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

rusbridger

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.

indy

The Independent, Nov. 8

nature

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.

swiss

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.

pal page

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)

University of Pittsburgh Hosts Barak Barfi 
At CAMERA supported event, Barak Barfi Discussed Endangered Minorities in the Arab Spring (in Focus)

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)

Betrayed: how the Guardian muled the names of GCHQ personnel to American bloggers and papers

This article originally appeared in Louise Mensch’s blog Unfashionista on Nov. 4 and is republished here with permission

The Guardian has lied to the British people. They HAVE passed to foreign papers and blogs the names and identities of GCHQ agents, having lied and stated they did not to avoid prosecution, and to dupe other papers, police and some MPs into thinking that all they did was report on data collection, never giving up the names of British intelligence officers.

nyt

NYT, Nov. 3

From the start of this affair, and the ‘David Miranda is only a journalist’s spouse’ lie, the Guardian has sought to deceive its fellow papers and the public. But I confess that even I did not believe they would just dump out the identities of our intelligence personnel, copying those files and smuggling them to foreigners.

We already know Alan Rusbridger and Janine Gibson have duplicated and muled abroad the Snowden files, handing them to the New York Times and some bloggers at ProPublica.

For some months, I have been asking the Guardian to admit if they betrayed the names, or identifying details, of anybody working at GCHQ to foreign papers in order to boost their online readership while their paper sales are crumbling to insignificance.

It was not surprising that they refused to answer me, because communicating material identifying any person that works at GCHQ, and which could be of use to terrorists, is itself a terrorist offence under British law. Not just publishing the names, mark you – communicating them. To anybody.

I’ve blogged before about how the editors of the Guardian boasted they were above the law, so I won’t reiterate it here. They are also very fond of giving self-congratulatory online interviews and talking to lapdogs at the BBC, as well as giving unwittingly revealing profile access to friendly magazines. Nobody at the Guardian is willing to give even a single interview to a challenging paper.

In a nutshell then in the past month or so we have had:

Alan Rusbridger saying he is above the law: that he decided to ship the files to foreigners because of a “threat” to go to law: that he would not let British judges rule on the files: that he knows better than judges and security experts; and that Sen. Feinstein of the US Senate Security Committee knows less than him about it because she is, and I quote, “an eighty year old woman.”

US editor Janine Gibson boasting of the trafficking they did “By far the hardest challenge has been the secure movement of materials. We’ve had to do a great deal of flying of people around the world.”

And a New Yorker profile that stated that James Ball, formerly of Wikileaks and an Assange devotee, 27, was chosen to be the physical mule that carried the data to New York. Ball was threatened with exposure of emails between himself and the Wikileaks hacker Jacob Appelbaum, by Appelbaum, if he did not publish a story on Tor. Days later his byline appeared on the story that blew up GCHQ’s efforts to decrypt the Tor network on which child pornography, illegal arms and drugs like crack are traded.

 Ball has recently been moved by the Guardian from London to New York in the wake of that New Yorker story, presumably to avoid  arrest if the New Yorker was correct on his role.

Throughout, in between breaks from pouring scorn on the British judiciary and laws, the Guardian have been busily lying to the British public. Saying that what they are doing is only journalism they have squirmed when asked (by me on Twitter, directly to @Arusbridger) and by the MP Julian Smith in Parliament, if they have passed over and sold out the names of British intelligence personnel working at GCHQ.

When the idea that they had revealed not just data collection news but actually given up the names of our intelligence agents surfaced, the paper started to panic. They denied it to the Daily Mail on October 9:

“The newspaper also said that the files it FedExed to America did not contain any names of British spies.”

This was a lie. It didn’t matter if the names of our spies were in the 100 documents the Guardian FedExed to America. Ball had already taken them to New York, and Brazil, at least according to the story the New Yorker:

The idea that the Guardian handed over only 100 documents was yet another lie. There may have been ‘only’ 100 top-secret documents in that FedExed memory stick (Dear God).  But there were over 50,000 GCHQ documents muled abroad by Rusbridger and Gibson.

Think about that for a minute. Fifty. Thousand. Fifty thousand top-secret GCHQ documents, and they are lying to the Daily Mail that none of these contain the names of any of our spies.

Yesterday in New York that lie was exposed, and the breathtaking extent of the Guardian’s disregard for our agents’ lives was laid bare.

 In their front-page story, the New York Times laid it all out. It’s a pretty long story, but I’ve read it so you don’t have to.

“documents taken by Mr. Snowden and shared with The Times, numbering in the thousands and mostly dating from 2007 to 2012, are part of a collection of about 50,000 items that focus mainly on its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters or G.C.H.Q”

“Even with terrorists, N.S.A. units can form a strangely personal relationship. The N.S.A.-G.C.H.Q. wiki, a top secret group blog that Mr. Snowden downloaded, lists 14 specialists scattered in various stations assigned to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani terrorist group that carried out the bloody attack on Mumbai in 2008, with titles including “Pakistan Access Pursuit Team” and “Techniques Discovery Branch.” Under the code name Treaclebeta, N.S.A.’s hackers at Tailored Access Operations also played a role.

In the wiki’s casual atmosphere, American and British eavesdroppers exchange the peculiar shop talk of the secret world. “I don’t normally use Heretic to scan the fax traffic, I use Nucleon,” one user writes, describing technical tools for searching intercepted documents.

But most striking are the one-on-one pairings of spies and militants; Bryan is assigned to listen in on a man named Haroon, and Paul keeps an ear on Fazl.”

Did you get that? The Guardian – Alan Rusbridger, and Janine Gibson, editors, and James Ball, of Wikileaks, gave the New York Times and Pro-Publica the names and identities of GCHQ intelligence personnel in the NSA-GCHQ wiki. A bunch of staff at the New York Times can read their conversations and names, and the names of their targets.

To see how wide and deep the danger to GCHQ personnel really is, we can turn to the Guardian’s first, grossly irresponsible story on just how much of GCHQ personnel’s names and identities they had access to: they printed it on August 1st:

a glimpse into the world of the 6,100 people crammed into the open-plan and underground offices at GCHQ; the fact that there is a sports day at all reveals something about the agency which most people outside their bubble could not appreciate.

Last year, GCHQ organised trips to Disneyland in Paris, and its sailing club took part in an offshore regatta at Cowes. It has a chess club, cake sales, regular pub quiz nights and an internal puzzle newsletter called Kryptos. A member of Stonewall since last year, GCHQ has its own Pride group for staff who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

There is also a paranormal organisation. Describing itself as “GCHQ’s ghost-hunting group”, it is open to staff and their partners “whether they are sceptics or believers” for visits to “reputedly haunted properties”.

Staff date themselves on the internal directory, “GCWiki”, by their “internet age”, a measure of how many years they have been adept on the web.

They make friends during annual family open days, or via messages on the agency’s internal version of MySpace, which they have called SpySpace.

Colleagues are likely to find others cut from the same cloth. The agency’s 2010/11 recruitment guide says GCHQ needs high-calibre technologists and mathematicians familiar with the complex algorithms that power the internet. It has room for a sprinkling of accountants and librarians. Classicists need not apply. Nobody at Cheltenham is particularly well paid, compared with the private sector at least – a junior analyst might earn £25,000. “We can offer a fantastic mission but we can’t compete with [private sector] salaries,” one briefing note lamented.”

The story goes on and on, talking about the wiki, quoting internal comms, describing the fears of one of GCHQ’s “most senior officers”.

All these documents have been muled to the Americans, because Alan Rusbridger doesn’t like British judges. He was paying David Miranda specifically to spread and mule these files on GCHQ – 53,000 of them, the same number cited by the NYT – and now we know just how bad the paper’s betrayal of our GCHQ personnel has been. Worse than even I could ever have imagined.

In his article for the Daily Mail recently, David Davis MP defended the Guardian’s selling of British intelligence secrets. How bloody terrifying to think that but for a public meltdown he could have been Home Secretary. And when Julian Smith challenged the Guardian in a Westminster Hall debate, the Tory MP Dominic Raab said that he was scare-mongering. I wonder what those two of my former colleagues would say now. Would they defend the liars at the Guardian who swore they didn’t give out any GCHQ names? Or do they think it’s OK to mule and traffic to Brazil and American bloggers the NSA-GCHQ wiki? Every pair of eyes that sees those names can pass them on to anybody they like.

They gave out our intelligence agents’ names, Dominic, David. Is that OK with you?

I pray to God it isn’t OK with the Prime Minister, with Theresa May, and with anti-terror police.

Back when Miranda was stopped as he muled, Oliver Robbins, the National Security Adviser, said:

“ ‘A particular concern for HMG is the possibility that the identity of a UK intelligence officer might be revealed.’

But I’m afraid it was a bit more than just one.

Of course, £25,000 isn’t a lot of money to risk your life keeping Britain safe. Alan Rusbridger makes a hell of a lot more money than that. But it wasn’t enough for him, Janine Gibson, or James Ball, or any of the other Guardian staff to show some compassion and keep secret the identities of our agents Snowden, Poitras and Greenwald had endangered. Instead, the millionaire Mr. Rusbridger preened for the cameras, lied to other journalists, and threw GCHQ personnel to the wolves.

Mr. Rusbridger says he is above the law. I hope to God the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary – and our anti-terror police, and our judges – have the guts to prove him wrong.

The Terrorism Act 2000 lists various Terrorist Offences. Here is the last of them:

Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc

(1) A person commits an offence who—

(a) elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been—

(i) a member of Her Majesty’s forces,

(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or

(iii) a constable,

which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or

(b )publishes or communicates any such information.

(2) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for their action.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to a fine, or to both;

(b) on summary conviction—

(i) in England and Wales or Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both;

(ii) in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.

(4) In this section “the intelligence services” means the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service and GCHQ (within the meaning of section 3 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (c. 13)).

Emphasis mine. 

CAMERA monitors media coverage of Israel, Oct. 28th: NYT, Haaretz, Mail & Guardian, El Universal

Our regular roundup of posts from CAMERA affiliated sites:

Among the Turmoil, Israel Can Be a Model For Stability
Our CAMERA Supported group at the University of Minnesota, Students Supporting Israel, publishes a letter to the editor in their campus paper educating their campus about Israel’s democracy. (in Focus)

‘Mail & Guardian’ parrots description of Marwan Barghouti as a “political prisoner”
What term would you likely use to characterized an imprisoned Palestinian terrorist, who was convicted for his leading role in scores of deadly terror attacks against innocent Israelis? Well, if you’re the (South African) ‘Mail & Guardian’ you’d describe such a violent terrorist as a “political prisoner”. (CiF Watch)

Author Asks “Will We Ever Be Forgiven for the Holocaust?”
Prize-winning author Howard Jacobson took on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in this year’s Jerusalem Address at the B’Nai Brith World Center in Jerusalem. (Snapshots)

Rihanna, Haaretz and Palestine
Did Rihanna sing about Palestine in her Israeli concert? Only in Ha’aretz. (Presspectiva)

Missing: The Facts
Why did Amnesty International Israel not mention the facts about UNHRC anti-Israel bias in his op-ed? (Presspectiva)

NYT’s Rudoren Apologizes to Sara Netanyahu
The New York Times corrects a report which erroneously states that Sara Netanyahu faced harsh public criticism for the way in which she educates her children. Bureau chief Jodi Rudoren sends an apology letter. (Snapshots)

Life Sentences Lost in Ha’aretz Translation
In the latest “Ha’aretz, Lost in Translation,” Palestinian prisoners who participated in murder get their life sentences drastically reduced thanks to Ha’aretz translators. (Snapshots)

A potpourri of errors
The Mexican newspaper El Universal misinformed its readers about the “Rihanna affair”. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Where’s the coverage?
A bomb hurled at an Israeli school bus is not deemed newsworthy for Spanish media. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Why report well when you can do some harm to Israel?
The Spanish state-owned Radio Television Corporation managed to overshadow Israel’s goodwill gestures in releasing Palestinian prisoners. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Middle East headlines in the Spanish-speaking press
The Latin-American press focuses on the Israel-Gaza tension and on the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

NYT: Telling Readers How to Think About Israel
CAMERA Op-Ed in Times of Israel explains the latest ploy by The New York Times to influence readers against Israel. (CAMERA)

Louise Mensch: What The Independent tells us about the Guardian’s crimes

The following was written by Louise Mensch and originally posted at her blog, Unfashionista.  It’s republished here with permission.

Julian Smith MP has filed a complaint to the Metropolitan Police about the Guardian and its potential breaches of the Terrorism Act 2000. Under the Act, it is a terrorist offence to communicate names, or any identifying material, of GCHQ personnel – not just to publish those names, but to communicate them.

The Guardian shipped GCHQ files to American bloggers and the New York Times. In so doing they did a lot more than journalism, ie receiving files and reporting on them. They became traffickers and distributors.

They have refused to answer my questions on Twitter as to whether their trafficked files included names of GCHQ staff, issuing a classic non-denial denial to the Daily Mail that reads like an admission: “We did not include the names of any British spies.” Spies? It’s a terrorist offence to communicate identifying info on any GCHQ personnel.

Well, the Guardian gets all the love and money from this betrayal of our security forces, but there’s another British paper that got to see the Snowden files. The Independent, in August, ran a story about a secret British base in the Middle East.

I believe this story was abominably irresponsible and a betrayal of national security. The excuse was the paper didn’t provide an address and a map. So what? They revealed the existence of the base and put all its operations and operatives in jeopardy.

However, and it is a big however, the Independent here was “committing journalism” as the Guardian likes to put it when trying to avoid the police. They received the files and they reported on them. Irresponsibly and morally wrongly, but that’s all they did,

They didn’t copy the files. They didn’t traffic the files. They didn’t hand the files to foreigner papers and bloggers. They just reported on them.

Once the Telegraph and the Daily Mail – to their eternal credit – started to challenge the Guardian’s muling and commercial trading on our agents’ safety, the Independent published this little-noted editorial. But for the purposes of the police investigation, it is a crucial one, because it tells us just exactly what Guardian editors copied and gave to foreigners in order to get their dying paper more money from online clicks.

In August, we too were given information from the Snowden files. It pertained to the operation of the security services, was highly detailed, and had the capacity to compromise Britain’s security.

I think that’s pretty damned clear.

Yes, it is ludicrous that the Independent thinks publishing a front-page story revealing a secret British Middle Eastern base is not “sensitive” or “damaging”. But they are informing their readers – roughly the same base as the Guardian, the liberal left – just how awful the GCHQ Snowden files are.

Glenn Greenwald, who has now left the Guardian for a French-funded company with his fellow traitor Laura Poitras, was kind enough to tell the world on Twitter that Alan Rusbridger and Janine Gibson were concerned not to expose any NSA spying, but merely to endanger British operations. He told us what the documents they copied and muled to a blog and the NYT were on September 10th

@peterkofod As for NYT, I had no role at all in that – those were 1 set of docs only about UK that G had. They made that choice without me.

Julian Smith MP’s letter does more than ask the police to investigate if GCHQ personnel were identified in these “just about Britain” documents the Guardian trafficked to foreigners. He also asks the police to compel Alan Rusbridger and Janine Gibson to help in decryption efforts. After all, they have the documents, and they are happy to hand them to bloggers. And from the Independent, we know that the documents could not be more dangerous to the security of this nation. If a British commercial media company is sitting on the decryption key, they have to hand it over to our intelligence forces. Instead of helping the police and GCHQ see what damage has been done, which agents’ names are out there, and assisting them in saving lives, Rusbridger has admitted online that he has actively prevented this vital information being accessed:

 Are you taking any precautions to prevent US/UK government tampering/stealing with the documents?

Alan Rusbridger: Yes. And many of them are now with the NYT

Julian Smith MP has taken direct action by referring all of this to anti-terrorist police. But of course, it is a question for the Government too. The Home Office Committee is now investigating the Guardian. I have no doubt they will rightly ask ministers if they asked the Guardian for access to these terrible documents and if denied, whether and when they sought an injunction or subpoena to compel this commercial company to give the security forces access.

Once again, thanks to the Independent’s honesty in its editorial, we know the stakes for our intelligence services could not be higher.

It pertained to the operation of the security services, was highly detailed, and had the capacity to compromise Britain’s security.

I believe that anti-terror police are already actively on to breaches of the Terrorism Act 2000. But the Government, for whom defence of the realm is its first duty, must also play its part and not be cowed by the Guardian-BBC axis. We must never let fear of the press stop us from doing the right thing. The legal tools are there to compel the Guardian to share access to these files not just with commercial papers and bloggers but with the forces that defend us. In the same Q&A Rusbridger also said this:

Would The Guardian have been willing to hand  copy to authorities if there hadn’t been threat of prior restraint? 

Answer:

Alan Rusbridger: We had not yet decided what eventually to do with the original material at the point the Government asked us to return it or destroy it.

Theresa May and the Home Office should help Mr. Rusbridger to make up his mind. ‘Destroying’ it is not an option now the Guardian has distributed and trafficked it. Instead, Rusbridger and Gibson, who have access to it, must share that access with our security forces. As the Indie has told us clearly, national security is at stake.

Revealed: How Richard Silverstein was duped again by a phony “source”

RS Iran conference by cliff wells

Richard Silverstein

When blogger Richard Silverstein isn’t expressing support for the end of the Jewish statedefending terror groups like Hamas, or engaging in smears and reckless attacks against his opponents, he’s often busy peddling false “scoops based on little or no evidence.  

These “scoops” by Silverstein (who’s an occasional contributor to ‘Comment is Free’) at a blog he calls ‘Tikun Olam’, have at times been cited by the BBC, Der Spiegel, The Daily Telegraph, and the New York Times.

To cite one example of Silverstein’s less than rigorous fact-checking, the BBC (in August, 2012) was among the news sites duped by a Silverstein “scoop” titled “Bibi’s Secret War Plan”.

bibi

His post claimed to be based on information from a high-level Israeli source detailing an upcoming Israeli attack on Iran.  

However, the “secret document” he had “obtained” was a near verbatim quote from a Hebrew web forum entry which had appeared online days before his post, and which itself was based on mere speculation from open-source information.

Another example of a faux scoop was revealed on Feb. 13, 2013, when Silverstein reported about the identity of a prisoner (previously known as Prisoner X) who was being held in an Israeli jail and later committed suicide.  Silverstein’s 2013 post – reporting that the mystery prisoner was an Australian-Israeli Mossad agent named Ben Zygier - proved that his original Dec. 2010 “scoop”, alleging that a secret prisoner was a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard general named Ali-Reza Asgariwas completely false.

iranian

Now, for the latest:

A few days ago, we were contacted by an Israeli who’s aware of Silverstein’s penchant for publishing “scoops” based on little or no research or fact-checking.  He explained how he recently fed Silverstein completely made-up stories, selling them as “scoops”, to see if he would bite.  Here’s one of the emails (a snapshot we were provided of the original) our source sent to Silverstein on Oct. 9, purporting to have secret information on news regarding the Israeli drone which crashed on Oct. 8.

email 1

That same day, Silverstein reported the following, quoting verbatim his “anonymous Israeli source” in a post titled “Israeli Drones Fallin’ from the Skies Like Flies: Third UAV Sabotaged by Hacking.”

The UAV didn’t crash, the UAV control center lost communication due to heavy interference in the COM link. After few very long minutes at which the re establish comm procedure failed, the CCC (control center commander) ordered the self-destruction of the UAV. There was lots of drama as it appeared the UAV had a mind of its own or that someone gained positive control.

Then, on Oct. 13 the Israeli “source” sent him the following concocted tale, purporting to represent secret information on another Israeli drone failure.

pic

And, two days later, in a post titled Iran Hacks Azerbaijan’s Israeli-Made Drone Fleet‘, Silverstein wrote that his “Israeli source” revealed that “the Iranians have hacked Azerbaijan’s Israeli-made drone fleet as well.” Silverstein then quoted directly from the email he received:

Using [a nearly identical drone] to the fallen Hermes 450, several months ago IAF…drones also failed in Azerbaijan.  [They were] using the Azery Hermes control units with some temporary modifications [paralleling those of] Israeli drones signals.  The training exercise failed after similar concerns of successful Iranian penetration were raised.

Again, Silverstein immediately published completely fabricated information. 

Well, evidently, shortly after these two posts, he was being ridiculed on the Israeli forum Fresh’, and finally realized he had no choice but to admit that he published erroneous information.  In a post titled The Art of the con’, Silverstein wrote:

After the latest crash, I received an anonymous e-mail from someone purporting to be an insider who knew about the crashes and the reasons for them

This is extremely misleading. The ‘source’ didn’t establish his credentials.

The Israeli security forum, Fresh, began to post material about the story with a link to my post.  At a later point, a forum Admin posted a notice that I had received an e-mail from a source they knew and they predicted what the message said and what I would write in my post.  If I had seen that Fresh posting I would’ve known of the fraud earlier and stopped using this source.

Again, you have to wonder why Silverstein even considered this anonymous person to be a “source” in the first place.

my earlier reporting on Israeli drone failures derives from a trusted source, as I noted.  In order to dampen the potential for scandal of a major military system facing repeated failures, the IAF or others involved with Israeli intelligence wanted to discredit those reports.  That would mean any subsequent reporting by me or others on this theme would be immediately brought into question.  It would also tend to discredit any future reporting I did on any subject involving Israeli national security or intelligence.

This being said, this has taught me lessons and also ‘enriched’ my view of Israel’s intelligence apparatus and its methods.  First, no stories will be published here from anonymous sources.  

He then tries to turn it around, and place the blame on Israelis.

Readers ought to give some thought to why Israelis feel the need to perpetrate hoaxes.  They need to put up a smokescreen that conceals truths that are perceived as damaging to Israeli interests.  One of the ways they deem effective is to engage in deception that discredits an enemy.  But the use of deception on as wide a scale as Israel uses officially, forces outsiders to discount anything they hear from such sources.

First, the suggestion that this particular hoax was orchestrated by Israeli officials is comical. Silverstein’s “source” in the stories he cited didn’t even attempt to establish his security credentials, nor did he explain how the “inside information” was obtained in the first place.

Moreover, it should be noted that CiF Watch, as with other blogs and news sites, similarly receives emails from readers claiming they have inside information.  However, as we take our mission and our credibility seriously, we don’t simply copy and paste text from anonymous emails into blog posts and legitimize the information as a “scoop” by a “secret source” without first meticulously corroborating the claim.

Richard Silverstein not only devotes his blog to smearing the Jewish state – while defending even the most openly malevolent extremists – but routinely spreads wild claims and, at times, false information under the veneer of promoting “liberal” values and social justice.

tikkun

Silverstein’s blog is called “Tikun Olam”, which translates to: “To heal or repair the world”

The strange phenomenon of mainstream media sites taking Silverstein’s rumor mill seriously was best summed up by the following cheeky Twitterer back when the BBC cited Silverstein’s “scoop” about Israel’s “secret” Iran attack plans.

Of course, at least the crazy guys on the corner with a sandwich board don’t typically claim to be ‘serious journalists’ dedicated to promoting truth, justice and Jewish values.

Guardian’s David Hearst participates in discussion on the power of the Israel lobby

Cross posted by Mark Gardner at the blog of the CST.

Swapping “Zionist” or “pro-Israeli” for “Jewish” is not opposing antisemitism. It is, at best, a lazy linguistic complacency that camouflages antisemitic ways of thinking: making antisemitism harder to expose and fight. An unusually explicit example of this can be clearly seen in the footage of a meeting at London journalist haunt, the Frontline Club. View it here (but read the below first).

The meeting, on 12 June 2013, used a book by British Islamist, Ibrahim Hewitt, as the basis for discussion about the media’s approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The discussion, between Hewitt, ex-BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Llewellyn, and Guardian foreign leader writer David Hearst, was chaired by Mark McDonald, a founder of Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East.

Under the title, Anti-Zionism: the Frontline, CST Blog had already warned what might happen at this meeting. We related some of the overblown anti-Zionist conspiracy theory and imagery that Hewitt’s group, MEMO, had previously published. We noted that Llewellyn might be worse than Hewitt. We recalled Hearst’s silence in the Guardian after a judge had found against Sheikh Ra’ed Salah’s denials of having made a blood libel speech. (The judge still granted Salah his appeal.) We asked, without optimism, if Hearst or McDonald might intervene if either of their fellow Frontline speakers strayed into territory occupied by antisemitism.

The footage shows that Hewitt did not repeat the wilder material from MEMO, and that Llewellyn was indeed worse than him. Hearst explained things calmly and without resort to conspiracy theory, but does not seem to have directly rebutted either Hewitt or, especially, Llewellyn. If anything, Hearst surely normalised his fellow speakers to the mainly young audience – rather than undermined them.

The footage also shows that there was only one intervention against a speaker who took things too far. This was against Llewellyn, when Hewitt pulled him up for saying“the Jewish Lobby”: whereupon the meeting chair, Mark McDonald, said that it should be “the Zionist Lobby” or “pro-Israel Lobby” instead.

Any serious objection to antisemitism must go far deeper than swapping “Zionist” for“Jewish”. Otherwise, it simply becomes an exercise in how to swap an antisemitic conspiracy theory for an ‘anti-Zionist’ one. The anti-Zionist left claims, furiously, to oppose antisemitism, but swapping “Zionist” for “Jew” is advising upon camouflage, not anti-racism.

The salient moment occurs approximately 30 minutes and 45 seconds (30:45) into the footage, when Tim Llewellyn asks David Hearst to explain why he says that newspaper editors “wilt under pressure”. Llewellyn:

Is it because. I can see it in the BBC. They’re frighten’, these people are quite aggressive, right. The Jewish Lobby is not much fun. They come at you from every direction.

Off camera, Hewitt says “no”, then, “its the pro-Israel lobby”. It is not exactly clear who says what after this, but it includes McDonald talking over Llewellyn, stating:

I mean that’s a very important thing to say, that it’s not a Jewish lobby. Can I interrupt a second. It’s not a Jewish lobby. It might be a Zionist lobby. It may be a pro-Israel lobby.

But Llewellyn won’t give it up. He retorts:

Yes, but they use Jewish connections to get you.

McDonald’s anti-racism intervention now wilts. He wants consensus, not a discursive analysis on the meaning of “they use Jewish connections to get you”. So, he lamely replies:

Yes, but it’s not necessarily a Jewish lobby, as in

McDonald’s words trail off. He does not say ‘its not necessarily a Jewish lobby as in the way that antisemites allege Jews run the media and politics, via intimidation, money and power’. Llewellyn gives an inch:

Alright, it’s an Israeli lobby. A friends of Israel lets say. Lets not be too polite about them, because they’re not very polite about us.

Llewellyn continues, asking why “we are afraid of them”:

Why are we afraid of them. That’s what I don’t understand. You know, I mean, we’re all British…I may be Welsh, but I’m British.

Nobody intervenes. Nobody asks Llewellyn to clarify if he is meaning to say that these lobbying, connected Jews are somehow not British. There are no more anti-racist interventions, not even half-hearted ones.

And so the meeting goes on, showing how easily anti-Zionist conspiracy can be normalised when people are willing to sit alongside it and treat it with respect.  In particular, Hearst and McDonald treat Llewellyn’s interventions as if they are entirely normal and legitimate. They are not merely bystanders in this, they facilitate it. The audience takes it all in.

Contemplate the following low points and note that all of them were treated as being entirely normal:

06.20 Ibrahim Hewitt stresses England football manager Roy Hodgson was right to visit Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, but asks about his not visiting the nearby remains of Palestinian village, Deir Yassin.

08.57 Hewitt says that Abraham Foxman (of the Anti Defamation League) is the only person “guaranteed”  to get their letters published in the New York Times.

11.30 Hewitt says he enjoys reading the obituaries in the Guardian. Llewellyn interrupts, “any day now”.

21.55 Llewellyn asks “a deeper question” about BBC reporting:

why is it like this?…is it a sinister conspiracy…a lazy way of looking at, you know, the fact that the Israeli lobby is very powerful in all three of our main political parties. Is it the BBC being very fearful?

40.44 Hewitt’s curious use of the word “diaspora”: “one of the paradoxes…that the media in Israel is often more lively and robust on this issue than the media in the so-called diaspora in New York and Europe”.

41.11 Llewellyn jokily tells Hewitt, “learn to write in Yiddish”, to get his letters published in Israeli media. Someone (from the audience) says “Hebrew”, Llewellyn counters, “No, Yiddish”.

50.04 A well spoken English woman cites Moses, her ‘them and us’ style is a classic of the genre:

AIPAC, America’s Jewish Israeli lobby, they are sooooo well organised. And we’re too nice. Whether we’re the Palestinians, or the British, we are awfully nice, we, as you say, go make a cup of tea. They don’t make cups of tea…they are desperately tough…Moses said that they were a hard-necked people. They are. And they are so well organised… 

58.40 Llewellyn adds more about what “troubles” him. He objects to Europeans regarding Israelis as being like themselves, whereas Palestinians are not seen that way. He says “the Jewish lobby”, interchangeably with “the Israeli lobby”:

We talk about the Jewish lobby, the Israeli lobby, the friends of Israel. There is this people like us thing…   

1.01.20 Llewellyn brings the lobby’s political power into the BBC equation:

The BBC is pressured because its part of a Governmental system. There’s no question about the friends of Israel are big in each three political parties, right.

1.14.08 Hewitt reveals his theory about the “sleepers” that the Israelis are now allegedly activating in media positions of power around the world:

It’s very telling that…the Israeli Foreign Ministry actually issued a directive to the hasbara people, the propaganda people, around the world, start placing articles…so they were very confident that they had the ability, the people in place to be able to do that…said a lot, if they can just basically give this directive and all these sleepers all of a sudden wake up and start doing things. There are clearly people in positions of influence who are able to do this.

1.32.06 Finally, the last word at the meeting went to Tim Llewellyn:

The editor of the Guardian who said that comments were free and facts were sacred: was the biggest Zionist who ever lived.

(The footage link, again, is here.)

The Guardian hosts an Israeli “settler” point-of-view

Cross posted by Yisrael Medad at My Right Word

My good friend Dani Dayan has an op-ed in, of all places, The Guardian.  He had one in the New York Times last July that really upset many left-wing radicals who think freedom of expression is to be limited to their way of thinking formulating politics.

Some extracts and comments from “What you call ‘settlements’ are on solid moral ground”:

…More than 360,000 Israelis live in almost 200 communities across Judea and Samaria, with 200,000 more in East Jerusalem. That’s more than half a million people. Our endeavour stands on solid moral ground.

This week marks 46 years since the agonising days of June 1967, when the Arab world physically tried to annihilate Israel. We defeated them and liberated the strategic hills that overlook 70% of Israel’s population. If partition of this contested land was ever the just solution to the conflict, it ceased the moment one side refused.

I would add, to fine-tune the piece: just as the indigenous Arabs rejected a partition proposal during World War I in the form of the Sykes-Picot arrangement, and as they did in 1937, in 1939 and again in 1947, they undercut their moral standing by being totally uncompromising.

Our communities stand on solid moral ground. Built on vacant land, no settlement stands on the ruins of any Arab village…In Judea and Samaria there is ample room for many Jews, many Palestinians and peaceful coexistence. Our communities stand on solid moral ground because the right of Jews to live in Shiloh, Hebron or Beth El is inalienable. These sites are the cradles of Jewish civilisation, the birthplace of Hebraic culture. Negating the right of Jews to live in these historic parts of the Jewish homeland would be morally wrong.

It is also quite contrary to legal rights Jews hold to their patrimony, recognized over the centuries by all the leading nations and religions and confirmed through the Balfour Declaration, the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference, the 1920 Sam Remo Conference and the 1922 League of Nations.

Unfortunately, too many people view as moral the necessity of the establishment of a Palestinian state and ignore the historic and legal aspects of Jewish national rights in the Land of Israel as well as the history and the character of the conflict over the last 90 years or so.

Moreover, many people, too many, say that Biblical narratives, even if true and confirmed by archaeological science, are irrelevant and I presume they would interpret this reference -”…Shiloh, Hebron or Beth El is inalienable. These sites are the cradles of Jewish civilisation, the birthplace of Hebraic culture” - as a Biblical reference.  But “biblical” does not mean only “religious” or “theological”.  There is an objective truth in the Biblical narrative.

What could be added to this claim is that Jews lived in these areas not only 2000 years ago but throughout the past 2000 years, in every century thereof, and until 1948.

It was the Arabs that practiced ethnic cleansing through terror and depopulated Jewish communities in Gaza, Hebron and Jerusalem’s Old City.  That is not only a strike at our historic right but very much immoral.

Dani concludes:

After 20 years of failed attempts to reach a two-state solution, isn’t it time we admit our failures and move on? The time has come to invest in new, innovative paths to peace that unite people through acts of mutual respect. The first step is to stop the demonisation of our communities and acknowledge that settlements aren’t the problem – but rather an integral part of any future solution.

And we need to formulate a second step.  That would be the idea of retention.  Then we can move on to other intermediate forms of self-rule.  Only then and after a testing period can we even contemplate anything further.