Notorious UK paper posts op-ed by failed US president defending racist extremists

 

Jimmy Carter embraces Khaled Mashal

Jimmy Carter embraces Khaled Mashal

Perhaps no phrase more accurately embodies the moral relativism which began capturing the zeitgeist during the 60s and 70s than ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter‘.

If Cyrus Vance, Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of State, aptly echoed the political derivative of this principle when he asserted that U.S. and Soviet leaders “have similar dreams and aspirations about the most fundamental issues”, then his boss’s career after being rejected by the American electorate would come to embody the truism that dangerous ideas which begin on the intellectual margins can slowly become conventional wisdom among political leaders and the opinion elite. 

Indeed, Carter’s history of shilling for the terror group Hamas is perfectly consistent with his perverse empathy for dictators and tyrants around the globe in the name of ‘peace’ while, conversely, demonizing and smearing progressive democratic states like Israel.

Such an ideological persuasion of course makes him a perfect candidate to pen an op-ed at the home address in the UK for such moral inversions, The Guardian.

Gaza blockade must end“, by Carter and Mary Robinson (former UN high commissioner for human rights) begins with a premise which employs a tortured casuistry – suggesting that the blockade is the cause of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and not the consequence of Hamas violence –  that was, tellingly, endorsed recently by the Guardian’s Middle East editor, Ian Black.

After citing erroneous casualty figures for the war, presumably from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, Carter and Robinson blame Israel for deliberately obstructing Hamas’s “promising move towards peace”, citing the reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions which, they claim, included the rejection of violence.

However, they fail to note that Hamas emphatically rejected this commitment to non-violence after the unity government was announced, and that that the group demonstrated this insistence upon retaining their ‘right of violent resistance’ by reportedly orchestrating the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens.

Carter and Robinson then insist that “there is no humane or legal justification” for how the IDF pulverized “large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools and hospitals”, which follows the dominant narrative among the far left of ignoring the undeniable, widespread evidence that such structures were targeted (in compliance with international law) because Hamas was illegally using them to house and fire weapons – consistent with the group’s human shield policy

Then they finally pivot to the issue they likely realized would galvanize fellow Hamas apologists, ‘recognition':

US and EU should recognize that Hamas is not just a military force but also a political one“.

It cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognising its legitimacy as a political actor – one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people – can the west begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons. Ever since the internationally monitored 2006 elections that brought Hamas to power in Palestine, the west’s approach has manifestly contributed to the opposite result. 

Jimmy Carter believes that Hamas will lay down its arms with the right political concessions, demonstrating the capacity of self-styled humanitarians to blame the West for all Arab political failures, delude themselves into accepting the benign nature of even the most dangerous extremists, and whitewash the reactionary, racist principles which guide such movements.

In short:

Hamas will never lay down their weapons, because they are fundamentally committed to violent jihad as the only true path to ‘liberating Palestine’.

Hamas will never lay down their weapons, because they are fundamentally committed to the mass murder of Jews.

Hamas will never lay down their weapons, because they don’t share the same “dreams and aspirations” as we do.

And, the Guardian will never cease legitimizing voices which demonize the nation-state of the Jewish people and running interference for even the most loathsome and malevolent antisemitic movements.

Indy journo Mira Bar-Hillel Tweets about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

To get up to speed on Mira Bar-Hillel – a journalist who contributes to the ‘progressive’ British newspaper, The Independent, and whose sage insight about Israel was recently solicited by The BBC and Sky News - and her well-documented antisemitism, read this and this.

After doing so, you can now better understand the following Tweets by Bar-Hillel.

It started with this Tweet from someone named Emma Isitt, “quoting” a fictitious Israeli who evidently ‘confirmed’ that antisemites have been right all along.

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Spoiler: even antisemitic extremists know that this quote is a Pakistani hoax.

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Then the Twitter exchange:

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“Hoax or not”, says the Indy columnist, “the message is entirely true, and increasingly so”.

Here are the next series of exchanges:

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Does Bar-Hillel believe in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

“Look at the facts”, replied the Indy columnist, “and you will too”.

More Tweeters attempt to determine if the Indy columnist really is defending the Protocols.

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Is she only joking?

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So, to recap: Bar-Hillel believes that “the message” of Jews controlling America is “entirely true” and “increasingly so”, and that Jewish lobbyists appear to be picking up some of the ideas from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and using them.

Thanks for clarifying that for us, Mira.

Israel defeats Hamas – and other facts about the war the Guardian won’t report

For Israelis who work professionally to promote accurate reporting about Israel and the Middle East, one of the most vexing dynamics (beyond the false claims, distortions, and fabrications) is a media narrative about our their country which often has little if any resemblance to reality.

Indeed, we are all too accustomed to Guardian journalists imputing to Israel the absolute worst motives – a place Jonathan Spyer refers to as the “mythical Israel”, “a place of uninterrupted darkness and horror, in which every human interaction is ugly, crude, racist, brutal” – while evoking endless sympathy for the most malevolent actors in the region.

Such fantastical ideas about the Jewish State and its enemies has certainly colored coverage of the current war in Gaza, and this post represents a break from the fisking, criticism and analyses of their reporting that you’re accustomed to. Instead, we will merely provide a very brief account of the war and its outcome – intuitive takeaways from the month-long conflict that the Guardian won’t report.

Hamas’s war was defined by the widespread use of human shields, and countless other war crimes

Nearly all of the 3,360 rockets fired by terrorists in Gaza during the war were aimed at Israeli civilian communities – each launch representing an individual war crime.

You would never know it from reading the Guardian, but evidence of Hamas’s use of Palestinian civilians as human shields (another war crime) is at this point simply ubiquitous and irrefutable:

The IDF conducted itself in an ethical manner

Despite media claims (based on information from the Hamas run Gaza Health Ministry) that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians killed in the war were civilians, new reports and analyses now suggest that roughly half of the casualties were combatants from Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terror groups.  Col. Richard Kemp has contextualized such a low (one-to-one) ratio of civilians to combatant deaths in past Israeli wars by noting there has been an average three-to-one ratio of civilian to combatant deaths (that’s three civilians for every one combatant killed) in NATO led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

IDF measures to limit the number of Palestinian casualties included text messages, phone calls and radio messages in Arabic warning occupants to leave, and air-dropped leaflets with maps showing safe areas. When warnings went unheeded, Israeli aircraft dropped non-lethal explosives (‘knock on the door‘ procedures) to warn that an attack is imminent.

In addition to the field hospital Israel set up on the northern Gaza border to treat injured Palestinians, during Operation Protective Edge 1800 trucks entered the crossings between Israel and Gaza, carrying food, medical equipment, clothing, water, and fuel.

In a post last month, we asked the following question to the media – or to anyone else who questions Israel’s conduct during the war:

Name one army in the world that goes to greater lengths than the IDF to protect civilians during war.

We’re still waiting for a response.

Israel fought a just and morally necessary war against an antisemitic extremist group.

To those in the media whose political ideology is inspired by vapid clichés about the futility of armed conflict, almost no war – especially those in which Israel is engaged – is morally justified, and neither facts nor logic can persuade them.

However, those who don’t identify with the Guardian Left, and understand the harsh lessons of the 20th century (and indeed of Jewish history), would see a very stark moral contrast: a battle between the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas (a homophobic, misogynist, antisemitic extremist group dedicated to the mass murder of Jews) and Israel, the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people.  

Hamas’s mission, as Jeffrey Goldberg succinctly put it, is not ‘narrowly’ to destroy Israel, but to “end Jewish history”.  Every rocket that is fired, every attempted tunnel infiltration into Israeli communities, and every effort to inculcate their citizens with the values of jihad is designed for this sole purpose.

Israel Defeats Hamas

Though we can expect Guardian analyses which obfuscate this painfully obvious fact, it’s difficult to understand how anyone who has followed events unfold in Gaza and Israel over the last month can avoid concluding that Israel emerged victorious over Hamas.

While much of the UK media has strangely framed the relatively low number of Israeli deaths (64 soldiers and 3 civilians) as an indictment on the disproportionate military response – itself inspired in part by a bizarre moral logic which “turns suffering into the only measure of justice” -
the job of any army is to minimize casualties on its own side, and the IDF quite capably carried out this task.

Though Hamas fired 3300 rockets at Israel, only 116 – due in large measure to interceptions by the Iron Dome – hit populated areas (3.45%). In contrast, 475 rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters reportedly landed within the Gaza Strip.

The IDF destroyed nearly every known terror tunnel in the Strip – tunnels, by the way, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, and thousands of tons of ‘humanitarian’ concrete and other construction materials.

The IDF also reportedly destroyed 1,678 rockets launching capabilities, 977 command and control centers, 237 ‘militant’ wing government faculties, 191 weapon storage and manufacturing facilities, 144 training and militant compounds, and 1,535 additional terror sites.

Finally, Channel 2′s diplomatic correspondent Udi Segal stressed that we should remember that Hamas rejected a ceasefire proposal before the Israeli ground invasion, when it still had its tunnel infrastructure, its rocket capacity was still largely intact, and it still had a large degree of political legitimacy with the international community as part of the Palestinian unity government. Today, Segal observed, as it meekly negotiates in Cairo for a long-term truce, it has none of that.

London Times rejects anti-Hamas advert for fear it could upset their readers

A full-page advert was recently published by Elie Wiesel (and purchased by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach through his organization, This World: The Values Network) titled “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’s turn”.  The ad condemns the Islamist group for using children as human shields, and invokes the Sacrifice of Isaac to frame the war between Israel and Hamas.

Here’s part of the ad:

ad

(click here to see the full ad)

The ad will reportedly appear in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, but NOT in the London Times (aka, The Times).

A representative of The Times said: “In brief, [The Times] [feels] that the opinion being expressed is too strong and too forcefully made and will cause concern amongst a significant number of Times readers.”

Interestingly, The Sunday Times (sister publication of The Times) didn’t seem so concerned with the feelings of their readers when they published a cartoon Holocaust Memorial Day in 2013, depicting the bloody trowel wielding Israeli Prime Minister torturing innocent souls.

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Though The Sunday Times later apologized for the cartoon following heavy criticism, it was not retracted.

Additionally, The Sunday Times evidently saw nothing wrong with this advert by Save the Children that they published on July 25th, which all but accuses Israel of intentionally killing Palestinian children:

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The Sunday Times, Save the Children advert, July 25th, 2014

Finally, in their apology for the Scarfe cartoon, Sunday Times editors expressed concern that the cartoon offended many Jews, which begs the question concerning the decision to reject the Elie Wiesel advert:

Who were Times editors concerned would be offended? Hamas?

 

UK media headline fail: Telegraph’s five comically misleading words

Here’s an Aug. 3rd headline (left column) from the international news section of the British paper, The Telegraph, accompanying an article by their Jerusalem correspondent Robert Tait which is quite possibly the most misleading headline we’ve come across during the war.

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However, the online version of the article (which was accompanied by a different headline) demonstrates the print headline is especially misleading, as the article actually revolves around an announcement by Israel that the army had begun staging “its first withdrawal” from Gaza, after the IDF had nearly reached its goal of destroying Hamas’s terror tunnels.

The print headline was presumably based on a solitary passage in the over 800 word article in which the Israeli Prime Minister reportedly vowed that continuing Hamas rocket fire would be met with further Israeli strikes:

the Israeli prime minister said “all options” remained on the table and threatened to make Hamas “pay an intolerable price” if it continued firing rockets into Israel.

Of course, an accurate headline might have read:

Israel announces withdrawal from Gaza.

But, why should Telegraph editors be bothered with such messy journalistic principles as accuracy, fairness, and context when they can instead continue feeding their readers the desired UK media narrative about the conflict?

 

UK media headline fail: Do Times editors read their own articles?

A Times (of London) article about an Israeli attack on Islamic Jihad terrorists at a house in the Shati ‘refugee camp’ yesterday – which also tragically killed a Palestinian girl – was accompanied by the following headline.

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So, according to the headline, the Israelis admitted that the strike on jihadists represented a violation of the truce that had gone into effect at 10 AM that day.  However, there’s one problem: there’s nothing in the report by Gregg Carlstrom which even comes close to backing up this claim.

Here’s the full article (behind pay wall):

A Palestinian driving a digger attacked a bus in Jerusalem in an apparent backlash to the war in Gaza and an Israeli airstrike killed a young girl during yesterday’s seven-hour ceasefire that failed to silence the guns.

Aseel al-Bakri, eight, was killed when a missile struck her house in al-Shati ­refugee camp, according to the Gazan health ministry. Israel confirmed that it had carried out the attack.

Israel had promised to hold fire in most of the strip from 10am until 5pm, except around Rafah, where there has been heavy fighting for several days. Sami Abu Zuhri, the spokesman of the militant group Hamas, which runs ­Gaza, warned Palestinians “not [to] trust such a ceasefire”.

The brief truce, which was announced overnight, was partly in response to strong condemnation of Israel’s bombardment of a United Nations school on Sunday, military sources said. The school was being used as a shelter. At least nine people were killed, according to the UN .

Two people died in attacks in Jerusalem yesterday, apparently in revenge for the carnage in Gaza. In the first attack, shortly after noon, a man driving an excavator ran over a pedestrian and then flipped over a passenger bus. Police shot the driver dead.

The pedestrian died of his wounds, and at least five other people were injured. “Officers opened fire when it was clear that this was a terrorist attack,” said Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, though he declined to ­provide evidence for that claim. Police officials have been worried about ­possible attacks inside Israel.

Witnesses said the driver was a Palestinian who lived in East Jerusalem and worked on a nearby construction site. Hundreds of Israelis gathered near the crumpled bus after the attack, many of them chanting: “Death to Arabs.”

Similar attacks have happened in the past. In 2008, for example, a Palestinian man killed three people with a bulldozer.

Hours after yesterday’s attack, a gunman on a motorcycle started shooting on Mount Scopus, close to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. One person, an Israeli soldier, was critically injured.

Despite such violent incidents, the ceasefire and the withdrawal of most Israeli troops from Gaza provided a bit of breathing room for negotiations in Cairo. Last night Egypt announced that both Israel and the Palestinians had agreed to a three-day ceasefire beginning at 6am today.

Palestinian officials already in the Egyptian capital said that they had agreed on a unified set of demands, including the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza and the lifting of the territory’s blockade.

Israel has not sent anyone to the talks but indicated last night that a delegation would be heading for Egypt in the next three days to work on a longer-term truce. The army-backed government in Cairo is hostile to Hamas and is unlikely to accept any terms that would be unpalatable to the Israelis.

“Egypt knows what Israel wants,” said Yitzhak Levanon, who was the Israeli ambassador in Cairo from 2009 to 2011. “We trust Egypt, because Egypt understands the difficulty Israel is ­facing with Hamas.”

Although there were fewer Israeli aistrikes and Hamas rocket attacks, there was no sign of an imminent end to the war, which has so far killed more than 1,800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 66 Israelis, almost all of them soldiers. Israeli troops remain in a buffer zone in Gaza.

While Israel acknowledged that they carried out the attack, can anyone tell us which passage in the Times article backs up the claim in the headline that Israeli officials admitted that the attack represented a violation of the ceasefire?  

Further, as even the New York Times reported, “one Israeli official from the army agency that controls coordination with Gaza told Israel Radio that the strike took place just before the cease-fire began”. So, the timing of the IDF strike is, at the very least, disputed.

The Times got it wrong. 

The moral necessity of Jewish power

(I first wrote this essay about Tisha B’Av in 2011 and have revised it slightly each year. This year’s version takes on special relevance for me in light of Israel’s current war with Hamas, and the characteristic response it has elicited in the Western media and among the opinion elite. – Adam Levick)

“People resent the Jews for having emerged from their immemorial weakness and fearlessly resorted to force. They thereby betrayed the mission that history had assigned to them — being a people … that did not get tangled up in the obtuse narrowness of the nation-state.” – Pascal Bruckner, The Tyranny of Guilt

In Israel, it is now Tisha B’Av, a day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people throughout their history on the same date on the Hebrew calendar — the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av.

Tisha B’Av primarily commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples, but on this day we also reflect on the many other calamities which occurred on this date, from the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 to the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto.

On this day, I tend to reflect on our painful collective recollection of past catastrophes in the context of the Jewish community’s often ambivalent relationship with power – ruminations only heightened by my still relatively new Israeli citizenship, a nation often forced to exercise power to prevent additional tragedies from befalling our people.

Israel’s very rebirth in 1948 can be seen as a direct response to these calamitous events — an attempt, through the various mechanisms of statecraft, to turn Jewish history around and act instead of being acted upon. Whether defending itself in war or aiding and rescuing endangered Jewish communities around the world, the Jewish collective has had at its disposal — for the first time in over 2000 years — a state apparatus with the means (politically, diplomatically, and militarily) to protect its interests as other nations have throughout history.

However, with this exercise of political strength comes a price, a unique moral burden that many Jews in the diaspora seem unwilling or unable to bear — as any exertion of power, or control over your own fate, inevitably carries with it the loss of innocence often projected upon people perceived to be victims and lacking in moral agency.

Israeli military power (exercised against terrorism, asymmetrical warfare and other small-scale regional threats, and in major wars against state actors) and the relative success and political power of Jewish communities in the West, seems to instill in many Jews a loss of identification with their community for fear of falling on the “wrong side” of the left-right political divide.

This chasm often finds expression in the need to identify in a way uniquely separate from such seemingly crude “ethnocentric” expressions of power which carry with them the necessity of physically defending a nation (one representing a very particular identity) in all the complexities and compromises that are invariably associated with even the most progressive national enterprises.

Before the birth of the modern Jewish state, German-Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig in his pre-Holocaust book The Star of Redemption expressed his belief that a return to Israel would embroil the Jews into a worldly history they should shun. He viewed Judaism as a “supra-historical entity,” whose importance lies in the fact that it is not political but presents a “spiritual ideal” only. He saw the creation of a nation-state as a blow to the Jewish ideal of an apolitical spiritual life.

Indeed, from the revival of Mussar (and other movements which aspire to further individual Jewish ethical development) to the progressive mantra of “Tikkun Olam” (a misunderstood term which alludes to repairing the world spiritually but often employed to suggest that the pursuit of universal social justice represent the greatest expressions of Jewish devotion), this recurring tendency of Jews to pay greater attention to their own moral performance than to the nitty-gritty, messy, everyday necessities of collective survival is an inclination that writer Ruth Wisse characterizes as “moral solipsism.”

While personal spiritual improvement is indeed admirable, and the desire to tend to the needs of “the other” is certainly a noble impulse, it can also represent a political pathos — a moral escapism rooted in a blindness to the harsh political lessons of Jewish history.

Wisse, in her book Jews and Power, argues that, historically, Jews — in displaying the resilience necessary to survive in exile and not burdened by the weight of a military — believed they could pursue their mission as a “light unto the nations” on a “purely moral plane.” She demonstrates how, in fact, perpetual political weakness increased Jews’ vulnerability to scapegoating and violence as it unwittingly goaded power-seeking nations to cast them as perpetual targets.

Throughout their pre-state history, Jews inhabited a potentially precarious position, ever exposed to the whims and wishes of rulers and the resentment of the populace. Their trust in G-d as the absolute arbiter of history allowed them to endure unimaginable indignities, turning inward to concentrate on their own moral excellence. Wisse concludes that “Jews who endured the powerlessness of exile were in danger of mistaking it for a requirement of Jewish life or, worse, for a Jewish ideal.”

Indeed, some diaspora Jews express their disapproval of Israel or the Jewish community at large by lamenting this newly acquired agency, often fetishizing their people’s historic weakness, and thus fail to see the role that such powerlessness played in the suffering that has befallen the community through the ages.

With national sovereignty there’s a price to be paid in terms of responsibility for the occasional infliction of human suffering (even if unintentional) that invariably occurs as the result of even the most judicious use of national power. But in the lives of individual adults, as in the lives of nations, rarely are we afforded the luxury of making choices that will allow one to live a life of innocence, nor one which offers decisions which will result in perfect justice for all concerned.

Rather, with every serious decision in front of her, Israel must carefully weigh the costs and benefits of various policies and try to make the decision likely to result in the most positive outcome, while also taking into account how such actions will affect the safety and well-being of future generations of Israelis and the broader Jewish community.

Israel has a profound responsibility in carrying out the arduous, thankless, but morally necessary task of collective self-defense (a national vision Theodore Herzl referred to as “The Guardian of the Jews”). For Israel, in an era replete with concrete military threats and delegitimization campaigns by loosely connected political networks, an unapologetic and fiercely determined self-defense is an ethical imperative.

Protecting yourself, your family, your community, and your nation from harm should never be misconstrued as inconsistent with the highest Jewish ethical aspirations — an idea the broader Jewish community would be wise to take seriously while lamenting the suffering of so many throughout our history on Tisha B’Av.

Economist curiously omits key reason for MK Zoabi’s Knesset suspension

Claims regarding the putative ‘erosion of Israel’s democracy‘ have long been a favorite among the anti-Israel UK media elite, and the mere absence of any evidence attesting to this descent into political darkness hasn’t weakened their appetite for this narrative.

To boot, an Economist article titled ‘Us and Them‘, Aug. 2, included a few factually-challenged claims on alleged attacks on the civil rights of Israel’s minorities. 

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has warned the country’s civil-rights groups that they could be branded as delegitimisers if they insist on promoting rights for Israel’s Arab minority and oppose the definition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews. 

First, addressing the first part of the passage, the Knesset did not warn the country’s civil-rights groups that they could be branded as delegitimisers for merely “promoting rights for Israel’s Arab minority”. In fact it’s hard to know where precisely where the Economist even found such an absurd claim.  Further, the second part of the passage, regarding the alleged consequences for ‘opposing the definition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews’, again is not accurate.

They may be alluding to a proposed change in the Basic Law that would formally recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jews’, but the rights of non-Jews would not be affected, and there’s certainly nothing in the proposal which would, as the Economist claims, brand civil rights groups as ‘delegitimizers for doing so.

The Economist then adds the following:

This week the Knesset banned an Arab member, Haneen Zoabi, for six months for “aggressive behaviour” in anti-war demonstrations.

However, this also is an inaccurate statement as it omits key information about the suspension.

MK Zoabi, according to multiple news reports (and the official press release from the Knesset regarding the suspension), was suspended for six months from the Knesset (while still maintaining her voting rights in the Israeli legislative body) for two reasons – one of which the Economist completely omitted. 

While Zoabi’s suspension was in part due to an incident with a police officer at a protest rally (as they noted), the main reason was related to her assertion, in mid June, that the kidnappers of three Jewish teens in the West Bank were not terrorists. 

“They’re people who don’t see any way to change their reality and they are forced to use these means until Israel will wake up a little, until Israeli citizens and society will wake up and feel the suffering of the other,” Zoabi said in an interview on Radio Tel Aviv, adding that the kidnappers live under occupation.

Of course, two weeks after Zoabi’s statements, the teens – Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach – were found dead, having been murdered by the kidnappers she had earlier defended. 

The Knesset statement on the suspension noted that Zoabi’s offense centered on these comments, which many believed represented incitement, as it showed support for terrorist organizations and encouraged “acts of terror against the state and its citizens”.

To recap: both examples cited by the Economist – presumably to demonstrate an erosion of civil rights in Israel for its non-Jewish minority – are erroneous or, at best, extremely misleading. 

Finally, it’s interesting to note that a site called The Angry Arab News Service cited the Economist’s claim about the cause of Zoabi’s suspension under the heading: This Does Not Get Reported In The US Media.

Of course, it’s likely that such “news” hasn’t been reported in the US media because, as few Google clicks would have indicated, it’s not accurate.

The truth about Gaza’s civilian casualties: Essay by Col. Richard Kemp

This essay was written by Col. Richard Kemp, and originally published at Gatestone Institute.

“So are you going after innocent civilians or is it incompetence Colonel Lerner?” asks the interviewer, her face contorted with a contempt apparently reserved only for Israelis. Such shrill disrespect hurled at an American or British officer would alienate viewers, and, at an Arab commander, provoke accusations of racism.

This line of questioning – repeated across the networks on a daily basis – betrays a naïve and uncomprehending willingness to believe, and encourages viewers to believe, the absurd notion that the Israel Defence Force [IDF] is commanded and manned from top to bottom by psychopathic baby-killing thugs.

To suggest that military incompetence is the only explanation for civilian deaths other than deliberate mass murder reveals a breathtaking but unsurprising ignorance of the realities of combat.

Although rarely allowed to complete so much as a single sentence, Israeli attempts to explain IDF targeting policies are inevitably dismissed as laughable fabrication.

The truth is very different. The IDF has developed the most comprehensive and sophisticated measures to minimize civilian casualties during attacks against legitimate military targets.

Mandatory, multi-sensor intelligence and surveillance systems to confirm the presence or absence of civilians precede attacks on every target from the air. Text messages, phone calls and radio messages in Arabic warn occupants to leave. Air-dropped leaflets include maps showing safe areas. When warnings go unheeded, aircraft drop non-lethal explosives to warn that an attack is imminent.

Only when pilots and air controllers are sure that civilians are clear of the target will authorization be given to attack. When pilots use laser-guided munitions they must have pre-designated safe areas to which to divert the missiles in flight should civilians suddenly appear.

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In the last few days IDF pilots have aborted many missions because civilians remained in the target area.

Ground forces have equivalent engagement procedures, although the nature of ground combat means that these are blunter and less sophisticated. Discussions with IDF infantrymen fresh from the fight on the Gaza border confirm, however, that avoiding civilian casualties is uppermost in their minds even when under fire themselves.

Meanwhile back in the safety of the studio, the interviewer’s visible fury at the IDF Spokesman has got the better of any professional objectivity: “You go on endlessly about all the warnings you give but the fact is you have killed one-and-a-half thousand people, the overwhelming majority of them civilians!”

But of course the colonel is not permitted to give a proper answer that might help viewers understand the reality of the situation.

With few exceptions, reporters, commentators and analysts unquestioningly accept the casualty statistics given by Gaza’s Hamas-controlled medical authorities, who ascribe all deaths to the IDF. Is anyone in Gaza dying of natural causes? Mass executions of “collaborators,” and civilians killed by malfunctioning Hamas rockets, are all attributed to IDF fire.

Are the “overwhelming majority” of the dead really civilians? It would seem so. We see a great deal of grotesque and heart-rending footage of dead and bleeding women and children but never so much as a glimpse of killed or wounded fighters. Nor do reporters question or comment on the complete absence of Gazan military casualties, an extraordinary phenomenon unique to this conflict. The reality of course is that Hamas make great efforts to segregate their military casualties to preserve the fiction that Israel is killing civilians only. There are also increasing indications that Hamas, through direct force or threat, are preventing journalists from filming their fighters, whether dead or alive.

We will not get to the truth until the battle is over. But we know now that Hamas have ordered their people to report all deaths as innocent civilians. We know too that Hamas has a track record of lying about casualties. After Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-09 fighting in Gaza, the IDF estimated that of 1,166 Palestinian deaths, 709 were fighters. Hamas – backed by several NGOs – claimed that only 49 of its fighters had been killed, the rest were innocent civilians. Much later they were forced to admit that the IDF had been right all along and between 600 and 700 of the casualties had in fact been fighters. But the short-memoried media are incapable of factoring this in before broadcasting their ill-founded and inflammatory assertions.

Analysis of casualty details released by Qatar-based Al Jazeera indicate that so far in the conflict most of those killed in Gaza have been young men of fighting age, not women, children or old people. According to one analyst, despite comprising around 50% of the population, the proportion of women among the dead is 21%.

Preliminary analysis by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel suggests that 71, or 46.7%, of the first 152 Palestinians killed were fighters and 81, or 53.3%, non-involved civilians.

None of this analysis is definitive. But it does cast doubt upon the accusations of indiscriminate attack against the population by the IDF and upon the UN estimates – widely trumpeted as fact by the media and the not-exactly unbiased United Nations – that between 70 and 80% of Palestinian casualties have been civilians.

Nevertheless, many innocent civilians have tragically been killed. How has this happened, given the IDF’s measures aimed at minimizing such deaths?

IDF commanders say they never intentionally fire at targets where uninvolved civilians are present, a policy that goes much further than the Geneva Conventions demand. This policy has been confirmed to me by foot soldiers on the ground and F16 pilots carrying out strikes into Gaza.

But mistakes happen. Surveillance and intelligence can never be foolproof. There have been reports of Hamas forcing civilians back in once buildings have been evacuated. There is sometimes unexpected fallout from attacks, for example when an adjacent building containing civilians collapses, often caused by secondary explosions resulting from Hamas’s own munitions.

Errors can be made in interpretation of imagery, passage of information and inputting of target data. We don’t yet know what happened to the four boys tragically killed on a Gaza beach; it is not credible that they were identified as children and then deliberately killed.

Weapons guidance systems sometimes malfunction and bombs, bullets or missiles can land where they are not supposed to. Even the most hi-tech communications systems can fail at the critical moment.

Nowhere are these errors more frequent and catastrophic than in ground combat, where commanders and soldiers experience chaos, noise, smoke, fear, exhaustion, danger, shock, maiming, death and destruction that are beyond the comprehension of our interviewer in her air conditioned TV studio.

These mistakes and malfunctions happen in all fighting armies and in all conflicts. And in all conflicts, mistakes include the deaths of soldiers by friendly fire. Do those who condemn the killing of Palestinian civilians as deliberate acts by the IDF suggest that the friendly fire incidents in Gaza are also intentional?

The Israeli policy of not attacking targets where civilians are present is likely however to be deliberately waived in one specific situation. If troops are under lethal fire from an enemy position, the IDF are entitled to attack the target even with the certainty that civilians will be killed, subject to the usual rules of proportionality.

By definition Israeli soldiers’ lives are placed at greater risk by restrictive rules of engagement intended to minimize civilian casualties. But commanders in the field must balance their concern for civilians with the preservation of their own men’s lives and fighting effectiveness.

These realities aside, all Palestinian civilian casualties in this conflict result ultimately from Gaza terrorists’ aggression against Israel, and Hamas’s use of human shields – the most important plank of Hamas’s war-fighting policy.

Storing and firing weapons within densely populated areas, compelling civilians to stay put when warned to leave, luring Israeli forces to attack and kill their own people, the Palestinian body count is vital to Hamas’s propaganda war that aims to bring international pressure on Israel and incite anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic hatred around the world.

This sickening exploitation of their own people’s suffering, and media’s complicity in it, is nowhere more cynically demonstrated than in the operating theaters of the Gaza Strip. Without the slightest regard for life-saving hygiene, or for the care, privacy or dignity of the wounded, Palestinian officials enthusiastically hustle camera crews in to the emergency room as desperate surgeons battle for a bleeding and broken child’s life.

Colonel Richard Kemp spent most his 30-year career in the British Army commanding front-line troops in fighting terrorism and insurgency in hotspots including Iraq, the Balkans, South Asia and Northern Ireland. He was Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan in 2003. From 2002 – 2006 he heading the international terrorism team at the Joint Intelligence Committee of the British Prime Minister’s Office.

Did an official Guardian editorial justify Hamas’s use of human shields?

The Guardian editorial team recently decided that readers needed to hear their sage reflections on the killing of children during wartime – no, of course, not just any war, but one fought by a political actor which (based on their documented history of obsessive, some would say ‘disproportionate, criticism) is especially in need of moral advice on the sanctity of childhood.

editorial

Here are the opening paragraphs of the July 31st Guardian editorial, with the most important sentences emphasized in bold.

Wars kill people, including teachers in their classrooms, nurses in their hospitals, and farmers in their fields. But when children die in the hail of steel soldiers direct at one another there is a special kind of obscenity. Children have no agency, not even the slightest shred of the responsibility or complicity that adults to one degree or another may possess.

They know nothing of propaganda, they did not cheer in angry rallies, they did not send off their menfolk to fight with a blessing, they did not sit at meetings where the pros and cons of making war were gravely discussed by middle- aged men. No, they just die. Or lose their little legs, their arms, their eyes. The scenes at Jabaliya elementary school had seasoned United Nations officials, who have seen and endured much, in tears. The rapid transference of images to the world soon made this tragedy everybody’s property and everybody’s burden. Then, of course, a familiar game begins. Mournful spokesmen explain that the other side is to blame, because it has hidden its fighters, mortars and rockets in populated areas. They take great care, but mistakes can happen. They do not explain why that other side might be reluctant to put its fighters into, say, the local soccer stadium so that they could be mown down without risk to civilians.

If you read that last underlined sentence carefully, it’s difficult to avoid concluding that the Guardian is essentially acknowledging the Hamas use of civilians as human shields, but then asking: ‘howevergiven the group’s limited alternatives, who can really blame them?‘!

In case the Guardian needs reminding:

  • Geneva Convention IVArticle 28 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides: “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations
  • Additional Protocol IArticle 12(4) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides: Under no circumstances shall medical units be used in an attempt to shield military objectives from attack. Whenever possible, the Parties to the conflict shall ensure that medical units are so sited that attacks against military objectives do not imperil their safety
  • Article 51(7) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
    The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations
  • ICC StatutePursuant to Article 8(2)(b)(xxiii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[u]tilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts

Indeed, no doubt much to the chagrin of Guardian editors and their fellow apologists for terror, it seems clear that international legal prohibitions against the use of human shields definitely do not include loopholes for Palestinian ‘resistance’ movements.

Independent posts reflections of witty Brit who likens Israel to ‘child murdering community’

Since the start of Israel’s war with Hamas, the Independent has been competing with the Guardian to see who can most effectively demonize the Jewish state while excusing or ignoring the reactionary Islamist group running Gaza.  And, though today’s commentary in the Indy may not represent the defining contribution in this race to the moral bottom, it should at least be noted in the category of great achievements in modern manifestations of ancient anti-Jewish calumnies.

Leave it to Mark Steel, a commentator and comedian, to even outdo fellow British comedian cum anti-Israel activist Alexei Sayle – who had compared Israel to a child rapist, in a video highlighted by both the Indy and Guardian – in an op-ed titled ‘How silly of me to assume it was Israeli bombs causing all the damage in Gaza.

Here’s Steel’s attempt at mockery, likening Israelis to a community of child murderers.

In recent years most of humanity has become more tolerant of groups who once seemed to be on the margins of society. But until now it’s still been acceptable to be offensive about one minority: the child murdering community.

At last it seems the mood is changing, and finally we’re beginning to hear the child murderers’ point of view.

Steel, again evoking the Israeli child murderer theme, mocks Israeli ‘claims’ that Hamas uses Palestinian non-combatants, including children, as human shields to protect their fighters and to score PR victories by the resulting civilian casualties – a strategy that Hamas spokesmen (and some  journalists in Gaza) have openly acknowledged.

Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out for child murderers’ civil rights by informing us the Palestinians deliberately arrange the “telegenically dead” to be filmed, to attract sympathy. So it seems Hamas stroll round bomb sites, placing the prettiest corpses on view for film crews, otherwise we’d all think “it doesn’t matter that the Israelis killed that kid, he was an ugly little bastard anyway”.

Steele then alludes to Israeli ‘ethnic cleansing’.

As the bombing continues I expect we’ll hear more reasons why the Palestinians are to blame for being bombed. An Israeli minister will say, “These people in Gaza are always complaining that they live in a densely populated area, so we’re trying to help them out by reducing the population as much as we can to give them more space. But they’re still not happy. Some people are never satisfied.”

In this passage, Steele actually seems to suggest that there is a dearth of inflammatory headlines about Palestinian suffering in the media.

In less enlightened times, those responsible for such murder would be snarled at in the street and their pictures displayed on newspapers under inflammatory headlines. But thankfully we’re growing more liberal, and can only regret that more thought wasn’t given to treating murderers kindly in the past.

Steele then evokes the crimes of Fred West, the British serial killer who, over a span of twenty or so  years, tortured and raped scores of young women and girls.

Poor Fred West, for example, instead of barely being given a chance to make his case, could have sat in television studios saying, “Of course I regret the deaths of civilians. But you have to understand these people I murdered could be a bloody nuisance. I was lured into killing them, and I’m not even sure I did kill them until I’ve carried out my own investigation. Some of them kill themselves to get sympathy by booby-trapping their ironing boards, you know

Steele finishes with the following flourish, evidently incredulous in the face of widespread evidence that Hamas uses mosques, schools and clinics to hide rockets and other military hardware.

As times change, maybe Netanyahu and his spokesmen will become more forthright, and organise “Child Murderer Pride” in which child murderers can get together for a procession and carnival, where they can at last feel safe, and no longer feel looked down on for carrying out their basic human right to bomb a school to bits.

Though I must admit to at times being tone-deaf to British humour, I have enough experience deciphering the musings of the pseudo ‘sophisticated’ liberal left in the UK to deduce that the witty Brit who penned the Indy column honestly believes that political and military leaders of the Jewish State – perhaps just for kicks, or maybe motivated by some sadistic homicidal fantasy – intentionally murders innocent children.

No doubt it was lost on Steel – who evidently sees nothing to remotely offensive, yet alone mockable, in calls by Hamas’s religious and political leaders to literally exterminate the Jews  – that his meme regarding ‘Jewish blood lust’ comports perfectly with a decidedly medieval element of the Palestinian Islamist group’s historically familiar propaganda campaign.

CiF Watch prompts Guardian correction to anti-Bibi smear by Chris McGreal

On Aug. 1st we fisked the claim in the following Tweet (on July 22) by Guardian reporter Chris McGreal

McGreal actually doubled-down on the Tweet’s suggestion – that the Israeli conflict against Hamas is, in fact, a racist war designed simply to murder Arabs – in his July 31st Guardian article titled ‘American media’s new pro-Israel bias: the same party line at the wrong time.

His column began thusly:

Here are a few questions you won’t hear asked of the parade of Israeli officials crossing US television screens during the current crisis in Gaza:

  • What would you do if a foreign country was occupying your land?
  • What does it mean that Israeli cabinet ministers deny Palestine’s right to exist?
  • What should we make of a prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who as opposition leader in the 1990s was found addressing rallies under a banner reading “Death to Arabs”?

However, after a modest amount of research – evidently more than McGreal put into his own column – we were able to establish that the banner in question, at a right-wing rally in Jerusalem in 1994, did not read ‘Death to Arabs’ but, rather, death to the father of modern terror – Yasser Arafat.

After contacting Guardian editors, they acknowledged McGreal’s error, revised the passage in question and added the following addendum to the article:

revision

We commend Guardian editors for their positive response to our complaint. 

 

40 questions for foreign journalists in Gaza

Cross posted from Harry’s Place

Have you or any of your colleagues been intimidated by Hamas?

2.       Do you feel restricted in your ability to ‘say what you see’ in Gaza?

3.       How do you feel about the Spanish journalist who said Hamas would kill any journalist if they filmed rocket fire?

4.       Has Hamas pressured you to delete anything you have published?

5.       Has Hamas ever threatened to take your phone, laptop or camera?

6.       Has Hamas ever taken the phone, laptop or camera of a colleague in Gaza?

7.       Have you seen Hamas fighters in Gaza?

8.       If yes, why have you not directly reported Hamas fighting activity when you are eye-witnesses in Gaza, but rather indirectly reported about what the IDF says Hamas has done?

9.       Are you scared to publish photos of Hamas operatives on your Twitter page, or broadcast images of Hamas fighting and aggression on your news channel?

10.   Have you published any photos of terrorists launching rockets in Gaza? If so, are these images being turned down by your newspaper or broadcaster?

11.   Have you thought of interviewing the traumatised residents of southern Israel?

12.   When Israeli authorities say that most of the dead in Gaza are terrorists, and Hamas says most of the dead in Gaza are civilians, how do you differentiate?

13.   When Hamas Health Ministry statistics contradict Hamas’ own propaganda and reveal that mostly men of fighting age have died so far in Gaza, does it give you pause for thought?

14.   Is an underage armed terrorist still counted as a terrorist or a child when killed? Or both? Do you explain to your readers how this is possible?

15.   Have you put to Hamas spokespersons that firing rockets from civilian areas in a war situation will draw return fire and lead to the death of civilians?

16.   Nick Casey of the Wall Street Journal tweeted: “you have to wonder with the shelling, how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media.” Never mind wondering; did you ask any patients how they feel?

And how do you feel about the fact that Casey subsequently deleted his tweet?

18.   Russia Today journalist Harry Fear mentioned rocket-launching sites near his hotel. Have you noticed any terrorists or terror bases near your hotel?

19.   How do you feel about Fear’s expulsion from Gaza, for tweeting about the rocket launches from civilian areas? Are you worried that you might also be expelled from Gaza?

20.   Did you see any Hamas terror personnel inside Al-Shifa hospital?

21.   Have you interviewed a Hamas spokesperson inside Al-Shifa?

22.   Have you seen any rocket-launching sites in or around the vicinity of a hospital?

23.   Have you interviewed hospital staff or patients as to how they feel about their buildings being used for terror activity?

24.   Hamas’ command and control bunker is underneath Al Shifa hospital. Is this worth reporting? Have you asked to gain access to it, so you can interview Hamas commanders?

25.  French newspaper Liberation reported that Hamas’ Al Qassam offices are next to the emergency room at Shifa hospital, before deleting the article. Was the reporter right to delete the article, and will the information appear in the media at some point still?

26.   When the missile hit Al-Shati hospital where children were killed, did you see Hamas operatives collecting the debris of the fallen Palestinian rocket, as Gabriel Barbati reported? Did Barbati pick up on something you missed?

27.   Barbati prefaced his tweet by writing “Out of Gaza, far from Hamas retaliation.” Will you also report differently about Gaza when you are out of Gaza, far from Hamas retaliation?

28.   Can live journalism by reporters who are scared of retaliation from the authorities they are reporting about really count as pure journalism, or is journalism in that context fundamentally compromised?

29.   Have you seen or heard evidence of Hamas using civilians as human shields, by forcing or “encouraging” them to stay inside or enter into a building that has received a knock on the roof?

30.   Have you seen or heard evidence of Hamas storing weapons inside schools, houses, flats, mosques or hospitals?

31.   Have you interviewed Gazan residents to find out if they have – or know someone who has – a tunnel dug underneath their house? How do they feel about this?

32. Have you tried to interview any of the parents of the 160 Palestinian children who died building the terror tunnels?

33.   Have you asked Hamas spokespersons why they are setting out to murder children by firing rockets towards civilian populations?

34.   Have you interviewed any UNRWA officials about why Hamas are storing weapons in their schools, and how the weapons got there?

35.   Are you currently investigating how Hamas rockets ended up in UNRWA schools?

36.   Are you currently investigating why UNRWA returned rockets to Hamas and their police force?

37.   When Hamas breaks a ceasefire with Israel – as it has done 6 times – how easy is it to report on this from Gaza?

38.   Is there any anti-Hamas sentiment in Gaza, and how is it expressed?

39.   Were you aware that Hamas chose to execute dozens of anti-war protesters in Gaza, and did you not consider this to be worth
reporting?

40.   Is international media reporting from Gaza free from pressure and intimidation, or is there a real problem – and if so, how will you address it?

How many Jews must die for Israel to claim the moral high ground?

Here’s the latest Peter Brooks cartoon published at The Times (of London) 

times moral calculus

First, note that the pile of dead Israeli bodies shows a mix of soldiers and civilians, while the Palestinian pile seems to depict only civilians.  Evidently, Brooks is uncritically accepting figures provided by the Hamas run Gaza Health Ministry (cited uncritically by the media) claiming that up to 80% of those killed in Gaza have been civilians, rather alternative figures suggesting that the number may end up being closer to 50% civilians.

However, more interesting than his statistical assumption is his specious moral calculus, one which seems to rest upon the argument that the disparity in casualties between Gaza and Israel demolishes Israel’s claim to the moral high ground. This faulty assumption is refuted by examining the disparity in casualties in other just wars, such as the Kosovo Campaign, in which NATO forces suffered no casualties during their 77 days of bombings, while over 500 Yugoslav civilians and another 500 or so combatants were killed.  

Would anyone argue that the NATO campaign (to stop the ethnic cleansing of Albanians), was morally compromised by virtue of this huge disparity pf roughly 1,000 to 0?

Of course, similar disparities in casualties were evident in the NATO operation in Afghanistan and the ongoing US drone campaign on al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan. Yet, very few would suggest that NATO lost the moral high ground by virtue of this imbalance in deaths. 

The real moral disparity in this war relates to the fact that the IDF diligently protects its own citizens while taking precautions few if any other armies would take to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. While Hamas, on the other hand – whose leaders just repeated their mantra that they love death while Israelis love life – launches rockets almost exclusively at Israeli civilians, while intentionally placing their own civilians in harm’s way (the documented use of human shields) to protect their fighters and gain PR points when civilians are killed.  

Since the start of the war, Hamas has fired 2,830 rockets and mortars at Israeli communities, while the IDF has struck over 4200 Hamas targets.  Though of course there have been Israeli misfires, and Palestinian civilians have tragically been killed as the result of Hamas forces firing from civilian buildings, drawing IDF return fire.  Yet, despite the sensational media reports suggesting otherwise, Israeli forces don’t intentionally target Palestinian civilians. 

If the Times cartoonist is suggesting that more Israeli deaths would allow the state to lay claim to the moral high ground, he should remember that the primary duty of any country is to protect its citizens from harm, that there is neither nobility nor virtue in victim-hood, and Israelis certainty need not apologize for their effectiveness at protecting their citizens from attacks launched, let’s remember, by an antisemitic extremist group which seeks its destruction.