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« February 2006 | Main | April 2006 »

Friday, March 31 2006

From Terrorism to.... Terrorism?

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: From Terrorism to.... Terrorism?

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Thursday, March 30 2006

The Monitor's Dubious Source

MonitorThe Christian Science Monitor is entitled to its views on the Mideast conflict. But in a staff-ed urging the Bush administration to take more involvement in the peace process, the Monitor tries bolstering its argument by quoting from a dubious source: the controversial paper on American-Israeli relations written by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. The Monitor writes:

But as a new paper by the academic dean of Harvard University's Kennedy School, Stephen M. Walt, and University of Chicago political scientist John J. Mearsheimer, points out: "Saying that Israel and the United States are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards. The United States has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel.... US support for Israel is not the only source of anti-American terrorism, but it is an important one."

Bush can hardly pretend to be the global terrorist fighter if he allows Israel's separation barrier to take up an estimated 8 percent of the West Bank and also lets nearly 400,000 Jewish settlers leave Palestinian territory looking like Swiss cheese.

Mearsheimer and Walt have already been discredited; we blogged but a small handful of debunkings here.

 
A NY Times Quiz

This NY Times staff-ed incoherently responds to the unilateral agenda Israeli voters approved of this week:

We're not happy with Mr. Olmert's proposal of a unilateral withdrawal. But at this point, we're heartened by anything that leads to an Israeli withdrawal from land that the Palestinians must control if the area is ever going to evolve into two peaceful, co-existing states….

While the ultimate solution to the conflict can be only a negotiated one, as opposed to a unilateral drawing of final borders by Israel, a negotiated deal is not going to happen until Hamas repudiates terrorism and recognizes Israel's right to exist. Hamas has yet to earn itself a seat at the negotiating table. But in the meantime, Israel can start to rid itself of its self-created problem in the West Bank.

So in the absence of a Palestinian negotiating partner, what is the Times really advocating?

A) Israel should unilaterally leave the West Bank “to rid itself of its self-created problem.”

B) Israel should not unilaterally withdraw because “the ultimate solution to the conflict can only be a negotiated one.”

C) Israel should negotiate with Hamas anyway because “the ultimate solution to the conflict can only be a negotiated one.”

D) The Times just looks forward to seeing Israel to leave the West Bank; it doesn’t matter why or how.

 

Wednesday, March 29 2006

Pulling the Plug

Don’t expect world-wide riots over this cartoon by Hermann of Tribune de Geneve. The caption at top reads, “The Israelis have voted.” The doctor standing over Ariel Sharon says, “It’s good. We can unplug him now.”

Hermann

 
Amanpour 'Splains Away Hamas

LGF summed up our reaction to CNN correspondent Christine Amanpour’s take on Hamas. Amanpour posted her thoughts about the terror group on Anderson Cooper’s blog.

 
'As Culpable As the Terrorist Group Itself'

Al_manarThis Washington Times staff-ed makes crystal clear why the American designation of Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV station as a terror organization doesn’t contradict free expression:

Al Manar had hoped to stave off the designation as a terrorist entity by framing criticism of its connection to Hezbollah as an effort to deprive it of its First Amendment rights. But as the Treasury Department made clear, the issue is not al Manar's role as a television station but its role in facilitating the activities of Hezbollah, an organization that has killed more Americans than every other terrorist group save al Qaeda.

"Any entity maintained by a terrorist group -- whether masquerading as a charity, a business or a media outlet -- is as culpable as the terrorist group itself," said Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey. The Treasury Department cited an incident in which an al Manar employee carried out operational surveillance for Hezbollah while acting under cover of employment by al Manar.

(Hat tip: Iris Blog)

 
Still Viable

Guardian_2The Guardian erroneously claims that Israeli construction in a 4.6 sq. mile area between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim would cut the West Bank in two. Columnist Jonathan Freedland writes:

If he goes ahead and builds in the so-called E-1 corridor, linking Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim, then he will cut the West Bank in two, north and south, rendering it unviable as a Palestinian state.

This staff-ed echoes the misinformation:

…plans to further extend Maale Admumim, for example, will divide the West Bank into two disconnected areas, undermining its viability as a Palestinian state.

The reality is that the Palestinians would still have territorial contiguity to the east of Maale Adumim. A helpful map published by our CAMERA colleagues last year dispels The Guardian’s claims. At its narrowest point, the channel of land available to the Palestinians would be 9 miles (15 km) wide, which happens to be t he same size as Israel’s “waistline” for the past 50 years.

UPDATE 3/30: A Sydney Morning Herald staff-ed makes the same error:

The withdrawal will keep about 10 per cent of the West Bank under Israeli occupation, including a belt across the middle between Jerusalem and the largest Israeli settlement, Maale Adumim, which will cut the Palestinian lands in two.
 
The Fat Lady Sings

Fat_ladyThe proverbial fat lady sang, and as expected, Ehud Olmert won yesterday's elections. See this Jerusalem Post feature outlining the breakdown of seats in the next Knesset and who will fill them.

 
Gaza Katyusha Strikes Israel

Haaretz reports that for the first time, a Katyusha was fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. With a range of approximately 15 km, Katyushas can travel twice the distance of Qassam rockets. The 122 mm rocket caused no injury or damage.

 

Tuesday, March 28 2006

Guys and Polls

Ballot_boxesPlanning to follow coverage of the Israeli election results tonight? Be wary of exit polls because the abundance of undecided voters makes margin of error unusually high. YNet News notes an American professor's words of caution:

The handling of the large number of undecided voters, which borders on mysterious, and media distortion of survey results make it difficult even for experts to predict what is in store, says Kenneth Goldstein, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin.

Goldstein says that Kadima is expected to win, as all polls predict, but adds it is difficult to determine whether this will be a significant victory or a more marginal one....

Don't say we didn't warn you. Remember the confusion over Palestinian exit polls?

 
Saudi Approval 25 Years Later

OsirakTwenty-five years later, Saudi Arabia approves of Israel’s strike against Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor. The JTA reports:

Asked March 23 whether Saudis now welcomed the attack on the Osirak nuclear reactor, given Iraq’s subsequent aggression against Kuwait, Turki al-Faisal answered, “Probably, yes.” Faisal appeared caught off guard by the question, which came when he called on Israel to disarm to create a nuclear-free Middle East.

(Hat tip: Daily Alert)

 
Israel Critic's Assault in Scottish Paper

The latest HonestReporting UK communique has just been published: Israel Critic's Assault in Scottish Paper.

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Monday, March 27 2006

Al-Qaida Connives With Jews and Hindus

Pakistan’s military recently dropped pamphlets over villages near the Afghan border in a disingenuous effort to discourage tribesmen from associating with Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters. Reuters explains:

Titled "Warning", the pamphlets said the foreign militants were fighting against Pakistan in connivance with "Jews and Hindus", a term that would play on traditional prejudices among the region's Muslim conservatives….

"This war is against foreign terrorists and their harborers who are fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with Jews and Hindus against the state of Pakistan," it added.

Memri once flagged an interview in the Arab media in which a former bodyguard of Osama Bin Laden blasted similar conspiracy theories linking Al-Qaida and the Mossad.

(Hat tip: Elder of Ziyon)

 
'Relative Calm' Watch

Haaretz reports that Israel is dealing with 70 terror alerts, of which 16 are specific.

 
Jeff Halper Responds

Jeff_halperIn response to yesterday’s blog, Jeff Halper (pictured) of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions sent us the following email:

Honest reporting? Here's what you write:

"Jeff Halper compares Hamas to Mohandas Gandhi" [with a weak caveat whatever that means].

Then YOU quote me writing:

"He writes in the Toronto Star:..."This is not to equate Hamas with Gandhi..."

Helllllooooo.....are you listening to yourselves? The issue is not, of course, your willing distortion for ideological purposes (not exactly "honest," but hey...), but of the fundamental bad faith that underlies your willing distortions. So there's no point in "discussing" with you (or "backspinning," in your jargon) your knowing falsifications. Just to wonder two things: (1) in those moments when you are alone with yourselves opposite the mirror, how do you rationalize distortion and dishonesty in the name of honesty (sounds pretty Orwellian to me); and (2) As an Israeli, I wonder how in the hell you think this kind of "dirty tricks" can possibly help Israel -- or bring any honor to us Israelis as Jews?

Jeff Halper

 

Sunday, March 26 2006

Hamas, Gandhi and the Nobel Peace Prize

GandhiJeff Halper, a nominee for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, compares Hamas to Mohandas Gandhi with a weak caveat. He writes in the Toronto Star:

Gandhi put it best: "How can one be compelled to accept slavery? I simply refuse to do the master's bidding. He may torture me, break my bones to atoms and even kill me. He will then have my dead body, not my obedience. Ultimately, therefore, it is I who am the victor ..., for he has failed in getting me to do what he wanted done .... The roots of non-co-operation lie not in hatred but in justice."

This is not to equate Hamas with Gandhi, but merely to point out that non-co-operation, a powerful means of non-violent resistance, arises when the oppressed have no other avenues to achieve their freedom.

The international community, the U.S., Israel and, yes, Fatah, have closed all avenues to the Palestinians. They carry the "blame" for the rise of Hamas. Palestinians have simply said: "To hell with all of you!"

It’s rather hard to take Halper seriously. First of all, he heads the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, which NGO-Monitor describes as “a well-funded blatantly political and ideological one-man NGO, which couches its radical anti-Israel agenda and demonization in the rhetoric of human rights.” And secondly, till now, Halper never indicated any concern for Fatah corruption all the years it ran the PA.

Will Halper ever earn the title, Nobel Peace Laureate? One of the great ironies of Nobel history is that Gandhi never won the prize, while Yasser Arafat did.

 
'The Occupying Power'

WashpostIf the PA collapses, would Israel be responsible for administering Palestinian life? Washington Post reporter Scott Wilson sure thinks so:

Abbas is calculating that neither Israel nor foreign donors want the Palestinian Authority to collapse. That would require the Israeli government, as the occupying power, to assume a larger role in the territories at a time when Israel's leading political party is proposing a unilateral withdrawal from parts of the West Bank after the election.

Is Wilson’s assessment correct? Post your comments below.

 
Gunmen Silence Christian TV

TestpatternThe Jerusalem Post reports that Palestinian gunmen destroyed a private Christian TV-station based in Bethlehem. Hamdi Farraj, director of Shepherds' TV, told the Post that the station would remain off the air until workers felt safe to return. On more than one occasion, Yasser Arafat ordered the station closed because of its coverage of Palestinian corruption.

 

Thursday, March 23 2006

Madness In Madison

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: Madness In Madison

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Containing Hamas: The Castro Model

CastroIn today’s NY Times, Gideon Lichfield points out that the world's disunited response to Hamas too closely resembles the world's response to Fidel Castro (pictured). To boycott or engage? Lichfield writes:

Sound familiar? The same debate has been raging for decades about another small, impoverished and controversial place: Cuba. The United States doggedly insists that Fidel Castro's repressive regime must be boycotted to make it collapse. Europeans and Canadians prefer encouraging gradual change through "constructive engagement."

The result is that an unrepentant Mr. Castro is enjoying his 48th year in power, using the American boycott as a political prop and the rest of the world as an economic prop. Talk to Cubans and two things soon become clear: the main reason any of them support Mr. Castro is for his heroic stand against the Yanqui bully, and the main reason Cubans don't starve is that tourists and foreign joint-venture businesses pump money into the economy.

Something similar could happen with Hamas.

 
Why The Monitors Left

British sources shed more light on the security threats that prompted the exit of American and British monitors from the Jericho prison. The Jerusalem Post writes:

According to the British sources, there were a number of riots at the prison in the past. The sources said the rioting three weeks ago wasn't directed at the monitors, who kept a watch from the prison's roof on the yard where Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine head Ahmed Sa'adat and the others accused of murdering Ze'evi were held, but that since the men were unarmed, they felt vulnerable and insecure….

The sources said that in addition to the rioting, past attempts to "storm" the prison from the outside also added to a sense of insecurity and vulnerability.

In addition, the sources said, this insecurity was heightened by "very specific" intelligence information received over the last few months regarding the danger of the monitors being kidnapped and held for ransom.

 
AP's Verbal Gymnastics

AP’s verbal gymnastics to avoid using the word “terror” have come full circle with this warped photo caption:

Militants

Militants of the Kadima party stand next to portraits of acting prime minister Ehud Olmert, right, and ailing prime minister Ariel Sharon at the Kadima headquarters in Jerusalem Wednesday March 22, 2006. The centrist party Kadima (forward in English) was founded by Ariel Sharon in Nov. 2006 after leaving the right-wing Likud party and is the front-runner in the polls for the upcoming March 28 general elections. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Why weren't they called "activists" instead?

 

Wednesday, March 22 2006

A Matter of Recognition

Quote of the day:

"We cannot have a governnment that does not recognise the PLO," he said.

Ahmed Qoreia, quoted by AFP, explaining why the PLO rejects Hamas’ proposed cabinet, which doesn’t recognize Israel either.

 
J-Low

J_lowEveryone’s entitled to their opinion, but even op-eds have to be no less factually accurate than regular news reports. So we have to wonder about the Madison Capital-Times, which gave op-ed space to Jennifer Loewenstein (pictured) for a nasty screed about Israel. Unfortunately, her facts are all wrong.

Among other things, Loewenstein claims Hamas supports a two-state solution while Israel opposes this, then describes as “bizarre” the notion that Hamas should be forced accept a two-state solution. The road map, which Israel and the Palestinian Authority accepted, is premised on a two-state solution. Here’s why she probably believes Hamas has become pragmatic.

Looking into Loewenstein’s background, such accusations aren’t surprising. In 2004, she spearheaded an unsuccessful effort to pair up Madison, her hometown, with Rafah, as a sister city. Lowenstein’s sentiments on issues like the Hamas election victory, the Gaza disengagement, the IDF’s security operations, and Israel’s human rights record aren’t difficult to find online.

 
Dancing With the Devil

Dance_europeEditors at Dance Europe, a London-based magazine, chose to dance with the devil when they turned down journalist Stephanie Freid’s offer to write a feature about an Israeli troupe for political reasons. The London Jewish Chronicle recently wrote:

Ms Freid said she was quizzed about the dance company’s view on the Israeli occupation and asked whether it was government funded.

“The editor, Emma Manning, told me they had allowed an Israeli advertisement once, but only with a disclaimer saying it disapproved of the occupation….

Ms Manning would say only that “as an editor, I am entitled to choose what to print. It is my prerogative.” Mr Kaul was more forthcoming, telling the JC: “We are opposed to the occupation. If any company in Israel co-operates with us by adding a disclaimer saying it is opposed to the occupation, settlements and everything else, we will co-operate with them.”

Now, YNet News reports that others in Israel’s dance community have encountered problems with Dance Europe:

A year and a half ago Dan Rudolph, general manager of the Kibbutz Dance Company, was asked to publish a condemnation when he wanted to place an ad for dance auditions.

“I received a letter from the magazine that demanded a written declaration against the policy of occupation, and I got really angry."

Send comments to edit@danceeurope.net

 
Pondering Jericho

Saadat_1In FrontPageMag, Sean Gannon critiques Western media coverage of the Jericho prison raid. Gannon was responding to staff-eds in the NY Times, Washington Post and the Boston Globe, among others. Gannon accuses the papers of overlooking the raid's wide approval among Israeli voters, omitting important background info about PFLP leader Ahmed Sa’adat inaccurately describing key events leading up to the raid.

 

Tuesday, March 21 2006

BBC Newsnight’s Insidious Accusations

The latest HonestReporting UK communique has just been published: BBC Newsnight’s Insidious Accusations.

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Crimson Faced

HarvardReaders looking for refutations of John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s Harvard research paper, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, should see reactions from Marvin Kalb and James Taranto.

The controversial paper made waves on campus and also reached the UK; the London Review of Books raised eyebrows by publishing it.

UPDATE: See further responses to Walt and Mearsheimer by Dore Gold, Melanie Phillips, Alan Dershowitz and our colleagues at CAMERA. See also Soccer Dad's links to more responses.

 
The Jordan Rules

The Boston Globe reports that Jordanian Islamists are emboldened by Hamas to push for more clout. And they’re making inroads much the same way Hamas did in Gaza and the West Bank:

Now politicians in the Islamic Action Front are boldly breaking with the gentlemen's rules of Jordanian politics, under which opposition parties never directly criticize the monarchy, nor point out government corruption, or call for major democratic reforms, in exchange for a modicum of free debate over such issues as education. In recent weeks, Islamist politicians have declared that without the monarchy's repressive control over parliamentary elections, the Muslim Brotherhood would win 40 percent to 50 percent of the vote.

Jordan's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood -- the same international confederation that includes Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the Iraqi Islamic Party -- is cementing its control over a vast network of religious schools, hospitals, and charities that are giving it unprecedented influence and new confidence….

In Jordan, the Brotherhood elected a new, more moderate-sounding chairman in February, in part to assuage government fears provoked by Hamas's victory. But the group's actual leaders -- its board of directors, who set policy, and the charity board, which dispenses millions of dollars a year to a network of hospitals, schools, refugee camps, and Islamist causes, including Palestinian militant factions -- remain the same, hard-liners committed to twin causes anathema to Jordan's rulers: Islamic rule and the Palestinian armed struggle against Israel.

Click here for further background reading on Hamas' relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood.

 
Russian Roulette

Russia_1Russian pundit Yulia Latynina sharply and eloquently attacks Vladimir Putin’s strategy of trying to moderate Hamas, Iran and North Korea by engaging them diplomatically. Published in Russia’s St. Petersburg Times:

There are two problems with this strategy. For starters, Hamas, Iran and North Korea foster no illusions about Russia. If rogue states want to sell out to the West, they can do so without engaging Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as their agent. The plan was for the Kremlin to manipulate these rogue states for its own benefit. Instead, Hamas and the rest are using Russia to drag out negotiations at the United Nations and to ensure worldwide coverage of their declarations at Russian airports.

The second problem is that by holding talks with rogue states, Russia comes perilously close to being perceived as a rogue state in its own right. Rogue states are not countries with authoritarian regimes. In the world of realpolitik, no one cares what governments do to their own people. The rogues are countries with an unpredictable foreign policy.

 

Monday, March 20 2006

A Sermon For the Birds

ChickensA Gaza preacher says the bird flu that recently hit the Jewish state is divine punishment against Israel for being the “enemy of humanity.” WorldNetDaily writes:

"Praise Allah the bird flu has hit the Jews. It came because of their sins against the Palestinians; because they are the most cruel enemy of humanity; because they are themselves the enemy of humanity; because they don't believe in Allah; because they falsify the book of Allah; because they cheated the prophet Muhammed; and because they cheated Allah and even their own prophet, Moses," Sheikh Muhammed was quoted as saying.

The remarks contradict Syrian media, which recently accused Israel of spreading the disease to kill Arabs.

 
UNRWA Unmasked

UnrwaThe JTA published an unbelievably comprehensive look at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). This must-read series examines the organization's history and the politicization of its humanitarian work.

 

Sunday, March 19 2006

US Aid Down the Drain

Money_1Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Rep-Fla.) accuses the PA of inflating its population figures to bilk US taxpayers of $3 billion in aid. This came after the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East, which she chairs, heard testimony severely discrediting the demographic data the aid was based on. Ros-Lehtinen now calls for an inquiry into what happened to the extra funds. WorldNetDaily writes:

PA officials reported the Palestinian population for 2004 in West Bank and Gaza totaled 3.8 million. But an in-depth study led by American researchers Bennet Zimmerman, Roberta Seid and Michael Wise puts the current Palestinian-Arab population of the West Bank at 1.4 million and Gaza 1.1 million, for a total of 2.4 million.

"American tax dollars and other international humanitarian aid have been based on inflated population numbers which have been accepted without question by governments and aid agencies. Our researchers pointed out that money has been spent to help Palestinians who were double-counted, never born or not present in the West Bank and Gaza," Zimmerman told WND.

The study, titled "Arab Population in the West Bank and Gaza," compared the accepted PA data to Palestinian voting records, birth and death records published annually by the PA's Health Ministry, immigration and emigration data from Israel's Border Control, internal migration of Palestinians from the territories into Israel recorded by the Israeli Interior Ministry and others, Israeli Civil Administration population studies, U.N. population surveys, and surveys conducted by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and the World Bank.

Zimmerman's team found extreme faults in the methods used by the PA to determine its population, including counting the 230,000 Arab residents of Jerusalem twice and retroactively raising growth and birth rates, which the study contends have been declining.

We blogged the study last year.

 
'How I Learned to Love the Wall'

Securityfence_1Irshad Manji, a Muslim student at Yale, got op-ed space in the NY Times to write what may be the most honest first-person reaction to the security fence:

After all, this barrier, although built by Mr. Sharon, was birthed by "shaheeds," suicide bombers whom Palestinian leaders have glorified as martyrs. Qassam missiles can kill two or three people at a time. Suicide bombers lay waste to many more. Since the barrier went up, suicide attacks have plunged, which means innocent Arab lives have been spared along with Jewish ones. Does a concrete effort to save civilian lives justify the hardship posed by this structure? The humanitarian in me bristles, but ultimately answers yes….

For all the closings, however, Israel is open enough to tolerate lawsuits by civil society groups who despise every mile of the barrier. Mr. Sharon himself agreed to reroute sections of it when the Israel High Court ruled in favor of the complainants. Where else in the Middle East can Arabs and Jews work together so visibly to contest, and change, state policies?

 
Danish Cartoons: Implications for Israel

Assessing the Danish cartoon controversy and it’s implications for Israel, Manfred Gerstenfield concludes that radical Islam’s "victory" may bolster anti-Israel activity:

The initial success of Muslim violence and threats in the cartoon conflict may embolden the Arab world to increase its threats against the West if it does not pressure Israel to make further concessions.

Many in the Western world deflect Arab pressure by making demands on Israel. As the Muslim-Western conflict further intensifies in the coming years, the scapegoating of Israel is a serious risk.

(Hat tip: Daily Alert)

 
The Quick Fix

Daled Amos notes some fascinating parallels in the way reporters in both Israel and Iraq rely on local fixers with their own political agendas.

(Hat tip: Soccer Dad)

 

Thursday, March 16 2006

Friends Like These

Bbc_3Tom Gross wonders why the BBC’s Gaza offices were spared the Palestinian frenzy of kidnapping and looting after Israel’s raid on the Jericho prison:

In their usual intimidatory way, they also targeted journalists, briefly seizing two French reporters and a South Korean one. Armed gunmen also raided the offices of the German TV station ARD, shooting in the air. But what is interesting is that the BBC is housed in the same building as ARD in Gaza, and yet the Palestinian militant groups – who are much better organized and more sophisticated in their choice of targets than some in the media would have us believe – deliberately did not enter the BBC offices.

It seems that even on a day of widespread attacks on western targets in Gaza and the West Bank, the Palestinian gunmen know who their friends are.

 
Reuters Foundation Treads 'Very Carefully'

AlertnetWhy did Reuters’ AlertNet turn down a request from NGO-Monitor to contribute content like other non-governmental organizations? The Reuters Foundation founded AlertNet "to keep relief professionals and the wider public up-to-date on humanitarian crises around the globe" and "to place Reuters' core skills of speed, accuracy and freedom from bias at the service of the humanitarian community." The foundation's Megan Rowling responded to NGO-Monitor:

The political arena in which you/we operate is very sensitive - and as you are mainly interested in highlighting anti-Israel bias, we were concerned that if we publish your material, we risk offering a rather one-sided view. We really do have to tread very carefully in this area, so I hope you can understand this reservation.

To which NGO-Monitor replied:

You write that, in revealing the biases and lack of credibility of some NGO reports, NGO Monitor "offers a valuable service". Yet, in order to avoid appearing biased and one-sided, you refuse to publish the very NGO Monitor reports which highlight the biased and one-sided coverage - and instead continue to carry the biased and one-sided reports themselves. This is, to say the least, illogical, and perpetuates the abuse of the rhetoric of human rights and humanitarian norms.

If avoiding bias in reports on central humanitarian issues is at all a concern, as well it should be, Reuters AlertNet should actively seek to carry evidenced-based reports on this subject. Certainly, Reuters AlertNet should not actively avoid publishing NGO Monitor's reports detailing bias. The most basic journalistic ethics demand this.

Click here to see how correspondence between Reuters and NGO-Monitor unfolded.

 
Prison Privileges

The Times of London outlines the perks and privileges of the Jericho Six during their period of incarceration:

* Monitors complained that Saadat, Shobaki and the four other “special” prisoners were given the run of the compound by Palestinian guards

* They were not “locked down” at night

* They were never separated from the 300 other prisoners

* They had mobile phones and computers; Shobaki ordered the monitors’ phone jammers to be turned off

* They had up to 90 visitors a week and used other prisoners “as domestic staff”

* Saadat kept birds and had a big book collection

* Inmates and guards referred to Shobaki as “brigadier”. He smoked up to five Cuban cigars a day

 
Syria’s ‘Free’ Media City

The Jerusalem Post reports that Syria is developing 65,000 square meters of the Damascus fairgrounds for a high-tech “Free Media City” where news bureaus will be invited to set up shop. But the Post notes one caveat:

However, it remains unclear how free the media will be.
 
Inaugurating HonestReporting UK

Uk_3Our newest affiliate, HonestReporting UK is now up and running. Cruise the site, meet the team, learn more about why the UK, and make a donation. You can also sign up to join a special mailing list to receive special UK media critiques. This is the start of an exciting new chapter for HonestReporting.

Contact HonestReporting UK directly at feedback@honestreporting.co.uk.

 

Wednesday, March 15 2006

HonestReporting Launches New Look

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: HonestReporting Launches New Look

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Seizing Saadat: Just Politics

See the response of The Guardian's Steve Bell to the Jericho prison raid:

Bell_1


 
Nuking BBC's Nuke Report

See Melanie Phillips response to a recent BBC Newsnight report that the UK secretly aided Israel's nuclear program in the 1960's.

 

Tuesday, March 14 2006

'Like Attacking Mom and Apple Pie'

Farhat_1A casual observation by Palestinian psychologist Eyad Serraj in the Christian Science Monitor makes us one prevailing conventional wisdom: the idea that the Palestinians who voted for Hamas don’t support terror or Islamic fundamentalism. Profiling Mariam Farhat, (pictured) mother of three “martyrs,” and now a Hamas legislator, reporter Ilene Prusher writes:

Eyad Serraj, the head of the Gaza Community Mental Health Center and an expert in children's health here, says that an abundance of religion is already taught in schools; he learned the Koran from the age of 6. But with a Palestinian pedigree such as hers, he says, Farhat is somewhat unassailable: For a Palestinian to criticize her would be like attacking Mom and apple pie.
 

Monday, March 13 2006

Meet the New Bureau Chief

The Guardian profiled the BBC’s new Jerusalem bureau chief, Caroline Hawley:

The daughter of a senior diplomat, Hawley was born in Nigeria in 1967. She lived in Oman as a child and "romantic memories of camels in deserts and starry nights" inspired her to study Arabic and Islamic studies at Oxford University. She was special correspondent in Jerusalem for Newsweek magazine between 1991-94, after which she joined the BBC World Service, first as a planning editor for the Arabic Service, eventually becoming a reporter.

We'll wait and see how her reporting unfolds. Her most recent posting was in Baghdad, but some readers might recall that she was in Amman's Grand Hyatt Hotel when it was blown up by an Al-Qaida suicide bomber.

 

Sunday, March 12 2006

Relating to Sharon

We suspect a lot of readers will identify with the way Chicago Tribune reporter Ron Grossman relates to Ariel Sharon in this must-read commentary. Post your comments below.

 
'The Root Cause of the Hostility'

Flag_3Now syndicated columnist Helen Thomas blames the world’s problems with radical Islam on Israel. If Israel would tear down the security fence, resume cash transfers to the PA and find a way to get along with the Palestinians, the world situation might improve. Thomas explains why:

The unresolved Arab-Israeli clash has been a festering sore for decades. It is the root cause of the hostility of much of the Middle East toward the United States.

However, not everyone agrees with this assessment. The NY Times profiled Wafa Sultan, a Los Angeles-based Arab-American psychologist who made waves around the world by bluntly telling Al-Jazeera that global jihad is really a clash that has nothing to do with Israel. The Times writes:

In the interview, which has been viewed on the Internet more than a million times and has reached the e-mail of hundreds of thousands around the world, Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries.

She said the world’s Muslims, whom she compares unfavorably with the Jews, have descended into a vortex of self-pity and violence.

Dr. Sultan said the world was not witnessing a clash of religions or cultures, but a battle between modernity and barbarism, a battle that the forces of violent, reactionary Islam are destined to lose.
In response, clerics throughout the Muslim world have condemned her, and her telephone answering machine has filled with dark threats.

Thomas can see the interview here.

 

Thursday, March 9 2006

Nuclear Family of Nations, Part 2

AtomicBBC appears to have found documents confirming that Britain supplied Israel with more nuclear support in the 1960s than previously thought:

Using Freedom of Information, Newsnight has obtained top secret papers. They show Foreign Minister Kim Howells misled the IAEA and that Britain made not one, but hundreds of secret shipments of nuclear materials to Israel.

Will this fuel Arab criticism that the world treats Israel's nuclear program with a double-standard? We blogged a refutation to that argument here this week.

 
Praise for Obsession

HollywoodNo, HonestReporting's documentary, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West didn't win any Oscars. But in today’s American Spectator, chief editor R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. wishes that the Hollywood elite who recently gathered for a glittering night of awards would see the film:

Perhaps we could get Hollywood on our side in this war against Islamofascism if the Hollywoodians could be apprised of the Islamofascists' enthusiasm for Hitler. A week or so ago I sat in on a screening of a new documentary that is pretty convincing on the matter, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West….

Obsession, is one of the most riveting films I have seen about the roots of the struggle the civilized world now faces.

Click here to view the trailer.

 


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