Posts on the topic of "Anti-Israel"
I wrote here how the media reported that the controversial film, "Innocence of Muslims," was made "with Jewish money, by a Jewish filmmaker" – an Israeli, in fact, trying to "help his native land."
We now know that the filmmaker is really an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Yet Associated Press and others failed in this most basic obligation to fact-check.
Not surprisingly, the Muslim world has continued this theme, blaming the Jews for producing the inflammatory anti-Islam film.
This cartoon appeared in the newspapers Ar-Raya (Qatar) and Ash-Shuruq (Algeria).
The caption reads: "The Killing of the US Ambassador in Libya." Note the stars of David on the filmmaker's shirtsleeves.
Tragically, these lies are more than just factual inaccuracies or a PR issue. These myths remain firmly engraved in Arab lore, fomenting an atmosphere of mistrust that will linger for decades, and that ultimately undermine the possibility of peaceful coexistence.
HT: Tom Gross
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Nicky Larkin is an Irish filmmaker who always identified as pro-Palestinian – wearing the fashionable PLO keffiyeh scarf... viewing Israel as the ogre… the whole nine yards.
Last year, Larkin received a grant to travel to Israel to make a film about the Palestinians. "My peers expected me to come back with an attack on Israel," he says.
Yet when he began to investigate, he realized that the facts didn't square with what he believed. He concluded: He'd been brainwashed by the media (and pro-Palestinian activists) to hate Israel.
"Any artist worth his or her salt should be ready to change their mind on receipt of fresh information," Larkin says. "I would urge all those artists who pledged to boycott Israel to spend some time there."
See this interview where the Irish filmmaker says how he "hated" Israel – until he actually bothered to investigate.
Visitor Comments: 15
We're now in the period of the Jewish calendar called the "Nine Days" leading up to Tisha B'Av, commemorating the repeated attempts to obliterate Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
How apt, therefore, that this week the BBC – the world's largest broadcaster – has taken aim at this very same idea.
In its high-profile Olympic Games website, BBC left out any reference to the Israeli capital – while listing "East Jerusalem" as the capital of "Palestine." (Following complaints, BBC amended the site, coldly listing Jerusalem as the "Seat of Government.")
We wrote previously in this blog about the media's proclivity for denying the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel – an honor it has held continuously for over 3,000 years.
Although clear historical facts cannot be erased in one fell swoop, the media has an incremental effect by planting seeds of doubt. London's Daily Telegraph ("Middle East Peace Process 'in Danger of Collapse,'" October 25, 2009) referred to "the Temple Mount, where the two Jewish temples of antiquity are believed to have been built," and Time magazine identified the "Dome of the Rock, where Jews believe Solomon and Herod built the First and Second Temples." Not an indisputable fact of history; just something that "Jews believe."
Jerusalem is mentioned 500 times in the Bible, though not once in the Muslim Koran. And yet, the media downplays the Jewish connection by promoting the Arabic names of holy sites. In referring to the Temple Mount, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, et al, typically cite the Muslim-Arabic name – "Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary." But did you ever see the Temple Mount referred to by its Hebrew name, "Har Habayit"? A Lexis-Nexis search of tens of thousands of mainstream news articles relating to Jerusalem revealed – aside from direct quotes – just one single reference to "Har Habayit."
Over the millennia, many wars have been fought over Jerusalem. All told, the city has been destroyed and rebuilt no less than nine times – with each conqueror further attempting to obscure the glorious Jewish past. But the Jewish people have never abandoned Jerusalem – praying in its direction thrice daily, invoking Jerusalem at every wedding ceremony, and concluding both the Passover Seder and Yom Kippur services with the yearning cry, "Next year in Jerusalem!"
And now, in an outrage of Olympic proportions, thousands of years of uncontested history are being brazenly erased on news sites everywhere.
What's a good response? Perhaps we should all stop referring to London as the capital of England, calling it instead "the seat of track and field."
Visitor Comments: 16
In May 2010, anti-Israel activists got a big boost when armed Turkish militants (with ties to Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaeda) were killed in the Gaza Flotilla.
Since then, activists have tried a whole variety of tricks to confront Israel. A much-ballyhooed ship ― audaciously named the Audacity of Hope ― was stopped by the Greek Coast Guard a few minutes after leaving port.
Last month, activists tried a "Million-man March," which fizzled out when only a few hundred people showed up.
Today, hundreds of Europeans had planned to board airplanes for a "flytilla" protest in Israel, but the entire enterprise collapsed when Lufthansa, Air France and other airlines simply denied the right to board and cancelled their tickets.
The best part is this letter from the government of Israel addressed to the Flytilla activists. It makes the point loud and clear that Israel is the lone beacon of civil rights in a largely dictatorial Mideast region.
One of the strongest bastions of support for Israel is the evangelical Christian community, which holds strong pro-Israel political views and donates untold millions of dollars toward pro-Israel causes. Fundamentalist Christians act in accord with Isaiah's prophetic imperative that "For Zion's sake I will not keep silent; for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet" (Isaiah 62:1) ― taking seriously the biblical promise that the Holy Land belongs to the Jews as an everlasting possession.
For those seeking to weaken support for Israel, a primary tactic is to drive a wedge between the Jewish state and the pro-Israel Christian community.
And so, in the run-up to Easter, the media mice are scurrying to do their damage. Last time, under the headline, "In Holy Land, Easter Not What it Was," Reuters described "a big drop" "in Easter week ceremonies."
This year, the Washington Post took its turn with a report, "A Dark Easter for Palestinian Christians," spouting the false claim that Israel prevents "the vast majority of Christians living in the West Bank" from attending Easter ceremonies.
Besides the fact that the Washington Post got the numbers wrong, media monitors dug into microfilm archives to reveal the truth of whether Easter participation is unfairly restricted under Israeli rule. News reports from the era when Jerusalem was under Jordanian control (1948-1967) show a total of 5,000 pilgrims in Jerusalem for Easter festivities ― a fraction of the permits that Israel has allotted to Palestinians alone. ("Easter Procession in Jerusalem," Glasgow Herald, April 9, 1955)
Similarly, when Jerusalem was under British control (1917-1948), only a few thousand pilgrims would come every year. ("Holy Fire Ceremony at Holy Sepulchre," Palestine Post, April 28, 1940) Things were even worse during the pre-1917 Ottoman era, when Easter services in Jerusalem would often turn violent. So despite the fact that Easter participation has significantly increased under Israeli rule, the media cannot resist ascribing anti-Christian motives to Israel.
And yet, Washington Post writer Richard Stearns laments: "While the ancient Christian communities around Jerusalem await the miracle of the Holy Fire this week, I pray for another miracle ― one that would give full religious freedom to the Christians in the West Bank and Gaza."
All this ignores the fact that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population has increased since 1948 ― having risen by more than 400 percent, and continues to rise every year. (The Christian population in Israel was 34,000 in 1949, 73,000 in 1972, and 153,000 in 2008. See Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, 2009.)
By contrast, the rest of the Middle East ― Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Syria ― is characterized by widespread "de-Christianization." Turkey, regarded as a moderate Islamic state, has seen its Christian population decline 100-fold in the last century ― from 20 percent in the early 20th century to 0.2 percent today. In Saudi Arabia, the practice of Christianity is plain illegal.
But for the media, Easter is just another opportunity to vilify Israel.
As Jews around the world prepare for Passover ― the celebration of Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt ― Palestinians are working overtime to rewrite history by presenting Moses as "the great Muslim leader who liberated Palestine."
On Palestinian Authority television, Dr. Omar Ja'ara, a lecturer at Al-Najah University in Nablus, declared:
This outrage is the latest Palestinian effort to dismiss Jewish nationhood, a corollary to the repeated denial of any Jewish connection to the Holy Land. "The claims of historic and religious ties between Jews and Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history," reads the Palestinian National Charter (Article 18).
When archaeologists in Jerusalem discovered a small golden bell, possibly from a tunic worn by a high priest during the Second Temple period, Palestinian officials angrily said this "underlines the efforts of the occupation and the extremist Jewish groups to falsify history and plant Jewish history forged in the region." And following the release of an iPhone app that sends prayers to the Western Wall, Palestinians immediately went into protest mode, insisted that "the Wailing Wall is an integral part of the al-Aqsa Mosque, and it is exclusively Islamic… and non-Muslims have no right to it, even to the dust of the Wailing Wall." (Palestine News Network, January 4, 2011)
This deceit goes straight to the top: In the words of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, the Jewish people "claim that 2,000 years ago they had a Temple. I challenge the claim that this is so." (Kul Al-Arab, August 25, 2000) The Palestinian ambassador to Washington, Maen Rashid Areikat, claimed that historically the Jewish presence in Israel "never was in Jerusalem, it never was on the coast, it never was in Hebron."
As detailed in my book, David & Goliath, it's all part of an ongoing deligitimization campaign ― aided by a willing media. Le Monde, the French newspaper of record, quoted PA cabinet minister Yasser Abed Rabbo: "Looking at the situation from an archaeological standpoint, I am sure there is no temple."
Even canonized Jewish writings, accepted for millennia by billions of people worldwide, are targeted for revision. Speaking on Palestinian TV, researcher Dr. Hayel Sanduqa claimed that the well-known verse from Psalm 137, "If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem," is not a Jewish source at all, but rather words uttered by a Christian Crusader, now "falsified in the name of Zionism." And when the iconic 1970s disco group Boney M played a concert in Ramallah, Palestinian organizers demanded that the band not perform one of its biggest hits, "Rivers of Babylon." Why? Because the song's chorus quotes from the Book of Psalms which ― in a brazen act of Zionist propaganda! ― refers to the Jewish yearning for the land of Israel.
Follow the steps: First, Palestinians claim that Moses was a Muslim leader and that Jews never lived in Israel. Then before you know it, standard media references to the Jewish Temple ― accepted as historical fact by every legitimate archaeologist and scholar ― is deemed debatable. London's Daily Telegraph referred to "the Temple Mount, where the two Jewish temples of antiquity are believed to have been built," and Time magazine identified the "Dome of the Rock, where Jews believe Solomon and Herod built the First and Second Temples." Not an indisputable fact of history; just something that "Jews believe."
Beyond the problem of factual inaccuracy, these media manipulations can actually impede the peace process. Invariably, the starting point in any negotiation is whatever is defined in common terms as "normative." With these outrageous pro-Palestinian views reinforced in the media, Palestinians sense the momentum predisposed in their favor, and harbor the illusion of bringing these demands to the negotiating table. Inevitably, Palestinians get a rude awakening every time that Israel ― secure in their 4,000-year history and connection to the land ― refuses to allow these skewed perceptions to dictate terms of an agreement.
Looking at the bright side, this is surely a good conversation starter for this year's Passover Seder.
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Israel has decided to sever all contact with the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC), in response to the council's plan to appoint an international committee to investigate the West Bank.
In practice this means that the Israeli government will not allow visits from HRC members to Israel, and will not cooperate in their investigations.
The United Nations has long been a bastion of anti-Israel sentiment, with the Human Rights Council particularly biased. The HRC has condemned Israel more often than it has condemned the U.N.’s other 191 member states combined. At annual meetings of the HRC, Israel is the only country in the world whose human rights record is examined as a permanent feature of every council session.
In the words of Abba Eban, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N.: If the U.N. "introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions."
The poor folks at the (mistakenly-named) Human Rights Council are so overworked dealing with Israel’s “crimes against humanity” that they haven’t a spare moment to condemn truly abhorrent human rights violators like Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, China or Cuba. Undoubtedly the reason is because – unbelievably – Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, China and Cuba themselves sit on the Human Rights Council. What's next: Jack the Ripper on the Commission for the Protection of Women?
To wit: During the Arab Spring of 2011, as the Libyan revolution raged, the Human Rights Council was hailing Libya’s “commitment to upholding human rights.” (Gadhafi's Libya had previously been elected to chair the HRC with 155 votes.) Meanwhile, amidst the widespread shooting of civilians in Syria, the Assad regime smugly pledged “to uphold the highest standards in promotion and protection of human rights” – and remained a frontrunner for a seat on the Human Rights Council.
The entire U.N. apparatus has been hijacked by a bloc of Arab, Muslim and dictatorial Third World forces who constitute an automatic voting majority. These anti-Israel agitators push their agenda aided by the "halo effect" – the phenomenon whereby the U.N., due to its humanitarian focus, is insulated from scrutiny and regarded above reproach.
The potency of this halo effect was in full force in 2009 with the Goldstone report – the Human Rights Council's "fact-finding mission" on the war in Gaza that charged Israel with intentionally targeting Palestinian civilians, and suggested that Israeli soldiers be prosecuted in international courts for "war crimes."
So this week, when the HRC announced plans to scrutinize Israeli activity in the West Bank, Israel made the decision: Rather than be accomplice to its own condemnation, better to make a dramatic statement of opposition. Whatever the case, the outcome of this “investigation” is certain to deal Israel yet another diplomatic blow.
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Over at Bloomberg, Jeffrey Goldberg speaks about the unfair double-standard imposed upon Israel, whose sins are quite often exaggerated, while the sins of its enemies could not be more heinous. Goldberg writes:
Let us consider Israel's four principal adversaries of the moment: the Islamic Republic of Iran, Bashar al-Assad's Syria, and the fundamentalist terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas...
Hamas is an organization that boasts of killing innocent children and regularly kills Palestinians with whom it disagrees, sometimes by throwing them from buildings. Hezbollah, of course, is a proxy of Iran's regime, its external terror apparatus. Hezbollah has killed Americans, and its members have been indicted in the assassination a Lebanese prime minister. It seeks to impose an Islamist regime on Lebanon, and it functions as an arms supplier to Assad, who is Saddam Hussein's successor as the world's leading butcher.
I am not arguing that Israel should be held to the debauched standard of behavior set by Iran or Syria. (Israel should be held to the standards of a Western democracy, albeit one under threat of missile attack and other, similar unpleasantness.) I'm actually arguing something different: That Israel, like the Jewish people for whom it is a refuge, attracts the hatred of terrible people, people whose terribleness would still be profusely evident even if the Jews or Israel never entered the frame. (Hitler and Stalin ― and Saddam ― come to mind, of course, as well as the Crusaders, the inquisitors, the pogromists, and I could go on)…
Good people should take the hatred directed at Israel by evil people as a sign that, just maybe, Israel's basic cause is just. Israel and its supporters should understand that the enmity reflects well on their cause, and they should do whatever they can to guarantee that their behavior could never possibly be seen as analogous to the behavior of their enemies.
I've written extensively about the media penchant for promoting "Israeli Double Standard Time."
For example, one insidious method of vilifying Israel is to set some standard of "perfection," and note where Israel falls short. Consider National Public Radio's report on the problem of illegal African immigrants sneaking into Israel. NPR emphasized how "Israel is sending a very clear message to all asylum seekers: Beware. We are not interested in your presence here. We will do whatever is in our power to prevent you from being here."
While Israel in the past has welcomed refugees in need (Vietnamese boat people and even Bosnian Muslims), it simply cannot have the open door policy that NPR seems to demand. Even the United States, 450 times the size of Israel, cannot survive with such a policy. Is there any country in the world that actively seeks or welcomes migrants from Africa? (Egyptian policies are to shoot them on sight.) But to NPR, Israel is to be castigated for supposedly falling short of some absurd idealized standard. As Elder of Ziyon writes, this is criticism without context, calumnies without comparisons, arguments without considering the alternative.
The next time somebody criticizes Israel, just ask them to put it into perspective.
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It's no secret that Alwaleed bin Talal ― the Saudi Prince who insulted Rudy Giuliani with an attempted $10 million check after September 11 ― has donated a whopping $20 million to Harvard.
That may explain in part why Harvard officials have been so reticent to speak out against the "One-State Solution" conference at Harvard, scheduled for March 3-4, 2012.
The "One-State Solution," as anyone familiar with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict knows, is a code word for the "demographic annihilation of the State of Israel."
Not surprisingly, many of those scheduled to speak at the Harvard conference are on record as opposing the existence of Israel.
Surely, universities are bastions of free speech and tolerance, but this is crossing the line. Harvard is allowing its resources ― including student activity funds, free space on its property, and the credibility of the Harvard logo in promo materials ― to be applied toward the goal of the dissolution of Israel.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard professor Ruth Wisse observes:
And surely Harvard would never allow students to organize a KKK convention or a gay-bashing fest using campus resources.
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Whitney Houston, the pop sensation who died on Saturday, was many things to many people. She was one of the first black women to achieve international superstardom, and raised awareness of two issues that she experienced personally: domestic violence and drug addiction.
Another side of Houston is less known: in 2003, she visited the Jewish state for what she called a "spiritual retreat."
Houston met with Israel's Prime Minister, and spent time with the controversial Black Hebrews, a group of nearly 2,000 black Americans who moved to Israel in the 1960s and believe they are descendants of the ten lost tribes.
For her "crime" of having visited Israel, anti-Israel activists conducted an unrelenting smear campaign against Houston. Yet Whitney's support held tight, in contrast to the chorus of musicians (Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Gil Scott-Heron, Carlos Santana, to name a few) who have succumbed to pressures and cancelled tour stops in Israel.
Houston will long be remembered as a friend of the Jewish state. While in Israel, she said: "I've never felt like this in any other country. I feel at home."
with thanks to Yvette Alt Miller