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Media Backspin
« February 2005 | Main | April 2005 »

Thursday, March 31 2005

Columbia review

An internal Columbia University committee has cleared faculty of any anti-Semitic harassment, despite scores of complaints from students that pro-Israel viewpoints -- and, in some cases, mere Jewish identity -- are not tolerated in many Columbia classrooms. But this NY Sun report certainly leaves one wondering just how transparent Columbia is being:

In an effort to manage favorable coverage of its investigation into the complaints, the university disclosed a summary of the committee's report only to the Columbia Spectator, the campus newspaper, and the New York Times. Those newspapers, sources indicated to The New York Sun last night, made an agreement with the central administration that they would not speak to the students who made the complaints against the professors.

The Sun obtained a copy of the report without the permission of the university administration. Last night, when a reporter from the Sun came to Low Library, the central administration building, for a copy of the report, a security guard threatened to arrest the reporter if she did not leave the building.

According to one student, senior Ariel Beery, one of the campus's most outspoken critics of the professors, a Columbia spokeswoman told him that students were not being shown the report yesterday "for your own good."

Judith Weiss has been Columbia-probe central -- we're anxiously awaiting her take on this.

Still holding on

The Washington Post reports that Syria is still trying to maintain control of Lebanon despite a recent redeployment of troops:

Although Syria shut down its notorious intelligence headquarters in downtown Beirut, Damascus is establishing a new hidden presence in the capital's southern suburbs, bringing in officials who will not be recognized, say Lebanese opposition and Western sources….

U.S., European and U.N. officials also charge that Syria is using allies in Lebanon's government and agents in Lebanon's security services to stall Lebanon's spring elections….


Wednesday, March 30 2005

Debunking the Irish model

Unable to launch major terror attacks, Hamas is considering following in the footsteps of the Irish Republican Army. According to IDF Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, as reported in the Jerusalem Post, this means Hamas will formally enter Palestinian politics while maintaining a “military wing.”

Continue reading "Debunking the Irish model"

Hamas recruit: 'I trained in Syria'

Mattar_1A Hamas recruit imprisoned in Israel says he was trained in Syria. Osama Mattar (pictured) told AP his five weeks of training, which ended in mid-February, went on even as Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas were negotiating the extension of an already existing cease fire. Mattar also said that Syrian intelligence agents knew about -- and even visited -- the camp located outside Damascus. Syria routinely denies harboring such training camps. Mattar was to train more Hamas recruits in Gaza.


Tuesday, March 29 2005

Today's recommended reading

* Washington Times columnist Suzanne Fields wonders how much the Palestinian people have changed since Arafat’s death:

No one should expect the Palestinians to erase their evil deeds from their history books overnight, but putting evil aside has to start somewhere. America's financial assistance to the Palestinians is funneled through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In August 2002, when USAID discovered that it was funding renovations in a school named for a woman terrorist who killed 36 people, including an American photographer, the State Department froze the funding until the name was removed. The Palestinians changed the name and 24 hours later the funds were unfrozen. Predictably, the terrorist's name is back on the school. In fact, it was one of the sites of voting in the recent municipal elections.

* Jerusalem Report columnist Ehud Ya'ari raises several interesting points about how Israeli attitudes towards the peace process have changed.

* The Boston Globe describes the IDF's psychological preparations for disengagement.


Monday, March 28 2005

Reuters lowers the bar for Abbas

Reuters has redefined what’s considered road map compliance, and in the process, lowered the bar on what’s expected of PA president Mahmoud Abbas:

The peace plan, adopted in 2003, provides for reciprocal steps by the Israelis and the Palestinians, leading to the creating of a provisional Palestinian state.

Israel is supposed to halt all settlement activity in the first phase, in return for security measures to end violence which new Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is implementing.

Actually, the road map obligates the PA to crack down on terror organizations first, which Abbas has not done (by his own admission). In fact, the Islamic fundamentalist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad are mulling joining the PLO to increase their clout, while the secular gunmen of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade will likely be employed as policemen.

The road map specifically states that an “unconditional cessation of violence” is required from Palestinian terrorist groups, but Abbas has only delivered a fragile cease fire with an expiration date. So at a time when demands are made for ever more Israeli concessions, how can Reuters say Abbas is implementing security steps to end terror?

For more on the media mishandling road map compliance, see here.

Canadian teachers praise terror

The Ottawa Citizen reports that two teachers at a local Islamic school have been suspended pending an investigation for inciting hatred against Jews. The suspension came when one of the students at the Abraar Islamic school wrote a story about two Palestinians ambushing and killing numerous Israeli soldiers.

Continue reading "Canadian teachers praise terror"

Oliphant on Sharon

Syndicated cartoonist Pat Oliphant continues his one-sided critique of Israel -- the latest is this caricature of Sharon as a settlement builder who poisons the peace bird:

[Full-sized cartoon]

The reference is apparently to the recent Israeli government report -- ordered by Sharon's cabinet -- that found settlement-building in the past few years to violate established procedural standards. The results of the report were completely accepted by Sharon's cabinet and efforts are underway to implement its suggestions.

Oliphant doesn't seem interested in Sharon's far-reaching efforts to actually make peace, including the uprooting of all Gaza settlements, but rather remains mired in the old 'blame Sharon' mode.

Previous critiques of Oliphant's anti-Israel cartoons: from HonestReporting and CAMERA.

Comments to


Sunday, March 27 2005

Good news, bad news

Which do you want first?

OK, the good: Hours after our critique of GoogleNews' inclusion of a neo-nazi site in their service, Google pulled the site.

Now, the bad news: YNet reports that Hamas is using Google AdWords to promote their terrorist recruitment.


Thursday, March 24 2005

Imitation: flattery's highest form

UkconsulatePalestinian residents of East Jerusalem are unhappy because of a security barrier being built around the British consulate. The consulate's neighbors say it reminds them too much of Israel's security fence. Foreign Minister Jack Straw in the past has opposed Israel’s security fence.


Wednesday, March 23 2005

'Nazism in the News'

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: 'Nazism in the News'

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Please use the comments section below for discussion of this communique.

UPDATE 3/24: GoogleNews has removed National Vanguard from their service: article, search.

Mideast Press Club formed

The Jerusalem Post reports on the creation of the Mideast Press Club, to provide an opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian journalists to exchange views and cooperate in coverage. Reporters from both sides already admit what we knew all along – it’s difficult to cover the Mideast conflict objectively.

"How can anyone ask the Palestinian media to be objective while our rights are being denied by the occupation?" asked a female Palestinian journalist…..

Veteran Israeli journalist Ya'acov Ahimeir, who works for Channel 1 said, "We cannot be objective. I, as an Israeli cannot be objective towards any other nation – and especially to a nation that is hostile to us."

Location, location, location

With Gaza settlements slated for dismantling later this year, nobody would expect real estate prices there to go up. But in fact, the Jerusalem Post reports skyrocketing prices thanks to 4,000 foreign journalists planning to cover the disengagement. The sudden demand for housing has far exceeded availability.

"People want to be at the center of the action," said Barak Cohen, a Neveh Dekalim resident. The 28-year-old contractor and his father purchased the deeds to four housing units in the settlement's new western neighborhood about a year ago and began to build after the cabinet approved the disengagement plan.

Cohen has been contracted by the BBC, Reuters, Italian Television and other organizations searching for a spot near the action and willing to pay astronomical prices. One media company is contracted to pay Barak $8,400 for four months' use of an unfinished three-bedroom apartment. Families who have recently moved to Gush Katif have rented apartments for $200 a month.


Tuesday, March 22 2005

WashPost flags Israel

Recent articles suggest the Washington Post is unfairly flagging Israeli "breaches" of the road map, while overlooking a more fundamental Palestinian violation.

The problem started off with Molly Moore’s coverage of an Israeli government report on settlements; in response to the Sasson Report, the cabinet voted to remove 24 settlements without specifying any time frame. Moore, however, reported the sequence of events out of order, implying Israeli foot-dragging on the issue.

Continue reading "WashPost flags Israel"

A soldier's perspective

See OnlyInIsrael for a soldier’s frank, humorous perspective on demonstrations against the security fence. Reporters sometimes outnumber protestors.

Heil Fatah

While the media report on the tremendous democratization and financial reform in the Palestinian leadership, images like these from yesterday's rally of the PA's largest party (Fatah) should raise concerns if they're really moving in the right direction:



We previously noted this phenomenon among PA policemen.


Monday, March 21 2005

It was a laser gun!

LasergunFrom that all-so-reputable Malaysian National News Agency:

Attallah Quiba, the Palestinian ambassador in Sri Lanka, believes that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was killed by unnamed Israelis using advanced technology, the Island newspaper said.

Responding to questions at a media conference in Colombo on Friday, Quiba claimed that two Israelis who met Arafat on the day he was taken sick "used a laser device to attack Arafat."

"They tried to flee after using the device but were wrestled down by the Palestinian Authority security personnel. Both men were carrying Canadian passports."

Google's neo-Nazi news

Joining the ranks of Google News’ legitimate sources is National Vanguard, a neo-Nazi white-supremacist web site. The National Vanguard is published by the National Alliance, best known for peddling The Turner Diaries. Last year, a barrage of criticism forced Google News to remove the equally anti-semitic site, Jihad Unspun as a credible source.

Click here to send comments to Google News.

(Hat tip: LGF)

Daniel Day-Lewis’ bad ballad

DdlWith a hefty word count weighing in at 4,515, we’re surprised that Times of London Magazine editors didn’t ask Daniel Day-Lewis to provide balance in a dispatch from the actor in the Gaza Strip. With the help of Medecins Sans Frontieres, Day-Lewis submitted a piece about psychologists (affiliated with MSF) helping Palestinian families. See this snippet for a sense of how he regards the IDF:

Every movement here in any of the so-called sensitive areas, which account for a large, ever-increasing proportion of the Strip (borders, settlements, checkpoints), is surveyed and reacted to by a system of watchtowers.

These sinister structures cast the shadows of malign authority across the land. On our third day, as we stood at the tattered edge of the refugee camp at Rafah, the forbidding borderland between Gaza and Egypt, bullets bit into the sand a yard and a half from where we stood. It was in this place — was it from the same watchtower? — that Iman el-Hams, a defenceless 13-year-old schoolgirl, had been shot just weeks before. She ran and tried to hide from the pitiless death that came for her. I felt her presence; the sky vibrating with the shallow, fluttering breath of her final terror.

It would have been nice for Day-Lewis and MSF to visit Israelis in nearby Sderot, or to at least talk to an IDF representative who isn’t cast as a monster.

Israel's Nobel nominee

Hadassah Hospital has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for treating the Israeli and Palestinian victims of an intifada instigated by Nobel laureate Yasser Arafat.


Sunday, March 20 2005

Israel snubbed again

Lebanon is withdrawing from the Eurovision competition. The country’s laws won’t allow national broadcaster Tele-Liban to air an Israeli singer also participating. Not the first time Israel has been snubbed in international competition.

‘The real terrorist’

Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Robert Jamieson thinks the lawsuit filed by the family of Rachel Corrie against Caterpillar Inc. is ill-advised. Why?

I've said it before. I'll say it again.

The real terrorist in Rachel's death was the member of the Israel Defense Forces who was at the controls of the earthmover. He and the Israeli government should be held responsible for using bulldozers as killing machines.

In March, 2003, Corrie, acting as a human shield with the International Solidarity Movement, was run over by a bulldozer looking for smuggling tunnels.

We also wonder what Jamieson thinks about pending legal action against the PA.

Caterpillar is the preferred bulldozer of the Palestinian Authority.


Friday, March 18 2005

Syria's smoking gun?

The Times of London reports that Syria killed Rafik Hariri because of his success in pushing Resolution 1559 through the UN Security Council.

The Times has learnt that Mr Hariri had enraged the Syrians by inspiring a UN resolution demanding that Syria stop interfering in Lebanon. US and UN officials repeatedly warned Syria not to harm Mr Hariri in the months before his death.

In mid-January, under pressure from Damascus, the Lebanese Government withdrew his 70-strong security detail, and immediately after his death the scene of the bombing was swept to remove any evidence of Syrian complicity.

Does Eric Margolis have any thoughts about this?

AP’s two-for-one offer

Starting Wednesday, The Associated Press will offer editors two lead paragraphs for many news stories. From Editor and Publisher:

"The concept is simple: On major spot stories -- especially when events happen early in the day -- we will provide you with two versions to choose between," the AP said in an advisory to members. "One will be the traditional 'straight lead' that leads with the main facts of what took place. The other will be the 'optional,' an alternative approach that attempts to draw in the reader through imagery, narrative devices, perspective or other creative means."

A sharp, vivid writing style will certainly engage readers of the 1,700 newspapers using AP copy. We can only imagine what this will mean for Mideast coverage.


Thursday, March 17 2005

Info management

The Jerusalem Post reports that the growing availability of internet in Syria is badly damaging the government’s ability to control information.


Wednesday, March 16 2005

C-SPAN's Shaky Balance

CspanscreencapThe latest HonestReporting communique has just been released: 'C-SPAN's Shaky Balance'

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Please use the comments section below for discussion of this communique.

A hopeful sign of life

BaumelWorldNetDaily reports that a sign of life has given the family of MIA Zack Baumel new hope. Baumel (pictured) disappeared along with Tzvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz during a southern Lebanon tank battle in 1982. Perhaps the current international pressure on Syria, which has been linked to the three soldiers, will have a helpful spillover effect on efforts to bring home Israeli MIAs Ron Arad and Guy Hever too.

Corrie family sues Caterpillar

The family of Rachel Corrie is suing Caterpillar Inc. and the Israeli defense establishment, over her death in March, 2003. Corrie, protesting IDF home demolitions with the International Solidarity Movement as a human shield, was accidentally run over by an army bulldozer looking for smuggling tunnels.

The federal lawsuit, which lawyers said would be filed here Tuesday, alleges that Caterpillar violated international and state law by providing specially designed bulldozers to Israeli Defense Forces that it knew would be used to demolish homes and endanger people.

Caterpillar is the preferred bulldozer of the Palestinian Authority.

C-SPAN out of balance

CspanWe’re all for balanced coverage and equal time for legitimate opposing viewpoints. But the American cable network C-SPAN has just taken this journalistic ideal to an illogical and downright immoral extreme.

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen notes that the public affairs channel had planned to broadcast a lecture by Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt. But producers then decided that in the interests of “balance,” they also had to give equal time to Holocaust denier David Irving, with whom Lipstadt had a court battle in London:

"We want to balance it [Lipstadt's lecture] by covering him," said Amy Roach, a producer for C-SPAN's Book TV. Her boss, Connie Doebele, put it another way. "You know how important fairness and balance is at C-SPAN," she told me. "We work very, very hard at this. We ask ourselves, 'Is there an opposing view of this?'"

As luck would have it, there was. To Lipstadt's statements about the Holocaust, there was Irving's rebuttal that it never happened -- no systematic killing of Jews, no Final Solution and, while many people died at Auschwitz of disease and the occasional act of brutality, there were no gas chambers there….

In the end, Lipstadt had to choose between promoting her own book -- a terrific read, by the way -- and giving Irving the audience of his dreams and a status equal to her own. C-SPAN said it was only seeking fairness, but it was asking Lipstadt to balance truth with a lie or history with fiction.

More on this on Lipstadt's blog.

Comments to


Tuesday, March 15 2005

Immortal thoughts

Beirut’s Daily Star reports that the “Committee for Immortalizing Martyr Hafez Assad” blames Israel for the destruction of a statue of the late Syrian leader by Lebanese protesters. Despite the accomplishments of what is essentially a personality cult, we’re more impressed by the ambition of the “National Committee for Immortalizing the Symbol of the Immortal Leader Yasser Arafat.”

Splintered truce

As the Palestinian terror organizations meet in Cairo to discuss a cease fire, today’s LA Times suggests that the groups are so splintered that leaders can't keep their own "foot soldiers" in line. Will a cease fire offer have any value?

But the militant groups are badly splintered. However truce-minded their leaders might be, some disaffected young foot soldiers are poised to break away and violate any accord. A growing split has emerged in recent weeks between the groups' leadership based inside the Palestinian territories and their "outside" leaders: militants in exile, based mainly in Syria.

For most of the intifada, or uprising, the militant groups have been united in the fight against Israel. Now the growing fragmentation raises questions as to whether the groups' leaders, let alone Abbas' government, are in a position to stave off violence that could destroy efforts to restart peace talks and set terms for Palestinian statehood.


Monday, March 14 2005

Diehl's paradox

Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl doesn’t understand Israel's concerns about Hamas being allowed to run in upcoming Palestinian elections:

The United States also has to be prepared to set aside coercion as the primary instrument for combating groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas -- provided they observe their own cease-fires. Last week Bush administration officials suggested that they were considering such a shift in the case of Hezbollah, bending to European persuasion. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas already has adopted a political strategy for Hamas, which, encouragingly, announced on Saturday that it will participate in legislative elections later this year.

Both of these steps are deeply troubling to Israel, which remains unwilling to treat the Islamic groups as anything other than a mortal adversary and military target. In the short term, at least, the emergence of Arab democratic politics could look threatening to the Middle East's only established democracy. That is a paradox for which neither Israel nor the Bush administration appears to be prepared.

The only paradox is -- Nazi brownshirts notwithstanding -- how many political parties have military wings that terrorize innocent civilians?

Point of no return

Media reports indicate that tomorrow in Cairo, Mahmoud Abbas will announce a new policy conceding on the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. Selling such concessions to the Palestinians will be difficult though. In 2003, a survey conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that only 10 percent of the refugees would move back to Israel if given the opportunity. But on the day director Khalil Shikaki was to announce the poll's findings, an angry mob -- possibly instigated by Yasser Arafat -- trashed the PCPSR office, and pelted him with eggs. Will Abbas fare better?

Click here for more background info on the refugee issue.


Sunday, March 13 2005

Bennet on 'Palestine'

Former NY Times bureau chief James Bennet has a lengthy article in today's New York Times Magazine on developments in the Palestinian areas. While recognizing that 'Palestine' isn't a state, Bennet nonetheless employs that term to describe the 'state of mind, or state of being' that has emerged among Palestinians.

There's multimedia as well -- click on the 'Interactive Feature' on the right side.

Comments on the article? Please leave them below.

Today’s recommended reading

* Money Bags: The Jerusalem Post reports that the PA is investigating the disappearance of a briefcase that held $1.6 million for Yasser Arafat’s "petty cash expenses." The money -- used for gifts, bribes and emergencies -- was last seen on Arafat’s flight to France before he died.

* This straightforward NY Times staff-ed points out that if Hezbollah wants to be a legitimate political player, it has to refrain from paramilitary activity along the Israeli border.

* The Times of London reports that Jewish students face increasing intimidation on UK campuses.

* The SF Chronicle features a commentary by an Iraqi Jew who vividly recounts fleeing Baghdad as a refugee. (Hat tip: Daily Alert)

* The LA Times examines in depth how a combination of diplomacy and force clinched a deal with Libya to end its WMD program and explores whether the lessons of this experience might be applied to Iran.

Today's bungled headline

Today's bungled headline award goes to the LA Times:

Militant's Death Ends 6-Week Lull

You have to read the article to find out that the contribution of Mohammed Abad Halil (a.k.a. Abu Hazneh) to the "6-week lull" was a massive car bomb containing a half-ton of explosives.

BBC's backpedaling apology

VanunuThe Guardian reports that the BBC apologized to Israel in writing for the way it handled coverage of Mordechai Vanunu (pictured). In exchange, correspondent Simon Wilson, who was the network’s Jerusalem bureau chief, will be allowed to return to Israel. After Vanunu was released from prison in 2004, Wilson interviewed the former nuclear technician, then refused to cooperate with Israeli censors, and smuggled tapes of his interview out of the country. Israel responded by refusing to extend Wilson’s work permit and banning him from entering the country.

The climbdown has angered some BBC journalists, who say it will compromise their work in Israel.

The agreement was to have remained confidential, but the BBC unintentionally posted details on its website before removing them a few hours later.

This is not the first time pressure forced the BBC to backpedal over Vanunu.


Thursday, March 10 2005

Three Points on Terror

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: 'Three Points on Terror'

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Please use the comments section below for discussion of this communique.

Weighing in

Daphna Baram, who last year wrote a book defending The Guardian’s coverage of Israel (published by The Guardian themselves), weighs in on the controversy surrounding London's Mayor Ken Livingstone. Baram ups the ante from the radical left, claiming Tony Blair should be a considered a war criminal as well.

Foreign interference

Michel Aoun, a former Lebanese Prime Minister, told WorldNetDaily that Hezbollah’s rally in support of Syria was orchestrated--with a helping hand from Syria and Palestinians.

"This was not a Lebanese showing, and many of those who actually were Lebanese were not there because they support Syria. We know that at least three Palestinian camps were present. And there are 700,000 Syrian workers inside Lebanon, many of whom are not even supposed to be there. They were urged by Syria to attend so it looks like many Lebanese are protesting. Plus Syria bused in their own citizens from Syria through the border into Lebanon to join the rally."

The former prime minister also accused Hezbollah and pro-Syrian Lebanese intelligence forces of coercing students and municipal workers to attend….

"Even watching protestors being interviewed, you hear they had Palestinian and Syrian accents. This was not the Lebanese people expressing their will."

The rally denounced "foreign interference."

Canada's total recall

PassportJudeoscope reports that the Canadian government is recalling all passports that refer to the bearer’s place of birth as “Jerusalem, Israel.” Ottawa doesn’t recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and has not yet indicated whether the recall is linked to a recent lawsuit filed by Eliyahu Yehoshua Veffer, a Canadian born in Jerusalem. Veffer’s passport doesn’t state his place of birth. Will the reissued passports also omit the place of birth?


Wednesday, March 9 2005

Supplementing the quote

AP reports on the current international conference on terrorism in Madrid, where Saeb Erakat surprised nobody by blaming Israel for Palestinian terror. But where does Erakat's quote end, and the reporter's voice begin, in this passage?

"I have a 17-year-old boy, Ali," said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat. "I don't want him to become a suicide bomber" as a desperate way to achieve legitimate dreams including an independent state, viable homeland with Jerusalem as capital and right of refugees to reclaim lost land. "Help me. Help me put hope in his mind."

Comments to AP:

HR cited in Jersey

Harry Glazer of the New Jersey Home News Tribune outlines some of the recent topics addressed in HonestReporting communiques, citing HR.

Presence vs. occupation

EyeOnThePost wants to know why one Washington Post report calls Israeli military activity in Lebanon “occupation,” while Syrian military activity in Lebanon is merely “a presence”. Compare the following snippets of background information:

* Nasrallah appeared after what he called an 'emergency meeting' of more than 30 political parties aligned with the Syrian government, which is facing international pressure and a popular uprising here to end its 30-year presence in Lebanon.

* With an extensive social services network and an armed wing celebrated here for helping end the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah is perhaps the most formidable player in the power-sharing system among religious-based parties.

* Under the 1989 peace accord that ended Lebanon's civil war, Hezbollah was allowed to keep its arsenal of small weapons and rockets because Israel at the time still occupied parts of southern Lebanon."

The language is clearly uneven; Israel withdrew its forces from Lebanon in 2000. Syria committed itself to withdraw all its forces in the 1989 Taif Agreement (signed even while Israel still had a “presence” in southern Lebanon) but the troops never left. Does the fact that the foreign soldiers in Lebanon are Syrian make the Lebanese any less “occupied?”

Notes from the Arab street

BeirutGreat commentary in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (req. reg.) noting that for the first time, the Arab street is blaming its problems on their autocratic leaders, rather than Israel or American interference:

For possibly the first time since 1948, since the creation of the state of Israel, an Arab government's principal -- indispensable -- method for manipulating and controlling its people has stopped working. The well-known political sleight of hand consists of deflecting popular anger against the regime by shifting attention and blame onto an outside enemy: Israel.

The trick always worked -- until now. This is no small development….

Imagine the surprise of the governments in Beirut and Damascus when, after their cries of "Israel and the U.S. did it!," the masses did not immediately reach for Israeli and American flags to light their bonfires. They simply refused to take the bait.

Does Hezbollah get it?

(Hat tip: James Taranto)


Tuesday, March 8 2005

Israeli policy changes since Abbas election

A nice overview from Beyond Images, who concludes:

Israel’s policy changes dispel the myth that Israel does not wish to strengthen moderate forces in Palestinian society. The question now is how effective Mahmoud Abbas will be in curbing terrorism “on the ground”, not as a short-term move, but as a long-term change in the direction of the Palestinian people.
Expedia UK prefers avoiding El Al?

Expedia is one of the largest online ticketing agencies. An HonestReporting subscriber in the UK is troubled by the fact that Expedia UK doesn't list El Al as one of their 'preferred airlines' for customers to choose from on the main flight purchase page. This, despite the fact that Expedia's US and Canadian sites do list El Al in this prominent position.

Expedia UK has given the concerned El Al customer three explanations for this omission:

1) In 2003: 'The reason that the flights are not shown on the website is because we do not support that airline.' But now they do support El Al... so:
2) In 2004: 'Although offers the ability to make travel arrangements to many parts of the world we currently do not support travel to the destination about which you have inquired.' But they actually do ticket London-Tel Aviv flights... so:
3) In 2005: 'The most popular airlines, as far as purchased on our website, are listed in the drop down menu.'

El Al is less popular from London than Varig Logistica?

Israel recuiting for Al-Qaida

London mayor Ken Livingstone’s making the most of his newfound notoriety. Now he explains to the Jerusalem Post why Israel is a bigger threat to world peace than Al-Qaida:

"The threat is from the policies of the current Israeli government, which in its abuse of the human rights of the Palestinians, typified by the shocking image of the wall being built around them, raises the temperature of the Middle East to a boiling point – thereby creating threats to all of us," he wrote. "This policy acts as a recruiting sergeant to extremist groups such as al-Qaida who can pose as supporters of the Palestinian cause."

Monday, March 7 2005

PA minister laundering Hamas money?

Days after the PA secured more than $1 billion in aid pledges, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy raises a cautionary flag. According to Israeli, US and Palestinian intelligence, the PA’s new minister of economy, Mazen Sunuqrut, has ties to Hamas and may have helped the terror group launder money:

Palestinian, Israeli, and U.S. intelligence agencies have all linked Sunuqrut to Hamas, primarily through a family company in which he is part owner and a bank whose board of directors he led. According to an undated Palestinian General Intelligence report seized by Israeli forces in 2002, Palestinian security officials determined that the Ramallah/al-Bireh Zakat Committee laundered funds raised abroad through local banks, money changers, and businesses with ties to Hamas….

As it happens, Sunuqrut served as president of the board of directors for Beit al-Mal. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, which designated both Beit al-Mal and the affiliated al-Aqsa Bank as terrorist entities in December 2001, “The majority of [Beit el-Mal’s] founders, shareholders, and employees are associated with Hamas. Persons identified with Hamas hold a majority of the company’s stock, and it has invested in projects in Gaza and the West Bank that are owned or managed by Hamas activists.” Moreover, U.S. investigators found that “Beit el-Mal transfers money to and raises funds for associations that the Palestinian Authority itself has identified as belonging to Hamas, and to known Hamas activists and convicts who are members of Hamas.” Israel shut down Beit al-Mal operations on its soil in 1998, citing the bank’s extensive ties to Hamas and briefly detaining several of its officials.

(Hat tip: Daily Alert)

No ordinary ex-British student

The Times of London serves up the bungled headline of the day:

Ex-British student in hit squad threat

You have to read the article to find out that Ramadan Shallah, is not your ordinary “ex-British student.” At the University of South Florida, Shallah was director of the World and Islam Studies Enterprises, (WISE), along with professor Sami Al-Arian and faces charges in the US.

As for the Times' reference to Israeli “hit squads,” see our responses here and here.


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