Media Cheat Sheet 11/10/2011

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

Iran’s  nuclear program continues to dominate the news. As for the peace process, the PA’s going to seek “observer nation status” in the UN. But is it really part of a “diplomatic intifada,” as one journalist says?

Iranian Atomic Urgency

Daily Mail: UK intelligence believes Israel will strike Iran before the end of the year — with American logistical support.

• This Times of London staff-ed doesn’t mince words:

Throughout this appalling history, Iran’s rulers have lied, threatened the extinction of a member-state of the United Nations and engaged in grotesque anti-Semitic invective. Pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear adventurism is the most urgent task of international diplomacy. It is a minimal but essential step to acknowledge what no one but cranks and propagandists can deny.

• See also commentary/analysis by Meir Javedanfar, the Washington Times, and Ilan Berman.

Peace Process

• PA official says the Palestinians will turn to the UN General Assembly for “observer nation” status:

“This will allow us access to many important UN agencies and organizations, including the International Criminal Court,” a PA official told  The Jerusalem Post.

• According to Khaled Abu Toameh, the Palestinians are waging an odious “diplomatic intifada.”

PA representatives say they are planning to seek the prosecution of hundreds of Israelis for alleged war crimes against Palestinians. Talking to Palestinian officials in Ramallah, one is left with the impression that the PA is out to punish Israel more than achieve a state for its people. By launching a worldwide campaign against Israel, Abbas now risks losing the sympathy of a majority of Israelis who support the two-state solution.

Michael Ramirez‘s take on the Obama/Sarkozy open mic gaffe:

• If you’re looking for the latest on Gaza’s disillusionment with Hamas, check out Chris McGreal’s dispatch in The Guardian (yes).

“The prisoner swap has boosted Hamas’s popularity for now,” said Mkhaimar Abusada, professor of political science at Al-Azhar university in Gaza. “But it won’t last more than a few months. Hamas’s popularity has declined every year it has been in power. Hamas control of Gaza brought an Israeli blockade and siege. Even though it was Israeli-imposed, a lot of people blame Hamas. The Palestinians voted Hamas for reform and change. They didn’t vote for siege and blockade and unemployment. They voted to end the corruption. None of that happened.”

 That particular snippet made my antennae twitch because Al-Azhar U. is often referred to as Hamas U.

• Richard Woolcoot, a former Australian diplomat says his country’s vote against Palestine’s UNESCO bid will set back Canberra’s own bid for a seat on the Security Council. He writes in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Putting it bluntly, I consider that if we again vote against Palestinian “statehood” when it comes to the General Assembly, we are most unlikely to be elected to the council. At worst we should abstain.

I have never argued that we should change policies to secure a vote. What I have argued is that policies should be changed if they are ineffective or overdue for change, which is the case on a number of our votes on Middle East issues. We will do considerable damage to the more even-handed and reasonable policies we have been moving towards in the Middle East if we continue to vote against Palestinian statehood. This is also illogical because we support a two-state solution.

Maybe I’m a little thick today, but if the two issues are unrelated, why does Woolcoot tie in Australia’s Security Council ambitions in the first place?

• More commentary/analysis by Aaron David MillerMelanie PhillipsAFP, Richard Cohen (who refers to this 1998 New Yorker article), Jonathan Tobin, Christian Science Monitor, and Tony Karon.

Arab Spring

Video: Syrian demonstrators hurl stones at image of Assad in mock “Stoning of the Devil” ritual.

• Hoping Assad will finally call it quits, Arab states are offering the Damacus Dictator safe haven. More at Reuters.

AP: The mother of a prominent imprisoned Egyptian blogger began a hunger strike for her son’s freedom.

• Egypt’s military rulers are loath to hand over power to a democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood. The Washington Institute notes that neither an indefinite military regime nor Islamist domination of parliament are in the world’s interest.

Rest O’ the Roundup

• Earlier today, I addressed The Lancet and Physicians for Human Rights channeling their inner Stallone, accusing Israel of using “health and medicine as an instrument of control and oppression of the Palestinian people.”

• Professor Richard Landes revisited the Mohammed al-Dura affair at a conference in Boston this week. He blogged his talk and posted an impressive array of related videos.

In the cognitive war, whose main theater is the public sphere, Al Durah was a Palestinian nuclear bomb; and the news media, with its unremitting if possibly unconscious collusion, was the detonator. We are all – Israelis, Palestinians, the Arab and Muslim world, and the global community – the poorer for this.

• This Washington Post staff-ed won’t get any cheers from Americans who want their passports to say “Jerusalem, Israel.”

The Supreme Court is likely to focus only on the legal issues in the Zivotofsky case, but the matter cries out for a political solution. The Jerusalem provision is as provocative as it is unwise. It unnecessarily threatens to undermine an already difficult peace process. It is, in short, bad policy that should be repealed by Congress. Meanwhile, the justices should rule narrowly to nullify the provision without encroaching on Congress’s legitimate foreign policy role.

• If you think US passports not saying “Jerusalem, Israel,” is bad enough, get a load of what French passports say about nationals living in the West Bank. YNet News writes:

A 21-year-old resident of Ma’ale Adumim who also holds a French citizenship was surprised to find “Occupied Palestinian Territory” listed under the state of residence on his temporary French passport recently.

• Nasty piece in Salon by Udi Aloni, son of Israeli left-wing activist Shulamit Aloni. Junior says dad implemented apartheid policies while working for the Israel Lands Authority.

By treating all the land from the Jordan to the Mediterranean as one unit and supporting the “right” of return, Aloni’s making a badly disguised one-state argument.

SABC News reports that the Russell Tribunal on Palestine found Israel guilty of apartheid. As if there was any likelihood Israel would be exonerated by this self-appointed, self-righteous, self-important “tribunal.” The SABC also posted Gidon Shaviv‘s blistering response.

• The Egyptian pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan was sabotaged for the seventh time this year.

• Mosab Hassan Youssef, the son of Hamas founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, addressed the recent Israel Congress in Frankfurt. (Youssef, a.k.a. The Green Prince, became disillusioned with Hamas and tipped off Israel to many terror attacks. He eventually converted to Christianity and moved to the West.)

 This video (via The Muqata) was just posted online.

Key snippet:

When I see and listen to the media here in the West, I start to forget where I’m coming from. I know the language, I know the people, I know the mentality, I know everything about that culture of death. And I start to believe the lie that this is just a minor problem.

I’m here today to say that the ideological dimension of the Middle East conflict is the most important dimension.

• Here’s a lesson in public accountability for the Arab Sprung Mideast: Israel’s Supreme Court upheld the rape conviction and seven-year prison sentence for slapped on former president Moshe Katsav. AP and everyone else picked up on the story.

• The BDS movement’s having a bad day: Israel signed an education agreement with Bavaria, the governor of Virginia is leading a trade mission , and the US Army appears interested in purchasing Iron Dome batteries.

Time profiles Saad Hariri, who is taking his political fight to Twitter.

Jeff Sonderman proposes neutral retweets (NTs) to help journalists avoid the hot water Jennifer Rubin got herself into. But I prefer the “Modified Retweet” he mentions. Meanwhile, AP has issued its own social media guidelines (pdf). MediaBistro calls the wire service’s approach to retweeting “a little tone deaf.” The media debate continues.