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Media Backspin
« July 2007 | Main | September 2007 »

Thursday, August 30 2007

August 30 Links

Negotiation Alone Won't Fix the Mideast
An Australian wonk explains why negotiations with rogue Mideast leaders would really undermine peace prospects.

Gaza’s Farce: Electricity and Missiles
Arab journalist slams Hamas' model of governing.

A Report Hezbollah Doesn't Want You to See

Here's the full Human Rights Watch report Hezbollah doesn't want you to see. It touched such a nerve that Hezbollah managed to get HRW's press conference called off.

Don't expect Israel to suppress HRW activiites on Sept. 6, when the NGO releases its report on IDF activities. But Hezbollah doth protest too much.

"I Hold Islamic Jihad Responsible"

Islamic_jihad_logoWe're not the only ones upset with the way Palestinian rocket squads cynically endanger children. After three kids were killed in an airstrike on a launch site, a relative told the Washington Post:

A member of the Abu Ghazallah family who witnessed the airstrike said a rocket launcher was near the area where the children were playing. The relative, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal, said the launcher belonged to Islamic Jihad, an armed movement responsible for much of the rocket fire into Israel.

"I hold the Islamic Jihad responsible for the killing of these children," the relative said.

UPDATE Aug. 30: The IDF arrested a 15-year-old boy with explosives who sought to kill soldiers in a suicide bombing.


Wednesday, August 29 2007

Child's Play, Again

Three Palestinian kids killed by IDF shelling of a Qassam rocket launcher. YNet News quoted an Israeli official saying:

"The terror organizations are making cynical use of children, they are sending them to areas where the launchers are located, they are sending them to collect weapons and are consciously endangering them in places where there are IDF targets."

The girl and two boys, ages 10-12, were members of the same family. Just a few days ago, two Palestinian kids apparently retrieving launchers for a rocket squad were also killed.

You'd think the rocket squads would be man enough to retrieve the launchers themselves.

Related reading: Hamas Presses Kids for Combat Duty

Sky & BBC Analyst: Celebrating Nuclear Genocide

A London editor and frequent guest on Sky and BBC would publicly celebrate an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel. See HonestReporting-UK's latest communique: Sky & BBC Analyst: Celebrating Nuclear Genocide.

Where's the Outrage?

TemplemountTo our surprise, the BBC picked up on the Islamic Waqf's illegal Temple Mount digging.

Not so long ago, Israeli excavations at the adjacent Mughrabi Gate suffered such massive press coverage and misinformation the Antiquities Authority installed web cams.

UPDATE Aug. 29: Reuters took note:


A labourer stands near an excavator on the plaza near the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City August 29, 2007. Israeli archaeologists said on Wednesday they fear priceless relics could be damaged by a mechanical digger being used by Muslim caretakers to carve out a utility trench at one of Jerusalem's holiest shrines. The work is being carried out on the plaza revered by Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and by Jews as the Temple Mount. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (JERUSALEM)

Great Expectations

View a great example of why we don't expect any better from the Arab media. Abd Al-Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi told ANB Lebanese TV:

If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square and dance with delight.

The Jerusalem Post got pathetic reactions from both Sky News and BBC News 24, where Bari Atwan is a regular commentator.

Related reading: Al Jazeera Editor Speaks Out


Tuesday, August 28 2007

That Uneasy Feeling

CnnCal Perry of CNN shares his thoughts on interviewing Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal:

Sitting in a room with the top Hamas leader -- a man Israel would prefer dead -- is not an easy feeling, knowing that at any second a missile could shatter the building, killing everyone inside, myself included.

Knowing the respect Hamas has for journalism in general and Alan Johnston in particular, we can understand why Perry would politely express a worry about Israel hitting a safehouse in Damascus. We can only wonder if he really meant it.

Press Freedom: Hamas Tightens the Screws

As if being a journalist in Gaza was bad enough, AFP reports another turn of the screw on free reporting:

Hamas said on Monday it planned to enforce a 12-year-old Palestinian press law designed to silence dissident journalists, amid a crackdown that has raised fierce protests from the local media. . . .

The 1995 law, which was brought in under the late Yasser Arafat but never enforced, bans the publication of information likely to "endanger national unity, incite crimes or hatred, division and religious dissent."

It also prohibits publication of "secret information" about the police, security forces, their weapons, movements and training camps.

Those convicted risk six months in prison and the three-month suspension of the offending publication or media organisation. . . .

The Hamas statement also said the committee had the right to conduct raids against media outfits and bureaux and "to summon their members over issues relating to their work."

This will have a very chilling effect. For better or worse, the MSM relies heavily on Palestinian stringers in Gaza, whose lives and families will be at risk.

Related reading: Hamas Gunmen Become Media Watchdogs

A Shot At God's Warriors

Dan Abrams fires a shot across Christiane Amanpour's bow, slamming her recent report on God's Warriors. Click below to see his sharp criticism. Must see.


UPDATE: Newsbusters has a transcript of Abrams.


Monday, August 27 2007

CNN's "God's Warriors": Hard on Jews, Soft on Islam

Christiane Amanpour's six-hour documentary special creates controversy. View for yourself the bias, inaccuracies and false moral equivalence demonstrated by CNN's Chief International Correspondent and read Maurice Ostroff's thorough critique of the series at HonestReporting's latest communique: CNN's "God's Warriors": Hard on Jews, Soft on Islam

August 27 Links

Iran's Guard Builds a Fiscal Empire
Holdings worth an estimated $12 billion fund the Revolutionary Guards' dirty deeds. Arafat's spinning in his grave at the cronyism and oversight (lack thereof).

Challenging the UN's Darker Side
Islamic states are already hijacking the UN's so-called Durban II conference.

Disappearing Bylines

CensorshipPalestinian reporters protested intimidation by both Hamas and Fatah. Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post writes:

Another member of the press from Jenin said he had been receiving death threats on an almost daily basis in recent months. "One day it's from Fatah, and another day the threats come from Hamas," he told The Jerusalem Post. "For the past month, I haven't been able to write anything under my name out of fear for my life."

We chalked up one example of that yesterday.

Dynamic Duo Spotlights Hizb Ut-Tahrir

The Daily Telegraph's Carolynne Wheeler picked up on Palestinian support for Hizb Ut-Tahrir. A few days ago, hubby Mark MacKinnon filed a similar report in Toronto's Globe & Mail.

Would Israeli Response Fuel W&M Sales?

Flags2Does responding to Walt and Mearsheimer play into their hands and only fuel sales? According to the Jerusalem Post, that's how Israel and AIPAC are explaining their decision to keep mum on the soon-to-be-released book:

"Firing back would just promote the book," Ayalon said. "What needs to be done is to make sure there are other books, and to ensure that what students studying on campus is objective."

Perhaps that's a reasonable, polite response, given that Israel and AIPAC are the focus of the W&M's book.

But does this logic also apply to the blogosphere?

YouTube Complicit In Inciting Anti-Semitism?

German Jews are considering filing a criminal complaint against YouTube. Haaretz writes:

Such action makes the video-sharing website liable to charges of incitement to racial hatred, the council's vice president, Salomon Korn, told the German television program Report Mainz….

Program researchers said it was possible to watch videos on YouTube of an anti-Semitic film released by the Nazis during World War II called Jud Suess.

Outlawed videos of the neo-Nazi groups Kommando Freisler and Landser were also available on the Web site, the television programme broadcast by Germany's ARD network said.


Sunday, August 26 2007

August 26 Links

Requiem for a Jewish Settler
Too bad Christiane Amanpour never met "Dubak."

Hamas honeymoon ends with torture
"Now though, human rights groups and ordinary Gazans say Hamas is committing exactly the same crimes as its Fatah predecessors, whose corruption and brutality were one of the main reasons why support for Hamas grew."

Misinterpreting the Mideast
Moshe Yaalon's unsolicited advice for peace envoys.

Inverting Truth

What does inversion of truth have to do with MSM coverage of Israel?

Too much.

The Art of the Deal

Slier_2Journalist Paula Slier (pictured) and others in South Africa question how proper it is for Jewish groups to cut deals with media services for fair coverage.

Slier was responding to a deal between the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

It's Almost Supernatural summed up her points:

• ‘Objective, fair, precise, accurate journalism is not something to be bargained for.’

• ‘This issue was never just about me or the other journalists who were blacklisted; it was about the very real threat to our country’s democracy and our rights to freedom of speech which are being marred by a national broadcaster that has become the mouthpiece of the government’.

• ‘The actions of the Board speak volumes about how they view the status of minorities in South Africa. Are we too frightened to speak out?’

Slier's coverage of Yasser Arafat led her to be blacklisted by SABC director Dr. Snuki Zikalala, who wanted journalism more supportive of the PLO. The blacklist earned Dr. Zikalala HonestReporting's Worst News Executive Award.

Does Not Compute

ReutersAP notes a fascinating incident from an anti-Hamas protest:

When several Hamas security men roughed up a Reuters TV cameraman and tried to confiscate his camera, protesters surrounded the Hamas men, beat them to the ground and prevented the journalist's arrest.

Try plugging that into the world view of Reuters executive Stephen Jukes.

Hamas Gunmen Become Media Watchdogs

Hamas gunment trying to arrest an AFP reporter were foiled when a group of journalists formed a human chain around his home. Officials from Ismail Haniyeh's office arrived to end the standoff, calling it a "misunderstanding."

The gunmen were looking for Sakher Abu El Oun, who presumably wrote this article about journalists protesting against Hamas. I haven't found a version of the article online with any byline, but El Oun did attach his name to a similar article on August 13.


Saturday, August 25 2007

The Lyin' King

The Memri blog flags the latest cartoon for kids from Hamas TV. After portraying Jews as scum, it's no big stretch for them to portray Fatah as murderous rats.



Friday, August 24 2007

The Beeb's Web of Hate

This in from Totally Jewish:

The Jewish community and the BBC may be heading for a legal showdown over anti-semitic comments posted on the corporation’s online messageboards.

The Board of Deputies this week revealed that it plans to present Beeb bosses with a dossier detailing a number of offensive remarks that have been left on the Radio 5 Live site for months, despite a series of complaints about their insidious nature.

Why is taxpayer money supporting anti-semitic comments like Message 62?


Thursday, August 23 2007

What If The World Is Wrong About Israel?

ProtestSouth Africa's chief rabbi, Warren Goldstein wonders: What if the conventional wisdom about Israel is wrong?

In today's world any attempt to explain the Arab-Israeli conflict in terms other than "Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land" and the "denial of Palestinian nationalist aspiration" is often regarded like a declaration that the earth is flat and the center of the universe. But what if this view is wrong? What if, in terms of understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict, we are living in pre-Copernican times? What if the Jewish State that is considered to be the root of all evil in the Middle East were instead the victim?

SOUTH AFRICA'S apartheid history is often invoked against Israel both internationally - by former president Jimmy Carter among many others - and in South Africa by trade union leaders and politicians. But what if the real apartheid of the Middle East is the one directed against the Jews? And what if Israel is more akin to the African National Congress (ANC) - the famous South African liberation organization led by Nelson Mandela and now the governing party?

In South Africa the conflict was caused by a white racist apartheid regime. The ANC was always ready to talk peace, but the regime refused to talk and so the conflict could not be resolved, and the ANC was forced into an armed struggle. Like the ANC, the Israeli government has always been ready to talk peace but has been forced since the birth of the Jewish State into an armed defensive struggle because the anti-Semitic Arab world has not been prepared to talk peace.

The ANC had to wage an armed struggle for many years until finally white South Africans were ready to talk, and then the long-standing conflict was resolved relatively quickly. Unlike the ANC, Israel has not found genuine negotiating partners. And so its struggle continues, and peace remains a distant dream.

WHAT IF Zionism is not colonialism but rather an ancient people's deep connection to their native, historical and covenantal land? What if the real colonialism is Arab expansionism, which contests a Jewish state on even 1/520th of the area of Arab lands?

Read the whole article.

The Independent's Foul Play

Criticism of a UK Foreign Office decision turns into an excuse for hateful Israel bashing. See HonestReporting's latest communique: The Independent's Foul Play.

August 23 Links

An Israeli Response to Walt-Mearsheimer

North of the Litani
Noah Pollak offers Martin Peretz a few reasons why Hezbollah’s entrenching north of the Litani River. (Hat tip: Soccer Dad)

Palestinians will “never stop the intifada”
In an interview with McClatchy News, Khaled Mashaal digs in his heels.

Egypt: Are Islamists Heading to Power?
The Muslim Brotherhood’s gaining respectability at a delicate time as Hosni Mubarak hands power over to his son, Gamal.

Hardly Suppressed

Walt and Mearsheimer suppressed? Hardly.

"The Steady Drip Drip Drip of Atrocities"

Commenting on the Yezidi bloodbath, Michael Totten says the MSM largely denied the terrorists the publicity they sought. What does this mean for coverage of the Palestinian terror?

American commander General David Petraeus recently warned that terrorists and insurgents may use the media as a weapon and stage massive, headline-grabbing attacks as a way of showing the surge is a failure. If this massacre was indeed a part of that strategy, it has failed. Journalists aren’t playing along. They dutifully reported the attack and moved on, treating even this massive terror attack as just the latest in the steady drip, drip, drip of atrocities that erupt in Iraq as a matter of course.

Yet the terrorist attack that killed far fewer people at a tourist resort in Bali dominated headlines all over the world for weeks in October 2002. More recently, the bombings in London on July 7, 2005, which killed only one tenth as many, also created far more powerful shock waves. The world, it seems, is all but immune to al Qaeda’s shock and awe in Iraq.

Is the media learning something, or has the terror of global jihad inc. become too bloody for their own good?

Amanpour's Jewish Warriors

AmanpourAfter spending two hours on YouTube watching "Jewish Warriors," the first segment of Christiane Amanpour's documentary, God's Warriors, I'm wondering if a blog can even do justice to the flaws.

My eyes will continue glowing in the dark long after my overheated monitor cools down. So I totally relate when Immodest Proposals considers drunk-blogging, "Muslim Warriors," the next segment:

So that I'll still be alive by the end of this program, I'll limit myself to a sizeable gulp at each instance of moral equivalizing. Any other rules I should follow? Should I finish off whatever's left in the glass for each use of the phrase "religion of peace"?

A few points that struck me:

• There were no comments from any mainstream Israeli rabbis to lend a sense of perspective to the religious views of the settlers Amanpour talked to. Will mainstream Muslim and Christian clergy balance out the views of their fringe elements in the next segments?

• Blaming settlements for Palestinian rage is lunacy. Arab terror predated the 1967 war and the settlements that developed only afterwards.

• Issues of the American-Jewish lobby's clout and its alleged "suppression of free speech" have nothing to do with Amanpour's story, which is ostensibly about the spiritual values of fringe groups within the mainstream settler movement.

• The tug of war over Jerusalem was underway before Israel bulldozed the Mughrabi Quarter by the Western Wall. In violation of the 1949 armistice agreement, Jordan refused to give Jews access to holy sites in eastern Jerusalem.

Pardon me while my eyes go into screen saver mode.


Wednesday, August 22 2007

August 22 Links

Another Battle in Gaza
Khaled Abu Toameh slams Hamas, Fatah and the MSM for their respective handling of the Gaza electrical crisis.

Britain remains a major source of publishing and distribution of Hamas incitement
Why the UK? It's hardly a coincidence.

Growing Muslim movement offers alternative to Hamas
Hamas and Al-Qaida aren't radical enough for Hizb ut-Tahrir, but it's making inroads in the Palestinian areas.

Gaza's public workers paid to stay home
Work doesn't get any cushier than this. What do PA donors make of it?

Yet Another UN Bash-Israel Fest

Want to warm up for the so-called Durban 2 conference? Be in Brussels at the end of August for a UN-sponsored bash-Israel affair. The Jerusalem Post explains:

The two-day conference is being organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and is entitled 'The UN International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

Poland has already announced that it will boycott the event, and there has been a barrage of protests and accusations that the conference will have a clear anti-Israel agenda.

Color War Used to Be Simpler

CampReuters describes a Hamas summer camp:

Frolicking in a playground at the Hamas camp, children burst into song.

"A Hamas man does not fear death, a Hamas man acts for the sake of religion," they sang.

Fatah ain't so innocent either:

At the nearby Fatah camp, children sing songs praising Fatah fighters killed in combat with Hamas two months ago:

"Fatah men are lions who boldly face the hurricane. They are like fire that burns for freedom."

Related reading: Child's Play.


Tuesday, August 21 2007

Child's Play

Two Palestinian children were killed in an Israeli air strike on a rocket launcher near Beit Hanoun. AP writes:

An army statement said Palestinian rocket teams have been known to send young children to retrieve rocket launchers after firing.

"In light of the reports, it seems likely that this was the case here," the army said.

Related reading: Hamas Presses Kids for Combat Duty

BBC Returns to Gaza

Judging from what we're seeing online, reaction to BBC's Return to Gaza is pretty divergent. See the 40 minute documentary on YouTube and judge for yourself.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Panorama in Gaza: The BBC Gets It Right?

Has the BBC managed to produce a balanced and honest documentary? Find out in HonestReporting UK's latest communique - Panorama in Gaza: The BBC Gets It Right?

Collective Punishment

GazaReuters notes the EU’s motive for suspending electrical payments, leaving large sections of Gaza without electricity:

EU officials said the bloc suspended the payments after it received information that Hamas was planning to introduce taxes on electricity bills.

It’s only called collective punishment when Israel withholds the goods.

UN Bash-Israel Fest In Works

Peleg Reshef recalls the 2001 Durban conference as watchdog groups brace for the 2009 UN World Conference against Racism.

Related reading: Anne Bayefsky's Terrorism and Racism: The Aftermath of Durban

UPDATE August 24: YNet News notes that the committee preparing the conference is led by Libya. Iran is also on the committee.

Cartoon of the Day

This cartoon of the day, "Justice in Gaza," actually comes from the Palestinian daily, Al-Ayam.


(Hat tip: Memri blog)


Monday, August 20 2007

Start 'Em Young

Must read: The Christian Science Monitor’s Dan Murphy describes Hamas efforts to brainwash kids, from the show “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” to summer camps featuring paramilitary exercises.

Dear Jonathan Cook,

Thank you for the free publicity and all the traffic to HonestReporting’s website we hope to get from today’s column in The Guardian. It’s quite flattering that we got your attention and that you think we have the power to silence everybody. Given the Israel bashing we’re accustomed to seeing in Comment is Free, we’re not doing a very good job.

All the best,

Pesach Benson
Editor, MediaBackspin

Moqtada Sadr Confirms Hezbollah Training

Moqtada_sadrIn an interview with The Independent Moqtada Sadr and the insurgents of his Mehdi Army received training in Lebanon from Hezbollah:

"We have formal links with Hizbollah, we do exchange ideas and discuss the situation facing Shiites in both countries," he said. "It is natural that we would want to improve ourselves by learning from each other. We copy Hizbollah in the way they fight and their tactics, we teach each other and we are getting better through this."

Mr Sadr said members of the Mehdi Army had travelled to Lebanon, and would continue to do so. "We go and discuss what Israel's future plans are in the Middle East because we are part of whatever will happen," he said.

Related reading:
Hezbollah: Franchising Global Jihad
Franchising Global Jihad

Message Mania

The people who moderate comments on BBC web sites are at it again. The Daily Mail explains the latest controversy at BBC Radio 5:

The BBC has been forced to remove statements from its website referring to Jesus as a 'bastard'. . . .

The remarks have been allowed to remain for weeks, despite complaints from religious groups.

The Useful Idiot did a screen capture before the comment was taken down:


The Daily Mail further explains:

The comments were allowed to remain for a week despite complaints. But after The Mail on Sunday contacted senior BBC officials, they were deleted.

Colonelartist is a regular contributor to the BBC site.

He has also written: "The jews in much remembered concentration camps had even better qualitity of freedom that these palestinians have...' . . . .

One website user wanted to see if BBC editors were allowing these offensive remarks to remain while blocking others. He wrote: "No one can surpass the Muslims for denial of their role in Terrorism and Suicide bombing." The remarks were almost immediately deleted.

If a comment says anything offensive about Judaism and now Christianity, BBC moderators couldn't possibly care less. Why is the Beeb only worried about Islamic sensibiliites?

Related reading: Your License Fee At Work

UPDATE: Aug. 20: And here's another example of BBC pandering to Islam.

Lights Out in Gaza, Part 2

Today's Jerusalem Post sheds more light on Gaza's lack of electricity:

According to Dor Alon Energy, the fuel is ordered by the PA in Ramallah and is paid for by the EU. In a statement to the media, it said it stopped a planned shipment on Sunday after notification from the EU that it would not foot the bill at this time.

Meanwhile, Hamas and Fatah are using the power outage for their own power games.

Related reading: Lights Out in Gaza (part 1)


Sunday, August 19 2007

Lights Out in Gaza

Lights_out_4YNet News reports that Israel allowed fuel into Gaza in order to restore electricity. So why no juice?

Military officials however confirmed to Ynet that fuel tanks designated for the power station were allowed into the Gaza Strip on Sunday. The officials hinted that the station could still be shut because the fuel deliveries did not reach their destination.

So who hijacked the fuel, and who's going to blame Israel for the lights out?

August 19 Links

The cyberwar against the US
A confluence of jihadis, cyber criminals and software “bot” assaults could threaten American security. And why did NATO suddenly rush a cyber-warfare team to Estonia in May?

Iran builds a presence in Lebanon
With the Lebanese government in political deadlock, Iran is putting its imprimatur on rebuilding efforts.

BBC 'propaganda' axed
"It's no secret that the BBC was established as a broadcaster of foreign propaganda," said a Moscow official explaining why BBC World Service was yanked from Russian radio.

Ahmadinejad Rejects Oliver Stone Film Offer
Says Stone "is still part of the evil American machine."

'If I were a terrorist, I would . . .'
But the NY Post thinks Steven Levitt went too far.

What's Siegman Smoking?

BlahWith a commentary weighing in at a hefty word count of 3,019 (that's 75 column inches), we have to wonder what Henry Siegman and the powers-that-be at the London Review of Books were smoking. This meandering missive blames Israel for everything but the weather.

Related reading: Henry Siegman’s conflict of interest

BBC Bias Is Our Fault

So suggests Daniel Finkelstein.


Thursday, August 16 2007

August 16 Links

Hezbollah brings Israel war to computer screen
Hezbollah created a video game to commemorate last year's war. You can imagine how to score points.

How I escaped Islamism
Leaving Hizb ut-Tahrir isn't simple.

Hamas: The goal of resistance is wipe Israel off the face of the earth

Beirut, One Year Later
Israeli journalist Lisa Goldman's in-depth description of her visit to Lebanon.

Fatah legislator indicted of sending bomber

Prodi's "Evolution"
Emanuele Ottolenghi wonders about European calls for dialogue with Hamas.

Reign of Error
A study finds that only two percent of the mistakes in daily papers actually get corrected.

The speech police at Maryland
Free speech organization gives U. of Maryland its lowest rating after a student wearing a shirt saying "I stand with Israel" was denied service in the campus co-op.

Stories You May Have Missed

A survey of recent items on Backspin, the HonestReporting blog. See HonestReporting's latest communique:
Stories You May Have Missed .

Soapbox for Terror--Again

The Guardian gave Hamas honcho Mousa Abu Marzook op-ed ink to decry the international isolation of his organization.

He succeeded injecting himself into the debate between MP Michael Gapes and Israeli ambassador Zvi Heifetz in the paper's pages.


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