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« July 2004 | Main | September 2004 »

Tuesday, August 31 2004

Al-Jazeera frustrated at convention

aljazeera.rncAl Jazeera was allowed to set up shop at the Republican convention, but they're having a hard time getting anyone to talk to:

An Al-Jazeera camera crew sidled up to South Dakota Senate candidate John Thune today and tried to ask some questions after he finished a live shot on MSNBC. But Thune kept walking after his campaign manager, Dick Wadhams, realized the crew was from the Arab-language satellite TV network, which many U.S. conservatives say is biased against the United States.

“We don’t need to be talking to people who defend terrorists,” Wadhams told other campaign aides. The crew followed Thune around on the floor for a few minutes before giving up and leaving.

(Hat tip: Allah)

Fizzling Franklingate

Ed Lasky and Richard Baehr, The American Thinker: "Given what little is known here, caution would have been advisable on the part of any reporter considering going public with fragmentary information. But CBS chose not to hold its fire until facts, rather than gossip or leaks, were presented to it....In Teheran, the mullahs must be smiling about all of this."

David Frum, National Review: "Can we pause to consider what an amazing non-story all of this is? cleverly shopping it to journalists who were eager to strike a blow at the Bush administration, a fizzle of a story was (at least temporarily) transformed into a one-day wonder."

Misleading headline of the day

From AP: 'Israelis Fire Missile at Palestinians'

Actually, the Israeli military targeted "a car carrying four Palestinian gunmen...members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades," we later learn.


Monday, August 30 2004

Terrorist pretended to be cancer patient

From Maariv (Hebrew, 30 Aug):

Nabil Masri, a resident of the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza, regrets nothing. Equipped with a false permit saying he had prostate cancer, Masri sought medical treatment in Israel. His intention was to conduct a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. He admits that had he succeeded, hundreds of Palestinian patents would no longer receive permits for medical treatment in Israel. (Hat tip: COP Daily Alert)

Yet another case of Palestinian terrorist abuse of medical neutrality for cover. Why does the world media continue to deem this topic un-newsworthy?

Spy allegations, cont.

As indicated in our communique yesterday, this whole 'espionage scandal' is begining to look like mere media hype regarding an irresponsible act by a low-level DoD figure.

The New York Times today finds a new 'official' who says

that news reports about the inquiry compromised important investigative steps, like the effort to follow the trail back to the Israelis.

Note the assumption that the trail does go back to the Israelis. And here's another new tidbit:

Mr. Franklin began cooperating with agents this month in an arrangement that is still not completely understood. He agreed to help the authorities monitor his meetings with his contacts at the lobbying group. It is not clear whether the authorities in exchange agreed to grant him any form of leniency.

So Franklin may have been put in a position in which his own freedom was dependent on placing the AIPAC agents in a comprimised position.


UPDATE: Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom is calling the whole affair 'nothing but media nonsense that has been manipulated and exaggerated by the press.'


Sunday, August 29 2004

The spy allegations

While everyone's waiting to learn what pans out in the Larry Franklin/DoD/AIPAC/FBI affair, some media outlets seem almost rooting for an arrest.

The Melbourne Herald Sun announces in the headline: "Israel spy found at Pentagon," then goes on to declare unequivocally, "An Israeli spy has been uncovered at the highest levels of the Pentagon, the FBI confirmed last night."

CBS, whose Leslie Stahl broke the story to much fanfare on Friday (see her video report), headlines their latest article, "Spy Arrest Said Possible Soon." But CNN reports, "there may not be charges at all." Hmmm.

BBC is quick to make Pollard comparisons:

The BBC's Nick Childs in Washington says this is potentially a very serious development, because Israel is one of America's closest allies.

However, he adds that Israel has been accused of spying on the US before.

Israellycool has a nice roundup, and Allah is all over it as well.

An informative article from Newsweek, which gives some background on Larry Franklin and the FBI's interest in him.

Not so cute


Toy In Candy Bag Appears To Depict 9/11 Attack

ORLANDO, Fla. — A bag of candy shocked a local grandmother and will most likely shock you. The toy inside looks like a plane flying right into the Twin Towers. Now, that toy is off some local store shelves because of our story.

It doesn’t stop there, though. That grandmother was surprised, again, when she read the numbers imprinted on the toy.

Until Thursday afternoon, the little toys were on sale to kids around Central Florida — two towers with a jetliner in between that appears to be crashing into one of the buildings. They come in packages along with candy.

(Hat tip: LGF)


Thursday, August 26 2004

Pathological hatred or incoherence?

William Sjostrom of AtlanticBlog fisks an article in The Guardian by Ewa Jasciewicz, the radical British journalist who was recently deported from Israel for her ties to Palestinian terrorists.

Coverage of Israel's Gold

Here are two great articles on Gal Friedman's gold medal, Israel's first ever:

-- Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star weaves nicely between Athens '04 and Munich '72

-- Ian O'Connor of USA Today recognizes the larger implications:

What the Israelis would give to be treated the same. What they would give for Iranian athletes to compete against theirs, fair and square, rather than forfeit as a means of declaring Israel a counterfeit state.

What the Israelis would give to negotiate their compound without the top-secret agents, the extra fencing, the heavier legacy of blood spilled and dreams stolen in the night.

"When you come to the Olympics," said Zvi Varshaviak, president of Israel's Olympic Committee, "you remember the 11 that the terrorists killed (in Munich). Now they want to kill us, and we show that we are here, and we have the gold medal."

UPDATE: Make that three -- Selena Roberts in the New York Times outdoes them all.

BBC turns the cameras around

A documentary about the perilous life of the Israeli bus driver is slated for BBC's fall schedule. A response to 'Documenting BBC Documentaries'?

IDF Combat Communication Course

The IDF is getting more serious about capturing anti-terror combat operations on film:

Another 4-month "Operational Documentation" course for soldiers from selected units has concluded under the auspices of the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. The course enables soldiers to document with their cameras the daily activities of their units. Soldiers learn everything concerning photography, picture angles, filming in motion, and night filming, with practice during operational activities.

The commander of the Film and Photography Unit explained that the course is a result of the terror incidents that started four years ago. While there have been reports that armed Palestinians shoot from behind children, by the time the IDF Film Unit crew arrived for documentation, the terrorists were already gone. Since the terrorist organizations take advantage of every opportunity to capture a photographed story from their perspective, the IDF decided to train its soldiers to photograph events as the soldiers see them.

(Hat tip: COP Daily Alert)

Jihad Mag for Women

Via BBC, a disturbing new entry to Mideast media:

Radical Islamists have launched a new magazine on the Internet especially for women, called Al-Khansa, after a famous Arab woman poet in the early days of Islam who wrote eulogies to male relatives who had died in battle. One of its encouragements to jihad reads: "The blood of our husbands and the body parts of our children are our sacrificial offering." It treats the issue of Saudi women's rights with scorn.

Wednesday, August 25 2004

Mazal tov! Gold!

Gal Friedman wins Israel's first-ever Olympic gold medal.



Tough to spin this one badly...unless of course the media discover the Mossad agent who directed the wind in Gal's direction...


Tuesday, August 24 2004

Yassir's Way

John Cole of the Durham Herald-Sun has Yasser Arafat doing Ol' Blue Eyes:

'Ghandi would have appreciated jihad'

Robert Spencer responds to a screed by Brian Whitaker of The Guardian claiming "Ghandi...would have appreciated jihad" against Americans and Israelis:

Gandhi would undoubtedly have appreciated jihad, eh? Clearly this has been written by someone who has had his ears filled with carefully designed, glib jihad-is-an-inner-spiritual-struggle explanations and has no idea what Islam really teaches about what jihad is.

Yeah, Gandhi would have loved this: "Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion." That's from 'Umdat al-Salik (o9.0), a legal manual endorsed by the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, Al-Azhar University in Cairo. I can see how that would have appealed to Gandhi. When Omar Bakri becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain, maybe he can get Ben Kingsley to reprise the Gandhi role with an AK-47 under his robes.

New news feed!

We've added a news feed to the right side of the blog -->

The very latest wire services articles on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict appear from the top of this list, then move their way down over time. Click on the headline to view the article in a new window.

We hope this will be useful for our readers. Please use this new feature to alert us, as always, of news coverage you believe is unfair or biased, by emailing


Monday, August 23 2004

Woodley Park Zoo Lesson

dc.tiger.babiesPhotojournalist Carrie Devorah, whose brother Chezi was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist, shares her run-in with a Syrian Israel-hater at a Washington DC zoo:

I had no idea my venturing to DC’s Woodley Park zoo to photograph the new tiger triplets would become a lesson on Israel’s Wall. Perspectives on politics pop up unexpectedly in day to day life.

Continue reading "Woodley Park Zoo Lesson"

The explanation for all problems

An update to our challenge for readers to find the supposed 'Israeli conspiracy' behind the New Jersey governor's departure -- Al Jazeera posts the statement of one 'Andy Martin':

"People have been confused by the McGreevey sex scandal," says Martin. "But McGreevey's dilemma is not a gay sex scandal. It is an Israeli intelligence operation gone sour. This is not a scandal about 'sex.' It is a scandal about 'secrets', Martin says.

"McGreevey said he had sex. He did. Golan Cipel says he is not gay. He's not. They are both right. Mr. Cipel was a junior Mossad case officer, originally posted to New York under official cover. The Mossad is well known for using human sex toys. McGreevey was lured into a relationship that was intended to penetrate New Jersey's homeland defenses.

[The far-left site Counterpunch has a similar angle: "There may be good reasons why the neo-conservatives want to play down Cipel's Israeli roots--McGreevey may have been set up in an attempt to ruin him and influence the upcoming U.S. presidential election."]

The Wilmington (DE) News Journal has the appropriate response:

We have been trying to find the right theory to explain New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey's disgrace over a homosexual affair with a man he tried to put in charge of the state's homeland security. Was it a moral failing (the conservative view) or his true sexual identity (the liberal take)?

All wrong, we are told. The real reason was Mossad -- an Israeli intelligence operation designed to ... here we falter.

The source for this information, the Arab television network al-Jazeera, doesn't make that point clear. It says the New Jersey scandal was not sexual blackmail but a spy scheme to put Golan Cipel, an Israeli and the object of Gov. McGreevey's desire, in a "position of intense interest" to Mossad.

This probably makes sense to the many al-Jazeera viewers who have an explanation for every problem in the world: Blame Israel.

But it's not working for us.

Worth reading today

* The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has a lengthy article by Max Singer on the implications of the Gaza pullout plan.

* In the New York Times, David Raab recalls his harrowing experience of being held hostage by the PFLP for three weeks during "Black September" in 1970.

* In the Washington Post Magazine, Gene Weingarten writes about keeping life as normal as possible in Jerusalem and around the world despite constant terror alerts:

So here's a question: Would you ride a bus in Jerusalem? Right now? Here's your 5 1/2 shekels, go take a bus to market, buy some figs. Pick a bad day, after the Israelis have assassinated some terrorist leaders and everyone is waiting for the second sandal to drop. There are lots of buses in Jerusalem -- the odds are still long in your favor. Do you take that dare?

* Cybercast News Service has an overview of Donna Rosenthal's new book The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land, which Rosenthal says is intended to broaden journalists' understanding of who Israelis really are:

"I wish TV crews would visit places like the cafeteria in Intel Jerusalem. I just had lunch with an Ethiopian electrical engineer, an ultra-Orthodox woman, a Russian guy with a ponytail, an Arab Christian and a woman in a tight blouse - their boss. They were arguing. Not politics or religion. But the next generation of computer chips. Too bad TV cameras don't capture these pictures," she said.


Sunday, August 22 2004

Straight From the Source

Nasser Ahmad Nasser Al-Bahri, a former bodyguard of Osama Bin Laden, was interviewed by Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a London-based Arabic daily, after gaining amnesty from Yemen. Al-Bahri had been imprisoned for involvement in the October, 2000 attack on the USS Cole. The interview, translated by Memri, puts to rest the silly conspiracy rumors blaming the Mossad for the attack, which killed 17 sailors aboard the destroyer in Yemen.

Al-Bahri, also known as Abu Jandal, told his interviewer:

The allegations that the Mossad was responsible [for the attack on the Cole] are nonsense and are an attempt to cast doubt on the ability of the Muslims to do something of this sort. Those who carried out the operation were well-known young men from among the ranks of our brothers the Mujahideen – may Allah have mercy on them …

(Hat tip: Daily Alert)

Arafat in the Crosshairs

ArafatWantedThe Jerusalem Post reports that a leaflet distributed in the Palestinian Authority is threatening the life of Yasser Arafat and other senior PA officials, charging them with corruption and embezzlement of public funds. Published by a group calling itself Fatah – The Reformist Path, the leaflet marks the first time Palestinians have directly threatened the life of Yasser Arafat so openly. Other PA officials threatened by name include Ahmed Quriea, Mahmoud Abbas, and Nabil Shaath. While some Palestinians pointed fingers at Mohammed Dahlan, one of the threatened ministers blamed Israel and the US for the leaflet, telling the Post:

"Israel and Washington are playing a filthy game with us," he charged. "Unfortunately, they have found some Palestinian puppets to assist them in their scheme."

Friday, August 20 2004

Words, Not Deeds

Yasser Arafat acknowledged to Palestinian lawmakers that “mistakes were made”, resulting in a Reuters headline going so far as to say that the chairman “urges change.” Most media coverage of his speech was more skeptical--for example, the LA Times didn’t bother giving Arafat much prominence against a Sharon speech made shortly afterwards.

Arafat quickly proved his skeptics right. The Jerusalem Post reports that the PA chairman is refusing to sign new anti-corruption laws presented to him by members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The Post writes:

The legislators gave Arafat till Tuesday to sign laws passed by the council, the official added. "Wednesday's speech was his chance to... implement the resolutions of the council... the whole world was watching him," said legislator Ziad Abu Amr.

"Arafat intends to present the legislators Tuesday with a letter stating what he intends to do," but is unlikely to sign the laws, a PA official said. The speech was only given to pacify the PLC, he added.

Of Medals and Memory

We appreciated the nice and concise way reporter Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tied together coverage of Israeli Ariel Zeevi winning a bronze medal on the anniversary of the Munich Olympic massacre.


Thursday, August 19 2004

BBC watch

'British TV Reporter Convicted of Murder':

LONDON -- A man described as an undercover reporter for British news outlets was convicted of murder Wednesday for torturing a man to death in front of his children ... During the eight-week trial, it emerged that Raven and his cousin, Christopher More, who is still being sought by police in connection with Waters' death, had earned up to $910 a day working undercover assignments for the BBC and Channel 4.

(Hat tip: Sharkblog)

Barghouti chows down during 'hunger strike'

barghouti.eatsWhile hundreds of Palestinian prisoners were on a hunger strike, their ostensible leader, Marwan Barghouti, had himself a meal behind a curtain. The guards caught it on tape:

Prison Services spokesman Ofer Lefler said Barghouti asked wardens for the food and ate without knowing that a camera was filming from a small hole in the wall. Israel wanted to show fasting prisoners how their leader was behaving, Lefler said.

"I want to show the world and the Palestinians that we are dealing with terrorists," Lefler said. "Barghouti is sitting on a pot of meat and he sends his friends to die."


Wednesday, August 18 2004

Haaretz on Media Bias

Haaretz has a special section this week for reader feedback on the question of media bias on the conflict. It's sponsored by HonestReporting, so you know it's worth seeing, even though the majority of the respondents have reached the very odd conclusion that the media is biased in favor of Israel.

Interview with 'IDF Dave'

Here's a followup to our recent communique 'When the Photo is the Story':

IsraPundit has a very nice summary of the general problem of media bias against Israel, then focuses on the problem of photo-based distortions. The author interviews 'IDF Dave', the reservist whose photos of the altogether warm relations between IDF soldiers and Palestinians we included in the communique:

Q: How have you seen the media distort the reality of Israel's checkpoints?

A: Like they distort every other event that happens in Israel or Iraq. They take photos and provide no context. The photographers wait all day at our checkpoint to try and get the photo that makes us look as bad as possible. The IDF show so much restraint that sometimes there can be a shouting and shoving match because those confronting the soldier realize that he is not going to do anything. Therefore when a situation like this happens it's very easy to take photos of a little pushing and shoving and giving someone the impression that IDF soldiers are harassing people. It's quite the opposite from what I see. The IDF soldiers are usually the ones on the receiving end of the abuse and I really have respect for our regulars (non-reservists) out there who have spent many months manning checkpoints. Most of them are 18-19 years old—guys and girls who show a restraint unlike any other army in the world.


Tuesday, August 17 2004

Iran's Olympic Snub

iranian.judoistKansas City Star columnist Joe Posnanski says the entire Iranian Olympic team should be sent packing.

When Arash Miresmaeili, a two-time world champion, disqualified himself from a judo match against an Israeli opponent, the Iranian government supported the snub; an Iranian spokesman said Miresmaeili simply followed government policy not to compete against 'athletes of the Zionist regime,' and Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said the withdrawal would go down 'in the history of Iranian glories...[Miresmaeili is] the champion of the 2004 Olympic Games.'

Posnanski writes:

This was Iran snubbing its nose at the Olympic Games and everything — absolutely everything — the Games are supposed to stand for. This was a country using the Games as a stage to inflame the emotions of a nation of 70 million (against a nation, incidentally, less than one-tenth its size). This was pure hostility under the Olympic torch.

Now, Iran has to be sent home. Otherwise, the Olympic Games are an utter sham. Otherwise, you might as well burn flags in that torch.

AFP reports that the Iranian's 'identification with the Palestinian cause' was not his only motivation:

In Tehran on Saturday, it was reported that Miresmaeili was still due to receive a 115,000-dollar cash purse set aside by the Iranian authorities for gold medal winners.

UPDATE: Dan Wetzel makes the same point in an article in Yahoo Sports.


Monday, August 16 2004

The End of Anti-Semitism?

New Zealand Herald columnist John Rougham argues that anti-semitism doesn't really exist anymore, except among fringe elements of society (and as a useful charge by Israel and its supporters):

As the nature of the "two-state solution" becomes clear, Israel and its apologists will continue to need the anachronism of anti-Semitism to silence critics and manipulate public opinion.
Times of London expose on Arafat

The Times of London ran a remarkable expose on Yassir Arafat's financial corruption - with some damning insider testimony:

THE Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, has enriched a privileged inner circle of cronies and salted away billions of dollars in secret bank accounts, according to his former treasurer.

Jaweed Al-Ghussein, 74, described last week how, during his 12 years as chairman of the Palestine National Fund, the financial arm of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, he gave Arafat a monthly cheque for $10.25m — amounting to $123m (£67m) every year.

He was told the money was being spent on the Palestinian movement’s paramilitaries and on families who had lost “martyrs” in the struggle...

“The money often serves no purpose for the people, while lining the pockets of cronies,” he said. He identified alleged rackets overseen by Arafat’s friends, including the distribution of cigarettes and the awarding of television licences.

“Before Oslo these people had no money. Now look at them,” Al-Ghussein said. “It is clear where their money comes from.”

Read the whole thing.


Sunday, August 15 2004

Stockholm Syndrome redux

brandonAfter Daily Telegraph reporter James Brandon was kidnapped from his hotel by Iraqi mujaheedin, he had only nice things to say about them:

“Initially I was treated roughly, but once they knew I was a journalist I was treated well and I want to say thank you to the people who kidnapped me.”

'Thank you'!! And the feeling was mutual -- this is why they let him go, according to a Knight-Ridder wire story:

"Journalists are our brothers, our friends," said Sheik Salah al Ubaidi, an al-Sadr spokesman in Baghdad. "They reflect our opinions and convey our voices to all of the world."

Yet when BBC reporter Orla Guerin chanced upon a Nablus house this week while the IDF was in an undercover operation, and she was held for some time to ensure the troops' safety, it was another story entirely. Guerin has the altogether natural reaction of resenting her captivity. Why does that disappear when Arabs are the captors?

Say What?

Reporter Barry Schweid of AP really believes Arafat “renounced violence.”

Arafat took over the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1967, after Israel decisively beat the Arabs in the Six-Day War. The Palestinians' leader ever since, he has renounced the terror tactics that the PLO used for decades and has agreed to coexistence with Israel. He became head of the Palestinian Authority established under the Oslo accords in the 1990s.

Comments to:


Friday, August 13 2004

Governor McGreevey's resignation

golan.cipelThe NJ Governor resigned yesterday, due to an affair with his Israeli aide (pictured).

First one to find an 'Israeli conspiracy' article wins...shouldn't take long.


Thursday, August 12 2004

British journalist denied entry

Interesting item from Haaretz:

A British journalist has been detained since Wednesday at Ben-Gurion International Airport after security forces denied her entry into the country on the grounds that she is a left-wing activist who could not be objective in her portrayal of local events and who could unknowingly assist violent organizations.



checkpointdonutsYesteday an Al-Aksa Brigades terrorist detonated a bomb at the Kalandia checkpoint just north of Jerusalem, killing two and wounding eighteen.

The checkpoints are routinely described in news reports as sites of supposed Israeli inhumanity. Just yesterday, the New Zealand Herald described the IDF checkpoints as "manned by young and sadistically aggressive Israeli soldiers." The Guardian painted a similiar picture with their article yesterday on a supposedly evil checkpoint commander named Udi.

Here's another look entirely -- an IDF soldier uploaded a slideshow from his time at the Kalandia checkpoint: Webshots community: Checkpoint

Click on 'Slideshow' to see what the media aren't reporting -- warm and friendly relations between the soldiers and the local Arabs. (Vegetarians beware -- scenes of raw lamb!)

The photographer comments on LGF (who gets the hat tip for this):

99% of the physical work I did at that checkpoint involved preventing arab on arab violence....

We had to chase a couple of guys who mugged an arab taxi driver. He was shaking and we had to comfort him etc etc..

Once there was a stabbing, some arab guy pushed in front of another and was stabbed in the leg... Again we had to chase the perpetrator and give medical aid to the victim.

Another time these teenagers cutoff an old man and he insulted them. They jumped out of their car and started to chase him and threatened to kill him. Upon catching up to these guys they told me that the old guy also called us IDF soldier pigs so he deserved to be beaten. To which I had to explain to them that namecalling doesn't justify violence. Anyways when I threatened to arrest them for approaching him, they backed off.

He also comments on the cameramen:

When I was at that checkpoint cameramen would often show up (all of them arab of course) and wait for hours for something to take pictures of. 99% of the time there was nothing to photograph so the reporter would wait and wait.....

I remember once we helped a really old guy get out of the checkpoint when he walked in the wrong direction, he didn't really understand us so we just stood in his way so he would understand that this was the wrong path and turn around. Anyways this AP photographer was just snapping away when this happenned. There were tons of incidents like this.

There were so many times this happenned. I wanted to kick the cameramen out since the Palis like to put on a show in front of them but Israel has this thing about being a democracy...


Wednesday, August 11 2004

HBO airing 'Death in Gaza'

Tomorrow night HBO will air James Miller's BBC/Channel 4 film 'Death in Gaza.' (see a trailer on the HBO site)

Miller died from a gunshot wound in Rafah while making the film. The information presented on Miller's memorial site suggests that the IDF was responsible for the fatal shot, but there has been no official recognition of that (unlike the Tom Hurndall affair, where an IDF soldier has been charged).

Continue reading "HBO airing 'Death in Gaza'"

Blaming Israel for Sudan

On the heels of 'Blaming Israel for Abu Ghraib':

In the Darfur region of Sudan, approximately 50,000 civilians have been murdered and more than 1 million displaced as a result of raids by Arab Janjaweed militias on the predominantly black African population of the province. The victimized black Sudanese believe that the Khartoum-based government of President Omar Hassan Bashir wants to give their land to his Janjaweed allies who, like him, are light-skinned Arab. The horrific genocide has been largely ignored until recently by major news outlets. Maariv's Yaakov Ahimeir asks:

Continue reading "Blaming Israel for Sudan"

Journalistic 'objectivity' gone wild

Here's another case study, caught by David Gerstman:

In an article about a Fatah-based terror group entitled, "Faction listens to Arafat only when he says what it wants to hear" The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Setting out his group's history, Abu Haron had to pause at times to choke back sobs and wipe away tears. On Thursday of last week Amar Abu Sitta, the group's beloved founder, was killed by a targeted Israeli helicopter strike after 11 years on the run.

His original offence in Israeli eyes - proudly acknowledged by the Abu Rish Brigade - was the killing of several Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip in the mid 1990s, despite the ceasefire agreed at the time between Israel and Mr Arafat. Israelis point out that Abu Sitta's first victim was his then employer, Uri Magidish, whom he killed in the settler's own greenhouse in the south Gaza settlement of Gan-Or in 1993.

Abu Haron expounded at length on the achievements of the Abu Rish Brigades in attacking Israeli soldiers and settlers in the Gaza Strip and on its relations with Hamas and Fatah military offshoots like the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade and the Popular Resistance Committees.

'His original offence in Israeli eyes'?! Murder of an unarmed civilian needs to be qualified in such a manner? The qualification suggests the reporter accepts, at least to some extent, Palestinian terrorists' claim that Israeli settlers are to be considered 'fair game' for killing.

This twisted morality is what happens when journalists seek cover behind 'he said/she said' reportage of the Mideast conflict.


Tuesday, August 10 2004

Israeli Supreme Court backs Palestinian journalists

From AP:

Israel's Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a ruling that requires government authorities to grant qualified Palestinian journalists accreditation to work in Israel.

The decision was a victory for foreign news organizations, many of whose Palestinian reporters have not been granted press cards needed to cover official events since Israeli-Palestinian violence broke out in September 2000.

Israel's Government Press Office, which led the effort to deny the Palestinians press credentials, argued that some pose a security threat and are biased against Israel in their coverage.

'Peace' activists in action

International peace activists and Palestinians scuffle with an Israeli border policeman during a protest against the construction of the controversial Israeli security barrier near the West Bank village of Az-Zawiya, August 9, 2004. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Reuters usually describes the security fence with scare quotes: 'security' fence. But they apparently couldn't bring themselves to do it this time, given the fact that they describe these 'peace' activists without quotes...

Here's another one -- with the same caption. The guy on the left looks very interested in peace:


Monday, August 9 2004

AFP photo of Sharon

Here's an AFP photo of Ariel Sharon, released today -- no, we didn't crop it, that's the actual 'news' photo:


The caption:

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon presides over the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem.

What other world leader would receive this treatment at the other end of a photojournalist's lens? Imagine someone framing John Kerry in such a way...hey, there was an outcry when even this photo came out.


Sunday, August 8 2004

Moscow Jewish newspaper vandalized

Haaretz reports:

Burglars have broken into the office of a Jewish newspaper in Moscow and stolen computer hard drives and documents...Two weeks ago, two scanners were stolen from the office. However, while that burglary may have been for financial gain, this weekend's theft appeared to be an attempt to garner information.

What were they looking for? Were they vintage 1970s KGB agents having some kind of flashback?

Abu Toameh on PA chaos

abu.toamehAccess Middle East has a transcript (and audio file) of a conference call with Khaled Abu Toameh, the Israeli Arab journalist who has been most outspoken about the unmitigated disaster that is Yassir Arafat and his Palestinian Authority.

Abu Toameh points out one failure of the western press on this matter:

'Some foreign journalists have mistakenly portrayed the power struggle as a power struggle between reformists and corrupt officials. I think it that this is inaccurate because these people who are fighting all belong to the same group…those who are campaigning against the older generation and are in fact fighting for position and money. Mohammad Dahlan, the former Security Minister in the Palestinian Authority, was until recently part of the structure, part of the Palestinian Authority leadership, but when he was dismissed from his job he lost the campaign under the pretext of fighting corruption and demanding reform.

Continue reading "Abu Toameh on PA chaos"


Friday, August 6 2004

Unsettling pressure

We can expect to see alot more heated discussion in the coming months over settlements, as Sharon's Gaza plan moves forward and everyone involved in the debate senses change in the air.

Jeffrey Goldberg, who recently made a splash with a New Yorker article on the settlers, now has a NY Times op-ed on the radical 'hilltop youth,' whom he claims to have personally heard threatening Sharon's life. Goldberg seems to be specializing in this fringe crowd recently -- but does his focus misrepresent the larger settlement movement?

Meanwhile, Herb Keinon makes a distinction between that extreme crowd and the more established West Bank communities such as Maale Adumim, in an effort to understand the terms of the roadmap's requirement to stop building settlements.


Thursday, August 5 2004

New HR communique

We've just released a new communique: USA Today's Deceptive Backgrounder

Didn't get it in your inbox? Sign up above!


Wednesday, August 4 2004

Bias at GoogleNews?

Some thoughts on the news sources served up on GoogleNews:

Should only five of more than 7,000 sources account for 46 percent of Google News' top news stories? Should two of those five sources be the Voice of America and Xinhua, government agencies of the Peoples' Republic of China and the United States, respectively?

Interesting discussion going on in Poynter's 'Feedback' section on this post.

We're still waiting for GoogleNews to recognize that JihadUnspun is not a legitimate news source...

Neutral Ground No Longer

After Hamas gunmen entered Gaza's al-Shifa Hospital and executed Mahmud al-Sharif and Walid Hamdiya in their beds, most media reports spun the story as a further example of the degenerating security situation in the Palestinian areas. And though Human Rights Watch slammed the murders for violating the hospital's neutrality, the BBC took its coverage in a different direction:

The BBC's Alan Johnston in Gaza says the allegation that Mr Sharif gave information to Israel would have been a great source of shame to his relatives, and they may have acted to try to restore the family's honour.

The Beeb was more concerned about the neutrality of the hospitals last year when the IDF arrested fugitives in hospitals. (One wanted Palestinian was using the hospital as a base while the other feigned sickness.) In that report, the BBC wrote:

There have been several similar raids in recent months weeks, increasing fears among medical staff and human rights groups that hospitals are no longer neutral ground.

But the Israelis say Palestinians are violating international law by allowing militants to use hospitals as sanctuaries.

Of course, there’s no comparison between the execution of two injured men in their beds and the arrest of terrorists hiding in hospitals. We only wonder about the BBC’s recent lack of concern for the brual violation of a hospital’s neutrality.

Over in the Ivory Tower

Academics praise the importance of intellectual honesty and freedom of speech, but these values sometimes don’t apply to Israel's supporters. Asaf Romirowsky details the challenges of supporting Israel on campus today, including examples of political correctness run amok and Jewish students and professors feeling under siege.

Here's an article from 2002 on this topic from National Review Online.

Our affiliate HonestReporting for Campus deals with this matter in-depth. If you know a pro-Israel student on a college campus, please forward them the HR for Campus link and encourage signing up to receive regular updates.

Biased photojournalism?

War Photoblog does an 'Analysis of Biased Photojournalism Techniques' that is certainly worth seeing, especially the sections on tilted cameras and lighting.

We dealt with this issue on a number of occasions: see Photo Op, Something Fishy at AFP, and The Sympathy Photo. This was a particularly telling photo we addressed in Photo Op:

One big question, though, is defining what photographic techniques are legitimate for photojournalists to employ in capturing a shot. Is nothing but the most bland, straightforward photo permissible? We've seen plenty of Mideast photojournalists cross the line to romanticize/victimize Palestinian subjects, but is War Photoblog's definition correct?:

For news photographs, photographers should abide by strict standards to ensure objectivity: there should be no intentional blurring or unusual composition or framing. Lighting should be as clear as possible. The greatest range possible should be in focus. And a balanced range of subjects should be photographed to give the viewer a full context to the story.

Can photojournalism aspire to the same standards of objectivity as news reports should? Or does the medium, by its very nature, require artistic influence? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Monday, August 2 2004

Posting the Ombudsman

Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler responds to criticism of a recent report by Molly Moore about seven friends from Jenin and how their lives turned out. Getler writes:

I did not read this story the way the complaining readers did. I viewed it as a valuable exploration of real lives and real transitions that are part of a brutal and tragic struggle. This is what reporters do. They try as best they can to get inside all sides in a conflict, including the resistance, whether in Iraq, Chechnya or the West Bank.

But it is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that is guaranteed to draw letters, generated in part by pro-Israel U.S. organizations that analyze such articles and tell their members where and to whom to write.

Aside from how Getler read the article as a story about "the resistance," we wonder if Getler was referring to EyeOnThePost’s July 19 critique, which was mentioned in a recent HonestReporting communique. CAMERA also ran a critique on this article.


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