Tag: Media Bias

WESTERN MEDIA PLAYS INTO HAMAS’ PROPAGANDA AND “DEAD BABY STRATEGY”

Why Does the Media Keep Encouraging Hamas Violence?: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, May 17, 2018— If this were the first time that Hamas deliberately provoked Israel into self-defense actions that resulted in the unintended deaths of Gaza civilians, the media could be excused for playing into the hands of Hamas.

The Media War on Palestinian Agency: Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary, May 14, 2018— Palestinian Arabs are human beings, which means they are possessed of free will, agency, and the natural capacity to reason like any other people.

Media Goes Wild in Anti-Trump, Anti-Israel Fervor: Ben Shapiro, The Hill, May 15, 2018 — On Tuesday, the New York Daily News ran with another of its desperate appeals for circulation.

Falling for Hamas’s Split-Screen Fallacy: Matti Friedman, New York Times, May 16, 2018— During my years in the international press here in Israel, long before the bloody events of this week, I came to respect Hamas for its keen ability to tell a story.

 

On Topic Links

‘Canada Would Do Exactly the Same Thing’: Israel’s Deputy Minister Defends Gaza Border Violence (Interview): CBC, May 16, 2018

Guardian Editorial on Gaza Perfectly Shows the Media’s Anti-Israel Bias and Hatred: Adam Levick, Algemeiner, May 16, 2018

Hamas Official: Majority of Palestinians Killed in Violent Protests are Our Men: IPT News, May 16, 2018

Why Is Hamas So Interested in Palestinian Deaths?: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, May 16, 2018

 

WHY DOES THE MEDIA KEEP ENCOURAGING HAMAS VIOLENCE?

Alan M. Dershowitz

Gatestone Institute, May 17, 2018

 

If this were the first time that Hamas deliberately provoked Israel into self-defense actions that resulted in the unintended deaths of Gaza civilians, the media could be excused for playing into the hands of Hamas. The most recent Hamas provocations — having 40,000 Gazans try to tear down the border fence and enter Israel with Molotov cocktails and other improvised weapons — are part of a repeated Hamas tactic that I have called the “dead baby strategy.” Hamas’ goal is to have Israel kill as many Gazans as possible so that the headlines always begin, and often end, with the body count. Hamas deliberately sends women and children to the front line, while their own fighters hide behind these human shields.

Hamas leaders have long acknowledged this tactic. Fathi Hammad, a Hamas Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, stated as far back as 2008: “For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘we desire death like you desire life.'”

Hamas used this tactic to provoke two wars with Israel in which their fighters fired rockets from civilian areas, including hospitals, schools and mosques. When Israel responded, it tried its best to avoid civilian casualties, dropping warning leaflets, calling residents of potential targets and dropping non-lethal noise bombs on the roofs of houses that were being used to launch rockets and store explosives. Inevitably, some civilians were killed, and the media blamed Israel for these deaths, despite the precautions it had taken. The same was true when Hamas built terror tunnels used to kidnap Israeli civilians. The entrances to these tunnels were in civilian areas as well, including mosques and schools. Using their own civilians as human shields, while targeting Israeli civilians, is a double war crime. Yet, the media generally focuses on Israel’s reaction to these war crimes, rather than Hamas’ war crimes.

The cruel reality is that every time Israel accidentally kills a Gaza civilian, Israel loses. And every time Israel kills a Gaza civilian, Hamas wins. Israelis grieve every civilian death its army accidentally causes. Hamas benefits from every death Israel accidentally causes. That is why it encourages its women and children to become martyrs. Calling this the “dead baby strategy” may seem cruel, because it is cruel. But don’t blame the messenger for accurately describing this tactic. Blame those who cynically use it. And blame the media for playing into the hands of those who use it by reporting only the body count and not the deliberate Hamas tactic that leads to one-sided body counts.

It is true that Gaza is in a desperate situation and that it is wounded. But the wound is self-inflicted. When Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip — removing every single soldier and settler — Gaza could have become the Singapore of the Mediterranean. It is a beautiful area with a large seacoast. It received infusions of cash and other help from Europe. Israel left behind agricultural equipment and greenhouses. But instead of using these resources to feed, house and educate its citizens, Hamas built rockets and terror tunnels. It threw dissenters off roofs and murdered members of the Palestinian Authority who were willing to recognize Israel and negotiate with it.

Hamas rejects the two-state solution or any solution that leaves Israel intact. Its only solution is violence, and the events at the fence these past days are a manifestation of that violence. Would any country in the world allow 40,000 people, sworn to its destruction, to knock down a border fence and attack its citizens living peacefully near the border? Of course not. Could Israel have done more to reduce casualties among those trying to breach the border fence? I don’t know, and neither do the legions of armchair generals that are currently criticizing Israel for the steps it took to prevent a catastrophe among the residents of villages and towns that are proximate to the border fence.

One thing is crystal-clear: Hamas will continue to use the dead baby strategy as long as the media continues to report the deaths in the manner in which it has reported them in recent weeks. Many in the media are complicit in these deaths because their one-sided reporting encourages Hamas to send innocent women and children to the front line. Perhaps Israel could do a better job in defending its civilians, but it is certain that the media can do a better job in accurately reporting the Hamas strategy that results in so many innocent deaths.

There is a marvelous cartoon that illustrates the difference between Hamas and Israel. It shows an Israeli soldier standing in front of a baby carriage with a baby in it, shielding the baby. Then it shows a Hamas terrorist standing behind a baby carriage with the baby in it, using the baby to shield him. This cartoon better illustrates the reality that is occurring at the Gaza fence than most of the “objective” reporting by the media.

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THE MEDIA WAR ON PALESTINIAN AGENCY

Sohrab Ahmari

Commentary, May 14, 2018

Palestinian Arabs are human beings, which means they are possessed of free will, agency, and the natural capacity to reason like any other people. This basic, incontestable anthropological reality needs to be frequently restated today since our media and foreign-policy establishment has apparently concluded the opposite. The latest media assault on Palestinian agency came Monday, as Israelis celebrated the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, while Palestinians attempted to infiltrate en masse the barrier fence that separates the Jewish state from the terrorist-run Gaza Strip to the south.

By the Western media’s dim lights, the blame for Hamas’s criminal stunt and the casualties it caused lay with . . . anybody and everybody but Hamas and the Palestinians. The narrative emerged early on Twitter, and the social-media platform’s deplorable tendency to flatten reality into cheap, emotive images no doubt accelerated its dissemination. The juxtaposition–of “Jivanka” and Benjamin Netanyahu celebrating in Jerusalem while Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians at the Gaza border–proved irresistible to reporters. The BBC’s Katty Kay, for example, was quick to point out that President Trump’s warm words for the Jewish state came while there were “41 dead on the Israel Gaza border today.” An AFP White House correspondent posted the two sets of images side-by-side–a smiling and clapping Bibi next to a photo of fire and smoke from Gaza–with the words: “Quite the disconnect.” He had garnered more than 2,600 retweets as of this writing.

Then there was Peter Beinart (Marshall, declined): “While Jewish + Christian bigots celebrate an occupied city, Jewish soldiers kill people fleeing an open-air prison. As a great lover of Zion said long ago, ‘This is not the way.’” Yes, “fleeing.” That is an interesting way to describe a concerted, Iranian-regime-funded operation to violate Israeli sovereignty and do “whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones,” as the Washington Post quoted one of the “protesters” describing the movement’s goals.

The Palestinians’ more sophisticated friends know what Hamas is all about. They understand that young men whipped into a frenzy by an organization that exists to destroy world Jewry, per its charter, aren’t exactly latter-day Freedom Riders. But they think that the Palestinians can’t help themselves. While they expect Israel–a state encircled by hostile populations and threatened with nuclear extinction by the Iranian mullahs–to behave like Norway, of the Palestinians they have the most dismal, if any, expectations.

Thus Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer tweeted: “The Palestinians killed today knew Israeli Defense Forces would use lethal force in response to their demonstrations. It didn’t stop them. They felt hopeless.” The Mideast reporter Sulome Anderson echoed his sentiments: “Imagine the desperation it takes to walk into live gunfire from the Middle East’s most powerful fighting force, armed with nothing more than rocks & the occasional Molotov or grenade. Try to conceive of the circumstances that could drive so many human beings to such an act.”

Or maybe try to conceive of the poisonous power of Hamas’s anti-Semitic ideology and the Palestinians’ permanently aggrieved mentality, which has allowed the conflict to fester despite numerous peace offers from the Israeli side. There are desperate people all over the world who never translate their frustration into suicide bombing, stone throwing, border-rushing, and violent “Days of Rage.” It does the Palestinians no good to treat them as children entitled to tantrums, as permanent wards of the international community or, worst, as wild men bereft of reason. Then again, such highhanded pity isn’t really about helping the Palestinians so much as it is about flattering their Western friends.

Meanwhile, Israel has good reason to celebrate: 70 years of independence, a dynamic economy, an innovative tech industry, a vibrant public square, a globally influential culture, demographics that are the envy of the West, burgeoning alliances with former enemies, and now American recognition of its capital. Leave it to the New York Times to frame the anniversary as a moment of “peril” and a “nightmare taking shape.” The Times dispatch, by David Halbfinger, acknowledges these successes. But it claims that “Israelis seem not to know what to feel” and quotes historian Tom Segev, who says that the “future is very bleak.” This is a distorted picture of Israeli sentiment. Massive celebrations have been going on for weeks, involving hundreds of thousands of people. It does, however, reveal the psychological anguish in the Times newsroom over the Jewish state’s triumph.

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MEDIA GOES WILD IN ANTI-TRUMP, ANTI-ISRAEL FERVOR                                                               Ben Shapiro                                                                                                                       The Hill, May 15, 2018

 

On Tuesday, the New York Daily News ran with another of its desperate appeals for circulation. This time, it blamed Ivanka Trump for Hamas-generated violence in the Gaza Strip. The cover featured a grinning Ivanka, dressed to the nines, at the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. But instead of her gesturing to the placard featured on the new embassy, the Daily News photoshopped in a photo of a wounded Palestinian on the Gaza border — so now Ivanka was gesturing at Palestinian suffering, a smile spread broadly across her face. The headline: “DADDY’S LITTLE GHOUL.”

This is absolutely abhorrent. It’s also reflective of the media coverage of both the Trump administration and Israel overall. The media have been repeating Hamas propaganda — and, presumably, they know it. They’ve been claiming that Israel is killing “protesters,” even though these are Hamas-led riots. They’ve been claiming that Israel has been targeting civilians, when it is clear this is not the case. And now they’re claiming that the Trump administration is to blame. The Washington Post headlined, “Israelis kill dozens of Palestinians in Gaza protesting U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem.”

The violence in the Gaza Strip has been ongoing for weeks, and has been entirely orchestrated by Hamas. Palestinians, including Hamas terrorists, have been throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops, as well as explosive devices and stones; they’ve been burning tires and attempting to cut through the border fence with wirecutters. The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, Ronen Manelis, says Hamas is paying families to protest, and that they have intelligence that Hamas seeks to kidnap an Israeli soldier.

Hamas’ leadership has announced that it seeks to promote violence along the border, and has activated tens of thousands of Palestinians as public cover for that violence. Hamas’s leader, Yahya Sinwar, said last month, “We will take down their border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.” Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al Zahhar openly told al Jazeera, “This is not a peaceful resistance … when we talk about peaceful resistance, we are deceiving the public. This is peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies and enjoying tremendous public support.” Palestinian participants know this. NPR asked a Gazan flying a kite with a swastika about his motivation. His answer: “We want them to burn.” Mohammed Mansoura, a 23-year-old “protester,” explained, “We are excited to storm and get inside … whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones.”

Palestinian rioters captured by Israel have said the same thing. According to the Israeli Security Agency, Yahiya Eijle, a Hamas member arrested on April 29, told them that Hamas was instructing its activists to cut the fence, that they want their activity to be seen “in the international media as a popular uprising, and not as violent action led by its militants,” and that Hamas members are embedded in the general population for purposes of public relations. Another Palestinian terrorist captured by Israel stated that “Hamas militants in civilian clothes encourage children to try to cross the fence in order to steal IDF equipment.”

Yet according to the media, all of this is Israel’s fault — or the fault of the dastardly Trump administration. Never mind that Hamas has participated in ongoing war with Israel since its election in 2006, the year after Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Never mind that Hamas routinely locates terrorists among civilians in order to mislead the media into believing that Israel targets civilians. (Hamas hid its headquarters during the 2014 Gaza war in a hospital). No, it must be Ivanka Trump’s fault.

Let’s be clear: Ivanka Trump’s presence in Israel to announce the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem has nothing to do with the violence. Blaming Ivanka Trump for the situation in Gaza isn’t just politically illiterate, it’s utterly immoral. Ivanka is Jewish; her husband is Jewish; they were in Israel to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment. To photoshop her on the cover of a newspaper grinning as she gestures to a picture of a wounded Palestinian is nothing less than a blood libel. But all’s fair in love and anti-Trump garbage these days

 

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FALLING FOR HAMAS’S SPLIT-SCREEN FALLACY

Matti Friedman

New York Times, May 16, 2018

During my years in the international press here in Israel, long before the bloody events of this week, I came to respect Hamas for its keen ability to tell a story. At the end of 2008 I was a desk editor, a local hire in The Associated Press’s Jerusalem bureau, during the first serious round of violence in Gaza after Hamas took it over the year before. That conflict was grimly similar to the American campaign in Iraq, in which a modern military fought in crowded urban confines against fighters concealed among civilians. Hamas understood early that the civilian death toll was driving international outrage at Israel, and that this, not I.E.D.s or ambushes, was the most important weapon in its arsenal.

Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant “jeopardizing his life.” Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.

Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance. The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terrorist group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it.

The next step in the evolution of this tactic was visible in Monday’s awful events. If the most effective weapon in a military campaign is pictures of civilian casualties, Hamas seems to have concluded, there’s no need for a campaign at all. All you need to do is get people killed on camera. The way to do this in Gaza, in the absence of any Israeli soldiers inside the territory, is to try to cross the Israeli border, which everyone understands is defended with lethal force and is easy to film. About 40,000 people answered a call to show up. Many of them, some armed, rushed the border fence. Many Israelis, myself included, were horrified to see the number of fatalities reach 60.

Most Western viewers experienced these events through a visual storytelling tool: a split screen. On one side was the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem in the presence of Ivanka Trump, evangelical Christian allies of the White House and Israel’s current political leadership — an event many here found curious and distant from our national life. On the other side was the terrible violence in the desperately poor and isolated territory. The juxtaposition was disturbing.

The attempts to breach the Gaza fence, which Palestinians call the March of Return, began in March and have the stated goal of erasing the border as a step toward erasing Israel. A central organizer, the Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar, exhorted participants on camera in Arabic to “tear out the hearts” of Israelis. But on Monday the enterprise was rebranded as a protest against the embassy opening, with which it was meticulously timed to coincide. The split screen, and the idea that people were dying in Gaza because of Donald Trump, was what Hamas was looking for.

The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn’t really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences. Israeli soldiers facing Gaza have no good choices. They can warn people off with tear gas or rubber bullets, which are often inaccurate and ineffective, and if that doesn’t work, they can use live fire. Or they can hold their fire to spare lives and allow a breach, in which case thousands of people will surge into Israel, some of whom — the soldiers won’t know which — will be armed fighters. (On Wednesday a Hamas leader, Salah Bardawil, told a Hamas TV station that 50 of the dead were Hamas members. The militant group Islamic Jihad claimed three others.) If such a breach occurs, the death toll will be higher. And Hamas’s tactic, having proved itself, would likely be repeated by Israel’s enemies on its borders with Syria and Lebanon.

Knowledgeable people can debate the best way to deal with this threat. Could a different response have reduced the death toll? Or would a more aggressive response deter further actions of this kind and save lives in the long run? What are the open-fire orders on the India-Pakistan border, for example? Is there something Israel could have done to defuse things beforehand?

These are good questions. But anyone following the response abroad saw that this wasn’t what was being discussed. As is often the case where Israel is concerned, things quickly became hysterical and divorced from the events themselves. Turkey’s president called it “genocide.” A writer for The New Yorker took the opportunity to tweet some of her thoughts about “whiteness and Zionism,” part of an odd trend that reads America’s racial and social problems into a Middle Eastern society 6,000 miles away. The sicknesses of the social media age — the disdain for expertise and the idea that other people are not just wrong but villainous — have crept into the worldview of people who should know better.

For someone looking out from here, that’s the real split-screen effect: On one side, a complicated human tragedy in a corner of a region spinning out of control. On the other, a venomous and simplistic story, a symptom of these venomous and simplistic times.

 

Contents

On Topic Links

‘Canada Would Do Exactly the Same Thing’: Israel’s Deputy Minister Defends Gaza Border Violence (Interview): CBC, May 16, 2018—Israeli Deputy Minister Michael Oren blames Hamas for the bloodshed at the Israel-Gaza border this week, and says the media is doing the militant group’s bidding. Israeli forces killed at least 60 Palestinians, most by gunfire, and injured more than 2,700 since Monday during protests near the border.

Guardian Editorial on Gaza Perfectly Shows the Media’s Anti-Israel Bias and Hatred: Adam Levick, Algemeiner, May 16, 2018—The first thing that stands out in The Guardian’s latest official editorial on the Gaza border riots is the absence of even one use of the word “Hamas” in more than 600 words of text, despite the fact that the violence has been organized and funded by the terror group.

Hamas Official: Majority of Palestinians Killed in Violent Protests are Our Men: IPT News, May 16, 2018—Hamas official Salah Bardawil may have destroyed the narrative that Israel is indiscriminately killing non-violent protesters at the Gaza border. The vast majority of Palestinians killed, Bardawil told a Palestinian interviewer, were Hamas fighters.

Why Is Hamas So Interested in Palestinian Deaths?: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, May 16, 2018—Hamas defined the day of violent clashes at Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, on May 14, 2018, during which some 59 Palestinians were claimed to have been killed, as living proof of a victory for jihad and the armed struggle against Israel. It openly admitted that these were not spontaneous demonstrations but a campaign orchestrated by Hamas and other Palestinian organizations defined as terrorist groups in the West.

 

COLLEGE NEWSPAPERS & NYT EXCLUDE PRO-ISRAEL ARTICLES, PROMOTE PALESTINIAN NARRATIVE

Not All the News That’s Fit to Print: Richard L. Cravatts, Frontpage, Dec. 7, 2016— When Elmer Davis, director of FDR’s Office of War Information, observed that “. . . you cannot do much with people who are convinced that they are the sole authorized custodians of Truth and that whoever differs from them is ipso facto wrong” he may well have been speaking about editors of college newspapers…

Fixing ‘News That’s Fit to Print’: Jerold Auerbach, Algemeiner, Oct. 31, 2016 — Rami Nazzal is a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem who guides tours “freely and safely across borders,” providing “a window into the reality of Palestine.”

The Führer and the Fourth Estate: Sean Durns, Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2016— There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth, and to shame the devil,” U.S. commentator Walter Lippman once said.

The End Game: Machla Abramovitz, Michpacha, Dec. 2017— They believe in the coming of a messianic epoch, one in which humanity will unite and peace and justice will reign.

 

On Topic Links

 

One Thing Voters Agree On: Better Campaign Coverage Was Needed: Liz Spayd, New York Times, Nov. 19, 2016

Author of New York Times Magazine Jerusalem Article Signed Pro-Boycott Petition: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Dec. 6, 2016 Maclean’s Photo Essay Is Pure Palestinian Propaganda : Honest Reporting, Nov. 7, 2016

Western Media Confused After Discovering Israel Not Involved in Most Middle East Conflicts: Rube Silverhill, Mideast Beast, Dec., 2016

 

NOT ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT

Richard L. Cravatts                                                      

Frontpage, Dec. 7, 2016

 

When Elmer Davis, director of FDR’s Office of War Information, observed that “. . . you cannot do much with people who are convinced that they are the sole authorized custodians of Truth and that whoever differs from them is ipso facto wrong” he may well have been speaking about editors of college newspapers who have purposely violated the central purpose of journalism and have allowed one ideology, not facts and alternate opinions, to hijack the editorial composition of their publications and purge their respective newspapers of any content—news or opinion—that contradicts a pro-Palestinian narrative and would provide a defense of Israel.

 

The latest example is a controversy involving The McGill Daily and its recent astonishing admission that it is the paper’s policy to not publish “pieces which promote a Zionist worldview, or any other ideology which we consider oppressive.” “While we recognize that, for some, Zionism represents an important freedom project,” the editors wrote in a defense of their odious policy, “we also recognize that it functions as a settler-colonial ideology that perpetuates the displacement and the oppression of the Palestinian people.”

 

A McGill student, Molly Harris, had filed a complaint with the Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) equity committee. In that complaint, Harris contended that, based on the paper’s obvious anti-Israel bias, and “a set of virulently anti-Semitic tweets from a McGill Daily writer,” a “culture of anti-Semitism” defined the Daily—a belief seemingly confirmed by the fact that several of the paper’s editors themselves are BDS supporters and none of the staffers are Jewish. Of course, in addition to the existence of a fundamental anti-Semitism permeating the editorial environment of The Daily, there is also the core issue of what responsibility a newspaper has to not insert personal biases and ideology into its stories, and to provide space for alternate views on many issues—including the Israeli/Palestinian conflict—in the opinion sections of the paper

 

At Connecticut College, Professor Andrew Pessin also found himself vilified on campus, not only by a cadre of ethnic hustlers and activists, but by fellow faculty and an administration that were slow to defend Pessin’s right to express himself—even when, as in this case, his ideas were certainly within the realm of reasonable conversation about a difficult topic: the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Central to the campaign of libels waged against Pessin was the part played by the College’s student newspaper, The College Voice.

 

In August of 2014, during Israel’s incursions into Gaza to suppress deadly rocket fire aimed at Jewish citizens, Pessin, a teacher of religion and philosophy, wrote on his Facebook page a description of how he perceived Hamas, the ruling political entity in Gaza: “One image which essentializes the current situation in Gaza might be this. You’ve got a rabid pit bull chained in a cage, regularly making mass efforts to escape.” That image of a pit bull did not sit well with at least one Connecticut College student, Lamiya Khandaker, a pro-Palestinian activist, who complained publicly about Pessin’s old Facebook post; he thereupon deleted the offending Facebook entry, and even proffered an apology, but Pessin’s apology was insufficient for the ever-suffering moral narcissists on his campus.

 

In fact, editors of The College Voice insisted that Pessin’s thoughts were “dehumanizing” to Palestinians and had “caused widespread alarm in the campus community.” The paper’s editor, Ayla Zuraw-Friedland, initiated a campaign of lies against Dr. Pessin, contending that his post “caused widespread alarm in the campus community,” that the college community could and should “identify racism when we see it,” and that the very students viciously attacking Pessin for his thoughts were themselves “victims of racism.” In March 2015, the College Voice even ran three op-eds, beginning on the paper’s front page, that condemned Pessin and accused him of racism and comparing Palestinians to rabid dogs.

 

The Wesleyan University community also underwent collective apoplexy over a 2015 opinion submission in the school’s student newspaper, The Argus, which critically examined the Black Lives Matter movement. The thoughtful, relatively-benign op-ed, written by sophomore Bryan Stascavage, a 30-year-old Iraq veteran and self-described “moderate conservative,” questioned if the behavior of some BLM supporters “cheering after [a police] officer is killed, chanting that they want more pigs to fry like bacon” showed a moral and ideological flaw in the movement, leading him to wonder, “is the movement itself actually achieving anything positive? Does it have the potential for positive change?”

 

That opinion was apparently more than many of the sensitive fellow Wesleyan students could bear, and the newspaper’s staff was inundated with denunciations of the implicit racism of the offending op-ed and the “white privilege” demonstrated by its author, demands that apologies be issued by the paper’s editors, the widespread theft of The Argus around campus, and calls for sensitivity/social justice training for staffers. College students have now taken a new, misguided approach in their attempt to suppress speech whose content they do not approve of, as they seem to have done at Wesleyan. On college campuses, to paraphrase George Orwell, all views are equal, but some are more equal than others…                         

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

           

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FIXING ‘NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT’                                                                                              

Jerold Auerbach                                                                                                 

Algemeiner, Oct. 31, 2016

 

Rami Nazzal is a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem who guides tours “freely and safely across borders,” providing “a window into the reality of Palestine.” He identifies himself as “a fixer for journalists, writers, photographers, film producers.” Surely his most prominent “fixee” is The New York Times.

 

By now a bevy of Times reporters have been the beneficiaries of his tours. He led former Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren to a group of Palestinian musicians, who created an “intifada soundtrack” that featured such hits as “Stab the Zionist and say God is great” and “Say hello to being a martyr.” He guided science reporter James Glanz to “the violent east Jerusalem slum” of Issawiya, filled with the “acrid stench of burning trash.” There, to the reporter’s surprise, Palestinian residents were raising “exquisitely groomed Arabian horses,” an affection that “helps them to endure life under Israeli occupation.”

 

Nazzal’s journalistic tour de force came in May, when he led Glanz to the sparkling new Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, north of Ramallah. In nearly 1,000 words, they described the Palestinian struggle “to build political and civic institutions while resisting Israel’s occupation;” recounted the story of the (ousted) director who planned to feature “artistic interpretations of things like keys and photographs that Palestinians around the world have kept from the homes they fled or were forced from in what is now Israel;” and anticipated the imminent “high-profile opening ceremony a few days after the 68th anniversary of what Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe” of Israel’s founding. Gazing at the sparkling new building, “rising above a terraced garden with carefully selected trees,” a museum sponsor exulted: “It’s as if the building is coming out of the womb, the Palestinian Mother Nature.”

 

The museum, Glanz and Nazzal enthused, would “have almost everything: a stunning, contemporary new building; space to celebrate and redefine Palestinian art, history and culture; an outdoor amphitheater; a terraced garden.” There was, however, a conspicuous omission: “One thing the museum will not have,” they wrote, “is exhibitions.” But, the museum’s chairman explained, Palestinians were “so in need of positive energy” that it seemed “worthwhile to open even an empty building.” Glanz and Nazzal did not contemplate what an empty museum might reveal about the content of Palestinian history and culture.

 

Inevitably, Peter Baker, the new Times Jerusalem bureau chief, was also taken for a ride by Nazzal. In Tulkarm, on the western edge of the West Bank, they met with Shifa al-Qudsi, “a Palestinian hairdresser driven to anger, despair and hopelessness” by the Israeli occupation. Seeking “revenge” for “her beleaguered people,” she had intended to pretend to be pregnant, wearing a suicide belt beneath her maternity dress, with full awareness that it would “rip her from limb to limb” (and leave her daughter an orphan). But, “with luck,” it would also kill many Israelis. Her own luck expired with her pre-attack arrest. Convicted of “conspiracy to commit premeditated killing and possession of explosives,” she spent six years in an Israeli prison.

 

There, Baker and Nazzal recounted in a front-page story (October 29), she “transformed herself from a would-be deliverer of death into a messenger of peace.” Offering “a window into the world of terrorism” that has recently inspired young Palestinians to launch the “stabbing intifada,” she explained “the kind of thinking that makes sacrificing oneself seem like a rational response to deep feelings of grievance.” After all, Israelis “occupy your home, your land, they kill your relatives and your people.” The only option is “to seek revenge.” The beguiled Times reporters did not care to provide a statistical update on the stabbing intifada: 3,635 Palestinian attacks (2,188 against civilians); 26 Israelis killed and 511 wounded. The reformed Ms. Qudsi is now a member of Combatants for Peace. It joins peace-seeking Palestinians and Israelis – former fighters and soldiers — in a new “jihad”: “The world must know the Palestinians’ land is occupied.” Now that yet another Times reporter has partnered with self-described “fixer” Rami Nazzal, her message is news fit to print.    

 

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THE FÜHRER AND THE FOURTH ESTATE                           

Sean Durns                                                                    

Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2016

 

There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth, and to shame the devil,” U.S. commentator Walter Lippman once said. How then, did the U.S. media cover a man responsible for some of the most evil and heinous acts in recorded history: Adolf Hitler? Press coverage of the German dictator defies a simple and neat summary, as the U.S. media was not, and has never been, a monolithic entity and coverage of Hitler naturally changed over time. Nonetheless, some patterns can be discerned from a cursory glance at the early years of Nazi rule.

 

Upon Hitler’s ascension to power in 1933, some U.S. news outlets did not see a devil, but rather, much needed stability being brought to a country that had been in economic and social upheaval since before the Great War. Hitler and the Nazis were providing a “dark land a clear light of hope,” according to a 1933 dispatch by the Christian Science Monitor that was cited by the American historian Dr. Rafael Medoff (“The American Papers That Praised Hitler,” The Daily Beast, Dec. 20, 2015). CSM praised, at its outset, Nazi rule for bringing order; quite literally for making the trains arrive “punctually.”

 

The U.S. press baron William Randolph Hearst was quoted by Putzi Hanfstaegnl, an early Hitler backer, about his purported views on the Nazi rise to power. According to the Aug. 23, 1934 issue of The New York Times, Hearst said that Hitler’s “Germany is battling for her liberation from the mischievous provisions of the Treaty of Versailles…This battle, in fact, can only be viewed as a struggle which all liberty-loving people are bound to follow with understanding and sympathy.” Although Hearst’s publications initially published articles by Hitler and his fellow fascist Benito Mussolini, the businessman, and the empire at his disposal, would eventually become a critic of Nazi rule and an advocate for their Jewish victims.

 

Other U.S. newspapers, despite evidence to the contrary, including the virulent antisemitism easily discerned in Hitler’s writings and speeches, nonetheless sought to look for moderation in the new Nazi regime. As Medoff has pointed out, the Berlin bureau chief for The New York Times, Frederick Birchall, claimed that there was a “new moderation” in the political atmosphere after Hitler took power. Similarly, The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin stated in a Jan. 30, 1933 report that “there have been indications of moderation” by Hitler.

 

Elsewhere, some journalists displayed a tendency to underestimate the objectives of the new authoritarian regime. The Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist, Hubert Knickerbocker, was one of the more perceptive members of the press to cover Nazi Germany. As detailed in Andrew Nagorski’s 2012 book Hiterland, Knickerbocker—in contrast to many of his colleagues—was one of the first to record rising anti-Semitism and to note it’s centrality to Nazi ideology. Yet, when it came to Nazi war aims, in 1933 Knickerbocker believed that, “The odds are too great against Germany for anyone but a mad German to consider making war now against France and her allies. Contrary to a considerable body of opinion abroad, it may be positively asserted that there are no madmen running Germany today.”

 

But as Ian Kershaw noted in his two-volume biography of the German dictator, Hitler’s rhetoric and Nazi ideology itself had begun to emphasize the need for Lebensraum (living space) from the late 1920s onwards. Some outlets had been misreading Hitler long before he came to power. For example, The New York Times, in a Nov. 21, 1922 article claimed, “Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded.” “He was,” they assured readers, “merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.” What The Times missed of course, was that anti-Semitism was central to the Nazi movement’s “political purposes.”

 

Long after Hitler became the Führer—after he enacted the Nuremberg Laws, dispossessed Jews and opened concentration camps—The New York Times would, in at least one article, proceed from the minimization of his ideology to outright hagiography. As my CAMERA colleague Gilead Ini pointed out, a 1939 New York Times Magazine article entitled “Herr Hitler At Home In The Clouds,” failed to critically detail Hitler’s policies, opting instead to record that the dictator “makes no secret of being fond of chocolate,” that he “likes an after-breakfast stroll on his mountain” and, perhaps most absurdly, that “Hitler can be a good listener.”…

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

                                                           

Contents                                                                                                                                    

THE END GAME

                   

Machla Abramovitz

                                                           

Michpacha, Dec. 2017

 

They believe in the coming of a messianic epoch, one in which humanity will unite and peace and justice will reign. Their enemies are conservatives and traditionalists, or those who fail to comprehend the arc of history and humanity’s final destiny. No, they’re not an apocalyptic cult hatching a plot in a South American jungle hideout, but modern progressives who subscribe to the idea of “millennialism.”

 

Richard Landes, a former professor of Medieval Studies at Boston University, and currently the senior fellow with the Center of International Communication at Bar Ilan University, is one of their leading critics. For decades, Landes has been studying the phenomenon of millennialism, or the belief that a messianic era of justice, peace, and abundance is coming soon, often preceded by a massive disruptive event. Now, with the election of Donald J. Trump and the protests that have exploded nationwide, the world is witness to the expression of millennialism.

 

“Those who are protesting his election are not only criticizing Trump, but his supporters, who they dismiss as undereducated ‘deplorables’ who love their guns and their religion,” says Landes, who came to observant Judaism as an adult. “[To their way of thinking, Trump supporters] are mere offshoots of the Middle Ages, whereas Hillary Clinton supporters have advanced beyond that.” Were it only an academic meme, this kind of millennialism wouldn’t much concern the Jewish community. But in the 21st century, messianic progressives have joined their fellow millennial dreamers, the Muslim jihadis, and embraced a common apocalyptic narrative with an ultimate enemy – Israel.

 

“BDS is essentially a cognitive war (cogwar) campaign of Caliphaters — active, cataclysmic (apocalyptic) millennialists who believe that Islam will dominate the world under one global caliphate — that have teamed up with the global progressive left, who have been duped into thinking that Israel is the cause of the world’s woes,” said Landes, who recently delivered the keynote address at the Montreal-based Canadian Institute of Jewish Research’s (CIJR) conference on “BDS and the Campus Delegitimization of Israel.”

 

“That’s the folly of the progressives: to side with the most regressive messianic movement on the planet against the most progressive country in the world. Morally speaking, it’s just breathtaking.” Landes is perhaps best known as the man who helped expose the al-Durah hoax and coined the term “Pallywood” (Palestinian Hollywood). At the start of the second intifada, a young Palestinian named Mohammed al-Durah was allegedly shot to death by the Israeli army and died in his father’s arms. His death throes were captured by France 2 TV and became an iconic image of Palestinian victimhood. “This image represented the moment when Islamic apocalyptic discourse about the genocidal Israelis who intentionally kill Palestinian children, was mainstreamed in the Western media,” says Landes, who also serves as the chairman of the council of scholars for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. “This sentiment was all the more horrendous given that Mohammad’s death was a fake. When I looked into it, I was amazed by the widespread use of footage staged by Palestinians, run as news by Western journalists.”

 

The son of Professor David Landes, a renowned Harvard economic historian, Landes’ personal journey marked a departure not only from the secular intellectualism of his youth toward observant Judaism (he was inspired by Rabbi Joseph Leibowitz in the 1980s, while living in Berkeley, California), but later departed from former friends and colleagues within academia. This mindset, Landes acknowledges, continues to affect his relationships with friends and colleagues. “Since 2000, there has been a steady decline in the number of academics I talk with, work with, and exchange ideas with.” Of late, Landes has focused on educating university-aged students on the cognitive war that is currently being waged on today’s campuses – a war for which he feels they are woefully unprepared.

 

The concept of millennialism — the belief in a coming Utopia — features greatly in your work. Heaven on Earth, deals comprehensively with this subject. Please explain what this is and why it is such an important subject for today’s university students to understand and appreciate?

 

Millennialism is the idea that there will come a time when things will get better; therefore, we have to put factors in motion that will transform over generations. Its concepts, for the good and the bad, permeate our culture in multiple ways, which needn’t be religious. Western progressivism is based on a millennialist idea. When not revolutionary, it tends toward transformational millennialism, that is a gradual, nonviolent change that occurs because people’s awareness changes. Modern progressives start from what Pirkei Avos tells us: the toil is long and it’s not up to us to relinquish it, or finish it. For them, this is the time to finish it.

 

“What we witness today is a marriage between pre-modern sadism (the jihadists who hate the infidels) and post-modern masochism (the ones who klap al cheit),” says Professor Landes. “Trump had disappointed their millennial expectations” This millennialism activated by a sense of apocalyptic imminence can get darker. Fueled by a sense that the world is unbearably evil and corrupt, they believe that now is the time for evil to vanish from the earth. For many apocalyptic millennialists, the process will be cataclysmic: vast destruction of evil precedes the victory of good. In passive scenarios, like Christian Rapture, G-d is the major agent of this destruction: in active ones, like global Jihad, the believer is the major agent, G-d’s weapon of destruction.

 

ISIS is a Sunni Muslim millennialist cult. They believe in the establishment of a global caliphate and are willing to kill and be killed to establish it. Some Shiites also share this desire to bring on this messianic age. Iranian President Ayatollah Khamenei actually believes he is paving the way for the “hidden Imam” to emerge. And when that doesn’t happen on its own, apocalyptic zealots are not averse to suicidal action that will force the hand of G-d, in this case the Mahdi to come to their rescue. So when Secretary of State John Kerry states that the Iranian leaders are rational and would never do anything to bring on their own destruction (like nuke Israel) he doesn’t understand their motivating ideology…

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

 

Machla Abramovitz & Richard Landes are CIJR Academic Fellows

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents           

 

On Topic Links

 

One Thing Voters Agree On: Better Campaign Coverage Was Needed: Liz Spayd, New York Times, Nov. 19, 2016—There is a group of 10 friends in Charlotte, N.C., all women, all in their 50s, all white. They’re college educated with successful careers, and they have a message for The New York Times: Come visit us. They voted for Donald Trump and don’t consider themselves homophobic, racist or anti-Muslim. But now, they say, thanks to The Times and its fixation on Trump’s most extreme supporters, most people think they are. They would like a chance to show otherwise, and one of them, Cindy Capwell, wrote my office to extend the invitation.

Author of New York Times Magazine Jerusalem Article Signed Pro-Boycott Petition: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Dec. 6, 2016 —Concern and questions are mounting as additional details emerge about an article in Sunday’s New York Times magazine highlighting what the article described as squalid conditions in a Jerusalem refugee camp.

Maclean’s Photo Essay Is Pure Palestinian Propaganda : Honest Reporting, Nov. 7, 2016—Re: Maclean’s Magazine: David Sherman, Toronto: Your photo essay shows destruction, but fails to explain why there was “Israeli shelling” and “the Israeli-Gaza conflict that destroyed much of Beit Lahiya,” leaving the uninformed reader to draw conclusions that Israel attacked Gaza for no reason, leaving misery in its wake. The photo essay should have provided some context, and should have described Israel‘s actions as a defensive war against thousands of rockets and dozens of tunnels aimed at Israeli civilians. Describing and showing the destruction without context merely reinforces the false narrative sold to the public that Israel is at fault.

Western Media Confused After Discovering Israel Not Involved in Most Middle East Conflicts: Rube Silverhill, Mideast Beast, Dec., 2016— Due to escalating tensions in Middle Eastern countries, arriving Western journalists were shocked to discover that the Middle East has a ton of conflicts, and very few are even remotely related to Israel. “I always write about the ‘Middle Eastern’ conflict being Israelis vs. Palestinians, but it turns out, the Middle East is a huge, complex, messed up region,” a BBC journalist exclaimed. “Who knew?”

 

 

POST-ZIONIST MEDIA & BDS DEMONIZE ISRAEL BY PROMOTING “LETHAL” PALESTINIAN NARRATIVES

The Failures of Journalism in the 21st Century: Richard Landes, Augean Stables, May 15, 2016 — Towards the end of 2000, a professional failure of epic proportions took place among Western journalists.

The Accelerating Erosion of the Post-Zionist Hebrew Media: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Aug. 31, 2016 Haaretz, Israel’s oldest Hebrew daily newspaper, was established in 1918 by a group of left-leaning businessmen.

Greens Should Follow Germany's Lead And Reject Israel Boycotts: Benjamin Weinthal, Huffington Post, Sept. 20, 2016 — While Iran's regime continues to expand its nuclear facilities and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's war has caused a half million deaths, the Green parties in North America are bizarrely preoccupied with boycotting the Jewish state.

Attention Norway: Stick to Polar Bears, Disregard BDS: Judith Bergman, Israel Hayom, Sept. 2, 2016  — One of the world’s northernmost inhabited places is Longyearbyen, a small town of about 2,000 people in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

 

On Topic Links

 

Lethal, Own-Goal Journalism Creates Caliphater BDS: Definitions: Richard Landes, Augean Stables, Sept. 23, 2016

Newsweek Middle East Editor Goes on Anti-Semitic Twitter Rant: Tower, Sept. 14, 2016

California Governor Signs Anti-BDS Bill into Law: Jerusalem Post, Sept. 25, 2016

Telling Our Positive Story Against BDS: Jon Haber, Algemeiner, Sept. 25, 2016

 

THE FAILURES OF JOURNALISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Richard Landes                                                              

Augean Stables, May 15, 2016

 

Towards the end of 2000, a professional failure of epic proportions took place among Western journalists. This failure began among Middle East correspondents reporting on the conflict, which broke out anew in late September 2000, between Israel and her Arab (triumphalist) neighbors. In this phase of “lethal journalism” Western reporters, almost as a pack, systematically reported Palestinian accusations against Israel – lethal narratives – as if they were eminently credible, indeed as if they actually happened, in other words as news. These reports had their desired effect in the conflict, supporting the “underdog” and “leveling the playing field,” prolonging the war, protecting the Palestinians from Israeli efforts to prevent their terror attacks, and severely damaging Israel’s global image.

 

The impact, however, went far beyond what these reporters imagined. They had an electric effect on Muslims the world over, including the West. Given overwhelming proof – the Western media reported it – of the victimization of Muslims in Palestine, many a triumphalist Muslim awoke to the siren call of Jihad. Demonstrations in the West made ample room for a newly aggressive Muslim Street, and recruiting for Jihad made great headway in the heart of the enemy. In particular, Europe’s largely unassimilated Muslim population radicalized significantly.

 

Indeed, lethal journalists, in their cognitive disorientation, didn’t realize that, in purveying Palestinian propaganda as news, they greatly amplified not Palestinian “nationalist” efforts to get their “self-determination,” but instead they mainstreamed Jihadi war propaganda that targeted their own societies as much as Israeli – all kufar to be either converted, dhimmified, or eliminated. In so acting, they engaged in an unprecedented form of war journalism, not the traditional patriotic version of lying for your own side, but own-goal war journalism, where the journalists lied for their side’s enemies.

 

Why did they do this? A close look at the lethal journalism at work against Israel reveals a striking underlying pattern: not only did it report often false accusations against Israel that incited outrage and hatred, but it did not report (or played down) often true stories about the Palestinians – their terrorism, their mistreatment of their own people, and their genocidal incitement to hatred of the Jews.

 

Here was pattern of compliance with Palestinian “Media Protocols” that essentially demanded that journalists report the conflict as a black and white morality tale: Israelis were always the aggressors and Palestinians always the victims, resisting the occupation. This obedience to the demands of Palestinian Jihadis in fact replicated itself in the broader journalistic coverage of global Jihadi efforts. In this sense, both the lethal, own-goal war journalism of the journalists reporting from the Middle East, and the disastrous misreporting on triumphalist Islam in the West, constitute what can best be described as Dhimmi journalism, that is, journalism that follows the rules of the dhimma: do not offend Muslims and attack those who do offend Muslims. Of all the things that help us understand why the West has fared so badly in countering Jihadi cogwar in the 21st century, this across the boards failure of the Western MSNM, stands at the head of the list.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Prof. Landes, a CIJR Academic Fellow, delivered the keynote address                                   

at CIJR’s Dateline Middle East Student Magazine launch, Sept. 26, 2016

           

 

Contents                                                                                                                                   

                                                                         

THE ACCELERATING EROSION OF                                                                      

THE POST-ZIONIST HEBREW MEDIA                                                                                                        

Isi Leibler                                                                                                                       

Candidly Speaking, Aug. 31, 2016

 

Haaretz, Israel’s oldest Hebrew daily newspaper, was established in 1918 by a group of left-leaning businessmen. In 1937, Salman Schocken bought the newspaper and it was edited by his son Gershom until his death in 1990.  Although its circulation was never high when compared to the tabloids Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth, it has for many years been regarded as the most influential intellectual newspaper in Israel with its readership including leading political and economic elites. It was considered a liberal newspaper although its economic section was conservative, and it published many outstanding feature articles.

 

After Gershom died, his son Amos assumed the role of chairman, CEO and publisher. In August 2006, 25% of the shares of Haaretz were sold to the German publisher M. DuMont Schauberg, whose father was a Nazi party member and whose publishing enterprises promoted Nazi ideology. Although he passionately denies being post-Zionist, Amos imposed his radical left-wing ideology onto the newspaper which has now been transformed into a vehicle that provides much of the anti-Israeli sentiment and even anti-Semitic lies and distortions that are a boon to our adversaries.

 

It is difficult to comprehend the depths to which this once highly regarded newspaper has descended. There are still a number of level-headed commentators, such as Ari Shavit and Shlomo Avineri, and occasional “fig leaf” conservative columns contributed by Moshe Arens and Israel Harel. But the opinion section is overwhelmingly dominated by delusional anti-Zionists such as Gideon Levy and Amira Hass, who promote the idea that Israel was born in sin. Levy repeatedly reiterates that Israel is one of the world’s most brutal and tyrannical regimes in existence today and repeatedly accuses the Jewish state of being an apartheid state. Even publisher Schocken wrote a column titled “Only international pressure will end Israel apartheid.”

 

These demonic views of their own country would be more appropriate for publication in the Palestinian media than in an Israeli newspaper. Furthermore, even the reporting became as opinionated as op-ed articles, frequently totally distorting news events and placing Israel in the worst possible light. The reporting has also become selective in its news coverage, a prime example being the suppressed coverage of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s alleged corruption, in order not to create problems for the Gaza disengagement.

 

If Haaretz was restricted to an Israeli audience, its impact would be minimal as it has a small circulation and few Israelis are influenced by what it publishes. The real problem is the English language edition and its internet site, which is monitored by diplomats and reproduced by the global media. It serves to demonize and delegitimize Israel to countless internet readers throughout the world who are under the illusion that they are reading a reputable liberal Israeli newspaper. Pro-Israel Diaspora activists who would normally have protested the bias and even the anti-Semitic slant of anti-Israeli media outlets, have been confronted by editors who defended their approach on the grounds that it reflected the editorial policies of a respected daily Israeli newspaper.

 

The damage is incalculable. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that in recent years, the newspaper has caused more harm to the image of Israel than the combined efforts of our adversaries. Nothing demonstrates this more than the front-page headlines in 2009 based upon unsubstantiated evidence from the discredited Breaking the Silence group which first promoted the lie that Israeli soldiers were committing war crimes. After successive days in which Haaretz highlighted this blood libel, the IDF chief military advocate general released a report describing the accusations as “categorically false.” Instead of apologizing and expressing remorse, Haaretz responded sarcastically, suggesting that while the report showed the IDF to be “pure as snow,” implying that the accusers —fighters and commanders from some of its best combat units — were a bunch of liars and exaggerators.

 

Despite the unequivocal repudiation of these false allegations, the damage was done. The global media enthusiastically highlighted the news from the “influential” Israeli newspaper. This paved the way for subsequent allegations of Israeli war crimes, culminating in the now discredited Goldstone report, which remains a central feature of the defamation leveled against us by our adversaries. In this context, it should be mentioned that the recently appointed editor of the English edition, Noa Landau, is the life partner of Avner Gvaryahu, one of the most vocal and vicious activist leaders of Breaking the Silence.

 

Another notable example was the 2014 Haaretz Conference held in New York, where in deference to Palestinian Authority spokesman Saeb Erekat, who addressed the conference, the Israeli flag was removed from the podium. The situation has continued to deteriorate, with more readers canceling subscriptions, even including many prominent left-wing supporters who can no longer tolerate the ever increasing anti-Israel hysteria that fills the pages of the paper. Irit Linur, a liberal columnist for the weekend edition, wrote to Schocken, “I feel that the State of Israel fundamentally revolts you. … I don’t want to subscribe to a newspaper that tries in every way to make me ashamed of my Zionism, my patriotism and my intelligence — three qualities that are most precious to me.”…

 

The harshest blow came from liberal American journalist icon Jeffrey Goldberg, who is regarded as the principal media source used by U.S. President Barack Obama in relation to Israel and Jewish affairs. Goldberg erupted after two American Jewish historians published an article in Haaretz accusing the U.N. of establishing a Jewish racist state that is today an extension of Western colonialism. They proudly announced that they would never set foot in any synagogue that supported Israel. Goldberg also responded to a recent Levy op-ed titled “Yes, Israel is an evil state” – which described Israel as an entity based on “pure evil. Sadistic evil. Evil for its own sake”. He announced that he was canceling his subscription, tweeting that “when neo-Nazis are emailing me links to Haaretz op-eds declaring Israel to be evil, I’m going to take a break.” He also noted that “I can read anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli things like this on other websites. There really no need for an Israeli website like this.”…                                                                                               

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

                                                                                   

Contents                                                                       

                                                              

GREENS SHOULD FOLLOW GERMANY'S                                                                     

LEAD AND REJECT ISRAEL BOYCOTTS                                                                    

Benjamin Weinthal                                                                                                      

Huffington Post, Sept. 20, 2016

 

While Iran's regime continues to expand its nuclear facilities and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's war has caused a half million deaths, the Green parties in North America are bizarrely preoccupied with boycotting the Jewish state. The parties' counterpart in Germany is, however, a vehement opponent of the anti-Semitic boycott movement. The German Greens should serve as a model for Canadian and U.S. Greens to revise their anti-Israel positions.

 

Last month, the Green Party of Canada became the country's first party to endorse the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS) targeting Israel. BDS claims to seek concessions from Israel to advance the cause of Palestinian statehood. The movement is actually against peace because it seeks to dismantle Israel and to impose a one-state solution, rather than two states for two peoples. While Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May personally rejects BDS as polarizing, she was overridden on the issue by voting delegates at her party's annual convention.

 

It is a topsy-turvy world when a political group devoted to protecting the environment prioritizes BDS over opposing Iran's nuclear aims — which have the potential to devastate humanity and the environment — and the Assad regime — which, along with its sponsors Iran, Russia and Hezbollah — has engaged in a scorched-earth policy in Syria. Iran's Lake Urmia is drying up, Tehran is beset by major air pollution and one of its nuclear facilities — Bushehr — lies on an earthquake-prone area.

 

Yet the Canadian Greens debated only two foreign policy resolutions at their convention, and both pertained to Israel. In addition to BDS, the other unsuccessfully called on the Canada Revenue Agency to remove the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund, an organization at the forefront of protecting the natural environment in Israel for the benefit of all residents.

Across the border in the United States, Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, defended her support for BDS during an August CNN town hall discussion. Stein mirrors her Canadian counterparts in their apparent lack of concern regarding, for example, the Islamic State's genocidal acts toward Middle East Christians and Yazidis.

 

Fortunately, BDS remains controversial to many on the left in both the United States and Canada. Polling done within Canada's Green Party following the convention revealed that 44 per cent of the respondents believe that the party's anti-Israel boycott policy should be repealed entirely, while 28.1 per cent believe that it should "not [be] tied to one actor or one movement" — such as Israel. More broadly, in a statement largely ignored by the print media, the former democratic socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders linked BDS to modern anti-Semitism. When asked if he agreed with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that BDS can be equated with anti-Semitism, Sanders told MSNBC: "I think there is some of that, absolutely."

 

The most powerful and influential Green Party is in Germany. The German Greens served as a coalition partner to the Social Democrats in the federal government from 1998 to 2005. The party is represented in state governments across the Federal Republic. In Baden-Württemberg, where a Green Party politician is the governor, party spokeswoman Eva Muszar said in June: "We Greens reject a boycott of Israel, as well as BDS. The BDS campaign aggressively calls for a boycott of Israeli goods and organizations, and is collectively directed against Jewish Israelis and uses anti-Semitic prejudices."

 

Just this month, the national teachers' union in Germany, with its nearly 281,000 members, termed BDS anti-Semitic. Moreover, the BDS campaign deceptively listed Greenpeace Germany on a petition as a supporter, prompting the NGO to demand that the BDS campaign immediately remove its name from the document. All of this may reflect the fact that Germans have a greater than usual consciousness about where boycotts of Jews lead. After all, the first phase of the Hitler movement was a nation-wide boycott of Jewish businesses. But aside from any historical sensitivities, the opposition of the Green Party — and of other left-of-centre parties in the Federal Republic — to BDS is premised on the notion that the boycott movement is discriminatory, harmful to many Palestinians employed by Israeli companies, and destructive to hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

 

Another reason to be suspicious of the BDS movement is for its links to terrorism, which has been a recurring theme in the media and in policy debates. One of Austria's largest banks, BAWAG, pulled the plug on the account of the pro-BDS Austrian-Arab Culture Center (OKAZ) in June. OKAZ had sponsored a lecture with Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has been designated by Canada and the EU as a terrorist organization. Khaled helped hijack TWA Flight 840 in 1969. A year later, she participated in the hijacking of EL AL Flight 219.

 

Bret Stephens recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal of a disturbing finding: In the case of several American organizations that were designated, shut down or held civilly liable for providing material support to the terrorist organization Hamas, a significant contingent of their former leadership appears to have pivoted to leadership positions within the American BDS campaign. French and German banks have closed BDS accounts in their countries. France has the most robust anti-BDS law in Europe. France's 2003 Lellouche law has been applied to punish Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions activists for singling out Israel based on national origin…If Green parties wish to enter the mainstream, they should replicate the forward-thinking policies of the German Greens and their rejection of BDS. BDS is a dead-end street filled with potholes of terrorism and discrimination.

 

Contents           

ATTENTION NORWAY: STICK TO POLAR BEARS, DISREGARD BDS

Judith Bergman

Israel Hayom, Sept. 2, 2016  

 

One of the world’s northernmost inhabited places is Longyearbyen, a small town of about 2,000 people in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Svalbard is a place of indescribable beauty, filled with an untouched arctic wilderness that will leave you in constant awe, simply grateful to be alive to witness such staggering wonders: untouched arctic landscapes, blueish glaciers and frozen tundra, which is home to an arctic wildlife that includes polar bears. Indeed, the most dangerous neighbors a human being can come across in Svalbard are polar bears, which is why it is prohibited to venture outside Longyearbyen without a weapon. Longyearbyen’s residents come from all over the world and the place feels as far removed from any kind of international politics as you could possibly imagine.

 

Ever since my husband and I visited this place, we have spoken about going back, and my husband has even taken to reading Svalbardposten — the world’s northernmost newspaper. It was during the perusal of this usually apolitical source of news — it is not uncommon for nine out of 10 headlines to include polar bears in some form or other — that my husband jumped from his chair, pointing to the computer screen in horror. I looked at the headline, which said, “Boycott Israel!”

 

So there it was: the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement had made its way to the northernmost inhabited place on earth. The text was a letter to the editor, written last summer by a local priest, Leif Magne Helgesen, in which he was peddling the most outlandish claims, including that Israel is “a military regime” and encouraging his fellow Longyearbyen residents to boycott Israel. The priest had spent his summer vacation in a Palestinian-Arab village and had returned a full-fledged BDS warrior, ready to go against Israel, which he continued throughout his lengthy diatribe to describe as a “regime.”

 

There is something deeply ironic, tragicomically so, about a priest who does his business in the northernmost spot on earth, surrounded only by the Creator’s beauty and the occasional scare from a polar bear, isolated from the rest of the world and certainly from the issues of the Middle East, venting his antisemitic fury and rage at a country that could not possibly be further removed from him than Israel. It is also telling that this man is, of all things, a priest.

 

Unfortunately, it should not surprise us. Svalbard belongs to Norway, which according to a recent report by watchdog group NGO Monitor, has recently joined Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands in contributing funds to an organization funding NGOs that promote a boycott of Israel. According to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry’s website, 5 million Norwegian kroner (over $600,000) was allocated to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (HR/IHL) Secretariat in the second half of 2016. According to the NGO Monitor report, the “HR/IHL Secretariat is an intermediary that distributes funds to nongovernmental organizations … active in BDS … campaigns and other forms of demonization against Israel. It is managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and the NIRAS consulting firm, based in Sweden.”

 

Also according to the report, “80% of the HR/IHL Secretariat’s distributions are allocated to core NGO funding. NGO Monitor research shows that out of 24 core recipients, 13 support BDS, receiving $5.78 million (more than half) out of an operating budget of $10.38 million over the course of four years. Some grantees have also promoted antisemitic rhetoric and have apparent links to the PFLP terrorist organization. Core group members receiving funding include BADIL, Al-Haq, Addameer and MIFTAH, all vehemently anti-Israel NGOs at the forefront of BDS campaigns.”

 

How surprising is it, then, that a Norwegian citizen, even in such a remote and apolitical place such as Longyearbyen, joins the BDS bandwagon? It is not surprising at all. Official Norway, naturally, denies all wrongdoing. This was the response of the Norwegian Embassy in Israel to the findings of NGO Monitor: “We do not find their characterizations to be representative of the work that these organizations are doing. Norway does not tolerate hate speech, efforts to delegitimize Israel, or anti-Semitism and have close dialogue with all our partners to make sure this is understood. … Norway does not provide financial support to organizations whose main goal is to promote the BDS campaign.” How lovely it would be if Norwegians could just stick to looking out for polar bears instead of pathetically attempting to meddle in Israel’s business and then not even having the backbone to admit it.

 

 

 

Contents                       

           

On Topic Links

 

Lethal, Own-Goal Journalism Creates Caliphater BDS: Definitions: Richard Landes, Augean Stables, Sept. 23, 2016—The following is a set of definitions I will be using in a talk I’m giving on Sunday. They are, I think, critical terms in understanding what has happened in the 21st century, and why we’re losing a war of the minds with triumphalist imperialist zealots. I will post the talk after I deliver it.

Newsweek Middle East Editor Goes on Anti-Semitic Twitter Rant: Tower, Sept. 14, 2016—An editor of Newsweek Middle East launched into a Twitter tirade invoking several anti-Semitic tropes late last week, including that Jews are greedy and are not descended from biblical Hebrews, and therefore have no historical connection to Israel.

California Governor Signs Anti-BDS Bill into Law: Jerusalem Post, Sept. 25, 2016—California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure that prevents companies that boycott or discriminate against any sovereign state, including Israel, from doing business with the state.

Telling Our Positive Story Against BDS: Jon Haber, Algemeiner, Sept. 25, 2016—Anyone involved with organized pro-Israel politics has likely gotten caught up in heated discussions over how to set a narrative and get activists to stick with it during the course of a campaign. Themes, messaging calendars and lists of talking points are several of the devices that have been proposed, and sometimes implemented, to get our side to settle on and consistently tell the same story.

 

 

 

 

 

THE WEEK THAT WAS: WORLD REMEMBERS HOLOCAUST VICTIMS, BUT MEDIA BIAS AGAINST ISRAEL CONTINUES

The Fading Lessons of the Holocaust: Reflections on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2016: Dr. Charles Asher Small, ISGAP, Jan. 27, 2016 — (Wednesday, Jan. 27 was) International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 71st anniversary of the date in 1945 when the Russians liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps in Poland. 

Palestinians are Knowingly Bringing Knives to a Gun Fight. These are Suicide Attacks: David Sacks, National Post, Jan. 28, 2016— Since mid-September, more than three out of every four people killed in Israeli-Palestinian conflicts have been Palestinian.

Special Report: Globe and Mail Bias Against Israel Continues Unabated: Mike Fegelman, Honest Reporting, Jan. 21, 2016 — “One day India may discover that her one-sided orientation in the Middle East is neither moral nor expedient.”

Associated Press Semantics – a Simple Tactic for Bias: Manfred Gerstenfeld, CIJR, Jan. 13, 2016— Ability to manipulate language is crucial if a journalist is to transmit a biased message. 

 

On Topic Links

 

How Much Do Young People Know About the Holocaust?: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Jan. 28, 2016

UN Condemns Israel as the World Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day: IPT, Jan. 29, 2016

Italy Has Special Responsibility to Remember Holocaust, Envoy Says: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2016

Here’s a Holocaust Story with a Happy Ending: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Jan. 28, 2016

 

                  

                 THE FADING LESSONS OF THE HOLOCAUST:

REFLECTIONS ON INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY 2016

Dr. Charles Asher Small

                                                ISGAP, Jan. 27, 2016

 

(Wednesday, Jan. 27 was) International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 71st anniversary of the date in 1945 when the Russians liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps in Poland.  In 2005, 60 years after that liberation, the UN finally established a day of commemoration for the six million Jews, plus five million non-Jews, whom the Nazis murdered.

 

Nations throughout the world are commemorating the day in distinctive ways.  French Prime Minister Manuel Valls is addressing a memorial event. German Government officials are gathering in the Bundestag to focus on the legacy of forced labor.  The Polish Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum is streaming an event live on YouTube.

 

And in Iran, the Regime has just announced another Holocaust Denial Cartoons Contest. The announcement is not an aberration. This is, after all, a regime whose president once tried to organize a research mission to Poland to determine whether it was really possible for millions to have died at Auschwitz. (The Polish Government denied his request.) Ten years ago, after a Danish newspaper ran cartoons of Mohammed, an official Iranian newspaper offered prizes for cartoons about the Holocaust.  Some entries were based on Holocaust denial; others merely drew a parallel between the Nazism and Zionism. In 2015, when the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon of Mohammed after the terrorist massacre at its headquarters, the Iranians announced the Second International Holocaust Cartoons Contest.

 

This year the Iranian Holocaust Denial cartoon contest will attract participants from more than 50 countries. Emphasis will also be placed on caricatures dehumanizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Even more disturbing on this Holocaust Memorial Day, representatives of the Iranian Regime are in Europe meeting heads of state and captains of industry to sign major economic agreements. This year marks the normalization of relations with a regime that denies the Holocaust while it openly prepares for another, a fundamental element of the Regime's ideology. 

 

On this Holocaust Memorial Day, nations of Europe, where the Holocaust was actually planned and perpetrated, and other leading nations, like the United States, are not only engaged in economic relations with this human-rights-abusing nation but are now accepting it as a stablizing force in the blood-drenched Middle East. The fact that on Holocaust Memorial Day, European Governments are hosting a representative of a regime that is dedicated to the annihilation of the Jewish state, and a regime with a dismal human rights record which subjugates women and religious minorities, is a tragedy. It is a tragedy for Europe. It represents the selling of fundamental principles of democracy and human rights for two pieces of silver. Profit and short-term gain have replaced notions of democratic principles, the rights of Iranian citizens, and the memory of the victims of the Shoah.

 

The last time Europe set aside values of human decency for short term gain, not only did the Holocaust occur, but Europe was essentially destroyed.  It is inevitable that setting aside democratic principles will have a cost. Antisemitism begins with Jews but never ends with Jews. The deadly virus of hate affects the very fabric of society.  The question is what the cost will be and when will the chickens come home to roost. 

 

Dr. Charles Asher Small is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

Contents

                                       

PALESTINIANS ARE KNOWINGLY BRINGING KNIVES

TO A GUN FIGHT. THESE ARE SUICIDE ATTACKS                                                   

                               David Sachs

National Post, Jan. 28, 2016

 

Since mid-September, more than three out of every four people killed in Israeli-Palestinian conflicts have been Palestinian. Sounds like Israel is the aggressor, doesn’t it? In fact, for the last four months, Palestinians have waged a terror campaign of random civilian attacks, often using cars and knives as weapons. This wave has been called the “Stabbing Intifada.”

 

Among these random attacks on Israelis, which are supported by the Palestinian leadership, a pregnant mother was stabbed, a mother of six was killed in front of her children, a 15-month-old baby and her mother were rammed by a car and a 13-year-old girl and an 80-year-old woman were also stabbed. In all, 30 victims have died in over 100 attacks in the last four months — thank God, it’s hard to kill with a knife, particularly in a country with so much security — and close to 300 Israelis have been wounded. Sixty Palestinian attackers have been arrested and over 90 have been shot and killed while carrying out their attacks.

 

Israel is often been accused of using “disproportionate force” because of such death toll ratios. That accusation is absurd. After all, if Palestinians continue to stab, and get killed for it at a high rate, should they be allowed to kill a few Jews to catch up? No society on Earth would attempt to protect murderers and purposely leave victims more vulnerable.

 

When someone is trying to stab a child, you shoot them, if you can. The attackers are counting on this, in fact. These are suicide attacks. They are knowingly bringing a knife to a gun fight. Martyrdom, or dying for the cause, is seen as an honour for many Palestinians. Their families are rewarded by the Palestinian government and West Bank streets are often named after them. The Palestinian leadership uses the statistics on the “disproportionate” death toll to fuel their people’s rage, to encourage copycat attacks against Jews in France and to arm the Western anti-Israel movement with more “proof” of the evilness of the Jewish state.

 

The broader picture of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian forces is similar. More Palestinians are killed than Israelis, and Israel is condemned for using “disproportionate force.” But should Israel ignore Hamas rocket attacks until some magically sufficient number of Israelis have been killed? If Israel does retaliate, with better bombs delivered by jets, but their attackers still don’t stop, regardless of their losses, should Israel just give up and accept the attacks?

 

In 2008, bragging of the war crime of using human shields, Hamas MP Fathi Hammad said, “The Palestinian people has developed its (methods) of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry.” Former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh echoed this when he said, “We love death like our enemies love life.”

 

When a society worships death, honours suicide attackers and forces civilians to serve as human shields, they are going to have a high death count. As I mentioned above, this is their stated goal. In 1957, the future prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir, captured the horror of the situation in a way that still rings true: “We can forgive (them) for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with (them) when they love their children more than they hate us.”

 

“Disproportionate force” is a code word for Jews winning. Only Israel — the one Jewish state in the world — has this concept used against it. When Russia kills hundreds of Syrian civilians, none of whom are threatening Russia, we hear no talk of a proportionate response. When Saudi Arabia bombs civilians and hospitals in Yemen, there is hardly any attention paid to it in Western media. That is what is disproportionate.

 

So when Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion stated this week that Canada is concerned over the violence that has taken place in Israel and the West Bank over the past 100 days and called “for all efforts to be made to reduce violence,” one has to wonder: why is the context of the violence not mentioned? And what exactly is Israel to do? Let them stab?    

                                                                       

 

Contents                       

SPECIAL REPORT:

GLOBE AND MAIL BIAS AGAINST ISRAEL CONTINUES UNABATED

Mike Fegelman

Honest Reporting, Jan. 21, 2016 

 

What our media report today, often times becomes foreign policy tomorrow. In Canada, the Globe and Mail, our country’s “paper of record” prides itself as being a broadsheet of influence whose reporting and commentary platforms are observed by our nation’s thought leaders and policy makers. Though duty bound at being impartial, fair, accurate and balanced, in the past couple months, the Globe has produced problematic content with an overt anti-Israel slant and has failed to remedy its journalist shortcomings.

 

Here are just five recent examples of Globe and Mail media bias against Israel:

 

1) Globe gives platform to incendiary Michael Bell commentary: Writing in the Globe and Mail on December 14, Michael Bell, former Canadian ambassador to Israel and co-director of the Jerusalem Old City Initiative, excused Palestinian terrorism while baselessly charging that a “Judaization” of Jerusalem exists. In truth, Bell’s op-ed was just another example of Palestinian incitement. Without substantiation, Bell claimed Israeli “zealots” are attempting to change the Temple Mount’s status quo while seeking the destruction of the Al Aqsa Mosque, efforts which Bell claimed are prompting Palestinians to commit terrorism.

 

Bell claimed: “The spate of frequent and growing knife attacks has been provoked by the perhaps unsurprising misperception that Mr. Netanyahu plans to change the “status quo” step by step, given the pressures he is subject to.” As commentator Richard Levy observed: “Mr. Bell is determined to put a halo around the violent and often murderous knifings by those whose passions are inflamed by such incendiary charges. He says that “frequent knifings by Palestinians” are “in reaction to these perceived encroachments”. Note the passive voice which makes the sequence of events look like a physical phenomenon. Perception of an undesired outcome inexorably leads to knifings. In the same way that a very strong wind leads to branches breaking. Bell outdoes himself in making it clear that persons stabbing other persons on the street with intent to maim and kill merit a free pass, when he sums up his whitewashing analysis by writing: “The spate of frequent and growing knife attacks has been provoked by the perhaps unsurprising misperception that Mr. Netanyahu plans to change the “status quo” step by step, given the pressures he is subject to.” The misperception (of change to the status quo) is “unsurprising” in Mr. Bell’s words (even though Mr. Netanyahu strongly denied it). So naturally ” knife attacks” were provoked. It is as if, in Bell’s mind, the knives took action on their own without human control instead of being wielded by persons who stab randomly choosing pedestrians to death because of a misperception.”

 

In truth, as Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, recently put it: “Israel stringently maintains the status quo on the Temple Mount. Last year, some 3.5 million Muslims visited the Temple Mount alongside some 200,000 Christians and 12,000 Jews. Only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Mount, and non-Muslims may visit only at specified times, which have not changed. Though the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site—where Solomon built his Temple some 3,000 years ago—Israel will not allow a change in the status quo. The ones trying to change the status quo are Palestinians, who are violently trying to prevent Jews and Christians from even visiting a site holy to all three faiths.”

 

Since Jerusalem’s reunification in 1967, Dermer observed, “Israel has vigorously protected the holy sites of all faiths, including al-Aqsa. In the Middle East, where militant Islamists desecrate and destroy churches, synagogues, world heritage sites, as well as each other’s mosques, Israel is the only guarantor of Jerusalem’s holy places. Palestinians have been propagating the “al-Aqsa is in danger” myth since at least 1929, when the Palestinian icon, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, used it to inspire the massacre of Jews in Hebron and elsewhere. Nearly a century later, the mosque remains unharmed, but the lie persists.”

 

Those who protest the “Judaization” of Jerusalem are themselves guilty of trying to deny and destroy Jewish history in Jerusalem. Rather than “Judaization,” the facts point to a systematic de-Judaizing of Jerusalem by the Palestinian leadership evident in illegal Arab building in Jerusalem and the wanton destruction of ancient Jewish artifacts by the Waqf. Furthermore, Interior Ministry statistics show Jerusalem’s Arab population has increased faster than the Jewish population, from 27% to 37.3% of total Jerusalemites, with a projected Arab majority by 2040. This speaks arguably to an “Arabization” of Jerusalem.

 

2) Globe whitewashes Palestinian terror: On December 15, HRC called on the Globe and Mail to amend a headline to the following article it published the day prior on its website which whitewashed Palestinian terror and which was recirculated via the Globe’s Twitter account: As a result of this misleading headline, readers may have wrongly concluded that this was a simple traffic accident, whereas Israeli police claimed that the Palestinian man intentionally rammed his car into a bus stop and wounded 14 Israelis in what they referred to as a terror attack. One baby in fact, had to undergo extensive surgery to save his foot. Importantly, the Hamas terror group claimed that the Jerusalem car-rammer was a member of theirs and within this terrorist’s car, was an axe that the Israelis believe shows he was prepared to inflict further carnage post attack.

 

In the interests of fairness, accuracy and best informing Globe and Mail readers, we submitted to the Globe that this headline should be amended to reference Israeli claims that an attack took place, or that the Palestinian was an “assailant”. Or, instead of placing emphasis on the death of this Palestinian, perhaps an appropriate headline would state “Fourteen Israelis wounded in Palestinian car ramming attack in Jerusalem: police”. This was no simple traffic accident and the Globe should be familiar with how readers are more inclined to read a headline exclusively and not the article itself. Accuracy, fairness, and balance is of paramount concern in headlines, and it’s compounded by the fact that these headlines become the message of Twitter blasts. Though the Globe circulated our complaint to their editors, to our dismay, the Globe did not feel a correction was needed.

 

3) Mark Mackinnon’s Report About Palestinian Refugees was Misleading and Inaccurate: Also on December 15, HRC called on the Globe to publish a correction and to take remedial action in regards to a misleading and inaccurate front page report by Mark Mackinnon entitled “Impoverished war-weary Palestinians remain the forgotten refugees”. Mackinnon wrote the following: “Like millions of Palestinians scattered around the Middle East, the 46-year-old Mr. al-Laham was born a refugee. He grew up in the Yarmouk camp, on the edge of Damascus, where his parents lived after fleeing their home in Jaffa during the 1948 war that created the state of Israel.“

 

The concept that a war – rather than the United Nations vote to partition Palestine – created the State of Israel,  is not just an error, but is tantamount to historical revisionism. In reality, the Partition Plan set out to create two states (a Jewish and an Arab state) and while the Jews accepted partition, the Arabs rejected it and combined Arab armies launched a war to wipe the Jewish presence from the region. This error was deserving of a corrective notice.

 

Mr. Mackinnon also stated: “He was a toddler when his family moved from Yarmouk to Lebanon’s Shatila refugee camp to escape a Syrian crackdown on Palestinian groups, and just 13 when they fled back to Yarmouk after Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which included a bloody massacre of Palestinians living in Shatila that was carried out by Israel’s Lebanese Christian allies.”

 

In this sentence, readers likely concluded that Mr. Mackinnon was implying that Israel backed and perhaps even ordered the Christian Phalangist’s massacring of these Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila. This is misleading. In fact, as Jewish Virtual Library notes: “The Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia was responsible for the massacres that occurred at the two Beirut-area refugee camps on September 16-17, 1982. Israeli troops allowed the Phalangists to enter Sabra and Shatila to root out terrorist cells believed located there. It had been estimated that there may have been up to 200 armed men in the camps working out of the countless bunkers built by the PLO over the years, and stocked with generous reserves of ammunition…

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

 

Contents                       

ASSOCIATED PRESS SEMANTICS – A SIMPLE TACTIC FOR BIAS

Manfred Gerstenfeld

CIJR, Jan. 13, 2013

 

Ability to manipulate language is crucial if a journalist is to transmit a biased message.  Apparently Associated Press journalists have both the ability to manipulate language and the guidelines driving them to do so. AP apparently believes that Palestinians can never be terrorists, however many Israeli soldiers and civilians they kill or attempt to kill, whether with bullets, knives, stones or scissors.

 

One wonders whether journalists new to AP’s Israel office get an introductory session where they are told that they must not — when it is on behalf of AP — make use of the words “Palestinian terrorists.” It seems however AP-approved to quote an Israeli official saying that a perpetrator of a terror attack is a terrorist, as long as the journalist does not use such incendiary terminology himself. The same goes for terms such as “Palestinian attackers” and “assailants.”

 

Perhaps newcomers are also offered a convenient list of AP-approved synonyms for use in describing murderous activities by Palestinians which sidestep what the terrorists actually do:  murder others, particularly civilians, out of ideological motives.

 

Thus the Palestinian killer of Israelis becomes, in the agency’s jargon, a Palestinian extremist, militant, gunman, lone wolf, or a Palestinian rebel. The United States considers Hamas and Hezbollah to be terrorist groups. They are on the list of foreign terror organizations prepared by the US Department of State, France,  Canada, and Australia. The EU considers both to be terrorist organizations as well. Despite this official categorization, the AP commonly refers to Hamas and Hezbollah as “militant” organizations.

 

One might wrongly assume that the AP believes it impossible for Muslims to be terrorists. However when spouses Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik shot fourteen civilians dead in San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015, apparently without the support of any organization, the AP showed no such restraint.  It described them as terrorists, without quotation marks. It did not term them “gunmen” or “lone wolves.” AP reporting on members of the Pakistan-based Muslim terror group that carried out the 2006 Mumbai attacks, killing more than 160 people, also described them unequivocally as terrorists, again without quotation marks. The AP also used this term for the ISIS-backed terrorists who perpetrated a series of attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 that killed 130 people. Even Richard Reid, the Muslim “Shoe Bomber” who was caught before he managed to commit an intended act of terror on a 2001 flight was described as a “terrorist plotter,” without quotation marks, by the AP.

 

The large international news agencies are a major source of information abroad concerning Israel. Their bulletins are used by many media channels worldwide, and when this information is disproportionally and incorrectly negative about Israel, the impact of that negativity has far reaching consequences on a global level. It is therefore hugely important to expose double standards in their reporting of what may falsely appear to be ‘facts on the ground.’ There is much more to say about the special set of semantics the AP uses in anything to do with Israel. In 2001, 16 year old Shoshana Ben-Yishai was murdered in a random Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem. With complete irrelevance to the attack, the AP described the victim as a “settler,” because she lived in Beitar Illit, roughly one mile away from the Green Line…

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

 

Manfred Gerstenfeld is a CIJR Academic Fellow

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

On Topic

 

How Much Do Young People Know About the Holocaust?: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Jan. 28, 2016—One author interviewed multiple random university students to find out what they knew about World War II. The answer: Almost nothing.

UN Condemns Israel as the World Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day: IPT, Jan. 29, 2016— As the world commemorated the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the United Nations (U.N.) compared Palestinians to the Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide, according to an opinion piece by Anne Bayefsky posted on FoxNews.

Italy Has Special Responsibility to Remember Holocaust, Envoy Says: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2016—Former Nazi ally Italy “was in the middle of the war [and] has a special responsibility” to commemorate the genocide of the Jews, Ambassador Francesco Maria Talo told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, as the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Here’s a Holocaust Story with a Happy Ending: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Jan. 28, 2016—Most of the major figures or sites of modern European history play at least a minor role in this book. Not only do we see Germany’s Jewish laws play out, the obstinance of German Jewry in refusing to believe Germany would turn on them, the flight of often newly-impoverished Jews to Palestine (the real one), the German railroad system, Auschwitz, and German Communists, but the Berlin Wall, and Checkpoint Charlie also have cameos.

 

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

Manfred Gerstenfeld: ASSOCIATED PRESS SEMANTICS – A SIMPLE TACTIC FOR BIAS

 

 

Ability to manipulate language is crucial if a journalist is to transmit a biased message.  Apparently Associated Press journalists have both the ability to manipulate language and the guidelines driving them to do so. AP apparently believes that Palestinians can never be terrorists, however many Israeli soldiers and civilians they kill or attempt to kill, whether with bullets, knives, stones or scissors.

 

One wonders whether journalists new to AP’s Israel office get an introductory session where they are told that they must not — when it is on behalf of AP — make use of the words “Palestinian terrorists.” It seems however AP-approved to quote an Israeli official saying that a perpetrator of a terror attack is a terrorist, as long as the journalist does not use such incendiary terminology himself.[1] [2]  The same goes for terms such as “Palestinian attackers” and “assailants.”[3]

 

Perhaps newcomers are also offered a convenient list of AP-approved synonyms for use in describing murderous activities by Palestinians which sidestep what the terrorists actually do:  murder others, particularly civilians, out of ideological motives.

 

Thus the Palestinian killer of Israelis becomes, in the agency’s jargon, a Palestinian extremist,[4] militant,[5] gunman,[6] lone wolf,[7] or a Palestinian rebel.[8] The United States considers Hamas and Hezbollah to be terrorist groups.[9] They are on the list of foreign terror organizations prepared by the US Department of State, France, [10] Canada,[11] and Australia.[12] The EU considers both to be terrorist organizations as well.[13] Despite this official categorization, the AP commonly refers to Hamas[14] [15] and Hezbollah[16] [17] as “militant” organizations.

 

One might wrongly assume that the AP believes it impossible for Muslims to be terrorists. However when spouses Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik shot fourteen civilians dead in San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015, apparently without the support of any organization, the AP showed no such restraint.  It described them as terrorists, without quotation marks.[18] It did not term them “gunmen” or “lone wolves.” AP reporting on members of the Pakistan-based Muslim terror group that carried out the 2006 Mumbai attacks, killing more than 160 people, also described them unequivocally as terrorists, again without quotation marks.[19] The AP also used this term for the ISIS-backed terrorists who perpetrated a series of attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 that killed 130 people.[20] Even Richard Reid, the Muslim “Shoe Bomber” who was caught before he managed to commit an intended act of terror on a 2001 flight was described as a “terrorist plotter,” without quotation marks, by the AP.[21]

 

The large international news agencies are a major source of information abroad concerning Israel. Their bulletins are used by many media channels worldwide, and when this information is disproportionally and incorrectly negative about Israel, the impact of that negativity has far reaching consequences on a global level. It is therefore hugely important to expose double standards in their reporting of what may falsely appear to be ‘facts on the ground.’

 

There is much more to say about the special set of semantics the AP uses in anything to do with Israel. In 2001, 16 year old Shoshana Ben-Yishai was murdered in a random Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem. With complete irrelevance to the attack, the AP described the victim as a “settler,” because she lived in Beitar Illit, roughly one mile away from the Green Line.

Furthermore, the AP went on to describe the Israeli civilian who shot and killed Ben-Yishai’s terrorist murderer as a “West Bank settler,” again information totally irrelevant to the attack itself which took place in Israel’s capital. HonestReporting rightly noted that “labeling Israelis as anything less than “civilians” suggests that they are combatants, and helps legitimize Palestinian attacks against them.”[22]

 

Manipulating headlines is another well-known technique used to distort news reporting. At the height of the Second Intifada in 2002, the AP reported on two incidents involving Palestinian terrorists on the same day. In one incident, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at random in downtown Jerusalem, wounding eight Israelis. That same day Israel uncovered a Hamas bomb factory in the West Bank and killed the four terrorists who operated it. The AP headline for that day was “Israel Kills 4, Palestinian Wounds 8.”[23] In another incident several days later a Palestinian terrorist used a stolen car to run over police, soldiers and pedestrians before being shot. The AP headline for this incident: “Palestinian shot dead in Tel Aviv.”[24]

 

In view of the many bulletins the AP puts out about events concerning Israel and the way it influences worldwide perception of Israel’s actions, a detailed study is needed to investigate the AP’s editorial policies in far more depth than has been done to date. Former AP journalist Matti Freedman published inside information which indicated a structural prejudice against Israel in the agency.[25] A major media with bias against Israel should be analyzed by the Israeli authorities like any other hostile force.

 

One can only wonder what would happen if exposure of AP was moved up to the government level.  How would the AP react if the Government spokesperson would open every press conference with a list the biased semantics and headlines used by AP since the previous press conference? The agency’s many omissions of relevant context should be added, as well as its fabrications and, mischaracterizations, rounding off with its disrespect for civilian deaths. How many times would such public and detailed exposure be needed before the AP headquarters realize that their manipulations are now transparent and should be discontinued if they want to maintain any journalistic credibility?



[1] Daniella Cheslow, “2 Palestinian attackers killed, 2 Israelis die in Jerusalem,” Associated Press, Las Vegas Sun, 23 December 2015.

[2] Tia Goldenberg, “Palestinian attacks in Tel Aviv, West Bank leave 5 dead,” Associated Press, 19 November 2016.

[3] Daniella Cheslow, “Israel: Palestinian assailant killed, 2 protesters dead,” AP, The Big Story, 11 December 2015.

[4] Zeina Karam, “Palestinian extremist dies in Lebanon,” Associated Press, Fox News, 20 July 2008.

[5] Bassem Mroue and Josef Federman, “Notorious Lebanese militant killed in Syria airstrike,” Associated Press, 20 December 2015.

[6] Nebi Qena, “Palestinian kills 2 Israelis; 2 Palestinians die in clashes,” Associated Press, 13 November 2015.

[7] Mohammed Daraghmeh and Karin Laub, “Fueled by rage, Palestinian lone wolf attacks in 3rd month, Associated Press, 9 December 2015.

[8] Ibrahim Barzak, “Palestinian Rebels Attack Gaza Base, Killing 4 Israelis,” Associated Press, The Ledger, 14 January 2005.

[9] “Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” Bureau of Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State.

[10] “Liste Unique de Gels,” Ministére des finances et des comptes publics, République Française, 21 December 2015.

[11] “Currently listed entities,” Public Safety Canada, Government of Canada, 2 December 2015.

[12] “Listed terrorist organizations,” Australian National Security, Australian Government.

[13] “Council Decision (CFSP),” 2015/1334,” The Council of the European Union, 31 July 2015.

[14] Josef Federman, “Amid detente with Hamas, Israel says 2 citizens held in Gaza,” Associated Press, 9 July 2015.

[15] Fares Akram, “UN envoy says Gaza reconstruction speeding up,” Associated Press, 17 September 2015.

[16] “Israel wraps up missile defence testing amid tensions with Hezbollah,” Associated Press, Toronto Star, 21 December 2015.

[17] “Bulgaria links Hezbollah to bombing of Israelis,” Associated Press, CBS News, 5 February 2013.

[18] Brian Melley, “Family ties can help shield terrorists from detection,” Associated Press, 19 December 2015.

[19] Eileen Sullivan and Sofia Tareen, “US Terrorist Links Pakistani ISI to Mumbai Attacks,” Associated Press, Homeland Security Committee, 24 May 2011.

[20] “The diabolical terrorist plotting behind the Paris attacks,” Associated Press, New York Post, 10 December 2015.

[21] Erica Werner, “House set to tighten restrictions on visa-free travel to US,” Associated Press, 7 December 2015.

[22] “Teen Settler,” HonestReporting, 5 November 2001.

[23] Jason Keyser, “Israel Kills 4; Palestinian Wounds 8,” Associated Press, AP News Archive, 22 January 2002.

[24] “Dishonest Reporting ‘Award’ for 2002,” HonestReporting, 30 December 2002.

[25] Matti Friedman, “An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth,” Tablet, 26 August 2014.

 

 

JEWISH-ISRAELI VICTIMS OF TERRORISM ARE OF LITTLE CONSEQUENCE FOR NYT & 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.                       

                                                  

                                                                       

Contents

                       

   

 

GAZA THEME PARTIES AND WEDDINGS NOW

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.    

                                                       

Contents

                       

   

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]."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Contents

                       

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.

 

                  

 

 

 

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

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.

 

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.]               

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

   

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.]   

                                                                       

 

Contents                                                                                      

   

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.

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

                                                              

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!

 

Contents

                                                                                      

 

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.

 

              

              

ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS PARTIALLY FUELLED BY BBC, NYT & OTHER “BIG-MEDIA”

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 

 

Contents:

 

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.

                                                           

Contents                                                                                               

                                         

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.

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

                      

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

 

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

                                                   

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.]

 

 

Contents                                                                                    

 

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.

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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Manfred Gerstenfeld: HOW ISRAEL CAN FIGHT MEDIA-BASED DELEGITIMIZATION

 

 

 

 

 

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.[1]  Studies in Switzerland[2] and in Norway[3] 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.

 

Media and Media Watchers

 

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.[4]

 

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[5] and HonestReporting[6], only reach a limited number of addressees if one compares it to the audience of the media themselves.  

 

The Absence of an Israeli Anti-Propaganda Agency

 

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.[7] 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.[8] 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.   
 

The News Agencies

 

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.[9]

 

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.[10]

 

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.[11]

 

Searching for those who will tell

 

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.”[12]

 

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. 

 

A Few Examples

 

The anti-Israel bias can be illustrated by some examples. In 2001, Associated Press was one of several organizations who received HonestReporting’s Dishonest Reporting Award. HonestReporting mentioned, for example, that when a Palestinian sniper murdered a 10-month-old Jewish baby in Hebron, the AP published an article titled, “Jewish toddler dies in West Bank.” They made no mention of who perpetrated the murder, and readers could easily get the impression that the baby had died from natural causes or from an unfortunate accident. Several other such examples were given by HonestReporting.[13]

 

Later in 2001, American journalist Jeff Helmreich analyzed in a detailed article how AP had covered Yasser Arafat’s Al-Naqba Speech that May. He wrote, “By the time it reached the newspapers, entire sentences and clauses had been excluded; moderating words had been added; fiery attacks — like a slur about the United States — had been cleaned out; statements had been condensed, enhanced, or otherwise altered. In short, AP's purported ‘excerpts’ of Arafat's remarks were at best edited, at worst fabricated. Moreover, they served to distort — and significantly soften — the message that passed through Arafat's lips.”[14]

 

As previously indicated, one only has to go through CAMERA and HonestReporting’s material about AP in order to start building up a sizable database of its bias and errors. On March 3, 2003, AP published an obituary for a former Israeli diplomat, Shlomo Argov. CAMERA points out that the article mentioned that his attempted assassination in London in 1982 by Palestinian terrorists had triggered Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. Yet the obituary conveniently neglected to mention the seminal factors which prompted the Lebanon invasion – the constant shelling, illegal arms buildup, and terrorism. AP thus seriously misrepresented history.[15]

 

Later in 2003, HonestReporting pointed out that on November 8th, AP had released a list of recent terror attacks that had occurred worldwide. The list noted incidents Islamic terrorism that had taken place since 1998 around the globe, but completely ignored all Palestinian attacks that occurred in Israel. The next day, Reuters released a similar list of “worst guerrilla attacks since September 11th”.  It omitted all terror attacks in Israel.[16]

 

A more recent example of AP bias occurred in October 2014. A terrorist from East Jerusalem rammed his car into a crowd, killing two people, one of them an infant, and injuring several more. The terrorist was shot by the police. AP reported on this incident in an article headlined, “Israeli Police Shoot Man in East Jerusalem.” The article also began with the words, “Israeli police say they have shot a man whose car slammed into a crowded train stop in east Jerusalem, in what they suspect was an intentional attack.” Only after a public outcry was the article edited to reflect what had really happened. An analysis of this case by Israeli journalist Ariel Cahana also describes how other big media also distorted this incident by presenting it as a road accident and not as an intentional terror attack on civilians.[17]

 

All of these examples are but a small selection of the bias concerning AP, a single, albeit important source for many media. It could easily be expanded to dozens, if not hundreds, of other media. 

 

A similar analysis could be made of Reuters’ reporting. CAMERA has also devoted much attention to The New York Times, which is among the world’s most important media.[18] CAMERA currently monitors its activities and has publications on the paper’s bias, systematically covering articles of this daily on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during certain periods.

 

Media watchers can publicize errors and bias, and they can attempt to discuss such bias with media editors. Sometimes they even come up with innovative solutions. In January 2014, CAMERA put up a three-story billboard advertisement on a building facing the Times’ headquarters. The initial text read, “Would a great newspaper slant the news against Israel? The New York Times does.” The text went on to say: “Misrepresenting facts, omitting key information, skewing headlines and photos.” Under this it said, “Stop the bias. CAMERA.”[19]
 

 

The Israeli Government Must Step In

 

There is a limit to what voluntary, grass-roots organizations can do. They can expose media, but they cannot punish their bias. The Israeli government must step in and develop the media strategy of a future anti-propaganda agency. 

 

This has to be done not by limiting freedom of speech, but on the basis of limiting the publications of lies. Israeli government officials can start exposing biased media. For example, at the start of press conferences, they can mention the most recent proven bias of one of the media present. Israel can refuse to provide press cards to biased reporters, indicating that these cards are not intended for non-reporters, i.e., frequent liars and anti-Israel inciters. 

 

All this could be but a very primitive beginning for an anti-propaganda agency. One has to realize that the Israeli army and the Israeli intelligence services today are far more sophisticated than when they began their activities. A similar process would occur with a governmental anti-propaganda agency, once it is established. Its methods would advance over time. 



[1] library.fes.de/pdf-files/do/07908-20110311.pdf.

[2] “Kritik an Israel nicht deckungsgleich mit antisemitischen Haltungen,” gfs.bern, 28 March 2007. (German)

[3] “Antisemittisme i Norge? Den norske befolkningens holdninger til jøder og andre minoriteter,” HL-senteret, 20 May 2012, http://www.hlsenteret.no/publikasjoner/antisemittisme-i-norge. (Norwegian)

 

[4] Manfred Gerstenfeld and Ben Green, “Watching the Pro-Israeli Media Watchers,” Jewish Political Studies Review 16, 3-4 (Fall 2004): 33-58.

[5] http://www.camera.org/

[6] http://honestreporting.com/

[7] “Netanyahu: We’re building a digital Iron Dome,” Jerusalem Post, 1 January 2013.

 

[8] Manfred Gerstenfeld, “How to efficiently fight anti-Israel propaganda?,” The Jerusalem Post, 25 November 2014.

[9] Matti Friedman, “An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth,” Tablet, 26 August 2014.

[10] Matti Friedman, “What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel,” The Atlantic, 30 November 2014.

[11] Steven Gutkin, “My Life As An AP Bureau Chief In Israel,” Goa Streets, 25 September 2014.

 

[12] Hans Mol, Hoe de nuance verdween uit een kwaliteitskrant; NRC Handelsblad neemt stelling tegen Israel, (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2011) 10. [Dutch]

[13] “Dishonest Reporting ‘Award’ for 2001,” HonestReporting, 7 January 2002.

[14] Jeff Helmreich, “Journalistic License: Professional Standards in the Print Media’s Coverage of Israel,” The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 15 August 2001.

[15] “Thumbs Down to Steve Weizman, CAMERA, 3 March 2003.

[16] “AP, Reuters Omit Terror in Israel,” HonestReporting, 12 November 2003.

[17] Ariel Cahana, “How the Murder of a Jewish Baby is Reported Worldwide,” Israel National News, 24 October 2014.

[18] “Indicting Israel: New York Times Coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict,” CAMERA, 15 October 2013.

[19] Andrea Levin, “CAMERA Billboard Campaign Calls out New York Times Bias against Israel,” 27 January 2014, www.camera.org.

 

 

IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA: “BREAKING NEWS” & POLITICAL AGENDAS OUTWEIGH FACTS AND PROFESSIONALISM IN TODAY’S MEDIA

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 

 

Contents:

 

Former AP Reporter: I Didn’t Leave Journalism, It Left Me: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Dec. 16, 2014— A journalist for more than 40 years, Mark Lavie was based in Jerusalem for most of them and then in Cairo for two – during the “Egyptian Revolution.”

What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel: Matti Friedman, The Atlantic, Nov. 30— During the Gaza war this summer, it became clear that one of the most important aspects of the media-saturated conflict between Jews and Arabs is also the least covered: the press itself.

Imagine No Religion: The Western Media and Islamic Terror: Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum, Dec. 19, 2014 — As the West experiences a rise in the sort of terror attacks that are endemic to the Islamic world…

Rolling Stone was Performing Advocacy, Not Journalism: Barbara Kay, National Post, Dec. 10, 2014— A crisis at Rolling Stone magazine is a cautionary tale of the harm done to journalism when reporters abandon objectivity and due diligence in order to further a political agenda.

 

On Topic Links

 

The 2014 Dishonest Reporting Awards: Honest Reporting, Dec. 23, 2014

New Billboards Target NY Times for Anti-Israel Reporting: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Dec. 25, 2014

Rolling Stone Apologized. Will the Times?:  Liel Liebovitz, Tablet, Dec. 8, 2014

The Old Journalism and the New: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Dec. 6, 2014

The New Republic is Dead, Thanks to its Owner, Chris Hughes: Dana Milbank, Washington Post, Dec. 8, 2014

 

         

FORMER AP REPORTER: I DIDN’T LEAVE JOURNALISM, IT LEFT ME                                            

Lori Lowenthal Marcus                             

Jewish Press, Dec. 16, 2014  

 

A journalist for more than 40 years, Mark Lavie was based in Jerusalem for most of them and then in Cairo for two – during the “Egyptian Revolution.” Lavie is no longer a journalist. But he didn’t leave the profession, “it left me,” Lavie says. Now Lavie is speaking out in as many fora as possible. He seeks to alert the public about the dramatic difference between what journalism used to be – and still pretends to be – and what it actually is. Lavie’s conclusions shouldn’t surprise many readers… But those conclusions, and the detail Lavie provides as someone who lived for so long within the belly of the beast, provides a stunning rebuke – especially to the Associated Press, where Lavie worked for fifteen years. AP has long been criticized as biased against Israel. Lavie provides eye-witness testimony that:

 

A recent account by another former AP reporter, Matti Friedman, indicting AP editor Steve Gutkin for killing a story about a 2008 peace proposal advanced by Israel, drew a sharp and categorical denial by the AP director of press relations and the now ex-editor Gutkin. They asserted flatly that Friedman was wrong and that what he said happened didn’t happen. But now Lavie weighs in: “I was there,” he told The Jewish Press. “Gutkin said to can” that article. More broadly and more deeply, Lavie is profoundly pessimistic about the quality of the work put out by AP and most sources of mainstream journalism today. Driven as they are by the Internet’s insatiable appetite for the latest flash, people who call themselves reporters are interested, he says, primarily if not exclusively in speed, not substance.

 

Perhaps even worse, Lavie provides direct testimony that journalists no longer even pretend that their job is to report facts. Instead, he’s been told by former colleagues, the job of the media is to advocate for those actors on the world stage that the journalists feel deserve support – to “speak truth to power.” “But that isn’t the job journalists are supposed to do!” Lavie cries. “The job of journalists is to take a significant story and make it interesting, by explaining it and putting it in context.” Lavie had a front row seat to the seismic changes in the Middle East, including every major outbreak of fighting, terrorist attack and peace negotiation efforts over the past nearly half a century. He also was ringside in Cairo when the “Arab Spring” was revealed to him as a “Broken Spring,” instead. That is also the name of his recently updated book and his blog.

 

Lavie severed his relationship with AP and, in the past few months, has been sharing some inconvenient truths about how journalism has changed including at AP, and especially in the Middle East. Outsiders have long believed that the mainstream media is consistently and intentionally biased against Israel. Lavie confirms that view, and he does so with the credentials garnered by enduring a long-term sojourn in the belly of the beast. Lavie is also center-left, a supporter of the Geneva Initiative, a committed Two-Stater. Given Lavie’s experience, his politics and his ringside seat, his message deserves as broad an audience as possible. That message is: virtually all reporting about the Middle East is sifted so that only one side comes out. And some critical information never even makes it into the sifter at all.

 

First, Lavie has a lot to say about the general state of journalism throughout the world and how the social media revolution has led to catastrophic consequences. The rise of social media as a delivery service for news is the equivalent of the bubonic plague. The consequences are many and nearly all destructive. The reduction in reportorial and editorial budgets has meant that fewer reporters are in the field, and those fewer are required not just to get there and get it out first, but also to tweet and to blog while reporting and to “own” each breaking story. The frenzied pace leaves little time or energy for fact-checking or deep-sourcing. Added to the exponentially-expanding workload of the journalists are the online competitors for the latest and the most widely-spread news. Those computer jockeys race quickly with little or no oversight or accountability, giving the few real journalists more than a run for their money. Being a journalist in the 21st century brings to mind the title of a book from a few decades ago: “I’m dancing as fast as I can.” The Internet thus propels the news cycles into warp speed, with the concomitant loss of care, facts and professionalism.

 

Lavie recalls with pride that his position used to be, and it was one accepted by all of his earlier employers: “I may not be first, but I will be right.” For Lavie, accuracy and completeness were paramount. Those two qualities are now held in far lower esteem. The seminal moment for Lavie came while listening to an AP “Town Hall” in 2004. Lavie told The Jewish Press, the person speaking – he thinks it was Tom Curley, and the timing is right, Curley was president of the AP in 2004 – said: “speed matters more than heft.” Lavie knew then it was the beginning of the end. But the focus for The Jewish Press is Lavie’s take on how, as he put it in an August article he wrote for The Israel Project’s publication, The Tower: “Why Everything Reported From Gaza is Crazy Twisted.”…

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

                                                                     

Contents                                                                                         

               

   

                   

WHAT THE MEDIA GETS WRONG ABOUT ISRAEL                                                                        

Matti Friedman                                                                                                             

The Atlantic, Nov. 30, 2014

 

During the Gaza war this summer, it became clear that one of the most important aspects of the media-saturated conflict between Jews and Arabs is also the least covered: the press itself. The Western press has become less an observer of this conflict than an actor in it, a role with consequences for the millions of people trying to comprehend current events, including policymakers who depend on journalistic accounts to understand a region where they consistently seek, and fail, to productively intervene.

 

An essay I wrote for Tablet on this topic in the aftermath of the war sparked intense interest. In the article, based on my experiences between 2006 and 2011 as a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, one of the world’s largest news organizations, I pointed out the existence of a problem and discussed it in broad terms. Using staffing numbers, I illustrated the disproportionate media attention devoted to this conflict relative to other stories, and gave examples of editorial decisions that appeared to be driven by ideological considerations rather than journalistic ones. I suggested that the cumulative effect has been to create a grossly oversimplified story—a kind of modern morality play in which the Jews of Israel are displayed more than any other people on earth as examples of moral failure. This is a thought pattern with deep roots in Western civilization.

 

But how precisely does this thought pattern manifest itself in the day-to-day functioning, or malfunctioning, of the press corps? To answer this question, I want to explore the way Western press coverage is shaped by unique circumstances here in Israel and also by flaws affecting the media beyond the confines of this conflict. In doing so, I will draw on my own experiences and those of colleagues. These are obviously limited and yet, I believe, representative…There are banal explanations for problems with coverage—reporters are in a hurry, editors are overloaded and distracted. These are realities, and can explain small errors and mishaps like ill-conceived headlines, which is why such details don’t typically strike me as important or worth much analysis. Some say inflations and omissions are the inevitable results of an honest attempt to cover events in a challenging and occasionally dangerous reporting environment, which is what I initially believed myself. A few years on the job changed my mind. Such excuses can’t explain why the same inflations and omissions recur again and again, why they are common to so many news outlets, and why the simple “Israel story” of the international media is so foreign to people aware of the historical and regional context of events in this place. The explanation lies elsewhere.

 

To make sense of most international journalism from Israel, it is important first to understand that the news tells us far less about Israel than about the people writing the news. Journalistic decisions are made by people who exist in a particular social milieu, one which, like most social groups, involves a certain uniformity of attitude, behavior, and even dress (the fashion these days, for those interested, is less vests with unnecessary pockets than shirts with unnecessary buttons). These people know each other, meet regularly, exchange information, and closely watch one another’s work. This helps explain why a reader looking at articles written by the half-dozen biggest news providers in the region on a particular day will find that though the pieces are composed and edited by completely different people and organizations, they tend to tell the same story.

 

The best insight into one of the key phenomena at play here comes not from a local reporter but from the journalist and author Philip Gourevitch. In Rwanda and elsewhere in Africa, Gourevitch wrote in 2010, he was struck by the ethical gray zone of ties between reporters and NGOs. “Too often the press represents humanitarians with unquestioning admiration,” he observed in The New Yorker. “Why not seek to keep them honest? Why should our coverage of them look so much like their own self-representation in fund-raising appeals? Why should we (as many photojournalists and print reporters do) work for humanitarian agencies between journalism jobs, helping them with their official reports and institutional appeals, in a way that we would never consider doing for corporations, political parties, or government agencies?” This confusion is very much present in Israel and the Palestinian territories, where foreign activists are a notable feature of the landscape, and where international NGOs and numerous arms of the United Nations are among the most powerful players, wielding billions of dollars and employing many thousands of foreign and local employees. Their SUVs dominate sections of East Jerusalem and their expense accounts keep Ramallah afloat. They provide reporters with social circles, romantic partners, and alternative employment—a fact that is more important to reporters now than it has ever been, given the disintegration of many newspapers and the shoestring nature of their Internet successors.

 

In my time in the press corps, I learned that our relationship with these groups was not journalistic. My colleagues and I did not, that is, seek to analyze or criticize them. For many foreign journalists, these were not targets but sources and friends—fellow members, in a sense, of an informal alliance. This alliance consists of activists and international staffers from the UN and the NGOs; the Western diplomatic corps, particularly in East Jerusalem; and foreign reporters. (There is also a local component, consisting of a small number of Israeli human-rights activists who are themselves largely funded by European governments, and Palestinian staffers from the Palestinian Authority, the NGOs, and the UN.) Mingling occurs at places like the lovely Oriental courtyard of the American Colony hotel in East Jerusalem, or at parties held at the British Consulate’s rooftop pool. The dominant characteristic of nearly all of these people is their transience. They arrive from somewhere, spend a while living in a peculiar subculture of expatriates, and then move on. The uglier aspects of Palestinian society are untouchable because they would disrupt the “Israel story,” which is a story of Jewish moral failure.

 

In these circles, in my experience, a distaste for Israel has come to be something between an acceptable prejudice and a prerequisite for entry. I don’t mean a critical approach to Israeli policies or to the ham-fisted government currently in charge in this country, but a belief that to some extent the Jews of Israel are a symbol of the world’s ills, particularly those connected to nationalism, militarism, colonialism, and racism—an idea quickly becoming one of the central elements of the “progressive” Western zeitgeist, spreading from the European left to American college campuses and intellectuals, including journalists. In this social group, this sentiment is translated into editorial decisions made by individual reporters and editors covering Israel, and this, in turn, gives such thinking the means of mass self-replication…

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

 

                                                                       

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IMAGINE NO RELIGION: THE WESTERN MEDIA AND ISLAMIC TERROR                                                          

Raymond Ibrahim                                                                                                                 

Middle East Forum, Dec. 19, 2014

 

As the West experiences a rise in the sort of terror attacks that are endemic to the Islamic world—church attacks, sex-slavery and beheadings—it is only natural that the same mainstream media that habitually conceals such atrocities "over there," especially against Christians and other minorities under Islam, would also conceal the reality of jihadi aspirations "over here." As The Commentator reports: [T]he level of the [media] grovelling after the tragic and deadly saga in Sydney Australia over the last 24 hours has been astounding. At the time of writing, the lead story on the BBC website is of course about that very tragedy, in which an Islamist fanatic took a random group hostage in a cafe, ultimately killing two of them. He did this in the name of Islam. But you wouldn't get that impression if you started to read the BBC's lead story, which astoundingly managed to avoid mentioning the words Islam, Islamic, Islamist, Muslim, or any derivations thereof for a full 16 paragraphs…

 

If these are the lengths that Western mainstream media go to dissemble about the Islamic-inspired slaughter of Western peoples, it should now be clear why the ubiquitous Muslim persecution of those unfashionable Christian minorities is also practically unknown by those who follow Western mainstream media. As with the Sydney attack, media headlines say it all. The 2011 New Year's Eve Coptic church attack that left 28 dead appeared under vague headlines: "Clashes grow as Egyptians remain angry after attack," was the New York Times' headline; and "Christians clash with police in Egypt after attack on churchgoers kills 21" was the Washington Post's—as if frustrated and harried Christians lashing out against their oppressors is the "big news," not the unprovoked atrocity itself; as if their angry reaction "evens" everything up. Similarly, the Los Angeles Times partially told the story of an Egyptian off-duty police officer who, after identifying Copts by their crosses on a train, opened fire on them, killing one, while screaming "Allahu Akbar"—but to exonerate the persecution, as caught by the report's headline: "Eyewitness claims train attacker did not target Copts, state media say."…

 

Blurring the line between victim and oppressor—recall the fear of "anti-Muslim backlash" whenever a Muslim terrorizes "infidels" in the West—also applies to the media's reporting on Muslim persecution of Christians. The mainstream media shows remarkable consistency in employing an arsenal of semantic games, key phrases, convenient omissions, and moral relativism to portray [Islamist] violence as a product of anything and everything … not Islam. A February 2012 BBC report on a church attack in Nigeria that left three Christians dead, including a toddler, objectively states the bare bone facts in one sentence. Then it jumps to apparently the really big news: that "the bombing sparked a riot by Christian youths, with reports that at least two Muslims were killed in the violence. The two men were dragged off their bikes after being stopped at a roadblock set up by the rioters, police said. A row of Muslim-owned shops was also burned…" The report goes on and on, with an entire section about "very angry" Christians till one confuses victims with persecutors, forgetting what the Christians are "very angry" about in the first place: nonstop terror attacks on their churches and the slaughter of their women and children.

 

A New York Times report that appeared on December 25, 2011—the day after Boko Haram bombed several churches during Christmas Eve services, leaving some 40 dead—said that such church bombings threaten "to exploit the already frayed relations between Nigeria's nearly evenly split populations of Christians and Muslims…" Such an assertion suggests that both Christians and Muslims are equally motivated by religious hostility—even as one seeks in vain for Christian terror organizations that bomb mosques in Nigeria to screams of "Christ is Great!" Meanwhile, Boko Haram has torched 185 churches—to say nothing of the countless Christians beheaded—in just the last few months alone. Continuing to grasp for straws, the same NYT report suggests that the Nigerian government's "heavy-handed" response to Boko Haram is responsible for its terror, and even manages to invoke another mainstream media favorite: the poverty-causes-terrorism myth.

 

Whether Muslim mayhem is taking place in the Islamic or Western worlds, the mainstream media shows remarkable consistency in employing an arsenal of semantic games, key phrases, convenient omissions, and moral relativism to portray such violence as a product of anything and everything—political and historical grievances, "Islamophobia," individual insanity, poverty and ignorance, territorial disputes—not Islam. As such, Western media keep Western majorities in the dark about the Islamic threat, here and abroad. In short, the "MSM" protects and enables the Islamic agenda—irrespective of whether its distortions are a product of intent, political correctness, or sheer stupidity.                  

                       

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ROLLING STONE WAS PERFORMING ADVOCACY, NOT JOURNALISM                                                      

Barbara Kay                                                                                                       

National Post, Dec. 10, 2014

 

A crisis at Rolling Stone magazine is a cautionary tale of the harm done to journalism when reporters abandon objectivity and due diligence in order to further a political agenda.Last month the magazine ran a story by contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely about an alleged 2012 fraternity gang rape of a University of Virginia student. According to the harrowing tale of the victim, “Jackie,” she was taken — sober, she says — to a frat party by her date, a man she trusted. Once there, she was thrown on to a glass coffee, which shattered on impact. Lying on the broken glass, she was then raped by seven men. She left the party and called some friends, who argued over whether she should report the crime. She didn’t.

 

Recent media scandals betray the due-process double-standard that exists for men accused of sexual impropriety. On one end of the spectrum are anonymous male university students, instantly vilified by journalists and campus activists as dangerous misogynists based on unproven allegations of rape. On the other end of the spectrum are celebrities who use dilatory legal and quasi-legal means to keep their accusers at bay for months, years or even decades. Last month, Rolling Stone magazine published a campus rape-culture tell-all centered on the alleged gang rape of a woman (“Jackie”) at a University of Virginia frat-house party. The story was shocking. But a subsequent Washington Post investigation revealed that some of the details reported in the Rolling Stone story are untrue. For instance, the fraternity in question didn’t hold a party on the night of the alleged crime. And the frat membership list contains no one who fits the description of the accused rapist. On December 5, Rolling Stone ran a “note to our readers” acknowledging that “there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account.”

 

Upon release, the story understandably evoked passionate indignation amongst unquestioning rape-culture activists. It also caused great anguish on the UVA campus. But to more detached eyes, certain sensational aspects of the story rang false. The first to query details in a Nov. 24 blog post was Richard Bradley, editor of Worth Magazine. His close reading of the piece and his accusation of “journalistic malpractice” (at Jackie’s request Erdely did not try to contact the accused men, or even speak with Jackie’s friends; she took Jackie’s word for everything she wrote as fact) sparked a wave of further criticism in outlets such as Bloomberg, Reason, Instapundit, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

 

Investigation showed discrepancies between Erdely’s account and reality, such as the fact that Phi Kappa Psi, the frat house in question (which denies Jackie’s charges), had not held any social events during the weekend specified by Jackie, and her date was not a Phi Kappa Psi member. Other questions should have occurred to Erdely. Why would a pre-meditated gang rape, which is what Jackie seemed to be alleging, take place on a coffee table and not a bed? What man in his right mind would expose his genitals to broken glass, and were any of them injured by the glass in a way that may have offered corroborating evidence of Jackie’s allegations? What kind of woman would say to a friend who, she believed, had been raped by seven men and was streaming blood from her wounds, “Why didn’t you have fun with it? A bunch of hot Phi Psi guys?”

 

But Erdely clearly didn’t question Jackie’s account. She had come to UVA expressly to find stories, the more alarmist the better, to fit a pre-existing theoretical template of a flourishing rape culture on American campuses. Jackie merely fed her what she was longing to hear. That Erdely’s editor fell in with her unprofessionalism is even more disconcerting. As bigger and bigger holes appeared in the story, Managing Editor Will Dana put out a public letter of apology, saying Rolling Stone was “mistaken in honoring Jackie’s request to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account.” (This language itself is an update from an earlier version, which said, “Our trust in [Jackie] was misplaced.” Having been accused of blaming the victim, Rolling Stone is now taking full responsibility and is accusing Jackie of nothing.) Dana explained that “We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault….”…

 

Journalism is a big tent that can accommodate both reportage and opinion bias. But opinions (including this one) generally belong in the comment section. And even there, arguments must be evidence-based. As a columnist known to be sympathetic to male victims of, among other things, a dysfunctional, anti-male family court system, for example, I have received literally hundreds of narratives by men whose lives have been ruined by women’s allegedly false allegations. I believe most of them, but I don’t write about them, because I can’t get the accused women to talk to me and give me their side of the story. And that’s how it should be. When journalists and editors use their privilege to advance a political agenda at the expense of objectivity, they cheat the public and cheapen the journalistic profession.

 

Barbara Kay is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

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On Topic

 

The 2014 Dishonest Reporting Awards: Honest Reporting, Dec. 23, 2014 —Scarlett Johansson’s brave stand against Israel-bashers seems so long ago.

New Billboards Target NY Times for Anti-Israel Reporting: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Dec. 25, 2014—The CAMERA watchdog organization has posted five new billboards in midtown Manhattan to spread the message of The New York Times’ slanted reportage on Israel.

Rolling Stone Apologized. Will the Times?Liel Liebovitz, Tablet, Dec. 8, 2014—Have you heard the one about the major news organization that published an abominable piece by a contributor who made no real effort to obtain a thorough account and ran instead with an impassioned story that sounds plausible and moving just as long as you don’t bother looking at the actual facts?

The Old Journalism and the New: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Dec. 6, 2014 —sometimes media events synchronize almost too neatly.

The New Republic is Dead, Thanks to its Owner, Chris Hughes: Dana Milbank, Washington Post, Dec. 8, 2014—At a 40th-birthday party in July for Franklin Foer, editor of the New Republic, the magazine’s young owner, Chris Hughes, got all choked up as he pledged to the roomful of writers at Foer’s country home in Pennsylvania that the two would be “intellectual partners for decades.”

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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