web analytics
September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Washington Post’

‘Because they Could’

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Before a radio interview this week, the host sent me a list of questions that might come up on the show. The answer to an extraordinary number of them was, “Because they could.” Because bad actors were reasonably sure no one (read: United States) would protest and even more sure no one would stop them.

For example: Why did Jordanian Palestinians join the protest calling for the overthrow King Abdullah II of Jordan? Why did Iran attack a U.S. drone in the international waters of the Persian Gulf? Why did Mahmoud Abbas go ahead with the U.N. General Assembly vote on observer status over pointed U.S. objections? Why did the Emir of Qatar visit Gaza and give Hamas $400 million? Why did Ansar al Shariah attack the U.S. Consulate/CIA Annex on 9-11? Why did Mohammad Morsi take on dictatorial powers in Egypt? Why is Iran using Sudan as its staging base for the export of arms to Gaza?

That is not to say there are no other answers, and indeed, there are many, but the abdication of American leadership in the Middle East/Persian Gulf region encourages those whose aims are inimical to the West to believe they can advance themselves with impunity.

This stands in odd contrast to the questions about Israel: Why did Israel bomb Gaza? Why didn’t Israel take its ground forces into Gaza?

The answer to the first set of questions is, “Because it had to.” The answer to the second is, “Because it didn’t have to.”

Because Israel Had To

Operation Pillar of Defense was not only retaliation for Hamas rocket fire — although that would have been reason enough for a civilized country to go to war. The attack was a response to the discovery that Hamas had acquired perhaps 100 Iranian Fajr-5 rockets. These are the same type of rockets that someone destroyed in a Sudanese weapons factory in October, and their presence in Gaza was unacceptable to Israel.

By way of comparison: The other rockets and mortars in Hamas’s arsenal made life difficult for more than a million Israelis across the southern part of the country — the U.S. equivalent is 44,000,000 people. Every one of them would have 15 seconds to find shelter and shelter their children and elderly parents. Geographically, the radius of the otherHamas rockets superimposed on New York would cover Hurricane Sandy-land and more.

The Iranian Fajr-5 added Tel Aviv (Israel’s commercial center) and Jerusalem (its capital) to rocket range — over 1,200,000 residents in the cities, plus suburbs with over half a million more. The equivalent of an additional 75,000,000 Americans, give or take.

Of course, there are those who do not have a problem with Israelis facing attack at the whim of an enemy determined to kill as many civilians as possible. Washington Post Ombudsman Patrick Pexton acknowledged that, well, okay, rocket fire from Gaza is “reprehensible,” but “let’s be clear: The overwhelming majority of rockets fired from Gaza are like bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind.” You wonder what he would think if it were 130 million Americans having to rush for shelter on 15 seconds’ notice.

Because Israel Didn’t Have To

Hamas tried desperately to lure Israeli troops into Gaza. Having trained for a ground invasion, laid mines and planted booby-traps, Hamas wanted nothing more than IDF trophies, dead or alive. Increased rocket fire (more than 1,500 rockets between November 14th and 21st — an average of eight per hour or one every eight minutes) was intended to create not only an increase in Israeli civilian casualties, but irresistible pressure from the citizenry on the government to “do something.”

Although the Israeli public strongly favored a ground incursion and the government mobilized the reserves, it did not happen. Why?

The Israeli Air Force removed the Fajr-5 threat and decapitated Hamas leadership without a ground offensive. More than 1,600 targets in Gaza were hit, including rocket launching sites, storage facilities and terrorist infrastructure. Thirty senior Hamas operatives trained in Iran were killed, unable to transmit their knowledge. Iron Dome’s 85% success rate intercepting rockets aimed at population centers allowed the Israeli government to make decisions without the pressure of civilian casualties. And finally, knowledge that there were 75,000 soldiers mobilized and ready reassured the Israeli public that the government was prepared to do more if necessary.

Shoshana Bryen

Western Media Elites Just Don’t Get the Middle East

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Originally published by Rubin Reports.

The elite currently in power in the Western mass media is never going to comprehend the Middle East. There is a problem with bias, for sure, but the big problem is the impenetrable ignorance of the very people who are entrusted with explaining the region to others. They insist on imposing their own misconceptions on the situation while ignoring the evidence.

Consider Janine Zacharia. What a distinguished resume: Jerusalem bureau chief and Middle East Correspondent for the Washington Post (2009-2011); chief diplomatic correspondent for Bloomberg News (2005-2009) and before that five years working for the Jerusalem Post in Washington DC and another five years working for Reuters and other publications from Jerusalem. Right now she’s a visiting lecturer at Stanford University in communications.

Surely, such a person must understand the region’s issues and if anyone isn’t going to have an anti-Israel bias in the mass media it would be her. And she isn’t anti-Israel in a conscious, political sense. Indeed, she obviously views herself as being sympathetic. Rather, it is her assumptions that make her type of views inevitably anti-Israel and more broadly inevitably destructive of U.S. interests on other issues.

So here’s her article in Slate. The title is “Why Israel’s Gaza Campaign is Doomed.” Not, why this response is the best of a set of difficult options; not why the world should support Israel; not why Hamas should be removed from power with international support but why Israel is wrong and stupid to fight. “Doomed” is a pretty strong word.

The subhead—adapted from Zacharia’s text—is “Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to bomb Hamas militants will leave Israel more isolated, insecure, and alone.” Not the decision of Israel’s unanimous leadership including first and foremost its military and defense experts but that of a prime minister who now plays a role for the American media most closely approximated to that held by former President George W. Bush.

And by defending itself against an onslaught of rockets—120 in one week–Israel will be worse off even though by the way every Western country I’m aware of has supported Israel. Why will Israel be more isolated, insecure, and alone? Because the unspoken assumption of the Western media elite is that anyone who uses force, even in self-defense, ends up worse off.

It is quite reasonable to state that the campaign will not end the problem. Everyone in Israel and in Israel’s leadership and all the generals and Netanyahu know this very well. They also know that a country that does not defend itself and maintain its credibility and deterrence is going to end up doomed, isolated, insecure, and alone.

They also know that the best that can be expected given this situation is to force Hamas to deescalate for two or three years before the next round. One of the goals of the operation is to destroy the large military stockpiles–especially longer-range missiles–that Hamas has accumulated since 2009. Thus, Hamas will have to start all over again to smuggle in weapons. The next time they start a war it will be from a far weaker position than if they had not taken such losses.

Much of the Western elite no longer understands concepts which their predecessors took for granted during the last two centuries. You can go back even further than that to Joshua 7: 8-9 when Joshua prays after a military defeat:

“What can I say after Israel has turned tail before its enemies? When the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land hear of this, they will turn upon us and wipe out our very name from the earth.”

Zacharia, however, faithfully represents the current standpoint of the Western elite. Here is her prescription:

“Israel needs a far more sophisticated, diplomatic, long-term strategic policy for dealing with Gaza and all the threats around it—from Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and perhaps Egypt. A new Israeli approach may have to include a willingness to at least try talking to Hamas, which is fighting its own internal battle against even more radical, anti-Israel groups in the Gaza Strip. It may mean putting more pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, languishing in irrelevance in Ramallah, to make peace with Hamas so there can be negotiations with Israel and a permanent end to this rocket-war madness.”

Barry Rubin

Bias Charge: Obama Is Friends with VP Debate Moderator Martha Raddatz

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

President Barack Obama attended the wedding of the correspondent who will be the moderator for the only debate between Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential hopeful Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) which takes place tonight.  Martha Raddatz, ABC Foreign Affairs senior correspondent and tonight’s debate moderator, married Julius Genachowski, in 1991.  Genachowski was a few years behind President Barack Obama at Columbia University, and they were both officers of the elite Harvard Law Review.  Both graduated in 1991, the same year Raddatz and Genachowski married.

Genachowski, from Great Neck, New York, was appointed in 2009 by President Obama to be the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.  The FCC is an independent agency of the U.S. government, which regulates communications capabilities in North America.  Genachowski’s parents are Holocaust survivors.  His cousin is Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union Kosher Division, and a well-known scholar and student of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

In what has been described by some as a lame effort to downplay the significance of the connection between Raddatz and Obama, David Ford, spokesperson for Raddatz’s employer, ABC News, sent an official statement to various media including Politico and the Daily Beast, even before the article appeared which questioned the propriety of Raddatz as moderator. Even the liberal Huffington Post questioned the propriety of the pre-emptive statement which claimed that “nearly the entire [Harvard] Law Review” attended the wedding of Raddatz and Genachowski.  When pressed by the Daily Caller, which broke the story, to name additional law review members who attended the marriage, Ford came up with only one other name.

The ABC statement was apparently prompted by calls from the conservative news outlet, seeking confirmation of the connection between Obama and Raddatz.  That release states:

Martha Raddatz is known for her tough, fair reporting, which is why it was no surprise to her colleagues inside and outside ABC News that she was chosen by the Commission on Presidential Debates for this assignment. Barack Obama was a law school classmate of Raddatz’s ex-husband Julius Genachowski at Harvard. At the time Barack Obama was a student and president of the Law Review. He attended their wedding over two decades ago along with nearly the entire Law Review, many of whom went onto successful careers including some in the Bush administration. Raddatz and Mr. Genachowski divorced in 1997 and both are now remarried.

After an initial story dismissing the Daily Caller‘s suggestion that Raddatz may be biased, or that, at the very least, the connection should have been disclosed, Politico‘s Katie Glueck did a follow-up article, headlined “Right defends Raddatz’ debate role.” Glueck went through a litany of conservative pundits who were unmoved by the suggestion that Raddatz might be an inappropriate choice as moderator simply because Obama attended her wedding some twenty-odd years ago.

Among the conservatives whom Glueck catalogues as certifying the issue as not-an-issue, Commentary‘s John Podhoretz had the best line, “I have no memory of who attended my 1997 wedding to my ex-wife and I’d like to keep it that way. I bet Martha Raddatz is the same.”  Others who expressed disinterest included the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin.  Despite the title of the Politico follow-up, at least as many conservatives were mentioned as bothered by the connection and the lack of disclosure, as those who took a pass.

Absent from the Politico articles, and indeed all other commentaries other than that of the Daily Caller, is the failure to call ABC on its clearly from-the-hip, and outright wrong statement that “nearly the entire Law Review” attended the Raddatz-Genachowski marriage.  In fact, out of approximately 70 members of that year’s Harvard Law Review membership, only Barack Obama and one other, thus far unnamed, member was apparently at that wedding.  That doesn’t make the selection of Raddatz wrong, but it does make ABC’s efforts to downplay it, and everyone’s willingness to ignore the the inaccuracy of the statement, raise at least an eyebrow.

Greta Van Sustern of Fox News, reported that the Ryan campaign said “no” when asked the day before the debate about whether they were concerned that Raddatz would be biased because of the long-time connection between Raddatz and Obama.

Instead, when asked what he thinks Biden’s biggest weakness will be at the debate, Ryan said: “Barack Obama’s record.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Egyptian Reporter Defaces Subway ‘Anti-Savage’ Ad, Sprays an Opponent, Gets Arrested (Video)

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Mona Eltahawy is an extremely well-spoken, Egyptian-American journalist who has become the g0-to speaker for comments on the Middle East in general, and on Egypt and Women’s issues in particular.  A speaker who stays on message no matter what is being asked, Eltahawy’s theme is: former Egyptian President Hosnai Mubarak and those who supported him are always bad, Muslims seeking to control their own destiny are always good and should be supported in the name of freedom and democracy, no matter how reprehensible their actions. Over the past few years Eltahawy has regularly been represented as an expert on such media outlets as CNN, the Guardian (UK), The New York Times and the Washington Post.

Eltahawy was arrested Wednesday evening, September 26, in a New York City subway station because she insisted free speech included her right to deface an ad espousing a message with which she disagreed – Pamela Geller’s anti-Jihad ad discussed and shown here.  She also insisted her free speech right extended to spraying toxic paint on a woman, Pamela Hall, who tried to interfere with Eltahawy’s efforts to deface Geller’s ad.  And then Eltahawy blamed Hall for interfering with her free speech rights and accused the arresting police officers of interfering with her “non-violent” protest, thereby engaging in anti-democratic activity.

It appears Eltahawy has a singularly self-focused understanding of freedom and democracy.  Given her limitations, it is problematic that so many media outlets rely on Eltahawy as an “expert.”  It is possible that given her criminal activity Wednesday evening, some will see her convoluted views of reality as casting doubts on past Eltahawy discourses.

The journalist’s inability to recognize why her activity was criminal and subverted the First Amendment, simply because Geller’s anti-Jihad ad constituted speech with which she didn’t agree, is telling.

But this isn’t the first time Eltahawy’s view of reality has been refracted through her own, narrow prism.

Eltahawy is best known for being an ardent activist for women’s rights, a dangerous and valiant effort for a Muslim.  She has written about the enormously high percentage of women who have been sexually assaulted in Egypt, as many as 80 percent, and that four out of five Egyptian women have reported being sexually assaulted.

Although Eltahawy has been highly critical and very vocal about the subjugation of women under Islam, when that view bumps up against her global recognition as an articulate spokesperson for the revolutionary Arab Spring, a disconnect takes place.

In the context of the anti-Jihad ads which she defaced, Eltahawy expressed outrage over the use of the term “savage,” to describe Jihadi activity.  In her view, the use of the word savage was an insult because she interpreted it to refer to all Muslims.  While defacing the ad, she told Hall, who tried to prevent the ad from being damaged, that she was protesting racism, and that Hall was defending racism.

But Eltahawy described Muslims who sexually assaulted and beat her last winter as a “pack of wild animals.”  So, was her anger over the use of the term savage, when she described wild, violent Muslims as “wild animals” hypocritical?  Not necessarily, because her criticism of the Egyptian police is consistent with her world view.  There were numerous reports of women assaulted by the civilian crowds, the revolutionaries, in Tahrir Square, during the Arab spring.  And it is in commenting on those assaults that Eltahawy’s hypocrisy is made clear.

Perhaps the best known, to western audiences, of sexual assaults by the Arab spring activists, is the assault on CBS’s Lara Logan.  Logan was brutally physically and sexually assaulted by those demonstrating in Tahrir Square crowds in February, 2011.

When Eltahawy was asked to comment on CTV News on the attacks on Logan, she “unequivocally condemned” the violence experienced by Logan.  However, the focus of her ire was always pointed back at the Mubarak regime, which was, she said, “known for targetting women.”

Eltahawy even went so far as to insinuate that Logan’s story was in some ways questionable, or at least an anomaly.  She also deflected the responsibility for the attack on unnamed others.

“Women I know said it was the safest area in Cairo,” Eltahawy said of Tahrir Square during the demonstrations.  But after Mubarak, the area was “open to all, so we don’t know who else was there.”

Pamela Hall is pressing charges against Eltahawy.  Her clothing and her bags were damaged by the paint.  When reached by The Jewish Press, Hall said she knew who Eltahawy was as soon as she saw her, but she was “surprised” to see her spray painting the ad.

According to Hall, using “paint is a much more serious act than slapping a sticker up and walking away.  What was she thinking?”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Blurred Reality: Muslim Protesters’ Anti-Jewish Slogans

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

The Guardian’s recent edition of “Picture Desk Live,” Sept. 24, included this photo of more protests by Muslims over the anti-Islam film, as well as the recent caricatures of Muhammad by a French satirist.  This protest took place in Sri Lanka.

Here’s the picture the Guardian published:

And here’s the caption:

I noticed the word “Jew” on one of the signs, but the shot was taken too far away to make out the words on the sign, so I googled the image and was able to find a bit more information.

The Washington Post had a shot of the same protest, albeit with photos focusing much more closely on the scene.  Here’s what you can see:

Sign in middle reads: “Who’s behind the film? Jews.”

Here’s the caption:

The following sign (“France, Don’t Fall Victim to Jewish Propoganda”), from the same protest in Sri Lanka, is a reference to Charlie Hebdo, who published several caricatures of Muhammad (along with one of an orthodox Jew) in a French satirical magazine.

Sign reads: France, don’t fall victim to Jewish propaganda

As I observed in a post on Sept. 23 (and as Palestinian Media Watch reported on Sept. 24) the hypocrisy of the protesters, in condemning insults to Islam while continually engaging in virulent antisemitism, is stunning – a cultural habit which results in the absence of natural feelings of guilt or embarrassment most of us experience when holding two inherently contradictory views.

The Guardian, as with most of the mainstream media, in failing miserably to expose such groups to the kind of critical scrutiny which would necessarily challenge such moral hypocrisy, ensures that no lessons will be learned.

The significance of the MSM’s gross moral abdication when reporting on the recent riots in the Arab and Muslim world can’t be overstated.

Adam Levick

A-Jad to Post – Palestinians Should Vote Away “Zionist Regime”

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the Washington Post on Sunday that Palestinians should be able to vote the “Zionist regime” out of existence as a way of solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“I think they should allow the people of Palestine in all the territories of Palestine to decide, and whatever they decide, that is what should be done,” Ahmadinejad told interviewer David Ignatius.  “This doesn’t need nuclear weapons, missiles rockets or destroying people’s homes.”

Ahmadinejad replied to a request from Ignatius to clarify whether he believed in the eradication of the state of Israel, by saying “I asked you if the occupation in the Palestinian territories comes to an end what would there remain? Is there a Zionist regime in existence without occupation?”

He also said he does “not take very seriously” a threat of a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities by Israel.  “Of course they would love to find a way for their own salvation by making a lot of noise and to raise stakes in order to save themselves,” he said.

Malkah Fleisher

Romney Tells the Key Truth Needed to Comprehend the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

So much has the debate been shifted “that what thirty years ago was a common-sense given is now considered a landmark breakthrough” (Victor Davis Hanson).

You see, here’s what you have to do. You’ve got to take the most basic logical statements—the ones absolutely necessary to understand reality—and rule them out of bounds. For example, there’s nothing wrong with the economy. To say so is, well, racist. And there’s nothing wrong with a government policy that refuses to control the country’s borders. To say so is, well, racist. In fact, you can’t criticize this U.S. government at all because to do so is, well, racist.

And you can’t point out that America’s problem in the Middle East is not due to an obscure video on You-Tube but to a massive revolutionary Islamist movement determined to destroy American influence in the region, take over every country there, smash the Christians, subordinate the women, impose a dictatorship, and commit genocide against Israel. Yep, you got it! Racist again!

This brings us to the latest attack on presidential candidate Mitt Romney. It is impossible to understand the Arab-Israel, Israel-Palestinian conflict or Israel’s situation without comprehending that the Palestinian leadership doesn’t want real peace and a real two state solution ending the conflict. If things were different, they could have had a Palestinian state in 1948 or on numerous occasions thereafter, notably including at the Camp David meeting and with President Bill Clinton’s proposal (based on an Israeli proposal) in 2000.

So Romney stated this basic, easily provable and highly demonstrable truth, without which the whole issue makes no sense whatsoever. Woe unto him, as he is portrayed as being ignorant, bigoted, and troublesome for stating the basic pro-Israel position that most Democratic politicians accepted a few years ago. It was precisely what Clinton learned when Yasir Arafat turned down his very serious offer in 2000.

The whole attack on Romney is rather humorous since the left-wing magazine that had a series of “revelations” about a speech he made during his trip to Israel—“revelations” I’d all heard a week ago—is quoting things that make perfect sense.

Romney said that one of the two ways he considered looking at the issue—a major qualification—is:

“That the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.”

He then continued doing the most basic, responsible thing a statesman can do. Romney posited that a Palestinian state existed and then discussed how this might create terrible security dangers for Israel, including direct attack and the opening of Palestine’s territory to radical regimes’ armies. For the mean time, the only choice might be the status quo.

This is the kind of thing Israeli analysts, and many Americans, have been saying for decades and detailing. It is the basis framework of how any country must plan its survival, strategy, and national security.

What makes this even more ludicrous is that it is not so far from Obama’s own statements, though of course he did not say such things in so many years. The president admitted that he tried very hard to make progress and failed; noted that peacemaking was hard; grudgingly hinted that it wasn’t all Israel’s fault; and in practice put the issue on the back burner.

That behavior represents the conclusion that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not ready to make peace. It seems quite reasonable to posit that Obama has reached the same conclusion as the one Romney articulated.

To begin with, remember there are two Palestinian leaderships today. Hamas is openly against peace, though a surprising number of people seem to forget that periodically. The PA is genuinely relatively more moderate—a factor that has some benefits–and certainly far more subtle. But on this issue the bottom line is precisely the same.

Why doesn’t the PA want a real, lasting peace? For a lot of reasons. Much, not all but probably 90 percent, of the leadership still believes that they should and will take power in all of the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. Even though they know Israel is not likely to go away easily or even at all, they hope that something will turn up. At any rate, as Palestinian leaders have often said, it is better not to make any concessions and to leave the issue open for possible total victory to the next generation.

Barry Rubin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/romney-tells-the-key-truth-needed-to-comprehend-the-israel-palestinian-conflict/2012/09/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: