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December 23, 2014 / 1 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘journalists’

Khaled Abu Toameh: How Journalists Allowed the Palestinian Authority to Fool Them

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

The Palestinian Authority has been boasting over the past four years of its success in restoring law and order to the West Bank city of Jenin.

Journalists from all around the world were invited to Jenin, once notorious for dispatching suicide bombers to Israel, to report on the Palestinian government’s successful efforts.

Palestinian leaders and government officials told the journalists how their security forces have managed to end the state of chaos and lawlessness that used to prevail in Jenin.

They talked about how Fatah gangsters and thugs who used to roam the streets, imposing an atmosphere of intimidation and terror on the population, have vanished.

Most of the gangsters, the Palestinian government officials noted, had been recruited to various branches of the Western-funded Palestinian security forces and were indirectly receiving salaries from American and European taxpayers’ money.

Many Western correspondents rushed to Jenin to cover the story about the success of the Palestinian Authority in restoring law and order.

One of the most popular stories was the fact that Zakaria Zubeidi, the former commander of Fatah’s armed militia, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which was behind dozens of terror attacks against Israel, was now running a local theater and promoting coexistence and peace. But while the international, and Israeli, media were breaking the “good news” about Jenin, the journalists failed to understand what was really going on in Jenin and its surrounding villages. Some journalists, in fact, chose to turn a blind eye to the grim reality on the ground.

The murder of Israeli Arab actor and film producer Julian Mar-Khamis in Jenin last year should have sounded an alarm bell among the media representatives. His killers have never been caught, sparking a wave of unconfirmed reports about the involvement of influential Fatah gangsters and Palestinian security officers in the case.

A Western journalist who wanted to do an investigative report into the case was warned by senior Palestinian security officers that she would be putting her life at risk if she insisted on carrying out this mission.

Last week, the truth about the situation in Jenin finally exploded in the faces of everyone: the local governor died of a fatal heart attack following an unsuccessful assassination attempt. For the Palestinian Authority leadership, the assassination attempt was what lifted the veil: Palestinian leaders in Ramallah realized that they could no longer continue to hide the truth about what was really happening in Jenin.

Palestinian security forces have since arrested dozens of Fatah “outlaws” and police officers for various crimes — including murder, extortion, abductions, sexual harassment, and armed robberies.

Radi Asideh, the security commander of the Jenin area, admitted that it was the Palestinian security establishment that was responsible for the anarchy and lawlessness. “There is a defect inside the security establishment and officers were responsible for this,” he revealed.

The biggest mistake, Asideh added, was that the Palestinian leadership had turned its back to the defect, allowing the situation to deteriorate at the expense of the people’s security.

Palestinians say that anarchy and lawlessness are to be found also in other areas in the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority claims to have imposed law and order. And, they add, in most cases it is the Palestinian Authority’s security forces that are responsible for the chaos and corruption.

If the Western journalists and donors continue to ignore the reality on the ground, the West Bank could soon fall into the hands of gangsters and armed clans, as has been the case in Jenin — among the main reasons the Palestinian Authority collapsed in the Gaza Strip in 2007, speeding the rise of Hamas to power.
Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Khaled Abu Toameh: How The Palestinian Authority Fights Corruption

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Jamal Abu Rihan is a Palestinian blogger and activist who is being held in a Palestinian Authority prison in the West Bank.

Security forces belonging to the Palestinian Authority government arrested Abu Rihan after he created a Facebook group called “The People Want to End Corruption.”

Demanding reform and democracy has become a crime in the territories under the control of the Palestinian Authority. Direct and indirect criticism of Palestinian Authority leaders has also become a crime that can land journalists, bloggers, cartoonists and political opponents in prison.

Instead of going after top officials suspected of embezzling public funds and abusing their powers, the Palestinian Authority government has chosen to wage an unprecedented clampdown on those who dare to raise their voices in support of transparency and freedom of speech.

Abu Rihan’s anti-corruption group on Facebook has won the backing of more than 6000 followers. These people clicked “like” and joined the group within days of its launching. Some of the followers, especially those living under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, now fear being thrown into prison for committing the crime of demanding an end to corruption.

The arrest of Abu Rihan and others is aimed at sending a warning to Palestinians against criticizing their government and leaders.

The Palestinian Authority government has also warned Palestinian journalists against reporting about the crackdown or helping Western correspondents cover the crackdown on journalists and bloggers.

In the past few weeks, Palestinian security forces summoned a number of Palestinian journalists for questioning about their ties with Western journalists and media outlets.

Palestinians say that the campaign of intimidation and harassment against the media is designed to prevent “negative reporting” about the Palestinian Authority government. The Palestinian Authority does not want anyone to report about corruption and abuse of power out of fear that this would affect financial aid from the US, EU, and other donors.

The clampdown has thus far been successful and most Palestinian and international journalists seem to have understood the warning. That is why the case of Abu Rihan, for example, has received almost no attention in the Palestinian and Western media.

If Abu Rihan were a Chinese dissident imprisoned by the authorities in Beijing, his case would have been endorsed by human rights groups around the world and the mainstream media in the West. Had Abu Rihan been arrested by the Israeli authorities for such a crime, his story would have most likely made it to the front page of many respected newspapers.

But when it comes to violations of freedom of expression in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority is given a pass by many Americans and Europeans. By arresting reformists and critics, the Palestinian Authority is once again proving that it is not serious about combating corruption and reforming its institutions.

The crackdown on journalists, bloggers and political activists also serves as a reminder that the Palestinian Authority government is not different than most of the dictatorships in the Arab world.

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks.’

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

When Paul Auster, an American Jewish author, recently announced he would not visit Turkey due to the current regime’s oppression and imprisonment of journalists and writers, he unsuspectingly stepped into the ring with Turkey’s haughty and pugnacious leader, Tayyip Erdoğan.

Known to be a loose cannon, the Turkish prime minister responded with surly bravado, and made questionable – even wild – claims about Israel. “Supposedly Israel is a democratic, secular country, a country where freedom of expression and individual rights and freedoms are limitless. What an ignorant man you are,” he said before a meeting of leaders of his AK party. “Aren’t these the ones that rained bombs down on Gaza? The ones that launched phosphorus bombs and used chemical weapons. How can you not see this?” he added. “This gentleman can’t see the repression and rights violations in Israel… This is serious disrespect to Turkey.”

“If you come so what? If you don’t come, so what? Will Turkey lose prestige?” Erdoğan scoffed.

Putting aside the extremely tendentious connection between journalistic freedom and Israel’s military response to Gaza’s sustained rocket campaign, and putting aside the sheer fatuousness of his comments, ie. Israel “used chemical weapons” in Gaza, Erdoğan’s use of the prime ministerial “bully pulpit” to belittle a foreign author is simply unbecoming of a world leader, especially one focused on his country’s “prestige” in the community of nations.

Besides, the fact is that Turkey has one of the highest numbers worldwide of imprisoned journalists. Unsurprisingly, the government denies that their imprisonment has anything to do with the content they produce and disseminate in the media.

Auster seems content to take the high road for now, sending a personal letter to Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu thanking him for his support and accepting his invitation to visit the country, according to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

Erdoğan, still clearly smarting from Auster’s original comments, continued his smug assault upon hearing of the opposition leader’s invitation. “If he does come to Turkey, they should go to Israel together afterwards. Otherwise that visit will be incomplete. They should have a picnic on a hill overlooking Gaza. They should repeat that there are no jailed journalists in Israel,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan’s record indicates that he is indeed a testy, even petty, man. Oftentimes though, when one responds so passionately and violently to another’s contention, people begin to suspect that there’s some truth to it.

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.

A Time To Cancel

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

This year, one of America’s leading newsmagazines decided to send a memorable Rosh Hashanah greeting to Jews all over the world.

On the cover of its latest issue, Time magazine placed a large Star of David made of white Gerbera daisies, in the middle of which was superimposed large black text triumphantly declaring: “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.”

So even as Jews everywhere were gathering in synagogues for the start of the High Holidays to plead with the Almighty for a year of peace, the editors at Time were busy depicting the Jewish state as a rogue, war-mongering entity.

Ironically enough, the issue in question is dated September 13, 2010, which is precisely 17 years to the day since Israel signed the Oslo accords with the Palestinians on the White House Lawn.

Nonetheless, despite nearly two decades of Palestinian terror, violence and rejectionism, it is Israel – and Israel alone! – that is singled out for blame by Time.

But the irony doesn’t end there. Just days before the magazine came out, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had succeeded in getting Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table in Washington.

It was of course Netanyahu – not Abbas – who pushed for these talks to take place, and the Palestinian leader was practically hauled yelling and screaming by the Obama administration into this process.

So it is simply astonishing how the learned journalists at Time would choose to lambaste the Jewish state precisely when it is making a monumental effort to achieve peace with a Palestinian “partner” who could not possibly care less.

Indeed, the PLO propaganda department couldn’t have asked for more.

It would be easy, of course, to dismiss this as just another example of the mainstream media’s callous and methodical bias toward Israel. After all, hardly a week seems to go by without someone blasting Israel for having the nerve to continue to exist.

But this is different – both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Think about it. In every train station and airport, every newsstand and corner store where Time is sold, millions of passersby who glance at the cover will quickly take in the nefarious message that Israel is the obstacle to peace.

They don’t even need to open the magazine to come away with the idea that those pesky Jews are at it again, blocking any hope of reconciliation in the Middle East.

But that is just what’s on the cover. If you bother to read the article inside – and I strongly suggest that you don’t – it will leave your bottom jaw swaying in the wind like a cartoon character gripped in a state of shock. For Time has managed to publish perhaps the most insidious and anti-Semitic cover story to grace a major publication in recent memory.

I’ll spare you the details, since it will only serve to raise your blood pressure, but suffice it to say that the primary thrust of the article is quite simply that Israeli Jews care more about money than about peace.

The article, by Karl Vick, states: “the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money.”

Yes, that’s right: it is all about Jews and money in Time’s distorted take on the world. The only thing missing was a caricature of a hooked-nose Shylock demanding an ounce of Arab flesh.

Quite frankly, you don’t need to be a scholar of Medieval Jewish history to realize that accusing Jews of caring more about cash than calm is a throwback to some of the darkest and cruelest of anti-Semitic libels.

Yet the editors at Time either didn’t know or care whom they were offending.

If you are like me, you probably stopped reading magazines such as Time many moons ago.

In the age of the Internet and cable news, a weekly newsmagazine has come to resemble a stale croissant. It may look enticing, but it offers little in the way of meaningful taste or experience.

But we cannot and should not underestimate the damage that the Time story can cause to Israel and its image.

It sends a clear signal to journalists everywhere that they can feel free to cross the already nebulous line between being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic with little to fear.

It is therefore imperative that a strong and compelling reaction be sent to those behind this outrageous and offensive assault on Israel and the Jewish people.

If Time’s editors think that all we Jews care about is money, then I say let’s hit them where it will hurt them the most – in their pocketbook.

If you are a subscriber to Time, cancel your subscription. Don’t visit the magazine’s website, don’t follow links to Time’s articles, and shower Time’s editor with letters of outrage. And let your friends and neighbors know they should not purchase this magazine.

Let the publisher and editors of Time learn the most basic lesson of a consumer economy: if you insult us, not only won’t we buy your magazine, we will do our darndest to make sure no one else does either.

Michael Freund is founder of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that helps “lost Jews” return to Zion. His Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the third week of each month.

A Time To Cancel

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

   This year, one of America’s leading newsmagazines decided to send a memorable Rosh Hashanah greeting to Jews all over the world.
 
   On the cover of its latest issue, Time magazine placed a large Star of David made of white Gerbera daisies, in the middle of which was superimposed large black text triumphantly declaring: “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.”
 
   So even as Jews everywhere were gathering in synagogues for the start of the High Holidays to plead with the Almighty for a year of peace, the editors at Time were busy depicting the Jewish state as a rogue, war-mongering entity.
 
   Ironically enough, the issue in question is dated September 13, 2010, which is precisely 17 years to the day since Israel signed the Oslo accords with the Palestinians on the White House Lawn.
 
   Nonetheless, despite nearly two decades of Palestinian terror, violence and rejectionism, it is Israel – and Israel alone! – that is singled out for blame by Time.
 
   But the irony doesn’t end there. Just days before the magazine came out, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had succeeded in getting Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table in Washington.
 
   It was of course Netanyahu – not Abbas – who pushed for these talks to take place, and the Palestinian leader was practically hauled yelling and screaming by the Obama administration into this process.
 
   So it is simply astonishing how the learned journalists at Time would choose to lambaste the Jewish state precisely when it is making a monumental effort to achieve peace with a Palestinian “partner” who could not possibly care less.
 
   Indeed, the PLO propaganda department couldn’t have asked for more.
 
   It would be easy, of course, to dismiss this as just another example of the mainstream media’s callous and methodical bias toward Israel. After all, hardly a week seems to go by without someone blasting Israel for having the nerve to continue to exist.
 
   But this is different – both quantitatively and qualitatively.
 
   Think about it. In every train station and airport, every newsstand and corner store where Time is sold, millions of passersby who glance at the cover will quickly take in the nefarious message that Israel is the obstacle to peace.
 
   They don’t even need to open the magazine to come away with the idea that those pesky Jews are at it again, blocking any hope of reconciliation in the Middle East.
 
   But that is just what’s on the cover. If you bother to read the article inside – and I strongly suggest that you don’t – it will leave your bottom jaw swaying in the wind like a cartoon character gripped in a state of shock. For Time has managed to publish perhaps the most insidious and anti-Semitic cover story to grace a major publication in recent memory.
 
   I’ll spare you the details, since it will only serve to raise your blood pressure, but suffice it to say that the primary thrust of the article is quite simply that Israeli Jews care more about money than about peace.
 
   The article, by Karl Vick, states: “the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money.”
 
   Yes, that’s right: it is all about Jews and money in Time’s distorted take on the world. The only thing missing was a caricature of a hooked-nose Shylock demanding an ounce of Arab flesh.
 
   Quite frankly, you don’t need to be a scholar of Medieval Jewish history to realize that accusing Jews of caring more about cash than calm is a throwback to some of the darkest and cruelest of anti-Semitic libels.
 
   Yet the editors at Time either didn’t know or care whom they were offending.
 
   If you are like me, you probably stopped reading magazines such as Time many moons ago.
 

   In the age of the Internet and cable news, a weekly newsmagazine has come to resemble a stale croissant. It may look enticing, but it offers little in the way of meaningful taste or experience.

   But we cannot and should not underestimate the damage that the Time story can cause to Israel and its image.
 
   It sends a clear signal to journalists everywhere that they can feel free to cross the already nebulous line between being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic with little to fear.
 
   It is therefore imperative that a strong and compelling reaction be sent to those behind this outrageous and offensive assault on Israel and the Jewish people.
 
   If Time’s editors think that all we Jews care about is money, then I say let’s hit them where it will hurt them the most – in their pocketbook.
 
   If you are a subscriber to Time, cancel your subscription. Don’t visit the magazine’s website, don’t follow links to Time’s articles, and shower Time’s editor with letters of outrage. And let your friends and neighbors know they should not purchase this magazine.
 

   Let the publisher and editors of Time learn the most basic lesson of a consumer economy: if you insult us, not only won’t we buy your magazine, we will do our darndest to make sure no one else does either.

 

 

   Michael Freund is founder of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that helps “lost Jews” return to Zion. His Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the third week of each month.

Let’s Make Another List

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Last week the Monitor invited readers to send in the names of journalists who exhibit an unmistakable anti-Israel bias in their writing or on-air reporting. The results will appear in an upcoming Media Enemies List along the lines of something the Monitor did several years ago.

This week the Monitor is reviving another old favorite, the Media Friends List. Readers can e-mail the names of their favorite pro-Israel media types along with or separate from their nominations for the Media Enemies List. Back in 2002 the Media Friends List was limited to full-time journalists, which precluded the inclusion of academics, retired military personnel and think-tank staffers who write extensively on the Middle East from a pro-Israel perspective (Fouad Ajami, Frank Gaffney, Victor Davis Hanson, Daniel Pipes, Ralph Peters, etc.). That rule won’t apply this time around.

On successive weeks in late August and early September 2002, the Monitor listed first the top 25 vote getters, in alphabetical order, and then the top 10 in terms of votes received.

Some of the more prominent media types who just missed the top 25 were columnist Don Feder; columnist Fred Barnes; radio host Michael Medved; Brent Bozell of the Media Research Institute; Rich Lowry and Jay Nordlinger of National Review; R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. of The American Spectator; Martin Peretz of The New Republic; and David Horowitz of FrontPageMag.com.

The top 25 vote getters, in alphabetical order, were:

Zev Chafets – columnist Mona Charen – columnist Linda Chavez – columnist Joseph Farah – editor and CEO, WorldNetDaily.com Eric Fettmann – columnist Jonah Goldberg – columnist, editor Bob Grant – radio host Sean Hannity – radio host, co-host “Hannity and Colmes” (Fox News) Jeff Jacoby – columnist, Boston Globe Michael Kelly [deceased] – columnist, editor Alan Keyes – commentator, perennial political candidate Charles Krauthammer – columnist G. Gordon Liddy – radio host Rush Limbaugh – radio host Bill Maher – comedian Steve Malzberg – radio host John Podhoretz – columnist, editor Dennis Prager – radio host A.M. Rosenthal [deceased] – columnist, editor William Safire – columnist Michael Savage – radio host Curtis Sliwa – radio host Cal Thomas – columnist Jonathan Tobin – columnist, editor George Will – columnist

The top 10 vote getters:

1. George Will
2. Rush Limbaugh
3. Cal Thomas
4. William Safire
5. Sean Hannity
6. Joseph Farah
7. John Podhoretz
8. A.M. Rosenthal
9. Michael Kelly
10. Charles Krauthammer
An observation: The near-total absence of liberals from the list serves as one more indication that vigorous defense of Israel resides, in the media at least, almost exclusively in the precincts of the right.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/lets-make-another-list/2008/05/21/

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