NYT, G & M’S ONGOING ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS QUESTIONED, AS LAMPEDUSA’S JEWISH CONNECTION IS REMEMBERED

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The Rage Of The New York Times: Andrea Levin, Andrea Levin, Apr. 8, 2015 — A three-story billboard opposite the newsroom of The New York Times sponsored by CAMERA currently reads “The New York Times Against Israel: All Rant, All Slant, All the Time. Stop the Bias!”

J’Accuse: Globe and Mail Delegitimizes Israel’s Claim to Jerusalem: Mike Fegelman, Times of Israel, Apr. 24, 2015— Despite the Jewish people’s continuous and unbroken physical presence in the land of Israel for over 3 millennia, Jews are routinely presented as foreign occupiers of their own ancestral and biblical homeland.

The Jewish Connection to Lampedusa: Josephine Bacon, Algemeiner, May 11, 2015 — Lampedusa, a tiny island off the coast of Sicily, has been in the news in Europe lately. This is where the boats land that are packed with illegal immigrants from Africa, who often board in Libya.

Love is What Links Us to God: Jonathan Sacks, Algemeiner, May 21, 2015— One of the most amusing scenes in Anglo-Jewish history occurred on 14 October 1663.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Latest "Breaking the Silence" Report Isn't Journalism. It's Propaganda.: Matti Friedman, Mosaic, May 14, 2015

CBC Provides New Definition for Balanced Reporting: Diane Weber Bederman, Canada Free Press, May 18, 2015

BBC Conveniently Fails to Report on Rocket Attack From Gaza Strip: Hadar Sela, Algemeiner, Apr. 27, 2015

In Idiotic Editorial, New York Times Prioritizes Iranian Pride and Jobs Over Israeli Concerns: Elder of Ziyon, Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2015

 

                            

THE RAGE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES                                                                                    

Andrea Levin                                                        

Jewish Press, Apr. 8, 2015

 

A three-story billboard opposite the newsroom of The New York Times sponsored by CAMERA currently reads “The New York Times Against Israel: All Rant, All Slant, All the Time. Stop the Bias!” The same message and others dot billboards on expressways in and out of the city as well as avenues in Manhattan, including approaches to tunnels traversed daily by tens of thousands of commuters. Across the metropolitan area, millions of people are reading the messages of the billboards.

 

The messages are not an overstatement. The unhinged fury of The New York Times over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his reelection by the people of Israel is only the latest event that points powerfully to underlying attitudes that permeate the publication’s acrimonious obsession with the Jewish state. The editorial tirade against Netanyahu on the occasion of his victory – calling him “craven” and “racist,” a builder of expansive settlements and a duplicitous obstacle to peace – underscores the extreme and factually distorted sentiment about not only the Israeli prime minister but the nation of Israel, sentiment that pervades all too much of the news coverage as well as the opinion pages.

 

The Times presents Israel continuously as the cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the only real actor on the stage. Palestinians and their leadership are foils and backdrop, victims with little or no political or moral responsibility for their own actions. Their own culture, faults, corruption, and human rights issues are almost entirely invisible. They are primarily rung in to denounce Israel in one guise or another. A sampling of reports before and after the vote gives a taste of the bias.

 

The Times’s indictment of Israel often centers on settlements as the greatest impediment to ending the conflict – despite Palestinian rejection of peace offers entailing Israeli concessions on the issue and despite Israel’s unilateral removal of all settlements from Gaza, a move that, of course, did not reduce tensions there. Thus, among the news stories prior to the election that seemingly aimed to tar the incumbent prime minister was a striking 3,000-plus word, front-page, above-the-fold article on Jewish settlements that appeared on March 13, four days before the election. The piece, by Jodi Rudoren and Jeremy Ashkenas, included an entire two-page spread on inside pages with an enormous photo and aerial images of individual settlements expanding – it was implied – cancer-like over decades. The online version was titled: “Netanyahu and the Settlements.”…

 

Three times in the first three paragraphs readers were told settlements would impede a “future state” for Palestinians, “threaten prospects of a two-state solution” and complicate “creation of a viable Palestine.” Repeatedly the story came back to this – that Netanyahu’s settlement policies “deepened the dilemma for peacemakers.” Martin Indyk was quoted harshly charging that in the failed 2014 peace negotiations, “Mr. Netanyahu’s ‘rampant settlement activity’ had a ‘dramatically damaging impact.’” (Unmentioned was the fact that Indyk was outed six months ago in the Times itself as a recipient of $14.8 million in Qatari funding to the Brookings Institute where he’s executive vice president. Qatar supports Hamas and al Jazeera and is the largest funder of Brookings.)

 

There was not a word in the story to convey that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and before him Yasir Arafat, rejected Israeli peace offers that would have curtailed settlement expansion and removed some outlying settlements. Other basic counterpoints to the story line were also simply omitted. For example, no hint was given that there might not be any impediment to a future Palestinian state if the Palestinians did not insist that their state be Judenrein but rather were open to including Jews and their communities the way Israel includes one and a half million Arabs – over 20 percent of its population.

 

Pro forma references to international “ire” regarding Jewish settlements were cited but there was no exploration of the contending positions. In 3,000 words there was no mention of any of the core legal issues. There are obviously differing views about the political advisability and future of settlement development, but there are also basic facts that can aid in understanding the merit of each side. For example, as literally hundreds of international jurists have attested, the right of Jews to live in these areas was clearly established by the original League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (1922), which called for “close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands” of the Mandate. This Jewish right was reaffirmed by Article 80 of the United Nations charter, which preserved the application of the League of Nations Mandate’s stipulations.

 

The contending argument is that Israeli settlements violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the transfer of populations. Israel disputes the relevance here, arguing the Convention is not applicable because there is no forcible transfer; Jews have moved voluntarily to the disputed areas to establish communities. In a few sentences, the Times could have added to reader awareness about the differing views on this contentious subject. But the thrust of this story was to tar Netanyahu as a settlement zealot, an effort that’s actually made difficult when even the Times’s own charts show the prime minister doing about the same – or sometimes less – than previous Israeli leaders in housing starts in settlements.

 

In a nod to the obvious reality that statistics regarding settlement building don’t set Netanyahu notably apart from his fellow prime ministers, especially during his second administration, the reporters inject other negative innuendo, charging: “He has taken more heat over settlements than his predecessors, analysts said, in part because of his broader intransigence on the Palestinian issue and the use of construction as a retaliatory tool.” Which “analysts” are leveling these charges? What is their expertise on the topic? What exactly was the “broader intransigence on the Palestinian issue”? What and when was the “use of construction as a retaliatory tool?”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]               

                                                                       

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J’ACCUSE: GLOBE AND MAIL DELEGITIMIZES

ISRAEL’S CLAIM TO JERUSALEM                                                                                                    

Mike Fegelman                                                                                                   

Times of Israel, Apr. 24, 2015

 

Despite the Jewish people’s continuous and unbroken physical presence in the land of Israel for over 3 millennia, Jews are routinely presented as foreign occupiers of their own ancestral and biblical homeland.

The Jewish people’s un-renounced legal and religious claims to their historic and national homeland – a claim recognized by the international community and enshrined in legal instruments by the pre-UN League of Nations and Article 80 of the UN Charter – is routinely met with antipathy by Canada’s journalists and Israel’s detractors.

 

All too often, Canadian news outlets delegitimize the Jewish people’s historical connection to Jerusalem, Israel’s proclaimed capital. A land Jews have lived in for 3,000 years and the site of ancient Jewish temples. It was only during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 (an unprovoked pan-Arab attack to destroy the nascent State of Israel) that Jordan captured and occupied the city until 1967, when Israel reunified and retook the eastern portion of Jerusalem. In the 19 years of forced exile, Jewish holy sites and homes were burned and destroyed, and Jews themselves were ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem. Upon liberation, the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem was rebuilt and Jewish life and reverence in Jerusalem resumed and continues to present day.

 

Israel’s Basic Law of July 30, 1980, declares “Jerusalem, complete and unified, is the capital of Israel. Jerusalem is the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government, and the Supreme Court.” On December 5, 1949, the Israeli government declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Even though some countries, including Canada, don’t recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, and insist on the “corpus separatum” status of Jerusalem, most accept the validity of Israeli law. Considering the importance of the status of Jerusalem, our media must report accurately and with necessary context. Regrettably, the Globe and Mail, a national newspaper regarded as Canada’s “paper of record”, produced coverage that maligns Israel’s claim to Jerusalem.

 

In a commentary published by the Globe on March 7, international affairs columnist Doug Saunders erroneously stated the following: “In 1993, the Palestinians recognized Israel as a legitimate state for the first time. In turn, Israel was to recognize the Palestinians’ national ambitions and negotiate a border based on the 1967 lines, beyond which Israeli populations would not extend. Both parties would share Jerusalem and renounce violence. It was a solution based on mutual compromise, ratified in the Oslo accords of 1993 and 1995.” In making this statement, Saunders erroneously claimed there was agreement via Oslo that Israelis and Palestinians would “share Jerusalem”. Instead, the final status of Jerusalem is to be determined by negotiations between the parties. Oslo didn’t prejudice the outcome of Jerusalem and Israel never agreed to this.

 

Having communicated these concerns to Globe and Mail Public Editor Sylvia Stead on March 13, I received the following reply from Ms. Stead: In the 1993 Oslo agreement, Jerusalem was included in the ‘Final Status Items,’ which is to say that its division between Israel and Palestine, as mandated in the United Nations resolution which created Israel (181(II)). The understanding, during the negotiation and ratification of the Oslo agreements, was that this would lead Jerusalem to be divided between Israeli and Palestinian authorities. In fact, this was guaranteed in a letter sent in 1993 by Foreign Minister Shimon Perez, acting on the prime minister’s authorization, in which the Palestinians were informed that ‘all the Palestinian institutions of East Jerusalem, including the economic, social, educational and cultural, and the holy Christian and Muslim places, are performing an essential task for the Palestinian population… the fulfillment of this important mission is to be encouraged.’ In sum, Oslo ratified an agreement which included the division of Jerusalem as part of its mission.

 

Contrary to Ms. Stead’s contentions, the 1993 Declaration of Principles (the term “Oslo agreement” is a misnomer), Jerusalem was included in the “Final Status Items.” At the time, Prime Minister Rabin stated that “Jerusalem is the ancient and eternal capital of the Jewish people.” An undivided Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, with religious freedom for all, is and remains a fundamental Israeli position. The Declaration did not contain any reference to UNGA 181, and the side letter from FM Shimon Peres means precisely what is written and nothing more. The claim that the DOP in any way committed Israel to shared sovereignty in Jerusalem is entirely and demonstrably false.

 

In consultation with Dr. Jacques Gauthier, a Canadian international human rights lawyer who is considered to be the foremost expert on the legal status on Jerusalem, Dr. Gauthier confirmed there’s no validity to the Globe’s argument that there was an agreement via Oslo that Israelis and Palestinians would “share Jerusalem”. In Dr. Gauthier’s 2007 thesis entitled “Sovereignty Over the Old City of Jerusalem: A Study of the Historical, Religious, Political and Legal Aspects of the Question of the Old City,” he states the following about the Oslo Accords:

 

    For a period of eight months in 1993 secret negotiations were pursued by a group of specially appointed Israeli and Palestinian representatives. The Oslo Peace Accords were the products of these secret negotiations.  The Oslo Accords postponed the discussion of the difficult Jerusalem issue until the completion of permanent-status negotiations. The question of Jerusalem was therefore for the first time included on the list of matters for negotiations between the parties. However, the underlying principles of the Oslo Accords comprised the concept of ‘land for peace’ based on the U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338 and the discontinuance of the occupation of Palestinian territories which was interpreted by the Palestinians as including all of East Jerusalem and the Old City. On September 13, 1993, the ‘Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements’ was signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization on behalf of the Palestinian People. These Agreements are often referred to as the ‘Oslo I Accords.’ The Declaration of Principles makes reference to Jerusalem but only in the context of the rights of the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem to participate in municipal elections and of confirmation that the parties accepted the principle that, although the self-governing authority did not have jurisdiction in Jerusalem and the Old City during the interim self-governing phase, the Jerusalem issue would be included in the permanent-status negotiations.

 

Despite our protestations, the Globe refused to correct its material errors and altogether failed to provide sources (despite repeated requests) to back up its claims…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]   

                                                                       

 

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THE JEWISH CONNECTION TO LAMPEDUSA                                                                       

Josephine Bacon                                                                                                           

Algemeiner, May 11, 2015

 

Lampedusa, a tiny island off the coast of Sicily, has been in the news in Europe lately. This is where the boats land that are packed with illegal immigrants from Africa, who often board in Libya. Lampedusa is a tiny rocky outcrop, so small that it does not even show up on some maps, but it is now packed tightly with refugee camps. It is so crowded that the cemetery is full, and there is no room to bury the bodies of the many escaping Africans who drowned at sea.

 

Yet the island of Lampedusa has a Jewish connection. It is an extraordinary story. In June, 1941, Flight-Sergeant Sydney Cohen, a Royal Air Force pilot, was trying to fly back to his base in Malta in his Swordfish bi-plane. He veered off course and was forced to make an emergency landing on Lampedusa. He and his crew decided to surrender to the large Italian garrison, but before they could do so, the garrison of 4,300 Italian troops stationed there rushed out waving white flags! They made Syd the commander of the island! In his own words, “A crowd of Italians came out to meet us and we put our hands up to surrender, but then we saw they were all waving white sheets and shouting, ‘No, no – We surrender!’” And that’s how Sydney Cohen became King of Lampedusa!

 

Sydney Cohen, a tailor’s cutter from Clapton, a Jewish suburb of London, accepted the Italian surrender (confirmed on a scrap of paper) from the Commandant. Afterward, he flew back to Malta where he delivered the “document of surrender.” The positive propaganda created by the incident was soon relayed back to Britain, where it was widely circulated. In 1941, British morale was at its very lowest, a Nazi invasion being feared daily. One English newspaper, the News Chronicle, carried the headline “London Tailor’s Cutter is now King of Lampedusa.”

 

This inspired a Yiddish playwright, S.J. Charendorf, to turn the story into a Yiddish musical. “The King of Lampedusa” was staged in 1943, first at the New Yiddish Theatre on Adler Street, and later at the Grand Palais in the Mile End Road. It starred the doyen of London’s Yiddish Theatre, Meier Tzelniker, and his daughter Anna. It had the longest run of any production in Yiddish and was even staged in Palestine. The BBC broadcast an English translation, the hero being played by the famous English-Jewish actor, Sidney Tafler. News of the play reached Germany and attracted the attention of Nazi sympathiser “Lord Haw-Haw” (the Nazi equivalent of Tokyo Rose), who mentioned it in his propaganda broadcasts and even threatened the theatre with a visit from the Luftwaffe (It never happened, but the theatre eventually closed due to lack of support and is now part of Queen Mary College of London University).

 

The story of the King of Lampedusa ended sadly. After the war was over, Flight-Sergeant Cohen and his plane were flying back home to England but were lost without a trace over the English Channel on August 26, 1946. His body was never recovered. Happily, he had seen the play before he died while on leave in Haifa, Palestine, in 1944. In 2001, rumors circulated that Hollywood had decided to turn the play into a movie, but with a different ending: the survival of Flight Sergeant Cohen and the realization of his dream to emigrate to Australia and become a sheep-farmer. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet.

                                                                       

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LOVE IS WHAT LINKS US TO GOD                                                                                          

Jonathan Sacks                               

Algemeiner, May 21, 2015

 

One of the most amusing scenes in Anglo-Jewish history occurred on 14 October 1663. A mere seven years had passed since Oliver Cromwell had found no legal bar to Jews living in England (hence the so-called “return” of 1656). A small synagogue was opened in Creechurch Lane in the City of London, forerunner of Bevis Marks (1701), the oldest still-extant place of Jewish worship in Britain. The famous diarist Samuel Pepys decided to pay a visit to this new curiosity, to see how Jews conducted themselves at prayer. What he saw amazed and scandalised him. As chance or Providence had it, the day of his visit turned out to be Simchat Torah. This is how he described what he saw:

 

    And anon their Laws that they take out of the press [i.e. the Ark] are carried by several men, four or five several burthens in all, and they do relieve one another; and whether it is that every one desires to have the carrying of it, I cannot tell, thus they carried it round about the room while such a service is singing … But, Lord! to see the disorder, laughing, sporting, and no attention, but confusion in all their service, more like brutes than people knowing the true God, would make a man forswear ever seeing them more and indeed I never did see so much, or could have imagined there had been any religion in the whole world so absurdly performed as this.

 

This was not the kind of behavior he was used to in a house of worship. There is something unique about the relationship of Jews to the Torah, the way we stand in its presence as if it were a king, dance with it as if it were a bride, listen to it telling our story and study it, as we say in our prayers, as “our life and the length of our days.” There are few more poignant lines of prayer than the one contained in a poem said at Neilah, at the end of Yom Kippur: Ein shiyur rak ha-Torah ha-zot: “Nothing remains,” after the destruction of the Temple and the loss of the land, “but this Torah.” A book, a scroll, was all that stood between Jews and despair. What non-Jews (and sometimes Jews) fail to appreciate is how, in Judaism, Torah represents law as love, and love as law. Torah is not just “revealed legislation” as Moses Mendelssohn described it in the eighteenth century. It represents God’s faith in our ancestors that He entrusted them with the creation of a society that would become a home for His presence and an example to the world.

 

One of the keys as to how this worked is contained in the parsha of Bemidbar, always read before Shavuot, the commemoration of the giving of the Torah. This reminds us how central is the idea of wilderness – the desert, no man’s land – is to Judaism. It is midbar, wilderness, that gives our parsha and the book as a whole its name. It was in the desert that the Israelites made a covenant with God and received the Torah, their constitution as a nation under the sovereignty of God. It is the desert that provides the setting for four of the five books of the Torah, and it was there that the Israelites experienced their most intimate contact with God, who sent them water from a rock, manna from heaven and surrounded them with clouds of glory.

 

What story is being told here? The Torah is telling us three things fundamental to Jewish identity. First is the unique phenomenon that in Judaism the law preceded the land. For every other nation in history the reverse was the case. First came the land, then human settlements, first in small groups, then in villages, towns and cities. Then came forms of order and governance and a legal system: first the land, then the law.

 

The fact that in Judaism the Torah was given bemidbar, in the desert, before they had even entered the land, meant that uniquely Jews and Judaism were able to survive, their identity intact, even in exile. Because the law came before the land, even when Jews lost the land they still had the law. This meant that even in exile, Jews were still a nation. God remained their sovereign. The covenant was still in place. Even without a geography, they had an ongoing history. Even before they entered the land, Jews had been given the ability to survive outside the land.

 

Second, there is a tantalising connection between midbar, ‘wilderness,’ and davar, ‘word.’ Where other nations found the gods in nature – the rain, the earth, fertility and the seasons of the agricultural year – Jews discovered God in transcendence, beyond nature, a God who could not be seen but rather heard. In the desert, there is no nature. Instead there is emptiness and silence, a silence in which one can hear the unearthly voice of the One-beyond-the-world. As Edmond Jabès put it: “The word cannot dwell except in the silence of other words. To speak is, accordingly, to lean on a metaphor of the desert.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]               

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom and Happy Shavuot Holiday!

 

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On Topic

 

The Latest "Breaking the Silence" Report Isn't Journalism. It's Propaganda.: Matti Friedman, Mosaic, May 14, 2015—Last week, a report by an Israeli group called Breaking the Silence made headlines in the U.S., Britain, and most of Europe, becoming one of the week’s biggest international stories.

CBC Provides New Definition for Balanced Reporting: Diane Weber Bederman, Canada Free Press, May 18, 2015—Last March I once again contacted the CBC regarding their bias-this time against the Harper Government’s response to the Supreme Court ruling allowing the right to wear the niqab during the citizenship ceremony.

BBC Conveniently Fails to Report on Rocket Attack From Gaza Strip: Hadar Sela, Algemeiner, Apr. 27, 2015—With the BBC having sent at least two of its Jerusalem Bureau staff to cover the story of migrants and refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean (Quentin Sommerville has been reporting from Libya and Yolande Knell from Sicily), coverage of events in Israel has been decidedly sparse over the past two weeks.

In Idiotic Editorial, New York Times Prioritizes Iranian Pride and Jobs Over Israeli Concerns: Elder of Ziyon, Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2015 —While many, many newspapers, from both the left and the right, are publishing strong reservations about the Iranian nuclear deal, the New York Times is firmly in line with the Obama administration – and even more in line against Binyamin Netanyahu.