Tag: New York times

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.    

 

Contents 

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?”

 

 

ALL THE NEWS?: NYT & OTHER MEDIA ABANDON INTEGRITY WITH BIASED “JOURNALISM” & ISRAEL OBSESSION

The Press Buries Hillary Clinton’s Sins: Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 16, 2016 — If average voters turned on the TV for five minutes this week, chances are they know that Donald Trump made lewd remarks a decade ago and now stands accused of groping women.

The New York Times Abandoned its Integrity Just to Bash Donald Trump: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Oct. 11, 2016 — There is apparently nothing wrong with America that can’t be blamed on Donald Trump.

The New York Times’ Obsession With Settlements Means It Misses Other News: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Oct. 6, 2016  — One of the ways the New York Times shows its bias against Israel is with decisions on the placement of stories.

Is Obama Preparing a Parting Shot at Israel?: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Oct. 27, 2016— Last week, the U.N.’s premier cultural agency, UNESCO, approved a resolution viciously condemning Israel (referred to as “the Occupying Power”) for various alleged trespasses and violations of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

 

On Topic Links

 

Why Readers See The Times as Liberal: Liz Spayd, New York Times, July 23, 2016

The Ongoing NYT Propaganda Campaign: Prof. Phyllis Chesler, Arutz Sheva, Sept. 22, 2016

The Real Reason Reporters Don’t Give to Pols: It Would Give Away Their Agenda: Jonah Goldberg, New York Post, October 21, 2016

Checkmating Obama: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2016

 

 

 

THE PRESS BURIES HILLARY CLINTON’S SINS

Kimberley A. Strassel                                 

Wall Street Journal, Oct. 16, 2016   

 

If average voters turned on the TV for five minutes this week, chances are they know that Donald Trump made lewd remarks a decade ago and now stands accused of groping women. But even if average voters had the TV on 24/7, they still probably haven’t heard the news about Hillary Clinton: That the nation now has proof of pretty much everything she has been accused of.

 

It comes from hacked emails dumped by WikiLeaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, and accounts from FBI insiders. The media has almost uniformly ignored the flurry of bombshells, preferring to devote its front pages to the Trump story. So let’s review what amounts to a devastating case against a Clinton presidency.

 

Start with a June 2015 email to Clinton staffers from Erika Rottenberg, the former general counsel of LinkedIn. Ms. Rottenberg wrote that none of the attorneys in her circle of friends “can understand how it was viewed as ok/secure/appropriate to use a private server for secure documents AND why further Hillary took it upon herself to review them and delete documents.” She added: “It smacks of acting above the law and it smacks of the type of thing I’ve either gotten discovery sanctions for, fired people for, etc.”…

 

A few months later, in a September 2015 email, a Clinton confidante fretted that Mrs. Clinton was too bullheaded to acknowledge she’d done wrong. “Everyone wants her to apologize,” wrote Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress. “And she should. Apologies are like her Achilles’ heel.” Clinton staffers debated how to evade a congressional subpoena of Mrs. Clinton’s emails—three weeks before a technician deleted them. The campaign later employed a focus group to see if it could fool Americans into thinking the email scandal was part of the Benghazi investigation (they are separate) and lay it all off as a Republican plot. A senior FBI official involved with the Clinton investigation told Fox News this week that the “vast majority” of career agents and prosecutors working the case “felt she should be prosecuted” and that giving her a pass was “a top-down decision.”

 

The Obama administration—the federal government, supported by tax dollars—was working as an extension of the Clinton campaign. The State Department coordinated with her staff in responding to the email scandal, and the Justice Department kept her team informed about developments in the court case. Worse, Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, as documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show, took special care of donors to the Clinton Foundation. In a series of 2010 emails, a senior aide to Mrs. Clinton asked a foundation official to let her know which groups offering assistance with the Haitian earthquake relief were “FOB” (Friends of Bill) or “WJC VIPs” (William Jefferson Clinton VIPs). Those who made the cut appear to have been teed up for contracts. Those who weren’t? Routed to a standard government website.

 

The leaks show that the foundation was indeed the nexus of influence and money. The head of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Ira Magaziner, suggested in a 2011 email that Bill Clinton call Sheikh Mohammed of Saudi Arabia to thank him for offering the use of a plane. In response, a top Clinton Foundation official wrote: “Unless Sheikh Mo has sent us a $6 million check, this sounds crazy to do.”

 

The entire progressive apparatus—the Clinton campaign and boosters at the Center for American Progress—appears to view voters as stupid and tiresome, segregated into groups that must either be cajoled into support or demeaned into silence. We read that Republicans are attracted to Catholicism’s “severely backwards gender relations” and only join the faith to “sound sophisticated”; that Democratic leaders such as Bill Richardson are “needy Latinos”; that Bernie Sanders supporters are “self-righteous”; that the only people who watch Miss America “are from the confederacy”; and that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is “a terrorist.”

 

The leaks also show that the press is in Mrs. Clinton’s pocket. Donna Brazile, a former Clinton staffer and a TV pundit, sent the exact wording of a coming CNN town hall question to the campaign in advance of the event. Other media allowed the Clinton camp to veto which quotes they used from interviews, worked to maximize her press events and offered campaign advice.

Mrs. Clinton has been exposed to have no core, to be someone who constantly changes her position to maximize political gain. Leaked speeches prove that she has two positions (public and private) on banks; two positions on the wealthy; two positions on borders; two positions on energy. Her team had endless discussions about what positions she should adopt to appease “the Red Army”—i.e. “the base of the Democratic Party.” Voters might not know any of this, because while both presidential candidates have plenty to answer for, the press has focused solely on taking out Mr. Trump. And the press is doing a diligent job of it.        

 

 

Contents                                                                                                           

                                                                         

THE NEW YORK TIMES ABANDONED ITS                                                            

INTEGRITY JUST TO BASH DONALD TRUMP                                                                        

Michael Goodwin                                                                                                  

New York Post, Oct. 11, 2016

 

There is apparently nothing wrong with America that can’t be blamed on Donald Trump. He is single-handedly destroying the Republican Party, trashing presidential debates and spoiling the reputation of locker-room talk. And — breaking news alert! — Trump is even changing journalism. His habit of saying things that nobody ever said before is forcing reporters to unleash their partisan views instead of just giving the facts.

 

Some of these charges may be true, but the one about Trump changing journalism is demonstrably false. All the more so because it comes from the editor of the New York Times, who happens to be the actual guilty party. Dean Baquet, the Gray Lady’s boss for two years, recently claimed that Trump’s campaign had forced the paper into a new way of covering politics. “I think that he’s challenged our language,” Baquet told an interviewer. “He will have changed journalism, he really will have.”

 

The claim is presented as one of those chin-stroking insights about a new paradigm that liberals spot around every corner. In fact, it is just another example of the Times getting it all wrong. Trump didn’t change the Times — Baquet did. He’s the one who authorized reporters to abandon the paper’s standards when covering Trump and express their personal political opinions. Or, as Baquet said in the interview with Nieman Lab’s Ken Doctor, the struggle for fairness is over. “I think that Trump has ended that struggle,” Baquet boasted. “I think we now say stuff. We fact-check him. We write it more powerfully that it’s false.”

 

Fact-checking, of course, is often in the eye of the beholder, and quickly morphs into opinion when there is no restraint or neutral standard. The result is the paper’s relentless, daily assault on Trump, to the advantage of Hillary Clinton. Opinions, all uniformly anti-Trump, now ooze from the paper’s every pore, with headlines on front-page “news” articles indistinguishable from daily denunciations on the editorial and op-ed pages. This is not a mere continuation of the old liberal bias that infected the Times, the Washington Post and the broadcast networks for years. This is a malignant strain of conformity that strips away any pretense of fairness in favor of strident partisanship.

 

The signal that the Times abandoned its traditional church-state separation of news and opinion came in an article by the paper’s media reporter two months ago. In his August piece, Jim Rutenberg declared that most reporters saw Trump “as an abnormal and potentially dangerous candidate,” and concluded they had a duty to be “true to the facts, in a way that will stand up to history’s judgment.” Baquet, in the interview, cited the Rutenberg piece, saying it “nailed” his thinking. He also said he started “down this track” years ago, during the dispute over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and made it clear he believed then-President George W. Bush and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell lied to take America to war. The Trump treatment, he said, was a logical extension: “I think he gave us courage, if you will. I think he made us — forced us, because he does it so often, to get comfortable with saying something is false.” Baquet offered another example that got him to this point. He accused Republicans of lying in their “swift-boat” charges against Democratic nominee John Kerry in the 2004 campaign.

 

It is not incidental that his examples all involve allegedly dishonest Republicans, and none involves dishonest Democrats. Nothing better explains why the Times fails to give Clinton the same scrutiny it gives Trump. More than 60 percent of voters regard her as fundamentally dishonest, but Baquet sees only Republicans as liars. Simply put, his political bias precludes fair journalism. And once standards are gone, they are gone forever, meaning anyone wanting to work at the Times will face a political litmus test. Baquet’s defense of slanted coverage is reflected in the trove of ­emails WikiLeaks released from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

 

Times reporters and columnists repeatedly show up in partisan ways. Washington correspondent John Harwood sends Podesta his private approval of Hillary Clinton appearances, as if he’s on the team. Columnist Nicholas Kristof, in advance of an interview with Bill Clinton, ­emails his questions, which Podesta’s team passes around to staffers to shape Clinton’s answers.

 

A Washington reporter gives Hillary Clinton veto power over quotations he can use from an interview. Another reporter is praised as someone who has “never disappointed” in delivering stories the campaign wants “teed up” for public consumption. As the editor, Baquet should be outraged that his staff secretly compromised the paper’s integrity. But as the editor who eliminated the Times’ standards, he’s getting the biased paper he wanted.                                                        

 

Contents                                                                                                                                              

                                                    

THE NEW YORK TIMES’ OBSESSION WITH                                                                   

SETTLEMENTS MEANS IT MISSES OTHER NEWS                                                                       

Ira Stoll                                                                                                                  

Algemeiner, Oct. 6, 2016

 

One of the ways the New York Times shows its bias against Israel is with decisions on the placement of stories. The latest example comes with the newspaper’s decision to print a news article, above the fold on page one, about a flap between the Obama administration and the Israeli government over a West Bank settlement.

 

I’d argue that this doesn’t really amount to “news” much at all. American governments have been critical of West Bank settlements for decades. Israeli governments, meanwhile, have for decades supported allowing Israeli Jews to live in the West Bank. Jews have a long historical and religious connection there. Jewish settlements provide a security buffer in the Jordan valley. They provide affordable housing and a security buffer around the Israeli capital at Jerusalem. And the existing Jewish population in the settlements needs room to grow.

 

Yet the Times editors place the “United States Criticizes Israel Over West Bank Settlement Plan” headline at the top of page one, judging it to be bigger news than a bunch of other stories in the day’s paper that did not make it onto the front page at all — including the approach of Hurricane Matthew, the end of cash tolls at New York City bridges and tunnels, the selection of a new secretary-general of the United Nations and the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

 

The Times is so obsessed with the settlement issue that it follows up the front-page story with another long one online — it will probably make the print newspaper sometime in the next few days — headlined, “West Bank Settlers Prepare for Clash, With Israeli Government.” That article is about the prospect that the Israeli government will force the evacuation of 40 families from Amona. Unfortunately for Times readers who are counting on the newspaper to deliver an accurate portrayal of the world, the newspaper’s focus on the settlement issue comes at the expense of excellence when it comes to other issues that are probably more significant.

 

For example, the White House made a stunning insult to Israel and to world Jewry by issuing a “corrected” press release deleting the word “Israel” from its description of the location of the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem, the site of President Obama’s remarks at the funeral of Shimon Peres. The Times handled this not with a full-length news article, much less a front-page, above-the-fold one, but instead with a single paragraph all the way at the end of an article about the funeral. The fact that the Obama White House can’t even acknowledge that Shimon Peres was buried in Israel says so much. As Elliott Abrams wrote on his blog at the Council on Foreign Relations web site, the site “lies in Western Jerusalem, near Yad Vashem and Jerusalem Forest…only those who seek to destroy Israel think this place will ever be anything but a part of the Jewish State.”

 

As for the Washington Free Beacon’s scoop that there are three written agreements between the US and Iran’s intelligence ministry that are being kept secret from the public in a secure reading room on Capitol Hill — well, nothing about that in the Times, either. But in terms of the prospects for peace in the Middle East and for the security of Israel and America, that’s a much bigger and more important deal than any nonsense the Times is peddling about West Bank settlements.

 

Contents           

                                                   

IS OBAMA PREPARING A PARTING SHOT AT ISRAEL?                                                                        

Charles Krauthammer                                                                               

Washington Post, Oct. 27, 2016

 

Last week, the U.N.’s premier cultural agency, UNESCO, approved a resolution viciously condemning Israel (referred to as “the Occupying Power”) for various alleged trespasses and violations of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Except that the resolution never uses that term for Judaism’s holiest shrine. It refers to and treats it as an exclusively Muslim site, a deliberate attempt to eradicate its connection — let alone its centrality — to the Jewish people and Jewish history.

 

This Orwellian absurdity, part of a larger effort to deny the Jewish connection to their ancestral homeland, is an insult not just to Judaism but to Christianity. It makes a mockery of the Gospels, which chronicle the story of a Galilean Jew whose life and ministry unfolded throughout the Holy Land, most especially in Jerusalem and the Temple. If this is nothing but a Muslim site, what happens to the very foundation of Christianity, which occurred 600 years before Islam even came into being?

 

This UNESCO resolution is merely the surreal extreme of the worldwide campaign to delegitimize Israel. It features the BDS movement (Boycott, Divest and Sanction), now growing on Western university campuses and in some mainline Protestant churches. And it extends even into some precincts of the Democratic Party.

 

Bernie Sanders tried to introduce into the Democratic Party platform a plank more unfavorable to Israel. He failed, but when a couple of Hillary Clinton campaign consultants questioned (in emails revealed by WikiLeaks) why she should be mentioning Israel in her speeches, campaign manager Robby Mook concurred, “We shouldn’t have Israel at public events. Especially dem activists.” For whom the very mention of Israel is toxic.

 

And what to make of the White House’s correction to a news release about last month’s funeral of Shimon Peres? The original release identified the location as “Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, Israel.” The correction crossed out the country identifier — “Israel.” Well, where else is Jerusalem? Sri Lanka? Moreover, Mount Herzl isn’t even in disputed East Jerusalem. It’s in West Jerusalem, within the boundaries of pre-1967 Israel. If that’s not Israel, what is?

 

But such cowardly gestures are mere pinpricks compared to the damage Israel faces in the final days of the Obama presidency. As John Hannah of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies recently wrote (in Foreign Policy), there have been indications for months that President Obama might go to the U.N. and unveil his own final status parameters of a two-state solution. These would then be enshrined in a new Security Council resolution that could officially recognize a Palestinian state on the territory Israel came into possession of during the 1967 Six-Day War. There is a reason such a move has been resisted by eight previous U.S. administrations: It overthrows the central premise of Middle East peacemaking — land for peace. Under which the Palestinians get their state after negotiations in which the parties agree on recognized boundaries, exchange mutual recognition and declare a permanent end to the conflict.

 

Land for peace would be replaced by land for nothing. Endorsing in advance a Palestinian state and what would essentially be a full Israeli withdrawal removes the Palestinian incentive to negotiate and strips Israel of territorial bargaining chips of the kind it used, for example, to achieve peace with Egypt. The result would be not just perpetual war but incalculable damage to Israel. And irreversible, too, because the resolution would be protected from alteration by the Russian and/or Chinese veto.

 

As for the damage, consider but one example: the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, destroyed and ethnically cleansed of Jews by its Arab conquerors in the war of 1948-1949. It was rebuilt by Israel after 1967. It would now be open to the absurd judicial charge that the Jewish state’s possession of the Jewish Quarter constitutes a criminal occupation of another country. Israel would be hauled endlessly into courts (both national and international) to face sanctions, boycotts (now under color of law) and arrest of its leaders. All this for violating a U.N. mandate to which no Israeli government, left or right, could possibly accede.

 

Before the election, Obama dare not attempt this final legacy item, to go along with the Iran deal and the Castro conciliation, for fear of damaging Clinton. His last opportunity comes after Election Day. The one person who might deter him, points out Hannah, is Clinton herself, by committing Obama to do nothing before he leaves office that would tie her hands should she become president.

 

Clinton’s supporters who care about Israel and about peace need to urge her to do that now. It will soon be too late. Soon Obama will be free to deliver a devastating parting shot to Israel and to the prime minister he detests.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

Contents                       

           

On Topic Links

 

Why Readers See The Times as Liberal: Liz Spayd, New York Times, July 23, 2016—I HAVE been here less than a month, but already I’ve discovered something that surely must be bad for business if your business is running The New York Times.

The Ongoing NYT Propaganda Campaign: Prof. Phyllis Chesler, Arutz Sheva, Sept. 22, 2016—I’m sure that reading the New York Times is shortening my life—and yet I continue to do so. I no longer monitor it as I once did.

The Real Reason Reporters Don’t Give to Pols: It Would Give Away Their Agenda: Jonah Goldberg, New York Post, October 21, 2016 —‘Let me say for the billionth time: Reporters don’t root for a side. Period.” This declarative tweet came from The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza on Oct. 16. The next day, Cillizza posted on Twitter, “Well, this is super depressing. NO idea why any journalist would donate $ to politicians.

Checkmating Obama: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2016—In one of the immortal lines of Godfather 2, mafia boss Michael Corleone discusses the fate of his brother, who betrayed him, with his enforcer. “I don’t want anything to happen to him while my mother is alive,” Corleone said.

 

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL’S DEMOCRACY THRIVES, DESPITE BIBI-BENNETT ROW; MEANWHILE, NYT UNFAIRLY CRITICAL OF ISRAELI PRESS

Stop Bickering, Boys: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Aug. 5, 2016— It's good the Knesset went into summer recess this week, and it would be great if the cabinet did so too.

Sorry, ‘New York Times,’ But Israel’s Press Is Doing Just Fine: Liel Leibovitz, Tabler, Aug. 1, 2016— Did you hear the one about the Middle Eastern country that really cracked down on its freedom of the press?

Israel Emerges As A Player On The World Stage: Jonathan Adelman, Huffington Post, Aug. 8, 2016— The emergence of Israel as a small but significant player on the world stage is one of the remarkable developments at the end of the post-Cold War era.

Tisha b’Av: A Guide for the Perplexed: Yoram Ettinger, United With Israel, Aug. 11, 2016— Tisha b’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, is the most calamitous day in Jewish history, first mentioned in the Book of Zechariah 7:3.

 

On Topic Links

 

Can Open Primaries Heal Israeli Politics?: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, Aug. 10, 2016

Israel’s Economy – an Island of Stability: Yoram Ettinger, Ettinger Report, July 28, 2016

Kahlon’s Budget: Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, 2016

Tisha B’Av and the Nature of Evil: Pini Dunner, Algemeiner, Aug. 12, 2016

 

STOP BICKERING, BOYS

David M. Weinberg

Israel Hayom, Aug. 5, 2016

 

It's good the Knesset went into summer recess this week, and it would be great if the cabinet did so too. That might be the only way to prevent the coalition partners, especially Prime Minister and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister and Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett, from gouging out each other's eyes. The pair have been at each other's throats for years, but it seems their squabbling is becoming nastier and more personal every month. It has gone way beyond the bounds of expected political rivalry, especially between two leaders who supposedly belong to the same nationalist camp.

 

You would think that there were no bigger issues for them to worry about together, such as keeping U.S. President Barack Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at bay, or thwarting the radical liberal cultural coup that is being attempted in this country. It's not that the two leaders don't have serious issues to disagree about. They do, including the (re)deployment of the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank, (the lack of) settlement construction and the legalization of outposts, the continuing religious-national disgrace on the Temple Mount, IDF readiness for war with Hamas and the government's (insufficient?) attention to the tunnel threat, real-time and comprehensive intelligence briefings for security cabinet members, the regulation of public broadcasting and prosecution of the soldier who shot a wounded terrorist in Hebron.

 

Netanyahu and Bennett have legitimate, differing opinions on these issues, and these differences will likely find political expression the next time Israelis go to the polls. But in the meantime, there is a government to run, and a nationalist camp to keep in power. Does the vicious name-calling and mutual demonization really help? In recent months, Bennett has wildly and wrongly accused the government (that is, Netanyahu) of "dancing to the tune of" left-wing human rights group B'Tselem and of "ethical befuddlement."

 

He infuriated Netanyahu last month by harshly and unfairly indicting the prime minister of "voting for the Gaza disengagement and destruction of Gush Katif, releasing more terrorists than anyone in the history of the state, freezing construction in Judea and Samaria, surrendering to Hamas and declaring a Palestinian state at Bar-Ilan University." Bennett consistently accuses Netanyahu of hiding relevant intelligence from the cabinet and information about diplomacy from the public. And he has voted against Netanyahu in several critical cabinet decisions.

 

For his part, Netanyahu has nonsensically called Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (also of Habayit Hayehudi) "darlings of the Left," while he begs Opposition Leader MK Isaac Herzog to bring his hard-left Zionist Union party into the government to replace Bennett. Netanyahu has spuriously accused Bennett of "teaching the poems of [controversial] Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish" to Israeli schoolchildren. Netanyahu slams Bennett whenever the Habayit Hayehudi leader tries to raise a serious matter in the cabinet. He lords it over Bennett in public with the refrain "I have led more soldiers into battle than you. You will not preach to me." And he has threatened to fire Bennett half a dozen times, calling him "cheeky" and "irresponsible."

 

Alas, both leaders are guilty of "firing inside the armored personnel carrier" by undermining the nationalist camp with unrestrained acrimony from within. This is unwise and intolerable, and must end. If not, the government will collapse. Would Netanyahu and Bennett and their voters prefer that Herzog, his fellow party member MK Tzipi Livni and former Justice Minister Haim Ramon lead Israel toward an Oslo III agreement or a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and a division of Jerusalem? Would they prefer to see MK Amir Peretz (Zionist Union) return absurdly as defense minister, or Shelly Yachimovich (Zionist Union) disastrously lead a socialist revolution as finance minister? The answer, obviously, is of course not. So stop squabbling, boys, and get on with the business of efficiently running the government with a minimum of mutual respect.

 

In the past, ardent political rivals have worked civilly together at the helm of the country despite inherent tensions. This was the case with Prime Ministers David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett, or Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, or Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres, or even Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu. Not smooth, and without much love. But in each case, their governments racked up real achievements. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman clawed at each other mercilessly over the past two years, while Lieberman was a member of the opposition. But now that they're in the government together, a certain decorum exists.

 

In the end, Netanyahu and Bennett have a lot in common. They are gifted, intelligent, outspoken, well-rooted in security discourse, conversant about the U.S., and ideologically committed to conservatism. Bennett needs to be patient and earn more political experience. Netanyahu must learn to groom successors. The Talmud (Shabbat 63a) comments that even the most vociferous and bitter disagreements can lead to good results if the dueling scholars actually listen to each other attentively. If they do so, says Rabbi Shimon Ben-Lakish, the heavens will listen to the Jewish people, too, and vanquish enemies. Is it too much to ask Netanyahu and Bennett to make a similar scholarly effort? It might even help us win some important diplomatic battles.

                                                           

 

Contents                                                                                                                       

                                           

                 SORRY, ‘NEW YORK TIMES,’ BUT ISRAEL’S

PRESS IS DOING JUST FINE               

                                      Liel Leibovitz                                    

Tablet, Aug. 1, 2016

 

Did you hear the one about the Middle Eastern country that really cracked down on its freedom of the press? Not Turkey, where 42 journalists were arrested last week in the latest assault on the tenets of democracy; I’m talking, of course, about Israel, the subject of yet another grim opinion piece this weekend in The New York Times. In case you’re the sort who doesn’t read much past the headline, the Times made sure you would not walk away confused: The lengthy dirge, written by New York-based Israeli reporter Ruth Margalit, was titled “How Benjamin Netanyahu is Crushing Israel’s Free Press.”

 

How indeed? You would hardly believe the depraved things Jerusalem’s demonic despot would do to solidify his grasp on power. Bibi, Margalit solemnly informs us, appoints people who agree with him politically to key positions in government. Shocked yet? Get this: He also has his office call newspapers and websites and try to spin the news in his favor. If such benighted moves fail to shake you to the core, if you still don’t feel the chill of fascism’s shadow, Margalit has one last bit of damning evidence for you. Take a deep breath: To crush the precious freedom flower that is Israel’s press, Bibi, that monster, is opening up the media market to more competition.

 

“All three of Israel’s main television news channels—Channel 2, Channel 10, and the Israel Broadcasting Authority—are now in danger of being fragmented, shut down, or overhauled, respectively,” Margalit wrote. “The government’s official reason behind these moves is to open up the communications industry to more competition. But there seems to be a double standard: On other issues, like natural gas, the prime minister has been loath to take a stand against monopolies. As Ilana Dayan, a leading investigative journalist for Channel 2, told me: ‘Sometimes competition is the refuge of the antidemocrat.’”

 

Because I know Margalit a little bit and respect her more than that, I’ll say little about the glaring inanity of comparing a scarce and finite natural resource like gas to the media market, which, in the age of the internet, is a superabundant field. I’ll similarly resist the urge to inquire just what sort of worldview one ought to have to see the proliferation of diverse voices as somehow antithetical to democracy. Nor will I ask why, if indeed the tyrant is unleashing his own version of Game of Thrones, coming at his competitors with swords and bloodlust, do so many senior Israeli journalists feel so giddy to share their jeremiads with Margalit; you infrequently see Erdogan’s foes so loose-tongued, which, to all but the reporters and editors of the Times, should have served as yet another indication that headlines warning of the free press being crushed are perhaps a tad immature.

 

Instead of raising these obvious objections, I’ll do something Margalit and her editors didn’t bother doing and offer both facts and analysis. Rather than dignify the assertion that Israel’s press is under assault—an uproarious proposition to anyone who actually consumes the Israeli press and knows it to be largely dedicated to fierce criticism of the prime minister, his cabinet, his worldview, and anything associated therewith—I’ll try and consider why so many of Israel’s reporters, enjoying robust liberties as they do, still nonetheless imagine themselves under attack.

 

First, the figures: In a seminal study released in 2010, Israeli communications scholar Avi Gur researched the publicly expressed opinions of 38,887 people over 124,879 minutes of broadcast and in 8,324 opinion pieces in the print media during the years 1996 to 1999—then, as now, Netanyahu was prime minister—in order to ascertain whether or not the Israeli press was indeed ideologically left-leaning. His conclusion is stark: Yediot Aharonot, for example, the nation’s most widely read and influential media organ, favored left-wing positions an overwhelming 83.5 percent of the time, and others weren’t too far behind. Not that any senior of the media was contesting Gur’s findings: Raviv Drucker, for example, one of Israel’s leading investigative reporters and a man who has made a fine career dogging Netanyahu with the tenacity of a blue tick coonhound smelling a critter stirring in the distance, wrote a piece some years ago and admitted that 80 percent or more of his colleagues across the board were committed lefties.

 

This, in part, helps explain why blatant ideological impositions on the free press are just dandy when they come from the left, like when Amos Schocken, the publisher of the radically liberal Haaretz admitted to strongly and enthusiastically supporting the Obama administration’s position on the Iran deal against the stated policy of the Israeli government. When the smart and sensible folks take a stand, it’s time to applaud their courage; when the primates on the right attempt to express their views, it’s time to alert the Times that democracy is dying.

 

This myopic and morally corrupt approach would be maddening if it weren’t so comical, and if it didn’t cost the Israeli left more or less everything, electorally speaking. Out of ideas, out of time, and out of touch with reality, the small cabal that huddles in Tel Aviv’s newsrooms can hardly believe that the unwashed masses could be so impudent as to demand media that faithfully reflect reality, or that at least offer more the singular and approved and rigid point of view. With no one left to listen in Israel, they turn to the Times, which, to paraphrase Margalit’s piece, is quickly becoming the refuge of the blame-Israel-only crowd. It’s sad to see a reporter who should’ve known better abandon any attempt at insight or nuance and turn instead to the Times for the most banal sort of affirmation, and it’s sad to see the Times continue to publish such drivel without attempting any real depth or understanding. Nevermind, and godspeed: Keep your opinion pages, which, like your opinions, are but sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing.         

 

Contents                                                           

             

ISRAEL EMERGES AS A PLAYER ON THE WORLD STAGE       

Jonathan Adelman                                   

Huffington Post, Aug. 8, 2016

 

The emergence of Israel as a small but significant player on the world stage is one of the remarkable developments at the end of the post-Cold War era. The slow economic growth of the United States and Europe has shown the weakness of the status quo powers. The American semi-withdrawal from the Middle East and the British withdrawal from the European Union have opened the door to new powers. The chaos in the Middle East and the rise of revisionist authoritarian states such as Russia, China and Iran and democratic states like India raise the possibility of a new world order. This would be partly dominated by hardline conservative nationalism, charismatic leadership, slow economic growth, and hostility to the old globalist order.

 

With eight million people Israel can only play on the fringes of a new global order. But, it has a flourishing economy of $300 billion and nearly $40,000 GDP/capita. Its democratic, liberal politics and growing economy make it able to play both sides of the street. Its military was rated by the Institute for the Study of War as “pilot to pilot and airframe to airframe” having “the best air force in the world“ and the best army in the Middle East. Israel’s extensive work on air defenses (Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2 and soon Arrow 3), carried out with the United States, makes it a serious military power. Its 80-100 atomic bombs put it in a rarified club of nine states in the world. Its intelligence capabilities (Shin Beth and Mossad) are formidable.

 

With over 250 foreign companies creating research facilities in Israel, its strong high-tech capability has been rated by the University of Lausanne as one of the top five world powers in this key area. While foreigners in 2015 invested $4 billion in Israel, Apple alone has invested over a billion dollars in creating a hardware development center with 800 Israeli employees. The Israelis, who created drip agriculture, are exporting $2 billion a year in water technology and recently hosted the leading international water conference

 

Three of the world’s most powerful countries have invited Israeli companies to work with them in high-tech. The Americans have paired Technion with Cornell University in the new high-tech university in Roosevelt Island in Manhattan. The Russians have asked Israeli high-tech to help develop their new Silicon Valley in Skolkovo in the suburbs of Moscow. The Chinese have asked Technion to work with them to create a Shantou-Technion School of Technology in Guangdong Province.

 

Israel has, despite its poor past relationship, developed excellent relations with Russia. There are over one million Russian immigrants in Israel and all seven of Israel’s early long serving Prime Ministers before 2005 were either from Russia or spoke Russian. Israel’s kibbutzim, moshavim and Histadrut owe their creation to Russian socialist ideas. Bibi Netanyahu has visited Moscow four times in the last year; Putin has visited Israel twice. While the two countries differ over Moscow’s support for Iran and selling them the S-300 anti-missile defense system, Israel has sold $1 billion of drones to Russia over the years. It has $3 billion in trade and shares a desire for peace in the region.

 

The Israelis, who also did not have diplomatic relations with China until 1992, have seen their relationship expand strongly. Today their trade is expanding to $10 billion a year. Chinese investors have been looking to invest billions of dollars in Israel. Israel is looking to export their water technology to a country with 400 million people living in arid regions. Israel is also developing a strong relationship with India. It has $5 billion in trade with India which could multiply to $15 billion if the two sides decide to create a free trade zone. Israel is the second greatest exporter of arms to India, preceded only by Russia. India’s Foreign Ministry visited Israel in January and proclaimed that there was a “very high importance” to their new relationship. Prime Minister Narenda Modi is also scheduled to visit Israel.

 

For the tiny and poor 1948 Israel to be able less than 70 years later to play a role among the great powers of the world seems amazing. And, yet, in the twenty-first century, everything is possible.

 

 

Contents          

                                                     

                        TISHA B’AV: A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED

Yoram Ettinger                       

          United With Israel, Aug. 11, 2016

 

Tisha b’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, is the most calamitous day in Jewish history, first mentioned in the Book of Zechariah 7:3. It is a day of fasting (one of four fast days connected to the destruction of Jerusalem), commemorating dramatic national catastrophes, in an attempt to benefit from history by learning from – rather than repeating – critical moral and strategic missteps. Forgetfulness feeds oblivion; remembrance breeds deliverance.

 

Major Jewish calamities are commemorated on the ninth day of Av: The failed “Ten Spies/tribal presidents” – contrary to Joshua & Caleb – slandered the Land of Israel, preferring immediate convenience and conventional “wisdom” over faith and long term vision, thus prolonging the wandering in the desert for 40 years, before settling the Promised Land; The destruction of the First Temple and Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (586 BCE) resulted in the massacre of 100,000 Jews and a massive national exile; The destruction of the Second Temple and Jerusalem by Titus of Rome (70 CE) triggered the massacre of 1 million Jews and another massive national exile, aiming to annihilate Judaism and the Jewish people; The execution of the Ten Martyrs – ten leading rabbis – by the Roman Empire;

 

The Bar Kokhba Revolt was crushed with the killing of Bar Kokhbah, the fall of his headquarters in Beitar (135 CE), south of Jerusalem in Judea and Samaria, the plowing of Jerusalem, and the killing of 600,000 Jews by the Roman Empire; The pogroms of the First Crusade (1096-1099) massacred tens of thousands of Jews in Germany, France, Italy and Britain; The Jewish expulsion from Britain (1290); The Jewish Expulsion from Spain (1492); The eruption of the First World War (1914); The beginning of the 1942 deportation of Warsaw Ghetto Jews to Treblinka extermination camp.

 

Napoleon was walking one night in the streets of Paris, hearing lamentations emanating from a synagogue.  When told that the wailing commemorated the 586 BCE destruction of the First Jewish Temple in Jerusalem he stated: “People who solemnize ancient history are destined for a glorious future!” A key message of the Ninth Day of Av, personally and collectively/nationally: Sustain faith and hope, and refrain from forgetfulness, despair, fatalism and pessimism, irrespective of the odds, which may seem – through conventional, short-term lenses – insurmountable, but could be a transition toward deliverance.  From Auschwitz to Jerusalem, from exile (estrangement, dispersal and enslavement) to the ingathering in the Land of Israel (spiritual and physical liberty).

 

The centrality of Jerusalem in Jewish history is commemorated on the ninth day of Av.  It is highlighted by Psalm 137:5 – “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” According to the Babylonian Talmud, Ta’anit 30: “He who laments the destruction of Jerusalem will be privileged to witness its renewal.” The Book of the five Lamentations (The Scroll of Eikhah which was composed by Jeremiah the Prophet, who prophesized destruction, exile and deliverance) is read during the first nine days of Av. The numerical value of the Hebrew letters of Eikhah (איכה) is 36, which is equal to the traditional number of righteous Jewish persons. The Hebrew meaning of Eikhah (איכה) could be interpreted as a reproaching “How Come?!”, as well as “Where are you?” or “Why have you strayed away?”  The term איכה features in the first chapter of Deuteronomy and the first chapter of Isaiah, which are studied annually in conjunction with the book of Lamentations on the 9th day of Av. Thus the 9thday of Av binds together the values of Moses, Jeremiah and Isaiah and three critical periods in the history of the Jewish People: destruction, deliverance, renewal.

 

The ninth day of Av concludes a three-week-lamentation of Jewish calamities, emphasizing two reproaches by the Prophet Jeremiah and one by the Prophet Isaiah, launching a seven-week period of consolation, renewal and the ingathering, highlighted by Isaiah prophecies. The commemoration of the ninth day of Av constitutes a critical feature of Judaism. It enhances faith, roots, identity, moral clarity, cohesion and optimism by learning from past errors, and immunizing oneself against the lethal disease of forgetfulness. The verb “to remember” (זכור) appears almost 200 times in the Bible, including the Ten Commandments. Judaism obligates parents to transfer tradition to the younger generation, thus enhancing realism, while avoiding euphoric or fatalistic mood. The custom of house-cleaning on the ninth day of Av aims at welcoming deliverance. Fasting expresses the recognition of one’s limitations and fallibility and the constant pursuit of moral enhancement and humility.

 

The four Jewish days of fasting, commemorating the destruction of the Two Temples: the 10th day of Tevet (the onset of the Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem), the 17th day of Tamuz (the day the walls of Jerusalem were breached), the 9th day of Av (the destruction of both Temples) and the 3rd day of Tishrei (The murder of Governor Gedalyah, who maintained a level of post-destruction Jewish autonomy, which led to a murderous rampage by the Babylonians and to exile). The ninth day of Av culminates the 21 days of predicament (ימי בין המצרים), which began on the 17thday of the month of Tamuz, when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by Nebuchadnezzar (1st Temple) and by Titus (2nd Temple)…

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

 

 

 

Contents                                                                                                                                                           

           

On Topic Links

 

Can Open Primaries Heal Israeli Politics?: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, Aug. 10, 2016—The Likud faced the greatest crisis in its history on the eve of the 2006 elections. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's establishment of a new party, Kadima, had left Likud in shreds. Little remained of what had once been a large ruling party. After replacing Sharon as Likud chairman, Benjamin Netanyahu convinced the party’s Central Committee to relinquish the authority to choose the party’s Knesset list and to transfer that power to the entire party membership.

Israel’s Economy – an Island of Stability: Yoram Ettinger, Ettinger Report, July 28, 2016— 1. According to a study conducted by the University of Lausanne, Israel is one of the top five world high-tech powers, as indicated by a 2015 $1bn investment, in Israel, by Apple, creating a hardware development center. The USA, China, Russia and India are, actively, soliciting high-tech cooperation with Israel. India and Israel negotiate a free trade zone, which would increase their current $5bn trade balance. Israel is second only to Russia in the exportation of military systems to India (Jerusalem Post, July 24, 2016).

Kahlon’s Budget: Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, 2016—In many respects, Kulanu is a political party born of the socioeconomic unrest of the summer of 2011. Moshe Kahlon, who stands at the head of the party, made a name for himself when he was still with the Likud as communication minister under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was Kahlon who finally helped facilitate free market competition among cellphone operators that ended an era of price-gouging and exorbitantly high cellphone bills.

Tisha B’Av and the Nature of Evil: Pini Dunner, Algemeiner, Aug. 12, 2016—The period of mourning for the destruction of our two Jerusalem temples does not seem to fit with the idea that Judaism is underpinned by optimism and a backdrop of joy and positivity.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

                  

 

 

 

THE SOLEMNITY OF TISHA B’AV; J STREET, FRIEDMAN ENDORSE IRAN RAPPROCHEMENT; PROFITING FROM A NAZI’S DIARY

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

 

Rejecting Despair and Confronting the Challenges: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, July 21, 2015 — I will not add to the flow of articles that have more than adequately analyzed the horrendous long-term consequences of U.S. President Barack Obama’s capitulation to the Iranian ayatollah…

Friedman’s Fantasy: Michael Devolin, Jihad Watch, Apr. 2, 2015  — “A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.”

Suing to Profit From a Nazi’s Diaries: Roger Kimball, Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2015 — This spring marked the 70th anniversary of the effective end of the Nazi regime.

Nine Days in Av: Stewart Weiss, Jerusalem Post, July 16, 2015— Friday, July 17, begins the semi-mourning period popularly known as “The Nine Days.”

               

On Topic Links

 

J Street Launches Campaign Backing Iran Deal; AIPAC Calls for Rejection of Accord: JTA, July 16, 2015

Look Before Leaping: Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, Mar. 25, 2015

The New York Times vs. Israel: Jerold Auerbach, Algemeiner, June 10, 2015

Globe & Mail Presents Dubious Anti-Israel Organization’s Report as “Credible”: Honest Reporting, June 10, 2015

When Tisha B’Av Occurs On Shabbat Or Sunday: Raphael Grunfeld, Jewish Press, July 23, 2015

 

                                               

NINE DAYS IN AV                                                                                                     

Stewart Weiss                                                                                                                

Jerusalem Post, July 16, 2015

 

Friday, July 17, begins the semi-mourning period popularly known as “The Nine Days.” Culminating in Tisha Be’av – one of only two 25-hour fasts in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur being the other – this period calls for a lessening of festivities, a moratorium on weddings and a general mood of solemnity.

 

This is a calamitous chunk of our calendar, for it was during these dates that numerous catastrophes befell the Jewish people, the most devastating of which were the destruction of both Holy Temples in Jerusalem and the loss of our independence.

 

It is a tribute to our culture – not to mention an ongoing proof of our eternal history – that we are prepared to draw attention to our failings and foibles no less than to our successes and celebrations, in a constant struggle for self-improvement. As every athlete knows, you learn more from your losses than from your wins, and so each year we struggle to understand what went wrong, why and how the events of the “Black Fast” occurred, and what we can do to rectify those mistakes so they will not happen again.

 

The Rabbis of the Talmud make it crystal clear that the hurban, the Destruction, was a function of our own sinful actions, and not the result of some political or military decision imposed on us from the outside. As a preeminent people that continually defies the norms of history, it is we ourselves, and not those around us, who control our fate. If we so merit it, no force can dislodge us. But if we fail to live up to the high standard set for us, then “the Almighty has many messengers” at His disposal. As the Talmud succinctly puts it, the Romans were not responsible for our defeat; they were merely “grinding already-ground flour.”

 

It is therefore worthwhile to review the comments of our Sages regarding Tisha Be’av, to see if we have made any progress over the last 2,000 years. Tractate Shabbat lists several reasons for the tragedy, beginning, appropriately, with Abaye’s statement that Jerusalem was destroyed due to desecration of the Shabbat. In halachic terms, Shabbat is not only considered the most important holiday of the year – surpassing even Yom Kippur – but it is the primary yardstick by which we measure religious commitment. It is the one question we ask to qualify potential witnesses (e.g., to a wedding), and it was one of a very few ritual commandments whose violation could actually result in the death penalty being administered by a human court.

 

But the significance of Shabbat is not only a legal consideration; Shabbat is what gives the Jewish state its uniqueness, its soul, its spiritual core. It is the single most important ingredient in preventing Israel from falling into the trap of becoming a state like any other state. And it is remarkable how Shabbat in Israel has made such an amazing “comeback” in recent years, as we have seen some of even the most nonobservant kibbutzim building on-site synagogues, and study programs as well as batei knesset in Tel Aviv fill to capacity each Shabbat. Ra’anana, I’m proud to say, boasts 85 synagogues – and more on the way. “Seven days without Shabbat,” it’s been said, “makes one weak!” Rabbi Hamnuna comments, “Jerusalem was destroyed because we neglected the education of our young.” Israel struggles with its education system – overcrowded classrooms, changes in the matriculation requirements with each new education minister, overall lack of decorum – but on the whole, we turn out some pretty bright students.

 

We have one of the highest literacy rates in the world (97.8 percent) and we spend 7.5% of our GDP on education – more than Canada, Japan, America, England or Australia. Want to know just how “smart” we are? Go into any kindergarten, and talk to the children. They’ll make you want to go back to school! Ula remarks: “Jerusalem was destroyed because there was not enough shame between people.” We are a society that is often high on blame but short on shame. Blame deflects our problems onto others and impedes our self-improvement. But shame can actually be a virtue; it can keep our ego and our arrogance in check – if we get ashamed by the right things – and lead us back to more pristine behavior.

 

I am ashamed when our country shows leniency to terrorists; when drivers lose control and act rudely and belligerently on our highways; when MKs fail to act with dignity and decorum in the Knesset; when “rabbis” abuse their power (and their congregants); when I succumb to anger, disillusion or lack of faith. Shame is the emotional partner of humility, and humility is the doorway to enlightenment and respect for others…

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

         

                                                                       

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REJECTING DESPAIR AND CONFRONTING THE CHALLENGES

Isi Leibler                                       

Candidly Speaking, July 21, 2015  

 

I will not add to the flow of articles that have more than adequately analyzed the horrendous long-term consequences of U.S. President Barack Obama’s capitulation to the Iranian ayatollah, who to this day explicitly identifies the destruction of Israel as a primary objective and endorses calls of death to America and Israel by his followers.

 

Iran is an Islamic global counterpart to Hitler’s dictatorship in its fiendish denial of human rights. Yet the U.S. is effectively rewarding and reinforcing the leading global promoter of terrorism for its ongoing commitment and fanatic determination to undermine the democratic world. Beyond transforming Iran into a threshold nuclear state, Obama has provided Tehran with $150 billion to intensify its global terrorist activities, in addition to the removal of embargoes of conventional arms and ballistic missiles, thus bringing European and North American cities into the range of Iranian missiles.

 

It has repeatedly been described as “the worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history” and will be recorded as an act of infamy that not merely threatens the survival of Israel and the moderate Arab regimes in the region but capitulates to a fanatic Islamic terrorist state, some of whose leaders would be willing to facilitate a premature paradise for its citizens by engaging in suicidal initiatives in order to bring forward the “end of days.” The U.S. has demeaned itself as a world power and lost the confidence of its traditional friends who have witnessed Obama’s lies, his repudiation of crucial assurances initially made in relation to Iran and his betrayal and abandonment of longstanding allies while groveling to rogue states and dictatorships…

 

We must now strategize a new approach. In the short-term, our efforts must be directed toward convincing Congress and the American people of the diabolical global consequences if this agreement is consummated. The prospects of reversing, or at least introducing additional control or supervisory mechanisms instead of blindly trusting the duplicitous Iranians, are not good. However, we must do all possible to persuade Congress to reject the deal, and if necessary achieve a two-thirds majority vote in the House of Representatives and the Senate in order to override the president’s veto. That would require a substantial number of Democrats to join the majority Republicans in opposing their president and places special pressure on the 28 Jewish legislators, especially Senator Chuck Schumer who represents a major Jewish constituency but also seeks to become the Senate Democratic leader.

 

Such action necessitates Israeli politicians to urgently set aside their narrow politics and speak out with one voice in order to neutralize claims that it is only right-wing elements in Israeli society that oppose the Iranian deal. To his credit, Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog has already fully endorsed Netanyahu’s efforts in opposing the current deal. He has bitterly condemned the agreement and stated that he would visit the U.S. and warn the Americans that, if consummated, it “will unleash a lion from the cage” and enable an “empire of hate and evil” to undermine Israel’s security as well as global stability. More than ever, the time is now opportune for Herzog to override the radicals is his own camp and join a unity government. Were he to assume the role of foreign minister, Israel would be speaking with one voice which would make an enormous impact on global public opinion. Rumors suggest that negotiations are taking place to bring this about, which would be welcomed by the overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens.

 

Israel’s challenge is to persuade congressional Democrats to stand up and if necessary repudiate their own president, not merely because he is endangering Israel but because he is undermining the standing and security of the United States and paving the way for the emergence of an evil global power that could unleash a blight on mankind for future generations. The relatively feeble response to date by the traditionally robust American Jewish leadership has been a significant factor in failing to inhibit Obama from implementing anti-Israeli policies — at total variance with the inclinations of the majority of Americans and their congressional leaders.

 

Belatedly, there is now some movement. Howard Kohr, executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has launched a major campaign to persuade Congress to reject the deal. Malcolm Hoenlein expressed his personal opposition when he recently visited Israel with the newly elected head of the President’s Conference. But that umbrella body, operating by consensus, has yet to make a clear-cut condemnatory statement.

 

To his credit, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, in what was possibly his last major public statement prior to his retirement, outrightly condemned the Obama administration. Many smaller organizations led by the Zionist Organization of America have bitterly protested against Obama’s betrayal but most American groups responded in a tepid manner, even after Herzog forthrightly condemned the deal. The American Jewish Committee headed by David Harris expressed concern but avoided calling on members to lobby Congress to veto the deal.

 

To their shame, the leadership bodies of the Conservative and Reform movements responded with deafening silence, at best, but many of their “progressive” rabbis are actively supporting Obama. Needless to say, J Street, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization, boasts that it is spending millions of dollars to lobby Congress to support the bill…                                                                                                            

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

                                                                                                                  

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FRIEDMAN’S FANTASY                                                                                           

Michael Devolin                                      

Jihad Watch, Apr. 2, 2015 

 

Writing of America’s relationship with Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s Iran, Efraim Karsh recounts that, “So entrenched had the idea of this Iranian-American symbiosis become that successive US administrations came to view Iranian interests as indistinguishable from their own.” It would seem that Thomas Friedman is still infected with this illusion. In his recent New York Times article, Look Before Leaping, a title falsely implying he is not suggesting a “leap of faith,” Mr. Friedman propounds that, “America’s interest lie not with either the Saudis or the Iranian ideologues winning, but rather with balancing the two against each other until they get exhausted enough to stop prosecuting their ancient Shiite-Sunni, Persian-Arab feud.”

 

I perceive the prediction “until they get exhausted” used in the same sentence as “their ancient Shiite-Sunni, Persian-Arab feud” to be utterly oxymoronic. For the same reason the State of Israel can promise political compromises to the so-called Palestinians “when they decide to recognize Israel as a Jewish state” simply because they can count on the fact that traditional Islamic hatred of all things Jewish will never allow the Arab Muslim to live in peace within or alongside a country of Jews. “Wisdom is also a defense.”

 

If this feud (more accurately defined as Shiites versus Sunnis) between the Saudis and the Iranians is by now ancient, I cannot foresee either side becoming exhausted in the near future. I see a pattern of Islamic intransigence here. GlobalSecurity.org reports that during the Iran-Iraq war, “…more than one and a half million war and war-related casualties — perhaps as many as a million people died, many more were wounded, and millions were made refugees. Iran acknowledged that nearly 300,000 people died in the war…Iran’s losses may have included more than 1 million people killed or maimed.”

 

Iran’s dictatorship is remembered by many, regarding that war, for its 1983 “human wave offensives” along the 40 kilometer stretch near Al Amarah where, in one day alone, 6000 Iranian soldiers were killed in action. I wonder how long Mr. Friedman believes it would take this regime, now so close to becoming nuclear-armed, and given its history of vending the lives of its soldiers and its citizens as mere holy fodder in time of war, to become “exhausted” with “prosecuting” that “ancient Shiite-Sunni, Persian-Arab feud”?

 

Friedman promises that, “Patching up the United States-Iran relationship could enable America to better manage and balance the Sunni Arab Taliban in Afghanistan and counterbalance the Sunni jihadists, like those in the Islamic State, or ISIS…” What “United States-Iran relationship” is Mr. Friedman referring to? Last time I looked, there was no “United States-Iran” relationship.” Scott Peterson of Christian Science Monitor remarked in 2010, regarding celebrations in Iran of the anniversary of the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran that, “Anti-US students chanted ‘death to America’ and predicted the fall of the ‘great Satan,’ the nation still officially most vilified by the Islamic Republic, during the annually staged event.

 

Anti-Americanism has remained a pillar of the Islamic revolution…” John Limbert, a former American hostage during the takeover and described in Peterson’s article as the “State Department’s top official at that time on Iran, confessed that, ““Past efforts to move the relationship to something more productive…have foundered on misunderstandings, mistrust, and the assumption that anything the other side agrees to must be bad for us.”

 

In the last paragraph of his dreamy ideation, Mr. Friedman challenges his readers: “So before you make up your mind on the Iran deal, ask how it affects Israel, the country most threatened by Iran. But also ask how it fits into a wider United States strategy aimed at quelling tensions in the Middle East with the least involvement necessary…” Well, first of all, a lot of pundits on Middle Eastern politics, especially pro-Arab pundits, would posit that American involvement anywhere in the world where Muslims and Islamic statehood are concerned is cause for more harm than good.

 

A lot of pundits of the pro-American side (of which I am one) would posit that American (or Canadian or British) involvement—in any measure—with peoples so inculcated with Islamic taught anti-American and anti-Western hatred inevitably becomes a waste of our time and the lives of our sons and daughters. What is the Christian proverb? “Don’t throw you pearls before the swine.” Or as Jesse Klein succinctly put it in the National Post recently, “At some point, we have to come to the realization that it’s not worth spilling our blood and wasting our treasure to intervene in a civil war in which both sides want to kill us.”

 

As for the State of Israel and the threat of Iran’s nuclear posturing, “how it affects Israel,” easy for Mr. Friedman, living, virtually, light years away from such a severe existence as that endured every day by Israeli Jews, to bet the lives of 6 million of them in selling the puerile fantasy to his readers that this Iranian regime will suddenly renounce a millennia-old hatred of the Jews and its imperial ambitions for a new-found love affair with America, the Great Satan. I’ll sooner have angels flying out of my ass.

 

Following Mr. Friedman’s career as a journalist in the last few years, after reading critiques of his work with much broader range than my own, I am constantly reminded of Nicholas Murray Butler’s famous quote, which reads, “An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.” It seems Mr. Friedman is become more a salesman and less and less an expert on the Muslim Middle East. But then again, untruths and fantasy are today common fare for the Western journalist. They dream at the expense of the democratic freedoms of others, for the sake of our enemies, regardless of the consequences for our friends, in this case the State of Israel and the Jewish people. It’s Western journalism, and of late such insouciant and imprudent dreams go with the territory.​              

                                                                       

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SUING TO PROFIT FROM A NAZI’S DIARIES                                                                                  

Roger Kimball

Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2015

 

This spring marked the 70th anniversary of the effective end of the Nazi regime. On April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler shot himself in his bunker as the Soviet army bore down upon his lair. The next day Joseph Goebbels, his rodentine minister of propaganda, committed suicide with his wife, after having their six children injected with morphine and then crushing ampules of cyanide in their mouths to finish them off. You might think that after 70 years the rotten stench of the Nazi regime would have totally dissipated. But no. That mephitic swamp still produces the odd belch.

 

That criminals should not be allowed to profit from exploiting their criminal activity is about as close as we are likely to get to a universally agreed-upon moral principle. Yet last week an appeals court in Munich—by coincidence, the site of Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch, the event that really got the Nazi ball rolling in 1923—upheld an earlier decision that the heirs of Joseph Goebbels were entitled to compensation because a recent biography quoted from his diaries without permission.

 

The lawsuit was brought last year against Random House Germany, whose imprint, Siedler, published Peter Longerich’s “Goebbels: A Biography” in 2010. (An English translation was published in the United States and Britain in May.) Mr. Longerich, now a professor of modern German history at Royal Holloway, a college of the University of London, draws heavily on Goebbels’s diaries, which run to some 30 volumes. Goebbels began his near-daily entries on his 26th birthday, in 1923, and stopped on April 10, 1945, a couple of weeks shy of his personal armageddon.

 

The sum in question is not large—about $7,000—but the moral offense is incalculable. Cordula Schacht, a lawyer who claims to hold the copyright to the diaries and to represent Goebbels’s heirs, filed the suit. Rainer Dresen, general counsel to Random House Germany, told London’s Guardian newspaper that he offered to pay the royalties if Ms. Schacht agreed to donate the proceeds to a Holocaust charity. He said she rejected the offer, insisting that the money go to Goebbels’s relatives, including the descendants of his siblings. Mr. Dresen speculates that other publishers have paid for the use of Goebbels’s diaries. “We’re the first publishing house who avoided that—and have been sued.”

 

Cordula Schacht is a daughter of Hjalmar Schacht, Hitler’s early minister of economics and president of the Reichsbank. Although he was instrumental in helping Hitler lay the economic foundation for the Third Reich, Hjalmar Schacht later turned against the regime (he was distantly connected with the July 1944 plot against Hitler) and was acquitted of war crimes at Nuremberg. Ms. Schacht’s involvement in the Goebbels diaries stems from a relationship she had as a legal adviser to François Genoud, a shadowy Swiss banker who might have stepped straight out of “The Odessa File.” Born in 1915, Genoud was an early and stalwart Hitler enthusiast. The carnage of the war and murder of six million Jews did nothing to dampen his ardor. “Hitler was a great leader,” Genoud said many years later, “and if he had won the war the world would be a better place today.”

 

Along the way, Genoud—who committed suicide in 1996—financed the legal defenses of Adolf Eichmann and Klaus Barbie, “the butcher of Lyons” who personally tortured French prisoners of the Gestapo. Genoud supported the Ayatollah Khomeini during his exile in Paris; he also was a friend and financial adviser of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem before the war. During the war, Haj Amin, a vicious anti-Semite who dreamed of murdering Jewish émigrés to Palestine, helped the Nazis recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS. He lived on until 1974. Genoud was the executor of Goebbels’s will and purchased rights to his diaries in 1955. According to the British historian Richard J. Evans, Genoud transferred his interest in Goebbels’s diaries to Cordula Schacht in 1996 shortly before his death. She has since claimed to be the copyright holder, though, as Mr. Evans notes, the Bavarian State also claims to own the copyright.

 

This Byzantine legal story should not obscure the very clear moral that David Cesarani, a historian at Royal Holloway, set forth. “If the owners of copyright want acknowledgment or token payment, that is fair enough. If they want fees that are then paid to a good cause, that is irksome but reasonable. However, if they want to profit personally from the writings of Nazi ancestors, criminals, and/or to control the extent of usage, that is unacceptable and verges on the obscene.” I’d say this episode crosses that threshold. Random House Germany intends to appeal the case to the German supreme court. I hope they prevail.                 

 

Contents                                                                                     

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

                                         

On Topic                                                                                        

 

J Street Launches Campaign Backing Iran Deal; AIPAC Calls for Rejection of Accord: JTA, July 16, 2015—AIPAC called on Congress to reject the Iran nuclear deal, saying it does not meet critical markers that the influential pro-Israel lobby outlined in recent weeks. But the liberal Jewish Middle East lobby J Street announced a multimillion-dollar campaign to support the agreement.

Look Before Leaping: Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, Mar. 25, 2015 —I can think of many good reasons to go ahead with the nuclear deal with Iran, and I can think of just as many reasons not to. So, if you’re confused, let me see if I can confuse you even more.

The New York Times vs. Israel: Jerold Auerbach, Algemeiner, June 10, 2015—A deep sigh of editorial relief was discernible at The New York Times following the Supreme Court decision in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, the Jerusalem passport case.

Globe & Mail Presents Dubious Anti-Israel Organization’s Report as “Credible”: Honest Reporting, June 10, 2015—On June 6, Globe and Mail reporter Patrick Martin published an article for online subscribers exclusively entitled: “Report on Gaza war raises questions about Israel’s ‘moral army’ claim” which presented the allegations of Breaking the Silence (BtS) – an anti-Israel NGO which produced a report it claimed detailed alleged abuses by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip last summer – as “credible,” despite that this organization has been discredited due to its agenda, flawed methodology, and foreign sources of funding.

When Tisha B’Av Occurs On Shabbat Or Sunday: Raphael Grunfeld, Jewish Press, July 23, 2015—Five tragedies occurred on Tisha B’Av. It was decreed that those who left Egypt would not enter the land of Israel, the first and second Temples were destroyed, the city of Betar was captured with thousands massacred, and Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the razed Temple. Consequently, Tisha B’Av was declared a day of national mourning and a fast day.

 

 

 

 

                                                                      

 

              

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.]               

                                                                       

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J’ACCUSE: GLOBE AND MAIL DELEGITIMIZES

ISRAEL’S CLAIM TO JERUSALEM                                                                                                    

Mike Fegelman                                                                                                   

Times of Israel, Apr. 24, 2015

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

                                                                       

 

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:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
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Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

THE SUMMER THAT WAS: VILE ANTISEMITISM IN EUROPE, NYT EXPOSES QATAR THINK-TANK FUNDING, & A WEE “SCOTS YIDDISH” TALE

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 Peace Negotiator Martin Indyk Cashed a Big, Fat $14.8 Million Check From Qatar: Lee Smith, Tablet, Sept. 17, 2014 — The New York Times recently published a long investigative report by Eric Lipton, Brooke Williams, and Nicholas Confessore on how foreign countries buy political influence through Washington think tanks.

Summer in Sweden: Ida Eriksson, Jeruasalem Post, Aug. 27, 2014— Summer is ending. The rain has washed summer away and the air is crisp and cool.

What’s Behind Germany’s New Anti-Semitism: Jochen Bittner, New York Times, Sept. 16, 2014 — Europe is living through a new wave of anti-Semitism.

The Secret Yiddish History of Scotland: Philologos, Forward, Sept. 16, 2014— Recently, as Scotland’s independence vote began to loom large in the media, someone asked me if I had ever heard of Scots Yiddish.

           

On Topic Links

 

Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks: Eric Lipton, Brooke Williams & Nicholas Confessore

, New York Times, Sept. 6, 2014

Anti-Semitism, Old and New: Ian Tuttle, National Review, Aug. 25, 2014

Meet the New Jews, Same as the Old Jews: James Kirchick, Tablet, Aug. 28, 2014

Klinghoffer: Pretending Art Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Sept. 15, 2014

Merkel Confronts Anti-Semitism: Wall Street Journal, Sept. 15, 2014

                            

 

HOW PEACE NEGOTIATOR MARTIN INDYK CASHED A                                

BIG, FAT $14.8 MILLION CHECK FROM QATAR                                              

Lee Smith                     

Tablet, Sept. 17, 2014

                                   

The New York Times recently published a long investigative report by Eric Lipton, Brooke Williams, and Nicholas Confessore on how foreign countries buy political influence through Washington think tanks. Judging from Twitter and other leading journalistic indicators, the paper’s original reporting appears to have gone almost entirely unread by human beings anywhere on the planet. In part, that’s because the Times’ editors decided to gift their big investigative scoop with the dry-as-dust title “Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks,” which sounds like the headline for an article in a D.C. version of The Onion. There is also the fact that the first 10 paragraphs of the Times piece are devoted to that highly controversial global actor, Norway, and its attempts to purchase the favors of The Center for Global Development, which I confess I’d never heard of before, although I live in Washington and attend think-tank events once or twice a week.

 

Except, buried deep in the Times’ epic snoozer was a world-class scoop related to one of the world’s biggest and most controversial stories—something so startling, and frankly so grotesque, that I have to bring it up again here: Martin Indyk, the man who ran John Kerry’s Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, whose failure in turn set off this summer’s bloody Gaza War, cashed a $14.8 million check from Qatar. Yes, you heard that right: In his capacity as vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at the prestigious Brookings Institution, Martin Indyk took an enormous sum of money from a foreign government that, in addition to its well-documented role as a funder of Sunni terror outfits throughout the Middle East, is the main patron of Hamas—which happens to be the mortal enemy of both the State of Israel and Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party.

 

But far from trumpeting its big scoop, the Times seems to have missed it entirely, even allowing Indyk to opine that the best way for foreign governments to shape policy is “scholarly, independent research, based on objective criteria.” Really? It is pretty hard to imagine what the words “independent” and “objective” mean coming from a man who while going from Brookings to public service and back to Brookings again pocketed $14.8 million in Qatari cash. At least the Times might have asked Indyk a few follow-up questions, like: Did he cash the check from Qatar before signing on to lead the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians? Did the check clear while he was in Jerusalem, or Ramallah? Or did the Qatari money land in the Brookings account only after Indyk gave interviews and speeches blaming the Israelis for his failure? We’ll never know now. But whichever way it happened looks pretty awful. Or maybe the editors decided that it was all on the level, and the money influenced neither Indyk’s government work on the peace process nor Brookings’ analysis of the Middle East. Or maybe journalists just don’t think it’s worth making a big fuss out of obvious conflicts of interest that may affect American foreign policy. Maybe Qatar’s $14.8 million doesn’t affect Brookings’ research projects or what the think tank’s scholars tell the media, including the New York Times, about subjects like Qatar, Hamas, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other related areas in which Qatar has key interests at stake. Maybe the think tank’s vaunted objectivity, and Indyk’s personal integrity and his pride in his career as a public servant, trump the large piles of vulgar Qatari natural gas money that keep the lights on and furnish the offices of Brookings scholars and pay their cell-phone bills and foreign travel.

 

But people in the Middle East may be a little less blasé about this kind of behavior than we are. Officials in the Netanyahu government, likely including the prime minister himself, say they’ll never trust Indyk again, in part due to the article by Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea in which an unnamed U.S. official with intimate knowledge of the talks, believed to be Indyk, blamed Israel for the failure of the peace talks. Certainly Jerusalem has good reason to be wary of an American diplomat who is also, or intermittently, a highly paid employee of Qatar’s ruling family. Among other things, Qatar hosts Hamas’ political chief Khaled Meshaal, the man calling the shots in Hamas’ war against the Jewish state. Moreover, Doha is currently Hamas’ chief financial backer—which means that while Qatar isn’t itself launching missiles on Israeli towns, Hamas wouldn’t be able to do so without Qatari cash. Of course, Hamas, which Qatar proudly sponsors, is a problem not just for Israel but also the Palestinian Authority. Which means that both sides in the negotiations that Indyk was supposed to oversee had good reason to distrust an American envoy who worked for the sponsor of their mutual enemy. In retrospect, it’s pretty hard to see how either side could have trusted Indyk at all—or why the administration imagined he would make a good go-between in the first place. Indeed, the notion that Indyk himself was personally responsible for the failure of peace talks is hardly far-fetched in a Middle East wilderness of conspiracy theories. After all, who benefits with an Israeli-PA stalemate? Why, the Islamist movement funded by the Arab emirate whose name starts with the letter “Q” and, according to the New York Times, is Brookings’ biggest donor.

 

There are lots of other questions that also seem worth asking, in light of this smelly revelation—like why in the midst of Operation Protective Edge this summer did Kerry seek to broker a Qatari- (and Turkish-) sponsored truce that would necessarily come at the expense of U.S. allies, Israel, and the PA, as well as Egypt, while benefiting Hamas, Qatar, and Turkey? Maybe it was just Kerry looking to stay active. Or maybe Indyk whispered something in his former boss’ ear—from his office at Brookings, which is paid for by Qatar.

 

It’s not clear why Indyk and Brookings seem to be getting a free pass from journalists—or why Qatar does. Yes, as host of the 2022 World Cup and owner of two famous European soccer teams (Barcelona and Paris St. Germain), Doha projects a fair amount of soft power—in Europe, but not America. Sure, Doha hosts U.S. Central Command at Al Udeid air base, but it also hosts Al Jazeera, the world’s most famous anti-American satellite news network. The Saudis hate Doha, as does Egypt and virtually all of America’s Sunni Arab allies. That’s in part because Qataris back not only Hamas, but other Muslim Brotherhood chapters around the region and Islamist movements that threaten the rule of the U.S.’s traditional partners and pride themselves on vehement anti-Americanism. Which is why, of course, Qatar wisely chose to go over the heads of the American public and appeal to the policy elite—a strategy that began in 2007, when Qatar and Brookings struck a deal to open a branch of the Washington-based organization in Doha. Since then, the relationship has obviously progressed, to the point where it can appear, to suspicious-minded people, like Qatar actually bought and paid for John Kerry’s point man in the Middle East, the same way they paid for the plane that flew U.N. Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-Moon around the region during this summer’s Gaza war…

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

 

                                                                                                               

Contents
   

                                                               

SUMMER IN SWEDEN                                                                                               

Ida Eriksson                                                                                                                                             

 

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 27, 2014

 

Summer is ending. The rain has washed summer away and the air is crisp and cool. You can almost feel the autumn sweeping in. You are walking to the local grocery store as you do every other day and suddenly everything is changed. The beautiful surroundings you find yourself in don’t match the hateful commentaries you get both from Jews and non-Jews on social media and elsewhere. They certainly doesn’t match the story of a Jew being attacked because of wearing a Magen David necklace some 500 meters outside your house. Who could imagine this could happen in the middle of Sweden? In a quarter that is heavily patrolled by police officers day and night? Once you were a Jew, now you are a baby-killer. Once you were a Swede, now you’ve become an Israeli. A long time ago you were accepted, part of society, now you are an outsider, once again. When you once came here you couldn’t reconcile the beautiful, perfectly-cut grass lanes and the tidiness of the street and the hard-working, marginalized people who surrounded you.

 

In the summer they used to burn cars, or even throw stones at bus drivers just for the sake of it, forgetting that these very bus drivers actually lived the same hard lives they did. All were striving through the Swedish societal maze of language, customs and behavioral codes. Once upon a time, when Jewish people in Europe were accused of baby-killing, or of housing Zionist nationalistic sentiments – they were persecuted and eventually murdered for it. Today, Jewish people in Europe are once more persecuted for their nationalistic sentiments and perceived as outsiders for their religious choices. Being a Jew in Sweden started as a privilege given to a single man, Aaron Isaac, at the end of the 18th century, and might end as a privilege accorded only to those Jews that don’t dare to be Jews. Such Jews apparently don’t realize they are acting exactly like their Spanish predecessors did at the end of the 15th century. They, too, were prevented – by law, as opposed to custom as is the case now – not to practice their religion in the open, and eventually had to flee for their lives. Hiding behind the Swedish custom of keeping religion a private matter, or trying to blend in, even going so far as letting go of some basic practices like circumcision or kosher slaughter are just a few examples. The Jewish practice of circumcision is compared in Sweden to female genital mutilation. Kosher slaughter is forbidden for hygienic reasons even though there are many research papers about Jewish customs and how they are intended to improve hygiene. A ban on circumcision has made it to the headlines a few times, resulting in a feeling of threat, though to date no legislation has been forthcoming. Kosher slaughter is forbidden by law.

 

Swedish Jews need to rise to the challenge; the challenge of protecting their life, lifestyle and right to choose freely, as can any Muslim or Christian in this country. If you feel you “stand with Israel” or “together we will win,” then you should know it’s all right and you shouldn’t fear for your life, your well-being or the consequences it will have on your family members. That is the meaning of freedom. Being free, in Israel or in Sweden, is hard work. You need to earn your freedom. You need to work hard in order to blend in, you need to be “lagom” (a Swedish word meaning “not too little and not too much”). In Israel the matter is protecting your life, and the little piece of sanity you have in order to go on functioning in society. In Sweden it’s about protecting your spiritual life and your mere existence as a Swedish Jew. Some would say these are actually the same. When autumn begins, you usually feel it is a fresh start. The new school year is coming, a new year commences at work after the long summer vacation. If you are Jewish then it is actually a new calendar year. In Sweden one can literally feel it in the air. This autumn, however, doesn’t feel refreshing. This autumn feels like history is just repeating itself. Living in Sweden today, having been born almost 40 years after Second World War and the Holocaust ended, makes it no better. The general feeling is “I don’t have a place in this world.”                                                                   

                                                                                               

Contents
                      

         

WHAT’S BEHIND GERMANY’S NEW ANTI-SEMITISM                                        

Jochen Bittner                                                                                                                   

New York Times, Sept. 16, 2014

 

Europe is living through a new wave of anti-Semitism. The president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews calls it the worst the Continent has seen since World War II. He may well be right. Attacks on synagogues are an almost weekly occurrence, and openly anti-Semitic chants are commonplace on well-attended marches from London to Rome. And yet it is here, in Germany, where the rise in anti-Semitism is most historically painful. On Sunday, thousands of people marched through Berlin in response, and heard both Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck denounce the resurgence in anti-Jewish hatred.

 

We’ve seen this before, of course. But there’s an important difference this time. The new anti-Semitism does not originate solely with the typical white-supremacist neo-Nazi; instead, the ugly truth that many in Europe don’t want to confront is that much of the anti-Jewish animus originates with European people of Muslim background. Until recently, Germany has been unwilling to discuss this trend. Germans have always seen Muslim anti-Semitism as a less problematic version of the “original” version, and therefore a distraction from the well-known problem of anti-Jewish sentiment within a majority of society. And yet the German police have noted a disturbing rise in the number of people of Arabic and Turkish descent arrested on suspicion of anti-Semitic acts in recent years, especially over the last several months. After noticing an alarming uptick in anti-Semitic sentiment among immigrant students, the German government is considering a special fund for Holocaust education.

 

Of course, anti-Semitism didn’t originate with Europe’s Muslims, nor are they its only proponents today. The traditional anti-Semitism of Europe’s far right persists. So, too, does that of the far left, as a negative byproduct of sympathy for the Palestinian liberation struggle. There’s also an anti-Semitism of the center, a subcategory of the sort of casual anti-Americanism and anticapitalism that many otherwise moderate Europeans espouse. But the rise of Muslim anti-Semitism is responsible for the recent change in the tone of hate in Germany. Until recently, the country’s anti-Semitism has been largely coded and anonymous. Messages might be spray-painted on walls at night; during the day, though, it would be rare to hear someone shout, as protesters did in Berlin in July, “Jews to the gas!” Another popular slogan at this and other rallies was “Jew, coward pig, come out and fight alone!” — shouted just yards from Berlin’s main Holocaust memorial. And this is the difference today: An anti-Semitism that is not only passionate, but also unaware of, or indifferent to, Germany’s special history.

 

Talking to Muslim friends, I can’t help but believe that the audacity of today’s anti-Semitism is in part a result of the exploitation of a “victim status,” an underdog sentiment that too many European Muslims have embraced enthusiastically. This is not just the sort of social-science explanation we often hear for hatred, as racism from people who are themselves the victims of racism and discrimination. Yes, there is discrimination against and exclusion of Muslims in Europe, and many of them certainly have reason to be frustrated. But this sentiment is more complex, born not only from how someone feels about himself and his neighbors, but about himself and his country. It is twofold: Germany’s history is not my history. And: I’ll never fully belong to your nation anyway, so why should I take on its burdens as you do? One friend, whose parents are from Turkey, told me that when she learned about the Holocaust at her German school, she wondered what all that had to do with her biography. As someone born in 1973, though with blond hair, I could ask the same question. The point is, it’s not about personal involvement; it is not in our blood, but it is in our history, in the timeline of a place that migrants have become part of. For Germans, accepting responsibility for the Holocaust has to mean feeling ultimately and more than any other nations’ citizens responsible for keeping the memory of its horrors alive — simply because those crimes were ordered from our soil.

 

Nothing more, but also nothing less has to be expected from every citizen of this country, no matter where her or his parents are from. What has become obvious this summer is that the “old” Germans have not yet managed to properly deliver this message to all the “new” Germans. Emotionally, this may have been understandable, given how many “bio-Germans,” as we call ethnic Germans, actually had Nazi family members that they still got to know, which may have made them wary of telling others what to think. But the lesson of the Holocaust is a lesson for mankind. And it’s every German’s job to make that clear at all times and to everyone, regardless of where you think you come from.       

 

                                                                               

Contents             

                                                                                                                       

                             

THE SECRET YIDDISH HISTORY OF SCOTLAND                                                Philologos                                                                                                                             Forward, Sept. 16, 2014

           

Recently, as Scotland’s independence vote began to loom large in the media, someone asked me if I had ever heard of Scots Yiddish. “I canna say that I have,” I answered, only to be told that there was an entire chapter on the subject in David Daiches’s autobiographical “Two Worlds: An Edinburgh Jewish Childhood.” Scots Yiddish? I decided to have a look. Daiches, a well-known English literary critic and historian who grew up in Edinburgh and later taught for years in the United States, was the son of a prominent rabbi, the de facto head of Edinburgh’s small Jewish community; his book is a fond memoir of a 1920s childhood and adolescence in both a strictly Orthodox home and a friendly, tolerant city in which Jewishness was casually accepted. Edinburgh, Daiches writes, had some 400 Jewish families in those days, many composed of Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe. Yet although he indeed refers to their speech as “Scots Yiddish” and even calls it “one of the most remarkable dialects ever spoken by man,” one comes away from his discussion of it with a sense of something linguistically less momentous. What he describes, far from being a distinctive language or dialect, is little more than what he terms “the debased Scots of the Edinburgh streets,” spoken with a Yiddish accent and a smattering of Yiddish words. It is merely a Scottish version, one might say, of the English that Eastern European Jewish immigrants were speaking on the streets of New York in the same period.

 

Still, such “Scots Yiddish” has a charm that the English of Orchard or Delancey Street never had. “Vot time’s yer barmitzvie, laddie?” Daiches recalls being asked by a fellow synagogue-goer shortly before his 13th birthday. “Ye’ll hae a drap o’bramfen. Ye ken: Nem a schmeck fun Dzon Beck.” Bronfn is Yiddish for liquor (in Eastern Europe it generally meant vodka, but Edinburgh is whisky land), while “Nem a shmek,” Yiddish for “Have a taste,” is, as Daiches points out, a clever translation that preserves the rhyme of the first half of the advertising slogan “Take a peg of John Begg.” And when Daiches once asked someone in the same synagogue why he scolded a visitor for talking during services when he was wont to talk during them himself, the reply was: “Two men vent into a poob and ordered a glass beer. Dey hadna been in dat poob more dan vonce or twice before. Vell, day sip deir beer un’ dey sit talking un’ schmoosing. Dey sit un’ talk un’ talk. At last de barman leans over de counter and he says to dem: ‘Oot!’ Nu, dat’s how it is mit a shul. I come here every veek and Hakodosh Borukh Hu [the Holy One Blessed Be He — that is God] kens me vell, un’ he don’t mind if I take it easy. But dese bleggages dat come vonce or twice a year — no! Dey daven or dey shot op!”

 

“’Bleggage,’ meaning scoundrel — one of two such words that Daiches mentions as exclusive to Scots Yiddish — is taken by him to be a corruption of “blackguard,” which seems a reasonable guess. The second word, for which he gives no origin, is “trebblers,” defined by him as “those Edinburgh Jews who made a precarious living as itinerant salesmen, peddling anything from sewing needles to ready-made dresses.” The derivation is almost certainly from Yiddish traybn, a cognate of English “drive” that occurs in the expression traybn a gesheft, “to run a business.” (The word may have assumed this meaning because many peddlers drove carts or wagons with their goods from village to village.) Daiches writes affectionately about the trebblers who filled the trains every morning on their way to their various destinations and said their morning prayers en route. They “had perfected a technique for getting compartments to themselves, and even if they had not, it would have taken a hardy outsider to enter a compartment where a swaying, bearded figure stood chanting at the window.”

 

Daiches thinks that Yiddish may have sounded less outlandish to Scots than to ordinary Englishmen because the Scots language shares some of Yiddish’s Germanic vocabulary and sounds that English lacks. Words like Scots “to hoast,” to cough, which is close to Yiddish hustn, or “lift,” sky, which is akin to Yiddish luft, “air,” exist in considerable numbers. Sometimes the two languages coincide. “More light” in Scots is “mair licht,” which sounds exactly the same as Yiddish mer likht. In fact, Daiches writes, he once conversed with a stationmaster along one of the lines the trebblers traveled and was told by him that his father would speak to them in broad Scots and be answered in Yiddish “with perfectly adequate mutual intelligibility.” It’s a nice story, but I have my doubts about it. English shares a huge vocabulary with both German and French, but that doesn’t make either of these two languages intelligible to English speakers or vice versa. In any case, whatever the future of Scots (which has been steadily losing ground to standard English for decades) in an independent Scotland, “Scots Yiddish” will not be around to try out on its speakers. Dos iz alts geven in days o’lang syne.

                                                                                                               

Contents                                                                       

 

                                       

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

On Topic

 

Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks: Eric Lipton, Brooke Williams & Nicholas Confessore, New York Times, Sept. 6, 2014—The agreement signed last year by the Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs was explicit: For $5 million, Norway’s partner in Washington would push top officials at the White House, at the Treasury Department and in Congress to double spending on a United States foreign aid program.

Klinghoffer: Pretending Art Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Sept. 15, 2014 —The most important thing to know about the Metropolitan Opera’s staging of the provocation piece “The Death of Klinghoffer,” is that the first of what should be many protests against it will be on Monday, Sept 22, starting at 4:30 p.m., at the Metropolitan Opera, which is nestled in the Lincoln Center Complex, at Broadway and West 65th Street in New York City.

Anti-Semitism, Old and New: Ian Tuttle, National Review, Aug. 25, 2014—Across Europe’s borders in recent years have flooded millions upon millions of immigrants, the overwhelming majority from North Africa and the Middle East.

Merkel Confronts Anti-Semitism: Wall Street Journal, Sept. 15, 2014—Angela Merkel spoke out Sunday against the spread of anti-Semitism in Germany. After a summer when protesters at rallies against Israel were heard chanting "Jews to the gas," the Chancellor's speech was a welcome affirmation of the country's best liberal traditions.

Meet the New Jews, Same as the Old Jews: James Kirchick, Tablet, Aug. 28, 2014 — With violent attacks against Jewish communities on the rise across Europe, it’s worth revisiting one of the sillier memes to have infested public discussion over the past decade: that Muslims are the “new Jews.”

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

NYT AND OTHER MEDIA CRITICIZED FOR ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS IN GAZA WAR COVERAGE

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:

 

Why I’m Unsubscribing From the New York Times: Richard A. Block, Tablet, Aug. 28, 2014 — I am a lifelong Democrat, a political liberal, a Reform rabbi, and for four decades, until last week, a New York Times subscriber.

Why Israel is Losing the Information War: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 20, 2014— For most Israelis, the international discourse on Gaza is unintelligible.

How to Wright About Israel: Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, Aug. 17, 2014 — Writing about Israel is a booming field.

Middle East Media Stereotypes: David Bensoussan, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Aug. 12, 2014— The plethora of articles which are written on the Middle East conflict is disproportionate relative to all other conflicts all over the world.

 

On Topic Links

 

Everything But the Truth: Machla Abramovitz, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Aug. 7, 2014

Would I Lie to You?: David B. Harris, Toronto Sun, Aug. 30, 2014

The Media Intifada: Bad Math, Ugly Truths About New York Times In Israel-Hamas War: Richard Behar, Forbes, Aug. 21, 2014

Manipulating the Truth: Brenda Katten, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 14, 2014

 

WHY I’M UNSUBSCRIBING FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES                    

Richard A. Block                                                                                                  

Tablet, Aug. 28, 2014

 

I am a lifelong Democrat, a political liberal, a Reform rabbi, and for four decades, until last week, a New York Times subscriber. What drove me away was the paper’s incessant denigration of Israel, a torrent of articles, photographs, and op-ed columns that consistently present the Jewish State in the worst possible light. This phenomenon is not new. Knowledgeable observers have long assailed the Times lack of objectivity and absence of journalistic integrity in reporting on Israel. My chronic irritation finally morphed into alienation and then to visceral disgust this summer, after Hamas renewed its terrorist assaults upon Israel and the Times launched what can only be described as a campaign to delegitimize the Jewish State.

 

The Middle East conflict is complex, but the root cause of Israel’s confrontation with Hamas is not. Committed by its charter to “obliterate” Israel and kill all Jews everywhere, Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S., Britain, and the European Union, a designation substantiated by its raining rockets down on Israel’s civilians and tunneling under its border to kill and kidnap, indisputable war crimes.

Renowned Israeli novelist, leftist, and self-declared “Israeli peacenik” Amos Oz captured the essence of the conflict in two questions he posed to a German radio audience. “What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery? What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?”

 

The answers are self-evident to everyone except the New York Times. Its obsessive focus is on Palestinian civilian casualties, especially children, publishing photos of their corpses and little else, as if they tell the whole story. The deaths of innocents in wartime are tragic and heartbreaking; they diminish us all. But a newspaper committed to balance and fairness would provide context and perspective. It would show traumatized Israeli children running to shelters, cowering, wetting their beds, and suffering nightmares. It would publish photos and accounts of militants launching rockets from the roofs of mosques, a church, and a media hotel, alongside schools, refugee shelters, clinics and hospitals, and of weapons concealed by Hamas in UN facilities. It would substantiate casualty figures from Hamas, which is known to have falsified them in the past, before reporting them as fact. It would highlight Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields, its urging civilians to ignore Israel’s advance warnings to depart, so that Gazans would be killed and inflict PR damage on Israel. Such a paper would cover the threats of death that inhibited reporters and photojournalists from telling the true, full story. But the Times did not.

 

What it did instead is revealed by a sample of headlines: “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;” “Israel’s Supporters Try to Come to Terms with the Killing of Children in Gaza;” “Israel Braces for War Crimes Inquiries on Gaza;” “Resisting Nazis, He Saw Need for Israel. Now He Is Its Critic.”

 

Then there are the op-eds: “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;” “Israel’s Colonialism Must End;” “Unwavering Support of Israel Harms U.S. Interests, Encourages Extremism;” “Eight Days in Gaza: A Wartime Diary: Life and Death in the Gaza Strip.” The last column consumed nearly the entire op-ed page.

 

The straw that broke my subscription’s back came on Aug. 19, when Hamas violated yet another truce, sending a fusillade of rockets into Israel. The Wall Street Journal’s headline read, “Gaza Rocket Strikes End Cease Fire.” A U.S. State Department spokesperson condemned the renewed rocket fire, holding Hamas responsible for causing the ceasefire to break down. The Times headline: “Rockets From Gaza and Israeli Response Break Cease-Fire.” Seriously? A newspaper that cannot distinguish between starting a fight and defending oneself is intellectually deficient, morally obtuse, and profoundly unworthy of its readers.

I know the Times won’t miss me. The feeling is mutual.

 

                                                                                                               

Contents

WHY ISRAEL IS LOSING THE INFORMATION WAR                               

Caroline B. Glick                                                                                                             

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 20, 2014

 

For most Israelis, the international discourse on Gaza is unintelligible. Here we were going along, minding our own business. Then on a clear night in June, apropos of nothing, Palestinian terrorists stole, murdered and hid the bodies of three of our children as they made their way home from school. Before we could catch our breath from that atrocity, they began shelling our major population centers with thousands of rockets, missiles and mortars, and infiltrated our communities along the border with Gaza through underground tunnels to kidnap and murder us. And as the Palestinians did all of these things, they used their civilian population and the foreign press corps as human sandbags. They ordered their own people not to evacuate their homes from which Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad terrorists launched their missiles, rockets and mortars at Israel. And they launched missiles at Israeli cities from outside the hotel where the foreign reporters were staying. It doesn’t take a PhD to understand what the game is. And Israelis – even many with PhDs – understand what is happening. This is why so many Israelis are up in arms about our government’s failure to impact the wall of lies that comprises the discourse on Israel in the Western world. The knee-jerk reaction of many Israelis to the sight of UN officials, CNN anchors and New York Times reporters accusing us of committing war crimes is to blame ourselves. Our hasbara (public diplomacy) is a catastrophe, our defenders are incompetent idiots, we moan and scream.

 

But the truth is not so simple. Our speakers have gotten much better over the past several years. Some, like ambassadors Ron Dermer and Ron Prosor and IDF Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, are excellent. Israel’s public diplomacy efforts have been unsuccessful in penetrating, let alone dismantling the edifice of lies that constitutes the Western narrative about the Palestinian war against us because our underlying strategy for contending with it is directed at the wrong goal. Our PR gurus defined our hasbara goal as getting our story out effectively. To do so, Israel has operated on two parallel tracks. First, we have tried to adjust our policies to adhere to what we perceive as the West’s demands. We have employed measures unprecedented in military history to protect the Palestinians from their elected leaders who use them as fodder in their propaganda war against Israel. There is no precedent in the history of warfare to Israel’s practice of warning Palestinians when it is about to attack civilian installations that Hamas has unlawfully used to attack Israel. Moreover, Israel has accepted interpretations of the laws of war – such as the specious assertion that Israel is required to provide free electricity to Gaza – that have no relationship whatsoever to international law.

The second component of getting out our story has been developing the sort of glitzy, media-friendly PR apparatus that everybody who is everybody says is the be all and end all of a successful media strategy. There is no foreign press corps more coddled than the foreign press corps in Israel. No government is more active on social media sites than Israel. And yet, for all of our efforts, the UN Human Rights Committee appointed an open hater of Israel who doesn’t have a problem with Hamas to run a phony investigation of the IDF’s imaginary war crimes. For all our efforts, The New York Times, MSNBC, the European media, CNN and all the rest demonize our soldiers and leaders. They ignore the fact that everything Hamas and its allies in Fatah and Islamic Jihad do is a war crime – from calling for the annihilation of Israel to shooting rockets at civilian population centers, to shooting rockets at civilian population centers from hospitals and from outside the hotel where their reporters are staying in Gaza. So desperate are we for any truth in reporting that we seize as a major victory the fact that a Wall Street Journal reporter was nice enough to Tweet the fact that he interviewed a Hamas leader in Shifa hospital.

A casual glance at the mountain of distorted and simply false stories reported about Israel and its enemies makes clear that at a minimum, most of the Western media don’t care about the truth. The fact that they sent reporters to Israel and Gaza doesn’t mean they wanted those reporters to publish what is going on. The reporters knew what they were supposed to say before they even got on a plane to Israel. True, Hamas has openly acknowledged that it prohibited the foreign press from filming its terrorists and their war crimes. But with rare exceptions, the media had no problem with Hamas’s rules. So too, the UN Human Rights Council didn’t decide to form a commission of inquiry to criminalize Israel because we weren’t good enough at showing the lengths we go to protect Gazans from their elected leaders. And the UNHRC didn’t appoint William Schabas, who has called for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to be tried for war crimes, to lead its star chamber because it didn’t get the press release proving that Israel acts in compliance with international law. The media, the US State Department and the UN attack Israel for crimes that Hamas commits because they are wedded to a narrative in which Israel is to blame for its enemies’ desire to destroy it…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                                           

Contents

HOW TO WRIGHT ABOUT ISRAEL                                                   

Daniel Greenfield                                                                                               

Sultan Knish, Aug. 17, 2014

 

Writing about Israel is a booming field. No news agency, be it ever so humble, can avoid embedding a few correspondents and a dog's tail of stringers into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, to sit in cafes clicking away on their laptops, meeting up with leftist NGO's and the oppressed Muslim of the week. At a time when international desks are being cut to the bone, this is the one bone that the newshounds won't give up. Wars can be covered from thousands of miles away, genocide can go to the back page, but, when a rock flies in the West Bank, there had better be a correspondent with a fake continental accent and a khaki shirt to cover it.

 

Writing about Israel isn't hard. Anyone who has consumed a steady diet of media over the years already knows all the bullet points. The trick is arranging them artistically, like so many wilted flowers, in the story of this week's outrage. Israel is hot, even in the winter, with the suggestion of violence brimming under the surface. It should be described as a "troubled land." Throw in occasional ironic biblical references and end every article or broadcast by emphasizing that peace is still far away. It has two types of people; the Israelis who live in posh houses stocked with all the latest appliances and the Arabs who live in crumbling shacks that are always in danger of being bulldozed. The Israelis are fanatical, the Arabs are passionate. The Israelis are hate-filled, while the Arabs are embittered. The Israelis have everything while the Arabs have nothing.Avoid mentioning all the mansions that you pass on the way to interviewing some Palestinian Authority or Hamas bigwig. When visiting a terrorist prisoner in an Israeli jail, be sure to call him a militant, somewhere in the fifth paragraph, but do not mention the sheer amount of food in the prison, especially if he is on a hunger strike. If you happen to notice that the prisoners live better than most Israelis, that is something you will not refer to. Instead describe them as passionate and embittered. Never ask them how many children they killed or how much they make a month. Ask them what they think the prospects for peace are. Nod knowingly when they say that it's up to Israel.

 

Weigh every story one way. Depersonalize Israelis, personalize Muslims. One is a statistic, the other a precious snowflake. A Muslim terrorist attack is always in retaliation for something, but an Israeli attack is rarely a retaliation for anything. When Israeli planes bomb a terrorist hideout, suggest that this latest action only feeds the "Cycle of Violence" and quote some official who urges Israel to return to peace negotiations– whether or not there actually are any negotiations to return to. Center everything around peace negotiations. If Israel has any domestic politics that don't involve checkpoints and air strikes, do your best to avoid learning about them. Frame all Israeli politics by asking whether a politician is finally willing to make the compromises that you think are necessary for peace. Always sigh regretfully and find them wanting. Assume that all Israelis think the same way. Every vote is a referendum on the peace process. A vote for a conservative party means that Israelis hate peace.

 

The Israelis can also be divided into two categories. There are the good Israelis, who wear glasses, own iPads and live in trendy neighborhoods. They are very concerned that the country is losing its soul by oppressing another people. They strum out-of-date American peace songs on guitars that they play badly, but which you will describe them as playing "soulfully", and they show up at rallies demanding that the government make peace with the Palestinians. Your good Israelis invariably volunteer or work for some NGO, a fact that you may or may not mention in your article, but you are not to discuss who funds their NGO, particularly if it's a foreign government. Write about them as if they are the hope of an otherwise brutish and unreasonable Israel too obsessed with killing and destroying to listen to the hopeful voices of its children. When writing about them, act as if they are representative of the country's youth and its best and brightest, which for all you know they might be, because you rarely meet anyone who isn't like them, because you rarely meet anyone who isn't like you. When you do it's either a taxi driver, repairman or some working-class fellow whom you have nothing in common with, and who turns out to be a raving militant when it comes to the terrorism question.

 

These are the other Israelis. The big swarthy men who have no interest in alternative art exhibits. If you have to deal with them at all, get a quote from them about their hopes for peace and how much they dislike the government. Pretend that the two things are connected, and that everything that your friends, who are aspiring artists and playwrights, as well as volunteer humanitarians, told you about the country being ready to rise up against right-wingers like Barak and Netanyahu, to demand peace, is absolutely true. Don't ask yourself why the country keeps electing right-wingers; if you do, turn it into an essay that touches on Holocaust trauma and biblical hatred. At some point, you will have to write about the thin bearded men in black hats rushing through the streets on their inscrutable errands. Describe them as "Ultra-Orthodox", even if the word does not seem to mean anything, and pretend that they're all the same. If anyone tries to explain the distinctions to you, ignore them. When writing about them, be sure to imply that they are ignorant and fanatical. Mention their growing numbers as a danger to the survival of the state, associate them wrongly with the right wing and throw in some of the complaints from your friends about the "Schorim", the blacks,  moving in and destroying secular neighborhoods…

 

MIDDLE EAST MEDIA STEREOTYPES                                                        

David Bensoussan

Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Aug. 12, 2014

 

The plethora of articles which are written on the Middle East conflict is disproportionate relative to all other conflicts all over the world. The Economist noted that there were more journalists dispatched to Israel than all of Asia and Africa combined. This anomaly on its own merits an analysis, however, the purpose here is to highlight certain assertions and media stereotypes regarding the Israel-Arab conflict.  

 

On the international scene: United Nations resolutions: The General Assembly resolutions (which are not Security Council resolutions) are adopted with the automatic majority vote and complicity of the Arab-Moslem states and anti-Israel resolutions are never-ending at the UN. Through these automatic block votes, the UN agenda is high jacked, made a mockery of and distorted. In contrast, the genocide in Darfur was never debated while Sudan was elected to spearhead the UN committee responsible for humanitarian causes! Similarly, Syria, responsible for countless civilian deaths, was elected to spearhead the UN committee responsible for safeguarding human rights! 

 

West Bank settlements: The truth is that nothing is illegal about the settlements. The final recognized and secure borders are to be discussed and agreed-upon once final peace negotiations are undertaken (Security Council Resolution 242 [1967]). It should be noted here that when Egypt and Jordan signed peace agreements with Israel, territorial agreements were signed to the satisfaction of all the parties involved. Given the present realities on the ground, it is integral that such negotiations take place as soon as possible. 

 

Occupation:  This term is used only when discussing the Israeli presence in the West Bank while it is completely ignored to describe the occupation of the Palestinians by the Hamas dictatorship or by the corrupt Palestinian Authority… 

The media bias: The media have totally ignored the progress of the positive steps initiated by Israelis and Palestinians towards collaboration on a daily life basis.  The easy news story involves bringing to the fore the sensationalistic images that reinforce the stereotypes of unequal adversaries.  The media wants to maintain its neutrality by granting equal importance to both parties: On one side is an open democracy, Israel and the other side is a terrorizing dictatorship, Hamas. What credence can be given to the statements of those who use their own children as human shields? The media are so caught up in scrutinizing Israel’s actions that they omit to condemn Hamas as well as the Arab states that themselves do not condemn Hamas publicly. The media conveniently omits to compare the speeches given by Hamas to the foreign press with the heinous speeches they make while in front of their own citizens. 

 

Reporting on the present conflict: “Poor Gazans”: the Israeli army and citizens have withdrawn from Gaza since 2005.  Gaza is free of any Israeli presence and can, in view of its geographic position, ensure a decent standard of living to its citizens. The assertion that the inhabitants of Gaza are suffering and to be pitied rings hollow when we know that Hamas squanders astronomical sums of international funds donated to help the citizens in order to pour hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete to build tunnels as well as to purchase more and more deadly rockets. The citizens of Gaza are victims of Hamas tyranny on a daily basis placing them in a state of misery and desperation. Casualty reports:  Israel has built shelters to protect its children whereas Hamas uses children to protect its shelters full of rockets. Hamas deliberately fires rockets on Israeli citizens obliging millions to run and hole up for cover. The media nevertheless bemoans the low number of losses of human life in Israel. How can this kind of reasoning hold water? Criticizing the imbalance in casualties, implying that more Israelis should die, is pure hypocrisy. 

 

Allegations of massacres: Israel is continuously bombarded with allegations of massacres even before the facts have been verified. Claiming that massacres occurred when in fact they did not, is an insult to people’s intelligence. A high percentage of Hamas rockets fall short of Israel and land in Gaza, doing considerable damage there. Ignoring the massacres committed by Hamas on its own people is nothing short of criminal.  

 

On the Opinion of People Interviewed in Gaza: When the people of Gaza will be able to freely speak their minds without fear of being assassinated by Hamas (which is already summarily executing citizens without trial and accusing some Gazans of being “collaborators”), then the media will be able to report honestly about the  opinion of Gaza’s; not before. 

 

Arab outrage: Hamas has no respect for human life. They are dedicated to the destruction of Israel and openly proclaim that martyrdom is preferable to human life. Where is the outrage in the Arab world itself demanding that Hamas stop this insanity? 

 

Other media gems: “Iran is a peace loving country”: “Peaceful” Shiite Iran, the main backer and supplier of rockets to Hamas, regularly gathers tens of thousands of people in Teheran during Friday’s mosque services to scream “Death to America!”  Iran and its Lebanese puppet terrorists, the Hezbollah, have nothing to do in Syria but contribute to support and uphold the actions of their partner in crime, the murderer, Hafez Al Assad (over the last four years, the number of Syrian deaths approaches 200 000—where is the notion of proportionality of coverage of this conflict by the media when compared to that of the Israel-Palestinian conflict?).    

 

Note the utter insensitivity of the media to Putin’s killing of more than 200 000 Chechens, Saddam Hussein’s 150 000 Kurdish victims,  one million Iraqis and Iranians in the Iran-Iraq war, the massacre of one to two million Christians in Sudan, 100 000 Lebanese during the civil war, more than 300 000 in Darfur, 25 000 inhabitants of Hama killed by Syria’s Hafez Al Assad,  20 000 Palestinians killed in Jordan during Black September, 200 000 victims of the civil war in Algeria, almost 200 000 deaths in Syria to date and daily suicide-attacks and murders between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, and so on, and so forth. Yet the media spends most of its time scrutinizing Israel, the country which takes extraordinary measures to minimize civilian casualties in a war initiated against it by a genocidal enemy. The media acts as if it was not worth reporting massacres committed by Arabs to other Arabs in the Middle East, as if their lives were so worthless so were their deaths.

                   (Professor David Bensoussan is a CIJR Academic Fellow)

 

On Topic

 

Everything But the Truth: Machla Abramovitz, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Aug. 7, 2014—On July 13, five days after Israel had launched Operation Protective Edge to shield its citizens from hundreds of missile strikes launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times wrote the following lead summing up the war to that point…

Would I Lie to You?: David B. Harris, Toronto Sun, Aug. 30, 2014—What’s heading our way, in this terrorist-bloodied world?

The Media Intifada: Bad Math, Ugly Truths About New York Times In Israel-Hamas War: Richard Behar, Forbes, Aug. 21, 2014 —It’s a “media intifada,” notes Gary Weiss, an old colleague and one of the world’s top business investigative reporters.

Manipulating the Truth: Brenda Katten, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 14, 2014—In the early days of Operation Protective Edge, the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder,  gave an interview to The Jerusalem Post in which he accused the international media of fanning anti-Semitism.

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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KEEP P.A., & NYT, OUT OF GAZA— AND, RE AFGHANISTAN, REMEMBER IRAQ

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Contents:

 

Bringing Abbas Back to Gaza Not a Good Idea: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 21, 2014  — Those who believe that the reinstatement of the Palestinian Authority [PA] in the Gaza Strip would destroy or undermine Hamas and end rocket attacks on Israel are living under an illusion.

The Media Intifada: Bad Math, Ugly Truths About New York Times In Israel-Hamas War: Richard Behar, Forbes, Aug. 21, 2014 — It’s a “media intifada,” notes Gary Weiss, an old colleague and one of the world’s top business investigative reporters.

General Greene's Death and the Afghan Mission: Max Boot, Commentary, Aug. 6, 2014 — The death of Major General Harold Greene in Kabul is shocking on many levels.

How Iraq Explains Why the U.S. Shouldn't Leave Afghanistan: Paul D. Miller, Foreign Policy, Aug. 25, 2014  — President Obama has tried to articulate a clear doctrine of when the United States should use force.

 

On Topic Links

 

Petition: Hamas Leaders Must be Tried For War Crimes

PA leader: "Am I stopping You From Slaughtering a Settlement?": Youtube, Aug. 13, 2014

New York Times Gaza Correspondent Exposed as Arafat Fan: Honest Reporting, Aug. 24, 2014

U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene Was Buried Today at Arlington National Cemetery…Guess Who Was Missing…: Aug. 23, 2014

Financial Crisis Looming Over Afghanistan: Nathan Hodge, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 25, 2014

 

BRINGING ABBAS BACK TO GAZA NOT A GOOD IDEA                                            

Khaled Abu Toameh                                                                                                      

Gatestone Institute, Aug. 21, 2014

 

Those who believe that the reinstatement of the Palestinian Authority [PA] in the Gaza Strip would destroy or undermine Hamas and end rocket attacks on Israel are living under an illusion. The talk about restoring PA control over the Gaza Strip was first raised during the indirect cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo. The Egyptians made clear during the talks that they would like to see PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his forces reassume control over the Gaza Strip. One proposal called for deploying security officers belonging to Abbas's "Presidential Guard" along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

 

The Egyptian proposal has won the backing of the U.S. Administration, many European governments and some Arab countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Abbas, who lost the Gaza Strip to Hamas in the summer of 2007, has thus far refrained from publicly commenting on these reports. Abbas would probably love to retake control over the Gaza Strip, especially as such a move would solidify his status as president of all Palestinians, and not just the ruler of certain parts of the West Bank. Abbas is well aware, however, that under the current circumstances, his return to the Gaza Strip would be seen by Hamas and other Palestinians as an act of treason. The last thing he needs is to be accused of returning to the Gaza Strip "aboard an Israeli tank."

 

There are other reasons why Abbas is not eager, at least at this stage, to regain control over the Gaza Strip. The main reason is that he still does not trust Hamas in spite of the unity agreement he signed with the Islamist movement last April. When Hamas defeated his forces and toppled the Palestinian Authority in 2007, Abbas was lucky to leave the Gaza Strip alive. After the Hamas coup, Abbas revealed that the Islamist movement had tried to kill him just before its militiamen seized control of the entire Gaza Strip. In a televised speech in June 2007, Abbas accused Hamas of trying to assassinate him by using tunnels to target his motorcade.

 

Abbas said he had seen videotapes of Hamas terrorists digging a tunnel under a road where his car was supposed to pass in the Gaza Strip. The terrorists, he added, had planned to fill the tunnel with 250 kilograms of explosives. Abbas said that the terrorists had boasted on the tape that the bomb was "for Abu Mazen" [Abbas's nickname]. He said that he sent copies of the videotape to Arab heads of state to expose the Hamas plot. Today, when Abbas sees the dozens of Hamas tunnels discovered by the Israel Defense Forces [IDF], he must be asking himself if these are the same tunnels that were supposed to be used in the assassination scheme against him. And there is no doubt that Abbas must feel relieved to see the IDF destroy the terror tunnels.

 

Another reason Abbas is reluctant to return to the Gaza Strip is the ongoing tensions between his Fatah faction and Hamas. These tensions have persisted despite the unity agreement between the two parties and despite the formation of a Palestinian "national consensus" government. According to sources in the Gaza Strip, since the beginning of the war Hamas has placed more than 250 Fatah members under house arrest. Some Fatah activists who violated the cease-fire were shot in the arms and legs. The lucky ones only had their arms and legs broken. Gen. Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security forces in the West Bank, confirmed this week that Hamas has been targeting Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip. He said that some of the wounded men had been transferred for medical treatment in West Bank and Jordanian hospitals. A third reason why Abbas still does not trust Hamas is the revelation this week that the Islamist movement had planned to overthrow his regime in the West Bank. Thanks to the efforts of the Israeli Shin Bet and IDF, the coup plot was foiled after the arrest of dozens of Hamas operatives in the West Bank. Abbas himself seems to be aware that were it not for Israel, Hamas would have removed him from power a long time ago and extended its control to the West Bank.

 

Today, Abbas seems to feel safer sitting with Israel in the West Bank than he does being with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Abbas also knows that his return to the Gaza Strip would not stop Hamas and other terrorist groups from continuing their rocket attacks on Israel. Many seem to have forgotten that even while he was in control of the Gaza Strip, Abbas could not stop the rocket attacks or disarm any of the terrorist groups. Even his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, was not able to stop the rocket attacks or rein in the terrorist groups. Even if the Palestinian Authority were to return to the Gaza Strip, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups would not disappear. The PA in the Gaza Strip would end up like the Lebanese government, which has no control over the terrorist Hizbullah organization.

 

This is precisely what Hamas wants: a weak Palestinian Authority that would manage the day-to-day affairs of the Palestinians and pay salaries to tens of thousands of employees, while the Islamist movement and its allies continue to smuggle weapons and prepare for the next war with Israel. Such a scenario would only strengthen Hamas: it would absolve it of its responsibilities toward the residents of the Gaza Strip by laying the burden on the Palestinian Authority. Abbas and the PA cannot return to the Gaza Strip unless Hamas and its allies are completely disarmed or severely undermined as result of Israeli military action or international agreements to demilitarize the entire Gaza Strip. For now, it would be better to keep Abbas and his Palestinian Authority away from the Gaza Strip instead of turning them into puppets in the hands of Hamas and its sponsors in Qatar.

 

Contents
                            

THE MEDIA INTIFADA: BAD MATH, UGLY TRUTHS                                        

ABOUT NEW YORK TIMES IN ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR                                                  

Richard Behar                                                                                                               

Forbes, Aug. 21, 2014

 

It’s a “media intifada,” notes Gary Weiss, an old colleague and one of the world’s top business investigative reporters. He is referring of course to the ongoing war in Gaza, where journalists working for American news outlets have, he says, “become part of the Hamas war machine.” As more than a month has passed since Israel began its Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, it’s high time to dig through the carnage that many of my colleagues from major U.S. media outlets are leaving behind—especially the New York Times. On August 11th, the normally Israel-averse Foreign Press Association in Israel conceded what those closely following the war coverage already knew: That Hamas has been intimidating foreign reporters. In a harsh statement, it condemned the terrorist group for “the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.”

 

This is hardly surprising, as who can expect a terrorist group to treat reporters nicely—except perhaps many reporters themselves? But what is surprising is that New York Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren undermined her own newspaper—quickly denouncing the FPA’s statement. She said in a tweet that she wasn’t aware of any such harassed reporters, even though she concedes she spent only one week in Gaza herself during the height of the conflict. In an email to the FPA, she said that the FPA’s statement could be “dangerous” to the “credibility” of the foreign press who are covering the conflict. “Every reporter I’ve met who was in Gaza during war says this Israeli/now FPA narrative of Hamas harassment is nonsense,” she tweeted. I agree that there’s a lot of nonsense being disseminated about Israel’s war with Hamas, and about the media role in the conflict. And I agree that there is a danger—if people believe that the media, including the New York Times, provides a fair picture of the war in Gaza. (I would argue it is not.)

 

Since late July, I’ve conducted an in-depth look at the credibility of the media coverage, plus interviews with military experts and some journalists covering the war. Among other things, I’ve discovered that the Times’ most important reporter in Gaza for the past few years has used the late Yasser Arafat as his profile photo on Facebook, and, in a second photo, praised the former Palestinian leader. This suggests that the Times may have less to worry about in terms of Hamas intimidation than others in the press corps. Indeed, this Times reporter’s parallel pieces for Qatar’s Al Jazeera since the war began can only be pleasing to the terrorists…

 

Since the operation (now clearly a war—albeit interspersed with ceasefires) began on July 8th, so much of the Western coverage has been predictably skewed against Israel—through those time-honored journalism tools of sloppy and lazy reporting, superficiality, nuance, omission, lack of historical knowledge, or flat-out agenda-driven lies and bias. Journalism ethics professors and historians take note: You are bearing witness, with few exceptions, to some of the most abysmal overseas reporting since Hearst’s New York Journal in 1898 got us into the Spanish-American War and Walter Duranty of the New York Times was ignoring Stalin’s crimes in the 1930s. “We’re not just talking bad journalism,” says Weiss. “We’re talking about journalism that functions as a tool of a terrorist organization, Hamas: breathlessly pushing its narrative, whether cowed by its threats, sympathetic to its cause, or simply ignorant.” It’s not for lack of personnel. Israel’s Government Press Office says just over 700 foreign journalists from more than 40 countries have come to Israel to cover the war (joining the 750 already there). But only a few of them are doing their jobs right—that is, moving beyond the surface imagery and the heavy-handed (and wrong) “David and Goliath” agenda being advanced by the fascistic, death-worshipping terrorist group Hamas.

 

I raised the topic last week with Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York. “As someone who is a student of the media and a former journalist,” he says, “I find it bizarre — journalistically and morally – that after a month of intense fighting between Israel and Hamas, there were hardly any images shown in Western media of Hamas terrorists holding guns or Hamas terrorists engaged in hostile activities against Israel. It’s as if there’s only one side, and this could be a result of two reasons: Either journalists are looking for the easy story, the available story, what’s in front of their eyes. Or they’re being intimidated by Hamas. And I believe that what we’ve probably had is a combination of both.” This epidemic of journalistic malpractice is contributing to the pain and loss of life that Palestinians in Gaza are suffering—as it helps to empower Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., the EU, Canada, Japan, Egypt and Jordan. (This designation is too often not-fit-to-print by the New York Times and other media outlets.) In turn, this no doubt helps spread oil on the rising and frightening anti-Semitism we’re seeing in Europe and elsewhere.

 

And that is no accident. Hamas’s rarely-mentioned 1988 charter is a throwback to 1930s Nazi anti-Semitism, pure and simple, with a genocidal intent that is unambiguous. Indeed, Hamas is the spiritual successor to the anti-Semitic Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Palestinian leader who famously met and worked with Adolf Hitler and his henchman Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS and architect of the Final Solution, as he aligned the Palestinian Arab cause with the Axis during World War II. You might say that the battle that Hamas is fighting is not a new one at all, but a continuation of Hitler’s unfinished business from World War II.  If this all sounds new to you it’s no wonder—the media rarely delves beyond the surface into Hamas’s ideology and historical antecedents. But that is but one of many problems with the coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict, and not even the worst…

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

 

                                                                                                               

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GENERAL GREENE'S DEATH AND THE AFGHAN MISSION                          

Max Boot                

Commentary, Aug. 6, 2014

 

The death of Major General Harold Greene in Kabul is shocking on many levels. He is the most senior military officer killed in a war zone overseas since the Vietnam War and by all accounts a highly intelligent and competent officer who, ironically enough, had never served in combat before arriving in Afghanistan this year to take the No. 2 job at the command charged with training Afghan troops. Kabul is not particularly dangerous, especially not compared to Baghdad. I and many other visitors have been to the military academy where he was slain many times. Yet even in Kabul there can be terrorist attacks. The death of General Greene and the wounding of a number of other NATO personnel is all the more dismaying because the perpetrator was an Afghan soldier. Such incidents of “green on blue” violence have the potential to turn Americans against the entire Afghan endeavor. Why should we help them, many wonder, if even Afghan soldiers want to kill our troops?

 

A little perspective is in order. While there have been all too many “green on blue” attacks in Afghanistan, the number has actually dropped in the past year and it was never all that high to begin with. Very, very few Afghan soldiers have ever been driven to turn their weapons on their allies. As in, an infinitesimally small amount. We’re talking about a few dozen individuals out of a force more than 330,000 strong. Remember that even the U.S. Armed Forces are hardly immune to these kinds of “insider” attacks. Fort Hood alone has seen two such attacks, one in 2009, another in April. The fact that Major Nidal Malik Hasan fatally shot 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009 is not and should not be taken as evidence that the U.S. Armed Forces are fundamentally disloyal. It was and should be seen as a freak occurrence by one disgruntled officer. The shooting in Kabul should be seen in the same light. There is no larger problem of disloyalty among Afghan military units. They are not defecting to the enemy or refusing to fight. In fact they are fighting hard and suffering considerable casualties. The “insider” threat in Afghanistan is real, but it is actually decreasing. The U.S. military is acutely conscious of this issue and has taken steps to mitigate the danger, for example by assigning troopers to act as “guardian angels” for other troopers when meeting with Afghan counterparts. Such steps have paid off. According to the Brookings Institution, there were 21 insider attacks in 2011, 41 in 2012, 9 in 2013, and just one this year prior to the attack on General Greene.

 

Moreover, while any death is tragic, it is important to keep in mind that U.S. fatalities overall are rapidly decreasing. According to the icasualties website, 39 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year–down from 127 in 2013, 310 in 2012, and 418 in 2011. Those figures will undoubtedly fall even more as U.S. personnel transition to an entirely advisory mission. What may happen is that, as the threat from IEDs and other types of attacks goes down, the percentage of fatalities caused by insider attacks goes up. But that should not mask the overall trend, which is that Afghanistan is getting safer for U.S. personnel. Thus there is no reason to rethink the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan after this attack, no matter how shocking or tragic. Given General Greene’s lifetime of distinguished service–and the service of his family members as well–it is safe to assume that this is the last thing he would have wanted, for his death to lead to a pullout from Afghanistan that will undo all that he and so many other soldiers fought so hard to achieve.

 

                                                                                                               

Contents

HOW IRAQ EXPLAINS WHY THE U.S.

SHOULDN'T LEAVE AFGHANISTAN                                        

Paul D. Miller                                               

 Foreign Policy, Aug. 25, 2014

 

President Obama has tried to articulate a clear doctrine of when the United States should use force. He said in his Nobel lecture in 2009 that force was justified against al Qaeda because "negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms." He also said, "I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later." Force is justified when either or interests or our ideals, or both, are threatened. These principles seem to have animated his decision to use force against jihadists in Iraq. The militants, clearly in sympathy with al Qaeda's ideology, would present a danger to the United States if they gained the resources and safe haven of sovereignty. As it is, they already present a danger to U.S. allies in the region, including the Kurds. In addition, the terrorists "threat[en] to wipe out Yazidis and other religious minorities trapped on Mount Sinjar," according to the New York Times, "add[ing] to the urgency." Despite his obvious and understandable hesitations to return U.S. military forces to Iraq, the president's humanitarian concerns combined with the United States' strategic interests and added heft to his decisions to use force in Iraq.

 

In other words, the president has articulated the best possible argument for remaining engaged in Afghanistan beyond the 2016 deadline he established for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops there. The United States has real national security interests at stake in Afghanistan's future and the future of South Asia. Iraq could hardly be a clearer cautionary tale: If the U.S. withdraws before the Afghan security forces are fully prepared to lead the fight against the Taliban and deny safe haven against al Qaeda, jihadists are almost certain to regain safe haven there, much as the Islamic State (IS) has gained ground since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011. That is what losing the war in Afghanistan looks like. But U.S. interests are not limited to a narrow counterterrorism concern. Just as in Iraq, there is the potential for a major humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan following the premature withdrawal of international security forces and development money. If the Taliban continue their resurgence in the wake of the international withdrawal (as noted by the Times here and here), they are likely to engage in reprisal killings against Afghans who allied with the Karzai government or international forces — including whole tribes who worked en masse with U.S. forces over the years. The ethnic Hazara, whom the Taliban targeted for ethnic cleansing in the 1990s, will face the same fate as the Iraqi Yazidis. The Hazara will be joined by women, Tajiks, Christians, Shia, and the Popalzai and Barakzai tribes.

 

The United States bears more responsibility for preventing mass atrocities in Afghanistan than in Libya, in which it intervened explicitly and solely for humanitarian reasons in 2011. First, the United States has repeatedly and publicly promised to stand by the Afghans and help them secure their country — in the 2005 Strategic Partnership Agreement, the 2012 Strategic Partnership Agreement, the 2013 Bilateral Security Agreement, the (presumably) forthcoming Status of Forces Agreement, and the 2012 designation of Afghanistan as a major non-NATO ally — promises we never made to the Libyans. The Afghans are betting their future on our promises. Secondly, many Afghans have risked their lives to fight our enemies. Countless Afghans soldiers, policemen, and intelligence agents have fought on the frontlines, and far more of them have been killed than U.S. troops. Nor has their service been simply in defense of their own country: Afghan forces have regularly been a part of broader counterterrorism operations of more concern to us than to them. Their service to our country creates an obligation on our part to help protect them. No such relationship ever existed with Libyan forces.

 

Third, the United States has a specific and unique opportunity to invest in Afghanistan that rarely exists in other countries facing state failure or mass atrocities. In many cases — the Congo, perhaps, or North Korea — the United States has virtually no presence, no resources, or no platform from which to base resources; or the political environment is an obstacle to the introduction of U.S. forces. We can't stop every atrocity in the world, nor should we try. But in Afghanistan we have a robust infrastructure in place. We have tens of thousands of troops already there. We have a partner in the Afghan government that wants us to stay. None of these things were true in Libya; there are not true in Iraq anymore; they are not true in Syria, Ukraine, North Korea, Mali, or just about any other place on the planet that faces the possibility of a mass atrocity. If there any single place in the entire world where we are most well postured to prevent atrocities where they are likely to occur, it is Afghanistan.

 

Some critics argue that we've already done everything we can and there is no point to investing any more in a country seemingly impervious to our best intentions. Others argue that the Afghan government's incompetence, paralysis, and corruption excuse our obligation to them. Both are wrong. Adm. Michael Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, famously told Congress in 2007, "In Afghanistan we do what we can. In Iraq, we do what we must." When the top military official in the United States openly admits that we did not devote to Afghanistan the resources required to accomplish the mission, there are no plausible grounds for arguing that the United States has done everything it can, and therefore no grounds for arguing that there is no point to further investment. Obama's surge of troops there helped, but did not change, the overall trend of under-resourcing the mission in Afghanistan. Nor does the Afghan government's corruption erase our obligation to them. It may change how we deliver our assistance, or cause us to place conditions on its use –but to pull out over frustration with the government's kelptocracy would be to punish the Afghan people for the sins of their government. Rather, continued engagement at least gives us the possibility of leverage to use against their corruption, while pulling out gives us nothing. The president has outlined clear criteria for the use of force abroad: primarily situations in which U.S. interests are at stake, but also those in which humanitarian crises are possible. That is a good standard. Afghanistan clearly meets the standard. That is why two administrations from both parties have repeatedly promised for more than a decade that we will stand by the Afghans. President Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 is inconsistent with his own standard for the employment of force abroad.

 

On Topic

 

Petition: Hamas Leaders Must be Tried For War Crimes—We, the undersigned to this petition and hundreds of million more around the world, expect the UN’s decisive action against Hamas leaders’ flagrant war crimes and crimes against humanity.

PA leader: "Am I stopping You From Slaughtering a Settlement?": Youtube, Aug. 13, 2014—Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee Jibril Rajoub:‎ “I’m telling everyone: Fatah has ‎decided that our relations with the Israelis are relations between enemies.

New York Times Gaza Correspondent Exposed as Arafat Fan: Honest Reporting, Aug. 24, 2014—Investigative journalist Richard Behar has written what is possibly the definitive article on the media bias we’ve witnessed during the current Gaza conflict.

U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene Was Buried Today at Arlington National Cemetery…Guess Who Was Missing…: Aug. 23, 2014—U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene was buried today at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors, including a caisson, two escort platoons, casket team, firing party, colors team, and a caparisoned horse.

Financial Crisis Looming Over Afghanistan: Nathan Hodge, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 25, 2014— Next week, if all goes to according to plan, a new Afghan president will take office and inherit an immediate crisis: a government that is running perilously low on cash.

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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