Media-o-crity of the Week

There are Jews who are trending toward the Republican Party, some of it because of their misunderstanding of Obama’s policies in the Middle East, and some of it, quite frankly, for economic reasons. They feel they want to protect their wealth.”—Democratic congressman Henry Waxman, following Republican Bob Turner’s landslide victory in a heavily Jewish New York Congressional district, claiming that the election results are not correlated to U.S. President Barack Obama’s perceived hostility towards Israel, but rather reflect Jews’ concerns about their money. (Contentions, September 16.)

Weekly Quotes


America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable.… So we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day. Let’s be honest: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them. Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, looks out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile, and persecution, and the fresh memory of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they are.”—U.S. President Barack Obama, at the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York, affirming that the U.S.’ “friendship with Israel is deep and enduring,” and emphasizing that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved “with negotiations between the parties.” (JTA, September 21.)


We view this unilateral action on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to be not helpful…in terms of establishing a long-run peace in the Middle East. Canada views the action as very regrettable and we will be opposing it at the United Nations.”—Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, reiterating Canada’s opposition to the Palestinians’ upcoming bid to obtain a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN. (Toronto Star, September 16.)


This week I will leave for the US. On Wednesday I will meet with US President Barack Obama and other world leaders and afterwards I will address the UN General Assembly. The UN is not a place where Israel wins praise, but I think that it is important that I go there in order to represent both the State of Israel and the truth…and the truth is that Israel wants peace and the truth is that the Palestinians are doing everything to torpedo direct peace negotiations.… The [Palestinians] need to understand that, despite their current attempt to again overturn the negotiations by going to the UN, peace will be achieved only through direct negotiations.”—Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, at the weekly Cabinet meeting, announcing that he will travel to New York to “personally convey [Israel’s] message of…peace at the [UN] General Assembly,” and reaffirming his belief that the Palestinians’ “attempt to be accepted as a member of the UN will fail.” (Ynet News, September 15 & Independent Media Review and Analysis, September 18.)


The Palestinian people and their leadership will pass through very difficult times after the Palestinian approach to the United Nations.…”—Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, confirming that the PA is facing “huge” international pressure to abandon its UN statehood gambit, a situation he describes as “all hell has broken out against us [Palestinians].” (Jerusalem Post, September 19.)


Dear Mr. President.… We are deeply disappointed that President Mahmoud Abbas appears determined to scorn your persistent efforts to persuade him to return to the negotiating table with Israel and instead seek unilateral diplomatic action in New York that will only set back the prospects for peace. We are also troubled by the anti-Israeli rhetoric that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has displayed in recent weeks in the wake of the Palmer Report.… Lastly, the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo earlier this month by a mob was profoundly unsettling.…  We believe it is imperative for you to speak strongly, forthrightly and publicly about U.S. concerns over these developments. We need to make it clear that we will not tolerate continued threats to Israel by governments or individuals in the region or attempts to delegitimize Israel at the UN or other international forums.…”—Letter written by 14 U.S. Senators to Barack Obama, calling on the U.S. President to issue a strongly worded defense of Israel during his address to the United Nations General Assembly, as “The world needs to hear unequivocally…that Israel—[the U.S.’] friend, ally, and strategic partner—is not alone in facing these threats.”. (Website of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, September 19.)


Israel will not vote for Palestinian statehood, because the U.N. vote is more a referendum on Israel than it is on Palestine. Marginalized as never before, Israel is now witness to Iran’s continuing nuclear aspirations, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s cozying up to Iran by threatening Israel and Egyptian masses who despise Israel simply for existing. Iran, Turkey and Egypt have assumed their positions because of radicalization in the Arab world, not because of anything to do with the Palestinians.… Just days ago, Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority claimed that the Palestinians’ land had been occupied for 63 years. The ‘occupation’ to which he refers is thus not the result of Israel’s victory in 1967, but rather, Israel’s very creation in 1948.…”—President of the Shalem Foundation, Daniel Gordis, explaining in part Israel’s opposition to the Palestinians’ UN statehood gambit, which, he claims, “the Palestinians are explicitly transforming…into a referendum on Israel.” (NY Times, September 14.)


Like you, I have read suggestions by newspaper columnists and observers that…Israel is ‘isolating itself’ in the Middle East. That view is wrong, and always has been wrong. Israel is not isolating itself—Israel is leading in the Middle East.… We’re here to see that Israel continues to thrive—and to make clear it is America’s duty to stand by her side. Not just as a broker or observer—but as a strong partner and reliable ally.”—Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, conveying Congress’ unwavering support for Israel, and affirming that “Israel does not stand alone—Israel stands above as the one true beacon of freedom and opportunity in the Middle East.” (Weekly Standard, September 19.)


Unfortunate errors by the Obama administration have encouraged the Palestinians to take steps backward away from peace.”—Governor of Texas and leading Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, attributing the PA’s UN gambit to U.S. president Obama’s bumbling of the “peace process”, and calling on the U.S. to “affirm that the precondition for any properly negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is the formal recognition of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state behind secure borders.” (JTA, September 18.)


The fact of the matter is that there is nothing in the [1995] Interim Agreement [on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip]…and under Oslo that prohibits settlement activity.… The statement was technically correct.…”—U.S. Department of State representative, James B. Foley, at the Daily Press Briefing, confirming the veracity of former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright’s earlier assertion, in an interview with The Today Show’s Matt Lauer, that Israeli settlement activity is legal within the context of the Oslo Accords and subsequent Israeli-Palestinian agreements. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, September 21.)


Even Palestinian refugees who are living in [refugee camps] inside the [Palestinian] state…will not be considered citizens.”—Palestinian “ambassador” to Lebanon, Abdullah Abdullah, confirming that Palestinian refugees, even those currently residing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, will not become citizens of a future Palestinian state, and will “absolutely not” be issued Palestinian passports. Abdullah added that “When we [Palestinians] have a state accepted as a member of the United Nations, this is not the end of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict.” (The Lebanon Daily Star, September 15.)


The Palestinian Authority’s path of unilateralism and reneging on its commitments bode extremely ill…for a peaceful resolution to our conflict.… Future assistance and cooperation could be severely…compromised if the Palestinian leadership continues on its path of essentially acting in contravention of all signed agreements [including the Oslo Accords] which also regulate existing economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”—Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, speaking at the UN’s Palestinian Donors Conference, confirming that Israeli-Palestinian economic cooperation may be “irreparably” damaged should the Palestinians unilaterally declare statehood. (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 19.)


Dear Madam High Commissioner, We write to strongly protest the UN’s unprecedented decision to exclude UN Watch, an ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organization, from [this] Thursday’s high-level meeting to commemorate the Durban Declaration. The rejection of our application was carried out without any notice or semblance of due process, and is an act of discrimination.”—Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, “the only watchdog group mandated to monitor the UN according to the principles of its charter,” in a letter written to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, condemning the UN’s decision to ban the Geneva-based group from attending the upcoming anti-Israel Durban III Conference, and urging Pillay “to speak out against this injustice, which undermines the UN’s credibility in combatting discrimination.” (UN Watch, September 15.)


Poland is to be congratulated for pulling-out of Durban III.… The UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is attempting to hijack world leaders…to force them to be part of this appalling attack on Israel and human rights.…”—Human rights scholar and editor of Eye on the UN,Anne Bayefsky, lauding Poland for its decision to boycott the UN’s upcoming Durban III conference. British Prime Minister David Cameron also confirmed this week that “the UK will play no part in this conference,” adding that in the past the World Conference on Racism saw “open displays” of “deplorable anti-Semitism,” (Jerusalem Post, September 14 & 15.)


The Zionist regime is always doing the same thing. They destroy people’s homes and raze them to the ground. They have created a few major wars. They continue to assassinate and terrorize people; they continue their policy of coercion against other nations, including Iran.”—Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in an interview with the Washington Post, dubbing Zionism “a dreadful party, a feared party,” and claiming that the movement “was behind the First World War and the Second World War.” Weighing in on the Palestinians’ upcoming UN bid to obtain a unilateral declaration of statehood, Ahmadinejad referred to the cause as “the beginning of the liberation of the entire Palestinian land. The Palestinian nation existed before the Palestinians had unwanted guests pour into Palestine with guns.” (Ynet News, September 14.)


The Camp David agreement is not a sacred thing and is always open to discussion.”—Egypt’s Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf,  in an interview broadcast on Turkish state television, affirming Egypt’s right “make a change if needed” to the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty. (Jerusalem Post, September 15.)


The government should take a fast step in removing the Israeli embassy from Amman in light of continued Zionist violations against the sovereignty and interests of Jordan.”—Excerpts from a statement issued by Jordan’s main opposition party, The Islamic Action Front, urging the Jordanian government to sever ties with Israel. Last week, Israel was forced to evacuate its embassy in Jordan, hours before an organized march under the banner (in Arabic) of “No Zionist Embassy on Jordanian Territory.” (Independent Media Review and Analysis, September 11 & Jerusalem Post, September 14.)


It’s hard to describe the sense of pride we felt, standing here with a local orchestra playing the [Israeli] anthem and seeing the flag flying in the background.”—Newly appointed Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Sharon Bar-Lee, describing the official opening of the Israeli Embassy in Accra, capital city of Ghana, following the renewal of full diplomatic between the two nations some 38 years after ties were severed in wake of the Yom Kippur War. (Ynet News, September 15.)


Short Takes


BARAK CONVINCES NIGERIA TO VOTE AGAINST PA UN STATE BID—(Jerusalem) Israel’s Defense Ministry has released a statement confirming that Defense Minister Ehud Barak has convinced Nigeria to not support the Palestinian statehood bid. Israel’s Army Radio also reported that Gabon has not yet decided if it will back the Palestinians’ gambit. Until this week, Israel was sure that Gabon would support the Palestinians’ cause, giving the Palestinian Authority a majority in the Security Council. Should Gabon decide to withdraw its support, a resolution would not pass in the Security Council and the United States would not need to use its veto. (Jerusalem Post, September 20.)


U.S. PLANS TO DELAY SC VOTE ON PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD—(United Nations) According to officials, the U.S. and its European allies plan to delay a U.N. Security Council vote on Palestinian membership well beyond this week. Diplomats said that the Security Council will refer the forthcoming application to a panel for further study, a process which could take months, to enable the Quartet—which comprises the U.S., U.N., European Union, and Russia—to continue to develop a new negotiating framework for the resumption of talks. Officials also confirmed that the U.S. and Europeans will attempt to water down any resolution on Palestinian statehood presented to the General Assembly so as to keep the peace process alive. (Wall Street Journal, September 21.)


LIEBERMAN TAKES ON PLO’S ‘JUDENREIN PALESTINE’ REMARKS—(Jerusalem) Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has directed Foreign Ministry officials to submit a formal protest to the US and EU over the remarks made by the PLO’s ambassador to the US, Maen Areikat, in which he said that the future Palestinian state would be “free of Jews”. In an announcement distributed by Lieberman, he said that Areikat’s assertion correlates with similar declarations made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which, together, prove that the Palestinian leadership has adopted the “Judenrein” ideology. “It is advisable for the world’s nations to take these statements into account when discussing the Palestinian request to establish an independent state,” Lieberman affirmed. (Ynet News, September 15.)


HAMAS SLAMS ABBAS OVER UN BID—(Jerusalem) Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has come out against the Palestinian campaign to achieve UN statehood recognition, describing the move as a “political adventure which does not reflect national or Arab consensus.” Haniyeh stressed that “no leadership [may] toy with the Palestinians’ rights or serve up concessions,” insisting that the Palestinian “right of return” not be yielded, and that the Palestinian people not recognize the State of Israel. Last week, Hamas official Khalil al-Haya expressed hope that the UN would recognize a Palestinian state not along the 1967 borders, but rather on all of Israel’s territory. (Ynet News, September 18.)


MOTHER OF 4 TERRORISTS CHOSEN BY THE PA TO LAUNCH STATEHOOD CAMPAIGN—(Jerusalem) The Palestinian Authority has chosen the mother of four terrorists as the person to launch its statehood campaign at the UN. In a widely publicized event, the PA had Latifa Abu Hmeid lead a procession to the UN offices in Ramallah and to hand over a letter destined for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. The official PA daily reported that she is the “mother of seven prisoners [jailed in Israel],” four of whom are murderers. Last year, the PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Karake, honored Abu Hmeid with an award, “The Plaque of Resoluteness and Giving.” The PA minister explained that “It is she who gave birth to the fighters, and she deserves that we bow to her in salute and in honor.” (Palestinian Media Watch, September 18.)


UN DIPLOMATS SAY COUNTRIES BEING INTIMIDATED INTO SUPPORTING PALESTINIAN BID—(Jerusalem) UN diplomats from various countries have confirmed that their support for the Palestinian statehood bid stems from fear of revenge from Muslim and Arab nations loyal to the Palestinian cause. Sources said that some countries will support the Palestinians because Muslim and Arab countries have threatened to take punitive measures against them, specifically by thwarting appeals to the Security Council or bids to be appointed to important UN bodies. Diplomats have pointed to Australia as an example of this intimidation, as Australia is already pushing its nomination for a seat on the Security Council next year. (Haaretz, September 15.)


IDF BOOSTS WEST BANK PRESENCE AHEAD OF UN BID—(Jerusalem) The IDF Central Command has raised its alertness level in the West Bank ahead of this week’s Palestinian bid for statehood recognition in the UN. Reserves from at least three regiments have been mobilized in order to reinforce troops levels, and additional reserves have been prepared to mobilize in a state of emergency. The IDF has also completed its training of the settlement civilian response units in the event that mass Palestinian demonstrations lead to conflicts in West Bank settlements. GOC Central Command Avi Mizrahi’s directives are that senior commanders be placed at the forefront of every incident and that restraint be exercised in order to avoid casualties. (Ynet News, September 16.)


JEWISH GROUP WARNS COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY OVER ILLEGALITY OF PLANNED BANQUET FOR IRANIAN LEADER—(Jerusalem) Jewish civil rights group Shurat HaDin—Israel Law Center—has sent a warning letter to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger advising him that Columbia’s plan to host a banquet for visiting Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad contravenes U.S. anti-terror laws and will subject the university and its officials to both criminal prosecution and civil liability to victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism. The letter explains that Iran has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by the United States (22 U.S.C 2656f) and that the provision of any support by U.S. persons, including the planned banquet for Ahmadinejad, is considered unlawful provision of aid to the outlawed regime. The Law Center stated that victims of Iranian terrorism will file civil actions and hold Columbia liable for their injuries if the event proceeds. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, September 14.)


EGYPT BANS LULAV EXPORTS TO ISRAEL, DIASPORA—(Jerusalem) Egypt has banned the export of palm fronds to Israel and Jewish communities abroad, leading to fears of a lulav shortage for the Sukkot holiday. Israel had previously imported about 700,000 palm fronds a year in the run-up to Sukkot, approximately 40 percent of the annual demand, and another 700,000 of the 2 million lulavs used in Diaspora Jewish communities also historically came from Egypt. Israel’s Agricultural Ministry has issued special licenses to import lulavs from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Spain, and is encouraging local palm farmers to increase their production. While Egypt reportedly has not given a reason for banning the palm export, it is believed that the current unstable relations between the two countries is the cause. (JTA, September 19.)


UK AMENDS LAW TO PROTECT ISRAELI OFFICIALS FROM PROSECUTION—(Jerusalem) The United Kingdom has approved an amendment to the universal jurisdiction law, which previously allowed private individuals to obtain arrest warrants, on charges of “war crimes,”  for Israeli dignitaries visiting the UK. UK Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, stated that the Queen of England had signed the measure into law, and that “The change will ensure that people cannot be detained when there is no realistic chance of prosecution.” The law had allowed a warrant to be issued in December 2009 for the arrest of former Israeli  Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who had been scheduled to visit to address a Jewish group. (Jerusalem Post, September 15.)