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August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Associated Press’

Who is an ‘Islamist’ and Why it Matters

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

The Associated Press has decided that the word “Islamist” may not be used to describe anything objectionable.  The Jewish Press’s Lori Lowenthal Marcus calls out the relevant passage from the news service’s newly revised stylebook:

[An Islamist is] an advocate of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.  Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.

Hmmm.  It’s an interesting question who will be called an Islamist by A.P. writers, given this definition.

Who is an Islamist?

Presumably, Mohammed Morsi could be called an Islamist by the A.P. – unless the second sentence above cancels out the first, making it impossible to call anyone an “Islamist.” And maybe that’s the case; if so, defining “Islamist” is an exercise in futility for the A.P.

But will Morsi be called an Islamist?  By the letter of the A.P. definition, being labeled an Islamist would put Morsi in company with Hamas, the Iranian clerical council, and the Taliban.  He belongs there, of course, but will that association be considered politically correct, given that the U.S. government is committed to Morsi’s success, and continues to deliver arms to him?

Hamas and the Taliban are terrorist organizations, but are or have been government authorities as well (the latter aspiring to be one again), reordering government and society precisely in accordance with laws they deem to be prescribed by Islam.  Iran’s leaders sponsor terrorism, as well as doing the reordering thing in the name of Islam.

In fact, Hizballah fits the bill as well, being a terrorist organization which currently governs Lebanon.  Among this terrorist-governing group, Hizballah may have made the least effort to reorder government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.  But then, Hizballah governs a tiny, fractious, all-but-ungovernable nation with mostly porous borders, and in that role has been more concerned since January 2011 with holding power than with remaking society.  Does that mean there is some meaningful sense in which Hezbollah is not “Islamist” – even though it proclaims sharia and holds its political goals in common with Hamas and Iran (and has considerable overlap with Morsi in Egypt)?

Perhaps the seemingly narrow A.P. definition of “Islamist” is meant to ensure that only those who advocate Islamism from the more consensual environment of Western liberal societies will meet it.  This proposition will run into its own set of troubles, however, partly because radicals like Britain’s Anjem Choudary, who have been, so to speak, the face of Islamism in the West, might be considered ineligible for the title due to their explosively radical demeanor.  If Choudary isn’t an Islamist, who is?

That remains a good question, considering that other, more mainstream Western organizations may have ties through their leadership, like CAIR’s, to the Muslim Brotherhood and even terrorist groups, but they do not overtly propose to reorder government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.  Does that mean they are not Islamist?  And if not, what does that mean?

At present, CAIR’s efforts are not focused directly on reordering government and society, but rather on undermining one of the essential pillars of Western civilization: unfettered pursuit of the truth – about radical Islam as about anything else.  Government agencies, with their top-down institutional pieties, are an easy target for outright censorship in this regard.

The A.P. Stylebook revision is something different, and perhaps more insidious.  Presumably, an A.P. writer would not refer to CAIR’s involvement in redefining “Islamist” as a method of Islamism, although it is one.  And, in fairness, there is a good case to be made that rewriting definitions for political reasons is something the Western left requires no prompting to do.  Need it be “Islamist” to define categories prejudicially?  It certainly doesn’t have to be “Islamist” to label anyone whose arguments you don’t like a “racist.”  The Western left thought that one up all on its own.

The lack of firm ground to stand on in this analysis is quintessential in the propositions of radicals.  Corruption and politicization of the language are common radical tactics.  Whom, exactly, can an A.P. writer call an Islamist, given all these factors?  The antiseptic definition of Islamism approved by CAIR might apply only to Islamic theoreticians who never actually engage in political advocacy – if there are any.

Stop Labeling Judea and Samaria Residents ‘Illegal’

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

The Associated Press, one of the largest news agencies in the world, will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant” to describe those who migrate to a country in violation of their immigration laws, their Executive Vice President announced on Tuesday.

Their style guide will no longer permit the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person.  It will now only use of the word “illegal” to describe an action, such as “living in or migrating to a country illegally.”

It is believed that most of the 1400 U.S. newspapers which use A.P. will likely follow their decision on the use of such a loaded term and will, for instance, stop referring to the millions of unauthorized Latino migrants to the U.S. as “illegal”.

ABC reported the following:

…most of America’s top college newspapers and major TV networks, including ABC, NBC and CNN, have vowed to stop using the term. Nearly half of Latino voters polled last year in a Fox News Latino survey said that they find the term “illegal immigrant” offensive. A coalition of linguists also came together last year to pressure media companies to drop “illegal immigrant,” calling it “neither neutral nor accurate.”

Whilst many Americans are applauding the decision by A.P. as a victory for accuracy and diversity, we can only wonder whether serious news organizations – and the Guardian – will similarly drop the loaded and value-laden term “illegal settler” to characterize Jews who, consistent with the parameters of the Mandate for Palestine, live beyond the 1949 armistice lines (in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem).

A quick search of the Guardian’s site shows a few references to such ‘illegal’ Israelis.Guardian film critic Philip French wrote the following in his Oct. 21, 2012 review of the documentary ’5 Broken Cameras’:

Behind this pair, but no less endangered, is Emad, recording some of the fiercest footage of assaults and atrocities on the West Bank that I’ve ever seen, as well as the arson wreaked on Palestinian olive groves by illegal Jewish settlers.

A July 24, 2012 story by Phoebe Greenwood on Palestinians facing eviction from ‘unauthorized’ homes in the southern Hebron hills included this variation of the charge:

Hila Gurani, the state’s attorney, wrote that the second intifada and the second Lebanon war exposed gaps in IDF preparation that requires more extensive training in firing zones, which the illegal Hebron residents are preventing

And, a report by Nicholas Watt about the call by some within the U.K. Labor Party to label products which are produced in Judea and Samaria included this passage:

Labour is opposed to boycotting Israeli goods but [Yvette] Cooper believes consumers should be informed whether products are produced by illegal settlers.

Moreover, a Google search using the words “illegal Israeli settlers” turns up 727,000 hits, and included references to the proscribed Jew in many “mainstream” publications. (Obviously, another variation of these specific words, in a different order, would likely produce further examples).

The greater implications of the A.P.’s decision are even more fascinating. If, for instance, we use A.P.’s logic as a guide, and only use the term “illegal” to describe an action, shouldn’t the Guardian and other sites stop referring to Jewish communities and homes in places like Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim and eastern Jerusalem as “illegal”?  If so, we might one day look back at the ubiquitous use of such subjective terminology (there were more than 5,000 references to “illegal settlements” at the Guardian’s site) as an embarrassing chapter in their paper’s history.

Whatever the Guardian editorial position on the desirability of a future Palestinian state which may include most of Judea and Samaria, we can hope that they’ll catch up with the times, heed their liberal calling and stop labeling – in one manner or another – hundreds of thousands of Jews residing within the boundaries of their historic homeland as “illegal.”

Visit CifWatch.com.

AP’s Obama, Netanyahu ‘Bad Blood’ Hardly Supported by Facts

Monday, January 14th, 2013

If you plug the names “Obama” or “Netanyahu” or even the words “Jewish” or “Israel” in Google News today, you’ll get a hundred versions of the same Associated Press story: “Obama, Netanyahu: Bad blood between key allies.” It’s a pre-inauguration, pre-election special, intended to forge a consensus in the U.S. public opinion about President Obama’s next four years: he’s going to have trouble from the Republican Congress and he’s going to clash with the Israeli prime minister to be:

“President Barack Obama heads into his second term weighed down by an American government snarled in partisan gridlock, but also by an unproductive relationship with the leader of Israel, the bedrock U.S. ally in the tumultuous Middle East.”

“It’s the greatest dysfunction between leaders that I’ve seen in my 40 years in watching and participating,” Aaron David Miller, who served under six secretaries of state in both Republican and Democratic administrations, and was “deeply involved in negotiations involving Israel, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinians,” told the AP.

“I don’t think we are headed for a showdown,” Miller added, “but the relationship will continue to be dysfunctional.”

Just the other day, writing for the LA Times, Miller said the Jewish attacks on Sen. Chuck Hagel, Obama’s man for Defense, lacked credibility. He wrote:

“Jews worry for a living. Their dark history and, in the case of American Jews, their legitimate concerns about the security of the State of Israel impel them to do so. But sometimes those concerns are overblown and reflect a kind of collective cosmic oy vey that gets in the way of sound and rational judgment.”

Then he says that, despite serious disagreements between the White House and Israel on the Palestinians and on Iran, “chances are if the Obama administration wants to manage the Iranian nuclear issue and the peace process too, it’s going to find a way to work with — not run over — the next Israeli government.”

He’s right, of course, and what he describes is anything but the dysfunctional relationship he talked about to the AP. In his own op-ed, Miller describes two heads of state who strongly disagree on two key points, but he, Miller, has no doubt they would find a modus vivendi.

So where’s the “bad blood”?

Netanyahu likely will win re-election on Jan. 22, two days after Obama is sworn in for a second term, goes the AP story.

Then: “Netanyahu is a hardliner on making peace with the Palestinians, a goal that Obama said was foremost on his foreign policy agenda at the beginning of his first term.”

With which Palestinians? President Abbas who has been refusing to attend negotiations with Israel even during the period of settlement freeze, early in the Netanyahu term? Or the Hamas, which has been actively murdering Israelis, and swearing to some day take back the entire country?

How, out of everyone involved, did Netanyahu end up with the “hardliner” branding?

Then there’s that annoying thing Netanyahu has been doing, “pressing Washington to adopt policy specifics that would trigger a military strike if Iran does not pull back on its nuclear program – widely believed to be aimed at building an atomic bomb.”

And Sen. Chuck Hagel. Although Netanyahu’s office refused comment on Hagel when contacted by The Associated Press in Jerusalem. But Reuven Rivlin, parliament speaker and member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, told AP that Israelis are worried because of Hagel’s “statements in the past, and his stance toward Israel.”

And that constitutes “bad blood”?

When in doubt, Ori Nir, a spokesman for Americans for Peace Now, was at the ready to refute the “talk of anti-Semitism,” which in Hagel’s case, he said, “is unjust and over-the-top.”

Possibly. And a long lineup of mainstream Jewish leaders have said just that throughout last week. Didn’t need to bring Peace Now in as an authority on these things…

The bad blood between Obama and Netanyahu began early, continues the AP story:

“In their first public appearance together at the White House in 2009, Netanyahu pointedly rebuffed Obama’s call for Israel to stop building Jewish housing on land the Palestinians want in a future state.” Obama dropped the issue after it became obvious that it was a waste of political capital at home and that Netanyahu would not budge.

Here’s a link to the Obama/Netanyahu press conference of May 18, 2009. Do find the part where Netanyahu pointedly rebuffs the president. It’s a very long and, generally friendly discourse, so take your time. Somewhere in the middle, Netanyahu says:

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: We’ve had extraordinarily friendly and constructive talks here today, and I’m very grateful to the President for that. We want to move peace forward, and we want to ward off the great threats.

But the AP is still searching for bad blood, and so they extended the paragraph above with: “Netanyahu’s government has continued to announce plans for new settlements in the Palestinian West Bank.”

State Department Calls Israeli Residential Building “Provocative”

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

The State Department on Tuesday spoke with disdain about Israel’s “pattern of provocative action” – the building of homes for Jewish citizens in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.

In a report by the Associated Press, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland chastised Israel for putting land negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority “further at risk”.

Also on Tuesday, British foreign secretary Willian Hague called development of housing for the burgeoning Jewish population “illegal under international law,” and warned that upcoming projects in eastern Jerusalem “would make a negotiated two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, very difficult to achieve.”

New ‘Judea and Samaria’ Passport Stamp Drives Arabs and the AP Nuts

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

In what appears to be a recent change of events, the passports of non-Israelis who enter the areas of Judea and Samaria are now being stamped with “Judea & Samaria Only” “visitors permit,” whereas until fairly recently those passports were stamped with “Palestinian Authority Only” stamps.

There has been a hysterical response to this by such anti-Israel activists as Ali Abunimah, the founder and editor of the “Electronic Intifada,” an online media outlet dedicated to attacking Israel, the “Zionist entity.”

It would not be such a big deal if it were only the virulently anti-Israel fringe who read the Electronic Intifada who complained about the change.  But, incredibly, the issue has now been taken up by international media outlets such as the Associated Press who have been badgering the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department about the change.

During the press conference on Tuesday, December 4, the AP’s State Department correspondent Matt Lee repeatedly badgered Deputy State Department Spokesperson Mark C. Toner about the matter.  Lee parroted Abunimah’s over-the-top characterization of the stamp, and demanded to know what the U.S. is going to do about Israel’s “creeping annexation” over what he insisted Toner acknowledge was “occupied territory.”

The reporter compared what he considered to be a lackluster response to the concern expressed by the U.S. when the Chinese government began issuing passports in which maps showed Chinese ownership over disputed maritime territory.  Toner resisted the comparison, but ultimately relented and assured the AP reporter that he would “look into it,” and then “report back.”

The source of the concern, the Electronic Intifada, is so hostile to Israel that it describes the change in Israeli stamp policy in this way:

‘Judea and Samaria’ is the Jewish nationalist name Israel gives to the occupied West Bank to reinforce its bogus claims to the territory and to give them a veneer of historical and religious legitimacy.

The latest change is further proof, if it were needed, that Israel is, without announcing it, implementing a racist one-state solution where there is no such thing as a Palestinian state and even the ‘Palestinian Authority’ has been erased.

Of course, Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron in Hebrew) are the terms which have been used to refer to these areas throughout history.   It has only been since the 1960′s that the term “West Bank” began to be used to refer to that area.

Here is the full exchange at the State Dept. briefing on Tuesday, December 4, 2012:

QUESTION: The Israeli Interior Ministry today announced that they’re also – they approved, or they are about to build 1,600 units. It’s the Ramat Shlomo settlement. It was actually launched during the Vice President’s visit to Jerusalem back in 2010 and you guys stopped it. Today, they – so do you have a comment on that?

Mark C. Toner, Deputy Department Spokesman: Well, you won’t be surprised if – I’d just refer you to our statement yesterday, which is that these kinds of actions are unproductive and don’t help get the parties back to the negotiating table, which is our ultimate goal.

QUESTION: Okay, but this seems to be like a daily event now. We might expect tomorrow there’s going to be another settlement and so on, and you will continue to refer to your statement of the day before yesterday?

MR. TONER: Well, our position – as we said, we made it very clear yesterday in our statement, but our position has not changed, and we continue to convey that to the Israeli Government.

QUESTION: Okay. So you have no intention of, let’s say, following suit with the – with your –

MR. TONER: Said, we see you –

QUESTION: – allies, Australia, and others to call the Israeli ambassador and tell him that in person?

MR. TONER: Well, Said, we’re in almost – well, we are in daily contact with the Israeli Government through our mission in Israel, and we’re going to convey what we’ve – privately as well as what we’ve conveyed publicly.

QUESTION: I have one last question on – if you indulge me – on the West Bank. The Israelis now are stamping visitors’ passports, American visitors and others, when they enter the West Bank as Judea and Samaria. Are you concerned about that? Did you express your concern to the Israelis?

Egypt’s Morsi Hailed ‘Power Broker’

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

International media are touting the Israel-Hamas ceasefire agreement as a political boon for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, saying the brokering of the deal has made the new president a “major regional player”.

In an article by the Associated Press, Morsi was described as someone who “won the trust of the United States and Israel”.   This despite Morsi’s open and continuous accusation that Israel was to blame for the fighting.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton thanked Morsi for “his personal leadership to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and end the violence”.

According to reports, Morsi made numerous meetings with international dignitaries from the US, Turkey, Qatar, Germany, and other Arab countries, but did not have any direct contact with Israeli representatives, getting and giving communications via a third party.

The Very Impressive Iron Dome

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Though the international community has been consistent in calling for Israel to stop defending itself from Gazan missile attacks by destroying missile launching sites and parties, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense systems have gained respect and admiration worldwide, dependably annihilating rockets on their way to targets in Israeli residential areas.

The Associated Press wrote a report touting the success of Iron Dome, and explaining its specs and uses.

In the report, the AP noted that the Israeli-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems produced Iron Dome, which was intended to shoot down missiles and artillery in an up to 45 mile range.  So far, the five Iron Dome batteries deployed in Israel’s south and outside Tel Aviv have succeeded 8 out of every 10 uses.

The state-of-the-art Iron Dome system calculates the trajectory of each missile, allowing those which are headed toward unpopulated areas to land, and immediately intercepting those which are headed toward populated or important areas using a special warhead.

If there is any downside to Iron Dome, it is the price tag.  Each missile costs $40,000. In 2010, the US put $200 million into expanding the development – a greater budget is being anticipated for 2012.

The Iron Dome system operates under the same principal as the “Arrow” missile defense system, which is meant to protect against long-range missiles from Iran, and is the predecessor of the upcoming “David’s Sling” anti-missile system, being developed by Rafael to neutralize medium-range missiles by 2014.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/the-very-impressive-iron-dome/2012/11/18/

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