Wednesday, June 15, 2016

From Ian:

Sting Operation Reveals Facebook’s Double ‘Community Standards’ in Relation to Pro-Israel Posts
Facebook apologizes for removing pro-Israel post
Facebook was forced to restore a posting it had removed from a pro-Israel page, after a social-media experiment revealed that an identical pro-Palestinian posting was not deemed to be in violation of “community standards.”
The restored posting in question, on the Israel Video Network page, was a meme that read: “It is called Israel and not Palestine. Share if you agree.”
On May 25, the Israel Video Network received a notice from Facebook that the post was being removed for violating community standards. In addition, group administrators were warned that the page would be shut down if it continued to post similar items.
According to former Yesh Atid Party member of Knesset Dov Lipman — who now serves as the director of public diplomacy in the vice chairman’s office of the World Zionist Organization — after he was alerted by Israel Video Network of Facebook’s behavior, he and his team set up a sting operation to test whether an identical post — but one which favored the Palestinians — would produce the same results.
In a statement on Tuesday, Lipman wrote, “My staff set up a page called ‘It’s called Palestine and not Israel’ and we, with the help of a friend, loaded an exact replica of the first graphic but exchanged the words ‘Palestine’ and ‘Israel.’ We then had people complain about the new graphic and Facebook responded that the new graphic did not violate its community standards.”
After repeated attempts to get in touch with a live person at Facebook “to complain about this inconsistency,” Lipman penned an open letter in the Jerusalem Post, exposing Facebook’s behavior.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder: When Someone Says He’s Only Anti-Israel, Not Antisemitic, It’s a Lie
“When someone says they are not antisemitic — they are only anti-Israel – that is a lie,” the president of the World Jewish Congress said on Tuesday night.
Ronald S. Lauder made this assertion in a speech he delivered at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, where he received the Guardian of Zion award from the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
Addressing the approximately 200-strong audience of movers, shakers and Israeli academics, Lauder — the 20th recipient of the annual award – spoke about the increasingly unabashed expressions of antisemitism and Israel-hatred “not just from the far-Right, but from the far-Left.”
Whereas in the past, he said, Jews were to blame for all ills, “According to today’s antisemites, whatever is wrong in the world, Israel is at fault.” This, he added, “is no longer a fringe element of society,” and “when you hold Israel to a different standard, when you lie about Israel, its past and its present and its people — and when you want Israel to disappear — that makes you an antisemite… pure and simple.”
Clifford D. May: Terrorism and economic warfare
So today, non-state actors lead the campaign. Omar Barghouti, credited as a co-founder of the so-called BDS (for boycott, sanction and divest) Movement, has stated plainly that the goal is not to pressure Israelis into making concessions that might lead to peace. “We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine,” he has said.
With two BDS supporters appointed — courtesy of Sen. Bernie Sanders — to the Democratic Party’s platform committee, even Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of left-leaning J Street, seems to have grasped the truth. The movement, he now says, “fails to recognize Israel’s right to exist, to support a two-state solution, to differentiate between the occupation and opposition to Israel itself.”
In recent months, more than 20 governors have signed anti-BDS laws. In response, BDS advocates are angrily asserting that their freedom of speech is being violated. That’s a canard. These laws simply make clear that taxpayers — in Illinois, South Carolina, Colorado, Florida and a growing list of other states — will not support companies that discriminate against Israel.
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that conditioning government money on compliance with anti-discrimination policies does not violate the First Amendment,” legal scholar Eugene Kontorovich pointed out. He added: “Israel boycotts — which target all businesses from a particular country — have the key hallmark of impermissible discrimination: They cut off business to people and companies not because of their own particular conduct, but on the basis of who they are.”
BDS advocates claim to fight for “social justice” but they turn a blind eye to the Muslim-on-Muslim wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen, the genocide of Middle Eastern Christians and Yazidis, the enslavement of girls in northern Nigeria and the routine executions of gays in Gaza, Iran and other corners of the Islamic world.
“Anti-Semitism,” the British rabbi-philosopher Jonathan Sachs recently observed, “is a virus that survives by mutating. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel.” There may be treatments for this virus but no one has a cure.

Fred Maroun: What to Expect from an Independent Palestinian State
France, with the support of the United States, is leading a new attempt at peace between Israel and the Palestinians, with the implied goal that an independent Palestinian state would be created -- but what should we expect from such a state?
Although past behavior is not a perfect predictor of future behavior, it is a strong indicator of it, especially if no corrective action has been taken.
When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared, "The dawn of freedom rises with the evacuation of the last Israeli soldier and settler." Yet, instead of using that freedom to build a successful economy, Palestinians destroyed the greenhouses that the settlers had left, and terrorists launched rocket attacks against Israel. These attacks forced Israel to institute a naval blockade of Gaza, to limit the supply of weapons to terrorists.
The Oslo Accords signed by Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s provided a transition period meant to lead to Palestinian statehood. However, instead of peaceful coexistence with Israel, the Palestinian leadership launched an assault that became known as the Second Intifada.
During the recent stabbing attacks by Palestinian terrorists, Abbas declared, "Each drop of blood that was spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it's for the sake of Allah. Every shahid (martyr) will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded, by Allah's will."
These violent actions and the incitement are not exceptions. They are part of a pattern of Arab denial of the Jews' right to exist, which started well before Israel declared its independence, and that caused several wars and innumerable terrorist attacks against Israel.
Michael Lumish: Nothing Left - Episode 103
Nothing Left This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman have: Michael Lumish USA, 0:02;00 - Mmusi Maimane S.A, 0:30:10 - Mathew M Hausman USA, 56:0:00 - Dr Isi Leibler Israel, 1:21:20 - Dr Danny Lamm Aust., 1:48:00
My 5 minute bit is basically about the infiltration of the Democratic party with anti-Semitic anti-Zionists and starts at about the two minute mark.
Alan talks about the HonestReporting conference in Israel, among other things, and he notes that David Rubinger spoke. Rubinger is the photographer who took this photo that you may have seen once or twice before:

The West's Most Important Ally: Islam's Dissidents
Today a new Iron Curtain has been erected by Islam against the rest of the world, and the new heroes are the dissidents, the apostates, the rebels, the non-believers and the heretics.
This rapidly growing army of Muslim dissidents is the best liberation movement for millions of Muslims who aspire to practice their faith peacefully without submitting to the dictates of fundamentalists and fanatics.
They are alone against all. Against Islamism which uses Kalashnikovs and against an intellectual terrorism which submits them to media intimidation. Seen as "traitors" by their communities, they are accused by the élites in the West of "stigmatizing."
We should support them -- all of them. Some of the bravest defenders of freedom come from the Islamic regimes. Europe should give financial, moral and political support to these friends of Western civilization, while our disgraced intelligentsia is engaged in slandering them.
The EU is Coming to Close Down Your Free Speech
The German Chancellor was not interested in the reinforcement of Europe's external borders, the re-erection of its internal borders, the institution of a workable asylum vetting system and the repatriation of people who had lied to gain entry into Europe. Instead, Chancellor Merkel wanted to know how Facebook's founder could help her restrict the free speech of Europeans, on Facebook and on other social media.
Then, on May 31, the European Union announced a new online speech code to be enforced by four major tech companies, including Facebook and YouTube.
It was clear from the outset that Facebook has a definitional problem as well as a political bias in deciding on these targets. What is Facebook's definition of 'racism'? What is its definition of 'xenophobia'? What, come to that, is its definition of 'hate speech'?
Of course the EU is a government -- and an unelected government at that -- so its desire not just to avoid replying to its critics -- but to criminalise their views and ban their contrary expressions -- is as bad as the government of any country banning or criminalising the expression of opinion which is not adulatory of the government.
People must speak up -- must speak up now, and must speak up fast -- in support of freedom of speech before it is taken away from them. It is, sadly, not an overstatement to say that our entire future depends on it.
White House rejects increased Israel missile defense funding
The Obama administration on Tuesday opposed a call by US lawmakers to increase government funding for Israel's missile defense program by $455 million above the 2017 fiscal year budget request.
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget issued the rejection of the proposal made by the US House of Representatives in a Statement of Administration Policy on defense appropriations released Tuesday.
In May, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended a major increase in spending on Israeli missile defense programs – quadrupling a budget line proposed by the Obama administration.
The increase, supported unanimously and across party lines in the committee, proposed $600 million in funding for fiscal year 2017 – an increase of $113 million from last year and $454 million over US President Barack Obama's request.
In response to the White House's statement Tuesday, the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC said it was "deeply disappointed" by the US administration's measure that "has criticized Congress for funding US-Israel missile defense cooperation."`
PM rejects ‘panic’ over reported cut in US missile defense aid
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday dismissed widespread “panic” over reports implying the US government is refusing to increase financial aid for Israeli missile defense.
While not denying the reports, which prompted opposition politicians to harshly criticize Netanyahu, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office insisted that American aid for missile defense system protecting Israel would ultimately be increased rather than cut.
On Tuesday, the White House said it opposed a move by the House of Representatives to increase funding for Israeli missile defense procurement by an additional $455 million above the administration’s budget request for the 2017 fiscal year.
Due to “multiple misleading reports,” the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday issued a statement insisting “there is no cut in US aid.” Rather, there is an “internal debate” between Congress and the White House over the size of the annual increase to the American missile defense program.
Netanyahu is seeking to anchor this additional aid as a part of his ongoing negotiations over the extension of an US-Israel memorandum of understanding, which regulates US military aid to Israel, the statement noted.
“Not only will the security assistance for missile defense not be cut, it will be increased,” it said.
AIPAC ‘Deeply Disappointed’ Obama Won’t Up Israel’s Missile Defense by $445 Million
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) issued a statement criticizing the White House Office of Management and Budget’s “Statement of Administration Policy” which threatened to veto the Senates $576 billion defense spending bill, among other reasons because the statement of policy “opposes the addition of $455 million above the FY 2017 Budget request for Israeli missile defense procurement and cooperative development programs.”
Last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $600 million in funding for 2017, which represents an increase of $455 million over the president’s original request.
The statement of administration policy released Tuesday by the Office of Management and Budget reads: “The bill is inconsistent with the [Bipartisan Budget Act], and the administration strongly objects to the inclusion of problematic ideological provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation. … If the president were presented with H.R. 5293, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
One of those “problematic ideological provisions” is the increased allocation for Israel’s missile defense research and development.
Trump: US must strengthen alliance with Israel
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday said the US must strengthen its alliance with Israel, in an address strongly critical of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Reading mostly from a teleprompter, in a speech to Evangelical voters in Washington, Trump delivered a sharp rebuke of Clinton, declaring her “unfit to be president” while vowing to “restore faith to its proper mantle in American society.”
As he took the stage, Trump boasted of the support he’s received from evangelicals Christians, including a series of endorsements from Christian leaders, including Jerry Falwell Jr., who leads Liberty University.
He said the US must strengthen its alliance with Israel to ensure its security, and added that the entire world must learn how to deal with radical Islam.
Hillary Clinton will target Hamas’s ‘virtual territory,’ campaign says
Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, plans to deny Hamas “virtual territory” should she win the election in November, a senior campaign official told The Jerusalem Post this weekend.
Last week, the Hamas leadership immediately praised the shooting rampage at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv on social media. Ismail Haniyeh, the top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, has maintained a Twitter account since March 2012 and has 314,000 followers. Khaled Mashaal, the group’s chief, has had an account active since last May, now with 45,800 followers. The main Hamas Twitter page, active since October 2010, has 239,000 followers.
Israeli security experts told the Post last week that little had been done to deny terrorist organizations these platforms, despite concern by Western law enforcement agencies – as well as among the very organizations that host them, in particular Twitter and Facebook – over the effect these messages have in stoking violence around the world, from Israel to the United States.
Clinton campaign officials said that the candidate’s strategy to deny terrorist organizations the ability to recruit online “would apply to all terrorist propaganda, including that of Hamas.
US Ambassador: 'Best weapon against BDS - a Palestinian state'
US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro addressed the 2016 Herzliya Conference on Wednesday, noting the close social, economic, and political ties between the US and Israel.
“Israel is home to over 2,500 US firms,” Shapiro said, pointing out that there “are more Israeli companies listed on the NASDAQ exchange than Indian, Japanese, and Korean listings combined.”
Looking to shore up President Barack Obama’s pro-Israel bona fides after more than seven years of diplomatic tensions with the Israeli government, Shapiro claimed the US President admired Israel for its many accomplishments.
“’Americans admire a people’, said President Nixon, “who can scratch a desert and produce a garden,’” said Shapiro. “That admiration was on full display during President Obama’s visit in 2013. ‘If people want to see the future of the world economy,’ he [Obama] said, ‘they should look at Tel Aviv, home to hundreds of start-ups and research centers.’”
Shapiro said the White House remained committed to fighting BDS, but claimed that the most powerful weapon against efforts to delegitimize and isolate Israel is Palestinian statehood.
“I always emphasize President Obama’s and Vice President Biden’s staunch opposition,” said Shapiro.
“I have directed my Administration to strongly oppose boycotts, divestment campaigns, and sanctions targeting the State of Israel,” President Obama said in February. “As long as I am President, we will continue to do so.”
Does France think Tel Aviv is Palestinian territory?
Does the French Embassy in Israel consider Tel Aviv to be Palestinian territory? According to a letter recently received by a Tel Aviv resident, that would seem to be the case.
A Tel Aviv resident who applied for a French residency card was surprised to receive a document from the embassy that included the words "Tel Aviv, Israel/Palestinian Territories."
A number of documents on the official website of the French Embassy in Israel have used the phrase "Israel/Palestinian Territories" in referring to areas that are not beyond the Green Line. The French Embassy is located in Tel Aviv, but its notices have referred to the area as "Israel/Palestinian Territories."
Knesset Member MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu) approached Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) about the issue, asking her to summon French diplomatic representatives for clarification.
The French Embassy in Israel responded to the complaint with a statement saying, "This was a technical error originating in the software. The error has been corrected and now all the documents on the website read 'Israel.'"
Muslims ‘Compete for Victimhood’ After UK Gov Announces Money For Security At Jewish Schools
The British government has announced millions of pounds in extra funding for heavy security at Jewish schools, amid a rising threat from Islamist attacks.
The Home Office confirmed to Schools Week that they have granted the Community Security Trust (CST), which funds security measures for the Jewish community, more than £13 million.
A spokesman for CST rejected “competition for victimhood” claims after a Muslim schools said they would expect similar funding.
The money will be used to step up security in Jewish state schools, and other community sites, after antisemitic attacks across Europe.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “A key responsibility for government and the police is to protect individuals and the communities in which they live.
“Following recent attacks against individuals and Jewish community sites, including in Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels and Toulouse, there have been considerable efforts from the police, working with the community, to mitigate any threats to Jewish interests in the UK.
“This funding is to provide further measures as part of these ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and security of the Jewish community.”
Alan Johnson: From Cable Street to Raed Saleh, Labour must understand anti-Semitism has shape-shifted
The degree to which the party simply does not currently ‘get’ antisemitic anti-Zionism was shown by the warm reception given to the Islamist anti-Semite Raed Salah by Jeremy Corbyn in 2012. Corbyn organised a press conference to defend Salah’s presence in the UK and said of him: ‘He is far from a dangerous man. He is a very honoured citizen, he represents his people extremely well, and his is a voice that must be heard.’ Corbyn even added this personal message to Salah: ‘I look forward to giving you tea on the terrace [of the House of Commons] because you deserve it!’
In fact, Saleh – as many pointed out to Jeremy Corbyn at the time– opposed not the occupation but the ‘bacteria of all times’. He did not criticise Benjamin Netanyahu, but the demonic ‘unique mover’ who was behind 9/11. He did not call for the West to apply diplomatic pressure on Israel but attacked the entire West as a ‘slave to Global Zionism’. These statements were all one click away on the internet and the leader was pointed to them. He ignored them all and instead issued fulsome praise for Saleh. About Saleh’s blood libel speech, the UK Appeal Court decided that ‘We do not find this comment [by Salah] could be taken to be anything other than a reference to the blood libel against Jews.’ It also decided that this would ‘offend and distress Israeli Jews and the wider Jewish community’.
If the party misses this opportunity to construct an intellectual and cultural firewall to separate legitimate criticism of Israeli policy from foul demonization of Israel per se, then the party’s crisis will likely become chronic. Antisemitic anti-Zionism will flourish, the fundamental perception of the party among the electorate will be that Labour is ‘extremist’, there may well be an exodus of long-standing members; and the climate for Jews in this country will become less welcoming and more dangerous. Much is at stake.
Professor Alan Johnson is the editor of Fathom and Senior Research Fellow at BICOM. His 15,000 word submission to the inquiry was titled ‘Antisemitic anti-Zionism: the root of Labour’s crisis.’
Ex-London mayor Livingstone sticks with ‘Hitler backed Zionism’ claim
Former London mayor and senior Labour party official Ken Livingstone on Tuesday doubled down on his controversial claim that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler supported Zionism, a comment that led to his suspension from Britain’s opposition party in April.
Addressing members of a parliamentary committee tasked with investigating a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents within the Labour party, Livingstone declined to apologize for the remark, insisting his claim was historically accurate.
He said that in recent weeks “hundreds” of people have approached him to express their support for the statement.
“If I had said that Hitler was a Zionist, I would apologize for that, because it’s rubbish,” he told the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
Bernie Sanders: Anything But Harmless
As Bernie Sanders’ campaign winds down, he has evolved from quixotic gadfly to persistent annoyance, to one who seeks to alter and shake things up, to one who may potentially inflict permanent damage on the US – Israel relationship. If unchecked his efforts could result in irreparable harm to bi-partisan support for Israel, the bedrock of our nation’s policy of guaranteeing Israel’s security.
His by now well-known appointments to the Democratic party platform draft committee coupled with pronouncements of his goals leave no room for ambiguity or uncertainty about his intentions. He is seeking not just a more balanced, more even-handed policy of the Democratic Party, but nothing less than a realignment of the relationship between the United States and Israel.
I find his angry rants, rallies and rhetoric in which he rails against segments of society, albeit, privileged ones, only slightly less frightening in their demagoguery than those of the equivalent of the rants of his counterpart on the other side, Donald Trump.
Any Jew Can Get An Op-Ed Published In The New York Times!
Let me guess, you are surprised by the headline, right? You think the New York Times is an antisemitic rag, right? But really, the New York Times is totally open to any Jew who wants his or her opinion in a national publication.
It’s super-easy! You don’t need any credentials or qualifications. All you have to do is bash Israel.
Take Sunday’s op-ed by Daniel Sieradsky. Daniel who?, you may be asking. Me, too. That’s the beauty of it! This formerly obscure “activist” and, according to his bio, former publisher of the Israel-bashing blog Jewschool, wrote an op-ed, published by the New York Times, on the subject of New York’s anti-BDS Executive Order. The Governor of New York himself, the man who signed the Order, Andrew Cuomo, could not even get his own op-ed published in the Times — he had to publish it in the Washington Post!
See the difference? Andrew Cuomo — not a Jew. Clearly, the New York Times is biased in favor of Jews! (As long as they hate Israel.)
Sieradski follows in the footsteps of College of Staten Island Creative Writing Professor and proud BA-holder Sarah Schulman, who used the Times to popularize the charge that Israel “pinkwashes” its treatment of Palestinian Arabs, and Meirav Zonszein, who was afforded space in the New York Times to complain about her own experience seeking an abortion in Israel.
Desmond Tutu is Wrong about Marwan Barghouti
Barghouti has declared many times (e.g. in a statement issued on May 15, 2014) that there shall be no peace with Israel without the “right of return.” What the Palestinians mean by the “right of return” is that the descendants from the 700,000 Palestinians refugees of 1948 (which UNWRA estimates at 5 million today) should be entitled to become Israeli residents and citizens. Besides having no basis in international law and no precedent in history, such a “right” is incompatible with the two-state solution, since its implementation would turn pre-1967 Israel into a binational state with an Arab majority. In a two-state model, each nation-state absorbs its own refugees, just as Israel did with many of the 900,000 Jewish refugees expelled from Arab and Muslim countries in the 1950s. Clearly, Barghouti’s struggle continues to deny the Jews’ right to their own nation-state.
Barghouti was the leader of the military wing of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, which carried out thousands of deadly attacks (including suicide bombings) against Israeli civilians. These deadly attacks included the murder of a Greek Orthodox monk on June 12, 2001; the murder of six Israelis during a bar-mitzvah celebration on January 7, 2002; the murder of three Israelis in a shooting spree at a Tel-Aviv restaurant on March 5, 2002. Barghouti was also directly responsible for operating the terrorist cell of Raed Karmi in Tulkarem, which carried out many deadly attacks against Israeli civilians.
As Alan Bauer, the victim of a terrorist attack masterminded by Barghouti, wrote to President Obama in March 2014: “We cannot re-wind the clock and make the injuries and suffering disappear; the one thing we can do is to pursue justice and to do everything in our power to prevent terrorists from striking again.” Archbishop Tutu would be well-advised to ponder those words.
Antisemitism Expert: Twitter Must ‘Step Up’ War Against Jew-Targeted Hate Speech
Twitter needs to “step up and deal with the hate speech” that is increasingly sweeping the popular social media platform, an antisemitism expert told The Algemeiner on Thursday.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), was responding to recent reports from Jewish personalities on Twitter that they have been coming under attack by antisemites and white supremacists.
According to Cooper, “Over the last six months, Twitter has taken considerable steps to remove terrorist accounts. ISIS alone has been sending out 200,000 tweets a day. When it comes to dealing with hate speech, they have done virtually nothing against disgusting, racist and antisemitic hashtags that are currently active on the site.”
Twitter’s purported lackadaisical response to antisemitic hate speech in its feeds even prompted prominent New York Times Washington deputy-editor Jon Weisman to shut down his account of 34,000 followers. After providing Twitter with a vast collection of antisemitic tweets sent to him over the last several months, Twitter responded that none of the offenders had violated the site’s rules.
New Proactive Strategies Are Necessary To Defeat Academic BDS
As a veteran of the academic BDS struggle, I am encouraged by the coming together of several academically-oriented groups to combat BDS. The narrow margin of victory against academic BDS in the American Anthropological Association has demonstrated to the faculty world wide that while BDS is seen as antithetical to academic freedom, there are still growing powerful threats that drain academics of their primary missions to generate new knowledge and research and to share that with colleagues, while teaching students to think critically and productively.
There is also a growing threat of faculty members hijacking academic association agendas to make political statements, now being challenged legally within these associations with the actions of senior members of the American Studies Association bringing legal action against their association for engaging in professional activities unrelated to the corporate charter of the association. These actions are both crippling intellectually and financially to the primary purposes of these organizations as their missions are hijacked.
If ever there was a time for grass-roots faculty to speak out against these actions, it is now. As academic institutions and associations become more steeped in this movement, there is less focus on academic excellence and more focus on politicization. It is time for academics to tell their institutions that BDS resolutions are antithetical to academic freedom and have no place being efforted in faculty governance councils and academic associations. Statements and principles adopted by the American Association of University Professors (reaffirmed over time) and many Nobel Laureates in response to BDS are well established and should be affirmed in such proactive resolutions.
‘Sophisticated’ Economist duped by Pallywood tale starring the Tamimis
The Economist fancies itself a sophisticated magazine, one which “offers authoritative insight” into news, politics, business, finance, science and technology. However, as it pertains to Israel, they’ve sometimes proven themselves just as vulnerable to the mindless groupthink plaguing the rest of the media.
A case in point involves their review of The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine by Ben Ehrenreich (The view on the ground, June 11), a book featuring the Tamimis of the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh. Though some British media outlets have caught on to the family’s well-choreographed ‘Pasbara’, the anonymous Economist critic barely shows even a hint of journalistic skepticism in the face of Ehrenreich’s risible narrative.
As noted by our colleague Tamar Sternthal, Nabi Saleh is “where photographers gather nearly every Friday to document repetitious scenes of Palestinian residents and international activists clashing with Israeli soldiers” and where activists often place their children in danger to score propaganda points.
Nabi Saleh’s most popular Pallywood child star, Ahed Tamimi (dubbed “Shirley Temper“), revived her recurring role as the symbol of Palestinian “resistance” last August, when she was seen attacking an Israeli soldier who had detained a rock-thrower.
Continuing the mapping of BBC inconsistency in terrorism reporting
An ambiguous approach is also seen in recently produced material concerning the 20th anniversary of the IRA terror attack in Manchester. An article appearing on the BBC News website does clarify what the story is about in its headline – “Manchester IRA bomb: Terror blast remembered 20 years on” – but anyone unfamiliar with the story who read the ‘About The BBC Blog’ post promoted by the corporation on social media would have great difficulty understanding that the “1996 Manchester Bomb” was a terror attack committed by the IRA.
As we see once again, the BBC not only has difficulty in achieving consistency – and therefore impartiality – in its reporting of terrorism in assorted locations, but even in different reports about the same incident.
Ten years have passed since the BBC chose to ignore the Thomas Report’s call to “get the language right”. As the past week has shown once again, that decision does not serve the corporation’s funding public by helping them understand international and domestic events and it certainly has not enhanced the BBC’s reputation as an impartial broadcaster.
BBC WS ‘Witness’ blames Israel for Iraqi nuclear weapons programme
Listeners also heard Selbi make the preposterous claim that were it not for Operation Opera, the 1991 Gulf War might have been avoided. Hidalgo made no effort to remind audiences that the war was the result of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and totally unrelated to Israel.
“If the Israelis had not bombard us we wouldn’t have gone to a covert activity and everybody would have been happy. The IAEA inspectors are [were] there continuously; this is a prerequisite for the nuclear reactor […] and Iraq would maybe, maybe wouldn’t have gone through the 1991 war.”
Selbi also made the following unchallenged claim:
“This line of activity – enriching uranium – we did not even think about it before the bombardment.”
The second of Hidalgo’s two interviewees was self-described Fatah conscript Imad Khadduri to whom the BBC previously provided a platform for the promotion of similar claims in an interview ten years ago. Khadduri and Selbi are among the co-authors of a book they self-published in 2011 and among the protagonists of the historically problematic notion that the Iraqi nuclear weapons programme only came into being after – and as a result of – Operation Opera.
The unchallenged promotion of such distorted historical accounts cannot possibly be said to contribute to meeting the BBC’s remit of building “a global understanding of international issues”.
German initiative preserves 70 Jewish graveyards
A German-funded pilot program for protecting Eastern European Jewish cemeteries has helped preserve at least 70 graveyards since 2015, the effort’s initiators told Council of Europe delegates.
The briefing Wednesday in Strasbourg about the European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative, or ESJF, came two years after its inception with an initial budget of $1.35 million, Yossi Beilin, a former justice minister of Israel and a member of ESJF’s advisory board, told JTA.
The briefing at the Council of Europe, a body of 47 member states that aims to encourage pan-European cooperation and dialogue, was partly intended to help “find more resources for the next steps” and make ESJF into a permanently functioning body with core funding, Beilin said.
The initiative has restored cemeteries in Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Serbia and Moldova, Beilin said.
Louis Brandeis: The Jewish Boy From Kentucky Who Became a Supreme Court Legend
Exactly a century ago, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. After a contentious confirmation process, he became the first Jewish justice, serving on the bench for 23 years. His rulings on privacy, workers’ rights, and free speech feel as relevant today as they did when he issued them, and his foresight, wisdom, and clear-spokenness cemented his reputation as nothing short of a visionary.
In Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet, writer Jeffrey Rosen explores Brandeis’ personal and professional life. He joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to discuss the influence Thomas Jefferson had on Brandeis—known as the “Jewish Jefferson,” the justice’s ruling in Whitney v. California—a landmark free-speech case, and why Brandeis is uniquely relevant in the fractious political climate of our day.
Israeli tech scene second only to Silicon Valley, Google exec says
A top Google official on Tuesday hailed Israel’s tech sector, saying it trailed only Silicon Valley in the United States when it comes to “initiatives.”
Eric Schmidt, formerly Google chief executive and now executive chairman of its parent company Alphabet, said Israel, a country of only around 8 million people, was punching far above its weight in technology.
“For a relatively small country, Israel has a super role in technological innovation,” he told an audience at Google’s offices in the commercial capital Tel Aviv.
“I can’t think of a place where you could see this diversity and the collection of initiatives aside from Silicon Valley,” he added. “That is a pretty strong statement.”
Israel has long self-styled itself as the “start-up nation,” encouraging entrepreneurship –- especially in the technological sector.
However, companies have often been sold to larger investors in the United States, rather than remaining in the Middle Eastern country.
Schmidt said he had seen a “maturation” of the “start-up nation” in recent years.
Curb Your Enthusiasm Returning for a Ninth Season
This is literally the only news that matters today:
Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” will return for Season 9 on HBO, the premium cabler announced Tuesday.
“We’re thrilled that Larry has decided to do a new season of ‘Curb’ and can’t wait to see what he has planned,” said Casey Bloys, president, HBO programming.
Asked why he decided to come back, David said, “In the immortal words of Julius Caesar, ‘I left, I did nothing, I returned.’”

This is what the people want to hear. This is what the people need to hear. Put this on cable news. Feature hours and hours of interviews with comedians talking about how the best sitcom in TV history (YEAH THAT’S RIGHT) is returning. It beats another billion segments of talking heads blathering on about stuff they don’t understand and can’t change anyway. It beats having to listen to Donald Trump whine and President Obama lecture. It beats idle speculation on an election that’s still months away or a tragedy that cannot be changed.
All Curb Your Enthusiasm news is good news. Tell the people. Spread the word. Larry David is coming back to cable.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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