Media Cheat Sheet 10/6/2011


NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof says Bibi is Israel’s own worst enemy, gives Bill Clinton a shout out. This particular snippet made my antennae twitch this morning:

Some of my Israeli friends will think I’m unfair and harsh, applying double standards by focusing on Israeli shortcomings while paying less attention to those of other countries in the region. Fair enough: I plead guilty. I apply higher standards to a close American ally like Israel that is a huge recipient of American aid.

Now that Kristof’s on record for holding Israel to a double standard, what’s he going to do about it?

Kevin Rudd

• When Australian FM Kevin Rudd criticized housing plans in Gilo, Greg Sheridan (The Australian) called on Rudd not to join “the chorus line of Israel bashers.”

It is perfectly legitimate to make reasonable demands of Israel. But I have not seen, from the Australian government or from most Western commentators, commensurate demands on the Palestinian Authority. For the past two years it has been the PA, not the Israelis, that has refused direct negotiations. Shouldn’t Rudd have called on the PA to engage in direct negotiations? Or how about some passing reference to continued anti-Jewish incitement among many Palestinian groups?

• In the Oxford Student, Will Todman channels his inner Guy Goodwin-Gill after talking to West Bank Palestinians about statehood.

• A Bloggingheads debate at the NY Times pits Gershon Gorenberg vs Dimi Reider of 972 Magazine on the one-state solution. Both are mostly critical of settlements, and Reider doesn’t even clearly articulate his preference for two states until the very end.

Whatever the merits of this video, it doesn’t reflect any broad Israeli debate where the one-state solution’s concerned.

Christian Science Monitor columnist John Hughes says Turkey can help with regional stability, it’s such a shame it’s making a fool out of itself raising tensions with Israel.

Erdogan is to be mostly commended for promoting his country’s blend of Islam with democracy as an example to be followed by Arab states emerging from dictatorship.

But it would be sad – and potentially harmful – if Turkey’s anti-Israel posture eliminated it from a constructive role in forging a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

• See also commentaries by Yossi Klein Halevi (Globe & Mail) and Haim Malka (CNN).

• Mark Colvin of Australia’s ABC News discussed the 1967 borders issue with Israeli spokesman Paul Hirschsonn. Listen to the broadcast.

• After visits to Egypt and Jordan, Eric Justin (The Harvard Crimson) blasts Arab anti-Semitism:

In Jordan, every day and nearly every facet of society was a reminder that I was dirty—the very embodiment of an “Other.” A whole genre of anti-Semitic “history” and literature mocked me in every bookshop, a whole field of anti-Semitic media from historical documentaries to music videos followed me on every television, and an interpretation of Islam that demonizes Judaism frequently bewildered me in conversations.

I heard and overheard countless anti-Semitic remarks in the summers I have spent in Egypt and Jordan. In my experience, arguments about politics almost inevitably turned to “those Jews,” and conspiracy theories wafted comfortably through a room like cigarette smoke. It was suffocating.

• A Wall St. Journal staff-ed (click via Google News) wonders what’s the big deal about the Security Council shooting down a condemnation of Syria.

So why, except for reasons of masochism or moral abdication, does the Obama Administration insist on obtaining a symbolic and toothless U.N. resolution? In the seven months since the Syrian uprising started, the Security Council hasn’t even mustered the votes to issue a press statement. As for the proposed resolution, it did no more than condemn Syria’s human-rights violation and encourage an open political process. It included no sanctions. It didn’t even contain the threat of sanctions.

The Syrian people will make their own history, with or without the U.N.’s moral imprimatur.


• Tim Marshall (Sky News) on the Palestinian UNESCO bid:

But how can the Palestinians join UNESCO as a full member state when Palestine is not a UN State? Answer: Because there are enough countries who want Palestine to be a UN state and know this may further that cause. To them that logic trumps the contradiction of being a “state” at UNESCO but not at the UN.

• Palestinians win an initial vote in their bid for full UNESCO membership. The NY Times explains the significance:

Membership would allow Palestinian officials to seek the protection of Palestinian historical sites by the cultural organization, other officials noted. That would create further conflict with Israel. For instance, some of those sites are in east Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed.

And the BBC adds:

The US currently pays 22% of Unesco’s funding and the latest move raises questions about whether Washington might cut off that funding if the agency accepts the Palestinians as a member.

Does UNESCO have anything to say about the swastikas spray painted on Joseph’s Tomb last night?

• PA ambassador to Brazil says Israel must disappear.

• Tzipi Livni visits London. According to the Reuters, Palestinian activists unsuccessfully sought another warrant for her arrest.

• The Christian Science Monitor picks up on Hamas’ nosediving popularity. I’m impressed that correspondent Kristen Chick started off her dispatch with this journalistic disclosure:

Of the many complaints in Gaza, one has become a popular refrain: the increasing taxes levied by Hamas. Fathi Abu Gamar, a gas station owner in Jabaliya refugee camp, readily joins the chorus: The Islamist movement that rules this tiny coastal territory takes more than half his revenue from gas sales, he says, leaving him with a tiny profit.

But he quickly becomes quiet when a man, whom neighbors identify as a Hamas informer, begins hovering nearby, listening intently.

• The Palestinains are unfriending Tony Blair, calling for a new peace envoy. More at the Daily Telegraph.

Jerusalem Post: Israel names seven new ambassadors for cabinet approval. Bahij Mansour, a Druse, will head for Nigeria.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Daniel Shechtman

• If you advocate an academic boycott of Israel, read this Des Moines Register staff-ed and eat your heart out:

Pat Thiel, a senior scientist at the Ames Lab and professor of chemistry, materials science and engineering, was busy fielding calls from reporters after the Nobel news broke.

“I kind of orchestrated the effort” to lure Shechtman to Iowa State, she said. Thiel was among a group of scientists working on quasicrystals, so getting the man known as the father of the discovery to come to Ames was something of a coup. “We’ve got a lot of people walking around with smiles on their faces today,” she said.

• Start Up Nation fans will like AFP’s look at “Tiny Israel A Giant in Scientific Research.” Saul Singer comments on Prof. Dan Schechtman becoming the Can-Do state’s 10th Nobel laureate.

• Hasbara headache? The Guardian (print edition) published a commentary by Bedouin MK Talab el-Sana who slams the status of Bedouins in Israel. It’s triggered by a plan to relocate Bedouins:

As the Israeli government’s plans violate international laws and conventions, this issue will be taken to the UN and other bodies.

CiF Watch reacts.

• The UK Press Complaints Commission rejected complaints against The Guardian’s “Jeering Jews” coverage of the London riots. Details at the Jewish Chronicle.

Reporters Without Borders (via Elder of Ziyon) slams Hamas media restrictions.

• Wadah Khanfar, who recently resigned as Al-Jazeera‘s top executive, talked to Martin Fletcher (Times of London) about the Wikileaks and various Al-Jazeera issues.