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Media Backspin
« April 2005 | Main | June 2005 »

Tuesday, May 31 2005

Five Years on the Frontlines

An overview of the growth and effectiveness of HonestReporting:

No burning issue

FlagsJim Dunnigan notes an Al-Arabiya survey which found that when it comes to Arab dissatisfaction, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn't the most burning issue:

What do Arabs really think about the problems that afflict them, and how is this related to the issues Islamic terrorists are fighting and dying (and killing) for? A recent "Opinion Survey of the Arab Street 2005" by Al Arabiya news network provides some interesting answers. The survey sought to see what Arabs thought about the relative lack of economic progress in the Arab world. In answer to the question, “What is stalling development in the Arab world?,” 81 percent chose "Governments are unwilling to implement change and reform", 8 percent citing "The ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict," 7 percent "Civil society is failing to convince governments", and 4 percent chose "Terrorism".

Another question, "What is the fastest way to achieve development in the Arab world?", had 67 percent choosing "Ensuring the rule of law through justice and law enforcement", 23 percent chose "Enhancing freedom of speech", and 10 percent chose "Resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict".

Islamic terrorists represent a small minority of Arab thinking, and interests. But most Arab media and governments, for obvious reasons, avoid the “bad government” issues and instead concentrate on the Arab-Israeli conflict as the cause of all that is bad in the Arab world.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

New Jerusalem controversy

Haaretz reports that the Jerusalem municipality plans to raze 88 Palestinian homes in Silwan, an east Jerusalem neighborhood adjacent to the Old City. According to city officials, nearly all of the homes are illegally built. The Palestinian media claims the work will endanger the Al-Aqsa mosque. Developing…

For more info about Jerusalem demolitions, see here and here.

Al-Manar News: We're objective

AlmanarEmployees of Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV tried explaining to St. Petersburg Times columnist Susan Taylor Martin why their newscasts aren’t biased:

Mattar says Al-Manar's reporting is objective, though she acknowledges she gets the "Israeli point of view" only by quoting other news agencies. Because it is an arm of Hezbollah, Al-Manar does not recognize the Jewish state, and refuses to interview Israeli officials or anyone who supports Israeli policies.

"There is no problem with Jews because they are Jews - we respect the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. Our problem is with Israeli policy in Palestine," Farhat says. He notes that a crew recently flew to Britain to interview a Jewish professor, albeit one critical of Israel.

The US lists Al-Manar as a terror organization.

Sharansky vs. Amnesty Int'l

SharanskyIn a brief Q+A with Time magazine that mostly dealt with his views on disengagement, former refusenik and cabinet minister Natan Sharansky made a very articulate criticism of Amnesty International and its recent controversial report on human rights:

I have very serious criticisms of Amnesty. There is no moral clarity. It doesn't differentiate between what I call fear societies and free societies. In the democratic world, there are violations of human rights, but they are revealed and dealt with. In a fear society, there are no violations of human rights because human rights just don't exist. All citizens are deprived of those rights. Amnesty International says it doesn't support or oppose any political system, so it ends up with reports that show a moral equivalence between, for example, Israel and the terrorist regimes that attack it.

The Washington Post takes a similar view.


Monday, May 30 2005

Biased headline of the day

BBC: Israel Strikes Gaza Refugee Camp

You have to read the report to find out the IDF targeted a group of Palestinians preparing to launch mortars on Israeli civilians.

Le Monde defamed Israel

LemondeJTA reports that a French court found Le Monde and the authors of a commentary guilty of racist defamation against Israel. The journalists were ordered to pay a symbolic fine of one Euro, while the paper was ordered to publish a condemnation of "Israel-Palestine: The Cancer", originally published in 2002.

Here's one snippet from the original article that was cited by the court:

One has trouble imagining that a nation of refugees, descendants of the people who have suffered the longest period of persecution in the history of humanity, who have suffered the worst possible scorn and humiliation, would be capable of transforming themselves, in two generations, into a dominating people, sure of themselves, and, with the exception of an admirable minority, into a scornful people finding satisfaction in humiliating others.

(Hat tip: Tom Gross)

UPDATE: See the original article in full here.

With friends like the FT...

FtThe Financial Times came out against the AUT boycott of Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities--unfortunately, for the wrong reasons. The FT writes:

There are plenty of other countries also accused of heinous oppression of their peoples - including genocide - such as Zimbabwe, Sudan and Burma. Yet the union has no boycotts for them: Israel is its only target other than Colombia. Meanwhile it bizarrely supports the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, defending a country not noted for its upholding of academic freedom.

To which Melanie Phillips responds:

So to the FT, Israel is in the same genocidal league as the tyrannies of the world. It regards Israel as abhorrent, and more or less said so. Thus the climate of hatred is still being whipped up even by those who were apparently on the side of the angels over the Steven Rose/Sue Blackwell putsch.

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen shares Phillips' sentiments.


Sunday, May 29 2005

Debunking Hamas legitimacy

Dr. Jonathan Spyer of Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center forcefully debunks the idea that Hamas' participation and success in the Palestinian elections automatically makes it "legit."

History is replete with examples of movements that sought to combine the use of the tools of democracy with the substantive rejection of its goals, and the desire eventually to subvert and destroy it. The totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century were examples of this type. The continued health and existence of democracies required that they identify those threats in good time, and did not lack the will to act against them. Such requirements also hold for the threat represented by the Hamas, which seeks both to destroy Israel and to enslave the Palestinians.

Spyer also criticizes officials in Washington and London supporting dialogue with Hamas.

A 'baffling hatred'

MEMRI notes a Saudi journalist questioning the Arab world’s hatred of Jews. Hussein Shubakshi writes:

"…The extent of tremendous hatred of the Jews is baffling. Therefore we ask, 'Why do we hate the Jews?'

"The immediate answer will be: 'No, we don't hate the Jews, we hate the Zionists.' [But] this is nonsense. We don't hear [preachers saying in their sermons,] 'Oh Allah, destroy the Zionists, the Zionist enterprise, the offspring of Herzl, and the Basel plan.'...

"Our religion permits us to eat the Jews' food, trade with them, and marry them. So what is the issue? If we know the scope of the problem, and the true reason why the Jews have become this great monster, and [if we understand] how this has spread to the point where they have become the reason for every catastrophe, then we will be able to understand the idea of dividing [human beings] into groups …

The AUT's next target?

NusseibehThe Jerusalem Post reports that the Palestinian Authority wants to remove Professor Sari Nusseibeh (pictured) from his post as head of Al-Quds University for criticizing the AUT's overturned boycott of Bar-Ilan and Haifa universities. Will the AUT boycott Palestinian universities in protest of the PA’s suppression of Nusseibeh’s free speech?


Saturday, May 28 2005

NBC News on teenage terrorists

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams had a segment Thursday night on a Palestinian ninth grader who was caught attempting to smuggle a pipe bomb across an Israeli checkpoint.

Reporter Martin Fletcher focuses responsibility on the Al Aqsa Martrys' Brigade, whom both the boy and his mother blame for his thwarted mission. See the video here (in Explorer browser only) -- click on 'Video: Teen suicide bomber speaks'

The Jerusalem Post had a similar report on the boy, Mohammed al-Nadi, noting:

This is the fifteenth incident in the past two months in which Palestinian youths under the age of 18 have attempted to detonate explosive devices at checkpoints or smuggle weapons via the crossings.

Thursday, May 26 2005

BBC influencing boycott vote?

Melanie Phillips accuses the BBC of trying to influence AUT members to approve boycotting Bar-Ilan and Haifa universities in today's revote.

Taking Oprah to task

OprahA recent article in 'O' Magazine critiqued by HR is, according to a commentary in FrontPageMag, part of a larger pattern of Oprah Winfrey whitewashing Islamic terror. Debbie Schlussel's piece notes a number of other troubling incidents suggesting the popular talk show queen has her head in the sand.

Continue reading "Taking Oprah to task"

Italian blow to free speech

UntitledItalian journalist Oriana Fallaci's tell-it-like-is approach in defense of Israel has long rattled liberal Europeans and radical Muslims. Now, an Italian judge is ordering Fallaci to stand trial for defaming Islam in her recent book, The Force of Reason. Judge Armando Grasso rejected advice from prosecutors that Fallaci was exercising freedom of expression, saying that certain sentences were "without doubt offensive to Islam and to those who practice that religious faith."

Instapundit describes the trial as “crushing dissent.”

BBC slams Israel

Amnesty International’s report on human rights criticized Israel and the Palestinian Authority. But this BBC headline singles out Israel alone:

Amnesty slams Israel ‘war crimes’
Hezbollah's 'war chest'

NasrallahSheikh Hassan Nasrallah boasts that Hezbollah has 12,000 rockets capable of striking Israel. Hezbollah is trying to makeover its image as a legitimate party in time for Sunday’s election. But Nasrallah's bravado may find him afoul of the UN. The Security Council's resolution 1559 calls for the disarming of all Lebanese militias--including Hezbollah.


Wednesday, May 25 2005

U.S. PR in Palestinian territories

This is fascinating:

BETHLEHEM, West Bank - A blitz of billboards and television commercials filled with grinning Palestinian children is trying to chip away at America's negative image, telling Palestinians they have cleaner water and more classrooms thanks to U.S. generosity.

But the U.S. government's campaign is off to a tough start: No Palestinian entertainer or athlete was willing to serve as its goodwill ambassador, reflecting widespread anti-American sentiment.

Continue reading "U.S. PR in Palestinian territories"

Death of the 'Angel of Jerusalem'

SarandahNadwa Sarandah (pictured) is a Palestinian woman whose sister -- known to Palestinians as the 'Angel of Jerusalem' -- was murdered in east Jerusalem in 1999. Sarandah is currently touring the US, alongside an Israeli whose son was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

On Sunday (5/22), the Santa Cruz Sentinel described the pair before their local appearance that evening:

Six years ago, a Jewish settler in Jerusalem stabbed Palestinian Nadwa Sarandah’s sister to death. A few years later, Israeli Robi Damelin lost her 28-year-old son when he was killed by a Palestinian gunman along with nine other people.

It was these horrific events that brought the two women together. (emphasis added)

Yet there's absolutely no evidence that Sarandah's sister, Naela, was killed by 'a Jewish settler'. In fact, a Palestinian man has confessed to the crime, and Nadwa Sarandah has herself testified that she merely suspects that a Jew committed the murder, and that the Palestinian man was forced to confess.

This error has been acknowledged by the former mayor of Santa Cruz, Scott Kennedy, who is the current Mideast Coordinator at the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz -- host of the local event. When HR subscriber Becky Johnson contacted him regarding the matter, Kennedy wrote:

Dear Becky:

Thanks for bringing this error to my attention.

The error on my part was brought to my attention this morning by Nadwa Sarandah. I had already spoken with the reporter about a correction earlier this afternoon.

The mistake was entirely mine, not Nadwa's. I have heard her speak a half dozen times and in no instance has Nadwa Sarandah claimed that her sister was killed by a Jewish settler.

Yet the Santa Cruz Sentinel article remains just as is was, and there's no correction posted on their website.

HR has contacted SC Sentinel editors, requesting these two actions.


Tuesday, May 24 2005

Oprah's Mag Misses the Mark

OprahcommscrThe latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: 'Oprah's Mag Misses the Mark'

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

Please use the comments section here to discuss this topic.

Jewish students break barriers

The Chicago Tribune reports on the hassles students face to spend a year of college in Israel. Despite the headaches caused by State Dept. travel advisories and academic red tape, the undergrads interviewed all agree that their Israeli experiences were well worth fighting for.


Monday, May 23 2005

Reassessing Palestinian numbers

The American Enterprise Institute found that the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza isn’t nearly as large as generally believed. Questioning the PA’s demographic projections, the report finds the Palestinian population is nearly 1.5 million less than official statistics indicate:

The assumption that Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza pose a demographic threat to Israel has to be radically revised. The 2004 Palestinian-Arab population was closer to 2.4 million than to the 3.8 million reported by Palestinian Authority (PA) officials. These findings should have a significant impact on politicians, policy makers and international aid agencies.

Continue reading "Reassessing Palestinian numbers"

'The Israelis' now in paperback

Theisraelis_1One of the fundamental problems with media coverage of the Mideast conflict is the failure to convey both the rich fabric of Israeli life, and the remarkable pluralism that Israeli democracy manages to support.

Here's a book on this topic that we heartily recommend -- just out in paperback (only $10), Donna Rosenthal's The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land provides an indepth look at the people that make up the state of Israel. In an interview (available here in .pdf format), Rosenthal stresses that she wrote the book in response to the disturbing ignorance of journalists covering the conflict:

Continue reading "'The Israelis' now in paperback"

No compliments to the chef

Once again, some Palestinian prisoners are going on a hunger strike. The only difference is that this is happening in a Palestinian prison. Reuters doesn’t say if guards will force feed the prisoners, or just film them eating on the sly.

Who is a Palestinian?

In an effort to shed light on the historical existence of the Palestinians as a people, Elder of Ziyon looked into old newspaper clippings to see how they used the word “Palestinian.” His research of back issues of the Palestine Post (now the Jerusalem Post) Washington Post, and New York Times led to this conclusion:

As is clear, at least in Palestine, the word "Palestinian" usually referred to Jews, not Arabs.

Continue reading "Who is a Palestinian?"


Sunday, May 22 2005

BBC's idea of balance

We've seen this before -- the Beeb invites two figures on air to 'debate' an Israeli-Palestinian issue, but both speakers are anti-Israel. Listen to the latest from BBC 4 (Sari Nusseibeh and Sue Blackwell on the AUT boycott, May 20), then read Melanie Phillips' response.

UPDATE 5/24: Be sure to see Arnold Roth's comment on this item by clicking on the 'comments' link here:

Speech patterns

The Times of London reports that the IDF has come up with friendlier jargon so as not to antagonize the residents of Gaza communities slated for disengagement. If only the media would display a similar sensitivity.

Tunnel vision at Eurovision

ShirimaimonThere was no mistake that viewers of last night’s Eurovision song competition didn’t see any Lebanese performers. Lebanon withdrew from the competition because the country’s TV channel Tele-Liban told Eurovision organizers that they couldn’t broadcast any Israeli performances or possible victory celebration. Israeli singers won in 1978, 1979, and 1998. Israeli Shiri Maimon (pictured) came in fourth place last night. Lebanon would have been represented by Aline Lahoud.

Compared to Jordanian television, Tele-Liban may have taken the high road -- in 1978, Jordanian television didn’t show Israel’s performance at all, so when the Israeli won, the flustered station simply lied, telling viewers that runner-up Belgium was victorious!

(Hat tip: Tom Gross)

Last refuge of scoundrels/journalists

You know a paper has published something wholly irresponsible when it starts wrapping itself in the First Ammendment, complete with Descarte and Voltaire citations.

Notes to Ithaca Journal:

1) Nobody ever questioned your constitutional right to publish anything -- including a mendacious anti-Israel diatribe disguised as an enlightened Mother's Day greeting. The issue is not legality -- it's the absurdity of that juxtoposition, the patent falsities within Wold's piece, and the credibility of your paper. See Daniel Okrent's first item.

2) You mention one criterion of inadmissable op-ed material that Wold's piece does violate: "writers cannot make a factual claim that is verifiably false." It is verifiably false that Israel is responsible for 'slaughter of the Palestinians', as Wold claims.

Here's a dead white man quote right back at you -- Samuel Johnson quipped that "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." Well, constitutional protection is the last refuge of irresponsible journalism.

More thoughts on this at Mediacrity.

See letters from HR subscribers on the Ithaca Journal's letters page.


Is it too much for the Palestinians to disarm their own children?


Photo by AP.

For more on this troubling phenemenon, see Teach Kids Peace.

The power of the web

Further proof of the web’s power to shape public opinion: Reuters reports that China is creating a team of "internet commentators" to defend Chinese positions on controversial issues.

A special force of online commentators had already been operating in Suqian city in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu since April, the Southern Weekend said.

Their job was to defend the government when negative comments appeared on Internet bulletin boards and chatrooms, the weekly quoted local officials as saying.

Suqian city’s propaganda department recruited the commentators from among government officials, the weekly said, adding that they must "understand (government) policies, be versed in (political) theories and be politically reliable".

"They will guide public opinion as ordinary netizens. This is both important and effective," Ma Zhichun, one of the recruited commentators, was quoted as saying.

Further highlighting the power of internet for good and for bad, China already has internet police monitoring domestic web sites and bulletin boards for dissent.

Correcting the record

Kudos to everyone who wrote the LA Times and Christian Science Monitor in response to HR's recent communique on Aaron David Miller’s distortion of the status of Israeli Arabs -- both papers issued corrections: LA Times correction , CSM correction

Kudos to CAMERA for first noting the errors and contacting editors at the two papers.


Thursday, May 19 2005

Brooks: Blame Islamist extremists, not Newsweek

NY Times columnist David Brooks dislikes reactions from both the right and left to the Newsweek story:

The rioters are the real enemy, not Newsweek and not the American soldiers serving as prison guards. Just to restore some proper perspective, let me quote a snippet from a sermon delivered by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, which ran last weekend on the Palestinian Authority's official TV station:

"The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world - except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquillity under our rule because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history. The day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews - even the stones and trees which were harmed by them. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew."

These are the extremists, the real enemy. Let's keep our eye on the ball.

A similar point was made on One Jerusalem's blog yesterday, and by cartoonist Michael Ramirez of the LA Times.

Human shields: deja vu

Last night, Palestinian security and Hamas clashed in a refugee camp when the police tried to stop a mortar crew firing rockets. AP notes that after the fight, the PA Interior Ministry accused Hamas of using civilians for cover:

The Palestinian Interior Ministry charged that Hamas militants used civilians as shields and eight officers were hurt by rocks. “This cannot be accepted and this serious violation will not pass (unanswered),” a ministry statement said.

It's déjà vu all over again...

Reuters lowering standards even further

There's a kerfuffle among Reuters staffers based in the U.S. after the agency announced they'll be outsourcing more news production to Singapore and Toronto.

Note carefully the reasoning from global managing editor David Schlesinger:

Schlesinger also said he was offended by the [U.S.] guild's suggestion - which the union has denied - that American journalists are superior to their foreign counterparts. The wire service remains committed to "on-the-ground reporting, but some stories can be done very well by telephone or by reading something on the Internet," he said from India.

Does this mean Reuters stories or photo captions datelined 'Gaza City' might actually be produced, researched, or edited by a Google-happy "journalist" sitting at a PC in Singapore? That would explain a thing or two...

(Hat tip: BOTWT)

Good news from the PA

ShaathHere's an encouraging development from the Palestinian media: Reuters reports that PA Minister of Information Nabil Shaath (pictured) wants to suspend Sheik Ibrahim Mudairis, a Gaza preacher who, in a recent sermon broadcast live on official Palestinian TV, described Jews as a “cancer spreading around the world." Shaath also removed from his own ministry’s web site an Arabic translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.


Wednesday, May 18 2005

Distorting Israeli Arab Reality

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: 'Distorting Israeli Arab Reality'

Signup above to receive HR communiques in your inbox.

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

Protocols of the PA

The ADL is taking on the PA Ministry of Information because the ministry's official web site includes an Arabic translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. If you can read Arabic, here’s the ministry’s home page.

Seeing is believing

In light of a new study, we have to wonder about the effectiveness of Newsweek’s -- or any news outlet's -- retractions or corrections:

The research, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society, suggests that once you've seen a news report, you may go on believing it, even if later information shows it to have been false.

Tuesday, May 17 2005

Hitchens' hypocrisy

HitchensUsing a recent James Bennet article as a case-in-point, Christopher Hitchens critiques the NY Times' use of the term 'insurgents' in Iraq:

I don't think the New York Times ever referred to those who devastated its hometown's downtown as "insurgents." But it does employ this title every day for the gang headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi... In my ears, "insurgent" is a bit like "rebel" or even "revolutionary." There's nothing axiomatically pejorative about it, and some passages of history have made it a term of honor. At a minimum, though, it must mean "rising up." These fascists and hirelings are not rising up, they are stamping back down. It's time for respectable outlets to drop the word, to call things by their right names (Baathist or Bin Ladenist or jihadist would all do in this case), and to stop inventing mysteries where none exist.

But when it comes to Israel and its jihadist demons, Hitchens sings a very different tune:

The Palestinian people have a much more justifiable grievance against Israel than even the most alienated Sunni slum-dweller has against the Coalition in Iraq. The Arab citizens of former mandate Palestine live, at best, as second-class citizens in Israel. At worst, they live in vile refugee camps in other states. In the middle, in Jerusalem and Gaza and the West Bank, they experience occupation and colonization and annexation. More than that, they have been told that their very presence is an inconvenience, since the land was awarded by God to the Jews.

See also this interview with Hitchens on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where he blames Israeli policy in the territories for all the region's woes, and calls Zionism a bad idea from the very start. To the best of our knowledge, Hitchens has never come right out and denied the legitimacy of the State of Israel, but his writings certainly seem to point in that direction.

Thoughts on Newsweek's debacle

NewsweekWith 16 people killed in anti-US riots around the world, this incident highlights the power of the media to directly affect life-and-death matters. With that power comes great responsibility to cover news accurately, fairly and honestly. Media scandals, such as Jenin coverage, Jayson Blair, and CBS’ Memogate, to name a few, further highlight the need for the sort of media monitoring that we at HonestReporting have been undertaking for years.

Despite Newsweek’s mea culpa and subsequent retraction, one AFP report quoted a Pakistani cleric saying the magazine’s report was a "conspiracy to widen the gap between Islam and Christianity after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States."

Meanwhile, LGF wonders if Arab outrage over the alleged desecration of the Koran might be hypocritical. Following the 2002 siege of the Church of the Nativity, the Jerusalem Post reported on the aftermath of the Palestinian gunmen who occupied the Christian holy site:

Even in the Roman Catholic areas of the complex there was evidence of disregard for religious norms. Catholic priests said that some Bibles were torn up for toilet paper, and many valuable sacramental objects were removed. "Palestinians took candelabra, icons and anything that looked like gold," said a Franciscan, the Rev. Nicholas Marquez from Mexico.

After the siege, church fugitives received a hero’s welcome in Gaza.

Eyeing NPR

According to the NY Times, Kenneth Tomlinson, the chairman of the Committee for Public Broadcasting, intends to monitor the NPR’s Mideast coverage for bias. The CPB, which oversees NPR, recently hired not one but two ombudsmen. Is the CPB reining in NPR? Stay tuned....

(Hat tip: Romanesko)

Al-Jazeera journalist testifies

AlouniIn an update on the trial of Tayssir Alouni (pictured), Reuters reports that the Al-Jazeera journalist -- indicted in Spain for his association with Al-Qaida -- testified he gave $4,000 to Mohammed Bahaiah, one of Osama bin Laden’s couriers. Bahaiah, also known as Abu Khaled, is still at large.

Friendly fire?

Reuters reports that Palestinian police exchanged fire with each other when officers from one division tried to arrest an officer from another division.


Monday, May 16 2005

UK hostility grows

Things are getting really ugly in the UK for Jews and supporters of Israel:

Luciana Berger, 23, a close friend of Euan Blair, the prime minister’s son, described last week how she had been forced to resign from the executive committee of the National Union of Students (NUS) after being abused and spat at by left-wing undergraduates and Muslim activists because she is Jewish.


Today's recommended reading

* The Washington Post reports that the newly elected Hamas leadership in Beit Hanoun is scoring points for fixing potholes, getting the garbage collected, etc. But the Gaza town's previous mayor says Hamas is claiming credit for work he did that only now is bearing fruit, thanks to the cease-fire.

* St. Petersburg Times columnist Susan Taylor-Martin describes an encounter with a top Hezbollah official at the group’s “media relations” office in Beirut. See also the full Q+A with Sheik Muhammed Kawtharani, touching on Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon, Hezbollah's connections with Palestinian terror groups, and Iran.

* Melanie Phillips responds to the BBC’s questionable coverage of Dahaniya, a Gaza village of Palestinian collaborators protected by the IDF. The fate of the villagers after disengagement is not clear. For a better understanding on the Israeli view of Dahaniya, see this Baltimore Sun report.

Incendiary sermons continue

The Simon Wiesenthal Center wants to see heads roll at Palestinian TV after the PA-run station aired a sermon comparing Jews to cancer. Speaking in a Gaza mosque on Friday during a live broadcast, Sheikh Ibrahim Mudairis said:

"The Jews are the cancer spreading all over the world...the Jews are a virus like AIDS hitting human kind...Jews are responsible for all wars and conflicts...." He went on to say, "Do not ask what Germany did to the Jews but what the Jews did to Germany. Through the Zionist movement the Jews incited many nations to start economic war against Germany and boycotted it...True, the Germans killed and burnt Jews but the Jews exaggerate the numbers to gain propaganda advantages and sympathy..."

Here's more info on anti-semitic sermons in Palestinian mosques.

(Hat tip: YNet)


Sunday, May 15 2005

Reviving conspiracy theories

ArafatThe Jerusalem Post reports that members of Fatah are launching an internet petition demanding an official PA inquiry to determine the cause of Yasser Arafat’s death. Their goal is to collect one million signatures. Backspin's own unofficial inquiry resulted in this top ten list of likely causes of Arafat's death:

10. Arafat died of blood clotting problems.

9. Arafat died of cirrhosis of the liver.

8. Arafat was poisoned by Israel.

7. The Rais was killed by Israeli radiation.

6. Actually, he died years ago when he began negotiating with Israel.

5. Arafat died of AIDS.

4. Suspicious of physicians, Arafat ignored his doctors' advice to take medicine.

3. Arafat was killed by a laser gun.

2. Arafat was killed by Rachel Corrie’s parents.

1. Power-hungry PA officials buried him alive.

What suicide bombings?

The Guardian’s coverage of Hamas’ election success doesn’t note why the Israelis want the organization banned. You’d never know from here that Hamas is responsible for any suicide bombings.


Thursday, May 12 2005

New report focuses on terror victims

YNet notes a report on Israeli terror victims with some important statistics. Among the findings of the report, conducted by Israel’s National Insurance Institute and Hebrew University:

* More than 100 of 742 Israeli civilians killed over past four years were children.

* 30 percent of all Israelis injured in Palestinian terror attacks were from Jerusalem, which is surrounded by Palestinian villages and neighborhoods.

* The report showed that 100 people who were wounded in bombings and receive disability allowances from the National Insurance Institute had lost a family member in the same attacks, severely disrupting the ability to cope and recover.

* 113 Israelis experienced two bombings by Palestinian terrorists.

See for more info about how you can assist Israel’s terror victims.


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