‘CiF’ contributor John Pilger lashes out at America’s “fascist” tendencies

Cross posted at the blog, Nick Nipclose 

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John Pilger

John Pilger, who has legitimized 9/11 conspiracy theories, suggested that Hezbollah’s resistance represented “humanity at its noblest” and supports neo-nazi Gilad Atzmon, claims, in his July 4 CiF essay, that the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales was “forced down” on “suspicion” that it was carrying a “political refugee” (Edward Snowden) to safety. The episode, he argues, is “a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world and the cowardice and hypocrisy of bystanders.”

Pilger, in contextualizing the incident, describes the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as “a vast Orwellian police state apparatus servicing history’s greatest war-making machine…engaging in criminal activity on an epic scale“. And, though, for instance, the NSA cannot wiretap without warrants, Pilger quite fancies Hugo Chavez whose party passed legislation allowing warrantless wiretapping, and whose government engaged in manipulation of the judiciary and intelligence agencies – the latter which had spied on the country’s tiny Jewish population.

Additionally, Pilger’s central allegation regarding Morales’ plane seems to be highly questionable according to Philip Bump at The Atlantic, who notes that such claims seem to be relying on “reporting comes from a single source, the Bolivian government”, and that some of it has already been contradicted. The “tall tale of the re-routed Bolivian president’s plane is falling apart,” according to Michael C. Moynihan at the Daily Beast, and “does not make sense,” citing, for instance, an audio recording of the Bolivian pilot telling an air-traffic controller that they needed to land because they were unable to get a correct indication of the fuel indication.

Taking his bizarre narrative a step further, Pilger then argues that the incident reveals that “the democratic facades of the US now barely conceal a systematic gangsterism…historically associated with fascism.”

Pilger is a leftover from 20th century faux radicalism, evoking Buster Keaton in the twilight zone episode ‘Once Upon a Time’, a comical relic from a bygone era. Pilger engages in antisemitic tropes with abandon, produces lies in service of Baathists in Syria and runs interference for Iranian tyrants, yet is moved to liberal outrage by ‘American imperialism’ which he believes most people, unguided by his enlightened morality and keen intellect, are unable to detect.

Extremists like Pilger play populist games but reveal that they have a very low opinion of the masses they imagine themselves fighting for.

Hanukkah Diarist: Antisemitism and the flight of the ‘progressives’

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Hanukkah 1931, at the home of Rabbi Akiva Boruch Posner in Kiel, Germany (across from Nazi HQ)

H/T Armaros

As my wife and I lit our Hanukkah candles last night, and we sang Ma’oz Tzur (מעוז צור), my mind darkly drifted back to a query posed last year by an especially thoughtful friend in the context of a longer discussion about Semites, philo-Semites and anti-Semites.

My friend asked the following:

“In the event there was another attempted Holocaust, would the world this time stand up and resist, and defend the Jews before it was too late?”

I chose not to reply to his inquiry because the seriousness of the question seemed to demand a more reflective and serious response than time would allow.

While, even in the most “enlightened” circles, the failure of so many to reveal, yet alone seriously confront, the Nazi genocide as it was being perpetrated is well-documented, in our post-Shoah world the homage paid posthumously to Jewish victims is nearly universal among the respectable class.  

Indeed, such pieties are often observed, if perfunctorily, by even the most shrill critics of the modern Jewish state.

However, in observing the failure of such a large segment of the ‘progressive community’ to engage in serious moral resistance in the face of explicit threats by many leading Islamists (such as the leaders of Hamas) to annihilate the Jews, it seems extremely unlikely that the next coordinated assault on world Jewry would be radically confronted.

Examples of the moral impunity enjoyed by antisemitic extremists abound: 

website closely linked to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei recently outlined why it would be religiously acceptable for the Islamic Republic to kill all the Jews in Israel – a doctrine which details why the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of all its people would be legally and morally justified, and in accordance with Islamic doctrine.

According to a 2011 WikiLeaks report, Sheik Yousuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a sermon broadcast on Al Jazeera Arabic, literally asked Allah to kill ‘every last Jew on earth’.

Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah has stated explicitly that all Jews in the world (not merely Israelis or Zionists) are legitimate targets for murder.

All one needs to do is visit the pages of Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI to view countless well-documented examples of Islamic extremists sanctioning (and often inciting) the mass murder of Jews.

Such expressions of annihilationist antisemitism are routinely ignored by the media, international human rights groups and even the most enlightened political leaders.

So, it isn’t at all surprising to observe the muted response to Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal’s recent speech in Gaza reiterating his group’s commitment to annihilating Israel - an eerie silence which stands in stark contrast to the righteous outrage expressed by international statesmen, opinion leaders, NGOs (and even self-described Jewish progressives) in response to the possibility that Israel may build new homes between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim.

In Gaza, on Dec. 8, Maashal was clear: 

“Palestine – from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, from its north to its south – is our land, our right, and our homeland. There will be no relinquishing or forsaking even an inch or small part of it.”

“Palestine was, continues to be, and will remain Arab and Islamic. It belongs to the Arab and the Islamic world. Palestine belongs to us and to nobody else.”

“Since Palestine belongs to us, and is the land of Arabism and Islam, we must never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation of it. The occupation is illegitimate, and therefore, Israel is illegitimate, and will remain so throughout the passage of time.

“The liberation of Palestine – all of Palestine – is a duty, a right, a goal, and a purpose. It is the responsibility of the Palestinian people, as well as of the Arab and Islamic nation.”

“Jihad and armed resistance are the proper and true path to liberation and to the restoration of our rights, along with all other forms of struggle – through politics, through diplomacy, through the masses, and through legal channels. All these forms of struggle, however, are worthless without resistance.”

Hamas’s Meshaal – as with Islamist leaders in Iran, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Palestine and elsewhere – are explicit about their desire to annihilate Jews, yet the world is silent.

Where are the righteous editorials in the Guardian and New York Times condemning such dangerous antisemitic incitement as impediments to peace and an affront to human decency?

Why aren’t European foreign ministers summoning Mahmoud Abbas – the putative ‘moderate’ Palestinian leader who continues to seek reconciliation with Hamas and continues to nurture a culture of incitement and extreme antisemitism in the territory he rules – or subjecting him to moral opprobrium?

Where are the ‘peace’ advocates, the ‘Elders’, the “progressives”, the “citizens of the world”, the social justice advocates, the sensitive souls and the “universalists”?

Where are the righteous walk-outs, the campus takeovers, the mass rallies in San Francisco, London, Paris, Toronto, and Madrid, or the boycotts against enablers of radical Islam’s malign Jewish fixation?

The flight of the progressives in face of such reactionary Islamist movements may be motivated by several dynamics, but perhaps the most egregious factor motivating this dangerous moral abdication relates to the capacity of today’s anti-Jewish advocates to skillfully employ the language of liberalism.  Islamist exclusivists have become adroit at using human rights and universalist lexicon to convince the gullible of the supreme threat posed by Israel’s expansionism, its immutable aggression, it’s ongoing crime against humanity. 

In this most fantastical moral inversion, antisemitism claims the mantles of anti-war, pro-peace, and anti-imperialism. 

The progressive ‘international community’ – cowed into cowardice, stymied by au courant activists who have convinced them that ‘this time’ those who stand against the Jews in fact morally represent the ‘new Jews’ – won’t lift a finger.  They will not “intervene”.

However, at Hannukah we are taught to believe in the miraculous.

So, while again this evening Chana and I will light our menorah, celebrating past victories over incredible odds, we will also remember that “miracles” often merely represent positive outcomes resulting from the convergence of a will to defeat your enemy, a belief in moral agency and an insistence on political sobriety.

The natural despair in response to the supreme moral abdication by much of the progressive community in the face of resurgent Jew hatred can not stymie Semites and philo-Semites in their steely determination to overcome the malevolance of anti-Semites.

“It’s All Netanyahu’s Fault,” the Guardian and much of the MSM Say. But Is It Really?

A guest post by Elan Miller, who blogs at Destination Israel.

Over the last few weeks and months, a spurious lie has been spreading. Nothing new, perhaps, lies are told the whole time. But this one is a particularly important lie, and it needs quashing with immediate effect.

The lie goes as follows. The Palestinian people want to live in peace. They want to live in peace, alongside Israel. They want to live in peace, alongside Israel, the Jewish state. They want to live in peace, alongside Israel, the Jewish state, but Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is an extremist and prevents them from doing so. Benjamin Netanyahu and his cohorts, the lie goes, are the sole reason why the peace process appears to be dead in the water.

To understand the claim better, we must go back some time. Earlier this year, Wikileaks collaborated with the Guardian to reveal hundreds of secret documents online. The Guardian went through the archives and found an astonishing incident. In an article entitled, “Israel spurned Palestinian offer of ‘biggest Yerushalayim in history”, we are told that “Leaked papers reveal [Palestinian] negotiators proposed concessions on East Jerusalem settlements, Sheikh Jarrah and Old City holy sites” and that Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat said the following: “It is no secret that … we are offering you the biggest Yerushalayim [the Hebrew word for Jerusalem] in history.” The Guardian had a field day with this quote, using it as proof that the Palestinians were ready to make mass concessions. What was not mentioned in the headline, or in the analysis articles, was that Erekat went on to say, “But we must talk about the concept of al-Quds [Jerusalem in Arabic].”

The Guardian is quick to inform us that an “unprecedented offer” was made “on the East Jerusalem settlements”, carefully picking and mixing quotes that painted a story of Palestinian negotiators adopting a conciliatory approach, going so far as to propose “that Israel annex all Jewish settlements in Jerusalem except Har Homa.” Put like this, it sounded very much like the Israelis were acting unreasonably, wantonly even.

In the ensuing debacle, Israel was roundly criticised for deliberately missing an opportunity to forge a real, lasting peace with the Palestinians. Had this been the end of the story, I would no doubt have not been writing about Palestinian lies, but about Israeli ones.

But the story does not end there. There is much that the Guardian neglected tell us in its editorials or headlines. For while Israel was indeed offered concessions by Palestinian negotiators, they were rendered obsolete and utterly invalidated when placed in the context of the greater plan put forward. Deep in the article, toward the end, we are told that Israel’s negotiator, was “recorded as dismissing the offer out of hand because the Palestinians had refused to concede Har Homa, as well as the settlements at Ma’ale Adumim, near Jerusalem, and Ariel, deeper in the West Bank.” Intriguingly, we are told that “Israel’s position was fully supported by the Bush administration.” Whatever one might say about the Bush administration, is worthy of note that the Israeli position was fully supported. No reservations were expressed. It was clear as day to the Americans that an offer on Jerusalem offset by a situation in which Ma’ale Adumim and Ariel would have to be ceded by the Israelis to Palestinian control was wholly unacceptable.

Not only this, but we might bear in mind recent statements made by Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s ambassador to the U.S., who said that the future Palestine should be free of Jews. After the firestorm that followed, Areikat then incriminated himself further when reiterating his position to the left-leaning Huffington Post stating that “Israeli soldiers and settlers — ‘persons who are amid an occupation, who are in my land illegally’ — would be rejected from the new Palestinian state.” So, not only would Israel have to give Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim over to the Palestinians, but in excess of 56,000 people would be forcibly ejected from their homes and compelled to find a new place to live. Is it any wonder that Israel rejected such a proposition? The peace process is dead in the water, but not for lack of Israel trying. It is dead in the water because the Palestinian leadership has led us so far up a futile and fruitless path that there is nowhere else to turn but to yet more ridiculous measures. By acting like a petulant child, not only is the Palestinian leadership dismissing Israel’s concerns and requirements, but it is effectively sabotaging the demands and needs of its own people, too.

For almost two decades now, there has been an implicit understanding that negotiations will take place based on the cease-fire line of 1949 commonly known as the “1967 borders”. This line was never intended to constitute a border. How it came to be regarded as sacred has been one of the greatest deceptions of our time. So when President Obama states that Israel will need to find a solution based on this line, this is a massive break with previous agreements and understandings. Instead of focusing on the abominable racial incitement and insidious accusations of land theft being propagated by the Palestinians, a blind eye is turn to such indiscretions and the heat is turned on Israel for having the gall to demand that tens of thousands of people not be uprooted from their homes.

It is revealing that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas saw fit to select Latifa Abu Hmeid, the mother of several terrorists involved in multiple attacks on Israeli civilians, to be the ambassador for the Palestinian independence bid. Abbas might be a moderate relative to his predecessor Yassir Arafat, but there can be no doubt that he is absolutely not moderate. In choosing such a person to endorse the bid, we are told everything we need to know about his vision and aspirations.

It would be bad enough if this was an aberration from the norm. But it’s not. Previously, Abbas has overseen the dedication of a town square near Ramallah to another Palestinian national icon, Dalal Al Mughrabi, the terrorist who killed 37 people, including 13 children, after hijacking an Israeli bus in 1979. At least two schools and numerous summer camps are amongst the recipients of having the dubious honour of being named after this murderer. Such are the heroes of the Palestinian people.

Even more disturbingly, you might have missed such enthralling television as this, in which little children are shown dressing up as suicide bombers and clutching mock AK-47 rifles. Similarly, another odious clip depicts a little girl facing the screen telling viewers that Israel “stole” all the land, and “changed the names”. It’s bad enough that the current generation make unreasonable demands of Israel. Much, much worse is that the current generation are being indoctrinated before our eyes, being led to believe that Israel – in its totality – has no right to exist at all.

So. Do the Palestinian people want to live in peace? To be fair, I imagine the answer is that many do. Most people in the world do. But do the Palestinian people want to live peace alongside Israel? Well, no, not if repeated attempts to portray the residents of Tel Aviv, Haifa, west Jerusalem and other internationally undisputed Israel-controlled areas as land thieves and aliens are anything to go by. As long as the entire Jewish state is repeatedly deemed illegal and a travesty of justice, then it follows that the Palestinians are not prepared to accept an Israeli state alongside it. As long as such agitation reigns unchecked, what hope is there for peace? 

It would take someone with all the vision of a Cyclops to believe that Netanyahu is responsible for Abbas’s endorsement and glorification of terror and his subsequent refusal to engage in negotiations. Benjamin Netanyahu’s fault? Israel wilfully spurning opportunities to make peace? Palestinians forced to a final resort? Hardly. Don’t believe the lie, no matter how many times you hear it.

Guardian’s ethical problems pile up: Police question senior Guardian reporter over phone hacking leaks

Now we don't have to read the book to know how they did it

A Guardian journalist, Amelia Hill, who was leading the coverage of the phone-hacking scandal for the Guardian has been placed under caution and questioned by police at Scotland Yard over alleged leaks from police.

It is thought that the questioning of Ms Hill, who has broken a string of exclusives surrounding the phone hacking probe, was linked to the arrest earlier this month of a 51-year-old detective on suspicion of leaking information to the newspaper.

It has been claimed she published information based on leaks from the detective assigned to the inquiry into the phone hacking probe centered on Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World.

Hill has indeed written several exclusive stories for the Guardian about the investigation into the phone hacking scandal at the now defunct Sunday tabloid.

In response to the police questioning of Hill, the Guardian argued that the case could have lasting repercussions for the way journalists deal with police officers. The statement added:

“On a broader point, journalists would no doubt be concerned if the police sought to criminalise conversations between off-record sources and reporters.”

However, the Guardian, whose coverage of the phone-hacking scandal regarding Rupert Murdoch and News of the World was as sanctimonious as it was zealous, still – as far as I can tell – hasn’t responded to the acknowledgement by David Leigh, the Guardian’s investigations executive editor, back in 2006, that he repeatedly engaged in phone hacking.  As we noted previously, David Leigh also happens to be Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger’s brother in law.

It was also recently reported that Leigh negligently disclosed top-secret WikiLeaks’ decryption passwords, thus enabling public access to hundreds of thousands of unredacted unpublished US diplomatic cables.

Guardian’s David Leigh disclosed secret WikiLeaks passwords for thousands of unredacted diplomatic cables.

H/T Margie

Guardian investigations executive editor David Leigh negligently disclosed top-secret WikiLeaks’ decryption passwords, thus enabling public access to hundreds of thousands of unredacted unpublished US diplomatic cables.

David Leigh

According to Wired.com, a keyword search of the file shows that “the uncensored cables contain more than 2,000 occurrences of the phrase ‘strictly protect’, which is used in cables to denote sources of information whose identities diplomats consider confidential.”

As Nigel Parry framed it:

“[Leigh revealed] the top-secret password revealing the names of U.S. collaborators around the world—information now freely available to all the enemies of the U.S.”

Specifically, Leigh published the password as a chapter heading in his book, “WIKILEAKS: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy“, which is still being promoted on the Guardian’s online bookshop:

Many believe that the Guardian disclosure is a violation of the confidentiality agreement between WikiLeaks and Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian, signed July 30, 2010. David Leigh, Parry notes, is also Alan Rusbridger’s brother in law, which has led some to believe that David Leigh has been unfairly protected from the fallout.

Indeed, it is not the first time the WikiLeaks security agreement has been violated by the Guardian.

David Leigh and the Guardian have, per WikiLeaks, repeatedly violated WikiLeaks security conditions, including requirements that the unpublished cables be kept safe from state intelligence services by keeping them only on computers not connected to the internet.  It has been claimed that Ian Katz, Deputy Editor of the Guardian, admitted in December 2010 meeting that this condition was not being followed by the Guardian.

By any estimate, this breach by Leigh seems to represent journalistic malfeasance on a grand scale.

Many sources have apparently been revealed in the document dump and even extreme left blogger Glenn Greenwald is acknowledging that lives  (including whistleblowers and human rights activists) have been put in danger.

PJ Crowley, U.S. State Department spokesman, told AP on the 30th of August, 2011 that “any autocratic security service worth its salt” would probably already have the complete unredacted archive. For many people in totalitarian states this could prove life-threatening.

As we noted back in January, regarding Leigh’s role in orchestrating the WikiLeaks plot, the initial release of documents even then included secret cables containing a list of key U.S. installations around the world which, if targeted by terrorists, could have a potentially “debilitating impact on security, national economic security, [or] national public health.”  

The current public release of unredacted versions of cables, Der Spiegel argued, represents “A chain of careless mistakes…indiscretions and confusion [which] now means that no potential whistleblower would feel comfortable turning to a leaking platform right now.”

In other words, Leigh’s careless behavior – his recklessness in pursuit of what he determined to be in the public’s best interest – may have a severe chilling effect on socially minded citizens who would normally be predisposed (with the assumption of confidentiality) to inform the public about dishonest or illegal activities occurring in a government, a public or private organization, or a corporation.

Leigh’s “war on secrecy” may have the unintended consequence of making it far less likely that secrets whose revelation would truly serve the public interest will be revealed. 

The Palestine Papers and the Malice of Journalism

This is cross posted by Kendrick Macdowell, who blogs at The Prince and The Little Prince

“The Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that it is impossible, we already have the land and cannot create the state.” —Tzipi Livni, 2008, then Israeli foreign minister

Let that statement sink in for a moment, and you will appreciate one of the most disturbing pathologies about the Middle East peace process—but not the one you think.

The quote was featured prominently in the liberal British newspaper The Guardian as part of its coverage of the so-called “Palestinian Papers”—1,600 documents about Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations leaked to Al-Jazeera and provided to The Guardian.

Here is what Ms. Livni actually said:

“I understand the sentiments of the Palestinians when they see the settlements being built. The meaning from the Palestinian perspective is that Israel takes more land, that the Palestinian state will be impossible, the Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that it is impossible, we already have the land and cannot create the state.”

Consistent with its policy of active malice against Israel, The Guardian deliberately converted a statement by Ms. Livni describing Palestinian perceptions into a declaration by Ms. Livni of actual and pernicious Israeli policy. In short, The Guardian brazenly lied.

Ever determined to demonize Israel as the obstacle to peace, The Guardian introduced the Palestinian Papers with the blaring banner, Israel spurned Palestinian offer of ‘biggest Yerushalayim in history’.” (Yerushalayim is the sonorous Hebrew word for Jerusalem.) Yes, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, spoke the phrase “biggest Yerushalayim in history”—much exploited elsewhere by The Guardian—just as Tzipi Livni spoke the words attributed, with scissoring malice, to her. But Erekat’s words in context belie the Guardian narrative of Israeli intransigence:

Israelis want the two-state solution but they don’t trust. They want it more than you think, sometimes more than Palestinians. What is in that paper gives them the biggest Yerushalayim in Jewish history, symbolic number of refugees return, demilitarized state…what more can I give?

So Israel does want a two-state solution, sometimes even more than the Palestinians. The Guardian, evidently less so.  And just to make sure there was no lingering ambiguity about The Guardian‘s bigotry, it published a cartoon of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dressed up like an Orthodox Jew toting an Uzi-like gun— drawn by cartoonist Carlos Latuff, known for his viciously anti-Israel work. What a splendid contribution to peace.

The revelations from the Palestinian Papers are not especially surprising—negotiations were cordial, frank, serious, and constructive—but the “journalists” at Al-Jazeera and The Guardian are full of fraudulent and bigoted surprises. Even more disturbing than the apparent intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (for which the Palestinian Papers actually suggest a ray of hope) is the despicable state of much “journalism” concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (for which there is evidently no hope).

By comparison, WikiLeaks’ impish and reckless Julian Assange, who simply dumps secrets that imperil human lives, looks cherubic.

While The Guardian anchored the anti-peace process in the West, Al-Jazeera ensured hostility to peace in the Arab world, with particular attention to slandering Palestinians. Declared Al-Jazeera in one “news” article: “The Palestinian Authority (PA) has shown operational willingness to co-operate with Israel to kill its own people, The Palestine Papers indicate.” This is not journalism. This is cynical and fraudulent hate-mongering.

The slander about craven Palestinian negotiators making unprecedented concessions has already sent Palestinians scurrying for cover, immeasurably complicating an always delicate negotiation dynamic. In fact, Palestinian negotiators acted as sophisticated diplomats, in pursuit of a realistic peace that neither Al-Jazeera norThe Guardian want.

But then, surrounding Arab regimes have always had an interest in perpetuating the suffering of the Palestinian people. PA President Abbas condemned Al-Jazeera’s agenda as sparking a Tunisian-style uprising among Palestinians. Maybe so, maybe no, but Palestinians, thinking that surely 23 Arab states and 57 Muslim states have their backs against one Jewish state, have put so much misplaced faith in a fake solidarity that has failed them for 60 years.

Ghassan Khatib, Executive Director of the Arab Reform Institute, straightforwardly called Al-Jazeera’s coverage “malevolent.”

Al-Jazeera, which already pursues an Islamic political and ideological agenda, not only posted these documents on a website, but produced four major television programs “presenting” the documents. Al-Jazeera maliciously took things out of context with the objective of exaggerating the negative light they cast on the Palestinian Authority.

Negotiations may be suspended—but I see a tiny ray of hope. I see Palestinians and Israelis both recognizing that no one else in the world has as much shared interest with either of them as they do between themselves. I see Palestinians finally recognizing the cynicism of their Arab brothers in surrounding autocratic regimes that have exploited Palestinians for decades, and used Palestinian aspirations for their own cynical purposes while contributing nothing of consequence to—and often actively thwarting—the betterment of the Palestinian people and the peace process. I see Israelis resolving to trust again, to use power sparingly, to partner with their Palestinian brothers and make Semitic peace. I see recognition by Palestinians and Israelis that their lives, their livelihoods, their peace and security have become a ghoulish global sport, with hateful-half-baked and massively misinformed opinions traded like baseball cards. I see Palestinians and Israelis recognizing that hate and bigotry are imports from this global ghoulish sport, and resolving with vigor befitting their children to be done with them in their respective communities. I see honorable Palestinians and honorable Israelis re-committing to negotiating peace on terms that honor their children, rather than the distorted politics of foreign cynics. Yes, I see peace.

It is, admittedly, a tiny ray of hope, and perhaps one I’ll not be privileged to see realized in my lifetime, such is the anger and hate and suspicion that plasters the region. But I believe my son’s generation will make it happen. And I honor him and them in hopeful anticipation.

The Palestine Papers, & the speech to Palestinians that Mahmoud Abbas will never give

This is cross posted by Yitzchak Besser at the American Jewish Committee

My friend at The Jerusalem Post takes credit for PaliLeaks. Not the story, mind you, just the catchy title that’s been floating around lately for the “Palestine Papers” leaks that have been broadcast by Al-Jazeera and published by The Guardian.

After a week of breaking stories revealing intimate details from the peace process’s cast of characters that we’ve all come to know and love (to complain about over coffee), we’ve seen our share of PaliLeaks. As it was noted by another writer at the Post, one of the first things that come to mind about the Palestine Papers is that it is no WikiLeaks. These are not the writings of relatively obscure diplomats; rather they are heavy hitters like Livni, Abbas and Qurei.  Nor are they correspondence from the field back to Washington about the latest updates from places normally relegated to the back of the paper. This is Israel, the Middle East, page 1 around the globe, regardless of just how tired the public is of the never-ending Mediterranean story.

These leaks are a revelation. At least, that’s the way the pundits are spinning it. Like some fantastical mirror, they are providing people from across the spectrum with political fodder to say, “Ah! You see, I was right! Look there. That’s exactly what I said was happening.” So what’s the real take on the revelations from the closed-room negotiations?

Israelis, it should come as no surprise, are a cynical people.

By and large, the details coming out of the Palestine Papers aren’t fazing the Israeli populace. “We’ve been talking for ages, let’s see some action. In the meantime, back to the salt mines and watering holes.” Even talking of Ma’aleh Adumim as part of a future Palestinian state or the PA’s begrudging (and now of course, utterly denied by them) acceptance that the “right of return” is national suicide are only blips on our radar. Sure, it’s good to hear them out in the open, but those who know the score have already seen the highlight reel. Here, the ground will shake when rumors become reality and the political machine starts moving at full speed instead of creaking along.

The real dynamism of the story comes not from Israeli society, but from the Palestinian one. The PA leaders have been misleading their people, Al-Jazeera has been crying from the rooftops. Behold, they spoke of never coordinating with the hated Zionist enemy, yet here they are making security arrangements. Jerusalem and the right of return are sacred and beyond discussion so why are they shown here making deals in Israeli dens?

Even the bare minimum – statements that increasingly sound more like demands rather than bargaining chips, terms which Israel is simply unable to accept – are beyond the PA’s capacity to deliver. To put it simply, the mere talk of negotiations has the Palestinian public up in arms. Abbas and company can feel the earth falling from beneath their feet. They recognize that the PaliLeaks are an attack on themselves, on their credibility and their perceived loyalty to a cause – a Palestinian state that refuses to yield even a millimeter to Western and Zionist forces.

Sadly, Abbas has played into Al-Jazeera’s trap. In a condolence call to Israeli President Shimon Peres after the passing of his wife Sonia, the Palestinian premier told the grieving leader that Israel and the PA must stand together “like a wall” against the delegitimization facing his tentative regime. In essence, he’s turned to Israel, and that’s what his people will see. Of course the closeness between us is a blessing, but this sends entirely the wrong message. Moreover, his denials of the Palestine Papers and claims of slander only further fan the flames of outrage, as Hamas sits back and laughs while upholding itself as the only champion of a betrayed and downtrodden Palestine.

Abbas’s Palestinian people are categorically opposed to the idea of give-and-take. It is that intransigence which is at the heart of both the stalled peace process and the Palestinian man on the street. Al-Jazeera and the Guardian are well aware of this fact, and have brought it to the fore with their leaked coverage of the negotiations scattering this past decade’s history like smashed bugs on a windshield. By capitalizing on the public’s unwillingness to even contemplate a settlement with Israel, Al-Jazeera and the Guardian have set the peace process even further back and threatened to topple certainly the support for Abbas’s Western-backed PA, if not the entire organization.

Abbas needs to run toward his people, not away from them, and embrace these claims rather than deny them. He must own up to his actions, and stand for what the PaliLeaks attempts to represent: honesty. If he believes that peace will come through negotiation (and if he does not, then this is all moot), then he must convince his people of that fact, instead of hiding behind double-talk.

The PA leadership lacks the moral courage and integrity to stand before its constituents and say,

“We are fighting – and will continue to fight – for a Palestinian state. A state free of violence and corruption. A state that prides itself on its strength rather than the nascent immaturity of a people only beginning to quest after their independence. We have fought for far too long, my brothers, and we have grown and developed as we near ever closer to our goals. We have struggled with the Zionist enterprise and it will not end with their obliteration, nor will it end with ours. Statehood, success, power – these things come with sacrifice and we have sacrificed much for the sake of our goals. To obtain them, to achieve our long-sought-after independence, I have looked into the eyes of the Zionists and stated our claims, as they, without blinking, have told me theirs.

“There are those – here in Palestine, in the Middle East and the world at large – that do not wish for a free and independent Palestinian state. They are the reason that we face this crisis today. But I would see us free from the camps, not to conquer Tel Aviv and Haifa but to build Ramallah and Jenin and Nablus into a place that far surpasses the hopes our imaginations can conceive of from our squalor.

“Acceptance is a bitter pill to swallow. My anger at the miseries and catastrophes and unfairness that History’s cruel hand has thrown down upon, my anger has washed over me and I have let it go. Allah has sent us these things to make us stronger, and stronger we have become. We have become wiser, and in our wisdom, we have recognized His hand. He has brought our enemies to us with a promise of a free land, and I will not spurn his gift. The Zionists are our neighbors. This is His will. And I will work with them and stand guard against them in the effort of seeing our dream, our homeland, our Palestine live.”

There are those, I’m sure who will call me naïve or ignorant (or worse, I’m sure) for such an approach. I do not claim it will be easy or that it will happen overnight. But the PA leadership must, in fact, lead their people, rather than be lead by them and their societal stigmas against any kind of dialogue with Israel that doesn’t inherently and immediate given them exactly what they want. Leadership is a dangerous endeavor, and one not for the likes of weak-hearted men.  If Abbas wants to contribute to a lasting national history for the Palestinians, he must accept the mantle of responsibility in light the claims made against him through the Palestine Papers.

Al-Jazeera and the Guardian have used the leaks for ratings and a targeted attack against the very notion of a negotiation between the Israelis and the Palestinians through the manipulation of a single fact: Until the Palestinian people accept that a give-and-take must be about giving as well as taking, then there can be no hope for this peace process.

The Guardian’s notoriety (Part 1.)

One of the good things to come out of the Guardian’s “Palestine Papers” series was a noticeable increase in the number of bloggers, writers, and journalists (from across the political spectrum) who became aware of the egregious ideological bias at the Guardian.

This is the first installment of a new focus on other stellar bloggers and websites who expose the Guardian’s (anti-Israel) activist-journalism.

We have many allies in our fight against anti-Semitism (and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy) at the Guardian, and have always felt that – when it comes to this vital mission – egos must be checked at the door, and credit must be given where it is deserved.

So, in today’s edition we note stellar posts by the blog of Just Journalism, The Wire, and Elder of Ziyon.

The Wire noted a story by the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood which vividly described a hero’s welcome for a Hamas terrorist who recently escaped from an Egyptian prison.

Read their post, here.

Elder’s piece isn’t so much about the Guardian as it is an attack on a story in the Telegraph which contains a gross distortion about the significance of a WikiLeaks document.  However, we’re including it due to the way Elder chose to frame the Telegraph’s journalistic bias – as “taking a page from the Guardian.”

We’re always pleased when the Guardian is rightly recognized as the nadir of journalistic bias.

Read Elder’s post, here.

(We also invite you to contact us if you find a story in another publication – one that we may have missed – which rightly names and shames the Guardian.)

Assange and Guardian lover’s quarrel revealed!

H/T Harry’s Place

Sorry for the tabloid headline, but this is just fun.

Faster than you can say “criminal conspiracy“, the Guardian has published a book about the WikiLeaks saga, edited by their own David Leigh, entitled, “Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy.”

The synopsis of the book – which you can conveniently order at the Guardian’s website for about $10 – says:

It was the biggest leak in history. WikiLeaks infuriated the world’s greatest superpower, embarrassed the British royal family and helped cause a revolution in Africa. The man behind it was Julian Assange, one of the strangest figures ever to become a worldwide celebrity.

So, you’d think Assange would be flattered by the attention, moved by such a public display of affection by his partner in crime, right?

Wrong.

WikiLeaks posted this not-so-sweet Tweet:

Ouch!

I guess the storybook romance between an anti-establishment radical such as Assange and a radical chic poser such as the Guardian wasn’t going to last.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the Guardian.

As you may recall from our video, Leigh is on record acknowledging that the Guardian was the one who approached Assange in a cafe, and spent six hours persuading him that they were meant to be together.  While Assange ultimately agreed, the Guardian clearly never had “hand” in the relationship, and constantly struggled with the insecurity of wondering if Assange took the union seriously. Indeed, Assange’s flirtations with The New York Times and Der Spiegel were reported to be a continuing source of friction.

While it’s too soon, of course, to speculate about the possibility for reconciliation, we’ll update this story if their status – currently listed as “its complicated” on Facebook – changes.

Next issue: Best friend reveals that WikiLeaks founder complained that Guardian was “too needy and immature.”

4 Reasons Why The Guardian Was Al Jazeeras’s Best PaliLeaks Pair

This is cross posted by Pesach Benson at Honest Reporting.

Our new Question of the Week asks:

Why might Al Jazeera have chosen The Guardian over larger Western news services to partner in the Palestine Papers leak?

Here are my four reasons why The Guardian made the most sense for Al Jazeera:

  1. The paper demonstrated during Wikileaks that it knows how to distill and present a large volume of documents.
  2. The Guardian can spin anything against Israel.
  3. The nature of the paper’s Comment is Free section (and commenters) guarantees to keep the topic alive longer than any other newspaper.
  4. Perhaps the NY Times will be an exception, but I don’t see leakers with an agenda giving documents to newspapers with paywalls.

Other factors are involved, of course. See what readers are saying and post your thoughts on the weekly question.

The Questions Jonathan Freedland Must Ask

Jonathan Freedland was sent out on January 25th to man the barricades against the rising tide of criticism over the Guardian’s decision to publish the leaked ‘Palestine papers’.

It has to be said that he did his best; invoking fine principles such as the readers’ right to know and opposition to the suppression of information, as well as disconnecting journalistic obligations from the management of their aftermath.

“Of course publication will have political consequences, even awkward ones. But that cannot be for journalists and editors to decide: their job is to find out what is happening and report it, as best they can. The consequences are for others to manage.”

He even appears to have convinced himself to a certain extent that the Guardian is to be congratulated for playing the catalyst in the recent uprising in Tunisia by publishing the Wikileaks cables, although it may be prudent to wait and see how that pans out before handing out the bouquets. Should the Islamists gain power, the general population may yet prove to be no better off than before.

“The point here is that journalists shouldn’t be expected to weigh all the possible consequences of publication because the most important can – as in the Tunisia case – be unforeseen. Already there are signs of that with the Palestine papers.”

Loyalty, such as that displayed by Mr. Freedland to his paper and to his profession, is in general a fine thing, but only when the recipient of that loyalty has proved itself to be deserving of it. Freedland admits that he does not know the source of the leaked papers and is apparently unconcerned by that fact.

“ I don’t know the identity of the source for the Palestine papers, but I’d be pretty surprised if they didn’t have a purpose for their actions. That is true of every leak through recorded time.”

We must therefore presume that Freedland blindly places his trust in ‘those in the know’ at the Guardian. He must trust them to have ensured that the documents are in fact genuine, because all his fine claims regarding the journalist’s role in helping the public gain access to information only hold water if that information is true. He must trust that that the ‘purpose for their actions’ is a laudable and decent one because otherwise he may well find himself complicit in enabling processes which contradict his principles.

It is therefore crucial that honest brokers such as Jonathan Freedland do not balk at asking some of the more difficult and possibly complex questions surrounding the ‘Palestine papers’ leaks.

Do the Guardian’s claims to have authenticated the papers hold water? How and by whom was that process carried out?

How did the Guardian become involved in the publication of the leaked papers? Did Al Jazeera approach the Guardian, or the other way round?

Were financial transactions involved and if so, did they include Qatari government or Hamas money?

Did the source of the leaks approach Al Jazeera and/or the Guardian, or was the initiative to get hold of the papers born before the source was located?

What is the nature –if any – of connections between the source of the leaks and the British Government and/or the Adam Smith Institute?

What – if any – is the significance of the fact that the Guardian’s Seumas Milne attended a conference organized and hosted by Al Jazeera in Qatar in May 2010? Is there relevance in the fact that Azmi Bishara also attended that conference and that a member of his family who worked at the NSU has been suggested as a possible source of the leaks?

Does the fact that yet another participant in that conference  – Osama Hamdan of the Hamas political bureau – had an article on the subject of the leaked papers published in the Guardian on January 26th indicate more than mere cordial journalistic connections between certain employees of the Guardian and the Hamas leadership?

Does Jonathan Freedland condone the Guardian’s provision of a platform to a man who has expressed specific support for suicide bombings against Israeli civilians and who states his aim as being “to wipe that entity [Israel] off the face of the earth”?

These may not be easy questions to ask, but they are essential ones if Jonathan Freedland wishes to ensure that his integrity is not being exploited and he himself taken for a ride by others less principled than he.

From Fourth Estate to Fifth Column (What the Palestine Papers reveal about the Guardian)

When one says Al Jazeera, one says Qatar, or more precisely, the Emir of that autocratic state – Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. Qatar is a family business; an undemocratic state-run by one tribe. Unelected, unaccountable and all-powerful, its current leader came to power by staging a coup against his own father in 1995 whilst the latter was on holiday in Switzerland. Ironically, the father had used the same method to gain power himself in 1971.

Political parties are outlawed in Qatar, where the leader always knows best. The partly elected Municipal Council (one-third of its members are appointed by the Emir) has succeeded in initiating such dramatic reforms as a major overhaul in the method used to calculate fines for traffic offences.

In 1996 the Emir issued a decree ordering the establishment of Al Jazeera which came with a five-year budget of $137 million. At least until 2005 it was still receiving financial aid from the Qatari government which also owns some of its shares. In a region of the world in which illiteracy is high and therefore newspaper circulation low, most people get their news from satellite TV. In Arab countries Al Jazeera is free; viewers only need to buy a satellite dish –often a wedding gift of choice – for around $100 in order to receive broadcasts.

Often at the centre of controversy, Al Jazeera has seen one of its journalists imprisoned in Spain after being found guilty of collaboration with Al Qaida, another exposed as being on the payroll of the Saddam Hussein regime, has had frequent spats with the Palestinian Authority already and will be remembered by Israeli readers for its aiding Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War.

In recent years the Qatari regime’s political alliances have taken a shift towards Iran, Syria, Hizbollah and Hamas, including the financing of the Islamist theocratic regime in Gaza.

“Individual Qatari officials have supported radical Islamists in the past. For example, in the 1990s, September 11 plotter Khaled Shaikh Muhammad worked in Qatar as an engineer. When the United States discovered his presence and demanded his arrest, a Qatari minister aided his flight to Pakistan. In the case of Hamas, however, Qatari support has been official policy. Qatar allows Hamas to maintain official offices in the country, permits Hamas to raise funds there through charities and telethons, and regularly hosts Hamas officials. Over the past few years, official government support for Hamas has increased drastically. Mashal and other Hamas leaders divide their time between Doha and the Syrian capital, Damascus. According to Mashal, Hamas “established a relation with Qatar ever since Prince Hamad bin Khalifa was the heir to the crown. A good relation[ship] developed with the people of Qatar. After he held the reins of power, the relation[ship] remained good. I had a personal relation with the prince and his minister of foreign affairs, Shaikh Hamad bin Jasem bin Jabr.”

The Muslim Brotherhood leader and resident of Qatar Sheikh Yousef al Qaradawi regularly has his sermons broadcast on Al Jazeera TV. Qaradawi is, of course, the founder of the ‘Union of Good’  – the Muslim Brotherhood umbrella organization which includes the Turkish IHH, members of which initiated the violence aboard the ‘Mavi Marmara’, as well as the ECESG which organizes the flotillas.

Some of Qaradawi’s ‘highlights’ broadcast on Al Jazeera include:

“Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place.

“This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.” […]

(January 30, 2009)

To conclude my speech, I’d like to say that the only thing I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair.

“I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Allah’s mercy and blessings upon you.”

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