Tag: BBC


When Will Obama and the West Listen to Hamas?: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 10, 2015 — On Tuesday night, Channel 10 broadcast an interview with PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in which Abbas admitted publicly for the first time that he rejected the peace plan then prime minister Ehud Olmert offered him in 2008.

Gaza Theme Parties and Weddings Now Feature Celebrations of Knife Attacks: Elder of Ziyon, Algemeiner, Nov., 2015 — Gaza-based Felesteen reports that Gazans are now creating knife- and dagger-based theme parties and weddings in order to celebrate the wave of terror attacks that have taken place across Israel over the past six weeks.

Bankruptcy and Mud: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 14, 2015 — Palestinian bloggers were amazed when Israelis protested the cruel slaughter of chickens in poultry-packing plants, and during epidemics.

What Do Palestinians Want?: Daniel Polisar, Mosaic, Nov. 2, 2015— The most recent wave of Palestinian terror attacks, now entering its second month, has been mainly the work of “lone wolf” operators running over Israeli civilians, soldiers, and policemen with cars or stabbing them with knives.



On Topic Links


Abbas Accuses Israel of Carrying Out 'Extrajudicial Killings' of Palestinians: Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2015

Amnesia on Settlements Afflicts Martin Indyk: Benyamin Korn, Algemeiner, Nov. 20, 2015  

Luxury Alongside Poverty in the Palestinian Authority: JCPA, Nov. 5, 2015

Fighting Facebook, Terror Victim’s Son Enlists Knesset in Anti-Incitement War: Renee Ghert-Zand, Times of Israel, Nov. 26, 2015                                                                        



WHEN WILL OBAMA AND THE WEST LISTEN TO HAMAS?                                                     

Khaled Abu Toameh

           Gatestone Institute, Nov. 10, 2015


As President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were talking about the two-state solution during their meeting in the White House…the Palestinian Hamas movement reiterated its intention to destroy Israel. Hamas's announcement shows that the two-state solution is not a recipe for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The announcement also shows that all those who have been talking about a change in Hamas's position towards Israel continue to live in an illusion.


As the Obama-Netanyahu meeting was underway, senior Hamas figure Musa Abu Marzouk issued a statement in which he declared: "We will never negotiate with the Zionist entity and we will never recognize its right to exist. We will continue to resist the Zionist entity until it vanishes, whether they like it or not. The soldiers of the Qassam [Hamas's armed wing] were founded to liberate Palestine, even if some have recognized Israel. We want a state from the (Jordan) river to the [Mediterranean] sea."


Abu Marzouk's remarks came in response to statements made by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting with Egyptian journalists in Cairo on Sunday night. Abbas was quoted as telling the Egyptian journalists that Hamas and Israel were conducting "direct negotiations" to establish a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and parts of the Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Abbas claimed that ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had offered to annex 1000 square kilometers of Sinai to the Gaza Strip – an offer he (Abbas) had categorically rejected.


Abu Marzouk's latest threats to eliminate Israel are not only directed against Abbas, but also towards President Obama and those in the international community who continue to support the idea of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel. What he and other Hamas leaders are saying is very clear: Even if a Palestinian state is established in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, Hamas and other Palestinians will continue to fight until Israel is completely destroyed.


In other words, Hamas is openly stating that it will use any future Palestinian state as a launching pad to attack and eliminate Israel. But Hamas's message has obviously not reached the White House and other Western governments, where decision-makers continue to bury their heads in the sand, refusing to see or hear what some Palestinians are saying. Hamas and many other Palestinians are completely opposed to a two-state solution: they believe that Israel has no right to exist — period — in this part of the world. The only solution they are prepared to accept is one that sees Israel wiped off the face of the earth.


Hamas is not a small opposition party in the Palestinian territories that could be dismissed as a minor player. Hamas is a large Islamist movement, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood that controls the entire Gaza Strip with its population of 1.8 million Palestinians. Hamas has its own security forces, militias, weapons and government institutions. Since its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas and its political allies have turned the coastal area into a semi-independent Islamist emirate.


Since then, Hamas has used the Gaza Strip as a launching pad to attack Israel with tens of thousands of rockets and missiles. And Hamas leaders have repeatedly stated that their chief goal is to "liberate" not only the West Bank and east Jerusalem, but "all of Palestine." In short, Hamas wants to replace Israel with an Islamist empire where non-Muslims would be permitted to live as a minority.


Hamas considers all Jews as "settlers" and "colonialists" who live in "settlements" such as Beersheba, Rishon Lezion, Ashdod and Bat Yam. Hamas does not differentiate between a Jew living in Ma'aleh Adumim or Gush Etzion (on the West Bank) and Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ramat Gan. That is why the Hamas media and leaders refer to Beersheba and Ra'anana, well within the "pre-1967 borders," as "occupied" cities.


The Obama Administration and Western governments can talk as much as they like about the two-state solution. But so long as they refuse to listen to what Hamas and other Palestinians are saying, they will continue to engage in self-deception and hallucination. Even if President Abbas agrees to a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, he will never be able to persuade Hamas, Islamic Jihad and many other Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist. Under the current circumstances, where Hamas and other Palestinians continue to dream about the destruction of Israel, any talk about a two-state solution is nothing but a joke.


The Obama Administration and the rest of the international community also need to understand that that the two-state solution has already been realized. In the end, the Palestinians got two states of their own: one in the Gaza Strip and another in the West Bank. The one in the Gaza Strip is run by folks are not much different from Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, while that in the West Bank is controlled by a president who has entered the 11th year of his four-year-term in office and as such is not even seen by his people as a "rightful" leader. This is a reality that the world, including Israel, will have to live with for many years to come. It is time for the world to stop listening only to President Abbas and Saeb Erekat, and start paying attention to what many other Palestinians such as Hamas are saying, day and night, regarding their commitment to destroy Israel.                       








FEATURE CELEBRATIONS OF KNIFE ATTACKS                                                                         

Elder of Ziyon

                                Algemeiner, Nov. 20, 2015  


Gaza-based Felesteen reports that Gazans are now creating knife- and dagger-based theme parties and weddings in order to celebrate the wave of terror attacks that have taken place across Israel over the past six weeks. At weddings and other parties, children are now wearing military uniforms — and young men are displaying daggers and knives. Singers are rhapsodizing about the “heroes” who stab Jews, and calling for more attacks.


Fadi Abu Jabb, 27, wore military trousers on the eve of his wedding and placed a dagger on his waist during a bachelor party. Fadi’s friends and relatives shared his joy by dancing with their own knives, to show their support for terror attacks in Jerusalem.


Fadi said that the military uniform was his fiancee’s idea, and that his party was meant to show that all Palestinian people support “armed resistance,” and car-rammings, stabbings, and shootings in the West Bank and Jerusalem. He prayed for God to bless him and give him the ability to set up a jihadist family to be part of the Palestine Liberation Army, Allah willing.

In a similar scene, at the wedding party of Murad Hussein there were songs associated with the stabbings. Twelve children in keffiyehs performed. They put on a comic play showing Palestinians attacking a group of Jews causing them to flee — even though they had sub-machine guns — to the amusement of the audience.


Majed Nofal, a tailor in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in northern Gaza City, said, “There is a big demand for the purchase of military clothing by citizens, who wear them during special events such as parties and weddings.” He also said he provides military clothing for women who wear them at their own parties as well.    





BANKRUPTCY AND MUD                                      

                                Bassam Tawil

          Gatestone Institute, Nov. 14, 2015


Palestinian bloggers were amazed when Israelis protested the cruel slaughter of chickens in poultry-packing plants, and during epidemics. "If only we Arabs," they wrote, "who kill people cruelly and wholesale, cared as much about people as the Jews care about animals."


Civilian cameras often record events of startling cruelty carried out in Arab countries, in areas of conflict. We often hear Arabs privately saying, "The Zionists have never done to us what we do to ourselves." This is usually said by Syrians, who have hated the Jews for generations, when they give their thanks for the medical treatment they receive in Israel. Despite the hatred fostered by Hamas, after the most recent military operation, many Gazans admitted that the IDF did in fact warn civilians before attacking terrorist targets protected by "human shields."


The pictures of an armed Israeli soldier who did not strike back when he was viciously attacked by Palestinian women and children in Nebi Saleh, amazed many regional bloggers. "If such a thing had happened to us," they wrote on Twitter accounts, "the soldier would have killed his attackers without hesitation."


As a Palestinian, I know that such situations are produced by Palestinians whose ability to stage them is professional and I know the source of their income. They cynically exploit the Israeli political "left," and enlist photographers to document the events for European-funded "Pallywood" media manipulation.


Every Palestinian youth knows that the weekly riots at the "traditional friction points" serve as social events, later used by Palestinians operatives for propaganda. Often, in the finest Hollywood tradition, parties are held after the "conflict action scenes." The festivities sometimes include sex and drugs with the blond, blue-eyed volunteers from abroad, to celebrate another successful encounter with the Israeli security forces.


The escalating Palestinian riot routine takes into consideration that risks are few, because of IDF restraint in dealing with "civilians," as we saw in Nebi Saleh when the Israeli soldier who was attacked and bitten did not respond with gunfire to defend himself. Israel's restraint only makes the slaughter, rape and expulsion of Muslims at the hands of Muslims seem all the more vicious.


Many of the bankrupt European countries hostile to Israel now find themselves faced with a massive influx of Middle Eastern and African refugees. They are the brothers and sisters of the hundreds of thousands of murdered Muslims and the millions of refugees in tents, with only Allah (s.w.a.t) to pity and protect them. Many die in leaky boats, in a desperate attempt to reach the safe shores of Europe. Those who do make it safely, join the Muslims in the Islamic enclaves where they have been plotting against their hosts for years.


The West has waited far too long to wake up to the realization that the Palestinian problem is not the cause of regional events. Therefore, The West's obsession with forcing a "solution" on Israel and the Palestinians will change nothing for the better, it will only expand the catastrophe to the doorstep of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the only islands of security and stability for Arabs, Christians and Jews in the Middle East.


In the shadow of the calamity of the refugees, we are slowly understanding that the issue of the return of the Palestinians to "Palestine," which we hang on to so frantically, is an anachronistic, politically manipulated mirage. There is nothing to be done but settle the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees as part of the overall settlement of all the Middle Eastern refugees — if, that is, our Arab brothers ever succeed in extricating themselves from the swamp of the "Arab Spring."


What is strange is that the Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which fund Islamic terrorism and pay the salaries of the radical clerics who incite murder and destruction, are silent when it comes to accepting refugees into their countries. Saudi Arabia has hundreds of thousands of empty, air-conditioned tents at its disposal, used only during the hajj pilgrimage. They could help shelter the millions of Sunni Muslim Syrian and Iraqi refugees. But Saudi Arabia does not open its gates to them, not even to a small number.


Now, by accusing each other for our refusal, hesitation and rejection of every proposal that might bring the Israelis to the negotiating table, we have finally managed to put an end to the "problem of Palestine." As our elders have said for years: "Falastin ['Palestine' in Arabic] begins with falas [bankruptcy] and ends with teen [mud]."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



WHAT DO PALESTINIANS WANT?                                                                         

Daniel Polisar                                                                                               

Mosaic, Nov. 2, 2015


The most recent wave of Palestinian terror attacks, now entering its second month, has been mainly the work of “lone wolf” operators running over Israeli civilians, soldiers, and policemen with cars or stabbing them with knives. The perpetrators, many in or just beyond their teenage years, are not, for the most part, activists in the leading militant organizations. They have been setting forth to find targets with the expectation, generally fulfilled, that after scoring a casualty or two they will be killed or badly wounded. What drives these young Palestinians, experts say, is a viral social-media campaign centered on claims that the Jews are endangering the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and that Israel is executing Palestinian children.


Pundits and analysts in Israel and the West, struck by the elements that make this round of violence different from its predecessors over the past decade-and-a-half—which typically featured well-orchestrated shootings, suicide bombings, or rocket fire—have focused on the motivations of individual attackers, on how and why the Palestinian political and religious leadership has been engaging in incitement, and on what Israeli officials or American mediators might do to quell the violence.


Absent almost entirely from this discussion has been any attempt to understand the perspective of everyday Palestinians. Yet it is precisely the climate of public opinion that shapes and in turn is shaped by the declarations of Palestinian leaders, and that creates the atmosphere in which young people choose whether to wake up in the morning, pull a knife from the family kitchen, and go out in search of martyrdom. Whether commentators are ignoring the views of mainstream Palestinians out of a mistaken belief that public opinion does not matter in dictatorships, or out of a dismissive sense that they are powerless pawns whose fate is decided by their leaders, Israel, or regional and world powers, the omission is both patronizing and likely to lead to significant misunderstandings of what is happening. In this essay I aim to fill the lacuna by addressing what Palestinians think both about violence against Israelis and about the core issues that supply its context and justification.


My interest in Arab public opinion in the West Bank and Gaza is longstanding, dating back to the time regular surveying began there shortly before the 1993 Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO. In 1996, I appeared on a panel with Khalil Shikaki, the pioneering director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR); since then, I have been increasingly impressed with his insights and his institute’s professionalism. I therefore took particular notice of a PSR survey that appeared after the August 2014 ceasefire ending the latest war between Israel and Hamas. It reported, among other findings, that fully 79 percent of Palestinians believed Hamas had won the war and only 3 percent saw Israel as the victor. So convinced were respondents of their side’s strength that nine in ten favored continued rocket fire at Israel’s cities unless the blockade of Gaza were lifted, 64 percent declared their support for “armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel” (meaning, among other things, suicide bombings in Israeli population centers), and 54 percent applauded the event that in large measure had precipitated the 50-day war: the abduction and murder by Hamas operatives of three Israeli teenage boys hitchhiking home from school.


In the ensuing months, I read further polls from PSR and other research institutes to see whether support for violence would drop appreciably once the emotions fired by war had cooled. Yet despite a modest decline over time in most indicators, a majority continued to support virtually every kind of attack against Israelis about which they were asked—including rocket fire, suicide bombings, and stabbings. These and other findings led me back to the polls conducted in earlier years, and eventually to embarking on a comprehensive analysis of all reliable and publicly available surveys in the West Bank and Gaza over the past two decades.


For this project, I examined over 330 surveys carried out by the four major Palestinian research institutes, each of which has been conducting regular polls for a decade or more: the PSR headed by Shikaki and its predecessor, CPRS; the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC); the Birzeit Center for Development Studies (CDS), whose work was later continued under the same director by the Arab World for Research & Development (AWRAD); and the Opinion Polls and Survey Research Unit of An-Najah National University. Each of the four has conducted between 50 and 120 polls and has made the results available online in English (and generally in Arabic)…


Tellingly, poll respondents in the West Bank regularly voice strong criticism of President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) government that rules there, while those in Gaza often speak negatively about the Hamas leadership, so it appears that Palestinians are not cowed from giving their honest opinions. The consensus among informed scholars is therefore that the surveys are reliable, valid, and genuinely reflective of what Arab residents of the West Bank and Gaza think…


Since the establishment of the PA in 1994, the Palestinians have been beset by problems. The government has increasingly been viewed as corrupt, undemocratic, and unable to enforce law and order or to reform itself. The economy has generally been weak, infrastructure sub-par, and the PA unable at times to pay salaries. Since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, the Palestinian state-in-the-making has been divided, with Fatah continuing to rule the West Bank and all efforts at reconciliation a failure. The peace process with Israel has been stalled much of the time, in part because of periodic outbreaks of violence, and the handover of territory and authority to the PA has been far slower than envisioned in the Oslo accords.


Who is responsible for the problems plaguing the Palestinians? During the last two decades, the four institutes whose surveys I examined have asked numerous questions on this subject, and on 53 occasions have offered Israel as one of the possible answers. In all but one case, Israel was the answer most widely chosen, usually by a statistically significant margin—including when it came to problems that at least at first glance seemed largely internal. Among these were clashes between PA police and Hamas that left thirteen dead (1994), Palestinian economic problems (2000), the hindering of political reform in the PA (2001), Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to resign as prime minister (2003), lack of law and order in PA-held territories (2004), the blocking of reform in the PA (2004), the Hamas coup that wrested control of Gaza from Fatah (2007), a water crisis in the West Bank and Gaza (2010), a fuel shortage in Gaza (2012), the inability of the PA to pay its employees (2013), and the ongoing inability of Hamas and Fatah to reconcile (2015). A large majority of Palestinians were convinced that Israel sought deliberately to target civilians, and held Hamas blameless for positioning its leadership, fighters, and weapons in populated areas.


In matters that necessarily involved both Israel and the Palestinians, massive majorities blamed Israel and denied any responsibility on their side. Cases in point include the suspension of negotiations between Israel and the PLO (1997), the failure of talks at Camp David (2000), the breakdown of a ceasefire during the second intifada (2003), the collapse of the peace process (2004), the outbreak of the first Gaza war (2008), the non-implementation of the Oslo accords (2012), the outbreak of the second Gaza war (2012), and the breakdown of negotiations between the sides and the third Gaza war (2014).


So convinced were Palestinians that Israel was responsible for the Gaza wars, for example, that after each conflict, when asked by JMCC pollsters whether they believed it was “possible for the Palestinian side to avoid it, or was Israel planning to launch the war in all cases,” overwhelming majorities averred that Israel was intending to go to war regardless of Palestinian actions. Likewise, a large majority of Palestinians were convinced that Israel sought deliberately to target civilians, and held Hamas blameless for positioning its leadership, fighters, and weapons in populated areas…

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


On Topic


Abbas Accuses Israel of Carrying Out 'Extrajudicial Killings' of Palestinians: Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2015—Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas repeated his charge on Monday that Israel is seeking to change the status quo at the Temple Mount and carrying out “extrajudicial killings” of Palestinians.

Amnesia on Settlements Afflicts Martin Indyk: Benyamin Korn, Algemeiner, Nov. 20, 2015 —A form of amnesia must be affecting the Obama administration’s former chief Mideast negotiator, Martin Indyk. It is, however, a very selective kind of amnesia–he only forgets concessions that Israel has made.

Luxury Alongside Poverty in the Palestinian Authority: JCPA, Nov. 5, 2015—In communities throughout the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, a surprising degree of luxury exists alongside the poverty. This study includes “A Photo Album of Palestinian Luxury in the West Bank,” offering a more complete picture of living standards there. The truth is that alongside the slums of the old refugee camps, which the Palestinian government has done little to rehabilitate, a parallel Palestinian society is emerging.

Fighting Facebook, Terror Victim’s Son Enlists Knesset in Anti-Incitement War: Renee Ghert-Zand, Times of Israel, Nov. 26, 2015—Micah Avni marked four weeks since the burial of his father killed in a Jerusalem terror attack by visiting the Knesset Wednesday, where he urged lawmakers to do more to quash social media incitement in hopes of heading off another tragedy like the one that left his father dead.







We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 




How About Giving Israel’s Views A Chance?: Alex Margolin, Jewish Week, Feb. 3, 2015— In one of the most outrageous interviews broadcast in recent memory, a UK reporter covering the Paris anti-terror rally interrupted his guest, an Israeli woman living in Paris, to claim that Palestinians have suffered greatly at the hands of the Jews.

The New York Times and its Israel Bias: Richard A. Block, Jewish Daily Forward, Jan. 22, 2015 — The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not confined to the battlefield.

How Israel Can Fight Media-Based Delegitimization: Manfred Gerstenfeld, CIJR, Jan. 27, 2015— Media play a major role in the delegitimization and demonization of Israel. 

Can Charlie Hebdo’s Spirit Include Israel?: Noah Beck, Algemeiner, Jan. 9, 2015 — While most of us would agree that religious fundamentalists, foreign and domestic, sometimes do serious harm to our society, there are other kinds of fundamentalists who are also dangerous: I refer to legal fundamentalists.


On Topic Links


The Conflict and the Coverage: Margaret Sullivan, New York Times, Nov. 22, 2014

The Ideological Roots of Media Bias Against Israel: Matti Friedman, Fathom Journal, Autumn, 2014

British News Networks' Shameful Treatment of the Holocaust: Alina D. Sharon, JNS, Jan. 29, 2014

The New York Times Rescues the Palestinians Again: Moshe Phillips & Benyamin Korn, Algemeiner, Jan. 12, 2014



HOW ABOUT GIVING ISRAEL’S VIEWS A CHANCE?                                                                     

Alex Margolin                                                                                                     

The Jewish Week, Feb. 3, 2015  


In one of the most outrageous interviews broadcast in recent memory, a UK reporter covering the Paris anti-terror rally interrupted his guest, an Israeli woman living in Paris, to claim that Palestinians have suffered greatly at the hands of the Jews. When the woman protested the conflation of the terror in Paris with the plight of the Palestinians, the reporter, Tim Willcox of the BBC, offered the condescending reply, “You understand, everything is seen in different perspectives.” It’s shocking to hear a seemingly credible reporter infer that the terrorist acts in Paris are somehow rooted in Israel, and that saying so is a legitimate “perspective.” What’s even more shocking is that it’s not limited to one reporter.


“Willcox is not some isolated and aberrant racist; his views are the standard opinions of the European left middle class,” Nick Cohen wrote in The Spectator in the aftermath of the interview. “I meet them every day in my political neighborhood.” Like Willcox, members of the media in Europe and the U.S. place a great deal of rhetorical value on the need for “different perspectives” in their coverage. But when it comes to applying the principle, one perspective is greatly under-represented — that of the government of Israel. Take The New York Times, for example. According to a study carried out by HonestReporting covering the first three months of 2014, some 67 percent of Times articles during that period expressed criticism of Israel or depicted Israel’s actions in a negative light, and 55 percent of the paper’s articles lacked important context that could shed light on Israel’s actions. During the Gaza war, when the Foreign Press Association condemned Hamas’ intimidation of reporters in Gaza, the Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, issued a tweet calling the statement “Israeli narrative” and dismissing it as “nonsense.” So if a BBC reporter at an anti-terror rally in Paris decides to randomly criticize Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, it’s a case of “seeing different perspectives.” But if the Foreign Press Association and the Israeli government say Hamas is abusing journalists, the Times bureau chief disagrees and dismisses it. Of course, Rudoren has managed to see other perspectives when they involve Palestinians. While most people would see Palestinian rock throwing as an act of violence, Rudoren made sure her readers understood that for some Palestinians, “rock throwing is a rite of passage and an honored act of defiance.”


The solution to the problem starts with holding the media accountable for upholding its principles of balance and objectivity. Any story that is critical of Israel must provide Israel’s perspective on the issue so that a reader can understand Israel’s rationale. But that, by itself, is not enough. There must also be proactive action to make sure Israel’s perspective reaches the public. Israel’s story cannot be left in the hands of the media. It must be told as often as possible in ways that reach the largest number of people. HonestReporting took a step in that direction recently by running a full-page ad in the Times featuring the text of a speech by Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor. The speech was uncompromising in making Israel’s case to the world. It covered Israel’s efforts to reach peace with the Palestinians, the need to protect its citizens, and even the plight of the 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands. In other words, it covered the points that rarely appear in print in the mainstream media.


Israel’s supporters cannot afford to wait until media coverage of Israel improves and journalists recognize that different perspectives apply to Israel as much as to the Palestinians and their supporters. It’s up to everyone who cares about Israel to help make Israel’s case to the world, one social network at a time. Israel has a compelling and inspiring story. Ambassador Prosor’s speech provides a positive template for promoting Israel’s perspective. In a time of unprecedented access to communications tools capable of reaching enormous numbers of people, no one should feel exempt from joining the battle.




THE NEW YORK TIMES AND ITS ISRAEL BIAS                                                                               

Richard A. Block                                                                                                  

Jewish Daily Forward, Jan. 22, 2015


The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not confined to the battlefield. It is also waged in the media, nowhere more prominently than in The New York Times. In “The Conflict and the Coverage,” a November column she “never wanted to write,” Margaret Sullivan, Times Public Editor, addressed “hundreds of emails from readers on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, complaining about Times coverage.” Her verdict: a “strong impression” “that The Times does everything it can to be fair in its coverage and generally succeeds.” She was wrong.


A prime reason is the limited evidence Sullivan considered. “This column,” she wrote, “is restricted to news coverage and does not consider the opinion side offerings.” This ill-advised, self-imposed constraint doomed her effort from the outset. The Times’ “worldview” of the conflict is also revealed in its editorial page, headlines and storylines, and the Op-Ed columns it chooses to run. During last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas, Times Op-Eds, with rare exceptions, supported the Palestinian narrative: ““Israel’s Puppy, Tony Blair;” “Israel’s Bloody Status Quo;” “How the West Chose War in Gaza;” “Darkness Falls on Gaza;” “Israeli Self-Defense Does Not Permit Killing Civilians;” “Israel Has Overreacted to the Threats it Provoked;” “Zionism and Its Discontents;” “U.S. Should Stop Funding Israel, or Let Others Broker Peace;”… Times headlines were likewise revealing. When Hamas broke yet another ceasefire and resumed firing missiles at Israeli civilians, Israel defended itself. The Times declared obtusely, “Hamas Rockets and Israeli Response Break Ceasefire.” Others: “As Israel Hits Mosque and Clinic, Air Campaign’s Risks Come Home;” “Israelis Watch Bombs Drop on Gaza From Front-Row Seats;” “Questions About Tactics and Targets as Civilian Toll Climbs in Israeli Strikes;” “Foreign Correspondents in Israel Complain of Intimidation;” “Israeli Shells are Said to Hit UN School;” “Military Censorship in Israel;” “A Boy at Play in Gaza, a Renewal of War, A Family in Mourning;”… In failing to account for these and ignoring their cumulative effect, Sullivan’s assessment is hopelessly flawed.


Sullivan defers meekly to senior editor, Joseph Kahn, on the charge of unbalanced coverage. “I hear that claim a lot” he said, from “people who are very well informed and primed to deconstruct our stories based on their knowledge…The Times does not hear this complaint from readers who are merely trying to understand the situation.” In other words, the lack of complaints of bias by people unequipped to perceive it invalidates criticism by readers who are informed! Sullivan’s statement, “Even something as seemingly objective as death tolls can become contentious” is naive. Most journalists credulously accepted Hamas’ claims as factual, reporting them without substantiation. Others, fearing reprisal, followed Hamas’ dictate: that all Palestinian casualties be described as “civilians,” teenage combatants as “children,” and every death as Israel’s fault. Again, Sullivan is silent.


She misses the main point of Matti Friedman’s critiques in Tablet and The Atlantic, that “Most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians…The story mandates that they exist as passive victims…The international media’s Israel story is a narrative construct that is largely fiction.” Nonetheless, Sullivan implicitly confirms this by urging The Times to “Strengthen the coverage of the Palestinians.” Perhaps she had in mind an exchange between Times Opinion Page staff editor, Matt Seaton, and a pro-Israel media critic. After Tweeting out a link to a Times Op-Ed by an Arab citizen of Israel accusing it of institutionalized discrimination, Seaton was asked when the paper would report racism among Palestinians. He replied, “soon as they have sovereign state to discriminate with.” Thus, it comes as no surprise that, as Sullivan laments, many readers mistrust the motives and efforts of Times editors and reporters. But by ignoring editorial misjudgments in framing headlines and stories, Op-Ed publication decisions, and evidence of endemic bias against Israel in the media in general and The Times in particular, her suggestions are modestly helpful at best. Her assertion that The Times needs to do a better job of providing historical and geopolitical context is laudable, as is her suggestion that it should “find ways to be transparent and direct with readers about [its] mission in covering this area.”


The ultimate question is whether The Times will transform its culture, given systemic problems that Sullivan, and senior editors she takes at face value, fail to acknowledge. Her most problematic recommendation is that The Times stop trying to show both sides of each story, creating the impression of “running scared“ or exhibiting “an excess of sensitivity.” Rather, its reporting should reflect “the core value of news judgment.” However, in covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict poor news judgment is The Times’ essential deficiency. In her widely praised book, “Buried By The Times,” Northeastern University Professor Laurel Leff excoriated “America’s most important newspaper” for its scandalously negligent coverage of the Holocaust. Max Frankel, Times Executive Editor from 1986 to 1994, called it “the century’s most bitter journalistic failure.” Someday, historians will render a similar judgment on its coverage of the Jewish State and will discern a clear connection between the two colossal miscarriages of justice.




HOW ISRAEL CAN FIGHT MEDIA-BASED DELEGITIMIZATION                                                                

Manfred Gerstenfeld                                                                                                              

CIJR, Jan. 27, 2015


Media play a major role in the delegitimization and demonization of Israel.  Their share in this process cannot be assessed scientifically. Yet over 40% of citizens of the European Union — aged 16 years or older – believe that Israel is a Nazi state, or alternatively, think that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians. There is no doubt that this demonic image of Israel has been partly caused by many media.   


Several studies show these statistics. The largest study on this subject was conducted and published in 2011 by the University of Bielefeld, Germany. It covered seven EU countries in which more than half of the European population lives:  the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, UK, Germany, Portugal, and Poland. Studies in Switzerland and in Norway gave similar results. Evidently, there are many other factors besides the media which have led to these abysmal beliefs. Politicians, trade unions, NGOs, various — mostly liberal — church leaders, academics, the Palestinian lobby, as well as others, play a major role in the demonization process. Contributors include the United Nations, and some of its associated bodies, such as the United Nations Human Rights Commission.


Over the past decades, anti-Israeli media have made the most of a unique situation. The freedom of the press includes the freedom to cheat, lie, incite, often to extremes, and the liberty to ignore essential facts at will. Media have the power to criticize others, relentlessly and sometimes brutally, and yet there are few ways to take them to task. There are hardly any checks and balances. The work of their staff is only subject to that particular media's rules of self-regulation. Except in extreme cases, journalists are not accountable to anyone outside their profession. Reporters are free to choose which facts they will mention and which they will omit, even if such tactics lead to major distortions of their readers' perceptions. Their means of slanting information, if they wish to do so, are almost unlimited. In addition, media rarely criticize each other, even though it would create much greater accountability among journalists.


The battle against big media’s delegitimization of Israel is being fought by a few media watch organizations. Media watching can be defined as critically examining one or more media on a regular or recurrent basis. It usually results from a conviction that certain media are biased against a cause that the monitoring body or individual supports. Media-watching activities include collecting, analyzing, and publishing data. Media watchers are fulfilling an important role in exposing the bias of anti-Israeli media. Yet even the best known among them, such as CAMERA and HonestReporting, only reach a limited number of addressees if one compares it to the audience of the media themselves. 


In the current reality, Israel is being attacked on many fronts. The main one is the military battlefield, and to counteract this, Israel has developed an advanced structure – the Israeli army, the IDF.  Another front concerns intelligence, and Israel has three intelligence services which have undertaken remarkable feats over the decades: the Mossad, the domestic intelligence service, Shabak, and the military intelligence service, Aman.  The growing number of cyberattacks on Israel has led to heavy investment in cybersecurity. Israel hopes to become a world leader in this field.


In the area of propaganda, however, which has led to the demonization and partial delegitimization of Israel, there is no such opposing force. One might say that at present, many delegitimizers and demonizers have “a free anti-Semitic lunch.” The situation can only improve in a substantial manner if the Israeli government sets up a properly funded anti-propaganda structure.  Such an agency would lay the groundwork for action concerning biased media and others who demonize and delegitimize Israel or the Israeli government. The anti-propaganda agency’s research department would have to establish a database which would contain both historical and behavioral information on specific enemies of Israel, whether their anti-Semitism is partial or full-blown. A newspaper, for example, can be an enemy of Israel even if it occasionally publishes a positive item about the country, in between publishing mainstream negative information on Israel. Post-modern times have greatly strengthened and expanded the phenomenon of the “part-time anti-Semite.” These are people who commit anti-Semitic acts intermittently, and on a few occasions may even make positive gestures toward Jews and Israel. Several contemporary left-wing and other political leaders regularly commit anti-Semitic acts, including applying double standards against Israel. Similarly, media can be part-time enemies of Israel. 


A second activity of the Israeli anti-propaganda structure would be to monitor ongoing issues. On some media, the major pro-Israeli media watchers are already doing an excellent job and have done so for many years. Their work would be an extremely valuable asset for the monitoring division of a future anti-propaganda agency. The third division of the anti-propaganda agency would deal with activism. This is a delicate subject for a state-controlled body. Yet the intelligence services of many countries are activist bodies under the aegis of the government. The operational branch of the new Israeli structure would have to develop increasingly effective methods to fight the anti-Israeli propaganda, as well as anti-Semitism. It would have to assess which activities it would undertake itself, and which would be delegated to and implemented by others, such as other government services, non-governmental bodies in Israel and abroad, or even some individuals. As far as the battle against hostile media is concerned, the reality of free speech within democracies dictates that this fight has to be conducted in a more sophisticated matter.  


In today’s media market, much of the international news is provided by big news agencies. The most important ones by far are Reuters and The Associated Press, both of which are biased against Israel. A former AP journalist managed to publicly expose the distorted methods of AP’s Israel office. In August 2014, after he had left AP, Matti Friedman wrote about his experiences working at the agency’s Israel office. In his words: Israeli actions are analyzed and criticized, and every flaw in Israeli society is aggressively reported. In one seven-week period, from Nov. 8 to Dec. 16, 2011, I decided to count the stories coming out of our bureau on the various moral failings of Israeli society – proposed legislation meant to suppress the media, the rising influence of Orthodox Jews, unauthorized settlement outposts, gender segregation, and so forth. I counted 27 separate articles, an average of a story every two days. In a very conservative estimate, this seven-week tally was higher than the total number of significantly critical stories about Palestinian government and society, including the totalitarian Islamists of Hamas that our bureau had published in the preceding three years.


Friedman later wrote an article in The Atlantic entitled, “What the Media Gets Wrong about Israel.” The article further exposed how the AP intentionally reported stories that cast Israel in a negative light and chose not to report on Palestinians behaving badly. The reaction of Friedman’s former boss at AP, Steven Gutkin bordered on the ridiculous. It consisted mainly of an ad hominem attack on Friedman. Strangely enough, his former boss chose to publicize his response using the local Indian website Goa Streets, his new place of employment after leaving AP


Friedman’s publications may serve as an excellent example for the potential activities of the anti-propaganda structure. Friedman made his disclosures at his own initiative. There are a few other journalists who have done the same.  For instance, Hans Mol, a retired journalist of the Dutch liberal daily, NRC-Handelsblad, has published a book about the paper’s anti-Israeli positions. He writes, “In its reporting about Moroccans, about Muslims and about Islam, about Israel and the Middle-East conflict, the paper has increasingly chosen its side: in favor of Hamas and against Israel, in favor of multiculturalists against critics of Islam; for covering up, and against disclosure.” The anti-propaganda agency, in collaboration with media watchers, could start to systematically search for journalists who have worked for major media and then either left or retired. Among these journalists, they could look for those who are either pro-Israel or have grievances against their former employer and who are willing to relate information about how the anti-Israel bias functions. Such a tactic is a low-cost activity which can yield much information. The classic form of media analysis can also be very useful. It is not difficult to get an idea of the pronounced bias AP maintains against Israel, beyond what Friedman has already written. Part of it is easy accessible online, and much can be obtained from media watchers such as CAMERA and HonestReporting

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


Manfred Gerstenfeld is a CIJR Academic Fellow





CAN CHARLIE HEBDO’S SPIRIT INCLUDE ISRAEL?                                                                      

Noah Beck                                                                                                                                 

Algemeiner, Jan. 9, 2015


The Islamist massacre at Charlie Hebdo has understandably captured global attention because it was a barbaric attack on France and freedom of expression. In a moment of defiant moral clarity, “je suis Charlie” emerged as a popular phrase of solidarity with the victims. Hopefully such clarity persists and extends to those facing similar challenges every day in the Middle East. Christians and other religious minorities have been beheaded by Islamists for years, but it wasn’t until US journalist James Foley was beheaded that the West cared. The Islamic State raped and slaughtered thousands of Yazidis — leaving the surviving refugees stranded on Mount Sinjar — before the West took notice. But one Islamist besieging a cafe in Sydney, killing two, dominated global coverage for the entire 16-hour incident.


Western leaders and media must realize that religious minorities in the Middle East are the canary in the coalmine for the West when it comes to Islamist threats. And Israel provides the clearest early warning of all, precisely because — despite Israel’s location in a region of Islamists and dictatorships — the Jewish state has free elections, freedom of speech, a vigorous political opposition and independent press, equal rights and protections for minorities and women (who are represented in all parts of civil, legal, political, artistic, and economic life), and a prosperous free market economy. But had Palestinian gunmen similarly attacked Israel’s most important daily newspaper and then escaped, would the event inspire such constant coverage or international sympathy? Israel has suffered countless massacres followed by a suspenseful manhunt for the Islamist terrorists; in each of these incidents, the world hardly noticed until Israel forcefully responded and Palestinians died (prompting global condemnation of Israel).


However, when there is an attack in Europe, North America, or Australia, there is widespread grief, solidarity, and an acceptance of whatever policy reaction is chosen. But when Israel is targeted, there is almost always a call for “restraint,” as happened last November after fatal stabbings by Palestinian terrorists in Tel Aviv and the West Bank. If two Palestinians entered a European or North American church and attacked worshipers with meat cleavers, killing five people, including priests, the outrage would be palpable in every politician and journalist’s voice. But when Israelis were victims of such an attack, Obama’s reaction was spineless and tone deaf. Did Obama condemn the Charlie Hebdo massacre by noting how many Muslims have died at the hands of French military forces operating in Africa and the Middle East? Of course not. Such moral equivocation would be unthinkable with any ally or Western country except Israel. Similarly, would Secretary of State John Kerry ever suggest that the Islamic State is somehow motivated by French policies (whether banning Muslim headscarves at public schools or fighting Islamists in Mali)? Obviously not. Yet Kerry did just that sort of thing with Israel when he suggested that the Islamic State is driven by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


And the media’s anti-Israel bias is well known but became even more obvious when they couldn’t get a simple story about vehicular terrorism against Israelis correct. Compare how The Guardian writes accurate headlines when France or Canada suffers an Islamist car attack but not when Israel does. Consider all of the justifiable news coverage and outrage over the 2013 Boston bombings, and imagine if one of those happened every week. Would anyone dare suggest that the US make peace with any Islamists demanding changes to US policy? And yet Israel had such bomb attacks almost every week of 2002 and was invariably asked to restrain itself and make concessions to the very people bombing them (as happened again last summer, when Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel). As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has ruefully observed, “There is a standard for dictatorships, there is a standard for democracies, and there is still a third standard for the democracy called Israel.”…

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





On Topic


The Conflict and the Coverage: Margaret Sullivan, New York Times, Nov. 22, 2014—This is the column I never wanted to write.

The Ideological Roots of Media Bias Against Israel: Matti Friedman, Fathom Journal, Autumn, 2014 —One night several years ago, I came out of Bethlehem after a reporting assignment and crossed through the Israeli military checkpoint between that city and its neighbour, Jerusalem, where I live.

British News Networks' Shameful Treatment of the Holocaust: Alina D. Sharon, JNS, Jan. 29, 2014—In case anyone still has any doubts with regard to the opinion of British news networks such as the BBC on Jews and Jewish issues, two videos that emerged this week with regard to Tuesday's International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz paint a grim picture.

The New York Times Rescues the Palestinians Again: Moshe Phillips & Benyamin Korn, Algemeiner, Jan. 12, 2014—Lest anyone think, even for a moment, that there is even the slightest link between Islamic terror against Jews in Paris and Islamic terror against Jews in Jerusalem, the New York Times has rushed in to disabuse us of that notion.


















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