Guardian publishes repulsive letter evoking Israel-Nazi analogy

Alvin Rosenfeld, in a recent essay at The Forward (Moral Emptiness of Holocaust Survivors Who Took on Israel, Aug. 28), argued that “stamping” Israel-Nazi analogies “with the moral authority that supposedly belongs to Holocaust survivors does not turn these lies into truth”.

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Economist uses ‘Fagin the Jew’ to illustrate article on criminal behavior

Cross posted from the blog of David Porush

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I’m usually the one around the Old Jews poker table who counsels my oversensitive friends not to over-react to perceived slights. As a former English prof, I abhor PC censorship of literature (banning Twain for his use of the”N-word” is but one example.) I’m a fan of brilliant writers who are also dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semites, such as Pound, Celine TS Eliot and, yes, DIckens. Further, paying attention to intentional hatred or sniveling bigotry just stirs the toilet and makes it smell worse.

But The Economist just published a story entitled “To Have and Have Not: A disturbing study of the link between income and criminal behavior” that pushed me over the edge. Atop the piece is very large picture of Fagin the Jew from a movie version of DIcken’s Oliver Twist.

Type “Fagin the Jew” into Google (Images or Web) and you will see how viral and anti-Semitic this character portrait is historically.

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Fagin is used by Dickens as symbol of explicitly Jewish criminality and his portrayal even in the 1948 (!) film, from which this image is taken, truly captures Dickens’ animus. See this discussion of Dickens’ anti-Semitism:

The Oxford Dictionary of English Literature describes Dickens as nationalistic often both stigmatising foreign European cultures and taking his attitude to “colonized people” to “genocidal extremes”,[3] albeit based mainly on a vision of British virtue, but not on any concept of heredity. One of the best known instances of this is Dickens’ portrait of Fagin in one of his most widely read early novels Oliver Twist, which has been seen by some as deeply antisemitic, though others such as Dickens’ biograper “G.K.Chesterton” have argued against this notion. The novel refers to Fagin 257 times in the first 38 chapters as “the Jew”, while the ethnicity or religion of the other characters is rarely mentioned.

The Economist article itself resurrects traditional anti-Jewish libels of inherent or congenital criminality by gratuitously placing a photo of a Jew to accompany a report  about a study in Sweden. The study has not one mention of Jews, literature, Dickens, the 19th century, or even crime in England. But it does suggest:

“…a family’s culture, once established, is “sticky”—that you can, to put it crudely, take the kid out of the neighbourhood, but not the neighbourhood out of the kid. Given, for example, children’s propensity to emulate elder siblings whom they admire, that sounds perfectly plausible. The other possibility is that genes which predispose to criminal behaviour (several studies suggest such genes exist) are more common at the bottom of society than at the top, perhaps because the lack of impulse-control they engender also tends to reduce someone’s earning capacity.”

This is either dumbfounding insensitivity or gratuitous stereotyping, especially at a time when passions are aroused against Jews in the UK, the EU, and elsewhere. In its choice of images, The Economist has either purposefully inflamed matters or merely, casually, offhandedly confirmed its good old upper crust Brit anti-Jew bigotry.

Further, even if it’s just a poor or thoughtless choice, it’s part of a pattern. The Economist‘s anti-Israel agenda has been clear for a long time. However, they now make clear that their bias blurs the distinction between anti-Israel and anti-Jew. Maybe I’ve gone over the edge and have become enamored of the view from here. Look, I’ll tell on myself: I cancelled my subscription to The New York Times for its clear bias after five decades of reading it religiously. Yup, this former liberal Brooklyn Jew has become a bit unnerved.

Or maybe I’m not crazy. Maybe The Economist‘s cool posture of civil, rational analysis obliges it to be held to a higher standard. Maybe I just can’t abide the UK’s and EU’s pretenses and get some bad boy frisson from ripping off their masks.

Please join me in protesting to The Economist directly at letters@economist.com and asking for an apology.

Also feel free to use any verbiage herein to help make your point.

David Porush

Why did it take 2 days to retrieve the body of Gazan ‘killed’ by IDF sniper?

Last month we published a post based on Thomas Wictor’s fisking of a International Solidarity Movement (ISM) video purporting to show the ‘killing’, by an unseen IDF sniper, of Salem Khalil Salem Shemaly in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya (on Sunday, July 20th) as he was looking for missing relatives.  

Despite the inconsistencies and seeming fabrications in the the highly edited ISM video, the story was reported throughout the mainstream media – at the New York TimesNewsweek, Times of London, Daily Mail, Vice News and elsewhere

Today, shortly after we cross-posted Wictor’s latest post on the ‘killing’of Shemaly (which fisked a Channel 4 News report on the ISM video), we noticed that, per the list of Gaza war casualties, Shemaly’s ‘dead’ body was retrieved two full days after the videotaped ‘killing':

Salem Khalil Salem Shemaly, 22, Sheja’eyya – Gaza (Killed Sunday, Body Located Tuesday)

Why would it take two days to retrieve Shemaly?

Are we to believe that the Palestinian rescuers (in the yellow vests) and the ISM activists filming the incident were all afraid to retrieve Shemaly out of concern for their own lives?

If so, how can this concern be reconciled with the fact that they were extremely close Shemaly at the time of the alleged shooting, and yet weren’t touched by the ‘IDF sniper’?

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Palestinian rescuers observe Shemaly’s ‘death’

Here’s a close up of the ISM crew filming Shemaly’s ‘death’.  

Capture

Are we to believe that, shortly after the moment captured in this frame, the ISM activists and Palestinian rescuers decided against retrieving the body, turned around and simply fled the scene?

Why won’t ISM publicly release the full unedited video, so that these questions – and those posed by Thomas Wictor – can be answered?

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

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

Here’s part of the ad:

ad

(click here to see the full ad)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who were Times editors concerned would be offended? Hamas?

 

Indy suggests slick Israeli PR obscures truth about dead Palestinians (Updated)

The first sentence in Patrick Cockburn’s latest Indy op-ed provides enough insight into the ideological myopia of the British far-left to properly contextualize the rest of the piece.

To many readers the New York Times coverage of the war in Gaza comes across as neutered or as having a pro-Israeli bias

The risible claim (easily refuted by a large volume of CAMERA’s reports on the NYT’s coverage of Israel) introduces readers to the main narrative being advanced:

But not to Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador in Washington, who lambasts the paper for failing “to mention that a million Israelis were in bomb shelters yesterday as 100 rockets were fired at our civilian population.” 

Mr Dermer is considered so close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he has been called “Bibi’s brain”. He is also a former student and employee of Frank Luntz, the Republican strategist who produced a confidential booklet in 2009, promptly leaked, advising Israeli spokesmen how best to manipulate American and European public opinion

It is a sophisticated document based on wide-ranging opinion polls, suggesting, for instance, that the removal of Israeli settlements from the West Bank should be denounced as “a kind of ethnic cleansing”. Dr Luntz stresses that spokesmen must demonise Hamas, but above all emphasise that they feel for the sufferings of Palestinians as well as Israelis. As a sample of what they should say, he gives: “The day will come when Israeli children and Palestinian children will grow up together, play together, and work together side-by-side not just because they have to but because they want to.”

It’s as if Cockburn truly believes, and is asking readers to believe, that only Israel uses public opinion research to craft an effective message. 

However, it gets worse:

The problem about this approach is that it sounds particularly hypocritical when, according to Unicef, 230 children have been killed in Gaza, an average of ten a day, and 2,000 have been wounded by Israeli bombs, shells and bullets. Israeli spokesmen are now denying their responsibility for the most notorious and televised atrocities such as the strike on the UN hospital [sic] last week…This is an old PR tactic, though not one recommended by Dr Luntz, which is sometime referred to as “first you say no story, then you say old story”. In other words, deny everything in the teeth of the evidence on day one and, by the time definitive proof of the massacre comes through, nobody notices when you have to admit responsibility.

He’s likely referring to the deaths of 15 Palestinians at a UN school (not a hospital) in Beit Hanoun, the one which a recently released video strongly suggests was not the result of an IDF shell. 

Further, Cockburn has it completely backwards. As we revealed in a post on July 28th, the UK media almost universally blamed Israel on the strike, and most media outlets haven’t updated their stories (or published new ones) even after the IDF released footage showing that their errant shell hit an empty school courtyard, and couldn’t have killed the 15 children, as Palestinians claimed.  

In other words, it’s the media – in classic hit ‘n run style journalism – which has ‘moved on’ after rushing to judge Israel. a dynamic which is the opposite of what Cockburn’s claims. 

Cockburn continues:

A problem here is that propaganda that works in a short war comes back to haunt you in a longer one. This is now happening in Gaza. Israeli air and artillery strikes and Hamas mortars and rockets are often presented as if they balanced each other out in terms of lethality. But the most important statistic here is that some 1,100 Palestinians have been killed as opposed to three civilians in Israel.

First, Cockburn conveniently neglects to note, in addition to the three civilians, 53 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the war.  As far as the “lack of symmetry”, it does indeed exist, but not in the manner Cockburn describes.  While Israeli strikes are aimed at legitimate military targets in Gaza, Hamas rockets are exclusively fired at Israeli civilians (all of which represent war crimes), and intentionally use their own civilians as human shields (another war crime).

The moral imbalance between the two sides couldn’t be starker. 

Again, Cockburn:

Despite his tutoring by Dr Luntz, Mr Dermer only speaks these days to the converted. Attending a Christians United for Israel Summit in Washington he replied to protesters who called him a “war criminal” by saying that “the truth is that the Israeli Defence Forces should be given a Nobel Peace Prize”. Stuff like this may explain why a Gallup poll shows that among Americans aged between 18 and 29 some 51 per cent said Israel’s actions were unjustified while only 23 per cent said they were. 

Cockburn neglects to mention that this same Gallup poll showed that a plurality of Americans, representing all age groups, believe Israel’s actions to be justified.  Conversely, when asked about Hamas’s actions, 70% believe they are unjustified, while only 11% believe them to be justified.  Such results are consistent with Gallup polling about Americans support for Israel over the past four decades, consistently showing overwhelming bi-partisan support for the Jewish State.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the Indy chose to Tweet Cockburn’s op-ed using the following text and graphic:

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In addition to the fact that the tweet contradicts Cockburn’s claims (that Israel is NOT in fact able to hide what they’re doing from the world), it’s telling that they decided to use a photo purportedly showing rows and rows of Palestinian caskets – Palestinian deaths Israel is presumably ‘hiding from the world’ – when, as a report in an Italian newspaper indicates, the coffins were merely props as part of an anti-Israel protest.

However, as the Indy, Guardian and New York Times clearly know from years of experience, even erroneous or misleading evidence putatively demonstrating Israeli culpability in Palestinian suffering can be an extremely effective tool to “manipulate American and European public opinion”.

UPDATE: Shortly after our post was published, we noticed that the Indy re-Tweeted the story with a new photo and, interestingly, different text – this time consistent with the substance of Cockburn’s post. 

new tweet pic

UPDATED information on Guardian claim regarding Israeli press card requirement

EDITOR’S NOTE on April 23:  This post was amended after we learned, per the Israel Government Press Office, that journalists are indeed required to sign a ‘censorship form’ to obtain a press card.  The mistake was made when we conflated Israeli courtgag orders‘ (which journalists are NOT required to abide by in order to receive a press card) with the ‘censorship document’.

We apologize for the error.

….

Majd Kayyal, an Arab-Israeli journalist and web editor at the NGO Adalah, was released to house arrest late last week, days after being arrested on suspicion that Hezbollah attempted to recruit him while he attended a conference in Beirut.  

Additionally, a media row over the news ensued when the New York Times revealed that it had abided by the Israeli gag order on Kayyal’s arrest and didn’t report the story until the order was lifted last Thursday.

Roy Greenslade, the Guardian’s media blogger, published a story about the incident on April 22 titled New York Times obeys Israeli gag order over journalist’s arrest.

Here are the relevant passages in Greenslade’s story:

The paper’s delayed publication of the story about the detention of Majd Kayyal (see below) was revealed by its public editor, Margaret Sullivan.

She quoted the NY Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, as explaining that the acceptance of gag orders is analogous to abiding by traffic rules or any other laws of the land.

Sullivan also consulted in-house lawyer David McCraw, who evidently described the situation as “somewhat murky”. She quoted him as saying: “The general understanding among legal counsel in other countries is that local law would apply to foreign media.”

Similar issues arise when US news media organisations cover the British courts, he said.

Sullivan was clearly unconvinced by the argument advanced by her paper’s bureau chief, saying that she found it “troubling” that the NY Times should have to wait for the Israeli government’s approval before deciding to run a story.

A “little transparency would go a long way”, she said, and the the story should have informed readers what had happened. Perhaps Jodi Rudoren, who became bureau chief in May 2012, was being overly cautious. Her task is hardly easy as she explained earlier this month in an interview with Hadassah magazine.

Then, in a subsequent passage, Greenslade makes the following claim:

My understanding is that although foreign journalists who want to obtain a press card in Israel are required to sign a censorship document in order to obtain a press card, in practice few submit their copy on security issues to the censor.

However, his suggestion that foreign journalists are required to sign a “censorship document” in order to obtain an Israeli press card seemed questionable in light of this passage from the NYT article by Sullivan:

The Times is “indeed, bound by gag orders,” Ms. Rudoren said. She said that the situation is analogous to abiding by traffic rules or any other laws of the land, and that two of her predecessors in the bureau chief position affirmed to her this week that The Times has been subject to gag orders in the past.  (An earlier version of this post said that The Times agrees to abide by gag orders as a prerequisite for press credentials, but Ms. Rudoren told me today that that is not the case, although it was her initial understanding.)

Per Jodi Rudoren, foreign journalists are evidently NOT required to abide by ‘gag orders’ in order to obtain a press card.  

However, as we later learned, the ‘gag order’ is not the same as a ‘censorship document’, so our conclusion in the original version of this post – that Greenslade got it wrong – was not correct.  

This post (and the original title) has been revised accordingly. 

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CAMERA monitors media coverage of Israel, Feb. 26 – March 10: Guardian, NYT, Al-Jazeera, Ha’aretz

English Posts

Al-Jazeera America TV News Aims Against Israel
Twisted coverage of Israel is consistent with the network’s indirect connection through its owner to the creation of the Palestinian Hamas terrorist entity sworn to Israel’s destruction. The CEO, aiming at the opinion makers, admits to unconcern about profits and viewer ratings. (CAMERA)

Where’s the Coverage? The Truth about “Israel Apartheid Week”
The latest untold story. (CAMERA Snapshots)

Ha’aretz Veers Off Course with Ports Story
In the latest false media account of a supposed anti-Israel BDS victory, Ha’aretz incorrectly reports that two foreign companies withdrew from a ports tender due to boycott fears. (CAMERA)

When Media Cover for Palestinian Terror Groups
Martin Kramer has excellently exposed how The New York Times covers for Rashid Khalidi. (In case it’s not clear, the job of a serious newspaper is to cover the PLO spokesman-cum-professor, not cover for him.). (Snapshots)

Just the Facts: Stripping Down Ha’aretz Coverage on Airport Search
Ha’aretz news article describes a “he said/she said” dispute about the alleged strip search of an Israeli Arab teacher. Ha’aretz headlines and opinion pieces upgrade the disputed claim to fact. (CAMERA)

Ha’aretz Lost in Translation on Strip Search
Today, in an apparent case of “lost in translation,” the Ha’aretz English edition continues to report as fact the disputed claim that Israeli Arab teacher Ezies Elias Shehada was subjected to a strip search. (Snapshots)

Mitnick, the U.S., and “Illegal” Settlements
American policy on the legality of the settlements has been consistent for decades. And Joshua Mitnick’s coverage of that policy has also been consistent. Consistently wrong, that is. (Snapshots)

Did Mahmoud Abbas outrage Syria’s Palestinian refugees by waiving their right to live?
The Guardian failed to report news that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had rejected an Israeli offer to allow thousands of Palestinian refugees, caught in war-torn Syria, safe travel into the West Bank and Gaza – citing his fear that they may be forced to forfeit their “right of return”. (CiF Watch)

Hebrew Posts

Yossi Sarid’s Boycott
What are the aims of the BDS Movement? (Presspectiva)

The Media is a little too fast in reporting BDS successes
Did Dutch and Italian companies really withdraw tender application to build new ports in Israel, due to political reasons?. (Presspectiva)

Abu-Mazen’s True Position
What Abu Mazen says in English is not always identical to what he says in Arabic . (Presspectiva)

Ha’aretz No Longer a Newspaper
Has Ha’aretz decided to come out of the closet, shrugging off any pretense of being a news organization? What other explanation is there for publication of the full text of a petition by Rashid Khalidi and Judith Butler without any comment or context? (Presspectiva)

Portraying Israel as if it was North Korea
A Ha’aretz Op-ed is too happy to grossly mischaracterize and declare as a fact, incidents which are very much in dispute. (Presspectiva)

Ma’ariv Finally Corrects!
Days before an ethics committee hearing on Presspectiva’s complaint, Ma’ariv finally corrects a six month old story. (Presspectiva)

Spanish Posts

ABC: ¿Por qué fue Merkel a Israel?
El diario español ABC se encarga de que los palestinos estén en el titular de la noticia sobre la visita de Merkel a Israel, que era relevante por otros motivos. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

¿Dónde está la cobertura?
La prensa en español suele recoger y reproducir noticias provenientes de periódicos israelíes, siempre y cuando los hechos que relate esa noticia sirvan para reforzar la imagen de Israel que se pretenden instalar entre el público lector. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

La agencia EFE: acusación particular contra Israel
La agencia gubernamental española presenta los argumentos de la acusación, pero en ningún momento nos permite conocer qué alega el acusado en su defensa. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Un elefante rosa 
Es grande, ruidoso, muy visible en un lugar pequeño y, aún así, nadie quiere verlo. Lo mismo sucede con Hamas, y con los grupos terroristas que operan desde Gaza, en el marco de las conversaciones de paz entre Israel y la AP. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Pincelada propia 
La agencia española de noticias Europa Press, tomaba el material deReuters y no podría evitar darle un giro muy propio. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Hamás condena la enseñanza de los DDHH en Gaza
La organización terrorista condena el curricula de la UNWRA por incluir asignaturas sobre derechos humanos. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

5 razones que alejan a los palestinos de la paz
Utilizar los medios de comunicación para difamar a Israel y difundir odio gratuito desde la cúpula de la Autoridad Palestina, son razones de peso que alejan a los palestinos de la paz y que usan como plataforma de difusión los medios de comunicación masiva. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

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Guardian’s Andrew Brown ponders the connection between camels & Zionism

A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as “humps” on its back – according at least to Wikipedia.

camel

Camel

Andrew Brown is a homo sapiens, and, more importantly, a Guardian journalist, a subspecies known for its strange obsession with roughly 8,000 square miles of land in the Middle East – according at least to practically everyone in the world who reads the UK paper.

Andrew-Brown

Andrew Brown

The connection between these two species will become apparent shortly.

But, first, let us briefly note that Brown is the paper’s religion blogger, and once suggested (evidently with a straight face) that Buddhism was the world’s most violent faith. And, so, though the wild claim made in his most recent post was not at all surprising, it still left us scratching our collective Zionist heads as it is evidently a serious piece yet reads like a parody found at The Onion.

Here’s the headline:

headline

Here are the relevant passages:

There are 21 references to camels in the first books of the Bible, and now we know they are all made up.

 Two Israeli archaeozoologists have sifted through a site just north of modern Eilat looking for camel bones, which can be dated by radio carbon.

None of the domesticated camel bones they found date from earlier than around 930 BC – about 1,500 years after the stories of the patriarchs in Genesis are supposed to have taken place

All these considerations make it clear that camels were not domesticated anywhere in the region before 1000 BC.

Obviously it has upset fundamentalists. Everyone else has known for decades that there is even less evidence for the historical truth of the Old Testament than there is for that of the Qur’an. But the peculiarly mealy-mouthed nature of the quotes they gave the New York Times (which is not much concerned with the feelings of Christian fundamentalists) shows where the real problem is.

Now, the kicker:

The history recounted in the Bible is a huge part of the mythology of modern Zionism. The idea of a promised land is based on narratives that assert with complete confidence stories that never actually happened. There are of course other ways to argue for the Zionist project, and still further arguments about the right of Israelis to live within secure boundaries now that the country exists. But although those stand logically independent of the histories invented – as far as we can tell – in Babylonian captivity during the sixth century BC, they make little emotional sense without the history. And it is emotions that drive politics.

Brown’s leap is remarkable, and goes something like this:

  1. Archeological evidence suggests that camels may not have been domesticated until 1,500 years after the stories of the patriarchs in Genesis are supposed to have taken place.
  2. There are 21 references to camels in the Five Books of Moses.
  3. If there were no camels, then the entire Hebrew Bible is arguably a fraud.
  4. Ergo, the justification for Zionism – based as it is on Biblical history (including camels) – is fatally undermined.

Oh, where to begin?

First, the 21 (putatively erroneous) references to camels in the Five Books of Moses of course don’t undermine the text’s remaining 79,826 words.

Second, Zionism is based not on the literal truth of every word in every Jewish text, but largely on the more than 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.  

Further, modern Zionism was largely a secular movement.

Finally, though Brown’s assault on Israel’s legitimacy is arguably among the strangest we’ve ever encountered at this blog, we decided to humor him and set out our ‘crack team of researchers’ on a very peculiar mission to see if we were hasty in mocking the Guardian “journalist”.

However, as hard as “they” tried (using the most ‘sophisticated’ research tools), they quite curiously couldn’t find even one single reference to “camels” in Theodor Herzl’s The Jewish State, the transcripts from the first to twelfth  Zionist CongressesIsrael’s Declaration of Independence, or Israel’s Basic Law.

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More wild Israel-lobby ‘trutherism’ at ‘Comment is Free’

Last year, ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Stephen Kinzer, much like fellow contributors Glenn Greenwald and Michael Cohen, was angry at the opponents of Chuck Hagel.  Hagel, you may recall, is the former (conservative Republicansenator from Nebraska who, despite being hostile to abortion rights, gay rights and civil rights, became a progressive cause celeb among the Guardian-style left upon being nominated for US Defense Secretary.

Kinzer, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, made the following argument in his Dec. 31, 2012 ‘CiF’ op-ed, adding to the chorus of voices from the Guardian Left who are convinced of the pro-Israel lobby’s sinister grip on politics, accusing the lobby and their supporters of agitating for a US war with Iran.

“What do Nebraska and Iran have in common? Not much – but enough to cause big trouble for former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, whose possible nomination to be secretary of defense is being challenged by the powerful bomb-Iran-yesterday lobby.”

Militarists in Washington, taking their cue from pro-Israel lobbyists, are trying to derail the appointment because Hagel doubts the wisdom of starting another war in the Middle East.

More recently, in a ‘CiF’ op-ed (‘Are Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions clouding her morals?‘, Jan. 29) criticizing former U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s apparent failure to take a position on a bill which would increase sanctions against Iran in the event negotiations with the six world powers (P5+1) fail to produce an agreement, Kinzer wrote the following:

Here lies the dilemma. A strong statement by Clinton in favor of reconciliation would be a game-changer in Washington. She would be giving a centrist, establishment endorsement of her former boss’s most important foreign policy initiative. That would provide political cover for moderate Democrats terrified of antagonizing the Netanyahu government and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is leading the anti-reconciliation campaign in Washington.

Such a statement, however, would risk outraging pro-Netanyahu groups and individuals who have been among Clinton’s key supporters since her days as a Senator from New York. Having spent years painstakingly laying the ground for a presidential campaign, she does not want to risk a misstep that would alienate major campaign contributors.

Whilst his fear mongering over the alleged toxic influence of the pro-Israel lobby (and money from “pro-Netanyahu groups and individuals”) is predictable, Kinzer takes his agitprop to the next level in suggesting that U.S. Senators are not only fearful of AIPAC, but in fact are “terrified” of the prime minister of the Jewish state. 

While it’s less than clear what form of retribution the prime minister of Israel can exact on American legislators, Kinzer and his band of Israel lobby truthers never seem interested in exploring a simpler and less conspiratorial explanation for why US politicians are disinclined to support recent US overtures toward Iran: most Americans dislike Iran and don’t believe that they can be trusted to abide by any nuclear agreement.

Finally, an interesting fact about American public opinion routinely ignored by ideologically obtuse critics of Israel and the ‘Israeli lobby’ was revealed in a recent survey on U.S. attitudes toward American Jews commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League. When asked to identify which of five well-known lobby groups wields “the most influence on American government policy,” only 4% chose the pro-Israel lobby. Americans evidently consider the pro-Israel lobby to be far less powerful than the gun, oil and drug lobbies.

Here’s a chart of the data:

Screen-Shot-2013-10-31-at-4.00.50-PMWhat such dark anti-Israel conspiracists fail to acknowledge is that whatever influence the pro-Israel lobby in Washington does have is largely merely a reflection of the popularity of Israel among the American people.

But, as this blog continues to demonstrate, when it comes to Israel related commentary at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’, facts, logic and empirical evidence take a back seat to ideology almost every time.  

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How ASA Became RASA (Racist American Studies Association)

The final segment in a series of guest posts on the ASA boycott motion by Jon from DivestThis!

In contrast to communities like the Presbyterians or Food Coop world which I never knew much about before helping them fight off the BDS infection, I actually have friends and family members who have a connection to the field of American Studies, some of whom are or were ASA members.  Most of them left years ago when the organization started practicing the kind of politicized scholarship that ultimately led to the victory of politics over scholarship which culminated in this week’s boycott abomination.

As with any BDS debate, many questions regarding why a boycott was being directed at one country and one country only were met with well-rehearsed answers that never got to the real reason why the ASA was ready to abandon the principles of academic freedom in order to punish Israel and Israel alone.

And that reason is that there is a worldwide propaganda campaign directed at the Jewish state by dozens of wealthy and powerful countries who have corrupted organizations such as the UN in order to ensure global censure is directed against their enemy while the human rights spotlight never highlights the fact that Israel’s accusers represent the worst human rights abusers on the planet.

So the global campaign against the Jewish state (which uses the vocabulary of human rights as a weapon system – demolishing its effectiveness for any other purpose in the process) is simply one more example of the rich and powerful getting what they want.  But what does this have to do with a marginal academic organization like ASA?

Well here is where the unique nature of the BDS branch of this global propaganda campaign comes in.  For in order to make it sound as though their “Israel = Apartheid” message is coming from someone other than a marginal group of partisans, it is vital that these words be forced to emerge from the mouth of someone else.  And in an era when major institutions such as colleges and universities, churches and unions have been kicking the BDSers down the stairs for over a decade, the boycotters are now ready to do whatever it takes to speak in the name of even a group as marginal as the American Studies Association.

ASA President Marez told the New York Times that Israel was chosen to be the group’s human rights pariah because “you have to start somewhere.”  But the chances that the organization will continue from this starting point to act on human rights issues regarding other countries is nil since, as noted above, the ASA’s leaders are not human rights activists but anti-Israeli partisans first and last.  And given that they have forced the organization to throw academic freedom on the pyre in the name of their cause, I think it’s fair to say they should no longer even be considered scholars.

Anyway, as night follows day the script will play out.  Anger and recrimination by the 75% of members who didn’t vote on the issue (possibly because they – like a friend of mine who is in the organization – didn’t get the postcard voter reminder from the ASA leadership until a day after the vote had closed) will escalate once people realize that a group of people they have never met with no connection to the field is now speaking in their name.  Resignations will both shrink the organization while concentrating the radicals within it.  Real scholars (like those of AAUP) will continue to pour their scorn on the group which the BDSers will ignore as they travel the globe trying to find the next academic organization to corrupt in the name of ASA.

So what are we supposed to do about it?

Well first of all, we need to stop referring to this organization as the ASA.  For those who have destroyed the organization on Sunday should not have carte blanche to trade on its name and reputation on Monday.  I have chosen to refer to them from now on simply as RASA with the “R” standing for either “Rump” or “Racist” (take your pick based on your level of generosity).

And the RASA leaders who have done everything in their power to make this the law of the organization should be required to live with this decision.  They have published this handy guide to explain to college administrators why they should keep checks flowing to their organization despite the boycott vote, but I suggest those administrators calmly reiterate what many of them said in 2007: that for purposes of any boycott their schools also be considered Israeli institutions and boycotted.  And since, as RASA leaders never tires of telling us, this is an institutional boycott, they should then be required to take the steps necessary to separate ASA from these “Israeli” schools, including most of the schools the leadership draws a paycheck from.  Absent that, they should be branded scabs to their own boycott, too cowardly to do anything for “human rights” that might impact their own comfort.

But we can do more than that.  Real American Studies scholars who decide to remain in the organization should quadruple down on their relationship with real Israeli scholars and demand the RASA reject joint papers and joint presentations at conferences and publish the organizations communications on the subject for all to see.  They should show up to next year’s conference wearing a yellow star with a Z in the middle of it, or all manner of paraphernalia from every boycotted Israeli college and university they can find.  And maybe someone can publish a scholarly American Studies paper on the corruption of civic organizations within the US using ASA as their case study.

And most importantly, the misery the RASA leadership has visited upon the organization – the rancor, recriminations, resignations and condemnations by genuine scholars – should be held up to every other academic organization in the land as an example of what happens when a scholarly groups decides to stop being scholars to participate in a BDS program that demands self-immolation as an entrance fee.

There is precedent for the corruption of one organization to create the antibodies needed to minimize the spread of the BDS infection.  In 2010, members of a food coop in Olympia Washington woke up to discover that the store they had helped build and contributed to for years had joined the BDS movement behind their backs and was busily spreading the boycott gospel to other coops throughout the country.  But the misery they caused within their own community demonstrated to all the ugliness that must be imported when the Middle East conflict is dragged into a civic organization.  And recognition of this reality helped ensure no other coop in the country ever followed Olympia’s lead.

So let us make sure that the same ugliness the RASA leadership’s actions have caused do not get swept under the carpet when they show up all smiles to the next academic group insisting that everyone follow their example.  For RASA must now become the poster child for how an academic organization destroys itself when it decides to place their own hypocritical, fanatical partisanship above the needs of everyone else.

Has Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger exposed names of thousands of GCHQ personnel?

Cross posted by former MP Louise Mensch

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Alan Rusbridger

Journalists have asked me on Twitter if I really want to see Alan Rusbridger arrested. Yes, I do; and here’s why.

It was always incredibly bad that he had exposed British intelligence agents to foreigners, willfully, having admitted that doing so would expose them. My prior blog below shows how he redacted all their names from the files he FedExed to ProPublica but then decided he couldn’t be arsed on the 25,000 files he sent unredacted to the NYT and Glenn Greenwald.

A comment was left on that last blog that I have to reproduce. It shows that every agent exposed by Rusbridger has had their career ruined for the duration of it; none of them can ever work in the field again. Furthermore, the writer makes the compelling case that the NSA-GCHQ wiki, which the New York Times published extracts from, and the directories of staff interests like gay and lesbian clubs, ghost hunting clubs etc, mean that Rusbridger has actually sent abroad not just a handful of names, as he claimed to Parliament “there were names on power points” but actually thousands of GCHQ names.

It is possible he has exposed the names of every person working at the agency. I checked this comment with Prof John Schindler, @20Committee on Twitter. Schindler is former NSA Top Secret plus cleared, a senior NSA officer, and currently a Professor at the Naval War college in Boston.

He says that my commenter is “very probably” right on the wiki and its directories. Here’s the comment:

As a total security imbecile, Rusbridger fails (or refuses) to grasp this basic concept: Any intelligence operative whose name is exposed to journalists, or put in a position where the likelihood of their identities being publically exposed is at greater risk, CAN NEVER BE DEPLOYED COVERTLY.
The issue here is not that ‘no names have been published’, it is that a) copying and trafficking them in a way that gives poor assurance over their long-term control and b) allowing such vast visibility of their names to unvetted journalists has had significant implications for those staff safety, deployability and careers. This also puts the Agencies operational effectiveness in peril – operational staff are difficult to recruit, train, retain and protect. To have even tens of staff blown could cause entire business areas to grind to a halt and lead to further attrocities on the streets of the UK.

Let’s take an example: we necessarily have a sizeable security presence in Northern Ireland. Therefore there were almost certainly named staff within those files who work in Northern Ireland or would have been required to do so at some point in their careers. If names were to hit wikileaks then there is a real and tangible prospect of those staff in such high risk environments being hunted down and killed. In this situation they would have to leave their homes within minutes of publication. With documents shipped extensively internationally, with hundreds of journalists given access does Rusbridger seriously think it would now be viable for such staff to remain in environments like Northern Ireland, does he think such staff who were already deployed there could remain regardless of whether the Guardian actually published the names? Is this a risk HMG can take? Of course not. This is why it is a criminal offence to communicate names and this is why HE HAS CAUSED GREAT DAMAGE.

Those staff may have been employed for another 40 years, can Rusbridger give any long-term assurances over control of those documents he shipped? Of course not.

It seems apparent that the information exchange wiki betrayed by the Guardian did not just include the odd name – the Guardian’s own descriptions imply that it included entire staff directories; which is logical as after all, this is exactly the sort of information GCWIKI would have been set up to share. We might be talking about many thousands of names. This could be a security disaster of unparalleled proportions.

In his Witness statement, Oliver Robbins stated that:

‘I am advised that information already obtained has had a direct impact on decisions taken in regards to staff deployments and is therefore impacting operational effectiveness’

So it sounds like this damage is already happening.

Lives and careers put at risk and families uprooted for Mr Rusbridger’s convenience? It is difficult to conceive of a more treacherous, reckless act.

Do I think that Rusbridger would have sent the files over if he had realised the wikis contained directories with thousands of names? No – I don’t think him as bad as that. Or that he deliberately scorched the careers of every intel officer named in the files? Again, no. I can’t think so ill of the man as that. But it’s the smugness of thinking he knows better, that he is, as he has said many times, above the law – didn’t want “judges” getting hold of the story – and the determination to secure for his financially failing paper some online traffic that led him to do this wicked thing. Time and again Rusbridger has been shown not to understand the basics of intel. He kept the files in a “secure room” with floor to ceiling windows covered with blinds, ideal for laser mikes. They could pick up any detail of conversations about those files in that room. This had to be pointed out to him by civil servants and was one reason he agreed to destroy his hard copy of the files (and this is by his own account).

He has cited this wholly false, fake figure of 850k people having access to the GCHQ documents – which is the total number of US personnel cleared Top Secret. Intelligence doesn’t work like that, there is compartmentalisation, it’s on a need to know basis only. As Prof Schindler has said he was given the topmost NSA security clearance and he did not see, have access to or know about these files.

Rusbridger is a journalist; he doesn’t know what’s safe and what’s not, or how intel works. As my commenter says (and my commenter is not using his real name) this is precisely why it is a criminal offence to communicate names. I will be writing today to Commander Cressida Dick at the Metropolitan Police to put in a complaint of a criminal offence based on this, as she has said anyone can do yesterday in Parliament. It is to be hoped that other journalists will hold Rusbridger to account on what he has done, but there is a massive amount of establishment clubbery going on. We must rely on the police not to be intimidated by a very powerful press axis. A free press under the law means just that, and it’s why hacking trials are now proceeding.

‘Arafat is still dead': Guardian ‘mentions’ French report that he was NOT poisoned

“Our top story tonight: Generallissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.” – Saturday Night Live (Season 1, Episode 7)

Yasser Arafat has been dead for nine years, but attempts to resuscitate old libels suggesting that he was murdered by Israel will likely continue to periodically grace the pages of the Guardian – at least as long as someone, somewhere, claims to have new, previously unrevealed evidence.  

On November 6, the Guardian devoted five separate articles (hereherehere, here and here) encompassing over 3200 words to a ‘stunning’ new report by Swiss scientists on their autopsy of Arafat’s remains.  (Details of the Swiss report were originally obtained by the Guardian’s ideological ‘sister-site’ Al-Jazeera.)

Whilst the story, alleging that the late Palestinian leader was likely poisoned by radioactive polonium, was the lead story on the Guardian’s home page for several hours the day the story broke, the paper all but ignored analyses published elsewhere which were highly critical of the Swiss conclusions.

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The Independent, Nov. 8

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Nature (International Weekly Journal of Science), Nov. 7

Yesterday, the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood reported on the results of a new French report which seems to completely contradict the Swiss findings.

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The French report found that Arafat’s death in 2004 was caused by the effects of “old age following a generalised infection”, and ruled out the possibility that he was poisoned.  In contrast to the paper’s saturation coverage of the Swiss findings, Sherwood’s latest story on the new report was not featured on the Guardian’s home page, and was consigned to page 19 in the print edition of the paper.

Of course, the conclusions of the French team are not at all surprising in the context of many facts previously revealed about the case, including the following:

  • After Arafat’s death, in November of 2004, the Palestinian Authority refused to release medical records which would have shed light into the cause of death.
  • Despite immediate accusations after Arafat’s death that Israel likely was to blame, neither the Palestinian Authority nor Arafat’s widow Suha allowed an autopsy to be performed on the body.
  • A New York Times report in 2005 (based on an examination of Arafat’s medical records the paper had obtained) concluded that he died of “a stroke that resulted from a bleeding disorder caused by an unknown infection,” and that Arafat did not suffer the extensive kidney and liver damage they would expect to see if he was exposed to a lethal toxic substance – findings, they noted, which “argued strongly against poisoning”.

Like the Spanish dictator mocked in the SNL skit, Yasser Arafat – known as the father of modern terror‘ – is “still dead”.  However, as long as someone has an anti-Zionist axe to grind, and can find sympathetic editors at compliant pro-Palestinian news sites, we can likely expect sensational stories legitimizing ‘new theories’ surrounding the cause of his ‘untimely’ death for many years to come.

CAMERA sites monitor media coverage of Israel, Nov. 20-26: Guardian, BBC, NYT, Ynet, Europa Press

Our regular round up of posts from CAMERA affiliated sites:

Brooklyn College Hosts Ben White’s Lecture on ‘Israeli Apartheid’Anti-Israel activist Ben White was invited to speak at Brooklyn College by the college’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Event is co-sponsored by two college departments. (in Focus)

SFSU President Condemns Campus Event With Slogan “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers”San Francisco State University President Les Wong publicly condemned this week an event held on campus in which students created posters that read, “My heroes have always killed colonizers.” The posters were displayed in the campus square, and were created as part of a larger event celebrating Edward Said, according to AMCHA. The event was organized by the General Union of Palestinian Students . (in Focus)

Where’s the coverage? With the exception of two media, Spanish press did not cover the murder of the young Israeli Eden Atias at the hands of a Palestinian. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

The order of the factors alters the product Europa Press not only ignored the murder of Eden Atias, but used the incident as a pretext to insist portraying once again the Palestinians as “victims”. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Impartiality: Europa Press offers 367 words to the Palestinian version and only 27 to the Israeli. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Pattern: A brief review of the coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict of Europe Press shows a very striking pattern: the agency appears to officiate as a spokesman for Hamas. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Where’s the coverage?: Censorship on the press by the Palestinian Authority is silenced by Spanish-speaking media (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

A Return to Bias: Our CAMERA Fellow at Concordia writes in her Op-Ed that “Israel was the only specific country on the agenda when the United Nations met on September 10, 2013. At this time the world was praying for the victims of chemical weaponry in Syria. The UN made no specific or emergency condemnation of Syria at the time. It took a backseat to the permanent agenda article against the Jewish State. The executive director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer noted that day that the same amount of time was allotted to Israel as was committed to the rest of the world. (In Focus)

The Scary World of Uri MisgavUri Misgav’s column is analysed applying the same psychoanalytic method he applies to others. (Presspectiva)

The New York Times Admits Its ErrorThe New York Times publishes an apology for illustrating a shocking terror attack, with a picture of the terrorist’s mother (Presspectiva)

That renowned BBC accuracy and impartialityBBC’s man in Gaza invents an Israeli air raid. (BBC Watch)

BBC misrepresentation of Israel’s stance on Iran talks continues in Kim Ghattas report: The BBC’s State Department correspondent was the latest to misinform audiences about Israel’s stance on P5+1 deal. (BBC Watch)

Arab Israeli Citizen Shares Minority Experience with SF State: CAMERA on Campus Is In the News! This article was written by Guadalupe González and was printed in the Golden Gate Xpress on October 29, 2013. (In Focus)

Evidently, some Palestinian prisoners don’t evoke Harriet Sherwood’s sympathySympathetic portrayals of Palestinian terrorists serving sentences in Israeli jails are something of a specialty for the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood, yet she seems strangely unmoved when Palestinians are imprisoned (and often tortured) in Arab countries. (CiF Watch)

Napoleon, Ben Gurion and the Jewish StateWas Napoleon a harbinger of Zionism? (Presspectiva)

Tel Aviv, Israel’s Eternal CapitalWhy the foreign media keeps claiming that Tel Aviv is the capital city of Israel. (Presspectiva)

We Must Take Ownership of Our Own Humanity: Eliot Hamilton of our CCAP group Claremont Colleges for Israel: “I have found that if I mention of the State of Israel, someone will not respectfully disagree with me, but will get angry with me personally for supporting something that they see as flawed. I did not expect to be disrespected so vehemently, or to experience such hatred. . .” (In Focus)

Facts about Yasser Arafat’s death and life the Guardian won’t report

The Guardian devoted five separate articles (here, here, here, here and here) on Nov. 6 to a recently released report by Swiss scientists on their autopsy of Yasser Arafat’s remains which was originally obtained by Al-Jazeera.

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Though, in fairness, the Guardian’s reporting on the Swiss findings (which reportedly showed unexpectedly high levels of radioactive polonium-210) was relatively restrained – mostly noting that the substance found on Arafat only indicate that he could have been poisoned, the stories do significantly downplay or ignore evidence indicating that poison likely was not the cause of death.

Here are a few facts:

  • After Arafat’s death, in November of 2004, the Palestinian Authority refused to release medical records which would have shed light into the cause of death.
  • Even more curious (especially in the context of the immediate accusations of murder directed towards Israel), neither the Palestinian Authority, nor Arafat’s widow Suha, allowed an autopsy to be performed on his body.
  • report in 2005 by The New York Times (based on an examination of Arafat’s medical records which the paper had obtained) concluded that he died of “a stroke that resulted from a bleeding disorder caused by an unknown infection,” and that Arafat did not suffer the extensive kidney and liver damage they would expect if he was exposed to a lethal toxic substance – findings, they noted, which “argued strongly against poisoning”.
  • Arafat’s remains have been examined by two additional forensic teams other than the Swiss team (French and Russian), but those results have not yet been made public.
  • The original ‘exclusive’ Al Jazeera report on the Swiss findings noted that, in the event Arafat was poisoned, his Palestinian rivals at the time of his death would have to be considered main suspects – a possibility not even mentioned in the more than 3200 words the Guardian devoted to the story. 
  • Al Jazeera reported that though the evidence suggests poisoning, “no evidence has emerged that implicates [Israel]“, while the Guardian framed the findings as merely ‘not definitively proving that Israel murdered the Palestinian leader’.

Whilst we may never know with certainty the exact cause of Arafat’s death, we do know quite a bit about the lives he extinguished during his long reign of terror, a resume which includes launching and directing a four-year campaign of violence directed at innocent civilians known as the Second Intifada, and his leadership role in dozens of deadly attacks against Israelis which date back to the 1960′s.

As we Tweeted last year after questions emerged about the possible poisoning of Arafat, we humbly wish those concerned with whether there was foul play in his death would show as much concern for the surviving families and loved ones of those he murdered. 

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Photo of Israeli terror victims (Algamor)

CAMERA monitors media coverage of Israel in 3 languages, Nov. 5: Guardian, BBC, El Pais, NYT & Haaretz

Our regular roundup of posts from CAMERA affiliated sites:

BBC report on building tenders presented in one-sided political terminology
The BBC embraces the politically motivated terminology used by the Palestinian Authority and fringe groups of radical anti-Israel campaigners in a report on construction plans in Jerusalem suburb. (BBC Watch)

BBC coverage of prisoner release in pictures
The imbalance in BBC coverage of the recent release of convicted Palestinian terrorists is reflected even in the images selected to illustrate reports. (BBC Watch)

Guardian columnist compares Israel to an autistic child
Guardian columnist Giles Fraser evokes the refrain that ‘Israel doesn’t play well with others’ by advancing a bizarre analogy between the ‘stubborn’ Jewish state and a cognitively underdeveloped child. (CiF Watch)

CSUN Stands Back as Professor Klein Uses University Resources to Promote Israel Boycott
California State University Northridge fails to remove Professor Klein’s webpage, posted on the university server, that promotes the boycott of Israel. (in Focus)

Recap of Dr. Anat Berko’s Campus Tour
Anat Berko just recently completed her October campus tour, visiting ten campuses that stretched from Florida to Ohio. (in Focus)

Students at ORT University in Uruguay Attend Lecture Given by Professor Jack Drassinover
CAMERA’s first Fellow in Uruguay organizes an event about Israel on his campus. (in Focus)

Lost in the Israeli geography 
European TV channel Euronews continues to believe that the capital of the Jewish State is Tel Aviv. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Argumentative illusionism 
An op-ed by ReVista published in the Argentinean newspaper Clarín. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Answering Marcelo JelenE 
Article by Ilan Bajarlia, Ort University of Uruguay CAMERA Fellow. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

CAMERA Presents: Dr. Anat Berko at Tulane University
Students learn about terrorism in the Middle East, through sociological psychological lenses at a CAMERA supported event. (in Focus)

El Pais publishes a letter from ReVista de Medio Oriente
The letter was sent to the Spanish newspaper as a response to a couple of articles with several inaccuracies. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Always Human Error? 
Presspectiva responds to Haaretz blog post explaining away the “Rihanna incident” (Presspectiva)

Zionism and Religion
Are the two contradictory? (Presspectiva)

The New York Times, Haaretz and Maariv – An Empirical Experiment
Within 48 hours three papers made the same mistake. Who published a correction? (Presspectiva)

Hassidim, Soya and Dubious Sources
A viral story about Gur Hassidim was based on some rather dubious evidence. (Presspectiva)