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November 25, 2014 / 3 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

Northern Irish Schoolboy with Asperger Syndrome Suffered Anti-Semitic Abuse

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Matthew Lough, a 14-year-old student at Carrickfergus College with Asperger syndrome, says he has suffered anti-Semitic abuse and was attacked physically following a History class on the Holocaust.

According to Matthew’s mother, Sharon Lough, told the Guardian that the boy revealed during the class that his maternal great-great-grandmother was Jewish. She says a group of bullies began a campaign against him.

“It started last year with the swastikas drawn on his books, he was called ‘Jew boy’ and one fellow pupil even told Matthew: ‘It’s a pity that the gas chambers were not still open so we could deal with you.’ This was before the physical assault,” Sharon Lough said.

Carrickfergus College is a secondary school on the outskirts of the town of Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.

The harassment campaign against Matthew continued through the current school year, up until Easter.

“Because Matthew had reported the verbal abuse and the bullying, one boy took exception to this and during an attack on my son he kicked him in the head. Matthew later came home and started to complain of headaches. By this stage there was the lump the size of an egg on his head and my husband got very worried. When we eventually got Matthew checked out in A&E we were told that he had concussion from the kick.”

Matthew told the BBC that the bullies had attached swastikas to his school bag and called him anti-Semitic names.

“It kind of annoyed me and upset me but the real truck was when I was attacked in the woods during an orienteering exercise in PE,” he said. “The guy was suspended for five days. This year, it was a guy who was singing a song about how Hitler had gassed 6.5 million Jews, all happy and do-lallies.”

His mother said she the name-calling had continued, despite the suspension of two students.

“We encourage Matthew to live, as much as he can. Aspergers does not change who he has ever been,” she told the BBC. “We don’t want him to be considered as a special case. He is a very intelligent child and very loving and very caring about people around him.”

According to the Guardian, anti-Semitism is a minor problem compared with other hate crimes in Northern Ireland. Attacks there have been mostly directed at immigrant workers at Filipino and Chinese families, and the Roma. The latter were driven from their homes by attackers in south Belfast three years ago.

Egyptian Oil Pipeline in Sinai Blown Up… Again

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Once again, the Egyptian oil pipeline to Israel in the Sinai was blown up. BBC is reporting that 6 men arrived in van and blew up the pipeline near al-Arish. It had just been repaired after it was blown up on February 5th.

Personal View: Islamic Revolutionary Guards Arrest BBC ‘Activists’

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Should we be embarrassed when we read a press release about the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and we nod in agreement? Well, you be the judge. A story put out by the Mehr news agency accuses BBC employees of “ill-intentioned activities inside Iran.” Now, we know a thing or two about the topic of BBC’s ill intentions, from our own experience. And many a time we were ready to go do something about it, until we recalled that in a democracy you can’t just go and arrest reporters with excellent British accents just because you know they’re intentionally skewing the news.

But in Iran you can definitely do something about it…

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ center dealing with organized crimes described the BBC’s role in the soft warfare campaign against Iran as “active”, “effective,” and “systematic,” saying the broadcaster’s activities had been carried out with the financial support of anti-revolutionary groups.

We find ourselves suppressing a cry of “Yes! More power to you, cute, democracy-crushing revolutionary guards, go for it! Tell them Judea and Samaria are not “occupied,” only “disputed,” and that Jewish settlements aren’t illegal according to the Geneva convention, because the land on which they sit was never recognized internationally as being owned by anyone – meaning that it’s not illegal for civilians from across what used to be the border to move in.

But, of course, that’s not why those British folks were picked up by the Iranians. Instead they’re being accused of spying, which is sooo boring, because we all know the charges are trumped up. Why not stick with “Those Limeys are lying through their crooked teeth,” and for once the whole world would have cheered you on?

No, they had to go and say this:

“In line with the British government’s neo-colonialist attitude and through the use of new and complicated intelligence methods, [the BBC] had created a complicated intelligence network with the aim of collecting specific and purposeful intelligence.”

Yada yada yada…

The statement goes on to say that a number of BBC network members were arrested and their cases referred to the judicial authorities during the first phase of the operation, carried out last summer.

During the second phase of the operation, lawsuits were filed against 24 main members. Lawsuits have also been filed against 10 members who are currently living abroad.

So there’s hope?

The Supernatural Miracle

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

In September 2010, BBC, Reuters and other news agencies reported on a sensational scientific discovery. Researchers at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado showed through computer simulation how the division of the Red Sea might have taken place.

By sophisticated modeling, they demonstrated how a strong east wind, blowing overnight, could have pushed water back at a bend where an ancient river is believed to have merged with a coastal lagoon. Sixty-three mph winds from the east could have pushed the water back at an ancient river bend. The water would have been pushed back into the two waterways, and a land bridge would have opened at the bend, allowing people to walk across the exposed mud flats. As soon as the wind died down, the waters would have rushed back in. As the leader of the project said when the report was published: “The simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus.”

So we now have scientific evidence to support the biblical account, though to be fair, a very similar case was made some years ago by Colin Humphreys, professor of Materials Science at Cambridge University and professor of Experimental Physics at the Royal Institution in London, in his book, The Miracles of Exodus.

To me, though, the real issue is what the biblical account actually is, because it is just here that we have one of the most fascinating features of the way the Torah tells its stories. Here is the key passage: “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left” (Exodus 14:21-22).

The passage can be read two ways. The first is that what happened was a suspension of the laws of nature. It was a supernatural event. The waters stood, literally, like a wall.

The second is that what happened was miraculous, not because the laws of nature were suspended. To the contrary, as the computer simulation shows, the exposure of dry land at a particular point in the Red Sea was a natural outcome of the strong east wind. What made it miraculous is that it happened just there, just then, when the Israelites seemed trapped, unable to go forward because of the sea, unable to turn back because the Egyptian army was pursuing them.

There is a significant difference between these two interpretations. The first appeals to our sense of wonder. How extraordinary that the laws of nature should be suspended to allow an escaping people to go free. It is a story to appeal to the imagination of a child.

But the naturalistic explanation is wondrous at another level entirely. Here the Torah is using the device of irony. What made the Egyptians of the time of Ramses so formidable was the fact that they possessed the latest and most powerful form of military technology: the horse-drawn chariot. It made them unbeatable and fearsome in battle.

What happens at the sea is poetic justice of the most exquisite kind. There is only one circumstance in which a group of people traveling by foot can escape a highly trained army of charioteers, namely when the route passes through a muddy seabed. The people can walk across, but the chariot wheels get stuck in the mud. The Egyptian army can neither advance nor retreat. The wind drops, and the water returns. The powerful are now powerless, while the powerless have made their way to freedom.

This second narrative has a moral depth that the first does not – and it resonates with the message of the book of Psalms: “His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalms 147:10-11).

The elegantly simple way in which the division of the red sea is described in the Torah is such so that it can be read at two quite different levels – one as a supernatural miracle, the other as a moral tale about the limits of technology when it comes to the real strength of nations. That, to me, is what is most striking. It is a text quite deliberately written so that our understanding of it can deepen as we mature, and we are no longer so interested in the mechanics of miracles, but rather more interested in how freedom is won or lost.

So while it’s good to know how the division of the sea happened, there remains a depth to the biblical story that can never be exhausted by computer simulations and other historical or scientific evidence. It depends instead on being sensitive to its deliberate and delicate ambiguity. Just as ruach, a physical wind, can part waters and expose land beneath, so ruach, the human spirit, can expose, beneath the surface of a story, a deeper meaning beneath.

Treat News Manipulators As Journalists?

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Should Israel treat pro-Palestinian news manipulators as if they were serious journalists? Should they be given privileges because they belong to supposedly reputable media outlets? Why accommodate the allies of your enemies?

Such questions arise anew after a recent study of anti-Israel bias on the part of Reuters by Henry Silverman of Chicago’s Roosevelt University.

Professor Silverman investigated fifty news-oriented articles by Reuters on the Middle East. His findings about this “objective” news agency were damning. Silverman concluded that coverage of the Middle East conflict “is systematically tainted by propaganda and influences readers to side with the Palestinian and Arab states against the Israelis.”

Silverman analyzed these articles for reporting and ethical failures, such as propaganda devices and logical fallacies. As Reuters has a handbook of rules its reporters are supposed to follow, he also checked the articles against its requirements. Silverman found more than 1,100 instances of reporting failures in these articles. On the average, this amounts to 22 failures per (relatively short) article. Silverman then submitted the articles to students who were neutral about the Middle East conflict. After they had read the biased articles, their views shifted to pro-Palestinian.

Trevor Asserson, a British litigation lawyer now living in Israel, applied a somewhat different methodology to the BBC several years ago. This media outlet is heavily subsidized by the British government and enjoys an important monopoly position. It operates under a government charter which defines 15 legal obligations including fairness, respect for truth, due accuracy, attachment to fundamental democratic principles, not broadcasting opinions on current affairs or public policy, insuring that opposing views are not misrepresented and not letting the audience gauge the reporter’s personal views.

Asserson checked various BBC TV programs on the Middle East against its commitments under the charter. He analyzed all documentaries on the Middle East shown on BBC 1 and 2 from late June 2002 to 2004. Afterward, Asserson said the BBC was conducting “what amounts to something equivalent to a campaign to vilify Israel, broadcasting a documentary critical of Israel every two to three months…. 88% of documentaries on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict paint either a negative impression of Israel or (in two cases) a positive image of Palestinians.” He also found that “there is a systemic problem with the BBC complaints system.”

Asserson concluded: “BBC’s news reports concerning Israel are distorted by omission, by inclusion, by only giving partial facts, by who is interviewed, and by the background information provided, or lack of it. The only way to establish this factually was to do a proper forensic analysis. I prepared my reports in the way in which a judge would expect the evidence to be presented in a court of law.”

Another form of news manipulation is selective publishing of biased op-eds. Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “respectfully declined” to write an op-ed for The New York Times. His senior adviser Ron Dermer wrote a reply to the newspaper in which he quoted the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan’s admonition that “everyone is entitled to [his] own opinion, but no one is entitled to [his] own facts.”

Dermer pointed out that the Times had published an article by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas containing false historical “facts,” which it could and should have verified quite easily. Dermer also checked op-eds about Israel published within the last three months in The New York Times and in the (Times-owned) International Herald Tribune. Nineteen out of those twenty op-ed pieces were negative.

If such manipulation or propaganda is practiced by three media outlets counted among the profession’s elite, what can one possibly expect from others? To get an idea of how low some have stooped – and not related to Israel – one should follow the inquiry in the United Kingdom carried out by Lord Justice Leveson about the multiple infringements of privacy by the tabloid press.

The now defunct News of the World hacked the voice mails of many individuals. It hired detectives to place people under surveillance and planted a Trojan virus to hack into one target’s computer. It also employed a convicted criminal because of his good relationship with the police.

Other tabloids fabricated stories about people. A particularly disturbing case was that of the Daily Express, which invented defamatory information about the parents of the McCann family whose daughter had disappeared. A former reporter at the Daily Mirror testified that phone hacking was rampant at the paper in the late ‘90s.

There is a pressing need for a major study on the extremely doubtful ethics of present-day journalism. Using Israel as a test case would be a helpful way to accomplish this.

In the meantime, Israel must act. It is time to form a Knesset caucus on media that should tackle this complex issue and hold the government accountable when it accommodates manipulators among the journalists. Freedom of the press is one thing. Being assisted by the government to help the enemy is something radically different. Ministers should be asked why certain journalists (read: Palestinian and Arab propagandists) enjoy privileges. Let them fend for themselves without the rights and privileges press cards offer.

Scientists Create Ebola Vaccine

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Scientists have successfully developed a vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus, according to a report by the BBC.

Approximately 80% of the mice injected with Ebola after being inoculated with the vaccine were protected.  The vaccine is also capable of remaining viable in the long-term and is therefore able to be stockpiled.

Israel’s Left Wins Its Jihad Against Arutz-7

Friday, November 28th, 2003

Yet another nail was banged last week into the coffin of Israeli democracy. Last week the
McCarthyist Left in Israel succeeded at long last in shutting down Arutz-7, the main voice of
non-leftist dissidence in Israel. This under a government headed by Ariel Sharon.

Israel’s Hebrew-language media are the occupied territories of Israel’s Far Left. Haaretz is
considerably less pluralistic than was Pravda in the days of Gorbachev and is increasingly
advocating One-Statism, or the Rwanda Solution to Israel’s existence, where Israel would cease to exist as a Jewish state. Yediot Aharanot is just slightly less extremist than Haaretz and its Op-Ed pages have been dubbed by some wags “Fatahland.” Maariv is the most balanced of the Hebrew papers, although it also is more leftist than not.

The Jerusalem Post is balanced but has a tiny market share, read only by those whose primary language is English and whose lack of proficiency in Hebrew prevents them from reading the Hebrew press.

Israel’s three TV stations compete against one another over who can be the most extremist
and leftist, who the most biased. They are considerably less pro-Israel than the BBC and CNN. Most radio stations are still state-run and — by definition — that makes them leftist. The Likud has never challenged the hegemony of the Left over the state-owned electronic media when it has held office.

That leaves the “pirate stations.” Israel has a long history of “pirate” radio stations. These are broadcasters who operate transmitters technically outside the legal jurisdiction of Israel, at
sea on ships or just illegally from someone’s attic. Pirate radio exists largely because the
government has refused to sell broadcast licenses to private-sector groups.

The first pirate ship was that of leftist wacko Abie Nathan, who used it to broadcast obnoxious rock and roll noise mixed in with political caterwauling from the far Left. He was
allowed to broadcast unfettered for decades, starting in the early 1970′s, by governments of both Labor and Likud. He eventually went bankrupt and celebrated the shutting down of his “Peace Boat” by scuttling it smack in the center of Israel’s shipping lanes.

But sauce for the goose in Israel has never been sauce for the lemmings. When the Right
set up its own pirate radio station on a ship outside the territorial waters of Zion, the McCarthyist Left launched a jihad that from its first day was designed to shut it down. But despite the repeated legal and legislative attempts to silence it, Arutz-7 managed to struggle on — until last week.

A handful of other pirate stations, many with Orthodox religious orientation, have also
broadcast on and off. Unlike the United States, the Israeli government has never looked kindly on religious radio stations having a right to part of the airwaves.

Arutz-7 was a breath of fresh air in Israel’s near-totalitarian world of leftist media hegemony. It proved itself absolutely correct in its denunciation of the Oslo Accords, and in fact was the only media outfit in Israel that dared oppose the policies of Rabin and Peres.

The Left denounced Arutz-7 as ‘inciters’ — McCarthyist terminology for people who disagree with the Left — and the leftists made no secret of their belief that Arutz-7 was directly
responsible for Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.

The Left had been filing petition after petition to shut Arutz-7 down. The same Labor Party that defended Abie Nathan’s ship to its last decibel led the jihad against Arutz-7. It was
joined by a host of leftists who have served as attorney general. Incredibly, some of the worst
assaults against Arutz-7 were carried out when the Likud was in office, since the Likud always
seeks to be the ‘me-too’ party and to out-Labor the Laborites.

Five years ago a leftist lawyer filed a suit to shut down Arutz-7 and indict its owners/ managers. It took five years for the court to find for the plaintiff and restore leftist hegemony over Israel’s media.

Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book ‘The Scout’ is available at
Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steven_plaut@yahoo.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/israels-left-wins-its-jihad-against-arutz-7/2003/11/28/

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