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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Pallywood: Making News, Rather than Just Reporting it

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

In recent years there have been too many reports of Arab terror attacks and riots instigated/directed/inspired by journalists.  They get paid to show action, and the Arabs love to cooperate.  Having an audience well equipped with cameras to record Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers injured and cowering is great encouragement for them.

algemeiner.com recently published a video which shows how this is done.

You can easily see how the journalists are well-dressed/equipped for the occasion with flak jackets, helmets etc.

This reminds me of a BBC Radio report I heard over twenty years ago, when the Intifada was a new Arab term for attacking Jews.   I don’t number them since I’ve never heard of an official end.  It comes and goes in waves but never totally stops.  In that report, the radio journalist made it clear that he was crouched together with the attacking Arabs as they threw rocks and bricks at Israelis. You could hear the noises and his uncontrolled excitement. The IDF began responding with teargas, and the journalist told us how the Arabs had come equipped with cloths and remedies to protect their eyes and lungs from it.  He very emotionally described how parents comforted their children and covered their eyes to protect them.  It was 100 precent clear that the journalist was totally identified with the Arab attackers and considered this a great adventure for himself.

Unfortunately, not only foreign journalists identify with the Arabs who attack Israel, so do Israeli journalists, politicians and academics. They consider themselves “post-Zionists.”  But to tell you the truth, there has always been Zionist, mostly Left-Labor who considered it important to give the Arabs their own country next to the State of Israel, even before the establishment of the state.  It’s not enough that the British imported the Hashemites and gave them Transjordan to rule, but the United Nations Partition Plan, approved by David Ben-Gurion’s followers, allocated most of what was left of the British Mandate of Palestine to the Arabs.

The World expected the Arabs to defeat us in 1948 and at best we’d be governed by a continuation of the Mandate.  Luckily God had other plans.

There’s nothing new in journalists trying to make news; they just can’t make facts out of lies.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

The ‘Refugee’ Slated to Win ‘Arab Idol’

Monday, May 27th, 2013

The number of Palestinian Arabs whose residence was within the boundaries of historic Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, and lost their homes as a result of  Israel’s War of Independence, was, in 1949, estimated at 711,000.

The number of Palestinian Arabs still alive today who were personally displaced by the war is now as low as 30,000. 

However, UNRWA, an agency with an annual budget exceeding $650 million, tasked with caring for Palestinian “refugees”and only Palestinian “refugees,” counts descendants of those original 711,000 as “refugees”, and so puts the figure at over 5 million – a number which includes millions of Palestinian Arabs who are citizens of other Arab countries.

UNRWA’s strange logic is what inspired a component of the following headline, and accompanying text, in a Guardian story by Harriet Sherwood about a Palestinian who is poised to win Arab Idol.

Sherwood explains:

The golden voice of a young man from a Gaza refugee camp [Khan Younis] has enchanted viewers of Arab Idol, broadcast weekly to huge audiences across the Middle East, making him a favourite to win the final of the television singing contest.

Mohammed Assaf, 22, has won massive support from viewers enthralled by his rendition of traditional love songs and laments for the Palestinian cause. He has also succeeded in uniting Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora behind his efforts to win.

Assaf, who often performs wearing a traditional black-and-white chequered keffiyeh, is one of 12 finalists in the competition, broadcast by the Saudi-owned MBC1. Last year’s winner secured a lucrative recording contract and was presented with a car.

The Palestinian “refugee” swindle is but one of the many political derivatives from the ideologically inspired uncritical embrace of the Palestinian narrative which so often passes for serious journalism at the Guardian.

Mohammed Assaf - a Palestinian (born 42 years after the 1949 war) who lives in the Palestinian run territory of Gaza, in Khan Younis – is not, by any reasonable definition of the word, a refugee. And, the fact that Palestinians continue to hold the key to this immutable victim status illustrates a greater truth about the egregious abuse of ordinary language within the cognitive battlefields of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

The Blood Libel Begins: The Guardian’s Original Reporting on Al Dura

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Today, an Israeli Government Review Committee published a long-awaited report on the Mohammed Al Durah incident, determining that the Palestinian boy was in fact not harmed by Israeli forces and did not die in the exchange of fire on September 30, 2000 at the Netzarim Junction in Gaza.

The Israeli committee arrived at the conclusion which had been reached by other serious observers who have studied the incident (and its tragic consequences) over the years: The incident was in all likelihood a hoax.

The report was released just three days before a French court is to rule on a defamation case involving the producer who broke the story for France 2, Charles Enderlin, and the French media analyst who accused Enderlin of fabricating the story, Philippe Karsenty.  (You can learn more about the background, evidence, and consequences of the Al Durah incident here.)

The following is my fisking of the original report in the Guardian on the Al Durah incident, written by Suzanne Goldenberg and published on Oct. 3, 2000 and titled ‘Making of a martyr”:

goldberg

Suzanne Goldenberg begins her Oct. 3, 2000 Guardian account of an incident which had taken place three days earlier, near the Netzarim Junction in Gaza, ‘Making of a martyr’, thus:

A circle of 15 bullet holes on a cinder block wall, and a smear of darkening blood. That is what marks the spot where a terrified 12-year-old boy spent his final moments, cowering in his father’s arms, before he was hit by a final shot to the stomach, and slumped over, dead. Those last minutes in the life of Mohammed al-Durrah, captured in sickening detail by a Palestinian cameraman working for French TV, have taken on a power of their own. His death, aired around the world on Saturday night, has become the single searing image of these days of bloody rioting.

Goldenberg, as with nearly every journalist who reported on the incident, was relying entirely on a one minute, deceptively edited, France 2 video, as well as uncorroborated Palestinian “eyewitness” accounts.

While the the video purported to show the boy’s final moments – filmed by stringer named Talal Abu Rama, and which was cut by France 2 producer Charles Enderlin – the last few seconds showed a clearly alive boy lifting his hands and peeking out through his fingers and then slowly putting his arm down.

There is no video or still photos – despite the numerous journalists at the scene – of the boy being carried away in a stretcher, or being loaded onto an ambulance.

Additionally, despite claims that the IDF fired on the boy and his father for 40 minutes – which somehow only managed to produce a dozen or so bullet holes in the wall and barrel – and supposedly died of a stomach wound, it evidently didn’t seem odd to Goldberg that there was only a “smear” of blood?

Goldenberg:

The pictures of Mohammed’s death seemed not just to encapsulate the horror of these last five days but also to have become its motor.

Though more Palestinians have been killed since Mohammed’s death – including a two-year-old yesterday – it is his image that haunts Israel. For all of the claims of the prime minister, Ehud Barak, and other officials that their soldiers only fire to protect Israeli lives, Mohammed’s death seems an irrefutable reply.

Here, any semblance of objective reporting is shrewn to pieces. Not only in the last sentence of this passage is Goldberg determining Israeli guilt in the boy’s death, but imputing malice to the entire army – all based on 63 seconds of video.

Goldenberg:

By the end of the weekend the evidence was pointing to a still more chilling conclusion: that the 12-year-old boy and his father were deliberately targeted by Israeli soldiers.

The blood libel begins.

Goldenberg has now established – a mere four days following the incident – that the 12-year-old Palestinian child was deliberately targeted by Israeli soldiers.

Caught in a burst of firing, the pair sought shelter behind a concrete water butt, about 15 yards to the east of the Palestinian post, diagonally opposite the Israeli position. The father gestured frantically towards the Israelis, as if pleading with them to stop firing. They did not.

How a Jewish Online Magazine Was Launched

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

This week, Doug speaks to Alana Newhouse, who has extensive experience in the world of American Jewish journalism, having worked as culture editor at the Forward before moving over in 2008 to Nextbook, which was eventually relaunched as Tablet Magazine. Alana tells Doug about how the Internet has become a valuable tool for spreading Jewish news. Tune into this interesting Podcast to hear more, along with all of your favorite financial columns and advice.

The Truths About Terrorism They Dare Not Speak

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

The current conventional wisdom about terrorism, Islamism, and the Middle East is being bent, but not broken, by two events. On one hand, there is the Boston bombing; on the other hand, developments in Syria and to a lesser extent Egypt.

In the Middle East, the misbehavior of Islamist movements is becoming more apparent. In Egypt, there is the repression of the Muslim Brotherhood regime, which may actually intend to create a non-democratic Sharia state! Parallel behavior in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Turkey is under-reported but occasionally surfaces.

The most important single story at the moment, though, is Syria. Basically, the Obama Administration has woken up and recognized what was easily apparent two years ago: They are helping to put radical, anti-American Islamists into power! They are helping to provide them with advanced weapons which might be used for activities other than what is intended!

When the government wakes up it nudges the media to get up also. What is quite startling is the extent to which the mass media is responsive to government policy, at least this government’s policy. I want to explain this carefully in order to be fair.

Take this article in the New York Times, which can be summarized as saying that Islamist rebels’ gains in Syria create a dilemma for the United States. Now this is an article about U.S. policy so naturally it describes how that policy is changing.

Yet at the same time, one wants to ask: Why haven’t the policy consequences of this situation been described continuously in the past? If a big truck is headed straight at you on the highway, might not the media sitting in the front passenger seat shout out a warning? Does it have to wait for the driver to notice and then it can say something?

And even so the diffidence is astonishing. It is good that the newspaper notices that the rebels are largely comprised of, “Political Islamists inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood and others who want an Islamic-influenced legal code.” But why even now one can say “Islamic-influenced?”

For many years they have made it clear that they seek a total Islamic (in their interpretation) state. It is the precise equivalent of describing Chinese Communists more than sixty years ago, as they approached victory in their country’s civil war, as “agrarian reformers.”

This story also parallels the much larger-scale debate about the Boston bombings. There’s a long piece in the New York Times about the Boston bombers. The lead gives the flavor of its argument:

“It was a blow the immigrant boxer could not withstand: after capturing his second consecutive title as the Golden Gloves heavyweight champion of New England in 2010, Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev, 23, was barred from the national Tournament of Champions because he was not a United States citizen.”

The title of the piece is, “A Battered Dream, Then a Violent Path.” In other words, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not allowed to win a boxing championship because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. Blocked by bad treatment from America, he became more Islamic and turned to terrorism.

Of course, it is vital to develop an accurate picture of the terrorists’ background and explain the factors providing a personal motivation. On the other hand, it is something quite different to suggest that if the United States was nicer to Muslims and perhaps gave people citizenship more easily, there would not have been terrorism in Boston.

Why is this fundamentally dishonest in the way it is being presented in most of the public debate? Because the voices enhanced by control over the most powerful microphones focus in on the political theme they want to push, excluding other factors in the context of their topic.

Where to begin? The article includes a photo of the future terrorist as a baby in Dagestan with his parents and his uncle. His uncle is wearing a Russian army uniform. While in the photo he is a baby, the point might still be raised: Isn’t Tamerlan Tsarnaev more a product of Russian than of U.S. conditions? After all, his family was involved in a conflict against the Russian state; he and his brother were largely shaped by that environment. He went back and forth to Russia and took instruction from terrorist groups which had arrived at al-Qaida from that basis.

Palestinian Journalists Declare War on Israeli Colleagues

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Palestinian journalists have declared an intifada against their Israeli colleagues.

In recent weeks, Israeli journalists who cover Palestinian affairs have been facing increased threats from Palestinian reporters. On a number of occasions, the threats included acts of violence against the Israeli journalists, particularly in Ramallah.

Human rights organizations and groups claiming to defend freedom of media have failed to condemn the campaign of intimidation waged by Palestinian journalists against their Israeli fellow-journalists.

It is one thing when governments and dictators go after journalists, but a completely different thing when journalists start targeting their counterparts.

An Israeli journalist had his microphone damaged during an assault, while another was thrown out of a press conference. Behind the two incidents were Palestinian journalists, angered by the presence of Israelis in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities.

The threats and harassment came as more than 200 Palestinian journalists signed a petition, for the first time ever, calling on the Palestinian Authority to ban Israeli correspondents from operating in its territories “without permission.”

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, has complied, issuing instructions requiring Israeli journalists to obtain permission from its Ministry of Information before entering Palestinian cities.

Palestinian Authority officials and journalists later explained that the ban does not apply to some journalists working for the Israeli daily Ha’aretz and who report on “Palestinian suffering.”

The Palestinian journalists campaigning against their Israeli colleagues have justified their action by saying that Israeli authorities do not allow them to work freely inside Israel. They also accuse the Israeli authorities of refusing to issue them with [Israeli] government press cards.

If anything, these claims represent a hypocritical approach.

In recent years, Palestinian journalists have strongly opposed to “normalization” with Israelis, including meetings with Israeli colleagues. Some Palestinian journalists who violated the ban and met with Israeli counterparts were denounced as traitors and expelled from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate.

So while Palestinian journalists are opposed to “normalization” with Israel, they are at the same time demanding that Israeli authorities grant them permission to work inside Israel.

Even more, the Palestinian journalists are demanding that Israel provide them with press cards issued by none other than the Israeli government.

Won’t the Palestinian journalists be violating their own rules and ideology once they accept press cards issued by the Israeli government? And if they enter Israel and meet with Israelis, won’t they also be acting against their own boycott campaign?

What is disturbing is that foreign journalists based in Israel have not come out against the campaign of intimidation against their Israeli colleagues. Could it be because these foreign journalists have also been facing threats and want to stay on good terms with Palestinian reporters, and will also agree to report only on “Palestinian suffering”?

Gone are the days when Israeli and Palestinian journalists used to work together and exchange information on a daily basis, in the days before the peace process started.

Today, there is a new generation of Palestinian journalists who have evidently been radicalized to a point where any meeting with an Israeli is being viewed as a “crime.” This is the result of anti-Israel incitement by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, especially over the past two decades.

Aware of the growing radicalism of Palestinian journalists, the Palestinian Authority, together with the American security detail, banned a large number of Palestinian journalists from covering the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Ramallah last month.

The biggest fear was that a Palestinian journalist would either throw a shoe at Obama or engage in a rhetorical attack against him and U.S. policies.

If Palestinian journalists have been so radicalized that some are even willing to resort to threats and violence against colleagues, what must one say about the rest of the Palestinians who, for the past two decades, have also been exposed to messages of hate by their leaders?

How can anyone talk about resuming the peace process when Palestinians are being told by their leaders, on a daily basis, how bad and evil Israel is? If Israel is so bad and evil, then how can any leader go to his people and say that he is negotiating with them?

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Charismatic, ‘Folksy’ Egyptian Politician Incites Followers to Martyrdom

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Egypt’s political landscape is dotted with people and issues that, from a reasonable distance, are  incomprehensible.

Unfortunately, when you share a neighborhood with some of those people, you can’t always afford the luxury of trying to comprehend “root causes” and socio-demographic dynamics. The dangers are existential, not intellectual and so you need to first take defensive measures and then try to understand. People who fail to understand this tend – usually – to be those who live far from the threats, or think they do.

The Dubai-based Al Arabiya news site carries a report from Egypt today. It focuses on a televised sermon delivered Friday by Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a “holy man” and lawyer who is “the country’s most charismatic Salafist politician” and a front-running candidate in Egypt’s 2012 presidential election. He was reckoned to have a serious chance up until his electoral run was forcibly ended by the disclosure, denied by the candidate but subsequently confirmed by the Egyptian authorities, that his mother was a citizen of the United States. It appears he is still laboring to overcome that disgrace.

He favours lowering the legal age of marriage to puberty (for girls, of course); chopping off the hands of thieves, naturally; ending the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty; supports the veiling of women and their segregation from men in the workplace (according to the L.A. Times). He calls Iran a successful model of keeping your independence from the United States. And about the 9/11 massacres, he said

I am one of those who believe these events were fabricated from the outset as part of the global groundwork for the distortion of Islam’s image. I mean, this is part of a comprehensive global plan that includes a media aspect. [Interview on a 2004 Saudi TV program]

There’s an eye-popping selection of other public pronouncements of this person here.

On Friday, according to Al Arabiya, the ultra conservative Abu Ismail preached that

The only way to build a strong Egypt is to have tens of thousands fight and be “martyred” under the name of God, a prominent Salafist politician told worshipers during a televised sermon on Friday. “So what if a hundred or a thousand, or even ten thousands are martyred to build a long-prevailing nation,” Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a former presidential candidate, said. “There is no other plan but to be martyred.”

A lunatic, right? Yes, and/or a cynical manipulator. But that’s not necessarily the impression you would get from the mainstream Western media coverage he has enjoyed during this past year.

A handful of examples from just one source: the L.A. Times:

* Abu Ismail’s is “a robust voice in the fractious political Islam” of post Mubarak Egypt;
* He embodies “a new Egypt searching for a religiously resonant yet pragmatic brand of politics that can fix the nation’s deep economic and social problems“;
* “He’s a favorite on talk shows and internet videos, a charismatic speaker who can charm a university crowd as easily as he can raise cheers from mill workers in the provinces”;
* “He skims the edge of fundamentalism — he once suggested that he and Osama bin Laden shared the same ends, if not the means, to create an Islamic state — but connects with Egyptians’ everyday worries.

The Economist has said he is “committed to replicating the seventh-century ways of the Prophet Mohammed [and]could be the country’s next pharaoh.” More recently, it has also called him a man with “folksy charm putting the dour Mr. Morsi in the shade.” He’s a politician whose followers are “rowdy enthusiasts.

There is no suggestion that Abu Ismail himself has any intention of embracing martyrdom. It’s a near certainty that his inspiration will bring less discerning Egyptians (aka rowdy enthusiasts) to that end. Martyrdom-minded religious fanatics have a bad reputation in this part of the world, so this “folksy” sermon is less than good news.

Visit This Ongoing War.

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