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Media Backspin
« May 2005 | Main | July 2005 »

Thursday, June 30 2005

Creeping settlements

This AP caption would have us believe the northern Israeli town of Metullah is a 'settlement.'

It's not (well, at least not in that way):

Baron Edmond de Rothschild founded Metulla in 1896. Rothschild purchased the land from Druze owners. Then he helped immigrants from Russia to settle the land. Many of the immigrants were fleeing pogroms - riots against Jewish people - that were taking place during that period in Russia.
Spielberg takes on the Mossad

OlympicsReuters reports that Steven Spielberg is making a film about the Mossad’s revenge hits on Palestinian terror leaders connected to the the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The film, “Vengeance” is based on an apparently discredited book of the same name by George Jonas. A December release is scheduled.


Wednesday, June 29 2005

Congrats, Josh!

JoshwinnersmCongratulations to U of Arizona student Joshua Tennenbaum -- winner of the HonestReporting Win-Win Giveaway! Josh gets a free round-trip flight to Israel, plus a week's stay at Jerusalem's David Citadel Hotel.

Et tu, Woody?

Filmmaker Woody Allen in an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel:

so in 2001 some fanatics killed some Americans, and now some Americans are killing some Iraqis. And in my childhood, some Nazis killed Jews. And now, some Jewish people and some Palestinians are killing each other. Political questions, if you go back thousands of years, are ephemeral, not important. History is the same thing over and over again.

Sigh... James Lileks has the rejoinder.

Jooz poison Gaza

DahlanChina's Xinhua news service quotes PA Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan (pictured) accusing settlers of deliberately poisoning Gaza land in advance of the August pullout:

"We have definite information that the Israeli settlers are poisoning the lands in order to damage it and to prevent the Palestinians from using it in the future," said Dahlan.

(Hat tip: Daily Alert)

LA Times' mindless coverage

Laura King of the LA Times compares right-wing Israeli youth blocking streets to brainwashed Palestinian children:

Others, however, see impressionable youngsters being cynically used by adults in order to promote their own political agenda — an uneasy reminder, for some, of Palestinian youngsters being exploited by militant groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad during the last four years of fighting.

This flippant statement is problematic for two reasons: King doesn’t tell us who the anonymous 'others' are. And whether or not you agree with the tactics, there’s a big difference between blocking traffic and blowing yourself up at the behest of others.


Tuesday, June 28 2005

The Dispossession Myth

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: The Dispossession Myth

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


Monday, June 27 2005

More on the Le Monde case

A follow-up to our communique on this topic, in today's New York Times: Free Speech and Hate Speech: French Ruling Roils the Waters

The case of the article published in Le Monde arose amid a wave of scorn for Israeli policies that swept Europe after the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada in September 2000. The mood soon fueled a surge in anti-Semitism in France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe. "Death to Jews!" was shouted in Paris streets. Jewish children were attacked at schools; synagogues were burned. Emotions peaked during the Israeli Defense Force's reoccupation of Palestinian areas from March to May 2002. Political cartoons across Europe equated Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with Hitler.
National Post on Globe & Mail fabrication

The Prime Minister's official residenceToday's National Post (Canada) has a column by Ron Podalny on the Globe & Mail fabrication from last week. Excerpt:

The image of Palestinians being thrown out of their homes by the Israelis presents a particular obsession for much of Western media. False stories, such as Edward Said’s claim that he grew up in Jerusalem and was made a refugee, have been amplified by the media. (It was later discovered that the late Columbia University professor spent most of his youth in Cairo and his parents did not even own a house in Jerusalem.) Similarly, claims of Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian birth were for years accepted by the media at face value, despite ample evidence he was born in Egypt.

Home in Old City that Sharon rentsCanadians recently experienced such inaccurate reporting firsthand when Carolynne Wheeler, a Globe and Mail reporter in Israel, described the June 21 meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as having taken place “on disputed home turf,” in “Sharon’s flag-draped residence in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City,” from which the Arab tenants were “removed” after Sharon “purchased it.” None of this is true.

View the article in the Post's electronic edition here -- at the bottom of page A16.

A Judenrein Palestine

Clifford May makes a good point on a matter that also colors news coverage of the conflict:

Only a radical would argue that Israel should not have such Arab citizens. And yet what passes for the moderate view holds that a future Palestinian state must be Judenrein - ethnically cleansed of Jews.

Full article.


Friday, June 24 2005

JPost on Globe & Mail fabrication

The Jerusalem Post has an article this morning on the Globe & Mail fabrication noted below. HonestReporting Canada is cited, and the Globe & Mail makes a statement:

"Obviously, it's a very embarrassing error," said Guy Nicholson, the newspaper's interim foreign editor. "We asked her for some background about where the story location was. Unfortunately, she was not actually at the scene of it. She wrote it off of television and wires."

Nicholson goes on to say the issue has been 'blown out of proportion.' We think not. To pretend one is covering a scene that never happened is an egregious violation of journalistic ethics, and demands action beyond a mere correction in the next day's edition.

Full article.


Thursday, June 23 2005

Fabricated news from the Globe & Mail

Gandmlogo_1Toronto's Globe & Mail published a report yesterday from Jerusalem freelancer Carolynne Wheeler, covering Tuesday's Abbas-Sharon meeting:

Although Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said both sides agreed on co-ordinating his military's withdrawal from Gaza this summer, Palestinian leaders left the meeting in Mr. Sharon's flag-draped residence in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City grim-faced, appearing only briefly before reporters in Ramallah to announce their disappointment.... this meeting of just under three hours was held on disputed home turf...

There's just one problem with Wheeler's eyewitness report -- the meeting didn't take place in the Old City. It was held in the Prime Minister's residence in a western Jerusalem neighborhood. It seems Wheeler invented the scene to bring some anti-Israel color to her report, adding the 'stinging symbol for Palestinians struggling to hold onto Arab neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.'

Kudos to CAMERA for jumping on this first, contacting Globe & Mail editors, and making a very appropriate comparison to other journalists' recent claims to have attended an event that never occurred. Wheeler pulled a Mitch Albom, plain and simple.

The Globe & Mail published a correction today regarding the setting for the meeting, but hasn't yet commented on the journalist's bald lie and what action the paper intends to take against her.

Pondering BBC reform

BbcA change in the BBC’s editorial policy caught our attention. Stephen Whittle, BBC's Controller of Editorial Policy has a new task:

Whittle must now also personally approve of any proposal to employ someone known to have a criminal record or background of illegal activity.

Another suggested change:

…the BBC should normally consider asking contributors to sign contracts - including a declaration of personal information such as criminal convictions or that which may involve personal conflicts of interest.

We have to wonder what this means for Palestinian stringers (like Fayad Abu Shamala) and similar conflicts of interest.

Meanwhile, this completely one-sided BBC report on the Sharon-Abbas meeting suggests little has changed -- note that Palestinians are 'desperately upset' from Sharon's 'unreasonable conditions.'

Ahmed Qureia's 21-gun salute

GunmenAP reports that gunmen in the Balata refugee camp gave Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia a less-than-warm reception:

Palestinian gunmen fired shots and detonated an explosive device Wednesday as Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia left a building in a West Bank refugee camp where he was lecturing militants on the need to restore order to the streets.

Earlier, the militants fired shots at the building from outside while Qureia was speaking inside. The shots were not directly aimed at Qureia and did not appear to be an assassination attempt, and the explosive device went off several hundred yards away from him. Qureia was unharmed but clearly angered by the incident, the latest sign of growing chaos and internal unrest in Palestinian areas.

AP goes on to note that not all of yesterday’s Palestinian violence was politically motivated:

In the southern city of Hebron, about 100 high school students who complained their final exam in physics was too difficult attacked the education department, throwing stones and burning tires.

This would seem to indicate that the 'blame anyone except yourself' mentality has seeped down to a younger generation of Palestinians.


Wednesday, June 22 2005

The case of Hassan

Apropos our latest communique on a Palestinian who intended to murder Israeli innocents at the very hospital that treated her self-inflicted burn wounds, Normblog posts a remarkable statement from the head of emergency trauma at Jerusalem's Haddassah Ein Karem hospital. The surgeon recalls his team's treatment of one of the terrorists who holed up in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity in 2002:

During his 3 months on the unit, we had many times when we were short of beds, usually due to another suicide bombing. Were we going to deny a victim of terror an ITU bed because that bed already had a terrorist in it?

Keep this story in mind the next time Israel is accused of 'obstruction of medical assistance' vis-a-vis Palestinians.

Grads disgruntled with Israel

GradsThe NY Jewish Week notes a study finding an increasing sympathy for the Palestinians among Jewish-American grad students. After interviewing 150 students from different universities, pollster Frank Luntz, working for the Israel Project, found that media coverage plays a critical role:

He noted that many of the students said they changed their attitudes toward the Mideast conflict during their college and post-college years as they “learned more,” in their words, about the situation from professors, Palestinians they met on campus and the media. The New York Times is the top source of news information, and the BBC is widely seen as well.

The students believe the American media is biased toward Israel, according to the report, and that Palestinians are making a greater effort toward peace than Israel.

For more info on campus activism, see the Hasbara Fellowships, which is affiliated with HonestReporting.

Staged photos?

Were these two pictures of Palestinian refugees clutching old keys staged by Reuters photographer Majed Jaber? The keys seem identical, though the family names of the people are different:

Original photos and captions here and here.

Hat tip: LGF

'Gasser' corrected

Reuters has issued a correction of the strange spelling mistake we critiqued two days ago.

But as two BackSpin readers point out, a Google search on 'Gasser Aright' yields two other sources with that spelling... anyone have an explanation?


Tuesday, June 21 2005

Three Lessons from a Woman Terrorist

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: Three Lessons from a Woman Terrorist

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


Monday, June 20 2005

What a gas

A Reuters report today fails miserably on two counts:

First, the title of the article, "Jewish settler, Palestinian killed on eve of summit", equates the manner and situation surrounding the death of these two individuals. But further in the article, an Israeli army spokesman indicates that the Israeli fell victim to a senseless terrorist drive-by shooting, while the death of the Palestinian was precipitated by his illegal entry to a restricted military zone, ignoring of an order through loudspeakers to leave, warning shots, then shots fired at the infiltrator's legs.

Second, likely a typo, but inexcusable, is this description of a certain Palestinian leader whom Abbas succeeded:

Abbas engineered the truce soon after winning elections in January to succeed the late Gasser Aright, the Palestinians' longtime leader whom Israel accused of inciting bloodshed and never invited to Jerusalem. (screen captured)

The fact that such a thing could slip by the Reuters editors indicates a larger problem of professionalism at the 'news' outlet.

Jenin’s ‘bad boys’

One of the best-known Palestinian fugitives, Zakariya Zubeidi is joining the PA security services along with 495 gunmen from the Jenin area. But he doesn't plan to help Mahmoud Abbas stop terror, telling YNet:

”I’m not going to stop any Palestinian activist,” he said. “It’s obvious for Palestinians that there are no arrests on political backgrounds.”
Prisoners apologize for Koran abuse

Palestinian prisoners apologized for destroying a Koran earlier this month. YNet reports:

The incident, which was compared to reports of Qurans that had allegedly been destroyed at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, evoked fear of possible prisoner riots. However, a special investigative committee found the prisoners themselves had torn the Quran copies in an attempt to stir controversy.

According to the Prison Service, prisoner representatives apologized for the incident, saying it was a Hamas-affiliated minority that carried out the act.

But this didn't stop Islamic Jihad from claiming that today's attack on an Israeli civilian car was 'in retaliation' for the Koran abuse. Reports such as Reuters' included this absurd statement without reference to the admission cited above, thereby leaving the uninformed reader with the impression that today's terrorist attack had some sort of justification.


Sunday, June 19 2005

What incitement?

IncitePA President Mahmoud Abbas told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the Palestinian media no longer incites against Israel. But Palestinian Media Watch begs to differ, with a month’s worth of documentation.

Tactless in Jersey

About two years ago we critiqued a San Diego Union-Tribune article that compared the deaths of Marla Bennet (who was murdered at a Hebrew University lunchtable) with Rachel Corrie (who died while serving as a 'human shield' for Palestinian terrorists).

Now it seems the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger has done the same thing, placing an article about Alisa Flatow -- murdered while riding a bus in Gaza -- directly alongside yet another Corrie article. HR subscriber Daniel R. writes:

The Star Ledger printed two articles on opposite sides of the two pages of about equal length... These two articles being printed side-by-side gives the reader the impression that the two deaths are similar but that each individual was working for the other side. The newspaper portrays their deaths as if they should be seen as morally equivalent. One was a student in a women's Seminary, the other a political activist working with an organization that has been complacent and even supportive of terrorist activities. This is not shown by placing these articles side-by-side.

The online versions linked above do not, of course, accurately convey the important layout issue described by Daniel.

Comments to Newark Star-Ledger: click here


Thursday, June 16 2005

Martyr’s video was the giveaway

AP reports that Israeli security busted a Nablus terror cell planning to carry out attacks, noting:

One of the young men had already made a "martyr's video" explaining his actions, to be released after the attack, they said, and another admitted to interrogators that he was going to carry out a suicide attack. Suicide bombers often make such videos, used by militant groups to claim responsibility for the attacks.

So we’re at a loss to explain AP’s headline:

Israel Arrests Suspected Suicide Bombers

'Intended' bombers seems more accurate...


Wednesday, June 15 2005

'Koran Rippings' and 'Cancer Juice'

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: 'Koran Rippings' and 'Cancer Juice'

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

Today's recommended reading

* Newsweek examines fears that Hamas will gain international legitimacy by participating in elections—without changing its goal of destroying Israel.

* A childhood friend of Osama bin Laden laments Arab media lies. Published in the Saudi-based Arab News. (Hat tip: Daily Alert)

* The Guardian reports that Egyptian mediation in Gaza is part of a bid to blunt Hamas’ electoral success. When things go wrong, Israel and the US will be the ones blamed for interfering in Palestinian affairs. Is this deja vu all over again?

* The Chicago Tribune published a sensitive, thoughtful commentary wondering about the Muslim outrage over the Koran desecration allegations.

NPR's power struggle

Npr_1The power struggle between National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting continues. The CPB, which oversees NPR, claims the publicly-funded radio network needs a better balance of programming; NPR's defenders accuse CPB of political censorship. Now, NPR is facing a Congressional proposal to cut $100 million from its budget. An internal NPR memo obtained by CNN blames the cut squarely on the CPB's bias allegations.

In a related development, two ombudsmen hired by the CPB to oversee NPR last April are still unable to claim full membership in the Organization of News Ombudsmen. According to the NY Times, Ken Bode and William Schulz’s membership is being blocked by Jeffrey Dvorkin, NPR’s own ombudsman. Dvorkin, who once admitted that Mideast coverage is affected by “compassion fatigue” now has to worry if American taxpayers are fatigued by the $300 million NPR is supposed to receive from Congress.

For more info, see CAMERA, which deserves a lot of credit for holding NPR's notoriously biased Mideast coverage accountable over the years. And because the issue relates to public funding, it wouldn't hurt to share your thoughts with your elected congressmen in the House of Representatives and Senate.


Tuesday, June 14 2005

Anatomy of a successful letter to editor

Yesterday, when BBC's 'On This Day' distorted the all-important content of UN Resolution 242, HR subscriber Anat Tcherikover wrote the BBC editor, received a prompt response, and elicited a correction on the BBC website.

Anat's letter (view it here, with BBC's response) is a fine example of how to approach editors by e-mail. Note these techniques:

* Quick response -- within 24 hours of the article's posting on the news outlet's site
* Sober, factual tone -- no name-calling
* Inclusion of the URL of the article in question
* Inclusion of the URL of the evidence brought to critique the article
* Clear, succinct line of reasoning, with summary: "I hope you'll agree that taking the single sentence 'Withdrawal... conflict' out of context creates the false impression that demands were directed solely at Israel."
* Requesting a specific response: 'For fairness, a correction would be appreciated.'
* Respectful signoff, including one's title and address
* Keeping HR in the loop (via a 'cc' or forward), so we can share the problem/success with our broad readership

See more on how to become an effective media patroller.

Hezbollah in the 'wings'

The UK is considering banning Hezbollah's political wing, worrying the organization enough to dispatch Rima Fakhry to London. But Fakhry's comments to The Guardian only raise more questions about the blurry distinction between Hezbollah's "military" and "political" wings.

She said she could not see a time when Lebanon and Israel could coexist peacefully: "Do you imagine one day the wolf and the sheep will live in peace? This is only in Walt Disney [films] maybe."

Mrs Fakhry said her group believes in the destruction of Israel and expulsion of tens of thousands of Jews: "This is a hope, a long-term strategy."

Cancer juice!

China View 'reports' the latest sinister plot by Israeli Joos, floated by a PA minister:

And the libel reaches a broad western audience thanks, once again, to GoogleNews -- the China View article recently appeared as the second entry under a search for 'Palestinians':


Comments to GoogleNews:

AP discovers 'terror'

AP discovered “terror” in Syria. Apparently, the word "terror" only applies when directed against the ruling regime.

(Hat tip: LGF)


Sunday, June 12 2005

Quick links

* The ADL is outraged over Rep. Charles Rangel's comparison of US activity in Iraq with the Shoah.

* It's Almost Supernatural questions a cartoon from the Mail & Guardian.


Friday, June 10 2005

HR cited at Cordoba conference

At this week's OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism in Cordoba, Spain, Sander Gerber of the U.S. delegation delivered a speech on 'Anti-semitism and the media', citing HonestReporting as his first example of an NGO that's committed to ensure responsible coverage of Israel and the Mideast conflict:

There are several NGOs that monitor and assist journalists to ensure accuracy of Middle East reporting. We often hear that the solution to “bad speech” is “good speech.” However, an individual often does not feel empowered to speak out, and a lone voice is not heard. There are NGOs who enable aggregates of public opinion to speak out.

For example, the NGO, Honest Reporting, offers a grassroots collection of 120,000 readers who are committed to drawing attention to unbalanced stories a platform to speak. When a reader notes a particular case or general pattern of overt anti-Semitism, the editors either privately contact the authors, or draft a pointed critique of the item and send the critique via email to 120,000 readers worldwide. Readers can use this critique as a basis for their own personal comments to the media outlet in question, thus encouraging journalists to become more balanced.

KilljewsheadbandFor example, the London Times website had a photo of a woman wearing a headband emblazoned, “KILL JEWS.” The photo was captioned simply: “A university student protests against the war in Iraq.” After several letters, the Times apologized and corrected the caption.

That particular incident, from March 2003, is documented on our site here. Gerber noted that

Generally, in free democracies, an individual will form an opinion based on what he or she has seen and heard in the media. That presents a special challenge to the media to provide its audience with material that can serve as the basis for an informed opinion. The power of the media is such that slanted reporting can have an enormous impact on public opinion.

Indeed. Other NGOs recognized by Gerber for promoting fair coverage of Israel in the western press: MEMRI, the ADL, Israel 21c, and CAMERA. View Sander Gerber's speech here.


Wednesday, June 8 2005

Great moments in propaganda

Israel has been accused of massacres in Jenin, destroying the World Trade Center, complicity in Abu Ghraib torture, even a tsunami. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before Israeli prison guards would be accused of desecrating the Koran too.

The differences between this and Newsweek's discredited coverage of Guantanamo Bay are important to recognize. With Gitmo, Newsweek relied on an anonymous source who didn’t have as much information as the reporters thought he did. And the source of the Megiddo allegations? The prisoners themselves, who claim guards ripped up three of the books during a routine search that turned up 81 cell phones and 40 knives. The Jerusalem Post quoted prison officials saying that guards only flipped through one Koran while searching for items commonly hidden inside books.

So far, AP coverage of the prisoners is skeptical enough, while Reuters quotes guards saying that the Koran in question appears intact. But headlines alone could be enough to create a scandal -- a headline in The Scotsman read:

Israeli Soldiers 'Desecrated Koran During Riot'

Unfortunately, sensational Arab headlines only add fuel to the fire. Newsweek already learned that lesson the hard way.

Stiff competition

We were pleasantly surprised to see the following Al-Jazeera reference to the Temple Mount:

Hamas claimed responsibility for that attack, which it said came in retaliation for a visit by Jews on Monday to the Jerusalem holy site that was home to the biblical Jewish temples and now houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third-holiest shrine.

We were struck that “home to the biblical Jewish temples" wasn’t qualified with the words, “Israelis claim,” or “according to Jewish belief.” Since the BBC welcomes competition from Al-Jazeera’s English news service, we thought it appropriate to compare the two. How does the BBC describe the Jewish connection to the holy site?

Israeli policy is that Jerusalem will never be divided. The Temple Mount is revered by Jews as the site of the first and second Biblical temples.
The Guardian decodes Hamas

JackstrawIn a staff-ed about UK contacts with Hamas, The Guardian insinuates a darker reason for Israel’s objections, then suggests that Hamas statements may contain hidden messages of peace:

The suspicion must be that the real Israeli objections to Hamas are not that it is a terrorist organisation or that they do not trust its reformulations on Israel's right to exist, although anxiety on both scores is understandable. If Ariel Sharon does not want a West Bank settlement worthy of the name he may see Hamas as the most formidable obstacle to imposing one that is manifestly unfair. That it would also constitute an excuse for refusing serious negotiations suggests that statements about Hamas will continue to need careful decoding.

Decoding? If actions speak louder than words, then Hamas’ rocket barrage yesterday makes a clear enough statement to Israeli targets and to Foreign Minister Jack Straw (pictured), who is now visiting the Mideast.


Tuesday, June 7 2005

Jerusalem stories

Jerusalem1_1We were struck by three media descriptions of Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods. Coverage of Jerusalem Day, a Temple Mount clash, and Silwan home demolitions provided ample opportunity to take a closer look at media attitudes towards the city. Do the following examples betray a hint of bias towards Palestinian claims on the city?

1. Reuters:

Israeli police faced off against Palestinians throwing rocks at Jews outside Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque on Monday during Israel's annual celebration of its capture of Arab East Jerusalem 38 years ago.

The term “Arab” implies that parts of Jerusalem are inherently “Arab.” And East with a capital E makes the term a proper noun, suggesting two officially separate municipalities. Since when is the word "east" anything but a descriptive reference when it comes to Jerusalem?

2. Sydney Morning Herald:

Israeli plans to evict 1000 Arabs in occupied East Jerusalem to make way for an "archaeological park" highlight the fundamental conflict between resident Palestinians and the Jews who claim an older and superior right to the ground on which they live.

As Dore Gold explains, repeated references to “occupation” serve Palestinian interests by justifying terror, leaves no room for territorial compromise, while denying Israeli claims to the land. “Disputed” would be a more neutral term.

3. LA Times:

In all, 88 homes in the Silwan district of traditionally Arab East Jerusalem are marked for demolition to make way for what municipal authorities say will be an archeological park devoted to Jewish history and sites associated with the biblical King David.

Up to 1948, Arabs and Jews lived in a unified city that made no distinctions between “East” and “West.” The concept of East and West only came about in 1948, when the Jordanian army captured Jerusalem’s eastern neighborhoods and the Old City. Except for a Jewish enclave on Mount Scopus, Jordan occupied what became known as East Jerusalem, expelling Jewish residents, destroying numerous synagogues and other Jewish institutions. Mitch Bard points out, “The only time that the eastern part of Jerusalem was exclusively Arab was between 1949 and 1967, and that was because Jordan occupied the area and forcibly expelled all the Jews.”

No child's play

Kidplay_1Memri flagged a shocking Al-Arabiya report on the most popular childrens’ game in Gaza. The game: "Jews and Arabs.” As one of the children tells Al-Arabiya, “To win the game, the player must die.”

View the video here.


Monday, June 6 2005

Silence on French Court Ruling

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: 'Silence on French Court Ruling'

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Please use the comments section here to discuss this topic.

Anti-Semitism at 'Le Monde' and Beyond

Tom Gross puts the French court's ruling against Le Monde in perspective, in a article commissioned by the Wall St. Journal Europe -- view it here.


Sunday, June 5 2005

Rockets' red glare

QassamWhile Syria made news for recently testing Scuds on Friday, Islamic Jihad managed to avoid headlines after firing rockets from Jenin. Unlike the Gaza Strip, the IDF has been more successful uncovering rocket factories in the West Bank. But Haaretz reports that Islamic Jihad targeted Ganim and Kadim, two West Bank settlements slated for disengagement. The rockets exploded shortly after launch. So far, we haven’t seen any Western media coverage of this development...

Meanwhile, Lebanese police defused Katyusha rockets set in a firing position near the Israeli border.


Thursday, June 2 2005

Fighting the Protocols

Protocols_1Despite being debunked as an anti-Semitic forgery, many people still believe in conspiracy theories and stereotypes fueled by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But the Dallas Morning News reports a renewed interest in fighting the canard. Recent developments include:

* PA info minister Nabil Shaath was recently forced to remove a copy posted on his ministry’s web site.

* A documentary by Marc Levin critically examining why people still believe the book was well-received at the Sundance Film Festival.

* The Plot, a novel in comic format by the late Will Eisner traces the history of The Protocols. According to the SF Chronicle, French schools will use Eisner’s book to combat anti-Semitism.

(Hat tip: James Taranto)


Wednesday, June 1 2005

HR Mission in Jerusalem

Today was day #2 of the current HonestReporting mission to Israel. Here's part of the group on a tour of the Cardo in the Old City of Jerusalem:


This evening, at the beautiful Darna restaurant in Jerusalem, Natan Sharansky addressed both the HR mission and the current student participants on the HR-affiliated Hasbara Fellowships:


The students listen to Sharansky:


As do the HR mission participants:


The next HR mission is scheduled for November. Interested in joining us? Email:

Gaza's unlikely protesters

Palestinians employed in Gaza settlements worry about the day after disengagement, telling YNet they’re concerned about finding new jobs and PA corruption—even criticizing Israel for helping create the Palestinian Authority:

Still, Mahmoud chooses to blame Israel for all his problems. He said he would be doing better had Israel refrained from signing agreements with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

“Palestinians and Jews can live together, that’s how it used to be,” he said. “I don’t believe in a man coming from Tunis, who comes here and runs the country. They sucked our blood. You brought this mess upon us to begin with.”

“You didn’t make peace with the Palestinian people but rather, with a man from Tunisia,” he said. “What does everyone want after all? To live peacefully side by side.”

Deep Throat not Jewish after all

NixonThe JTA points out that that Mark Felt’s admission that he was "Deep Throat" puts to rest rumors that the Washington Post’s inside source on Watergate was Jewish. Felt, then the FBI’s deputy chief, is of Irish descent with no religious affiliation.

In a 1972 conversation recorded on the Nixon tapes, top aide H.R. Haldeman tells the president that Felt is Jewish. Nixon expresses shock that a Jew could have reached such a senior post, and speculates that Felt — J. Edgar Hoover’s right-hand man — might be leaking information because he is Jewish.

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