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« August 2008 | Main | October 2008 »

Monday, September 29 2008

Do They Know It's New Year's?

Before taking a break for Rosh HaShanah (I'll be back on Thursday), I can't help but wonder: Do Israel's seven MIAs know that a new year is upon us?

Zach Baumel: Born, November 17, 1960 in Brooklyn. His family moved to Israel when he was 10. Disappeared in Lebanon on June 11, 1982 during the Battle of Sultan Yakoub as did Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz. This is the 26th Rosh HaShanah without Baumel.

Tzvi Feldman: Born, December 29, 1956 in Tel Aviv. Was contemplating marrying his girlfriend after the Lebanon War. Disappeared in Lebanon on June 11, 1982 during the Battle of Sultan Yakoub, as did Yehuda Katz and Zach Baumel. This is the 26th Rosh HaShanah without Feldman.

Yehuda Katz: Born, July 18, 1959 in Ramat Gan. The child of Holocaust survivors. Disappeared in Lebanon on June 11, 1982 during the Battle of Sultan Yakoub, as did Zach Baumel and Tzvi Feldman. This is the 26th Rosh HaShanah without Katz.

Ron Arad: Born May 5, 1958. Studied chemical engineering at the Technion. Was navigator on an an plane shot down near Sidon on October 16, 1986. He was captured by the Shiite Amal and held captive by Mustafa Dirani. Dirani is believed to have "sold" Arad to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Last contact from Arad was in 1987 when his wife, Tami, received letters and a photo. This is the 22nd Rosh HaShanah without Arad.

Guy Hever: Born, May 30, 1977, in Tel Aviv. Grew up in Kochav Yair and a voracious reader of science-fiction. Disappeared on August 17, 1997, after spending a day with his parents. Last seen at the Katzabiya junction, a mere one km from the Syrian border. This is the 11th Rosh HaShanah without Hever.

Majdi Halabi: Birthdate unavailable. A Druze, Halabi grew up in Daliat al-Carmel, near Haifa. He was five months into basic training when he disappeared May 24, 2005. He was last seen after visiting home, trying to hitchhike a ride back to his base in Tirat Carmel. This is the fourth Ramadan without Halabi.

Gilad Shalit: Born, August 28, 1986, grew up in the Galilee community of Mitzpe Hilla. Enjoys math and playing basketball. Helped parents run a bed and breakfast during breaks from the army. Was abducted on June 25, 2006 when gunmen from the Popular Resistance Committee tunneled under the Gaza border near the Kerem Shalom crossing. The only sign of life came in June, 2007, when Hamas released a tape recording sending greetings and mentioning deteriorating health. This is the third Rosh HaShanah without Shalit.

May Israel's seven missing sons be restored to their families in peace, safety and health this year.


Sunday, September 28 2008

Digging For Dollars

Who benefits the most from stoking Israel-Gaza tension? The Daily Telegraph has a surprising answer:

In recent months a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel has raised hopes that the economic blockade might be eased, but some in Gaza fear that should that ever look like happening, local tunnel owners will sabotage it by paying militants to fire rockets into Israel again.

Tunnel digging is also lucrative for Hamas. Everyone's placing personal greed over any national interest.

Hague Tripper

Paul_mccartneyBBC bias is here, there, and everywhere.

How the heck does an article covering an entertainment story end up talking about Israel in the Hague?


Thursday, September 25 2008

Comments and the Roar of the Crowd

The Maui News is no longer posting comments on its web site. Why?

. . .the volume, frequency and vileness of the abusers' postings have grown beyond the newspaper's capacity to remove them in a timely manner.

And Joe Fryer takes a worthwhile look at whether website comment forms are a form of free speech.

What do you think?

(Hat tip: Romenesko)

UPDATE Sept. 28: Via The E&P Pub, Philadelphia columnists Karen Heller and Stu Bykofsky weigh in. Bykofsky is against anonymous posting, but Heller's solution to slimy comments is more fascinating:

To unmask the anonymous derelicts, then make them read their posts out loud. To their mothers.
Sad State of Two-State Solution

Israelpalflag2IMRA flagged a new Palestinian poll which finds that the majority of Palestinians no longer support a two-state solution. Noah Pollak (via Soccer Dad) wonders why nobody cares about this:

If a poll found that the majority of Israelis rejected the two-state solution, it would make headlines around the world. Yet when repeated polls of Palestinians find solid majority support for terrorism against Israel and rejection of peace with Israel, nobody even has the chance to bat an eye, because nobody hears about it. Such information is not viewed as newsworthy. Remarkable.

The MSM may not recognize the implications of this as impartial news (one exception: the Christian Science Monitor). But you can see some rumblings in the more partisan op-ed pages.

Newsweek gave Sari Nusseibeh space to "explain" why the Palestinians are losing faith in the two-state solution and trot out the old "Palestinians have already given up 78% of historic Palestine" chestnut.

• Just today, Ghada Karmi calls for a UN resolution endorsing a bi-national state.

• In the Wall St. Journal, the Rais himself, Mahmoud Abbas, made a veiled threat that either refers to a bi-national state or a third intifada:

But if we do not succeed, and succeed soon, the parameters of the debate are apt to shift dramatically.

In July, I noted Six Arguments Against The One State Solution. They bear mentioning again (with some updated links).

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; "Balkanization" became part of the world's lexicon.

4. Among themselves, the Arabs have no history of successful multi-ethnic states. Lebanon is spiraling into civil war. Sectarian violence continues in Iraq (talk of partition has seeped into the US presidential campaign). Then there are the problems of Christian Arabs in the Palestinian Authority, Iraq, and Egypt. What's to inspire Israeli confidence?

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, and greater economic interdependence. This is not the case with Israelis and Palestinians.

6. How can Israel possibly negotiate a one-state solution with the same West Bank Fatah cadres who could agree to Hamas rule in Gaza? Sounds like a recipe for a three-state solution.

So on the basis of whose information are you forming your opinions about the one-state solution?


Wednesday, September 24 2008

IDF Launches Legal Action Against 'Jenin Jenin'

Jenin_jeninAn Israeli news site, Walla, reports (in Hebrew) that the IDF has asked Israel's attorney general to open civil court libel proceedings against Mohammed Bakri, who produced and directed "Jenin Jenin."

His film alleges Israeli war crimes during the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield.

The IDF's request is connected to a previous legal ruling against Bakri. When five Israeli reservists sued Bakri, saying his film slandered them, a Petach Tikva judge ruled in June that the film slandered all Israeli soldiers -- however, individuals within the group didn't have the right to file suit.

Related reading: Palestinian Producer: False Film Funded By PA

How Messianic Beliefs Drive Ahmadinejad

Is Iran's president mad for the Mahdi?


Tuesday, September 23 2008

With All Deliberate Speed

The problem: Your 19-year-old son just used the family car to run over Israelis, and the government's going to knock down your house.

The solution: Come up with a good reason why the incident isn't a terror attack. If you're lucky, a sympathetic reporter from, say, the BBC will give this tidbit excessive emphasis:


Other excuses known to play well to the MSM's ears include jilted romance and unpleasant medical side-effects.

Hezbollah Training Sunnis to Fight Lebanese Gov't

Via Memri: Click below to watch Sunni Islamists describe to Al-Arabiya TV their training from Hezbollah and Syrian instructors in order to fight the Lebanese government.


Transcript here.

Intifada Fashions Take a Hit

Lauren_booth_keffiyehIntifada fashions are taking a hit.

First, a Danish clothing firm, Fighters and Lovers, was recently found guilty of selling shirts with the logos of the Palestinian PFLP, and Colombia's FARC. In 2006, Fighters and Lovers said they would donate five Euros for every shirt sold to the PFLP and FARC, which the US and EU label as terror organizations.

And now, The Guardian finds that Palestinian businesses who produce keffiyahs are being run out of business by cheap, Chinese imports. Moreover:

But Awad says that these days, it is less widely used as a neckwear nationalist emblem by the younger generation of Palestinians. He provides one possible explanation: "The image of the keffiyeh as a symbol of resistance was tarnished by events in Afghanistan and Iraq, where it is used by terrorists, by anyone who wants to hide their face," he says.

Related reading: US Chain Pulls "Anti-War" Keffiyehs


Monday, September 22 2008

More Smears By Hari

The Independent's columnist serves up another one-sided op-ed. See the latest communiques from HonestReporting and HonestReporting UK.

Israelis May Be Among Kidnapped Tourists

Breaking news: A group of 10-15 tourists -- possibly including two Israelis -- was kidnapped in Egypt's southern Aswan region.

The sources said it was possible the group had been taken to Sudan.

Developing . . . .

UPDATE 4:00 pm: Egypt and Israel confirmed no Israelis among the 11 captives, who have indeed been taken into Sudan.

September 22 Links

Israel Unleashes First Skunk Bomb
Riot control malodorants are not chemical weapons.

Web Problems Hit Release of Al-Qaida 9/11 Video
Islamist web sites hosting 87-minute video kept crashing. (Hat tip: The Jawa Report)

In Defense of Spin Doctors
Democracy depends on spin doctors too.

If Bloggers Had No Ethics, Blogging Would Have Failed
Jay Rosen on why bloggers have earned public trust -- while the MSM has not.


Sunday, September 21 2008

Independent Experts To Examine al-Dura Video

DuraThe European Jewish Press reports that France 2 TV has agreed allow an independent group of experts to examine its footage of Mohammed al-Dura:

The working group of independent experts, to be set up probably in November, will be headed by Patrick Gaubert, chairman of Licra, the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, who is also a member of the European Parliament.

France 2's now discredited footage of al-Dura's death in September, 2000, turned the 12-year-old-boy into an icon and helped fuel the intifada.

See full background and essential links on the al-Dura controversy.

Lauren Booth Leaves Gaza

Lauren Booth left Gaza for Egypt via the Rafah crossing on Saturday. According to AFP:

The crossing -- the only gateway to Gaza not controlled by Israel -- was opened Saturday to allow 1,500 Gazans, mostly Muslim pilgrims on their way to Mecca, to leave the impoverished territory of 1.5 million people.

Booth, who writes for the Mail on Sunday, was free to leave the strip at the end of August along with the other protesters. Her month-long stay didn't include a single public gesture or show of support for Gaza's other famous foreigner, Gilad Shalit.

Related reading: Sailing Into a Publicity Stunt


Thursday, September 18 2008

Shooting Back at 'Shooting Back'

Jim_hubbard_2In 1989, Jim Hubbard (pictured) started a program called Shooting Back to empower disenfranchised American youth by teaching them photography.

In today's Jerusalem Post, Hubbard, who is also a professor at the Annenberg School of Communication, slams B'tselem's Shooting Back program, which also gives cameras to Palestinian youths. Not only did the NGO infringe on a trademarked name, Hubbard says B'tselem recklessly endangers children:

With B'Tselem's project, I was struck with the potential danger to the kids given cameras to document human rights violations in an extremely volatile environment in the Middle East. For a start, they were being drawn to potential conflict hot spots in which they might be exposed to real physical danger, from either side.

Furthermore, the kids are named on B'Tselem's website and their faces are shown on television news. Criminal prosecution is an outcome of several of the videos, putting the young videographer in the stressful position of potentially having to testify in court and increasing his or her vulnerability. Additionally, B'Tselem staffers have reported that they have been verbally and physically attacked. Has it not occurred to them that a similar fate might await the kids given the cameras to film abuses? . . . .

In a recent letter to B'Tselem, I requested it cease and desist using the name Shooting Back. I don't want my name connected to a project, whatever its intentions, that I believe puts children at risk. The response was to retain a large New York law firm to defend its use of the trademark without my authorization and, in my view, infringement of my trademark.

Read the whole thing.

The Kadima Race Is Over - Now What?

KnessetThe primary elections for the governing Kadima party leadership are over. So what happens next?

1. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert formally gives his and the cabinet's resignation to President Shimon Peres. Olmert and his cabinet formally take on caretaker status.

2. The president consults with leaders of the political parties in the parliament and chooses one to form a new coalition. As leader of the ruling party, Livni is expected to get the nod for prime minister-designate.

3. The PM-designate will have 28 days to form a new coalition approved by the Knesset. The president customarily gives the PM-designate a 14-day extension, if necessary.

4. If Livni cannot form a coalition, the president can either appoint a new PM-designate from among the leaders of the other parties, or dissolve the the Knesset. The new PM-designate would have the same time frame to form a coalition. If the Knesset is dissolved, a general election is held within 90 days. The winning party is invited to form a new coalition and the process starts all over again.

5. No matter how long it takes, Olmert continues as caretaker prime minister until the Knesset approves a new coalition.

YouTube Yanking Terror Training Videos

Youtube_2So reports the San Francisco Business Journal, anyway. Via IsraellyCool.


Wednesday, September 17 2008

HR Rejects Iranian Press TV Request

No to cooperating with an Iranian propaganda tool. See HonestReporting's latest communique: HR Rejects Iranian Press TV Request.

Putin, Israel, and MSM's School of Hard Knocks

Vladimir_putin_2Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jay Bookman points out that Vladimir Putin is learning about the MSM's power the hard way -- just as Israel did during the Second Lebanon War:

That’s because it got outfought on the battlefield on which most modern wars are now decided, in the media.

“I am surprised at how powerful the propaganda machine of the so-called West is,” Putin admitted, calling it “awesome” and “amazing.”

More specifically, Putin said he had been struck by the media’s silence when Georgia’s military started the war by trying to retake two rebellious provinces by force. . . .

The recent war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon offers another example of the media as the deciding battlefield.

By traditional standards, the war was an overwhelming Israeli victory. The Israeli Defense Force moved deep into Lebanon, inflicting many more casualties on Hezbollah than it took in return and destroying civilian and military infrastructure.

But as even Israeli officials acknowledge, they lost the war.

International opinion swung so hard against them that they were forced to abandon the fight before achieving their goals, leaving Hezbollah to claim victory.

Bookman hits the nail on the head. It doesn't make a difference whether journalists are all over the frontlines or whether the fighting's in an area that's usually off the MSM's radar. In wartime, military and political leaders have to worry like never before about what kind of "conventional wisdom" will be concocted by the media.

CBC Critically Examines Israel's Enemies

Excellent reporting deserves our attention. See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: CBC Critically Examines Israel's Enemies.


Tuesday, September 16 2008

Press TV on Media Bias

PresstvYesterday, HonestReporting received an email from Press TV. The Iranian news service, whose English language studios are based in London, is scheduling a show titled, "Western Media: Friend or Foe of Israel?"

The Press TV staffer described a show with four panelists and hosted by MP Jeremy Corbyn in front of a studio audience. Would HonestReporting recommend anyone for the panel?

We're flattered that Press TV seeks our advice. But we also know what any guest would be in for a panel stacked against Israel and a hostile audience. Choosing Corbyn as host also sheds light on Press TV's agenda. The MP is on the left-wing fringe of the Labour Party and a vocal critic of Israel.

This is the same news service that published Nicholas Kollerstrom's outrageous piece of Holocaust denial, The Walls of Auschwitz: A Review of the Chemical Studies and frequently features Lady Michelle Renouf, a neo-Nazi and supporter of David Irving. (See Renouf in her own words.)

Here's HonestReporting's reply to Press TV. Out of respect for the privacy of the staffer -- who we don't have a beef with -- I'm omitting his info.

From: Simon Plosker

Sent: Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 10:27 AM


Subject: RE: Israel Media Advice

Even if I were to ignore the Iranian regime's support for terrorism and genocidal intentions towards Israel, where I live, I'm afraid that I cannot, in good conscience, offer any advice or assistance to a TV station that knowingly promotes Holocaust denial (§ionid=3510303) as well as giving a platform to known neo-Nazis such as "Lady" Renouf. (

Best regards,

Simon Plosker
Managing Editor, HonestReporting UK

Holocaust denial is perfectly legal in the UK, which might help explain why Press TV set up shop in London.


Monday, September 15 2008

Jerusalem's Politically Motivated Holiness

Dr. Mordechai Kedar traces how Islam’s treatment of Jerusalem was always based on politics and not holiness:

Since the holiness of Jerusalem to Islam has always been, and still is, no more than a politically motivated holiness, any Muslim leader or ruler would be putting his political head on the block should he give it up . . . Should Israel give up on its capital just because some Muslims decided to recycle the political problems of the Umayyads 1250 years after the curtain came down on their role in history?

Watch how Dr. Kedar created a buzz when he caught an Al-Jazeera anchor trying to rewrite the Koran on Jerusalem's status in June.

Scenes From 'The World's Largest Concentration Camp'

In a recent interview with YNet News, Lauren Booth describes Gaza as "the largest concentration camp in the world today" and a "humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur."

Booth was later photographed at the "concentration camp's" seemingly well-stocked grocery store. Enough said.


An alternative view comes from the Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat, which reports that Hamas is paying 18,000 militants approximatly $16 million a month. Columnist Tariq Alhomayed asks:

So how can there be talk of lifting the Gaza siege and relieving the distress of its people, while Hamas concentrates all its efforts on recruiting and providing for its thousands of fighters. It is clear that Hamas's priority is to look after its militants, at the expense of Gaza's people and their suffering! Isn't this a deliberate exploitation of their humanitarian suffering, their poverty and need?

Read the whole article.

Related reading: Sailing Into a Publicity Stunt


Sunday, September 14 2008

Islamist to Paul McCartney: Live and Let Die

Paul_mcartneySir Paul McCartney will be targeted by suicide bombers if he performs in Israel. So threatens Omar Bakri Mohammed:

Explaining his comments, Bakri told the Sunday Express: “Our enemy’s friend is our enemy.

“Thus Paul McCartney is the enemy of every Muslim. We have what we call ‘sacrifice’ operatives who will not stand by while he joins in a celebration of their oppression.

“If he values his life Mr McCartney must not come to Israel. He will not be safe there. The sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him.”

Bakri tried to ban Christmas last year.

UPDATE Sept. 18: Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily checked with a few Palestinian terror groups, finding "not one had heard of McCartney or the Beatles." Bakri will have to "Let it Be."


Thursday, September 11 2008

September 11 Links

Iran Told Hamas to Take Over PA Presidency
Move would help the Islamists take over the West Bank.

Living to Bomb Another Day
Al-Qaida's ideological shift from 70 virgins to robot bombs.

Holy Trail
A Thai journalist's surprising travel review.

Beneath Abbas’ Moderate Exterior Beats a Stone Cold Heart
While Arab leaders held their nose at Samir Quntar, Mahmoud Abbas paid him a visit.


Wednesday, September 10 2008

Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions Loses EU Funding

The fallout from the Free Gaza flotilla continues. The latest unintended consequence: the EU decided to cut funding to boat organizer Jeff Halper's Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. Solomonia obtained an unexpectedly desperate email from ICAHD.

Unfortunately, right before this historic boat ride, ICAHD was informed that they had lost their funding from the European Union, funding essential to their operations.

Background info on ICAHD at NGO-Monitor.

Sky News Removes Photo Distortion

A misleading photograph is removed from the Sky website. See HonestReporting's latest communique: Sky News Removes Photo Distortion.


Tuesday, September 9 2008

Terror Groups Broadcast From Temple Mount

MicrophoneRadio stations affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad are broadcasting nightly Ramadan prayers from the Temple Mount. According to WorldNetDaily:

The Hamas broadcasts serve as somewhat of a coup for the terror group, since it's the only Palestinian television network that is featuring the Tarawih from the Al Aqsa Mosque, giving Hamas the ability to share Temple Mount services with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Terror groups have broadcast from the Temple Mount before.

The Economist's 'Occasional Stonethrowing'

"Peaceful" protests against the security barrier are anything but. See HonestReporting UK's latest communique: The Economist's 'Occasional Stonethrowing'

Text, Lies and Videotape

Wtc_twin_lights_2In advance of this week’s 9/11 anniversary, the NY Times finds that the Arab street still believes the US and Israel were involved. The Arab media has a hand in the rumors, but not how you’d expect:

The state-owned media are also distrusted. Therefore, they think that if the government is insisting that bin Laden was behind it, he must not have been.

Too bad the Arabs don't have a truly free press. The seeds sown by tight media control were best expressed by Aristotle:

"The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold."

All the more so in a Web 2.0 world.

Web Tool Spots Spin

Spinspotter_2A new web site, Spinspotter, now offers a beta version of a downloadable toolbar that can spot spin.

Business Week explains how the algorithm and user-generated database of key words and phrases works and talks to the people behind the project. A NY Times tech blogger already took the "spinoculars" for a spin and reviews how it performed.

The toolbar is only compatible with Firefox; an Internet Explorer version is due to be launched soon.

Related reading: 7 Principles of Media Objectivity

(Hat tip: Romenesko)


Monday, September 8 2008

This is Newsworthy?

AfpNewspapers and blogs get plenty of unsolicited press releases from people seeking publicity for projects, petitions and prose.

So what does AFP find newsworthy about a letter signed by 11 Arabs denouncing “Israeli genocide” in Gaza?

BBC Favors Muslims

The latest complaint ain't from the Jewish community either. Misery loves company.

Up in Arms

What a shame AP didn’t acknowledge this issue surrounding weapon transfers to the Palestinians when the intifada was raging:

Shipments of this type remain sensitive for Israel because weapons provided to Palestinian security forces during peace talks in the 1990s were used against Israelis when those talks broke down in violence in 2000.

Better late than never.


Sunday, September 7 2008

Palestinian Crimes Against Arab Christians

Interfaith_symbolsJustus Reid Weiner discussed with the JCPA the human rights abuses Palestinian Christians face.

As dhimmis, Christians living in Palestinian-controlled territories are not treated as the equals of Muslims. They are subjected to debilitating legal, political, cultural, and religious restrictions. This has become a critical problem for the Palestinian Christians in the West Bank and Gaza. Muslim groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad have built a culture of hatred upon the age-old foundations of Islamic society. Moreover, the PA has adopted Islamic law into its draft constitution.

Among the little-reported points Weiner raises:

• PA security is complicit in the persecution (and even murder) of Muslims who convert to Christianity.

• Instances of Muslim men seducing and kidnapping Christian women are a growing trend.

• Criminal gangs in cooperation with PA officials steal Christian land.

• Municipal leaders aligned with Hamas openly advocate a discriminatory tax on non-Muslim residents, known as al-jeziya.

• Neither the PA nor Hamas provide Christians under their authority with any recourse for justice.

• Christians now make up a mere 15 percent of Bethlehem's population, down from 80 percent in 1950.

• Taybeh -- the only remaining Christian village in the PA -- has seen its population dwindle to 1,300 people.

• Many Christian leaders are too intimidated by PA or Hamas leaders to speak up against harassment.

Wiener also adds:

"Many in the international Christian leaderships knowingly remain silent about the suffering of the Palestinian Christians. Others, rather than identify the true Palestinian perpetrators of crimes against their people, take the politically correct path by blaming Israel. All unrest and suffering in the region is routinely attributed to actions-or omissions-by Israel without acknowledging or condemning Muslim violence.

Read the whole thing.

September 7 Links

Forest Jihad
Who is calling on Muslims to burn forests in "infidel countries" like the US, Australia and Europe? Via Israelly Cool.

NewspupRemembering the Forgotten Jews
Congress taking note of Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries.

A Neighbor's Child
Israeli doctors save a dying Palestinian child. Via Melanie Phillips.

24 Hours Without Google
Rob Dubbin marks the web giant's 10th anniversary.

Brave New World of Digital Intimacy
Having hundreds of friends on Facebook and Twitter presents paradox of "ambient awareness."


Thursday, September 4 2008

Just Not Good Enough

CityTV and The Guardian's inadequate responses to your complaints. See HonestReporting's latest communique: Just Not Good Enough

Bi-National State: An Impossible Sell

According to the Financial Times and the NY Times, some Palestinians are renewing their rumblings for a bi-national state.

Since Hamas and Fatah won't treat the Jews any better than they treat each other, a one-state solution’s an impossible sell.

Related reading: Six Arguments Against The One State Solution


Wednesday, September 3 2008

'Occupation' And Other MSM Keywords

Ashley Perry compares MSM coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the Russian-Georgian conflict:

Most of the major media organizations have only used the word "occupation" when quoting Saakashvili or others like British Foreign Secretary David Milliband. Agence France Presse in almost every report used the term "occupation" in quotation marks, or claimed that "Tiblisi has labeled them [the Russians] an occupying force." Many other media organizations follow suit.

Senior British journalist Peter Wilby implies in The Guardian that Saakashvili has used terms like occupation to win a public relations battle. He contends that the Georgian president knows which words pull heartstrings in the West. "Note the use of terms that trigger Western media interest: civilian victims, nuclear, humanitarian, occupation, ethnic cleansing," Wilby wrote.

Georgia_rally_2There is a sort of irony in the fact that The Guardian, long accused of treating Israel unfairly in its reporting, has an article clearly stating how certain words are utilized to garner sympathy for a particular cause, when all these terms have been used against Israel in the past - and mostly without quotation marks.

But when the MSM describes the Israeli "occupation," it's a different story. Perry quotes Dore Gold in the key snippet:

There are many other examples of territories that could denote an occupation but are referred to as "disputed."

According to Dore Gold, former ambassador to the UN and president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, there appears to be a major disparity in the terminology describing conflicts around the globe.

"Of course each situation has its own unique history, but in a variety of other territorial disputes - from northern Cyprus to the Kurile Islands to Abu Musa in the Persian Gulf, which have involved some degree of armed conflict - the term 'occupied territories' is not commonly used in international discourse. Thus, the case of the West Bank appears to be a special exception," Gold wrote.

Georgian PR would benefit more from an Israeli invasion.

Israeli Boycott of Al-Jazeera Cracks

Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak appeared on Al-Jazeera, breaking the Ministry of Foreign Affair's boycott of the Qatar-based network. The Jerusalem Post elaborates:

Officials in Peres's office responded that they were unaware of a decision to boycott Al-Jazeera. They said that Peres gave a "terrific" 40-minute interview Tuesday on the occasion of the start of Ramadan in which he outlined Israel's positions on diplomatic issues and against Muslim extremism.

Foreign Ministry officials said that Barak's interview on Monday was less of a problem, because it was with Al-Jazeera's English network and not its more problematic Arabic channel. While the Government Press Office has repeatedly threatened both networks with sanctions, the Foreign Ministry and other government agencies have continued cooperating with the English network while often criticizing its reporting.

The government decided to boycott Al-Jazeera after the Qatar-based news service threw a fawning birthday bash for Samir Quntar.


Tuesday, September 2 2008

MSM's Ramadan Lunacy

Lunar_cycleAn excellent Jerusalem Post editorial raises an important point about the MSM's coverage of the Islamic month of Ramadan:

Curiously, this is also a time when some non-Muslims are prone to blame anyone but Muslims for the violence and frustration so prevalent in Islamic civilization.

For instance, an Agence France-Presse dispatch begins: "As most of the rest of the Islamic world welcomes Ramadan . . . Palestinians in the Gaza Strip warily brace for another holiday under a crippling [Israeli] blockade."

No mention is made of Hamas's adamant refusal to recognize previous Palestinian agreements, end violence against non-combatants, or even accept the right of the Jewish state to exist. There's nothing about Gilad Schalit; or about tons of humanitarian aid Israel has allowed in; or about the 200 Hamas-authorized (and revenue-producing) tunnels between Sinai and Gaza which funnel, among other commodities, arms, missiles and explosives; or about concerted preparations for further aggression. AFP notes only that "Israel has kept the sanctions in place despite a two-month-old truce with Palestinian militants which has mostly halted rocket fire on southern Israel."

Bottom line: this is the third Ramadan since Gilad Shalit was captured, and we're still waiting for a humanitarian gesture from his captors.

Furthermore, Ramadan offers no guarantees of a lull in Islamic violence against Israel or the West. In Iraq, for example, it means just the opposite.

September 2 Links

Sderot Kids Head Back to School
Reading, writing and rockets on students' minds.

Israel Foils 5 Hezbollah Kidnap Attempts
Israeli businessmen targeted in Europe, West Africa, US, South America and Asia.

Selling The Taliban
These "men in caves" are very savvy at pushing their agenda in the news.

Khaled Meshaal Relocates -- To Sudan

Hamas boss Khaled Meshaal is relocating to Sudan. According to Haaretz, his departure from Damascus stems “from Syria's desire to advance indirect peace talks with Israel.”

Does this signal genuine Syrian change? Perhaps. But it's worth noting that Damascus has given Meshaal previous packing orders too.

UPDATE Sept. 2: Hamas denies Meshaal's moving.

Lauren Booth Stuck In Gaza

Lauren_booth2_2According to Xinhua and IMEMC, a few Gaza showboaters – including Lauren Booth -- are still stuck in Gaza. When the Free Gaza Movement's two wooden boats left the strip on Friday, Booth and several other "activists" decided to stay longer.

But now they want to leave and Israel refused to allow them entry through the Erez crossing. Egypt similarly refused to let them pass through the Rafah crossing during a recent pre-Ramadan opening of the border.

Here's Booth's chance to show some real solidarity with the Palestinians.

Related reading: Sailing Into a Publicity Stunt

(Hat tip: Elder of Ziyon)


Monday, September 1 2008

Who Occupies Gaza Now?

Toronto_starThe Toronto Star caught up with Gaza showboater Jeff Halper. Towards the end is this inaccurate snippet -- which reporter Oakland Ross does not specifically attribute to Halper:

For more than a year, the Israeli government has controlled access to the territory, by land, sea or air – a degree of authority many say is tantamount to occupation.

Meanwhile, the Israelis have ignored many of the humanitarian duties imposed upon an occupying power by international law.

"Controlled access to the territory?" Just last February, 700,000 Gazans (nearly half the strip's population) breached the the border not with Israel but with Egypt, making a mockery of any vestiges of both Israeli or Egyptian authority.

And who the occupies Gaza anyway? The only foreigners you'll find in Gaza nowadays are UN personnel, NGO volunteers, probably some foreign jihadis, and the occasional Western journalist.

Related reading: The Law Is An Ass

Gaza Truce 'More or Less' Holds?

The Economist writes:

Since the truce began, militants have launched some 40 rockets and mortars into southern Israel. Though the makeshift Qassam rockets are seldom lethal, and have caused few injuries, they enrage the Israelis. But Israel has so far refrained from firing back, so the truce is more or less holding.

In other words, the only thing sustaining the truce is Israeli forbearance in the face of continued rocket fire. Eventually, though, patience will wear out and Israel will have to take action. If it indeed comes to that, will The Economist's reaction to Israel be similarly restrained?


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