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« July 2005 | Main | September 2005 »

Wednesday, August 31 2005

Today's recommended reading

* Media reports cited Boston Globe coverage of a US federal judge freezing the Palestinian Authority’s American assets at the request of a lawyer representing the children of Yaron and Efrat Ungar. The Ungars were killed in a 1996 terror attack.

* In a Newsweek Q+A, Hamas chieftain Mahmoud Zahar responds head-on to charges that his organization seeks to turn Gaza into “Hamastan."

It should be Hamastan. Why not?

* London Mayor Ken Livingstone faces a disciplinary enquiry after insulting a Jewish reporter last February. Livingstone could be punished with a five-year-ban from public office, but would more likely be ordered to apologize and attend ethnic awareness training.

 
Stripping Gaza of Its Myths

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: 'Stripping Gaza of Its Myths'

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Please use the comments section below this entry for discussion of this topic.

 

Tuesday, August 30 2005

Summer break tales

TowneWith summer being a popular time for traveling, many students choose to spend their break exploring the Mideast--sometimes through programs arranged by pro-Palestinian organizations. At least one negative report has already found its way into the mainstream media: The Danbury News-Times (Conn.) featured in the Perspective section an 8,300-word-long profile of Chris Towne (pictured), essentially giving him a soapbox to protest against Israel and plug the political science graduate’s blog.

And in the nearby New London Day, columnist Susan Ives comments on the disengagement while ruminating about her Gaza visit back in 2003.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen these kinds of summer break stories before. So if you have recently visited Israel and found your experiences different from those described by Towne and Ives, please write a column or letter to the editor of your local paper. If you are a student who just returned from a tour or program in Israel, prepare an article now for your university newspaper's first edition of the year.

 

Monday, August 29 2005

Chicago radio's new hire

Solomonia highlights the hiring of Mariam Sobh by Chicago Public Radio, an affiliate of NPR. While a journalism student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Sobh rehashed fabricated quotes, accused Israel of genocide, and claimed that Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty was deliberate. Sobh’s responsibilities at WBEZ include writing newscasts, producing feature segments, interviewing, and researching story ideas.

 
Whitewashing the bomb maker

DeifDescribing a recent video by Muhammed Deif (pictured), The Guardian reports that the Hamas bomb maker was “celebrating Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and threatening to continue the fight until the liberation of the West Bank.” But don't think Deif is moderating his views to accept Israel's right to exist in the pre-1967 borders. The Jerusalem Post quotes the Hamas fugitive more accurately:

"I talk to you today thanking God for his support for our people's jihad (holy war) and for the liberation of our beloved Gaza Strip," he said. "I pray to God to assist us in liberating Jerusalem, the West Bank, Acre, Haifa, Jaffa, Safed, Nazareth, Ashkelon and the rest of Palestine."
 

Sunday, August 28 2005

Today's recommended reading

* An Arab columnist published in the Washington Post calls on Mahmoud Abbas to fight Hamas:

Palestinian families that have suffered at the hands of Hamas have long been intimidated into silence for the sake of Palestine. With the settlers and soldiers gone from Gaza, Hamas's zealotry must be curbed for the sake of Palestine and its people.

* Fiamma Nirenstein records scenes from Gaza that moved Arab journalists to wish their countries would treat civilians as well as the IDF:

"More than one journalist covering the pullout told me, 'would it be that our (Arab) armies and police forces treated civilians like that,'" said Eitan Aroussi, head of the Arabic desk at the IDF spokesman's office.

* Former Israeli ambassador Zvi Mazel calls on Israel to launch a proactive hasbara campaign. If Mazel’s name sounds familiar, here’s why.

 
Targeting Gaza journalists

The NY Times reveals that Mahmoud Abbas caved in to gunmen to obtain the release of a French sound-technician kidnapped in Gaza.

Knowledgeable Palestinians disclosed in interviews that the release of a French television journalist on Monday was a result of a deal between Mr. Abbas and leaders of a prominent clan, who had kidnapped the journalist. Mr. Abbas released six members of the Issa clan from prison last week, including convicted murderers, to secure the release of the journalist Muhammad Ouathi, 46.

Will this embolden gunmen to abduct more journalists? And what will this mean for coverage out of Gaza?

 

Thursday, August 25 2005

Henry Siegman's conflict of interest

HsiegmanIt turns out that Henry Siegman (pictured), a frequent critic of Israel in the pages of the International Herald-Tribune and the New York Review of Books, has a serious conflict of interest. A NY Sun editorial reveals that the Council on Foreign Relations—which pays Siegman a $204,000 salary—has received funding such sources as Yasser Arafat confidante Munib Masri, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and the European Commission.

Mr. Siegman tells us that his views have been consistent over his career and that his project's funding sources - which he points out are a matter of public record - haven't influenced his opinions. A spokeswoman for the Council says that there is no connection between funding sources and any scholar's opinions. The editor in charge of the opinion page at the International Herald Tribune, Serge Schmemann, says that the paper never asked about, and Mr. Siegman never mentioned, where his money was coming from. Editors at the New York Review of Books, where Mr. Siegman also publishes, did not return our phone calls seeking comment.

Why aren't the New York Review of Books and the New York Times-owned IHT disclosing that the man attacking Israel in their pages is being supported by European governments and non-American Arab businessmen? The Times itself has an integrity policy requiring freelance contributors to "avoid conflicts of interest, real or apparent," yet the Times ran an op-ed piece by Mr. Siegman in 2002 identifying him only as "a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations." If the publications had made the disclosure, their readers could draw their own conclusions.

Siegman has accused Israel of blocking peace, claimed that Ariel Sharon manipulates Washington, and even predicted that the prime minister would scuttle the disengagement and blame the Palestinians.

 

Wednesday, August 24 2005

Hell freezes over

A NY Times staff editorial praised Ariel Sharon.

 
Timeline in need of correction

The wire service Knight Ridder, through a recent report, covered the history of the West Bank:

In 1987, Palestinian frustration...sparked the first intifada.... The conflict...came to an end with the 1993 Oslo Accords, a historic agreement that gave rise to a new Palestinian government and the return of Yasser Arafat to the region.

Arafat's return marked the beginning of a slow process of transferring limited control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the fledgling Palestinian government.

Hopes for a new era of peace soon crumbled, however, and fueled a second intifada in 2000, which proved to be even more deadly than the first uprising, taking more than 5,000 lives.

Was "hopes for a new era of peace" a veiled reference to the Camp David summit in July 2000? Wouldn't it be relevant to include why those hopes crumbled?

 

Tuesday, August 23 2005

Thoughts on manifest destiny

In the Gilroy Dispatch (Calif.), Marty Cheeks compares Palestinian refugees to displaced Native Americans. You can imagine how he describes the Jews:

Following the Mexican-American War - a conflict started for the purposes of “Manifest Destiny” to expand American territory - the United States gained more than 50 percent of Mexico’s land holdings in 1848. Essentially through Manifest Destiny, God “justified” our land theft.

Under the Americans, California’s native Indian population was treated even worse than before. Many were hunted down and killed for bounty simply because they were Indians. In less than a century, their ancient way of life vanished.

Virtually the same tragic story happened to the Palestinians when the State of Israel came into existence in 1948. The Zionist movement was started by a Hungarian Jew named Theodor Herzl in 1897. He taught it was the manifest destiny of European Jews to take control of Palestine and turn it into a Jewish nation. Jews, he said, were God’s “chosen people” and “the Promised Land” was theirs by right.

Columbus Dispatch cartoonist Jeff Stahler made a similar association:

Stalhler

 
CSM urges US intervention in foreign elections

In today's editorial, The Christian Science Monitor, in reference to upcoming elections in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, advocates US intervention in foreign elections:

Bush should do everything in his power to make sure that advocates of a peace deal win these respective face-offs.
While encouraging the election of candidates in favor of peace sounds nice, the "peace deal" which CSM refers to is specific and only one political perspective in a complex situation.

 
New Yorker's 'Zionist complexity'

NewyorkerIn the New Yorker, David Remnick wonders about Israel’s biblical claims to the West Bank:

In Biblical terms, Gaza was not primarily Jewish territory; the Philistines lived there. One of the interesting complexities of Zionism is that the majority of the Israeli population has always lived on the Mediterranean coast, close to, rather than inside, Biblical Israel.

Could it be that the real reason for this 'complexity' is because A) biblical areas like eastern Jerusalem, Hebron, and Shechem were barred to Jews by the Jordanians who controlled the West Bank from 1948 till 1967, and B) international opposition to settlement activity since then?

 
Fletcher's Failure

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: 'Fletcher's Failure'.

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Today's bungled headline

Today’s bungled headline award goes to AP:

Palestinian Injured in West Bank Town

You have to read the report to find out that the Palestinian, a member of Islamic Jihad, opened fire on an IDF patrol in the northern West Bank and was injured when soldiers returned fire.

 

Monday, August 22 2005

Ariel Sharon, Nobel laureate

YNet reports that an Italian parliamentarian is proposing a Nobel peace prize for Ariel Sharon. You read it here first....

 
A meaningless evacuation?

In South Africa, Its Almost Supernatural blog challenges the logic that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza is meaningless as long as it continues to hold onto the West Bank.

It takes all the illogic that stems directly from blind hatred to think that Israel should relinquish all her assets before moving to the negotiating table. Israel cannot give up the West Bank without an end of conflict peace deal. When negotiations take place both sides will make compromises in order to extract concessions from the other side. To suggest that Israel should make all of their concessions without getting anything in return from the Palestinians is to confine yourself to the marginalised confines of political discourse.

The blog was responding to the following crude Jonathan Shapiro cartoon in the Mail & Guardian:

Zapiro

Unfortunately, the Mail & Guardian isn't alone. Patrick Chappatte of Geneva's Le Temps made a similar assertion.

Chappatte


 
Al-Arabiya yanks Israeli off air

AlarabiyaIsrael’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is boycotting Al-Arabiya after the network yanked an Israeli official off the air -- at the request of another Arab being interviewed. Haaretz reports:

The incident took place during an interview program when one of interviewees, Hassan al-Juni, a Lebanese expert on international law, protested the fact he was being interviewed side by side with a spokesman from Jerusalem., the Foreign Ministry's Arab media department deputy manager Lior Ben Dor.

The show's producers took Ben Dor off-air immediately after al-Juni's request.

 

Sunday, August 21 2005

Martin's mauling of the truth

In “Settlers believe evacuation betrays God’s will”, Martin Fletcher of NBC News makes errors, jumps to conclusions, and distorts reality.

In discussing what happened during the disengagement process, Fletcher describes the situation on the ground:

But, the screaming, the shooting, and cursing, that’s from everyone. All the settlers have been screaming and shooting at the army…
No Israeli evacuees fired guns. Clearly, this is likely a typo and merely sloppy work. In a recent change to their online version of this article, only one of the references to “shooting” was, in fact, changed to “shouting”. But, doesn’t NBC/MSNBC have anyone reading their articles before publication? And, if they don’t get it right the first time, why can’t they get it completely right the second time?

Further into the article:

These youngsters who are living by themselves in these small settlements — playing the guitar, singing songs, half of them are probably smoking dope, praying, and they are violent.
“Dope”? “Half of them”? “Probably”? Fletcher brings no evidence for this characterization. If a similar baseless charge were leveled against another group, would it be stood for?

Fletcher is either absent from reality or has a bizarre concept of calm when it comes to Israel:

How have the Palestinians helped ease the process?
So far they have helped…The fact that the Palestinian leadership promised calm, and so far has been the case, that is a major contribution by Palestinians to the smooth function of this process which so far has been very smooth indeed.

What about the multiple sets of mortars fired by the Palestinians at Gaza evacuation sites (on Monday and Thursday), or the Palestinian shooting of an Israeli soldier? Or, what about the attempted suicide bombing by Islamic Jihad of Israelis in Gaza? This is all in addition to the rhetoric of those like Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal who stated that the disengagement is “the beginning of the end for Israel”.

 
Sick comparisons continue

Last week, we noted that there’s no comparison between Palestinian refugees who lost their homes in 1948 and 1967 and evacuated Israeli settlers. The Palestinians lost their homes as a result of wars they encouraged, while the settlers are leaving as a result of an Israeli unilateral move for peace. Unfortunately, media comparisons continue, such as this commentary by Georgie Geyer:

One had to feel deep emotion for the sobbing, moaning Israelis, brought there originally by the Israeli military in the late 1960s as a kind of immigration buffer against the Palestinians. Many of them must feel double-crossed, which makes one wonder whether they will form an Israeli-style version of the humiliated German "Versailles generation."

But one also has to feel pity for the long-suffering and humiliated Palestinians, 250,000 of whose immigrant antecedents fled to Gaza after the 1948 U.N. partition and then war with Israel. Today, they are some 1.5 million poor, angry souls jammed into a tiny, miserable piece of land that is barely 10 miles wide and 30 miles long. Their cities are a congeries of ghostly white buildings that stand like bare skeletons in a violent and joyless world.

See also cartoons by Rob Rogers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (below), Chris Britt of the Springfield Journal-Register, and Theo Moudakis of the Toronto Star.

Equivalence

 
An historical falsehood

In this Boston Globe column on 19 August 2005, H.D.S. Greenway attempts to create a direct parallel between the French in Algeria and the Israelis in Gaza:

The Gaza situation, however, most brings to mind the French disengagement in Algeria. The French used force to beat down Algerian independence with the vigor Israel employed against Palestinians, and then, when they decided to leave, had to face the wrath of European settlers.

The brutal tactics which the French employed against the native Algerians were never employed by Israel against the Palestinians. In fact, Israel has time and time again attempted to give Palestinians the ability to control their own destiny – during the Oslo peace process and now again in Gaza.

 
Arab Bank fined $24 million

The Jerusalem Post reports that the NY branch of the Arab Bank was fined $24 million for “for failing to monitor transactions aimed at funding terror and money laundering.” In 2004, a group of terror victims filed a class action lawsuit against the bank. Subsequent revelations included so-called ‘martyrs kits,’ which included financial forms filled out by Palestinian suicide bombers.

(Hat tip: LGF)

 
A not-so-secret mission

A British counter-terror operation in Gaza was so secret it was splashed on the Daily Telegraph’s web site:

To counter the threat posed by Hamas militants, Tony Blair has authorised a team of MI6 counter-terrorism experts to be deployed to Gaza on a secret mission to persuade Hamas to observe a ceasefire….

The secret Gaza mission is being led by Alistair Crooke, a former MI6 officer who received an MBE for his work negotiating a Hamas ceasefire during the early stages of the intifada.

Mr Crooke has been heavily criticised by the Israeli government for arguing that Hamas should be treated as a serious negotiating partner in the peace talks.

For more on how Crooke and his organization, the Conflicts Forum, deal with terrorists, see here.

 

Thursday, August 18 2005

NY Times' sick comparison

There’s something sick about the NY Times equating Palestinians losing homes in 1948 and 1967 with Israelis now losing homes in Gaza. The Palestinians fled their homes because they were defeated in wars they started, while the Israelis are leaving their homes due to a unilateral gesture for peace.

UPDATE: Cartoonist Steve Kelley of the New Orleans Times-Picayune makes a similar association:

Kelley


 

Wednesday, August 17 2005

Cartoon of the day

Emad Hajjaj of the Amman based paper, Al-Ghad hit nail on the head with this cartoon.

Cartoon


 
Settlements weren't the issue after all

HamasbannerLA Times columnist Max Boot points out that the Palestinian reaction to the Gaza pullout disproves the idea that settlements are the root cause of the Mideast conflict:

Now the Israeli decision to remove its settlers from the Gaza Strip and a small portion of the West Bank should provide a further test of the belief that Jewish settlements are the root cause of this conflict. If this were in fact the case, you would expect that a partial pullout would lead to at least a partial melting of Arab hostility toward the Jews. Maybe this will occur; and maybe the Gaza Strip will overnight become as peaceful as Switzerland.

The early signs are not good — literally. Gaza City is decked out with green Hamas banners proclaiming, "Resistance wins, so let's go on." The banners from the supposedly more restrained Palestinian Authority reveal the same mind-set: "Gaza today, the West Bank and Jerusalem tomorrow." Far from being sated by Israeli concessions, the Palestinians are emboldened to demand more. Many will not be satisfied until — in the words of a 15-year-old would-be suicide bomber quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle — there are no more "Jews on this world."

 
UN funding PA propaganda

We noted on Monday that the UN Development Program was funding Palestinian celebration banners around the Gaza Strip. Now, the NY Sun, reports that UNDP officials are contradicting each other on whether or not the agency paid for Palestinian propaganda:

In addition to the slogan "Today Gaza and Tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem," many of the materials displayed the logo of the United Nations Development Program, which operates in 166 countries and spends about half a billion dollars a year.

Asked by a Fox News correspondent about one of the banners bearing the words implying an impending Palestinian Arab takeover of the disputed areas, Mr. Rothermel, said, "That particular poster was prepared by the disengagement office with financial support from the United Nations Development Program."

UNDP officials at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, however, denied that money from the program went directly to the propaganda campaign.

Developing….

 
Disengagement media intimidation

OuathiReacting to the kidnapping of a sound technician from France-3 TV, the French government is threatening to withhold financial and humanitarian aid to the PA unless Mohamed Ouathi (pictured) is released unharmed. Ouathi was abducted on Sunday by unknown gunmen in Gaza City and hasn't been heard from since. The Jerusalem Post also notes that three other journalists—two of whom work for Reuters—were stabbed in Khan Yunis.

 

Tuesday, August 16 2005

What intifada?

CnnsnNews outlets offering services for students carry a lot of responsibility. Unfortunately, CNN’s Student News’ background articles about Gaza and the West Bank flunked, omitting any mention of the Palestinian intifada that destroyed peace talks and continues to influence current events.

 
The Sunday Herald's fixer

Coming across a frank-speaking Palestinian fixer is a real needle in a haystack. David Pratt of Scotland’s Sunday Herald wasn't proferred the usual party lines about the Israeli pullout and Gaza chaos:

One morning during the course of my stay in Khan Yunis, I woke to the sound of gunfire on the streets outside. Was it a battle between Islamic militants from Hamas and the security forces of the Palestinian Authority perhaps, or some other militia groups? “Rival families, one shot a member of the other, and now they are sorting things out,” explains our fixer Zead Mostafa, who studied media and journalism and hopes, despite serious concerns over what lies ahead, to continue his education.

Like many Palestinians, Mostafa fears for the future, and firmly believes that Gaza and towns such as Khan Yunis will become potential free-fire zones where corrupt officials, rival militias, criminal gangs and adversarial families will use the rule of the Kalashnikov to ensure their power base remains intact.

Does Mostafa’s openness stem from defiance of the gunmen, or could it indicate some kind of breakdown at the Palestine Media Center, which arranges fixers, cameramen and stringers for many Western news services?

 

Monday, August 15 2005

What PA commitments?

A NY Times staff-ed hopes that the US won’t buy into the belief that “withdrawing from Gaza will buy Israel time to spend to consolidate in the West Bank.” Unfortunately, the Times ignores the fact that the pullout is unilateral, and that the road map’s first phase requires the PA to crack down on terror. Apparently, as long as Abbas doesn’t lift a finger against the terror infrastructure, the Times will continue blaming Israel for the impasse.

 
Notes from Gaza

Observations on coverage we’ve seen from Gaza so far:

* Reuters reports that a French sound engineer employed by France-3 was kidnapped on Sunday as his TV crew entered a Gaza City hotel. Mohamed Ouathi hasn’t been seen since.

* The NY Times raises an interesting question: Is the UN funding Palestinian celebrations in Gaza?

Around the corner was a banner from the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by a more secular faction, Fatah. "Gaza today," it read, "the West Bank and Jerusalem Tomorrow." A tag line said the banner was paid for by the United Nations Development Program.

* AFP incorrectly implies that Palestinian commitments to fight terror are parallel with Israeli commitments regarding settlements.

The roadmap demands Palestinians bring an end to all militant attacks and Israel halts all settlement activity.

Actually, the road map requires a Palestinian crackdown on terror first.

* The SF Chronicle profiled a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in an Israeli prison after being caught with a bomb belt at a checkpoint in 2004. The kid—as well as his mother—show little remorse.

Had her son succeeded in his mission, Besma said, her feelings would have been mixed.

"Of course, yes, I would have been happy," she said. And proud. Even though it would be very sad for me to lose my son. But I would be very proud," she said.

* The LA Times handled a report on the fate of Jewish graves thoroughly, yet concise and respectful. This piece put a real human face on the anguish raised by issues of exhumation and reburial.

 
UK media conspires for Israel

The Observer reports that the Muslim Council of Britain accuses BBC’s Panorama show of pro-Israel bias. Specifically, the MCB claims that a report to be aired next week week investigating UK Muslim organizations will “inflame mistrust.”

The letter goes on: 'The BBC should not allow itself to be used by the highly placed supporters of Israel in the British media to make capital out of the 7 July atrocities in London.'

Highly placed Israel supporters? In Panorama?

 

Friday, August 12 2005

Of pictures and chats

Via David Gerstman:

LGF has started a section called Gaza Watch. Remember the picture of the police and protestors davening (praying) together? Here's a picture of a protestor and a policeman learning Daf Yomi (daily Talmud study) together. If you live in Israel and have relevant pictures please send them to charles at littlegreenfootballs dot com.

There are more pictures at the Washington Post. They have parallel galleries, Life in the Territories and Scars of violence. The former gallery is to show the difficulties of the Palesitnians; the latter the terrible cost of terror. (WARNING: some of these pictures are disturbing.)

On Monday with the disengagement scheduled, the Washington Post will be hosting 3 chats. The first is with David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Middle East Peace at 11 AM; the second is with Dr. Amiel Ungar of the College of Judea and Samaria at noon; and the final is with Lewis Roth of Americans for Peace Now at 2 PM. (All times are Eastern Daylight Times.)

 

Thursday, August 11 2005

Rubin critiques NY Times article

Prof. Barry Rubin of the Hertzelia Interdisciplinary Center critiques a recent NY Times article on archeological findings near the Old City of Jerusalem. Says Rubin:

Do the Jews have any connection with Jerusalem and the land of Israel? Well, according to the Times, it is just a matter of political debate now, in which the views of Palestinian propagandists have equal weight. While the statements or findings of Western, democratic, or moderate sources are subjected to the highest degree of cynicism and challenge, those of radicals are treated with the utmost respect... What we have here goes beyond merely passionate political debate or different points of view. It is a profoundly anti-intellectual, anti-rational, and anti-liberal mode of thought alongside an abandonment of professional standards. Every such instance should be challenged.
 
Biased down under

Note the current headline on this 'news' article from the Australian paper The Age:

Israel keeps stranglehold on Gaza 'freedom'

The URL of the article indicates that an earlier version had this headline:

Israel keeps stranglehold on Gaza's hardwon freedom

Hardwon? Lance Armstrong's Tour De France victories were 'hardwon'. Only a supporter of Hamas terrorism could possibly see Israel's withdrawal from Gaza as 'hardwon freedom' for Palestinians.

A clear sign of where the sympathies of The Age's editor/reporter lie, even if the headline was adjusted. And here's the report's explanation for why Israel needs to maintain tight security over Gaza:

Israel says that the blockade of land, air and sea access is necessary to prevent Palestinians from obtaining weapons.

During the present uprising against Israeli military rule, Palestinians have fired thousands of homemade missiles at Israeli towns and communities and at Jewish settlements inside the Gaza Strip.

Prevent Palestinians 'from obtaining weapons'? Well, that and using them against Israeli civilians! 'Uprising against Israeli military rule'? Hamas and Islamic Jihad see Israel's destruction as their goal - a fact even Reuters has come to acknowledge - why not The Age?

Comments to The Age: feedback@theage.com.au

For more on The Age's anti-Israel bias, see this special report (.pdf) on the HR site.

NOTE: The original version of this entry erroneously referred to The Age as Australia's largest daily. Thanks to Jack C for the correction.

 

Wednesday, August 10 2005

Disengagement roundup

The Conference of Presidents has a detailed roundup of news stories, commentary and analysis on the Gaza withdrawal.

 

Tuesday, August 9 2005

Consistency in 'T-word' label

Minneapolis Star Tribune Readers' Representative Kate Parry comments on her paper's inconsistency in labelling 'terrorists':

The Star Tribune has taken considerable heat over this language. "This issue has come up countless times over the past several years, and we've had an ongoing conversation with our staff about the use of language in sensitive stories involving acts of violence, war and terrorism. We believe our policy is consistent with all other major newspapers and wire services," said managing editor Scott Gillespie.

But the current approach ultimately doesn't treat all countries equally when they are victims of virtually identical terrorist violence. I disagree with Gillespie and think the newspaper needs to go another round in this debate to strive for a style and policy that is fairer and more consistent.

Continue reading "Consistency in 'T-word' label"

 
Israeli aid to Indian flood victims

IndianfloodIn December, massive Israeli aid to tsunami victims was largely ignored by the western press. A dispatch from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates a new round of aid to the recent flood victims in India:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Chief Medical Officer, Latet ("To Give") Organization, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Rafa Laboratories have offered assistance to the flood victims in Maharashtra, India, and are sending antibiotics and first aid equipment to the stricken region.

Continue reading "Israeli aid to Indian flood victims"

 
Insider's view on Jenin media myth

In The New Republic, Jacob Dallal, former officer in the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, explains what went wrong in Jenin. The IDF's approach to journalists was the main problem, according to Dallal:

While it soon became clear that there was no massacre... the impression of a massacre persists, and the association of "Jenin" and "massacre" cannot be fully erased from international consciousness. This teaches us something fundamental about shaping world opinion in a low-intensity conflict: It is, unfortunately, not always the reality--the actual facts--that matter, but rather the perception of the reality; and that perception is formed by the media, and the perception in the media is formed by the initial rendition of the event. An untruth cannot be allowed to linger--it has to be disproved, to a reasonable journalistic standard, immediately. Otherwise you can do all the damage control you want, but the initial impression will never be fully erased.

The IDF has learned this lesson the hard way. Had we sent a single representative of the foreign press into Jenin for half an hour every day of the week during the fighting, I can say with almost full certainty that the claims of a massacre would not have taken root.

 

Monday, August 8 2005

Worth reading today

* A Financial Times columnist perceives change in Israel's portrayal in the media:

there was no rush in the international media to blame Israel’s government or society for [the Natan-Zada murders], of the sort one would have expected during the “second intifada” that began in 2000.

This is a sea change. On Mr Sharon’s watch, without anyone really noticing, Israel has become more firmly anchored in the good graces of world opinion than at any time this decade. As Mr Sharon sought to stem the Palestinian suicide-bombing campaign in the spring of 2002, he was not merely condemned for excesses or derided as a crafty operator. What has changed?

We're not so sure a 'sea change' has occurred...

Continue reading "Worth reading today"

 
Fact-checking opinion pieces

BostonglobelogoBoston Globe ombudsman Richard Chacón:

Over the last several months, Globe readers have raised questions over the amount of scrutiny given to assertions made in opinion columns.

On April 11, Jeffrey Halper, coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, wrote in an op-ed that Palestinians have ''no functioning economy" because 70 percent of them ''live on less than $2 a day," and that they have ''no agriculture" because ''since 1967 Israel has uprooted or cut down a million olive and fruit trees."

Continue reading "Fact-checking opinion pieces"

 
Take HR's Gaza Quiz

With Israel's withdrawal from Gaza beginning soon, media outlets are turning out dozens of reports on the tensions involved. But amidst the drama, the essential facts behind Israel's painful sacrifice are often lost.

To address this knowledge gap and expand public awareness of what's happening, HonestReporting produced an educational online quiz. How does your knowledge stack up? Click here to find out:

Gazaquiz180x120
 

Sunday, August 7 2005

Natan Zada killings

* Meryl Yourish is justifiably up-in-arms over an AP dispatch on Thursday's killing of four Arabs by a Jewish 'Kach' terrorist, Eden Natan-Zada.

* James Taranto of the Wall St. Journal notes the immediate denounciation of the attack from Israeli and Jewish leaders and comments:

In the typical terrorist attack by Palestinian Arabs, Palestinian officials, if they criticize it at all, do so only on the ground that it's counterproductive, and the parents usually hail their child's "martyrdom." So, while Jewish terrorists are every bit as despicable as Arab ones, Israel's response to this atrocity shows that Jewish civilization is vastly superior to its Arab counterpart.

* Thoughts from Wandering Jew (with screen captures of world vs. Israeli media) and Omri Ceren:

When a Jewish terrorist kills Arabs - and let's be clear, this one's a terrorist - Jews condemn him for it. When an Arab terrorist kills Jews, Arabs celebrate.
When an Arab mob savagely lynches a Jew for killing Arabs, the world yawns. When highly trained and disciplined Israeli operatives target a Palestinian terrorist who is literally in the act of terrorism, it's highly "controversial".
After a horrific terrorist attack committed by a Jew, it's just kind of expected that Arabs will violently riot. When Arabs commit the most unthinkable crimes, bombing civilians and then the medical personnel who come to help them, Israelis are urged to consider the day after.
Mired in their own victim-hood, Israeli Arab organizations are of course calling for a full strike. In far more serious situations - with civilian murders sanctioned at the highest Palestinian levels - Israelis were always urged to make one more painful concession for peace.
And of course, the biggest difference is that when a Jewish terrorist kills Arabs, Jews call him a terrorist. When an Arab terrorist kills Jews, he's something else.
 
Something old, something new

Archeologistcitydavid* The New York Times has an article on a remarkable archeological find in the City of David, alongside the Old City of Jerusalem. The kicker:

The find will also be used in the broad political battle over Jerusalem - whether the Jews have their origins here and thus have some special hold on the place, or whether, as many Palestinians have said, including the late Yasir Arafat, the idea of a Jewish origin in Jerusalem is a myth used to justify conquest and occupation.

It's disturbing to see those two positions placed alongside each other, as if they have equivalent legitimacy. Jim Davila at PaleoJudaica responds:

we have plenty of evidence that Jerusalem was inhabited by Hebrew-speaking Judeans during the Iron Age II, especially the last century or so of it (e.g., references to biblical kings in the Assyrian and Babylonian inscriptions, the Hezekiah's tunnel inscription, the Siloam tomb inscription, the Ophel ostracon, etc.). There is legitimate debate about the nature of David's and Solomon's supposed empires and how reliable the biblical sources are for the Iron Age II, but that is another issue and should not be conflated with the frequently bizarre claims of the Palestinians.

More thoughts on this discovery at One Jerusalem.

(Hat tip: Mediacrity)

 

Thursday, August 4 2005

Atlantic profile of Arafat online

AtlanticcoverarafatThe Atlantic Monthly's lengthy cover story about Yasser Arafat ('How Arafat Destroyed Palestine') is now available online in full at Ocnus.net. (Hat tip: LGF)

 
Under the Media Radar

The latest HR communique has just been published: 'Under the Media Radar'

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Please use the comments section below this entry for discussion of this topic.

 
ISM now a 'news agency'

GooglenewsIn FrontPageMag, Lee Kaplan reports that Google News plans to give the International Solidarity Movement the status of a news agency. ISM 'reports' would begin appearing on Google News within four to six weeks.

If true, the ISM—an affiliate of the anarchist/communist wing of the PLO—would be on par with professional news services such as CNN, Fox, and Associated Press. In addition, the Palestinian Authority has announced through its WAFA news agency that the ISM will be given an official license as a separate news agency, according it the same media status as the news giants….

According to our source, this was confirmed by Google for Dave Reed, who is in charge of website development for the ISM. The correspondence also thanks the ISM for providing “articles” to Google News.

Google News previously highlighted ‘news’ from sources like Jihad Unspun and National Vanguard.

Comments to Google News: source-sugestions@google.com

 
Radical Muslim group uses Nazi imagery

Charles Johnson finds an British Muslim group -- The Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK) -- using an image of a horned Jewish monster to illustrate an article on their site entitled 'Zionists Behind Terror Attack':

Greatsatan

The horrible image, entitled 'Greatsatan.jpg', was taken directly from the neo-Nazi site National Journal.

Johnson notes that MPACUK, which has since changed the image accompanying the article,

presents itself as a legitimate community representative of young British Muslims; according to their site they are “a non-profit making organisation working with the community, helping Muslims to help themselves.” Their spokesmen have appeared on the BBC, and the media seem to be taking them seriously as a group that “tries to involve young Muslims in democracy.”

Why aren't we suprised they've appeared on BBC?

 

Wednesday, August 3 2005

Of note

* In Israel, journalists jokingly cavort with wanted terrorist leaders. But try to even interview them in Russia, and the authorities will cut your accreditation:

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it will not renew the accreditation of ABC-TV after it broadcast an interview with a notorious Chechen warlord.

Basayev… has claimed responsibility for some of Russia's most terrifying terrorist attacks, including last year's hostage seizure at the school in Beslan, which ended in the deaths of more than 330 children and adults.

Continue reading "Of note"

 


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