Category Archives: Photographs

For a Smile: Amazing Pics

Every once in a while we just need something like this. Enjoy! HT: Funpic and Fropki.

Pallywood in Egypt: What does this tell us about what “they” think of “us”?

First consider the following photograph:

behind the factory 1

This was taken at Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000. The day that Al Durah was shot on film by Talal Abu Rahma. The picture was made public by AP. I use it in lectures to introduce Pallywood.

The closer you look, the less the picture makes sense. Who are these people and what are they doing? Running from what? Ducking from what? Fire? From where? What kind? And why aren’t the people behind them ducking or running?

And what happens when you realize that the building in the upper left shields this entire area from Israeli fire which could only come from their position behind that building, and which they never left that day?

001-netzarim up diagonal include twin


The scene we’re looking at takes place along the road to the bottom left. The building we see in the background is labeled in Hebrew in red (“the factory”), and the Israeli position is behind it, labeled in blue (Magan 3).

In other words, the entire scene is staged, and all these figures are playing for the camera. Indeed, one might phrase it that they are reacting to camera fire.

Now none of that really makes sense to us in the West. When I show this to audiences, people try hard to read the picture as real, not staged. It can’t be that an entire street full of people are involved in such stuff. (James Fallows fall back on al Durah being staged is that it couldn’t happen without someone leaking the story, as if Palestinian culture were identical to ours in these matters of dissent.)

It’s precisely our desire not to believe that Palestinians or Arabs would be so blatantly deceptive that makes us so gullible to a major element of their cogwar against us, namely the manipulation of the (inexcusably) credulous Western news media to create sympathy among the (excusably, if stupidly) empathic Western public, eager to side with the (perceived) underdog.

So now we have serious, comic evidence of Pallywood at work in the Morsi camp in Egypt.

And here’s more of the same, although (a tiny bit) less obvious, from Syria.

What does this tell us about what they think of us, that such patent fakes could conceivably move Western public opinion (note the English signs), and, say, help convince the US government that it should cut off aid to Egypt in reprisal for the behavior of the current ruling group?

That we’re stupid? Unquestionably. The sad thing is, they may well be right. After all, our policy-makers seem to have their major offices on rekaB Street.

Galactic Consciousness on the Eve of Yom Kippur

First light: image of a spiral galaxy, known as NGC 891, approximately 3.3 million light years from Earth, obtained with the newly commissioned Discovery Channel Telescope. BU is among the partners responsible for construction of the $53 million state-of-the-art telescope at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona. Photo courtesy of Phil Massey, Ted Dunham, and Mike Sweaton, Lowell Observatory

Just as the universe expands outside of us, so, within, are infinite expanses of consciousness. Yom Kippur is just such a day to explore the more painful parts of that inner world. Indeed, self-criticism opens up worlds of relationships with others… as long as those “others” share that path. May everyone of good will and integrity have a sweet, good and fruitful new year, and may those who are not yet on that path, find it this year.

Prometheus Unbound: Astounding… Awesome

H/T: Mark Sherman via Derek Thompson at the Atlantic Monthly

Shanghai 1990-2010

In my book (whose copy-edited version I just sent back to the publishers after two months constant work – and hence neglect of my blog), I analyze an oft-repeated claim by Lenin in the aftermath of his treaty with the Germans in 1918 that Russia was only months away from a complete reorganization and economic power. While some dismissed this claim as a rationalization of the dubious treaty, Trotsky insisted that Lenin meant it.

The reorganization of Russia on the basis of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the nationalization of the banks and large-scale industry, coupled with exchange of products in kind between the towns and the small-peasant consumers’ societies, is quite feasible economically, provided we are assured a few months in which to work in peace. And such a reorganization will render socialism invincible both in Russia and all over the world, and at the same time will create a solid economic basis for a mighty workers’ and peasants’ Red Army.

I use this passage to describe the warped sense that invades people who have entered “apocalyptic time” in which the body social appears to be infinitely and rapidly protein. (It contributes mightily to the development of totalitarianism, which I define as the effort of apocalyptic believers who, having taken power and becoming impatient with the dismal failure of the millennium to materialize, chose to carve out the perfect society on the body social.)

What the two pictures above illustrate are the marvels of modern technology and the stunning dynamism of Chinese society (economy, technology, planning), and a realistic acceleration of time that, were it not empirically true, would be close to unbelievable. Prometheus unbound, turn of the third millennium.

Advertising in Lebanon: Ahmadinejad’s Visit overshadowed

As the line in Schiller’s Ode to Joy goes: Was die Mode streng geteilt (What fashion has torn asunder).

HT: Tom Gross

Haiti and Israel

I have not had the time to post on the Haiti Earthquake and the Israeli response. It’s not really the subject of this blog, and I’ve just started teaching so I have no time. For those who want more coverage on this, go to the IDF blog, and this post by Woman Honor Thyself; and this entry at the LA Times blog.

But these pictures struck me as relevant to what I try to communicate here.

israeli soldier in haiti

surviving haitian orphan

The media, taking their lead from Palestinian spokesmen and women whose major purpose in life is to wholesale lethal narratives about Israelis, have left the world with an image of Israeli soldiers as happy murderers of little kids. I think the smiles on these men’s faces tells us a great deal about the IDF: they’re much happier saving lives than taking them.

Golda Meir famously said

When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons. (Statement at a Press Conference in London, 1969)

Many people, especially those from cultures in which you are not a “man” until you’ve killed another man, have trouble understanding this. But this man’s face illustrates precisely that point.

Golda also said,

Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us. (Statement to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., 1957)

The 21st century version of that is, “There will be clarity when the “Left” and the news media care about their values and the rest of the people around the world, more than they want to dump on Israel.”

Variant: “They care as much about the rest of the people around the world as much as do Israelis.”

It’s not that the media exaggerate, or distort. They invert.

Of course, they get help from Jews/Israelis who just can’t beat their breasts enough: Steven Plocker, “What about Gaza?” Gee, maybe if the Gazan didn’t vote for genocidal maniacs, and abuse Israeli medical generosity to try and blow up hospitals, there might be an outpouring of help. But, no. For folks like Plocker (and the entirely predictable Akiva Eldar), Israelis have to be perfect, and pour out their generosity on people who do everything they can to destroy them.

Just like everyone else, no?

Actually, thinking about the evolutionary process, I’d say that no culture that allowed a ruthlessly hostile enemy’s narrative to colonize its brain — if it ever happened — lasted very long. Christian Rome?

Selection as an Editorial Activity: Time does the “Top Ten Doctored Photos”

Aside from the stupid celebrity stuff, Time has a half-dozen “political” photos, which, particularly in the inclusion of a photo from a tiny Israeli ultra-orthodox paper, and the exclusion of Reutersgate, illustrates just how misleading and misinforming the MSNM is (has become?), how sloppy its work, how silly its criterion of choice.

A challenge to the blogosphere: let’s come up with a better list of the 10 top doctored photos of all time.

Studies in Demopathy and Pope’s Visit III: It goes so deep and we’re so clueless, they don’t even try

I’ve posted some items on the attitude of Muslims towards the Pope during his visit. The picture below was taken in Nazereth during his recent visit.

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and if the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.”
Qur’an, Aal ‘Imraan 3:85.

By the standards of modern tolerance this is problematic however one reads it, even if whoever refers only to Muslims. After all, isn’t secular, civil society about the marketplace of ideas, even religious ones, and isn’t the highest form of any religion voluntary, adherence from conviction and love, not from fear and coercion?

But if whoever refers to everyone, Muslim and not, it goes beyond “problematic” to “slap in your face” when the sign is hung out — with translation — to “welcome” the head of another religious tradition on a highly public occasion.

There were other passages from the Qur’an they might have cited, for example:

Surely, those who believe, those who are the Jews and the Sabians and the Christians – whosoever believed in Allaah and the Last Day, and worked righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
[al-Maa’idah 5:69]

But for many (all?) Muslims, the former passage supersedes this more tolerant one. The generosity of acknowledging that God will be merciful to those who worship him in their own fashion disappears once Islam is completely revealed, according to an internet site that presents itself as moderate. (Note that on the question of whether non-Muslims deserve to live the same religious authority uses of the very passage here dismissed as depassé.)

Newsworthy sign? Indicator of a mood? Something Westerners should know about?

Apparently not (except for Fox News). My search for images of the pope’s visit to Nazareth finds no such image published by the news agencies. It’s all holding hands with Muslims and Jews and singing odes to peace and tolerance.

pope and leaders in nazareth

Let’s call it the Sieple approach to dialogue, embodied here in the apologetic words of the AJC’s rabbi for interfaith dialogue, David Rosen. In response to criticism of the pope’s disembodied speech at Yad Vashem. (Note that the Pope’s visit to Yad Vahsem was itself overshadowed by the Pope’s refusal to visit the museum where a display criticized Pope Pius XII for his behavior during the Holocaust, the same pope that Benedict XVI would like to beatify.) Rosen both defended the pope and pointed to Nazareth as a counter-point of the real spirit of his visit.

Rosen said that he regarded the criticism of Benedict as “not really fair” and noted that before the pope departed Israel on Friday, he decried anti-Semitism in unequivocal terms and made many of the points critics said were missing from his speech at Yad Vashem. If there’s a pattern, Benedict’s admirers say, it’s that his public relations skills are not as strong as his theology — but that he tends to make up ground once he recognizes a problem.

Doubters, Rosen said, should look at the pope’s involvement in a broad interfaith meeting held in Nazareth. Representatives treated their different religious traditions “as a sort of blessing and enrichment, and not as a sort of tension and strife,” he said.

That’s certainly the message of hope that our media also convey with their pictures. As one reporter put it, “Pope slowly learns to dialogue with Muslims.”

But the bottom line is, like “peace” negotiations, it’s the West fantasizing a partner who isn’t there.

CNN Steps in the Pallywood Doodoo: Heartrending footage Staged by Norwegian Doctors

This morning CNN ran a heartrending story:

(CNN) — At a Gaza hospital, doctors tried to revive a 12-year-old victim of the violence, but their efforts were in vain. Mahmoud died.

Recording the tragedy at the hospital was his brother, freelance cameraman Ashraf Mashharawi.

Just a short time earlier, Mashharawi had been filming other, less personal images of the war– scenes like incoming missiles and the damage they do. Then, he got a phone call. Mashharawi was told the family home had been hit by a rocket.

His brother, Mahmoud and his 14-year-old cousin Ahmad, had been allowed to play on the roof after days of being cooped up inside as Israel continued its assault on Gaza.

Both boys died after the rocket hit.

The family had believed their house — now pockmarked by shrapnel and splattered with blood — was safe from the conflict. The family says the rocket was fired by a pilotless Israeli drone.

Mashharawi filmed the doctors’ efforts to save his brother’s life at the hospital; he also captured images of relatives cradling the boy wrapped in a white sheet after his death. Why? Because he said his family wanted the world to see the human toll of the conflict.

Just hours after play turned to death, Mahmoud was laid to rest.

Israel says it does not target civilians and it does all it can to avoid civilian casualties. Israel says it is unaware of the incident in this report.

With it, they ran an even more heartrending video of the cameraman’s footage.

Except, the footage seems to be a fake. A medical doctor commented at the indispensible Little Green Footballs:

I’m no military expert, but I am a doctor, and this video is bullsh-t. The chest compressions that were being performed at the beginning of this video were absolutely, positively fake. The large man in the white coat was NOT performing CPR on that child. He was just sort of tapping on the child’s sternum a little bit with his fingers. You can’t make blood flow like that. Furthermore, there’s no point in doing chest compressions if you’re not also ventilating the patient somehow. In this video, I can’t tell for sure if the patient has an endotracheal tube in place, but you can see that there is nobody bag-ventilating him (a bag is actually hanging by the head of the bed), and there is no ventilator attached to the patient. In a hospital, during a code on a ventilated patient, somebody would probably be bagging the patient during the chest compressions. And they also would have moved the bed away from the wall, so that somebody could get back there to intubate the patient and/or bag him. In short, the “resuscitation scene” at the beginning is fake, and it’s a pretty lame fake at that.

So the question is, were they re-enacting the resuscitation scene by repeating their actions on a corpse, because the child had died earlier? It’s likely that the answer is no, that child is still alive, and is just an actor pretending to be a child who was killed. Why do I say that? Because the big guy in the white coat, if he’s really a doctor, nurse, nurse’s aid, EMT, or any sort of health care provider at all would be entirely aware that tickling the boy’s sternum doesn’t really look like actual chest compressions. If the boy was dead, the man would have done a more convincing job in compressing the chest. The taps on the chest that he’s doing are the sort of thing you see in bad TV dramas, when you don’t want to make the poor actor playing the victim uncomfortable by really pushing on his chest. I think the man in the white coat knows this child is actually alive, and is making the simulated chest compressions gentle so as not to hurt the child. My guess is that he assumed the videographer, like those on better TV shows, would have been smart enough not to film as far down as the man’s hands on the chest.

CNN has now taken down the video, but left the story up. England’s Channel 4 has a similar story, also emphasizing the pathos of the affair:

Despite his own family tragedy Ashraf Mashharawi managed to send us the images surrounding his brother’s death and the impact on his family.

The family were keen that the story of what happened to them today should be told.

This incident deserves close attention. Like the Gaza Beach tragedy which the Palestinians turned into a Pallywood extravaganza, blaming Israel for a Palestinian “mistake,” this one has many of the usual suspects:

  • The Palestinian child who plays a part in the tragedy “for the camera,”
  • The Palestinian cameraman who, “with his little camera has a humanitarian message for the whole world” — his excuse for exploiting grief, for making propaganda out of tragedy.
  • The Western “volunteer” there to help the beleaguered Palestinian people. Then it was “military expert Mark Garlasco,” here it’s Norwegian radical and occasional doctor, Mads Gilbert, a radical Marxist (there still are some!) who thinks the US deserved 9-11 and who has spent many hours telling reporters what a disgusting people the Israelis are.
  • The Western media, ever eager to have their heart-rending story of Israeli cruelty and Palestinian suffering, who, when caught making an error, quietly remove the problem without admitting the error. (In a section entitled “From the blogs: Commentary, Controversy, Debate, none of the three that appear mention the problem.)

If indeed this is a false story, it tells us, above all, about how radically unreliable our information from Gaza. Here we have a European doctor engaged in staging a scene for the camera. As with the scenes from Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000, we’re dealing with a public secret: staging is permissable.

All of our statistics and stories about what’s happening in Gaza come from Palestinian sources and NGO’s/UN personnel. Many who might discount Palestinian sources nonetheless credit the UN spokespeople and NGOs. In my viewing of the coverage, I’m struck by the Pallywood-style editing we are presented: no long shots, almost every sequence is less than 3 seconds, and it’s impossible to see whether the person is genuinely injured (e.g., many with no sign of blood). I am not denying that there are dead and wounded, but it may be that the numbers are significantly less that we are told, in particular the percentage of civilians, which, with every day, has become increasingly inflated.

Some have argued that it’s a good thing that the MSM has not made it into Gaza. I’m not so sure. Although I think the Western media is exceptionally badly behaved — an Augean Stables of bad habits — it’s not as wretched as the full-bodied weaponized mode of the Palestinian and Arab media. There is a difference between dupes and demopaths. I think had they been there, it’s very likely that a fair amount of the open faking that goes on might not happen so openly. Who knows, among the swarm of Western reporters, maybe somone would have the courage to say, “this is loony.”

And loony it is: the Western news media serve as the major battalion for Hamas in their battle with an Israel they cannot hope to defeat militarily. Alas, they serve a master who desires their destruction every bit as much as they desire the destruction of the Jews.

PS. I’m going to have to start giving out Most Valuable Idiot of the Hour awards at this rate.

Desperate Zimbabwean Mother Dupes The New York Times

The New York Times’ June 26 edition featured a large photograph above the fold that caused readers to pause- it depicted an 11-month old with two broken legs, ostensibly by Mugabe’s thugs. The caption read:

Suffering Great and Small
An 11-month-old boy with broken legs found shelter in a church in Harare, Zimbabwe. His mother said youths with the governing party shattered his legs while trying to make her disclose the whereabouts of her husband, an opposition supporter.


Powerful. Dramatic. A lasting symbol of the brutality that Mugabe and his cohorts are willing to use in order to intimidate opposition and secure victory in the elections.

Unfortunately, the media, and as a result, the public, are victims of a dupe perpetrated by a mother understandably concerned with the welfare of her young child. The New York Times published this correction:

A front-page picture caption on June 26 describing an 11-month-old boy whose legs were in casts stated that his legs were broken and that his mother said the injuries were caused by an episode of state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe. After the picture and an accompanying article that also described the injuries were published, The New York Times took the boy to a medical clinic in Harare for help. When the casts were removed, medical workers there discovered the boy had club feet. Doctors said on Monday that X-rays of the baby’s legs showed no evidence of bone fractures.

The mother subsequently admitted that she had exaggerated injuries she said had been sustained by the boy during an attack by governing party militia. In multiple interviews, she said that youths backing President Robert Mugabe had thrown her son to the concrete floor – and she still says that event did occur.

The owner of the house where she and the baby were staying confirmed that marauding youths from the governing party had attacked the house. He said he believed the baby had been thrown to the floor during the attack, but the owner was in a different room and did not witness it firsthand. The landlord, other lodgers, neighbors and opposition supporters also confirmed that the mother had been singled out because her husband was an opposition member.

The mother, however, later told The Times that the boy had been wearing casts even at the time of the attack, as part of a treatment he had received for his club feet at a different medical facility. She said she misrepresented the boy’s injuries to generate help because she could not afford corrective surgery for the boy.

It is likely that the attack indeed occured as the woman and her neighbors describe it. She is clearly a victim, and in her tragic situation, she quite honorably did everything in her power to attain medical treatment for her child.

While our hearts break for her plight and that of her countrymen, and though we recognize Mugabe as a brutal dictator whose death or exile is a necessary step for a return to Zimbabwe’s former prosperity, we Western readers must demand that our media maintain the strictest accuracy in their dispatches. Though Mugabe is a brutal dictator, and other innocents have been assaulted in the very manner that the caption describes, we cannot countenace our media publishing images that are themselves untrue, but reflect a larger truth. That is the flawed logic behind Enderlin’s defense of his Al-Durah reporting, as well as Gideon Levy’s and Arad Nir’s assertions that it does not matter if the IDF actually shot Al-Durah, since they have undoubtedly killed many Palestinian children.

The New York Times is to be commended for the correction, although they have been duped recently by the Iranians, along with the rest of the major media organizations. But the fact that a concerned mother can so easily put one by their fact-checkers should be cause for alarm. No surprise that Palestinians and Iranian see fooling major Western media outlets as no great feat.

Poynter Online covered the story, including an interview with Meaghan Looram, picture editor of The New York Times.

Second Draft examines another Pallywood Production: Gaza Beach Tragedy: Exploiting Grief

We have just put up a ten-minute documentary on the Gaza Beach explosion that killed seven of the Ghalia family on June 9, 2006.

Gaza Beach Tragedy: Exploiting Grief

We hope, in the near future to put up the documentation for the movie in the same manner as we did with both Pallywood and Al Durah, including some of the footage we cut (for example a focus on the behavior of Ayham Ghalia the surviving brother).

At the time it happened, I posted several items on it:

At first I expressed doubt that the incident had even happened at the beach. Too little blood on and too little damage to family possessions led me to speculate that the accident happened elsewhere and the bodies had been brought to the beach.

But since then, Danny Seaman of the Government Press Office gave me the rushes provided to him by Rammattan (which we will post shortly). After careful examination, I have changed my opinion, and in the film suggest that the family did die at the beach (considerable, but localized blood), and that it was most likely from a Palestinian land mine.

This is Pallywood not in the sense of pure staging, as I think in the case of al Durah and many of the ambulance evacuations, but of a genuine tragedy — the family were killed on the beach — in which the Pallywood producers were able to create a story that accused the Israelis of killing them when they were most probably killed as a result of Palestinian actions.

There is much to speculate on here:

  • Was the cameraman aware that this was — or may have been — from a Palestinian mine, rather than from an Israeli shell?
  • Just how dishonest was Marc Garlasco, the Human Rights Watch specialist, whose testimony pegs him either as one of the great useful idiots of all time, or a dishonest advocate and propagandist?
  • When did the media realize the problem but chose either not to mention their mistakes, or to present the counter-case as minimally as possible?
  • What’s wrong with the Rory Peck Award Committee that, despite all the evidence of foul play, they gave the cameraman an award?

In preparation for the dossier at the Second Draft, we welcome any references to articles or material that we can include in the dossier, including material that may contradict our thesis.


My daughter commented to me on how refreshing it is to hear me speak in pure zero-sum terms when I talk about sports. (It may come as some surprise to readers of this blog that I do a lot of trying to understand the other side.) In any case, this picture is too amazing not to post.

randy moss
Randy Moss (81) goes up for a Tom Brady pass.

He caught it.