Media Cheat Sheet 10/23/2011

Everything you need to know about today’s media’s coverage of Israel.

Gilad Shalit

• This Patrick Chappatte cartoon sums up Faisal Al Qasim’s Gulf News commentary (via IsraellyCool) which calls the lopsided deal humiliating for Arabs. Qasim’s key snippet follows the cartoon.

It is not a secret at all that the value of an Arab person in the stock-exchange of Arab regimes is sort of nil. He is as valueless as an onion’s peel. One should not expect of regimes which treat their downtrodden people like dirt by torturing and starving them inside their countries to care about an Arab captive in Israeli or other foreign jails. Thousands of Arab detainees have been held all over the world for decades legally or otherwise, and some of them died abroad unheard of. Hundreds of Arabs might disappear at one point outside their countries, and nobody would care an iota.

The Swiss-Lebanese cartoonist ain’t in Bibi’s camp by any stretch, but an ugly Deborah Orr commentary in The Guardian print edition would call even him Chappatte a Zionist. (When it comes to al-Guardian, I specifically mention print edition because many of the commentaries published in the paper’s online cess pool known as Comment is Free online cess pool don’t get elevated to the print edition). I’ll let the stupidity of  Orr and her editors speak for itself on the prisoner swap’s vastly unequal numbers:

All this, I fear, is simply an indication of how inured the world has become to the obscene idea that Israeli lives are more important than Palestinian lives. Netanyahu argues that he acted because he values Shalit’s life so greatly.

Yet who is surprised really, to learn that Netanyahu sees one Israeli’s freedom as a fair exchange for the freedom of so many Palestinians? Likewise, Hamas wished to use their human bargaining chip to gain release for as many Palestinians as they could. They don’t have much to bargain with.

At the same time, however, there is something abject in their eagerness to accept a transfer that tacitly acknowledges what so many Zionists believe – that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate neighbours.

Jeffrey Goldberg knocks down Orr:

Assuming Ms. Orr is not kidding, how is it possibly Israel’s fault that Hamas demanded the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit? Isn’t this a question for Hamas?

As for Chappatte, do you think he’s expressing Qasim or Orr’s view?

AP picks up on Israeli shock at Egypt subjecting Shalit to an interview before his release. This wasn’t a press appearance, it was abuse.

A gaunt, pale and uncomfortable looking Schalit appeared to struggle to speak at points during the appearance on Egyptian state TV, and his breathing was noticeably labored as he awkwardly answered questions. The footage, along with earlier video showing Schalit being transferred to Egypt, were the first images seen of the soldier after more than five years in Hamas captivity.

Hamas militants were in the area as the interview was being set up. One of them stood behind Schalit’s chair, wearing a black face mask, a green headband of the Qassam brigades – Hamas’ military wing – and filming with a video camera in his hand.

Melanie Phillips slams the interview. But an LA Times blog post by Ed Sanders had this nutty headline:

• Whoda thought it  would come to this? Foreign Policy ranks the 10 Most Notorious Names in the Shalit Prison Swap. See also IsraellyCool‘s roundup of comments from released terrorists hoping to continue the resistance.

• One of the women terrorists being released used a press card to help carry out an attack. YNet News writes:

Ahlam Tamimi was always proud of the fact that she was the first female Hamas combatant. She planted an explosive charge she had made inside a bottle and placed it on a supermarket shelf. Since she had a press card, she was granted free access to roam Jerusalem and collected information on possible targets for Hamas.

I wonder which news service she was associated with.

• While we’re on the subject of Palestinian role models, AP and Reuters picked up on Wafa Biss, another would-be female bombshell (pun intended) telling Gaza youngsters to be like her.

• Of all the prisoner swap commentaries I saw, the only real must-read is Aaron David Miller (Foreign Policy), who doesn’t ascribe major significance to the swap:

The deal for Shalit was self-contained; it offers no first phase of a broader political deal between Israel and Hamas, no Act I in some kind of modus-vivendi play with a happy ending to break open the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

• David Harris (Huffington Post) is fed up with the way the NY Times is handling the Shalit swap.

• This headline makes pretty clear where Al-Guardian stands on Palestinian terror:

Palestinians who killed for a cause return to a changed battlefield

Peace Process

Globes calculates how much it would cost Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria. Various scenarios for evacuating and rehousing residents costs Israel between 42 billion – 220 billion shekels (that’s $11 billion – $59 billion) and more. Via Yisrael Medad.

Linda Sobeh Ali

• The Palestinian envoy to Canada is now “one cut above persona non grata after tweeting a video offensive to Jews. The Globe & Mail writes:

Complicating the matter – in the eyes of some, but not others – is the fact that the English subtitles in the video linked to Ms. Sobeh Ali are a mistranslation of the girl’s Arabic poem in several parts.

The phrase that the subtitles translate as, “to a war that raze the injustice and oppression and destroy the Jews,” is correctly translated as, “to a war that is destroying oppression and kill the soul of Zionism,” according to Salah Basalamah, associate professor in the University of Ottawa’s School of Translation and Interpretation.

• The Palestinians are now pushing for a Nov. 11 statehood vote in the Security Council. Why the rush? AP explains:

Elections to replace five nonpermanent members of the Security Council on Friday could create a grouping even less likely to approve the Palestinians’ bid, if it rolls over into the new year.

Winners will take their posts Jan. 1. Strong Palestinian backers Brazil and Lebanon, along with Nigeria and Gabon, will be leaving the council at the same time.

Gaddafi’s Dead and the Arab Spring

The Lede tries to make sense of Gaddafi’s last minutes by rounding up the available footage. Meanwhile, the Columbia Journalism Review takes a nice look at how reports of Gaddafi’s death played out on Twitter. It took quite awhile for the Brother Leader’s death to be confirmed, leading to a lot of conflicting MSM statements.

• Although the journalism industry’s been in difficult financial straits for years, nobody told Libyans, who are revelling in 200 new newspapers since Gaddafi fled Tripoli. Could you imagine a scene like this in, say, Manhattan?

“Customers are buying all the newspapers in front of them, and then deciding what to read,” said Rajab Al-Waheishi, a newsagent since 1956.

Business is booming, he said, thanks to the wide range of content and the sheer number of publications on offer.

Washington Post: Libyan weapons are being smuggled into Egypt and Sinai.

• Here’s a book I’m looking forward to: NPR’s  uber-twitterer Andy Carvin is writing about covering the Arab Spring on social media. Details and links at Romenesko.

• Dominic Waghorn has a great post on The Syrian Occupation.

• Is Syria using US software to  crack down on online dissidence?

Rest O’ the Roundup

Richard Falk

• Norman Cantor of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East slams UN official Richard Falk’s latest criticisms of Israel. And the world wonders why we say, “Oom Shmoom.”

As a result of Israel’s recent social protests (or even before them?), Israel made cuts in the defense budget. This got the attention of Walter Pincus, who argues in the Washington Post that the US should similarly scale back its military assistance.

If Israel can reduce its defense spending because of its domestic economic problems, shouldn’t the United States — which must cut military costs because of its major budget deficit — consider reducing its aid to Israel?

US military assistance to Israel is very appreciated but it’s not quite the handout Pincus portrays it to be. A huge amount of American military assistance is reinvested in US defense contractors, and it’s part of Uncle Sam’s fine print. I’m not aware that the Israeli budget cuts touch anything “Made in the USA.” This ain’t the last we’ll hear about this from the BDS movement.

• Disgraced UK politician Liam Fox is accused of  being the Mossad’s useful idiot (and Sri Lanka’s too).

• While Turkey and Russia raise their naval profile in the eastern Mediterranean, an upcoming Israel-Cyprus Air Force exercise is “just routine.” Yeah, right.

• Bloggers like Patrick Brennan and Jack Mirkinson pile on Reuters after the news service flip-flops on whether George Soros is financing the occupation (Wall Street, not Palestinians).

• How’s this for an Al-Qaida publicity stunt?

The African Union said yesterday that al-Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia had dressed up dozens of their own casualties in stolen AU uniforms as a propaganda stunt. The group claimed it had killed 70 peacekeepers, but the AU said only ten deaths had been confirmed.