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Friday, February 26 2010

UK Warrant for Queen Esther's Arrest

A UK judge issued an arrest warrant for Queen Esther, who is due to arrive in London for a speaking tour of British universities.

Tayab Ali, the solicitor who obtained the warrant, told Backspin editor Pesach Benson, "Mordechai and Esther had every right to resist the oppression of Haman's Amalekite regime, but Jewish defensive measures were disproportionate and war crimes did occur." 

A spokesman for Queen Esther condemned the warrant, and reiterated her refusal to meet with a UN commission investigating civil unrest after the collapse of Haman's center-right cabinet.

Media reports, human rights groups, and Amalekite non-governmental organizations say 125,000 people -- mostly Amalekite civilians -- died in fights with the Jews. Jewish groups dispute this, putting the death toll at 75,000 -- all of whom were combatants.

Smiley Happy Purim to all our readers.

Top 5 Israel Groups On Facebook

Join-facebook-group-icon Ranked in order of most new members in past five days:

  1. Israelis Who Expect to Be Named As Suspects in the Dubai Killing

  2. My Son Became a Mossad Informant and Converted

  3. 1 Million Israeli Soldiers Who Want to Turn IDF Tanks Into Electric Powered Vehicles

  4. Mullahs Next Door Are Keeping Me Up At Night With Noisy Centrifuges

  5. I Was Arrested For War Crimes in the UK

Smiley Happy Purim to all our readers.

Rebranding and Renaming iSrael

The Knesset approved a bill changing the name of the Jewish state from Israel to iSrael, effective immediately.

"We learned from the iPad, iPhone and iTouch that the lower case "i" is great branding," said Avital Leibovich of the iDF Spokesman's dept. "It conveys a high tech image we can tap into since it's also the first letter of our country's name." 

She, along with a representative from the iEmbassy in London, blogger Aussie Dave of iSraellyCool, and Jeffrey Halper of iCAHD, were invited by iBA radio to discuss the effects of the name change.

Not everyone was happy with the move though. "We'll have to change all our stationary," griped one AiPAC official speaking on condition of anonymity.

Smiley Happy Purim to all our readers.


Thursday, February 25 2010

License Fee Revolt

SmashedTVYou have to admire Jeremy Flashman. According to the Jewish Chronicle, the 45-year-old father of three would rather go to prison than pay the mandatory TV license fee. Why?

The telecoms engineer, from Woodford Green in Essex, has become so angered by the BBC and the way it reports Israel that he has refused to pay his television licence.

So when an enforcement officer arrived at his door, Mr Flashman did not hesitate: "I told him I have a television, and I admitted watching it without a licence. He said I would receive a summons within 21 days.

"I will never pay them another penny. This is my protest against the BBC and the way it goes about reporting what happens in Israel. It's because I'm Jewish and Israel is at the heart of being Jewish."

Mr Flashman claimed that the BBC was breaking its own charter by allowing what he claimed were biased reports to be broadcast.

It's easy to understand Flashman's anger. The Beeb spent £200,000 of public money to cover up the Balen report on publicly-funded anti-Israel bias. Flashman's license fee revolt will be worth watching.

Regarding Mabhouh's Passport, Part 2

With large segments of world opinion self-righteously outraged over the abuse of passports by Mahmoud Mabhouh's killers, I've been waiting for details on the Hamas honcho's own travel documents.

Reuters fills in info I haven't seen elsewhere.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas commander assassinated in Dubai, used the same tradecraft -- fraudulent passports and disguises -- as his killers during secret missions to procure arms for the group, a confidant said on Thursday . . .

"He had many passports of different nationalities -- all Arab," he added. "Recently he underwent surgery to reshape his nose. It became narrower." . . .

Dubai police have not commented officially on the passport Mahbouh used to enter the emirate. Mabhouh's brother said the Hamas commander arrived in Dubai on a Palestinian passport that listed his family name as Hassan.

With Dubai police not talking about Mabhouh's abuse of passports, it's up to enterprising journalists to dig up that part of the story.

Earlier this week, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that Mabhouh entered Dubai with a phony Iraqi passport issued by Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

HonestReporting Radio Debuts

HonestReporting_radio HonestReporting Radio debuts:

Yarden Frankl and I discuss coverage of Afghan civilian casualties, compared to coverage of Palestinian civilian casualties.

Is there an MSM double standard between the IDF and NATO?

Online here.

February 25 Links

Palestinian Authority: Still Stealing "Hundreds of Millions
Israel's Fleet Street Enemies
Video Killer Thriller in Dubai
Where Is Goldstone Now?


Wednesday, February 24 2010

The ABCs of Correcting the Record


The Australian Broadcasting Corp. News is under government scrutiny for its coverage of Israel.

This is noteworthy partly because the examples cited by Senator Eric Abetz were initially repeated on air plenty of times. But more eye-opening were the publicly funded news service's flat-footed efforts to correct the record.

The following is from a hearing whose transcripts are online here (pdf format).

In brief:

1. The ABC widely reported the false UN claim that Israel shelled an UNWRA school at Jabalya - a claim that the UN retracted a month later (on 4/2/2009). By my count, the ABC mentioned it on at least 28 occasions, including on Radio National AM, PM and the 7.30 Report.

2. The ABC reported the UN’s retraction on just 2 occasions - 1 brief News Online report and 1 The World Today segment. Mark Scott’s excuse for the disparity in coverage was that the Victorian bushfires dominated the news at the time of the UN retraction. However, the Victorian bushfire commenced 3 days after the UN retraction; within 3 days of the UN’s making its false allegation, the ABC had reported it on 22 (out of the 28) occasions. Mark Scott’s Victorian bushfires excuse is false as well as being contemptible.

3. The ABC repeated this false allegation on Radio National AM on 6/5/2009, at a time when it knew or should have known that it was false (since the UN had retracted it 3 months prior). The ABC ‘corrected’ this broadcast by appending an Editor’s note - 16 days later! - to the transcript of the broadcast located on the ABC’s web site. Of course, few if any of the ABC’s listeners would have become aware that this ABC allegation of Israeli war crimes was false.

At least the ABC admits that far more people saw the erroneous coverage than the correction:

Senator ABETZ—Would you accept that the story got out to a larger end audience than the retraction or clarification?

Mr Scott—I think that is likely, Senator, yes.

Its a fact of life that corrections don't get the same audience as the original stories (Jayson Blair's an exception to that rule). But even by MSM standards, the ABC's response is pretty sad. 

Andrew Bolt fills in more details. See additional food for thought at the American Journalism Review.

Rachel Corrie 101


Rachel Corrie's parents filed a civil suit against Israel's defense ministry. The trial gets underway on March 10 in Haifa.

Corrie, a 23-year-old US citizen, came to Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement as a human shield against IDF operations against smuggling tunnels. She died in March, 2003, accidentally run over by an army bulldozer.

Her death's a tragedy. She was clearly worth more to the Palestinian cause as a living activist than as a blond-haired "martyr."

Rachel Corrie went to Gaza to be a human shield. That Rachel unfortunately died as the very human shield she set out to be moots her parents' lawsuit. If I were Palestinian, I'd even argue that it cheapens her memory.

One point I'd like to see this lawsuit clarify: Did Rachel Corrie really know what she was doing? If it turns out she didn't, the Corrie family should consider seeking legal action against the ISM.


Tuesday, February 23 2010

Regarding Mabhouh's Passport . . .

While the world directs its scorn at the Israeli Mossad for abusing EU passports, I've been wondering about the passport Mahmoud Mabhouh used to enter Dubai.

Winnipeg Free Press correspondent Sam Segev sheds some light:

This time, Mabhouh came to Dubai to organize another Iranian arms shipment to Gaza via Sudan. Mabhouh came to Dubai from Damascus carrying an Iraqi passport and with a false name. It was issued by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

20 #Israel Tweople Worth Following

Twittering The problem: You're new to Twitterville and you don't know where to begin networking with other people who share your interest in Israel and the Mideast.

The solution: Follow the following "tweople;" more importantly, however, is to check out who follows them, as well as who they're following. It means investing some time -- intuitively clicking on certain people to find out more -- but the due diligence is worth it.

As you check out Twitter's Israel scene, be sure to follow MediaBackspin, HonestReporting, our colleagues at HonestReporting Canada and look at who we're networking with. This list is in no particular order -- it's just my part in helping newcomers to Twitter put the "social" in "social media."

Martin Kramer
William Daroff
David Saranga
Miriam Schwab
Sderot Media Center
Amir Mizroch
A Soldier's Mother
David Hazony
Brian of London
Meir Javedanfar
Tamar Abraham
Bradley Burston
Mick Weinstein
Benji Lovitt
Jewish Chronicle

There are a lot other twitterers worth following, but the list got unwieldy after 20. Want to plug anyone else(including yourself)? Post your recommendations in the comments section.


Monday, February 22 2010

Mossad Passport Affair: A Stick to Beat Israel?

Despite a lack of evidence, sensationalized reporting drives the story.

See HonestReporting's latest communique: Mossad Passport Affair: A Stick to Beat Israel?

Milestone Moment for Citizen Journalism

NedaSoltan The Iranians who filmed the death of Neda Soltan and then used the internet to get it out received a prestigious George Polk Award for videography. It's the first time the award was given to an anonymously produced work: 

“We don't know who took it or who uploaded it, but we know it has news value,” said John Darnton, curator of the George Polk Awards. “This award celebrates the fact that, in today's world, a brave bystander with a cell-phone camera can use video-sharing and social networking sites to deliver news.”

The NY Times tracked down some of the brave people who helped get the video out. The chain includes Iranians in and out of the country using email, Facebook and YouTube before Soltan's death went viral.

The videos making the biggest impact on the world are no longer produced by the mainstream media, but by ordinary people armed with -- in this case -- a cell phone and an internet connection.


Sunday, February 21 2010

February 21 Links

Israeli Embassy Tweets About "Hit On #Dubai Target"
Dubai Does PR Right
If Israel killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, Did It Have the Right To?
Targeted For Death: Weighing In On the Legality
Matt's Take on Dubai
Reporters’ Allegiances
I Cost More, but I’m a Specialist


Thursday, February 18 2010

Double Standards? NATO's Afghan Errors

Why are Afghan civilian casualties "accidents" but Palestinian civilian casualties are "war crimes"?

See HonestReporting's latest communique: Double Standards? NATO's Afghan Errors


Wednesday, February 17 2010

MSM's Whodunit: Blame Mossad Without Proof

Although there's no proof, two Daily Mail articles state that Israel's Mossad was responsible for the Mahmoud al-Mabhouh hit in Dubai:

Terror of innocent Britons named as assassins: Why choose us, ask Britons whose identities were stolen by Mossad hit squad

Anatomy of an assassination: How Mossad killing could have come straight from the pages of a thriller

I can't imagine that the Mossad would steal Israeli identities to kill Mabhouh in Dubai even while an Israeli delegation made a historic visit under tremendous scrutiny. Despite the certainty of the Daily Mail headlines, you have to read on towards the bottom to find the important small print:

While Hamas has repeatedly accused Mossad of masterminding the assassination, rumours are swirling around the Middle East that the operation may have been carried out by a rival Palestinian group.

One other theory yesterday was that the attack was carried out by Mr al-Mabhouh's enemies within the Palestinian movement. Dubai police have arrested two Palestinians whom they claim are linked to the case.

The world's a better place without Mabhouh. Whether or not this is traced back to the Mossad, Palestinian rivals, or someone else, my sympathy goes to the victims of this identity theft.


Tuesday, February 16 2010

February 16 Links

Is Hamas Accusing Paul Martin of Trying to Locate Gilad Shalit?
Palestinian Fund Courts International Investors
Kuwaiti Newspaper Fined Over Pro-Israel Advert
Twitter 'Is A Weapon In Cyber Warfare'
Rinse, Wash, Repeat: For the last time, Stephen Walt, Israel did not send the U.S. and Britain into Iraq


Monday, February 15 2010

Andrew Sullivan and What Sometimes Happens to Israel's Defenders

I just finished reading Andrew Sullivan's post, What Often Happens To Israel's Critics I.

Sullivan was coming to the defense of Johann Hari, a columnist at The Independent. Sullivan's entitled to his views, so instead of asking Why?, I'm asking Why now?

You see, the fight Sullivan weighs in on was back in 2008.

That's ancient in blog years, so here's a quick recap:

It began in advance of Israel's 60th anniversary: Hari compared Israel to sh*t (literally) in a column based on an invented quote, which HonestReporting pointed out. Rather than address the issues we raised, Hari's follow-up column smeared HonestReporting, claiming we (along with Melanie Phillips and CAMERA) were trying to intimidate him and other critics of Israel. It was a charge HonestReporting responded to before the blog storm petered out.

I didn't see anything in Sullivan's post indicating a new development, and I even looked at Hari's archives to see if I had missed something. Secret prisons in Afghanistan are beyond our scope.

And then I saw where I believe Sullivan picked up on Hari. On the side of the page was this box. Check out item 3 on the list.


Amazing. The half-life of Hari's tripe is longer than Iran's uranium production, and The Independent's readers were already giving this radioactive commentary a life of its own. Sullivan just enriched it even more.

UPDATE Feb. 16: Sullivan posted a part 2 item, but for whatever reason, removed it. All that remains is Sullivan's tweet. When I posted this last night, it should have occured to me that Hari's column was boosted to its popular status because of the traffic from Sullivan's blog. That's the more likely case.

But my original question remains. Why is Sullivan writing this now?

If this has anything to do with his dust-up with Leon Wieseltier, leave HonestReporting out of it.

3 Important Differences Between Paul Martin and Alan Johnston


British Journalist Paul Martin was arrested by Hamas after he showed up at the trial of an Abu Rish Brigade member accused of providing info to Israel.

According to AP, Martin came to show support because he had interviewed the defendant a few weeks ago.

I initially assumed Martin was a moonbat film maker in over his head, but the Times of London sheds more light on his professional background. It also turns out (via Solomonia) that Martin was arrested by Hamas before.

Martin's situation doesn't begin to compare to the kidnap of BBC journalist Alan Johnston in 2007.

  1. Johnston was kidnapped and held by a murky group calling itself the Army of Islam, giving Hamas a degree of plausible deniability. Martin was arrested by Hamas police on orders from a Hamas judge.
  2. Johnston was a well-known reporter working for one of the world's largest news services. The BBC rallied public support for Johnston and maintained pressure on the Islamists. Martin is less-known co-owner of a company that supplies video footage to news organizations. The company, World News & Features, will have little leverage with Hamas.
  3. Johnston was abducted when Hamas was still consolidating its hold over Gaza. Martin was arrested by a de facto government that will make no move compromising it's "authority" over Gaza.

Obtaining a quick release for Martin without appearing to recognize Hamas will be tricky. Can the UK Foreign Office pull that off?

Of course, Martin's situation has to be seen in the context of issues of press freedom in Gaza and the West Bank I blogged last week. In those cases, the problems were limited to Palestinian journos. Martin's arrest is a clear signal that foreign correspondents are losing room to maneuver too.


Sunday, February 14 2010

Win an Apple iPad From HonestReporting

Enter for free to win an Apple iPad by subscribing to HonestReporting. That's iPad, not iPod.

Already a subscriber? Refer your friends, and for each one who registers with HonestReporting, you'll receive an extra chance to WIN!

Click to enter.

Date of Prize Drawing: Sunday April 11, 2010 at 12:00 noon EST.

Giveaway rules here. Other prizes include HonestReporting jackets, caps and t-shirts.

Good luck!

Avatar Photo Ops in Bilin

You gotta like the latest photo opportunity stunt to keep Bilin in the news. Protestors dressed up like characters from Avatar.


A Demonstrator dressed as a figure of the movie 'Avatar', shouts slogans against Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah, Friday, Feb. 12, 2010. Israel says the barrier is needed for security, but Palestinians consider it a land grab. Opponents of Israel's contentious separation barrier in the West Bank scored a long-awaited victory Thursday when the government began rerouting the enclosure to eat up less of a Palestinian village that has become a symbol of anti-wall protests and the site of frequent clashes. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Santa got tiresome anyway. Howabout ripping off other blue characters like Blue, the Blue Devil, or the Blue Beetle?

Countering Canadian Campus Media Bias Against Israel

Canadian campuses are due to host the odious Israel Apartheid Week, but problems aren't limited to that event. See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: Countering Canadian Campus Media Bias Against Israel.


Thursday, February 11 2010

5 Questions on Vote Rigging at Palestinian Journo Union

The PA hijacked recent elections held by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate to ensure key positions for Fatah cronies.

Ramallah journo Hani al-Masri told the Jerusalem Post  :

About 300 “journalists” who participated in the election had nothing to do with journalism, he said. “Some of them were members of the Palestinian security forces, while most of the journalists who were registered as members of the syndicate’s generals assembly were actually employees of the Palestinian Authority or political activists,” he added.

The Maan News Agency further adds:

Another scandalous flaw blemishing the new Union is the so-called quota system which means that the union seats are divided among PLO factions in accordance with an anachronistic system dating back to the early 1980s.

Pursuant to this system, Fatah receives the lion’s share of the seats, followed by the PFLP and its former ideological sister, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), followed by a myriad of small factions, most of which have few followers and supporters on the ground.

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are totally unrepresented in the new body and the same applies to dozens, if not hundreds, of independent journalists.

This raises an awful lot of questions. Here are five off the top of my head.

  1. Are any of these 300 on the payroll of news services we should know about?

  2. Is this ammo for Israeli restrictions on Palestinian journalists?

  3. What do Ethan Bronner's critics have to say about this?

  4. In light of yesterday's post about Hamas and press freedom, is Fatah's attitude is any better?

  5. How independent are these reporters when they're so clearly beholden to groups like Fatah, Hamas, the PFLP, etc.?

UPDATE Feb. 11: The Media Line raises a related issue which I'll phrase as question number 6. Is it any wonder that Fahmi Shabaneh, who recently blew the whistle on PA corruption, turned to the Israeli media?


Wednesday, February 10 2010

'I'm Unconvinced By Every Term I Draw On In My Reporting'

The problem: You and your Hamas colleagues are de facto rulers of Gaza after seizing the strip in a bloody coup more than two years ago.

But you feel delegitimized by news services which continue to describe Hamas as "the deposed government" because Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the national unity government and appointed Salam Fayyad to replace Ismail Haniyeh as Prime Minister.

The solution: Formally ban media references to the Hamas as Gaza's "deposed government."

Well, Hamas did just that, leaving Palestinian journalists stuck in the middle. Fares Akram of Xinhua describes the situation in a remarkably frank dispatch:

Fed up with the description, the deposed Hamas Information Ministry last month issued a statement aimed at "defining the accurate idioms and explaining the confusion in some of the terms in use."

"Saying the deposed government when referring to the Palestinian government in Gaza is a political usage, biased, illegal and distorting the truth," the Hamas statement said.

The statement offered journalists descriptions when talking about Hamas government. "We emphasize that you use alternative descriptions that are some sort of fair, like the Palestinian government in Gaza, the Palestinian government of Ismail Haneya or the government in Gaza."

According to Raed Lafi, some of the journalists are bound by terms their news agencies or newspapers guideline. "I'm unconvinced by every term I draw on in my reporting," he said.

Hamas and its apologists base much of its legitimacy on elections for a Parliament that recently expired. Abbas enjoys an open-ended presidency thanks to approval of the democratic bastion that is the PLO Central Council. In other words, Palestinian democracy is a mess.

Pondering who -- if anyone -- has a mandate to represent the Palestinian people in Israeli peace talks can only lead to uncomfortable questions that are better swept under the rug. Best is to let the Palestinian journalists in Gaza grapple with the question on their own, right?

The Camera Doesn't Lie, But What About the Caption?

An Israeli and Palestinian scuffled during a riot -- right in front of AP and Reuters photographers. But as Elder of Ziyon points out, the captions are vastly different. The Israeli in black has the Palestinian in a headlock.



An undercover Israeli police officer (R) scuffles with a Palestinian youth suspected of throwing stones while trying to detain him during clashes in the Shuafat refugee camp in the West Bank near Jerusalem February 9, 2010. Clashes erupted between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli police that entered the refugee camp, a Reuters witness said on Tuesday. (REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

Now for AP:


A Palestinian rioter tries to grab a weapon from a plain-clothes Israeli police officer, right, during clashes in Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010. Palestinians scuffled with Israeli security forces, after an arrest operation triggered clashes in the camp the day before. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

The captions at Daylife didn't include the names of the photographers. I added their names from Yahoo links 1 and 2.

Strictly speaking, the two captions don't contradict each other. But credit Bernat Armangue with going the extra mile to more carefully describe the context.

Elder of Ziyon also posted some other images from Shuafat showing why rock throwing isn't so harmless.

The London Times, Jenin, and Goebbels' Big Lie


At the Times of London, Robin Yassin-Kassab reviews a Palestinian book called “Mornings In Jenin.” Kassab writes:

By now we care very much about the key characters, and through them we experience “that year without end” that stretches through some of the bloodier signposts of Palestinian history — the naksa or disaster of 1967, the Lebanese refugee camp massacres, the 2002 Jenin massacre.

Although the UN admitted that no massacre took place in Jenin during the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, Kassab’s casual reference shows how accepted the libel has become. It's a great example of Joseph Goebbels' theory of "The Big Lie."

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."


Tuesday, February 9 2010

NY Times and Conflict of Interest Appearances, Part 2

When I first blogged the NY Times and Conflict of Interest Appearances over the issue of Ethan Bronner's son serving in the IDF, I pointed out that Western journalists having personal relationships with Palestinian stringers and activists create their own conflicts of interest too.

I was thinking along the lines of ABC anchor Peter Jennings and his well-known "relationship" with Palestinian spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi.

But as Tom Gross points out, conflicting interests applies to other extracurricular activities:

To single out Bronner smacks of discrimination. And if the Times does now decide to reassign him, it should certainly also find someone to replace its current Gaza correspondent, Taghreed El-Khodary, who sounded like a virtual Hamas propagandist when she spoke at a media conference I attended last November, as I pointed out here.

The problem ain't limited to the Gray Lady. In 2007, Israel allowed a Hamas member employed by the BBC -- subsequently identified as Fayad Abu Shamala -- to enter Gaza to secure BBC reporter AlanJohnston's freedom. I didn't see the mainstream media ask if  perhaps the Beeb should reassign Shamala.

Shamala's own conflict of interest is well-known. Speaking at a Hamas rally on May 6, 2001, the BBC reporter declared:

"Journalists and media organizations [are] waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people."

I'm not commenting on whether Bronner should be replaced. If the MSM is suddenly into cleaning up conflicts of interest, let's just be consistent.


Monday, February 8 2010

BMJ's Selective Editing

See HonestReporting’s latest media critiques:

• While a British Medical Journal online story includes positive material, why is it missing from the medical publication's print edition? BMJ's Selective Editing

• NY Times public editor Clark Hoyt has called on the paper to reassign Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner. Find out why. NY Times and Conflict of Interest Appearances


Sunday, February 7 2010

NY Times and Conflict of Interest Appearances


NY Times public editor Clark Hoyt today calls on the paper to reassign Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner. Why?

Because Executive editor Bill Keller confirmed what Electronic Intifada first claimed: Bronner's son serves in the IDF, creating a conflict of interest for the paper.

Keller wrote that he doesn't intend to replace Bronner.

I'm not going to comment on whether or not Bronner should be replaced over this. I just want to see the MSM be consistent here. All the western journos in personal relationships with Palestinian stringers and activists -- whether it's marriage, living together, or having an affair -- create conflicts of interest too.

UPDATE Feb. 8: YNet News fills in some more info about Bronner.

UPDATE Feb 8: Worth reading: The Jerusalem Post got reax from Israel's foreign press corps. Jeffrey Goldberg also weighs in.


Thursday, February 4 2010

4 Goldstone-Related Articles You Need to Read

A number of important Gaza/Goldstone related articles came up today. It's easier to address them together in one blog post.

1. Asa Kasher takes an excellent, in-depth look at the moral issues of the Gaza war. He has a knack for taking broad issues of war ethics and coherently organizing them -- without losing important details.

Kasher first came to my radar with this article in Azure on international law and Operation Cast Lead.

2. Jonathan Dahohah Halevi analyzes the Hamas response to the Goldstone report. In a nutshell, In a nutshell, the Hamas position that the entire Holy Land -- from the Jordan to the Mediterranean -- is the basis for legitimizing thousands of rockets at Israeli communities over the years.

3. Robin Shepherd debunks The Independent's so-called "expose" and related staff editorial.

Donald Macintyre reported that the IDF "rewrote the rules of war for Gaza" based on one anonymous officer in a Yediot story -- which for reasons unclear, was never published. The Indy then opines that Israel should learn from the Kahan commission that investigated the Sabra and Shatilla massacre. Shepherd writes

However, it has long been a staple of anti-Israeli demonisation to attach full and direct blame for what took place to the Israeli military giving the impression that it was Israel that either did the killing or coordinated it.

This is precisely the game that the Independent is playing. As its editorial team knows all too well, only the smallest minority of readers will know the full details of what took place at Shabra and Shatila. The rest of the readership is left with the clear impression that Israel conducted a terrible massacre in 1982 just as it conducted a terrible massacre during Operation Cast Lead last year.

4. The Jewish Chronicle got itself a nice scoop: Tzipi Livni plans to visit the UK in several weeks "to test the process for the issuing of arrest warrants for alleged war crimes." Sounds like a media circus waiting to happen.

The 'Blood Lust' of Israeli Public Opinion

Russia Today interviewed Israelis who favor new military action in Gaza. The video was posted on RT's own YouTube channel, which means they're responsible for the headline:

Blood Lust: Israelis back new strike on Gaza amid calls to prosecute 'war criminals'

By the way, Israel Matzav was one of the "blood lusting" Israelis interviewed.

Israelis are entitled to favor new military action against Hamas. It doesn't mean they enjoy it, as the word "lust" implies.

Fishermen's Tales at the BBC

The BBC breaks out the violins for Gaza fishermen, who are restricted from sailing too far from the Gaza coast.

But their biggest threat isn't the Israeli navy. It's the terrorists who sent explosive barrels floating onto Israeli shores this week. YNet News writes:

The source stressed that even without Israel's involvement, the explosive barrels could have put Gaza fishermen in danger, had they exploded next to them.

"The terror activists who sent the explosive charges into the sea knew in advance that they could also be hurt. Today of all days, when talking about the Goldstone Report and morality, we must look at what the other side is doing," he said.

Are fishermen complicit in the barrel bombs?

Even if they're not, Hamas has boasted that Iranian rockets are often smuggled by sea.


Wednesday, February 3 2010

Gary Kenzer to Address Chicago Limmud

Gary_kenzer HonestReporting's indefatigable USA director Gary Kenzer will address Limmud Chicago on "Media and Israel: Finding Common Ground."

The event will be held at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL on Sunday, Feb. 14, from 8 am to 11 pm. Gary's presentation is from 12:30 pm to 1:45 pm.

For more info, see Limmud Chicago, or call Gary at 1-847-674-8783.


Tuesday, February 2 2010

Israel Releases Goldstone Response

HRlogoSee HonestReporting’s latest media critiques:

• Israel's own investigations into Operation Cast Lead are published: Israel Releases Goldstone Response

• The public broadcaster holds itself to account for its Mideast coverage: NPR's Self-Examination

NPR's Self-Examination

NprI just finished reading NPR's quarterly report (pdf format) on it's Mideast coverage (via Romenesko). It's an impressive self-examination, and I hope John Felton's comments and criticisms are taken on board.

I also hope the BBC takes note.

The do-no-wrong Beeb gets a helluva lot more public money than NPR could ever dream of, which is why it smugly spent half a million pounds of TV licence money on lawyers to cover up the Balen report -- Malcolm Balen's radioactive assessment of the Beeb's Mideast coverage.

After reading this London Evening Standard commentary, you'll appreciate why I'm so taken by NPR's openness:

Balen's findings, given highly restricted circulation at the end of 2004, were frightening.

Although they were kept secret, elements leaked out, including Balen's conclusion that the BBC's Middle East coverage had been biased against Israel.

The enormity of this can hardly be overstated. Apart from the corporation's legal obligation to be impartial, it had struggled for years to counter allegations that its reporting favoured the Palestinians. The claims meshed with attacks on the BBC for being Left-leaning and undermining its own legitimacy by harbouring a secret liberal agenda. Bosses at the corporation ordered Balen's report to be locked away.

Will NPR act on this? Stay tuned . . .


Monday, February 1 2010

Christians in Hamastan

Israel's Channel 2 takes a closer look at the precarious status of Christians living in Gaza.

Hamas ceased to shock me after it legalized crucifixion of Christians last year.


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