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October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘AFP’

Yes, There Is an Anti-Israel Media Cabal and They All Meet on Facebook

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Writing in Foreign Policy Magazine last April, Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, related a touching story about the bond that’s been forged among the exclusive group of foreign correspondents, who are also war correspondents.

I could poke fun at the name droppage and elaborate sense of John Le Carre mystique infusing paragraphs like:

In war, we have to be able to rely on each other. We meet on the outskirts of the world, where the messiest of conflicts are underway, places like Chechnya, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The journalist I’m sharing a drink with in the evening may be the one applying a tourniquet to a potentially fatal wound if I am hurt tomorrow. It is not just the danger that draws us close, but also our time together and the experiences we share.

Now, that’s a pickup line!

Bouckaert writes that he and his fisherman-vested buddies are “members of a close-knit, but informal brotherhood – I half-jokingly call us the Vulture Club, as we usually convene only when the blood is flowing. Bonds forged in war run deep.”

This reporter did his service in the 1970s as correspondence for an IDF magazine (after a stint as standup comic, don’t ask, war is hell), so I earned the right to declare that this romantic war bonding garbage makes me gag. Just an opinion.

But, as is so often the case, it now turns out that if a foreign corespondent is a self-centered, name dropping blowhard, he is also likely to be an Israel hater. It’s how God made the world.

And, as The Washington Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman reveals, Bouckaert’s Vulture Club meets regularly on Facebook to trash Israel, the IDF and the Jews’ sinister plans not to be annihilated.

According to Goodman, the closed Facebook page on Tuesday “quickly devolved into an anti-Israel hate-fest,” in response to the newly released Israeli government report clearing the IDF of wrongdoing in the 2000 death of a 12-year-old boy from Gaza (Israel Explodes the ‘Big Lie’ – Gaza Al Dura Boy Wasn’t Killed).

The Vulture Club journalists and activists mocked the IDF report, attacked the IDF, and claimed pro-Israel lobbyists were influencing the media coverage.

In other words, an admitted, 3,500-member media cabal is accusing the Jews of controlling the media.

And our romantic friend, Belgian-born Peter Bouckaert, quickly dismissed the Israeli report as “typical IDF lies.”

Mind you, Bouckaert boasts membership in a slew of investigation teams on behalf of Human Rights Watch: he is “a veteran of fact-finding missions to Lebanon, Kosovo, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Macedonia, Indonesia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, and many other war zones,” as his official HRW profile boats (incidentally, I hate—and erase in our own publication—the “many other” reference. It suggests the list is too long to include all of the items in this context, but, in reality, it’s an empty bragging. If you’ve been there—mention it by name, otherwise shut the heck up – can you tell I’m angry?)

“As usual, it takes them a long time to really build up the falsehood,” Bouckaert shared with his brave buddies on Facebook. He also blasted the New York Times for its coverage of the report: “It really isn’t good journalism to write this up as if these are credible allegations when it is a pack of lies,” he wrote.

Maybe the NY Times should have added that they fact checked the Israeli report in a bar in bombed out Aleppo, against a stunning Mediterranean sunset—that would have made it much better journalism.

And then, Goodman reports, correspondents from numerous outlets, including the Associated Press and the Agence France-Presse, also piled on.

“[T]he lobby uses all its strength and is able to push anything in majors [sic] English newspapers or in the NYT[imes],” wrote El Mundo reporter Javier Espinosa. “Israeli embassies call their contacts in all those newspapers and they agree to publish that information.”

OMG – that’s like an expose of a crime in progress. You mean to say those Israeli bastards have PR people, special PR experts, and they, like, call newspapers and push their point of view? And the special court at the Hague is keeping quiet?

In Gaza, Arab-on-Arab Injuries Are a Daily Reality, but Rarely Reported

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

We have noted here many times that the thuggish rocket-men of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip manage to crash their rockets onto the Arab side of the Gaza/Israel fence regularly. The inevitable injuries and damage that result are, as far as we can tell, never reported. It’s only news when the party doing the injuring or damaging is Israel.

In a small effort to correct that distortion, here is a status report from the GANSO website. GANSO describes itself thus:

The Gaza NGO Safety Office (GANSO) is a project of CARE International, funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) with the aim of providing the information and analysis the NGO community needs in order to implement humanitarian projects safely.

Here’s a snapshot of the GANSO “Incident Alerts” page we captured at 10:00 pm, Tuesday night, November 13, 2012.

The “incident” in row 2 reads:

“11/13/2012 13:00 13 NOV, 1300hrs: Pal. ops. fired 1 HMR from E of Jabalia, NG, toward the Green Line. The rocket dropped short and hit a house E of Jabalia, NG. No injuries reported.”

We will interpret that for you. In English, in our words, it says:

Palestinian Arab terrorists from among the numerous such murderous groups active here in Gaza under the leadership and direction of Hamas, the Gazan branch of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood, fired a Qassam rocket, likely of the kind manufactured in Iran or China (but that we prefer to call “Home Made Rockets” or HMRs in order to hide what’s really going on), in the sort-of-general direction of Israel around 1:00 pm today. They intended to hit civilian Israelis, Israeli property, Israeli schools or Israeli vehicles – in short, anything Israeli. This technique is called taking pot-shots. The rocket, as happens so often when ideological idiots are given access to dangerous tools, did not manage to make it as far as the Gaza/Israel border. Instead it crashed down onto a residential section of the town of Jabalia, a Palestinian Arab settlement located on the northern edge of Gaza City. There, it penetrated the roof of a house. No one dared to report any injuries.”

Interestingly, AFP put out a syndicated news report in the last few hours ["New Israeli warnings on Gaza after rocket fire"] in which this nugget appears:

“Palestinian eyewitnesses on Tuesday afternoon reported new shelling in Jabaliya, in northern Gaza, where AFP reporters saw damage to a house.”

AFP offers no further identifying details. Like all the other news services operating in Gaza, AFP also fails consistently to report on the ongoing phenomenon of Gazan Palestinian Arab rockets falling onto the heads of Gazan Palestinian Arabs. Evidently their customers have no interest in reports of that kind.

This photo (at right) shows the one damaged house in Jabalia that gets into today’s news – probably the one seen by the AFP reporter. The caption reads “A Palestinian man inspect damage in his house after an Israeli air strike in the Jabalia refugee camp on November 13, 2012.”

There’s an excellent chance the reporter has either no idea what really caused the damage, or no interest in knowing. Of course, we might be wrong. And so might AFP, but we doubt you will hear them admit that.

Visit This Ongoing War.

IAEA: Dramatic Increase of Uranium Production in Iran

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will soon issue a report showing that Iranian nuclear centrifuges are dramatically increasing their production, according to a report by the AFP.

The watchdog group says Iran has completed the installation of 2,700 new centrifuges at its Fordo plant, which is buried deep in a mountain range and is considered impenetrable by air assault.

US President Barack Obama has said sanctions are having a strong impact on Iran.  Israel has asked the US to institute “red line” standards, the infraction of which by Iran would lead to a US military response.  The Obama administration said it would not institute such measures.

Aerial photos have shown Iran conducting clean ups of the areas around nuclear plants to eliminate evidence of their activities.

Don’t Be Fooled By BDS Campaign’s Failures

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

For more than a decade, anti-Israel activists have sought to shoehorn Israel into the nomenclature of apartheid-era South Africa through the use of a tactic named BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions). Apartheid was a universally decried racist system. BDS activists argue that Israel is the second coming of apartheid South Africa and must be treated the same.

BDS activists may claim success, but they are certainly aware that their efforts have failed. No American university has divested from Israel. When a British academic union voted on a boycott of Israeli academics in 2007, more than 400 American university presidents jointly declared that if these Brits insisted on dividing the academic community into two groups – Israelis who should be shunned and everyone else – their U.S. institutions should be counted as Israeli, too.

As University of Miami President Donna Shalala has said, “I know of no American university that would support such a boycott.”

BDS proponents at best can point to isolated, near-meaningless “victories,” such as the recent decision of a socially responsible investment index to remove the Caterpillar Corp. from its list. The BDSers, of course, generally ignore that the decision was based on a variety of factors (including the company’s treatment of its workers), or that many other companies doing business in or with Israel are still listed on the index.

Perhaps their one “victory” was to get a single food co-op in Olympia, Wash., to remove Israeli ice cream cones, crackers, chocolate bars, baby wipes and hand sanitizers from its shelves.

Antics aside, the point of BDS is to change the way Israel is viewed, to focus the debate on whether it is a “pariah” state.

Lately, however, the BDSers seem to be a bit more candid about their motives. While still asserting that Israel is in effect wrong all the time, now they are increasingly comfortable suggesting that Israel should not have been born and this “mistake” should be undone.

Judith Butler, a philosopher and a leading scholar in feminist theory who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, makes this point in her new book Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism, published by the prestigious Columbia University Press. Butler underscores why BDS proponents do not limit their campaign to products made in the territories.

To do so would “forget the claims of 1948, bury the right of return, [and] also accept forms of unjust majority discrimination within the present borders of Israel,” she says.

In essence, the point of BDS – articulated by Butler and others – is to revert to a world without Israel, irrespective of its policies. That was the theme of the One-State Solution conference last spring at Harvard. That is why many of the pro-BDS materials circulated during the recently failed efforts to pass divestment resolutions at three major conferences of church groups – Presbyterians, Methodists and Episcopalians – distorted Jewish history by ignoring the religious, cultural and physical connection of Jews and Judaism to the land of Israel in order to paint Jews as interlopers in a region where they have no right to be (let alone a right, like other peoples, to national self-determination in their historic homeland).

Anti-Israel Christians recently circulated a document titled “Call to Action: U.S. Response to the Kairos Palestine Document.” The Palestinian document was a one-sided political and theological denunciation of Israel; the U.S. version goes a step further, promoting a belief that Jews as a people do not have “an exclusive or preeminent right to the Holy Land,” but rather a right only “to create a vibrant Jewish culture in historic Palestine.”

So while BDS has yet to have any tangible economic impact on the state of Israel, it continues to be a vehicle through which the questioning of Israel’s basic right to exist is, for some, a “legitimate” issue to be raised without embarrassment. This is much more worrisome than a vote about Caterpillar stock or a co-op refusing to sell Israeli ice cream cones. BDS can change the perception of Israel by creating space for respectable people to have calm debates about the “merits” of a world without a Jewish state.

Fighting BDS, then, is not just about preventing or defeating motions and referenda. It requires paying attention to and challenging the distortions of history and language used by BDS advocates. And it requires reiteration that the two-state solution, in which Jews and Palestinians have a right to national self-expression, is the only path to sustainable peace.

Manufacturing Gaffes

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/manufacturing-gaffes.html

If you read the newspaper, watch the telly or turn the radio dial to something besides talk or the greatest hits of the 70′s, 80′s and today, then you know that Romney’s international trip was a disaster. How do you know that? Well you know it the same way that Soviet citizens knew that their economy was booming and it would only be a matter of time before the oppressed slaves of capitalism threw off their shackles and bowed their arrogant heads to the hammer and sickle. They read it in the paper.

We read things in the paper too. Not very good or interesting things because the media is currently too lazy and cheap to do good or interesting things.

Modern journalism is indistinguishable from public relations. PR people do not investigate or report, they come up with a narrative, break it down into talking points and then sell it down by the docks. Their narrative is “Our company is great and the other company is bad.” When their company does something wrong, then it’s, “Our company really isn’t responsible for this” and “The other company is much worse than we are.”

When it comes to politics all you really hear from the media anymore is the same lazy spin you can find on corporate press releases. Read the press releases from a squabble between two companies, switch out the names of the companies to, “Obama” and “Romney” and imagine that Obama Inc. owns the media. Now you know everything you need to know about politics.

Journalism is out. The modern media is too lazy and cheap to actually work on investigative reporting and when they do take the time, it leads to some ridiculous personal eyewitness account of nothing in particular. Coming up with an actual scandal takes work, but why bother when you can just spin the actual news in the worst possible way and manufacture a gaffe narrative.

Manufacturing gaffes is a lot easier than manufacturing jobs which is why the media has switched from fake optimism about the economy to fake pessimism about Romney’s competence. While it takes a lot of work to open a factory that manufactures shoes or microprocessors, manufacturing a gaffe factory is very easy.

Step 1. Call something that a candidate has done a gaffe.

Step 2.  Report on the gaffe claim that your media outlet just made. Do not call it a claim, treat it as a verified fact that everyone has already acknowledged.

Step 3. Turn the gaffe reporting into the major issue by talking about it all the time. Interview experts who are willing to back up your gaffe claim.

Step 4. Fire constant questions at the candidate to force him to acknowledge the gaffe. If he discusses the issue in any way, describe him as apologizing or walking back his previous statements. Print essays that accuse him of being an incompetent flip-flopping wimp. If he refuses to discuss it, accuse him of stonewalling and print essays that accuse him of living in denial because he refuses to admit what “everyone” already knows. Either way you’ve proven that he’s a bad person.

Step 5. Repeat step 1 several times. Then begin reporting on a “Pattern of Gaffes”, a “Pattern of Stonewalling” and a “Pattern of Flip-Flopping.”

We got a preview of the media’s gaffe manufacturing process during Romney’s international trip. There are currently more media stories on Romney’s gaffe then there are on the latest bad news for the economy. The narrative is being set through constant repetition.

“Romney’s foreign trip gaffes” the Washington Post blares, “Romney’s Gaffe Track Ends” ABC News laments, “Mitt Romney in Jerusalem: Another city, another gaffe (or two)?” the Christian Science Monitor speculates. Every outlet repeats the same talking points with a slight twist. The “story” is that Romney makes gaffes.

Once the basic narrative has been set, the media begins its secondary “reporting” in which it treats its manufactured story as a real story and begins embedding it into the real world. This takes the form of analysis pieces on the consequences of the fake story.

“Romney suffers gaffes, but will it hurt his campaign?” asks AFP. “Mideast gaffe could cost Mitt Romney” suggests the New York Daily News.”‎‎Romney aide’s gaffe exposes rift” offers Politico.

Europe’s Financial Crisis Weighs on Israel’s Economic Outlook

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

The austerity package passed by Spain’s parliament last Thursday has done little to calm economic jitters worldwide, with the effects being felt in Israel as the Bank of Israel (BoI) is set to decide today whether to lower its key interest rate for a second straight month.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party pushed through the controversial plan to cut state spending by some $80 billion, despite stiff resistance from opposition parties. The package includes a rise in the Value-Added Tax (VAT) rate from 18 percent to 21 percent and the reduction of unemployment benefits. Spain is struggling with an unemployment rate of around 25%, and has sought to ease its banking crisis by obtaining a bailout from the Eurozone.

On the same day that the austerity package was passed, German parliament approved an aid package for the Spanish banking sector worth approximately $146 billion. Many commentators in Germany expressed concern over the utility of another bailout. German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung commented: “The reality is that Spain is getting aid with loosened conditions. Soon Italy will ask, too. And the other reality is that, instead of investors, once again (mainly German) taxpayers will have to pay for the faulty speculation of banks.”

In Israel, the opening of the trading week on Monday morning saw the shekel-dollar exchange rate crossing the NIS 4/$1 line. The current shekel-dollar rate is at a three-year high, while the shekel-euro rate is 0.68% lower, at NIS 4.8705/€1. Later on Monday, the BoI is expected to announce its key interest rate for August, with some analysts speculating that the rate will be lowered for a second straight month, from 2.25% to 2%. Last month, the BoI cut the rate from 2.5% to its current rate.

Moti Bassok and Ram Ozeri, writing in Haaretz, explained that while a cheaper shekel makes Israeli imports more enticing, lower interest rates diminish foreign demand for shekel-based investments – which in turn tends to lower the shekel’s value. Supporters of an interest rate cut cite recent slower economic growth and weak foreign trade figures. The recent performance of Spanish government bonds have heightened fears that Spain will require much more assistance than last week’s $146 billion bailout, and Spain’s fiscal difficulties are causing the Euro to tumble, reaching a new low of approximately $1.2083/€1.

Israel is watching the continuing European debt crisis warily, as the European Union is Israel’s top trading partner. But despite Europe’s economic woes and trepidation in Israel, the EU is set to intensify relations with Israel by approving up to 60 new cooperative initiatives, according to AFP.

The initiatives are expected to be endorsed on Tuesday at the the annual Israel-EU Association Council meetings in Brussels. Predictably, they are sparking indignation from certain corners, as they come only two months after the EU’s statement condemning Israel for actions that “threaten to make a two-state solution impossible” – ie. settlement building, “settler extremism,” and “provocations against Palestinian civilians.”

According to AFP, the initiatives will include heightened cooperation in the energy and transportation sectors, and more closely-coordinated relations with a variety of EU agencies.

A European diplomat, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, was critical of increasing bilateral relations, saying: “Once again we’re hearing critical words on the one hand but it’s business as usual on the other…EU statements on the peace process are no more than theatre.”

Paul Hirschson, deputy spokesman at Israel’s foreign ministry, pointed out that the increased cooperation “is related to the existing work plan rather than some sort of upgrade, because that way the EU would have to find a way of delinking it from the peace process.”

In 2008, Israel’s attempt to enhance ties with the EU was stifled when the bloc suspended discussions because of Israel’s offensive against the Hamas regime in Gaza. It thereafter declared that any progress in bilateral relations would be conditional on progress in the Middle East peace process.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman left for Brussels on Monday and will be attending a meeting of the Israel-EU Association Council.

Chancellor Merkel Pledges to Keep Circumcision Legal

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

After what German diplomats have described as a “disastrous” damage to Germany’s image abroad, especially in light of its Nazi past, it appears that Berlin has finally gotten the message.

(The JewishPress.com sent a petition with 12,000 signatures to the German Ambassador in Tel Aviv, declaring that “Germany has absolutely no moral or ethical right to pass any laws or make any statements regarding Brit Milah (circumcision) or on any other Jewish practice.”)

The German government on Friday pledged “quick action” to protect the right of Jews and Muslims to circumcise their boys, after a much protested court ruling to the contrary, AFP reports.

A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters the Chancellor was “concerned” about the judgement passed by the Cologne court last month, which defined religious circumcision as a criminal act against the child.

“It is absolutely clear to the federal government that we want Jewish, we want Muslim religious life in Germany. Circumcisions carried out in a responsible way must not be subject to prosecution in this country,” the apokesman said, adding, “It is urgently necessary that we establish legal certainty. It is clear this cannot be put on the back burner. Freedom to practice religion is a cherished legal principle.”

According to AFP, the German justice ministry is considering three options for new draft legislation to protect circumcisions on religious grounds.

In an interview published Saturday in Die Welt, the leader of Merkel’s conservative parliamentary faction, Volker Kauder, called for a resolution on the right to ritual circumcision to be passed in the Bundestag next Thursday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/chancellor-merkel-pledges-to-keep-circumcision-legal/2012/07/15/

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