Monthly Archives: January 2009

Predator vs. Alien: Who’s Worse on Press Freedom — Hamas or Fatah?

A couple of years ago, Debbie Schlussel has compared Hamas vs. Fatah to Predator vs. Alien. Now we see each side competing for the worst record in treatment of the media. Here’s a complaint by a West-Bank Palestinian journalist who, if I read correctly between the lines, is pro-Hamas, indignant at his treatment by the PA. But if I’m correct, he only got detained — without coffee — for a couple of days. No knee-capping, no showing up at the hospital dying from torture. The article appears at a site called Menasset [Platforms], dedicated to uncensored, professional journalism in the Arab world. To be fair to them, they do not hesitate to report on Hamas mistreatment of the media.

I have already analyzed the demopathic discourse of the journalist in question here, Khalid Amayreh. So little of his denunciations of Fatah and implicit approval of Hamas surprises me. It’s like Western liberals for whom Gitmo is worse than the Gulag (or, for Amayreh, Israeli prisons are like Gitmo): they get to keep saying it.

Reporting under a police state in the West Bank
By TANIA TABAR
Posted January 29th, 2009

One day after being interviewed on Beirut-based Al-Quds TV, journalist Khalid Amayreh found himself in a Palestinian Authority detention center. He was jailed for two days and scolded for “sowing discontent” and “distorting the PA image.” The veteran Palestinian reporter tells MENASSAT that the situation for human rights and civil liberties in the West Bank is likely at its worst since the PA was established in 1993.

Note the classic honor-based concerns of the PA: “distorting the PA image” is honor-shame speak for public criticism, which is taken as blackening the PA’s public face. That, apparently, is a perfectly legitimate reason to intimidate a journalist. Again the classic difference between honor and integrity: for the former, appearance is all that counts.

wb protests of israel in gaza
Palestinian security officers guarded a protest by Hamas supporters in the West Bank town of Nablus. The demonstrators opposed Israel’s army operations in the Gaza Strip. © AP

BEIRUT, January 29, 2009 (MENASSAT) — Veteran Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh has never been shy to criticize the de facto government in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority.

But Amareyh’s arrest on January 18 for “stirring discontent,” after criticizing the PA’s suppression of Gaza protests in the West Bank in an interview with Beirut-based Al Quds TV, has put all PA-critical journalists on notice: tow the party line or risk jail.

Some 15 journalists have been arrested by PA security forces over the last three months for similar offenses. Most had been highly critical of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party, rival to Hamas which was voted to power during 2006 parliamentary elections.

Amayreh, who was been jailed four times by the PA since taking up journalism in the late 1990s, said he was invited “for coffee” by the Palestinian Security Forces (PSF) on January 18.

After arriving at the police station, he was charged with “defamation” and transfered to PA police headquarters until his release on January 20.

amaryeh
Journalist Khalid Amayreh (right) commenting on his release from a Palestinian Authority jail 2 days after the PA invited him in for a “cup of coffee.”

In an article in Islamonline, Amayreh recounted his arrest as a 55-hour “nightmarish experience.”

Amayreh said he was not physically or verbally abused during six-hours of interrogation, but his family was denied access to him during his detention.

“I was held for two days in a small, semi-dark, rancid-smelling room with two other inmates, one a political prisoner and the other a common law prisoner,” he wrote.

“And I never even got my cup of coffee.”

And he’s alive to quip.

Given what he’s claimed about Israeli abuse — claims with large problems of supporting evidence — this should be a piece of cake.

Spanish/European Moral Hypocrisy Strikes Again: Navon on Judge Andreu

Among the many expressions of moral imbecility that have struck the Western “elite” as a result of their Israel Derangement Disorder, one of the more patently hypocritical comes from Spain, where Judge Fernando Andreu has launched a probe of Israeli officials for war crimes as a result of a targeted bombing in 2002.

Striking the Piñata

By Emmanuel Navon

Spanish Judge Fernando Andreu just launched a probe of seven current and former Israeli officials over an IAF bombing in July 2002 in Gaza that intentionally killed Hamas terrorist Salah Shehadeh and accidentally killed 14 Palestinian civilians. The probe includes most of Israel’s military establishment at the time, such as former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, former Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, and former National Security Advisor Giora Eiland. Fernando Andreu claims that the attack against Salah Shehadeh in a densely populated civilian area might constitute a crime against humanity. Andreu is acting under a doctrine that allows prosecution in Spain of crimes such terrorism or genocide even if they were allegedly committed outside of Spain.

Andreu never launched a probe against Hamas or Fatah leaders for their acts of terrorism. Nor did he ever launch a probe against Russian officials for Russia’s war crimes in Chechnya and Georgia. In these wars, Russian troops killed tens of thousands of civilians, some of them intentionally, at close range and in cold blood.

Palestinian and Russian war crimes, to name a few, should not be used to absolve Israel. They just need to be mentioned to expose the hypocrisy and double standards of Fernando Andreu.

But the probe issued by this Spanish Judge is not only discriminating. It is also baseless.

International law recognizes any state’s right to take whatever military action necessary to protect its citizens from terror attacks. International law also prohibits the use of human shields to protect terrorists from military actions of states that use their right to self-defense. By using children, women, schools, mosques, hospitals as shields to protect terrorists from Israel’s retaliations, Hamas is violating international law.

Hamas purposely puts Israel in an impossible situation. On the one hand, Israel has the right, under international law, to take whatever military actions are necessary to stop the rockets randomly fired at its towns and civilians. But on the other hand, Hamas uses human shields so that Israel cannot destroy rockets without also killing Palestinian civilians. It is thus absurd and unfair to blame Israel for the death of Palestinian civilians. As opposed to Hamas and Fatah, Israel does not purposely try to kill civilians. When Israel kills civilians, it does so either by accident, or by lack of choice –a lack of choice cynically and cruelly imposed upon us by our enemies. As Golda Meir once said: “I can forgive the Arabs for what they did to our children, but not for what they compelled us to do to their children.” Israel takes reasonable precautions to minimize Palestinian civilian deaths while trying to prevent the murder Israeli civilians by Palestinian terrorists.

Hamas Leaders Exult over Victory: The Pathologies of Honor Shamed

MEMRI collects some statements by Hamas leaders. Note that the pathetic performance of Hamas — especially in comparison with Hizbullah’s performance in 2006 — is no secret in the Arab world. Despite their claims of loving death, few of them went out to fight, and despite their promises to kill and kidnap Israeli soldiers, they killed very few and abducted none. They hid among civilians whom they coerced into staying in the line of fire they drew; the leadership hid beneath hospitals and schools; and there were no “suicide bombings” of military targets.

Hamas officials, headed by Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mash’al, are contending that Hamas’ victory in Gaza has paved the way to Jaffa and Haifa, and are calling on the Palestinian Authority to join the jihad and the resistance.

Following are excerpts from statements by Hamas leaders:

Mash’al: “The Resistance Entered Every Home, and Has Become an Ideal Among the Arab Nation and Worldwide”

“What happened in Gaza was the first real serious war [fought by] our people on their territory, and therefore it constitutes a turning point in the war with the Zionist enemy. The occupation has failed both politically and in the [battle]field, in that it was compelled, after three weeks, to stop the fighting unilaterally, with no agreement, binding conditions, or stipulations restricting the resistance.

“Two weeks prior to the ceasefire, the Zionist entity, through mediators, attempted to impose on us conditions of surrender, [i.e.] stopping the resistance in Gaza by [declaring] a long-term tahdia [calm] and disarming it.

“However, we staunchly held our ground both in the [battle]field and in the political arena. We rejected these conditions, and they were forced to stop their aggression, [admit] defeat, and withdraw unconditionally. We were adamant in our rejection [of these conditions], since we put our trust in our people’s choices and rights…

“The enemy leaders wanted to achieve several objectives: to break the resistance, defeat it, and expel it from Gaza; [and] to inculcate our nation with defeatism, end Hamas’s rule, and stop the firing of missiles. What was the outcome? The resistance showed fortitude and became an element equal to [the Israeli army], despite the difference in resources. The firing of missiles continued; our people rallied around the resistance and stood fast. Hamas, which [the Israelis] had set out to destroy, gained strength; the resistance has entered every home and has became an ideal among the Arab nation and worldwide.”

“We Want an Intra-Palestinian Dialogue… But the Residents of the West Bank Must Rise Up and Resist… As Happened In Gaza”

Mash’al continued: “We were glad when the intra-Arab conciliation began, [although] it has not been achieved; [now] we seek an [intra-]Palestinian conciliation. However, having learned a lesson in Gaza, we want a conciliation based on the resistance and the rights, rather than on pointless negotiations, agreements, and conditions [set by] the Quartet. We want an intra-Palestinian dialogue – but in order to provide it with the proper basis, the residents of the West Bank must rise up and resist until victory, as happened in Gaza.

“This, however, will be possible only if the resistance fighters [i.e. Hamas members imprisoned by the PA in the West Bank] are set free and if the weapons of the resistance are regarded as legitimate and honored…

“As we won the Gaza war, so we will win a war aimed at lifting the siege and opening the crossings, as a preliminary to the liberation of the country, the return [of the refugees], the liberation of Jerusalem, and extricating ourselves from the occupation.”(1)

The Byzantine Turns of the Arab Mind: Interview with Farid Salman

MEMRI has just published an interview with Farid Salman, Lebanese author and critic (who, if I’m not mistaken, won the first Kahlil Gibran International Award). He seems to be a Shiite (or, at least, to admire them) and anti-Sunni, and although he’s “self-critical” as a Lebanese, his final remarks about Obama and the Jews have a truly bizarre quality to them.

Special Dispatch – No. 2218
January 29, 2009 No. 2218

Following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese author Farid Salman, which aired on OTV on November 25, 2008.

Farid Salman: “In Lebanon, we’ve become accustomed to refraining from speaking the truth, in order to avoid provoking zealousness – whether sectarian, political, or anything. Only in Lebanon do you hear such a thing. Lebanon has been destroyed. We have been fighting and slaughtering one another for 30 years – but God forbid there should be any zealousness… Provoke zealousness?! Even rocks we’ve provoked against us.

[...]

“Our president goes to New York, and suggests that Lebanon become a center for dialogue between civilizations. For 30 years, the name of Lebanon has not appeared in any newspaper, in any symposium, university, or any place in the world, unless it is to say that the Lebanese are fighting among themselves in the name of sectarianism and all that – yet we are not ashamed to present ourselves as the venue of dialogue between civilizations. Are we capable of even conducting a dialogue among ourselves, before we embark on a dialogue of civilizations?” [...]

“The Sunni Muslim Sect… Was the Occupier… By the Sword”

“We have the two founding sects [of Lebanon] – the Druze and Maronite. Then we have the Shiites. Like the other two minorities, the Shiite sect was also a victim. The Sunni Muslim sect, on the other hand, was never a victim. This sect was the victor, the occupier…”

Cremonesi Article in English

Here’s an English translation of the Cremonesi article by my daughter, Noa Landes.

Doubts on the Number of Victims: Could be 600 rather than 1300
Lorenzo Cremonesi
Il Corriere della Sera
January 21, 2009

GAZA – “Get away! Get away from here! Do you want the Israelis to kill everyone? Do you want our children to die under the bombs? take your missiles and weapons away,” the inhabitants of the Gaza strip yelled at the Hamas militants and their allies in Islamic Jihad. The more courageous were organized and blocked the entrances to their courtyards and locked the doors to their buildings, barricading quickly and furiously the stairs to the highest rooftops.

But for all of that the guerrillas didn’t listen to anyone. “Traitors, collaborators with Israel, spies of Fatah, cowards! The soldiers of the holy war will punish you. And in any case you will all die, like us. Fighting the Zionist Jews we are all destined for paradise. Do you not wish to die with us?” This is what they yelled furiously as they broke down doors and windows, hiding themselves on high floors, gardens, using ambulances and barricading themselves near the hospitals, schools and buildings of the UN.

In extreme cases the [Hamas militants] shot those who sought to block them from their streets and houses to save their own families, or they beat them savagely. “The Hamas Militants looked for good places to provoke the Israelis. They were usually youths, 16 or 17 years old, armed with submachine guns. They couldn’t do anything against a tank or jet. They knew they were much weaker. But they wanted the [Israelis] to shoot at the [the civilians'] houses so they could accuse them of more war crimes” asserted Abu Issa, 42, resident of the Tel Awa neighborhood.

“Practically all of the tallest buildings in Gaza that were hit by Israeli bombs, like the Dogmoush, Andalous, Jawarah, Siussi, and many others, had rocket launching pads on their roofs, or were observation decks for the Hamas. They had also put them near the big UN warehouse, which went up in flames. The same goes for the villages in the valley along the border who were more devastated by the mad fury and punishment of the Zionist,” echoes his cousin Um Abdallah, 48. They use family nicknames, but they provide important circumstantial details. It was difficult to get these testimonials. In general, fear of Hamas prevails and the ideological alimentary taboos reign in this century of wars with the “Zionist enemy.”

Those who recount a different version than the story imposed by the “Muhamawa” (the resistance) is automatically an “Amil,” a collaborator and is risking his life. However, the recent fratricidal collision between Hamas and Olp helps. If Israel or Egypt had allowed foreign journalists to enter immediately it would have been easier. These Locals are often threatened by Hamas.

“This is not a new fact, in the Middle East, Arab societies are missing the cultural traditions of human rights. It happened during Arafat’s regime that the press started being persecuted and censured. With Hamas it is even worse,” said Eyad Sarraj, a noted psychiatrist in Gaza City.

HRW and Israel: Ken Roth vs. Gerald Steinberg

A recent debate in the pages the Jerusalem Post between Ken Roth and Gerald Steinberg illustrate what’s at stake (and what’s wrong) with the Human Rights community. First Ken Roth’s conclusion:

Some might argue that the IDF’s unlawful use of white phosphorous and high-explosive shells is justified by Hamas’s deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on Israeli cities and towns. But illegality by one side to a conflict does not excuse illegality by the other. And as should be obvious, it is hardly in Israel’s interest to degrade international law protecting civilians.

The IDF holds Hamas wholly responsible for civilian casualties in Gaza, alleging that Hamas combatants stored weapons in mosques and fought from among civilians. Those allegations may or may not be true. Long experience, as during the 2006 war in Lebanon, shows that we must take such ritual IDF pronouncements with a grain of salt. We will not know exactly how Hamas waged the war until human rights monitors can conduct on-the-ground investigations. The IDF’s refusal during the fighting to allow journalists and human rights monitors into Gaza suggests that it did not want its claims tested by independent inquiry.

Israelis seem dismayed that the world has not embraced the justness of its latest war in Gaza. Of course Israel is entitled to defend itself from Hamas’s rocket attacks, but when it does so in violation of its d

Then Gerald Steinberg’s response:

THE WHITE phosphorus issue – Roth’s main weapon in attacking the IDF regarding Gaza – is only one aspect in this complex war. Once again, Roth has crafted a highly misleading case worthy of an aggressive prosecution, based on the allegation that the IDF caused unnecessary or indiscriminate harm to civilians. Does Roth claim to be privy to the details of Hamas military deployments in houses, schools, mosques and hospitals, as well as the targeting decisions of the IDF? And how did HRW’s “military expert” (apparently Marc Garlasco, whose ideological bias and lack of expertise were evident in “Razing Rafah” and in the 2006 “Gaza beach incident”), make such determinations while observing from an unnamed distance and location outside of Gaza?

Roth justifies HRW’s disproportionate campaign on the white phosphorous issue by claiming that illegal actions by terrorists do not justify “illegal” defense measures. But as Prof. Avi Bell, an international legal expert, states, “When a combatant hides in a civilian house, the house ceases to be a civilian target and becomes a military target… [The] use of civilian shields is very relevant to the legal standard to be applied.”

In contrast, HRW’s flood of condemnations suggests that all weapons used in self-defense are somehow illegitimate.

In the complexities of defense against well-armed terror organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah, mistakes are made, and these should be corrected. But the checks and balances in Israel’s democratic process are clearly more credible than Roth’s emotional outbursts, HRW’s ideological “experts” and the counterproductive exploitation of international legal rhetoric. Beyond the demonization of Israel’s right to defend its citizens from attack, such cynical distortions undermine the moral foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This moral destruction is antithetical to the worthy objectives envisioned by the founders of HRW.

Read the whole articles and let me know what you think.

B’tselem ex-associate executed by Hamas… no mention at B’tselem

Khaled abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post reports that Hamas executed Haider Ghanem for collaboration with the Israelis. Ghanem was a former worker for B’tselem, and was among the dozens of alleged “collaborators” executed by Hamas in pursuit of “consensus” among the Palestinians.

A quick check at B’tselem’s site shows no acknowledgment. Instead, one finds wild accusations against the Israeli army based on nothing more than “eye-witness” testimony. Given that some Gazans believe that Israelis have dressed as Hamas soldiers to kill innocent civilians, I’d say they’re capable of reporting Hamas murders as the deeds of Israeli troops.

No wonder Bill Moyers thinks the worst of Israel. B’tselem sure does. And in the finest tradition of the Human Rights Complex, B’tselem has eyes only for the violation of Palestinian rights by Israelis. (If there’s a report on “using civilians as human shields,” you can bet it’ll be about Israeli soldiers.)

L’article de Cremonesi traduit en français… soon in English

Beaucoup ont cité l’article de Lorenzo Cremonesi pubié par Il Corriere della Sera, “Dubbi sul numero delle vittime: potrebbero essere 600 e non 1.300,” mais il contient bien d’autres détails intéressants. Là voici en français, traduit par l’indispensable Menahem Macina, and soon in English, translated by my daughter.

Doutes sur le nombre des victimes, à Gaza : il pourrait être de 600 et non 1 300

Traduction française : Menahem Macina
De notre envoyé spécial [Lorenzo Cremonesi].

GAZA – Nombre d’habitants de la bande de Gaza criaient aux militants du Hamas et à leurs alliés du Jihad Islamique :
« Allez-vous en, partez d’ici ! Vous voulez que les Israéliens nous tuent tous ? Vous voulez voir nos enfants mourir sous les bombes ? Ôtez d’ici vos armes et vos missiles ! »

Les plus courageux s’étaient organisés et avaient barré l’accès à la cour
, cloué des planches sur les portes de leurs habitations, bloqué en hâte et avec colère les échelles permettant l’accès aux toitures plus hautes. Mais, dans la plupart des cas, la guérilla n’écoutait personne.

« Traîtres. Collaborateurs d’Israël. Espions du Fatah. Lâches. Les soldats de la guerre sainte vous puniront. Et en tout cas, vous mourrez tous comme nous. En combattant les juifs sionistes nous obtiendrons tous le paradis, n’êtes-vous pas heureux de mourir ensemble ? »

Et alors, furieux et hurlant, ils défonçaient portes et fenêtres, se cachaient dans les étages supérieurs, dans les jardins ; ils utilisaient des ambulances et se retranchaient tout près des hôpitaux, des écoles et des bâtiments de l’ONU. Dans des cas extrêmes, ils tiraient sur ceux qui cherchaient à leur barrer la route pour sauver leur famille, ou ils les battaient sauvagement.

Abu Issa, 42 ans, habitant du quartier de Tel Awa :

« Les miliciens du Hamas cherchaient délibérément à provoquer les Israéliens. Il s’agissait souvent de garçons de 16 ou 17 ans, armés de mitraillettes. Ils ne pouvaient rien faire contre les tanks et les chasseurs à réaction. Ils savaient qu’ils étaient beaucoup plus faibles [que leurs ennemis]. Mais ils voulaient que [les Israéliens] tirent sur nos maisons pour les accuser ensuite de crimes de guerre. »

Sa cousine, Um Abdallah, 48 ans, lui fait écho :

« La quasi-totalité des plus grands immeubles de Gaza, qui ont été frappés par les bombes israéliennes, comme le Dogmouch, l’Andalous, le Jawarah, le Siussi, et beaucoup d’autres, avaient des rampes de lancement de missiles sur leur toit, outre qu’ils servaient de postes d’observation au Hamas. Ils en avaient mis aussi près du grand entrepôt de l’ONU, qui a brûlé ensuite. Et c’était la même chose dans les villages le long de la frontière, dévastés ensuite par la folie furieuse et punitive des sionistes. »

[Ces témoins] se cachent sous des noms d’emprunt mais donnent des détails bien circonstanciés. Il n’a pas été facile de recueillir ces confidences. Ici, la peur du Hamas domine, et les tabous idéologiques règnent, alimentés par un siècle [sic] de guerre contre « l’ennemi sioniste ».

Quiconque donne une version différente du “narratif” imposé par la “muhamawa” (la résistance) est automatiquement un « amil », un collaborateur, et il risque sa vie. Y contribue, en effet, le récent conflit fratricide entre le Hamas et l’OLP. Si Israël ou Égypte avaient permis aux journalistes étrangers d’entrer immédiatement, cela aurait été plus facile. Les gens du coin sont souvent menacés par le Hamas.

Jenin Redux: Casualty Figures Reconsidered

In a piece I meant to comment on, Stephanie Gutmann warned against taking the figures of casualties provided by Hamas at face value. Now we have an anonymous comment by a doctor from Shiffa hospital that confirms her (widely ignored) cautionary advice. (H/T: Harris)

Gazan doctor says death toll inflated
Physician at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital tells Italian newspaper number of dead in Israeli offensive ‘stands at no more than 500 or 600, most of them youths recruited to Hamas’ ranks’
Nir Magal
Latest Update: 01.22.09, 15:18 / Israel News

What really is behind the numbers reported on the number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip? Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported Thursday that a doctor working in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital claimed that Hamas has intentionally inflated the number of casualties resulting from Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.

“The number of deceased stands at no more than 500 to 600. Most of them are youths between the ages of 17 to 23 who were recruited to the ranks of Hamas, who sent them to the slaughter,” according to the newspaper article.

The doctor wished to remain unidentified, out of fear for his life.

A senior Palestinian Health Ministry official later denied the claims, and the IDF estimate on the number of casualties in Gaza has also remained unchanged.

A Tal al-Hawa resident told the newspaper’s reporter, “Armed Hamas men sought out a good position for provoking the Israelis. There were mostly teenagers, aged 16 or 17, and armed. They couldn’t do a thing against a tank or a jet. They knew they are much weaker, but they fired at our houses so that they could blame Israel for war crimes.”

The reporter for the Italian newspaper also quoted reporters in the Strip who told of Hamas’ exaggerated figures, “We have already said to Hamas commanders – why do you insist on inflating the number of victims?”

These same reporters mentioned that the truth that will come out is likely to be similar to what occurred in Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin. “Then, there was first talk of 1,500 deaths. But then it turned out that there were only 54, 45 of which were armed men,” the Palestinian reporters told the Italian newspaper.

These new figures must be treated with caution especially in light of the fact that various official sources in the Gaza Strip, including United Nations and Red Cross officials, have reported that more than 1,300 people were killed and some 5,000 wounded during the three weeks of fighting in the coastal strip. Palestinian sources claim that three-quarters of the dead were unarmed civilians.

This is a strange formulation that can only be made by people still operating under the “halo effect” of Human Rights NGOs, as if the UN and the Red Cross, as it operates in the Gaza Strip, are independent organizations when it comes to such figures.

The Palestinians’ Worst Enemy: The Poisoned Gift of European Anti-Semitism

I had a conversation with a remarkable Palestinian advocate of human rights several years ago when I tried to show him the material I had on Pallywood. As we discussed the problem, and his helplessness to even address it, it became clear to me that the single most insidious enemy of the Palestinians is the European loathing of an independent Jewish nation. What seemed to Palestinians like a gift — Europeans’ hostility to Israel — has ended up strengthening the worst aspects of Palestinian culture, its irredentism, its preference for suffering Palestinians, its thirst for hatred.

And this is nowhere more evident than when Palestinians try and go sober, try and kick their addiction to hatred, try to turn from gnawing on old wounds to growing new life. Then they run into their most fearful demon, the sympathetic hater in the West: the old fashioned European anti-semite at last released from his post-Holocaust prison of politically incorrect, the radical, the revolutionary, the morally superior/envious progressive, both Christian and post-Christian, even Jewish. For these people, like those Arab leaders who have treated them so abominably for so long, the moral and symbolic value of the Palestinians lies in their suffering, not in their recovery. The forces that have driven on the astounding, unprecedented, otherwise inexplicable 60-year refugee status for Arabs who fled Israel in 1948, will not be cheated of their most precious possession: a people victim of the Jews. Indeed, I would argue, the media footprint of Jewish misdeeds — true and invented — are the very image of this corrosive need.

For those progressives with enough remaining integrity to look at the current madness over Israel and wonder what’s wrong, I invite them to the following meditation. The behavior of Hamas described below in Belmont Club’s discussion, the deeds of that very same Hamas whose flags German’s successfully petitioned their courts for permission to wave at their anti-war demonstrations, is the karmic product of sixty years of proxy hatreds, now reaching new temperatures. Under a terrifying assault by neighbors driven mad by their own leaders’ mad policies, the Gazans find themselves literally crucified by a reign of terror.

January 21st, 2009 3:31 am
The Grand Inquisitors

Up to a hundred Palestinians in Gaza who have defied house arrest orders have been tortured in children’s hospitals and schools converted into interrogation centers. People have been shot in the legs or had their hands broken. The campaign has been described as a “new massacre”. One victim had his eyes put out. No one was safe from the torturers, not even those attending funerals. When is will the UN act to put a stop to this horror? Won’t President Obama intervene to stop these barbaric acts? Aren’t international human rights monitors going to put a stop to this? When will War Crimes charges be preferred against the perpetrators?

Never.

Why? Because Hamas is in charge of the torture and their victims are simply Fatah members. If it were Israel who had done these things, well then … But since it’s Hamas, the same Hamas for whom thousands have been marching in ’solidarity’, it’s a non-story. The Jersualem Post cites reports from Fatah members describing the events.

Of course, that’s Khaled abu Toameh, who, without going to Gaza, tells us more than all the brave Ben Wedemans in their flak jackets or Taghreed el-Khodarys, with their anti-Israel talking points. And yet, many journalists dismiss Toameh because he works for the Jerusalem Post. “He’s not fully reliable, you know,” they say “with a sad wink and a nudge.”

The argument is not without its ironies. After all, imagine an Israeli reporter, reporting dirt on Israel to the readers of Al Jazeera. One can hardly imagine our MSM journalists dismissing his or her information. Come to think of it… that’s more or less the function of Gideon Levy and Amira Hass in the internet, English Ha-Aretz. When’s the last time a journalist airily dismissed their testimony?

Measuring the Media Footprint: Coverage of War-time Casualties in the MSM

I recently had an email exchange with a PhD student at Oxford who saw my posting about the study of war casualties in which I pointed out that .06 percent of those killed in wars since 1950 died in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and .3 percent of the Muslims killed in conflicts since then were killed by Israelis. He was struck by how his colleagues could talk of nothing but Israelis killing Gazans, despite the extraordinary violence to be found the world over, much of it really intentional. As he put it in a subsequent email:

The first seminar of the term dealt with a new book, which deals with intentions, double effect and blame. Need I say that the first example (and the main one used to discuss issues of war) was Gaza? And need I add that the lecturer seemed to suggest (although she wasn’t very clear on this point) that it’s controversial what the Israelis’ intentions are (i.e. did they REALLY only want to kill terrorists) but that it’s quite obvious that the actions were disproportionate. (I think that the opposite is true, i.e. that Israel clearly tried to avoid killing civilians but that reasonable observers can disagree on its adherence to proportionality considerations).

I was furious mainly about the fact that this was the only example discussed (while ignoring other obvious recent cases such as the war between Russia and Georgia or the Christmas massacre in DRC). I thought about what I should do and resisted the urge to rise and give them a long lecture on Anti-Semitism. Instead, when I asked a question I used (in a rather obvious way) a different example, about Georgia and Ossetia. My general impression was that most of the crowd were quite puzzled about why I bothered to make up such states and places and why I can’t use the actual story, regarding which everybody knows all the relevant facts. They kept asking me to clarify the example and explain who tried to kill whom and why (no such explanation was required when they discussed Israel).

Of course all of this is directly related to Charles Jacobs insight about The Human Rights Complex in which the indignation of the “Human Rights” community derives far more from the identity of the perpetrator than that of the victim or how much that victim has suffered.

This got me to thinking. What if we were to develop a method for determining the carbon footprint of civilian deaths in the media, something along the lines of column-inches, minutes airtime, people per demonstration on the one hand and number of civilian casualties on the other. One could do it across the boards, but just consider Palestinian civilian deaths: killed by Israelis, by Palestinians, by other Arabs. It wouldn’t be hard. After all, how much coverage did the civilian deaths in Hamas’ vicious take-over in 2006 receive from the media? Or after the orgy of coverage during the summer war of 2006 in Lebanon, how much coverage did the Lebanese army’s assault on Nar el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp receive?

As one of the harsher critics at this site commented: “numbers push the reality into everyone’s eyes.” Well, of course they can just as easily mislead — as in his simplistic comparison of Israeli civilian dead with Palestinian civilian dead. But I suspect that a media footprint might indeed reveal the startling imbalances of a media coverage that unquestionably has an enormous impact on public opinion the world over.

Then I found out, someone has already done so, specificially in the context of the Christmas massacre in the Democratic Republic of Congo (about which I knew nothing), mentioned by my Oxford interlocutor. (HT: JW)

Gaza vs. Congo: A Tale of Media Double Standards
Two conflicts with remarkably similar characteristics yet shockingly disparate press coverage.

January 17, 2009 – by Eli Bernstein

While the conflict between Israel and Hamas unfolded in Gaza over the past few weeks, many innocent Gazan civilians stuck in the middle have no doubt suffered much. Meanwhile, another group of civilians further south has been going through a nightmare of no lesser proportion. You may be forgiven if you haven’t heard about the dire situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where over 1,000 civilians have been killed by a Ugandan rebel group since Christmas (Source: ResolveUganda). After all, the papers were so filled with coverage of the situation in Gaza, they had left little space to report this story; the late-night news devoted half its time to scenes of death and destruction in Gaza, running out of time before they had the chance to update you on the massacres in the DRC.

There are longstanding complaints about mainstream media bias in its reporting on Israel and websites such as honestreporting.com and bbcwatch.com [and CAMERA – rl] seek to highlight this ongoing phenomenon. The contrast in reporting between the coverage of Israel’s war on Hamas and the massacres of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) presents an interesting case study in media bias, and a disturbing one at that.

Monty Python and the Gaza Operation: Hamas Always Triumphs

Friends have recently sent me a clip from Monty Python of some relevance to the Middle East to lighten the day.

Hamas never loses:

Did Bill Moyers Step in the Pallywood Doodoo? UN Reports on Israeli War Crimes

If Israel did this, then I can understand Moyers’ moral indignation, no matter how distorted his biblical references. If not, then he owes a major public apology to the Jewish people, which he can do by exploring fully the nature of the revolting and inexcusable success of the Pallywood game.

Here’s the evidence. We’ll see how it sorts out. (H/T: Ruth)

In his defense of his rant against Israel for its assault on innocent Palestinian civilians, Bill Moyers cited an incident that allegedly occurred in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza City on January 4-5. For anyone familiar with the Israeli army’s code of conduct, and the obvious lack of any advantage to the Israelis to behave in this manner, the incident sounds immediately suspicious; and for anyone familiar with the workings of Pallywood — false testimony from Palestinian “eyewitnesses,” NGO and UN affirmations and indignation, and MSM disseminators — it sounds like the classic modus operandi that turns self-caused tragedy into murderous accusations.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) based in Jerusalem, and working from “narratives” from the Gaza strip called it “one of the gravest incidents since the beginning of the fighting.”

The story ran in the Arab press (Al Jazeera) as well as the press services (AFP) and, of course, the BBC. And so, one might understand Moyers if, for him, it had achieved the status of a “fact.”

Except that the Israeli response calls almost every detail into question:

Military officials said in reponse to the accusation that “from initial examinations in the IDF there is no knowledge of any incident in which IDF forces moved people from one building to another.

“Furthermore, the claim that the building was attacked on January 4, in 24-hours after the IDF entered the Gaza Strip is unreasonable since the IDF forces had not yet reached the areas in question on this date.

“An Israeli television network examination of the matter with hospitals in the area showed the hospitals had no knowledge of such an incident.”

[The Ynet account claims to be AFP of the same day, but the AFP article only cites Avital Leibovich as saying “From initial checking, we don’t have knowledge of this incident. We started an inquiry but we still don’t know about it.”]

If indeed this turns out to be a false report — replete with elaborate eye-witness accounts at B’tselem — then I think a major reconsideration is in order. Since this incident would have involved all the usual suspects and so well-respected a pundit as Bill Moyers, I think it is well worth tracking down. In its dynamics lie the core of how Pallywood poisons the information systems of the West and raises the temperatures of global jihad warming.

An Exercise in Empathy not Sympathy: Leon de Winter gets inside the Palestinian head

Empathy is trying to figure out what other people actually think; sympathy is trying to be as nice as possible as you figure out what someone else is thinking, trying to imagine what you would be thinking if you were in his situation. The latter is a form of liberal cognitive egocentrism. I’m particularly interested in what some of our more hostile commenters think about this piece which, I think, hits the tragic nail of an honor-shame culture driven pathological by its failure to redeem its honor in Israeli blood right on the head.

The piece nicely illustrates the Palestinian reaction to the Israelis leaving Gaza: You can’t leave me; you’re still beating me.

Our Neighbor and Why We Have to Kill Him
He humiliates us by his very existence. Destroying him will give our lives meaning.

January 19, 2009 – by Leon de Winter

Our neighbor lives in the house in which our grandfather used to live. He claims he bought the first part of the house from a Turki, and later the second part from a British bank, but that doesn’t make the sale any less illegal: my family lived in that house for hundreds of years and we don’t accept the documents of sale. Now he’s living there. He is the son of monkeys and pigs.

The problem is that he’s not just brazen, he’s also strong, although he is a tiny guy.

The whole neighborhood hates him. He’s a thief and possessed by the devil. But he seems to be able to beat everyone. We tried to force him out of the house together, but it didn’t work. He has bulletproof windows, and the roof is made of inflammable material.

All we think about is him. Our own home is in ruins because all our efforts, all our money and ideas and energy are devoted solely to destroying our neighbor’s house. We’re utterly convinced that we will be perfectly happy just as soon as we’ve killed him and his house is a heap of smoking rubble. We live for one thing only: our neighbor’s demise. It’s a noble ambition for which we’re all willing to die.

Sometimes our neighbor seems to forget we exist, then we throw a couple of pebbles at his windows. If we’re lucky, there’s a window open and we toss a Molotov cocktail inside to start a nasty fire. That makes our neighbor angry, and that’s good. We don’t want him to forget us. Life means nothing to us as long as our neighbor’s living in that house. So we make sure he remembers us, even though we can’t force him out and he sometimes beats the hell out of us.

Every now and then our neighbor gets fed up with our stone-throwing — those are the best moments. Then he storms out of our grandfather’s house and smashes our kitchen or bathroom or refrigerator to pieces. By doing so he proves that it’s right that we hate him. We provoke him until he reveals his true demonic character. That’s what we live for. We can’t beat him, but there’s something satisfying about watching him kick our old, worn-out, empty refrigerator to shreds after we have tried to ransack one of his freezers — he has several, all full of food which he bought with the wealth he found in our grandfather’s house. What he does to us is much worse than our provocations, but we keep provoking him because that’s the main thing we want in life.

Our neighbor, the dog, wants us to leave him alone. We can’t. His death is our ultimate ambition in life. We live in our hovel, we grow nothing in our garden, and we leave our schoolbooks on the shelf because we dream of returning to our grandfather’s house and work solely towards our neighbor’s collapse. Nothing is allowed to distract us from that.

Our neighbor claims that when he bought the house, it was just a wooden hut on a piece of barren land that he turned into a palace. He claims he planted a fertile vegetable garden — that’s a lie. It was an estate with fertile soil and the bathrooms had gold taps; our grandfather told us so himself, we even keep the key to his house in a sacred place. If we had still been living in our grandfather’s house then we would have had all those freezers in which our neighbor keeps his food. The family of monkeys and pigs never lived there before; our neighbor’s existence is based on clever lies and forgeries.

We keep challenging him and when we’ve insulted him enough and managed to wreck some part of his house, he marches angrily into our place. We can’t stop him and we have no idea how long he’ll stay in our hovel, until one day he leaves. Then we lick our wounds in satisfaction and survey in intense pleasure all the destruction he left behind, and we show it to the world. Our scars prove to us and to the world that our cause is just. We know he doesn’t harm us when we leave him alone, but we want him to harm us. If he wouldn’t, the world would think he is just an ordinary guy. Which he isn’t. That’s why we provoke him. Without him harming us, we wouldn’t exist.

We want to kill him, but we don’t have the right weapons. He has the means to kill us all, but he doesn’t, the coward. If we had the weaponry he has, we would have killed him long ago. And the fact that he doesn’t kill us, although he could, is a sign of his unbearable arrogance.

Some, who don’t live in our neighborhood and who don’t know how things work around here, occasionally ask us, “Why do you keep provoking him when you know that he’ll hit back so ferociously?”

This question proves they are ignorant about our neighborhood. We do it because that’s what our life is about. Our neighbor, who’s a murderer of prophets, humiliates us just because he is there. That’s why we can’t think about anything else. Our grandfather’s honor is worth risking our own lives and those of our children and grandchildren. We have no future as long as our neighbor lives in peace and plenty. None of us in the neighborhood can build as long as his house remains standing.

Strangers sometimes try to persuade us that we ought to build a viable house on our own lot. But nothing is viable beside our neighbor’s stolen property. He is the burning focus of our existence. He is rich, so we are poor. He is powerful, so we are weak. He has to disappear.

A little further along in our neighborhood we have a friend who supplies us secretly with stones and Molotov cocktails. He’s working on a big bomb that will reduce our neighbor to a miserable pile of atoms in a fraction of a second. That bomb will kill us too — that hellish thought is almost erotic. Our neighbor will burn, and we will as well, but one thing is certain: we won’t feel inferior anymore; at last we’ll have beaten him, in death — which we don’t fear, but he does.

The neighborhood will be completely gone. And that’s how it should be. Death will free us of the son of monkeys and pigs, and of our infuriating obsession with him.

Let’s not say this is the case for certain. But what if it is? What if this, rather than all the generous sympathetic projection that so moves the hearts of Western sympathizers actually animates the Palestinian cause? What then…?

Bill Moyers Update: An Exchange with Abe Foxman

Here’s from Moyers’ site:

Following Bill Moyers’ reflections on the events in Gaza on the JOURNAL last week, Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman sent him this letter:

Mr. Moyers,

In less than a thousand words, you managed to fit into your January 9 commentary: (1) moral equivalency between Hamas, a radical Islamic terrorist group whose anti-Semitic charter cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and perhaps America’s greatest ally in the world; (2) historical revisionism, asserting that Canaanites were Arabs; (3) anti-Semitism, declaring that Jews are “genetically coded” for violence; (4) ignorance of the terrorist threat against Israel, claiming that checkpoints, the security fence, and the Gaza operation are tactics of humiliation rather than counter-terrorism; and (5) promotion of an individual, the Norwegian doctor in Gaza, who has publicly expressed support for the September 11 attacks.

I have seen and read serious critiques of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, and I have disagreed with many of them. Your commentary, however, is different, consisting mostly of intellectually and morally faulty claims that do a great disservice to the PBS audience. It invites not disagreement, but rebuke.

On one point you are correct – “America has officially chosen sides.” And rightly so. Fortunately for our nation, very few of our citizens engage in the same moral equivalency, racism, historical revisionism, and indifference to terrorism as you. If the reverse held, it would not be a country that any decent person would want to live in.

Sincerely,

Abraham H. Foxman
National Director
Anti-Defamation League

In response, Bill Moyers sent Mr. Foxman the following message:

Dear Mr. Foxman:

You made several errors in your letter to me of January 13 and I am writing to correct them.

First, to call someone a racist for lamenting the slaughter of civilians by the Israeli military offensive in Gaza is a slur unworthy of the tragedy unfolding there. Your resort to such a tactic is reprehensible.

Earlier this week it was widely reported that the International Red Cross “was so outraged it broke its usual silence over an attack in which the Israeli army herded a Palestinian family into a building and then shelled it, killing 30 people and leaving the surviving children clinging to the bodies of their dead mothers. The army prevented rescuers from reaching the survivors for four days.”

When American troops committed a similar atrocity in Vietnam, it was called My Lai and Lt. Calley went to prison for it. As the publisher of a large newspaper at the time, I instructed our editorial staff to cover the atrocity fully because Americans should know what our military was doing in our name and with our funding. To say “my country right or wrong” is like saying “my mother drunk or sober.” Patriots owe their country more than that, whether their government and their taxes are supporting atrocities in Vietnam, Iraq, or, in this case, Gaza.

Contrary to your claim, I made no reference whatsoever to “moral equivalency” between Hamas and Israel. That is an old canard often resorted to by propagandists trying to divert attention from facts on the ground, and, it, too, is unworthy of the slaughter in Gaza. Contrary to imputing “moral equivalency” between Hamas and Israel, I said that “Hamas would like to see every Jew in Israel dead.” I said that “a radical stream of Islam now seeks to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth.” And I described the new spate of anti-Semitism across the continent of Europe. I am curious as to why you ignored remarks which clearly counter the notion of “moral equivalency.”

And although I specifically referred to “the rockets from Hamas” falling on Israel and said that “every nation has the right to defend itself, and Israel is no exception,” you nonetheless accuse me of “ignorance of the terrorist threat against Israel.” Once again, you are quite selective in your reading of my essay.

Your claim that “the checkpoints, the security fence and the Gaza operation” [I used the more accurate “onslaught”] are not humiliating of the Palestinians is lamentable. I did not claim that these were, as you write, “tactics of humiliation rather [emphasis mine] than counter-terrorism,” but perhaps it is overly simplistic to think they are one and not the other, when they are both. Also lamentable is your description of my “promotion” of the Norwegian doctor in Gaza when in fact I was simply quoting what he told CBS News: “It’s like Dante’s Inferno. They are bombing one and a half million people in a cage.” The whole world has been able to see for itself what he was talking about, and as one major news organization after another has been reporting, is reeling from the sight.

And, to your claim that I was “declaring Jews are ‘genetically coded’ for violence,” you are mistaken. My comment – obviously not sufficiently precise – was not directed at a specific people but to the fact that the human race has violence in its DNA, as the biblical stories so strongly affirm. I also had in mind the relationship between all the descendents of Abraham who love the same biblical land and come to such grief over it.

From my days in President Johnson’s White House forward, I have defended Israel’s right to defend itself, and still do. But sometimes an honest critic is a government’s best friend, and I am appalled by Israel’s devastation of innocent civilians in this battle, all the more so because, as I said in my column, it is exactly what Hamas wanted to happen. To be so indifferent to that suffering is, sadly, to be as blind in Gaza as Samson.

Sincerely,

Bill Moyers

The comments are fairly terrifying.

A Missed Opportunity: Guest Post by Yitzhak Sokoloff

Note to readers: I first met Yitzhak Sokoloff in 2002 when he spoke in Brookline about the Jenin operation, which the MSM media had almost universally presented as a massacre of defenseless Palestinians. He argued, on the contrary, that it represented the most exceptional case in recorded history of an army putting its own men in danger to spare the lives of civilians. It was really then that I understood how profoundly the media invert reality with their coverage. I have stayed in touch with him all these years, and been repeatedly impressed with the originality and common sense of his thoughts on the conflict. I have always urged him to write something for my blog, and now he offers these thoughts on the unilateral cease-fire.

Earlier this morning Israel inaugurated a self-imposed cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. The reason for this was not the inability of the Israeli Army to conquer the Gaza Strip and arrest the leadership of the Hamas, but the failure of the present Israeli leadership to imagine the possibility of victory over the forces of radical Islam. Many Israeli commentators are viewing this move as a creative way of dealing with the dilemma of bringing the war to an end before the inauguration of Barrack Obama without handing Hamas the victory of its own legitimatization through a negotiated cease-fire. In all likelihood, this effort will fail. Faced by the military might of an Israel which was cheered on by Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Hamas has nevertheless emerged with the upper hand by virtue of its own survival. As long as it remains willing to pay a price in Palestinian casualties – and if anything this war has proven, it is that the Hamas has no regard for the lives of its own people [actually seeks to maximize death among its own people — rl] – Hamas can still launch rockets at Israeli cities and brainwash Palestinian children to become suicide bombers.

Israel has proven today that the Hamas is an indispensable political factor in the region and this is far more important than whether or not Hamas can replenish its arsenal in imitation of the Hizboulla. Hamas still holds the priceless bargaining chip of Gilad Shalit, and most important, despite all the havoc that it has wrought, Hamas continues to be in control of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. It is this control that will force the international community, like it or not, to grant some sort of political legitimacy to what remains a terrorist movement devoted to Israel’s destruction.

Even Israel has agreed that one result of the war will be a massive relief effort conducted by the international community. Who will be the chief beneficiary of this effort if not Hamas itself? Its control will mean that anyone trying to bring humanitarian aid into Gaza will need to go through Hamas. In addition to what it can siphon off directly for its own forces, Hamas will have the first and last word as to where the aid is distributed. Palestinians who dare to challenge Hamas rule will at the very least be denied assistance, and at the very worse added to the list of those already dealt with by Hamas execution squads.

For the past three weeks Israel and Egypt have both refused to permit an army of journalists poised to enter Gaza to begin the next phase of this war, the competition for the best picture of Palestinian suffering. When the journalists finally enter the areas of Gaza under Hamas control they will not find many Palestinians eager to condemn Hamas for initiating the war. The Hamas leadership will quickly emerge from beneath the hospital where it has been hiding and it will be clear to any Palestinian with a sense of self-preservation just whom to blame for all of the destruction. The journalists will quickly learn to avoid asking questions that meet with Hamas disapproval and Israel will be at the receiving end of a wave of righteous indignation.

Is there an alternative? Many Israeli commentators and officials prefer a weakened Hamas to a Gaza controlled by the IDF, even temporarily. I would argue that Israel would have done better had it finished off the Hamas and then invited the Egyptians to lead an international effort to repair the Gaza Strip, beginning with the replacement of the refugee camps by decent housing, a move that could have convinced the people of Gaza that there are better alternatives to Hamas. Such an effort would require courage and vision but these are the precisely the elements required to ensure victory over the forces of Islamic fundamentalism and to insure a better future for both Israel and the Palestinians.

Clear-Thinking from the Left: What Else Explains this Uproar but…?

Although the Guardian is one of the more obnoxious papers when it comes to Israel, it occasionally posts something thoughtful. Of course, just look at the more than thousand comments, and it’s clear that the Guardian’s readers are against her piece 9 to 1 (and I assume the many deleted comments are also against her).

Standing against a tide of hatred
It is not Israel’s action, but the vitriolic reaction to it that has been disproportionate. There’s only one explanation: antisemitism

Comments (1131)

Elizabeth Wurtzel
guardian.co.uk, Friday 16 January 2009 10.00 GMT

Is it good for the Jews?

If you were so inclined, you could ask that question about the Madoff mess, the Gaza offensive, the latest screed from Alan Dershowitz – or about a new recipe for angel-food cake. Which is to say, if you are looking for antisemitism, you can find it anywhere, even in a dessert cookbook. But if even paranoids have enemies, I think it’s fair to say that these are tough times for Jews.

While I would prefer to equate the fate of the Palestinians with that of Israel – meaning, I’d like to believe we’re all on the same side – I think that might be a difficult political fiction to maintain at the moment. And while I’d like to artificially separate anti-Zionism from antisemitism, like most American Jews, I’m not willing to make that false distinction: when there is more than one Jewish state, the world’s hatred of Israel might become no different from its exasperation with any other country, but since Israel is the only homeland, and really it is nothing more than six million Jews living together in an area the size of New Jersey, I can’t pretend that the problem with Israel is that it’s a poorly located country that happens to be at odds with its neighbours and only coincidentally happens to be Jewish. The trouble with Israel is the trouble with Jews.

This situation makes me profoundly uncomfortable. As the kind of left-leaning liberal who tends to agree with the positions taken by The Nation in most instances, I hate having to differ so completely on the Israel issue with many I otherwise would align with. As it is my good fortune to be American, I live in the only country that as a matter of policy is pro-Israel regardless of party allegiance; Democrats and Republicans equally unite behind the blue-and-white. But to communicate with anyone I think of as rightminded (and left-leaning) in any other part of the world is to experience the purest antisemitism since the Nazi era. In fact, in Europe right now, it is de rigueur to liken the current regime in Israel with the Nazi party, and to view the experience of the Palestinians as a form of ethnic cleansing. Hamas and Hezbollah are thought by the French and British to be social welfare organisations, and Israel is viewed as a terrorist state. Here, we honor the linguistic discoveries of Noam Chomsky and otherwise experience him as a quaintly brilliant crank, but in the bookstores in London there are entire sections devoted to his political thought – and he is read as if the distinctions between Leninist and Trotskyite philosophy had genuine consequence in today’s world.

Not all Brits have lost their minds: Dominic Lawson reflects

Although evidence suggests that England may be the country most heavily hit by the wave of anti-Semitism that’s swept Europe since 2000, that doesn’t mean that all Englishmen have fallen prey to the antiglobalism of fools.

No, we are not all Hamas now
Dominic Lawson
The Sunday Times
January 11, 2009

I was startled by the monument that stands at the entrance to Yad Vashem, Jerusalem’s memorial to the Holocaust. One side of Nathan Rappaport’s diptych is what looks like a caricature of Jews. The hunched, twisted figures, with hooked noses and heavy-lidded eyes, seem devoid of physical energy. The other panel displays a group of heroic young men and women who are heavily muscled, standing tall, weapons at the ready.

It turns out that the first group is meant to depict Jews being marched to their deaths, while the second is the leaders of the Warsaw uprising; the whole monument is constructed of granite imported from Sweden by the Nazis for the construction of what was meant to be one of the Third Reich’s victory towers.

The message is in fact close to the view expressed with brutal clarity by Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion: “That masses of exiled Jews walked to the death trains . . . silently, stupidly . . . is a decisive, embarrassing and painful statement of the disintegration of spiritual-ethical strength. What is their place among us?” Ben-Gurion envisaged that “new Jews”, with the security of their own nation state, would erase what he saw as the shameful memory of a “submissive, lowly camp of strange creatures . . . who know only how to arouse pity”. Indeed, so anxious was Ben-Gurion to obliterate such memories that he opposed any memorial to the Holocaust. That was one battle he lost.

A Briton entering Yad Vashem might do so in the hope that he would see a compliment to his own nation’s fight against the Nazis. He would be disappointed. Instead, there is footage of a long dead emissary to London recording how Britain’s wartime foreign secretary, Anthony Eden, told him the plight of the Jews was not an important consideration in the war effort. Later, he would see pictures of British soldiers dragging Jewish immigrants from ships on the shores of Tel Aviv and of Holocaust survivors behind the wire of British camps in Cyprus, prevented from reaching the promised land. The message here is equally clear. No one will protect the Jews except themselves.

That remains the position. After all, there was no great perturbation within the UN building in New York during the month upon month that Hamas rained rockets on southern Israel, still less any international pressure on the government of Gaza to desist. Ten months ago I was in Sderot, 30 seconds’ rocket flying time from Gaza, talking to an Israeli nurse whose home had been hit by one of thousands of Qassam missiles which Hamas had fired without fear of reprisal. She still had shrapnel lodged, irremovably, near her brain.

Just when did Mahmoud Mashharawi die?

According to a list published in Al Jazeera, Mahmoud Mashharawi died on January 1, 2009. But the now infamous CNN footage of January 8, 2009 was allegedly about January 7. Vilhjalmur Örn Vilhjalmsson of Denmark noted this discrepancy, put it on his blog under the title Do children die twice in Gaza? and got a lot of hate speech. (By comparison, this blog is almost entirely troll-free.)

Does anyone have any suggestions about the discrepancy.

Moral Criminals: Ben Dror Yemini takes on the beautiful souls

Ben Dror Yemini has a series of articles on the current conflict which I’ve been meaning to post. Now, in the context of AB Yehoshuah’s rebuke to Gideon Levy, and Levy’s response, I post the third of his essays. (H/T: EG)

MORAL CRIMINALS

About Gideon Levi, Robert Fisk and the far left as the propoganda depatment of HAMAS and AL-KAIDA

Ben Dror Yemini 17/1/2009

On December 28th 2008, a few days after Hamas violated the cease fire agreement with Israel, increased its missile fire on Israel and by doing so forced the Israeli government into the operation we are witnessing, Al Hayat published that the government of Gaza is going to impose Sharia law.

The Israeli operation is postponing the implementation, but very soon new punishment measures ranging from chopping of hands, lashings and executions, will be introduced in Gaza. The Taliban has made a comeback in Gaza. Hamastan is not alone in its desire of Sharia law. The chant heard in demonstrations in London and other locations is “Allah Akbar”. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. 40% of Muslims in Britain support the implementation of Sharia law in Britain.
The big question is however, what are the likes of Robert Fisk, Naomi Klein and Gideon Levi doing with this crowd. “We are against Sharia law” they will tell us. That’s true – they are against it. “The disagreement with Hamas should have been solved in another way” they will excuse themselves. “Israel should have accepted the results of the Palestinian people’s vote” because that is democracy – accepting the Palestinian’s right to elect the own leadership.
They add that “if only Israel wouldn’t have blockaded Gaza. If only Israel was generous towards the Palestinians, especially those in the Gaza Strip, and allowed them free passage, work, schooling, medical treatment etc. etc. If only Israel would have done one of the above, this whole conflict would have been avoided. Hamas wouldn’t be forced to fire rockets at Israel and all the bloodshed would never happen”.

Global opinion seems to think in the same way, the West as a whole and especially the Zionists are the oppressors. Israel massacres Palestinians. Globalization and national statehood exploit the wretched and these oppressed people must retaliate.

These are the main claims of the lie industry and they should be exposed.