Why is former Guardian journo David Hearst afraid of a few Zionist activists?

I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are. There are, in fact, a number of reasons. One is the state of Israel, its ideology of racial supremacy and its subsequent crimes committed against the Palestinians. It is because Zionists have always sought to equate their colonial project with Judaism that some misguidedly respond to what they see on their televisions with attacks on Jews or Jewish property….Secondly, and related to the first point, is the widespread bias and subservience to the Israeli cause in the Western media.Ben White (‘Comment is Free’ contributor, and anti-Israel activist)

In late June we cross posted a piece by the CST on a forum held at the Front Line Club in London which was titled “Critiquing the media’s approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict”.  The forum included British Islamist, Ibrahim Hewitt, ex-BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Llewellyn, and former Guardian chief foreign leader writer David Hearst.  

Sure enough, the event did not disappoint, with participants continually attempting to explain the dangerous influence of the Israel lobby (which was alternately referred to as the Jewish lobby) on media coverage of the Middle East.

Additionally, a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the British anti-Zionist Left was offered by Hearst, which you can hear in full if you forward to the 24 minute mark of this video.   Here’s part of what Hearst said:

In my short time as lead writer [at the Guardian] I felt that pressure very, very personally, both within and outside the organization.

If you just Google my name you’ll see…there’s a whole organization which is there to monitor everything I write from a point of view of antisemitism. I mean, the whole thing is disgusting….but it’s pressure. It really is pressure.

Of course, the idea that a well-paid journalist for a global media group felt “pressure” from a blog which combats antisemitism – and employs such ‘chilling’ tactics as publishing sharply worded posts, amplifying that message on Twitter and Facebook, and sending respectful complaints to their readers’ editor – is risible enough.

However, a recent exchange between Hearst and blogger Richard Millett would suggest that Hearst really does fear the subterfuge of CiF Watch Zionists.

The Tweet from Millett links to his blog post - cross posted at CiF Watch – about his experience on Friday at Amnesty International’s London HQ for the launch of Ben White’s (long-awaited!) updated Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide. The event was chaired by Hearst and, as you’ll see from the video clip in his post, Millett was denied the chance to ask a question due to his ‘affiliation’.

Hearst’s exact words, when Millett asked why he was denied the right to speak, were as follows:

“I know exactly what you’re up to. And who you are. And who you write for.”

In response to Hearst’s bizarre reply, Millett wrote:

So, what was I up to? Who am I? Who do I write for? Well, since starting this blog in 2009 I have mainly written for myself. I have occasionally written for the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish News, the Jewish Chronicle and CiF Watch, but I never realised writing could get me boycotted.

Here’s Millett’s subsequent Tweet, which tagged White and Hearst, and linked to his post:

Here’s Hearst’s reply, two days later:

Whilst Hearst was referring to a charge by Ben White – in a post published at the pro-Hamas site, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) – that the Israel Embassy in London tried to nix the Amnesty event, it’s unclear how – even assuming this is true – Millett was connected to this.  And, what did he mean by “folk”?  Is he referring to Israelis? Zionists? The pro-Israel ‘lobby’? 

Millett – who, by the way, is British and not Israeli – tried to get a clarification from Hearst, but, so far, to no avail:

It’s almost as if, in the mind of Hearst, the Israel Embassy, the ‘Israel lobby’, CiF Watch and Richard Millett are all part of one centrally organized international Zionist “pressure” group.

However, let us humbly suggest that, just perhaps, Hearst should be a bit less concerned with the blog posts and Tweets of a few Zionist activists, and bit more concerned with the fact that he chaired an event with an anti-Israel extremist who has expressed sympathy towards Jew-haters.

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Death of an anti-Israel lie? CiF Watch prompts 2nd revision to Indy torture story

Those who follow this blog (and other sites which monitor coverage of Israel) are all too familiar with the cycle of misinformation often propagated by media gatekeepers with a pronounced political agenda, by which smears spread rapidly across the traditional and social media before they can be effectively refuted.

Though a horribly misleading report at The Independent (Israel government tortures Palestinian children by keeping them in cages, human rights group says‘, Adam Withnall, Jan. 1) hasn’t quite gone viral, it’s impossible to know how many of their readers casually accepted their false allegations in the weeks it took us to garner corrections to their primary claim in the story, which can be summed up in their leading original sentence:

“An Israeli human rights organisation has accused the government of torturing Palestinian children after it emerged some were kept for months in outdoor cages during winter.”

The Indy evidently based its claim on a report in the Jerusalem Post on Dec. 31 which was based almost entirely on a report from the NGO PCATI (Public Committee Against Torture in Israel).  However, as we noted previously, the PCATI report in question is itself based on a report at the website of the Israel Public Defender’s Office (PDO), where you learn the much less sensational truth: the Israel Prison Service had, on occasion, held some Israelis who were arrested – for various crimes – in outdoor holding pens (for a couple of hours) until they were transported to court in the morning. This practice has since been ended. 

As we noted in previous posts, NOWHERE in the PDO’s statement (which they sent to the Israel Justice Ministry) do they use the word “Palestinians”, nor the word “torture”.

After our initial complaint to the Indy, the false charge that Palestinian children were caged for months was quickly amended and, more recently (following subsequent communication with their editors), they also agreed to make additional changes to more accurately reflect the actual language of the Public Defender’s Office’s statement.

This past Friday, the Indy finally removed all references to the word “Palestinians”, and included an addendum at the bottom of Withnall’s article noting that the change was prompted by their acknowledgement that the PDO never mentioned anything about Palestinians.

(Additionally, we’ve been in communication with editors at the Jerusalem Post over their report on the Public Defender’s Office complaint, and expect a reply soon.)

While the Indy correction represents a significant improvement over the original, what remains is still extremely misleading, as it suggests that a “human rights group” (PCATI) accused Israel of ‘torturing’ children, when the PCATI page in question does NOT characterize the ceased practice of keeping some prisoners in open-air cells for several hours (while in transit to court) as “torture”.  

There is of course a huge difference between an unfair or abusive detention practice and the outright ‘torture’ of prisoners, and it strains credulity to characterize what occurred at the IPS transition facility in Ramla as torture. 

Though it is of course the job of such NGOs to investigate any credible allegations of such abuse, it is the job of responsible journalists to accurately characterize the specific charges being leveled, and avoid false characterizations and hyperbole which mislead readers into believing something which either is completely untrue, or which egregiously distorts a few kernels of truth to advance an entirely misleading narrative.

Finally, Withnall’s hatchet job is especially galling in light of an official editorial published by the Indy in Oct. in which they emphatically denied charges leveled by some that they were guilty of demonizing Israel.

However, their decision to publish a sensational report with a scare headline falsely accusing the Israeli government of sadistically torturing Palestinian kids by holding them in outdoor cages for months during winter – among other libels they’ve published in recent months – significantly undermines their claim that they don’t engage in such reckless and libelous smears. 

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Guardian publication corrects false claim that Israel used ‘chemical weapons’ in Gaza

The Jerusalem Post just reported the following regarding a false allegation against Israel made by Nabila Ramdani in an Observer commentary on Aug. 31:

Israel won a small battle Sunday against creeping attempts to equate Israel’s use of white phosphorous in Gaza to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons when the Observer in Britain issued a correction on the matter Sunday.

“Contrary to the impression given in Assad is a war criminal, but an attack will do nothing for the people of Syria”(Comment, last week, page 34), white phosphorus, used by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2008, is not a chemical weapon as understood by the Chemical Weapons Convention, and its use is in itself not ‘in breach of all international conventions,” the paper [a sister publication of the Guardian] noted on Sunday.

 Read the rest of the story here.

(Note: Though the correction was published at the Observer’s ‘For the record‘ page, the essay by Ramdani has not yet been revised accordingly.)

Guardian flash of fairness: Sherwood gets it right, again.

This post actually represents our second observation of a ‘flash of fairness’ by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood.

Sherwood in Itamar, March 2011

Sherwood in Itamar, March 2011

On Dec. 7, in Sherwood gets it right, we praised Sherwood for a piece she wrote on Dec. 3 titled ‘Israeli settlement move risks further isolation say Netanyahu opponents‘, for giving voice to mainstream Israeli views, rather than merely those on the far-left.

While Sherwood is not going to be nominated for a ‘Guardian of Zion’ award anytime soon, her latest piece, ‘Binyamin Netanyahu fights surge from right-wing opponent before poll‘, Jan. 7, again displays a fair amount of balance – at least in comparison to what she typically has written, and definitely compared to other Guardian reporters.

While Sherwood’s piece is broadly consistent with the Guardian narrative in its characterization of Naftali Bennett (leader of the Jewish Home Party) as an extremist in a manner she never would with Palestinian political leaders who espouse much more extreme views, she also quoted the Jerusalem Post chief political correspondent, Gil Hoffman, to provide an alternative view.

Sherwood wrote the following:

“Gil Hoffman, chief political correspondent of the Post, said: “Bennett is seen as a cool guy and salt of the earth. You couldn’t come up with two things more respected in Israel than hi-tech success and serving in Sayeret Matkal [the elite special forces army unit] – and Bennett has both”.”

Then, to add context to Bennett’s political success, Sherwood quoted Yedida Stern of the respected think-tank, the Israeli Democracy Institute.

“According to Yedidia Stern of the Israel Democracy Institute, “a long-term change in Israeli society” underlies Bennett’s immediate popularity. “More and more Israelis are strengthening their Jewish identity, not necessarily becoming more religious but becoming more connected to Jewish identity. We’ve seen it in academia and the media; now we’re witnessing the political expression.” The conviction among many Israelis that the Palestinians were unwilling to negotiate an acceptable peace settlement bolstered a belief that “we have to be strong. And to be strong in Israel means to be rightwing,” said Stern.”

As a friend observed upon reading Sherwood’s report: “It’s an analysis that an Israeli could have written as far as tone is concerned.”

While we will, of course, continue to hold Sherwood and her colleagues accountable, fairness demands that we give Guardian reporters credit when they make a credible attempt, despite their particular views on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, to provide their readers with a degree of balance and context.

What the Guardian won’t report: Happy and successful Arab citizens of Israel

H/T Elder of Ziyon

While polls indicating that Israelis are among the happiest citizens in the world are not surprising (they came in 7th in a 2011 global happiness index survey, with 63% of respondents saying were happy with their lives), a recent polls indicating that Israeli Arabs are largely content, successful and patriotic is perhaps a bit more counter-intuitive.  

Yet, According to a recent poll (“Democracy Index 2011“) on behalf of the Israel Democracy Institute, 52.8% of Arab citizens answered yes to the question of whether they are proud to be Israelis, while only 28.3% of respondents said they were “not at all proud”. Additionally, the same poll demonstrated that 45% of Arab citizens of Israel agreed that it is “important or very important” to strengthen the military might of Israel, while the  percentage that responded that it “wasn’t important” to them was only 29%.

idf-protecting-palestinian-children

Israeli border patrol officers protect Arab citizens during rocket attack on Nov. 17

Additionally, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post, an Education Ministry summary of 2011 test scores showed that Israeli students (from all sectors of society) registered their highest scores on international tests since they started being recorded in the 1990s.  In math, for instance, Israelis are now ranked 7th in the world based on test scores.

The report concluded that Israel’s Arabs, while lagging behind their Hebrew-speaking counterparts, also scored higher than in previous years in mathematics, sciences and reading comprehension.

However, even more interesting is how well Israeli Arabs performed in math, reading, and science compared to their counterparts in Arab countries.

Elder of Ziyon wrote the following:

In reading, fourth grade Israeli Arabs scored 479 (vs. 568 for Hebrew-speakers.) But no Arab country scored higher – UAE 439, Saudi Arabia 430, Qatar 425, Oman 391.

In science, eighth grade Israeli Arabs scored 481 (520 for Hebrew speakers.) Compare to UAE 465, Bahrain 452, Jordan 449, Morocco 376 – and the PA with 420.

In math, eighth grade Israeli Arabs scored 465 (vs. 536 for Hebrew speakers.) Compare that to UAE 456, Lebanon 449, Morocco 391, Oman 366 – and the PA with 404.

Additionally, I’ve previously citedpoll indicating that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians living in eastern Jerusalem (citizens or permanent residents) not only don’t want to divide Jerusalem as part of any future peace agreement, but, when asked if they would consider moving to a city in the new Palestinian state if their Jerusalem neighborhood became part of Israel, 54% said they wouldn’t move, with only 27% expressing their desire to move.

Such polls on Arab happiness and their relative academic success generally wouldn’t come as too big of a surprise to Israelis who work, socialize and otherwise come into daily contact with their fellow Israeli citizens.  

However, you can be assured that such reports would likely never find their way into the Guardian.

 

Jews and Arabs at the Dead Sea

Jews and Arabs at the Dead Sea

Terrorist attack in Tel Aviv injures 21

Per the Jerusalem Post.

“A terrorist blew up [the #142] bus on Shaul Hamelech Street in Tel Aviv around noon Wednesday.

Police confirmed that the explosion was a terrorist attack, although Channel 2 reported that it was not a suicide bombing and thus police were searching the area for additional explosive devises.

Channel 2 reported that police arrested a suspect near the Ramat Gan diamond exchange, who they believe may be carrying an explosive device. Police believe a female terrorist may still be at large in the area, armed with explosives.”

Haaretz is reporting 21 injuries.

Celebratory gunfire was heard in Gaza in reaction to the attack, which was praised by Hamas.

Righting the Guardian’s capital offense, and standing up for Israel

This essay was written by Simon Plosker (managing editor of HonestReporting) and published in the Jerusalem Post on August 12.

When HonestReporting filed a complaint with the UK’s Press Complaints Commission in response to The Guardian’s labeling of Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital, we did so expecting accuracy and common sense to prevail.

Outrageously, the PCC not only ruled in favor of The Guardian but actually went as far as to unilaterally declare that Tel Aviv was Israel’s legitimate capital, based mainly on the fact that many foreign embassies are located there.

Institutions not located in Tel Aviv include the Knesset, the Supreme Court, Bank of Israel and most government ministries.

The ruling even ignored Israel’s own declaration of Jerusalem as its eternal capital.

While the Guardian’s original “capital offense” could be viewed as yet another example of the newspaper’s animosity towards Israel, the PCC ruling demonstrated just how far beyond rational discourse any discussion on Israel appears to have gone in the UK.

The PCC offered no recourse for appeal.

On principle, however, we couldn’t let the PCC’s bizarre ruling stand. Risking potentially high legal costs but motivated by our desire to see truth prevail, HonestReporting initiated legal proceedings using some of the best legal professionals with the aim of taking the PCC all the way to a judicial review.

The Guardian has become the world’s third most read newspaper website, with 30.4 million readers in June 2012, according to industry analyst ComScore. The newspaper’s print edition may not be particularly large by UK media standards, but its readers are typically influential liberal and left-leaning elites in politics, academia and other media such as the BBC.

Put simply, the Guardian’s anti-Israel bias has a hugely significant reach and influence that cannot be ignored.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

As events refute their dogmatic doctrine ‘two-staters’ are looking more like ‘flat-earthers’

Cross posted by Dr. Martin Sherman, and originally published at the Jerusalem Post on April 6.

(Editor’s note: While CiF Watch doesn’t necessarily endorse the views expressed by Sherman, his commentary, fisking the premises behind most 2-state solution proposals, is thoughtful, politically and morally sober, and needs to be taken seriously.)

“If a Palestinian state is established, it will be armed to the teeth. Within it there will be bases of the most extreme terrorist forces, who will be equipped with anti-tank and anti-aircraft shoulder-launched rockets, which will endanger not only random passers-by, but also every airplane and helicopter taking off in the skies of Israel and every vehicle traveling along the major traffic routes in the coastal plain. 

Even if the Palestinians agree that their state have no army or weapons, who can guarantee that a Palestinian army would not be mustered later to encamp at the gates of Jerusalem and the approaches to the [coastal] lowlands.”
– Shimon Peres 

My column last week was largely a historical account of the monumental failure of the endeavor to implement a two-state approach following the 1993 Oslo Agreements. This column will focus more on some of the conceptual defects and inconsistencies that made past failure – and will make future failure –inevitable.

Two kinds of ‘two-staters’ 

In principle there are two categories of “two-staters:” (a) Those who insist that in their version of a two-state solution, “secure/defensible” borders for Israel are an indispensable imperative; and (b) Those for whom “secure/defensible” borders appear to be consideration of minor–if any–significance in their vision of the two-state arrangement.

Arguably one of the most eminent spokesmen for the first category is Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz; while the second category includes figures such as Peter Beinart, and groups such as J-Street and the Geneva initiative, endorsing the Obama-prescription that the frontiers of the Palestinian state be based on the indefensible 1967-lines with “agreed” (read “minor/cosmetic”) land swaps.

To assess the ramifications of these two schools of thought (or rather “wishful thinking”), it is necessary to comprehend clearly the geo-political significance of the territory ear-marked by them for the putative Palestinian state east of the 1967 frontier.

This is crucial for a responsible risk-assessment on the part of anyone professing pro- Israel credentials. For one would hope that– whatever their political proclivities – they would be mindful not only of the cost of error, but also of the probability of success, of any proposed policy option–particularly in the light of the failed optimism of the past.

‘An arrow aimed at Israel’s heart’ 

“An arrow-head aimed at Israel’s very heart with all the force of the Arab world behind.”

These words, conveying the danger entailed in the establishment of a Palestinian state, are not those of a radical right-wing rejectionist, but of 2006 Israel Prize (Law) laureate, Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, who served as an MK – and education minister–for the dovish Meretz party.

They are of course very apt, for as I have reiterated in previous columns, any territorial configuration even remotely acceptable to even the most moderate of Palestinians would allow them topographical command the all of the following: Most major airfields in the country (civilian and military) – including the only international airport; 

• Major sea ports and naval bases; 

• Vital infrastructure systems/installations; 

• The sweet water system;

• Main land (road and rail) transportation axes –including the Trans-Israel Highway; 

• Principal power plants; 

• The nation’s parliament, crucial centers of government and military command; • Eighty percent of the civilian population and of the commercial activity in the country.

All of these would be in range of weapons being used today against Israel from territory transferred to Palestinian control–making the notion of “demilitarization” largely irrelevant (something on which I will elaborate in a future column).

Peril presaged 

This ominous prospect can no longer be dismissed as “right-wing scaremongering,” for it reflects no more than proven past precedents.

Indeed it was clearly predicted in vivid detail by none other than Nobel laureate Shimon Peres who expressed his skepticism regarding the credibility of any prospective peace partner. In a more perceptive era, before of political correctness eclipsed political truth and facts succumbed to fads, he cautioned:

“The demilitarization of the West Bank seems a dubious remedy. The major issue is not [reaching] an agreement on demilitarization, but ensuring its actual implementation in practice. The number of agreements which the Arabs have violated is no less than number which they have kept.”

Presciently, he warned that if a Palestinian state were established:

“in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in Judea, Samaria [note the non-compliance with the newly proposed “Beinartian” terminology] and the Gaza Strip. Israel will have problems in preserving day-to-day security….

In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel’s existence, to impede the freedom of action of the Israeli air-force in the skies over Israel, and to cause bloodshed among the population.”

In similar vein – and similarly prior to the advent of Oslo-mania, which relegated common sense to “rejectionism”– Amnon Rubinstein cautioned”

“Israel will neither be able to exist nor to prosper if its urban centers, its vulnerable airport and its roads, are shelled….

This is the terrible danger involved in the establishment of a third independent sovereign state between us and the Jordan River.

What are ‘secure borders’? 

It is the combination of geographic proximity to, and topographical dominance over, Israel’s urban megatropolis in the coastal plain that makes a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria so potentially perilous. It is this fact – with all its politically incorrect ramifications– that has brought a host of security experts – Israeli and American – to the conclusion that for Israel to maintain secure borders it must retain control of wide swathes of territory between the 1967 Green Line and the Jordan River.

The most recent study, updated in 2011, authored by five former IDF generals – including a former chief of staff and the current national security adviser–stipulated that “secure borders” necessitate Israeli control of the highlands in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and the entire air space from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

This coincides in large measure with Yitzhak Rabin’s vision of the permanent solution with Palestinians, articulated in his last address to the Knesset, a month prior to his assassination. In the speech, significantly delivered after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and being feted around the world as a valiant warrior for peace, Rabin proclaimed that

“…the security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.”

He endorsed the retention of Israeli sovereignty over large tracts of land on the highlands including the settlements of “Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities… which are east of what was the “Green Line” and urged:

“…the establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria [again note the noncompliance with the newly proposed “Beinartian” terminology].”

242 and ‘secure borders’ 

This prescription for “secure borders” presented by an array of Israeli experts – with nary a radical right-wing religious rejectionist among them –closely reflects the findings of an earlier study of Israel’s security requirements, made by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The study was referred to in an article published in 1993 by Eugene Rostow, former US under-secretary of state and one of the principal authors of UN Security Council Resolution 242. According to Rostow:

“[The study] is useful in interpreting Resolution 242 because it reveals… what the US government had in mind in pushing the resolution through.”

He went on to observe:

“[t]he study advised …that the security of Israel required Israel to receive [substantial] parts of the territory of the West Bank as essential to its defense”

And, he pointed to the wide-ranging consensus on this, remarked:

“In fact, all the studies of the Israeli security problem reached the same conclusion – from the security point of view, Israel must hold the high points in the West Bank and areas along the Jordan River.”

He summed up stating:

“I do not know if the Joint Chiefs of Staff would draw a different map today, but I doubt is very much.”

Findings of subsequent studies provide strong support for his assessment.

Clueless, conniving, corrupt? 

What does all this mean for the two previously delineated categories of “two-staters”? It perhaps simpler to begin with the second category–those who minimize (or disregard) the issue of “secure borders” for the Jewish state and are willing to accept withdrawal to the 1967 “Auschwitz” borders – with or without minimal adjustments.

Clearly in light of the potential perils these lines portend for Israel, this is a proposal comprises – at best – a gamble of epic proportions.

Its endorsement portrays its proponents as either clueless, conniving or corrupt: clueless because they are unaware of the mortal dangers their suggested policy entails; conniving because – although they may be aware of these dangers – they persist in collaborating with Israel’s adversaries to advance their pernicious agenda – equipped with nothing more than naiveté and alleged goodwill (read “wishful thinking”) to prevent the lethal consequences of their implausible political credo; corrupt because are advancing a policy that clearly menaces the security of Israel and safety Israelis in exchange for benefits – material or otherwise – from foreign sources with interests often divergent from those of Israel.

Of course, there is always an outside chance that the Hamas and Islamic Jihad will miraculously morph into a benign liberal social-democratic party, but are these “ two-staters” seriously suggesting that we “bet the farm” on that? Are the “enlightened” proponents of this version of the two-state paradigm suggesting that Israel base its policy on the wildly improbable? Surely prudence dictates heeding the accumulated lessons of past experience and the proven patterns of previous behavior? 

Insincere or inconsistent 

The other class of “ two-staters ”–t hose who claim they insist on “secure borders”– are if anything, more exasperating. Take, for example, the following excerpt from Dershowitz’s The Case for Peace, which shows that he is keenly aware not only of dangers that might arise from a Palestinian state but that the Palestinian signatory to any “two-state” agreement would be powerless to ensure his contractual commitments, even if he sincerely wished to:

A Palestinian state will not soon secure the monopoly on the use of arms. Terrorists organizations and militias – such as Hamas, Al-Aqasa Martyrs Brigades, Islamic Jihad and others – will continue to have access to weapons of all kinds. Even if the Palestinian state renounced all support for terrorism, other states, most particularly Syrian and Iran, will likely continue to arm terrorist groups dedicated to Israel’s destruction. Nor is it out of the question that someday Hamas might gain control over the Palestinian government, either by means of a coup, or an election, or some such combination of both. Israel cannot be asked to accept a fully militarized Hamas state on its vulnerable borders.

In many ways, this is a stunning admission for a “two-stater.”

Given the clear recognition of the potential dangers, several trenchant questions arise: In light of the plausible scenarios he himself raises, what are the geographical parameters that Dershowitz proposes to provide Israel with “secure borders”? What Palestinian could survive–politically or physically–the wrath of his rivals, were he to accede to frontiers that would provide Israel with “secure” borders that even remotely approach the parameters set out by military experts? And if such borders are politically unfeasible, why advocate entering into an arrangement with some Palestinian counterpart who – by Dershowitz’s own admission – may not be able to prevent the onset of situations which – by Dershowitz’s own admission – are intolerable…and far from improbable.

So is it just me or are “secure-border-two-staters” seriously advancing a policy that is either unattainable politically or unachievable geographically? And if so, why? Are they being mindfully insincere or mindless inconsistent? 

To be continued…

Much of which needs to be said about the dangerous and detrimental delusion of the two-state paradigm, and the corrosive consequences it has had on Israel, its national security, its diplomatic standing, its international legitimacy and the level and vibrancy of its public discourse, has still been left unsaid.

Indeed, as time goes by and events consistently refute their dogmatic doctrine, “ two-staters ”– seemingly oblivious to the facts and dismissive of the dangers – are looking more and more like “flat-eathers.”

But as Pessah is almost upon us and as I do not wish to incur the wrath of my very patient editor, I will defer further discussion for a future opportunity.

What the Guardian won’t report: Christians in Iran, Syria face rising persecution

This is cross posted by Benjamin Weinthal, and originally published at the Jerusalem Post

There has been a wave of violence targeting Iranian and Syrian Christians over the past month, say Christian news reports.

In addition, Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been on death row since 2010 for seeking to register his home-based church, refused to renounce his Christian beliefs in exchange for his release from prison.

He was also jailed for questioning the role of Islam as the dominant form of religious instruction in his children’s school.

According to a report on the website of the International Christian news agencyBosNewsLife, “Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has rejected an offer to be released from prison if he publicly acknowledges Islam’s prophet Mohammed as ‘a messenger sent by God,’ well-informed Christians and rights activists said” earlier this month.

While Iran’s opaque judicial system coupled with the lack of access for most Western media makes it difficult to verify the new coercion against Nadarkhani, the reports are considered reasonable in light of the Iranian regime’s intense crackdown on its Christian population over the years.

In an e-mail to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio and author of the book A New Shoah, wrote “After the ethnic cleansing of Jews in 1948 from the Arab countries, Islamic fundamentalism is now trying to push away the Christians from the region. They want to establish a pure Islamic environment and the mass exodus already began under our noses.”

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Christian Post wrote last week on its website, “The Christian community in Syria has been hit by a series of kidnappings and brutal murders; 100 Christians have now been killed since the anti-government unrest began. A reliable source in the country, who cannot be identified for their own safety, told Barnabas Aid that children were being especially targeted by the kidnappers, who, if they do not receive the ransom demanded, kill the victim.”

The Pakistan Christian Post website noted “Two Christians were killed on January 15 as they waited for bread at a bakery. Another Christian, aged 40 with two young children, was shot dead by three armed attackers while he was driving a vehicle.”

The Post could not independently verify these allegations.

Meotti, the Italian Journalist who has written extensively on Christians in the Mideast region, told the Post “In Syria Christians will be persecuted after Assad’s eventual fall, since they were the most loyal allies of the Baathist regime. Christians will be slaughtered or squeezed. From Cairo to Damascus, Arab Christian era is near to its end everywhere.”

Many critics of Assad’s regime, however, view Assad as exploiting sectarian conflicts in Syria to solidify his repressive security apparatus, which has resulted in the killings of over 5,000 pro-democracy supporters in Syria.

“Of course Assad is using the power of fear to manipulate the Christians. He is directing these bishops and patriarchs to say what suits him,” Pascal Gollnisch, a Catholic priest and director of l’Oeuvre d’Orient, told the French news organization F24 in December.

The Paris-based organization seeks to shield Christians from persecution mainly in the Middle East region and is part of the Archdiocese of Paris.

Christians make up 10 percent of Syria’s 22 million population.

Clifford D. May, the president of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former New York Times reporter, has long argued the persecution of Christians in numerous Muslim-majority countries is the most pressing news story ignored by the mainstream media.

He told the Post “If the situation were reversed, if such a war were being waged against Muslims, it would be the top story in every newspaper, the most urgent item at the UN, the highest priority of all the big-league human-rights groups.”

The US-based media watchdog organization the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) held on Saturday a conference titled “The Persecuted Church: Christian Believers in Peril in the Middle East.”

Dr. Richard Landes, an associate professor of history and director and cofounder of the Center of Millennial Studies at Boston University, who spoke at the CAMERA event, wrote the Post on Sunday: “there’s a bizarre, eery, indeed terrible (a-)symmetry between the nearly hysterical concern of the media and the ‘progressive’ NGOs etc. about Israeli violations of the Palestinian ‘human rights’ and the nearly total silence about the horrendous things happening to Christians in Muslim majority countries, not necessarily at the hands of their neighbors but of Salafists, Jihadis, etc.”

Landes added that “it all illustrates Charles Jacobs’ notion of human rights complex – the thing that gets western ‘human rights’ folk indignant has nothing to do with the victims of their sufferings, but the [perpetrators]. If white, hysteria; if of color, embarrassed silence.

“There’s a racism inherent in this – we don’t expect anything from people of color, we hold whites to a much higher standard – and the result is that truly horrendous stuff gets ignored.”

There has been a wave of violence targeting Iranian and Syrian Christians over the past month, say Christian news reports.

In addition, Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been on death row since 2010 for seeking to register his home-based church, refused to renounce his Christian beliefs in exchange for his release from prison. He was also jailed for questioning the role of Islam as the dominant form of religious instruction in his children’s school.

According to a report on the website of the International Christian news agencyBosNewsLife, “Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has rejected an offer to be released from prison if he publicly acknowledges Islam’s prophet Mohammed as ‘a messenger sent by God,’ well-informed Christians and rights activists said” earlier this month.

While Iran’s opaque judicial system coupled with the lack of access for most Western media makes it difficult to verify the new coercion against Nadarkhani, the reports are considered reasonable in light of the Iranian regime’s intense crackdown on its Christian population over the years.

In an e-mail to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio and author of the book A New Shoah, wrote “After the ethnic cleansing of Jews in 1948 from the Arab countries, Islamic fundamentalism is now trying to push away the Christians from the region. They want to establish a pure Islamic environment and the mass exodus already began under our noses.”

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Christian Post wrote last week on its website, “The Christian community in Syria has been hit by a series of kidnappings and brutal murders; 100 Christians have now been killed since the anti-government unrest began. A reliable source in the country, who cannot be identified for their own safety, told Barnabas Aid that children were being especially targeted by the kidnappers, who, if they do not receive the ransom demanded, kill the victim.”

The Pakistan Christian Post website noted “Two Christians were killed on January 15 as they waited for bread at a bakery. Another Christian, aged 40 with two young children, was shot dead by three armed attackers while he was driving a vehicle.”

The Post could not independently verify these allegations.

Meotti, the Italian Journalist who has written extensively on Christians in the Mideast region, told the Post “In Syria Christians will be persecuted after Assad’s eventual fall, since they were the most loyal allies of the Baathist regime. Christians will be slaughtered or squeezed. From Cairo to Damascus, Arab Christian era is near to its end everywhere.”

Many critics of Assad’s regime, however, view Assad as exploiting sectarian conflicts in Syria to solidify his repressive security apparatus, which has resulted in the killings of over 5,000 pro-democracy supporters in Syria.

“Of course Assad is using the power of fear to manipulate the Christians. He is directing these bishops and patriarchs to say what suits him,” Pascal Gollnisch, a Catholic priest and director of l’Oeuvre d’Orient, told the French news organization F24 in December.

The Paris-based organization seeks to shield Christians from persecution mainly in the Middle East region and is part of the Archdiocese of Paris.

Christians make up 10 percent of Syria’s 22 million population.

Clifford D. May, the president of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former New York Times reporter, has long argued the persecution of Christians in numerous Muslim-majority countries is the most pressing news story ignored by the mainstream media.

He told the Post “If the situation were reversed, if such a war were being waged against Muslims, it would be the top story in every newspaper, the most urgent item at the UN, the highest priority of all the big-league human-rights groups.”

The US-based media watchdog organization the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) held on Saturday a conference titled “The Persecuted Church: Christian Believers in Peril in the Middle East.”

Dr. Richard Landes, an associate professor of history and director and cofounder of the Center of Millennial Studies at Boston University, who spoke at the CAMERA event, wrote the Post on Sunday: “there’s a bizarre, eery, indeed terrible (a-)symmetry between the nearly hysterical concern of the media and the ‘progressive’ NGOs etc. about Israeli violations of the Palestinian ‘human rights’ and the nearly total silence about the horrendous things happening to Christians in Muslim majority countries, not necessarily at the hands of their neighbors but of Salafists, Jihadis, etc.”

Landes added that “it all illustrates Charles Jacobs’ notion of human rights complex – the thing that gets western ‘human rights’ folk indignant has nothing to do with the victims of their sufferings, but the [perpetrators]. If white, hysteria; if of color, embarrassed silence.

“There’s a racism inherent in this – we don’t expect anything from people of color, we hold whites to a much higher standard – and the result is that truly horrendous stuff gets ignored.”

On the Guardian’s sanctimony over Jerusalem Post’s apology to Norway: pot kettle black

This was posted at Harry’s Place:

Harriet Sherwood in The Guardian reports:

In an unusual move for a newspaper, the Jerusalem Post has published a full-length editorial apologising for a previous editorial which attracted widespread criticism for its comments on last month’s Oslo massacre.

Titled Apology to Norway, Friday’s editorial in Israels leading English-language daily said the original leader column “squarely condemned the attack” in which 77 people were killed by an extreme rightwing gunman acting alone.

She continues [quoting the apology]:

“However, it also, inappropriatelyraised issues that were not directly pertinent, such as the dangers of multiculturalism, European immigration policies and even the Oslo peace process.”

Here is the Guardian one week after 9/11:

I think it is safe to say that apart from three or four Palestinians, everyone is sad to see so many of their fellow humans killed in such horrendous circumstances. That goes for most Muslims and the great majority of those who might have been quite pleased to see the US get a different kind of comeuppance. For this second group, in which I include myself, the unqualified sympathy extended to the victims is underpinned by a feeling that few have dared even to whisper. My next-door neighbour said it, and so did a rogue Palestinian whose views have not yet been censored in the name of “taste”. They are better placed than I am, as a broadsheet commentator, to admit to a part of them that thinks that the US might benefit from an insight into what it feels like to be knocked to your knees by a faceless power deaf to everything but the logic of its own crazed agenda.

And:

When America speaks from its heart, it retreats into a language that none but its true-born citizens can begin to understand. At the root of this is an overwhelming need to control meaning. America can’t let the world speak for itself. It was taken unawares last Tuesday and part of the trauma of that event was the shock of being forced to listen to a message that it hadn’t had time to translate.

Back to Sherwood’s Guardian piece, we then read:

Steve Linde, the Post’s editor-in-chief, swiftly posted an addendum to the online version, clarifying the editorial: “This editorial is not aimed at deflecting attention from the horrific massacre perpetuated in Norway, nor the need to take greater precautions against extremists from all sides.”

That brings to mind a piece published online by the Guardian, one week after four Pakistani terrorists murdered an Orthodox Jewish couple in a Chabad house, which tried desperately to make a political point about Israel. Look how Richard Silverstein morphs the atrocity into a point about Israel:

Therefore, the attack was anti-Israeli, though not necessarily antisemitic. [...] What should really be understood is that, as with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, here we have essentially a political/territorial conflict between Pakistan and India over Kashmir that has been turned by Hindu and Muslim extremists on both sides into a religious crusade. [...] The same is true of Israel-Palestine. Israel’s nationalist leaders would like nothing more than to piggyback their own cause onto the western jihad against radical Islam.

Read the rest of the post here.

The world’s oldest hatred finds a new home

Here is an essay I had published in the Jerusalem Post on Jan. 3

Some would call me a masochist. I spend most of my day reading a reactionary blog – one which often advances narratives warning darkly of a dominant “Zionist” lobby which stifles debate and has a corrosive effect on the political system.  This blog has been identified as one of the main purveyors of antisemitic hate in the British mainstream media by the CST – the organization dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and responding to antisemitism in the UK.

Clearly a glutton for punishment, I also scour the comment section of such posts where I often find quite palpable expressions of hatred towards Jews.

This site, home of such far-right views, also happens to be the most widely read blog in the UK – 37 million unique visitors a month.

I must admit that I omitted one crucial detail about this blog.  It describes itself as a progressive left publication.

Comment is Free, the blog of the UK paper, The Guardian, not only brands itself as progressive left, but has stated its aim to become “the world’s leading liberal voice.”

“Oh, come on”, you’re thinking. “Surely the Guardian is an anomaly. The progressive left, by their very nature, are anti-racist and opposed to antisemitism.  Expressions of hatred towards minority groups are a phenomenon uniquely prevalent on the right.” Well, actually, that’s not the case.

As my report for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs demonstrated, some of the more popular progressive left blogs in the US – Huffington Post, Glenn Greenwald and Daily Kos – with extremely large liberal audiences – freely engage in Judeophobic invectives.  In addition, the most popular and influential conservative blogs in the US – such as National Review’s blog, The Corner, Hot Air, Instapundit and many others – tend to be strongly philo-Semitic.  My follow-up report for the JCPA analyzed the presence of antisemitic cartoons on such progressive sites. Indeed, there is credible polling data that such expressions of bigotry are not anomalous.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

Yet another entirely predictable anti-Israel Guardian editorial

Earlier this week I had the privilege of hearing Khaled Abu Toameh – West Bank and Gaza correspondent for the Jerusalem Post and a contributor to many other major news outlets, as well as the Hudson Institute – speak at an event in Jerusalem on the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Today I read the Guardian editorial of December 16th on the same subject. The contrast between Mr. Abu Toameh’s well-informed, intelligent analysis of the situation and the trite offering served up by the Guardian could hardly be more stark.

The anonymous writer of this editorial has managed to persuade him or herself of the existence of “Palestinian leaders who recognise Israel” but neglects to supply their names. The editorial claims that “Fatah has still legitimacy”, but fails to address the subject of the considerably limited extent of that legitimacy. It claims that “the Palestinian leadership will continue weak and divided” as though the internal tensions between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are a product of failed attempts to make peace. There even seems to be contained within the editorial the bizarre implication that Israelis engaged in building projects in Judea and Samaria do not finance them themselves; how else are we to understand the inclusion of this rather spiteful and puerile suggestion:

“The cost of each new housing unit built in occupied territory should be deducted off US aid.”

True to form and tediously predictable, the editorial pronounces the death of the peace process all because those inconsiderate Israeli Jews won’t agree to do again something they already did –freeze building – and for which last time they saw no benefits. Of course expecting the Guardian to take the Palestinian Authority to task for twiddling its thumbs for almost the entire duration of the last building freeze is like expecting Lady Gaga to show up to a gig in a twin-set and pearls.

It’s just not in keeping with the Guardian world view to acknowledge that the lack of progress in the peace negotiations could hinge upon the pesky fact that the majority of the Muslim world does not accept Israel’s right to exist within any borders. Neither can it acknowledge that the current leaders of the Palestinian Authority are simply incapable of making the necessary compromises (just as Arafat wasn’t at Camp David a decade ago), or that even if some sort of agreement were reached, they are unable to deliver the goods, as Mahmoud Abbas has no support from, and no control whatsoever over, at least half of the Palestinian population, let alone a legitimate mandate to make the politically painful compromises necessary to achieve a real and lasting peace.

No – this editorial is intent solely upon apportioning blame in a tediously predictable manner rather than providing its readers with any real insight as to why peace between Israel and the Palestinians remains elusive. Little wonder then that people who are interested in what really goes on in the Middle East continue to rely upon sources such as Khaled Abu Toameh for a realistic view of the situation based on many years of intimate knowledge of all the parties concerned, the ability to analyse what the players say in their own languages and liberty from an anachronistic political agenda.

The Guardian is not even pretending to engage in real reporting or offering objective analysis anymore; it long ago abandoned brave, honest journalism in favour of the coward’s choice of becoming a propaganda mouthpiece, as this latest dismal editorial offering shows only too well.