Monday, August 10, 2015

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: The Secret Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians
According to the researcher, many Palestinians captured by Shiite militias in Iraq have been brutally tortured and forced to "confess" to their alleged involvement in terrorism. Since 2003, the number of Palestinians there has dropped from 25,000 to 6,000.
Most interesting is the complete indifference displayed by international human rights organizations, the media and the Palestinian Authority (PA) toward the mistreatment of Palestinians in Arab countries. International journalists do not care about the Palestinians in the Arab world because this is not a story that can be blamed on Israel.
The UN and other international bodies have obviously not heard of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Arab world. They too are so obsessed with Israel that they prefer not to hear about the suffering of Palestinians under Arab regimes.
PA leaders say they want to press "war crimes" charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court. However, when it comes to ethnic cleansing and torture of Palestinians in Arab countries such as Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, they choose to look the other way.
An Arab killing or torturing an Arab is not an item worth publishing in a major newspaper in the West. But when a Palestinian complains against the Israeli authorities or Jewish settlers, many Western journalists rush to cover this "major" development.
Not only do the Arab countries despise the Palestinians, they also want them to be the problem of Israel alone. Since 1948, Arab governments have refused to allow Palestinians permanently to settle in their countries and become equal citizens. Now these Arab countries are also killing and torturing them and subjecting them to ethnic cleansing, all while world leaders continue to bury their heads in the sand and point an accusing finger at Israel.
Maajid Nawaz: The British Left’s Hypocritical Embrace of Islamism
Anti-extremist campaigner Maajid Nawaz embodies grievances that liberals claim to care about. So why is he being viciously attacked by them?
The desire to impose religion over society is otherwise known as theocracy. Being veterans of the struggle to push back against fundamentalist Christians, American liberals are well acquainted with the pitfalls of the neoconservative flirtation with the religious-right. How ironic, then, that in Europe it is those on the left—led by the Guardian—who flirt with religious theocrats. For in the UK, our theocrats are brown, from minority communities, and are overwhelmingly Muslim.
Islam is a religion like any other. Islamism is an ideology that seeks to impose any version of Islam over society. When expressed through violence, I call it jihadism. It is obvious to an American liberal that Christian fundamentalism must be made to respect personal choice. Likewise, it is as plain as the light of day to me—a Pakistani-British liberal Muslim—that any desire to impose any version of Islam over anyone anywhere, ever, is a fundamental violation of our basic civil liberties. But Islamism has been rising in the UK for decades. Over the years, in survey after survey, attitudes have reflected a worrying trend. A quarter of British Muslims sympathised with the Charlie Hebdo shootings. 0% have expressed tolerance for homosexuality. A third have claimed that killing for religion can be justified, while 36% have thought apostates should be killed. 40% have wanted the introduction of sharia as law in the UK and 33% have expressed a desire to see the return of a worldwide theocratic Caliphate. Is it any wonder then, that from this milieu up to 1,000 British Muslims have joined ISIS, which is more than joined the Army reserves. In a case that has come to symbolize the extent of the problem, an entire family of 12 recently migrated to the Islamic State. By any reasonable assessment, something has gone badly wrong in Britain.
But for those who I have come to call Europe’s regressive-left how could Islamist tyranny—such as burying women neck deep in the ground and stoning them to death—possibly be anything other than an authentic expression of Muslim rage at Western colonial hegemony? For don’t you know Muslims are angry? So angry, in fact, that they wish to enslave indigenous Yazidi women for sex, throw Syrian gays off tall buildings and burn people alive? All because… Israel. For Europe’s regressive-left—which is fast penetrating U.S. circles too—Muslims are not expected to be civilized. And Muslim upstarts who dare to challenge this theocratic fascism are nothing but an inconvenience to an uncannily Weimar-like populism that screams simplistically: It is all the West’s fault.
Prof. Phyllis Chesler: Too Many Women Among Those Who Despise America and Hate Israel
What is wrong with this picture? Are young American women still more obsessed with the alleged American occupation of “Muslim lands,” with countries that have never existed (such as Palestine), than they are with the occupation of women’s bodies worldwide, especially under Sharia law, especially under ISIS, and ISIS-like terrorist groups in the Middle East, North and West Africa, and Central Asia?
Or rather, are women in certain communities in America only allowed to be visibly outspoken and active if they actively and vocally hate America, despise Jews, and wish to abolish the Jewish state?
Why are these students silent about the ongoing massacres and genocides of Christians, Yezidis, and Muslims in the Middle East at Muslim hands?
Why are the female students and professors utterly silent about the daily, hourly, atrocities being committed against girls and women in Iraq—and in Iran and Afghanistan? Why no word against gender and religious apartheid, no condemnation of FGM, from these people presumably so concerned with justice?
Finally, 64% (or more) of these Jew and America haters are identifiably Muslim. (Their names give it away). Perhaps more really are Muslims but I rest my case right here. These are not the kind of Muslims with whom I work and sympathize who are anti-Islamist Muslims, who are religious, secular, and apostate. My acquaintances also support women’s rights, human rights, Western-style freedoms, and Israel.
In other words: The anti-American and anti-Israeli individuals featured at Canary Mission participate in and attend rallies and demonstrations on American campuses. The majority are pro-Islamist Muslim students and professors, too many of whom are women.
Hamas Admits Gazans Behind Water Crisis, Not Israel
The Hamas paper Al-Risalah conducted an investigation into the subject of Jewish agricultural land in Gaza that was evacuated in the 2005 Disengagement plan, and found that despite Arab claims that Israel has caused a water crisis in Gaza, local residents are in fact to blame.
In its investigation, which relied on figures from the Hamas agricultural ministry, the paper found that excessive use of water for agriculture by local farmers was behind the shortage of water.
In particular the raising of vegetables that require vast amounts of water, digging wells without supervision, and pumping water excessively was found to be the culprit of Gaza's water woes.
The paper of the Hamas terror organization noted that prior to the 2005 expulsion of all Jews from Gaza, no more than 20 wells were being used by Israelis in Gush Katif, and they were dug around a kilometer from the coast so as to trap rain water.
The average pumping from these wells was around 20-30 cubic meters per hour.
Today, the number of wells in the area has tripled, and the Arab agricultural unions working in the evacuated Jewish communities dug close to 30 more wells - in addition to the 16 dug by the municipality.
The average pumping from the agricultural unions' wells is between 60-120 cubic meters per hour, while the average from municipality wells is between 60-70 cubic meters per hour, showing the improper usage of Gaza's water resources.

A Statement on Contemporary European Anti-Semitism
Shalom Lappin, Brian Bix, Eve Garrard, Matthew Kramer, Hillel Steiner, and Stephen de Wijze
1. The Rise of Anti-Semitism in Europe
In recent years we have witnessed an alarming increase in anti-Jewish violence and abuse in Britain, and across Europe generally. The Community Security Trust (CST) reports a doubling of reported anti-Semitic incidents in the UK from 513 in 2013 to 1168 in 2014. This figure is the highest ever registered, surpassing the previous record of 931 incidents in 2009. Given the comparatively small size of the Jewish community in the UK (250,000-300,000 people) relative to the total population of the country (64 million), this surge over the past two years constitutes a significant escalation of racist abuse against Jews. About 50% of all religion-based hate crimes in England and Wales during 2014 were perpetrated against Jews, even though Jews make up only 0.4% of the British population.
The situation is worse in other parts of Europe, where deadly Islamist terror attacks on Jewish institutions have claimed victims over the past three years in Toulouse, Brussels, Paris, and Copenhagen. These attacks are directly fostered by relentless campaigns of group defamation that portray Jews in demonic terms. Islamist extremists promote violence against Jews as an integral part of their political programs. With increasing frequency and prominence we hear genocidal Nazi slogans chanted at demonstrations protesting Israeli military actions. In Hungary, Greece, France, and the Baltic countries, political parties of the far right promote fascist anti-Jewish views. Such parties have become electorally significant in their respective countries. These developments cannot be simply attributed to the aberrant conduct of a few extremists.
To be sure, we are not re-living the 1930s. Jews in Europe do not face systematic, government-sponsored exclusion and repression. They remain fully enfranchised citizens of the countries in which they are living. However, they are experiencing a wave of popular anti-Jewish bigotry throughout Europe that is unparalleled at any previous time in the post-War era. This bigotry has emerged from several distinct demographic and political sources. It is necessary to confront the facts with sobriety and honesty, avoiding both exaggeration and denial. (h/t Cliff)
Hillel Neuer: Confused Hamas leader posts pro-Israel cartoon
A clearly confused Hamas leader today defended his posting of a caricature by Israeli cartoonist Vladik Sandler that ridicules the immorality of the UN’s anti-Israel bias.
I tried to point out Dr. Basem Naim’s confusion:
Naim doubled down, insisting he knew what he was doing:
Well, after doubling down, at least the terrorist leader finally admitted his mistake.
Who is Basem Naim, anyway?
When Hamas made him health minister in 2007, he promptly fired the directors of Gaza’s main hospitals.
And he’s the same terrorist leader (spelled Bassem Naim) who was cited as a source by the UN’s recent health report on Palestinians.
Where Israel is concerned it's always Groundhog Day
It is five years since I arrived in Ireland with my wife Nurit and our two boys to represent the state of Israel. This month, my term as ambassador, and that of Nurit as my deputy, draw to a close.
During our years here, my family and I have visited most parts of the country. We leave Ireland with fond memories of the beauty of its landscapes and of the hospitality of Irish people. Everywhere we went we were touched by the genuine warmth of the reception given to us.
The theme of remembering prompts other thoughts of a more sober kind relating to our mission in Ireland. The 24-hour news cycle and the saturation news coverage made possible by advances in media technology have downgraded the role once played by memory in political and diplomatic discourse. Historical events, even recent ones - highly relevant to discussion of today's news - are often consigned to oblivion within a few months. It seems we live in an age of instant amnesia.
By chance, our leaving Ireland this month coincides with three important anniversaries. These give us a chance to recall three highly significant events now seldom mentioned in the media when Israel is discussed.
It is exactly 10 years since Israel's 2005 unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, when not only its military but all the Israeli residents, even down to the Jewish cemetery, were evacuated at a cost of $7bn to the Israeli taxpayer. There was no Israeli blockade, although Hamas rockets had been falling on southern Israel since 2001. Yet when we arrived here five years ago, the media air was thick with accusations of "occupation" and "siege" as if the withdrawal had never happened.
BBC regular Chris Gunness undermines his own credibility yet again
Unlike its favourite newspaper The Guardian, the BBC has so far refrained from amplifying that questionable story – which is undoubtedly fortunate seeing as Gunness’ claim that infant mortality in the Gaza Strip has risen ‘for the first time in fifty years’ is considerably undermined by the fact that in 2009 the BBC reported that:
“The UN Relief and Works agency (UNRWA) in Gaza told the BBC that public health was suffering as a result of inadequate and unsanitary water supplies, and there had been a rise in infant mortality.
UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness said thousands of tonnes of sewage were being pumped into the sea every day, because material for rebuilding treatment plants and other facilities was so scarce.”

As has regrettably been necessary to clarify here on numerous occasions due to the BBC’s own repeated promotion of the myth that the shortage of medical supplies in the Gaza Strip is due to Israeli counter-terrorism measures, that chronic shortage is in fact due entirely to long-running disputes between the Palestinian Ministries of Health in Gaza and Ramallah.
The credibility issues which obviously arise from Gunness’ manipulation of this story for propaganda and political campaigning purposes are (unfortunately for BBC audiences seeking accurate and impartial information) of course unlikely to have any effect on his frequent BBC appearances or his apparent ability to influence BBC content.
IsraellyCool: Chris Gunness Of UNRWA Is Lying Again And The World Won’t Check
The entire survey is based on too small a sample
The scientific paper basically says these results are not enough to draw the conclusion that Chris Gunness and UNRWA are drawing. This is the start of the discussion part of the paper, emphasis is mine:
This survey was conducted in 2013 with November 2011 as a reference time. It showed for the first time in five decades that mortality rates had increased among Palestine refugee newborns in Gaza. This finding is worrying and suggests that Gaza is currently not on track to meet the 2015 MDG4 under-five mortality target of 14 per 1000 live births.[18] However, post-neonatal mortality rate declined significantly and the infant mortality rate was only slightly higher. These estimates are based on small numbers of deaths, and the confidence intervals are wide, so the infant mortality rate could in fact be stable or continuing to decline.

This entire breathless piece of propaganda (the press release not the paper) is based on asking a group of (often illiterate as the paper points out) women what happened to their last baby and, if it died, how it died. All the data is based on 65 deaths (this time) as opposed to 69 in 2008.
In fact it’s only in the infant mortality rate, and not other important categories, that there was any small rise.
The Pied Piper Played And The Rats Followed (Updated)
And just as Matti Friedman and others have carefully document in recent times, the entire media took his press release and, without ever opening the scientific paper, they copy and pasted it. Most of it flows from Agence France Press AFP and this story: Gaza infant mortality rises for first time in 53 years: UN. That wire piece has been picked up and repeated (often verbatim) by everyone.
1,071 more articles. Yesterday, before the press release and AFP there were 3.
This headline from Albawaba is particularly impressive in managing to get so much wrong in so few words: Palestinian infant mortality rate at 50-year high. Of course infant mortality is way, way, way lower after decades of Israeli medical care than it was under any Arab control.
I did send my post to the Times of Israel editors just after they were one of the first to publish the AFP re-write of the press release without opening the original source. No reply and they haven’t changed the story. Obviously all the usual outlets like the Guardian and Ha’aretz are moist with excitement over this.
Not one of them has printed the fact, which is in the UNRWA press release but not in the AFP story, that infant deaths were 127 per 1,000 live births in 1960 and are somewhere around 20 today.
A7: UN Claims Gaza Infant Mortality Rise in Self-Contradicting Study
Misleading report?
Tellingly, however, some observers have already pointed to a number of holes in the study, including the unscientifically tiny sample used.
In fact, rather astonishingly given the fanfare surrounding its supposed "findings," the study itself includes the following admission:
These estimates are based on small numbers of deaths, and the confidence intervals are wide, so the infant mortality rate could in fact be stable or continuing to decline.
Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers continuously claim that Israel is imposing a “siege” on Gaza, despite the fact that Israel continues to transfer humanitarian aid, goods and construction materials into the region. Israel has continued to do so as terrorists from the region fire rockets at southern Israel.
In April, it sent 14,000 tons of construction material into the Hamas-run enclave, days after reports surfaced that the group was actively rebuilding terror tunnels into the Gaza Belt region. The shipment was the single largest since the end of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last August.
Furthermore, a Qatari official recently revealed that Israel is freely allowing Qatar to send materials to Hamas through the border crossings, despite the obvious security risks and Qatar's open sheltering of Hamas leaders.
Just like its namesake, Amnesty's CSI: Gaza is about psuedo-forensics
These misrepresentations are common practice for political NGOs and were endemic in the UN Commission of Inquiry Report on the 2014 Gaza War. Without these details, the Platform's "data" are fatally flawed.
As such, and contrary to Amnesty's claims, the information in the Gaza Platform is not evidence of alleged "war crimes" or "patterns in the attacks" and cannot credibly be used for investigations into the 2014 Gaza conflict. While visually exciting, these sorts of online tools have very limited utility in determining whether violations actually occurred.
This and the erasure of context, such as the more than 4,000 rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, make this "tool" nothing more than propaganda.
For this project, Amnesty is partnering with a group by the name of Forensic Architecture, headed by Eyal Weitzman. Mr Weitzman's political bias against Israel is well-known: he signed a petition during the 2009 Gaza conflict calling for the UN Security Council and the EU to impose sanctions on Israel. Nevertheless, he was awarded a European Research Council grant to create Forensic Architecture - another example of EU funding being exploited for political attacks against Israel.
It is precisely sanctions, "war crimes" trials, and International Criminal Court interventions that Amnesty and its NGO partners have pursued since the Gaza conflict, and what they want to achieve through the Gaza Platform.
We can only hope that the intended audiences - diplomats, government officials, journalists, prosecutors and judges, and the general public - see through Amnesty's facade.
When Is It a War Crime to Defend Yourself? If You’re an Israeli.
That means that any fair-minded observer of the events of August 1, 2014 must concede that the responsibility for all of the casualties the ensued as Israeli and Hamas forces fought in Rafah that day belongs to those who cynically ordered the attack on the Israeli soldiers that ended the cease-fire. The tunnel they used ran through residential areas, and the flight of these terrorists was such that they deliberately and with malice aforethought endangered the lives of all those who lived in the area. Their goal was not only to spirit away a hostage but also to create the kind of havoc that would result in more accusations against Israel.
But the minute analysis of every round fired by the Israelis by Amnesty not only doesn’t take that into account or put their accusations in a reasonable context. It also treats the effort to rescue Goldin — who probably did not survive the initial attack — as wrong while treating the assault on the Israelis as a reasonable and even legal action. But even in the course of its effort to demonize the Israeli actions by pouring on the details of bullets and shells fired amid a chaotic battle amid the fog of war, Amnesty cannot help falsifying their indictment. The report fails to take into account that along with the civilians who were sadly killed or wounded as a result of terrorist actions, some of the casualties they lament were actually Hamas or Islamic Jihad personnel.
But no matter how you break down the battle, the talk of disproportionate fire frames the discussion in a way that inevitably skews it toward treating the Israelis as the transgressors rather than a combatant. Would any nation, including Western democracies or the United States, be any less “indiscriminate” in its fire on terrorists attacking its cities and its troops than the Israelis? The answer is obviously not. As General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in his comments about the Gaza war, the conduct of the Israelis in the fighting was a model that U.S. forces seek to emulate in their own conflicts in the Middle East. Indeed, the same accusations of “disproportionate” fire are often, and sometimes with more reason, lodged against Americans fighting in Afghanistan or bombing Taliban or al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan.
As for the “Hannibal” directive, the discussion is a controversial one even within Israel. But the assumption that it means that soldiers are ordered to kill one of their own rather than let them be taken is probably a misunderstanding. Any hostage in a war zone is, by definition, in harm’s way and faces a good chance of becoming a casualty. The Israelis rightly seek to prevent the capture of their people. Doing so spares the country and the individual from a terrible ordeal. Efforts to prevent these crimes deserve the praise of fair-minded people, not their condemnation.
BBC amplification of Amnesty’s lawfare agenda again compromises impartiality
Audiences are not however informed that the academic sounding (and by implication, neutral) ‘Forensic Architecture’ also partnered Amnesty International in the production of a recently launched app called ‘the Gaza Platform’ which reproduces and promotes one-sided and inaccurate information put out by two of AI’s lawfare buddies – Al Mezan and the PCHR.
Neither are they told who exactly is behind ‘Forensic Architecture’ (originally funded by the European Research Council) or that it describes itself as “a team of architects, artists, filmmakers, activists, and theorists” (in other words; not military or legal experts) and that its chief researcher is veteran political activist and BDS supporter Eyal Weizman.
In this latest amplification of AI’s pseudo-legal ‘human rights’ report the BBC once again fails to inform its audiences that Amnesty International is not a neutral observer but a player in a campaign of politically motivated lawfare. As long as the BBC fails to tell its audiences the full story behind the political agenda of Amnesty International and the many other NGOs it uncritically amplifies, its claim that it provides audiences with accurate and impartial reporting in order to meet its public purpose of building an “understanding of international issues” is clearly untenable.
PreOccupied Territory: Amnesty Rejects Vetting Activists For Antisemitism: ‘Thought Control’ (satire)
A spokeswoman for the human rights organization Amnesty International dismissed calls for the group to weed out its employees and volunteers who espouse anti-Jewish attitudes, saying that such an effort would entail “thought control,” when in fact Amnesty strives to promote freedom of conscience.
Amnesty’s director of public affairs Hiep O’Critt told reporters the organization rejects any attempt to impose a particular world view on its personnel, whether direct employees, volunteers, or outside contractors. O’Critt said Amnesty’s ongoing efforts to document and combat political and military oppression would only be hampered by processes that force observers, analysts, and other personnel to adhere to standards of expression and ideology that exclude antisemitism.
“Our mandate is simple: combat oppression,” stressed O’Critt. “It does not involve invading the brains and hearts of our dedicated people to remove overt manifestations of one kind of prejudice. In fact, Amnesty sees any attempt to remove antisemites from its ranks a naked act of prejudice in itself.” He added that the organization does thoroughly screen its applicants for real offenses, such as affiliation with known sympathizers of US or Israeli policies.
Court upholds withdrawal of Arab group’s funding
The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed the Canadian Arab Federation’s (CAF) effort to reverse the federal government’s decision to withdraw funding for the group because of the government’s contention the group is anti-Semitic.
Last year, a Federal Court judge upheld a 2009 assessment by then-minister of citizenship and immigration Jason Kenney, who decided to withdraw more than $1 million a year in federal government funding for the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program because the government said the CAF promoted anti-Semitism and supported terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
When the CAF sought to renew its funding in 2009 to be part of the government’s English-language training program for people new to the country, Kenney rejected the group’s request in a letter in which he said that “serious concerns have risen with respect to certain public statements that have been made by yourself, or other officials of the CAF.
“These statements have included the promotion of hatred, anti-Semitism and support for the banned terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah… [this] raises serious questions about the integrity of your organization and has undermined the government’s confidence in the CAF as an appropriate partner for the delivery of settlement services to newcomers.”
Israeli businesses set up anti-BDS hotline
A network representing Israeli businesses launched a hotline meant to serve business owners and exporters facing issues related to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.
The hotline, established by the Presidium of Israel Business Organizations, will handle the complaints and concerns of those facing boycotts or threats of boycotts.
“The new line will enable us to provide individual and discreet solutions for Israeli businesses exposed to boycotts and attempted boycotts,” Dan Catarivas, Director of the Division of Foreign Trade and International Relations at the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel, told the Israeli business daily Globes.
“BDS is not a uniform phenomenon; it is expressed differently in each country. When complaints or reports of such cases are received, we will address the situation specifically, using the tools we have, in order to provide them with a relevant and correct response,” he added.
In the framework of the new line, a team of lawyers and economic consultants specializing in international trade will be on hand to advise business owners facing boycotts.
Minnesota Jewish Community Center Must Cancel Event Supporting Israel Boycott
Jewish community centers and synagogues should never sponsor events with people who support a boycott of Israel, or allow them to have a presence there.
Shamefully, in Minnesota tomorrow - Sunday, August 9th at noon - the Sabes JCC is hosting an event featuring Talia Sasson, President of the New Israel Fund, a radical, extremist organization which supports a boycott of Israel. Shamefully, among the co-sponsors of this event are Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Bet Shalom Congregation, Mount Zion Temple, Shir Tikvah, and Temple of Aaron.
Those who care about Israel must urge the cancellation of this event. Decent Americans of all political stripes must shun extremists who sympathize with Israel’s enemies, as they are a danger to the West.
Benny Yanay of an Israeli military organization called Consensus, who represents 3,000 members of the Israel Defense Forces says
“The New Israel Fund acts against Israel — against the soldiers of our country. It is supported by foreign governments and organizations so that Israeli soldiers will be weakened.”
The Judean People's Front: The Subtlety of the Anti-Israel Narrative
The Associated Press reported that after six months of stalling, Indonesia has finally agreed to grant a visa for Israeli Badminton player MIsha Zilberman. Why was this an issue in the first place? They tell us:
Israel does not have formal diplomatic relations with Indonesia and many other Muslim-majority countries,
How many times have you seen this exact sentence repeated in a story relating to Israel and its Muslim neighbors? Countless. This is the standard way in which reporters discuss the non-relations between the world's many Muslim states and its one Jewish state.
Is this statement technically true? Yes.
Does it tell the true story? No.
The fact of the matter is that Israel would love to have formal diplomatic relations with the world's many Arab and Muslim countries. The lack of relations isn't an oversight or a lack of resources. It is a direct consequence of the refusal by the vast majority of those countries to come to terms with Israel's existence.
Yet the Associated Press, its affiliates and others in the media continue to discuss a mere "lack of relations" as though it were a naturally occurring event with no cause and no solution.
Guardian reports on deadly attack in Duma leave unanswered questions
Before going any further, let me state for the record that I expect that we will, in due course, find out who were the perpetrators of the murderous fire-bombing attack on a family in the Arab village of Duma. I am almost completely convinced that, as the Shin Bet has indicated, the perpetrators will turn out to be young Jewish settlers inflamed with a Messianic belief in the need to take over all of historic Israel. The probability is extremely high that that is the case. Even if not, Israel has been alerted to the danger that Jewish terrorists represent, and has taken swift action to start dismantling their organizations and placing leaders in administrative detention.
However, what we saw in the Guardian was a typical outburst of articles that upon examination appear to have included no serious investigative efforts on behalf of their journalists and editors to establish in detail what actually happened. Reminiscent of the Guardian’s endless reporting on, for example, the Al Durrah affair (Israel likely not to blame after a lengthy investigation), the infamous “Jenin Massacre” (never happened), the Mavi Marmara flotilla (Israel exonerated by the UN’s Palmer report), we saw 12 articles, photos-of-the-week” and editorials at the Guardian on the terror attack in Duma.
This attack may finally be the exception, but the Guardian’s track record on authoritative reporting about events in Gaza and the West Bank is so poor and the superficiality of their reporting about this attack is so glaring that it gives me pause.
First some background on their sources, which are so lightweight and biased that they raise questions about the quality and depth of what was presented to the Guardian’s readers about this tragedy.
Edgar Davidson: Rules and Guidelines for Westerners reporting on Israel
Updated 9 August 2015
This is the rule book issued to all members of the Western media corps (in fact, whereas these were intended only as guidelines, several news outlets including the BBC, CNN, Sky News, the Sun, Guardian, Independent, Times, have taken them so literally that I have had to issue formal complaints of plagiarism):
Rule 1 (Rocket attacks against Israel)
The rule here is simple: Never report on any rocket attacks against Israel (also note: there is no Israeli town called Sderot). The are only two exceptions to this rule:
If Israel eventually attempts to stop the rocket fire. In that case you can lead with a major story reporting that Israel has launched a massive attack against Palestinian civilians and you can include the following statement at the end of your 26 page report:
"The Israelis claim that their attack was in response to home made rocket attacks from Gaza/Lebanon.”
If (as is very common) the rockets fall short (or explode before being launched) and hence cause casualties in Gaza, then you must write a major report with the headline "Israeli attack kills X civilians in Gaza" (where the number X is determined by Rule 2 below).
BBC doubles down on its creative translation of ‘Yahud’
Recent weeks have seen two cases in which the BBC chose to inaccurately translate the Arabic word ‘Yahud’ (Jews) when it was spoken by Palestinian children. In Lyse Doucet’s programme ‘Children of the Gaza War’ the word was translated as ‘Israelis’ and in Adam Wishart’s ‘The Train that Divides Jerusalem’ as ‘soldiers’.
Members of the public who complained about the former programme received a template response from BBC Complaints.
That BBC Trust decision from 2013 – apparently viewed by the BBC complaints department as a one-size-fits-all precedent – can be found here.
Of course the real issue here – and the reason people have made complaints – is that the BBC’s substitution of ‘Yahud’ with its own choice of different words denies audiences understanding of the incitement and indoctrination to which Palestinian children are subjected. That topic has not been addressed in any of the responses we have seen from the BBC complaints department.
Raelian Statement Condemns Zionism, Says Raelians Are the True Jews
Heeb Magazine disclosed a statement from the Raelians, that the Jews have been officially replaced and are ordered to leave the Holy Land. It says Raelians are the real Jews who will welcome their “Messiah” or extraterrestrial creators, but first need to build a temple that will serve as an intergalactic embassy. This sounds eerily similar to the concept of replacement theology that early Christians espoused as stating they had replaced the Jews as the chosen people. However, it is doubtful that the early Christian fathers believed, as the Raelians do, that humans were invented by a scientific team of extra terrestrials.
In 1973, Claude Vorihon, now known as Rael, received a message from an extra terrestrial who called himself, conveniently enough, Yahweh, telling him that angels and other divine beings were nothing more than other worldly scientists known as Elohim who have only to reveal themselves to usher in an age of global enlightenment. The Raelians are against war or military engagement in any form. Recently, they have declared their opposition to Zionism and released a statement purportedly from Yahweh, not to be confused with the god of the Jews. He says “the protection previously extended by Elohim to the Jewish people has ceased …. You have betrayed all the exemplary values of Judaism by stealing land and houses that don’t belong to you, and especially by not respecting my most important commandment, ‘Thou shall not kill.’ And you have accumulated nuclear weapons that could kill millions of people in one go and spark off a world war capable of destroying all creation … We ask all real Jews to leave the land of Palestine as quickly as possible.”
Not surprisingly, Raelians declare they are the real Jews (so for whom is the message intended?), and wanted their own piece of the Middle East for construction of their intergalactic embassy, but were turned down. One wonders how Israeli Raelian tour guide, Kobi Drori, is going to react to the command that all those considered Jews up until the statement should leave Israel. Drori, based in Tel Aviv, was interviewed a few years ago by the ReligionNews blog, and explained how Jews are considered special in Raelian theology. Jews contain part of the Elohim, or divine messengers, when everyone else was made in a lab. This is the reason the Raelians wanted to build their temple in Jerusalem, so the extra terrestrials can “be among their children, their sons.” The Raelian symbol of the swastika and Star of David entwined is meant to promote co-existence.
EyeControl gives ‘locked-in’ patients a voice
The people behind EyeControl are Israeli entrepreneurs on a mission to give a voice to “locked-in syndrome” patients – people who are aware of what’s happening around them but cannot communicate verbally due to paralysis.
The EyeControl team — together with the nonprofit Prize4Life – recently turned to crowdfunding to raise $30,000 to get a pilot program for ALS patients off the ground for its cheap, accessible and screen-free mobile communication device. In its first 15 days on the indiegogo campaign site, the social technology startup topped $35,000. Now they’ve launched a stretch goal of $50,000 and promise to donate 10 EyeControl sets for patients in developing countries if they succeed.
“ALS patients and their families tell us that they’ve been waiting for such a device to be affordable and accessible,” CTO and co-founder Itai Kornberg tells ISRAEL21c. “Even with all the technology available today there is no device that lets ALS patients tell their families how they’re feeling after a treatment. Everyone who hears about our idea has given us great feedback.”
Of course, the ALS population is just a slice of those afflicted by locked-in syndrome. “Ghost Boy” Martin Pistorius found himself locked-in after a mysterious virus. Others with the affliction include victims of snakebite, stroke, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.
“Everyone who can’t move and can’t talk can use EyeControl,” says Kornberg.
Hundreds of students, Nobelists set to arrive in Israel
Dozens of scientists are heading to Israel next week, including 15 Nobel Prize winners.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the upcoming World Science Conference Israel (WSCI) will see the participation of Nobel laureates along with over 400 young scientific prodigies from 70 countries.
The WSCI was originally set for August of last year, but with Israel otherwise engaged in Operation Protective Edge, sponsors – including Hebrew University, the Science Ministry, and the Foreign Ministry – decided to postpone the event. It was rescheduled for August 15-20 of this year, giving students from Israel and abroad a first-hand opportunity to meet some of the top minds in physics, chemistry, medicine, and economics.
The event will take place at the Hebrew University campus, with festivities open to anyone interested in hearing some of the world’s top minds discuss and debate esoteric concepts in the physical and social sciences. Besides the discussions, a number of other events will take place during WSCI week, including a mini-conference in which entrepreneurs will discuss the roots their tech products and services have in “hard science.”
Spare a thought today for Arthur Schmidt, German cricketer, Nazi victim
In summer 1937, implausibly, an English cricket team toured Hitler’s Berlin. On August 10, they played in the grounds of the Olympic Stadium. One of the umpires that day was Germany’s best player. This is a small part of his story
Near the end of the tour, at a farewell dinner, the Germans all signed a booklet for their English guests. The second umpire, one Georg Schneider, signed too; tellingly, Schmidt did not — further suggesting that he was not quite a legitimate member of the Berlin group.
“It’s a possibility that only one of Schmidt’s grandparents had been Jewish, therefore he was more likely to escape persecution — for the time being,” the author speculates. “Or he might have been married to an Aryan woman…”
Despite Waddell’s best efforts, we just don’t know.
What we do know is that a year and a half later, an Arthur Schmidt moved from a previous address to the predominantly Jewish district of Sophienstrasse in central Berlin, likely evicted from his own property as a result of new Nazi tenancy laws. And that on April 19, 1943, an Arthur Schmidt was sent on Transport 37 from Gleis (Track) 17 of Berlin-Grunewald Station to Auschwitz. He was never to be heard from again.
The evidence, writes Waddell, indicates that “the Germans… sent the finest cricketer they ever possessed to the death camps.”
The entire almost unimaginable story of the English cricketers who toured Nazi Berlin barely two years before the outbreak of World War II had been lost in the past before Waddell retrieved it, and the bitter fate of Arthur Schmidt was a small tragedy forgotten within it.
Seventy-eight years later, perhaps cricketers the world over — and anybody else who is moved by the extraordinary tale of a brush between inhumane Nazi Germany and a sport idealized as emblematic of decency and honor — might pause today and spare a thought for Arthur Schmidt.
WATCH: Israel’s first elections — ‘a pretty noisy affair’
In this newsreel, printing presses churn out posters, candidates gesticulate wildly, and Israel history is made in the days leading up to the country’s first elections on January 25, 1949.
According to the announcer, “All Israel residents could vote, regardless of religion — as long as they were over 21 and had been in the country since before November.”
A few things have changed since then. In 1949, parties vied for seats in what was called Israel’s Constituent Assembly (the name “Knesset” was introduced later in the month). And the electorate at the time was under half a million — a far cry from today’s 5.8 million.
Other things are as they were. “The campaign is reported as being a pretty noisy affair,” the narrator admits, “but that was quite natural on such an exciting occasion.”
WATCH: What do Londoners think of when they think of Jews?
Word association is not necessarily the best barometer of popular opinion, but there is no doubt that it can be a tool in an interesting social experiment.
That was the idea behind a recent video by the Israel Advocacy Movement, a British organization that seeks to create a "mass movement of Israeli advocates" in order to "counter British hostility to Israel."
In their latest video, uploaded to YouTube Sunday, the group took to the streets of London to find out "what Londoners first think when they hear the word 'Jew.'"
"To do this," Joseph, the video's presenter, explains, "we devised a quick word association game where we said a load of random words and people said the first thing that came to mind."
What Londoners first think when they hear the word "Jew"

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