featured Hebrew. This one had the Kever Rochel - an indisputably Jewish shrine - on the front:

The initials after the Hebrew "Palestine" stand for "Eretz Yisrael."

The adoption of a specifically Palestine currency was pushed not by Arabs, but by Jews, as early as 1917. Arabs complained when the first Palestine Pound notes were issued in 1927 and they wanted to continue to use the Egyptian Pounds that they were used to.

Indeed, the history of the Palestine Pound is nothing but a recent history of the Jews of Palestine, and it is what became the Israeli currency while Palestinian Arabs rejected it.

Alex Shams is a propagandist. The truth about the pound shows a slice of the history of Zionism, not of a "Palestinian people."

UPDATE: Shams is also the author of the bogus "Ukrainian girl claims to have killed kids as an IDF soldier" story. Ma'an must be proud to have hired him.

UPDATE 2: What a surprise - Ma'an silently changed the photo of the Palestine pound away from the one that was used in the new state of Israel and rejected by Palestinian Arabs.

Erasing history is par for the course for Palestinian Arabs. Literally.

They pretend they want to bring back "historic Palestine" but the Palestine they are talking about only thrived because of Zionists! Yes, Zionists created their sports leagues, orchestras, newspapers, tourism initiatives,  and a pavilion at the World's Fair all proudly named after Palestine. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

PA TV hostess expresses her "respect and love" for Sbarro's suicide bomber

From Palestinian Media Watch:
Palestinian Authority TV recently interviewed released terrorist Qahira Al-Sa'adi, who drove a suicide bomber to an attack that killed 3 and injured 80 in Jerusalem on March 21, 2002. During the interview, the host chose to send greetings to another terrorist, Ahlam Tamimi, who led a suicide bomber to the Sbarro pizza shop in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001. 15 people were murdered in the attack, 7 of them children, and 130 were injured.

Apparently finding something in common with terrorist Ahlam Tamimi who studied journalism, the PA TV host expressed how Tamimi's choice to study and work in the field of media "increases the respect and love I feel for her":



PA TV host: "We send greetings to the released female prisoner Ahlam Tamimi and to all the female prisoners who were released. I focus here on Ahlam because Ahlam chose a way that increases the respect and love I feel for her. I send greetings to you, dear Ahlam, and to your husband Nizar. Ahlam chose the way of media (i.e., as a journalist), and now hosts a program for prisoners."

Ukrainian game show is source for latest anti-Israel blood libel. Really. (updated)

From Ma'an:
An Israeli soldier admitted that she shot and killed unknown numbers of Palestinian people, including children, on a Ukrainian television program that aired in early November.

Elena Zakusilo, a Ukrainian Jewish woman who moved to Israel in order to serve in the Israeli army, revealed on the Nov. 4 episode of the program "Lie Detector" that she had killed Palestinians and had shot at Palestinian children, but was unsure how many she managed to kill.

Zakusilo, who goes by the name Elena Gluzman in Israel, also explained that she trained army dogs to raid Palestinian villages and conduct video surveillance that she monitored from up to 10 kilometers away.

Zakusilo said on the show that one of the times when she shot Palestinians was during protests that broke out after Yasser Arafat died in 2004.

"It's scary, especially when children run with Molotov cocktails, and they send children, to turn the attention to them, little kid, barely walking, 3-4 years old," she added, explaining that she was unsure how many Palestinian children she had shot dead.

Although Zakusilo said was "not proud" of these acts, she blamed Palestinian mothers for sending their children to be "suicide bombers" and suggested that they did not care about their children's lives.

Zakusilo also spoke about her work training dogs for reconnaissance missions into Palestinian villages, which involved placing headphones and cameras on them and directing them to attack Palestinians they encountered until soldiers could arrive.

"The doggy gets a little bag in teeth, it can be a video camera."

"It has an electronic collar, and a camera that hangs on the collar, and the trainer has the remote control, and he, from a distance up to ten kilometers, can watch and give orders to the dog, to attack or not attack," she added.

Zakusilo explained that she was a "senior trainer" and trained a total of 150 dogs, and for her work she was promoted to the rank of major.

Zakusilo's mother was also present during the show's filming, and when asked if she knew her daughter had killed people, said, "Of course, how can you be in the military without (killing)."

Zakusilo responded in the affirmative when asked by the game show host if she was "willing to go back to Israel and continue killing enemies" if she had financial difficulties in Ukraine, and said that she was unafraid of potential repercussions for revealing what she had done while in the Israeli forces.

She also explained that she goes by the name of Gluzman in Israel, "so that they won't hear there our Ukrainian family name, and with the other name (Gluzman), with Jewish roots, they'd treat (me) differently."

Zakusilo added that while at first she hesitated to kill people, she came to see her fellow soldiers as "family," and they helped her come to terms with killing Palestinian children and other feelings she had.

Referring to her commander, she said, "He is a general, he tells you to go and shoot like this, so you go. But if you come to him and say, just for example, you know, I was walking down the road, and there was a kitten there, ran over by a car, or a person hit, and I feel bad."

"He will sit with you for an hour to talk, and try to understand why you feel bad."
So a person on a game show - a game show that encourages people to try to beat a lie detector - is the latest source for supposed Israeli atrocities.

Her story about her supposed IDF service was peripheral to the point of the show; she was saying to her mother than she'd rather kill children than live with her, which is why she says she went to Israel as a lone soldier. She also claims she was abused both by her mother and by her schoolmates. She does not sound like a very reliable source. (On the show, she passed the lie detector test, but people who believe their own lies would pass easily.)

The IDF investigates every killing, in great detail, especially children. But Zakusilo says she has no idea how many children or adults she killed. She says she only would speak about her troubles to her superior - a general! - and he would calm her down about a dead kitten!

There have been extraordinarily few killings by women in combat in the IDF.

On the day that Arafat died, exactly one Palestinian Arab was killed during riots, and it was not a child. (Two more were killed in Gaza during a house raid.) None were killed the day after nor the day after that.

I have never heard of IDF dogs being "controlled" by remote control from ten miles away without any soldiers around, and a quick search came up empty, even though this is supposedly a 10-year old technology. I also find it highly unlikely that a woman whose specialty is training dogs would also be thrown into a live fire situation with rioters, let alone be responsible for multiple deaths.

The Israelis I asked about this say it is not even close to being plausible. Russian language social media in Israel are also extremely skeptical about these claims.

But none of that matters to the Israel-haters, who will believe anything as long as it fits their preconceived notions of evil bloodthirsty Israeli soldiers who enjoy aiming at children.

UPDATE: The IDF says she is full of it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The "right" to enriching uranium doesn't exist. Even in ALL CAPS.

Salon has an article by Patrick L. Smith, called "Chomsky is Right," excoriating the New York Times for its use of scare quotes concerning Iran's "right" to enrich uranium:

Complex story, but we can take care of it simply. Iran wants a nuclear program, and this includes the capacity to enrich uranium. This is Iran’s right under international law. Washington and the major European powers do not want Iran to have such a program because they worry Iran will eventually build a nuclear weapon. The talks in Geneva went sour because the U.S. and the Europeans demanded that Iran surrender its right.

O.K. Here is the lead in the Times report from the City of Diplomacy:

The Iranian government’s insistence on formal recognition of its “right” to enrich uranium emerged as a major obstacle, diplomats said Sunday.

Two big problems. Nothing emerged as an obstacle in Geneva other than Secretary of State Kerry’s duplicity, given that his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, now charges him with misleading Iran as to demands to be made on the enrichment question. Iran has been quite clear all along: Enrichment under law will never get on the table. Zarif would have skipped the trip had he known Kerry’s plans; Kerry knew this.

Then the quotation marks. With them, the Times proposes to deprive Iran of its statutory rights so that Washington can lie to us as well as to the Iranians.
Smith, not quite satisfied that his proof by assertion is adequate to the task of convincing Salon's readers that Iran has the right to enrich uranium, decides to prove it BY USING ALL CAPS:

ONE: IRAN HAS AN UNAMBIGUOUS RIGHT UNDER LAW TO A NUCLEAR PROGRAM, INCLUDING ENRICHMENT, EVEN IF THIS MAKES IT (AS IT WILL) NEARLY CAPABLE OF WEAPONIZING. READ YOUR DAILY NEWS DOSAGE WITH THIS IN MIND.

TWO. THERE IS ZERO EVIDENCE THAT IRAN DESIRES A NUCLEAR WEAPON, AND DECADES OF POLICY TO INDICATE IT PREFERS A NUCLEAR-FREE MIDDLE EAST. THERE IS ONLY ONE REASON IRAN WOULD CHANGE ITS MIND: ISRAEL’S NEVER-MENTIONED ARSENAL OF NUKES. THE MOTIVE WOULD BE DETERRENCE, AND MOST OF US WORSHIPPED AT THE ALTAR OF DETERRENCE WELL ENOUGH DURING THE COLD WAR. IRAN HAS SIGNED THE NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY; ISRAEL DECLINES TO DO SO.
Well, he's really emphatic about it, so it must be true!

So what does international law say about the right to enrich uranium?

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty says
Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.
Very simply, this means that if a country can get properly enriched fuel for their peaceful nuclear program without enriching it themselves, they don't have the "right" to enrich it. It doesn't mean that they are necessarily barred from doing so, but it is clearly not a "right."

Given that the entire purpose of the NPT is to limit the possibility of nuclear weapons development, and in Iran's case there is a serious concern that enrichment would lead to nuclear weapons, it is even clearer that there is no such "right" to enrich uranium. South Africa, Spain and Mexico each have peaceful nuclear programs without domestic enrichment programs.

That's the plain English interpretation of the NPT. It isn't too difficult to figure out.

As far as Smith's second emphasized statement, it doesn't quite explain why Iran is developing missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. But even without that, in Smith's short screed, he admits that Iran might want to create nuclear weapons to "deter" Israel, as if Israel has been threatening Iran with nuclear weapons. Which means that he admits that Iran may want to build a nuclear weapon!

Sorry, I meant to say PATRICK L. SMITH ADMITS THAT IRAN MAY WANT TO BUILD A NUCLEAR WEAPON!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

How many times can Ma'an use the word "extremist"?

From Ma'an:
Extremist Israeli group enters Al-Aqsa compound under police escort

Over 100 Israeli Jews accompanied by police entered Al-Aqsa compound through the Moroccan gate on Sunday afternoon.

The 104 Israeli Jews were described by witnesses as "settlers," and they included 33 Israeli intelligence officers led by extremist lawyer Yehuda Glick.

Glick called on all Jews to visit the compound, and proposed an initiative to schedule daily visits by extremists to the Jerusalem holy site.

Azzam al-Khatib, director of the Jerusalem office of the PA ministry of endowment said "it is obvious that Israeli police are being pressured by extremists to allow Glick to return to Al-Aqsa."

"Glick is a provocative man, and it is obvious that he is trying to create chaos at Al-Aqsa," al-Khatib added.

Yehuda Glick is an American-born Israeli and the chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Fund, an extremist Jewish organization focused on "strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Temple Mount."
Ready to see the video of these "extremists" creating chaos? Here they are, from the Al Aqsa Heritage Foundation website.



They seem to be extremely polite. Extremely quiet. Extremely reverent.

Hey, maybe they are extremists!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

HuffPo features Pallywood TWICE in photo essay on human challenges

The Huffington Post has a photo essay, "29 Photos That Put All Of Our Struggles In Perspective."

Two of those photos are pure Pallywood.

#8 says "The world we've come to love can often seem to collapse around us." and it shows this photo:

A Palestinian family's home in East Jerusalem was demolished in 2013 by the state municipality for not having proper safety permits. The family claimed they were still waiting for the permits to arrive.
However, I showed that the child in this photo, along with others, was playacting his anger for the cameras, as this 11 minute video proves:



Then, HuffPo places at #11, the girl known as Shirley Temper ("Wanting nothing else but to fight back.")


Here's the video, to music, showing all of Shirley's greatest hits:



Fact-checking is clearly not a major focus for HuffPo.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Crazy Daily Beast article blames Zionism for Christian indifference to Muslim persecution

A bombed church. Gotta be the Zionists' fault.
The Daily Beast has an incomprehensible article that takes a few unrelated facts and half-truths to somehow blame Israel's existence and US support for Israel for the fact that Western Christians are mostly indifferent to the problems of Middle East Christians.

Diarmaid MacCulloch is Fellow of St. Cross College and Professor of the History of the Church, Oxford University. Here's his bizarre thesis:
[O]ne of the silences which I find most frustrating is precisely the lack of noise from Western Christians about the fate of ancient Christianities in the Middle East. At the heart of the problems in the Middle East is seven decades of unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine, and I notice that when American politicians discuss those matters, they seem to assume that all Palestinians, and indeed all Arabs, are Muslims. Not so: there are Christians there too.... Why this blindness, why this silence?
Given that every single Christmas for over a century there have been articles in major American and British papers about the Christian community in Bethlehem, this first assertion seems not very plausible. (Not to mention that even after seeing two years of Arab upheavals, MacCulloch  still places Israel at the center of all Middle East problems.)

But even if US politicians were uncommonly stupid, isn't this article about the silence of normal Christians? Are they equally unaware that Christians live in the Middle East?

His second unrelated point:
The problem is a Protestant one, going right back to sixteenth-century Reformation. From Martin Luther onwards, many Protestants have eagerly been awaiting an imminent end to the world, the return of Christ in glory. Reading the Bible, it’s easy to link this to the idea that a necessary precondition for Christ to return is that his ancient people the Jews convert to the Christian faith...But by the nineteenth century there was a further thought: the Jews must return to their Promised Land of Israel. In 1846 there was founded a worldwide Evangelical Alliance. One of its main concerns was to return Jews to Palestine and convert them there...
Yeah, we know that. So let's go to a third mostly unrelated point:

Fast-forward to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. For some years after that, American relations with Israeli governments were dominated by power politics. ... [I]n the 1980s [American politicians] discovered a large constituency emphatically in favour of Israel, precisely for reasons related to the apocalypse....

Now American Evangelicals made common cause with the Jewish community in the United States, and they seemed to care little if at all for the opinions or the sufferings of their fellow-Christians in the ancient Churches of the Middle East. Israeli politicians have not been slow to exploit this political windfall, caring little for the fact that Evangelical apocalypticism expected the conversion of the Jews to Christianity. American foreign policy has for decades seemed locked into hardly questioning its support for the State of Israel, even though the consequences for its relations with the Arab and Muslim world, and with others, are almost entirely negative. They have been particularly dire for the traditional Christianities of the Middle East.
OK, so the US - by siding with Israel to make US evangelicals happy - has caused Arab Muslims to turn against Arab Christians.

Um, what?

This has to be one of the most bizarre anti-Israel arguments I've ever seen, and I've seen some doozies. Although to call it an "argument" seems too charitable. It is more a vain attempt to blame Israel for Christian suffering throughout the Arab world by throwing things against the wall and hoping they would stick.

Exactly how does one draw a line from "US support for Israel" to "Muslims drive Christians out of all Arab countries"? How much can one twist facts in order to absolve Arabs from their actions?

But MacCulloch's theory is even nuttier. He still doesn't give a reason for those crazy evangelicals to ignore their fellow Christians. If they were all Islamophobes, wouldn't they be in the forefront of the campaign to defend Arab Christians from Muslims?  Apparently, somehow, their support for Israel means that they don't have the mental capacity to understand that more than one thing can happen in the Middle East at once. It must be that they are just too stupid.

That's not all. MacCulloch thinks that US Zionist evangelicals are the only Christians on the planet who have the ability to help their fellow Christians. What about non-evangelical Americans? What about the entire continent of South America? What about European Christians? Are they all completely impotent because US Zionist Christians have taken over the entire religion?

What continent is the Vatican in again?

The entire article reveals much more about MacCulloch's mentality than about any reality in the Middle East. Rather than try to puzzle out the illogic of this piece, try this on for size:

1) MacCulloch is upset that Christians have been silent about Muslim persecution.
2) MacCulloch hates Israel and Christian Zionists.
3) Therefore, Israel and Zionism must be at fault for Christian apathy.

The rest is all detail. (And absolving the actual people doing the persecution is obligatory, as long as Zionists can be somehow blamed.)

Even the Daily Beast employee who wrote the subheading of the article can't quite figure out MacCulloch's argument:
Why has the suffering of the Middle Eastern Christian communities not ignited outrage and support from Western Christians? The answer has something to do with Israel and the Second Coming, writes Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch.

(h/t Daniel F)