Backspin FrontPage
Backspin FrontPage
Media Backspin
About Media Backspin Contact Media Backspin Media Backspin
  Media Backspin
Backspin FrontPage
Media Backspin RSS Feed   [ About RSS ]
Subscribe with Bloglines
Add to My AOL
Subscribe in Bloglines
Subscribe to MyMSN
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Google Reader or Homepage
ARCHIVES January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010
Media Backspin
« May 2008 | Main | July 2008 »

Monday, June 30 2008

About That Truce . . .

Another Qassam hit an open area of the western Negev today. No reported casualties. How's Israeli confidence in the truce? Haaretz reports the Knesset extended the "special situation" for Sderot and other communities near Gaza.

Jenin, Jenin: The Verdict

JeninjeninIsraeli court finds that “Jenin, Jenin” was slanderous, but the soldiers can’t collect damages, leaving filmmaker Mohammed Bakri off the hook. Haaretz explains:

Judge Michal Nadav ruled that the film did in fact slander the soldiers; however, since the slander was directed against an entire group, individuals within this group did not have the right to file suit . . . .

The soldiers' attorney, Amir Tytunovich, said the outcome was the best that could be expected from a public perspective since it determined that the film had been slanderous.

Background reading: Palestinian Producer: False Film Funded By PA

Jewish Refugees? What Jewish Refugees?

A few days ago, I was pleasantly surprised when The Guardian published a very nice commentary by Lyn Julius about Jewish refugees from Arab countries. It was a rarity by the Israel-bashing standards of the paper's Comment is Free section.

Well, no good deed goes unpunished by the CiF: today, Rachel Shabi responds to Julius. Spoiler alert: she blames the Jews.

See Judeopundit (via Point of No Return) for a more full fisking of Shabi.


Sunday, June 29 2008

A Web of Hate

Jewish_spider2The Jerusalem Report takes an in-depth look at how anti-Semitism is going Web 2.0:

The speed of innovation also enables hate groups to upgrade their techniques on a continual basis. The advent of Web 2.0 - which encourages information sharing and collaboration - has given rise to tools like video sites, social networks, games, blogs and three-dimensional virtual worlds that are seized upon by hate merchants as soon as they became available . . . .

Experts are concerned about the effects these new media can have on young and impressionable minds.

Read the whole thing.

Telling the Truce?

Is the media really covering the "ceasefire"? See HonestReporting's latest communique: Telling the Truce?

The Sins of the Fathers

Flag_palestine_mandate_3A Palestinian group wants to hold the British government responsible for the "Naqba." An official from Watanuna Palestinian Youth told the Jerusalem Post:

He said the decision to go after the UK government came after a thorough study of all the legal aspects related to Britain's responsibility for the Palestinians' "nakba" (catastrophe), the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

"We hold Britain responsible for the suffering of the Palestinian people over the past 60 years," Ubeidat said. "It's time for Britain to bear the moral and political responsibility for this suffering. The British people should be among the first to support the rights of the Palestinians."

Yes, the British made plenty of mistakes in the Mideast. But if this silly legal action gains any traction, consider the following:

• Israel is off the hook for any claims of Palestinian "right of return." The refugees become Britain's responsibility headache.

• Britain would head off this action by dusting off the argument that Transjordan, now the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, was and is the intended Palestinian state.

If the Palestinians want to start assessing blame for their catastrophe, they would do well to first look at their contributions to their self-made failure.

A Conversation With AFP's Jerusalem Bureau Chief

HonestReporting Canada launches its "Insider Briefing" series with an interview with AFP's Jerusalem bureau chief, Patrick Anidjar. The conversation touches on coverage of Israeli-Iranian tensions, Gaza, and more. Read the interview.

Sunday Morning Links

Mark Steyn Cleared by "Human Rights" Panel
See also the Canadian Human Rights Commission ruling (pdf format).

We Did Not Abandon Philippe Karsenty
Government Press Office director Daniel Seaman explains Israel's response to the Al-Dura trial.

Being A French Journalist Means Never Saying You're Sorry
Anne-Elisabeth Moutet talks to the media personalities who recently signed a petition supporting the beleaguered Charles Enderlin.

My Day in Haifa
Abi Hassan imagines spending a day in Haifa -- and it ain't what you'd expect from a Syrian journalist.

Is Google Making Us Stupid?
"As we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence."

Facebook In the Middle East
Arab regimes crack down on Web 2.0 dissidence. Why doesn't the West take notice?

Kibbutz Welcomes First Arab-Muslim
Membership culminates Amal Carmiya's 18-year-relationship with Kibbutz Nir Eliyahu.


Friday, June 27 2008

Imitation: Flattery's Highest Form

Former British diplomat Peter Hain urges South Africa to cut electricity to Zimbabwe:

"Electricity supplies from South Africa, which have been going in for many years now, should be cut off. And that would hit the regime more than anything else because the people can hardly suffer any more than they have been already," he said.

Power reductions are only "collective punishment" when Israel does it.


Thursday, June 26 2008

Recognising the Jewish 'Nakba'

Lyn Julius shines a rare spotlight on Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

What On Earth Happened to Israel?

GoogleearthAndre Oboler slams the Google Earth community's treatment of Israel:

The gap between reality and virtual reality is further exploited by political activists promoting what we term "replacement geography," a means of controlling the virtual representation of land in place of controlling the land itself. In an information age, control on the common map may be worth more in negotiations than control on the ground . . . .

The inclusion of virtual Palestine, superimposed on Israel in the core layer of Google Earth, is an example of replacement geography advanced by technology. Those wishing to find directions, explore the cities of Israel, or randomly wander across this small piece of land are immediately taken to a politically motivated narrative unrelated to their quest. This is the sort of replacement the ancient Romans tried and failed to achieve.

User-generated content has so much to offer. It's a shame some activists put a stain on efforts like Google Earth (or, for that matter, Wikipedia).

Truce or Consequences

Qassam lands in open area near Negev industrial zone this afternoon. No reported casualties.

Hamas refuses to police the truce. What's the organization's relevance now?


Wednesday, June 25 2008

June 25 Links

The West Has to Tackle Tehran
Thumbs up to columnist Jonathan Freedland (yes, of The Guardian), for effectively articulating Israeli fears of a nuclear Iran.

Israel And The Frontline of Civilization
Must-read impressions of John David Lewis' visit to Israel. (Via Solomonia)

A Surprise From Syria and Israel
David Ignatius touches all the angles of the latest peace efforts.

Today's Bungled Headline

From the Financial Times:

Raid and Rockets Hit Gaza Truce

You have to read the report to find out the raid refers to an IDF operation in the West Bank, which is not covered by the Gaza truce.

The Egyptian-brokered truce came into effect last Thursday, and called for a complete end to mutual attacks only in and around the Gaza Strip.

Tuesday, June 24 2008

They Just Can't Help Themselves

The BBC and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown demonstrate their anti-Israel obsessions. See HonestReporting UK's latest communique: They Just Can't Help Themselves

So Much For the Truce, Part 2

Two Qassams strike Sderot area this afternoon. No reported casualties.

Two Years and Still Waiting

Gilad_shalitIt's been two years now since Cpl. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Palestinians in an early morning attack near the Kerem Shalom crossing on the southern end of the Gaza Strip.

Coincidence or not, Nicholas Sarkozy happens to be in Israel during this anniversary. That's notable because the Shalits are dual Israeli-French citizens.

Here's one way to express your solidarity with Gilad Shalit.

So Much For the Truce?

First post-truce mortar fired from Gaza last night. No casualties.


Monday, June 23 2008

Spotlight On Al-Hurra, Part 2

Watch the full segment aired last night on 60 Minutes examining Al-Hurra TV and the US taxpayer-funded station's bias against Israel.

See also the first report of Dafna Linzer's series at ProPublica, and a Washington Post investigation of Al-Hurra's poor ratings in the Arab world.


Sunday, June 22 2008

Open Source Coding: Where Israel Doesn't Exist

OpensourcecodingEver wonder why some sites allow you to do business online from “Palestine” but not from “Israel?” E-Piphanies did some digging and uncovers an unexpected reason:

Basically, my wife's organization was put at risk by the combination of open-source code and social media--two incredibly powerful and pervasive trends influencing enterprise technology today. And like the broomsticks in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," useful tools can go on a rampage if they're not used by people who know what they're doing.

This means that if you're using open-source code, you have got to be very scrupulous and diligent to make sure that another developer hasn't surreptitiously slipped in a political message or a feature that could make your organization look bad or even lose it money.

And always be mindful that once you let third parties touch your enterprise in any way, decisions they make will be broadcast around the Internet whether you like them or not. Basic Web 2.0 technologies are proving to be both incredibly powerful and productive, but they can also lead to disastrous results for an organization that isn't paying close enough attention.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Pajamas Media)

Spotlight on Al-Hurra

60 Minutes and ProPublica conducted a joint investigation of US taxpayer-funded Al-Hurra TV.

It's been months since former chief Larry Register won our Worst News Executive Award for the station's anti-Israel stance; Scott Pelley reports that problems at Al-Hurra continue.

See also Al-Hurra chief Brian Conniff's response to ProPublica and 60 Minutes.

In addition to the segment to be aired on 60 minutes tonight, ProPublica's Dafna Linzer will publish a multi-part series on Al-Hurra.


Thursday, June 19 2008

June 19 Links

Israeli-Lebanese Peace?
The biggest obstacle for any Israeli and Lebanese negotiations aren't Hezbollah or Shebaa Farms but the fate of 400,000 Palestinian refugees. (Via Daled Amos)

Previous Cease-Fires Paint A Bleak Picture
A look at the rise and fall of previous two periods of "calm."

Sderot, A Love Story
LA filmmaker documenting Sderot's music scene finds love and rockets.

Why Gentile Americans Back the Jewish State
American support for Israel "represents the power of public opinion to shape foreign policy in the face of concerns by foreign policy professionals." (Via Elder of Ziyon)

Cool new site. (Via Solomonia)

Say What?


If Israel can secure the return of the soldier seized in a cross-border raid in return for a Hamas militant, resolution of the disputed Shaaba Farms territory, which Israel holds and Hezbollah claims, may, in time, be easier.

Wednesday, June 18 2008

Al-Dura Ruling In English

Richard Landes posted a professional tranlation of Judge Trebucq's ruling in English.

AP to Charge Bloggers For Quoting Stories

ApAP wants to charge bloggers who quote from articles on a per-word basis. The news service already set up this page to quote prices and process sales. The price starts at $12.50 for excerpts of 5-25 words.

News services have a right to protect themselves from unauthorized use of their material. Perhaps this will lead bloggers to take not unreasonable new approaches to the way they apply Fair Use and quote articles.

However, I can't imagine anyone shelling out the kind of money AP's asking for. Consider the following:

• A good number of quotes and facts reported by AP appear in other news services.

• Any blogger worth his salt can paraphrase the key info (with an appropriate citation and link) or just include a link with less explanation.

BetaNews notes other interesing issues related to AP's "toll booth for bloggers."

UPDATE June 18: Via Pajamas Media: Thumbs up to Michael Silence who talked directly to Media Bloggers Association president Bob Cox, clearing misinformation about AP's related controversy with Drudge Retort.

UPDATE June 19: Bob Cox clears further misconceptions.

Cannes Recognizes Campaign for Israeli MIAs

An Israeli P.R. firm's campaign for MIAs won a Golden Lion award at an international advertising festival in Cannes. The LA Times explains how a subsidiary of Shalmor-Avnon-Amichay agency won the equivalent of an advertising Oscar:

The campaign called for a five-minute Internet blackout on the first anniversary of the kidnappings. More than 400 Israeli websites complied and on July 12 at 9:05 a.m. -- the exact hour of the blast that had killed three soldiers and injured another three, including Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, who were kidnapped -- shut down and posted a Web page with the message "the soldiers cannot be found," designed like the universal "page cannot be found" message one gets when loading an inactive website. Television and radio stations stopped broadcasting, too, to participate in what became an Internet equivalent of the minutes of silence observed on somber commemoration days in Israel.

The image from their campaign should jog your memory.



Tuesday, June 17 2008

Questions Remain Over BBC Response

The BBC's response to your complaints fails to address some major issues. See HonestReporting's latest communique: Questions Remain Over BBC Response.

June 17 Links

Lies, Spies and Traitors
A look at the fate of Saleh Awad, a brave Gazan who collaborated with Israel in the targeted killings of several Islamic Jihad rocketeers.

Silicon Wadi Reaches Out From Israel
A delegation of Israeli entrepreneurs draw attention to Israeli hi-tech.

Succession At the House of Saud
King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan are in their 80s. The king has 60 siblings. No wonder the blueprint for royal succession is fraying.

Idiot's Guide To Navigating BBC Complaints

Maze_3We've heard from quite a few readers in recent days that the BBC Complaints website is difficult to navigate and not the most user-friendly process. Unfortunately, the Beeb discontinued direct e-mails sometime ago.

Nonetheless, here are a few simple steps to navigating your way through the BBC Complaints process:

1. Go to the BBC Complaints site - - and select "Make a complaint", located on the left of the screen.

2. Select the "make a complaint" option and click Next and then select the type of BBC content you wish to complain about (TV, radio or website). Click Next.

3. Depending on the type of content, enter either the web address or the name and date of transmission. (Articles on the BBC's web site include the date.) Enter your feedback, remembering to be courteous and ask for a reply. Click Next.

4. Fill in your personal details. Contrary to popular misconception, you do not have to be a UK resident to make a complaint. Simply fill in your name, e-mail address and country of residence and click Next.

5. You will then be given the option of reviewing your complaint before submitting it to the BBC.

Click here for more information on how the BBC reviews its complaints. While it may be slightly more complicated than a simple e-mail, please make that extra effort to hold the BBC to account. Coverage of the Mideast is only one area where the publicly-funded BBC has been held up to scrutiny; we cannot afford to relinquish the pressure.

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

LarsenWhen it comes to Terje Roed-Larsen and talks with Syria, Israel just can't win. Used to be, it was damned if you don't.

But today, it's damned if you do.

AP Drafting Guidelines For Bloggers

Is AP backtracking from its recent move against the blogosphere and Fair Use?

(Hat tip: Romenesko)

UPDATE June 19: Media Bloggers Association president Bob Cox clears away misconceptions about the controversy.


Monday, June 16 2008

5 More Letter Writing Tips

Letters• Send your letter to the right newspaper.
The vast majority of newspapers don't have their own staff of foreign correspondents. The content, strictly speaking, isn't original.

Rather, papers use reports from wire services like AP and Reuters, and/or republish articles from the other papers that can afford to have journalists abroad -- like the Washington Post, NY Times, The Independent, etc. Before dashing off a letter, double check the byline and give some thought who is most appropriate to complain to.

• Don't write in all capital letters.

• Be quick.
Thanks to the wonders of instant online publishing, "news" becomes "old news" faster than ever before. So take note of the date before sitting down to write. If the article is several days old, consider saving your energy for a better fight.

• Send to the right email address.
Some news sites don't clearly indicate how to send letters to the editor. Unfortunately, a surprisingly common mistake is to send letters to the site's webmaster, as if it's a default address.

Bad move. Webmasters don't necessarily know the difference between Hamas and hummus. They're paid to make sure all the tekkie things on the website work and have nothing to do with content.

• Be brief
For reasons of space, most newspapers limit the length of letters. A word count between 200-250 is sufficient to make your point. If you feel that all 489 words in your response are absolutely vital, best is to
1) realize you're saying too much and cut it down,
2) label your piece an op-ed submission and tailor appropriately for the paper's guidelines, or
3) start your own blog and write to your heart's content.

Related reading: 5 Tips For Getting Your Letter Published


Sunday, June 15 2008

A Voice in the Wilderness

This Boston Herald staff-ed about the Al-Dura trial and the government-run France 2 TV seemed like a voice in the wilderness, even making a bold appeal:

French President Nicholas Sarkozy has thus far proven himself a bolder leader than his predecessors. His intervention to shut down any network appeal would reassure friends of democracy everywhere that the old prejudices do not rule in France anymore.
Bloggers Boycotting AP

According to Newshoggers, the wire service is getting trigger happy with legal action related to Fair Use. Again.

But this time, bloggers are fighting back.

Family Visits

The Independent reports that Palestinian prisoners from Gaza in Israeli prisons are taking legal action to enable family visits.

Israel refuses to open the border crossings in coordination with Hamas.

At least the prisoners can file complaints through the judicial system and get vists from NGOs like the Red Cross. Why should they be treated better than Gilad Shalit?


Thursday, June 12 2008

Israeli Shows Up Al-Jazeera

Dr. Mordechai Kedar's brilliant Jerusalem Day interview on Al-Jazeera was finally YouTubed with English subtitles. The lecturer in Bar Ilan University's department of Arab studies refused to back down from reporter Jamal Rayyan.

See this earlier report from YNet News for background.

(Hat tip: Soccer Dad)

The Other One-State Solution

Jordanian officials are sweating over another one-state solution: merging portions of the West Bank with the Hashemite kingdom. AFP writes:

"We would prefer to be at war with Israel rather than accept such a situation, which would be a security nightmare and which would in the long term cause Jordan to lose its identity," the Jordanian official said . . . .

"Jordan strongly opposes all American or Israeli attempts to merge it with a part of the West Bank," the official said, adding that such a move would allow the Palestinians control of Jordanian politics and the powers of the king.

Sounds awfully similar to Israeli arguments against a one-solution.

Dealing For MIAs

Dogtag_2Newsweek takes a fascinating and critical look at Israeli prisoner exchanges for captured soldiers:

Analysts say there's an even greater threat, however: the strategic danger that prisoner swaps will encourage terrorists to take more prisoners, and not only in Israel. "[It] says to future terrorists that if you can get somebody valuable enough, Israelis will trade," says Sandler. "They'll trade if you capture a soldier or children. And the exchange rate is very high." Indeed, a kind of inflation can result. Sandler's data, collected from across the world over 37 years, show that for every kidnapper paid off, 2.5 more abductions took place . . . .

This suggests that terrorist strategists worldwide may be watching Israel closely—and concluding that it would serve them well to capture Western soldiers deployed to hot spots in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. It points to an awkward truth for Israel: the tiny state often feels that it's left on its own to face a great many dangers, and that's true. But in this case, at least, the actions it takes in response can end up endangering us all.

Meanwhile, a group of reservists are sending a letter to the IDF brass stating that if they're captured, they don't want the state to negotiate for their release.

The return of Israel's eight MIAs is an emotionally charged issue. Should Israel continue pursuing such deals? Is it in Western interests to support them? Post your comments below.


Wednesday, June 11 2008

You Call This Suppression?

Walt_and_mearsheimerThe Jews aren't doing a very good job of silencing Walt and Mearsheimer. The duo arrives in Israel tomorrow to speak at Hebrew U. The Jerusalem Post explains:

Sheffer said he had no hesitations about having the two controversial professors speak at the Hebrew University, even though he didn't agree with their positions, because if Israel was fighting against academic boycotts abroad, it could not apply one here.

Hebrew University spokeswoman Orit Sulitzeanu said that Walt and Mearsheimer were two internationally known scholars whose book was academically controversial, and whose thesis was that the Israel lobby is unintentionally bad for Israel itself.

She said that the purpose of the lecture was to have a "dialogue" and "academic argument" with them.

Related reading: The Wrong Guys

Trapped Or 'Trapped'

How did The Independent come up with this bizarro headline?

Blair offers support to 'trapped' Gaza student who is trapped in Gaza

Grammatical question: Do the quote marks around the first "trapped" contradict the second appearance of that word?

UPDATE June 11: I see they fixed the problem. Trapped is still in quote marks.

BBC Reporter: Genuine Eyewitness or Palestinian Propagandist?

Whose version of events does a BBC journalist stand by? See HonestReporting UK's latest communique: BBC Reporter: Genuine Eyewitness or Palestinian Propagandist?


Tuesday, June 10 2008

Out of Step

StepBoston Globe columnist H.D.S. Greenway claims Jewish American donors who oppose territorial compromise with the Palestinians are out of step with the Israeli mainstream.

Problem is, Greenway uses quotes from Haaretz’s Gideon Levy and peace activist Uri Avnery to prove it.

Fringe Benefits

The BBC chooses fringe Jews to speak up for Israel on talk shows; Gavin Gross wonders how "representative" they are. Is it time to give up on the Beeb?


Sunday, June 8 2008

BBC Reporter: Genuine Eyewitness or Palestinian Propagandist?

Whose version of events does a BBC journalist stand by? Find out at HonestReporting's latest communique: BBC Reporter: Genuine Eyewitness or Palestinian Propagandist?


Thursday, June 5 2008

The Big Lies

After seeing reactions to the al-Dura verdict from the likes of Israeli Government Press Office director Danny Seaman and the Wall St. Journal, it's apropos that HonestReporting's newest interactive page, The Big Lies, is being launched now.


Palestinian Mortar Kills Israeli

A 52-year-old Israeli was killed this afternoon when a mortar fired from Gaza struck Kibbutz Nir Oz. Four other people are being treated for shrapnel injuries.

Developing . . . .

UPDATE June 10: The Israeli was identified as Amnon Rosenberg (pictured).


Tuesday, June 3 2008

From Time Immemorial

Palestinian developer Bashar al-Masri seeks to build a new Palestinian city. Listen to this astonishing comment he made to NPR's Morning Edition:

"This is the first new town since probably the Romans. This is the first planned community that I can think of in hundreds, if not thousands, of years."

You'd think people who claim to be indigenous to the land from "time immemorial" would have built up some communities in the past 2,000 years.

Lords to Hear Balen Report Appeal

From the Jewish Chronicle: The UK House of Lords has agreed to hear Steven Sugar's appeal for the release of the BBC's Malcolm Balen report.

The Beeb has spent an estimated £250,000 in licence-fee money to cover up the report. HonestReporting's Freedom of Information request for a copy of Balen's examination of the BBC's Mideast coverage was also turned down.

Concise background at Newport City.


HR Links

HR Social Media

Featured Blogs

Featured Links

Media Backspin