Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent slammed for misleading Tweet about Iranian arms shipment

Last night the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont tweeted an article from Haaretz/Reuters about a new UN report (obtained by Reuters) on the shipment of rockets intercepted in the Red Sea by the Israeli Navy in March. 

Here’s the text of Beaumont’s Tweet:

“Despite Israeli claims, UN panel decides missiles on the seized ship Kos were for Sudan NOT Gaza

However, here’s headline to the Haaretz story by Louis Charbonneau, published earlier in the day, that Beaumont linked to:

‘UN panel: Arms ship seized by IDF came from Iran, but not bound for Gaza

First, note Beaumont’s distortion of the Haaretz headline.  Though the headline only claimed, per the article, that the UN had determined that the ship itself (carrying the arms) was heading for Sudan, Beaumont twisted it to appear as if the UN had concluded that the arms (that the ship was carrying) were destined for Sudan – and not Gaza.

Indeed, if you read the article you’d see that the UN panel didn’t even address the question concerning the final destination of the arms, and certainly didn’t conclude that they were not heading for Gaza.  The article in fact noted Sudan’s role as a conduit for arms to Gaza.

The experts do not speculate in the report about why the arms were being sent to Sudan, a country which Western diplomatic and intelligence sources have told Reuters has in the past been a conduit for Iranian arms shipments to other locations in Africa, as well as the Gaza Strip.

In fact, the article clearly states that the UN report was primarily concerned with the narrow question of whether Iran was responsible for the shipment of arms, and thus in violation of the international arms embargo.

A UN expert panel has concluded that a shipment of rockets and other weapons that was seized by Israel came from Iran and represents a violation of the UN arms embargo on Tehran, according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters on Friday.

“The Panel finds that the manner of concealment in this case is consistent with several other cases reported to the (Security Council’s Iran Sanctions) Committee and investigated by the Panel,” the experts said.

“The Panel concludes that the shipment of arms and related material found aboard the Klos C is a violation of Iran’s obligations under paragraph 5 of resolution 1747,” they added, referring to the U.N. arms embargo on Tehran.

Indeed, the IDF never claimed – at the time of the interception – that the ship itself was heading to Gaza, only that the arms on the ship were to be smuggled by land from Sudan into Gaza via the Sinai.

 

Beaumont’s tweet twisted the text of the Haaretz/Reuters article to make it appear as if the UN had ruled out Gaza as a final destination for the arms – a distortion pointed out by a few Tweeters, including Yiftah Curiel (Spokesperson of the Israel Embassy in London), Peter Lerner (IDF Spokesman), Judge Dan (blogger at Israellycool) and this writer. 

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It doesn’t appear as if Beaumont has thus far responded to any of his critics.

Update: At some point following my reply (above) to Beaumont’s misleading Tweet, he blocked my account.

On Refugees and Racism: A Double Standard Against Israel

Cross posted by CAMERA

Recent press attention has focused on the repatriation of illegal African migrants from Israel. Reuters, the Associated Press, AFP, and UPI have disseminated stories. The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Financial Times, ABC, CNN, CBC, BBC and others have added their own reports.

None of this coverage has been complete. None has explained the context and difficult challenges facing Israel as a result of large-scale illegal immigration, particularly by non-Jews. Most of the media have depicted Israel as “rounding up,” “cracking down on,” “detaining,” “deporting,” “expelling,” and treating the migrants “like animals.”

But few media reports have been more offensive than a post on the blog of the reflexively anti-Israel British newspaper, The Independent. In his article, “Note to refugees from South Sudan: Israel is for the white man,” Richard Sudan tars Israel as openly racist and fascist, saying:

The continual persecution of the Palestinians, politically and ideologically, the military court system, and now the emerging negative view of non-white people should outline clearly what the overriding Israeli government consensus is. The superior race theory is one that we’ve seen in the past, and is the hallmark of theories centered on a perspective viewed through the prism of eugenics. Those theories are dangerous and they need to be relegated to the past-along with Zionism.

Richard Sudan ignores that Israel, alone among the nations, went out of its way to take in as free citizens black Africans — Ethiopian Jews airlifted in the 1980s and ’90s. In his efforts to falsely cast Israel as a racist state, he inadvertently betrays his own bias and either ignorance or dishonesty. He argues that Eritreans, South Sudanese, Ivorians and especially Palestinians have the right to be in Israel yet, according to his reasoning, only the Jews do not.

Whether overt, like Richard Sudan’s blog post, or more subtle, media coverage has framed Israel’s repatriation of illegal migrants incompletely, inaccurately and unfairly.

A Washington Post blog on the subject was peppered with words like “deportation” and “expulsion,”using the more apt term “repatriation” only once. And Isabel Kershner couldn’t resist a Holocaust reference in her New York Times article:

But the government clampdown is also ripping at Israel’s soul. For some, the connotations of roundups and the prospect of mass detentions cut too close to the bone.

“I feel I am in a movie in Germany, circa 1933 or 1936,” said Orly Feldheim, 46, a daughter of Holocaust survivors, as she doled out food last week to a long line of immigrants…

Does Feldheim mean to imply that those she’s assisting are in danger of being sent to Israeli death camps? By relaying this quote, does Kershner seek to conjure this idea? Inclusion of such misguided hyperbole distorts the news report.

International Law

There are an estimated 45,000-60,000 people currently living in Israel illegally, mostly from Eritrea and South Sudan. Some of them would be considered refugees by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):

The 1951 Refugee Convention establishing UNHCR spells out that a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

Many others would not be considered refugees, but instead migrants:

Migrants, especially economic migrants, choose to move in order to improve the future prospects of themselves and their families. Refugees have to move if they are to save their lives or preserve their freedom.

Only refugees have protected status under international law and the preferred outcome for them is to be repatriated. According to the UNHCR Handbook for Repatriation and Reintegration Activities, “The UN General Assembly (GA) has repeatedly affirmed UNHCR’s function of promoting/facilitating the voluntary repatriation of refugees.”

So, when Israel undertakes a program to voluntarily repatriate several hundred South Sudanese refugees, it is absolutely legal. Repatriation is exactly the course taken in the case of Liberian refugees being repatriated from GambiaAngolan refugees being repatriated from NamibiaAngolan refugees being repatriated from ZambiaCongolese refugees being repatriated from Burundi,Ivorian refugees being repatriated from Liberia, and the refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo being repatriated from the Republic of Congo.

In all of the above cases U.N. member countries,through the UNHCR, funded in large part by the United States, pick up the tab. But in Israel’s case, the people of Israel are paying — adult migrants reportedly received $1,300 each and children $650 each. In the non-Israeli cases, repatriated refugees received much less, only a few hundred dollars each.

However, the main thing that differentiates the repatriation of refugees from other countries from the repatriation of refugees from Israel is that there’s no outrage about it. Only Israel is singled out for widespread coverage, much of it tilted to the negative by repeated omissions.

The History

The press has overlooked Israeli history, ignoring Operation Moses, Operation Joshua and Operation Solomon; herculean efforts by the government of Israel to bring Ethiopian Jews, black Ethiopian Jews, to Israel. In a recent article in The Jerusalem Post, journalist Ayanawo Fareda Sanbatu, who came to Israel in Operation Solomon wrote:

The relationship began with Menachem Begin’s note to the Mossad, “bring me the Ethiopian Jews,” and it was translated into action as Israel sent operators into enemy lands to help the Ethiopian Jews. In the middle of the night many Jews left their villages and, without maps but only faith to guide us, we walked through the hills and deserts of Ethiopia and Sudan to freedom. This helped unite us with the living Zion.

Never before had black Africans been taken from Africa, not from freedom to slavery but from slavery to freedom. No other nation has ever done that. Only Israel.

 

The media also ignores the history of the Vietnamese “Boat People.” After the United States retreated from South Vietnam and North Vietnamese communists took over, hundreds of thousands fled to escape persecution and oppression. Many took to small, rickety boats, braving the weather and the threat of pirates. Countless thousands perished.

On June 10, 1977, an Israeli cargo ship en route to Japan crossed paths with a boat carrying 66 Vietnamese refugees. Their SOS signals had been ignored by passing East German, Norwegian, Japanese, and Panamanian boats. The Israeli captain and crew offered food and water and brought the passengers aboard. Neither Hong Kong, then ruled by Great Britain, nor Taiwan would accept the refugees so the Israeli ship transported them to Israel where Prime Minister Menachem Begin authorized their Israeli citizenship. Between 1977 and 1979, Israel welcomed over three hundred Vietnamese refugees.

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Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood obsesses, imputes racism, over Israeli construction of detention facility

A guest post by Anne, who blogs at Anne’s Opinions

Last week the Guardian slaked its anti-Israel obsession with an article written by Phoebe Greenwood focusing on a proposed detention center for refugees and illegal infiltrators into Israel.

The tone of the article is immediately apparent with the title “Huge detention centre to be Israel’s latest weapon in migration battle“. The use of the contentious word “weapon”, the lack of the word “illegal” in referring to the migrants reflect the automatic bias of the Guardian against even the most innocuous Israeli acts.

Addressing the article itself (all highlights are mine), it begins innocuously enough:

A vast detention complex is rising from the sandy grounds of Ktzi’ot prison in the Negev desert, close to Israel‘s border with Egypt, which will become the world’s largest holding facility for asylum seekers and migrants.

When it is completed, at an initial cost of £58m to the Israeli government, it will be capable of holding up to 11,000 people.

Greenwood then immediately takes on a sneering tone towards Israels’ very real concerns about illegal immigration, implicitly accusing PM Binyamin Netanyahu and his coalition of paranoia:

Despite unprecedented protests at rising costs of living, and increased threats to national security in a volatile, post-Arab spring Middle East, immigration is of such paramount importance to Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition that it has skimmed a minimum of 2% from every ministry’s budget to fund the construction and start-up costs of the building.

Despite Greenwood returning to factual reporting for a couple of paragraphs, quoting Israeli government spokesmen and officials about the numbers and implications of illegal immigration, she returns to her disdainful attitude towards Israel’s legislation:

In January, the Knesset passed a controversial bill categorising anyone attempting to enter the country through its southern border as an “infiltrator” who can be detained for three years – longer if they are from a “hostile state” such as Sudan.

“If we find any bona fide refugees, some will be able to stay and others will be sent to a third country that accepts refugees,” said Regev.

Greenwood goes on to compare the numbers of refugees allowed in to the UK with the numbers allowed in by Israel, ignoring the vast differences between the two nations. For instance, Britain does not have any hostile nations on its borders, let alone the 4 or 5 bordering Israel, not counting the assorted terrorist organizations, all of whom have an interest in flooding Israel with refugees, both to hamper it economically and socially, and in order to smuggle in terrorists amongst the refugees.

She then evokes an emotive tale of a teenage refugee from Sudan:

Mubarak, 18, arrived in 2009. He fled Darfur in western Sudan when the Janjaweed militia destroyed his village. The militiamen pursued families as they fled to nearby villages, looking for children to fight with them. His parents told him to run for his life.

He was 15 when he arrived in Israel and was held at a detention camp for women and children for 22 days, with up to 30 children in one small tent. He says the days in detention were the longest of his life.

“I didn’t know what would happen to me. No one said when I was going to be let out. That was the worst thing, not knowing. When you aren’t able to move, to go anywhere, you have too much time to think,” he said. “It’s not a good place to be. To think people would be staying there for three years, they would all be driven crazy. We are refugees. We aren’t supposed to be in jail.”

But Mubarak is not recognised as a refugee in Israel. Immigrants from Sudan and Eritrea are currently offered “group protection”, which means they cannot be sent back to their home countries – but nor are they afforded any rights or state support.

Yes, Mubarak’s story is indeed very sad, but this all ignores the unfortunately very real risk that refugees from countries hostile to Israel may include terrorists in disguise. Phoebe Greenwood does not see fit to include any reaction from Israel’s defence and security echelon who could give some much-needed background and context to Israel’s fears. For example in this Ynet article from last year:

The IDF officers told Netanyahu that al-Qaeda and its offshoots may attempt to send Sudanese refugees across the Egyptian border and into Israel with the aim of setting up terror cells in the Jewish state.

A senior military official told the PM that the terror group may attempt to recruit people in Sudan and train them. Al-Qaeda will then have the recruits infiltrate Israel, set up terror cells and recruit other refugees to carry out attacks in Israel, according to the army official.

Netanyahu was told that the past four years have seen 20 attempts by terrorists to infiltrate Israel through the breached Egyptian border.

Returning to the Guardian’s article, Greenwood allows Israel’s authorities to defend the quality of the centre (the new detention facility will have libraries, teachers, day care, basketball courts and several hairdressing salons) but cannot resist the hectoring derision from human rights group and of course, good old Amnesty with its in-built bias against Israel:

Following pressure from human rights groups, the space allocated per person has been increased from 2.5 square metres to 4.9, including bathrooms. According to EU standards, the “desirable” size is 7 square metres. A high-ranking official involved with overseeing construction of the centre says: “It will be very comfortable. But at the end of the day, we are dealing with people who have entered Israel illegally. I am not making them a hotel – although it’s not too far from one.”

Amnesty Israel’s position is that however much the conditions are improved, the prolonged detention of refugees is still illegal. “Detention should never be used as a deterrent. Asylum seekers should not be treated as criminals,” it argues.

The article concludes with a complaint from Israel’s civil rights organization:

Oded Feller, a lawyer for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, is among the activists opposed to the construction of the Ktzi’ot complex. Detention centres, he argues, are places where asylum applications are processed and people should be held only for a matter of months.

“It doesn’t matter if they have places to learn and play, they will be held there,” said Feller. “It will be a prison for people from Africa. The Israeli government is building a refugee camp, not a detention centre.

I can’t see that there is much difference and I don’t understand what Feller’s complaint is. Does he really want Israel flooded with hundreds of thousands of foreign migrants with all the economic, social and security problems that will accompany them?

Besides the egregious tone of this article, we have to wonder once again at the Guardian’s microscopic focus on every action and decision by Israel’s authorities. Does the Guardian bring as much outrage and faux-concern for the well-being of refugees who are trying to enter Britain for example?

How many articles have there been on Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre? A simple search of the Guardian shows no opinion pieces and only a couple of news items since 2010! In fact there are several refugee and migrant detention and removal centres throughout Britain, but none of these provoke the same outrage as does one single such centre in Israel.

Let’s also examine other refugee centers around the world and how the Guardian reports on them. The Guardian itself published an article this month on “Asylum seekers around the world – where did they come from and where are they going?”. Interestingly, Israel is not mentioned in the entire article. Obviously it is not such a huge refugee detaining center as one would imagine from Greenwood’s article.

A search of the “refugees” tag in the Guardian reveals that there is very little negative reporting of any refugee detainment center anywhere in the world besides Israel.

I eagerly await an outraged and emotional articles from the Guardian on the United States Immigrant Detention Centers, the various European immigrant detention centers in Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Ukraine (besides the UK), not to mention Australia.

The implication in Phoebe Greenwood’s article that Israel’s detention centre is somehow inhumane and racist portrays once again the bias that is inherent in Guardian reporting on Israel.

When one considers the fact that there is hardly a country without an illegal immigrant detention centre, plus the numbers of migrants relative to population size and the regional and geopolitical facts on the ground in Israel, one can only but shake one’s head in dismay once again at the Guardian’s obsessive focus on the Jewish state.

CiF piece by Brian Whitaker on “why media believes worst about Iran” draws on conspiracy blog

Brian Whitaker simply doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about Iran.  

He’s baffled as to why the media blindly accepts the conventional wisdom about Iran’s quest to develop nuclear weapons.

Despite the recent IAEA report demonstrating that Iran has been working on developing a nuclear bomb since 2003, Whitaker offers an alternative explanation.

 “[Iran's aspiration] possibly…wasn’t nuclear at all, but [rather] a project to manufacture nanodiamonds.”

Evidently, nanodiamonds can be used for polishing, as additives to engine oils, dry lubricants for metal industry, or as reinforcing fillers for plastics and rubbers.

You see, it’s all been a tragic misunderstanding. 

As proof of this alternative explanation – which has somehow eluded intelligence agencies, nuclear watchdog groups, and the international monitoring agency – Whitaker links to a fringe site called “Moon of Alabama“.

While I’ve never come across the blog before, a quick look reveals  a conspiratorial site which, in addition to being obsessed with defending the Iranian regime, shills for the Assad regime in Syria, alleges the “Israel lobby” is pushing for Turkey to invade Syria, and defends Sudan’s Omar Al Bashir’ from charges of ethnic cleansing.

Regarding the latter, the blog asks why “the neocon [Washington Post] editors are condemning Bashir, and accusing his regime of genocide, and then concludes:

“Another possible motivation behind the hostile position towards Sudan are Israeli considerations like the “Yeor plan” which envisions water supply for Israel through pipelines from the Nile…Supporting the suspicion that water for Israel is a motive for the false claims against Sudan is the fact that the “Save Darfur” movement is driven by Jewish interest groups.”

Of course!  It’s “Jewish interest groups” who are driving the reactionary campaign against the beleaguered Omar Al Bashir.

Further, the site advances conspiracy theories I’ve never come across before, such as the claim that al-Qaeda’s English language online magazine, Inspire, is actually produced as a “disinformation tool” by some Western agency.  They write:

 “Inspire is a general disinformation tool of some “western” agency with the additional purpose to flash out some dumb folks who then can be made into “terrorists” though FBI sting operations.”

The site also advances thinly veiled antisemitic narratives, as in this post, “Panetta tries to hold Israel back from attacking Iran“, which included this passage:

“A surprise attack on Iran by Israel alone, while useless against Iran’s nuclear program, would inevitably be followed by some acts from Iran against Israel to which the U.S. would than be pressed to respond by the Israel-firsters in Congress and the media.”

Oh yes, those “Israel-firsters” in the media.  Whoever could they be referring to?

So, Whitaker’s sole source in arguing that Iran is not – as commonly believed by Western intelligence agencies, and the IAEA – pursuing the production of nuclear weapons, is a fringe conspiracy blog which shills for Iran, as well as despots in Syria and Sudan, and advances antisemitic narratives regarding the threat posed by “Israel-first” media groups.

Please explain to me again why the Guardian is read by folks who fancy themselves “progressives”.

Simon Deng, Former Sudanese Slave: “Calling Israel a racist state is absurd and immoral.”

H/T Margie

Simon Deng, a former South Sudanese slave in Islamist Northern Sudan, gave the following speech at Durban Watch Conference in New York on Sept. 22nd.

He passionately refuted the malicious ‘Zionism is Racism’ canard and pointed out that it is the Arab Islamists who have engaged in the ethnic cleansing of millions of Sudanese, both Muslim and Christian.  He further notes that Israel is the ultimate destination of Sudanese refugees, not Egypt -who has attacked and oppressed them.

Simon Deng at Stand With Israel Event, UN 9-22-11

What follows is Simon Deng’s prepared remarks  before the Durban Watch Conference:

I want to thank the organizers of this conference, The Perils of Global Intolerance. It is a great honor for me and it is a privilege really to be among today’s distinguished speakers.

I came here as a friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. –I came to protest this Durban conference which is based on a set of lies. It is organized by nations who are themselves are guilty of the worst kinds of oppression.

It will not help the victims of racism. It will only isolate and target the Jewish state. It is a tool of the enemies of Israel. The UN has itself become a tool against Israel. For over 50 years, 82 percent of the UN General Assembly emergency meetings have been about condemning one state – Israel. Hitler couldn’t have been made happier.

The Durban Conference is an outrage. All decent people will know that.

But friends, I come here today with a radical idea. I come to tell you that there are peoples who suffer from the UN’s anti-Israelism even more than the Israelis. I belong to one of those people.

Please hear me out.

By exaggerating Palestinian suffering, and by blaming the Jews for it, the UN has muffled the cries of those who suffer on a far larger scale.

For over fifty years the indigenous black population of Sudan — Christians and Muslims alike — has been the victims of the brutal, racist Arab Muslim regimes in Khartoum.

In South Sudan, my homeland, about 4 million innocent men, women and children were slaughtered from 1955 to 2005. Seven million were ethnically cleansed and they became the largest refugee group since World War II.

The UN is concerned about the so-called Palestinian refugees. They dedicated a separate agency for them. and they are treated with a special privilege.

Meanwhile, my people, ethnically cleansed, murdered and enslaved, are relatively ignored. The UN refuses to tell the world the truth about the real causes of Sudan’s conflicts. Who knows really what is happening in Darfur? It is not a “tribal conflict.” It is a conflict rooted in Arab colonialism well-known in north Africa. In Darfur, a region in the Western Sudan, everybody is Muslim. Everybody is Muslim because the Arabs invaded the North of Africa and converted the indigenous people to Islam. In the eyes of the Islamists in Khartoum, the Darfuris are not Muslim enough. And the Darfuris do not want to be Arabized. They love their own African languages and dress and customs. The Arab response is genocide! But nobody at the UN tells the truth about Darfur.

In the Nuba Mountains, another region of Sudan, genocide is taking place as I speak. The Islamist regime in Khartoum is targeting the black Africans – Muslims and Christians. Nobody at the UN has told the truth about the Nuba Mountains.

Do you hear the UN condemn Arab racism against blacks?

What you find on the pages of the New York Times, or in the record of the UN condemnations is “Israeli crimes” and Palestinian suffering. My people have been driven off the front pages because of the exaggerations about Palestinian suffering. What Israel does is portrayed as a Western sin. But the truth is that the real sin happens when the West abandons us: the victims of Arab/Islamic apartheid.

Chattel slavery was practiced for centuries in Sudan. It was revived as a tool of war in the early 90s. Khartoum declared jihad against my people and this legitimized taking slaves as war booty. Arab militias were sent to destroy Southern villages and were encouraged to take African women and children as slaves. We believe that up to 200,000 were kidnapped, brought to the North and sold into slavery.

I am a living proof of this crime against humanity.

I don’t like talking about my experience as a slave, but I do it because it is important for the world to know that slavery exists even today.

I was only nine years old when an Arab neighbor named Abdullahi tricked me into following him to a boat. The boat wound up in Northern Sudan where he gave me as a gift to his family. For three and a half years I was their slave going through something that no child should ever go through: brutal beatings and humiliations; working around the clock; sleeping on the ground with animals; eating the family’s left-overs. During those three years I was unable to say the word “no.” All I could say was “yes,” “yes,” “yes.”

The United Nations knew about the enslavement of South Sudanese by the Arabs. Their own staff reported it. It took UNICEF – under pressure from the Jewish –led American Anti-Slavery Group — sixteen years to acknowledge what was happening. I want to publicly thank my friend Dr. Charles Jacobs for leading the anti-slavery fight.

But the Sudanese government and the Arab League pressured UNICEF, and UNICEF backtracked, and started to criticize those who worked to liberate Sudanese slaves. In 1998, Dr. Gaspar Biro, the courageous UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan who reported on slavery, resigned in protest of the UN’s actions.

My friends, today, tens of thousands of black South Sudanese still serve their masters in the North and the UN is silent about that. It would offend the OIC and the Arab League.

As a former slave and a victim of the worst sort of racism, allow me to explain why I think calling Israel a racist state is absolutely absurd and immoral.

I have been to Israel five times visiting the Sudanese refugees. Let me tell you how they ended up there. These are Sudanese who fled Arab racism, hoping to find shelter in Egypt. They were wrong. When Egyptian security forces slaughtered twenty-six black refugees in Cairo who were protesting Egyptian racism, the Sudanese realized that the Arab racism is the same in Khartoum or Cairo. They needed shelter and they found it in Israel. Dodging the bullets of the Egyptian border patrols and walking for very long distances, the refugees’ only hope was to reach Israel’s side of the fence, where they knew they would be safe.

Black Muslims from Darfur chose Israel above all the other Arab-Muslim states of the area. Do you know what this means!!!?? And the Arabs say Israel is racist!!!?

In Israel, black Sudanese, Christian and Muslim were welcomed and treated like human beings. Just go and ask them, like I have done. They told me that compared to the situation in Egypt, Israel is “heaven.”

Is Israel a racist state? To my people, the people who know racism – the answer is absolutely not. Israel is a state of people who are the colors of the rainbow. Jews themselves come in all colors, even black. I met with Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Beautiful black Jews.

So, yes … I came here today to tell you that the people who suffer most from the UN anti-Israel policy are not the Israelis but all those people who the UN ignores in order to tell its big lie against Israel: we, the victims of Arab/Muslim abuse: women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, homosexuals, in the Arab/Muslim world. These are the biggest victims of UN Israel hatred.

Look at the situation of the Copts in Egypt, the Christians in Iraq, and Nigeria, and Iran, the Hindus and Bahais who suffer from Islamic oppression. The Sikhs. We – a rainbow coalition of victims and targets of Jihadis — all suffer. We are ignored, we are abandoned. So that the big lie against the Jews can go forward.

In 2005, I visited one of the refugee camps in South Sudan. I met a twelve-year-old girl who told me about her dream. In a dream she wanted to go to school to become a doctor. And then, she wanted to visit Israel. I was shocked. How could this refugee girl who spent most of her life in the North know about Israel? When I asked why she wanted to visit Israel, she said: “This is our people.” I was never able to find an answer to my question.

On January 9 of 2011 South Sudan became an independent state. For South Sudanese, that means continuation of oppression, brutalization, demonization, Islamization, Arabization and enslavement.

In a similar manner, the Arabs continue denying Jews their right for sovereignty in their homeland and the Durban III conference continues denying Israel’s legitimacy.

As a friend of Israel, I bring you the news that my President, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir — publicly stated that the South Sudan embassy in Israel will be built— not in Tel Aviv, but in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

I also want to assure you that my own new nation, and all of its peoples, will oppose racist forums like the Durban III. We will oppose it by simply telling the truth. Our truth.

My Jewish friends taught me something I now want to say with you.

AM Y’ISRAEL CHAI!

The people of Israel lives!

Thank you

Guardian’s Simon Tisdall, genocidal Arab dictator whisperer, takes aim at Israel’s Prime Minister

Simon Tisdall

The Guardian is well-known for providing space for proponents of radical Islam who advance politics which are decidedly racist and politically reactionary.

However, Simon Tisdall’s defense last year of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir – charged with genocide for launching attacks on the black non-Arab population of Darfur which resulted in up to 400,000 dead (much like Noam Chomsky’s defense Mao and Pol Pot) – is an exquisite example of where the extreme left becomes indistinguishable from the extreme right.

The money quote from Tisdall (in his Dec. 27, 2010 essay) pertained to his complaint that al-Bashar has been “ostracised by western governments, [and] makes an easy target. America always needs bogeymen and Bashir fits the bill: big, bothersome, bad-tempered, black, Arab and Muslim.”

That final sentence should be placed in a museum of intellectual thought as a representation of the far left’s capacity to synthesize anti-Americanism, post-colonialism and a perverse understanding of anti-racism in order to defend the morally indefensible. 

Tisdall’s appalling defense of al-Bashar provides the moral context by which to judge his recent “analysis” of Israeli politics, in “Gilad Shalit swap has split opinion on Benjamin Netanyahu“, Oct. 18.

Of course, bashing the Israeli right is something of a sport at the Guardian, and Tisdall’s piece certainly doesn’t break any new ground.

Tisdall criticizes Bibi’s lack of strategic vision which, he observes, manifests itself in the Israeli Prime Minister’s failure to “use resulting momentum [of the Shalit deal] to bridge the impasse over the blockade of Gaza or kickstart stalled peace negotiations.”

I read over that passage a few times and still don’t quite understand what it means, or, specifically, how precisely Israel’s decision to set free 1027 terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit relates to a blockade of Gaza necessitated by Hamas’s little habit of importing deadly weapons from Iran to use against Israeli civilians.

Even more unclear is how Tisdall’s squares his complaint that Bibi has failed to use the Shalit swap to “kickstart stalled peace negotiations” with his subsequent complaint, in the following passage, that “the deal has further weakened the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in relation to his more militant rivals.”

So, which one is it?

Is Bibi’s sin his failure to use the momentum of the Shalit deal to “kickstart the stalled peace negotiations” or, rather, his decision to sign off on the Shalit deal in the first place, which, Tisdall simultaneously argues, “further weakened the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in relation to his more militant rivals.”

Either Bibi’s decision on the Shalit deal weakened Abbas and the peace process or his decision created new opportunities to “kickstart stalled peace negotiations” which he failed to capitalize on.  Logically, the two suppositions are inherently contradictory.  

As further proof of Bibi’s villainy, he quotes a former U.S. Defense Secretary complaining that  “Netanyahu is not only [an] ungrateful [ally], but [is] also endangering his country by refusing to grapple with Israel’s growing isolation and with the demographic challenges it faces if it keeps control of the West Bank.”

Tisdall, like so many other experts in the West obsessively critical of Israel, frames his hyper-criticism as a form of paternalistic tough love – saving Israelis from their own worse destructive impulses.  Jews, crippled as they are by irrational fears and a lack of strategic thinking, are unable to see clearly what is painfully obvious in the salons of New York and London.  

The failure of Israel to overcome the animosity of Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran is merely owed to an appalling lack of Jewish sechel.

If only Israeli Jews will relent in their stubborn refusal to accept the collective wisdom of the intellectuals, poets, artists and journalist sages of our day, peace would be just around the corner.

Tisdall opened his surreal defense of Sudan’s genocidal madman, in 2010, by complaining:

“Bashing Omar al-Bashir is a popular pastime in progressive circles” 

And, bashing and demonizing Israeli leaders has become something approaching a secular religion among Guardian left circles. 

Africa starves while international community continues to lavish aid on Gaza

A guest post by AKUS

Starvation of biblical proportions is sweeping across Africa. The pictures, like this one, are horrifying:

( Washington Post: U.N.: Famine in Somalia is killing tens of thousands)

But Gaza gets the food, the flotillas, and the boundless sympathy of the champagne humanitarians.

It is more than time to shut down UNRWA and send the food to those who really need it – not that crowd of world-class spongers:

Elder also recently posted this graph, indicating the top recipients of humanitarian aid between 2000-2009:

Elder noted:

In absolute terms, Sudan receives the most aid and “Palestine” the second most (the gap is narrowing in recent years.)  But on a per-capita basis, the Palestinian Arabs receive about 9 times as much aid as the Sudanese do, and of course far more aid per capita than any other people on the planet.

Cheap Blood

This is cross posted by David Suissa

As I was doing research last week for a column on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I stumbled on a story in The New Republic titled “Darfur Is Getting Worse: Why Aren’t the U.N. and U.S. Pressuring Khartoum to Reverse This Horrific Trend?”

According to Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College and author of “A Long Day’s Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide,” Darfur has become “all but invisible.” As he writes: “With fewer and fewer human rights reports, news dispatches, or even candid accounts from U.N. leaders, events in the region have dropped almost fully out of international view.”

This is the same region where, according to Jewish World Watch, 400,000 people have been killed and 3 million more have been displaced in the last decade. Sadly, Reeves says, the catastrophe there is deepening dramatically as they head into this season’s “hunger gap,” the dangerous rainy period beginning in October, when water-borne diseases become much more common.

Because of “increasing restrictions on travel imposed by the Khartoum regime,” Reeves says, “hundreds of thousands of lives are at acute risk.”

So, while human rights activists will be sailing their flotillas this month to protest Israel’s partial and defensive blockade against a terrorist regime in Gaza, thousands of Darfurians will continue to suffer and die — quietly — because not enough people are screaming for the murderous regime in Khartoum to ease the strangling of its people.

And this fall, while the eyes of the world will be fixated on the Palestinians’ diplomatic moves at the United Nations, don’t expect to hear much about the hundreds of thousands of Darfurians whose misery will be compounded by water-borne diseases and the cruel oppression of their leaders.

Even in President Barack Obama’s speech of May 19, in which he used more than 5,000 words to discuss the ills of the Middle East and North Africa — including more than 1,000 words on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — not one word was spoken about the genocidal suffering of Darfurians in Sudan.

Why is that? Is Sudan not “north” enough for the president — even though it borders Egypt and Libya and even Kenya, where Obama’s father was born?

If Obama cares so much about the downtrodden, why is he giving so little public attention to the humanitarian disaster in Darfur?

Why has a Hollywood actor like George Clooney spoken out so loudly against this genocide, while the leader of the free world has kept relatively quiet?

As Reeves reminds us: “Darfur’s ongoing catastrophe is poised to result in even greater human destruction and suffering. The reports are endles. So too, evidently, is the capacity of the international community to pretend that none of this is happening, or to ignore it, or to not care enough to act.

“The world has all the evidence needed to know that this is so, but it lacks the resolve to bring to bear on Khartoum the pressure that will change the regime’s brutal ways.”

It’s a funny thing: When it comes to pressuring Israel, the world never seems to lack any resolve.

As far as pressuring Sudan, Reeves concludes that “the Obama administration should make clear that, unless Khartoum grants unfettered humanitarian access and freedom of movement for the U.N. peacekeeping mission, the regime will see no lifting of sanctions, no further discussion of removal from the list of terrorist-sponsoring nations, no further normalizing of relations, and robust U.S. opposition to debt relief for Khartoum at the World Bank and IMF [International Monetary Fund].”

Why couldn’t Obama say those simple words in his May 19 speech?

What I find most disheartening about the Darfur crisis is that the facts are so clear. There’s no torturous debate here about “two sides of the story.” Like a passionate American politician once said: “The government of Sudan has pursued a policy of genocide in Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children have been killed in Darfur, and the killing continues to this very day.”

That passionate politician was candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

Three years and thousands of killings later, the tragedy continues. Where is Obama now? Sure, I know — he can’t tackle every crisis that comes along. But if the president can harp about the plight of the Palestinians — by far the most coddled victim group in history — why can’t he harp about a cause where 400,000 innocents have been slaughtered? If the “killing continues to this very day,” doesn’t that make the Darfurian cause at least as “urgent” as the Palestinian cause?

And where are all those human rights activists who’ve made a fetish out of bashing Israel but can’t seem to get agitated at the notion of murderous African dictators drowning their people in misery?

Are Darfurian victims not “cool” enough because they don’t throw rocks or look like Che Guevara? Are the bad guys not bad enough because they’re not Jews or Israelis?

Imagine being one of those African victims and watching the international news one night. Imagine how it must feel to see that your genocide is being virtually ignored, while the Palestinian cause has become the darling mission of the world and a media and U.N. obsession.

How can you not conclude that Darfurian blood is cheap?

How can anyone call that “progressive”?

The Guardian’s Simon Tisdall feels Omar al-Bashir’s pain

Omar al-Bashir

Simon Tisdall, assistant editor of the Guardian, in his apologia for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (“Omar al-Bashir is no bogeyman”, The Guardian, Dec. 27 ), reached new depths of moral equivalence; showed himself, and the paper he represents, to be deeply, and irretrievably, embedded in the ideological abyss of post-Colonialism, Western guilt, and anti-Americanism.

 

The following passage by Tisdall should be used in textbooks as an example of how even the most ludicrous charges of racism against the United States hold weight among the hard left intelligentsia.

Bashing Omar al-Bashir is a popular pastime in progressive circles, not least in the conscience-flaunting milieus favoured by actor George Clooney and other celebrity campaigners. Sudan’s president, demonised by the UN over Darfur, pre-judged by the international criminal court’s chief prosecutor and ostracised by western governments, makes an easy target. America always needs bogeymen and Bashir fits the bill: big, bothersome, bad-tempered, black, Arab and Muslim.

Later, summing up al-Bashir’s actions, Tisdall drops this jaw dropping line:

Bashir, so far, is behaving reasonably well.

Al-Bashir, the first sitting head of state ever charged with genocide, was accused of being criminally responsible for:

“intentionally directing attacks [by the government backed Arab Janjaweed milita] against an important part of the [tribal black] civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians and pillaging their property”.

The violence in Darfur, the charges state, was the result of a common plan organized at the highest level of the Sudanese government.

Up to 400,000 people were killed as the result of Bashir’s actions, and millions have become refugees.

It takes a lot of ideological conditioning to truly believe that the U.S. government wakes up in the morning looking for a black man, or Muslim, to demonize, and that American policy in Sudan is indeed driven by such racism.

John Prendergast, director of African Affairs at the National Security Council for the Clinton White House, said:

“…these tribal blacks have been subjected to one of the most brutal campaigns of ethnic cleansing that Africa has ever seen.

The Janjaweed are like a grotesque mixture of the mafia and the Ku Klux Klan…These guys have a racist ideology that sees the Arab population as the supreme population that would like to see the subjugation of non-Arab peoples.”

Though this blog is concerned with anti-Semitism (and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy) at the Guardian, and their blog, Comment is Free, Simon Tisdall’s apologia for the man responsible for the most hideous crime in Africa’s history – under the banner of anti-racism! – should serve to put in perspective his paper’s continuing vitriol against the Jewish state.

The newspaper which aims to become the world’s leading liberal voice shows itself, time and again, to be viscerally hostile to a democracy under siege in a region dominated by despots, yet has a soft spot for genocidal tyrants.

Something is profoundly wrong if the Guardian’s fellow political travelers can’t find the courage to call such moral blindness for what it is – a tragic and dangerous distortion of everything it ever meant to be called a progressive.

This is 85-year-old Abu Hamid Omar. Not only was he burned and branded in an attack by the Janjaweed and Sudanese Government forces, but his village was burned to the ground. Abu Hamid Omar was the ONLY villager to survive the assault.

Ugly demonization of Israel in S. Africa

Per the South African Zionist Federation:

“The SA Zionist Federation is holding its 47th Conference in March 2011,  and we recently placed an order for conference bags from a company by the name of Saley’s Travel Goods, based near Gold Reef City in Ormonde. The order was confirmed telephonically; we faxed it through and  immediately received the invoice for the goods.The following day, however, the same invoice was faxed through to our offices again, with lines drawn through it stating “Order cancelled by management!” and the following sentences handwritten on the invoice:

“Sorry, we cannot supply you any of our goods as we don’t want or need  your blood money! Please do not contact us any more and remove all our contact details from your records and we will do likewise. We don’t want to aid  and abet organizations that are responsible for crimes against humanity.  Please don’t pay! Don’t contaminate our account with your blood money!”

Over the past few years the SAZF has placed various orders with Saley’s Travel Goods, purchasing conference bags and folders from them. We have never before been confronted with such naked hostility, such unbridled hatred, such disgusting slander and such overt anti-semitic sentiment.

Companies are at liberty to do business with whoever they choose; and it  is their right to refuse to provide us with the goods. However, their reason for cancelling our order is deplorable; hence we have no compunction in naming and shaming them.

- Froma Sacks, Executive Coordinator, South African Zionist Federation

 


Apart from noting the extreme and glaring hypocrisy of  S. Africans participating in boycotts of Israel as their own country continues to coddle and protect the genocidal leader of Sudan, as Froma Sacks said, in the face of such intolerance, it is incumbent that we continue to “name and shame” those who seek the isolation and delegitimization of the Jewish state.