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Posts Tagged ‘60 Minutes’

The West, Iran, and the ‘Process’ Trap

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Few things ought to be as urgent as keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, yet the West – led from the front by the United States – has fallen into the “peace process” trap that considers talk to be progress and, once a conversation has begun, that there is nothing worse than stopping it.[1]

Iran understands this as a Western peculiarity, and has used it to cause a rift between Israel and the West; receive assurances that that military action is not in the offing; and begin a process that leaves the Islamic Republic in full control of its nuclear program for a negligible price. Talk about your demands.

Talk about what you’ve talked about. Talk about what you won’t talk about. Talk about talking again. Talk again. Repeat.

Several months ago, the media was ablaze with war talk -– a potential Israeli strike against Iran, of course, but also the war between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his former Mossad chief, Meir Dagan. While the PM was working to keep the threat of military action on the Western agenda, Dagan was announcing to the world that military action was a choice to which he was opposed. Time magazine put “King Bibi” on its cover and said he was “unlikely to forge a peaceful path.” Everyone seemed to know when Israel was going to “do it.”

In truth however, Dagan was not so much opposed to the military option as to its imminent exercise and its exercise by Israel. He told Lesley Stahl, “An attack on Iran before you are exploring all other approaches is not the right way to do it.”

Dagan: I heard very carefully what President Obama said. And he said openly that the military option is on the table, and he is not going to let Iran become a nuclear state.

Stahl: What I think you’re now saying (is), “Why should we do it? If we wait and they get the bomb, the Americans will do it.”

Dagan: The issue of Iran armed with a nuclear capability is not an Israeli problem; it’s an international problem.

Stahl: So wait and let us (the U.S.) do it.

Dagan: If I prefer that somebody will do it, I always prefer that Americans will do it.

Since there wasn’t as much distance between Dagan and Netanyahu as they had hoped, American officials – including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – publicly denounced the idea of an Israeli strike and talked up Iranian air defense capabilities, and “containment.”

Reassured that it didn’t face military action in the short term, Iran – without actually stopping uranium enrichment and without actually allowing inspectors into its facilities — moved to block upcoming Western sanctions.

Talk would do the trick.

The P5+1 met with Iran in Istanbul in April, where EU negotiator Catherine Ashton lauded the “atmosphere,” the “body language” of the Iranians, and their willingness to go to Baghdad in May. During the Baghdad talks, the IAEA discovered that not only was Iran continuing to enrich uranium, but also had stockpiles enriched to 27%. The Iranians called these developments a “technical glitch” and said Western complaints were designed only to “damage the existing constructive cooperation between Tehran and the IAEA.”

The Western powers, however, did not complain very much. “The two sides’ commitment to diplomacy in the absence of any clear agreement is a positive sign,” said Ali Vaez, Iran expert at the International Crisis Group. “All parties should be commended for returning to the negotiating table. Obama should be commended for having turned diplomacy into a process rather than the one-off meetings that existed in the past,” wrote Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council.

Eyes are now on Moscow for the next round of talks in June. After that? Stockholm in July is lovely; August is for vacation; then perhaps Vermont to watch the leaves turn in September.

The process is likely to continue as Iran’s nuclear program continues. But the recent – and ongoing – revelations of the so-called Flame malware infecting computer systems in Iran are a reminder that action has its place, albeit not necessarily with airplanes over Fordo.

60 Minutes narrator: Soon after (Dagan became head of Mossad), Iranian cargo planes started falling from the sky, nuclear labs were catching fire, centrifuges were malfunctioning. And then, one by one, Iranian nuclear scientists started disappearing and getting killed, blown up by shadowy men on motorcycles. But no matter how hard we tried, whenever we asked about any of this, he stonewalled.

Thousands Flood CBS Emails Protesting Anti-Israel ’60 Minutes’ Story

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Thousands of Christian and Jewish supporters of Israel have bombarded CBS executives with complaints about a “60 Minutes” segment that blamed Israel for the exodus of Christians from the West Bank and Jerusalem (See Video: A Well Crafted Piece of Propaganda Packed with Intentional Lies, Is It Sunday Already?).

In the segment that aired Sunday, correspondent Bob Simon, Palestinian Christian leaders and others blame Israel and the settlements for Christians leaving cities such as Bethlehem and  Jerusalem.

The Jewish Federations of North America and Christians United For Israel asked their members to send messages to CBS executives to complain about the segment. JFNA’s action alert, sent before the segment aired, read: “We hope that CBS will be flooded with responses through their inboxes, Facebook, Twitter and mail after the program to express discontent if it is as biased as we anticipate.”

CUFI told its supporters in a Twitter message Monday that “Sunday night ’60 Minutes’ blamed Israel for Christian flight from the Middle East. Join me in telling them the truth.” CUFI tweeted later in the day that more than 22,000 supporters had contacted “60 Minutes” over the segment.

In the segment, Simon says that “Palestinian Christians, once a powerful minority, are becoming the invisible people, squeezed between a growing Muslim majority and burgeoning Israeli settlements. Israel has occupied the West Bank for 45 years.”

The segment quoted Israeli journalist Ari Shavit as saying that “Israel is not persecuting Christians as Christians. The Christians in the Holy Land suffer from Israeli policies that are a result of the overall tragic situation. And this, of course, has consequences for everybody.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren is quoted as saying that Christians are leaving the West Bank due to Islamic extremism. The segment takes Oren to task for calling Jeff Fager, the head of CBS News and executive producer of “60 Minutes,” before the segment ran to make sure that the story would not be a “hatchet job.”

“It seemed to me outrageous. Completely incomprehensible that at a time when these communities, Christian communities throughout the Middle East, are being oppressed and massacred, when churches are being burnt, when one of the great stories in history is unfolding,” that ’60 Minutes’ would focus on Christians in Israel,” Oren told Simon in the segment.

Video: A Well Crafted Piece of Propaganda Packed with Intentional Lies, Is It Sunday Already?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Veteran 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon on Sunday presented “Christians of the Holy Land,” a piece of complex, anti-Israeli propaganda that was clearly intended to cause Israel damage among US Christians. It throws unfair accusations at Israeli Jews—who are essentially blameless in the story of the vanishing Arab Christians—while practically ignoring the active role of Palestinian Muslims in pushing Christians out of Bethlehem, to name but one city.

Fifty years ago, Christians were easily 70 percent of Bethlehem’s population; today they make up less than 15 percent. It’s the same in Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq. In fact, the only place in the Middle east where the Christian population is growing is inside “green line” Israel.

But the 60 Minutes piece, and the “scary” document it keeps referring to, “The Kairos Palestine Document,” have virtually no Muslim villains in them. At most it is “Jewish and Muslim extremists,” a nicely balanced package of crazies, who are to blame for Christian suffering.

There’s a fleeting reference to the fate of Israeli Christian Arabs, who may be equal citizens in a Western democracy, but, trust Bob Simon, they, too, suffer. They may be thriving, unlike their brethren from Casablanca to Tehran, but they’re still crying all the way to the bank.

The classic segment within the piece concerns the security wall – look for it around minute 4. Simon acknowledges that the wall was built to stop Palestinian terrorism, and concedes that it is working, having reduced terrorism by 90 percent. Then the story proceeds to detail how tough it is for Palestinian Christians to be living in the shade of this wall, which has come to be known as an “open air prison.”

“How do you live with this?” Simon asks in horror.

The piece also shows the long lines of Palestinian cars at Israeli checkpoints, and the fact that Palestinians must obtain Israeli permits to be moving about at all. Now the case is complete: Christians are leaving because of the hardship of Israeli occupation.

There are two logical problems here. One is of simple fairness, as Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren actually spells out: which would Bob Simon prefer, continued Jewish bloodshed on buses and in restaurants and hotels, or Arab inconvenience?

The other is even simpler: assuming Muslims are subject to at least the same level of hardship by the Israeli “occupiers,” why has the Muslim population of Bethlehem gone up to 85% while the Christians are fleeing?

If the reason for the emergence of a Christian Diaspora in Michigan is the occupation, there should be a corresponding percentage of Palestinian Muslims leaving Judea and Samaria.

But we haven’t seen 70 percent of Muslims leaving the “disputed territories,” because—and that’s the bit of harsh reality completely absent and, in fact, being denied, in Bob Simon’s piece—it’s the Palestinian Muslims doing much of the pushing.

In 2008, human rights attorney Justus Reid Weiner wrote “Palestinian Crimes against Christian Arabs and Their manipulation against Israel” for the Jerusalem Institute for Global Jewish Affairs. He summed up his argument : “Under the Palestinian regime Christian Arabs have been victims of frequent human rights abuses by Muslims. There are many examples of intimidation, beatings, land theft, firebombing of churches and other Christian institutions, denial of employment, economic boycotts, torture, kidnapping, forced marriage, sexual harassment, and extortion. Palestinian Authority (PA) officials are directly responsible for many of the human rights violations. Muslims who have converted to Christianity are in the greatest danger. They are often left defenseless against cruelty by Muslim fundamentalists. Some have been murdered.”

Read this interview by “Christianity Today” with Weiner. He tells these anecdotes:

There is a Greek Orthodox Christian who was so tight with the Palestinian Liberation Organization that during the first intifada, Israel expelled him from the West Bank. Arafat brought him back to the West Bank after the Oslo process began. He ran a TV station that he built in Bethlehem. Despite that connection, he gradually got fed up with what was going on with the Christians. About two months ago, he went public with a dossier that he had previously delivered to Arafat and then Abu Mazen. The dossier gives 70 detailed examples of attacks on specific Christians—beatings, sexual harassment, all nature of theft, stealing land—and 140 cases of land theft where Muslim gangs in cahoots with the Palestinian Authority showed up, poured a slab of cement, built apartment houses, and sold them right under the nose of the land’s Christian owners.
Since going public, he’s gone abroad for a trip. That’s a clue as to how long he would likely be alive if he were to show up in the Middle East anytime soon.

There’s a pastor in Bethlehem whose name I haven’t used, but one day a couple years ago he came home from work at his church, and as he parked his car, he saw a masked man jump over the fence into his front yard. The man had a pistol and took three shots, hitting the pastor once in the shoulder. The pastor fell to the ground and pretended to be dead, and the man jumped back over the fence and left.

A great deal is made by Bob Simon of the fact that Ambassador Oren had called CBS to complain about the anti-Israeli hatchet job in his piece – before the piece had aired. In fact, he practically yells at Oren, that this is the first time a subject had ever called to complain about him to his bosses before the finished piece had a chance to air.

Mike Wallace Shuffles Off This Mortal Coil

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Mike Wallace died earlier this month at age 93, and while some may find it preferable to focus on the positive when speaking or writing about an individual on the occasion of his passing, the Monitor had little good to say about Wallace while he was living, so why start now?

Wallace, who achieved his greatest fame on CBS’s long-running newsmagazine “60 Minutes,” was a Jew by birth whose snarky attitude toward Judaism was perfectly illustrated in the response he gave when a Washington Post reporter wrote that Wallace had been spotted ordering a ham sandwich on Yom Kippur at a popular Capitol Hill restaurant. Asked about it, Wallace confirmed the story, adding, “I am a Reform Jew. The best thing I can do is serve my master.”

Wallace’s religious observance, or lack of it, was his personal affair. What bothered the Monitor was his dismaying habit of losing his vaunted hard edge in the presence of just about any Arab or Muslim dictator.

In 2006 he came out of retirement to interview Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and proceeded to spread the word that the man who denies the Holocaust and calls for destroying Israel is not really such a bad guy after all.

“He’s actually in a strange way…a rather attractive man,” gushed Wallace, suddenly transformed from cynical journalist to swooning schoolgirl, “very smart, savvy, self-assured, good looking in a strange way…. He couldn’t have been more accommodating.”

Of particular note was Wallace’s stupefying performance on Sean Hannity’s radio program. Asked by Hannity if he considered Ahmadinejad to be an anti-Semite, Wallace flatly responded, “No, I don’t.”

When Hannity quoted Ahmadinejad’s statements about wiping Israel off the map, a nearly incoherent Wallace replied, “Yes, he says wipe [Israel] off the map, and of course I asked him over and over about that. He says in effect, hey, it’s perfectly sensible to do…pardon me. It’s perfectly sensible for them, and I’m not quoting directly, obviously, because I don’t have the translation in front of me, to…for them to…it’s perfectly sensible, if there is a Holocaust, and let’s buy the fact that there was a Holocaust. Where did the Holocaust take place? Did it take place in an Arab neighborhood? Did it take place in Jerusalem? No. It took place in Germany. Then it seems to me, under those circumstances, take Israel, the Zionist entity, he called it, move it to Germany. Move it to Europe. That’s where it happened.”

Hannity asked Wallace if he thought that was a legitimate argument, to which Wallace shot back, “It’s an argument. I’m not a commentator. You are.”

Back in 2002 Wallace, appearing on “Larry King Live” to talk up an interview he’d recently conducted with Yasir Arafat, expressed a level of sympathy and understanding to the Palestinian terror chief that he rarely if ever extended to an American leader.

“You know something, Larry,” he said, “I came to – I came to admire Arafat beginning back in 1977. He has made mistakes along the way as all of us do….”

In 1975, during a notorious “60 Minutes” whitewashing of the late Syrian president Hafez Assad, Wallace characterized the thug who killed tens of thousands of his own people as “cool, strong, austere and independent.”

Wallace’s view of the Arab-Israeli conflict was already clear back in 1958, when he hosted Israeli ambassador Abba Eban on the TV show “Mike Wallace Interviews.”

Though Eban handled his end of the conversation with his trademark wit and intelligence, Wallace’s tone was prosecutorial throughout, as when he quoted, without indicating any disagreement, the historian Arnold Toynbee’s statement that “The evil deeds committed by the Zionist Jews against the Arabs are comparable to crimes committed against the Jews by the Nazis.’ ”

Later in the interview Wallace alleged that “the problem of the refugees is allied with the problem of territorial expansion on the part of Israel.”

“Mr. Ambassador,” he asked Eban, “do you … foresee further territorial expansion by Israel?”

Remember, this was nearly a decade before the Six-Day War, when Israel first came into possession of the territories now so widely deemed to be the crux of the conflict. To portray Israel as expansionist in 1958 was to basically call into question Israel’s very legitimacy.

Newsman Mike Wallace Dead at 93

Monday, April 9th, 2012

CBS News icon Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes” fame, the tough interviewer who may not have invented confrontational journalism but certainly perfected it, died Saturday night. He was 93 and was surrounded by family members at the Waveny Care Center in New Canaan, Conn., where he had lived recently.

Jeff Fager, chairman CBS News and executive producer of “60 Minutes” said, “All of us at CBS News and particularly at ’60 Minutes’ owe so much to Mike. Without him and his iconic style, there probably wouldn’t be a ’60 Minutes.’”

The AP’s David Bauder wrote that the “60 Minutes” journalist’s reputation as a pitiless inquisitor was so fearsome that the words “Mike Wallace is here to see you” were the most dreaded words in the English language; capable of reducing an interview subject to a shaking, sweating mess.

Myron Leon “Mike” Wallace (b. May 9, 1918) whose family’s surname was originally Wallechinsky, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, to Russian Jewish immigrant parents, Frank and Zina (Sharfman) Wallace. His father was a grocer and an insurance broker.

During the course of his career, Wallace interviewed Yasir Arafat and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. During a 1989 interview with Arafat, Wallace allowed him to spout his anti-Israel views without questioning them. When he asked Arafat if he had renounced “military operations” inside Israel, Arafat responded “Any people who are facing occupation or oppression have the right to use all methods.” Wallace did not probe this with a follow-up question, CAMERA pointed out in a 2006 report called “Mike Wallace’s Middle East Problem.”

He interviewed Abba Eban, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, in 1958.

Media Distorts Former Mossad Head’s 60 Minutes Interview on Iran

Friday, March 9th, 2012

When even the very outfit that conducted the interview with Meir Dagan misrepresents what the man actually said, it provides an opportunity to identify agenda driven reporting.

Here’s the CBS News headline for their promo of the Sunday night 60 Minutes interview with Dagan:

Ex-Israeli spy chief: Bombing Iran a stupid idea

Now, to be fair, Dagan has been a cool voice on the issue of whether or not Israel should bomb Iran’s nukes, and so it is tempting for some to see his call for Israel’s leaders to count to 30 before speaking, as a statement of support for Obama’s view of diplomacy before war.

On January, 2011, Dagan, who was retiring from his post as Mossad chief, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that he did not believe Iran would have nuclear capability before 2015.

And so, in Lesley Stahl’s interview with Meir Dagan, part of next Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” she brings up the quote in which he supposedly said that bombing Iran now is “the stupidest idea” he’d ever heard.

Except that’s not exactly what he said. A May 8, 2011 NY Times article reports: “Israel’s former intelligence chief has said that a strike on Iran’s nuclear installations would be ‘a stupid idea,’ adding that military action might not achieve all of its goals and could lead to a long war.”

And the same article continues with a quote from Dagan, speaking at a conference of senior public servants, saying that he declared that “Iran must not be allowed to produce nuclear weapons,” and advocated “covert means of setting back the Iranian program.”

Indeed, this is how Dagan responds to Stahl’s question regarding the “stupidest idea”:

Dagan: An attack on Iran before you are exploring all other approaches is not the right way how to do it.

In fact, the same promo page on CBS News confirms:

Dagan also told Stahl he thinks it’s a mistake generally to make this situation an Israeli-Iranian issue. It should be an international issue. Somehow the Saudis should be encouraged to speak up and pressure the United States. And what he would really like to happen is that Israel sits back, and the Americans do it for the Israelis. It would then be internationalized. He knows that Israel will be attacked whoever does it, but they’ll be attacked less and what he’s most worried about is the retaliation.

In other words, Dagan does not think attacking Iran today is necessarily a bad idea, if the threat is high enough, he only thinks it’s a bad idea for Israel to do it – because a coalition attack on Iran would achieve far superior results.

And we’re not told what Dagan thinks should happen if no one else is willing to join Israel or fight in its stead, while Iran completes its nuclear program and starts blowing up atomic mushrooms in the Dasht-e Kavir desert. Does he think Israel should be sitting on her hands under those circumstances? Somehow I doubt it.

But Meir Dagan’s flare and vigor, colorful celebrity that he is, are being exploited by some media outlets to distort his quite carefully expressed message, creating the impression that he actually supports the Obama Administration’s reluctance to attack Iran.

Did you expect me to start with an Ha’aretz headline? I shan’t disappoint you:

WATCH: Former head of Israeli Mossad: Now is not the time to attack Iran

Dagan agrees with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and President Obama that there is still time to wait before dire actions need to be taken.

Except, at least in the promo and press release, Dagan never says he agrees with Clinton and Obama, and furthermore when Stahl says there is “a lot” of time, he emphatically corrects her and removes the words “a lot” from her sentence, and only says there is still “more time”, presumably meaning we haven’t reached zero-hour yet, but we’re close.

Only at the very bottom of the page Ha’aretz acquiesces that Dagan may not be against bombing Iran after all:

During the interview Stahl suggested that it seemed he was advocating Israel wait and have the U.S. attack Iran’s nuclear sites. Dagan replied: “If I prefer that someone will do it, I always prefer that Americans will do it,” he says.

How many Internet users scroll all the way to the bottom of an article? Only the ones with nothing better to do, like yours truly. But for all intents and purposes, it has now been established that Meir Dagan is against bombing Iran, because it’s stupid. They say so, on the Internet.

And that perhaps is Dagan’s real message, he wants the US and/or an international coalition to stop Iran, including bombing if it need be. Not Israel.

CBS also seems to be playing up Dagan’s analysis of Iran and Ahmadinejad’s sanity and rationality – seemingly implying that tried and true Cold War rules could apply here too.

The regime in Iran is a very rational one,” says the former top Israeli spymaster.  And President Ahmadinejad?  “The answer is yes,” he replies. “Not exactly our rational, but I think he is rational,” Dagan tells Stahl.

Crossword Puzzle – I Was Moshe

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Across

1. Encourages

6. NOW!

10. Umpire call

14. Simple

15. Place for a chazan

16. Like Shaul HaMelech

17. Where some battles are fought

18. Pretty bird

19. Like Southern Israel

20. I was Moshe in 1956

23. Card or chain

24. … ___ customer

25. Leah to Yosef

26. I was Moshe in 1981

30. Funny lady Burnett

33. Land unit

34. With 40 Across, kiddush option

37. Say lashon hara, perhaps

38. Crest, e.g.

40. See 34 Across

41. Like Lavan

42. Makah

43. Philistine, e.g.

44. I was Moshe in 1998

47. Public high school ball

49. Paddle

50. Also

53. I was Moshe in 1995

58. Gasp

59. Kind of brush

60. Holy fruit

61. Or ___!

62. Towards the helm

63. Jerry West, once

64. Payment opt.

65. Serious stare

66. Declares

 

Down

1. Taken ___

2. Get clean

3. Part of a history regent

4. Stadium section

5. Hospital tool

6. Take in

7. Stiched

8. Torah measurement

9. Window ___

10. Feature on Facebook

11. Brother of the theme (in English)

12. Fire ingredient, at times

13. Old age

21. Word before Aviv

22. Popular possession of Pete?

26. Unruly crowd

27. Perhaps the greatest Rishon

28. Succos mth., often

29. Catan card

30. 60 Minutes airer

31. Tide alternative

32. Tampa player

34. Get

35. Gene letters

36. Asian currency

38. Bud

39. Question

40. Battle

42. Pesach animal

43. Garden structure

44. Whirlpool

45. Be idle

46. Adam, simply

47. Word by King David

48. Use Scope

50. Similar

51. ___ again!

52. Ones who make Ticheles

54. One way to get to Israel

55. River connected to the theme

56. Leg part

57. Balkan, usually

58. Pod product

 

 

(Answers, next week)

Yoni can be reached at yglatt@youngisrael.org

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/gamez/crossword/crossword-puzzle-i-was-moshe/2010/05/05/

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