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Media Backspin
« March 2005 | Main | May 2005 »

Tuesday, April 26 2005

Offhand ignorance

Melanie Philips: 'You don't need to go to the theatre in Britain or belong to a teachers' union to be ambushed by the current firestorm of hatred against Israel, just when you least expect it. In the Times today Caroline Holliday muses why her son's teenage fatherhood isn't such a disaster. She thinks of all the terrible things that might have happened to him instead, including this:

'He could be conscripted into the Israeli Army at 17 to learn how to humiliate Palestinian families on the West Bank'.

'The casual malice and malevolence of the libel, the ignorance and prejudice it reveals and the stunning irrelevance of the reference feel like a physical punch to the solar plexus. This is a newspaper feature about teenage pregnancy. It has nothing to do with the Middle East at all. Yet reaching into her general knowledge for an example of the horrors that might have befallen her son, this woman's mind not only turns seamlessly to Israel but to the big lie that is being told about its behaviour. It does not occur to her that the principal danger to her son, in the unlikely event that he were ever to be an Israeli soldier, would be being blown to bits by a human bomb, with his head used maybe for a football as certain Palestinian butchers did with their Israeli soldier victims not long ago.'

 

Monday, April 25 2005

British academic boycott passes

The Guardian reports that the UK's Association of University Teachers voted on Friday to pass a resolution boycotting academic contact with Haifa University and Bar Ilan University:

The boycott, which is now official union policy, will follow a plan prescribed by a group of 60 Palestinian academic and cultural bodies and non-governmental organisations, which calls for British academics to severe links with Israeli institutions but to exempt Israelis who speak out against their government's policies towards the Palestinians.

Douglas Davis has a fine rejoinder to this outrageous step.

Jpost coverage notes that the 'blitz procedure was timed, on the eve of Pessah, to exclude Jewish members from the conference...There was no opportunity for those who had planned on opposing the motions, such as executive member Alistair Hunter, to address the conference. '

 

Thursday, April 21 2005

Guerin to receive special honor

OrlaguerinThe BBC's Orla Guerin has a long record of polemical, anti-Israel reporting on the conflict. JPost now reports that she's receiving a special citation from the British government:

Israeli officials expressed dismay this week that BBC reporter Orla Guerin, who has come under sharp attack for what some perceive as an anti-Israeli bias in her coverage, will receive an MBE honor from the British government for "outstanding service to broadcasting."...

One Israeli official, who responded to the news by saying he was "shocked," said Guerin is among the most anti-Israeli journalists reporting from Israel today.

According to this official, granting her an award fits into a pattern that began in 2003 when the United Kingdom's Political Cartoon Society awarded Dave Brown of the Independent its "cartoon of the year" award for a cartoon he drew depicting a naked Ariel Sharon biting off the bloodied head of a Palestinian child. "It seems if you are anti-Israel, you will get an award," the official said.

 
Former BBC reporter acknowledges bias

LlewellynElectronic Intifada interviewed former BBC Mideast reporter Tim Llewellyn, who openly acknowledges his pro-Palestinian sympathies. Excerpts:

-- On BBC 'restraint': '[BBC] are adopting what they see as an even handed attitude. To me this is a cowardly attitude, it is an attitude which confuses occupier with occupied.'

-- On 'the real story': 'BBC reporting doesn't tell the story. I don't mean that it doesn't tell the story from a particular point of view. It doesn't tell the story: Which is that the Palestinians are occupied and are fighting for independence in the same way that practically every other developing country was fighting for independence in the 30 years after the Second World War'

-- On suicide bombers: 'The problem with suicide bombings ... it's never been explained properly, as to why it happens and what provokes them... the lack of context of why these things happen and the profiles of the people that do them. Quite often people that carry out these acts are people who have suffered at the hands of the Israeli occupation in the most ghastly circumstances. But we don't hear that side of the story, certainly not in the BBC's or ITV's main news bulletin.'

-- On Barbara Plett's tears for Arafat vs. Sharon: 'I think she was in a particular situation, at a particular time, and she found it moving. I don't think she should have been reprimanded... It was a moving experience. It was the circumstances. I don't think Ariel Sharon is comparable. His record is not one that would induce tears.'

Llewellyn made similiar pronouncements in a 2004 Guardian editorial.

 

Wednesday, April 20 2005

Columbia again!?

BarakaOnce again, Columbia University is at odds with Jewish groups. Campus Watch notes that the university’s Middle East Institute is honoring Amiri Baraka (pictured), New Jersey’s one-time poet laureate. State legislators abolished the position after he wrote a poem implying Israeli culpability for 9/11. (Hat tip: LGF)

 
Following the money trail

NBC News reports that US officials investigating the Jordan-based Arab Bank have uncovered evidence that the bank served “dozens” of people connected to Hamas, Hezbollah and Al-Qaida.

The U.S. officials also tell NBC News that the U.S. bank regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), has now referred the Arab Bank case to the Justice Department's terror-financing section for potential prosecution. A Justice Department spokesman would not comment.

The OCC matched the names of suspected terrorists against lists of Arab Bank customers, as well as others who sent or received wire transfers through the bank, and got hundreds of hits, the U.S. officials say.

In February, federal banking regulators forced the Arab Bank to shut down most of its American operations.

 
Kid TV, Al-Jazeera style

Bigbird_3Big Bird, watch out. Al-Jazeera wants to develop a children's channel.

 
Journalists hob-nob with Hamas, Hezbollah

Daniel Pipes questions the wisdom of journalists hob-nobbing with terrorists at a recent Beirut gathering--ostensibly for "dialogue."

And his Conflicts Forum, dubbed by journalist Patrick Seale "a club of disaffected diplomats and intelligence officers," engages in a pleasant form of personal diplomacy that diminishes the horror of Islamist terrorism.

Thus, at a Conflicts Forum meeting last month in Beirut with the leadership of four Islamist terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hizbullah, the mood and the food were too good to allow this inconvenient subject to intrude.

Stephen Grey, a journalist covering the event, later reflected on it: "Invited to dinner with the participants in the Beirut talks, and sharing jokes with the Hamas men over tiger prawns, avocado, pasta and cherry tomatoes, I wondered privately how one would explain all this intimacy to the mother of a child killed by a suicide bomber."

We wonder too.

 

Tuesday, April 19 2005

Introducing 'Teach Kids Peace'

TkplogoThis week, IDF soldiers searching for a wanted terrorist in a West Bank house discovered a girl hiding a gun in her underwear, YNet reports. The soldiers in the Balata refugee camp, a terrorist hotbed, found the gunman inside his house and ordered him to surrender his weapon. He refused, claiming he didn't have one. After questioning, they found the man's firearm was hidden in his younger sister's underwear.

And earlier this week, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was arrested near Nablus after being discovered wearing five pipe bombs strapped to his body. The boy aroused suspicions by wearing a heavy jacket on a hot day.

HonestReporting has repeatedly critiqued the media's negligence in failing to report the indoctrination of Palestinian youngsters toward violence, and the growing culture of hate against Israel and the United States.

Now, in a pro-active effort to challenge this human rights abuse, HonestReporting partnered in launching a new project that we're proud to introduce at this time ― Teach Kids Peace. Please take a moment to view the powerful 90-second introductory video, and visit TeachKidsPeace.org for news updates and alerts for activists.

As the momentum shifts toward a possible peace agreement in the Mideast, it is now more crucial than ever to ensure that children are educated toward building peace.

 
Two takes

David Gerstman compares NY Times and WashPost coverage of the Sharon plan, and finds the Post comes up short. Other interesting links there as well.

 

Sunday, April 17 2005

The other Rachels

CorrieplayA new play profiling the life of Rachel Corrie has opened in London's Royal Court Theatre -- here's a glowing review from The Guardian.

Tom Gross and Robin Stamler put together a response -- the Rachels you won't see lionized on a prestigious London stage: My name is Rachel Levy...

UPDATE: The Jerusalem Post's Yaakov Lappin has a review from London.

 

Friday, April 15 2005

HR cited

HonestReporting's recent communique on distortions of the Crawford meeting was cited in The American Thinker in an article reprinted in RealClear Politics.

 
Two standards

The New York Times editors join their colleagues at other news outlets who are lowering the bar for Abbas.

While Israeli road map obligations to end settlement growth are described as true obligations, here's the Times' editors approach to Palestinian obligations:

Mr. Abbas would do well to rein in Palestinian extremists who believe they must show the world that they are driving the Israelis out by stepping up their attacks as July nears. Unless the Palestinians want Gaza to be the last Israeli withdrawal instead of the first, it would behoove them to act sensibly.

Sounds more like nice, self-interested gestures than actual obligations.

Comments to NY Times: letters@nytimes.com

 

Thursday, April 14 2005

Quality Problems at Reuters and Atlantic Monthly

QualityproblemsscreencapHonestReporting has just published its latest communique: 'Quality Problems at Reuters and Atlantic Monthly'

To receive communiques in your inbox, simply signup above. Please use the comments below for discussion of this communique.

Further points on the Atlantic Monthly article 'Will Israel Live to 100?' (req. registration to view):

* Says Schwartz, 'Even assuming that a comprehensive settlement could be reached, Israel's long-term prospects are bleak.' How's that for cynical? Is there any doubt that a country that's weathered everything Israel has for the past 55 years, and managed to forge a 'comprehensive settlement', would figure out how to handle the demographic issue?

Continue reading "Quality Problems at Reuters and Atlantic Monthly"

 
Reuters recognizes own failures

From The Guardian:

Union officials at Reuters have called a meeting for today that will discuss a senior editor's memo that outlined the media and information company's "terrible quality problems".

In a memo that has led to comparisons with former jeweller Gerald Ratner - who famously described his own company's product as "crap" - Reuters' global managing editor David Schlesinger wrote: "Our news is perceived as not having enough insight. Our data is perceived as having terrible quality problems."

HR readers will remember Schlesinger for his other candid admission that Reuters appeases terrorists through the news outlet's choice of language.

Reuters was the ignominous winner of the 2003 Dishonest Reporting 'Award'.

 
School raze

The Independent's coverage of the Corrie family’s lawsuit against Caterpillar includes the following snippet:

Water wells, schools and hundreds of thousands of trees have been razed by the Israeli army.

Schools?

 
Who's the boss?

The Jerusalem Post reports that journalists working for official PA media services (including Wafa, Palestine TV and Voice of Palestine Radio), have threatened to stop covering certain PA institutions until they have more journalistic independence and better pay.

But as long as these reporters are on the government payroll, it’s hard to see how the PA will give them the freedom to say what they want. Perhaps the only hope for reform is for these government-run media services to go independent.

 

Wednesday, April 13 2005

More on Crawford distortion

John Podhoretz of the New York Post concurs with the HonestReporting critique:

THE big story out of Israel — probably the biggest story of the last 25 years in Israel — is the remarkable (and remarkably controversial) decision by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw permanently from the Gaza Strip. This unilateral disengagement will take place in three months.

So why wasn't that the big news out of yesterday's visit by Sharon to President Bush's Texas ranch? Why did the media hype turn on a controversy involving an entirely theoretical issue involving possible future construction of apartment buildings and a road in and around a thriving Israeli suburb that sits only 4 miles from Jerusalem?

Certainly Bush and Sharon tried to focus on the Gaza withdrawal in the lead-up to their meeting in Crawford. And they tried to focus on the matter in their remarks after the meeting was over.

But if you were watching news channels or reading newspapers over the past week, you'd think that the United States and Israel were on a dangerous collision course over the issue of that suburb, which is called Maale Adumim.

 
Another teenage terrorist caught

TeenterroristcaughtWith the media obsessing over settlements (see headilnes at right...),
this story is getting very little foreign press coverage:

A 15-year-old Palestinian boy carrying five pipe bombs was detained by IDF forces at the Hawara roadblock south of the West Bank town of Nablus.

The boy, identified as Hassan Hashash, was obviously sent by someone and terrified, a soldier involved in the incident told Ynet.

“You could see it’s a young child who was sent (by someone.) I looked into his eyes, he was on the brink of tears and scared to death,” said Muli, a paratrooper whose full name cannot be revealed for security reasons.

“The boy pulled out a matchbox, held up a pipe bomb, and attempted to detonate it,” Muli said. “We aimed our weapons at him and told him to move away from us.”

Israel radio noted that this is the third Palestinian child in the past two months caught attempting to transfer explosives past Israeli checkpoints.

 

Tuesday, April 12 2005

C-SPAN rewrites history... again

Deborah Lipstadt notes that on its site, C-SPAN has now wiped out nearly all reference to its scandal-ridden show on Lipstadt's book. That's one way to deal with the matter, which was an embarrassment and very poorly handled from C-SPAN's side.

Here's background on the C-SPAN/Lipstadt issue.

 
'Showdown' at the Crawford Corral?

Crawfordcommscreencap
The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: 'Showdown' at the Crawford Corral?

To receive HR communiques in your inbox, simply sign up above.

Please use the comments below for discussion of this communique.

 
Playing soldier

Why do the Palestinians allow their children so close to the front lines? And by placing themselves in dangerous proximity to the gunman, can they still be considered “bystanders?”

Kids_1

The caption reads:

Palestinian gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades take up positions during an Israeli army incursion in the West Bank city of Nablus, Monday April 11, 2005. Israeli soldiers in a dozen army jeeps raided several homes and interrogated male residents Monday. Dozens of children and young teenagers threw sticks and stones at the jeeps as they left town and soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas. There was no direct exchange of fire between the army and the gunmen.(AP Photos/Nasser Ishtayeh)
 
Question of the day

Why does any political party need drones?

AP's answer:

By sending a drone at this particular time, Hezbollah could be seeking to boost its standing at home in Lebanon as its Syrian allies leave the country and it tries to chart a bigger political role for itself. Flying an unmanned spy craft — a capability the Lebanese army does not have — strengthens Hezbollah's image at home as a defender of Lebanon amid calls by some for the group to disarm.

Acting as “a defender of Lebanon” is a military activity, not political. Why does AP blur this distinction?

 

Monday, April 11 2005

The red herring of Crawford

SharonWhile a good deal of advance coverage of the Bush-Sharon summit in Crawford, Texas, focuses on US-Israeli tension over plans to expand Maale Adumim, the New York Times reports that the controversy may not be as big as people think:

But the Maale Adumim issue is something of a red herring, American and Israeli officials agree. There are no plans to break ground for new units for at least three years, and the existing Maale Adumim, a community of some 30,000 people, will almost surely be kept by Israel, with American support, in return for modest land transfers elsewhere.
 

Sunday, April 10 2005

Pilger sounds off

Journalist John Pilger, no friend of Israel, uses the New Statesman to blast a BBC apology to Israel over the network’s handling of an interview with Mordechai Vanunu:

Can you imagine the BBC apologising to a rogue regime that practises racism and ethnic cleansing; that has "effectively legalised the use of torture" (Amnesty); that holds international law in contempt, having defied hundreds of UN resolutions and built an apartheid wall in defiance of the International Court of Justice; that has demolished thousands of people's homes and given its soldiers the right to assassinate; and whose leader was judged "personally responsible" for the massacre of more than 2,000 people?

Can you imagine the BBC saying sorry to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or other official demons, for broadcasting an uncensored interview with a courageous dissident of that country, a man who spent 19 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement? Of course not.

Yet last month, the BBC apologised "confidentially" to a regime with such a record, so that its correspondent would be allowed back, having promised to abide by a system of censorship that continues to gag the dissident. The regime is Ariel Sharon's in Israel, whose war crimes, appalling human rights record and enduring lawlessness continue to be granted a certificate of exemption not only by the US-dominated west but by respectable journalism.

 
Cameramen in collusion?

The Washington Times discusses the controversy surrounding a Pulitzer Prize for an AP photograph of insurgents executing an Iraqi election worker. The Times concludes that the unidentified photographer was most likely taken advantage of by insurgents, but not colluding with them (as some claim). Meanwhile, US forces in Mosul arrested an Iraqi cameraman employed by CBS News allegedly involved in insurgent activity.

We've seen similar problems in coverage of the Mideast conflict.

UPDATE: See AP's response. (Hat tip: PowerLine)

 

Thursday, April 7 2005

Two BBC headlines

1) Jews Held Over Jerusalem 'Bomb'
2) Man admits to grenade in luggage

In the second article, the religion of Hazil Rahaman-Alan -- who admitted smuggling an explosive device onto an plane for the purpose of blowing himself up 'to draw attention to the plight of others' -- is not mentioned in the entire article.

While one might argue that 'Jews' is helpful in the first headline to indicate the suspects were not Palestinians, the term 'Israelis' would have done just fine.

Comments to: newsonline@bbc.co.uk

(Hat tip: DS)

 
Budding ombudsmen

The NY Times picked Byron “Barney” Calame, a WSJ editor, to replace Dan Okrent as reader rep. Also, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is opening up an ombudsman office headed by Ken Bode (formerly of NBC News) and William Schulz (a Readers Digest editor). The CPB oversees National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service.

 

Wednesday, April 6 2005

Selective memory at The Times?

A follow-up to the Columbia University anti-Israel 'investigation': An Editor's Note in today's NY Times confirms the NY Sun expose that The Times' Karen Arenson agreed to Columbia's conditions for publicizing the report before its official release. From the Times' mea culpa:

A front-page article on Thursday described a report by a committee at Columbia University formed to investigate complaints that pro-Israel Jewish students were harassed by pro-Palestinian professors. The report found "no evidence of any statements made by the faculty that could reasonably be construed as anti-Semitic," but it did say that one professor "exceeded commonly accepted bounds" of behavior when he became angry at a student who he believed was defending Israel's conduct toward Palestinians.

The article did not disclose The Times's source for the document, but Columbia officials have since confirmed publicly that they provided it, a day before its formal release, on the condition that the writer not seek reaction from other interested parties.

Under The Times's policy on unidentified sources, writers are not permitted to forgo follow-up reporting in exchange for information. In this case, editors and the writer did not recall the policy and agreed to delay additional reporting until the document had become public. The Times insisted, however, on getting a response from the professor accused of unacceptable behavior, and Columbia agreed.

The 'other interested parties' that Columbia insisted on excluding from The Times' exclusive were, of course, the pro-Israel complaintants themselves. Strange how this fundamental principle -- never to trade full coverage for exclusive access, in a quid pro quo -- was simply forgotten by the Times journalists... who got themselves a front-page scoop.

How did this 'Editor's Note'/correction come about? Read Steven Weiss' account of getting the runaround from The Times.

Note that The Times still hasn't acknowledged that two of the profs on the committee signed a divestment from Israel petition themselves -- hardly a sign of impartiality in this matter.

Here's the full Columbia committee report, and a followup article on the students' response that The Times ran the following day.

 
Frontline on Israeli extremists

Any comments on last night's PBS Frontline program on Israeli right-wing extremists?

The show will be online for viewing in its entirety beginning this Friday.

 
It's the Jooz...

* WorldNetDaily finds that the Iranian media is spinning the late Pope John Paul II as “compromised by the Zionist regime.”

* When Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe was asked by South African TV recently 'Why is Zimbabwe's economy in disarray?' he replied, 'It is because of the Jews that left Zimbabwe and are now all living in Johannesburg.' According to this viewer, the interviewer simply moved on, unfazed.

 
ISM lawsuit dismissed

An Israeli court dismissed a libel suit against reporter Judy Lash-Balint brought by a member of the International Solidarity Movement (of Rachel Corrie fame). The suit stemmed from a 2003 report Balint wrote describing the relationship between foreign ISM members and local Palestinians. Radhika Sainath, an ISM activist from Orange County, Calif., claimed Balint’s report implied that her presence helped Palestinian terrorists perpetrate attacks. (Hat tip: Israpundit)

Meanwhile, the Orthodox Anarchist links up to radio interviews with two ISM members who describe how they exploited the Birthright program to get free plane tickets to Israel. (Hat tip: IsraellyCool)

 

Tuesday, April 5 2005

Abbas cracks down

Cheers to the LA Times for this astute headline:

Lawlessness Has Abbas Going After the Law

If only Mahmoud Abbas could crack down on the terror gangs as hard as he cracks down on his own security forces.

UPDATE: The PA’s International Press Center announced that Abbas is drafting a decree to recruit all wanted Palestinians into PA institutions. (Hat tip: IMRA)

 
UK academics (again) boycott Israel

Sue_blackwellA UK teachers union is mulling a boycott of Israeli academics who don’t condemn Israeli policies in the West Bank. The Guardian reports today:

The Association of University Teachers' annual council, which begins on April 20 in Eastbourne, will also debate whether to boycott three of Israel's eight universities - Haifa University, Bar Ilan University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem - over their alleged complicity with the government's policies on the Palestinian territories.

Two years ago, the AUT voted down a similar proposal, but Sue Blackwell (pictured), a Birmingham University lecturer and one of the boycott’s spearheads, expects success this time because of better organization with the Palestinians. The Guardian further reports today that The Israeli Science Foundation has already found itself a victim of the Israel blacklist:

In recent weeks, the foundation has received two rejections from British academics to review an application. In one, received last month, the unnamed academic describes his "utmost respect" for the academic whose grant he's been asked to review, but refuses on the basis that it is Israeli money and he disapproves of their government's actions towards the Palestinian people. "I hope you understand this is nothing personal," he adds.

The second, also received last month, again says the author won't review the proposal. "I support the academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions, as a means of registering my protest against Israelis' lack of respect for human rights and continuing illegal occupation of Palestinian land."

Send (polite!) comments to the AUT at hq@aut.org.uk and to Ms. Blackwell at s.a.blackwell@bham.ac.uk

 
Replacing objectivity

Dan Gillmor says the principle of media objectivity should now be cast out in favor of “four pillars” of good journalism -- thoroughness, accuracy, fairness and transparency.

 
CANDLES rekindled

In Terre Haute, Indiana, some 500 people attended the re-opening of CANDLES, a Holocaust museum burnt down to the ground by an arsonist in November, 2003.

 

Monday, April 4 2005

Friends, but forever?

The title, “Friends Forever,” sounds innocuous enough. But the Dubai-based Khaleej Times reports that education officials in the Persian Gulf state are gravely concerned about the school book, which found its way into classrooms. Why? The book includes a photograph of Jewish children.

Education authorities here have promised to review a book taught in an international private school that features a photograph of two Jewish children sporting plaited hair and yarmulke.

Dr. Obaid Butti al Mohiri, the director of Curriculums Centre at the Ministry of Education, said he would order the withdrawal of the book for primary class one of the Dubai International School if the complaints raised were found genuine.

(Hat tip: Tom Gross)

 
Cheering the home team

SuanPolitical rivalries took a backseat to soccer when Israeli-Arab players scored key goals against Ireland and then France in recent World Cup qualifying action. Now Abas Suan (pictured) and Walid Badir have become unlikely Israeli heroes, and the centerpieces of new media interest in Israeli-Arabs in general. Shortly after Badir’s game-tying goal, AFP wrote:

Israeli by nationality, Palestinians at heart, Israel's 1.2 million Arabs, descendants of those who remained on their land after the Jewish state was created in 1948, are treated as second class citizens.

Aside from the fact that Israeli-Arabs have full citizenship and more freedom than Arabs in the rest of the Mideast, many Israeli-Arabs just don’t identify with the Palestinians—at least not as much as AFP reporters do.

 

Sunday, April 3 2005

C-SPAN airing Lipstadt show

Historyontrial2After all the controversy, C-SPAN is now advertising that they're airing a segment on Prof. Deborah Lipstadt's new book after all. The show is today at 4:30 PM Eastern, and according to the C-SPAN site, clips of Irving will be aired as well.

Here's the email Lipstadt received from C-SPAN today, notifying her of the show.

UPDATE 4/4 : You can now view the show here (in RealPlayer), and here is Prof. Lipstadt's reaction to the show.

Lipstadt notes that the Washington Post's T.R. Reid, who reported from the London trial and is the central speaker in the C-SPAN show, does not seem to have actually read her book. Though Reid accurately depicts Irving as utterly lacking credibility, Reid repeately gets the focus of the trial wrong -- it was not, as Reid says, about 'whether or not Hitler knew' about the Holocaust, but rather about Irving's negligent, ideologically-motivated denials of the most basic facts of the Holocaust -- gas chambers, mass executions, etc.

Moreover, the show's discussion around the C-SPAN controversy was inaccurately framed by Reid and C-SPAN editors as 'freedom to speak' vs. silencing. The real issue in this entire matter seems not to be this, but rather how the deniers are presented by media outlets -- are they placed side-by-side alongside the legitimate historians in a debate-like format (as Lipstadt describes CNN attempted to do with her and David Duke), or are they (duly) marginalized within the very context of the story? C-SPAN now says they always intended to do the latter, but Lipstadt was given the understanding that the former was to occur -- hence her refusal to allow C-SPAN to film her recent Harvard talk.

 
Rose's leap of faith

The Guardian gave op-ed ink to writer John Rose, who argues that Mideast peace requires a “post-Zionist” Jewish assimilation into Arab culture:

Israeli intellectuals associated with the trend known as post-Zionism imagine with confidence a Jewish life in the area without a Zionist state. A tiny number of former Zionist leaders, such as Meron Benvenisti, one-time deputy mayor of Jerusalem, agree. He says the Zionist revolution is over. He suggests scrapping the law of return that allows Jews anywhere to become Israeli citizens.

He says he loves the land and it's an Arabic land. Perhaps the old Jewish Enlightenment thinkers who believed in assimilation were much more correct than even they realised. Imagine the great-great-grandchildren of European Jewish settlers in Palestine assimilating into Arabic culture, absorbing it and contributing to its development, some time this century.

A leap of faith? To be sure, but we Jews have always been rather good at that.

Mitch Bard offers a clearer picture of Rose's required leap of faith.

 
‘Nasrallah has lost his mind’

NasrallahThe editor-in-chief of the Kuwait daily, Al-Siyassah, says that Hezbollah chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah (pictured) has “lost his mind” for stridently supporting Syria in the middle of Lebanon’s biggest upheaval in years. As criticism of Hezbollah in the Arab media isn't so common, Al-Jarallah's column perked Memri's ears:

Hassan Nasrallah, who has a sharp brain, is aware of the oncoming dangers and has built a network of connections through southern Beirut, Damascus, and Tehran. In his wisdom, Nasrallah has vowed to inflict a disgracing defeat on the U.S. troops if they approach Lebanon. This man has chosen to adopt an arrogant attitude, similar to that of Saddam Hussein, knowing fully well how Saddam's power and authority came to an end….

Such speeches may jeopardize the lives of the people in Syria and Lebanon because neither Syria, nor Hizbullah, can fill the huge gap in the balance of power with their adversaries. It appears Hassan Nasrallah has lost his mind because he has abandoned his political wisdom and angered the only superpower in the world instead of calming his people.

Meanwhile, Lebanon worries about the future.

 


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