Author Archives: BackSpin Editor

Journo Speaks Out: No Free Speech in PA

I'm impressed that a newspaper outside of Israel has picked up on the story George Canavati. PA security forces incarcerated the Radio Bethlehem journalist for five days, because he dared to report on a power struggle between Mahmoud Abbas and Mohammed Dahlan. Harriet Sherwood of The Guardian caught up with the just-released Canavati. Asked if

Reuters Distributing Press Releases in Editorial Feed

For as long as newspapers have accepted money to publish advertisements, there tension between the employees responsible for content (editors and the newsroom staff) and the staffers with bottom line concerns (that would be the advertising staff). Usually, potential conflicts of interests are on the level of something like a restaurant owner pushing for a

NGO Implicates Hamas In Organ Trafficking

An NGO called EveryOne issued a statement denouncing abuses against Eritrean refugees in the Sinai. EveryOne implicates Hamas operatives in kidnapping, organ harvesting, torture, rape and running a concentration camp, with help from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. More details at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). Today's YNet News condenses it all. Donald Bostrom won our 2009 Dishonest Reporter

Copy Editors Asleep At the Wheel

UPDATE December 29: Voice of America corrected the mistake. See VOA blogger Jessica Stahl's comment on this post. * * * Ali Akbar Siadat, an Iranian political prisoner, was hanged in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison, accused of spying for Israel. I don't know if Siadat was Jewish, but this Voice of America headline inexplicably thinks he was

Wikileaks: Syria Orchestrated Mohammed Cartoons Riots

Arab rage over the 2006 Mohammed cartoons wasn't so spontaneous after all. This just in from Haaretz: A US diplomatic cable published by Aftenposten said the Syrian premier had, "several days before the demonstrations, instructed the Grand Mufti Sheikh Hassoun to issue a strongly worded directive to the imams delivering Friday sermons in the mosques

The Holocaust’s Boomerang Effect On Public Diplomacy

I was never comfortable with the way Israel has over-emphasized the connection between the Holocaust and the founding of the state. Benny Levy's compelling commentary in YNet News strikes a chord with me: When President Obama asserted in his Cairo speech that the aspirations for a Jewish homeland originated in our undeniably tragic history, many

Post-Christmas Morning In Silwan

After seeing this AFP/Getty photo (via IsraellyCool), my first impression was that the photographer in the foreground was likely to get hit by a recoiling slingshot strap. Such is post-Christmas in Silwan. But on closer look, the slingshot seems too small; the other kid clutching a rock in the background looks more likely to hit any

Knesset Saves Foreign Journos From the Tax Man

The Knesset's allowing foreign journalists to keep their tax breaks. According to the The Jerusalem Post, Treasury proposals were defeated primarily by Knesset ministers from an impressive spectrum of parties: MKs Nahman Shai (Kadima), Shelly Yacimovich (Labor), Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov (Israel Beiteinu), Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) and MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi). Hebrew language papers

December 23 Links

> Hamas’s Charmless PR OffensiveThe Boston Globe sees right through a Hamas PR campaign first described by AP > Iran Recruiting Nuclear Scientists For Weapons ProgramFormer diplomat admits he personally recruited foreigners to achieve nuclear bomb capability and increase ballistic missile range. > Assange Promises Info on Mabhouh, Lebanon WarAlso denies rumors of Wikileaks deals

What Palestinian Public and Pundits Tell the Press

The LA Times picks up on a poll which finds that most Palestinians don't feel free to publicly criticize the Fatah and Hamas authorities they live under. According to the study, by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR): Findings also point out to a significant and continued deterioration in public perception of