Update on Terrorist Attack near Hebron: Hamas officially claims responsibility

Per Ynet:

Hamas claimed full responsibility for the lethal shooting attack in south Mount Hebron Tuesday in which four Israelis were killed.

Abu Ubaida, spokesman for Izz al-Din al-Qassam said: “Qassam Brigades announces its full responsibility for the heroic operation in Hebron. Our men have returned safely to their bases.”

He further noted, “This attack is a chain in a series of attacks, some have been executed, and others will follow.”

Lovely tweets, by “moderate” Guardian contributor, Ali Abunimah, about the terrorist attack near Hebron

H/T: Yaacov Lozowick’s Ruminations:

Ali Abunimah is the founder of Electronic Intifada,  and contributor for the Guardian, Huffington Post, and New York Times when these progressive voices need a “moderate” Palestinian-perspective op-ed.  Abunimah, it should be known, doesn’t believe Israel has the right to exist, and has suggested that Israel’s actions in Gaza are similar to the Nazi massacre in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Here are his responses via Twitter to the cold-blooded execution-style murder of four Jews earlier this evening, two of them women and one pregnant:

Civilian deaths are always tragic. Israel must stop using civilian settlers as human shields for the land it is stealing

And, this:

And it is indeed tragic Israel cynically uses Jewish civilians including kids as human shields for expropriated land.

And, just for clarity, he notes:

that’s my view on this attack too if you need me to grind the point. Is that still unclear?

No Ali, I think we’re all quite clear on your views.

Palestinian Terrorists murder 4 Israelis East of Hebron (Updated info on victims)

Per statements from the IDF spokesperson’s office, and other official Israeli sources:

Four Israelis were murdered in a terrorist drive-by-shooting attack on route 60 near Qiryat Arba, east of Hebron, tonight, August 31st, 2010. Two men and two women, one of whom was pregnant, from the nearby community of Bet Hagay, were the victims of this deadly attack. (Latest reports confirms that the victims were a married couple, and two hitchhikers)

The initial IDF investigation indicates that the terrorists shot up the car with an enormous amount of firepower and – when the car stopped – then approached the vehicle and individually shot each victim to “confirm their kill”.

The Commander of the Judea and Samaria Regional Brigade, Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon said:

“We have suffered a difficult terror attack in the Judea region during which civilians from the area were killed. Firstly, I would like to express my sorrow to the families of those murdered. The terror attack, it seems, was carried out by a passing vehicle, and as far as we can tell, the Hamas terror organization is behind the attack. The investigation is still underway. We were on high alert in light of the upcoming holiday period but regretfully, we were unable to prevent the attack. We will continue to be on high alert in the area. The forces are currently searching the area for the terrorists responsible.”

Only two months ago, on June 6th, 2010,  an Israeli police officer was murdered by Palestinian gunmen in a similar attack near Al Fawwar, south of Hebron, on the same route 60.

On February 2nd, 2010, an IDF Non-Commisioned Officer (NCO), Sergeant 1st class Ihab Hattib was killed by a Palestinian terrorist while stopped in his vehicle at a traffic light in the Tapuah junction, south of Nablus.

Update, 2:10 AM, Jerusalem:

The victims are a husband and wife, parents of six, and two passengers. Their names were cleared for publication Tuesday night by local police:

  • Yitzhak and Talya Imes
  • Kochava Even Chaim
  • Avishai Shindler

The four were all citizens of Beit Haggai.

Yitzhak and Talya Imes were the parents of six children, the eldest one being 24 years old and the youngest one being a year and a half old. Talya Imes was nine months pregnant when she was killed by the terrorists.

Kochava Even Chaim was a teacher in Efrat. She left behind her husband and an 8 year-old daughter.

Avishai Shindler had only recently moved to Beit Hagai with his wife.

The funerals of all four victims will take place beginning at 11:00am on Wednesday.

Myth Busters (Huffington Post readers’ continuing obsession with Israel)

This is cross-posted at Huffington Post Monitor.

It’s become a byline among the Huffington Posters that Israel is responsible for 9/11. Notdirectly responsible, of course (though there are a few people who think the Mossad did it), but that 9/11 was a direct result of US aid to Israel. I have often seen comments along the lines of, “Israel costs us billions per year and all we get in return is 9/11.” This is incredibly misleading because it implies that if the US did not support Israel the 9/11 attacks never would have happened. This is a myth that I will put to rest right here and now.

I’ll start with citing the Arabs themselves who did not feel that Osama Bin Laden was in any way motivated by Israeli actions against the Palestinians. The President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak said, ““Osama bin Laden made his explosions and then started talking about the Palestinians. He never talked about them before.” Dr. Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, dean of Shar’ia and Law at Qatar University said, “In their hypocrisy, many of the [Arab] intellectuals linked September 11 with the Palestinian problem — something that completely contradicts seven years of Al-Qaida literature. Al-Qaida never linked anything to Palestine.”

Even Yasser Arafat agreed: ” [ Bin Laden] “never helped us, he was working in another completely different area and against our interests.” And we know that Arafat would not turn down help from anyone, no matter how odious they were.

So then this begs the question: What was Bin Laden motivated by? This question would better be answered in a book but quite simply he didn’t like the American presence in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East. One short quote:

“The latest and the greatest of these aggressions, incurred by the Muslims since the death of the Prophet (ALLAH’S BLESSING AND SALUTATIONS ON HIM) is the occupation of the land of the two Holy Places -the foundation of the house of Islam, the place of the revelation, the source of the message and the place of the noble Ka’ba, the Qiblah of all Muslims- by the armies of the American Crusaders and their allies.”

He likes to ramble but you get the idea. Read the whole Fatwa if you like, though I would be remiss to say that there is a lot of attacks on “the Zionists” as well, however they remain of secondary importance.

Even more simply, there’s a reason why radical Muslims refer to America as “the Great Satan.” It isn’t because they simply disagree with its actions. You don’t call someone with whom you disagree “Satan,” because that term is the embodiment of all that is evil. Perhaps that distinction is a little too obvious for the Huffington Posters. If America cut off aid to Israel I find it difficult to believe that it would stop being “the Great Satan,” unless it was never all that great to begin with. Which I doubt!

So then I can’t help but wonder: Why do the Huffington Posters believe this, if it is so obviously a half-truth? Well it is common among leftists to blame America for everything bad that happens to it, but that’s pretty cold for a mainstream internet community. But they also don’t like to hold Muslim terrorists accountable for their own actions, so that’s out as well. Maybe this works as a middle ground: They can blame America (not really) and also use the 9/11 attacks to foster their own political agenda, i.e. cutting American ties with Israel. It also works out quite nicely when you combine this theory with the Zionist Occupied Government conspiracy theory which is also common on the Huffington Post. Hey, maybe the Jews are directly responsible for 9/11 after all…

Explaining the EDL and the Guardian

Here’s a follow-up piece by Modernity Blog to his (satirical) guest post last week about the European Defence League (EDL), entitled “Imagine you’re a British neofascist”.  Any essay relating to EDL seems to provoke quite a bit of passion, and the reaction to Modernity’s post was no exception. However, I think it’s a valuable conversation to have, and so am publishing Modernity’s latest piece in the spirit of open debate and free inquiry about this very contentious issue.  We welcome your comments.

This is a cross-post from Modernity Blog

My reason for writing the post, Imagine you’re a British neofascist, was to convey the political absurdity of the Guardian’s original photograph.

The implied meaning of the photo was to connect the EDL with Israel, and so in turn to Jews.

It was to imply, in a not too subtle fashion, that Jews could be EDL thugs too, that was the message coming from the Guardian.

This was not the first time that I have run across this (implied) argument and when you consider the politics and history behind it then it doesn’t bear much scrutiny.

However, let us step back and be clear that the EDL leadership are made up of neo-Nazis and their allies.

We know this from circumstantial evidence, video footage, the publication of EDL events on neo-Nazi bulletin boards and above all from the statements of the one-time founder of the EDL, Paul Ray.

Ray admits that neo-Nazis took over the EDL in a video clip, here.

But perhaps we should consider some of the underlying issues and see what comes out.

In this form of arguing by innuendo, what we are meant to believe is that the neo-Nazis and their close associates, who actually run the EDL and decide policy, have suddenly taken a liking to Israelis, and by inference Jews.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Clearly, an alternative line of reasoning is possible, that the neofascists within the EDL are lying about their motives.

It is a simpler and much more straightforward answer because otherwise we have to explain away why neo-Nazis would suddenly take a liking to Israelis, and Jews.

The problem being is that, neo-Nazis don’t like Jews, and in particular Israel as it is seen as the centre of Jewish power. That is something that all neo-Nazis fear the most. A central theme to Nazism is the notion that Jews control and manipulate events around the world from a central location, in this case Israel. [Warning: illustrative links to original Nazi propaganda, nasty racist material.]

It is hardly credible that entrenched neo-Nazis would suddenly wake up one-day and decide “Yes, we like Israelis.”

It seems incongruous, and ever so improbable.

Why people would advance these arguments in one way shape or form I can’t say, they are nonsensical because you have to assume a multiplicity of tenuous assumptions, that just don’t hang together naturally.

For example, firstly, you have to assume that neo-Nazis are honest about their motives. Secondly, that you can take their word as truthful. Thirdly, that they are sincere in their beliefs. Fourthly, that they have changed completely, to now liking Israelis and Jews.

Which is all rather ludicrous and contrary to the evidence.

Possibly the reason that this argument, by innuendo, is pushed is that those people advancing it are completely ill-informed about the nature of the EDL?

Or conceivably they know next to nothing of politics or history? Perhaps they haven’t thought about the issues? Maybe they are prisoners of their own prejudices, they want to believe the worst and so do.

I can’t say one way or the other but what disturbs me is that seemingly highly educated individuals would erroneously jumped to the conclusion that neo-Nazis have suddenly grown a love for all things Israeli, and Jews in particular.

It doesn’t make sense.

Surely, following Occam’s razor, the simpler answer is probably the correct one? And in the case of the EDL that means they are merely putting on a front and lying.

Of course, if you’re going to seriously argue the EDL really like Israelis and Jews then it is incumbent on you to provide some concrete evidence other than a flag.

Also you would have to explain how neo-Nazis have come to this conclusion and why. Above all, you would have to explain how neo-Nazis have dropped their all-consuming hatred of Jews and are now to be taken seriously.

It’s not too surprising that those most keen to advance these arguments are often themselves fierce critics of Israel, but to argue that the neo-Nazis in the EDL leadership should be taken at face value is naive at best.

Some gullible types might be taken in, but that doesn’t change the historical evidence nor the fact that the EDL leadership are neo-Nazis and their allies.

Again, so anyone trying to advance this argument would:

1) have to explain why the EDL leadership are not neo-Nazis
2) need to argue why those neo-Nazis are sincere and should be taken at their word
3) detail precisely why the EDL had taken this position, etc etc

I favour the simplest answer that the neo-Nazis in the EDL are lying and using this as a ploy to wrong foot their opponents.

Seriously, why should we believe the EDL?

What compelling reason is there that we should suspend our natural scepticism of political activists? If we would take the words of mainstream politicians with a pinch of salt, then surely the EDL’s and their assorted neo-Nazis’ deserve more than a handful?

Ultimately, the EDL are not what they say they are, and anyone semi-serious on these issues shouldn’t be fooled by them, and certainly not Guardian journalists.

Ahava staff carry on under pressure

This is cross-posted from Richard Millett’s Blog

Staff looking out from Ahava store in London

Imagine your journey into work worrying about what you might find when you arrive or whether your office might be violently stormed with you in it.

This is the daily fate of the Ahava staff who work in the shop on Monmouth Street in London’s Covent Garden.

As we all know by now Ahava lost two days of business when late last year the shop was invaded by activists who locked themselves inside while petrified staff looked on. Then last week the shop front was coated in red paint by a couple of “brave” souls who had covered their faces so as not to be picked out by CCTV.

Ahava after last week's paint attack

Yesterday the usual mob of anti-Israel activists turned up en masse with an array of Palestinian and Communist flags and the usual “Boycott Israel” and “Free Palestine” paraphernalia. They were allowed to position themselves a couple of metres from Ahava’s shop door and hand out anti-Israel leaflets to passers-by.

Sadly, one can forget any solidarity from neighbouring shop-keepers for now; Ahava is being told by some to shut up shop and go online.

By yesterday the red paint had been mostly removed at great expense to Ahava. Remnants could still be seen above the shop.

And if you had ever wondered where all the money comes from to fund both the attacks and legal representation, they hold fundraisers:

On September 11th we are putting on a fundraising party to raise money to fund direct actions in support of Palestine, such as blockades of Ahava or Carmel Agrexco. Come on down, with a banging line up and an amazing space to have a party in (the Ratstar comes with 2 rooms of music, a cinema room and even a roof terrace, oh yes), there has never been a funner way to support a great cause. The day kicks off at 4pm, with workshops on direct action, …Palestine related film screenings and a Palestinian cafe. Music starts at 8pm. The night is free before 8pm, £5 suggested donation afterwards, but pay what you can afford. All money raised will go to pay for actions like this; http://london.indymedia.org/articles/2955

No chance of any of that money making it to the starving or malaria-ridden of Africa then, nor the the flood victims in Pakistan nor even to the Palestinians themselves who the activists claim to care so much about.

Meanwhile, here is Channel 10 of Israel’s interesting video clip about the boycott Israel movement. Look out for insightful comment from Lauren Booth.

Barry Rubin: on institutional racism, real and imagined

This is one of the most powerful pieces I’ve read in quite a while.  Rubin’s post, “What Threatens Peace: A Mountain of Hate or A Few Nasty Words”, goes to the heart of the simultaneous phenomena of the West’s masochism, and hyper self-criticism, on one hand, and their willful blindness to vile, institutional (and quite normative) racism and hate in the Arab world on the other. It is quite an understatement to note that this dynamic is consistently on display at the Guardian – and other progressive media – and represents, I fear, a profound threat to the future of liberal democracy in the world. The biggest threat faced by the U.S., Europe, and Israel is not of a military nature, its more a matter of the gradual  – indeed almost imperceptible – erosion of self-confidence in the fundamental righteousness of our cause.  As Ronald Reagan once said:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same…”

From: The Rubin Report

“About twenty-five years ago I had my great success in affecting mass media coverage of the Middle East in one newspaper for one day. I had been complaining to a New York Times correspondent, who was briefly covering the Middle East beat, about the incitement, hatred, and extremism that appeared daily in the Arabic media was never mentioned in its Western counterpart.”

“To his credit, he came over to my office. I took a big desk and spread over it a couple of dozen issues of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), a publication with which, in those pre-paperless days, I had filled whole bookcases. If you’ve never heard of FBIS it was a daily publication from the U.S. Department of Commerce that came out in different colored editions for each region of the world. All it did was translate radio and television programs along with some important speeches. Using or not using FBIS, for me, marked the difference between a serious researcher and a dilettante.”

“One after the other I showed him examples of the lies, the hatred, the calls for Israel’s destruction, the screams for blood and murder, the slanders against America that appeared in the most prestigious and widely circulated and official of Arabic-language publications. Impressed, he actually wrote an article on it that appeared on the front page.”

“That happened once. And this was in the days when journalistic standards meant something and newspapers actually focused on publishing the news rather than ideological guidance to direct people toward believing the proper things.”

“Day after day throughout the Arabic-speaking world, Iran, Pakistan, and beyond, in schools and mosques, in the speeches of leaders and oppositionists, in mass media, hatred of Jews and Christians, of the West and America, rises into the air. This structural hatred has consequences. The best single sentence I’ve heard on this comes from a Saudi woman who wrote that what the big Usama bin Ladin did, the little Usama bin Ladin learned in the Saudi schools.”

“This massive system of hatred and extremism—known to everyone who lives in the Middle East—is largely kept hidden from the West. Why?”

See the rest of the post here.

Little has changed since 2001

I recently rediscovered the following, an Editorial in The Times”, dated 15th March 2001, and I reproduce it below in its entirety.   The quality of the writing and its honesty seem to me to have come from a bygone age of reportage, one in which intelligent journalists wrote without hyperbole or bias and in thought-provoking ways about issues which concerned us all.

Most saddening, as I reread it and reproduced it here, is the realisation that little has changed for the Palestinian people whose leadership still uses them and gets them killed to make political points, that indeed much has worsened, but that very few journalists have the moral courage any longer to tell us the truth about why that is.  Nowadays Ashrawi’s “crude forgery” below would not be questioned, but promulgated across the media and the internet as an honest account of what was “really happening.”   And Palestinian children, always vulnerable, are even more brutalised and deliberately brainwashed by Palestinian leaders:

“Arafat’s Children:   Protests at last from the weak who protect the strong”:

“Stone-throwing, flag-waving Palestinian youths ripped through the town of Ramallah yesterday in the first of two “days of rage” declared by Yassir Arafat’s Fatah organisation.  It will have been no trouble to recruit this rent-a-mob; there is rage to spare, after nearly six months of futile battling against the Israeli occupation.   But rage, the most nihilistic of impulses, has done nothing but harm to the Palestinians.

“A few powerless people, as they mourn children killed in the crossfire or pushed, like human shields, ahead of rioters attacking Israeli troops, are beginning to whisper the truth – that they are being deliberately exposed to danger and death, exploited by their own side’s gunmen.   As The Times reported yesterday from El Bireh, the Palestinian area where people’s flats are daily used by snipers attacking a nearby Jewish settlement, locals have appealed to gunmen not to expose their families to returning fire.  For response, they get official banners proclaiming their dead infants as martyrs.  They too hate Israel.  But they do not want to be martyrs to an unending, unwinnable confrontation.  They want to be left alone.

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How to be a Guardian Middle East Reporter

A guest post by AKUS

The next time you see an article by Harriet Sherwood about Israel or the Palestinians, don’t waste time reading it.

Just use a search engine to go to the source or alternative media. After all, that seems to be how she gets her regurgitated “news”. You’ll get the news straight, and you’ll very likely get information she omits so that she can comply with the Guardian World View of Israel as Absolutely, Positively, the Most Awful Place in the Known Universe including that planet 127 light-years away.

Take one of several examples I could choose: Sherwood’s recent story about the lack of classrooms for Arabs in East Jerusalem – Palestinian children in East Jerusalem face classroom shortage, says report.  Sherwood breaks the news to an unbelieving world that, unlike students in school systems anywhere else,

“Almost half the Palestinian children in East Jerusalem are forced to attend private or unofficial schools because of a lack of classroom facilities provided by the Israeli authorities, according to a new report.”

In passing, note the use of the inflammatory “children … forced to” rather than “children … have to”, which is how this situation would be reported for the rest of Israel or, for that matter, the USA or UK.

You would have done better to go straight to the report or CNN than read Sherwood’s rehash. Sherwood’s article replicates sections of a similar article published a few hours earlier than hers by CNN without actually mentioning CNN and omits selected important sections of the report she cites.

CNN: Report: Classroom shortage hurts East Jerusalem children

I originally noted that the CNN article was published 10 hours earlier than Sherwood’s. It was later updated to 1721 GMT. It includes the following direct attribution of a statement by a spokeswoman for ACRI to CNN, Ronit Sela:

“We call it discrimination … discrimination in budget allocation and a severe neglect of the entire system,” Ronit Sela, a spokeswoman for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), told CNN. ACRI is one of the two organizations, along with the group Ir Amim, which published the report. “This school year is going to start with a shortage of about 1,000 classrooms for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem, and only 39 classrooms have been built this year despite promises made in past years to build 645 by 2011,” said Sela.

(I have provided a more balanced view from Sela’s own report in some analysis below).

Sherwood: Palestinian children in East Jerusalem face classroom shortage, says report

Note the careful wording, because unlike CNN, which went to the source, Sherwood refers to the report but has no attribution to a direct statement by Ronit Sela or other spokesperson. I’ve underlined the sentences she used directly from the report. If this is reporting, you too can be a Guardian reporter:

It estimates that East Jerusalem schools are short of around 1,000 classrooms, and says that only 39 were built in the last academic year. “The continuing neglect of the Arab education system in Jerusalem has caused a severe shortage of classrooms. The result is that in the 2010-11 school year the families of thousands of Palestinian children will have to pay large sums of money to get the education they should have been getting for free,” it said.

This is taken in large part from the Introduction to the ACRI-Ir Amim report:

“The continuing neglect of the Arab education system in Jerusalem has caused a severe shortage of classrooms and this year again the Ministry of Education and the Municipality of Jerusalem have avoided addressing that shortage in any meaningful way. The result is that in the 2010-2011 school year the families of thousands of Palestinian children will have to pay large sums of money to get the education they should have been getting for free.”

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Those Aren’t Self-Hating Jews–They’re Oiks!

This is cross-posted from the blog, Daled Amos

In addressing the question of why in the US the liberal elite takes the side of the proponents of the Ground Zero mosque while hurling epithets at those who oppose it, James Taranto pinpoints the problem as being not Islamophobia, but Oikophobia:

The British philosopher Roger Scruton has coined a term to describe this attitude: oikophobia. Xenophobia is fear of the alien; oikophobia is fear of the familiar: “the disposition, in any conflict, to side with ‘them’ against ‘us’, and the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably ‘ours.’ ”

What a perfect description of the pro-mosque left.

Scruton was writing in 2004, and his focus was on Britain and Europe, not America. But his warning about the danger of oikophobes–whom he amusingly dubs “oiks”–is very pertinent on this side of the Atlantic today, and it illuminates how what are sometimes dismissed as mere matters of “culture” tie in with economic and social policy:

The oik repudiates national loyalties and defines his goals and ideals against the nation, promoting transnational institutions over national governments, accepting and endorsing laws that are imposed on us from on high by the EU or the UN, though without troubling to consider Terence’s question, and defining his political vision in terms of universal values that have been purified of all reference to the particular attachments of a real historical community.

The oik is, in his own eyes, a defender of enlightened universalism against local chauvinism. And it is the rise of the oik that has led to the growing crisis of legitimacy in the nation states of Europe. For we are seeing a massive expansion of the legislative burden on the people of Europe, and a relentless assault on the only loyalties that would enable them voluntarily to bear it. The explosive effect of this has already been felt in Holland and France. It will be felt soon everywhere, and the result may not be what the oiks expect.[emphasis added]

Doesn’t this sound like it also applies to those Israelis, both in the media and in NGOs, who have repudiated every option Israel has taken in order to defend itself against the rockets fired out of Gaza by terrorists of Hamas. Instead they suddenly become experts in international law claiming that any step taken to defend Israel’s sovereignty or guarantee its security is illegal.

Going one step further, one can include those Jews who distinguish between Judaism and Jewish ethnicity–claiming to see in their version of Judaism values that directly contradict the policies of Israel. They recognize the ideas of Judaism as opposed to the nationalism of Israel. To that extent, such Jews are similar to Americans as opposed to Europeans:

There is one important difference between the American oik and his European counterpart. American patriotism is not a blood-and-soil nationalism but an allegiance to a country based in an idea of enlightened universalism. Thus our oiks masquerade as–and may even believe themselves to be–superpatriots,more loyal to American principles than the vast majority of Americans, whom they denounce as “un-American” for feeling an attachment to their actual country as opposed to a collection of abstractions.[emphasis added]

Similarly, there are Jews who are selective in their preference for loyalty to Jewish ideas and concepts of justice and defense of the downtrodden in lieu of any attachment to the Jewish state.

Taranto concludes:

But why should we assume that Americans who don’t even understand their own culture have any inkling about foreign ones?

I suppose the same would go for those Jews and Israelis whose attacks on Israel have no inkling either.

Not even an oik-ling.

I think it, so it must be true

A guest post by Mitnaged

A common leitmotif on CiF Watch’s pages is the question about how, even in the face of verifiable evidence to the contrary, the reality-challenged above and below the line on CiF and elsewhere continue to believe the lies put out by radical Islamist organisations and their useful idiots, (and among these I include the Guardian and CiF) about Israel and its Jews and Israel’s attitude towards its Arab neighbours and its own Arab population.

There can be little doubt that the commenters below the line on CiF are encouraged in their distorted perceptions of reality by what is written above it.  For example we have the floridly bizarre Mya Guarnieri writing that Islamophobia is the new antisemitism, apparently oblivious to the ridiculousness of that comparison or to the fact that Islam itself is largely responsible for the increase in antisemitism.  She adds more poison to the mix by attributing Ku Klux Klan-type motives to the citizens of one American town who are outraged by the murders of 9/11.

The most chilling aspect of such rubbish and most of the comments about it, (all of which are typical of CiF and the Guardian) is that very few commenters actually question these bizarre interpretations of what might REALLY be going on.   (I suspect that where this happens, in true CiF fashion, the comments are deleted). Instead they go along with it like hunt dogs on the scent.   CiF abounds with articles of this nature about Israel and Jews, and, like iron filings to magnets, the reality-challenged are attracted to comment and to add their equally bizarre views.

Why, then, are these people so adamant that their opinions are based in reality and are therefore objectively true and provable, even when they patently are not?  This is not unique to the peculiar Humpty Dumpty land version of reality at the Guardian either – it also applies to the rest of the media and throughout the internet and particularly in relation to Israel.

A statement by Francis Bacon, sets the scene most appropriately, I think, for the explanation I want to advance:

“It is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives.”

This points to the fact that Guardianistas and CiFers are particularly inclined towards a form of selective thinking whereby one notices only aspects of a situation which confirm one’s beliefs and ignores aspects which contradict it, or, in the case of Guardianistas and CiFers, cause their beliefs about it to “wobble.”

This confirmation bias is a natural human tendency, but most adjusted and intelligent people recognise when they are doing it and may even take active steps to expose themselves to other points of view so as to gain a deeper all round understanding of the topic which has hooked them.   However, the typical Guardianista – above and below the line – appears totally incapable of doing this.  As a result their opinions become pernicious when they purvey their own prejudices as truths, as Guarnieri and most of her fellow CiF authors have against Israel in particular.

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What the Guardian won’t report (AWRAD poll of Palestinians: Only 13.7% oppose violence)

The results of the latest poll of Palestinian views on the Middle East Peace Process, just prior to the upcoming peace talks in Washington, indicate attitudes that are, to put it mildly, alarming.  While these results seem to strongly contradict the conventional wisdom of the “Peace Process” narrative, don’t expect to see the disturbing political implications of this study reflected in the reporting by the mainstream media.

Here are the results from three of the more important questions posed by the pollsters, which was conducted by the Arab World for Research & Development (AWRAD):

(Results of an Opinion Poll: Publication Date: 28 August 2010.  Field work: 8-14 August 2010. Sample Size: 3,001 Palestinians in the West Bank & Gaza.  Margin of error: +/-1.5 %)

1. With regards to rebuilding confidence in the peace process please indicate which of the following options you consider to be ‘Essential’, ‘Desirable’, ‘Acceptable’, ‘Tolerable’ or ‘Unacceptable’.

Resist occupation through violence to achieve a state:

Essential 36.7%; Desirable 18.7%; Acceptable 16.8%; Tolerable 14.0%; Unacceptable 13.7%

2.With regards to the final status of Palestine and Israel please indicate which of the following you consider to be Essential, Desirable, Acceptable, Tolerable or Unacceptable as part of a peace agreement.

Historic Palestine – from the Jordan River to the sea as a national homeland for Palestinians

Essential 78.2%; Desirable 12.5%; Acceptable 4.3%; Tolerable 3.1%; Unacceptable 2.0%

3. With regards to Jerusalem please indicate which of the following options you consider to be Essential, Desirable, Acceptable, Tolerable or Unacceptable as part of a peace agreement.

All of Jerusalem (East and West) should remain in Palestine

Essential 84.1%; Desirable 10.3%; Acceptable 2.2%; Tolerable 1.6%; Unacceptable 1.7%

See the entire poll results, here.

Who is Mya Guarnieri?

A guest post by AKUS

A new star being used to bash Israel and the USA has appeared in the not very illustrious constellation of the Guardian’s Jewish anti-Israeli contributors to CiF.

The woman with the curious name, Mya Guarnieri, has twice hit the jackpot on CiF by focusing on two topics guaranteed to  generate numerous clicks thus endearing her to the Guardian’s marketing department:  an article demonizing Israel for proposing to repatriate children of foreign workers and one claiming that the Ku Klux Klan is taking over America.  Both were thoroughly mocked by readers, particularly for the generalizations in her over-the-top final paragraphs: “The scene was a reminder that a state [Israel] “so white and so ugly” was established long ago – the children are just the latest victims” and “Gainesville’s struggle is a mirror for the country {USA]. And so are my memories. In the past, there was antisemitism, roiling just below the surface. Now, there is Islamophobia.”

What her efforts to disparage Israel and America lack in quality, she makes up for in quantity and self-promotion. As she claims, apart from two articles in the Guardian,  her writings have appeared in the Huffington Post (following which Hawkeye pointed out here that unable to take criticism of a misleading article about freedom of the press in Israel she threatened legal action against Brothers in Judea in an attempt to shut them down) and the Jerusalem Post (At home and Abroad – surprise – a sympathetic article of the sort the Guardian will never publish). The list she maintains of media and blogs that have published her columns reads like a who’s-who of Israel hate: Ha’aretz, The Jewish Daily Forward, Maan News Agency, Common Ground News Service, and Mondoweiss. Her blog roll of favorites blogs includes Dicky Silverstein’s vile “Tikkun Olam”, and, believe it or not, the Guardian’s Brian Whitaker’s feeble “Al- Bab”!

She boasts that her “work” has appeared in Al Jazeera English and been “offered” to the BBC. A search on a Dubai paper/blog which laps up her nasty articles about Israel reveals 20 articles, most presenting Israel in as bad a light as possible, especially concerning treatment of foreign workers. This is a topic she seems to have made a central concern in her weird universe and about which she is claiming to write a book. One can only wonder at the irony of a newspaper in a Gulf State, all of which have such notorious records of mistreating of foreign workers, indignantly publishing articles by Guarnieri about the treatment of foreign workers in Israel!!

So who is Mya Guarnieri?

She claims to be Jewish and is “a Tel Aviv-based journalist and writer” with Israeli citizenship .  Like two other Guardian favorites, Seth Freedman and Rachel Shabi, she seems determined to live in the very Tel-Aviv bubble she scorns in a country which faces daily challenges she prefers to ignore.”.

In addition to her writings in other media, she runs her own blog: http://www.myaguarnieri.com/. She states that she is “a graduate of Florida State University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, which The Atlantic Monthly has ranked as one of the top ten creative writing programs in the United States”. Modesty is not one of her strong suits.

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Response to Lauren Booth

This is cross-posted from the blog, Yaacov Lozowick’s Ruminations.

Lauren Booth is an anti-Zionist journalist based in London; people who follow such matters seem to think she’s even worse than the rest of the pack. I mentioned her a while back, here.

This week she published a chirpy letter to the Israelis, in which, so she claims, she set aside her house chores in order to write us a personal letter. Oddly, she posted it on the website of an ex-Israeli who dislikes us intensely, the last place you’d expect if someone wishes to catch our attention and engage us in conversation; even curiouser, the website doesn’t offer the possibility of leaving visible comments. So I’m sending them notice that I’ve responded, and perhaps they’ll forward it to her; I encourage the rest of you to think where else Ms. Booth can be found and to leave her a message. She’s made such an effort to reach out, it wouldn’t be polite not to reciprocate.

Dear Ms. Booth,

I was touched by your concern for us as described in your “Mom to mom” letter of August 22 2010, in which you tried to inform us about all the bad things happening in our name. I’m a dad, not a mom, but I’ll give a stab at reassuring you.

First thing, right up front: nothing’s being done “in our name”. Whatever it is, it’s we who are doing it ourselves. I personally spent three years in the IDF as a young man, and another three over the following twenty-some as a reservist. About the time I was given a pen and retired from service, my first son was serving in the second Intifada, and last year my youngest fought in Gaza with his tank brigade. Ever since high-school I have been well-informed about events, as is expected of a voter in a democracy. There’s nothing particularly unusual about me, I’m a mainstream fellow with a standard story. For better or worse, what “Israel” does is done by the flesh and blood Israelis, not “in their names”. Is this different in your country?

There is no need to carefully broach the matter of looting by IDF troops and nasty graffiti. We’ve been at war for a very long time, and bad things happen in war; we don’t pretend otherwise. Innocent Palestinians have repeatedly died at our hands, which is far worse than looted credit cards, serious though that may be. So we can agree that innocent Palestinians have suffered at Israeli hands. They have. Some still do. Others will, as far into the future as the Palestinian nation refuses to accept the right of the Jewish nation to a homeland in part of the tiny little country they both call home.

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A sorry tale of intellectual apologists (A new book takes on the accused appeasers of Islamist terrorism)

US author Paul Berman

The disturbing, and increasing, phenomenon of rationalizations – or outright apologies – for radical Islam by Western intellectuals and journalists (a spectacle on display consistently at the Guardian) is dissected by Paul Berman in his new book, Flight of the Intellectuals.

From The Australian, August 28.

THERE is an almighty stoush brewing in the ranks of the intelligentsia in the US and Europe. It conjures up those heated polemics of the engaged intellectuals that Woody Allen mocks in Annie Hall when Alvy tells Robin, “I’m so tired of making fake insights with people who work for Dysentery.” “Commentary,” says Robin. “Oh really,” says Alvy. ” I heard that Commentary and Dissent had merged and formed Dysentery.”

In one corner are Christopher Hitchens and Melanie Phillips; in the other are Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash; and they are slugging it out in the pages of The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Spectator and The Guardian over first an essay and now a book by Paul Berman about, among other things, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Tariq Ramadan.

Of course, this is to some extent a fight among friends: Hitchens at least counts Buruma, Garton Ash and Hirsi Ali as such, but the criticism is no less impassioned for that — as one may expect since the topic is the moral cowardice of Western intellectuals in general, and Buruma and Garton Ash in particular, in response to the threat of Islamic terror.

When Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding in 1989 after a fatwa by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Western intellectuals rallied to his defence.

Yet when Hirsi Ali was forced into hiding in 2004 after her friend and artistic collaborator, film director Theo van Gogh, was murdered by an Islamist who pinned to the dead man’s chest a death threat to Hirsi Ali, support for her was qualified with condescension.

See rest of the essay, here.

Here’s a link to Paul Berman’s original essay in TNR about Ramadan, “Who’s Afraid of Tariq Ramadan”.