Recommended Reading

* Reuters on a new Israeli system designed to beat bus bombers:

The new system lets the driver block anyone he thinks is suspicious by hitting a red button to close a turnstile. Electronic gates will be installed at back doors, which have been used by bombers to sneak on without the driver knowing.

A sheet of armor is also mounted on the front of the bus below the window to trap shrapnel if a bomber detonates right outside.

* Peter Hermann of the Baltimore Sun looks into how Palestinian women have become involved in the intifada, and how gender lines are now blurring.

* Commentary by an American living in Israel on the ‘Snow White’ exhibit. Published in the Boston Globe.

* From BBC: A Saudi prince has accused his government of kidnapping him in Switzerland after he spoke out in favor of reform in Saudi Arabia.

* Moshe Arens – ‘Crime Should Not Pay’:

The accepted rule of international behavior is that a nation committing aggression not be “rewarded” by the return of territories it lost as a result of the war it had started. Violation of this rule is nothing less than an invitation to further aggression.

Today’s Germany is not demanding the return of territories it lost to Poland in the last world war. Nor is Japan demanding the return of Korea or Manchuria to Japanese control. Only the case of Israel and its Arab neighbors seems to be different.


January 22, 2004 23:38 By Category : Backspin

NYT Readers Rep Hits Internal Bumps

From Howard Kurtz’s Washington Post media column: In the middle of a piece about how Daniel Okrent is doing as the NY Times’ reader rep (apparently, there’s some healthy friction between Okrent and editor Bill Keller), Kurtz writes:

In fact, says Keller, he has e-mailed readers to say he disagrees with Okrent’s e-mails. Okrent, for instance, faulted the Times for leading a story on Palestinians cooperating with Israel with an anecdote that admittedly “could not be corroborated” — about the blackmailing of a Palestinian lured into a sexual encounter. “I thought he was wrong,” Keller says. “I wrote him and the reader and the reporters explaining why I thought the story was legitimate.”

It would be interesting to know why Keller thought an non-corroborated quote of that nature is legitimate in a news story.

January 22, 2004 23:30 By Category : Backspin

ZOA report on road map

The ZOA has released its latest report on Palestinian violations of the road map:

During the first 38 weeks since the Road Map was issued, there have been a total of at least 954 Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 140 people were murdered and 743 wounded.

January 22, 2004 8:58 By Category : Backspin

Telegraph on ISM

The (UK) Telegraph dispells some media myths about the International Solidarity Movement (which we referred to in communiques on the Rachel Corrie affair):

The International Solidarity Movement is often described as a peace group but its founders back the Palestinian right to wage an “armed struggle”.

Launched in 2001, the ISM says it uses “non-violent direct action” in the style of Gandhi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dr Martin Luther King.

A closer look reveals that the leadership sees volunteers not as pacifists but as combatants on the Palestinian side.


January 22, 2004 8:54 By Category : Backspin

Maariv Online in English

Maariv just launched its online English edition: Maariv International

This is now the fourth English news service from Israel available online, joining Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and Arutz Sheva.

Maariv’s own description of the launch is here.

January 21, 2004 11:06 By Category : Backspin

More European Hate Crime

In Monday’s communique, we indicated how important it is to recognize the context of Ambassador Mazel’s protest against the Stockholm ‘art’ display: a highly disturbing wave of anti-Semitism in Europe.

Yesterday this happened in France:

STRASBOURG, France, Jan 20 (Reuters) – A van used as a schoolbus by a Jewish school in this eastern French city has been firebombed in what a community leader has called an apparent anti-Semitic attack, local police said on Tuesday.

The van was attacked on Monday before dawn, 24 hours after unidentified assailants pelted a nearby synagogue with stones during the night, they said. There was no sign who was behind the two incidents.

A local Jewish leader linked the two attacks to marches on Saturday protesting against a planned ban on Islamic veils in school led by an anti-Zionist Muslim leader from Strasbourg.

And this in Austria:

Vandals desecrated a Holocaust memorial near Vienna with an electric saw and spray-painted the German word for “lie” over an informational plaque describing Nazi-era crimes, a news agency reported today.

The attack was discovered yesterday at the site of a Hitler-era concentration camp in Hinterbruehl, a village 10 kilometres south of Vienna, the Austria Press Agency reported. Police were notified but had not yet found the vandals.

January 21, 2004 9:31 By Category : Backspin

Dean Dons Keffiah

Howard Dean, having placed only third in Iowa, dumps the cotton sweaters and dons an Arab keffiah in this AP photo:

Democratic presidential hopeful former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean
greets supporters after his address during his caucus night party in
West Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 19, 2004. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The keffiah is a powerful symbol of pro-Palestinian ‘solidarity’ on all North American campuses and at anti-Israel rallies. Was Dean making such a statement, or simply unaware of its significance?


January 20, 2004 14:29 By Category : Backspin

Babbin on Mazel, Europe

Jed Babbin (deputy undersecretary of defense in the first Bush administration) has an outstanding article in the National Review on Ambassador Mazel’s protest, European terror appeasement, the security fence and the ‘green line’. Excerpt:

“Snow White” is not art, it is a tribute to a murderer and her motive. It’s no less offensive to Israelis than a tribute to 9/11 suicide pilot Mohammed Atta would be to us. “Snow White and the Madness of Truth” is an affront to civilization…

[European elites'] insistence that the Iraq campaign was an illegal war stems from their historic approach to emerging threats. The Europeans could — as Churchill repeatedly said — have avoided World War II if they had acted against Nazi Germany while it was arming itself for the coming onslaught against freedom. But then, as now, decadent Europe wants to talk, sign a piece of paper, and go back to sipping espresso and smoking Galois…

[The 'green line' is] not a border, not a division of land by treaty or otherwise. But the Palestinians — and their supporters in the U.N. — want it to be one. The ICJ action will try to establish it as a legal border. What the ICJ and the U.N. both want to conceal is the fact that borders are made by treaty — and usually by a treaty that makes peace after a war. The “green line” never made peace, and it’s no border because both sides — Israelis and Palestinians alike — have never agreed it to be one.

January 20, 2004 11:42 By Category : Backspin

Mazel-Feiler Debate

Today’s HR communique addressed the Israeli ambassador to Sweden’s protest of an art exhibit glorifying the Haifa suicide bomber. Click below for a translation of a debate held yesterday on Israel’s Reshet Bet, between Ambassador Mazel and the artist, Dror Feiler. (Hat tip: Tom Gross)

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January 19, 2004 21:25 By Category : Backspin

Prominent Platform for Ashrawi

Former PLO spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi has developed a reputation as an articulate advocate for the Palestinian cause, appearing often on TV, in print media, and at high-profile events. This, despite Ashrawi’s long record of as an apologist for terrorism and denier of the most fundamental facts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For example, in a 1996 radio interview, Ashrawi spoke threateningly of Palestinian plans for confrontation and the use of “field capabilities” (a euphemism for terror). In an interview with CBS in November 2000, Ashrawi falsely claimed that Palestinian Arab children were not being sent to engage in violence against Israelis: “Not even animals would send their children into battle.” And in her autobiography, ‘This Side of Peace’, Ashrawi repeatedly denounces Israeli ‘assaults’ on Palestinians, but in describing 30 years of Mideast history Ashrawi never once mentions a PLO terrorist attack.

Ashrawi has now been asked to deliver a speech at the prestigious J. Leo Dowd & Catherine Mellon Dowd Lecture Series, on Feb. 9 at the Berkshire Museum.

Ashrawi’s record of deliberate distortion and terror support should disqualify her from delivering a talk in such a respectable forum. HonestReporting encourages subscribers to voice concern for this appointment by calling the Dowmel Foundation, sponsors of the lecture series, at (413) 528-5486.

January 19, 2004 16:52 By Category : Backspin