Erekat double-talk

Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat should long ago have been discredited by news agencies. Erekat, after all, is the one who claimed that over 500 Palestinians were ‘massacred’ by Israel in Jenin, April 2002. This, of course, was utterly false, yet the media continue to lend credence to Erekat’s statements.

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook of Palestinian Media Watch now have a report exposing Erekat’s duplicity, a la his boss Arafat, in glorifying suicide terrorism in Arabic, while condemning it in English:

Upon hearing that three Palestinian children, aged 13, 14 and 16, were caught by Israel on the way to a suicide mission, Erekat was quick to create the impression for the English media that the PA opposes such actions.

“That´s absolutely unacceptable,” Erekat told the Associated Press. “Our children should have hope and a future and should not be suicide bombers. We want them to be doctors and engineers.”

The great hypocrisy of Erekat’s statement is that he and the PA leadership have been the driving force indoctrinating PA children to aspire to Shahada – Death for Allah. As PMW has reported, it was only a few months ago that Erekat and other top PA leaders, including Yasser Arafat, sponsored a soccer tournament honoring 24 Shahids (“Islamic Martyrs”), including such arch-terrorists as Yechya Ayash, the first Hamas suicide-bomb maker, who masterminded the Palestinian suicide bombings; Adin Al Kassam, the name of the suicide terrorist wing of the Hamas; Raid Carmi, a regional head of a suicide terrorist unit; Jamal Mansour of Hamas; and Salah Drowza of Hamas.

As a sponsor, Saeb Erekat was present at the tournament honoring the terrorists, and personally distributed the trophies. [Al Ayyam, Sept. 21, 2003, Al Quds, Sept. 29, 2003]

Read the whole report, and keep this in mind the next time Erekat is quoted in your local paper.

March 5, 2004 14:47 By Category : Backspin

Recommended from Chicago Sun-Times

Two opinion pieces of note from the Chicago Sun-Times:

- Jay Bushinsky on PA intimidation of journalists:

The PA’s first decade of existence has been a nightmare for Palestinian journalists, especially the independent thinkers and analysts among them.

- Anne Bayefsky on the UN’s policy toward Israel:

The International Court of Justice in the Hague is being asked by the U.N. General Assembly to provide advice on the ”legal consequences” of Israel’s security fence…One element, however, is missing: the human rights of Israelis. Annan’s report does not describe a single terrorist act against Israelis.

The U.N. message is clear: The human rights of Israelis are not part of the equation.


March 4, 2004 19:06 By Category : Backspin

Chicago Trib writer made up names

The Chicago Tribune severed its relationship with a freelance international writer now in Australia, who pulled a Jayson Blair.

Reporter Uli Schmetzer has, at the very least, attributed a real quote to a fictitious name. Here is the Trib’s correction. Here is Schmetzer’s original report. Here is ombudsman Don Wycliff’s column on the mess. And here is an AP report on the Trib’s site indicating that Schmetzer was fired.

Shmetzer also reported from Israel for the Tribune. Two examples:

Aug. 11, 2003 ‘Israeli Planes Strike in Lebanon’

July 10, 2002 ‘Jews Only Bill Roils Israel’

We’re wondering if Shmetzer invented any quotes in his Israel coverage also…

March 4, 2004 17:30 By Category : Backspin

Backspin on RSS feed

Media Backspin is now available as an RSS feed.

Don’t know what that is? Read this.

Try out a news/blog aggregator like My Yahoo, which is running RSS feeds in beta mode now. Then add our URL to your list of news/blog feeds.

This is a great way to see, on one page, all of your favorite news sources and activity on your favorite blogs. This way, you don’t need to check on each blog all the time for new content — you can just check your RSS newsreader page, and if there’s a new entry that interests you, click through and see the whole thing on the blog’s page.

For a review of three other, independent RSS aggregators, see this article from PC World.

March 3, 2004 22:38 By Category : Backspin

Englehart cartoon

Bob Englehart of the Hartford Courant pens this cartoon today:

Our take: Englehart is encouraging the viewer to identify with the idea that the recent rise in anti-Semitism is attributable to Israeli policy.

Something like this recent column by two Israelis (which doesn’t actually address anti-Semitism), or an inverted version of George Will’s point from last week.

What’s particularly odd about this is that Israel critics have long claimed that criticizing Israel is not tied to anti-Semitism: ‘You can be anti-Israel, and not anti-Semitic’. But now Englehart, through his Jewish characters, makes the connection himself, suggesting that Jewish fear of anti-Semitism could be lessened by adjusting Israeli policy.

What’s your take on this cartoon? We’re interested to know — leave a comment below.

March 3, 2004 13:10 By Category : Backspin

Baltimore Sun on IDF bank raids

A staff-ed from the Baltimore Sun comes out in support of Israel’s raid on Palestinian banks holding terrorist funds:

Israel’s seizure of about $9 million in suspect funds may do more to deter future suicide attacks than its targeted assassinations or controversial security barrier.
And while Palestinian militants don’t lack for recruits in executing their deadly plots, cutting off their finances is essential to crushing the terror network – and saving lives on both sides of this dispute.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon drew sharp criticism from the State Department for the raids, but the United States is pursuing the same money trail in its war on terrorism.

Israel has been in the anti-terror business for some time and presumably knows the value of following the money over the long term. The Israeli bank operation so far has yielded not only the suspect cash but the alleged going rates for carrying out a terrorist attack – estimates range from about $650 to $10,000.

Read the whole thing, and if you are so inclined, drop them a line:

March 2, 2004 20:36 By Category : Backspin

Wash Post: Chaos in Fatah, PA

In a recent HR communique, we insisted that the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades is an integral part of Fatah, and urged media outlets to refer to is as such.

The Washington Post’s John Ward Anderson replied to an HonestReporting subscriber’s inquiry on the matter:

Our lack of consistency reflects confusion within Al Aqsa itself.
On the one hand, when you talk to the members of Al Aqsa, as we
frequently do, almost to a person they swear allegiance to Arafat.
Politicians from Fatah acknowledge the ties as well. However, as
we have reported in the pages of The Post, Al Aqsa is extremely
decentralized–perhaps chaotic is a more accurate term.

We still believe the evidence is strong enough to refer to this terror group as a part of Fatah.

On a similar note, Anderson and Molly Moore have an article on the possible disintegration of the PA:

Three years and five months after Palestinians began their second uprising against Israel, the Palestinian Authority is broke, politically fractured, riddled with corruption, unable to provide security for its own people and seemingly unwilling to crack down on terrorist attacks against Israel, according to Palestinian, Israeli and international officials.


March 2, 2004 13:25 By Category : Backspin

End Sleaze or Lose Aid

From The Scotsman:

The World Bank has issued the Palestinian Authority with an ultimatum to put an end to rampant corruption or lose hundreds of millions of pounds of vital foreign aid.

The Bank’s top official in the region, Nigel Roberts, said Yasser Arafat had to stop the handing of large cash payments to his security commanders – used to keep them loyal to Arafat personally – and other financial practices open to corruption.

Otherwise, he said, the Palestinian Authority risked losing the support of the international community.

In an interview with Scotland on Sunday, Roberts said the Palestinians were receiving the largest amount of money per capita in the history of foreign aid but this was still not enough to balance the budget.

He said it was now crunch time for the Palestinian Authority: support the reformers, led by Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, or face financial ruin.

The largest amount of money per capita in the history of foreign aid. And Israel is blamed for the plight of Palestinians?!

March 1, 2004 20:42 By Category : Backspin

Compound Interest

According to an LA Times subhead, Israeli police “entered the Al Aqsa mosque without cause” on Saturday.

One glaring problem with the subhead is that reporter Ken Ellingwood later buries the fact that Palestinians were throwing stones at Jewish worshippers, (reporting it as a mere “Israeli claim”). But a second, more serious error, is that while police entered the Temple Mount – a hilltop plaza which contains the Al- Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock – police never entered any of the mosques on the Temple Mount.

News services often refer to the Temple Mount as a “holy site,” a “compound” or a “plaza.” They sometimes even refer to the site by the Muslim name (Haram al-Sharif) or its translation (the Noble Enclosure). But in bending over backwards to show impartiality towards the conflicting religious claims, the Times simply fell over.

False claims about Israeli actions on the Temple Mount unfairly and inaccurately portray Israel as conniving to gain control over the site and sometimes even extend legitimacy to Palestinian terror. For example, when snow and tremors led to the collapse of a stone wall on the site, Hamas blamed Israel for undermining the Temple Mount. This prompted the BBC to write:

Israel has been carrying out archaeological excavations in an area outside the compound, inviting the charge that they are trying to destabilise the mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.

In related coverage of Saturday’s riot, AFP described the Western Wall as “the only surviving remnant of the temple.” Actually, the Western Wall is the only surviving remnant of a retaining wall built around the Temple Mount and was never attached to the Temple itself.

March 1, 2004 19:16 By Category : Backspin

We’re Back Up!

The blog has been down, due to technical difficulties, since Wednesday.

We’re still working out some kinks, but we’re essentially back in action.

Apologies to our regular readers!

February 29, 2004 16:35 By Category : Backspin