Playing With Fire

This is a cross-post by Lee Smith at Tablet Magazine

When the comments on the blogs of Stephen Walt, Andrew Sullivan, Philip Weiss, and Glenn Greenwald turn ugly, who should be held accountable? Plus: A Jew-baiter’s lexicon.

Last week this column [1] argued that major media organizations were mainstreaming the opinions of anti-Semitic commenters in the hopes of boosting traffic on their websites. Some of my critics mistakenly believed that I was accusing specific journalists and academics—Stephen Walt, Andrew Sullivan, Philip Weiss, and Glenn Greenwald—of being anti-Semites. Some also charged that I had smeared these writers by incorrectly holding them accountable for the hate that appears in the comments section of their blogs.

These detractors missed the point of my article, which had nothing to do with the indiscernible beliefs of individuals; rather, I was instead illustrating that these pundits, their audiences, and the major media companies hosting their blogs, are complicit in the common work of mainstreaming the kind of anti-Semitic language, ideas, and discourse that were once confined to extremist hate sites on the far right.

Let’s start with a very recent example: After I contacted Foreign Policy’s Editor-in-Chief Susan Glasser for comment before publication of last week’s column, FP.com quickly excised dozens of the most egregiously anti-Semitic comments that stuck to Walt’s posts. Perhaps they should have also vetted some of the links that Walt himself embeds for the edification of his readers. Consider this recent post [2] where Walt has inserted a link under the name Ariel Sharon, which leads to a 2002 article [3] on the Media Monitors Network website:

The name Safire, as in William Safire of the New York Times, is a name they recognize well at the State Department. He is one of the high priests of Sulzberger’s New York Times empire which has a franchise to dictate terms to the State Department. Of course, it is Safire himself who appears to be taking in dictation work these days from his old pal, Ariel Sharon. Before you read on, note that the Boston Globe is also a publication owned by Sulzberger. Is there a civil war breaking out among the Yiddish Supremacists? Or is Sulzberger trying to deflect some of the damage that is bound to come his way as a result of transforming his media empire into just another corner of the Israeli Lobby? Who cares? Let Sulzberger explain his shadow government’s antics.

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Guardian glosses over military training in Gaza camps

This post is from Just Journalism.

Today’s Guardian reports on the array of summer camps on offer to the children of Gaza, namely those organised by UNRWA, Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

In ‘Playing politics: summer camp for Gaza’s children,’ Middle East correspondent Harriet Sherwood makes clear the differences between the programme provided by the United Nations, which aims ‘to give the children a sense of fun and normality’ and ‘keep them away from troubles and politics’ and those run by the militant organisations, which teach that ‘Anyone who makes concessions on Palestine is making concessions on the Qur’an.’

The journalist includes quotes from a camp organiser, saying, ‘We believe in the right of resistance and we are against peace negotiations’ and explains that the camps ‘are seen by militant organisations as an opportunity to influence a generation of children’.

However, the article then euphemistically states that militants intend to ‘inculcate a duty to resist the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land’. This underplays the fact that these camps have been used to train children on how to conduct terrorist attacks against Israelis. Even when describing the militant activities in the camp, Sherwood does not explicitly discuss this controversial issue.

See full essay, here


Richard Millett and Jonathan Hoffman Banned from Parliament

This is cross-post by Richard Millett

I’d like to be writing a report of a meeting I attended in Parliament last night but unfortunately I was banned from entering.

The title of the talk was:

The “Jewish character” of the State of Israel, its meaning and significance, political discrimination, and the condition of Arabs in Israel.

It wasn’t a case of “not on the list you’re not coming in” but of “don’t like your views you’re not coming in”.

I had had emailed Samira of MEMO (Middle East Monitor) last Friday (23 July) to ask if I could come to last night’s meeting. I received no response so I went along to Committee Room 14 last night.

While I was queuing I was approached by Tom Eisner, of MEMO and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, who recognised me although we had never met before.

He asked if I was here to disrupt the meeting. I said I wasn’t and I had never done so in the past. He then asked for a guarantee of maybe £200, forfeited if I got ejected for disruption. I think he was joking but he did say I could go in. I asked if he could have a word with the registration-table as I had not received any response to my email.

But by then other fingers were pointing and suddenly three police officers were bearing down on me. One officer grasped my upper arm and forcibly led me away. My details were taken and I was escorted out of Parliament.

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The “Nakba” Obsession: The Palestinian national narrative is the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

This is an essay by Sol Stern, at City Journal.

A specter is haunting the prospective Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations—the specter of the Nakba. The literal meaning of the Arabic word is “disaster”; but in its current, expansive usage, it connotes a historical catastrophe inflicted on an innocent and blameless people (in this case, the Palestinians) by an overpowering outside force (international Zionism). The Nakba is the heart of the Palestinians’ backward-looking national narrative, which depicts the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 as the original sin that dispossessed the land’s native people. Every year, on the anniversary of Israel’s independence, more and more Palestinians (including Arab citizens of Israel) commemorate the Nakba with pageants that express longing for a lost paradise. Every year, the legend grows of the crimes committed against the Palestinians in 1948, crimes now routinely equated with the Holocaust. Echoing the Nakba narrative is an international coalition of leftists that celebrates the Palestinians as the quintessential Other, the last victims of Western racism and colonialism.

There is only one just compensation for the long history of suffering, say the Palestinians and their allies: turning the clock back to 1948. This would entail ending the “Zionist hegemony” and replacing it with a single, secular, democratic state shared by Arabs and Jews. All Palestinian refugees—not just those still alive of the hundreds of thousands who fled in 1948, but their millions of descendants as well—would be allowed to return to Jaffa, Haifa, the Galilee, and all the villages that Palestinian Arabs once occupied.

Such a step would mean suicide for Israel as a Jewish state, which is why Israel would never countenance it. At the very least, then, the Nakba narrative precludes Middle East peace. But it’s also, as it happens, a myth—a radical distortion of history.

See rest of the essay, here.

The Flotilla Farce (Whether they are from Turkey, Ireland or Cyprus, those that participate reek of hypocrisy.)

This essay, by Danny Ayalon, Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, was published in The Wall Street Journal.

A Palestinian refugee collects metal and plastic objects at a garbage dump in the Palestinian refugee camp of Beddawi near Tripoli.

A couple of years ago, a Palestinian refugee camp was encircled and laid siege to by an army of tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers. Attacks initiated by Palestinian militants triggered an overwhelming response from the army that took the life of almost 500 people, including many civilians. International organizations struggled to send aid to the refugee camps, where the inhabitants were left without basic amenities like electricity and running water. During the conflict, six U.N. personnel were killed when their car was bombed.

Government ministers and spokesmen tried to explain to the international community that the Palestinian militants were backed by Syria and global jihadist elements. Al Qaeda condemned the government and the army, declaring that the attack was part of a “crusade” against their Palestinian brothers.

While most will assume that the events described above took place in the West Bank or Gaza, they actually took place in Lebanon in the summer of 2007, when Palestinian terrorists attacked the Lebanese Army, which struck back with deadly force. The scene of most of the fighting was the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Northern Lebanon, which was home to the Islamist Fatah al-Islam, a group that has links with al Qaeda.

See the rest of the essay

Cameron’s “come-on” to an unsavoury bed-fellow, and CiF’s Simon Tisdall’s reaction to it

In Turkey today, David Cameron lost no time in indulging  the FCO’s favourite pastime of  giving a good kicking to those pesky, arrogant Israelis/Jews (well, what’s the difference?), simultaneously having a love-in with Turkey’s Islamist PM, Tayyip Recep Erdogan—- can’t  wait to have you in bed with us in the EU—-you’re my heart’s desire.  (It’s always good to kill two birds with one stone.)

CiF contributor Simon Tisdall framed Dave’s comments as signalling “his kick and run diplomacy”, but obviously delighted in what he probably regards as the deserved reward for all CiF’s tireless efforts in it’s relentless campaign against the Zionist entity.

He thus writes, “David Cameron jumped into the ever-sensitive politics of the Middle East with both boots flying today, determined to call a spade a bloody shovel and Gaza a prison camp that shamed all those, principally Israel, responsible for its enduring misery.”

So there you have it, CiF’s enduring leitmotif, it’s all Israel’s fault.

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Katharine Viner nails her colors to the mast (head)

This is a guest post by AKUS (Update below)

In April, Israeli Nurse wrote of the impending changes at the Guardian, following the departure of Georgina Henry to the “Culture” section of the Guardian, which apparently was in need of extra clicks that can only be ensured by posting the anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian articles that are so successful in bringing out the Israel-bashers on CiF’s Middle East section.

Although Georgina Henry was a hard act to follow for sheer malice and double-talk, the Guardian appears to have scored a home-run with the idea of bringing in  a feminist Jewish editor to replace Georgina – Katharina Viner (see also ‘She never hated men’ – “But the death at the age of 58 of ‘the most maligned feminist on the planet’ has deprived feminism of its last truly challenging voice, says Katharine Viner”).

We now have a female as-a-Jew leading the charge for endless articles intended to delegitimize and denigrate Israel. Viner sees herself as the torchbearer for Rachel Corrie, the American inadvertently killed  as she tried to protect an arms-smuggling tunnel with her body in Gaza.

Viner has quickly equipped herself with a stable of equally biased, fringe female Jewish contributors. There is the deplorably uninformed Mizrachi Shabi. Viner introduced us to new face on the block (see the parrot on Viner’s shoulder), Florida native Guarnieri,(“a Tel Aviv  based journalist”), an ultra-leftist new arrival in Israel thoroughly disgraced in her CiF debut by chortling CiFers when she revealed a total lack of understanding of the issue of global foreign worker regulations – and Israel’s adherence to widely accepted policies. A  US native, and now, apparently, Israeli immigrant taking advantage of the right-of-return to condemn her new country, as-a-Jew  Guernieri performed the remarkable feat of avoiding any mention of what is happening to Mexicans back home in Arizona in her eagerness to condemn Israel for proposing to implement the same rules applied across the Western world.

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Oliver Stone: “Conspiracy Theorist? Who, me…?”

This is a cross-post by Mark Gardner at the blog of The CST

Film director, Oliver Stone, famously knows a thing or three about conspiracies. Odd then, that when telling the Sunday Times about his next project, the “Secret History of America” he should have fallen foul of the hoary old one about Jews running the world.

Stone’s comments appeared at the end of an interview with Camilla Long and they were neither challenged; nor referred to in the headlines and sub-headlines accompanying the article. This was how it appeared

“Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than [to] the Jewish people, 25 or 30m.”

[Long asks] Why such a focus on the Holocaust then?

“The Jewish domination of the media” he says. “There’s a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years.”

Following protests from Israel and American Jewish groups, Stone made a partialback-pedal, concentrating on his having said the word “Jews”

“In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret.”

“Jews obviously do not control media or any other industry. The fact that the Holocaust is still a very important, vivid and current matter today is, in fact, a great credit to the very hard work of a broad coalition of people committed to the remembrance of this atrocity – and it was an atrocity.”

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Cleric on Egyptian TV: Hitler Was Right to Do What He Did to the Jews

AKA, Something you’ll never see reported on the pages of The Guardian.

Watch Video Clip, produced and translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute, here.

The following are excerpts from a religious program hosted by Egyptian cleric Hussam Fawzi Jabar, which aired on Al-Nas TV (Egypt) on July 11, 2010: (See MEMRI’s full transcript here)

Hussam Fawzi Jabar: “This is the nature of the Jews. By nature, they abhor keeping their commitments. By nature, they hate peace. By nature, they love treachery, betrayal, deception, killing, and blood. This is their nature. [...]

“It is very sad to see some of our own people, who speak our own tongue, try to convince their peoples that the Jews are peace-loving, that a solution to the satisfaction of both parties can be reached with them. I say that whoever says this and tries to convince others should either deny what is said in the Koran and the Sunna, and accept what the Jews say as truth, or else deny what the Jews say and accept what is said in the Koran and the Sunna. There is no third alternative.”

The Gaza Kiddies’ Roadshow – turning Britons against Israel, one whistlestop at a time

This is cross posted from the blog: Daphne Anson

You won’t see the picture shown here in an exhibition of children’s art that opened at Manchester Cathedral over the weekend.  This picture, which we might entitle “Red Alert”, is by a little Israeli girl; it depicts her frightening experiences in her home town of Sderot, the target of escalated Qassam rocket attacks by Hamas following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.  And you won’t find any attempts to explain Israel’s rationale  for “Operation Cast Lead” either.  For the exhibition, which has the backing of UNESCO and of official Gazan agencies, is unashamedly one-sided.  Called “Loss of Innocence”, it shows only the artwork of children from Gaza, portraying (or purporting to portray) scenes of distress and barbarity from – you’ve guessed it! – during Cast Lead, and is in many ways the Hamas Propaganda Ministry’s dream.

It consists of about 50 pictures, brought back from Gaza last year by Rod Cox, a Cheshire property developer who went there with the Viva Palestina convoy in which George Galloway also participated.  Due to help Cox to launch the exhibition at the cathedral – I missed that event myself – was Mona Baker, the Egyptian-born Manchester professor who caused widespread outrage in 2002 when, in accordance with her belief that Israeli academic institutions must be boycotted, she removed two Israel-based scholars  from the editorial boards of two journals she edits.

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A Step too far: The Guardian again gives Neve Gordon the chance to delegitimize Israel

Thirty pieces of silver have apparently morphed with time into the £75 said to be paid by the Guardian for commissioned articles including those, no matter how far removed from the facts, which delegitimize and defame the Jewish state.

Regular readers of CiF will by now have become accustomed to the ideologically dictated rants of Neve Gordon and his rather unfortunate habit of spitting into the well from which he drinks, but with his latest CiF article Gordon and the Guardian have gone a step too far in their mutual crusade against the State of Israel and crossed the all-important red line between criticism (however biased or ridiculous) and libel.

The title of this diatribe is “Ethnic cleansing in the Israeli Negev” and the theme is continued in the body of the article itself which means that we cannot let Gordon off the hook by blaming some editor with comprehension difficulties; this is a joint effort. The definition of ethnic cleansing is “the attempt to create ethnically homogenous geographic areas through the deportation or forcible displacement of persons belonging to particular ethnic groups”. This is not what happened at Al Arakib on July 27th, and as a resident of the Negev, Neve Gordon knows that full well.

What did take place at Al Arakib was an attempt by the Israeli authorities to enforce the laws of the land in a geographical area with a population regrettably notorious for flouting them. The events of that morning are merely the result of years of refusal by the evictees to comply with the law and this particular case is only the tip of a very large iceberg.

For around a decade Israeli courts and various official bodies have been dealing with the case of Al Arakib and the numerous appeals presented by the Al Aoukab Bedouin tribe regarding this particular piece of land. The amount of documentation on the subject is huge, but the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court from 2006 gives an insight into the case which Neve Gordon obviously did not bother to investigate before he put digit to keyboard.

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UK Launch of “Friends of Israel Initiative”

This is a guest post by Roslyn Pine

Last Monday, July 19th, I was privileged to attend the UK launch of Friends of Israel Initiative (FII), hosted by the Henry Jackson Society, and chaired by the new MP, Robert Halfon, in the House of Commons, Westminster, London.

An illustrious panel, including three of the founding members, addressed the packed meeting. It comprised former Spanish prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar; former President of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera; British historian, Andrew Roberts; and was joined by the distinguished British lawyer and academic, Anthony Julius. Each spoke from their own individual perspective.

FII is an initiative formed in response to the rising tide of criticism, hatred and delegitimisation aimed uniquely at Israel.  FII is funded by private donors from Spain, America, Israel, France, Italy and the UK – with an initial working budget of almost £1 million a year.

The proceedings were opened by MP Robert Halfon, who observed that just weeks earlier there had been a hostile meeting of parliamentarians, led by foreign secretary, William Hague, in that very same committee room, to debate Israel’s culpability in the Mavi Marmara incident.

Hose Maria Aznar, the driving force behind the initiative, gave the first address, and his message was that any attack on Israel’s legitimacy is nothing less than an attack on Western civilisation and the values it embodies. Simply put, “if Israel goes down, we all go down”.

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