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Media Backspin
« September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »

Wednesday, October 31 2007

October 31 Links

Making the News in America: Dumbledore or Human Rights?

UK Peace Activists Caught Destroying Crops
(Hat tip: Solomonia)

Rules of the Game – Palestinian Style

Spinning the Head Count

StatsThe Christian Science Monitor notes that the Palestinian census efforts underway could ultimately impact support for the one-state solution:

But many believe that in the absence of a peace treaty in the short term, the shifting demographic balance, coupled with a new uprising and a Palestinian political gridlock, could also render the two-state solution impossible. If the results of the census show a rapidly expanding Palestinian population, Palestinians may rally behind a shared, binational state in which they would have the majority.

Beware sexed up Palestinian demographic projections.

Look Who Joined The Cabal

Does this Daily Telegraph review of The Israel Lobby suggest that some new players have joined the conspiracy?

Its authors have been described as anti-Semitic by, among others, The Washington Post, The New York Sun, The New Republic and The Wall Street Journal. . .

Indeed, the fact that their book has encountered such outrageous abuse surely vindicates one of their central arguments: that pro-Israel lobby groups are so one-eyed that they toss accusations of anti-Semitism around like balloons at a birthday party."

When it comes to stifling debate, we're still regarded as lightweights. Why no mention of HonestReporting?

Bad News From Britain

BritanniaInspired by Bad News From the Netherlands, a new blog called Bad News From Britain is up.

If you're unfamiliar with the concept, Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, who spearheaded the Netherlands site, explained the raison d'etre to HonestReporting:

I think that as the number of negative items on our website will grow, their cumulative effect will become very powerful. We should however never forget our ultimate goal: to force Dutch society to begin a debate on how many of its leading Dutch media distorts reporting on Israel.

UPDATE Oct. 30: Daled Amos picked up on this post and brings to our attention Bad News From Finland.

Question Of the Day

"Launching a huge venturing without adequate preparation or proper appreciation of the risks of failure" is an argument against:

A) The Iraq war.

B) The Annapolis summit.

C) All of the above.

See if your answer matches with David Frum.

(Hat tip: Daled Amos)

Time Flies

CbcnewsWas Alan Johnston kidnapped for 114 months or days?

(Hat tip: HonestReporting Canada)

Jerusalem's Comeback

Worth reading: LA Times reporter Ken Ellingwood lowers his guard.


Tuesday, October 30 2007

"Collective Punishment" Continues

It's only "collective punishment" when it happens to Palestinians. Case in point this evening.

Where's the outrage?

Touting Tutu

While visiting the US, Archbishop Desmond Tutu got op-ed space in the Boston Globe to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How reasonable is his logic on comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa?

Some people are enraged by comparisons between the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and what happened in South Africa. There are differences between the two situations, but a comparison need not be exact in every feature to yield clarity about what is going on. Moreover, for those of us who lived through the dehumanizing horrors of the apartheid era, the comparison seems not only apt, it is also necessary. It is necessary if we are to persevere in our hope that things can change.

The comparisons aren't close enough.


Monday, October 29 2007

CBC Whitewashes Palestinian Prisoners

A report on Palestinian prisoners ignores their terror resumes and rap sheets, presenting them as "fighters against the occupation." See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: CBC Whitewashes Palestinian Prisoners

A World Without--Pakistan?

World_without_zionismThink Israel has no right to exist? In a compelling commentary, Michael Medved takes all the arguments against Israel's right to exist and finds that them more applicable to Pakistan.

This Islamist intransigence raises the obvious question: on what basis does Pakistan constitute an “authentic,” “well-established,” “respect-worthy” nation, but Israel does not?

On every conceivable basis—history, international recognition, authorization by world bodies (The League of Nations supported a Jewish homeland on the site of Israel in 1923, a decade before anyone even proposed the idea of Pakistan), stability, functioning economy, democratic institutions, rule of law, enforceable borders, successful self-defense on multiple occasions, desire of peace with neighbors, support by a majority of its own citizens, respect for religious and ethnic pluralism --- Israel contrasts favorably with “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

Read the whole thing.

(Hat tip: Elder of Ziyon)

Proud Member of the Sinister Israel Lobby

ProtocolsConcordia University's student paper, The Link and Tariq Ali label HonestReporting as a member of the sinister Israel lobby. Here's the snippet from the Q+A:

Neil MacDonald was heavily criticized when he was CBC's chief Middle East correspondent. One group awarded him the “Israel conspiracy award.” And he was reporting—

He was reporting the truth. He was reporting the truth, but you're not allowed to report the truth about Israel in North America. Because the power of the Israeli lobby in the United States is phenomenal. Jewish professors who are hostile to what the Israeli army is doing are hounded out of universities. It's shocking.

We gave MacDonald this award in 2004 -- for a report falsely implicating Israel in the Abu Ghraib scandal.

MSM's Power Struggle

Electricity_2How much power did Israel withhold from Gaza yesterday? Depends on who you read:


Palestinians said Israel cut fuel supplies by 30 percent on Sunday, though defense officials said the cut was only about 11 percent.

Toronto Star/AP (The Star's second paragraph is for metric readers):

Ali said daily fuel shipments on Sunday were more than 30 per cent below normal. He said Israel delivered 52,835 gallons of diesel fuel, compared to the typical 92,500 gallons on a normal day, and 23,775 gallons of gasoline, instead of the regular supply of 40,000 gallons.

Ali said daily fuel shipments on Sunday were more than 30 per cent below normal. He said Israel delivered 200,000 litres of diesel fuel, compared to 350,000 litres on a normal day, and 90,000 litres of gasoline, instead of the regular supply of 150,000 litres.

The Independent:

Conflicting Palestinian estimates of the size of the initial cuts ranged from 12 to 40 per cent.

NY Times:

Mr. Dror suggested that the electricity cuts would be symbolic. “We are talking about cutting 1 percent of the supply for 15 minutes at a time,” he said.

With Friends Like These . . .

Look who wants to help.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?


Sunday, October 28 2007

Dueling Headlines

Who to believe?


Israel reduces fuel supplies to Gaza -Palestinians


Israel delays cutting Gaza fuel supplies
How to Be a Hostage

As more and more Mideast reporters work under the threat of being kidnapped, the Toronto Star introduces a Jerusalem psychologist giving seminars to journalists on how to deal with hostage situations. My favorite practical advice:

Do your best, surreptitiously, if possible, to disconnect the wires from any explosive device placed near or on you; don't worry about which wires to pull out, because it is only in the movies that bombs are designed to detonate if the hero cuts the wrong strand (real bombs don't work that way).
Wanted: Counter-Intuitive Reactions

The Chicago Tribune's Joel Greenberg examines the sticky issue of dividing Jerusalem complete with the usual predictable viewpoints.

How about some counter-intuitive viewpoints representing -- surprise -- a significant number of Palestinians?

Gaza Christians: Persona Non-Grata

SymbolsThe Guardian reports that Gaza's 3,000 Christians are living in fear:

"Everything has changed. In the times of my father and grandfather, there was no difference between Muslims and Christians," said Ibrahim Ayad, another brother of the victim. "The Islamic revival has also brought intolerance in its wake." . He said he would leave Gaza as soon as he had identified his brother's killers and got retribution.

He estimated that 70% of the Christian community would leave when they had the opportunity, possibly at Christmas, when Israel usually allows Christians some movement out of Gaza.

He said many Muslims perceived Christians as "kaffirs", or unbelievers, which meant they were not subject to the same laws as Muslims.

Related reading: Hamastan Fallout


Thursday, October 25 2007

Mideast Conflict: Not Northern Ireland

David Trimble argues that Hamas and the IRA are not the same. Read more at HonestReporting UK's latest communique: Mideast Conflict: Not Northern Ireland

October 25 Links

Recycling in Israel, Not Just Trash, but the Whole Dump
Country's largest dump to become theme park on recycling with an unexpected name.

Alan Johnston: My Kidnap Ordeal
Airs tonight.

"Western Wall Was Never Part of Temple"
Former mufti of Jerusalem stokes fires of historical revisionism.

U.N. Report Suggests Syrian Role in Arming of Hezbollah, Other Groups

The Lessons of the Irish, Part 2

Lord_trimbleFollowing up on yesterday's post about Lord David Trimble (pictured), see his commentary in today's edition of The Guardian:

But agreement will mean an accommodation, not a victory of one side over another. Still less will it mean the annihilation of the "other". Where does Hamas stand on these matters? Will it accept a two-state solution? Will it end violence? These are reasonable questions to ask. Hamas's failure to satisfactorily reply shows that it would be wrong to try to include it. The preconditions for engagement were clear for the IRA in the early 1990s, and they are clear for Hamas today - renounce violence, recognise Israel, and accept previous peace agreements.
Rocket Squads Use Google Earth to Target Israel

In an exclusive video, The Guardian films a Qassam rocket launch and learns that the rocket squads use Google Earth to target Israel.


Related reading: Israel's Top Secret Sites on Google Earth. See also Google to Blur Key India Sites.


Wednesday, October 24 2007

Syria's Useful Idiots

You'll be surprised when you see who Michael Totten identifies as Syria's "useful idiots."

Hell Freezes Over

You know the world's upside down when The Independent's coverage of an Amnesty International report leads off with this headline:

Hamas and Fatah both accused of torturing their opponents
The Lessons of the Irish

Irish_peaceUTV reports that Lord David Trimble, no stranger to the Irish peace process, debunked the idea of including Hamas in Mideast talks. Melanie Phillips comments:

Much more important, however, is that that far from the Brits suddenly reaching out to the IRA, it was the IRA that suddenly told the British government ‘the war is over’ and asked to be brought into the political process. And that was because, as Trimble says, it had been beaten into a permanent stalemate. That is entirely different from talking to Hamas which is still attacking Israel through rocket attacks and suicide bomb attempts. In fact, as Trimble says, the British government did talk to the IRA in 1972 when it was still very much at war. The result was disastrous and merely intensified the IRA’s belief that everything was up for grabs.

Related reading: The Sinn Fein Model

Crossing the Line

TimeDomestic Israeli and Palestinian angles that affect Annapolis are legitimate MSM angles. At what point do they cross a line and set up Israel (or the PA) as scapegoats?

The Financial Times, for example, doesn't cross that line, but Time magazine's Tim McGirk does:

If the Israelis can show that Abbas is a weakling, and the democratic impulse among Palestinians isn't as strong as their thirst for revenge, then Bush wouldn't blame them for refusing to go to the peace summit. It’s an easy out.
A One-State Solution: Advocating Israel's Destruction

Is this thinly veiled strategy for destroying the Jewish state resurfacing in the mainstream media? See HonestReporting's latest communique: A One-State Solution: Advocating Israel's Destruction

To Die in Jerusalem

HBO is due to air a film drawing moral equivalence between a suicide bomber and victim. The NY Times writes that To Die in Jerusalem was inspired by a Newsweek cover featuring Rachel Levy and Ayat al-Akhras.

Come to think of it, the film could've been inspired by the Gray Lady's own coverage of the March, 2002 attack.


Tuesday, October 23 2007

Five Arguments Against the One-State Solution

FlagSonja Karkar, president of Women for Palestine, pushes for a one-state solution. In the pages of The Age, she writes:

If Israel wants to be recognised as a democratic state, it must be inclusive of all its citizens; if it wants peace, it must allow the Palestinians under occupation the right to live in freedom and accept that the Palestinian refugees have an inalienable right to return home.

Here are five reasons why the one-state (a.k.a. bi-national) solution isn't and shouldn't be on the agenda for the upcoming Annapolis conference:

1. There's no shame in the concept of a Jewish state for the Jewish people.

2. The one-state solution negates Palestinian national aspirations just as it negates Jewish national aspirations.

3. Jews and Arabs don't share the language, history, religion, culture, or values required to make a bi-national effort work. Case in point: without an iron-fisted ruler, Yugoslavia disintegrated along ethnic lines and "Balkanization" became part of the world's lexicon.

4. Among themselves, the Arabs have no history of successful multi-ethnic states. Lebanon teeters on the brink of yet another civil war. Sunni-Shiite bloodbaths may lead to Iraq's partition. Fleeing the Mideast in droves are Christian Arabs.

5. The South African model doesn't apply. Among the many differences between the two regions, Benny Pogrund points out that South Africa's blacks and whites had a cohesive leadership who could sell power-sharing to their constituencies, as well as economic interdependence. This is not the case with Israelis and Palestinians.

Karkar was responding to Colin Rubinstein who was responding to Ghada Karmi.

Eye-Opener for Indonesian Journalists

Indonesian_journalists_2Eight senior journalists from Indonesia visited Israel. According to Calev Ben David, the reality they found didn't match their expectations:

The visit has been an eye-opening experience for some of the journalists. "Frankly, before coming here I thought of Israel as something of a police state," said Harymuti, "but you probably see more police and soldiers on the streets of Jakarta."
Israeli Cable To Drop CNN For Al-Jazeera

Strange as it sounds, Israel's largest cable TV provider plans to drop CNN for Al-Jazeera English TV for financial considerations. But it's not clear cut that Israeli viewers will tune in. The Jerusalem Post writes:

"It's incomprehensible," Liebes said. "Whatever functions CNN performed, none of them will be performed by Al-Jazeera. It's a whole different kind of person who will watch."

Monday, October 22 2007

October 22 Links

NATO to Battle Taliban on YouTube
Sensitive footage to be declassified for the PR front.

Criticism Gone Too Far

Israeli Surgeons Help Swaziland in Drive to Curb HIV
(Hat tip: Soccer Dad)

Two Cabinet Secretaries Start Blogs
That's right. Michael Chertoff and Mike Leavitt join the blogosphere. The State Dept. blog is also mentioned. Whoda thought?

"The Biggest Joke I Ever Heard"

Wolf_blitzerDiscussing the assassinations of anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon with Walid Jumblatt, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer gives credibility to a ridiculous canard against Israel. Here’s the transcript:

BLITZER: Hassan Nasrallah, who's the leader of the Hezbollah in Lebanon, he blames Israel for all of these problems. He says: "The hand that is killing is Israel's. Israel has a sure interest in the assassinations because it is the prime beneficiary of any internal strife in Lebanon."

JUMBLATT: That's the biggest joke that I have ever heard. It seems the Israelis are killing in Lebanon the anti-Syrian people or personalities, as if the Syrians are hiring the Israelis to kill us. It's really a joke.

I mean, we oppose Syrian domination. We oppose Syrian occupation. I don't see why the Israelis should kill us.

BLITZER: So you reject what Hassan Nasrallah is saying, that Israel is responsible for all of this?

JUMBLATT: Of course not.

(Hat tip: Newsbusters)


Sunday, October 21 2007

October 21 Links

What to Do About Pixels of Hate
Private efforts of a Boston man lead to some 40 jihadi web sites being shut down. But the Feds aren't smiling.

What We Can Learn From the Tutu Affair
Nobody sought to block Desmond Tutu from speaking at a Minnesota university. So how did Jews get accused of stifling debate?

NewspupTime To End the Charade
Toronto Sun columnist Salim Mansur thinks Annapolis is a waste of time.

Iran Launches TV Ratings War
Tehran's ruling mullahs bend rules for propaganda and ratings.

Sanctions Create Serious Cash Shortage in Gaza
Banks are running out of shekels. The options: bartering or creating new currency.

Quote of the Day


"We are very happy about their suffering."

Hamas' ever-sympathetic Dr. Mahmoud Zahar (pictured) on Gazans going cold turkey as cigarette supplies dwindle. Quoted by AP.

The same report quotes a Fatah official accusing Hamas of "monopolizing the cigarette trade in Gaza, including the smuggling, to raise badly needed cash."


Saturday, October 20 2007

Why Not Alaska?



Thursday, October 18 2007

Bad News From the Netherlands

A project sets out to prove that any country can be made to look like a pariah. See HonestReporting's latest communique: Bad News From the Netherlands

Skepticism Required

ErianLA Times journalists show why their job requires skepticism.

It all began when Essam El-Erian (pictured), a spokesman for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, said the organization, if elected, would recognize Israel . . . .

World Solidarity Day For Missing Israeli Soldiers

Mark October 30 on your calendars for the World Solidarity Day for the release of missing Israeli soldiers.

Click here or here for details.

Good News You Might Have Missed

Sky News has a nice photo essay about Kirwan, an 11-year-old Iraqi boy brought to Israel for urgent heart surgery.

For more background, see Israeli Doctors Perform Heart Surgery on Iraqi Children.


Hamas Issuing Media Credentials

Media_credentialsPalestinian journalists are crying foul over Hamas issuing media credentials. The Jerusalem Post writes:

Hamas's decision is seen by many Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip as an attempt to restrict their work and control news coverage from that area.

"Now Hamas will decide who can work as a journalist and who can't," one journalist told The Jerusalem Post. . . .

Toubasi added that Hamas had been summoning many of the Palestinian journalists for interviews about the nature of their work. He said that in some cases, journalists were instructed to refrain from using certain words and phrases in their writings, such as "Hamas militias" and the "ousted government" of [Hamas Prime Minister] Ismail Haniyeh.

It's worth noting that the PA shut down the Information Ministry in Gaza after Hamas took over the strip, leaving a vacuum for Hamas to fill. What should Palestinian journalists and foreign correspondents do?


Wednesday, October 17 2007

HR-Canada: Behind The Scenes

Private complaints secure various corrections in several Canadian media outlets. See HonestReporting-Canada's latest communique: HRC: Behind the Scenes

October 17 Links

NY Times Editorial Board Announces New Group Blog
It's called, simply, The Board. (Hat tip: Romenesko)

Let Lebanese, Not Palestinians, Rule Lebanon

NewspupLebanon's Government By Murder
Damascus puts a new twist on murder by numbers.

Uncertainty Fuels Jump in West Bank Gun Prices

Friendly Interrogations
A new LA Times reporter arrives in Israel.

New Mughrabi Bridge Plan Gets Initial OK

BBC's Website Oddities
With major cuts expected and the threat of a strike, the Beeb's under renewed scrutiny.

Former Hizbullah Sec-Gen: Fears Of Weapons Of The Resistance – Justified
Straight from the horse's mouth.

Too Many Tea Leaves

With Mideast politics, when you spend too much time trying to read tea leaves, there’s a danger you’ll inhale.

Case in point: The Christian Science Monitor’s Ilene Prusher.


Tuesday, October 16 2007

"There Would Be Another Intifada"

JlemGlobe & Mail reporter Mark MacKinnon walks the streets of eastern Jerusalem and finds Palestinians oppose the handover of their neighborhoods to the PA:

But the mayor of Ras Hamis, a Palestinian neighbourhood on the eastern fringe of this divided city, says that he can't think of a worse fate for him and his constituents than being handed over to the weak and ineffective Palestinian Authority right now.

"If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority," Mr. Gheit said, smoking a water pipe as he whiled away the afternoon watching Lebanese music videos. "We will not accept it. There would be another intifada [uprising] to defend ourselves from the PA."

(Hat tip: Daily Alert)

Hezbollah: New Meaning to Grass Roots Support

MarijuanaAs Lebanon deteriorates, profit-seeking farmers are growing more and more marijuana. The Christian Science Monitor finds that Hezbollah doesn’t object:

The northern part of the Bekaa Valley – where the bulk of the marijuana is grown – is dominated by Lebanon's militant Shiite Hizbullah party. Hizbullah officially disapproves of drug production, but it has chosen to turn a blind eye to the practice rather than risk a confrontation over the issue with its grass-roots supporters.

Indeed, Hizbullah in the past has co-opted cross-border drug smuggling networks between Lebanon and Israel, allowing narcotics to flow south into the Jewish state in exchange for intelligence gathered by Israeli drug dealers.

Here's how some Israelis fought back last year.

Non-Profit Journalism

See The Chronicle of Philanthropy to read about ProPublica not-for-profit news organization that would provide original, investigative reporting for free to other news outlets:

“The number and variety of publishing platforms are exploding in the Internet age,” Mr. Steiger said in a statement. “But very few of these new entities are engaged in original, in-depth reporting. In short, sources of opinion are proliferating, but sources on facts on which those opinions are based are shrinking.”

Monday, October 15 2007

On A Lighter Note

Somebody had to spoof the BBC and post it on YouTube.

'The Israel Lobby' is Coming to Town

Walt & Mearsheimer to promote their controversial book in the UK. Read more at HonestReporting UK's latest communique: 'The Israel Lobby' is Coming to Town

Jihad Online: Made in the USA

Cyber_propagandaMust read: The NY Times takes a look at jihad media produced in the USA:

Unlike Mr. bin Laden, the blogger was not operating from a remote location. It turns out he is a 21-year-old American named Samir Khan who produces his blog from his parents’ home in North Carolina, where he serves as a kind of Western relay station for the multimedia productions of violent Islamic groups.

In recent days, he has featured “glad tidings” from a North African militant leader whose group killed 31 Algerian troops. He posted a scholarly treatise arguing for violent jihad, translated into English. He listed hundreds of links to secret sites from which his readers could obtain the latest blood-drenched insurgent videos from Iraq. . . .

In a recent essay, he argued that jihad was mandatory for all Muslims, and he cited three ways to fulfill this obligation: join fighters in Iraq, Afghanistan or Algeria; send them money; or promote militant videos as part of the jihad media.

For now, he said, he is fulfilling his obligations by helping other Muslims understand their religion. Recently he posted a video of a news report from Somalia showing a grenade-wielding American who had joined the Islamists.

It's so much easier, and safer for Khan to blog for jihad within the very comfort of the society he wants to undermine.

Read the whole article.


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