Children as Human Shields

From a Jerusalem Post article on IDF actions in Gaza that were captured on tape:

[O]ne film in particular stood out. This was of a recent clash with a Hamas squad spotted as it moved into action near an undisclosed location this past month. An IDF sniper was able to hit one gunman and the others, one toting a heavy machine gun, quickly brought in a cart drawn by a donkey to evacuate him. To prevent further attacks on the squad, they also brought with them two children as human shields.

“It was clear they were terrorists, but we didn’t fire at them because of the two kids,” said a senior officer.

These are the stories that don’t get told in the media – the humanity of IDF restraint, and the moral depravity of Palestinian terrorists’ use of children as human shields.

December 2, 2003 15:52 By Category : Backspin

More on Arafat’s Embezzlement

From Australia’s Sunday Mail:

PA finance minister Salam Fayyad “is really trying very hard,” says Matthew Levitt, a former FBI analyst who tracks terrorism. “However, (his) best efforts can only be successful as they pertain to the PA’s funds. He has no jurisdiction over PLO funds, Fatah (Arafat’s political party) funds, or any funds that have been diverted to Yasser Arafat’s (or his associates’) personal accounts.”

And in Frontpage Magazine, from Asaf Romirowsky:

Controlling the PA’s money is critical both to Arafat’s ability to lead and also to maintain his position as titular head of the PA. As Danny Rubinstein – an authority on Arafat writes “Arafat has continued in the new [Palestinian] Authority, as in the old PLO days, to see money as the source of power, signing checks alone and keeping the secrets of the budget to himself.

December 2, 2003 15:22 By Category : Backspin

Reuters Wrong on “Right”

From a Reuters report today:

The Palestinians backing the [Geneva] document agreed to waive the claims of millions of their people to return to lands in Israel from which they fled into over [sic] five decades of refugee exile during and after the 1948 Middle East war.

If one is able to make some sense of this mangled sentence, Reuters is claiming that the Palestinian “right of return” concerns the “claims of millions…to return to lands in Israel from which they fled.”

This is an entirely inaccurate presentation of the matter. No party has ever claimed that millions of Arabs fled Israel during its War of Independence (or in the decades after). The actual number of Arab refugees in 1949 was, according to Israeli sources, 538,000. The UN puts the figure at 720,000, while Palestinians have claimed up to 850,000.

The 4 million figure has been used by Palestinians and the UN to approximate the number of refugees and their descendants since 1949. This includes about 1.5 million Palestinians who have been absorbed into Jordanian society, and has only been used to calculate those who may now qualify for some form of UN aid.

Reuters’ error follows a similar one on this very matter by the Associated Press in May. Click here to see the HonestReporting critique of that AP error, and an overview of the “right of return.”

Comments to: editor@reuters.com

December 1, 2003 16:31 By Category : Backspin

Worth Reading Today

* Jerusalem Post reports that the IDF began early Monday a “wide operation” into Ramallah, in pursuit of Hamas terrorists.

* A Fatah official said regarding Palestinian support for the Geneva Agreement: “Our aim was to create divisions inside Israel and block the growth of the right-wing in Israel.”

Doesn’t exactly sound like the goodwill “breakthrough to peace” it’s purported to be…

* Confused by all the different peace plans being bandied about? IsraelInsider has a summary of them all, including their advocates and key terms.

* Syrian President Bahshar al-Assad granted an interview to the New York Times. Excerpt:

In discussing possible renewed Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations, Mr. Assad said he had no preconditions. But given the progress made before they foundered in March 2000 over the issue of borders, it would be a waste of time to start from scratch, he said.

If such talks did succeed, the president said he saw no reason that Syria could not have full, normal relations with Israel.

“This word has no limit: normalization means like the relations between Syria and the United States,” he said.

(The Syrian/US relationship is a model of ideal “normalization”?)

* The Israeli government has a new page devoted to the security fence, with illustrated explanations of the who, what, where, how and why of the defensive measure.

December 1, 2003 10:27 By Category : Backspin

Worth Reading Today

* The Independent reports that European Union funds may have been channelled to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the terrorist group responsible for the deaths of scores of Israelis in suicide bombings.

* Feminist psychotherepist Phyllis Chesler on “The New Anti-Semitism” :

What’s new is that this hatred has, incredibly, been embraced and romanticized by all manner of so-called progressives and activists and, to a great extent, by the presumably objective media. What’s new is that Jew-hatred (disguised as anti-Zionism) has itself become “politically correct” among these so-called intellectuals. They have one standard for Israel: an impossibly high one. Meanwhile, they set a much lower standard for every other country, even for nations in which tyranny, torture, honor killings, genocide, and every other human rights abuse go unchallenged.

* Veteran Israeli diplomat Yehuda Avner re-enacts a 1979 meeting between Menachem Begin and Margaret Thatcher:

Begin then turned to Thatcher. “Madam Prime Minister, I shall tell you why the settlements are vital: because I speak of Eretz Yisrael, a land redeemed, not occupied; because without these settlements Israel could be at the mercy of a Palestinian state astride the commanding heights of Judea and Samaria. We would be living on borrowed time. And, whenever we Jews are attacked, we are always alone.”

* Lee Kaplan reports on a pro-Palestinian “Campus Rally for Terror” at Ohio State University.

November 30, 2003 11:13 By Category : Backspin

Nominations for 2003 Dishonest Reporting “Award”

It’s that time of year again – time to submit your nomination for HonestReporting’s 2003 Dishonest Reporting “Award,” our annual recognition of the most skewed and biased coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Previous ignominious winners:

2002 : British media, for coverage of the IDF Jenin incursion (4/02):

“We are talking here of massacre, and a cover-up, of genocide…” — London Evening Standard

“Rarely, in more than a decade of war reporting from Bosnia, Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, have I seen such deliberate destruction, such disrespect for human life.” — The Times of London

Israel’s actions in Jenin were “every bit as repellent” as Osama Bin Laden’s attack on New York on September 11. — The Guardian

“Hundreds of victims ‘were buried by bulldozer in mass grave’.” — Daily Telegraph

The official UN report on Jenin found that 52 Palestinians died, the great majority armed combatants. As Richard Cohen of the Washington Post said, “What got massacred in Jenin was not Palestinians but truth itself.”

2001: The BBC

In May 2001, BBC fabricated a film clip in an attempt to show Israeli brutality. When Israelis struck a Palestinian base in Gaza, there were no pictures of victims — since Israel struck at empty buildings. But BBC editors inserted a film clip of Israeli victims of Palestinian terror arriving at an Israeli hospital, to suggest that these were victims of Israeli attack. The newsreader in London, a former BBC correspondent in Israel herself, ended the segment with “These are the pictures from Gaza.”

BBC’s bias is perhaps summed up best by one of its own employees, Fayad Abu Shamala, the BBC correspondent in Gaza for the past 10 years. Speaking at a Hamas rally on May 6, 2001, he declared:
“Journalists and media organizations [are] waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people.”

For a reminder of this year’s most skewed coverage of the conflict, peruse the HonestReporting archives. Then submit your nomination for the 2003 Dishonest Reporting “Award,” to be announced in mid-December.

November 30, 2003 10:54 By Category : Backspin

Guardian Columnist Quits

Regular HonestReporting readers are familiar with our critiques of London’s Guardian — one of the most virulently anti-Israel publications around. Guardian columnist Julie Burchill has published an open letter, explaining that she is leaving the Guardian because its anti-semitism (a “dirty little secret masquerading as a moral stance”) has simply gone overboard:

[I]f there is one issue that has made me feel less loyal to my newspaper over the past year, it has been what I, as a non-Jew, perceive to be a quite striking bias against the state of Israel. Which, for all its faults, is the only country in that barren region that you or I, or any feminist, atheist, homosexual or trade unionist, could bear to live under.

I find this hard to accept because, crucially, I don’t swallow the modern liberal line that anti-Zionism is entirely different from anti-semitism; the first good, the other bad…If you take into account the theory that Jews are responsible for everything nasty in the history of the world, and also the recent EU survey that found 60% of Europeans believe Israel is the biggest threat to peace in the world today (hmm, I must have missed all those rabbis telling their flocks to go out with bombs strapped to their bodies and blow up the nearest mosque), it’s a short jump to reckoning that it was obviously a bloody good thing that the Nazis got rid of six million of the buggers. Perhaps this is why sales of Mein Kampf are so buoyant, from the Middle Eastern bazaars unto the Edgware Road, and why The Protocols of The Elders of Zion could be found for sale at the recent Anti-racism Congress in Durban.

Read the whole article.

UPDATE: The Guardian had another article as well today about how anti-Zionism is often thinly veiled anti-semitism, by an Oxford scholar named Emanuele Ottolenghi. Read it here.

November 29, 2003 22:46 By Category : Backspin

Arutz Sheva Accused of Incitement

The Israeli Attorney General has instructed the police to launch an investigation against Arutz-7′s internet site for incitement to political violence. This is the article that raised the complaint of MK Zahava Gal’on (Meretz) – an op-ed piece by Gil Ronen that called for a popular movement to encourage Palestinians to flee over the Jordan river. This section in particular was cited by Gal’on as incitement:

Transfer is “cold” expulsion. What we need to set in motion is a more hot-blooded version of this: something that is obviously the result of great rage, a temporarily semi-crazed state of a tortured nation that simply cannot bear to suffer any longer. The only way to throw the Palestinians out is to be as crazy as they are – almost…Unlike the Palestinian’s mass madness, which is purposely created by brainwashing from above, our “craziness” will be a temporary state that we enter into deliberately, and it will not be suicidal in nature. The only ones getting killed will be the Palestinians, and whoever doesn’t want to die will have to run.

Arutz 7 responds to the accusation:

Though Arutz-7 does not endorse the opinions it publishes in its op-ed section, it should be noted that the sentence in question was taken out of context, and does not incite to murder. In fact, the author, Gil Ronen, writes in the article, “no one will have to take the law into his own hands.”

This raises a whole host of issues, among them the legal relationship between a news outlet and its op-ed contributors, and defining prosecutable incitement. But one thing’s for certain: if such standards were applied to the Palestinian press, every PA-sponsored newspaper would have been shut down long ago.

November 28, 2003 13:19 By Category : Backspin

On Eliminating Terrorist Leaders

Earlier this week, NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd presented a position that’s often conveyed in news reports on Israel’s anti-terror effort: the elimination of terrorist leaders actually worsens the terrorist threat, since it breeds more members of terrorist organizations.

Military analyst Elliot Chodoff has a response to Dowd:

Two points need to be emphasized: first, that it is perfectly legitimate to target, hunt and eliminate terrorists, leaders and followers alike. Second, that the policy is an effective component in an overall strategy of fighting terrorism…True, eliminating terrorist leaders will bring new ones to the fore. But the new ones will certainly be less experienced than those they replace, and with a rapid enough turnover surviving the experience will become their primary if not exclusive goal…The war against terrorists is going to be long and drawn out. More pressure on them, not less, is the only way to shorten it and reduce the number of the inevitable innocent casualties that will be sustained while it lasts.

November 28, 2003 12:15 By Category : Backspin

Worth Reading Today

* Charles Krauthammer on the Geneva Agreement:

On the Palestinian side, the negotiator is former information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, who at least is said to have Yasser Arafat’s ear. The Israeli side, however, is led by Yossi Beilin, a man whose political standing in his own country is so low that he failed to make it into Parliament. After helping bring his Labor Party to ruin, Beilin abandoned it for the far-left Meretz Party, which then did so badly in the last election that Beilin is now a private citizen…

This is scandalous. Israel is a democracy, and this agreement was negotiated in defiance of the democratically (and overwhelmingly) elected government of Israel. If a private U.S. citizen negotiated a treaty on his own, he could go to jail under the Logan Act. If an Israeli does it, he gets a pat on the back from the secretary of state.

* Israel was forced to withdraw its UN resolution calling for the protection of Israeli children from terrorism.

* Caroline Glick weighs in on Netanyahu’s economic plan, arguing that “peace is required to bring economic prosperity” is a falsity perpetuated by the Israeli left:

Netanyahu is doing yeoman’s work in convincing us to reject the Labor party’s lies about our economic impotence. But these positive changes cannot stand on their own. Until we free ourselves of the canard that we cannot remain a Jewish democracy unless we enable the establishment of a terror state that will undermine both, our leaders will continue to delude themselves, and most of us, that fences and unilateral surrenders will save our lives and our state.

* Yoel Esteron on Tony Judt’s outrageous New York Review of Books article last month (where Judt claimed the State of Israel is an “anachronism”).

* Bret Stephens on Turkey and “the real Mideast mystery” — “Is Islamic religious radicalism separable from terrorism, practically speaking?”

November 28, 2003 11:26 By Category : Backspin