Israeli Journos Kicked Out of Bethlehem

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Goodwill to men took a hit in Bethlehem on Christmas when the PA expelled Israeli journalists covering the holiday celebrations. The anti-normalization campaign (which dominates Palestinian journalists) struck again. The Jerusalem Post fills in the sorry details:

The PA Ministry of Information said the decision was taken at the request of Palestinian journalists, who protested against the presence of their Israeli colleagues at Manger Square in the city.

The journalists who were kicked out of Bethlehem worked for Haaretz, i-24 News, Channel 1 and Arutz Sheva, the ministry said.

2. The IDF launched retaliatory air strikes on Gaza terror sites after a Palestinian cross-border sniper killed an Israeli civilian doing repair work on the border fence. Salah Shukri Abu Latyef, a 22 year-old Bedouin, was on his first day of work for a defense contractor. A three year-old Palestinian girl was also killed by shrapnel. Jerusalem Post coverage suffices.

The NY Times got the chronology right, but vague, non-judgmental cycle of violence references give me an allergic reaction.

NY Times

3. A coalition of Palestinian journalists in Gaza wants to shake off the chains of groupthink and partisan press. An admirable goal, but judging from veteran AP reporter Mohammed Daraghmeh’s comments to The Media Line, the group’s starting from a frighteningly low base line:

“These journalists work in media that has a lot of propaganda and little information,” he told The Media Line, adding that some have never been introduced to media founded on facts.

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4. Molhem Barakat: From Al-Qaida Reject to Reuters: Minor seeking to become suicide bomber instead became a martyr for Reuters.

5. Backlash Against ASA Boycott Gaining Momentum: Academia’s not buying into the boycott.

6. Palestinians Falsely Co-opt Mandela’s Legacy: Who benefits when Big Media inaccurately quotes Nelson Mandela?

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Israel and the Palestinians

 Ambassador Ron Dermer was in Florida visiting the editorial board of the Miami Herald. The editors were especially interested to hear why Israel controversially blocked an intelligence official to testify in a Florida family’s anti-terror lawsuit against the Bank of China. Daniel Wultz was killed in a 2006  Islamic Jihad suicide bombing. The lawsuit tied the Bank of China to the terror group.

Dermer expressed sympathy for the family but said the decision to keep the intelligence official from testifying was a matter of national security.

“If your courts decide that an intelligence official can be subpoenaed to speak in open court about information he received . . . how are you going to be able to continue any intelligence relationships with countries around the world?” Dermer said. “So, for sure, Israel cannot allow someone to testify on information he got in an official capacity. There’s no question about it.”

 I hope Santa leaves lumps of coal in the stockings of everyone responsible for Bethlehem dispatches in The Independent and Times of London. Bah humbug indeed.

Why is this occupation different from all other occupations?

The EU insists that Turks in Cyprus and Moroccans in Western Sahara ‘cannot be compared’ to Israelis in the West Bank. Two legal scholars are fighting a losing battle to find out why.

More universities are coming out against the ASA boycott. The list starts with a a shout-out to my alma mater, U. Maryland-Baltimore County and my old hometown’s Johns Hopkins U.  The universities of Connecticut and Michigan also spoke out.

For related commentary, see Gary Kulik, Frida Ghitis, and Richard Cravatts. Last but not least, Ben Gurion U. president Rivka Carmi shared her thoughts with Al-Monitor.

• Israeli-Arab Knesset member Ahmed Tibi took to The Hill to claim Israel’s ‘Jim Crow’ treatment of the Palestinians continues. Druze Knesset member Hamad Amar replied back that Israel offers full rights to all.

 Lead screed goes to Ali Jarbawi, a former PA cabinet minister who accuses Israel for robbing the Palestinians of hope and violating human rights, but not for PA insolvency or the Arab Spring. This NY Times commentary posits that all these factors are contributing to an upcoming intifada.

• For more commentary, see Elliott Abrams, and Ron Ben-Yishai.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Reuters: Israel’s coordinating international efforts to monitor Western jihadists fighting in Syria. I feel more comfortable having a task like this entrusted to Israel.

• Islamist rebels reportedly forced Druze in 14 Syrian villages to convert. The Israeli Druze community is trying to help their co-religionists, but options are limited. Times of Israel coverage.

 Dore Gold and Ben Fishman weigh in on a possible Israeli-Saudi partnership. See also Haim Saban, Clifford May, and Timon Dias (winner of HonestReporting’s Blankfeld Award).

For more, see Monday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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