Zionist tentacles penetrate Iran’s airline industry!

Before you ask what this is has to do with antisemitism at the Guardian (and you know who you are:), please, dear reader, chill out.  As Akus demonstrated, sometime satire, parody, sarcasm, and just plain fun are good antidotes for those of us mired, day in and day out, in the Guardian’s pit of anti-Semitic invectives and anti-Israel calumnies (the tenth, and never published, circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno).

As such, I bring your attention to the latest scandal in Iran:

Iranian government officials were apparently quite enraged by the revelation that a Star of David can be seen on the roof of the headquarters of Iran Air, the Islamic Republic’s national airline, Al Arabiyya reported on Monday. The Star of David was discovered in a satellite image of Teheran’s airport taken by Google Earth.

Google Earth satellite image shows Star of David on roof of national carrier building

The variety of angles I could attack this story are nearly limitless, but, as other assignments beckon, and this is such low hanging fruit, I’ll simply allow myself a generous dose of Schadenfreude and leave it to you to enjoy in all of its glimmering possibilities.

I will only add that – as an Israeli who’s concerned about Iran’s efforts to go nuclear – this story will make me sleep a bit better at night.  After all, the Iranian Air building with the offending symbol was built sometime prior to the Iranian revolution in 1979.  So, as its taken the Islamic Republic over 30 YEARS to detect a gigantic Magen David on the roof of a high-profile building in their capital, I’m beginning to think that undermining the malevolent designs of our Persian foes may not be as vexing as I originally thought.

BUYcott Israeli Goods!!!

H/T Elder of Ziyon

To counter the boycott of Israeli products set for today, a number of groups have designated today (Nov. 30), as Buy Israeli Goods Day.

If you live in a major met area in North America, this site has a list of stores that carry Israeli products.

You can also buy Israeli made products online, at sites such as: Israeli Products,Shop in Israel or The Zionist Mall.

Start your Chanukah (or Christmas) shopping by supporting the BUYcott!

(Also, the group Stand With Us has an effective flyer – on reasons to reject the boycott campaign - you can download , here.)

What the Guardian isn’t telling you (Part….oh heck; I’ve lost count..)

In keeping with its self-declared progressive and liberal credentials, the Guardian devotes considerable energies to its Environment section of CiF.

One would think, therefore, that the news of a ‘green revolution’ in one of the world’s most talked-about armies would be worth a few paragraphs. Apparently not.

It seems that the cognitive dissonance of coming to terms with the fact that Israelis (and even worse; the Israeli army) might be doing something positive about addressing environmental issues is just too much for the average Guardianista to bear.

So here’s a short film about some of the steps being taken by the IDF in order to reduce its carbon footprint.

In fact, there’s an awful lot of environmental news coming out of Israel. From electric cars, through massive solar energy projects and innovative methods of water conservation to name but a few, Israelis have been playing their part in developing the technologies needed to secure the world’s environmental future for quite some time.

But if you do a Google search on the words Guardian, environment and Israel, all you will get is less than a handful of bad news stories which reinforce the stereotypical Guardian World View of Israel and Israelis.  A search for Guardian, environment and military produces only articles about the US army and environmental issues.

How predictable.

 

Everything and the Kitchen Sink

A Guest Post by AKUS

A new article by Harriet “ChickenLady” Sherwood, the Guardian’s woman in Jerusalem, who almost never has a good word to say about Israel, revealed a shocking new initiative by Israel: Israel recruits citizen advocates in Europe.

Yes – Israel has decided to ask eight or so of its European embassies to each identify 1,000 of the 300 million EU citizens who could help offset the drip-drip of anti-Israeli venom that daily oozes out of Europe’s mass media, blogs, and organizations – from media like, in fact, the Guardian. According to Sherwood, “These individuals – likely to be drawn from Jewish or Christian activists, academics, journalists and students – will be briefed regularly by Israeli officials and encouraged to speak up for Israel at public meetings or write letters or articles for the press.” Five of the embassies have been authorized to hire PR firms to help.

In fact, I am shocked – in a good way. This represents a remarkable change of direction for Israel. Until now, the Foreign Office and the laughable Information Ministry have never even indicated that they are aware of the problem and that something needs to be done about it. So – bravo, Israel – a shekel late and a shekel short, but if not now, when? And if not us, who? as Rabbi Hillel would have said if he were running the Foreign Ministry.

Of course, since we are talking about Israel, Sherwood has to make it clear in tone and words that the Guardian views this as yet another underhand effort by Israel to refute the attacks on its legitimacy.

Rather than comparing Israel’s PR efforts with those of every developed country on the planet (for example, the UK in the USA here and here and here) she chose to compare them with Rwanda, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar, citing a Guardian article that took aim at the efforts by the first two to overcome their image problems. Rwanda and Sri Lanka, of course, are well-known for actual acts genocide and mass murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians – so Sherwood is implicitly stating that Israel is in the same category.

Sherwood provides a strong hint that in her opinion Israel is doing something underhand by using PR firms to assist with its initiative. She provides a link to a critical Guardian article about various countries’ PR efforts, noting in a non-sequitor that “Bell Pottinger, headed by Lord Bell, a former adviser to Lady Thatcher represents Sri Lanka and Madagascar.” She provides no proof that Israel is using this firm, just the insinuation that there is something underhand about the firm and a country that would hire it. What could be more despicable, after all, than to use a PR firm whose head once advised Lady Thatcher and now advises Sri Lanka?

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The only silver lining in the wikileak scandal: The Guardianistas were proven wrong about Arab fears of Iran

The argument goes something like this:  The organized Jewish community in the U.S. controls (or “distorts”) U.S. foreign policy to achieve the policy objectives of a foreign nation, Israel.  Further, since Israel doesn’t want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, the organized Jewish community is pushing the U.S. to attack Iran, contrary to what’s in the best interests of the U.S.  Moreover, such an act will further alienate the Arab world, whose main concern is the plight of the Palestinians.

Such arguments, in one form or another, are peddled constantly by the Guardian and other progressive publications.

The most interesting thing to come from the latest WikiLeaks round is Arab world leaders’ continual admission, behind closed doors, that the regime in Tehran (and not the Jewish state) is the biggest threat in the Middle East.

According to one cable, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah “frequently exhorted the US to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program.” In 2008, the king’s envoy to Washington told Gen. David Petraeus to “cut off the head of the snake” in the Islamic Republic.

According to another cable, King Hamad of Bahrain, a country with a majority Shi’ite population, urged in a meeting with former CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus that action be taken to terminate Iran’s nuclear program. “That program must be stopped,” Hamad said, according to the cable. “The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it.”

While Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Oman have privately conveyed such warnings to diplomats, they never had the courage to say so in public. That helps to explain why European policymakers frequently interpret Iran’s belligerence as a reaction to American and Israeli militarism.

In July 2008, Mubarak’s top concern for the stability of Iraq and the region is Iran. He believes that “as a result of the invasion of Iraq, Iran is spreading everywhere.” Mubarak calls Iranians “big fat liars” and say they sponsor terrorism. He said he believes this opinion is shared by other leaders in the region. Yet he opined that no Arab state would join the U.S. in a formal defense alliance against Iran for fear of retaliation.

In March 2009, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) expressed his grave concerns about the Iranian threat to the region.

I hate to say we told you so (ok, I actually don’t mind so much), but for those at the Guardian and elsewhere, who, for years, have claimed that the only ones pushing the U.S. to attack Iran were (pick from four) Israel, Jews, neocons, or the Israel lobby, you were wrong.  To those who advanced argument after argument, with something approaching religious intensity, that the Arab world’s number one concern is the Palestinian issue, you were wrong.

As the Jerusalem Post noted,

“For years now, top Israeli political and defense leaders have warned the world that a nuclear Iran is not just a threat to the Jewish state but is a threat to the entire region.”

If the anti-Israel crowd had an ounce of integrity, or a sliver of decency, they’d be apologizing for their faulty analyses, and lamenting their myopia and nearsightedness.

In other words, we can be absolutely certain that such a mea culpa will not be forthcoming.

Note: In a similar vain, Melanie Phillips calls the anti-Israel conspiracy theorists out, here. Benjamin Weinthal makes the case at National Review Online, here.

Lord Hylton and how lies get spread

A Guest Post by AKUS

Adam Levick recently wrote about 180,000 Palestinians treated in Israeli hospitals in 2010.  A friend pointed out that recently a question was asked in the British House of Lords about this very topic by a peer named Lord Hylton. According to his entry on Wikipedia, Hylton is one of the ninety elected hereditary peers who remain in the House of Lords after the House of Lords Act of 1999. Lord Hylton sits as a cross-bencher.

The record of the question is as follows ( * Hansard source. Citation: HL Deb, 25 November 2010, c377W):

Written answers and statements, 25 November 2010

Lord Hylton (Crossbench)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will discuss with the Government of Israel the need to increase the number of patients from Gaza who are permitted to go to the West Bank and Israel for urgent major medical treatments.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)

We, along with our international allies, believe that it is not only imperative for goods and exports to leave Gaza, but that it should also be possible for people, particularly those needing medical treatment, and others to move freely in and out of Gaza.

The UK raises a number of human rights issues, on a regular basis, with the Israeli authorities at ministerial and official level. We will continue to follow-up on these issues.

As it happens, Lord Hylton’s name was not unknown to me. In research I conducted for my column which looked into the source for the article by Seamus Milne , I discovered that his trip had been organized by a group calling itself “MEMO”, an acronym for the Islamic Middle East Monitor. Milne’s visit with a couple of British MPs was treated as somewhat of a side issue by MEMO, but a little further digging came up with the far greater coverage of a visit to Ramallah on July 10th, 2010 – British peers meet with Hamas parliamentarians in Ramallah.

The Peers in question were Lord Ahmad, Baroness Tonge, and Lord Hylton. Though I had never heard of Hylton before, Tonge (of the Haitian body-parts libel) and Ahmad are quite well-known – infamous, in fact. They were brought to Ramallah and Jerusalem in a rather unsuccessful attempt to publicize the “plight” of four Palestinian Legislative Council members “who are currently seeking sanctuary in the Red Cross offices in Jerusalem”, in the words of MEMO. (You can download a multi-page report at Peers Fact Finding Mission to Jerusalem. There is some confusion over whether there are three or four PLC members “seeking sanctuary”).

It is noteworthy that the three PA members have sought and been granted “sanctuary” by the Red Cross, which is supposed to be a non-partisan body working for the benefit of POWs. This is the same Red Cross that has not managed to do a thing for Gilad Shalit, and is providing “sanctuary” for three people who are not, in fact, POWs – whatever the issues are regarding their case and Israel’s wish to expel them from the West Bank. In comparison to Shalit, who has not been allowed to meet with anyone other than his captors, these three organize press conference whenever they wish, including with three British peers!

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Is Hamas’ “Charm” Offensive?

Both pieces below were inspired by an article on Voice of the Copts.

First:

TO THE GULLIBLE OF GAZA:

If you see Ismail Hanniyeh with a grin from ear to ear

And you have to lie down for a while,

And if Fathi Hamad looks contented and glad

And you feel that you’ve missed it by miles;

If al-Qassam Brigades pitch up at parades

Eyes a-twinkle without any guile,

Don’t be worried or sad

You’re not poorly or mad –

HAMAS HAS BEEN TOLD TO SMILE!

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Hanniyeh begins charm offensive on Gaza's children.

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Wikileaks and the journalistic elite

Julian Assange (Wikileaks founder)

The egregious hubris of journalists in liberal, democratic societies was on full display in Simon Jenkins column in CiF, in the very title of the piece:

US embassy cables: The job of the media is not to protect the powerful from embarrassment: It is for governments – not journalists – to guard public secrets, and there is no national jeopardy in WikiLeaks’ revelations.”

In that brief headline, and subtitle, we have, in short, a journalistic ethos that is both narcissistic as it is adolescent – demonstrating a media elite who don’t allow themselves to be burdened with such quaint notions as citizenship and responsibility.  Whether or not such leaks – classified diplomatic communications from U.S. diplomats abroad – harms national security or endangers lives are questions the likes of Jenkins clearly are not burdened with.

Notably, the Guardian just released a video commentary on the Wikileaks affair – which includes comments from Guardian editors and correspondents. Especially relevant were the comments from Jonathan Powell, former Chief of Staff of Tony Blair, who said: “there may of course be in those [wikileaks] telegrams be [sic] revelations that do actually endanger lives….so I think there is a risk to people’s lives in those telegrams.”

Jenkins and the Guardian (as well as La Monde, El Pais and The New York Times) are, after all, doing what a proper liberal pedigree commands them to do: “Comforting the afflicted, and afflicting the comfortable.”

Jenkins asserted the following early in his essay:

“Anything said or done in the name of a democracy is, prima facie, of public interest. When that democracy purports to be “world policeman” – an assumption that runs ghostlike through these cables – that interest is global.”

No, Mr. Jenkins, not everything said or done in the name of democracy is of public interest.  In the real world, free, democratic nations are engaged in serious battles (militarily and diplomatically) with very real enemies – closed totalitarian regimes (like Iran, N. Korea, Syria, and China) – who, by their very nature don’t have to worry about their own state secrets being revealed, and can (and do) use such asymmetry to their advantage.

It is sad that journalists such as Jenkins likely would snicker at the notion that patriotism should play a role in their decision-making.  However, while responsible journalists in democratic nations should rightly view their job as investigating, and reporting on, the truth in all matters relating to the public interest, such an admittedly noble ideal must also, at the end of the day, be balanced with their responsibilities as citizens of the country in which they live.  It’s not called “selling out.”  Its called being a responsible adult.

U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman quite eloquently summed up the Wikileak controversy when he said:

“To keep our country safe, some information must be kept secret. This is a balancing act that the American people themselves ultimately control through our democratically elected representatives and our institutions. What Wikileaks is doing is to short-circuit this entire democratic process – claiming for itself the exclusive, unilateral, and unchecked power to decide what should and shouldn’t be made public. This is therefore not only an attack on our national security, but an offense against our democracy and the principle of transparency.”

I couldn’t agree more.

What are your thoughts?

Sherwood in Jerusalem: a six month overview

Harriet Sherwood

November 25th marked six months since Harriet Sherwood’s arrival in Jerusalem to take up her new role as the Guardian’s foreign correspondent in Israel. This presents an appropriate opportunity to review her performance so far and determine whether she has lived up to her own expectations as set out in three ‘mission statement’ articles she wrote before and after her arrival.

In an article from 2006 Sherwood, whilst filling the role of Foreign Editor at the Guardian, laid out her vision for reporting from Jerusalem, stating that

“The first thing we need to be absolutely sure of is the purpose of our news reporting from the region. Our correspondents are there to give our readers accurate information about Israel-Palestine. We are not there to bat for one side or the other, but to report on the situation on the ground as we find it.”

“We should aim for balance in our overall coverage, not in each individual story; it’s the batting average that counts.”

On June 14th 2010 Sherwood once again wrote about her aspirations; this time from the point of view of a foreign correspondent on the ground:

“…..the Guardian must be bold, distinctive, thoughtful and original as well as, of course, covering the “news”, ie reacting to events. Foreign correspondents – expensive assets – should be encouraged to spend a large proportion of their time in the field, finding things out, talking to people, reporting what they see.

They shouldn’t spend all their time covering the same ground as everyone else; and they shouldn’t be chained to their laptops, essentially rewriting news agency material.”

By September 27th 2010, Sherwood was writing about “the realities of reporting in the field”:

“And the wire services do provide comprehensive, rapidly updated and usually accurate coverage of the main news events on a given day. So a correspondent’s role is surely to go beyond that, to dig out the stories that aren’t immediate “news”, to provide context and analysis, to allow those whose voices are routinely drowned out by the big “players” to be heard.”

In order to be able to quantify Sherwood’s ‘batting average’ there is no way other than to plough through the 138 or so relevant articles she has published since her arrival in Israel both in the Guardian and its sister paper, The Observer.

I categorized them into four groups:

1)       Articles which present Israel in a balanced, realistic and objective manner.

2)      Articles which present Israel in a non-balanced, pejorative and subjective manner.

3)      Articles which present both sides of a story.

4)      Articles with a positive slant, exclusively about Palestinian-related subjects.

Excluding several articles which were not relevant to the analysis due to their subject matter, the results were as follows:

Category 1) – one article

Category 2) – 79 articles

Category 3) – 36 articles

Category 4) – 11 articles


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The liberal racism of J Street’s Daniel Levy

H/T Mere Rhetoric

With the liberal lobbying group, J Street, still reeling from revelations that their director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, wasn’t truthful about funding the group received from George Soros, a video has surfaced of J Street’s co-founder, Daniel Levy (who’s been fawned over by the Guardian’s Michael Tomasky and Chris McGreal) which again reveal the group’s true colors.

At a Q+A of “Palestinian Politics and Obama’s Peace Plans,” an event held in October 2009 by Levy’s The Century Foundation (cached event page here, PDF of quotes here, full video here and here), Levy – who recently caused problems for J Street when he referred to Israel’s entire creation as “an act that was wrong” – accused Israel of doing everything in their power “to try to turn the Palestinians violent.”  Here’s the exchange:

DANIEL LEVY: So Fatah is irretrievably bought into a negotiations-only strategy. What if the negotiations don’t deliver? And Hamas into an illegitimate strategy that includes use of violence against civilians.
BASSIM KHOURY: We Palestinians have part of the blame with where we are now because of our homicide bombings in Israel.
DANIEL LEVY: The Palestinian side has failed to produce a third alternative. The third alternative inside the territories is about nonviolent resistance which is why Israel does everything to try and turn nonviolent resistance into violence.

Of course, CiF Watch is not unfamiliar with tropes – by Israel haters both above and below the line at the Guardian – suggesting Israeli culpability for Palestinian terrorism and extremism.  But, when the leader of a large, well-funded, lobbying group, which claims to be pro-Israel, advances such a narrative it is especially troubling.

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CiF comments of the day (fed up with Jews….)

David Goldberg’s Nov. 24th CiF piece entitled Saudi Arabia’s intolerable Saudi textbooks seemed to put CiF’s everyday Israel and Jew bashers on the defensive and, by and large, the comment thread was dominated by those who rightly were outraged by UK schools’ use of Saudi textbooks which taught (for instance) that Jews were descended from “monkeys” and “pigs” and advocated the killing homosexuals.

However, there are some – the usual array of reactionaries disguised as progressives – who are never outraged by even the most explicit display of Jew hatred.  Here are a few examples:

Jews have reaped what they have sown (70 recommendations)


When in doubt, just change the subject and blame Zionists, per a commenter named “fed up with Jews politics”


The “why let mere “evidence” get in the way of a strongly held belief” non-sequitur (66 recommendations)

The Jury is still out on whether Jews are descendants of apes and pigs (comment was deleted)

180,000 Palestinians treated in Israeli hospitals in 2010 (Harriet Sherwood yawns)

Per the IDF website:

Humanitarian dilemmas are a recurring issue in the Judea and Samaria region. A terrorist fires at IDF soldiers, is shot and gets wounded. Is an IDF medic to be called to treat him? A building is about to collapse in the heart of Ramallah. Does the IDF enter? Does it jeopardize its soldiers’ lives, or does it call the International Red Cross and risk losing precious time?

To Israel, the answer to these questions is clear. According to Division Medical Officer, Lt. Col. Michael Kassirer, “The treatment of the Palestinian population is first and foremost a moral and professional obligation for every one of us.”

A conference on the topic of humanitarian medicine was held on Monday (Nov. 22), at Hadassah Medical Center at Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.

“Until September 2000, a Ramallah resident could have taken his car and driven to Ichilov Hospital [in Israel],” began Commander of Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon. “But from September 2000 we’ve been in a state of terror. Hundreds were killed, Jews and Palestinians alike. The battles took place in the heart of the cities, in places where enemies stood side by side with civilians, with difficult conditions and limited ability to evacuate. We could not practice medicine beyond the minimum. In those days, we were on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.

But today, he says, the situation is different. Thanks to many efforts on both sides, stability has been restored.

…Dr. Tawfik Nasr, Director of the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem and coordinator of all hospitals in east Jerusalem, described the example of patients coming from Gaza to be treated in Jerusalem, sometimes over a period of three to four months. They are housed in a special hotel on the Mount of Olives.

…And, unbelievable though it may sound, because of desire and will, it is working. Last year, 180,000 Palestinian citizens entered Israel to receive treatment.

Dalia Basa, medical coordinator of the Civil Administration, said:

“A bond of mutual trust has been created between [the Israelis and Palestinians]. I always tell them the truth…I will always listen. I hear them. I understand their problems.  Ultimately, this is a rewarding experience…There are people who see me on the street or in hospitals, hear my name and say ‘You saved my son’s life’. When you get home in the end of the day and examine your life, you know that you saved lives. You know you did a lot of good.”

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CW Postcript: Apparently, the Guardian’s Israel correspondent Harriet Sherwood was too busy covering a lurid sex scandal involving an Israeli policeman to report on this story, but CiF Watch got hold of a draft that was apparently prepared for her in the event that the well-known facts regarding Israeli doctors treating thousands upon thousands of Palestinian patients ever went viral.