Posts on the topic of "Gaza"
The "demonize Israel" campaign was in full swing last week in Ontario, Canada, with an exhibit of "Gaza Children's Artwork" at an event called MuslimFest.
There's nothing wrong with that. Except in this case, the "art" was not drawn by children at all, but rather by sophisticated artists trying to mimic a child's style, in order to better pull at the heartstrings of a Western audience.
The unanimous opinion of experts is that these drawings – which depict various scenes of "Israeli brutality" – are far too sophisticated to have been drawn by children. The symbolism, detail, coloring and motifs all indicate the work of trained artists imitating the style of a child. Note, for example, how the dynamic brushstrokes are well conceived and controlled, and how the people are drawn in a clear single-line outline. No child does that.
Here's another clear indication this is a big fake: One would think that a children's art exhibit would eagerly publicize the names of the artists and elaborate on their own personal stories – which is often more compelling than the art. Yet for some bizarre reason, none of the drawings are signed, and none of the "artists" in this exhibit are named.
One anti-Israel website tried to explain away this omission, claiming that the art was often drawn and painted in the dark, due to limited electricity and frequent power outages as a result of the "Israeli siege of Gaza."
Hmmm... So kids can spend an hour drawing an intricate picture, but can't find the ten seconds to write their own names?
The crazy thing is that Festivals and Events Ontario, a non-profit organization that supports various public festivals in Canada, gave a $40,000 grant to MuslimFest.
Honestly, none of this surprises me. Remember Muhammed al-Dura, the suspicious scene of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy allegedly caught in crossfire and killed at the beginning of the second Intifada? Now in Ontario, visitors to a public art festival are subject to the same kind of scam. It's all part of what I call "Pallywood," a cottage industry dedicated to producing Palestinian propaganda materials that demonize Israel. Calling it out is the best way to neutralize its poisonous effect.
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Here in Israel, I’m getting ready to send off my sons to summer camp -- filled with swimming, baseball and rousing sing-a-longs beside the campfire.
In Gaza, summer camps organized by the ruling party Hamas are giving tens of thousands of children an experience that includes walking on nails and on knife blades, and a mock Israeli prison that reenacts the experience of “Palestinian prisoners."
In recent years, Palestinian summer camps have more resembled paramilitary training grounds -- giving children the chance to dress up as masked Palestinian commandos and stage a mock attack on Israelis, plus weapons training with real Kalashnikov rifles.
More "moderate" summer camp experiences have been difficult to implement. In 2010, a United Nations-run summer camp in Gaza was burned to the ground by militants for "teaching schoolgirls fitness, dancing and immorality."
Meanwhile, the “moderate” Palestinian leadership in the West Bank has named a summer camp after Dalal Mughrabi, who led the most lethal terror attack in Israel's history -- the 1978 Coastal Road massacre which resulted in the death of 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children. This week, the Palestinian governor of the Jericho district told campers that Mughrabi "should be a beacon for us in our activities." (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 16, 2012)
Advocates of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process have long decried the atmosphere of hate that permeates Palestinian society, school textbooks and the media. Genuine peace demands moderation, coexistence and tolerance to be taught and practiced as core values.
If Palestinian summer camps had a little less weapons training and a little more singing around the campfire, that would go a long way toward forging a ripe environment. As John F. Kennedy said, “Peace does not rest in charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of people.”
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United With Israel is an enormous pro-Israel network with nearly 1.2 million Facebook subscribers.
Over 12,000 Kassam rockets have been fired into southern Israel in recent years, deliberately targeting Israeli civilians, causing chaos, destruction and death. Nearly one million Israeli citizens are within striking range of Gaza. An entire generation of children has been traumatized by the terror of ongoing rocket attacks.
These state-of-the-art, free-standing shelters provide safety for Israeli citizens as they go about their daily lives. They are built to prevent the penetration of bullets, shrapnel and missile fragments and can withstand direct hits. While building underground shelters can take months, these prefab units take only a few weeks to build and can be delivered and deployed immediately.
Imagine hearing a frightening siren and having 15 seconds to run for cover. Although these shelters cannot provide Israeli communities with peace, they provide both safety and peace of mind.
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Last week Hamas fired over 100 rockets at Israeli towns before agreeing to a ceasefire.
On Friday, following some more cross-border action, Reuters posted this headline:
Israeli Air Strike Kills Gaza Militant, Breaks Truce
According to Reuters, Israel broke the truce. That would be correct, if not for two key pieces of information:
1) The militant killed in the air strike was, according to Palestinian sources, preparing to fire a rocket at Israel from Gaza. Doesn't that count as "breaking the truce"?
2) As Reuters reports in the body of the article, the Israeli strike followed the firing of two rockets at Israel earlier in the day from Gaza. If Israel was responding to rocket fire, how exactly does Reuters conclude that Israel "broke the truce"?
Particularly in online news where users get their fix by scanning a list of links, it is imperative that headlines be clear and direct, leaving no confusion over "who did what."
I recall a few years ago when Associated Press issued this headline: "Rockets Hit Lebanon Despite Cease-Fire." Readers would presume that Israel had broken a cease-fire by attacking Lebanon. Only those bothering to read the article, however, discovered that the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah had fired 10 Katyusha rockets that accidentally fell short, landing in southern Lebanon – hence the technically-true-but-wildly-deceptive headline, "Rockets Hit Lebanon Despite Cease-Fire."
Even Israel's basic counter-terrorist measures are blamed for causing hostilities. When Israel stopped Hamas from building tunnels designed to ferry lethal weapons and kidnap IDF soldiers, the New York Times cited this as evidence of Israel breaking the truce and driving "the cycle of violence to a much higher level." ("A Gaza Truce Undone by Flaws May be Revived by Necessity," December 18, 2008)
It's a world turned upside-down, where Israel is blamed in knee-jerk fashion. Sometimes I think the solution is just to ignore the sophomoric condemnations and do whatever is needed to defend the citizens of Israel. Because if we're anyway damned if we do, and damned if we don't... why not "do"?
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There's so much happening in Israel this week. Yes, the headlines are filled with terrible news of Gaza rockets hitting southern Israeli towns. Of the terrorist infiltration from Egypt that killed a young Israeli-Arab father of four. And of the ever-present specter of Iran speeding toward the Bomb, while stalling world powers at the “nuclear talks.”
But that's only one aspect of life in Israel. In the realm of technology, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was in town this week, praising Google's development centers in Israel as the world's most efficient.
Also this week, tech giant Facebook bought Israeli startup Face.com, which provides facial-recognition technology to help identify and tag photos. Facebook paid an estimated $100 million for this tiny 11-person company, founded just three years ago.
Meanwhile, Abby Joseph Cohen, a senior strategist at Goldman Sachs, gave her estimate of the world's top techno-powers: "China and India manufacture products requiring relatively simple technology, and a cheap workforce, and not products with high added value. Within the context of advanced technology, the U.S. and Israel are top of the table and that's an excellent reason for optimism."
To top it off, this week Shimon Peres is hosting the fourth "Israel Presidential Conference: 'Facing Tomorrow'." The conference brings together top thinkers from around the world for discussions aimed at fostering a better tomorrow for Israel and the world.
The energy here in Israel is spiraling upward. We are living in truly incredible times. Join us!
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I just heard this BBC interview with Dr. Mona El-Farra, vice president of the Red Crescent in Gaza. The world’s largest broadcast corporation gave her a forum to spout the bald-faced lie that there have been no recent rocket attacks from Gaza:
“Let me tell you that for the last four months there were no rockets against Israel and Palestinians respected the cease-fire.”
Listen here (fast forward to 3:00)
For truth-seekers, here's the lowdown on rockets fired toward Israel from Gaza over the last four months:
- December 2011 - 42 rockets
- January 2012 - 18 rockets
- February 2012 - 30 rockets
- March 2012 - 200 rockets
The BBC are masters at aiding this duplicitous Palestinian cover-up game. A few years back, when Israeli soldiers searched Palestinian homes and found disturbing photos of children wielding machine guns and babies strapped with explosive belts, BBC quoted Palestinian spokesliar Yasser Abed Rabbo dismissing it as "cheap Israeli propaganda." In a later interview, BBC put this loaded question to an Israeli spokesman: "The Mossad has the most amazing forgery capabilities in the world. Why should we believe this is real?"
It also reminds me of the time that Palestinians claimed the Israeli Mossad had set up a fake al-Qaeda cell in Gaza. Israeli spokesmen dismissed it as sheer nonsense, but BBC’s headline trumpeted the Palestinian accusation as if it were undisputed fact: “Israel ‘Faked al-Qaeda Presence.’”
Which raises a serious question: If Palestinians repeatedly use the media to promote outright lies, why do journalists continue to take them seriously? In dealing with totalitarian regimes, Western journalists know to treat spokesmen with due skepticism. (Think of the Iraqi Minister of Information, whom the media dubbed Comical Ali, announcing from Baghdad that hundreds of American troops were committing suicide at the city's gates.) So why are corrupt Palestinian groups not held to those same standards? Even more, shouldn't there be a policy to blacklist those spokesmen who are caught lying?
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With world attention focused on the coming of March Madness, the real madness is taking place in southern Israel. Over the weekend, following an Israeli pinpoint strike against a leading terrorist, Palestinians fired over 100 Grad missiles, rockets and mortars deep into Israel. With just 15 seconds to run into a shelter before impact, this put a million Israelis into a veritable war zone. 200,000 kids were kept home from school due to the danger.
What’s amazing to me is the total lack of an international outcry. Has the intolerable become commonplace?
The answer, of course, lies in the media’s constant downplaying the threat to Israel. On prior occasions, as rockets rained on Israeli towns, the New York Times published the ludicrous claim of Hamas spokesman Ahmed Yousef that “We did not intentionally target civilians. We were targeting military bases, but the primitive weapons make mistakes.” Meanwhile, The Economist made the strange claim that “the rudimentary [Palestinian] rockets have maimed more Gazans than Israelis.” (More on this farcical media coverage can be found in chapter 9 of my book, David & Goliath.)
In response to this weekend’s attacks, Israel has knocked out 16 terrorists – while causing zero civilian casualties. (The Arab League, predictably, condemned Israel's strikes as a "massacre.") Elder of Ziyon blog notes:
Dead terrorists, no dead civilians. That's the way it should be. Of course, Israel will be condemned anyway. Which makes her ability to minimize civilian casualties all the more remarkable. It shows that IDF morality comes from within and is part of its very fabric; it is not a fake morality that comes from outside pressure or worries about appearances. The IDF has been steadily improving its methods to take out terrorists and only terrorists over the years, and now it is the best in the world at it.
Here’s a video of one of these pinpoint Israeli strikes: