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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Visit Cifwatch’

Locked Up Children: An Example of Anti-Israel Media Bias

Monday, November 5th, 2012

On June 27, Honest Reporting revealed The Independent‘s use of the following photo to illustrate a particularly critical story on the Israeli treatment of Palestinian child detainees.

HR noted that the photo above represented an example that featured in their Shattered Lens study on photo bias, in this case “the use of bars to portray Palestinians as “prisoners” of Israeli occupation and brutality.”

HR wrote:

“[The photo from 2010 was] one example of how wire agency photographers resort to using camera angles and staging techniques to present a distorted picture of a given situation. In the example above, it is clear that the photographer used this technique to project an image of Gazan children imprisoned. However, the sequence of photos taken from the same scene at the time illustrates how the effect was achieved.”

“What we see above is a tiny group of Palestinian children arriving at what appears to be a pre-planned photo-op outside the Gaza industrial area presumably organized by Hamas. The photographer either willingly colludes with Hamas or is used.Next, the children have been positioned behind a gate to give the effect of a prison.”

“However, using a great deal of skill to get the right position with the right lens from the right angle, the photographer manages to create an impression of many more than the several children in the actual shot.”

This photo fraud came to mind when reading a more recent Indy report, ‘The new Israeli apartheid: poll reveals widespread Jewish support for policy of discrimination against Arab minority‘, by Catrina Stewart regarding the poll about alleged Israeli ‘apartheid’ written by Gideon Levy at Haaretz.

Stewart’s story on the widely discredited story by Levy – which elicited a retraction from Haaretz – was not the most egregious example of misleading coverage of the poll, though it did, nonetheless, convey the false impression that Israelis support ‘apartheid-like’ policies against Arabs.  The Indy report also severely downplayed results which demonstrated that a large majority of Israelis don’t, in fact, support denying the vote to Palestinians.

However, the photo they used to illustrate the story indicates that the Indy learned nothing from their previous use of misleading imagery.

(The photo has no caption.)

Palestinian children are seemingly behind bars yet again, superbly illustrating the Indy’s desired narrative of oppressed Arabs.

However, upon doing a bit of research, it turns out that the photo was taken in Gaza, and the children are looking at the body of a Palestinian terrorist (killed after IDF forces retaliated against rocket attacks near Beit Lahiya) through the window of a hospital morgue on Oct. 22.

Here’s the photo and caption at Yahoo.

While the image selected by Indy editors has little, if anything, to do with the story it purports to illustrate, the broader truth is that the Palestinian children appearing in the photo are indeed prisoners – held captive to a life of backwardness, religious extremism, violence and racism by the very Palestinians they’re seen peering at.

Now, there’s a narrative you’d likely never see advanced in the Indy or Guardian.

Visit Cifwatch.com.

UK Columnist Admits: ‘Anti-Semitism Plays a Some Role in Hostility Towards Israel’

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

There are two things Glenn Greenwald and I have in common – which is two more than I realized only an hour ago.

He has the flu, according to his latest ‘Comment is Free’ post, and I have flu-like symptoms due to a recent ill-advised flu shot.

The other more substantive commonality pertains to one acknowledgement in his post – one of seven miscellaneous observations by the Guardian’s new U.S. blogger.

In the context of complaining about the alleged recent smearing of Matt Stoller (former Democratic staffer and MSNBC producer) as a racist, Greenwald pivoted to make a broader point:

“There are few things more reckless and disgusting than publicly smearing someone as a racist – easily one of the worst things you can say about someone in America, for very good reason – purely for partisan gain. That’s especially true when you are well aware that you have no basis for the accusation.

For years, neocons did the same thing with “anti-Semitism” charges. They seized on a real and serious problem – anti-Semitism – and converted it into an exploitative, opportunistic weapon to punish those who deviated from their political views, particularly on Israel. The worst part of that behavior – aside from ruining people’s reputations by casting them as bigots without any cause – is that it dilutes the power of that term and makes it no longer effective to use when it actually appears.

That is precisely what spouting knowingly baseless accusations of racism achieves. Obviously, racism plays a substantial role in motivating some of the hostility toward the first African-American president, just as anti-Semitism plays a role in some hostility toward Israel. That’s precisely why it’s so vital to avoid casually exploiting those terms for gross partisan opportunism: because people will stop taking the terms seriously when they genuinely arise.

Few things are lowlier than tossing around those accusations purely to discredit someone for partisan gain. It happens often, but this case is particularly egregious given the accuser’s admissions in the comment section combined with the total lack of retraction or correction by that blog.

While I was shocked to read Greenwald acknowledge that “anti-Semitism plays a role in some hostility toward Israel”, I gather from his additional complaint about those who “exploit” the term “anti-Semitism” to “discredit” people that he may have been stung by criticism about his own record of advancing Judeophobic narratives concerning ‘dual loyalty’ and the danger of ‘Jewish power’.

I’ll leave you with a brief selection of quotes by Greenwald and you can judge for yourself if he has been unfairly smeared as a commentator who subscribes to anti-Semitic calumnies. (These quotes were documented in a report I wrote about antisemitism on progressive blogs for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in 2010.)

* “So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the US Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations.”
* “Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”
* “The real goal [of the Israel lobby], as always, was to ensure that there is no debate over America’s indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli actions. [Charles] Freeman’s critics may have scored a short-term victory in that regard, but the more obvious it becomes what is really driving these scandals, the more difficult it will be to maintain this suffocating control over American debates and American policy.”
* “The point is that the power the [Israel lobby] exercises [is] harmful in the extreme. They use it to squelch debate, destroy the careers and reputations of those who deviate from their orthodoxies, and compel both political parties to maintain strict adherence to an agenda that is held by a minority of Americans; that is principally concerned with the interests of a foreign country; and that results in serious cost and harm to the United States. In doing so, they insure not only that our policies towards Israel remain firmly in place no matter the outcome of our elections, but also that those policies remain beyond the realm of what can be questioned or debated by those who want to have a political future.”
* “Anyone who has argued that a desire to protect Israeli interests plays too large of a role in our foreign policy has been subjected to some of the most vicious and relentless smears. Ask Juan Cole about that, or John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Those tactics have, as intended, prevented a substantive debate on this question, as most people have feared even approaching the topic.”
* “If you don’t…pledge your loyalty to our policies toward Israel and to Israel, what will happen to you is what just happened to Charles Freeman. You’ll be demonized and have your career ended.”
* “It is simply true that large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups are the ones agitating for a US war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests.”
* “The dominant narrative among neocons and the media is that, deep down in his heart, [Obama] may be insufficiently devoted to Israel to be president of the United States. Has there ever been another country to which American politicians were required to pledge their uncritical, absolute loyalty the way they are, now, with Israel?”
* “[Charles] Freeman is being dragged through the mud by the standard cast of accusatory Israel-centric neocons (Marty Peretz, Jon Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, Commentary, The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb, etc. etc., etc.).”

Glenn, the floor is yours.

Visit Cifwatch.com.

The Rocket Barrage on Southern Isael

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Yesterday, I took part in a briefing with Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich of the IDF Spokesman’s unit regarding the intensified rocket fire upon the south of Israel over the past few hours, which –at the time of writing – the Guardian has not yet seen fit to report.

Lt. Col. Leibovich reported that 68 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip in the past twelve hours. Two foreign nationals – farm workers from the Kissufim area – were critically wounded by rocket fire and three or four additional civilians are suffering from lighter injuries. Several homes have been damaged.

Lt. Col. Leibovich also gave details of the IDF’s responses to the rocket attacks:

At midnight last night the IDF targeted a rocket-launching squad comprising three Hamas terrorists.

At 5 a.m. this morning the IDF targeted another squad which had just launched a rocket.

At 7 a.m. the IDF targeted a rocket launching site: one of the pits dug by the terrorists in which the rocket-launcher is placed.

At 8:20 a.m. the IDF targeted a weapons smuggling tunnel and other sites in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defence system has successfully intercepted 7 additional rockets.

The Home Front Command has ordered all civilians in the region to stay near their air-raid shelters and safe rooms as, due to their proximity to the Gaza Strip, they have only 15 seconds in which to find cover. All schools and kindergartens in the area are closed.

Lt. Col. Leibovich stressed that all the targets of today’s rocket fire were, once again, civilian targets including small agricultural communities. She also noted that the majority of the rocket fire took place – as is frequently the case – during the early morning when children are on their way to school and adults travelling to work.

I asked Lt. Col. Leibovich for her view of the claim frequently appearing in the Western media that Hamas is not interested in an escalation of the conflict. She described it as “not a reliable statement.”

Visit Cifwatch.com.

Postcard from Israel – Tel Megiddo

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

If the building which houses the ticket office and museum at Tel Megiddo national park seems somewhat incongruous to its surroundings – being more reminiscent of the style of an English country gentleman’s residence, with its chimney and paned windows, than of the local architecture – that is because it was built by the British army after its victory against the Ottomans, including at the Battle of Megiddo.  So important was that battle that its Commander in Chief, Sir Edmund Allenby, was later awarded the title of ‘Viscount of Megiddo.’

Allenby was of course far from the first soldier to have fought an important battle on that site, as Tel Megiddo’s archaeological finds testify. But those discoveries – in 26 different layers – also tell stories of thousands of years of different civilizations and cultures at this important UNESCO world heritage site.

Ancient palaces and stables, a public grain silo, Canaanite and Israelite city gates, an underground water system constructed by Ahab and a large religious complex including an early Bronze Age altar are among the treasures unearthed so far since excavations first began at Tel Megiddo in 1903. Today, the site is being excavated by Tel Aviv University and George Washington University (one can even sign up already for the 2014 season) and continues to reveal new discoveries.

 Visit Cifwatch.com.

Postcard from Israel – Hatzav

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Drimia Maritima, or the Sea Squill, is known in Hebrew as Hatzav (from the word Hatzeva; quarrying, hewing or tunnelling) probably due to the ability of its long roots to penetrate cracks in rocks, and even widen them, in order to reach water or damp ground.

In Israel, this tall, impressive plant – which flowers right at the end of the summer when all the rest of the vegetation is dry and yellowed – brings with it the message of cooler autumn weather, the start of a new school year and the approaching holidays of Rosh HaShana (new year), Yom Kippur and Succot.

From late August until October the Hatzav can be seen all over the country; from the Negev Desert in the south to the Golan Heights in the north, by roadsides and even in places where summer brush fires have scorched all other vegetation.

The Hatzav is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud as a plant used to mark the borders of agricultural plots and in modern-day Israel, its status as a symbol of the changing seasons has also earned it a place in Israeli popular music, including Naomi Shemer’s Cmo Hatzav and Tislam’s “Hatzavim Porhim“, sung here by its composer Izhar Ashdot.

Visit Cifwatch.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/postcard-from-israel-hatzav/2012/09/16/

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