Repulsive Guardian op-ed justifies Palestinian antisemitism

Yesterday we posted on the results of a new international antisemitism poll by ADL, which demonstrated that Palestinians are the most antisemitic people among the 100 countries surveyed. We noted that Palestinians are even more antisemitic than citizens in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and Iran.  

Here are some of the highlights:

  • 88% of Palestinians believe Jews have too much control over global affairs.
  • 89% believe Jews have too much power over international financial markets
  • 88% of Palestinians believe that Jews have too much control over the global media
  • 78% of Palestinians believe that Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars.
  • 87% of Palestinians believe that people hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.

It would seem that true anti-racists would have a pretty difficult time defending such views – as some of the tropes are indistinguishable from the notorious Czarist forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

To boot, a Guardian op-ed published today by pro-Palestinian activists  and  begins with this headline and photo:

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The photo is surreal.  An op-ed about antisemitism doesn’t depict Jews, but Palestinians, who, we are told, are denied their basic human rights.

It gets worse, much worse.

Here’s the opening passage, employing a modified version of the Livingstone formula, in which it’s claimed that Jews try to silence and intimidate those who don’t share their views on Israel:

This week the Anti-Defamation League – an organization with a long history of trying to silence and intimidate those who don’t share their unwavering support for Israel and its policies – published a survey ringing the alarm about antisemitism.

So, to the authors of the op-ed, a poll demonstrating dangerous levels of antisemitism among Palestinians is itself an attempt to silence debate.

They continue:

Rather than advance our understanding of this serious issue, the survey seems predictably designed to stir up fear that Jew-hatred is a growing global phenomenon that puts the world’s Jews universally at risk, and that the biggest culprits are Muslims and Arabs, particularly Palestinians.

This is remarkable.  The ADL is evidently of guilty of ‘stirring up fear’ by demonstrating that Arabs and Muslims are the biggest culprits of antisemitism. Do the authors take issue with the methodology of the poll, or do they simply not fancy the results?

The following passage is even more astonishing:

The most striking example of a leading question undergirds the ADL’s claim that the highest percentage of anti-Semitism is among Palestinians who live in the occupied territories. The ADL asked a group of people for whom the movement of goods, money and labor is controlled by Israel, “Do Jews have too much power in the business world?. Were they really to be expected to answer anything but “yes”?

Evidently, according to Nevel and Kleinberg Neimark, Palestinians possess no moral agency and can’t be held accountable for standards of decency. It’s impossible not read that passage as a justification for Palestinian antisemitism.

The op-ed continues:

In its press release, the ADL states that “The most widely accepted anti-Semitic stereotype worldwide is: Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in.” It’s an odd indicator of anti-Semitism given that Israeli leaders consistently claim to speak for the global Jewish community and consider loyalty to Israel a precondition for being a good Jew. So it’s actually not surprising that this constant assertion has penetrated the consciousness of the rest of the world.

Again, the authors of the op-ed are justifying a historic antisemitic trope – the dual loyalty canard.  Do Guardian editors really find this morally defensible? Do they not know a thing about the injurious effects of questioning Jews’ loyalty to the state in which they’re citizens? The charge of dual loyalty could be seen in the Dreyfus Affair through the Nazi’s rise to power – and, yet, it’s as if the dark history of this idea doesn’t bother the authors of the piece, nor the Guardian editors who approved it.

Then there’s this amazing charge:

These questions, and many others in the ADL survey are designed to gin up paranoia.

Seventy-eight percent of Palestinians believe that Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars, but ADL is the party stirring up paranoia!

We’ve been monitoring the Guardian and Comment is Free for over 4 and half years now, and this is arguably one of the most repulsive op-eds we’ve come across.  The media group’s inability to take Jew hatred seriously represents a shameful moral abdication and makes a mockery of their claim to be a leading liberal voice.

 

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Harriet Sherwood reports on latest target of anti-Zionist witch-hunt: Israeli architects

As Harriet Sherwood’s days as the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent wind down, she’s evidently decided to use her remaining time doing what she does best: legitimizing the most marginal and hypocritical efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israeli Jews.  Her latest report focuses on efforts – by some ‘sophisticated’ Brits – to isolate the latest international ‘misfortune’: Israeli architects. 

Sherwood’s report begins:

Britain’s leading architectural association has called for its Israeli counterpart to be excluded from the International Union of Architects in protest at Israel‘s occupation of Palestine, in a further indication of the growing momentum of the boycott movement.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) has demanded the suspension of the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the international body, saying it is complicit in the construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and other violations of international law.

Riba’s president, Angela Brady, told a meeting of the its council on Wednesday that failure to back the motion “would send a clear message to the world that we as an institution turn a blind eye or by inaction support what’s going on – land grabs, forced removals, killing the state and human rights, and reinforcement of apartheid“.

Additionally, we glanced at the website of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which provides more information on the effort to boycott Israeli architects:

The full RIBA motion, proposed by RIBA Immediate Past President, Angela Brady, was:

“Since the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) has paid no regard to the UIA resolution 13* of 2005 and 2009, the RIBA calls on the UIA, as the international guardian of professional and ethical standards in our profession, to suspend the membership of the Israeli Association of United Architects, until it acts to resist these illegal projects, and observes international law, and the UIA Accords and Resolution 13.”

So, what does Resolution 13 say:

*UIA’s Resolution 13 (2005 and 2009) states that “The UIA Council condemns development projects and the construction of buildings on land that has been ethnically purified or illegally appropriated, and projects based on regulations that are ethnically or culturally discriminatory, and similarly it condemns all action contravening the fourth Geneva Convention”.

So, leaving aside the fact that RIBA evidently has no problem with the other 74 members of the International Union of Architects – a list which includes Pakistan, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Syria – it seems that, per their own language opposing building on lands which has been “ethnically purified”, they should boycott a member “state” known as ‘Palestine.

You see, while  there are no restrictions on the purchase of private land in Israel by Israeli Arabs or by non-citizens (nor any such restrictions on leasing public land to Arabs by the Israeli Land Authority), the Palestinian Authority bans the sale of land to Jews. The Palestinian Land Law, which was originally put in force by Jordan when they occupied the West Bank, carries the death sentence.

Is it even debatable that banning the sale of land based solely on the fact that the potential buyer is Jewish represents a perfect example of “ethnically purifying” the land?

But, of course, the BDS movement has never been concerned with the equal application of moral standards, but, rather, with legitimizing their racist witch-hunt – the targeting of Israeli Jews for delegitimization, demonization and exclusion.  

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Guardian propagandist Jonathan Steele egregiously distorts the Israeli position on Iran

The politics of veteran Guardian “journalist” Jonathan Steele are so off-the-charts that he’s accused Muslims who opposed Islamist rule in Tunisia of ‘Islamophobia’, written a spirited defense of the ‘tragically misunderstood’ Robert Mugabe and has even run interference for Kim Jong Un’s totalitarian cult in Pyongyang.  And, not surprisingly considering the ideological package he shows fealty towards, he’s also warned darkly of the Zionist influence on the U.S. media.

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So, whilst nothing he writes anymore can surprise us, it’s nonetheless important to note that his Nov. 11 ‘Comment is Free’ essay (Iran: don’t let the naysayers prevail) blatantly misrepresented Israel’s position on the current talks to reach an interim nuclear deal with Iran.  Here’s the relevant passage:

In Saudi Arabia the reactionary monarchy has long been worried that calls for internal liberalisation will radicalise the large Shia populations who live in its oil-producing areas. Against all evidence it claims an Iranian hand behind their demands for justice. Riyadh also stands to gain from continuing sanctions on Iran and the higher world oil prices they bring. Whether they are cynics or victims of their own propaganda, the Saudi rulers, like Israel, want no deal with Tehran.

In fact, as the most rudimentary research would confirm, Israel is not opposed to a deal with Iran.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has clearly made the distinction between what he calls a “bad deal” and a “good” deal, and has expressed strong support for the latter.

After meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Netanyahu said:

Iran is in economic distress and it is possible to get a better deal. Before easing sanctions we need to get a good deal, not a bad deal.

At his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu stated:

This is a historic process and these are historic decisions. I asked to wait. It is good that this is what was decided in the end but I am not deluding myself – there is a strong desire to reach an agreement, I hope not an agreement at any price, and if there is to be an agreement then it needs to be a good agreement and not a bad agreement. I hope that they will reach a good agreement and we will do our utmost to convince the major powers and the leaders to avoid a bad agreement.

At the Bloomberg Fuel Choices Summit, Netanyahu stated:

With every passing day, Iran is under growing economic pressure. One need not be hasty to conclude a bad deal. The time that has been achieved must be utilized for a good deal which dismantles Iran’s military nuclear capabilities.

In an address to the Knesset, Netanyahu stated:

There are not just two possibilities on the Iranian issue: A bad deal - or war. This is incorrect. There is a third possibility – and that is continuing the pressure of sanctions. I would even say that a bad deal is liable to lead to the second, undesired, result. There is no reason to submit to Iranian diktat; neither is there any reason to be hasty. Iran is under very harsh economic pressure and the advantage is with those applying the pressure. It is possible to achieve a good deal to dismantle Iran’s military nuclear capability. This cannot be achieved by the proposal now being discussed in Geneva. That proposal would make a gaping hole in the sanctions through which the air could escape from the pressure of the sanctions.

In fact, even the Guardian implicitly acknowledged that Bibi is seeking ‘a better deal’ in an official editorial they published the day before Steele’s own CiF essay:

Israel considers a bad deal with Iran to be worse than no deal at all. “Bad” would be any deal which leaves the Iranian capacity for making enriched uranium intact – Israel wants Iran to surrender the centrifuges it has created to enrich uranium. “Good” would be anything that sets the enrichment clock back.

Whether Steele is ‘a cynic or a victim of his own propaganda’, let the record show that his claim that Israel wants “no deal” with Iran is categorically untrue.

Guardian staffer ponders the “Evil Trinity” of Zionists, Neo-cons and Wahabists.

An Aug. 18 Guardian report titled ‘US has lost all credibility in the Middle East, says John McCain‘, elicited 156 reader comments, including one which noted the “sharp divide” in the U.S. between pragmatists and extremists – the latter consisting of the “Evil Trinity” of “the neocon-military-corporate complex in alliance with Saudi Wahhabism and Israeli Zionism.”  

Not only was the comment not deleted by moderators but, as you can see by the orange icon on the right side of the graphic, it was actually recommended by the Guardian staff.

staff pick

To be clear on why such honors are bestowed upon a select number of reader comments, the following message appears when you hover your cursor over the ‘G pick’ icon – consistent with the official explanation offered when the Guardian introduced the new feature last year:

pop up

The mind truly reels when pondering that a professional at the “liberal” broadsheet evidently finds such a hate-filled, conspiratorial, incoherent rant about the “evil” of “Israeli Zionism” interesting and worthy of debate. 

h/t Pretzelberg 

Glenn Greenwald’s dishonesty on the rights of women and gays in the Mid-East

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In Glenn Greenwald’s latest column at ‘Comment is Free’ (Sam Harris, the New Atheists and anti-Muslim animus, April 3) he attacks the “New Atheists” such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens for promoting what he claims is “Islamophobia under the guise of rational atheism”.  

Greenwald lambasts Harris – and, to a lesser extent, Dawkins and Hitchens – for suggesting that the threat posed by Islamic traditions and doctrines to Western political freedom is greater than that of Christianity and Judaism.

Greenwald’s response includes the following passage, which accurately sums up the gist of his narrative.

One can legitimately criticize Islam without being bigoted or racist. That’s self-evident, and nobody is contesting it. And of course there are some Muslim individuals who do heinous things in the name of their religion just like there are extremists in all religions who do awful and violent things in the name of that religion, yet receive far less attention than the bad acts of Muslims Yes, “honor killings” and the suppression of women by some Muslims are heinous, just as the collaboration of US and Ugandan Christians to enact laws to execute homosexuals is heinous, and just as the religious-driven, violent occupation of Palestineattacks on gays, and suppression of women by some Israeli Jews in the name of Judaism is heinous. That some Muslims commit atrocities in the name of their religion (like some people of every religion do) is also too self-evident to merit debate, but it has nothing to do with the criticisms of Harris.

If you’re wondering how Greenwald backs up his rhetorical inference – that there is moral parity between Muslim countries and Israel regarding the oppression of women and gays – his first link opens to a July 1, 2005 report about a Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade (the previous day) in which one ultra-orthodox man stabbed and lightly wounded three gay participants.

Gay rights in Israel

First, it’s telling that in researching attacks on gays in Israel he had to go back nearly eight years, and chose to focus on one isolated incidence of violence in a country which is – certainly by Mid-East standards and even in comparison to European countries – decidedly gay-friendly. Whilst even in Jerusalem, since the mid 2000′s, the gay pride parade has grown, and has been staged without incident (see CiF Watch’s coverage of last year’s  parade here), in Tel Aviv, as many within the LGBT community knows, they hold one of the most prominent and raucous annual gay pride parades in the world.  In fact, the city was recently voted ‘best gay city’ on a LGBT travel website.  

Additionally, Israeli laws guarantee equal rights for gays.  Israeli gays have represented their country in the Knesset and have been serving openly in the IDF since 1993 (years ahead of the US on such laws). And, in 1994, an Israeli court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to the same common law benefits as opposite-sex couples.  Israel is also the only country in the Middle East with legal protections for gays from discrimination and hate crimes.

Gay rights in the the Arab and Muslim Middle East

In contrast to Israel, merely engaging in same-sex acts is illegal in most Muslim and Arab countries in the Middle East (including in Gaza), with sentences for such proscribed sexual activity including imprisonment and (in countries like Yemen, Iran and Saudi Arabia) even state execution.  Additionally, gays in some Arab countries are murdered due to their sexuality by extra-judicial “vigilante squads”.  Even in Middle East countries where homosexuality isn’t explicitly outlawed (like in the PA), gays often face harassment, arrests, beatings and even death.

Greenwald’s other link, from the passage cited above, opens to a report on protests by women in Jerusalem over gender based restrictions on davening (praying) at the Kotel (Western Wall).

Women’s rights in Israel: 

Though such issues are of course a legitimate cause for criticism (see our report on the row over praying at the Kotel here), no reasonable person could seriously take issue with the fact that women in Israel enjoy a level of freedom which not only surpasses non-Jewish Middle Eastern countries, but are on par with that of other Western democracies.

Israel codified gender equality within their basic law in 1949 and was the third country in the world to be led by a female prime minister, Golda Meir.  Further, Israeli women continue to be represented in all levels of Israeli society.  They have served as Supreme Court justices, as government ministers, and, in 2013, 23% of the nation’s 120-member Knesset are women.    

As Freedom House reported: “Women have achieved substantial parity at almost all levels of Israeli society“.

Women’s rights in the Arab and Muslim Middle East:

In contrast to Israel, in the Arab and Muslim Middle East discriminatory laws and misogynistic customs are pervasive.  Here are some examples:

In Egypt, spousal rape is not illegal, the penal code allows for leniency in so-called honor killings, and female genital mutilation is still widely practiced.

In Iran, women cannot obtain a passport without the permission of her husband or a male relative, do not enjoy equal rights under Sharia-based statutes governing divorce, inheritance, and child custody, and “a women’s testimony in court is given only half the weight of a man’s”.  

In Saudi Arabia, women are almost completely excluded from the political process, are not allowed to drive a car, and cannot travel within or outside of the country without a male relative. The religious police “enforce a strict policy of gender segregation” and often use physical punishment to ensure that they dress “modestly” in public. 

In the Palestinian territories, due to laws and societal norms derived (or inspired) in part from Sharia, women are also at a disadvantage in matters of marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Rape and domestic abuse are pervasive, and even “honor killings” are not uncommon and are rarely prosecuted. Under Hamas, “women’s dress and movements in public have been increasingly restricted by the so-called morality police”, who are tasked with enforcing orthodox Islamic customs.

A 2010 Freedom House report on systemic gender discrimination in the Middle East noted that the overall conditions for women have actually worsened (since their previous report in 2005) in three places: Iraq, Yemen, and the West Bank and Gaza.

Finally, though most essays published by Greenwald contain serious distortions, the suggestion in his recent post that there is anything resembling moral equivalence between Israel and its Muslim and Arab neighbors in the rights afforded to women and gays is an out-and-out lie – and effectively illustrates the propagandistic style constantly employed by such Guardian Left activists. 

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Map of political freedom in the Mid-East, per the human rights group ‘Freedom House’. (courtesy of CAMERA)

UPDATE: Read a great post on Greenwald’s egregious misrepresentation of Sam Harris’s views here.

Not reported by the Guardian: The “plot to celebrate Christmas” in Saudi Arabia

The following story about an incident in Saudi Arabia, published in Alakhbar, reads as satire, but is all too real, and represents and interesting postscript to our recent critique of Harriet Sherwood’s tall tale about Christmas in Bethlehem , which conjured fanciful images of Christians under siege in the Holy Land.

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Here are excerpts from the Alakhbar piece:

“Saudi religious police stormed a house in the Saudi Arabian province of al-Jouf, detaining more than 41 guests for “plotting to celebrate Christmas,” a statement from the police branch released Wednesday night said.

The host of the alleged Christmas gathering is reported to be an Asian diplomat whose guests included 41 Christians, as well as two Saudi Arabian and Egyptian Muslims.

The kingdom, which only recognizes Islamic faith and practice, has in the past banned public Christmas celebrations, but is ambiguous about festivities staged in private quarters.

member of the Higher Council of Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mohammed al-Othaimin recently prohibited sending holiday wishes to “heretics” on Christmas or other religious Christian holidays.”

As Christians throughout Israel were freely celebrating the birth of Christ, in the neighboring state of Saudi Arabia dozens were detained for ‘conspiring’ to celebrate the holiday.

Meanwhile, on the Guardian’s Saudi Arabia page, there was nothing on the crackdown against Christianity.

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While Harriet Sherwood and her team of journalistic and polemical investigators continue to conduct a never-ending moral DNA analysis of the Jewish state for any trace amounts of racism or discrimination, the abominable treatment of religious minorities in the non-Jewish Middle East avoids serious scrutiny.

While we continue to report on the Guardian’s bias against the only Jewish state in the region, it’s impossible to properly contextualize such skewed coverage without noting the regional stories they don’t report.  

Such expansive moral blind spots, as much as any other dynamic, continue to define the ideological space occupied by the Guardian Left.   

What the Guardian won’t report: Israel wins at the UN. Israeli culture wins in the Middle East

On Dec. 21, 2012, a UN resolution on “Entrepreneurship for Development” was proposed by Israel, along with 97 co-sponsors.

The resolution encourages private and public sector entrepreneurship, “developing new technologies and innovative business models, and enabling high, sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth while protecting the rights of workers as the best way to deal with the challenges of poverty and job creation.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, said the following:

“The Israeli spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity prevailed at the UN today.  As a state that was founded in difficult circumstances, we have been able to create opportunities for talented people and have become an enterprising superpower. Creating a culture of entrepreneurship can work miracles and drive economies forward. Investing in human resources is a real message that Israel conveys to the developing world.”

The UN adopted it by a vote of 141 in favor to 31 against, with 11 abstentions.

The Guardian – which continually informs their readers when the UN censures the Jewish state – hasn’t reported the Israeli sponsored resolution.

Why does it matter?

If you recall, there was a huge row over comments during the US Presidential campaign suggesting that Israeli culture is a major factor in the state’s economic and social prowess in the region.  

Many commentators on the far left (including ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Rachel Shabi) scolded those who would suggest a connection between culture and success – imputing racism to such arguments.

Shabi characterized the broader narrative that Israeli culture may be more conducive to success than Palestinian culture as “standard-issue superiority complex racism”.

To those so easily manipulated by au courant post-colonial causation, the stubborn reality of Israeli success (as with Western success more broadly) must be explained by Western hegemony or other global injustices.

To the far-left crowd which occupies the Guardian, the word “racism” – typically understood as a belief in the inherent, immutable, biological or genetic inferiority of a group, race, or ethnicity – has been defined so expansively as to even impute such bigotry to those observing intuitively that some cultural habits are necessarily inimical to economic achievement and social development.

Now, take a look at the countries who voted against the Israeli resolution advocating “entrepreneurship for development”.

Algeria, Bahrain, Bolivia, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Yemen.

Do you see a pattern?

A strong majority of these states are plagued by poverty, under-development and despotism – and would greatly benefit from the ‘development through entrepreneurship’ growth strategy recommended by Israel.

Unfortunately, the majority of these states are opposed to Israel’s very existence, and some have a shameful history of having ethnically cleansed their Jewish citizens in the twenty years following 1948.

The resolution, based on the most intuitive reasoning, was opposed because it was the Jewish state which proposed it.

By obsessing over Israel, refusing to concentrate on the real problems plaguing their societies, and failing to instill the liberal cultural habits necessary to alleviate poverty and throw off the yoke of tyranny – as well as ignoring the lessons on how a small, innovative, Jewish country accomplished so much in just six and a half decades - they ensure that little progress will likely be achieved.

Those in the West who continue  to indulge such nations in the fantasy that their anti-Zionist delusions are justified, even righteous, are complicit in condemning millions to poverty, tyranny and hopelessness.

When is Saudi Arabian Apartheid Week?

Posters below created by our good friend, Elder of Ziyon.

Actually, Israeli Apartheid ‘Week’ (is it that time of year already?!) spans three weeks, Feb. 20 to March 11,  and seems once again to be an abysmal failure – based on the dearth of media reports on IAW – given the organizers’ herculean efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state.  

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Middle East – you know, in countries whose citizens could only dream of securing the freedoms enjoyed by citizens of the region’s only Jewish state – religious discrimination is codified, and misogynistic mores are more or less blindly accepted.

I’d humbly suggest contacting the organizers of IAW and asking when they plan to organize Saudi Apartheid Week.  Though, realistically, those who suffer from such an acute case of Israel Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, IOCD, (See the Guardian for evidence of this seemingly incurable ideological virus) are not likely to be moved by even the most stubborn evidence of Israel’s progressive advantages. 

Zionist pencils infiltrate Saudi Arabia!

First, it was a Mossad Vulture which somehow managed to avoid Saudi air defenses and land in the Kingdom’s territory, and now, in what can only be described as a shocking ideological security breach, Israeli manufactured pencils have somehow infiltrated the Saudi market!

Per YNet:

Saudi authorities are investigating how Israeli pencils reached one of the kingdom’s biggest retail chains. The Kravitz chain, which markets the pencils in Israel. 

The Kravitz chain, which markets the pencils in Israel, was surprised to hear about the affair stirring up the Gulf kingdom.

It turns out that Abu Rialin, a Saudi chain which offers all of its items for two riyals, is selling one of Kravitz’s most popular products – a set of 12 pencils with an eraser.

The pencils are sold with the Kravitz logo in Hebrew and without any attempt to conceal the fact that they are made in Israel.

Kravitz learned about the incident following a report published by Saudi website Jaza.

Interestingly, on the same day this Zionist Import Scandal was revealed in YNet, the paper also reported that, despite promises to clean up violent and antisemitic content, recent editions of school textbooks in Saudi Arabia continue teach school children to kill Jews.

The news network, which was able to obtain translated copies of the recently printed books from the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, DC, said that the books teaches ninth graders that the annihilation of Jews is imperative.  

And, to think.  Unsuspecting Saudi educators may one day shockingly discover that various scribbling, doodles, and lesson notes written on the very pages of school textbooks urging Saudi children to kill Jews, may have actually been written by the students’ Zionist pencils!

Saudi cleric’s message, offering reward for kidnapped Israeli soldiers, removed from Facebook

The Facebook message posted by prominent Saudi cleric, Dr. Awad al-Qarni, which offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who abducts Israeli soldiers, has been removed from his page.

Here’s the text of his message, as we reported yesterday:

“Media has reported the news that Zionist settlers pay huge amounts of money to those who would kill the released Palestinian prisoners. In order to answer these criminals, I declare to the world that any Palestinian who captures – inside Palestine [by which he means, all of Israel] - an Israeli soldier in order to exchange him for prisoners, I promise to pay him a reward and prize totaling one hundred thousand dollars.” 

Here’s a screen capture of the original message, in Arabic, as it looked yesterday:

Now, when you try to open the link to the message, you get this:

So, thanks to all the readers and fellow bloggers who complained to Facebook that the cleric’s post represented an egregious violation of FB’s terms of service.

What the Guardian won’t report: Saudi Arabian brutality that’s beyond description

This was published by Jonathan Narvey at The Propagandist.

First, they chopped off her head. Then they dragged the corpse through the air with a helicopter so that ordinary citizens could see what they’d done. To send a message, you understand.

A brutal drug cartel at work? No. A dramatic armed robbery gone horribly wrong? Not even close.

This is what sharia looks like in Saudi Arabia, where the rulers of the country claim to have the final word on the proper interpretation of Islamic law.

Read the rest of the post, here.

UNHRC used by dictators to undermine human rights

This essay was written by Hadar Sela, and published in The Propagandist

The recent incidents on the streets of countries as far apart asLibya and Bahrain, Tunisia and Iran have riveted the Western world to its television sets and Twitter accounts. The sight of authoritarian regimes gunning down their own people as though they were swatting flies has us outraged. Western politicians and human rights activists issue sober statements. Western journalists devote indignant column inches to the question of ‘how could they?’  But one thing is conspicuous by its absence; any honest and thorough appraisal of how the West has been complicit for years in ensuring that such human rights abuses could come about.

To our disgrace, we in the West have largely stood by silently whilst the world’s premier human rights institution, the UN Human Rights Council, has been monopolised by nations which belong to the cadre of those today firing on their own civilians in the streets of Benghazi and Tehran.

The Human Rights Council currently includes members such as Libya, Bahrain, China, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that its resolution of establishment demands that “members elected to the council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”.  Iran sits on the UN’s ‘’Commission on the Status of Women along with Zimbabwe.  Thus, it is hardly surprising that the UNHRC has been busier attempting to push resolutions on the subject of the ‘’Defamation of Religion than it has in upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in some of its member countries.

The dysfunctional nature of the UNHRC is all too apparent when one considers that human rights in Darfur, Tibet, North Korea or Zimbabwe have never been discussed in that forum or that the best it could come up with regarding Sudan was an expression of “deep concern”. In fact, the only country to have ever been specifically condemned by the UNHRC is a multicultural democracy with equal rights for women, homosexuals, religious and ethnic minorities which has a free press and an independent judiciary system – Israel.

That country alone was the subject of no less than 15 condemnations during the period since the UNHRC’s establishment on March 15th 2006 and January 24th 2008 – nine of those within its first year of functioning.  Three months after its establishment, the UNHRC voted to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every Council session. No other country on earth was deemed deserving of such intense scrutiny.

And so women continued to be stoned to death and homosexuals hung in Iran. Young girls continued to suffer female genital mutilation in Egypt and forced marriages in Pakistan. Women’s suffrage is still denied in Saudi Arabia and conditioned in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Freedom of expression and the press continues to be severely limited in China, Iran, Syria, Libya and Yemen, to name but a few.

Meanwhile, the liberal Western world has stood by and watched these and many other human rights abuses continue and even exacerbate.  In the wake of the killing and execution of hundreds of Iranians who demonstrated against the stolen elections in their country in June 2009, it was not the UNHRC which issued a (non-binding) condemnation of those human rights violations, but the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly.

Only months later, the UNHRC completed its ‘universal periodic review’ of human rights in Iran. Its conclusions were as follows:

“The Human Rights Council…Adopts…the report of the Working Group on the Islamic Republic of Iran, together with the views of the Islamic Republic of Iran concerning the recommendations and/or conclusions, as well as its voluntary commitments and its replies presented before the adoption of the outcome by the plenary to questions or issues that were not sufficiently addressed during the interactive dialogue in the Working Group.”

During the process of this review, the UNHCR heard from Iranian representatives, one of whom informed the council that:

“A salient feature of our constitution is its explicit and extensive reference to…the main pillars of human rights… Iran [has a] firm commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights …Iran is one of the prominent democratic states in the region.”

Female Iranian representatives at the review claimed that:

“The significant advancement of Iranian women’s status in the society during the period of 30 years after the victory of the Islamic revolution under the auspices of the strategic national policy and programs is undeniable.”

And even a token Christian was brought along in order to inform the UNHRC that:

“Under the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, race, ethnicity, and religion do not distinguish among people, bestowing superiority to one group over another.”

Read the rest of the essay, here.

The Chutzpah of Thomas Friedman

This is cross posted from the blog, Anne’s Opinions

Two articles that I have read in the last 24 hours have been enough to bring my blood pressure to boiling point.   I will address the first one here. The other will be addressed in my next post.

Both articles have several similarities. Both are written by Jews, both authors have a – shall we say – problematic attitude towards Israel, and both authors feel that they have a right, nay a duty, to berate and chide Israel as if she was a child, and in the more public a forum the better.

The first article in question, Postcard from Cairo, by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times, was brought to my attention by my dad although I had caught a mention of it in today’s Ynet. (Just judging by the huge number of comments it generated in Ynet one can see how much outrage it caused).

Thomas Friedman starts his article with one true sentence, and then ruins it right away.

For anyone who spent time in Tahrir Square these last three weeks, one thing was very obvious: Israel was not part of this story at all.

Correct!

And then…

the two big countries they knew were against them were Israel and Saudi Arabia. Sad. The children of Egypt were having their liberation moment

and the children of Israel decided to side with Pharaoh – right to the very end.

Bzzzt! Wrong wrong wrong!  His chutzpah and outright lies are breathtaking, even for a journalist known for his tangential relationship to the truth. He insidiously uses Biblical language to promote the idea that the Jews have switched sides, from Moses to Pharaoh.

But on what basis has he decided that Israel is on the side of Pharaoh? Where is his evidence?   He brings none; he just skips over this staggering pronouncement and moves on to his next bugbear:

Israel today has the most out-of-touch, in-bred, unimaginative and cliche-driven cabinet it has ever had.

I might even admit “out of touch”. But in-bred?? Unimaginative? Cliché driven?  From where does this malice spring?  Does he use this same spiteful language when talking about the Saudis?  In fact you will see that the Saudis, having been mentioned once in the first paragraph of the article, merit not one more word in the entire screed. Israel was lumped in with the Saudis purely to make a nasty – and untrue – point.

Friedman continues:

Frantically calling the White House and telling the president he must not abandon Pharaoh – to the point where the White House was thoroughly disgusted with its Israeli interlocutors

Once more he cannot resist bringing in Biblical allusions to entice the reader to relate the Jewishness of the State of Israel to the diplomatic events on its doorstep – no matter that once again he brings no proof, no quotes from the White House; in fact he brings no proof at all that anyone in Israel ever said those words or implied that intention.

Friedman graciously allows that Israel is entitled to feel nervous because of the possible abrogation of the 30-year old peace treaty between itself and Egypt, but immediately demands that Israel should dive in and

“need to get to work immediately on building a relationship with the dynamic new popular trend here”

Never mind that the Muslim Brotherhood is waiting in the wings, despite Friedman’s frantic denials. Never mind that this “Facebook-driven, youth-led democracy uprising” had no organisation behind it, and as of Friday the army is back in control.

He may have a point that:

Most of all, it is not about some populist upsurge that craves restarting the war with Israel. It is all about a people who crave the chance to restart their own future, their own lives.

but the point is lost amongst the distortions and outright fiction that he provides. He certainly does not take into account the realities of the region; the fact that the revolution has no leader, no organization, and the fact that nature and politics abhor a vacuum. Where there is no leader, a ready-made one will step in. The only opposition leaders with any organizational ability are those of the Muslim Brotherhood. And the Egyptian Army.  In this respect we in Israel need to breathe a (non-politically correct) sigh of relief that it was the army and not the Brotherhood who took control.

The story is anyway not over yet and we still need to be on our guard.  Will the army be able to address the Egyptian common man’s grievances? Unemployment, corruption, lack of personal freedom are rampant.  Will anything change or will the revolution re-ignite?

The Egyptian uprising indeed is not directly connected to Israel although its results have a huge potential for either good or terribly bad for the whole region.  Despite Israel’s justified concern regarding the eventual outcome of this revolt, Friedman is completely wrong in accusing Israel of demanding that the white House “rescue Pharaoh”. He misreads reality, makes up stories where facts are missing, and is willing to sacrifice Israeli lives for the sake of a nebulous possibility that lions and lambs will indeed lie down together in Egypt.

Never mind reality; don’t confuse him with facts. You’re ruining Friedman’s nice pink daydream of peace in our time. And if Israel has to be sacrificed and make sacrifices to achieve his dream – well, they must go ahead.  If not Friedman will think we are in-bred.

Did I say chutzpah?

Breaking News: Israeli vulture accused of spying cleared of all charges!

You may recall our previous story about a vulture from Tel Aviv University (code-named R65), which strayed into rural Saudi Arabian territory at some point last week.  After residents told Saudi Arabia’s media and security services that it seemed to be linked to a “Zionist plot” the bird was placed under arrest on suspicion of spying.

Well, CiF Watch has now confirmed that R65 has been cleared of all charges and will be returned to Israel soon! (No, this isn’t satire.)

CiF Watch would like to thank all of our readers – especially those from the Avian community – who heeded our request and contacted Saudi authorities to plead for R65′s release.

Free Mossad Agent R65 Now!

When a tagged vulture from Tel Aviv University (code-named R65) strayed into rural Saudi Arabian territory at some point last week, residents told Saudi Arabia’s media that it seemed to be linked to a “Zionist plot” and alerted security services. The bird has since been placed under arrest. (Yes, really.)

The accusations went viral, according to Ha’aretz, with hundreds of posts on Arabic-language websites and forums claiming that the “Zionists” had trained the birds for espionage.

At first, I must admit, I was skeptical of the accusation.  But, coming on top of the Zionist shark attack that killed and maimed tourists on Egypt’s Red Sea, the notion that R65 is indeed an Israeli spy seems quite credible.

As such, I’d like to make a personal plea, on behalf of CiF Watch, to the Saudi government, on humanitarian grounds, to please free Mossad Agent R65, now.