The Guardian once again disguises the reality of unrecognized Bedouin “villages”

A guest post by AKUS

On Nov. 28th the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriett Sherwood ‘reported‘ on a letter (published at the Guardian on the same day) signed by 50 public figures such as “Antony Gormley, the actor Julie Christie, the film director Mike Leigh and the musician Brian Eno” (and Jenny Tonge) opposing an Israeli plan to remove up to 70,000 Palestinian Bedouins from ‘their historic desert land’.


Sherwood quotes the letter thus:

The eviction and destruction of about 35 “unrecognised” villages in the Negev desert will, the letter says, “mean the forced displacement of Palestinians from their homes and land, and systematic discrimination and separation.”

Leaving aside the absurd idea that people who had till quite recent times led itinerant lives moving across vast distances of the Middle East with no fixed national identity can be now labeled “Palestinian Bedouin” like politically correct produce in an organic food co-op, the article (and letter) conjure up visions of camel-riding nomads being forced to fold their goat-skin tents and leave from vast stretches of Sahara-like dunes. 

The Guardian once again is trying to promote the idea that these are Bedouin living in little villages that are the equivalent of the quaint villages one sees in reruns of “Midsommer Murders”. The reality, however, is far different.

Had Sherwood and the signatories ever bothered to take a drive down Route 40 from Beersheva, they may have found that they rather approved of the idea of relocating Bedouin from ramshackle tin huts in slum-like groups that have no running water to planned communities which provide the modern conveniences and sanitary conditions that they themselves expect and enjoy.

The photo below (which I took myself last year) depicts one “unrecognized village” a few miles south of Beersheva seen from Route 40.


It is “unrecognized” because it is simply an ad hoc assembly of tin and cardboard huts. The bales of hay are to feed the camels you can see in the foreground, the only reminder of this family’s nomadic past. There are dozens of these encampments strung out along the highway, and the issues of pollution, environmental destruction and sheer unsightliness are immediately evident.

So here’s the question for the 50 public figures in the UK:  

If you left Hampstead for a trip into the country, and found “unrecognized villages” like this (and there are dozens like it) strung out along the M-1, would you be protesting against the idea of moving people to better housing with modern facilities, or protesting against the British government for leaving them there?

A note to Harriet Sherwood on the difference between a rock and a spitball

A guest post by AKUS

Approximately two years ago an ugly incident in the Israeli town of Bet Shemesh drew wide – in fact, global – attention.  An ultra-Orthodox fanatic spat on a little (orthodox) girl on her way to school.  Hillary Clinton was even moved to condemn the incident.

Of course, Harriet Sherwood reported for the Guardian on the truly outrageous behavior of the ultra-Orthodox in Bet Shemesh. Her first article, ‘The battle of Bet Shemesh‘,  appeared on October 31st, 2011. On December 27th, 2011 she published an article about additional incidents in the town, titled ‘Shimon Peres condemns ultra-orthodox extremists as tensions escalate‘.  There was also a video report on December 28th, 2011 about a protest against ultra-Orthodox extremism in Bet Shemesh.  

(More recently, Giles Fraser wrote a column at the Guardian about attempts by some to force women to sit at the back of buses in Israel, titled ‘Ultra-orthodox attitudes towards gender segregation go to the core of what Israel is all about‘, outrageously drawing the inference that these minority attitudes are “at the core” of Israeli attitudes towards women.)

So, when I read that a two-year-old Jewish toddler had almost been killed by a rock thrown by Arab teens at the car her mother was driving, I naturally assumed this would receive considerable coverage in the Guardian. After all, a toddler being hit by a rock is surely more serious than an 8 year being spit upon, as horrible as that is.


Photo of the location where the rock struck the vehicle

However, Harriet Sherwood, now barely managing to turn in one story a week, evidently found the matter so mundane that it was not worth an article.  Giles Fraser has not drawn the conclusion that this kind of violence goes to ‘the core’ of what Arab society is “all about”.

In fact, the attack and its consequences were only mentioned in passing.  The reference is at the end of an AP article (‘Seven Israeli Arabs jailed for lynching IDF soldier who went on shooting spree‘, Nov. 28) about an entirely different incident:

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, a two-year-old girl was moderately wounded when she was struck in the head by a stone hurled at the car in which she was traveling. A police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said the attack appeared to be nationalistic in nature as Jewish vehicles are often targeted in the area by youths in nearby Arab villages.

The baby girl was taken to hospital, where the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, called on authorities to crack down on a recent wave of stone-throwing attacks in the city. “It’s about time we start treating a stone as a weapon,” he told Israel’s Channel 10 TV.

The prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, wished the girl a speedy recovery. “We will find these criminals and bring them to justice,” he said.

But perhaps the “moderate” injuries the little two-year-old sustained were not worth noting. After all, her mother Shirin Ben-Zion told Channel 2

“Avigail will be fine. She has a fractured skull, and we wait. I never thought that something like this could happen. Initially, I thought it was an accident, but then I realized very quickly that what crashed into us wasn’t any vehicle.”

So a fractured skull, if it belongs to a two-year old Jewish toddler, merely represents a “moderate wound”. How, I wonder, would AP and the Guardian report a similar attack in which an Arab toddler was dangerously wounded in the same manner?

Experienced Guardian readers, I am sure, will have no difficulty in imagining the outpouring of articles and comments below the line in that event.

The Guardian (and World Bank) distorts cause of Palestinian economic woes

A guest post by Akus

Harriet Sherwood has been remarkably quiet of late, but rushed into service on October 8 with a story headlined ‘Israel’s West Bank control ‘costing Palestinian economy billions, which was followed by the sub-header “World Bank says allowing Palestinians to use the 61% of the West Bank under full Israeli control would boost the economy”.


Her article is based on a 72 page World Bank study released a day earlier, West Bank and Gaza – Area C and the future of the Palestinian economy.  Sherwood cites Mariam Sherman, World Bank Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza, asserting the following:

“Unleashing the potential from that ‘restricted land’ … and allowing Palestinians to put these resources to work, would provide whole new areas of economic activity and set the economy on the path to sustainable growth”

Powerful language, but as I read through the article, and then much of the World Bank report, several strange aspects of the belief that Palestinian control of Area C would make such a dramatic difference became apparent.

1. Why does Israel control “Area C”?

The World Bank report and Sherwood’s article make it appear that Israel unreasonably maintains control of Area C. Sherwood repeats the false claim that Israeli settlements are illegal: “All Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law, are situated in Area C.”

In fact, Israel is behaving in accordance with the Interim Agreement it made in 1995 with the Palestinian Authority ceding interim control of Area C to Israel and not restricting ‘settlement’ activity. So it is important to understand how Area C came into being and why Israel remains in control of it, something that Sherwood ignores or doesn’t understand.

Area C was created as a result of the 1995 Interim Agreement, as the report itself makes clear in its description of the agreement in Par. 8 of Page 3, and in part was intended to pass to Palestinian control:

The division of the West Bank into Areas A, B and C dates back to the 1995 Interim Agreement between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Government of Israel. Area A includes most major pre-existing Palestinian urban areas, covers 18 percent of the West Bank and is under full Palestinian security and civil control. Area B consists largely of peri-urban areas and small towns, comprises 21 percent of the West Bank and is under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control.

Area C was defined under the Interim Agreement as “areas of the West Bank outside Areas A and B, which, except for the issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations, will be gradually transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction in accordance with this Agreement.

So the Palestinians agreed that Area C would remain under Israeli control, at least until final negotiations settle the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

It needs reminding that since the Palestinians have frequently walked away from negotiations following the 1995 Agreement, Israel is justified in maintaining its control of Area C. Yasser Arafat agreed to this in exchange for control of the heavily populated areas of the West Bank (full control of Area A, civil control of Area B).

Thus the underlying premise of World Bank report, faithfully repeated by Sherwood, that “Israel’s control of a huge swath of the West Bank is costing the Palestinian economy $3.4bn (£2.1bn) a year”, represents a mischaracterization. The Palestinian West Bank economy, until final agreement is reached, can only be considered to include Areas A and B.

The Palestinian Authority’s previous refusal to negotiate the future of the West Bank’s borders, among other matters, means that they have not negotiated the transfer of much of Area C to their own control as was expected when the agreement was signed.

2. How many West Bank Arabs live in Area C?

Per Sherwood, the report says about 180,000 Arab West Bankers live there. Actually, it is a bit more complicated than that, and oddly enough that figure comes from a largely EU-funded Israeli NGO called Bimkom (which specializes in providing planning assistance to Arab communities in Area C) rather than from a Palestinian source. Bimkom’s estimate is provided in footnote 66 on Page 18 of the report:

The Palestinian population located in Area C is estimated by the Israeli planning organization Bimkom to be 180,000 (this includes those whose house is located in Area C but are part of communities which are split between Area C and Areas A or/and B); PCBS data shows that around 113,000 people live in communities entirely located in Area C.

The 180,000 strong Arab population of Area C is considered to be about 6.6% of the West Bank Arab population.  Put another way, approximately 93.4% of all West Bank Arabs live in areas A and B whose economy is controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

3. So how prosperous can Area C be if the Palestinians controlled it?

As I considered that 93.4% number and the $3.4 billion I began to wonder about the methodology and conclusions of the World Bank report. The methodological approaches are laid out in great detail at the end, but deeper thought suggests that the report may be overly optimistic in assessing the degree to which control of Area C would really change matters economically for the West Bankers   (the report mostly ignores Gaza).  To make matters worse, the report’s Executive Summary claims that the calculation of $3.4 billion, which already includes a “1.5 overall multiplier effect” on “other related sectors”, is “very probably an underestimate”.

Now, $3.4 billion (or even more, if the hint in the Executive Summary is believed) is indeed a considerable sum.  But, before I thought more deeply about it and realized how carefully the issue has been framed by the World Bank report, I dismissed it as rather a marginal issue. (I am reminded of Daniel Kahneman’s 2011 book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” shows how framing issues can change perceptions).

“Thinking fast”, I recalled that Israel has a GDP of about  80 times that $3.4 billion number and as small as the Palestinian economy might be by comparison, surely the gain of $3 billion or so would not be the panacea that the World Bank thinks. Are they that much on a knife-edge between prosperity and disaster?

Well, no. “Thinking slow”, I realized that if $3.4bn (£2.1bn) a year represents 35% of Palestinian GDP, the GDP of Areas A and B (and possibly Gaza) must be only about $10 billion at most. In fact, Figure 1 of the report shows that indeed the current Palestinian GDP is $10 billion. 

Ten billion dollars (US) is a remarkably low number for a population of 2.5 million people (excluding Gaza), even for 4 million people if the $10 billion number includes Gaza.  It is about $2,500 per capita (the PCBS predicts $1,687 per capita and by comparison Israel’s GDP is about $13,800 per capita) and a terrible indictment of the economic performance of the PA (and Hamas). It also demonstrates how billions in aid that have been poured into “Palestine” has been wasted. 

The World Bank report expects us to accept that even though the entire population of Areas A and B (93.6% of the West Bank Arabs), and possibly including that of Gaza (another 1.5 million people), generates a GDP of $10 billion, controlling and developing other largely empty areas of the West Bank will increase that by about 35%. Is this possible?

It is true that the report comprehensively assesses a variety of different activities that could add value – agriculture (provided there is almost unlimited water), tourism at the Dead Sea and Gaza Beach, adding cell phone towers to improve coverage and increase cell phone use, quarrying stone, etc. Oddly, the benchmarks that they frequently refer to as a basis for their estimates are Israeli activity and success in each of these sectors. It must surely be possible to create wealth in several of these sectors already in Areas A and B (and Gaza). Yet, the report would have you believe that 94% of the Arab population in the West Bank can only generate GDP of $10 billion or less because Israel controls Area C.

It strains credulity. If it is at least reasonable to assume that there is some correlation between the number of people living in an area and the level of economic activity in that area, it seems highly unlikely that simply adding land to the equation could have such a dramatic effect. One can blame Israel’s control of the disputed territory up to a point, but the idea that wealth will flow from the largely barren hills of the West Bank and the beaches of Gaza when Israel leaves Area C is, frankly, quite incredible. Consider the claim in light of previous economic performances in the territories, and when billions in wasted and stolen aid has poured in for decades that have created such a bloated civil service.

Finally, the report seems to work on the assumption that change will be rapid. It has taken Israel 65 years to reach its current prosperity in many of the sectors that the World Bank thinks could be copied to Area C so, clearly, change in Palestine will be slow. The 35% addition to GDP the report predicts could actually take decades to achieve. Thus, the blaring headlines in the Guardian article should surely be toned down.

The emphasis on Area C is yet another diversion from the core Palestinian problems – excessive reliance on foreign aid that distorts their tiny economy, masks massive corruption and promotes a culture of incitement and scapegoating inconsistent with the values necessary for social and economic progress.

Nothing in the report demonstrates better the degree to which the Palestinians are themselves responsible for their situation than a paragraph which lists prospects for a tourist industry based on religious and historical sites (mostly Jewish), Dead Sea tourism, and the beaches of Gaza: (Emphasis added)

42. Tourism currently makes a meager contribution to the Palestinian economy. It contributes less than 3 percent to Palestinian GDP and some 2 percent of total employment. Following a sharp decline during the second intifada years, the Palestinian tourism industry has recovered and capacity has been expanded: the past 3 years have seen an average of more than 500,000 arrivals, with total stays of more than 1.2 million room nights per year, up from well below 50,000 arrivals in 2000-2002.

In summary, to go back to Mariam Sherman’s statement:

But, unleashing the potential from that ‘restricted land,’ –access to which is currently constrained by layers of restrictions – and allowing Palestinians to put these resources to work, would provide whole new areas of economic activity and set the economy on the path to sustainable growth.

Will it be so?

Maybe. But it will take decades if it can be done at all, and I suspect the estimates of the contribution Area C could provide are grossly overstated based on prior performance. The dismal record goes back into Ottoman times, through the Jordanian occupation, and 40 plus years that included, until the terror activities became more than Israel could bear, close integration with a far wealthier neighbor.

The issue is not the lack of Area C – it is what goes on in Areas A and B, and Gaza. Change that, and you will achieve more than the arid hills of Area C could ever provide.

Why wasn’t this comment deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators? ‘Nuke Israel’ edition (Updated)

A guest post by AKUS

The reader comment below (beneath the line of a Guardian editorial on the Syrian crisis), which suggests that Israel should be destroyed by arming its enemies with nuclear weapons, has remained up so far for almost 12 hours.

nukeAt least one commenter has complained to the Guardian with no results – almost 12 hours later.


Those familiar with CiF Watch would of course understand that this one example is indicative of a broader problem at ‘Comment is Free’.  As we’ve shown in countless posts, CiF moderators often demonstrate egregious double standards when determining which comments get deleted – decisions purportedly based on whether such comments violate their ‘Community Standards‘.

UPDATE: Shortly after our post, the comment was deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators.

Glenn Greenwald’s column at ‘CiF': A safe space for antisemitic commenters?

A guest post by AKUS

Antisemitic commenters at the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ have discovered that Glenn Greenwald’s columns provide a useful forum in which to post racist commentary below the line – many of which have not been deleted by CiF moderators. 

In a post by Greenwald on April 7, Bradley Manning is off-limits at SF Gay Pride parade, but corporate sleaze is embraced, which didn’t mention Jews or Israel, this comment popped up in response to another commenter who mentioned the widely used term “Pallywood” to describe the faked and discredited film clips and photographs which Palestinians have sometimes distributed:


This opened the doors to a bit of antisemitic jollity by “bilejones” and others based on the well-known antisemitic meme that Jews control Hollywood.

On most ‘CiF’ threads the following comments would have been deleted by moderators, but thanks to Greenwald’s unique policy regarding comment moderation, they remain in all their smart-alecky racism. Notice that the pretense that “Israelis” or “Zionists” are the people opposed to Palestinians immediately gives way to the underlying animosity towards Jews usually hidden by those terms in the following pejorative exchanges:


Now the Pavlovian dogs had been let loose, and even MonaHol may have realized they had gone too far – or, perhaps, was just being a little coy:

newThe approval of such comments make you wonder how long a comment that proposed characterizing movies which are made by African–Americans by using a variation of the ‘n-word’ would be allowed to stay up.  Would the commenter engaging in such shamefully racist “wordplay” still be permitted to post at the Guardian? 

Lest the gentle reader think these are isolated examples, here is another recent set.

In another column by Greenwald, ‘The same motive for anti-US ‘terrorism’ is cited over and over, he mentioned the excuse given by some recent high profile Muslim terrorists – such as the Fort Hood shooter and the ‘Underwear Bomber’ - that they were attacking America due, in part, to its support of Israel.  A commenter then drags in Judaism as a counterbalance to criticism of Islam, and MonaHol offers to post selections from the Talmud in defense of Islam:


The  comment by “westeastnorth” was in response to several well-known invented citations purporting to come from the Talmud provided on antisemitic websites that MonaHol repeats here:


Given that someone like MonaHol likely cannot read Hebrew, Aramaic, or Rashi script, and it takes a lifetime of study in the original languages to learn and understand the Talmud, the question must be asked: “From where does she get her information”?


The answer is that that she gleans the citations from the numerous antisemitic websites that have trolled selectively through an English version and then circulate the very citations MonaHol presents, without the context of rabbinic disputation. Only an obsessive anti-Semite would in turn troll through such sites to find them, and only an ignoramus would present them as representing the full range of Jewish thought on those subjects. Googling “Talmud” and any of the so-called Talmudic references MonaHol quoted will give you dozens if not hundreds of such sites.

It is the equivalent of presenting a list of straw man legal arguments that have been given to students at law school to argue over as representing exact examples of a country’s laws

Refutations can be found at this site, which painstakingly fisks the many fabrications about the Talmud that circulate on the internet, listing them one antisemitic “Claim” at a time, including the ones that MonaHol uses. The antisemitic websites provided as sources have mostly been taken down since this website was set up, but Stormfront (one of the purveyors of such gross distortions of Judaism) is still active.

I have edited the lengthy list of refutations down to the claims that MonaHol made, and further reduced the number of responses to each claim for the sake of (relative) brevity:

CLAIM (23) Jews May Steal from Non-Jews Baba Mezia 24a. If a Jew finds an object lost by a Gentile (“heathen”) it does not have to be returned. (Affirmed also in Baba Kamma 113b).

Found objects do not have to be returned when they are lost under circumstances that make the owner impossible to identify. This also applies to objects lost by Jews in crowded areas — as you would know had you actually read the passage in question instead of pasting it in from a National Socialist website.

CLAIM (25) Jews May Rob and Kill Non-Jews Sanhedrin 57a. When a Jew murders a Gentile (“Cuthean”), there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a Gentile he may keep.

Misquote. That’s a theoretical point that is being raised and subsequently rejected. Naturally, [the quote] “forgets” to mention the latter part.

CLAIM (27) Jews May Lie to Non-Jews Baba Kamma 113a. Jews may use lies (“subterfuges”) to circumvent a Gentile.

This is one of the most obvious pieces of out-of-context blather it has ever been my pleasure to refute. The context is evading a thief. Yes, you are permitted to lie to a robber — in particular a crooked tax collector.

Further down the same page, it not only says that robbing gentiles is prohibited, it even discusses the derivation of the prohibition.

Here, we have gone beyond going out of context and have entered the realm of deliberate falsification.

Refers to whether a Jew may deceive a Roman tax collector, IIRC (note that Romans were the occupying force at that time, literally playing the role of the Sheriff of Nottingham).
From Usenet message

The passage discusses robbers (such as tax collectors who acted beyond their legal authority) who have stolen property. The question that arises is whether it is permitted to use subterfuge to circumvent their thievery. In a long legal discussion, the entire thrust of which is that any form of stealing from heathens is forbidden, the following statement is brought forward for consideration: “we use subterfuges to circumvent him [a heathen; this is one opinion] … but Rabbi Akiva said that we should not attempt to circumvent him on account of the sanctification of the Name”. The Talmud continues and notes that Rabbi Akiva forbids subterfuges not only on account of desecration of G-d’s name, but also because theft from a non-Jew is absolutely forbidden by biblical law. The Talmud continues to explain that even the opinion which is rejected does not condone outright theft which is absolutely forbidden according to all opinions.

The Talmudic passage here is a well-known one which makes the point that the “law of the land is the law”, that is, the civil and commercial law of the nations in which Jews reside is binding on them. 

Obsessive anti-Semites like “bilejones”, “MonaHol”, “axenicely” and others congregate under Greenwald’s columns – and are left there to create an environment which extremist sites might envy.

The Guardian has banned supporters of Israel for far less, and one would think that such name-calling by “bilejones” and “axenicely” would elicit corrective action by their team of professional moderators – which begs serious questions about the Guardian and the extent of their commitment to maintaining high ‘community standards‘. 

Silence by ‘CiF’ moderators in the face of such hate speaks volumes.  

Attacks against Jews on Yom HaShoah follow traditional antisemitic path

A guest post by AKUS

One of the grimly curious features of traditional antisemitism, in its most violent forms, has been the way antisemites frequently launched violence (including pogroms and ethnic cleansing) against Jews on Jewish holy days.

Jewish holidays, no matter how joyful or how sadly meaningful, have often been accompanied with a bitter memory of antisemitic violence.  The most famous example, of course, was the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans on Tisha B’Av which by chance or not, was also the date, 655 years earlier, of the destruction of the First Temple.

There are many other examples, from every period in recorded history.

On Saturday March 16, 1190, in York, England, on the special Shabbat before Passover (Shabbat Hagadol), many Jews taking refuge from an antisemitic mob were burnt to death, and the survivors massacred. Easter, which of course commemorates among other thing the Last Supper, which was a Passover Seder, has always been a favorite occasion for antisemitic riots by Christians inspired by their priests to believe that “the Jews killed Christ”. One well-known example was the three-day Kishinev pogrom that started on Easter Sunday, April 19th, 1903.  The infamous pogrom in Iraq on June 1, 1941, was coincided with the festival of Shavuot. Yom Kippur has also frequently been a day when Jews would fear antisemitic violence.

The Nazis, who obsessively studied the customs of the Jews they wished to exterminate, were especially skilled at timing their actions to coincide with Jewish holidays. For example, Nazi attacks against Jews often coincided with Jewish festivals such as Purim to “avenge” Jewish victories over their enemies. On Purim 1942, ten Jews were hanged in Zduńska Wola to avenge the hanging of Haman’s ten sons. In a similar incident in 1943, the Nazis shot ten Jews from the Piotrków ghetto. On Purim eve that same year, over 100 Jewish doctors and their families were shot by the Nazis in Częstochowa. The following day, Jewish doctors were taken from Radom and shot nearby in Szydłowiec.

Not to be outdone, modern cyber-haters, armed with the best technology they can acquire or create, also searched for a particularly meaningful day to attack the Jews. The group calling itself “Anonymous” decided that the most appropriate day to launch a cyber-pogrom against the Jews would be Holocaust Remembrance Day. Their goal was to “wipe Israel off the map of the Internet”.

#OpIsrael Screenshot

#OpIsrael Screenshot

Given the language they used in their announcements, there can be little doubt that they saw a connection between the attempt to murder every Jew physically in the Holocaust with an attempt to remove the ability of Israelis to use the Internet – even if, ironically, they were using technology that has been, in large part the fruit of Israeli development.

Despite their bravado, Israel was not particularly affected by their efforts. After all, trying to attack the world’s second-leading information technology powerhouse is not an easy task. Within hours, the “Operation Israel” attack site had been penetrated by Israeli hackers and was playing “Hatikvah” while websites affiliated with Hezbollah and the Syrian government were disabled through a distributed denial of service attack.

But this cyber attack was not the only attack against Israel on this solemn day. A Gazan group decided it would be the most appropriate day to attempt to kill Israelis gathered to commemorate the 6 million dead in the Holocaust by firing rockets at an evening commemorative service.

Somewhere in southern Israel, near the border with Gaza, a gathering of civilians was forced to scatter as Israel’s enemies, following the tradition of attacking precisely on a day which, if not holy in a religious sense, is the only day other than Yom Kippur in which Israel comes to a halt.

Here is what happened. For those not familiar with the sudden burst of sound, you first hear the sound of the kassam rocket being fired, then the automatic warning system broadcasts “Tseva Adom” and you will see children and adults scattering as they run for cover:

Yes, “Anonymous” and the Palestinians in Gaza did their best to continue the “tradition” of attacking Jews on their holy days.  The “new antisemitism” seems very much like the traditional version.

Revealed: CIA is reading your mail!

A guest post by Green Glenwald

purimAs part of my ongoing series about the way the CIA, the Mossad, the Zionists, the Obama administration, MSNBC, The New York Times, the Washington Post and the little green people under your bed are controlling your lives, this revelation should finally lay any doubts you might have to rest.

The CIA is reading your mail! 

Yes – the CIA, not content with sending drones from Afghanistan to Mali to kill innocent civilians, are using them to intercept the letters you should have received that contain tips for dodging their illegal activities and keeping your RPGs and human shields safe!

Without a doubt this represents the most outrageous proof of the prima facie illegal, warrantless mail-tapping, contrary to the Geneva conventions and international law (which only applies to the USA and Israel) that is one of the disgusting hallmarks of this administration and its relentless attempts to keep America insecure by creating thousands of new terrorist postmen.

This is happening under the direct management, right from the top, of the most evil administration this country has known. Wikileaks revealed, and now we have proof, that there are weekly meetings at the White House in what the people running this program call “the mailroom” (something they find amusing, no doubt) where the President himself selects the mail that will be intercepted and read.

A source on an unknown Internet TV channel where I appear weekly (we keep it secret so that the CIA and others cannot watch it and I can post little videos of myself talking to myself in this column) has revealed that Obama’s poor performance during the first debate with Mitt Romney was due to the fact that he was not trying to read his talking points, as many have assumed, but debating with himself as to which envelope he should open first.

As I learned in law school:


… any person who—

…. knows, or has reason to know, that such device or any component thereof has been sent through the mail or transported in interstate or foreign commerce; or

(iv) such use or endeavor to use (A) takes place on the premises of any business or other commercial establishment the operations of which affect interstate or foreign commerce; or (B) obtains or is for the purpose of obtaining information relating to the operations of any business or other commercial establishment the operations of which affect interstate or foreign commerce; or

(v) such person acts in the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the United States;

The President (who live in the District of Columbia, in case you did not know that) is clearly in violation of allowing al Qaeda to continue its regular business operations pursuant to the very laws he is sworn to uphold and should  be impeached.


Following publication of this article, I was asked for advice on how to defeat this program.

In case your envelope has been intercepted, here are a couple of tips from one that made it past the CIA’s illegal mail-tapping that have proven useful:

The document includes advice such as “hide under thick trees” (believed to be bin Laden’s contribution), and instructions for setting up a “fake gathering” using dolls to “mislead the enemy”. 

If dolls are not available in your cave or under your tree, make use of the local population – local women and children are convincing alternatives you should use to keep yourself safe.

 Happy Purim!

The Guardian takes note of a Middle Eastern country not involved in “rendition”

A guest post by AKUS

Controversy over the practice of “rendition” has been intense. In a recent article in the Washington Post, the Post described it as a CIA program “to detain and interrogate foreign suspects without bringing them to the United States or charging them with any crimes”

The Washington Post illustrated how widely the practice was implemented with a map in an article headlined: A staggering map of the 54 countries that reportedly participated in the CIA’s rendition program, drawn from a report by the Open Society Justice Initiative  that lists each country by name and describes that country’s participation in the program.


In case you cannot make out one little country that did not participate in the program, here’s an extract from that map of a certain area of the world:


See it now?

On the other hand, it does not take much effort to see other countries, frequent critics of Israel, with well-organized, well-funded groups constantly threatening it with boycotts, decrying its policies and so forth, and even supporting its enemies with weapons and money.

There was a February 5th, 2013 column in the Guardian about this, too: CIA rendition: more than a quarter of countries ‘offered covert support’ . To my surprise, the Guardian managed to take note of Israel’s absence from the list of 54 countries:

Other countries are conspicuous by their absence from the rendition list: Sweden and Finland are present, but there is no evidence of Norwegian involvement. Similarly, while many Middle Eastern countries did become involved in the rendition programme, Israel did not, according to the OSJI research.

I, on the other hand, took note of South Africa’s name on the list. After all, one of the calumnies thrown at Israel, and found on a daily basis in the Guardian CiF section in the threads to the endless articles decrying Israel for this or that,  is that it resembles an apartheid state.  South Africa’s government, influenced in some measure by its Muslim Indian constituency, is one of the few outside the Middle East that has made it government policy to support boycotts of Israeli product, academics, and cultural groups.  South Africa is often held up as an example of what the imaginary “one state” would look like after the Jewish state vanishes and “Palestine” exists “between the sea and the river”.

But never fear that Guardianistas could possibly leave Israel out of the issue.  After one post that noted that Israel did not participate in the program, there was this comment:


The thread quickly filled up with comment after comment claiming that even though the report did not name Israel, and the Guardian specifically took note of that, Israel was just as bad or even worse.

Even when a report does not mention Israel, the appetite for condemnation of Israel among Guardian readers is so developed that rather than discussing, for example, South Africa’s involvement, even the absence of Israel quickly becomes the topic de jour. Or, as the following poster noted in response to a comment no longer visible:


The Washington Post:

The 54 governments identified in this report span the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, and include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.


Awaiting Hillary’s ‘robust’ condemnation of offensive cartoon

A Guest Post by AKUS

cartoonI am an admirer of both Hillary and Bill Clinton, and not only because both have been supportive of the American Jewish community and Israel. 

Bill Clinton worked tirelessly trying to bring a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Hilary Clinton may go down as one of the most successful and influential Secretaries of State the US has known and has also worked hard – and as fruitlessly – to try to bring some closure to that conflict. Their daughter is married to a Jewish man, son of friends of theirs.

But this week, they and the branch of the US administration that Hillary heads have failed the Jewish community in the UK, and, indeed, around the world.

When some Muslims rioted across the world following the 2005 publication (in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten) of Mohammed cartoons, Bill Clinton was swift to respond, and absurdly compared cartoons depicting Mohammed to deadly anti-Semitic cartoons depicting Jews:

[Former President Bill] Clinton: “Totally Outrageous Cartoons Against Islam”

DOHA (AFP) – Former US president Bill Clinton warned of rising anti-Islamic prejudice, comparing it to historic anti-Semitism as he condemned the publishing of cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper.

“So now what are we going to do? … Replace the anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?” he said at an economic conference in the Qatari capital of Doha.

“In Europe, most of the struggles we’ve had in the past 50 years have been to fight prejudices against Jews, to fight against anti-Semitism,” he said.

Clinton described as “appalling” the 12 cartoons published in a Danish newspaper in September depicting Prophet Mohammed and causing uproar in the Muslim world.

“None of us are totally free of stereotypes about people of different races, different ethnic groups, and different religions … there was this appalling example in northern Europe, in Denmark … these totally outrageous cartoons against Islam,” he said.

The (George W. Bush-era) State Department also weighed in on the Europeans’ cartoon controversy. It too hastened to reference anti-Semitism and claimed equivalence with the horrendously anti-Semitic cartoons that appear daily in Arab media:

Bush Administration on 2006 Danish Cartoons: “We Certainly Understand Why Muslims Would Find These Images Offensive”

The Muslim world erupted in anger on Friday over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published in Europe while the Bush administration offered the protesters support, saying of the cartoons, ”We find them offensive, and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive.”

… The State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, reading the government’s statement on the controversy, said, ”Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images,” which are routinely published in the Arab press, ”as anti-Christian images, or any other religious belief.”

Still, the United States defended the right of the Danish and French newspapers to publish the cartoons. ”We vigorously defend the right of individuals to express points of view,” Mr. McCormack added.

When some Muslims rioted over a film made by an Egyptian born Copt living in America that mocked Islam, Hillary Clinton showed understanding for their anger:

HILLARY CLINTON: Anti-Muslim Film Is ‘Disgusting And Reprehensible’

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday called the film that helped provoke protestors to riot “disgusting and reprehensible.”

“Let me state very clearly — and I hope it is obvious — The United States government had nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message,” Clinton said in a statement at a State Department.

Clinton said that the video’s intended purpose seemed to be inciting violence.

So now I ask – where is the condemnation from either Bill or Hillary Clinton or the US State Department that Hillary heads over the rabidly anti-Semitic cartoon that appeared in the UK’s Sunday Times on no other day than Holocaust Memorial Day?

Even if we agree that the concept of freedom of speech means that Scarfe can create and the Sunday Times publish anti-Semitism, why has Bill not found time to say something like this?

“None of us are totally free of stereotypes about people of different races, different ethnic groups, and different religions … there was this appalling example in Europe, in Great Britain … this totally outrageous cartoon directed at the Jewish people.”

Why hasn’t the State Department’s issued a statement with criticism such as this?

”We find the Sunday Times cartoon offensive, and we certainly understand why Jews would find these images offensive … anti-Semitic images are unacceptable.”

Why has Hillary not found the time to “absolutely reject” Scarfe’s cartoon as “disgusting and reprehensible … with the intent of inciting violence”?

Hillary – if it takes a village to raise a child properly, what does it take in our global village to get your attention to the increasing anti-Semitism that has become such a staple of European media and as weighty a condemnation of this “typically robust cartoon” by Gerald Scarfe” as Bill, you, and the State Department have found for other cartoons and a poorly made and initially widely ignored film promo?

The curious case of the Arab vote in the Israeli elections

A guest post by AKUS

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 21, 2013.Arab League to Israeli Arabs: Vote to stop the far right‘.

“The Arab League on Sunday called for Israeli Arabs to vote so that they can stop the establishment of a right-wing government “that will promote racist laws and ethnic cleansing.””

The Guardian: Wrong about everything. All the time:

“Silver Blaze”, Arthur Conan Doyle:

Gregory : “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

At some point, if not already, someone is going to analyze the Arab vote in the recent Israeli elections once the excitement of playing “build the coalition” subsides.

Israel’s Arab demographic makes up about 20% of the population. If every Arab voter only voted for one or other of the Arab parties, all else being equal (e.g., the same proportion of adults eligible to vote in the Arab sector as in the non-Arab sector) the Arab parties would hold approximately 24 seats in the Knesset. Instead, it appears that they have 8 seats (United Arab list – Ta’al and Balad). Even adding in Hadash, which has a mix of Jewish and Arab communists, they have at most 12 seats.

So how did at least half and probably more than half of Israel’s Arabs vote? That is surely the most curious aspect of the recent election results.

We can rule out the right wing and orthodox Jewish parties.  Apparently, therefore, Israeli Arabs exercised their votes for the center and center-left parties, giving them the 12- 16 “missing seats”. Traditionally, Labor has had strong support in the Arab sector, and this may have helped them retain 15 seats in the new Knesset. One of Labor’s seats will be occupied by a Christian Arab woman, Nadia Hilou, of Jaffa. It is also likely, I would think, that Yesh Atid’s unexpectedly strong showing could be due to Arabs responding to its social and political messages of cooperation and equality.

Until an analysis of the Arab vote is available, and specially the missing Arab vote in the sense of missing from the Arab parties, I suggest it reinforces two major themes of this election.

One is that people in Israel, like every else, vote for their daily interests ahead of grand foreign policy issues. Young Arabs are just as likely to be concerned about their and their children’s futures. Issues like housing, jobs, financial security, and protection from the manic regimes surrounding Israel are as likely to be their top concerns as they are for non-Arab Israelis. In addition, they will be willing to vote for parties that accept them as equals and promise to make the effort to ensure equality is not just written into the laws, as it is, but practiced in daily life. They certainly are underwhelmed by the radical Arabs like Zuabi and Tibi.

The other is that, quite clearly, the Palestinian issue is not one that is the most pressing for a majority of Israel’s Arabs, even if they believe that Yesh Atid and Labor could be more accommodating to the possibility of creating a Palestinian State on the West Bank than the other Jewish parties. Polls have shown that a majority of Israel’s Arabs believe that they are better off in every way than they would be in the countries surrounding Israel. Polls held in towns and villages bordering the Green Line have demonstrated that Israel’s Arab have no desire and no intent to join a putative Palestinian state, should one ever arise on the West Bank. Put quite simply, they know where their bread is buttered, and it is not with the Gazans or West Bankers.

This was the curious incident in the last election – the Arab vote did nothing to reflect what so many treat as Israel’s primary concern – the future of the West Bank.

Thus, while the Guardian and the mainstream media – not to mention the EU and factions within the United States – agonize over the “two state solution”, Israel’s Arabs have made their own views quite plain. Their “missing seats” show that they are Israelis, not Palestinians, they are in Israel to stay, and wish to be part of what we can only hope will be a strengthening main-stream Israeli consensus formed by centrist parties such as Yesh Atid and Labor and a move away from the extremism of the Likud and Habayit Hayehudi.


Guardian readers, and Holocausts real and imagined

A guest post by AKUS

The Guardian’s attempt to provide a thoughtful and appropriate article about a praiseworthy attempt by UK footballers to provide schools with a serious and sensitive Holocaust educational film documenting what they learned from a trip to Auschwitz (‘England’s football stars feature in Holocaust educational video film for schools, Jan. 14), was quickly hijacked, as we noted earlier, by Holocaust deniers.

The first comment on the thread was a plea that the footballers’ efforts (and, presumably, reader comments) not be hijacked to demand “equal time” for other atrocities:


Despite SantaMoniker’s plea anticipating what was to follow, in addition to the subsequent Holocaust denial comments CiF Watch captured which were eventually deleted, for one person simply denying the Holocaust wasn’t not enough. He demanded (comment now deleted) that the educational authorities invent a new one to provide some balance to the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis.

Yes – if English children are to learn about the Holocaust that actually happened, at least one reader, whose comment garnered recommendations, demanded that they learn about the non-existent Palestinian Holocaust.

2For this commenter, and those recommending his comment, as part of the campaign against Israel it is necessary to create a myth about a Palestinian history to reinforce the lethal narrative that the Jews, “who should know better”, have killed millions of Palestinians.

Visiting the thread now, about 12:40 pm UK time, the moderators have removed most of the presumably inappropriate comments. But the striking lack of empathy remains at least in this one, the last at the time this is written, which has been there for over an hour:


Apparently for some people it will remain a mystery why “the jews will bang on forever about their persecution, because they are under the impression no one as suffered like they have”.  For some it is too difficult to comprehend that this mass murder was so horrific that the special term “Holocaust” had to be created to refer to it and in which modern technology was used to eliminate an entire people by killing as many as 6 million of them – and why the annoying survivors keep “banging on about it”.

It is also worth noting that while holocaust-denying comments remained on the thread for hours, beneath Rachel Shabi’s tendentious and morally pretentious commentary alleging Islamophobia by the “the power-brokers of Hollywood”, comments which didn’t abide by the Guardian Left script were quickly deleted.

The appearance of both articles on the same day, and the totally different level of comment moderation, demonstrates the bias of Guardian editors and those they employ to moderate the threads. 

How big is E-1? The geographic reality of an alleged “impediment to peace”

A guest post by AKUS

There’s been a lot of talk at the Guardian – and in the mainstream media – about the tiny area of land (known as ‘E-1′) outside Jerusalem (encompassing a mere 12 square kilometers of land out of more than 5,600 square kilometers of territory in the West Bank), so I thought it might be worth putting it in perspective:

Here’s a map showing E-1 taken from Ha’aretz (Q&A: What is area E-1, anyway?) which has the advantage of showing E-1 in bright red:


Here is the same image overlaid on a true map of Jerusalem and surroundings.  The guide in the bottom left hand corner gives a better idea of the distances and area involved – about 2 miles/4km from central Jerusalem, and between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim:


For clarity, here is the E-1 area extracted from the map provided by Ha’aretz and overlaid on the same map of Jerusalem and surroundings:


By way of comparison, here is the E-1 area overlaid on a map of Manhattan – it is less than 4 times larger than Central Park:


To make the scale of E-1 a little more obvious, let’s zoom out to include most of Manhattan and surroundings:


And here is E-1 overlaid on a portion of the map of Israel to the same scale:


Is the world-wide fuss over an area between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, less than four times the size of Central Park, and a fraction of the size of Manhattan, that the Palestinians know will be included in the area of Israel if an agreement is ever reached, really worth making?

Does the Guardian’s media blogger follow CiF Watch?

A guest post by AKUS

On December 30th, I noted that the Guardian’s media blogger, Roy Greenslade, was ignoring recently announced Hamas restrictions on journalists – a widely disseminated story which, among others, the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood reported on December 27th, (Hamas bans Palestinian journalists from Israeli media co-operation ).


While one can excuse Greenslade for not reading this report in other media, surely he should have noticed Sherwood’s story in the very same paper he writes for, no?

But alert media blogger Greenslade, a fierce defender of freedom of the press, somehow missed this assault on press freedom in Gaza.  

He always seems eager to rewrite reports on real or imagined problems he uncovers dealing with the issue of freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Israel – so why not in Gaza?

For example, his re-write of an article from Ha’aretz on September 4th, 2012:


Another example: In July 2011 we had this article from Greenslade, rewriting an article from the NYT, darkly warning of the end of a free speech in Israel (note, by the way, that the Supreme Court just overruled an attempt to ban Arab MK Zoabi who actually participated in treasonous acts against Israel! – try that in the US or UK!):


Well, I am pleased to note that Greenslade must “follow” us here at CiF Watch, as he has corrected this oversight.

On January 1, shortly after the CiF Watch article appeared, Greenslade unearthed, according to his footnote, an article by Reporters Without Borders published on December 28th, and also Sherwood’s article.  

So, better late than never.

However, rather than giving credit where credit is due (to us!) he  corrected his oversight by (re) writing a brief article about Hamas’ banning of Palestinian journalists which he footnoted thus: “Sources: The Guardian/RSF“:


But in fairness to CiF Watch, given that Greenslade has “outed” the Guardian’s favorite terrorist group thanks to our efforts to prod him along a little, should he not have written:

Sources: The Guardian/RSF/CiF Watch?

Or, would we then have seen him banned by the Guardian, like so many others, and have seen an article by their new media blogger appearing in the Guardian’s media section – like this?


Guardian’s media blogger, Roy Greenslade, ignores Hamas restrictions on journalists

A guest post by AKUS

This was the Guardian’s list of top Media stories on December 28th:


Oddly enough, the December 27th story by Harriett Sherwood about Hamas banning Palestinian journalists reporting in Gaza for Israeli media did not make it the Guardian’s list of top media stories. Instead, it was quietly pushed to News/World News/Hamas:


Nor did it come to the attention of Roy Greenslade, who seems to keep an eagle-eyed focus on news relating to the media and press freedom in Israel.

How strange that Greenslade should have overlooked this story while being so on top of other stories about media in the region, especially those which show Israel in a negative light – despite the fact that, by any standard, Israel lays claim to the only truly free press in the region.  


Perhaps a Hamas ban on Palestinian journalists who report for the Israeli media is not a significant media issue – unlike, for example, an Israeli reporter leaking security documents, which led to this lengthy re-write, by Greenslade, of an article from Ha’aretz on September 4th, 2012,  Israeli judge to reporter – state security matters more than press freedom:

pic 3

And in July 2011 there was this report by Greenslade, rehashing the NYT, darkly warning of the end of a free speech in Israel– still alive and kicking more than a year later, by the way:

pic 4How very odd to see the difference in emphasis about media restrictions when the antagonists in the tale are Palestinians.

Could it be that Greenslade and the Guardian expect such behavior from Hamas, and therefore don’t consider it newsworthy enough to report it at a blog about the media and press freedom?

“There and Back Again” – A CiFWatcher’s Adventure in MediaEarth

A guest post by AKUS

picIt’s been an exciting week for CiFWatchers in Guardianland.

Although I have occasionally pointed out to him that, with his profile,  Adam Levick could better play the role of an elf in the next  1,000 reel screen version of one of Tolkien’s stories, it appears that the Guardian, influenced no doubt by the new monster movie version of “The Hobbit”,  views him as a triumphant reincarnation of Bilbo Baggins.

Adam was “banned” by the Guardian as he reported on December 14th, tracing his journey into the gloom the Guardian reserves for those who have dared to challenge it too openly.

FrontPage”,  Jewish Press, and The Commentator  reported  Bilbo’s – sorry, Adam’s – banning from “Comment is Free”, and Tamar Yonah interviewed him at Israel National Radio while, like any good hobbit should, he was quaffing one of the local beverages at a MiddleEarth – sorry – Middle Eastern – inn – sorry – café.

Adam’s December 14th report on his banning was complete with a screenshot of his profile at CiF after his banning.  Rather like Bilbo putting on the ring, he and his comments simply disappeared:

adam banned

Wanting to write about this, and needing a better screenshot, I decided to look up his vanished profile – and, lo and behold, like a victorious Bilbo returning after slaying the dragon and avoiding the trolls that inhabit the mythical world of Israel that the Guardian has created, Adam’s profile was back:


Every good story deserves a moral. In this case, it seems that the monsters and trolls (I use the words in the Tolkien sense) running the Guardian were embarrassed enough by the negative publicity their foolishness created to reinstate Adam’s profile from the dungeon in Mordor where they keep those of us who have been banned.

The original purpose of the article I had planned to write was quite different.  I had noticed an exchange I captured in the screenshot below on December 13th  in the article about HSBC’s money laundering –  HSBC’s record $1.9bn fine preferable to prosecution, US authorities insist:

still there

I kept an eye on the comments by  “Mostmagnificentone” to see how long they stayed up before being removed (at least 15 hours, by the way, whereas any similar comments about you-know-who vanish within seconds, along, sometimes, with the person posting them).

One might imagine that “Mostmagnificentone” would be deservedly banned for these blatantly anti-Semitic comments. But you would be disappointed – he or she is still with us while not posting any more:


So it seems that while the Guardian is willing to crack down hard on hobbits, even if it has to allow them to reappear, it has no problem with orcs and trolls like “Mostmagnificentone”.

How the Guardian has changed since Tolkien’s time