UN "Special Raporteur" John Dugard continues a history of anti-Israel extremism by accusing Israel of apartheid in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. See the latest HonestReporting communique: UN Man's Apartheid Charge.
This Chicago Tribune staff-ed correctly understands that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn't the root cause of instability in Iraq.
It's tempting to think that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would solve all the problems of the Middle East.
Tempting, but wrong. A peace deal there would be a momentous leap forward. But it's not a panacea, as the sectarian conflict in Iraq illustrates. The militias there aren't killing because of the Palestinian-Israel conflict. They're killing neighbors, fellow Iraqis and fellow Muslims for hatreds stoked over centuries.
See Venezuela News and Views, where guest blogger Alexandra Beech flags a notoriously anti-Semitic commentary more worthy of Julius Streicher. Beech translated a commentary by Tarek Muci Nasir published in El Diario Caracas, a mainstream daily that supports Hugo Chavez (pictured). No one snippet does justice to Nasir's screed. The blog explains:
This piece is an absolute shame and it is unconceivable that a newspaper would publish such garbage, not even worthy of mediocre blogging. But it goes a long way in illustrating how silently but surely chavismo is seeding the plant of anti Semitism, a weed that opens the door to a series of murderous harvests for the future.
James Carroll picked up on a Peace Now report (pdf format) alleging that a high percentage of settlement land is actually privately owned by Palestinians. We don’t want to comment on the issue of settlements, but the Boston Globe columnist makes one inappropriate claim that the rest of his comments are based on.
The worsening conflict between Israelis and Palestinians reached a rare point of clarification last week….
Peace Now’s report hasn’t been clarified. The Jerusalem Post reported that the government set up a committee to investigate and verify the report’s findings. As our colleagues at CAMERA recently pointed out, Peace Now doesn’t represent the final word on settlements. Why is Carroll so eager to think otherwise?
Israel kills Palestinian gunman, woman despite truce
The Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire only applies to Gaza, and not to the West Bank, where the IDF operation took place. As The Independent notes:
So far, the ceasefire applies only to Gaza. Israel agreed to withdraw its troops; the Palestinians agreed to stop launching rockets, preparing suicide bombers and digging tunnels under the border fence….
If the ceasefire holds, Israeli and Palestinian officials hope it will be followed by a similar agreement on the West Bank.
Isa Leibler calls for a Jewish satellite news channel to counter Al-Jazeera's English broadcasts:
The advent of a global English-language version of the formidable Al Jazeera, Qatari-sponsored Arab TV cable satellite represents another major escalation in the war of ideas against us.
Al-Jazeera's depiction of Israel in American and European homes will undoubtedly make the biased BBC and CNN pale by comparison. The fact that it already has access to 80 million Western households should put to rest any illusions that its impact will be confined....
The creation of a global TV channel promoting a Jewish viewpoint must now assume the highest priority. The need for such a vehicle is not merely to provide a more balanced viewpoint on Israeli and Jewish issues. An equally important requirement is to ensure that Jewish youngsters are provided with an alternative to the anti-Israel offensives that now saturate European and Western media.
Now's the time to submit your nomination for the 2006 Dishonest Reporting "Award" -- our annual recognition of the most skewed and biased coverage of the Mideast conflict. Fed up with what you’re seeing (or not seeing) in the news? Here's your opportunity to shout back at the editors and correspondents.
Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Due to the volume of mail, nominations won't be acknowledged. Results will be announced in a special year-end communiqué. See previous “honorees” here.
When Fatma Omar an-Najar (pictured), a grandmother from Gaza, blew herself up near some Israeli soldiers AP’s Diaa Hadid came up with a rather silly article about the status of women in Hamas.
Hadid used to work as the public relations officer for an NGO called Ittijah. In 2002, before she began working for AP, Hadid was interviewed by Reportage about her NGO work:
The intensity of Hadid’s involvement over the last nine months has had a strong impact on her views. When she first arrived in the Middle East, Hadid expressed a desire to make more Israeli friends. Now she has trouble separating the personal from the political.
“I can’t look at Israelis anymore. I can’t separate your average Israeli citizen from the occupation, I don’t want to be friends with them, I don’t want to talk to them,” says Hadid….
“To this day I’d never say that I am anti-anybody. But did my objectivity get thrown out the window? Yes. Because I had an Israeli gun pointing at me, not a Palestinian one,” says Hadid.
Read more about Ittijah here. At least Hadid acknowledges her own biases. That's probably more honest than other reporters who sincerely believe they're fair.
Human Rights Watch condemns Palestinian human shields as a violation of international law:
Calling civilians to a location that the opposing side has identified for attack is at worst human shielding, at best failing to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from the effects of attack. Both are violations of international humanitarian law….
“There is no excuse for calling civilians to the scene of a planned attack,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Whether or not the home is a legitimate military target, knowingly asking civilians to stand in harm’s way is unlawful.”
Looks like Time magazine followed up on their caption debacle with another fiasco. This week's cover story, about Pope Benedict and Islam, was written by Tariq Ramadan (pictured), who is banned from the US because of his own links to radical Islam.
This ranks up there with The Guardian asking a radical Islamic reporter who advocates Israel’s destruction to cover the London subway attacks. Shades of Sassygate?
Javed Iqbal received four payments of $28,000 from Al-Manar TV to broadcast the Hezbollah-affiliated station in the New York-area, according to a federal indictment unsealed yesterday. The NY Sun also reports that Iqbal’s partner, Saleh Elahwal, was arrested yesterday. The US Treasury Dept. has designated Al-Manar as a terrorist entity.
In the Jerusalem Post, Anshel Pfeffer comments on media coverage of the Palestinian human shields:
Both the Arab TV channels and a sympathetic Western media were full of photographs of victorious Palestinians celebrating their outwitting of the Zionist F-16s, yet another reenactment of the David vs. Goliath scene. The humiliation was double; not only did Israel seem cruel and unfeeling, using hi-tech weaponry against civilians, but this time the Palestinians were also portrayed as brave and resourceful, in contrast to the clumsy and bumbling IDF….
Rather that let the Palestinians dictate the media coverage, Israel could take the initiative and use the human-shield saga to its benefit. Playing up the concrete actions taken by Israel to minimize civilian casualties, offering recordings of the warning telephone calls and of pilots being called back from the bombing mission, and perhaps even giving a selected network access to a warning call live might go some way toward changing some of the perceptions.
Palestinian leaders are hailing this as a moral victory that will be replicated. If so, it may herald a significant tactical shift from attacks by tiny secretive militant groups to nonviolent civilian protest, a change that will force Israel to adjust its strategy....
The success of the mass protest is stirring nostalgia for the first Palestinian intifada of the late 1980s and early 1990s, a battle with Israel seen as a popular uprising fought with stones and Molotov cocktails rather than with missiles and suicide bombers.
Memo to the Monitor: The real tactical shift would be for the Palestinians to give up the rockets, not protect them through popular means.
See Soccer Dad, where guest blogger Daled Amos debunks the conventional wisdom (now echoing in Europe) that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will necessarily bring greater overall peace to the world. Read the full post here.
The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) condemned the editor of the South African Jewish Report for refusing to publish a commentary by Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils (pictured). SAJR editor Geoff Sifrin says Kasrils’ anti-Israeli views amount to hate-speech and “would not contribute to constructive debate, but would simply give deep offence.”
The rejected commentary (read it here) was in response to a column by Anthony Posner. The FXI argues that Kasrils has a right to respond to critics. It’s Almost Supernatural is closely following Red Ronnie’s efforts to get published.
UPDATE November 23: Sifrin discussed the controversy with the Jerusalem Post.
The Daily Telegraph suggests that yesterday’s incident where Palestinian human shields forced Israel to abort an air strike on the home of a Popular Resistance Committee commander may be a watershed:
New options are clearly needed, as Palestinian and Israeli tactics in Gaza appear to be bringing neither side any success.
While Israel continues to launch airstrikes and occasional ground incursions into Gaza to stop Palestinians launching missiles, the qassams keep flying.
At the same time, those qassams – launched at random into civilian towns – bring nothing to ordinary Palestinians but the certainty of a powerful Israeli response.
That explains why Palestinians yesterday celebrated their human shield as a rare double victory – the tactic forced an Israeli rethink and no one died either.
This non-violent Palestinian tactic only works because of Israel’s respect for human life. The presence of civilians in Sderot certainly hasn't deterred the rocket fire. Would the Palestinians have greater respect for human shields protecting Sderot?
UPDATE Nov. 21: Who doesn't appreciate the irony of this Reuters report? Rockets landed a few hundred yards from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, who was visiting Sderot. At least one Israeli was critically injured.
Newsweek talked to Ziad Abu Amr, who is expected to be appointed PA foreign minister. Amr (pictured) dismisses concerns that a national unity government will serve as a fig leaf for Hamas:
Even if there's a new cabinet, the Hamas stance is still at odds with the international community's demands. They reject Israel's right to exist, for instance.
The government is not an individual enterprise. You have [a number of] cabinet members who are non-Hamas. It doesn't matter if there is a majority, even if you have a small number of non-Hamas cabinet members it's going to make a difference. [But] this is going to be a different government. This is not a Hamas government. This is a national unity government. You are going to see things you haven't seen in the last six or seven months, there are going to be real discussions, real debates in the cabinet, votes—it is different.
But there are also calls from Hamas for revenge, to start suicide bombings again, and to target Americans.
I don't take this seriously. I don't think this represents the mainstream in Hamas.
But people are still shooting, bombs are still going off.
I wouldn't even call it low-intensity warfare. It's something symbolic, people trying to remind you "Listen: we are here. We cannot be dismissed as irrelevant." The question is, how do you put an end to all of these manifestations of vio-lence? This requires a national-unity government.
Will Hamas really change its spots, or will the media buy into another white-wash?
* Lebanese civilians in Baalbek confirmed to a Jersualem Post reporter that truckloads of weapons for Hezbollah enter the country from Syria.
* An Israeli-Arab who operates a private Holocaust museum in his Nazareth home is flying to Tehran to confront a conference studying whether six million Jews died. The Iranian organizers invited Khaled Ksab Mahamid to give an address. He awaits final approval for the trip from the Israeli and Iranian governments.
Mahamid told Haaretz he intends to tell the conference that the Holocaust did happen and that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's position of Holocaust denial is wrong.
* The Toronto Star reports that Israeli leaders are studying a land for peace formula that would give Israel 10 years of quiet and the Palestinians provisional statehood. What the Palestinians call hudna, Israeli officials are calling consensual realignment. You heard that buzzword here first!
* How did a Reuters photographer in Qalqiliyah come into possession of electronic goods stolen from Israel households?
Amichai Magen takes on a new Stanford University group calling itself Students Confronting Apartheid in Israel. In the process, Magen ably addresses what apartheid is and isn't:
The analogy between apartheid and Israel is absurd. The revival of national sovereignty in the Jewish homeland is not a manifestation of European colonialism, in contrast to the white settlers (Afrikaans, English and others) who created Johannesburg and Pretoria. Jews are indigenous to the Middle East as is the Jewish national language, Hebrew. Anyone who has ever visited Israel knows that it is one of the most diverse multi-ethnic democracies in the world.
YNet News reports that a 57-year-old woman in Sderot was killed when a Palestinian rocket struck a busy street. Also, a bodyguard on duty for Defense Minister Amir Peretz lost both his legs to shrapnel. Six other individuals are being treated for shock. Developing....
UPDATE: According to the Jerusalem Post, the woman's name was Fatima Slutzker.
At Lightstalkers, photographer Bruno Stevens explains the truth behind his photo taken during the war in Lebanon:
First, here's Stevens' original caption:
Kfar Chima, near Beirut, July 17, 2006 An Israeli Air Force F16 has alledgedly been shot down while bombing a group of Hezbollah owned trucks, at least one of these trucks contained a medium range ground to ground missile launcher.
They choose to caption it this way (I had NO control in this matter), they HAD my original caption:
“The wreckage of a downed Israeli jet that was targeting Hizballah trucks billows smoke behind a Hizballah gunman in Kfar Chima, near Beirut. Jet fuel set the surrounding area ablaze.”
In the meantime, after returning 3 times to the site, and collected more evidence, I had modified my original caption to this:
“Kfar Chima, near Beirut, July 17, 2006 The Israeli Air Force bombed a group of Hezbollah chartered trucks parked on the back of large Lebanese Army barracks , at least one of these trucks contained a medium range ground to ground missile launcher, at least one missile was hit, misfiring high into the sky before falling down and starting a huge fire in the barracks’ parking lot.”
Judith Miller told a federal court in Chicago she was satisfied that the Israeli interrogators didn't torture Mohammad Salah. Lawyers for Salah, who is on trial for violating federal racketeering laws for providing money to Hamas, claimed a confession he gave Israeli authorities was coerced. Editor & Publisher writes:
“He was relaxed, he was conversational, he was boastful, he was jaunty,” Miller testified in a Chicago courtroom. “There was no reason for me to believe he had been exposed to” extreme conditions.
See the full article for details on why she was present at Salah's interrogation and allegations that Miller was used by Israeli authorities.
Reuters reports that Mohammed Shabir has accepted an offer from Hamas and Fatah to serve as Prime Minister of a technocrat national unity government. Earlier this year, the Baltimore Sun visited Gaza's Islamic University, which Shabir once headed.
According to AP, Hamas favors an international peace conference with Israel:
Zahar said the Palestinians had asked for the peace conference ``in order to reach just and comprehensive solutions.” The acceptance marked the first time the Hamas-led government has indicated it would consider making amends with the Jewish state.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar of Hamas sidestepped a question on whether his movement would attend.
Zahar's obfuscation makes it easier for the Arab League to break the West's freeze on aid to PA, as described by the BBC yesterday. The pattern of these tea leaves looks familiar. How will MSM respond?
A lot of papers picked up on Lally Weymouth’s Q+A with Ehud Olmert published in the Washington Post and Newsweek. While MSM focused on the Prime Minister's readiness to cede more land, we were more fascinated by some give and take near the end. Weymouth takes it for granted that Arafat was a "terrorist."
[Syrian] President [Bashar al-] Assad is sending out suggestions that he would like to talk to Israel. Why wouldn't it be a good idea to explore those hints?
If Assad was serious, he would have stopped his total support of Khaled Mashal, the man directly responsible for daily terrorist actions against Israel. I would be happy to negotiate with Bashar Assad, but on the basis of a certain environment, where you stop your support of terror and of Hezbollah. Assad doesn't show any sign that he's ready to do this.
But you negotiated with [Yasser] Arafat when he was in Tunisia , and he was certainly a terrorist.
I think we learned something about negotiations of this kind from this experience. I don't expect my enemies to be wonderful guys. But I want them to come with clean hands when they come to negotiate. Bashar Assad doesn't come with clean hands. When he comes with clean hands, I will talk to him.
The media certainly didn't always assume he was a terrorist. Just one year ago, we addressed coverage of the first anniversary of Arafat's death. Weekend coverage of the second anniversary was lower-key.
AFP found plenty of Lebanese Islamic schools where “resistance” is major part of the curriculum--as early as kindergarten level:
Kindergarten teacher Zeinab Asfur stands in front of her class in the Shiite-dominated southern suburbs of Beirut. "Who are your heroes?" she asks. "The men of the resistance!" the children shout back in unison.
As early as four years old, pupils across the suburbs are taught about the "heroic resistance" of the militant group Hezbollah in Israel’s summer war which completely devastated large parts of the area.
It was undeniably legitimate for Philippe Karsenty to question an event that had such a great media impact throughout the world and to criticize Charles Enderlin’s “under fire” commentary of the images broadcast by France 2 on September 30, 2000. By adopting as his own the theory that Mohamed Al Dura’s death in his father’s arms was staged for propaganda purposes, without keeping any professional distance, nor critically considering his own sources, Karsenty failed to meet the requirement of reliability expected from a professional in the field of information.
By claiming four years after the fact that he held proof of the accusations he had made, while none of it was new, most of it was unreliable, and all of it derived from the same isolated source, to which no official Israeli authority had ever granted the slightest consideration, and by claiming, based on all this, that there had been a “fraud,” a “masquerade,” a “hoax,” the defendant abandoned the most elementary sense of caution.
Correspondent Scott Wilson of the Washington Post botched this background info tying in the Beit Hanoun disaster to June’s Gaza beach disaster:
The inquiry will be led by Maj. Gen. Meir Kalifi, deputy chief of ground forces, who headed the June investigation into an explosion on a Gaza beach that killed six members of the Ghaliyah family. He concluded that Israel was not responsible for the blast, although a Human Rights Watch investigator said the explosion most likely came from a fired artillery shell.
Wilson's only partly correct. The HRW investigator, Mark Garlasco, was unable to disprove the IDF’s findings.
A Jerusalem Post editor who served for 15 years in an IDF artillery unit comments on yesterday’s disaster in Beit Hanoun:
After serving in IDF Artillery, I can only say that this is every gunner's nightmare scenario: killing innocent men, women and children....
In response to Kassam rocket attacks on southern Israel following the IDF withdrawal from the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanun on Monday, gunners were ordered to "fire at the source" - the spots from which the rockets were launched.
And they did, firing a dozen or so shells. That, however, is a recipe for disaster so long as Palestinian gunmen launch home-made rockets at Israel from within residential areas, without really knowing where they will land, and what casualties or damage they will cause....
There's a key difference between the Hamas and Hizbullah fighters and Israel's. They intentionally fire rockets at civilian targets, hoping for maximum casualties and damage.
We don't. The artillery troops who fired shells at Beit Hanun yesterday weren't hoping to hit civilians. They were targeting terrorists firing rockets.
This editorial in The Guardian takes a diametrically opposite view:
But Israel's actions, as in Lebanon this summer, have ignored the obligation to act in proportion to the threat, to avoid civilian casualties, and comply with international humanitarian law, which includes the personal responsibility of commanders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Here’s an interesting point to ponder about free speech and controversial cartoons. According to AP, not one Iranian newspaper has published any of the winning entries from the Holocaust cartoon competition:
"The exhibition had no remarkable impact on public opinion," said Gohar Dashti, a professor at the Soureh Art University in Tehran. "It was neither a concern of students nor of the media."
Why is the BBC putting words in the mouths of Palestinians? Could it be that Alan Johnston couldn’t find anyone to express the usual lines about the way “Israel grossly over-reacts” to rocket attacks? We have to wonder which horse’s mouth this snippet came from:
And all Palestinians would argue that Israel grossly over-reacts to the missile attacks from Gaza.
The crudely made rockets often cause panic and minor injury, but they very rarely kill.
How hard should it be to find one Palestinian accusing Israel of over-reacting?
The Syrians are rattling their sabers but this AP headline was just a little too innocuous:
Syria hints at resistance vs. Israel
Hints at resistance? In Syrian parlance, “resistance” means hosting terror groups, assassinating Lebanese leaders, smuggling weapons to Hezbollah, and supporting Iraqi insurgents--which Bashar Assad's regime already does. Here's a more accurate headline on All Headline News: