What Harriet Sherwood won’t report: Hamas bans Palestinian merit scholars from leaving Gaza

As there’s really no way to blame Israel, you won’t see this story reported by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood.

According to the JTA:

Hamas has barred a group of Palestinian teenagers awarded scholarships to study in the United States from leaving Gaza. The eight students, aged 15-17, were chosen for merit scholarships to study in America for a year.  The Hamas minister of education denied their request to leave the country for “social and cultural reasons.” [emphasis mine]

Now, really, do I even have to ask how the story would be covered by the Guardian – and the rest of the MSM – if Israel had barred Palestinian merit scholars from leaving the country to go to the U.S.?

The one common denominator which all repressive totalitarian regimes share, be they secular or religious, is a fear that their citizens will be exposed to the precious light of democracy, freedom, opportunity, and pluralism, and begin to question the logic of tyranny. 

The democratic values of the routinely maligned United States represent the antithesis of everything that repressive Islamist movements such as Hamas stand for – an undeniable political and moral reality which the Guardian Left is loath to acknowledge.

NiF’s Ben Murane (aka, Kung Fu Jew) compares Gilad Shalit to terrorists held in Israeli jails

H/T Noah Pollak

Ben Murane, head of New Generations for New Israel Fund, who is widely believed to comment, blog and Tweet using the moniker “Kung Fu Jew”, recently Tweeted the following:

So, those aren’t Palestinian terrorists being held in Israeli jails (as all of us unenlightened souls believe) but, rather, “political prisoners.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Murane has made such indefensible moral comparisons.

Back in 2010, he wrote that Israel is “just at fault as Hamas” for the deaths of Gaza civilians used by terrorists as human shields. He also criticized those who use the term “global Jihad,” saying, “Spreading belief in a ‘global jihad’ is the same as spreading belief in the Elders of Zion.”

Remind me again.

Oh yeah, New Israel Fund and their supporters love Israel.”

Harriet Sherwood report accuses Israel of contaminating Gaza’s beaches

Harriet Sherwood’s report, Gaza’s girl surfer battles pollution and prejudice, Guardian, Aug. 29, says the following about a young Palestinian girl’s desire to surf off the Gaza coast:

Ramshackle lifeguard towers are stationed periodically along the beach, but there are no signs warning swimmers of the greatest hazard – the sewage in the water. Up to 80m litres of sewage is dumped in the sea every day, causing diarrhoea and skin complaints among those who swallow the water.

Gaza’s four sewage treatment plants cannot cope with the growing population, according to Ewash, a consortium of international and local NGOs. Israel’s continued blockade prevents materials needed for maintaining and upgrading the plants from reaching Gaza, it says.

“People should be warned about swimming in areas close to sewage outlets,” says Ghada Snunu of Ewash. “But it’s not easy to tell people to stop swimming. The beach is the only recreation for the majority of Gazans.” [emphasis mine]

Without addressing the absurd claim that the beach is the only recreation Gazans have – a fallacy which Elder of Zion frequently, and often quite comically, points out (see here, here, here and here- the charge that Israel is responsible for the Gaza beach sewage problem is spurious for several reasons.

First, note that the passage states that swimmers in Gaza are in danger from sewage dumped in the sea, but does not note who is doing the dumping. The dumping, of course, is being done by Palestinians. The water flows up the coast (from the Nile) and Palestinian sewage ends up polluting not just Palestinian beaches, but, potentially, Israeli beaches as well. (This UN report refers to the Palestinian dumping , p. 66).

Also, although Palestinians are harming Palestinians by dumping sewage in the water, the Guardian approvingly quotes Ewash placing the blame on Israel. The Guardian never asks the obvious question: even if it is impossible to maintain and upgrade sewage plants due to “Israel’s continuing blockade,” why does that excuse Palestinian dumping sewage on the beaches? Can’t the Palestinians keep untreated sewage in pools? In fact, the Palestinians have done so for many years. The UN report sited above (p. 73) suggests disposing of sewage deep offshore (i.e., not on the beaches).

Moreover, Israel blockades Gaza’s coastline but Gaza has two land borders: one with Israel and one with Egypt. Israel, of course, limits the materials that pass over its land border, though this is not a “blockade” in any conventional understanding of the term. Egypt also limits the materials that pass over its land border with Gaza. Why then is it “Israel’s continuing blockade” that is responsible for the alleged lack of materials?

And, the broader question is just how plausible is it really is that a lack of materials is responsible for poor sewage treatment? Well, the following information regarding Israel’s supply of water and sewage treatment equipment, via The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (or COGAT), is illuminating.

  • Throughout 2010, Israel maintained a supply of 5 billion liters of water to the Gaza Strip.
  • Over the course of the year, 321 truckloads of equipment for water and sewage networks were transferred to the Gaza Strip.
  • 4,136 tons of hypochlorite were transferred to Gaza for the purification of drinking water (128 truckloads).
  • Israel supported the travel of Palestinian Water Authority representatives to conferences, meetings, and tours in order to promote the improvement of the water economy in the Gaza Strip.
  • Overall,28 projects in the fields of water and sewage were approved by Israeli authorities in 2010 and early 2011.

Finally, it’s important to note earlier disputes regarding sewage plants in which Israel refused passage of steel pipes – because they are potentially diverted to military use – but approved passage of plastic pipes, which can be used for the same purposes. The Palestinians nevertheless claimed that the poor condition of the sewage system was Israeli refusal to transfer steel pipes.

And, it has also not been uncommon for Israeli supplied metal pipes to Gaza – meant for the territory’s water sewage system – to be stolen and used instead make Qassam rockets.

Indeed, back in 2007, the Jerusalem Post reported the following. Per Elder of Ziyon:

A Palestinian from the Gaza Strip, who worked as a metal merchant at the Karni Crossing, was arrested by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) earlier this month for allegedly selling pipes, which he would buy in Israel, to terror groups who used them to manufacture Kassam rockets, it was released for publication on Sunday.

On February 9, the Shin Bet arrested Amar Zak, 37, at the Erez Crossing. During his interrogation, Zak confessed to purchasing metal pipes from Israeli companies and then selling them to Hamas and other terror groups for the manufacture of Kassam rockets, fired almost daily at Israel. In 2006, 1,700 rockets were fired at Israel.

The pipes that were sold to Zak were intended for civilian use, and specifically for the construction of a sewage system in the Gaza Strip.

The Shin Bet arrested Zak after it received numerous reports in 2006 according to which hollow pipes made in Israel were being used in Gaza to manufacture Kassam rockets as well as shoulder-launched missiles.

Without question, Gaza’s sewage treatment challenges may indeed be the result of many factors, including but not limited to: the use of parts for sewage treatment materials for rockets and other deadly weaponry; the failure by authorities in Gaza to find alternative places to dispose of sewage in the event that treatment plants don’t adequately meet the demand, and general supply problems related to Gaza’s conflict with Israel.

Yet, Harriet Sherwood is clearly unburdened by  the desire to conduct any serious research on the matter and, characteristically, accepts at face value the words of one NGO which comports to her desired oppressor-oppressed paradigm.

If the competing narrative is between holding the terrorist group in Gaza responsible for their continuing failure to adequately address the basic needs of their citizens vs. a villainous Jewish state which poisons the wells, is there really any doubt that the latter will win out every time?

The Guardian’s Michael White takes thinly vieled antisemitic swipe at Sasha Baron Cohen

The Guardian’s Assistant Editor Michael White, writing in his blog, “Borat ‘racism’ case reflects badly on employment tribunals“, Aug. 24, begins with the following:

An employment tribunal in Leeds has decided that the use of the name “Borat” by a Wakefield-based welder to tease a Polish colleague is racist, and may require the award of compensation for hurt feelings.

For those unaware, the film “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”, by Sasha Baron Cohen, is a 2006 “mockumentary” about a popular Kazakh television personality who leaves his homeland of Kazakhstan for America to make a documentary film at the behest of the fictitious Kazakh Ministry of Information.

The fake reporter utters sexist, racist and anti-Semitic comments as he crosses the States, encouraging those he encounters to be similarly politically incorrect.

As Cohen himself said,

“Borat essentially works as a tool. By himself being anti-Semitic, he lets people lower their guard and expose their own prejudice, whether it’s anti-Semitism or an acceptance of anti-Semitism. The joke is on the racists”

But, White isn’t buying it. Beyond his understandable criticism of the actions of the employment tribunal, White can’t resist going after Cohen.

“Like a lot of his work, it struck me as exploitative and inherently condescending to the kind of people who weren’t lucky enough to go to Cambridge as he did. It’s also a one-trick joke.

Now, this is rich. An elitist paper like the Guardian – see the number of Guardian journalists who went to expensive private schools – which routinely publishes articles and commentary suggesting that vast swaths of ordinary, working class Americans are racist (See CiF America) accuses a Jew who reveals antisemitic (that is, racist) attitudes held by a number of Americans of “elitism”.

But, White’s enmity towards the Jewish artist reaches its peak in these passages:

Nor was Cohen’s own justification for the film – he was roundly criticised and Kazakhstan allegedly threatened to sue him – convincing. He told the Rolling Stone magazine – here’s the Telegraph’s account – that “the joke is on the racists”, because only such people could imagine that his gross parody of Kazakhstan – a place where gays wear blue hats, women live in cages and anti-Semitism is rife – could really exist.

Well, if you say so, Sasha, though there are some pretty nasty countries out there. And I doubt if you’d enjoy the joke if a Cambridge-educated Palestinian pulled off a similar stunt travelling through the more red-neck Israeli settlements on the West Bank…” [emphasis mine]

Just to be clear, the term “red-neck” is a historically derogatory slang term used in reference to poor white farmers in the American South – and is a stereotype always used in the pejorative to refer to those who are bigoted, loutish, and politically reactionary.

Such a gratuitous and off-topic attack on Israeli Jews who live on the “wrong” side of the Green Line is, in itself, indicative of White’s clear and unambiguous prejudice.

But, more importantly, what possible moral justification does White have for associating Cohen – a British Jew – with Israel?

What connection is there between Israeli “settlers” and a British Jew named Sasha Baron Cohen? 

Cohen’s film exposed quite clearly, how predisposed many people are to antisemitism.

White’s reference to Cohen’s Judaism – as well as his efforts to associate Cohen with the Jewish nation-state – to impugn his motives is an act of Jew-bating, clearly ad hominem and, arguably, racist.

Media Circus: What has Israel ever done for peace? (Video)

Our friends at Honest Reporting have produced a short but effective video poking fun at the misinformation about Israel consistently provided by the mainstream media titled, Media Circus.

While I never thought I’d need to mention Monty Python to properly contextualize a CiF Watch post, you may indeed want to watch this clip from the film Monty Python’s Life of Brian before viewing – at least if you, like me, haven’t seen the movie in quite a while.

Harriet Sherwood assumes peaceful intent of Palestinian resistance in Sept, despite prior violence

In a Guardian piece, Israeli military arms settlers in preparation for Palestinian protests, Aug. 30, Harriet Sherwood suggests that efforts by the IDF to arm “settlers” with non-lethal weapons in the event that Palestinian protests (expected after the PA’s attempt at Unilateral Declaration of Independence – UDI) turn violent, and other preparations by Israeli military authorities for a possible out break of violence, is provocative and indicative of Israel’s over-reaction.

Of course, as the Nakba Day protests demonstrated, what begins as a peaceful Palestinian protest can quickly turn violent, and indeed much of the “uprisings” on Israel’s borders, Qalandia and “East” Jerusalem escalated to rock throwing, fire setting, and attacks on IDF soldiers with Molotov cocktails and other incendiary devices.

Here’s the riot which broke out at Qalandia in May.

And, here’s a similar scene from “East” Jerusalem.

Further, Sherwood, again trying to downplay the very real risks that similar violence will break out in September, writes the following:

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has called for peaceful demonstrations in September to coincide with the Palestinians’ petition to the UN for recognition of their state. But he has repeatedly said protests should be peaceful. “I insist on popular resistance and I insist that it be unarmed popular resistance so that nobody misunderstands us,” he told the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s central committee. [emphasis mine]

Indeed, Abbas’s phrase “unarmed popular resistance”, contrary to what Sherwood is implying, is not necessarily the same as “peaceful demonstrations”, as the rioting in Qalandia and “East” Jerusalem shown above – as well as much of the “unarmed” rock throwing during the 1st Intifada – demonstrates.

However, whatever the intentions of Palestinian leaders promoting such “popular resistance” the IDF must prepare for any eventuality. 

As such, the IDF Ground Forces Command has drafted a new operational doctrine for dealing with civil disobedience campaigns, including anti-Israel marches, in anticipation of increases in the number, size and frequency of demonstrations ahead of the Palestinians’ UDI in September.

“The whole idea in incidents like these is to know how to confront the people marching as unarmed – if they really are – and to do everything possible to prevent casualties on both sides,” said Brig.-Gen. Miki Edelstein, the IDF’s chief infantry and paratroop officer. 

While the IDF seems ready for all possible contingencies, no doubt Harriet Sherwood is equally prepared to characterize any UDI related violence in Sept., which may occur, as the result of Israeli “overreactions” and “provocations”.  

While Israeli security in the face of violent protests may not be completely impenetrable, one thing is certain: facts, logic, and new information has never been able to penetrate Harriet Sherwood’s ideologically inspired narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Update on anti-Israel Twitterer who claimed to work for BBC: Twitter suspends the account.

As we noted on Aug. 22:

A Twitterer, @one_uk, who describes him/herself as a Research Correspondent for the BBC’s The One Show, and who characterized his/her Twitter mission as “Trying to present a better image of the UK”, interjected [anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian Tweets] during the course of an exchange CiF Watch had with Yvonne Ridley (of Iranian PressTV fame) about the recent Palestinian terrorist attacks in Eilat which left 8 Israelis dead.

Here’s the one especially offensive Tweet by @one_uk, which the Twitterer eventually deleted.

After the post, we heard from an official at the BBC informing us that the account is not owned by the BBC, upon which I asked if there may be someone who works for the BBC who may own that twitter account, and received a reply that Twitter was investigating the matter.

While, as of yesterday, the Twitterer was still Tweeting using BBC’s “The One Show” graphic, today the account has disappeared.  When I try to open the link to @one_uk, I get the following:

Of course, such a suspension doesn’t necessarily mean the user isn’t indeed employed by the BBC, only that the user likely violated Twitter rules by implying, in his or her profile, that this was an official BBC Twitter account, which it clearly wasn’t.  

We’ll keep you posted if we learn anything more about the identity of @one_uk.

CiF Watch Newsletter – Special Second Anniversary Edition

Message from Managing Editor, Adam Levick


In CiF Watch’s inaugural post, Welcome to CiF Watch, we stated our intention to regularly post articles exposing the “bigoted and one-sided nature of the obsessive focus on Israel and by extension the Jewish people” at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’ (CiF), and to expose the biased moderation process in the CiF comment section, which often tolerated antisemitism and censored the “voice of their opponents.”

Using as our standard the EU’s Working Definition of antisemitism, our aim was then, as it still is today, to combat antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy both “above the line” in commentary and reports and “below the line” in the comment threads.

But I think it’s safe to say we also had a broader mission: to rightfully name and shame the Guardian – which fancies itself the “world’s leading liberal voice” – for their tolerance towards decidedly illiberal Judeophobic narratives.

While we believe CiF Watch has been successful over the past two years in eliminating certain regular anti-Zionist writers from the pages of the Guardian, improving the Guardian’s moderation process, and effecting a reduction in the volume of Israeli-related Guardian/CiF posts, there is clearly much more work to do.

And, while the Guardian’s notoriety has indeed increased, there remains two core problems:

  • A consistent sanctioning of voices opposed to Israel’s very existence.
  • Silence in the face of undeniable evidence of antisemitism when covering a story or editorializing on a particular issue – what we often refer to as their glaring antisemitic sins of omission.

In our inaugural post, we also asked you to join us in this fight and, rather than muttering under your breath “those Guardian 8@57@rds” and moving on, to help us carry out our mission by commenting on our threads, sending us copies of antisemitic and anti-Zionist articles and comments that you come across on ‘Comment is Free’ – as well as “pro-Israel” comments that are deleted by the moderators. Most importantly, we asked that you please tell your friends to visit CiF Watch. 

Now, on our second anniversary, as our reputation has grown, and our web traffic and social media presence has significantly increased, we still rely on our faithful fans to work with us to continue fighting the good fight against antisemitism: a bigotry which Professor Robert Wistrich has coined ” the world’s longest hatred.”

Mostly, I’d like to take this time to thank our devoted CiF Watch volunteers around the world: Those, from various backgrounds and political orientations, whose dogged determination to take on the Guardian demonstrated what the powerless few can do against the powerful many – genuine liberal grassroots activism at its finest.

On our 2nd Anniversary, here’s a look back at a few of the most viewed CiF Watch posts.

Looking back: A few classic CiF Watch posts

The Guardian’s Israel obsession in one image
Using the Guardian’s own data of topics by country tags, we posted a map (created and published by the site, Views of the World) which empirically demonstrated the Guardian’s wildly “disproportionate” focus on Israel.

Guardian report on London Riots omits the race of ethnicity of the rioters but still mentions Jews
The post, which exposed the rank hypocrisy of Guardian reporters who were at pains not to mention the racial or ethnic background of the rioters, but still noted the alleged jeering of London police by Hasidic Jews, resulted in a revision of the offending passage, and the paper’s acknowledgment that the story in question was inconsistent with their editorial standards.

CiF Watch exclusive: Alan Rusbridger’s daughter, BellaM, reprimanded for ad hominem attack on Melanie Phillips
In one of the first CW posts to go viral, we exposed that the CiF moderator who engaged in a vicious and defamatory attack against Melanie Phillips was Isabella Mackie, and that Mackie was the maiden name of the wife of none other than Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger.  Clearly embarrassed by the incident, the Guardian subsequently issued an official statement acknowledging that BellaM’s actions were inappropriate, noting that they “reminded BellaM of the paper’s guidelines that staff posting on the site ‘should uphold a high standard of civility and avoid any behavior that might bring the Guardian’s good name into disrepute.”

Israeli NGOs preparing Flotilla from Ashdod to Dublin 
This satirical post by AKUS, which told of an Israeli “humanitarian” flotilla en route to economically depressed nation of Ireland, was circulated widely throughout the blogosphere, translated into several languages, and reported as a straight news story by at least one U.S. newspaper.

An open letter to Jonathan Freedland
Medusa adeptly addresses a post directly to Jonathan Freedland – amid reports that he was visibly shaken by the visceral animosity of anti-Israel activists at a recent BDS debate in London – in hopes that  the Guardian correspondent can glean some important insights into the seriousness of the cognitive war against Israel and the degree of contempt for the state by BDS activists.  

Ghajar: where the world sits on a fence
While CiF Watch is a blog, and largely post polemical pieces in response to Guardian/CiF commentary, we also at times engage in straight reporting directly from the region, and thus serve as an alternative voice on the Middle East – perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict which those who rely on the mainstream media, would not otherwise be exposed to.  This report, by Israelinurse, from the town of Ghajar, directly on the Israel’s border with Lebanon, included the views Ghajar residents on the town’s future in the context of international pressure to divide the village. 

CiF Watch Popularity:
Technorati, one of the most prominent website ranking sites, has recently been placing CiF Watch among the Top 25 most popular blogs (in the World Politics category) out of the tens of thousands of sites which they track – a number which is based on variables such as web traffic and the number of other sites which link to us.  

As always, CiF Watch thanks you for your loyal support. 

What Can You Do?

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(1) Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

(2) Forward this newsletter to at least 5 friends and as many others by clicking here.

(3) Email us at contactus@cifwatch.com if you see something in the Guardian that makes your blood boil.

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Harriet Sherwood inadvertently shows that a Palestinian state wouldn’t end the conflict

One of the reasons why most Israelis are skeptical that Palestinians don’t truly desire peace with Israel is their insistence that any agreement which results in “two states for two peoples” wouldn’t abrogate the “right of return” for millions of Palestinians whose parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents may have once lived within the borders of Israel.  

While, intuitively, you’d think that “Palestinians” living in Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere would be encouraged to emigrate to the new Palestinian state, or finally be given citizenship in their country of residence, even the most “moderate” Palestinian leaders insist that any final agreement allow for an influx of millions of Palestinian Arabs into Israel – thus destroying, demographically, the only Jewish state that exists, or will ever exist.

Harriet Sherwood’s most recent post, “Palestinian state could leave millions of refugees with no voice at the UN“, (curiously placed in the less frequented “Palestinian Territories” section of the Guardian site and not in the Israel section) is an exquisite example that Zionists who are skeptical that the creation of a Palestinian state wouldn’t necessarily end the conflict are justified in their concerns.  

Sherwood writes:                            

“If the bid [for Palestinian statehood] succeeds, UN representation of the Palestinian people would shift from the global Palestinian Liberation Organisation – currently recognised as the “sole and legitimate representative” of all Palestinians around the world – to the envoy of a state based in the West Bank and Gaza. Millions of Palestinian refugees who live in the diaspora could be “accidentally disenfranchised”, according to a seven-page legal opinion by Guy Goodwin-Gill. [emphasis mine]

So, Arabs who claim Palestinian lineage currently living in “refugee camps” in countries like Syria and Lebanon, who, for some reason, have never been granted citizenship in those countries, would no longer be deemed “refugees” and thus would lose their moral and legal claims against Israel.  

But, it gets better:

“Goodwin-Gill, a professor of international law at Oxford, concludes “the interests of the Palestinian people are at risk of prejudice and fragmentation”. Palestinians in the diaspora risk losing “their entitlement to equal representation … their ability to vocalise their views, to participate in matters of national governance, including the formation and political identity of the state, and to exercise the right of return.” [emphasis mine]

Thus, the creation of a Palestinian state wouldn’t empower such Palestinian Arabs to emigrate to, and become citizens of, the new independent state of Palestine – thus granting them the “ability to vocalise their views, to participate in…national governance, including the formation and political identity of the [Palestinian] state” – but would deny them their status as victims of Israeli expulsion.

Of note,  Goodwin Gill’s opinion “was commissioned by Karma Nabulsi, a former PLO representative and now an Oxford professor” and CiF commentator.

Sherwood continues:

“[Nabulsi] called for clarity from the PLO in its response to the legal opinion and for reassurances to Palestinian refugees in the diaspora that their “core rights” of representation and the right of return would remain untouched. [emphasis mine]

If you needed any more proof that a two-state solution wouldn’t necessarily end the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, this is it.  

Unlike hundreds of millions of refugees throughout the world since the end of WWII (including roughly 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands) who have emigrated and been assimilated into other countries, Palestinians still insist on an immutable status of “refugee” – and the “right” to “return” to a country which most have never stepped foot in and whose influx would mean the end of Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East.

What Goodwin-Gill and Nablusi are saying is that the conflict will never cease to exist until Israel ceases to exist.

On life and death in an Israeli town under fire


This was written by Victor Yagoda

My daughter gave birth on Friday, three weeks earlier than expected. The little baby still does not have a name and she is not even 48 hours old. My wife and I live in the Galil, my daughter with her husband and 2 year old grandchild live near Beersheva.

Last night, Saturday, we were all visiting her when the warning alarm that an incoming Grad Mission from Gaza was targeting the region. The drill is that everybody has to move within not more than 15 seconds from their Maternity room which has windows, to the closest corridor that has fewer windows (15 seconds do not permit to go any further to an underground shelter).

So my wife and I helped my daughter get off the bed, put on her slippers and begin to push the cart where the newborn baby was sleeping and we walked out of the room… Believe it or not, it was not easy due to the traffic in the corridor, all the mothers, almost like dressed in uniform, were pushing their carts in the same direction. Most of them were alone, because it was shortly after Shabbat and after the Ramadan fast period ended, so they were valiantly doing this on their own, a few hours after a very, if not one of the most significant and meaningful moment in their life. Some of the women were Arab, others were Bedouins, Russian Olim, Ethiopian Olim, other people in the corridor were hospital staff, security, doctors and visitors… Oh yes, some were just veteran Israelis like my daughter, who is a 7 generation Israeli, pushing an eight generation baby that was not yet given a name…

My reflection while this was all happening was: Here we are in Beersheva where 4000 years ago, Abraham made a wise and generous truce to avoid rivalry and conflict; yes 4000 years ago… and here we are being given 15 seconds to try and avoid danger caused by rivalry and conflict… I am sure that many books can be written by tapping into the minds of all of us gathered in a crowded corridor in the hospital.

Today is another day and I am writing my reflections after experiencing three more “Tzeva Adom” “Color Red” alarms, while holding my grandchild in my arms and he is only two years old, but old enough to ask: Ma zeh? What is this?

P.S. Oh yes, I forgot to share with you one more thing: Last night after the above description, visiting hours ended and we left the hospital with Ziv our grandchild home. While we were walking out of the Hospital building, Ziv began to play in the parking lot with a little Bedouin 1.5 years old, when suddenly again the siren went off and again we had 15 seconds to be ushered to the safe area.

This time we were all ushered into a corridor of the Delivery Ward of the Hospital. There were no babies in little carts. This time we found ourselves in between dozens of women who were about to give birth, one of them was sitting in a wheel chair experiencing very strong contractions… This time we heard the explosions very close to us, people were just counting 1,2,3… 7. Yes 7 grad missiles were targeted to Beersheva, four of them fell in an open area, two of them were hit by our anti grad missile system “Iron Dome” and one hit a building injuring 7 people and killing one man, Yossi Shushan, (38) who happened to be there to pick up his 9 month pregnant wife… He will not be in the delivery ward where I happened to be in, at the very same moment he was killed…

I can only commend the behavior and bravery of every single person (who will most likely meet again), with whom we shared a few minutes that will remain with us for a life time…

Beersheva, Israel, August 2011


+972 and a revealing Twitter exchange between CiF Watch and a radical left Israeli Jew

Yossi Gurvitz is a 40-year old journalist, blogger and photographer who writes for several Israeli publications, including the financial daily Calcalist and the Nana portal, and +972.

Notes Gurvitz on his bio at +972:

 “I was raised as an Orthodox Jew, graduated from a Yeshiva (Nehalim), but saw the light and turned atheist at about the age of 17.”

Gurvitz also believes that Israel is one of the main causes international anti-Semitism.

In an essay he published at +972 in September 2010, The Jewish Problem”, he suggests that anti-Semitism in Europe is an understandable reaction by non-Jews to Israeli policy, and that the reactionary anti-Semitic canard that Jews outside of Israel are more loyal to Israel than their own country is the fault, not of those who hold such views, but of modern Zionism.

Says Gurvitz:

“We now see that the creation of Israel  did not solve any problem. Rather, Israel is itself becoming the problem of the Jews.” 

“[Israel] almost singularly, [is] responsible for creation of a new anti-Semitic [canards].”

Recently, CiF Watch engaged in a Twitter exchange with Gurvitz, which elicited some revealing comments.

The conversation arose as the result of a disagreement that Gurvitz was having with two writers who oppose the existence of a Jewish state within any borders – Ben White (@benabyad) (author of Israel Apartheid for Beginners) and Ali Abunimah (@avinunu) (author of One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse). 

(Note: Gurvitz has an NIF horn in his twitter image, though he claims not to be connected to NIF). 

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Palestinian terrorist attack in Tel Aviv leaves 7 injured

Per the Jerusalem Post:

Seven people were injured in south Tel Aviv early Monday morning, after a terrorist from the West Bank carjacked a taxi and rammed it into a police road block protecting a Tel Aviv nightclub, before going on a stabbing spree.

Police said the terrorist, a Nablus resident in his 20s, entered a taxi near the beginning of Salameh Street, and carjacked the driver, stabbing him in the hand, according to police. He then drove for approximately a kilometer down Salameh Street towards the Haoman 17 nightclub, which was filled with people in and around the building.

Border Police had set up a road block ahead of time at the entrance to the club on Abarbanel Street [as part of routine security]. The terrorist rammed the road block, and struck a number of civilians and a Border Policeman. 

He then got out of the car, screamed Allahu Akbar [God is greatest], and went on a knife attack…[and] stabbed five Border Policemen. One is seriously injured and two are moderately injured. The remainder are lightly injured.

Per Ha’aretz:

Tel Aviv District Commander Aharon Eksol said the attack is ‘definitely an act of terror’.

Per Israel Radio, via the Jerusalem Post:

“[Police are reporting that] the terror attack was definitely coordinated to strike the large youth party.”

What Harriet Sherwood won’t report: How Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields (Video)

H/T Israel Matzav



Meet CiF’s Wajahat Ali: Anti-Islamophobia crusader with a soft spot for anti-Semites

Wajahat Ali

There is not , as CiF columnist  contends in “Fighting the defamation of Muslim Americans“, Aug. 27,  an Islamophobia network in America.

Yes, of course there exists anti-Muslim bigotry, just as there is bigotry in every nation in the world, but there is simply, despite the frequent hyperbolic insistence of CiF commentators, no actual evidence that there’s anything resembling an organized wave of Islamophobia in the U.S.

Ali begins:

Center for American Progress Action Fund released a 138-page report, “Fear Inc: Exposing the Islamophobia Network in America,”which for the first time reveals that more than $42m from seven foundations over the past decade have helped empower a relatively small, but interconnected group of individuals and organisations to spread anti-Muslim fear and hate in America.”

This report,  which characteristically conflates criticism of radical Islam with Islamophobic bigotry, includes in this network, as those who stoke the flames of anti-Muslim bigotry, Sean Hannity, U.S., Congressman Allen West, former U.S. Congressman Newt Gingrich, Middle East Scholar Daniel Pipes, Terrorism expert Steve Emerson, and Walid Shoebat.

The report also indicts Fox News, The National Review, and the Washington Times as purveyors of anti-Muslim bigotry.

Ali continues:

 “Islamophobia as the following: an exaggerated fear, hatred and hostility towards Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination and the marginalisation and exclusion of Muslims from America’s social, political and civic life.”

Of course, absent from Ali’s report is any empirical evidence indicating that bias, discrimination, or exclusion of Muslims is growing or represents a big problem in the lives of Muslims in America.

In fact, a new 40 page report by the Center For Security Policy not only debunks the claim that Muslim Americans are disproportionately victimized by religiously inspired bias crimes, but clearly demonstrates Jewish victims are, in fact, far more likely to be the target of such crimes – a report based partly on the FBI’s yearly Hate Crime Data from 2000-2010.

Further, a 2007 Pew Study about Muslims in America found the following:

“Muslim Americans generally mirror the U.S. public in education and income levels, with immigrant Muslims slightly more affluent and better educated than native-born Muslims. Twenty-four percent of all Muslims and 29 percent of immigrant Muslims have college degrees, compared to 25 percent for the U.S. general population. Forty-one percent of all Muslim Americans and 45 percent of immigrant Muslims report annual household income levels of $50,000 or higher. This compares to the national average of 44 percent. Immigrant Muslims are well represented among higher-income earners, with 19 percent claiming annual household incomes of $100,000 or higher (compared to 16 percent for the Muslim population as a whole and 17 percent for the U.S. average). This is likely due to the strong concentration of Muslims in professional, managerial, and technical fields, especially in information technology, education, medicine, law, and the corporate world.

So, in addition to the relatively low incidents of hate crimes against American Muslims, it also seems clear that such Muslims, by most objective measures, are doing quite well in the U.S. socially and economically, and enjoy religious and other democratic freedoms that many Muslims in the rest of the world are denied.

Ali, in past CiF essays, has demonstrated a similar tendency to engage in accusations of “Islamophobia” quite liberally.

Indeed, he leveled the charge of Islamophobia against the U.S. government in the context of the FBI prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for the “charity” group’s ties to terrorism – a prosecution which resulted in five convictions, which included “conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, providing material support to a foreign terrorist, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.”

Further, a little more research into the background of  Wajahat Ali (who CiF benignly described as “a Muslim American of Pakistani descent, a writer and attorney, and Associate Editor of Altmuslim.com) revealed that the author holds some decidedly illiberal views about another historically oppressed minority – a record of bigotry which should put the author’s report on Islamophobia in some perspective.

Ali is a contributor to the radical anti-Zionist site, Counterpunch, where, in an essay largely commenting on Israel’s war in Gaza, he likened Israel to Apartheid in S. African, and characterized the war as an “Israeli blitzkrieg that repeatedly bombards a beleaguered Palestinian refugee population.” Ali also published, in Counterpunch, an extremely sympathetic interview with Norman Finkelstein, about “The Holocaust Industry” – a book which characterizes Israelis as “basically Nazis with beards and black hats”.

Indeed, a few searches on Ali’s own blog, Goatmilk: An intellectual playground, which is often cross posted at the English Website of the Muslim Brotherhood, demonstrates a propensity to use his “playground” for voices hostile to Jews and opposed to Israel’ existence.

On June 10, he included on his blog, as the “Essay of the week”, a cross-post of a piece by Ilan Pappe, the universally discredited radical Israeli “historian” who advocates the end of the Jewish state.  Pappe, in the essay, commenting broadly about Israel in the aftermath of the May 31 Mavi Marmara incident, accused the state of practicing ethnic cleansing, and opined that “only sustained pressure by Western governments [similar to the pressure placed on S. Africa and Serbia] will drive the message home that the strategy of force and the policy of oppression are not accepted morally or politically by the world to which Israel wants to belong.”

In April of 2009, Ali posted a piece by Sasha Rabkin titled, “A Jewish American man’s defense of self-hatred” –  simply exquisite example of the AsAJew recently dissected so skillfully by Geary – which characterized Zionism as an “identity centered on racism, military might, [“fascism”] and occupation,” and later characterized Jewish Zionist identity as a “Judaism devoid of soul and love and oppressing the most occupied people in the world”.

He also characterized Israel’s War of Independence as an act of “genocide” against Arabs.

Rabkin’s defense of Jewish self-hatred, which Ali endorsed, concludes with this appalling passage:

“the two main forces of the 20th century who sought to separate Jews were the Nazis and the Zionists. This is not to fully equate the two. There are obvious differences. But, both sought to single out the Jews, to show them as special and in need of segregation. They both contributed to the death of Jews. Most importantly, they both have sequestered Jewish identity in a militarized, confrontational and racist corner. 

Our anti-Islamophobia crusader seems to be on a bit of a Judeophobic crusade of his own.

Who needs to demonize the Jewish state as a fascist, genocidal force – which is a moral blight on the world (and Judaism itself) – when you can get a Jew to do it for you?

More broadly, Ali’s exquisite moral hypocrisy in condemning bigotry against Muslims while promoting anti-Semitism represents another perfect illustration of the Guardian Left ideology – sensitive souls who renounce racism, real and imagined, against “the oppressed” at every opportunity, and who possess an eye for bigotry endowed with a wide and powerful lens, yet have a glaring and dangerous blind spot when it comes to Jews. 


UK Dep’t for International Development removes video accusing Israel of stealing Palestinians’ water

A guest post by Oded Ben-Josef, on Aug. 23, commented on a video posted on the site of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) which highlighted a four-year plan to promote sustainable development and eliminate poverty in the Palestinian Authority, which featured a visit to the PA by UK Minister of State, Alan Duncan MP, to promote the project.

As Ben-Josef noted, Duncan’s commentary in the video went beyond mere anti-poverty advocacy, and was more akin to the most shrill and vitriolic propaganda by anti-Israel activists, and including the following:

“Israeli settlers can build what they want, pretty well, and they immediately get the infrastructure, so that takes the water deliberately from Palestinians here.” [emphasis mine]

“[..] So, the Israelis can build, and this is not their country, but Palestinians, whose country this is, cannot build.”

And, later in the video, Duncan said this about Israel’s security barrier:

“…Behind me is the wall. Well the wall is a land grab. It hasn’t just gone along the line of a proper Israeli boundary.”

Following reports about the DFID video, The Board of Deputies of British Jews criticized Duncan for his remarks.

Further, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy questioned whether the minister was suitable as a spokesman for the UK government, and reminded Duncan that the wall was built solely for security purposes to stop “Palestinian suicide attacks” on civilian buses and restaurants.  

The Israeli Embassy spokesman said:

“Claiming that the security barrier, which has prevented the deaths of thousands more Israelis, is not for security purposes, shows a disrespect for Israeli life, and we are therefore convinced that this could not be the official British government position.”

As Ben-Josef noted, the “YouTube video from the trip was posted on the DFID site and on YouTube, but was, without explanation, taken down and disabled”, shortly thereafter.

But, an Aug. 27th report by The Telegraph sheds some light on the decision, quoting a DFID Spokesperson saying:

“The video was aimed at highlighting DFID’s work to alleviate poverty in the OPTs [Occupied Palestinian Territories]…Unfortunately, some elements were misinterpreted and Mr Duncan has asked for it to be taken down.”

According to The Telegraph, the UK Foreign Office was reported to be unhappy with the “tone” of the language that Mr Duncan had used.

Of course, the UK Foreign Office didn’t suggest what would be the appropriate “tone” for callously criticizing Israeli security measures implemented to prevent suicide bombers from murdering innocent Israelis, and falsely accusing the Jewish state of  cruelly taking water away from thirsty Palestinians.