The CiF Watch team wishes all our readers celebrating Rosh HaShana a happy, healthy and peaceful new year. Shana Tova!
A Sept. 5th story on post-war Gaza reconstruction in The Independent by Natasha Culzak, titled “Israel-Gaza Crisis: Reconstruction of flattened Gaza will cost £5billion, Palestinian officials say“, included the following claim:
Earlier today, we noted that the Indy responded to our complaint and corrected a passage in a June 15th article, about the three Israeli youths abducted by Palestinian terrorists on Thursday night, which falsely characterized the teenage victims as “settlers”.
And, about an hour ago, the Guardian responded to our complaint about an article by Peter Beaumont – that we posted about yesterday – claiming that the Jewish victims were “teenage settlers”, and agreed to revise the passage (and headline) in question.
Here’s the original Guardian headline:
Here’s the original opening passage:
Now, here’s the revised headline:
Here’s the revised opening passage:
Though we commend Guardian editors for the correction, as we argued in our original post, the term ‘settler’ is typically loaded with pejorative connotations, and its use in the context of Beaumont’s article about Israeli children abducted by terrorists raises troubling questions about the media’s group’s continuing pattern of blurring straight news and political agitprop.
- Guardian refers to Israelis kidnapped by terrorists as “teenage settlers” (cifwatch.com)
- CiF Watch complaint to PCC prompts Guardian to begrudgingly revise Rachel Corrie op-ed (cifwatch.com)
- British paper legitimizes lie that Female Genital Mutilation is practiced by Jews (cifwatch.com)
- CiF Watch prompts Indy correction – acknowledges that Arab towns were built since ’48 (cifwatch.com)
The Israel bashers at ‘Comment is Free’ love to accuse those supporting Israel of trolling, using multiple monikers, and so on. Well, it looks as though one of the bashers may have been a little too clever in the use of the tactics they so often accuse others of employing.
SantaMoniker sent us this interesting set of clips from the below the line thread at the article Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention – live.
She replied to Owain Greenwood just after owaingr replied to SheketVShalva and noticed the curious resemblance between the names.
And here’s SantaMoniker’s response to Owain Greenwood, immediately following that comment:
Curious, SantaMoniker looked up the two “Owains”. How odd that they should both use the same picture with their rather similar monikers, and have the same commented so frequently on the same thread !!
Here’s “Owain Greenwood” – http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/user/id/10451194
And here’s “owaingr” – http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/user/owaingr
A guest post by AKUS
[CiF Watch regular contributor 'AKUS' recently visited Israel and will be filing a few blog 'postcards' from his trip over the next few days. This is his first installment. - A.L.]
A few minutes before 1 A.M. on Sunday, July 1, 1973, Col.Yosef (Joe ) Alon and his wife Dvora returned to their home in a quiet Washington, D.C., suburb. Alon, the air attache at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, had been at a farewell party for an Israeli diplomat. They parked the car. Dvora went into the house and then heard five gunshots.
Joe Alon was one of the founders of the Israel Air Force, with Ezer Weizman and Moti Hod. His murder has never been solved.
While training and commanding air force units in the Negev, Joe Alon became familiar with the local Bedouin and the special character of the Negev. The Joe Alon Center near Kibbutz Lahav, not far from Beersheva, focuses on the life and culture of the desert tribes and is dedicated to this man who respected his fellow desert dwellers and their way of life.
Ouda Abu Kahud from the Bedouin township of Hura near Beersheba is a well-known guide in the area, and guides visitors from Israel and abroad around the two-storey Joe Alon Center exhibits depicting the daily life of the Negev Bedouin and their counterparts in Sinai.
Ouda Abu Kahud talking to group of policeman touring the area to learn more about Bedouin culture and life about typical Bedouin customs and life and how they differ among the various tribes. His talk is punctuated by jokes about the Bedouin themselves, and their interactions with the wider world around them, adding his dry humor to the learning experience.
He is standing in front of a model of an encampment of Bedouin of the Negev. Particularly interesting was the section on the Jebalyia tribe (Jebal/Jabal -= mountain). Ouda Abu Kahud explained that the tribe is descended from Christian slaves s brought from Romania by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD to serve and protect the Santa Caterina monastery on the presumed Mount Sinai. Over the centuries they intermarried with the local tribes, and are now Muslim.
Some of the many exhibits:
Full-scale models illustrating the lifestyles of different Bedouin tribes
Old Bedouin farming utensils, now superseded by modern tools
Woven and embroidered patchwork quilt made by Bedouin women to illustrate their communities and to express their dreams for their lives and the lives of their children.
Finally, in a full-size example of a Bedouin tent, Ouda Abu Kahud prepares coffee for his guests while he explains the complexities of Bedouin hospitality and the coffee ritual.
If you are in the Beersheva area on your next trip to Israel, make a small detour and spend a few hours at the Joe Alon Center – it’s well worth it!
- Postcard from Israel – Mitzpe Ramon (cifwatch.com)
Cross posted by Or, who blogs at ‘BDS Gone Bad‘
Despite it’s humble dimensions, Israel is both a major consumer and a significant exporter of culture.
Only in these last few months Tel Aviv was honored by great visitors such as Madonna, Guns N Roses, Chris Cornell and Morrissey who rocked the stages; RHCP and the Prodigy are yet to come later this summer.
Alongside the “big names”, international indie artists perform in Israel every month, one of which is the Brian Jonestown Massacre band who played in Tel Aviv last week. In an interview given before the show, singer Anton Newcombe explained that he was addressed by BDS activists who urged him to cancel the gig and boycott Israel, a request he briefly refered to as “bullshit”.
The concert was covered positively by fans and critiques, a fact with which the BDS crowd just can’t accept.
The one and only infamous Tali Shapiro applied her usual methods of lies and harassment of which I’ve written in the past.
Frustrated with Newcomb’s attitude and refusal to give in, Shapiro posted on her blog on July 19th, a post in which she once again personally harassing Anton and DEMANDS that he reads her materials, change his mind and express regret and understanding that performing in Israel is in fact an “apartheid supporting” deed. On this I shall use Anton’s own words- Bullshit.
The following Saturday, a person claiming to be a Joneston Massacre fan contacted The band’s leader on Twitter and linked to Shapiro’s post. This started a chain reaction of public harassment, which you can read over at Shapiro’s Twitter Account, and lasted for three days and countless tweets
This discussion was doomed to escalate. Anton wrote repeatedly that he is being harassed by Shapiro and the others, asked them to stop mentioning him and eventually blocked her account – And still, the BDS crowd just wouldn’t let go.
Anton Newcomb is not the only artist who’s being spammed and bugged by the BDS network of activists. They are targeting musicians and performers in general, they systematically follow upcoming concerts in Israel, and then nag them before (and AFTER…) with Facebook pages, online petitions and twitter accounts calling them to cancel their gigs – through harassing, obsessive Spam campaigns.
Check out their Facebook page “TAG an artist Against Apartheid”‘ which I think should have been called: “Tag an artists and mention and message and spam him till he wants to shoot himself”.
I want to dedicate this post to brave and patient Mr. Newcombe. I don’t know him personally but I do know that if it was me being harassed like that (AFTER the goddamn show!), I’d go for massive user reports…
On 5th September 1972 inside Munich’s Olympics Village Israeli athletes were ambushed by Palestinian terrorists. Over the course of the day 11 Israelis were murdered after botched rescue attempts by the German authorities. A German policeman also died. The Games carried on.
Some of the terrorists died during the final rescue attempt at a military airbase but the others, held in German custody, gained their freedom after a plane was subsequently hijacked and a demand for their release was agreed to.
Mossad methodically went about locating and killing each terrorist, except one.
Common decency has it that those trusted into your care are remembered when tragedy occurs. British football grounds regularly resonate to a minute silence when one of the footballing community is lost.
But not where the International Olympics Committee is concerned and where Israeli blood was spilled under its auspices. Heaven forbid they should offend certain other competing nations.
At no stage has this tragedy been properly remembered since 1972; never a minute silence at any Games in the 40 years since. The only plaques to the murdered athletes are in Munich and Israel.
Ankie Spitzer, wife of Andre, the murdered fencing coach, asked the IOC for a minute silence during the opening ceremony of the London Olympics to mark the 40th anniversary of the attack but Jacques Rogge said the atmosphere of the opening ceremony made such a silence inappropriate. The IOC will, instead, go to the military airbase where the final botched rescue bid took place. Neatly out of sight and mind of those the IOC don’t wish to offend.
Anticipating this outcome the co-chairs of the Britain and Israel Olympic Plaque Committee Martin Sugarman (Chair Hackney-Haifa Twinning Association) and councillor Linda Kelly (past speaker of Hackney) raised funds for a dignified and moving ceremony yesterday morning at the Arthaus in Hackney.
Linda said she was amazed that with all the hours during the Olympics the IOC could not spare one minute for the memory of the murdered athletes.
The Conservative Party was represented by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Communities Minister Eric Picles MP, Matthew Offord MP and Councillor Brian Coleman.
Labour was solely represented by Andrew Dismore, GLA member for Barnet and Camden. The Miliband brothers were invited but one was busy and the other didn’t reply. No mainstream Liberal Democrat politicians bothered to come.
Maureen Lipman, who constantly fights Israel’s corner against the many hypocrites in the acting world, came.
Sebastian Coe, London Olympics organiser, was invited. Linda Kelly read out his reply which amounted to nothing more than “Sorry. Mad busy at moment”. Shame he couldn’t have used one of his ubiquitous VIP Olympics lanes to transport him to Hackney for even the 20 minutes or so that Boris Johnson managed to appear.
Meanwhile, the Simon Marks Primary School Choir beautifully sang Jerusalem of Gold, the Hatikvah, God Save The Queen and Oseh Shalom Bimromav, which preceeded Kaddish (Prayer for the deceased) for the athletes.
War veterans were there to present wreaths in front of the plaque, which was unveiled by Boris Johnson, and to perform the Last Post and Reveille either side of the minute silence for the athletes.
Yosi Romano, named after his uncle who was mercilessly gunned down in Munich, spoke movingly as did Ben Helfgott, a Holocaust survivor and British Olympian, who knew the murdered Israeli athletes so well.
Efraim Zinger, the President of the Israeli Olympics Committee, noted that this is the third time London has hosted the Olympics; in 1908 Israel didn’t exist, in 1948 they were fighting for their lives and, so, they didn’t want to miss out on London 2012.
Boris Johnson spoke of the “numb disbelief” in which the world watched events unfold in Munich in 1972. He was eight at the time.
The permanent plaque is available to be visited at the Arthaus in Hackney.
- NBC sportscaster to mark Munich 11 (timesofisrael.com)
- Peter Tatchell: IOC ‘abdicated its moral responsibilities’ over Munich silence (thejc.com)
A guest post by Lyn Julius, co-founder of Harif: a UK association representing Jews from North Africa and the Middle East, and dedicated to promoting their history, culture and heritage
Not only has the issue of Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries in greater numbers begun seriously to challenge the Palestinian monopoly of victimhood, but the US Congress is mounting a pincer movement on the UN refugee agency UNWRA, questioning the right of Palestinian ‘refugees’ to pass on their status from father to son and to drink at the eternal fount of international aid.
Such an onslaught on two sacred Palestinian cows has left their advocates seriously rattled.
How else can one explain an article in the Palestinian warhorse Electronic Intifada by Richard Irvine?
Irvine, who teaches a course at Queen’s University Belfast entitled ‘The Battle for Palestine’, berates Israel’s “cynical campaign to pit Arab Jews (sic) against Palestinian refugees”. “After years of denial and neglect, the Israeli government has rediscovered the issue of the Mizrahi Jews”, he writes.”Deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon has instructed his diplomats to request that foreign parliaments recognise the refugee status of Jews forced from Arab countries.”
The good news is that our warrior for Palestine does not attempt to deny that many Jews were forced out by persecution and fear of persecution from Arab countries. This is progress.
(Contrast with a recent article in the Jordanian Addustour which claims that Israel has ‘fabricated’ the issue of Jewish refugees. The expulsion of thousands of Jews from Jerusalem in 1948 by the Jordanian Arab legion must have been a desert mirage.)
Equally, Richard Irvine recognises that the Arab states’ legal and moral responsibility to those who left is indisputable. So far so reasonable.
But the embattled Irvine soon goes into emotional overdrive: it’s OK to blame Arab governments; but don’t touch the whiter-than-white Palestinian leadership. Israel alone is responsible for the 1948 ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Palestinian refugees, although contemporary press reports blamed Arab states.
Ah that old chestnut, ‘the ethnic cleansing’ of Palestinians – a cleansing so effective that one million Arabs now live as citizens of Israel.
Behind Ayalon’s quest for truth’, Irvine charges, is a dastardly campaign to nullify the Palestinian ‘right of return’.Yet eminent legal experts such as Ruth Gavison have proclaimed that the Palestinian ‘right of return’ does not exist in international law; it is as good as built on desert quicksand. Apparently, it also selectively applies to refugees from Israel but not to the 400,000 Palestinians expelled from Kuwait in 1991.
Enter Yours Truly in Irvine’s diatribe. In Haaretz I accused Arab states of abusing the Palestinians by denying them basic civil and human rights. Palestinians are denied citizenship, and in many cases, the right to jobs and property. I called the turning back of Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria at the Jordanian border ‘cynical and cruel’.
Irvine’s response is a choice piece of whataboutery:
“For stateless Palestinians facing dispossession and expulsion by Israeli forces from East Jerusalem and the Jordan valley, one can only stand in awe at the chutzpah.”
I see. Palestinian suffering is only worth pointing out when Israel can be blamed.
Irvine goes on to say that “Julius uses ‘racist terms’ to characterise the Palestinian ‘right of return’” – their right to ‘Arabise Israel by flooding Israel with millions of refugees.
It is not racist to surmise that an influx of five million Palestinians and their descendants would lead to an Arab-majority state in Israel. It is fact. Such a state would speak Arabic and be overwhelmingly Muslim. Its first act would undoubtedly be to rescind the Law of Return for Jews.
“Whether refugees have the right to return to their homeland or they do not,” Irvine declares,” that they be Arab, European, Jewish Muslim or Christian should not matter.”
In an ideal world, perhaps, Mr Irvine. But show me an Arab country that would permit Jews to return to their homes, restore their property to them and full civil rights, including the right to practise their religion in full security. The two sets of refugees are not being played off against each other. The Jewish refugees have rights and demands of their own. At the same time, they serve as a model for successful resettlement.
Advocating that one lot of refugees should fester in squalid camps without rights, while denying that the other group have a right to enjoy full rights in Israel, smacks of hypocrisy – and dare I say, ‘chutzpa’.
“Those who claim to be genuinely concerned for peace, reconciliation and rights should be reaching out to both Mizrahi and Palestinian refugees and inviting them how, as two communities of dispossessed peoples they can make a new future together.”
Amen to that, Mr Irvine, but what measures is he proposing today to ease the plight of Palestinians? Reconciliation has to be based on truth. There is no turning the clock back after 60 years: After an irreversible exchange of populations, one set is happily resettled in Israel. Time for the other set of refugees to abandon their delusional ‘right of return’ for a ‘right of resettlement’ in a state of Palestine or other Arab states.
A guest post by Gidon Ben-Zvi, who blogs at Jerusalem State of Mind
On July 5, the BBC published the shocking results of a study recently conducted by the UK charity, Oxfam.
Regurgitating stale stereotypes, the thrust of Oxfam’s report is that Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank live in a ‘wretched reality’ as a result of settlement expansion and the related restrictions imposed on Palestinians on the use of land, water and movement – all of which, Oxfam claims, are destroying the viability of a future Palestinian state.
Oxfam is correct in its assessment of the Palestinian economy as a veritable basket case. Where this integral part of the “global movement for change” veers into tired dogma is in its singling out of Israel for approbation. Blame Israel first, investigate the facts never.
Regarding Israel’s restrictions on Palestinians’ access to water, this is an old myth that’s occasionally gussied up and tweaked for contemporary audiences. Truth is, Palestinians’ share of aquifers actually increased dramatically once control of the West Bank passed from Jordan to Israel in 1967, despite Israel’s limited water supply. Indeed much of the water related issues in the Palestinian territories are caused by the failure of the PA to implement Israeli approved projects. Over half of the wells approved for exploitation of the territory’s Eastern aquifer, for instance, have still not been drilled, though Israel approved permits for the project in 2000. (You can read a detailed fisking of the claim that Israel doesn’t supply Palestinians with enough water, here.)
Another piece of propaganda passing for fact is the unexamined belief that Israeli settlements are being built on land that has been set aside for a future Palestinian state. While Palestinians can and often do challenge Israeli land seizures in court, the very definitions of private and state land in the disputed territories are a legal morass. Based on titles and deeds, land that is registered becomes private property. But what if there are no documents to prove ownership?
What’s now commonly referred to as the West Bank is territory that fell under the successive administrations of the Ottoman Empire, the British mandate, Jordan and now Israel. During the Ottoman Empire, only small areas of the West Bank were registered to specific owners. Often, villagers would hold land in common to avoid taxes. The British began a more formal land registry based on land use, taxation or house ownership that continued through the Jordanian period.
Legally speaking, and in stark contrast to the BBC’s assertion that “settlements are considered illegal under international law…”, it is worth noting Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip in a war of survival. In fact, Israel’s seizing of land in 1967 was, arguably, the ONLY legal acquisition of this territory in the 20th century. As such, the ultimate fate of all disputed territory is a matter to be left for the oft-stalled final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
While the 1993 Oslo Accords attempted to find a resolution to the issues of settlements and borders, a settlement freeze was never a precondition for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
With regards to the Jordan Valley, its strategic importance along the eastern border of the West Bank makes Israel’s withdrawal a virtual non-starter in future peace talks with the Palestinians.
Since the end of the 1967 war, every Israeli government has considered the Jordan Valley to be the “eastern border” of Israel with Jordan. Most of the strip lying in present-day Israel and the West Bank has been declared state land by the Israeli government. As part of the Oslo Agreements, the strip was classified as Area C, with the exception of the enclave around Jericho
Next, Oxfam goes for the trifecta by reporting that the Palestinians could generate an extra £1bn ($1.5bn) a year if restrictions on their movements, along with the aforementioned land encroachment and water theft, were removed.
Like any other country, Israel must balance humanitarian and economic concerns (of Palestinians, in Israel’s case) with the very real security concerns of its citizens. Barriers, checkpoints and other limitations on mobility are an unfortunate yet vital necessity. Once a comprehensive peace agreement is signed between the Israelis and Palestinians, such security measures will become unnecessary and summarily voided.
For now, however, the best that can be hoped for is the occasional easing of restrictions on movement – dependent, of course, on the diminution of security threats. And Israel has made concerted efforts to oblige. In 2010, for example, Israel issued more than 651,000 entry permits to West Bank residents wishing to travel to Israel, an increase of 42 percent over 2009. In 2009-10, Israel removed more than 200 roadblocks and reduced the number of manned checkpoints from 41 to 14.
Going forward, Oxfam may want to consider laying off the double standards and obsessive condemnations of reasonable responses to terror vis-à-vis Israel. Continuing to do so only serves to cheapen its stated purpose of building “a future free from the injustice of poverty.”
As for the BBC, its publication of the Oxfam report lends credence to the widely held belief that the broadcasting organization relies solely on the Palestinian perspective, and consistently parrots the narrative of “partisan, agenda-driven” Israeli organizations critical of Israel.
- Poisoning the wells: David Hearst’s Jewish problem (cifwatch.com)
The original video of an incident in Hebron involving an Israeli Border Policeman and a Palestinian youth, posted on YouTube by B’Tselem on June 29, lasts 2 minutes.
The video, shot through a gap in a building overlooking the Hebron street where the policeman was patrolling, hovers over the same small area for 1 minute and 16 seconds before the incident took place.
The videographer was lying in wait.
At the 1:16 mark, we see a Palestinian child walk by at the same location. A couple of seconds later the policeman (who was evidently a few meters away) rushes to the scene and grabs the Palestinian in a manner suggesting that the child was apprehended following an incident, the details of which we weren’t privy to.
At the 1:34 mark, another policeman approaches and gives the Palestinian a swift, mild kick. The child is then released, and is seen rushing off.
On July 3, the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood published a story about the incident, titled “Caught on video: Israeli policeman kicking Palestinian boy“. However, Sherwood’s video is edited so that the viewer only sees 37 seconds of the 2 minute tape. It begins at the point where the boy enters the scene.
Sherwood noted that such Israelis are patrolling Hebron to protect “hardline settlers”. She contextualized the kick by citing a “report published last week by a group of eminent British lawyers [funded by the UK Foreign Office] that concluded Israel had breached international law in its treatment of Palestinian children in military custody.”
Oh, and I almost neglected to note that the Israeli Border Police have opened an investigation into the incident and will publish their findings soon.
On August 31, 2010, four Israelis, including a married couple, were murdered in their vehicle in a Hamas terrorist drive-by shooting attack on Route 60 east of Hebron. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Ynet the attack was proof that “the Palestinian resistance is living, breathing, and kicking“. [emphasis added]
Harriet Sherwood’s report on the Hamas terrorist attack focused almost entirely on fear that the “incident…could jeopardise vital peace talks”.
There was no video of the attack which claimed the lives of Yitzhak Ames, Talya Ames, Avishai Shindler, and Kochava Chaim.
However, the following photo of Palestinians celebrating the successful “operation” near Hebron was posted around the web.
As far as I can determine, there has been no report funded by the UK Foreign Office on such terror attacks as violations of international human rights law.
Oh, and I almost neglected to note that there was no Palestinian investigation into the murder of four Jews near Hebron.
Cross posted by Richard Millett
I was back at Parliament last night for the launch of a joint report by Save The Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians called Falling Behind – The Effect Of The Blockade On Child Health in Gaza.
The same day a report was released called Children in Military Custody. This may explain why there were only 20 people at my meeting.
It must have been a good day to release bad news about Israel. With politicians, NGOs and charities totally impotent to stop massacres in Syria and starvation and disease in Africa they got back to doing what they do best; delegitimising Israel.
I haven’t had a chance to read Children in Military Custody except to note that it starts off by stating:
“We have no reason to differ from the view of Her Majesty’s Government and the international community that these settlements are illegal.”
This despite Article 6 of the British Mandate which called for “close settlement by Jews on the land”. So when did those “settlements” suddenly become “illegal”?
Children in Military Custody also relies heavily on a recent report on exactlythe same subject matter by Defence for Children International – Palestine Section called Bound, Blindfolded & Convicted: Children held in military detention.
How many reports on exactly the same subject do we need? Obviously there is no austerity in some NGOs and government departments (Children in Military Custody was funded by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
The main problem with Bound, Blindfolded & Convicted is that all the testimony was taken anonymously.
Similarly, Children in Military Custody adopted the ‘Chatham House principle’ of not attributing quotes to individuals, again making it impossible to test the evidence.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Embassy in London responded to Children in Military Custody by noting that Palestinians under the age of 18 were encouraged by school textbooks and television programmes to glorify terrorism. As a result they were often involved in lethal acts which presented the Israeli authorities with serious challenges.
But the Embassy said the Israeli government intends to study the recommendations “as part of its ongoing efforts to find the most appropriate balance between preventing violence and treating perpetrators with humanity”.
As for Falling Behind – The Effect Of The Blockade On Child Health in GazaKerry Smith (Humanitarian Advocacy Adviser, Save The Children) and Aimee Shalan (Director of Advocacy and Communications, Medical Aid for Palestinians) solely blamed Israel’s blockade for the apparent swathe of malnutrition and disease sweeping the children of Gaza caused by, inter alia, lack of medicines and there being (literally) no safe drinking water in Gaza.
I asked how this could be the case if the average age longevity in Gaza is better than parts of Britain, specifically Glasgow (in Gaza average life expectancy is 74.16 years).
Labour’s Lord Warner, who was chairing, explained that it was only since Israel’s blockade that there had been a rapid deterioration in child health in Gaza, therefore only in 10 to 15 years time will we truly see how far average life expectancy in Gaza has dropped as a result of the blockade.
I then asked how it was that there could be such a shortage of medicines considering the existence of the likes of Save The Children and UNRWA. Why would Israel block these medicines?
This time the blame was with Israel’s bureaucracy which meant that much of the medicine arrived out of date. Oh, and Israel kept only one crossing open (Kerem Shalom). Someone from the audience shouted that it was “all intentional”.
I also asked whether Egypt should take any responsibility for Gaza, but was told that Egypt’s border with Gaza is closed at the request of Israel.
Hamas wasn’t mentioned once, except for when Lord Warner said that he didn’t believe it was full of terrorists.
Kerry Smith and Aimee Shalan then called for Israel to lift its blockade to enable free movement in and out of Gaza.
Should Israel heed this call it wouldn’t be long before it was burying many of its children blown up in Hamas and Islamic Jihad suicide bombings.
So just to recap Save The Children, United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Hamas, Amnesty, War on Want, Egypt etc. have no responsibility whatsoever for Gaza.
All responsibility lies totally with Israel who should immediately open itself up to the risk of Palestinian suicide bombers.
But, then again, you knew that didn’t you…
Beneath the line of the ‘Comment is Free’ essay, ‘Respect is crucial in nuclear talks with Iran‘, June 15, by Hossein Mousavian and Mohammad Ali Shabani, was this howler.
Controlling minds, censoring views, chipping away at the Guardian’s reader base?
I think it may be time to at least consider the possibility that Zionists have as much control over the world as our critics say we do.
Regardless, we’ve been thinking about tweaking our logo, so take a look at this and let us know what you think. (But, please remember, look directly into the center of the image, and don’t look away…)
The following represents my reply to an email we received from an Australian at the “contact us” email address at CiF Watch, which was quite critical of Israel. We receive more than few such emails but as this one seemed representative of the criticism Israel and (often) Jews are subjected to in the West, I decided to spend a bit of time on it and get to the heart of his concerns.
We received your email and, as managing editor of CiF Watch, a Jew, and a citizen of Israel, I’ve decided to spend a bit of time replying to your critique of Israel. I’ll focus on your main arguments.
“Australia and Australians have a generally positive, sympathetic disposition towards Israel and Jewish people.”
I don’t deny this about Australians.
“As I’ve matured though, I am sorry to say that I’ve become aware that in more modern times, Israel is not necessarily as deserving of sympathy as the Jewish people were in WW2.”
It is a little difficult to answer this point because you don’t really expound on why precisely Israel is not deserving of sympathy. What are the sins we’re accused of? And were Jews only deserving of sympathy while we were victims of Nazi genocide?
Moreover – just to be clear – it is not sympathy we demand, but equal treatment. We do not aspire to be the object of your pity but, merely, to be granted the rights afforded to every other nation in the world, which are typically understood to be axiomatic and unreserved.
“In saying that, I am doing something that I consider crucial but which I suspect you would not like: discriminating between “Jews” and “Israel”. I do that because in the public debate here, often the label of “anti-american” or “anti-jewish” is used if people say something negative about the behaviour of Israel or the US. I am sure some people are simply racist and their arguments stem from that. Those people are easy to write-off. The problem however is that there are plenty of people who are not racist who disagree strongly with Israeli behaviour. To characterise them as anti-semitic is incorrect at best, willfully ignorant in the middle and egregiously aggressive at worst.” [emphasis added]
This is a straw man.
I dare you to find more than a few isolated examples of mainstream Jews and Zionists who accuse Israel’s critics of antisemitism merely for criticizing her policies. As antisemitism has historically been defined by the tendency to hold Jews to standards no other group is held to, I think it’s reasonable to impute antisemitism to those who similarly hold the Jewish state to such higher standards.
The current session of the United Nations Human Rights Council has passed 50% of its condemnatory resolutions against Israel (more than twice the number which have been passed against Syria). I think it is not unreasonable to consider antisemitism as a possible motivation. When Israel’s very right to exist – unlike the other 192 nations in the world – is constantly questioned, I similarly think that antisemitism can be considered a likely cause.
And, especially when Zionists’ enemies employ tropes about the dangers of Jewish power, or question the loyalty of Jews (who live outside of Israel) to their own nation, or worry about Jews’ control of the media and finance, I again think it’s reasonable to suspect their motivation is Judeophobia.
But moreover, are you honestly concerned that Israel does not receive its fair share of criticism in the media and on the world stage?
“Aside from the very real threats that I know you face, I think there is a deeper, in some ways greater two-part threat looming: that of cutting off from listening to any criticism, even from friends, with the detachment from reality that can lead to. I’m going to share something personal: I have a friend who was abused and neglected as a child and then developed drug problems as a young adult. Even now, she can’t handle criticism, even when she’s making bad decisions and hurting those around her, particularly family. She’s had an insight into what people are capable of but she now sees threats around her at times when they don’t exist.”
I must admit to thinking that attempts to psychoanalyze Israel and/or the Jewish people assume quite a bit of hubris. What professional background grants you the expertise necessary to understand the hopes, fears, aspirations (and even pathos) of six million Israeli Jews (and fourteen million Jews worldwide)?
Again, you make your case through abstractions, so it is difficult to reply with the necessary political and intellectual rigor that I’m used to when fisking a Guardian essay or report, but the expansive nature of your charge does demand that I attempt a serious response.
First: What are the bad decisions Israelis are making? I’ll take a wild guess and assume you’re referring broadly to issues concerning the Palestinians.
If so, this a much longer conversation but, as is the case with so many of Israel’s critics, you no doubt would never consider writing a similar letter to the ‘contact us’ section of a Palestinian blog, asking them why their leaders are making bad decisions and hurting those around them.
Am I wrong?
Perhaps you can forward an email you’ve sent to the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade – the terrorist brand of the political party currently controlling the PA – asking why they engage in supremely cruel terror attacks on innocent Jewish men, women and children. Or maybe you can forward an email you’ve sent to PA President Mahmoud Abbas asking him why his government continues to glorify terrorists and indoctrinates their children to hate Jews and reject a two state solution.
Additionally, maybe you could forward an email you’ve sent to Abbas asking him why he rejected an offer of a contiguous Palestinian state in 2008, which included land equal to 100% of the West Bank, Gaza and a Capital in East Jerusalem (an offer confirmed by then U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice).
My guess is that such emails won’t be forthcoming because you have never thought to send them.
As far as these “phony threats” to Israel you evoke: I guess I could chalk up your callousness to living in Australia and possessing a failure of empathy informed by not having any real security concerns, but I don’t think I’m prepared to let you off the hook that easily.
You see, in the age of the internet you merely need to go online and go to a credible site which can bring you up to speed on the ideologies of state and non-state actors which surround our tiny polity. I speak mainly of Hamas and Hezbollah: Iranian sponsored, funded and trained Islamist militias possessing thousands of missiles – both of which are quite explicit in their desire to murder millions of Jews. Is it really possible you don’t already know this?
Do you also not know that the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood – perhaps the most popular Islamist group in the Middle East – per a Wikileaks Cable asked Allah to kill “every last Jew on earth” in a sermon delivered to thousands of followers?
Were you also unaware that Iran’s supreme spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei recently outlined why it would be acceptable to kill all Jews in Israel – a doctrine, as reported by the Mail Online, which details why the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of all its people would be legally and morally justified, and in accordance to Islamic doctrine?
Are these the non-existent threats of which you speak?
Finally you write:
“A slow conversion of people with valid, specific criticisms of Israeli government behaviour into invalid, overgeneralised criticisms of Jewish people: I’m sure this is happening and while inherently an unreasonable process, as time goes on I think it will occur more and more. Holocaust deniers are clearly idiots but as generations pass, the collective sympathy regarding the holocaust will naturally diminish and Israel will increasingly appear to be acting inappropriately.”
It is quite interesting that you have failed to offer even one specific criticism of Israeli government policy. Why is that? Do you have a good working knowledge of the politics of the region?
I doubt you do.
Because if you understood the modern Jewish state and its neighbours with anything approaching objectivity, you would marvel at its liberal democratic prowess in a region awash in tyranny and intolerance. You’d see a nation which excels in science, medicine and technology and is not only economically self-sufficient, but increasingly exports lifesaving technology to much poorer countries around the globe.
My tiny Jewish state is, by any credible measure, a social, political and economic success story.
As an Israeli who understands that being a Jew has, throughout history, almost always meant continually being judged, I will simply not grant you the privilege to sit on this jury.
I choose not to grant you that power.
Jews are masters of their own fate for the first time in thousands of years and we have no intention of relinquishing this hard-fought right.
Finally, here’s my proposal.
I am completely fine if your sympathy for the Holocaust completely ceases. Really: I am not concerned with your genocide condemnations and platitudes about concerns for survivors, your Shoah memorials, museums, or days of remembrance.
However, what I do ask (what even the broadest understanding of universal morality demands) is that you maintain a steadfast, fierce and unyielding resistance to the modern day ideological heirs to Nazi antisemitism: those who carry on the legacy of Hitler, Goebbels, Streicher, Goring, and Himmler. Those heirs are adherents to a malign ideology known as radical Islam (Islamism), many of whom just happen to surround the Jewish state, and whose names are Haniyeh, Nasrallah, and Qaradawi.
That is, what I’m suggesting is that true philo-semites are those whose imaginative sympathy are inspired by the fate of living Jews, not those who have been dead for over 65 years.
The fact that 40% of those living Jews happen to dwell in Israel is something you may wish to consider.
- Islamism, and the Guardian left’s moral complicity with explicit antisemitism (cifwatch.com)
- How could “liberal” Guardian give a platform to antisemitic fascists? (Essay by Lyn Julius) (cifwatch.com)
- The Guardian and Hamas: Willing Dupe and Immutable Victim (cifwatch.com)
- The stunning moral failure of the anti-Zionist left: Rachel Shabi compares Israel to European fascists (cifwatch.com)
- ‘Proud Muslim Zionist’ named Kasim Hafeez brings his message to Danny Ayalon & Israeli press (cifwatch.com)
- Why Jane loves Israel, the extended version: ‘Dancing Auschwitz revisited’ (cifwatch.com)
- The anti-Zionist malice of ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Mya Guarnieri (cifwatch.com)
- Deborah Orr Tweet defends ‘chosen people’ essay, complains about Zionists’ sense of victimhood (cifwatch.com)
- Former Nazi Gunter Grass & ‘liberal’ broadsheet called the Guardian (Analysis of coverage) (cifwatch.com)
A guest post by AKUS
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
But tides go out, as well as come in. Is it possible that the Guardian leadership, desperately trying to save its livelihood at a once proud paper, is hoping that the tide of rising anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli activity in Europe will be the incoming tide that it can surf to the safe shore of large salaries, pensions, and early retirement?
Until recently, until, in fact, June 8th, 2012, it might have seemed that their ploy was working. Article after article has appeared obsessively attacking Israel over matters that are at worst no different than can be found in all Western countries – the struggle to deal with the refugee influx, the rise of the right wing in response to terrorism, the clash between ultra-religious and secular, just to name three recent examples whose analogues can be found in the USA or Europe. Even as the Middle East goes up in the flames of the “Arab Spring”, with deaths now clearly closing in on 100,000, thanks in large part to NATO’s intervention in Libya and the mass-murder continuing in Syria, the Guardian focuses on Gaza and blames Israel for what Hamas is doing there.
With the publication of a column which has rapidly become notorious, in which the head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyah, laid out his thoughts on how the Palestinians are reclaiming their destiny, the Guardian planted its masthead firmly in the camp of terrorism, misogyny, religious intolerance, jihad, Jew-slaughter, and all the other elements of the Hamas creed with which every person in the West has become familiar.
There is much to criticize and even mock in Haniyah’s puff piece, obviously ghost-written since his English is known to be deplorable, but without a doubt the portion that will be remembered, to the everlasting shame of the Guardian, is the paragraph so especially full of lies and evasions that reads:
“We as a people want to live in our homeland, the land of our ancestors, in freedom, dignity and democracy, and with a just peace that restores our rights. We do not want to attack anyone and do not accept anyone attacking us. As we have said on more than one occasion, the key to security is the end of occupation. As a people we have been historically wronged and subjected to dozens of massacres; tens of thousands of us have lost our children for no other reason than that we demand our rights as clearly stipulated under international laws.”
“Our homeland” and “our destiny” clearly mean the whole of Mandatory Palestine, except for Trans-Jordan, which the British gave up in 1923 to the Hashemites from Saudi Arabia.
In other words, Israel must cease to exist. As rockets continue to be fired into Israel by Hamas’ proxies, if not its own identifiable members, the claim that “We do not want to attack anyone” cannot be read with a straight face. The desire to see “the end of occupation” when, in Gaza, there is no occupation is so transparent that it is incredible that someone can even write rubbish like this – unless one accepts Haniyah’s thesis, as the Guardian obviously does, that the very existence of Israel is “occupation” and saying it makes it so.
Finally, the exaggerated claim that tens of thousands have lost their children is not only verifiably absurd, flying in the face of recorded facts, but rings particularly cynical and hollow as we read about the current massacres in Syria where, indeed, tens of thousands have been killed by the two Assads making war on their own citizens, actually killing tens of thousands of citizens and children.
The article and the Gaza-live blog that accompanied it (“A day in the life of Gaza”) replete with ‘touching human interest’ stories, brought to the web by two of the Guardian’s weakest straws, Harriet Sherwood and Phoebe Greenwood, ignored the evil that is Hamas and provided a bizarre example of cognitive dissonance that must have jarred any reader capable of rational and critical thinking.
Clearly, this piece by Haniyah, so replete with falsehoods, misrepresentations and exaggerations, can only be considered an example of a “Big Lie” so beloved by the Nazis – tell a lie big enough, and often enough, and eventually people will believe it. But it is not enough to point out the resemblance to something Goebbels could have written – one must also consider where it is published, and who published it, and why they did so.
The response on the Web has been immediate and harsh. The finger is pointed directly at the Guardian, for no-one expects more of Haniyah or Hamas. The Times of Israel published a direct attack comparing the Guardian to “Der Sturmer” – Der Sturmer in the UK? Pulling no punches, Simon Plosker wrote:
“What would Israel do if a journalist from Der Sturmer was filing reports from inside the country? Despite the fact that there is remarkable press freedom in Israel, extending to and including Arab media such as Al-Jazeera, it’s a safe bet that Israel would find it extremely hard to swallow.
Yet there is such a foreign media outlet represented in Israel, publishing propaganda and openly supporting Israel’s worst enemies. It’s called The Guardian. .. When it comes to The Guardian, however, the paper deserves to be treated as a modern-day Der Sturmer.”
Over on Harry’s Place, Joseph W. came out with Hamas leader writes for the Guardian leaving no doubt about how he sees Hamas – “Hamas is an organisation dedicated to killing Jews” – and the Guardian’s role in publishing Haniyah’s article as part of the same anti-Semitic ethos.
Robin Shepherd’s blog, “The Commentator”, published Is the Guardian the most bigoted newspaper in Britain? and opened with:
“Which of these propositions do you think is correct; and can you identify a moral distinction between them?
The Guardian newspaper has just run an article by someone advocating that black people be returned to the status of slaves.
The Guardian newspaper has just run an article suggesting that landlords be allowed to put up notices saying that Irish people and dogs need not apply for housing.
The Guardian newspaper has just run an article by a political leader whose foundational charter advocates the murder of Jews and promotes conspiracy theories that would not have looked out-of-place in Nazi Germany.
No prizes for guessing that the third of those propositions is correct on a factual basis. The morality? It’s a race to the bottom.”
Here on CiFWatch we reposted Charlotte’s Giving up the Guardian from her blog “Digital Politco”. Her reason for giving up the Guardian?
“I might even have been able to stomach a proper interview with Haniyah published in the Guardian. He has been elected Prime Minister, despite his organisations vile beliefs.
Essentially though this is the equivalent of the paper giving a column to the leader of the KKK, and giving someone like Ismail Haniyah an unanswered column should be as totally unthinkable to the Guardian.
As it wasn’t, I cannot support or read this product.”
Clearly aware that they were publishing something that was so false, so rotten, so biased, and so supportive of a terrorist and anti-Semitic organization in their Live Blog, the Guardian took unusual action by prefacing the blog with an editor’s note – Gaza Live: editor’s note. The need for a note of explanation is an uneasy admission that something smells fishy about the live blog, and it is not only the odor of rotting fish in the Gaza fish market. The note itself contains a series of whoppers stating the Guardian’s position:
“The Guardian’s leader line is that the Gaza blockade is illegal in international law, that it constitutes collective punishment, and that it has not had its intended political outcome, which was to kill support for Hamas, drive a permanent wedge between it and Fatah and divide the Palestinians.”
How can any informed person read this farrago of lies and misrepresentations without concluding that the Guardian serves as apologists for Islamists like Hamas?
The Palmer Report to the UN made it clear that the Gaza blockade is NOT illegal (it has never, ever, been challenged in an international court of law because no lawyer believes he or she can make the case).
Considering the luxurious lifestyle of so many in Gaza it is not surprising that visitors from Egypt have been amazed by the prosperity there, against which Egypt compares unfavorably.
The dearth of support for Hamas is due to Hamas’ actions, not Israel’s, as can be read in one of the blogs the Guardian provides in direct contradiction to its own line,
Iyad al-Tom says he blames the Gaza government for the continuing blockade, and the militants who fire rockets from nearby fields into Gaza for the Israeli military incursions. “Of course I’m angry. We never see the militants, but if we did we would throw stones at them.”
Finally, Israel had nothing to do with driving a wedge between Hamas and Fatah – they have managed to do that themselves.
All this aside, the readers of the Live Blog also had their say, and were overwhelmingly critical of the Guardian. Scan the comments below the line on Haniyah’s article and the Live Blog to read comments like the following from among just the first comments to appear:
Comment is free; facts are sacred. Not in this paper they’re not.
Reading the ferocious responses in the blogosphere and the angry and pointed comments below the line on the Guardian website accusing it of anti-Semitism and Israel-hatred, it is clear that for many people the Guardian crossed a line with its support for Hamas and its one-sided Gaza blog.
The Guardian’s actions even raise a question for those of us who strongly support freedom of expression – when does freedom of expression, as demonstrated by an article published by the leader of a proscribed terrorist organization who calls for the death of Jews wherever they can be found, go beyond what is acceptable and become treason and a call to genocide? If the Guardian is recognized as the 21st century’s “Der Sturmer”, as Simon Plosker avers, at what point does the British government need to intervene?
Finally, one has to wonder why this incessant, obsessive, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attack goes on and on. It is hard to believe that it is truly out of concern for the UNRWA supported, EU supported, Palestinians when far worse situations are notably under-reported by the Guardian. Ever since Deep Throat said it to Woodward and Bernstein, either in life or in the movie about Watergate, I have been a believer in “Follow the Money”.
What is in it for the Guardian? Is someone funding this unending effort so reminiscent of Nixon’s paranoid attacks against those he believed to be his opponents? Is there a belief at the leadership level that the only way to retain their dwindling paying readership is to use the oldest distraction in the book – attacking the Jews? Is the Guardian simply following the line of the assassin Brutus:
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
There is a tipping point in the affairs of men, when that tide does go out, dragging the would-be “venturers” so far out to sea that they disappear never to be seen again, like Nixon after Watergate. With its support for Hamas, the article by Haniyah, and the Gaza Live blog, the Guardian may finally be facing the tipping point that takes down the abominable attack dogs it has been cursed with as leaders for a decade or two.
- The Guardian and Hamas: Willing Dupe and Immutable Victim (cifwatch.com)
- Islamism, and the Guardian left’s moral complicity with explicit antisemitism (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian’s Conal Urquhart lies about “unarmed” Mavi Marmara terrorists (cifwatch.com)
- Making Hamas Disappear: Amira Hass’s journalistic sleight of hand evokes fictitious Gaza (cifwatch.com)
Cross posted by Charlotte at Digital Politico
It may or may not surprise you to know that I am a Guardian reader.
Or at least was.
Today though they decided to run a piece by the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh.
The leader of a terrorist organisation that has a stated aim of removing Israel from the map.
That’s before we mention it’s totally despicable and illiberal approach to women and homosexuals.
People will try and make this into a free speech issue. When they do I hope they realise that I have always been against no platforming in a political context – I was happy for Nick Griffin to appear and be debated on Question Time. I thought that the BNP candidate should have been allowed into the Mayoral debate when all candidates were invited.
I might even have been able to stomach a proper interview with Haniyeh published in the Guardian. He has been elected Prime Minister, despite his organisations vile beliefs.
Essentially though this is the equivalent of the paper giving a column to the the leader of the KKK, and giving someone like Ismail Haniyeh an unanswered column should be as totally unthinkable to the Guardian.
As it wasn’t, I cannot support or read this product
The issue is about terrorism and murder, not free speech. I have zero issue with people wanting to advocate the Palestinian cause being given a platform, even though I may come from a slightly different perspective. I also hope having such a debate can contribute towards peace. This article is not that though.
You will note that in his piece Haniyeh mentions the word Israel once, followed by the word occupation. It’s a bit odd that in a piece about change in the Middle East, mentions of the region’s only democracy are almost indiscernible. The thing is, if he had mentioned Israel, Haniyeh would have to discuss that he actually advocates the destruction of that state, and even Guardian readers might have found that a bit too difficult to take with their muesli.
But there is no point just winging.
The Guardian has long been a beloved media outlet of liberals, but today myself and my friend Matthew Harris are urging liberals to Give up the Guardian. Stop reading it, stop linking to it, stop buying it.
Go on….you’ll feel so much better when you give it up.
- The Guardian and Hamas: Willing Dupe and Immutable Victim (cifwatch.com)
- Comment Isn’t Free (order-order.com)