Does the Independent think Israel’s response to Hamas is ‘un-Jewish’?

What would be the appropriate UK response to thousands of rockets raining down on London, fired by an extremist movement dedicated to the country’s destruction, and one which forced thousands of Brits to take cover in bomb shelters?  

Do you think it’s safe to say that the British government would give its military leaders explicit orders to stop the rocket fire? Further, considering such a hypothetical scenario, is there any question that ‘enlightened’ voices in the media would support the government while it engaged in such a basic act of self-defense?

Of course, over the past couple of days, the nation responding to such a real threat hasn’t been the UK, but Israel.

So, naturally, after two days of anti-terror operations against Hamas to stop the rocket fire terrorizing its citizens, the Independent published a cartoon not only suggesting that Israel’s response has been ‘disproportionate’, but also seeming to imply that the response is un-Jewish.

Here’s the cartoon published yesterday in the Indy by Dave Brown, a cartoonist who (as Eylon Aslan-Levy writing at Tablet on the cartoon reminded us) drew the infamous cartoon during the 2nd Intifada of Ariel Sharon devouring Palestinian babies.

cartoonPay close attention to the text at the bottom of the graphic, which evokes the following Hebrew Bible verse (from Leviticus):

fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he inflicted an injury upon a person, so shall it be inflicted upon him.

The Indy cartoon’s revision of these words to “an eye for a tooth…a hand for an eye…a life for a hand…a people for a life” not only accuses Israel of responding disproportionately, and arguably (with the words ‘a life for a people’) engaging in something akin to ethnic cleansing, but that Israel has forgotten its own Jewish ethical tradition.

First, regarding Brown’s use of the Bible verse:

It should be noted that the Jewish oral tradition (as codified in the Talmud) is explicit that this verse ‘an eye for an eye’ has a far more narrow meaning than most suppose. It doesn’t literally mean that if someone pokes out another’s eye, the punishment meted out should similarly consist of poking out the attacker’s eye. It is understood as a commandment simply that justice must be proportional.

So, has the IDF military response – a campaign initiated only as a last resort after cease-fire talks failed to stop the rockets – been proportional? 

Well, first we must remember that army has been narrowly targeting the instruments of Hamas terror – bombing concealed rocket launchers, launching infrastructures, training bases, terror tunnels and other military targets.

Further, any serious observer of the conflict would have acknowledge Israel’s strenuous efforts to avoid harming Palestinian civilians – despite the complication caused by Hamas purposely placing their instruments of war in civilian areas.

The IDF has routinely been warning Gaza civilians of intending attacks in order to limit casualties. This includes dropping leaflets and sending text messages to Palestinians who may be in harm’s way, phone calls to homes (used as hubs for terror activities) that are about to be bombed, and the ‘knock on the roof’ tactic where Israel deploys a ‘scare’ bomb which uses a loud noise to influence civilians to leave the targeted area. 

Again, ask yourself, would the UK go to such measures to warn their enemies of impending attacks if they were facing a similar threat? 

Moreover, it’s remarkable that such political cartoonists have once again failed to focus their righteous outrage and creative energies towards the Islamist extremist group in Gaza.  There are of course no cartoons taking aim at Hamas’s racist ideology, or their callous disregard for human life – not just Jewish life but Palestinian life as well. Hamas after all is an Islamic movement which regards the Hebrew Bible as a sacred text, and so would similarly seem bound by its ethical commandment to engage in proportionate justice, and, most importantly, to value life, first and foremost.  

Given Hamas’s religious tradition, how then are we to explain their recent acknowledgement that they’re targeting all Israelis civilians, their new warnings that they’ll once again begin launching waves of suicide bombings “on every bus, café and street”, and their leaders’ explicit support for the use of Palestinian human shields.

Would Indy editors ever sanction an op-ed or cartoon vilifying such blatant Palestinian disregard for the sanctity of human life as ‘un-Islamic’? 

No, of course they wouldn’t – any more than they would castigate US and British leaders for behaving in an ‘un-Christian’ manner for the huge civilian toll over the years of targeting Islamist fighters in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Well, at least if fairness and moral consistency represent professional values Indy editors aspire to, then perhaps they should consider avoiding such imperious, sanctimonious and hypocritical sermons to Jews as well.   

Stealth ‘corrections’ at the Indy in Mira Bar-Hillel’s confessional about Olmert

A couple of hours ago we posted about an op-ed by Mira Bar-Hillel, titled ‘I dated Ehud Olmert once. His ambition stood out, but the corruption was yet to come‘, which included two errors:

First, she got the date of Ariel Sharon’s coma wrong.

More significantly, Bar-Hillel greatly inflated the casualty figures from the 2008-09 war in Gaza.  Here’s the original passage:

he [Olmert] ordered the molten lead attack on Gaza in December 2008, which again left over 1,000 Palestinian civilians dead, 

As we noted, even B’tselem (the NGO which has one of the highest casualty tallies) didn’t claim that the three-week conflict between Israel and Hamas “left over 1,000 Palestinian civilians dead”.  While other sources (including, quite tellingly, Hamas) place the civilian casualty figures dramatically lower, B’tselem has claimed that 773 of the 1387 Palestinians killed “did not take part in hostilities”.

Shortly after contacting Indy editors and alerting them to the errors, we noticed two changes:

First, the date of Sharon’s coma was corrected.

However, though there was a second change, it was not at all sufficient.  They merely changed this…

Two years later, he ordered the molten lead attack on Gaza in December 2008, which again left over 1,000 Palestinian civilians dead… 

to this:

Two years later he ordered the molten lead attack on Gaza in December 2008, which again left nearly 1,000 Palestinian civilians dead..

So, do they accept B’tselem’s figures, or don’t they? If they do, then are we to believe that 773 is “nearly 1000″?

Finally, it’s important to note that though newspaper editors (at the Guardian and elsewhere) who respond positively to our correction requests typically explain the revision or acknowledge it somewhere on their site, the changes to Bar-Hillel’s op-ed were not acknowledged or explained via an email, nor noted by Indy editors anywhere on the page.

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UK journalist who dated Ehud Olmert corrupts Gaza War casualty figures

Mira Bar-Hillel, the British journalist who has admitted to being prejudiced against Jews, penned an op-ed on April 1 at the Independent which contained an even more startling revelation:
mira

In what reads at first glance as an April Fool’s joke, Bar-Hillel writes the following about the former Israeli Prime Minister.

Reader, I didn’t marry him. Not even close. But I did once go out with the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who has just been convicted of bribery and corruption.

Back in late 1969 a blind date was arranged for us. We moved in the same circles for a few years: he as an aspiring politician, me as a journalist. Then as now, Olmert was highly intelligent, with a sharp legal mind. On the downside was his raw ambition.

Olmert was the accidental PM. ‘Arik’ Sharon made him his deputy mainly to force him to toe the line. But when Sharon fell into a coma in 2004, Olmert inherited the job without having to bother with an election which he would probably not have won.

His legacy as PM includes the ill-fated adventure in Lebanon in August 2006, which killed over 1,000 people, mostly civilians, devastated civil infrastructure and displaced approximately one million Lebanese. Two years later, he ordered the molten lead attack on Gaza in December 2008, which again left over 1,000 Palestinian civilians dead, many of them, as in Lebanon, children.

First, she of course got the date of Ariel Sharon’s coma wrong, which occurred in 2006, not 2004.

Additionally, Bar-Hillel significantly inflates the casualty figures in the 2008-09 war in Gaza.

Even such politicized pro-Palestinian NGOs such as B’tselem haven’t claimed that the three-week conflict between Israel and Hamas “left over 1,000 Palestinian civilians dead”.  While other sources (including, quite tellingly, Hamas) place the civilian casualty figures dramatically lower, B’tselem has claimed that 773 of the 1387 Palestinians they claim were killed in the war “did not take part in hostilities” – more than 20 percent less than the figure cited by Bar-Hillel.

While Bar-Hillel acknowledges that the failed shidduch with the disgraced former PM didn’t provide an opportunity to really get to know the man, readers of the Independent would likely benefit from an equally frank admission that the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is an issue about which she knows even less about.

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The Telegraph publishes fair & balanced report on Israeli settlement ‘growth’

telegraphOur increasing commentary on Israel related coverage by sites such as The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, The Economist and the Irish Times is often helpful in properly contextualizing coverage at the Guardian.

Regarding The Telegraph, though we have criticized them on occasion, the coverage of Israel by their regional correspondent Robert Tait is often much more fair and professional than the pro-Palestinian activism consistently peddled by the Guardian’s outgoing Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood.

Indeed, a March 4 Telegraph story, titled ‘Israel issues figures on huge settlement expansion‘, by two other correspondents (Inna Lazareva and Peter Foster) deserves some credit for citing various views on the announcement, from both the Left and the Right.

The report begins by citing “a new report by the Israeli Bureau of Statistics” which revealed “that Israel increased settlement construction in the West Bank by as much as 123% in 2013, compared with the previous year.”  Then, after quoting Israeli left-wing critics of the increased settlement construction, and right-wing critics complaining that there wasn’t enough construction, the report cited the Israeli Housing Ministry’s explanation that the “higher rate of settlement construction [represents] the cumulative effect of the building backlog dating back to the 2009 ten-month long settlement freeze, and subsequent delayed constructions in the following years”.

Then, there was this interesting passage:

Other critics were quick to point out that, while 2013 was indeed an exceptional year for West Bank settlement construction, overall the rate of building in the settlements over the nearly five years that Mr Netanyahu has been in power has actually decreased by nearly a quarter, compared to the five years prior to him assuming the role of Prime Minister.

We’re not sure who exactly they are referring to by “critics”, but, as you may recall, just yesterday (about 9 hours before the Telegraph story appeared) we published a post titledWhat the Guardian won’t report: West Bank settlement building has DECLINED under BiBiwhich included this passage:

Though housing starts did increase dramatically in 2013, based on numbers from the previous year, construction for the nearly five years Netanyahu has been prime minister shows a decrease from the previous four years when Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon were in power.  From 2009 through 2013, there were 7477 housing starts in the West Bank, while from 2004 through 2008 there were 9293 starts.  So, under Netanyahu, there has been a nearly 20% decline in West Bank construction in comparison to the five years before he became prime minister

In short, The Telegraph provided the kind of context and nuance that professional reporters owe their readers when reporting from a region awash in clichés, hyperbole, agitprop and Guardian-style activist journalism.

We commend The Telegraph for their largely fair and balanced report.

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What the Guardian won’t report: West Bank settlement building has DECLINED under Bibi

headerThough Binyamin Netanyahu agreed last summer to release over 100 so-called pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners (who all were serving sentences for murder, attempted murder or being an accessory to murderas a good faith measure to restart peace talks, he made no such promise to the U.S. that his government would curtail settlement construction in the West Bank as a pre-condition.

Despite this fact, those in the UK media who argue that homes built across the green line represents the biggest obstacle to peace can be expected – in the event negotiations between the two parties break down – to inform readers that Bibi’s ‘aggressive settlement construction’ (as Saeb Erekat and others have phrased it) is, in large measure, what scuttled the talks.

So, when it was reported throughout the media yesterday that data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics revealed that settlement construction in the West Bank in 2013 represented a 123% increase from the previous year, we decided that look a bit further into the history of such housing starts and came across some rather counter-intuitive information.  

Ha’aretz was one of the sites reporting the ‘dramatic’ increase in housing construction, and they used the following graph which illustrates housing starts in the West Bank each year, beginning in 2001.

graph

Settlement construction in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) between 2001 and 2013, per Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics

As you can see, though housing starts did increase dramatically in 2013, based on numbers from the previous year, construction for the nearly five years Netanyahu has been prime minister shows a decrease from the previous four years when Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon were in power.  From 2009 through 2013, there were 7477 housing starts in the West Bank, while from 2004 through 2008 there were 9293 starts.  So, under Netanyahu, there has been a nearly 20% decline in West Bank construction in comparison to the five years before he became prime minister. (Netanyahu was sworn in on March 31, 2009)

Construction decreased dramatically after Bibi agreed to a 10-month construction freeze (beginning in late 2009), but the rate of building still remained low in the 2 1/2 years after the freeze ended – and only increased significantly in 2013.

Whilst such dry data will of course never pose an obstacle to Guardian journalists intent on advancing the tried and true narrative about Israeli settlements, those who take the time to carefully scrutinize news coming out of the region will at least understand that claims made that such construction has increased under Netanyahu are not supported by the empirical evidence.

 

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CAMERA monitors media coverage of Israel, Jan 28-Feb 25: Guardian, BBC, NYT, Ha’aretz

English Posts

UMass Amherst Chancellor Condemns Academic Boycotts of Israel (in Focus) 

A Tough Legacy for a Tougher Man
Setting the record straight on Ariel Sharon, written by Alisa Rudy and first published in Baruch College’s paper: The Ticker. Alisa is a junior majoring in Middle East Studies and is the current President of the CCAP group Youth Organization For Israel, Baruch’s student pro-Israel club. (in Focus)

Inciting Violence Through Inaccuracy
A look at the Arab world inciting violence in the land of Israel, from the Hebron riots 80 years ago to today, by Boston University student Lindsey Cohen. (in Focus)

Learn How to Table From These Guys
Our pro-Israel CAMERA supported group at McNeese University tables about Israel and CAMERA at their campus center. (in Focus)

Jon Haber Relaunches His Blog
Jon of “Divest This” has restarted his fantastic blog debunking myths about the Boycott Divest Sanctions movement. (in Focus)

Chloé Valdary Speaks on Canada’s Sun News on how CAMERA Helps
Watch: CAMERA helps students access accurate information about Israel on their campuses. (in Focus)

Correction in Weekly Portuguese Paper Thanks to CAMERA Israel Trip Participant
Major Portuguese paper falsely claims Israel is building 1400 new settlements. Former CAMERA Israel Trip participant Romeu Monteiro helps set the record straight. (in Focus)

Erasing the Jewish Connection to Israel
A common strategy in delegitimizing Israel is to erase the historic connection between the Jewish people to the land of Israel. (in Focus)

CAMERA Visits California and Boston University
Two campus staff members visited with students at USC who had just returned from Birthright, and spoke to them about inaccuracies in the media. (in Focus)

A Realistic Approach to the Israeli-Arab Conflict
Our Fellow at Washington University is published in her campus paper as she sheds some light on the current conflict and international law. (in Focus)

A Stand Against Boycotts

Our CAMERA Intern explores how some Israelis are taking a pro-active step in the fight against boycotts. (in Focus)

Speakers Discredit SJP

Students for Justice in Palestine bring in a former Israeli soldier to defame Israel and spread inaccurate information about the conflict. Our CAMERA Fellow writes a letter to the editor to set the record straight. (in Focus)

BBC’s ‘Today’ programme ‘should know better’ than to engage in covert promotion of the PSC’s agenda
Despite a recent recommitment to summarizing the standpoint of interviewees, BBC Radio 4 broadcast an interview with an unidentified member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. (BBC Watch)

In which BBC News abandons all pretence of fact checking
Fact checking has apparently become too much of a bother for BBC website journalists. (BBC Watch)

Guardian caves to anti-Israel bigots, revises SodaStream article to please Ben White
The power of the pro-BDS lobby at the Guardian was revealed when editors at the London-based newspaper caved to pressure from Ben White, and revised an article which originally referred to anti-SodaStream activists as “anti-Israel” – opting instead fro the more benign term “anti-settlement”. (CiF Watch)

A Harriet Sherwood tale of Palestinian love and Israeli darkness
A nearly 4,000 word story on Israeli ‘villainy’ by Harriet Sherwood reached new lows, even in the context of the Jerusalem correspondent’s three and a half-year pattern of filing such tendentious and egregiously biased reports from the region. (CiF Watch)

Hebrew Posts

Ynet puts Gaza under siege
Is it accurate to refer to Gaza as “under siege?” (Presspectiva)

Are these celebrities really boycotting Israel?
Dustin Hoffman, Meg Ryan and others are listed by Israeli media as celebrities boycotting Israel. However the evidence shows otherwise. (Presspectiva)

The New York Times repeats Palestinian propaganda
Last week we chastised Ha’aretz for repeating without any examination the claim that President Truman intentionally erased the words “The Jewish State” from his recognition of Israel. Now the New York Times does it as well. (Presspectiva)

What is incitement?
An op-ed writer in Ha’aretz displays a fine sense of irony, when accusing others of inciting hatred, but bases her argument on completely false charges. (Presspectiva)

The return of the Palestinian Children in Cages story
Presspectiva continues to correct papers accusing Israel of holding Palestinian children in cages. (Presspectiva)

Wikipedia’s “Lion of God” bites Journalists
Did various respectable news organizations (and Al-Jazeera) base their obituary of Ariel Sharon on Wikipedia? (Presspectiva)

Spanish Posts

Is Israel really isolated, as some media outlets portray?
Israel holds diplomatic relations with over 150 countries and has recently joined the Pacific Alliance as an observer. Is the country really “internationally isolated”? (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Excelsior, from Mexico, corrects mistaken information about Israel
In an article about Tel Aviv as a technological hub, the Mexican paper said that city was Israel’s capital. ReVista questioned the paper and the editors corrected the mistake. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Europa Press unmasked
We highlight possible financial and political reasons behind the biased information about Israel in the Spanish-speaking news agency. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Russia Today claims Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital
Not only does the RT claim that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital, it also falsely suggests that Globes, an Israeli media outlet, is the source of the information. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Bethlehem celebrates Palestinian terrorism
Political and religious leaders honoured two suicide bombers and promoted violence against Israel, while the Spanish press didn’t consider the event as news. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Middle East headlines in the Spanish-speaking press
Read the Israel and Middle East related headlines of the main newspapers and news agencies in Latin America and Spain. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Télam adopted an anti-Israel ideological stance
The Argentinian news agency chose to quote only those sources that were critical of the Government of Israel and blamed the Jewish State for threatening the peace negotiations and presented opinions as facts. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Johanssen and El País (the country) of shame 

The effort of the Spanish newspaper to become a professional and reference media is of no use if they allow crude ideology to pop into its pages. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

EFE forgets the Israeli version of the facts again
One of the main premises of journalism is to contrast the information. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

EFE, please, check the information
The Spanish news agency is wrong when informing about the Oslo accords. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

EFE and sex change
Ariel Zilber is not a woman! (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

EFE: the Israelis also exist
Maybe, the Spanish news agency EFE doesn’t like the Israeli version, but readers have the right to learn about it and judge for themselves. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

 

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Guardian Group editors fail to correct false claim on Sabra and Shatila massacre

We’ve been in communication with editors at The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) regarding a false claim (about the massacre of Palestinian civilians in 1982 by Christian Phalangists), by their foreign affairs editor, Peter Beaumont, in a Jan. 11 report titled ‘Ariel Sharon: a warrior blamed for massacres and praised for peace making‘.

Here are the relevant passages in Beaumont’s report:

It was during this period [the Lebanon War in 1982] he was found by the Kahan commission – investigating the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut, when Israeli forces allowed Christian Phalangist militiamen into two refugee camps in Beirut to slaughter hundreds of Palestinian refugees – to have been personally negligent in the killings “for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge [and] not taking appropriate measures to prevent bloodshed”.

The average reader would likely take this to mean that Israeli forces sent Phalangist militiamen with the intent of “slaughtering” Palestinian refugees. However, the Israeli fact-finding mission on the massacre (Kahan Commission) that Beaumont cited was clear – in an over 51,000 word document – that there was no evidence of such an Israeli intent. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The commission found, per the highlighted passages below, that there was no intention by any Israelis to harm the non-combatant population in the Palestinian camps.

Here are a few of the relevant passages from the report:

Contentions and accusations were advanced that even if I.D.F. personnel had not shed the blood of the massacred, the entry of the Phalangists into the camps had been carried out with the prior knowledge that a massacre would be perpetrated there and with the intention that this should indeed take place; and therefore all those who had enabled the entry of the Phalangists into the camps should be regarded as accomplices to the acts of slaughter and sharing in direct responsibility. These accusations too are unfounded. We have no doubt that no conspiracy or plot was entered into between anyone from the Israeli political echelon or from the military echelon in the I.D.F. and the Phalangists, with the aim of perpetrating atrocities in the camps…. No intention existed on the part of any Israeli element to harm the non-combatant population in the camps. … Before they entered the camps and also afterward, the Phalangists requested I .D.F. support in the form of artillery fire and tanks, but this request was rejected by the Chief of Staff in order to prevent injuries to civilians. It is true that I.D.F. tank fire was directed at sources of fire within the camps, but this was in reaction to fire directed at the I.D.F. from inside the camps. We assert that in having the Phalangists enter the camps, no intention existed on the part of anyone who acted on behalf of Israel to harm the non-combatant population, and that the events that followed did not have the concurrence or assent of anyone from the political or civilian echelon who was active regarding the Phalangists’ entry into the camps.

The report further explains IDF instructions to the Phalangist militia prior to the operation to root out terrorists from the camps.

The commanders of the Phalangists arrived for their first coordinating session regarding the entry of their forces into the camps at about 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, 16.9.82, and met with Major-General Drori at the headquarters of one of the divisions. It was agreed at that meeting that they would enter the camps and coordinate this action with Brigadier-General Yaron, commander of the division. This coordination between Brigadier-General Yaron and the Phalangist commanders would take place on Thursday afternoon at the forward command post. It was likewise agreed at that meeting that a company of 150 fighters from the Phalangist force would enter the camps and that they would do so from south to north and from west to east. Brigadier-General Yaron spoke with the Phalangists about the places where the terrorists were located in the camps and also warned them not to harm the civilian population.

If Beaumont had decided to read the report he cited, he would have noted the egregious distortion in his claim that “Israeli forces allowed Christian Phalangist militiamen into two refugee camps in Beirut to slaughter hundreds of Palestinian refugees.”

We’re continuing to press editors at The Observer to revise the passage to more accurately reflect the findings of the Kahan Commission, and will update you when we receive a definitive response.

In the meantime, you can Tweet Peter Beaumont and ask him to address the error.

@petersbeaumont

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Springtime for Rouhani: Jack Straw complains that pro-Israel cash stymies US-Iran peace

jack+straw

Jack Straw

In an op-ed on Friday at The Independent, former British foreign secretary Jack Straw revisited a narrative he advanced late last year regarding the alleged injurious impact of funds from Jewish and pro-Israeli groups in the U.S.

During a Parliamentary debate on diplomacy in the Mid-East in late October, Straw reportedly complained that the greatest obstacle to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors is the “unlimited” funds available to Jewish groups and AIPAC which are used to control American policy – comments which Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub complained represented familiar tropes about “sinister Jewish power”.

Straw’s Jan. 17 Indy op-ed (In Hasan Rouhani’s Iran, you can feel the winds of change‘), addresses the broader issue of U.S. – Iran relations, and is giddy with excitement over the peace and harmony that could be achieved if we place our trust in the beneficence of Iran’s putatively moderate president, Hassan Rouhani.  

You can sense the thrill going up his leg as he waxes eloquently on the “courageous” Rouhani who has evidently imbued Tehran with the progressive spirit more akin to “Madrid or Athens” than “Mumbai or Cairo” – all of which would be news to the country’s oppressed Bahai, imprisoned democracy activists and opposition leaders, and families of the 33 Iranians executed in the last week alone. 

The antagonist in Straw’s Iranian Spring tale is clear by the third paragraph, where he recalls his encounters with leaders of the Islamic Republic in 2001:

My first visit to Iran was in late September 2001, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. The moderate Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, had courageously reached out to the United States with moral, and much practical, support in the struggle to counter al-Qa’ida.

Then, I went straight from Tehran to Israel. The Israelis concocted a diplomatic row over my using the noun “Palestine” rather than the adjective “Palestinian” in an article for the Iranian press. A banquet for me was cancelled and my meeting with the then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was delayed until the small hours. Behind this grammatical nonsense there was a much bigger issue – as there still is – about whether Israel wanted an end to the isolation of Iran, or whether it suited them for  Iran to be damned as a “pariah state” for all time.

Since Israeli and American politics are so intertwined, this was a major question for the US government, too. There are more American PhDs in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s Cabinet than there are in US President Barack Obama’s Cabinet. Yet the US quickly squandered all the potential of Mr Khatami’s bid for rapprochement with the West, with the ill-judged inclusion of Iran in President George W Bush’s “axis of evil”. Indeed, US policy  so undermined the Khatami administration that the reformists lost ground, to be replaced by the populist hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Pivoting to the Rouhani era and the nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and the P5+1, Straw writes:

President Rouhani’s election last summer was as overwhelming as it was surprising. “He only had 5 per cent in the polls when we started”, one proud supporter told us. The consequences of Mr Rouhani’s victory cannot be overstated. There’s a lightness in the air…

Sustained economic recovery depends in part on internal reform, but also on an end to the nuclear-related sanctions…Sanctions can have eccentric effects. Five hundred Porsches were imported last year, it is claimed. Coca-Cola is freely available; but banking sanctions mean that cancer patients cannot access life-saving imported drugs, even though formally these have been exempt from control.

November’s interim deal agreed in Geneva between Iran and the “P5 + 1” (the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, plus Germany) will come into force on Monday. There’s an obvious prize for Iran in ending all sanctions. There is for the UK too. Above and beyond big trade opportunities, a normalisation of relations will have profound benefits, not least in those troubled countries – Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine – where Iran has such influence.

Finally, Straw cites the greatest obstacle to the normalisation of relations and peace in the region:

Whether a comprehensive deal on Iran can be reached will crucially depend on how far Mr Obama is able to resist the intense lobbying (and financial support) Mr Netanyahu is able to muster in the US Congress.

Beyond Straw’s repugnant suggestion that pro-Israel elements in the US Congress take their marching orders from Jerusalem, and his failure to acknowledge that pro-Israel (and anti-Iran) sentiment is embraced by the overwhelming majority of Americans, it’s important to recall that his recent charges leveled at Jewish groups and Israel seem to reflect a broader narrative of Zionist root causes.  

A few weeks after 9/11, Straw led a Western delegation to Tehran, and delivered the following message in the context of the deadly attacks by al-Qaeda which killed nearly 3,000 Americans: “I understand that one of the factors which helps breed terrorism is the anger which many people in this region feel at events over the years in Palestine.”

Of course, one of the factors which undeniably leads to violence and instability in the Middle East is Iran’s role, according to the U.S. State Department, as the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

However, when you wake up in the morning genuinely convinced that Israel and the state’s Jewish supporters represent the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East, then even a reactionary, Islamist regime which exports terror abroad, while repressing religious minorities, women, gays and political dissidents at home, can evoke your ‘liberal’ sympathy.

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Irish Times op-ed: Sharon tried cleansing Palestinians due to ‘chosen people’ belief

In October we posted about a shameful smear at The Irish Times - by a socialist activist, former Trotskyite and occasional ‘Comment is Free’ contributor named Eamonn McCann – with the following headline: 

McCann’s piece included fantastical anecdotes such as this:

The late Mary Holland once explained to me why she had changed sides on the Israel-Palestine issue after spending just a few hours in the region.

[when you] walked out of the hotel, she recalled, you could see something was terribly wrong. Arabs shrinking back on the pavements to allow Jews to pass, being literally, physically pushed out of their way if they didn’t move fast enough, and, worst of all in her account, the Arabs’ heads-down acceptance of it all.

McCann added a few more alleged examples of racism before concluding that it’s such “settled hatred that lies at the heart of Israel’s official ideology“, and predicting that such Israeli hatred will be the “cause of its downfall in the end“.

Today, Jan 16, The Irish Times published another vicious attack on Israel by McCann, in a piece ostensibly comparing Ariel Sharon with Ian Paisley:

irish timesMcCann begins:

Ariel Sharon and Ian Paisley shared more than bulkiness and belligerence. Each based his ideology on books of the Bible – the fundamental reason neither could contemplate compromise or regard enemies as equals.

The first five books loomed large in each of their ideologies. (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy constitute the Torah.)

Sharon will have been mindful of: “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and saidTo your descendants I give this land . . . the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” (Genesis 15:18-21).

McCann further contextualizes the passage from Genesis, thus:

Sharon’s ruthless determination to cleanse the land of Israel of Palestinians was not rooted in analysis of contemporary reality – he didn’t see it primarily as a necessary response to anti-Semitism in the wider world, or to the Holocaust – but in the first instance as a duty conferred on the Jewish people by Yahweh.

The massacre [in the Palestinian village of Qibya in 1953] was undertaken [by Sharon] as retaliation for the killing by Palestinians of a Jewish mother and her two children. Sharon will have believed as he went about his work that he was wielding the sword of God – and will have had the same sense of righteousness when supervising the Phalangists’ pitiless butchery of more than 2,000 Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon in 1982.

First, McCann’s charge that Sharon tried to “cleanse the land of Israel of Palestinians” is a libel “not rooted in reality”, and of course nothing but ahistorical anti-Zionist agitprop.

Additionally, his claim that Sharon “supervised” the Christian Arabs who massacred Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila in 1982 is of course demonstrably untrue.  The Israeli commission on the incident found Sharon “responsible for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge when he approved the entry of the Phalangists into the camps”, and nowhere is there any suggestion that he “supervised” the killing.  Indeed, the commission explicitly criticized IDF leaders for NOT supervising (their word) the Phlangists’ activities.

But, most importantly, McCann is suggesting that the recently deceased (and decidedly secular) Israeli leader initiated such supposed acts of “ethnic cleansing” because he felt, by virtue of the words written in the Torah, that Jews are “chosen” by God, rendering non-Jews expendable.

As we observed following Deborah Orr’schosen people slur at the Guardian in 2011, the antisemitic use of the idea of Jewish “chosenness” – which most Jews understand as a requirement to fulfill an elevated ethical purpose – has a long and dark history.

In 1973, the Soviet Union actually initiated a debate at the UN on the subject of Jews as the chosen people, which they argued was evidence of the Jewish religion’s inherent racism.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the most widely distributed antisemitic forgery in history – a book still quite popular in much of the Arab world – is premised partly on the distorted idea of Jews’ “chosenness”, and represents a widely used theme at one of the more popular antisemitic sites on the web Jew Watch, a clearinghouse of Judeophobic conspiracy theories replete with quotes such as these:

“The Jewish conception of the Jews as the Chosen People who must eventually rule the world forms indeed the basis of Rabbinical Judaism.”

The most well-known white supremacist in the U.S., David Duke, uses the theme of Jews’ “chosenness” to prove that Jews are the most racist people on the planet, and has argued the following in his book ‘Jewish Surpemacism:

“Israelites are a “chosen people,” chosen by God above all the other peoples of the world…[which] is a blatant expression of ethnic supremacism.”

The odious notion that Jews are religiously programmed to conquer, rule and murder non-Jews due to a sense of superiority has a undeniably racist pedigree and, at the very least, shouldn’t be legitimized by the editors at the Irish Times, or any other “respectable”, putatively “progressive” media outlet. 

 

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Why did the Guardian publish, then remove, article on anti-Zionist ‘activist’ Stuart Rees?

Recently, our Google Alert for Israel-related content published at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’ included this:

google alertHowever, upon opening the link, we saw the following:

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The text and photo in the Google Alert was sufficient to identify the protagonist in their deleted story as anti-Israel campaigner Stuart Rees, the Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation.  

You may recall that in 2003 Rees’s group awarded their annual ‘Peace Prize’ to that prolific “liberal” Palestinian activist, Hanan Ashrawi.  Further, after pro-Israel groups criticized the award, Rees charged that Jewish groups who complained were challenging “the health of Australian democracy” by using their “formidable financial power” to engage in a campaign of “deceit, bullying and intimidation.”

Fortunately, we were also able to locate a cached page of the deleted Guardian article, written by .

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Though we don’t know for sure why the Guardian removed the article, upon reading the content (on the cached page) it appears that their decision may have had something to do with the timing of the article’s publication vis-a-vis the death of Ariel Sharon – particularly, a bizarre comment by Rees (in bold) in the last passage of this excerpt:

One evening in Doha, in December: Sydney University’s Professor Stuart Rees is standing in the middle of a packed room, deep in conversation with the veteran Palestinian negotiator, Dr Saeb Erekat.

Famous figures in the Palestinian political landscape mill around them. Hamas chief Khalid Mish’al is there, along with Hamas’s head of international relations, Osama Hamdan. Rees is completely engrossed in his discussion with Erekat, a key figure in the latest round of peace talks brokered by the US secretary of state, John Kerry. But later on he’ll meet Mish’al, and will become part of a conversation between the Hamas chief and the UN’s special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, Richard Falk. “He insists that the soft power of international public opinion is strategically far superior to any further use of violence,” says Rees of Falk. Meanwhile, Mish’al tells the two men that establishing common ground with Palestinians in the West Bank and in the diaspora is one of his key goals.

It was an extraordinary gathering in the Qatari capital, which went largely unreported in the western media. The Qatar-based Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies had organised a three-day conference titled “the Palestinian cause and the future of the Palestinian national movement”.

Little did anyone there know that just over a month later, on 11 January 2014, the world would learn that the former Israeli general and prime minister Ariel Sharon was dead. The man known as “the sleeping giant”, who had been in a coma for eight years after suffering a stroke, was 85 when he died: still hated by most Palestinians.

Rees, the founder of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, and chairman of the Sydney Peace Foundation – he set up the annual Sydney peace prize, Australia’s only international peace award – and who was one of the speakers at the Doha conference, says the former Israeli PM should be regarded as “a military thug”.

The fact that he died eight years ago but has officially only just died, indicates to me that his image as a military warrior was synonymous with the identity of Israel, and that they couldn’t afford to let him appear to die. It’s almost Kafkaesque that this should now be headline news with the mainstream media paying their respects to him,” he adds.

Later in the article, there’s the following risible – some may say Kafkaesque - characterization of the Hamas-friendly “peace warrior”:

Rees is a bluntly spoken, impassioned man whose life almost totally revolves around human rights and conflict resolution

You can read the rest of the Guardian’s puff piece on Rees, and his friendly encounters with Hamas ‘peaceniks’, HERE.

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A typical Guardian distortion about Ariel Sharon and Sabra/Shatila massacre

Cross posted from The Commentator with the expressed permission of their publisher, Robin Shepherd

There is obviously nothing funny about the 1982 massacre in Lebanon of hundreds of mainly Muslim Palestinians at the hands of an Arab Christian militia at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

But, since practically the entire world has blamed the incident on Israel and one Ariel Sharon, it is hard not to chuckle at the way he once characterised the situation following his removal as defence minister, not for carrying out the massacre of course, but for not doing enough to prevent a massacre carried out by others.

“I’m the only minister of defence in the world — the only one — who left his post and went back to work on a tractor, on his farm, as a result of what Christians did to Muslims. The only one.”

It’s so true, and so piercing because it cuts down to size the flat-out liars who have always blamed him for something he just didn’t do. It can even get as absurd as this nasty little lie slipped into today’s editorial in the Guardian, without question the most bigoted British newspaper when it comes to matters Israeli.

“In 1982, serving as defence minister, he allowed Christian Phalangists into the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila, where they massacred more than 700 men, women and children. An Israeli government inquiry concluded that Mr Sharon bore personal responsibility for the incident,” the paper, which is the house journal of the BBC said.

The only way to make sense of this garbage is to conclude that Sharon must have ordered the Phalangists to do it — which obviously he didn’t — or that he was clairvoyant — which obviously he wasn’t; and knew in advance exactly what was going to happen.

The lie is doubled up with reference to the Israeli government report which simply says he was responsible for not doing enough to stop the incident, not that he actually bore responsibility for what took place. That’s why he and several others were held to have had a measure of indirectresponsibility, but not to have been responsible for the incident itself.

In other words, the truth is the exact opposite of what the Guardian says it is. And they know it.

The Guardian also knows that less than 1 percent of readers will drill down to get to the truth; and in spreading outright lies, a 99 percent success rate is good enough for them. It’s all done of course to discredit, by association, Israel as a whole, because mud sticks.

Oh, you don’t think mud sticks?

Let’s finish with a question or two. Everyone who has heard of Sabra and Shatila has heard of Ariel Sharon in relation to it. But how many people do you think know the names of the Phalangist leaders who actually commanded, led and carried out the massacre?

Do you know their names? Worth a thought isn’t it…?

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With Ariel Sharon’s Death, Expect the Usual Falsehoods

The following report was written by Alex Safian and published at CAMERA

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died [yesterday] at a hospital in Israel at the age of 85, eight years after a debilitating stroke left him in a near coma. When Sharon, considered by many military experts to have been one of the leading generals of the twentieth century, suffered the stroke in 2006, Op-Ed writers and reporters published numerous retrospective pieces trying to sum-up his career.

Some, by Saree Makdisi and the late Christopher Hitchens, for example, were nothing but anti-Sharon screeds, while others, though somewhat more responsible, repeated many of the same discredited allegations that have long been used by polemicists to unfairly malign the Israeli leader.

Already CNN has posted stories distorting Sharon’s and Israel’s history. For example Ariel Sharon: Hero or butcher? Five things to know claims that:

Sharon long insisted that a controversial visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s most holy sites, in 2000 was not a provocation.

But it is considered among many to be one of the flashpoints that sparked the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising that followed a failed round of peace talks with Israelis. During the visit, Sharon walked through the mosque’s compound. Within hours, protests over his visit turned violent.

The mosque and its compound sits on Temple Mount, a holy site for Jews, that is known to Muslims as Haram al Sharif, “The Noble Sanctuary.”

Of course, and contrary to CNN, the Temple Mount is not just a “holy site for Jews,” it is the holiest site for Jews, equivalent to what Mecca and Medina are for Muslims. Indeed, its holiness is exactly why the Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem built their mosque there, on the site of the Jews’ ancient temples. And contrary to the impression left by CNN, Sharon never entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Furthermore, as detailed below, Arafat had promised US leaders before Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount that he would prevent any violence, then, in the words of Dennis Ross, he “didn’t lift a finger.” And, of course, the “failed round of peace talks” resulted from Arafat’s walk out following Israeli PM Barak’s acceptance of the Clinton Parameters.

Read the rest of the report, here.

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Guardian Jerusalem Syndrome: Giles Fraser fears Judaisation of Temple Mount

Jerusalem Syndrome: a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences that are triggered by a visit to the city of Jerusalem. 

The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday continued in its long campaign of incitement concerning the Temple Mount, condemning Jews who tour the holy site by suggesting that their visits represent a broader Israeli scheme to “Judaise” the site with the ultimate goal of rebuilding a Jewish Temple.

The PA-controlled media has specifically claimed that “hordes of settlers and Jewish extremists plan to storm and desecrate the Aksa Mosque” – part of a broader campaign of incitement by Islamist extremists in Jerusalem which has triggered several Palestinian riots at the Temple Mount over the past few months.

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Wafa, official Palestinian News Agency, Sept. 4, 2013

The threat of riots last month around Ramadan, for instance, prompted Israeli police to close off the Temple Mount to non-Muslim visitors.

Lending polemical support to such an often repeated lie that Israel – which allows freedom of worship for all faiths at holy sites in Jerusalem – represents a threat to the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism), is the Guardian’s Giles Fraser, whose latest piece at ‘Comment is Free’ is titled ‘An Israeli claim to Temple Mount Would Trigger Unimaginable Violence.’

fraser

Fraser’s essay includes the following:

Jewish access to Temple Mount has been strictly forbidden (by religious, not secular, law) for centuries – though some of the more secular Israeli nationalists increasingly want access simply to insist upon their jurisdiction over that part of Jerusalem. It was Ariel Sharon’s deliberately provocative visit to the Temple Mount on 28 September 2000 that sparked the second intifada. 

First, as we’ve demonstrated on several occasions, Fraser’s claim that Ariel Sharon sparked the second intifada is a complete lie, as evidence abounds that the violence was coordinated at the highest levels of the Palestinian government. As we noted, for instance, Yasser’s widow, Suha, admitted that her husband explicitly told her, in early 2000, that he was going “to launch an intifada.”

suha

See video, here.

Moreover, contrary to Fraser’s suggestion in the passage, Jews already have access to the Temple Mount. Though Jews who visit are forbidden from praying there, the site has regular visiting hours, and is open to all faiths.  

Fraser continues:

The orthodox position has long been that the Temple can only be rebuilt and sacrifices resumed when the Jewish messiah returns. There have been a few dissenting voices to this consensus – most notably, Maimonides – but since the foundation of the state of Israel, the idea of Jews returning to Temple Mount prior to the arrival of the messiah has been the obsession of a tiny minority. And mostly, like Sharon, driven by secular political rather that theological concerns. But as Israel continues its shift to the right, these dangerous voices are now entering the political mainstream.

Whilst Fraser’s broad suggestion that Israel has been shifting to the right – a favorite narrative of the Guardian which was undermined by the results of the last election – is erroneous, his more central claim that support for rebuilding the Temple has reached the mainstream is absurd.  

Though some on the extreme right have supported the right of Jews to merely pray at the Temple Mount, the Jewish legal (halakhic) ban on visiting the site is supported by most orthodox Jewish leaders.  Additionally, the number of religious Jews who even visit the Temple Mount each year is tiny.  Further, only those on the extreme fringes of Israeli society seriously discuss rebuilding the Temple, a fact that Fraser himself alludes to in his subsequent passage:

It would be hard to overstate how dangerous an idea this is. The vast majority of orthodox rabbis have reiterated their opposition to it.

It would be dangerous if there was any chance that it was seriously being contemplated by Israeli political leaders, but that is clearly not the case. 

Finally, Fraser wouldn’t be a Guardian Left journalist if he didn’t include a gratuitous pejorative reference to “settlers”, so his essay includes this throw away line near the end:

But the settler mentality is now increasingly focusing on what is politically the most explosive site on the planet. If they succeed, a billion Muslims worldwide would go ballistic. 

It’s of course unclear what the ideological connection is between 350,000 Jews, both religious and secular, who live (for varying reasons) across the green line, and a tiny politically insignificant minority of Israelis who call for the Temple to be rebuilt.

Moreover, it’s remarkable how Fraser could write an essay about religious tensions at the Temple Mount without even mentioning the long history of ideological incitement by their political and religious leaders which continues to represent the root cause of such “tensions”.  Fraser, who has filed his last two reports while visiting the holy land, has joined the chorus of those on the far left who shamefully amplify the incitement, fear mongering and Jerusalem delusions of Palestinian extremists. 

The Guardian again promotes myth that Ariel Sharon started 2nd Intifada

One of the more common false narratives regarding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict advanced by the Guardian is that Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism) in 2001 “sparked” the 2nd Intifada – a lie repeated so often that casual observers could be forgiven for believing it.

Here’s a photo and caption from a 2006 Guardian story titled ‘Ariel Sharon: A life in pictures.

There’s also permanent content on the Guardian’s Israel page titled ‘The Arab-Israel Conflict‘, which consists of 22 photos illustrating the history of the conflict. Here’s the photo meant to illustrate the 2nd Intifada.

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Here’s the caption:

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Most recently, David Shariatmadari, deputy editor on the Guardian comment desk, wrote a review (Guardian, Sept. 7) of a book titled ‘What do you buy the children of the terrorist who tried to kill your wife?’, by David Harris Gershon, which began thusly:

Jerusalem is a city electric with tension. There are frequent sparks, as the circuits that cross the city make contact, separate currents suddenly, dangerously flowing into one another. At their least serious, they ignite a monkish fight in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. At their worst, they can set the region alight, as when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in 2000.

No matter how many times responsibility for the Palestinian violence which began in 2000 is assigned to Ariel Sharon, implicitly or explicitly, evidence abounds that the five-year war was orchestrated at the highest levels of Palestinian leadership.

A thorough report at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs by Jonathan Halevi included the following:

Extensive testimony at the time and in retrospect demonstrates the Palestinian Authority’s role in initiating and managing the Second Intifada as an extensive terror onslaught, designed to impose a unilateral, unconditional withdrawal upon Israel, and improve conditions in anticipation of the battle for realizing Palestinian demands for the return of the refugees.

The final decision to initiate the Second Intifada was made by Yasser Arafat immediately upon the conclusion of the second Camp David summit, which ended on July 25, 2000. Directives were disseminated to the national security forces, instructing them to prepare for the immediate option of initiating a violent campaign against Israel. 

Additional evidence that Ariel Sharon didn’t start the 2nd Intifada includes comments by Suha Arafat (and Palestinian leaders), in 2011, acknowledging that Yasser Arafat planned the terror onslaught, as well as the following interview with Suha in late 2012 on Dubai TV:

The Palestinian campaign of suicide bombings and other deadly assaults at Israeli cafes, bus stops, markets (and other crowded public areas where families and children typically gather) claimed over 1000 lives, and injured and maimed thousands more – an orgy of violence for which Palestinian terrorists and their leaders are solely to blame. 

“I am going to start an Intifada.”

The narrative regarding the deadly terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, which the MSM and the Guardian advanced, but which soon was proved to be completely erroneous, suggested that an obscure anti-Muslim film – which, it was claimed, was produced by an Israeli Jew – triggered a “spontaneous” protest outside the embassy, leading to an assault which left four people dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

It soon became apparent that the film – which was actually created by a Coptic Christian – had absolutely nothing to do with the attack.  

It is now known that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was a premeditated act of terrorism committed by al Qaeda-linked terrorists.

On September 28, 2000, an Israeli Jew was blamed for inciting what would become known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada – a brutal five-year campaign of Palestinian terrorism, directed largely against Jewish civilians, which claimed over 1,100 innocent lives and injured thousands more.

The Intifada was defined by the hideous tactic of suicide bombing, in which the Palestinian terrorists detonated explosive belts in crowded public places (in order to maximize the loss of life), sending thousands of pieces of shrapnel tearing into human limbs and organs. 

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On March 27, 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber named Abdel-Basset Odeh murdered 30 people at a Seder meal at the Park Hotel in Netanya, including several Holocaust survivors

Most who truly understand the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict would have known already that Yasser Arafat started the Second Intifada, but the latest admission by Arafat’s widow, Suha, about the origins of the Intifada – which she similarly acknowledged last year - serves to completely discredit those who continue denying the obvious.

Suha Arafat in an interview in December on Dubai TV, said the following:

“Yasser Arafat had made a decision to launch the Intifada. Immediately after the failure of the Camp David [negotiations], I met him in Paris upon his return, in July 2001 [sic]. Camp David has failed, and he said to me: “You should remain in Paris.” I asked him why, and he said: “Because I am going to start an Intifada. They want me to betray the Palestinian cause. They want me to give up on our principles, and I will not do so. I do not want Zahwa’s friends in the future to say that Yasser Arafat abandoned the Palestinian cause and principles. I might be martyred, but I shall bequeath our historical heritage to Zahwa [Arafat's daughter] and to the children of Palestine.”

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Click on image to go to video

Here’s permanent content on the Guardian’s Israel page, The Arab-Israel conflict:

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The photo story consists of 22 photos illustrating the history of the conflict.

Here’s the photo representing the Second Intifada. (Note the caption)

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Click to Enlarge

Here’s a photo and caption from a 2006 Guardian piece titledAriel Sharon: A life in pictures‘.

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Indeed, among the more common erroneous narratives advanced by the mainstream media (and, of coursethe Guardian) is that Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, “sparked” the Second Intifada and that the Intifada began organically – lies repeated so often that causal observers could be forgiven for believing them.

However, commentators of good faith can no longer make such a claim.

Arguing that an Israeli Jew sparked the Second Intifada, however, often serves a broader polemical objective: to deny Palestinian terrorists, and their leaders, moral responsibility for the five-year war of terror against Israeli civilians, and its injurious political consequences, in a manner consistent with an anti-Zionist narrative which rarely assigns such moral agency to the Palestinians under any circumstances.  

The claim that, in 2000, Jews incited Palestinians to kill Jews, like so much of what passes for conventional wisdom about the conflict, is a total lie.