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Monday, November 30, 2009

Future martyr?

In the continuing series of reader-submitted photos of adorable Palestinian Arab children published daily at Firas Press comes this photo of Sidra Essam al-Harazin:
The burning Fatah logo and the use of the smaller, reverse image, along with the obligatory keffiyeh, is very evocative of Palestinian Arab martyr posters and martyr graphics published on terrorist websites.

Looks a little like Arafat, come to think of it.

Another "mysterious explosion" kills one near Haniyeh's home

Palestine Press Agency reports that a member of Islamic Jihad's Al Quds Brigades was blown up, and three others injured, when a minibus exploded in Gaza City near the home of Ismail Haniyeh.

A doctor is speculating that it might have been an Israeli airstrike, but so far it appears to be another of those infamous "work accidents."

Islamic Jihad's Saraya.ps website does not yet have the story. I'll wait for the smoke to clear before adding it to the self-death count.

UPDATE: Smoke cleared enough for me. The explosion occurred in a Volkswagen, and the IDF denied any activity.

Dershowitz on Goldstone (video)

Here is Alan Dershowitz's critique of the Goldstone Report, delivered at Fordham University:



From Israelactivism.com

(I copied it and placed it on NMA-TV, hopefully that is OK.)

Benny Morris on Avi Shlaim

Benny Morris' book reviews are always fascinating, and his review of British historian Avi Shlaim's latest book of essays is no exception.

And he is merciless:
According to Shlaim, quoting Segev, David Lloyd George, Britain’s prime minister in 1917, pushed the declaration out of “ignorance and prejudice.” Lloyd George “despised the Jews, but he also feared them,” believing in their world-embracing “power and influence.” The people who sired the document “believed the Jews controlled the world,” says Shlaim, quoting Segev. Which is to say, the Balfour Declaration was primarily a product of anti-Semitism. Historians love paradoxes, even fictitious ones.

Shlaim fails completely to mention the relevance of philo-Semitism and philo-Zionism as a decisive factor in the issuance of the declaration. Indeed, it was probably the single most potent factor in the support of the key Cabinet ministers: Lloyd George, Arthur James Balfour himself, Lord Milner, Robert Cecil, and Jan Smuts. Brought up on the Bible and on a belief in the Jews’ contribution to Judeo-Christian civilization, these potentates believed that Christendom owed the Jews a debt--and that it must atone for two thousand years of persecution by restoring them to their land. As Balfour told the House of Lords in 1922:

It is in order that we may send a message to every land where the Jewish race has been scattered, a message that will tell them that Christendom is not oblivious of their faith, is not unmindful of the service they have rendered to the great religions of the world, and most of all to the religion that the majority of Your Lordships’ house profess, and that we desire to the best of our ability to give them that opportunity of developing ... those great gifts which hitherto they have been compelled to bring to fruition in countries that know not their language and belong not to their race? This is the ideal which I desire to see accomplished, that is the aim that lay at the root of the policy I am trying to defend; and though it be defensible indeed on every ground [he means imperial interests, and so on], that is the ground which chiefly moves me.

Shlaim would have it that Balfour, George, Milner, Smuts, and Cecil were all liars or dissemblers. I prefer to believe them.


Palestinian political aspirations, then and now, were “just,” according to Shlaim. He never applies the word to Zionist aspirations, before 1948 or after. Was Israel’s establishment “just,” and is its continued existence “just,” in light of the monumental “injustice” that it caused the Palestinians? Should the Jews never have established their state in Palestine? Shlaim implicitly leaves on the table the standard Palestinian argument that the Palestinians have had to pay for an injustice committed against the Jews by others. Nowhere in this book does Shlaim say a word about the Jewish people’s three-thousand-year-old connection to the Land of Israel--that this land was the Jewish people’s cradle; that they subsequently ruled it, on and off, for over a thousand years; and that for the next two millennia, after going into exile, they aspired and longed for repatriation. Nor does he mention that the Arabs, who had no connection to Palestine, in the seventh century conquered the land “unjustly” from the Byzantine Empire and “illegally” settled in it, forcibly converting it into an “Arab” land. If conquest does not grant rightful claim, then surely this should be true universally?

Nowhere does Shlaim tell us of the persecution, oppression, and occasional mass murder of Jews by Muslim Arabs over the centuries, starting with Muhammad’s destruction of the Jewish communities in Hijaz and ending with the pogroms in Aden and Morocco in 1947–1948. And nowhere does Shlaim point out that the Palestinian Arabs had an indirect hand in causing the death of European Jewry during the Holocaust, by driving the British, through anti-British and anti-Zionist violence, to shut the gates of Palestine, which was the only possible safe haven, after the United States and the Anglo-Saxon world had shut their gates to escaping European Jews. And, more directly, Palestinian (and other Arab) leaders contributed to the Holocaust by politically supporting Hitler and, in the case of Haj Amin al Husseini, actually working in Berlin for the Third Reich, peddling Nazi propaganda to the Arab world and raising troops for the Wehrmacht.

About Israel’s restrictions on the flow of goods into the Gaza Strip since the Hamas takeover, Shlaim observes that “the aim was to starve the people of Gaza into submission” and resulted in “a humanitarian catastrophe.” This is simply wild. Darfur is a humanitarian catastrophe. Somalia at times has been a humanitarian catastrophe. But Gaza? As far as I know, no Gazan has died of thirst or starvation. There are no African-style bloated bellies there. It is true that Israel has barred the importation of iron and steel and other materials needed for reconstructing houses destroyed or damaged in the December 2008–January 2009 campaign (and, in my view mistakenly, also barred the entry into Gaza of various other goods). But Israel argues, with solid logic, that Hamas would immediately use these materials to rebuild bunkers, munitions storage facilities, trenchworks, and the other institutions and instruments of its aggression.

Read the whole thing.

Thanks, Arab boycott!

From Ha'aretz:
Thanks to the Arab boycott of Israel, which partially included Dubai, few Israelis have been exposed to the country's financial crisis. Few Israelis export to Dubai, and it seems very few have business connections with the government's Dubai World development arm, which has asked for a six-month moratorium on interest payments on its $59 billion in debt.

"Anyone involved in the business world has known for six months that Dubai is tottering," said an Israeli businessman with interests around the globe. "It is no wonder that the world crisis has reached them. They have no oil and they live on international trade and debt. There are insane real estate projects there, including artificial islands and extremely exhibitionistic buildings. Luckily, Israelis did not succeed in creating significant business dealings with Dubai, so the relationship between a few tycoons and the Dubai investment fund will not impact the Israeli economy," he said.

"There were several attempts by Israeli construction companies to participate in their large real estate projects, but it is not clear what came of those contacts," said an Israeli businessman knowledgeable about Israeli activities in Dubai.

Israel exported to Dubai only indirectly via other countries, said Dan Catarivas, the director of the Division of Foreign Trade and International Relations of the Manufacturers Association. He said Israeli companies built small, portable desalinization plants there in cooperation with American firms. In addition, software companies tried to build Internet infrastructure through American and European firms, but had little success, said Catarivas. Israeli farmers also cooperate with Jordanian farmers to export fruits and vegetables to Dubai, he said.
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange indices are up today.

(h/t Meryl Yourish)

Arab strategy, illustrated

This is a screenshot taken from a Flash ad in Palestine Today. Unfortunately, it didn't link anywhere so I cannot tell what organization sponsored it, but it shows very well that the strategy of destroying Israel in "stages," first decribed by the PLO in 1974, is alive and well.

That Jewish Lobby is really all-encompassing

From the Sunday Times (h/t Backspin):

FIGHTING out of New York, with an unbeaten professional record and the Star of David on his trunks, the opponent facing Amir Khan in the first defence of the Briton’s light-welterweight world title has a background and life story that the most shameless promoter or publicist might blush to concoct.

Dmitriy Salita is a throwback to the days when young Jews tried to fight their way out of poverty in the East End of London or the big-city slums of North America.

...Now he has arrived in Newcastle, ready for the opportunity of his life, buoyed by the good wishes of the New York fight crowd, the Jewish lobby and all those touched by his struggle and his quiet, serious demeanour.
So that's how Yuri Foreman managed to win his fight a couple of weeks ago!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Notable articles from you guys

A few articles that people recommended for me:

Alan Johnston returns to the Middle East for the first time after being kidnapped by Palestinian Arabs, and shows his impartiality by writing the BBC's umpteenth typical "evil settler" story. Plus, notice how BBC puts "'Biblical' land" in scare quotes, and captions a picture "Settlers say the land is part of ancient Israel." As if either fact is in dispute. (h/t TC)

Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths notices that 13% of Palestinian Arab men are employed working in "settlements", most in construction, and notes that a settlement freeze would devastate the West Bank economy. (My guess is that the percentages are higher today, and the 13% included Gaza so the impact on the West Bank would be even more severe than is being noted.) (via email)

Azure, which is a fantastic magazine, emailed me with a recent article about how Switzerland's vaunted neutrality is hardly neutral (welcoming Hamas and Ahmadinejad, shunning the Dalai Lama) and in fact borders on the immoral.

The Adelson Institute also emailed me with an article on Mubarak's Virtual Enemies, about how Egypt is trying to shut down many pro-democracy bloggers and other Internet activists.

Abbas and Chavez, BFF

In recent weeks, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has threatened war with Columbia, promised to personally fly on planes to "zap" clouds to make them rain, urged citizens to stop singing in the shower, said complimentary things about Idi Amin, Carlos the Jackal and Robert Mugabe, and had a warm reception with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad where he labeled Israel "a murderous arm of the Yankee empire."

In that context, his latest guest makes perfect sense:
President Mahmoud Abbas concluded his tour of Latin America in Venezuela on Friday, where he and President Hugo Chavez signed agreements to promote bilateral relations between Caracas and the Palestinians.

In a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people, Chavez offered Abbas an olive branch and a gold-plated reproduction of a sword belonging to Simon Bolivar, the 19th Century South American political leader who played a key role in the region’s independence from Spain.

Presenting Abbas with these gifts, the Venezuelan president proclaimed, "Venezuela is Palestine; Palestine is Venezuela, we have a common struggle."

"We [Venezuelans] should devote the entire force of our hearts and souls towards the creation of a Palestinian state," he said.
Both leaders have a lot in common - the willingness to sacrifice the well-being of their people for their own egos and misplaced priorities.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Today's lying PalArab "eyewitnesses"

From Ma'an:
Fifteen Israeli settlers from the Yitzhar settlement near Nablus attempted to set fire to a home in the village of Burin, Palestinian sources said Saturday.

Wearing white prayer shirts marking the Jewish Sabbath the group stormed the home of Ayman Attalla Safwan carrying flame excellents but were confronted by several villagers who tried to prevent their entry into the home, eyewitnesses described.
Not sure what "flame excellents" are but not only would religious Jews not carry implements to create a fire - they wouldn't carry anything at all on the Sabbath, outside of what is necessary for saving lives.

Just another example of the lies that Palestinian Arab "witnesses" routinely engage in.

"Peaceful" Nil'in protestors throw Molotov cocktails

From Ma'an:
Several people were injured after protesters launched an anti-wall rally in the West Bank village of Nil'in on Saturday, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.

In a statement, the Nil'in Youth Center said Israeli forces opened fire on locals and international activists with tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition.

The center also said Israeli soldiers were injured when youths threw stones and Molotov cocktails toward five military jeeps that crossed over the barrier and entered the village.

After that raid, two wounded children were evacuated to a hospital, demonstrators said. As many as three other Palestinians were hurt, but the nature of their injuries was not immediately clear.

Approached by Ma'an, an Israeli military spokeswoman denied that soldiers used live fire.

She confirmed that two soldiers were lightly injured, and that protesters used at least one Molotov. Protesters threw rocks and burned tires, as well, the official said.
Palestine Today calls this protest "peaceful."

These are the protests that Abbas hails as great examples of how the third Intifada should be waged.

PalArabs against boycotting Israel

From The JC:

The leader of Palestine’s equivalent of the TUC has told a delegation of British trade unionists that they are not interested in general boycotts of Israel.

Shaher Saeed, general secretary of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), told representatives of seven unions that the organisation had so little interest in the subject it had never discussed boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and therefore had no policy on the subject.

“The only area where the PGFTU did have a boycott policy was with regard to produce from West Bank settlements. Even then, there was concern about whether that boycott could do more harm than good for the 30,000 Palestinians employed there,” said Steve Scott, director of Trade Union Friends of Israel (Tufi), who was with the delegation that met Mr Saeed.

The delegates were Sheila Bearcroft, GMB central executive council member and TUC president 2009; Gerry Moloney, head of communications, Advance Union; Mike Dixon, national executive member, Usdaw; Robert Mooney, national executive member, Community Union; Duncan Harrod, public relations and communications officer, Community Union; and Terry McCorron, chair, Unison branch, attending in a personal capacity.

The delegates maintained a daily blog during the trip and in it, Mr Moloney wrote: “Listening to people from both communities on the subject of the proposed international trade union boycott, it is evident that all parties oppose this action. In a meeting with the Jerusalem municipality workers, one view from the Palestinian contingent was that a boycott would be more detrimental to the Arab workforce than any other.

“The reason was that in the event of economic sanctions, it would cause a detrimental impact on the employment levels of their community.”

On another day, Mike Dixon wrote: “There was a discussion about the boycott and it is clear that Palestinians don’t want it — all they want is equal pay and a living.”

The group met high-ranking Israeli officials as well as Palestinians during the four-day trip, one of two groups that Tufi takes every year to meet trades unionists on both sides.

Mr Scott said: “Both Histadrut (the Israeli union federation) and the PGFTU are working hard to improve relations. It is very important that UK unionists see and hear for themselves the views of people on the ground, rather than the one-sided rhetoric of some of the organisations in Britain.”

One day, it might dawn on people that those who push hard for boycotting Israel have no interest in the well being of Palestinian Arabs.
(h/t Callie)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Have a good Shabbos/Shabbat Shalom

Enjoy the rest of the Thanksgiving. and 'Eid, holiday weekend!

Christian girl, 16, gets 50 lashes for knee-length skirt

From Al-Arabiya:
A 16-year-old south Sudanese girl was lashed 50 times after a judge ruled her knee-length skirt was indecent, her lawyer and family said in the latest case to push Sudan's Islamic law into the spotlight.

The mother of teenager Silva Kashif said on Friday she was planning to sue the police who made the arrest and the judge who imposed the sentence, as her daughter was underage and a Christian.

Kashif, whose family comes from the south Sudanese town of Yambio, was arrested while walking to the market near her home in the Khartoum suburb of Kalatla last week, her mother Jenty Doro said.

"She is just a young girl but the policeman pulled her along in the market like she was a criminal. It was wrong," said Doro.

Doro said Khashif was taken to Kalatla court where she was convicted and punished by a female police officer in front of the judge.

"I only heard about it after she was lashed. Later we all sat and cried ... People have different religions and that should be taken into account," she said.

Drive-by shooting attempts in Gaza and the West Bank

Unidentified gunmen opened fire early Thursday on the car of the deputy governor of Nablus, Mrs. Annan Alatyrh Amartij, in the west of Nablus. She was not injured.

Also on Thursday, unidentified gunmen in a car opened fire on one of the main leaders of the armed wing of Hamas in the Bureij camp, Ayad Fadhel, and escaped. He also escaped injury.

Happy Eid!

Egyptian medical association refuses Israel ties

PalToday reports that the Egyptian Medical Syndicate refuses to have any relationship with Israeli doctors.

The issue came up last month when Egyptian authorities barred Israeli doctors from attending a breast cancer conference.

Dr. Hamdi Al-Sayyed, head of the Syndicate, said that the general assembly of Egyptian doctors refused to establish relations with Israeli doctors because "they have contributed to the implementation of serious violations against the Palestinian people."

He called to "criminalize all forms of normalization with the Israeli occupation."

The reasons he gave were because Israeli doctors participate in torture against Palestinian Arabs, and also because they help steal the organs of Palestinian Arab prisoners.

The syndicate has shown similarly progressive thinking before. Last year, it supported a proposed Egyptian law that would make ban organ donations between Muslims and non-Muslims in Egypt.

Their website also reproduces a fatwa against normalization with Israel. That page has been up since 2005.

"Israel is a murderous arm of the Yankee empire"

From Ma'an:
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez branded Israel a murderous extension of US power on Wednesday during a visit by Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"We know what the state of Israel stands for - a murderous arm of the Yankee empire," Chavez told joint a news conference, according to Reuters. "What the president of Israel said, we take as a threat."
Venezuela is of course a baseball-mad country. Yet out of 205 Venezuelan baseball players in major league history, only 3 have belonged to the Yankees, a clear statistical imbalance that indicates a deep hatred of Venezuela by the Yankees organization.

The seething hatred between the genocidal dictatorship and the depraved empire may be dated back to 1996, when the Yankees beat out other teams to sign a 16-year old phenomenon from Venezuela named Jackson Melian. Melian never lived up to his potential, and is still banging around the minor leagues, representing a typical failure of the Yankee organization to build up talent from within and instead forcing them to spend gigabucks to buy players developed by other organizations.

The Yankee/Israel conspiracy is less well known. The Israel baseball League collapsed after only one season, but it was known to have a couple of Dominican players, and the Dominican Republic is a major rival to Venezuela in the Caribbean Series.

I hope that others can take this story and dig up more detailed information about this under-reported conspiracy.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

More pictures of Starving Gazans ®

Pictures taken this week, from Palestine Today:









Lebanon gives Hezbollah the right to attack Israel

From Al-Arabiya:

Lebanon's new cabinet has agreed on a policy statement that acknowledges Hezbollah's right to use its weapons against Israel, despite disagreement by some members of the ruling majority.

Information Minister Tarek Mitri said late Wednesday after a cabinet committee set up to draft the statement met for the ninth time that an agreement had been reached.

He said the new statement will retain the same clause approved by the previous cabinet as concerns the arsenal of Hezbollah, which fought a devastating war with Israel in 2006 and is considered a terrorist organization by Washington.

The clause states the right of "Lebanon, its government, its people, its army and its resistance" to liberate all Lebanese territory.

Hezbollah is commonly referred to as the resistance in Lebanon.

Mitri said that reservations concerning the clause by members of the Western-backed majority would be noted in the government program.

Christian members of the majority, including the Phalange Party and Lebanese Forces, argue that Hezbollah's arsenal undermines state authority and runs counter to U.N. resolutions.
Not only does this give official Lebanese status to an independent army that doesn't answer to the government, it also is clearly against UN resolution 1701, which called for "no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the government of Lebanon; and it also implicltly contradicts the paragraph that calls for "strong support for full respect for the Blue Line."

It is effectively the continuing surrender of Lebanon to Hezbollah.

EoZ Thanksgiving

I would like to thank you for reading my blog, and making this a very successful year.

So far in 2009 this blog has had over 625,000 page views, and I am as always humbled and gratified that so many people come here to read what I have to say.

And since this is Thanksgiving, here is an exhaustive review of the kosher status of turkey, which is not a simple matter at all.

Latest casualty of Egyptian/Algerian tiff

Arab entertainment company Rotana canceled the production of a comeback music video by a famous Algerian singer, known as Warda (who is 70 years old,) over fears of disturbances because of the still-heated feelings over the football matches between the two countries in recent weeks.

Abbas ensures he'll be president for life

Remember all those panicky headlines that said that Mahmoud Abbas would resign over his displeasure with the "peace process" that he personally stopped? Remember how the world freaked out, begging him to stay?

Well, it turns out that people misunderstood him. When he said he was considering resigning, he really meant that he was staying on in his multiple jobs (chairman and president of the PLO, leader of Fatah, president of the PA) until he drops dead:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday he plans to stay on his post until the next election is held, but repeated he will not run for reelection.

"At any time we have the election I will go away and will not run," Abbas told reporters in the Chilean capital Santiago.

Palestinian authorities have said the election, which has been scheduled for Jan. 24, had been postponed.

Elections cannot be held unless Hamas approves. Hamas won't approve until it is certain it would win or if it changes PA policy to support Hamas' positions. Therefore, no new elections - and Abbas stays on forever.

Very few people publicly mentioned this scenario, although some did, during his dramatic theater designed to gain sympathy, take pressure off himself and boost his incredibly tiny ego.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Great Zionist Bible Conspiracy

Middle East Online has an amazingly paranoid article, written by a Maidhc Ó Cathail, that has to be seen to be believed:
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions for Palestine campaign should widen its scope to target non-Israeli companies who contribute significantly to the oppression of Palestinians. As part of this broader strategy, priority should be given to one of the most egregious offenders, the prestigious British publisher, Oxford University Press. As unlikely as it may seem, the world's largest university press is responsible for one of the greatest obstacles to justice for Palestinians – The Scofield Bible.

Since it was first published in 1909, the Scofield Reference Bible has made uncompromising Zionists out of tens of millions of Americans. When John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, said that "50 million evangelical bible-believing Christians unite with five million American Jews standing together on behalf of Israel," it was the Scofield Bible that he was talking about.

Although the Scofield Reference Bible contains the text of the King James Authorized Version, it is not the traditional Protestant bible but Cyrus I. Scofield's annotated commentary that is the problem. More than any other factor, it is Scofield's notes that induced generations of American evangelicals to believe that God demands their uncritical support for the modern State of Israel.
So here is his thesis: that Scofield's annotations to the Bible, published in 1909, somehow twists the Bible into making it into a more Zionist book than it already is.

How so? Here's an example.
Central to Christian Zionist belief is Scofield's commentary on Genesis 12:3. For the sake of clarity, Scofield's notes have been italicized in the following passage:

"'I will bless them that bless thee.' In fulfillment closely related to the next clause, 'And curse him that curseth thee.' Wonderfully fulfilled in the history of the dispersion. It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew – well with those who have protected him. The future will still more remarkably prove this principle."

Drawing on Scofield's speculative interpretation, John Hagee claims, "The man or nation that lifts a voice or hand against Israel invites the wrath of God."

However, as Stephen Sizer points out, in his definitive critique, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? "The promise, when referring to Abraham's descendants speaks of God blessing them, not of entire nations 'blessing' the Hebrew nation, still less the contemporary and secular State of Israel."

Apparently unaware of this more orthodox reading, The New Scofield Study Bible, published by Oxford University Press in 1984, enhanced Scofield's interpretation, by adding, "For a nation to commit the sin of anti-Semitism brings inevitable judgment." Reading such tendentious comments, a bible-believing Christian could easily assume, for example, that God will punish the 114 countries which endorsed the Goldstone Report.
At least Cathail implicitly admits that anti-Zionism is usually a manifestation of anti-semitism!

Scofield's interpretation of the passage, which actually can be found at Genesis 15:18, is pretty straightforward, and the idea that God cannot be referring to groups of people or nations is a bit tendentious itself.

Anyway, once Cathail has established that Scofield was a horrible Zionist, he needs to explain not only that he was a scoundrel, but also that he was really manipulated by a Jewish Zionist, the real Jew force behind this Zio-Bible:
Being a "born again" preacher, however, did not preclude Scofield from becoming a member of an exclusive New York men's club in 1901. In his devastating biography, The Incredible Scofield and His Book, Joseph M. Canfield comments, "The admission of Scofield to the Lotos Club, which could not have been sought by Scofield, strengthens the suspicion that has cropped up before, that someone was directing the career of C. I. Scofield."

That someone, Canfield suspects, was associated with one of the club's committee members, the Wall Street lawyer Samuel Untermeyer. As Canfield intimates, Scofield's theology was "most helpful in getting Fundamentalist Christians to back the international interest in one of Untermeyer's pet projects – the Zionist Movement."

Others, however, have been more explicit about the nature of Scofield's service to the Zionist agenda. In "Unjust War Theory: Christian Zionism and the Road to Jerusalem," Prof. David W. Lutz claims, "Untermeyer used Scofield, a Kansas city lawyer with no formal training in theology, to inject Zionist ideas into American Protestantism. Untermeyer and other wealthy and influential Zionists whom he introduced to Scofield promoted and funded the latter's career, including travel in Europe."

Absent such powerful connections, it is hard to imagine "this peer among scalawags" ever getting a contract with Oxford University Press to publish his bible. Nevertheless, it remains a mystery why OUP chose to endorse such a sectarian work.
See? Those nefarious Jews didn't only give the Bible to the world...they kept manipulating it by controlling unsuspecting Christians and forcing them to write Zionist commentaries decades before the State of Israel was reborn!

How could Oxford University Press be so blind to have bought into this century-old Jewish conspiracy?

Sarah Obama in Mecca for Hajj

From Al Arabiya:

Sarah Obama, the wife of the American President Barack Obama's grandfather, arrived in Saudi Arabia where she is set to perform the annual Muslim pilgrimage, or Hajj, press reports said Wednesday.

Sarah was accompanied by her grandson and Obama's cousins who will all be hosted as guests of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.

Sarah's trip to Saudi, along with 10 villagers from Kogelo Kenya, where she will head to Mecca and Medina as part of her pilgrimage refutes published reports that she had converted to Christianity.

Failed post open thread

Sometimes, even I don't feel like posting anything.

Maybe because I spent time earlier today on a post that went nowhere. I thought that this was really interesting (click to enlarge):
The thought that there was a building full of yeshiva bochurim fighting Nazis in 1939 was intriguing, but it seems that Nazi newspapers are not very truthful. What a shock.

The Nazis did burn the entire contents of the bais medrash, but there did not seem to be a battle over Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin. More details about what did happen in Lublin here and here.

2 Gazans injured...by a Qassam

Palestine Press Agency reports that two Gazans were injured when a Qassam rocket that was aimed at Israel went awry and landed inside a house at the Nuseirat camp.

This is not that rare an event; perhaps 5-10% of rockets fall short in Gaza, and there have been many injuries and fatalities as a result. Last December, in the days before Operation Cast Lead, no fewer than four Qassam rockets caused injuries and deaths in Gaza.

For some reason, PCHR and Goldstone could not find a single case of a fatality in Gaza from Qassam fire during Cast Lead. They also didn't find a single case of death by friendly fire, accidental explosions, "work accidents," tunnel collapses or the like. 100% of Gaza deaths (outside of the Fatah members admitted killed by Hamas) were caused by Israel alone. (Even the number of natural deaths dipped in Gaza during the fighting!)

Amazing how that worked out, isn't it?

Arab League finds a mediator for Algeria/Egypt

Remember when the Arab League was ticked off at the joking suggestion that Israel mediate between Algeria and Egypt in their simmering dispute over football?

Well, maybe they do have a sense of humor after all. Al Arabiya (Arabic) reports that the Arab League has asked a prominent, honorable Arab to mediate the dispute.

His name? Moammar Qaddafi!

The Libyan news agency reported that the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Mussa, called Gaddafi on Monday and asked him to intervene as Chairman of the African Union on the basis of his "high visibility, which is distinguished by the leader of each of the parties to an Arab."

The agency said "that the Leader of the Revolution will work to bridge the chasm that has been seen the relationship between the two countries Egypt and Algeria due to the repercussions of the recent football game between the two countries."
OK, maybe the Libyan news agency isn't the most objective source for this story, but it is not out of the realm of possibility. Libya is right in between both countries, after all.

And from the Arab League perspective, Qaddafi is a lot better than any Israeli would be!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Abbas lashes out at Obama

From Al Arabiya:
American President Barack Obama is "doing nothing" to restart the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview published on Tuesday.

"I hope he'll take a more important role in the future," Abbas told the Argentine daily Clarin during a visit to Buenos Aires.

The Palestinians "are waiting for the United States to put pressure on Israel so it respects international law, so it takes up the road map" towards peace, he said, according to publication's Spanish translation.

"It can do two things: put pressure on the Israelis so they reject settlements, and put pressure so they accept withdrawing to the 1967 borders."
Ah, the honeymoon is over.

Of course Abbas is upset that Obama is "doing nothing" - that's Abbas' job!

Free Gaza: "We are against humanitarian aid"

From the Free Gaza mailing list:
On November 7 and 8, The Free Gaza interim board of directors met in London to plan our strategy for 2010 as well as to schedule the next mission to Gaza.

...Israel’s use of force to stop our last 3 voyages has made it imperative to revise our strategy. Instead of sending one vessel to Gaza, we are working on a flotilla, or mini fleet with more boats, including at least one cargo ship, more people, more supplies, and more media on the high seas. And around the world, tens of thousands of people engaged in the mission. Our intention is to build a truly international fleet that will reach Gaza, or, if stopped, be politically costly for Israel.

...The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed established a Free Gaza fund and secured the money for us to obtain a cargo ship. On this cargo ship, we will take construction supplies to Gaza. We had wanted to travel in October / November so that at least some people in Gaza could start rebuilding their homes before the cold weather hit. Unfortunately we could not meet this deadline.

We have the funds for one cargo ship, and one passenger vessel. However, we need at least one more passenger vessel plus the operating expenses before we can go. In financial terms, we need about €300,000, or someone to donate a passenger vessel and €100,000 in operating expenses (fuel, port fees, crew wages, etc.)

The efforts of the Free Gaza Movement are vitally important; we need to end the blockade, not just deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. While many potential funders recognize the significance of our work, for various reasons they have not come through with funding. Most prefer their financial contributions go toward to humanitarian aid for Palestine. But Palestine is not a charity case! There are hundreds of millions being pumped into Palestine by aid agencies that are unable or unwilling to address the political issues, or by donor countries that shirk their political, legal, and moral obligations, by throwing money at Palestine.

This aid is paying for Israel’s occupation by alleviating Israel of the responsibility to care for the people it occupies. We firmly believe that activists and people who care about Palestine should not be raising money for humanitarian aid but should focus on direct action to confront the Israeli policies that leave Palestinians in need of this aid.
FGM is saying explicitly that "this aid" by the donor countries and aid agencies mentioned in the previous sentence "is paying for Israel's occupation."

It is very clear: FGM says that money should be spent on pressuring Israel instead of feeding Gazans and that the aid itself is part of the evil that is the nonexistent "occupation" of Gaza.

And, to FGM fanatics, if Gazans do actually starve to death in order to make that greater good happen, all the better. They just won't quite say that part out loud.

They are also very frustrated that money that could go to their vanity boats is going instead to feeding Gazans. They are a very sick class of people.

Something to keep in mind the next time your newspaper refers to Free Gaza as a "humanitarian" or "aid" group. It is nothing of the sort - it is an extremist political organization that is against the UN, Red Cross, Jordan, Qatar and Egypt giving aid to Gazans!

Notice also that these progressive people have no qualms accepting money from an anti-semite.

Send IDF soldiers sufganiot!

National Donut Week is coming up, where you can send IDF soldiers sufganiot for Chanukah and brighten their day!

Details here.

For those who are more into fine Italian cuisine, you can also send pizza to the people who dedicate their lives to defending Israel (the same organization also sends donuts and burgers.)

Today's PalArab news 11/24/09

Egyptian authorities seized a car full of explosives and weapons near the Rafah crossing on Tuesday. The explosives were already packaged in plastic bags to make it easier to smuggle them through the tunnels to Gaza terrorists. This is in addition to the ton of explosives caught yesterday in a pickup truck.

Israel today allowed the final shipment of calves into Gaza for the Eid al Adha holiday. A total of 7000 calves have been imported into Gaza in recent weeks.

Qatar is sending 250 tons of books and stationary items to Gaza in the coming days, after coordinating it with Jordan (who presumably arranged the passage with Israel.)

The increasing news of an imminent deal to swap prisoners for Gilad Shalit is making Fatah very nervous, and their accusations against Hamas are growing more hysterical (in both senses of the word.) Today, PLO official Yasser Abd Rabbo accused Hamas of "allying with the devil" to embarrass the PA. (He also mentioned the little known fact that the PA is an extension of the PLO, something very relevant when considering Mahmoud Abbas' threats to quit as PA president - he is still the Fatah leader, and Fatah dominates the PLO.)

Another Fatah spokesman went even further, accusing Hamas of negotiating final status issues with Israel, even going so far as to accuse Hamas of being ready to recognize Israel in June 2010.

Notice that the PA and Fatah is attacking Hamas - from the more extreme position. It does not escape the PalArabs that the PA has recognized Israel since 1993, and when they bizarrely accuse Hamas of doing the same horrible crime they are making themselves look even sillier.

Millions of your tax dollars going to terrorists

Ma'an reports:
Palestinian prisoners will receive 550 New Israeli Shekels for the Eid Al-Adha holiday and for October and November, according to a statement released by Palestinian Minister of Prisoners and Ex-Detainees Issa Qaraqe on Monday.

Qaraqe added that the ministry was successful in raising prisoners’ canteen allowance to 50 NIS to allow detainees to purchase sweets during the Muslim Feast starting on Friday.

Qaraqi’ further stated that 35,000 Shekels were sent to 34 detainees in poor health held at Ar-Ramla prison hospital, in addition to 225,000 Shekels for tuition fees. Another payment will be forwarded to prisoners following the Eid Al-Adha holiday, he said.
Since the PA budget is dependent on money from Western countries (far outstripping oil-rich Gulf nations) this means that well over a million of our tax dollars are going towards terrorists in the next month alone.

Notice that taking care of people who tried to kill Jews is a major priority for the "moderate" PA, a cabinet-level position. Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners are paid as well.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Work accident!

Hamas' Al Qassam website reports that two commanders were killed in an explosion while performing a "jihad mission" in eastern Gaza.

Palestine Press Agency mentions a huge explosion that also wounded four. One of the commenters who says he witnessed the blast said that one of the bodies was hurled 200 meters from the blast, headless.

A toast to "martyrs" who turn to toast!

The 2009 PalArab self-death count is at 215.

Israel offered to mediate between Egypt and Algeria?

From Al-Arabiya:
The Arab League is currently mulling several proposals after it was forced to step in, rebuffing a provocative Israeli offer, to end a bitter tit-for-tat spat between Egypt and Algeria following their 2010 World Cup qualifier playoff match in Sudan.

An Arab League spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that since the tension has been rising Secretary General Amr Moussa h+as been receiving several phone calls from member states calling on the league to solve the crisis.

Arab initiatives to solve the problem intensified in the wake of a provocative statement made by Israel in which it offered to mediate between Egypt and Algeria.
Did Israel really offer to mediate between Egypt and Algeria? The idea is preposterous, as Israel and Algeria do not have any diplomatic relations themselves. Not to mention that Egypt and Algeria would probably prefer all-out war to the indignity of being counseled by Israel.

My guess is that some Israeli pundit or politician made that suggestion as a joke to tweak the Arabs on their internal international football crisis, and that the super-sensitive Arab League took it as a real offer, one which would of course cause add to the embarrassment they feel for the actual kerfuffle itself.

This brings up an entirely new avenue for world diplomacy: whenever Westerners have a problem with an Arab country, or when Arabs have their own internal disputes, the UN should threaten to send Israeli mediators to resolve the issues. They can justify it by saying that Jewish lawyers are well-known to be sly and smart. The thought is so scary to Arabs that they would redouble their efforts to solve their problems peacefully.

Let's try it with the Saudis and the Houthis!

A "metal foundry" in Gaza

On Saturday night, Israel struck a number of targets in Gaza in retaliation for a rocket attack. Wire services described the target in Jabalya as "a metal foundry" which Israel claimed was a weapons factory.

Pictures from Palestine Today might shed light on the matter. First they show the usual staged pictures of dejected people sitting in the rubble for no reason except to look dejected for the photographer:That wasn't sad enough, so the photographer had to move to a new angle and repose his subject:


Then we get to the inside of the poor, destroyed metal foundry.


Hold on...what is that poster above the door?


Sure looks like a "martyr" poster, complete with a photo of heroic fighters aiming their guns from the top of a building!

Just the sort of decoration one would expect in a regular metal foundry!

I'd say that Israeli intelligence did a fine job in this case.

Hamas rocket deal a myth

As I reported yesterday, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP denied that they signed onto any Hamas deal to stop rocket attacks into Israel.

Palestine Press Agency reports that the DFLP and Fatah Al Aqsa Brigades have also said that they have not agreed to any deal that stops them from firing rockets towards Israel.

The Hamas Al Qassam website itself is also strenuously denying that any such agreement was made, quoting Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida as saying that no such deal is in the works in context of a rumored prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit, that rocket fire is a "strong card" in the hands of the Palestinian Arab people that Hamas will not give up, and that the Al Qassam Brigades does not make any official statements that are not mentioned on its website.

Media outlets around the world jumped on this story: The Guardian, the Times of London, al-Arabiya, AFP.

The original story seems to have come from the Xinhua news agency, quoting Hamas' interior minister Fathi Hammad.

Insomnia open thread - TV spinoff edition

I woke up wondering what American prime-time scripted TV show was the most successful in history, if you include not only the number of seasons it ran but also the number of seasons its spinoffs ran.

My initial guess was Law and Order, but I figured that someone on the Internet must have done the research already.

So far, I have not found it.

Looking at the Wikipedia entry for TV spinoffs, which includes many non-American and non-prime time shows, my guess may be right, but I didn't go through the entire list. Also I am counting partial seasons as whole. To be accurate, the list should really be of the number of episodes.

Notable ones (I am including spin offs of spin offs as well, and my counts might be off):

Law and Order: 42 seasons (not including non-US spinoffs)
All in the Family: 38 seasons (lots of aborted spin-offs, not sure how long they lasted)
Love, American Style : 34 seasons (includes Happy Days)
Dallas: 27 seasons
CSI: 24 seasons

UPDATE: Jonah mentions Star Trek, for which I count 28 seasons. (He says 30, but I find it easiest to just use Wikipedia's dates for the series' beginning and end.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saudi envoys walks out of terror conference

From The Hindu:
The former Union Law Minister and senior lawyer, Ram Jethmalani, caused a flutter at an international conference on terrorism here on Saturday by alleging that Wahabism was responsible for terrorism, provoking a walkout by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to India Faisal-al-Trad.

In his address, Mr. Jethmalani, who is president of the All-India Senior Advocates Association, said: “Unfortunately in the 17th century, they produced an evil man in Saudi Arabia by the name of Wahab, who was concerned about the decline of the Muslim world, but he hit upon a wrong remedy.”

He alleged that the Wahabi terrorism instilled rubbish in the minds of young people to carry out terrorist attacks. When he said “India had friendly relations with a country that supported Wahabi terrorism,” Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador Faisal-al-Trad was seen walking out of the conference held at Vigyan Bhavan.

Adish C. Aggarwala, chairman, All-India Bar Association and joint organiser of the conference, said the Ambassador returned after Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily clarified that Mr. Jethmalani’s views were not those of the government.

Interestingly, Mr. Jethmalani also said this:
“It was unfortunate that entire Islam as a religion was being blamed for terrorism. There are also Hindu terrorists and Buddhist terrorists.” He said he was a student of all religions, including Islam, and had the highest respect for the Prophet, who he said was a man of peace.
So he didn't insult Islam, just Wahhabism.

Zionist human rights activist barred from UN

From Fox News:

The United Nations detained an outspoken critic and booted her from its New York headquarters in what the woman, a human rights watchdog, is calling an effort to silence her opposition to the world body.

Anne Bayefsky claims that as retaliation for giving a two-minute impromptu speech defending Israel, her 25-year career of monitoring the U.N. is now in jeopardy — likely to be placed in the hands of a committee chaired by the genocidal regime in Sudan.

Bayefsky gets special access to U.N. meetings in her capacity as the director of a non-governmental organization, the Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust at New York's Touro College.

But the longtime U.N. observer has found herself in what she calls a "Kafkaesque" gray zone, where the U.N. confiscated her credentials, then denied to reporters that her access had been blocked.

"This is no accident," she told FoxNews.com, arguing that she is being denied access to vital meetings concerning her prime focus: defending Israel. "This is keeping [the U.N.'s] major critic absent during the heart of the year."

Following a vote Nov. 5 at the U.N. General Assembly, a microphone was set up outside the UNGA chamber for delegates to tout their endorsement of the controversial Goldstone Report, which accuses Israel of committing war crimes during its invasion of Gaza last winter.

Without an invitation, Bayefsky approached the empty podium to offer what she thought would be a counter-balance to speeches from the Libyan president of the UNGA and the Palestinian observer, who both supported the resolution.

"I didn't expect that there would be a problem at all," said Bayefsky, who noted that she and other NGOs have spoken there in the past without incident. (Archived U.N. video shows an official from the NGO Human Rights Watch speaking in praise of the U.N. at the same podium in May 2007.)

Bayefsky blasted the Goldstone Report and called the U.N. a "laughingstock" for singling out Israel and ignoring human rights violations committed by the terrorist organization Hamas against Israeli and Palestinian civilians during the three-week campaign in December and January.

"This is a resolution that purports to be evenhanded; it is anything but," she said of the document approved by the UNGA. "It is a travesty — it calls for accountability, and in fact what we see instead is impunity for the Palestinian side."

Soon after she finished speaking, Bayefsky was swarmed by four U.N. security guards, who brought her to their security office, confiscated her NGO pass and kicked her out of the building, she said.

But the U.N. told reporters a different story at a press conference Tuesday — claiming that there has been no change in status for Bayefsky, even as she continues to sit in limbo.

After this article was printed on Wednesday, the UN then admitted that it did revoke her pass, and said that the reason was because she misused it by allegedly lending it to someone else. I guess that the fact that they happened to kick her out of the building right when she was giving a speech criticizing the UN was simply an amazing coincidence.

More from WSJ:
Yet the U.N. continues to bar Ms. Bayefsky from the premises, despite calls on her behalf by the U.S. mission and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. Best-case scenario, one U.N. insider tells us, is that "they'll put her on probation." We hear the U.N.'s NGO accreditation committee, chaired by Sudan, will likely make the final decision.

The full details, including text of the UN denials and then reversal can be seen at Inner City Press, which has followed this story from the beginning and concludes that "The UN likes to expel its critics, then deny doing so."

Did Gaza terror groups agree to stop rockets?

Al Arabiya, AFP and others have reported that Hamas announced that it reached an agreement with other armed groups in Gaza to stop rocket attacks on Israel:
"The agreement between (Ezzedine) Al-Qassam (Brigades) and other factions to stop rocket (fire) is not a sign of weakness," the group said in a statement.

The agreement is "aimed at keeping together the internal front and the supreme national interest of the Palestinian people."

It warned, however, that the groups would respond in the case of Israeli strikes on the territory.

"Al-Qassam Brigades will not stand idly by in case of a Zionist escalation and will defend ourselves with all our force."

The Al-Qassam website, which publishes all of the Al Qassam Brigades press releases, has nothing on this purported agreement.

Not only that, but Islamic Jihad and the PFLP have both denied that any such agreement took place, according to Palestine Press Agency.

At least 4 Qassams have been fired at Israel this month.

Book review: "Fromms: How Julius Fromm's Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis"

(I was sent this book for review.)

Julius Fromm was Germany's condom king between the two world wars. He innovated the manufacture and quality control of the product and became fabulously successful.

But, he was Jewish.

The book, "Fromms: How Julius Fromm's Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis" is an English translation of a book published two years ago in Germany. It is a quick read, less than 200 pages of actual text. Even at this short length, it feels as if the authors padded it as much as they could.

It is a story of an eastern European Jewish family, headed by a brilliant businessman, who tried to assimilate into German society and failed.

It is difficult to know what the aim of the book is. In the beginning, it is a description of the burgeoning sexualization of Germany in the 1920s; it then turns into a short biography of Julius Fromm and how he built his business, and then finally into a relatively detailed review of how his business was systematically dismantled by the Nazis (and, to an extent, by the Germans and Russians after the war, refusing to compensate the family.)

This last part is the most interesting. Fromm was forced to sell the company to Herman Göring's godmother at a fraction of its value in 1938. It also describes the "Jew auctions" that would be held regularly in Berlin to sell off the possessions of the expelled, the doomed and the dead. The finest objects would be confiscated by the Nazi elite; only the second and third tier possessions made it to these auctions, and a majority of Berliners took advantage of them.

Another interesting chapter deals with one of Fromm's brothers who was shipped to Australia from England on the Dunera along with many other Jewish refugees and prisoners of war.

Julius Fromm himself managed to escape Germany before the war with most of his family and a small part of his fortune. Although he died only days after the war ended, reportedly of excitement at the chance to start his business anew, it is hard to feel empathy for him as he rode out the war in relative luxury in England.

For serious Holocaust historians, the book adds a bit of detail that has been so far unexplored about the fate of Jewish-owned businesses before, during and after the war. Otherwise, the main parts of the book can be gleaned from the Wikipedia article on Fromm.

German leftists scream "Jewish pigs!"

From JPost:
Prominent French Jewish filmmaker Claude Lanzmann expressed "shock" last week that German leftists in Hamburg had violently prevented the showing of his debut documentary film, Why Israel, about the role of the Jewish state as a homeland for refugees.

In late October, the 1973-produced film was scheduled to be shown at the B-Movie cinema, but roughly 50 left-wing activists from diverse anti-Israel groups affiliated with the anti-Zionist International Center B5 barred visitors from entering the movie house.

In Why Israel, Lanzmann - perhaps best known for his groundbreaking documentary Shoah - depicts Israelis who found refuge in Israel after the Holocaust.

The movie house said in a statement that it had been compelled to cancel the film screening and a podium discussion because "we were threatened with violence."

According to eyewitness reports in the German media, left-wing protesters ranging in age from 16 to 70 shouted "Jewish pigs" and "faggots" to the cinema attendees. A pro-Israel left-of-center group, Kritikmaximierung, cosponsored the showing of the film.

Werner Pomrehn, a radio host for the Hamburg-based station FSK, told the The Jerusalem Post on Friday that an anti-Israel activist had struck him in the face at the screening event. Asked about the International Center B5 demonstrators, Pomrehn, who reports on anti-Semitism in Hamburg, termed the group the "Pol-Pot Left."
This happened last month, and it took three weeks for Der Spiegel to report it.

The organizers plan to try to show the film again in December.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday night open thread

Not in the mood to post, so I leave it to you to find interesting items to share.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Iran admits ties to anti-semitism

From the Tehran Times:
French actor and political activist Dieudonné M’bala M’bala met with Deputy Culture Minister for Cinematic Affairs Javad Shamaqdari here on Thursday.

Dieudonné M’bala M’bala was a jury member of the 26th edition of Tehran International Short Film Festival which concluded here last Monday.

They both held talks in Shamaqdari’s office and both agreed to make a joint production with the French actor. The project centers on a storyline that takes place during the reign of King Louis XIV of France and treats the issue of the African slave trade in France.

Dieudonné is famous for his anti-Zionist attitudes. He is also the owner of the Théâtre de la Main d’Or in Paris, which is used for both stand-up comedy and political events by himself and friends and colleagues such as the militant anti-Semitic “Tribu Ka”.
Dieudonné has been convicted multiple times in French courts of anti-semitic remarks.

Tribu Ka is proudly anti-semitic as well.

So Iran, which loudly claims not to be anti-semitic, proudly hosts anti-semites, and even mentions the fact that they are anti-semitic on their government-run news sites!

"Moderate" Fatah showing their peaceful side

From Daylife/AP:
Palestinian supporters of the Fatah movement loyal to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a march in the west bank city of Nablus. Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009.


The "moderate" PA pretended to outlaw public displays of weapons in 2005 outside of their security forces. Apparently, that doesn't apply to Fatah.

These sorts of organized rallies, together with Mahmoud Abbas' latest statements, all indicate a conscious decision on the Palestinian Arab side to abandon negotiations with Israel and to move towards the more traditional Arab model of diplomacy via threats and intimidation.

Good news Friday: Israeli breakthrough in bone repair

From JPost:
A team at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Medical Center has managed for the first time in the world to separate platelets and adult stem cells from the blood and bone marrow of patients with fractures and inject them - causing the bones to meld in a quarter to third of the time it usually takes to repair bones, and repairing some breaks that without the therapy would fail to heal at all.

Prof. Meir Liebergall, chairman of the orthopedics department on the Ein Kerem campus, gene therapy expert Prof. Eithan Galun and colleagues worked for years on the technique, which he said involves a "breakthrough in concept and overcomes major scientific and logistical problems."

All seven of those who received the experimental cell-based therapy have seen the broken tibias in their legs heal, even though the fractured bone in at least one control group patient who received only conventional treatment of screws or bone grafts failed to meld. Instead of taking six to nine months to heal, the fractures treated with adult stem cells and platelets healed in two months.
(h/t Sigmund, Carl and Alfred)

"Moderate" Abbas taunts Hamas as being too peaceful

Mahmoud Abbas was interviewed in Arabic by the BBC last night, and he proved yet again that the oft-used appellation "moderate" is a misnomer.

The Israeli press is reporting on some of his more outrageous statements.
"Those who have to resist are the people, and there are different types of resistance, like in (West Bank villages of) Bilin and Naalin, where people are injured every day"
Protests that happen in Bilin and Na'alin (weekly, not daily) are anything but peaceful, and IDF soldiers often get injured from the violence.


Even more outrageously, Abbas taunts Hamas for stopping rocket attacks against Israel:
"Hamas talks about the importance of resistance, but why aren't they resisting now. There is a truce between them and Israel, and since the war in Gaza Hamas has not carried out any act of resistance."

Abbas went on to accuse Hamas of negotiating with Israel over final status issues, including accepting temporary borders.

The Arabic reports of the interview show that Abbas actually contrasted the two points, first saying that Hamas has abandoned resistance even while talking about it incessantly and then proudly saying that the West Bank Arabs are doing real resistance. He accused Hamas of attempting to deceive Gazans with its slogans of resistance, noting that "you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

When asked why the Netanyahu government was allegedly secretly negotiating with Hamas and not with Abbas' PA, Abbas again placed himself as being more intransigent than Hamas, responding haughtily in third person,
Because Mahmoud Abbas wants the 1967 borders, in full, and wanted to solve the refugee problem on the basis of international resolutions, wants Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, and wants a solution of water, and illegal settlements.


On the other hand, even while Abbas taunted Hamas for stopping rocket fire, he rejected the "militarization" of resistance, acknowledging that such a move is not in the interests of the people.

He claimed that he was a "man of peace" and that he refused to fight Hamas in Gaza because of his supposed pacifism!

Gazans who aren't happy living under Hamas' regime, take note of how Abbas is bragging about abandoning you to the Islamists.

UPDATE: A Nazareth newspaper says that the Fatah Central Committee is calling for a "third intifada" centered around demonstrations (and presumably Bilin-style projectiles,) and that Abbas is supporting it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Root causes of media bias against Israel

Tonight, Dr. Richard Landes spoke at Rutgers University. He is the author of The Augean Stables blog, The Second Draft blog documenting media manipulation by Palestinian Arabs and their supporters, and the driving force behind the Understanding the Goldstone Report blog. Somehow, he also manages to be a professor of history at Boston University and the author of numerous books and articles on topics I cannot begin to understand.

His topics tonight were wide-ranging but centered on the media and the Middle East conflict. He brought up numerous videos showing how the media reported on Gaza and how they purposefully ignored facts that would make Hamas look bad. Landes also spent a bit of time on the Goldstone report and on the Mohammed al-Dura Pallywood case.

I hadn't told him one way or the other whether I would attend, and tried to keep a low profile, but when he mentioned my blog I admitted who I was. (I am not utterly without ego, but I am working on it.) So this was a rare public appearance by The Elder.

Landes ascribes much of the anti-Israel bias of the media to the media's fear of Hamas (and Hezbollah.) There is no doubt that this is a strong contributor - terrorists make no secret of the fact that if they are displeased with you, they will make your life unpleasant. And they watch the news. We saw it happen in Lebanon with Hezbollah, and we saw it in Gaza with Hamas and the other terror groups, especially a few years ago when journalists were regularly kidnapped.

After Western reporters all fled Gaza, all that were left were Palestinian reporters who have an inherent anti-Israel bias. But more importantly, they are scared witless of Hamas. Hamas has attacked press agencies numerous times.

Here is an incident last year when Hamas attacked a mosque, beat people there and trashed it before taking it over. Not one mainstream media outlet published this story. The reason is clearly because of Hamas' threats against Gaza reporters. (Hezbollah also carefully managed news media access to the Lebanon war in 2006, a lot more subtly than Hamas but very effectively.)

The New York Times did run a story once on how Gaza reporters censor themselves out of fear.

One can pinpoint the exact date that Gaza journalism died. It was mid-June, 2007, and it is detailed in this article from Ma'an - possibly the last objective article Ma'an has ever written about Hamas:
Local Palestinian radio stations in the Gaza Strip were launched in quick succession over recent years. As many as eleven radio stations were counted operating in Gaza Strip in a short space of time. Many of the stations had been closed and looted during the recent conflict in the strip.

Ash Sha'b station, affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was looted, whilst Al Hurriya and Ash Shabab, affiliated to Fatah, chose to cease transmission.

The spokesperson of the military wing of Hamas, the Qassam Brigades, Abu Ubayda, vehemently denied that the brigades had threatened any of the local stations.

Abu Ubayda told Ma'an that the radio stations halted transmission willingly because they were working within a certain framework and their coverage of events in Gaza was partial, rather than objective.

He added that the employees and owners of the radio stations closed them out of fear, rather than any direct threats from the Qassam Brigades.

Abu Ubayda also said that some of the radio stations were affiliated to well-known Fatah figures, or directly owned by Fatah.

Palestine radio stopped transmission from the Gaza Strip during the recent events. A statement was issued accusing the Al Qassam Brigades of torching the station's headquarters and a local transmission tower in Khan Younis.

Palestine satellite and terrestrial TV stopped transmission last Friday in Gaza City and began transmitting from Ramallah, in the central West Bank. The director of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, Basim Abu Sumayya, ascribed the stoppage to Hamas' seizure of the Gaza Strip, which prevented employees from accessing the company's buildings in order to work.

Abu Sumayya accused Hamas of taking control of every property that belongs to the PBC, in addition to the live transmission vehicle and the satellite frequency, which the PBC changed immediately.

...As for the radio stations, which stopped their transmission, Abu Zuhri said they did so voluntarily because they were involved in inciting and they committed criminal acts when they were fuelling disputes in the Palestinian arena. He asserted that the Al-Qassam Brigades and Executive Force never attacked or robbed any radio station.

The Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa satellite TV station, which many accuse of lacking professionalism and fuelling dispute, was the sole TV station that continued broadcasting during the conflict in the Gaza Strip. They transmitted special photos of the Al-Qassam Brigades and the Executive Force, while they were storming the security HQs. They also conducted exclusive interviews with Hamas leaders. The most criticism-provoking act of Al-Aqsa TV was the transmission of the execution of Samih Al-Madhoun.

The chief editor of Ma'an News Agency threatened to close the agency's Gaza office as a result of the pressure exerted on him and the agency's correspondents and photojournalists. The Al-Qassam Brigades visited the office, but did not harm any employee or property. Meanwhile, Hamas and their Fatah allies criticised Ma'an's reports and some issued threats.
Things only got worse after that.

I agree with Richard that fear is a factor in the loss of objectivity in journalism. He mentioned other factors as well, such as the fact that liberal reporters are (perhaps subconciously) advocates of the simplistic idea that the absence of war is always a desirable objective and that their role is to help that to happen. Therefore you will see a large number of stories about Israel's use of "disproportionate" force and of Arab civilian victims, but very few giving context of everything Israel tried to do over eight years to stop rocket attacks before resorting to the battlefield.

I think that a lot can be ascribed to ignorance. Arabs have hammered the West with consistent, simple-minded memes ("occupation," "intransigence," "illegal settlements," "Likud=far right hawks," "Fatah is moderate") that have become ingrained in the very psyche of the media personalities themselves. This is how we see situations like I mentioned today of Fox misrepresenting their own interview with Obama, after it was colored through the glass of Middle East conventional wisdom.

Another factor that I mentioned in the Q&A, and that Dr. Landes expanded on, is that Israeli self-criticism, which is part of what makes it strong, is perceived by the media as proof of its being immoral. As Richard noted, when the media interviews 100% of Arabs who say that Israel is completely wrong, and 50% of Israelis interviewed agree with the Arabs, then the impression one gets is that Israel is 75% wrong.

All in all, it was an interesting evening, and as you can imagine, Richard is a really nice fellow. The turnout might have been better had this not also been the night that Rutgers held a meeting to discuss contributing leftover meal-plan money to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, a charity that has uncomfortably close connections to terrorism.

Algeria beats Egypt, and Algerians beat Egyptians

The rivalry between the Egyptian and Algerian soccer teams, which caused so much violence last week, is over for this year, as Algeria prevailed in a tiebreaker in Khartoum, 1-0:
Silence and despair loomed over Egypt Wednesday night as the national football team lost their tiebreaker against Algeria in Sudan in a bid to secure a qualification ticket to the World Cup in South Africa next summer.

Algerian defender, Antar Yahia scored the game’s only goal in the 40th minute, clinching a spot for his team after a 24-year absence from the world football stage.

And the Algerians celebrated in typical fashion:
Violence broke out in Khartoum following the World Cup qualifier between Egypt and Algeria as Algerian fans attacked a bus carrying Egyptians, according to news and television reports.

The injured mainly suffered from bruises in the face, arms and chest, with a couple suspected to have a fractured foot and thigh. Nine of them were transferred to Nasser Institute and Heliopolis and Al Safa hospitals. The remaining 11 received first aid in the airport and were immediately released, according to the news report.

Algerian fans attacked a bus carrying Egyptian journalists, actors and singers, breaking its windows and leaving some injured after the match, singer Mohamed Fouad told Orbit satellite TV show “Al-Qahera Al-Youm” over the phone.

To put this violence in a wider perspective, check out the second panel in this comic strip from that same Egyptian newspaper:

The last panel indicates another truth: as much as Arabs hate each other, they hate everyone else worse.

That is, pretty much, the definition of Arab unity.

(By the way, the Al Khan comic strip noted above is very good.)