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July 5, 2015 / 18 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘AP’

Social Security Administration Paid $20 Million to Nazi Suspects

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

The Social Security Administration of the United States paid 130 suspected Nazi war criminals $20.2 million in benefits before this year’s new “No Social Security for Nazis Act” took effect, the Associated Press reported.

The amount of money is far greater than previously estimated and provides further evidence that thousands of former Nazis, including SS guards, lied their way into the United States, denied their past and then collected federal  benefits after retiring.

The Justice Dept. also used a legal loophole to offer Social Security payments to suspected Nazis who agreed to leave the United States until this year’s act ended the practice.

A full report of a federal investigation, prompted by a previous AP story, is to be released later this week.

The news agency said it obtained a copy of the report of payments to Nazi war criminals since 1962. No names are listed in the report, but the Social Security Administration obviously has the names, raising questions of whether it and the Justice Dept. are protecting them from possible prosecution for war crimes.

The American government was inactive when it came to looking for Nazis until it established its own unit in 1979 to hunt them.

After the original AP report last year, New York Democrat Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney asked Social Security to investigate, and she said on Saturday that the report shows the recipients included confirmed Nazis.

She said in a statement:

We must continue working to remember the tragedy of the Holocaust and hold those responsible accountable. One way to do that is by providing as much information to the public as possible. This report hopefully provides some clarity.

The report said 38 formers Nazis received $5.6 million before being deported while 95 suspected Nazis, whose possible war crimes were not confirmed, continued to collect $14.5 million.

AP Anti-Settler Campaign Surging – With or Without Netanyahu

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

It’s a shame the Times of Israel and other news outlets chose to regurgitate AP’s article, “Netanyahu years see more settlement growth“, “West Bank settlement expansion surged under Netanyahu” and the other variations on that title’s theme, without bothering to add any critical editorial commentary or response to how AP selectively presented their data and reached their conclusions.

Starting with the various titles (some worse than others), the article is misleading from beginning to end.

“The population of Jewish settlers in the West Bank has surged during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s years in office, growing at more than twice the pace of Israel’s overall population, according to newly obtained official figures.”

After repeatedly telling us how much Netanyahu supports settlement construction and growth, using words like “surge” and “strong” and “continued support”, it’s only 6 paragraphs into the article that AP bothers to admit (right before reminding us that the settlement population “more than doubled” in 21 years):

“The rate of settler population growth slowed slightly under Netanyahu, from 31% during the previous five years under his predecessors Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.”

“Slowed slightly” – exactly how much is “slightly”?

It’s only towards the end of the article, quoting the “anti-settlement watchdog group Peace Now,” who claims that settlement growth rates are now “23% inside the barrier and 20% beyond it”.

If under Sharon that percent was 31%, and under Netanyahu that percent dropped to 20%-23% – um, wheres the surge?

Are you still with me when I ask how these papers let this AP article be published?

Continuing on, you might also find yourself confused from the beginning — is the article talking about new settlements? New home construction? Population growth? The article seems to go back and forth, mixing them together.

Correct.

The article mixes them together, but suspiciously leaves out the hard numbers on actual construction data, sticking only to select population growth numbers and percentages – and there’s a reason for that.

In 2010 (I provide the raw data at the end of the article, all supplied from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics website), Netanyahu completed construction on 1670 homes in Judea and Samaria. That number reached a low of 1,272 in 2012, and in 2013 was only 1,439.

Between 2010 – 2013, the settlement population grew by approximately 50,000 people, yet the total number of new homes built was a mere 6,062 – nowhere near enough for the population’s needs.

It gets worse.

The AP article likes to talk percentages, so let’s use their lingo.

In 2013, Settlers represented 4.28% of the national population – yet only 3.37% of national construction was completed in Judea and Samaria.

Since 2010, the settlements’ share from the national percentage of housing completions has only declined — under Netanyahu.

For the period between 2010 to 2013, settlers averaged 4.19% of the national population – but only represented 3.23% of national house starts and 4.1% of national housing completions.

In short, unlike what the article wants to make you think, under Netanyahu, besides not being allowed to build what the population needed, settlements did not even receive their fair share of new homes compared to the rest of Israel.

Considering AP’s history, it’s important to point out that the article liberally quotes the radical left-wing Peace Now, but yet doesn’t quote NGO-Monitor or any settler for that matter who might have a thing or two to say about Peace Now’s statements or this data.

But now let’s also talk about the Arabs in Judea and Samaria, since the article addresses them too.

The article makes a doubly ridiculous statement that the Israeli papers let slide:

“The more than 2 million Palestinians in the West Bank cannot vote for the Israeli government that controls much of their lives, while Jewish settlers can.”

To begin, Ambassador Yoram Ettinger’s research shows there to be approximately 1.69 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria in 2013, not over 2 million – the 2 million+ is based on clearly false data provided by the Palestinian Authority. Even if you don’t accept Ettinger’s exact numbers, the numbers AP supplies are disputed, and they should have mentioned that.

The second is that the article wants to imply, if not say outright, that Israel is an Apartheid state by not allowing “Palestinians” the right to vote for the Israeli government.

Except for one minor detail — the Arabs in Judea and Samaria have their own government that controls much of their lives.

The Arabs in Judea and Samaria pay taxes to the Palestinian Authority, they can serve in the Palestinian Authority’s army, police, national and municipal authorities, they run their own schools and can fill up their children’s minds with as much anti-Semitic brainwashing as they want (and they do), and when their government allows them to, the Arabs in Judea and Samaria even get to vote for their own government.

If there were any sentence in the AP article that shows how biased the article is, it is certainly that one.

It really is unfortunate that this AP article was posted by any Israeli paper of note, but worse, that it was published without any critical editorial response from the papers that published it.

Jews Blamed for Mosque Fire, Report Reveals Electrical Cause

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

A mosque in the disputed territories town of Mughayer near Ramallah suffered severe fire damage back in November. The word out immediately was that Jews were responsible. Not just any Jews, of course, but those evil extremist “settlers.”

The mayor of Mughayer, Faraj al-Nassan, told the Associated Press that the Jews were to blame for the fire.

“Only Jewish settlers would do this,” he said.

He neglected to mention any other possibility, including the actual one, the electrical malfunction of a space heater.

Nassan made the statement to the AP, which dutifully reported it, and then the unverified rumor ossified firmly into fact, showing up in dozens of media sources throughout the world.

Yahoo! News posted an AP photograph of an Arab man holding a heavily burned Quran, describing the fire as having resulted from “an attack” against the mosque which “ignited a fire that destroyed its first floor.” The Yahoo! caption included the village’s mayor “blaming Jewish settlers for the attack.”

It wasn’t only an understandably distraught town mayor who blamed the Jews. Reports from villagers blaming Jews were not mere suppositions, they were stated as fact.

The fire in Mughayer took place during a spate of terrorist attacks against Israelis. Many media outlets happily invoked a standard trope known as the “cycle of violence,” where harm to anyone or anything on both sides are presented as similarly motivated acts of hatred.

But as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) revealed on Tuesday, Dec. 16, an investigation of the Mughayer mosque fire conducted by Israeli firefighters determined that “the cause was actually an electrical malfunction.”

The day of the fire, the far-left and popular Israeli paper Haaretz reported that local Arabs “claimed that the mosque had been set ablaze by arsonists from a nearby Jewish settlement.”

Haaretz has since put out a story acknowledging the new evidence, “Mosque blaze was electrical fire, not arson, firefighters say.

CAMERA’s report provides examples of news outlets which attributed the blame for the fire on “Jewish settlers.” It also describes its efforts to provide to those outlets the results of the investigation, and the determination that there were “no traces of flammable materials or liquids, nor was any racist graffiti found at the scene. The electric fire is believed to have been caused by a space heater. The second floor of the mosque suffered extensive damage.”

Some of those outlets have since issued corrections, such as Haaretz and the AP.  Others have remained silent in the face of proof that they provided their readers with a false indictment of Jews based on no hard evidence. Those include Agence-France Presse, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters.

AP Disses ‘Whistleblower’ But a New Whistle Blows

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

It began with a “tell-something” tale by a former reporter. But as with so many small tempests, the shrill response of the alleged victim has fanned the winds to tornado strength.

A former AP reporter, Matti Friedman, publicly detailed allegations of biased coverage of the Israel-Arab conflict and claimed that Gerald Steinberg, a non anti-Israel expert, was banned by the AP. Friedman was immediately and with great force contradicted by Paul Colford, AP’s director of media relations.

Colford claimed Friedman’s articles were filled with “distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies.” And he wrote, point blank, there was “no ban on AP’s use of Prof. Gerald Steinberg.”

So, it’s “he said – he said,” right? But as it turns out, we have a tie-breaker. A second former AP reporter explicitly confirmed to The Jewish Press that, despite Colford’s denial, there was indeed a ban in place in AP’s Jerusalem bureau on quoting Steinberg, and that he could state this with confidence. How? Because that ban was explained to him by the AP’s then Jerusalem bureau chief.

BACKGROUND

The original stories were written by a former Associated Press reporter, Matti Friedman. The first was in the online Tablet magazine, followed by another in The Atlantic.

Friedman provided substantial detail on what close followers of Middle East reporting already understand: the mainstream media has bought the Palestinian Arab story line about the Arab-Israeli conflict: the Palestinian Arabs are the Davids, the Israelis are the Goliath.

While this story is often hard to square with the facts, that only matters when the truth matters. And as Professor Richard Landes eloquently puts it: “you pay a high price for telling the truth about the Palestinian Arabs and no price for telling lies about Israel.”

Friedman’s pieces in the Tablet and The Atlantic offered numerous examples of what he described as AP staff looking the other way when Arabs violated laws of war or when Israel made peace offerings, including submitting to intimidation by Hamas.

In our last pass at this story, readers will recall that The Jewish Press zeroed in on a startling new fact Friedman had in his Atlantic article: that the AP had “banned” interviews with Bar Ilan Professor Gerald Steinberg and the use of materials by the non-governmental organization watchdog which Steinberg founded and heads, NGO-Monitor.

Friedman made this claim on the basis of his experience as a new reporter in AP’s Jerusalem bureau during Operation Cast Lead (December 2008 to January 2009) between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza.

In particular, Friedman was struck by the pedestal upon which self-proclaimed human rights organizations were placed by AP, and their claims, particularly condemnations of Israel, accepted without reservation. It was in this context that Friedman learned about the ban on Steinberg.

Friedman stated, without any qualifications, that in a region “with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor.”

The Jewish Press story was published in the early hours of Monday, Dec. 1, Israel time.

Paul Colford, the AP’s media relations director, began contacting The Jewish Press during the early hours of the business day on Monday, U.S. time. The subject line was: “Email address needed by AP.”

Colford informed the New York-based Jewish Press print editor that there were “inaccuracies” in our story and sought contact information for the reporter who wrote it.

It took some time for the New York editor to convey the request to the Jerusalem editor of the JewishPress.com, and then a little longer for the reporter to get the message. In the interim, the New York editor explained to Colford the relationship between the print and online versions of The Jewish Press (the online version is autonomous, although each has permission to run the other’s stories), and asked to know what inaccuracies were in the story.

NGO Monitor Responds to AP Ban on NGO Monitor and Professor Steinberg

Monday, December 1st, 2014

The following statement was released by NGO Monitor in response to the report by Matti Friedman that AP censored and banned NGO Monitor:

In a November 30 article published in The Atlantic (What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel), former AP journalist Matti Friedman states that, during his time at the AP Jerusalem bureau, reporters had explicit orders “to never quote [NGO Monitor] or its director… Gerald Steinberg. In my time as an AP writer moving through the local conflict, with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor.”

“Matti Friedman’s revelations regarding the efforts to censor NGO Monitor and me as its president are not entirely surprising,” said Professor Gerald Steinberg, president and founder of NGO Monitor. “Based on our experience in publishing detailed research on over 150 NGOs claiming to promote human rights and humanitarian objectives, we are aware of the intense efforts to maintain the NGO ‘halo effect’ and prevent critical debate. While the AP censorship was explicit, we have experienced similar silencing from other media platforms.”

Friedman also highlights the “ethical gray zone of ties between reporters and NGOs” in Israel, where journalists socializing in the same circles as NGO officials, seek employment with NGOs, and adapt to a journalistic culture in which NGOs “are to be quoted, not covered.”

This absence of critical analysis of political NGOs reinforces their biases and the lack of professional methodology. Friedman rightly criticizes, “one of the strangest aspects of coverage…namely, that while international organizations are among the most powerful actors in the Israel story, they are almost never reported on.”

Professor Steinberg continued: “When NGO Monitor was founded following the 2001 NGO Forum of the UN Durban conference, our primary objective was to open debate and provide accountability where none existed, develop systematic checks and balances, and ‘speak truth to NGO power.’ The importance of this mission has grown since then, as has the political influence of NGOs, as well as their funding and media impact, particularly in the Israeli context.”

AP Banned Interviews with Non-Anti-Israel Professor

Monday, December 1st, 2014

In a wide-ranging piece that covers mostly old ground in a new way and for a new audience, former Associated Press journalist Matti Friedman reveals one astonishing fact: the AP banned interviews of a well-informed, Jerusalem-based professor, Gerald Steinberg, and his monitoring organization, NGO-Monitor.

Professor Gerald Steinberg and his organization NGO-Monitor – work to expose the ideological bias and political agendas of the anti-Israel NGOs in Israel and the role they play in the conflict – the same anti-Israel NGOs that international reporters rely on for their news reporting.

From the NGO-Monitor website:

NGO Monitor’s objective is to end the practice used by certain self-declared ‘humanitarian NGOs’ of exploiting the label ‘universal human rights values’ to promote politically and ideologically motivated agendas.

Steinberg and NGO-Monitor are the only ones in a region crawling with confirmed liars and terrorists whose views were verboten to the AP, Friedman wrote.

The gist of Friedman’s new piece in The Atlantic is that news about Israel is largely written through a specific, largely unstated but nearly inviolable prism of “blame Israel” and ignore Arab wrongdoing.

The Arab Israeli reporter Khaled abu Toameh has been writing and speaking about the problem for at least a decade. It was also the subject of Stephanie Gutmann’s The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy (Encounter, 2005).

But Friedman’s Nov. 30 article is important both because it was written by someone from within the mainstream media – it doesn’t get much more mainstream than the Associated Press – and because of the startling revelation regarding the absolute ban on AP reporting including information from or about either Gerald Steinberg or the organization he heads, NGO-Monitor.

Friedman covered the 2008-09 winter conflict in Gaza dubbed “Operation Cast Lead.”  He was struck by the fact that articles condemning Israeli in the harshest terms continued to circulate months after the conflict, and based upon statements made by human rights organizations. He wrote an article about that point, but AP editors killed it.

At the time, NGO-Monitor was seeking to counter information provided by what it presented as false claims that Israel had committed “war crimes.” Friedman was unable to make use of NGO-Monitor’s information. Why? He writes:

the bureau’s explicit orders to reporters were to never quote the group or its director, an American-born professor named Gerald Steinberg. In my time as an AP writer moving through the local conflict, with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor.

Steinberg is a professor of political science at Israel’s Bar Ilan University. Educated at Cornell University, UCBerkeley and MIT, Steinberg is the founder and president of NGO-Monitor. He is the author of numerous books and dozens of other publications.

The AP is the feeder for much of the world’s media about so much that happens across the globe. This is so because AP has a phalanx of reporters in 280 locations worldwide. It operates as the news distributor of the articles written by their reporters. Those articles are then run by media sites – up to 1,400 U.S. daily newspapers – which don’t have their own reporters in those regions.

If, as Friedman charges based upon first hand observation, AP story lines are predetermined and “news” articles are created around its central, agreed-upon premise, then virtually all news about every flash point across the globe becomes suspect. It also means that the AP, at least in its Jerusalem bureau, violated its own “AP News Values and Principles.”

The AP needs to answer the specific charge of whether its Jerusalem bureau staff was barred from speaking with NGO-Monitor’s Steinberg. If such a ban was in place and unless the AP can produce a reasonable explanation, then all media outlets which continue to rely on AP services come under its same dark cloud of suspicion.

Media Sells Phony Story of Suffering Palestinian Authority Economy

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Newspapers around the world Tuesday published a wire service article stating that the Palestinian Authority economy is expected to plunge by 15 percent this year and that economic growth will shrink by 4 percent because of the war in Gaza

The headline of the Associated Press article should have read, “Statistics, Statistic and Damned Lies.”

It is indeed accurate that the World Bank’s senior official in Judea, Gaza and Samaria indeed predicted that the Palestinian Authority’s’ economic growth is dropping sharply, but the whole truth, buried in the bottom of the article, is that the economy in Judea and Samaria actually is growing, albeit at a diminishing rate, just like in Israel.

One popular English-language Israeli news site bought the story, hook, line and sinker, and another also published the news of the “dismal forecast,” noting in a gross understatement that Gaza as the biggest impacted area.

You have to skip down to the 18th paragraph in the 19-paragraph story to discover, “According to the bank’s projections, the West Bank economy is likely to stagnate this year, with about 0.5 percent growth, while the Gaza economy is expected to shrink by 15 percent.”

But what about the statement that the “overall Palestinian economy will shrink by 4 percent this year”? How can that be if the economy in Judea and Samaria will grow.

Quick arithmetic comes up with the obvious answer that the statistics for Gaza, whose rulers brought the recent war on themselves, drag down the total figure that includes Judea and Samaria.

It should also be taken into account that the World Bank is the same grandiose institution that in 2005 promoted the expulsion of Jews from Gaza, euphemistically called the “Disengagement,” and was instrumental in the colossal stupidity of turning over Jewish greenhouses to Gaza farmers so that they could build their own economy in peace and freedom.

Within days, hothouses were torn down and became training grounds for Fatah and Hamas terrorists. Ever since the intifada in the late 1980s and the ensuing Oslo War in 2000, Gaza’s economy went from boom to bust.

But let’s stick with the World Bank and its dismal forecast.

By some unholy coincidence, the World Bank’s Palestinian Authority-based official, Steen Lau Jorgensen, released his report a week before a meeting of donor nations to the Palestinian Authority when the U.N. general Assembly convenes.

Just a coincidence, of course.

And what is the World Bank’s solution to the sagging economy? Get rid of Hamas, which no person with an iota of honesty can deny is totally corrupt and has exploited Gaza Arabs, raped them financially and robbed them of humanitarian aid?

No way.

The solution, according to the World Bank, is the “unity government” in which Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Hamas’s rival Fatah movement, is supposed to work with Gaza technocrats who are under the thumb of Hamas.

And of course Israel it to blame for the sagging economy in Gaza by restricting construction materials into Gaza, the same materials that Hamas used to build tunnels for terror.

Staging a promo for the donors’ conference, Jorgensen said, “It’s not clear that you would have substantial amounts … of new money coming in if there is no unified governance framework,” and Israel’s restrictions on the transfer of materials that can be used for terror mean it would take “18 years” to rebuild destroyed Gaza homes.

Remember the Hamas claims during the war, dutifully and  reported without question by the London Guardian, as noted Tuesday by the Elder of Ziyon blog site, that the Israel Air Force supposedly bombed and destroyed Gaza’s power plant?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/media-sells-phony-story-of-suffering-palestinian-authority-economy/2014/09/17/

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