Thursday, November 26, 2020

From Ian:

Obama’s revisionist ‘Promised Land’
I have never criticized former U.S. President Barack Obama publicly—neither during my time in the Knesset nor anywhere else—despite my having disagreed with many of his policies. I am of the strong opinion that Israelis should not engage in or interfere with American politics, and I regularly offer a blanket thank you to all American presidents, including Obama, for their economic and military support for Israel.

However, his memoir, A Promised Land, is filled with historical inaccuracies that I feel the need to address. His telling of Israel’s story (at the beginning of Chapter 25) not only exhibits a flawed understanding of the region—which clearly impacted his policies as president—but misleads readers in a way that will forever shape their negative perspective of the Jewish state.

Obama relates, for example, how the British were “occupying Palestine” when they issued the Balfour Declaration calling for a Jewish state. But labeling Great Britain as an “occupier” clearly casts doubt on its legitimacy to determine anything about the future of the Holy Land—and that wasn’t the situation.

While it is true that England had no legal rights in Palestine when the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917, that changed just five years later. The League of Nations, precursor to the United Nations, gave the British legal rights over Palestine in its 1922 “Mandate for Palestine,” which specifically mentions “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

The League also said that “recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”

The former president’s noted omission of the internationally agreed-upon mandate for the British to establish a home for the Jews in Palestine misinforms the reader, who will conclude that the movement for a Jewish state in Palestine had no legitimacy or international consent.

“Over the next 20 years, Zionist leaders mobilized a surge of Jewish migration to Palestine,” Obama writes, creating the image that once the British illegally began the process of forming a Jewish state in Palestine, Jews suddenly started flocking there.


Supreme Court Blocks Cuomo’s Limits On Synagogues, Churches in Thanksgiving Ruling
The Supreme Court sided with a coalition of Orthodox Jewish groups and the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn Thursday in an emergency appeal that alleged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D.) COVID-related worship restrictions discriminate against Jews and violate the First Amendment.

The vote in the early Thanksgiving morning ruling was five to four, with Chief Justice John Roberts and the liberal trio in dissent. "Statements made in connection with the challenged rules can be viewed as targeting the ‘ultra-Orthodox Jewish' community. But even if we put those comments aside, the regulations cannot be viewed as neutral because they single out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment," the majority wrote in an unsigned opinion.

Cuomo's contested regulations establish three kinds of hotspot zones with corresponding restrictions. In red zones, where transmission is highest, church attendance is capped at 10. In less severe orange zones, that number is 25, while houses of worship in yellow zones may open at 50 percent attendance. A portion of Brooklyn and about half of Queens are currently in yellow zones.

"It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques," Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in defense of the ruling.


Holocaust Analogies and Twenty-First-Century Victimhood
Food Network chef Alton Brown recently starred in his own Holocaust-related Twitter controversy. After angering some fans by sharing that he has voted for Republicans in the past, Brown wrote in since-deleted tweets, “Do you think the camp uniforms will be striped, like the ones at Auschwitz or will plaid be in vogue?” Someone responded, “Depends on what you’re worth going in,” to which Brown replied, “I have no gold fillings.”

Yes, a privileged American, enjoying a life of freedom, compared himself to Jews targeted for dehumanization and elimination. Brown referenced concentration camp prisoners' uniforms and the forcible removal of gold teeth to assert his own victim status. He has since apologized for “the flippant reference” to the Holocaust, saying it “reflect[ed] how deeply frightened I am for our country.” An apology is a positive step, but let’s be clear: Whatever problems one sees in 2020 America, we’re not living in Nazi Germany. More important, Brown’s comments aren’t the story of one man’s bad week on Twitter. Rather, they illustrate a troubling trend.

Seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we’re living betwixt dangerous cross currents. On the one hand, too few Americans know the history of the Holocaust or what anti-Semitism is. On the other, a sizable segment of our culture lionizes victimhood. The result is a lot of people insisting that they’re the real Jews, persecuted and suffering.

A 2018 survey commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany found that 11 percent of American adults “haven’t heard” or weren’t “sure if they have heard” of the Holocaust, and 22 percent of millennials said the same. Furthermore, 41 percent of all American adults and 66 percent of millennials “cannot identify what Auschwitz was.” A recently released American Jewish Committee survey on anti-Semitism found that only 53 percent of the American public “has heard of antisemitism and knows what it means.” Twenty-one percent said they had never even heard the term.

There’s a need for widespread education about Jew hate. However, it’s not clear our political, cultural, and media elites will do the necessary informing. U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn has repeatedly compared Trump’s America to Hitler’s Germany. Actor John Cusack, who previously had his own Twitter anti-Semitism controversy, responded to the Million MAGA March by tweeting “Dutechland [sic] Uber alles.” Actor Alec Baldwin has tweeted, “Bury Trump in a Nazi graveyard and put a swastika on his grave.”

And then there’s the media. There’s minimal media coverage of anti-Semitism outside the Jewish press, but what there is can sometimes be harmful. For example, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour likened Trump’s presidency to Kristallnacht, which she called “the Nazis’ warning shot across the bow of our human civilization that led to genocide against a whole identity.” With that statement, Amanpour erased 6 million murdered Jews from a discussion about the Holocaust. After a public outcry, Amanpour expressed “regret” for linking Kristallnacht and Trump’s America, but said nothing about having replaced “Jews” with the generic “identity.”


22% of hate crimes in Europe in 2019 were against Jews, report shows
Antisemitic incidents accounted for 22% of hate crimes recorded last year in the pan-European region, though Jews comprise less than 1% of the population there.

The data on hate crimes comes from a report about 5,954 incidents recorded in Europe, Russia and Central Asia by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, or ODHIR, of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, ODHIR said in its annual report published last week. The report is based on data transmitted by governments and watchdog groups.

Of the total incidents, 1,311 were antisemitic, according to the the report titled “2019 Hate Crime Data.”

Antisemitism was the category with the second-largest number of incidents after the 2,371 incidents in the more general Racism and Xenophobia category.

Those targeted for their gender or sexual orientation (1,277 cases) made up the third-highest group, followed by Christians (573) and Muslims (507).


The Syrian Prime Minister Who Was a French Double Agent and Tipped Off Zionist Leaders about British Plans
In 1945, Britain and France were rivals for control over the Middle East, and the former hoped to keep the Land of Israel under the authority of a friendly Arab ruler, while expanding its influence into the French protectorate of Syria. The British had at the time recruited Jamil Mardam Bey, a senior minister in the Syrian government, to work for them. When French intelligence caught him, they managed to turn him to their side. Meir Zamir, drawing on newly revealed archival materials, discovered something surprising about this relationship:

It all began in October 1945, when the French encountered a new problem. Mardam had been appointed Syria’s ambassador to Egypt and its envoy to the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, but the French had a hard time utilizing him there without arousing suspicion. The solution was to recruit Eliahu Sasson for the mission of relaying the information provided by Mardam.

Sasson, who was then the head of the Arab division of the Jewish Agency’s political department, had been appointed by the Agency’s head David Ben-Gurion in February 1945 to coordinate cooperation with French intelligence. The Syrian-born Sasson knew Mardam and had met with him in 1937, when the latter had served as prime minister, [a position to which he would later return]. The French, who were well acquainted with Sasson and thought highly of his operational capabilities, began to collaborate with him in handling Mardam.

From July 1945, Ben-Gurion had prepared for the possibility of an attack by the Arab states should the Jewish state declare its independence. But the information from Mardam turned the spotlight elsewhere. Ben-Gurion learned that the immediate threat to the establishment of the Jewish state lay not in an attack by Arab armies, but rather in the plan of British military commanders and intelligence agencies in the Middle East to thwart that development by various other means. These included declaring the Haganah militia a terrorist organization and disarming it, and implementing the “Greater Syria plan,” under which a limited Jewish entity would be created in Mandatory Palestine, but not an independent state.
A French television drama shows courage in depicting the true scope of the country’s crimes during the Holocaust, which it then washes away in a bizarre assertion of moral equivalence
This bold and still-controversial statement was the work of the series’ creator, Frédéric Krivine. He is the son of radical left-wing parents and the nephew of Alain Krivine, who was jailed by de Gaulle for leading the 1968 protests. As chief consultant for his production, the writer chose Jean-Pierre Azéma, a noted leftist historian. This no doubt explains the sentimental portrayal of the communists and the brutal depiction of every American GI. But Krivine is also Jewish and has described Un Village Français as “a good Jewish story.” But good in what way?

Clearly it cannot be in France, where the survivors see no future. For two of them, the answer is Palestine. “A land without a people for a people without a land,” one of them says, unknowingly quoting a 19th-century Christian Zionist. “I just want to live in a place without fighting.” All of this is meant ironically, though, as we see in the final season in which the now-married pair—the woman is played by Krivine’s wife, Axelle Maricq—is driving a Haganah ambulance. Ambushed by Arabs shouting “Deir Yassin! Deir Yassin!” the husband explains that this was a Palestinian village in which “our people killed two hundred innocent men, women, and children”—curiously echoing the Palestinian narrative of that event, which is strongly disputed by most Israeli historians. His wife cries, “We’re no better than those who oppressed us in France!”

Voilà. So, this, after 72 episodes, is what Un Village Français is ultimately about. Yes, we were horrible to the Jews, but look—they’re no better toward the Arabs than we were toward them. French guilt for the Holocaust can be conveniently cleansed by the invocation of supposedly equivalent Israeli wrongdoing—which must be monstrously magnified and exaggerated in order to make the equation work. Interviewed by The Nation, Frédéric Krivine compared French indifference to the plight of Jews during WWII to the Israeli public’s lack of response to the IDF’s killing of Gazans.

Far from indicting France for its Holocaust crimes, Krivine has in fact forgiven it. That message was conveyed to the 3.4 million French viewers who, on average, watched every hour of Un Village Français and to the many millions more in the 40 countries that rebroadcast it. They received first-class drama and acting, a courageous reexamination of French history—and a not-too-subliminal message about Israel being the ultimate guilty party, whose Nazi-like actions perversely cleanse the French of their own crimes in a bath of invented equivalence.

This libel corresponds with the unremitting rise of anti-Semitism in France. From the Front National on the right and Islamic extremists often backed by the left, as well as from “yellow vest” protesters, Jews are once again the target—so much so that 77% of French Jews now see anti-Semitism as a major threat. As a result, increasing numbers of Jews are leaving France for Israel. The signs in my Jaffa neighborhood are all in French and there are numerous Francophonic synagogues. Starting in 2014, French immigration to Israel surpassed that from the United States, and tens of thousands more are expected. Contrary to the conclusion of Un Village Français that Jews are physically threatened no matter where they go, and morally imperiled by Israel, these immigrants see the Jewish state as safer than France—for good reason.

As for my friend, learning about the fate of his French family at Yad Vashem changed him fundamentally. Rather than rejecting his Jewish identity, he began to embrace it and is today strictly observant. He is proud of his French roots but knows that in the terroirs de France they could never flower.
Hawaii's Congressman-elect Kai Kahele vows to oppose BDS, fight anti-Semitism
Say 'aloha' to Hawaii's newest member of Congress, Kai Kahele, who told JNS in an interview earlier this month that his state "has always had a very unique relationship with the State of Israel."

Kahele's state boasts Jewish history and, as of 2014, was home to 7,500 Jews, not to mention hordes of tourists annually. The islands are home to several synagogues and Chabad Houses.

The 46-year-old Democrat, who is married with three daughters and was elected to Congress from Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, expressed his appreciation for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who was known as a strong supporter of Israel.

"My position is the same," said Kahele. "And that's an unconditional commitment to Israel."

He remarked that "Israel is a very strong partner" and the "best example of democracy and the American values that we have in the Middle East."
Douglas Macgregor's anti-Semitic comments disqualify him from serving at the Pentagon
The staff of acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller recently grew, as retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor was appointed as his senior adviser. Such an announcement would typically be ho-hum staffing news but not in this case.

Macgregor has made fairly extensive comments about “the Israel lobby,” which he claims has bought off high-level American officials, including former national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Like Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, Macgregor criticized the "enormous influence" Israel supporters have on Congress and attacked the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Macgregor, who was once in line to be ambassador to Germany, lost out after outlets such as the Hill reported on his saying that “Germany’s efforts to grapple with its role in the Holocaust was a ‘sick mentality,’” among other jaw-dropping comments.

All of these remarks raise two big questions. First, given the extensive scrutiny Omar’s comments attracted in early 2019, why haven’t Macgregor’s been given similar attention? And second, if Macgregor was too toxic to be an ambassador as recently as the summer, why does Miller want him as a senior adviser?

Let’s consider the first question first. There are those who believe Omar was unfairly criticized, but context helps explain why many people reacted strongly, in addition to her comments' content. Omar’s three early anti-Semitic scandals kicked off in January 2019, two-plus months after 11 Jews were gunned down at Sabbath services in a Pittsburgh synagogue. The whole nation mourned with the Jewish community after the Tree of Life massacre. So, metaphorical alarms sounded when a new congresswoman expressed the sort of sentiments that endanger Jews.

Omar’s scandals also proved a real institutional test. Other than New York Reps. Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel, who countered Omar publicly (on Twitter), the House completely failed. It couldn’t collectively criticize Omar’s anti-Semitism without simultaneously criticizing a laundry list of other hatreds. Omar not only survived her scandals without apologizing by the end, but she also kept her seat on the prestigious Foreign Affairs Committee.
Plaid Cymru divided: One former leader appears to endorse claim that Labour antisemitism accusations are “smear”, while another former leader says Party “cannot tolerate” antisemitism
Plaid Cymru has seen two former leaders at odds over antisemitism, with one appearing to endorse conspiratorial denials of antisemitism in the Labour Party and another calling for no tolerance of anti-Jewish racism.

Leanne Wood, who served as leader of the Welsh Nationalist Party until 2018, appeared to endorse tweets by a controversial American journalist that read: “I’ve never seen a more flagrant, repellent and cynical exploitation of antisemitism in my life than its disgusting use to smear [Jeremy] Corbyn because of a lack of alternatives for how to defeat him. Nothing has trivialized this cause more than what British Blairites have done.”

A further tweet in the thread said: “Jeremy Corbyn is a better human being by a multiple of about 1,000 than all of the Oxbridge cretins in politics and media who have united to cynically smear him with accusations they know in their rotted souls are false.”

This is not the first time that Ms Wood has waded into the Labour antisemitism scandal, coming to the apparent defence of Rebecca Long-Bailey, who was sacked from Labour’s Shadow Cabinet earlier this year after she promoted an article containing an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

Plaid Cymru, after a recent antisemitism scandal, has announced that it is holding a review into antisemitism in its Party, to which Campaign Against Antisemitism shall be making submissions. The review will be led by the Party’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP.


Jeremy Corbyn supporter spared jail after sending antisemitic abuse and threats to Labour MPs
A Jeremy Corbyn supporter who sent threatening and antisemitic abuse to Labour MPs has been spared jail.

Nicholas Nelson, 31, admitted to three charges of sending communications of an offensive nature between July and September 2018. Recommended

The indictment related to phone calls and emails sent to Dame Margaret Hodge and Dame Louise Ellman - both of whom are Jewish.

Nelson also sent abuse to Lord John Mann, the former MP for Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire, who now serves as an antisemitism tsar.

Lord Mann has long campaigned against antisemitism but is not Jewish.

In 2018, Nelson was sentenced to 20 weeks in jail - suspended for a year - for harassing Jewish MPs Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth. Neither are still in parliament.

At Westminster Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram sentenced Nelson to 30 weeks in jail - suspended for 18 months.

The magistrate said: "I'm of the view that these offences are so serious that they cross the custody threshold.

"People should feel able to come forward and serve as MPs without fear of violence and threat. Certain communities have felt particularly under threat.

"And these courts will send a clear message to those who threaten members of those communities, who attack them because of their faith."
NGO Monitor: Norwegian Refugee Council Report on Children – Political Attacks Funded by the EU
On November 12, 2020, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) published “Raided and Razed: Attacks on West Bank Education,” a 44-page report alleging “296 attacks against education by Israeli forces or settlers and settlement private security guards” in January 2008 – June 2020.

The publication was funded by the Norwegian government (Representative Office to the PA) and the EU (ECHO). Notably, the EU also funded a highly politicized and misleading report based on allegations regarding detention of Palestinian children, published in October by Save the Children.

The Campaign to Blacklist the IDF at the UN
For many years, NRC, Save the Children, alongside Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP),1 and other advocacy NGOs have lobbied the UN Secretary-General intensively to include the IDF on the list of the world’s worst violators of children’s rights. (Currently, only terrorist organizations, state-sponsored militias, and armed forces of failed states are on the list.) The goal of their campaign is to trigger UN Security Council sanctions against Israel, by listing the IDF in the annex to the Sec-Gen’s annual report by the UN Secretary-General.

Entities found to be systematically violating at least one of five “trigger” and “grave violations” identified in Security Council Resolution 1612 can be included in the annex.2 These include “recruitment and use,” “killing and maiming,” “rape and other forms of sexual violence against children,” “attacks on schools and hospitals,” and “abduction of children.”

As part of the campaign against Israel, and in the absence of evidence of “grave violations,” the NRC claims to document incidents of “attacks on education.” “Attacks on education” is not a legal term; it was invented by NGOs to broaden the UN definition of “attacks on schools and hospitals” and is used in the context of Palestinians with the cynical objective of including Israel on the Secretary-General’s list.
UK's Buckinghamshire New University adopts IHRA antisemitism definition
Buckinghamshire New University has become the latest higher learning institution in the United Kingdom to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

The decision was made by the university's senate and council last week in order to advance the institution's "historic mission to create a learning community that is truly inclusive," according to a university statement.

However, while the university did adopt the IHRA definition, it did so alongside two additional clarifications, which state that criticizing the Israeli government is not inherently antisemitic, nor is holding Israel's government to the same standards as other liberal democracies or taking interest in Israeli policies or actions.

“Antisemitism is repugnant. It is a form of racism, has no place within society and will not be tolerated at our University," vice chancellor Prof. Nick Braisby said in a statement.

"Our decision to adopt the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism demonstrates our commitment to be an inclusive community that welcomes and celebrates all of our members irrespective of their background or ethnicity. Adopting the IHRA definition is an important step in our ongoing work towards eradicating racism, harassment, discrimination and prejudice.”
Exporting Racism: The latest slander against Israel
In April, leadership at Tufts University outside Boston was embarrassed when it was disclosed that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the toxic anti-Israel group with a sordid history of campus activism, had been given “The Collaboration Award” by the Office for Campus Life for the group’s role in exposing what they refer to as The Deadly Exchange—partnerships and cooperation between U.S. law enforcement and Israeli security forces.

Tufts president Anthony Monaco immediately tried distancing the university from SJP’s award, saying that he “would be reviewing the awards process” to clarify why the divisive SJP—which promotes boycotts against Israel on the 200 or so campuses where it has chapters—should be hailed for collaborating at all, let alone winning an award.

The Deadly Exchange program provided an irresistible bit of additional weaponry for Israel-haters in the cognitive war against the Jewish state, particularly after the death of George Floyd in May and the rapid ascent since then of Black Lives Matter in the racial consciousness of activists on and off campus. The longstanding narrative which portrayed Israel as a racist, apartheid oppressor of brown Palestinians was given new relevance when it could be suggested that the same racist white police officers who were being accused of randomly killing black men in the United States were being trained—and made even more lethal and dangerous—by the IDF.

“The Deadly Exchange between the U.S. and Israel solidifies and augments both countries’ methods and equipment for state violence and control,” SJP members wrote in a letter in the Tufts Daily, “including mass surveillance, racial profiling and suppression of protest and dissent.” The November 23rd letter was part of a SJP effort to “have a referendum on the ballot as a part of our campaign to End the Deadly Exchange at Tufts,” with the primary goal of “demanding the Tufts administration prohibit TUPD officers from attending military-led and/or similar international trips in the future, refine the vetting process to prevent prior attendees from being hired, and apologize for sending [in 2017] the former Tufts police chief to a militarized training trip.”

And what is the rationale for having members of the Tufts police department not hone their skills in programs with Israeli security forces? To end the systemic racism of law enforcement, of course. “Our referendum is seeking to promote the safety of students,” SJP contended, and “especially” students of color.
Amazon's Alexa shares antisemitic responses, UK MPs demand investigation
Amazon's Alexa could be used as a means to spread antisemitic views and conspiracies, causing concern among some British lawmakers. As explained Wednesday by Conservative Party MP Andrew Percy, Amazon's virtual artificial intelligence assistant product often responds to certain questions about Jews, the Holocaust and Israel "by quoting antisemitic conspiracy websites and using selective quotes from other sources which are misleading without further explanation."

In one example, shared by CFI on Twitter, when asked if Jews control the media, Alexa responds: "Here’s something I found from the article 'Jew Watch' on Wikipedia: Jew Watch claims that Jews control the world’s financial systems and media."

Another video showed Alexa responding to a question about the Elders of Zion by stating: "Here’s something I found on the web: According to palwatch.org, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the swindlers of Zion have revealed their schemes to subjugate the nations and gain control of the world."


PreOccupiedTerritory: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain Denounce Israel’s Ties With ‘Racist, Islamophobic’ Europe, US (satire)
Persian Gulf states in the process of rapprochement with the Jewish State voiced their misgivings today over the latter’s diplomatic relations with various other countries whose reputation for tolerance and diversity have long been questionable, and express grave concern that maintaining such relations will only further enable those regimes to continue in their prejudiced ways.

Reports emerged Sunday that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had met in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, in what most observers interpret as indication of the impending establishment of formal diplomatic and economic ties between the two nations. The development comes on the heels of similar events in the region, with Israel and several other states announcing normalization over the last two months: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman, plus several others with quieter, parallel outcomes, such as Sudan. At the same time, officials in those countries made their dismay known over the fact that Israel still has ties to Islamophobic societies such as France, Poland, the US, and others, and that recent normalization can only appear as condoning Israel’s relations with those distasteful regimes.

“It’s diplomacy, which is to say, politics, so no one is expecting only to encounter pristine interlocutors,” allowed Saudi minister Prince Tur Nabout. “Still, we must not turn a blind eye to the implications of establishing ties with a country that also keeps close ties with some of the most Islamophobic places on the planet, as even their own media have reminded us again and again since 2016. We must conduct a balancing act of sorts, pursuing our interests vis-à-vis Israel while maintaining an insistence that we do not accept their acceptance of the unacceptable.”
Fabricator and fraudster
The fact that fabrications can so easily be found in Robert Fisk’s work destroys his legacy of award-winning reporting

So let’s separate the myths from the facts. Fisk did not speak fluent Arabic, not even after living in the Middle East for more than 40 years. Leaving aside the testimony of Arabic speakers who worked alongside him, his lack of basic knowledge of the language is contained multiple times within his own work, such as his inability to tell the difference between the words “mother” and “nation” in a well-known Ba’athist slogan.

Fisk’s reputation among scholars and journalists in the Middle East was destroyed by years of distortions of the truth in his work on Syria. But even before he started embracing pro-Assad conspiracy theories, Fisk’s relationship with the truth was widely scrutinised. It is a monumental absurdity that we have a word, “Fisking”, in the Cambridge English Dictionary derived from his surname, without any mention of him.

The dictionary defines it as “the act of making an argument seem wrong or stupid by showing the mistakes in each of its points, or an instance of doing this.” The frequency with which falsehoods can be found in Fisk’s work wasn’t so much an open secret as a widely shared joke understood by all who worked in the industry.

Fisk got away with it because he always got away with it. The falsehoods he published were often tolerated, excused or dismissed because people agreed with the stories he was telling. But our job as journalists, especially in the Middle East, isn’t to tell stories — it’s to tell the truth.

Following Fisk’s passing, away from the newspaper obituaries, an entirely different narrative was expressed by those who saw him up close. Syrian journalist Asser Khatab wrote an excoriating article for the online platform Raseef22, sharing his experiences of working alongside him in Homs, including his lack of Arabic and his reliance on a translator connected with the Syrian mukhabarat (secret police).

“Fisk talked about places we did not visit and incidents that we did not witness,” Khatab said. “His interviews with officials, including the governor, were full of long, eloquent and expressive phrases. I do not know where they came from.”
Financial Times promotes false stereotype of Christian Zionists
The FT claim concerning what motivates Christian Zionists is an extremely misleading stereotype.

As CAMERA’s Christian media analyst Tricia Miller has demonsrated, it’s only a very small number of Evangelical Christian Zionists who support Israel solely for “prophetic reasons” or out of a motivation to “hasten the second coming of Christ.” Whilst there are some Christians whose support for Israel is motivated by their desire to convert Jews to Christianity, the overwhelming majority love the state for biblical, theological and historical reasons that don’t include attempts to convert Jews, or the desire to see Jews gathered in Israel to fulfill an interpretation of End Times events.

Rather, modern Christian support for Israel is rooted in the historic Christian belief that Jews would some day return to their ancient homeland, an understanding of the historical and spiritual connection of the Jewish people to that land, and agreement with the right of Jews to self-determination in their land.

Moreover, due in part to their sense of moral and theological duty, Christian Zionists are also overwhelmingly supportive of, and allied with, Jews in the diaspora as well, a philosemitic identity they see as distinct from other Christians who had persecuted Jews throughout the long history of their faith. Indeed, it strikes us as quite odd – not to mention self-defeating – that some who claim to be serious about fighting antisemitism would reject Christian allies merely out of concerns over the eschatological motivations of some of their adherents.


HonestUnplugged: What Happened to News?
HonestReporting is pleased to announce the launch of a new interview series - HonestUnplugged - which will cover topics ranging from defense and technology to culture and trends. In this first installment, CEO Daniel Pomerantz speaks with managing editor Charles Bybelezer about the current media landscape, specifically how ideological polarization in Israel and the US has seemingly influenced the manner in which news is produced and delivered in order to reinforce the pre-existing positions of a given target audience. Every episode will feature a well-known Israeli, who will provide an insider's look into the hot topics of the day.


Honest Reporting: BBC Arabic Misleads over Infamous Palestinian Terrorist
Terrorists, just like murderers and war criminals are defined by their acts of violence, no matter what they do before or after. The media would never describe Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein as a celebrity, so why should that be the way that a Palestinian terrorist is framed by the BBC? The media have a responsibility to not blur the lines between terrorism and celebrity status.


BBC Arabic partly corrects references to Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel
Between July and November 2020 CAMERA Arabic submitted no fewer than ten complaints to the editors of the BBC Arabic website about its use of Tel Aviv as a refence to Israel or the Israeli government within the framework of the common journalistic practice of citing a nation’s capital city as shorthand for the local government.

In the past few weeks several corrections to this recurring falsehood have been made in BBC articles: four in Arabic and one in both Arabic and Spanish. That still leaves five Arabic language articles which have not been corrected to date. An identical correction was secured last August from the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, also in Arabic. That did not prevent the outlet from subsequently publishing several more inaccurate references to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital.

In all the seven corrections (5 in BBC Arabic, one in BBC Spanish and one in DW Arabic) the phrase “Tel Aviv” was replaced with either “Israel” or “the Israeli government”.

The UK’s BBC and Germany’s DW thus joined – at least partially – the growing number of media outlets from various countries which have already agreed to admit the obvious: that Tel Aviv is not the capital of Israel.

The other Arabic language ones among them are American stations CNN Arabic and Al-Hurra. English language outlets include
Man convicted of promoting hatred towards Jews is sentenced for breach of probation in British Columbia, Canada
Arthur Topham has been sentenced to a 30-day conditional sentence plus three years probation, following a failure to comply with the terms of his previous probation period.

The recent sentencing on 20th November comes after Mr Topham had been found guilty of breach of probation and a prior conviction in 2017 for wilfully promoting hatred against Jews.

In November 2015, Mr Topham was convicted by a jury for calling for the forceful sterilisation of the Jews, claiming that the country is “controlled by the Zionist Jewish lobby” and referring to Jewish places of worship as “synagogues of Satan”. However, he launched a failed constitutional challenge to Canada’s hate speech legislation, which subsequently delayed his sentencing until March 2017.

Despite a possible maximum sentence of two years imprisonment, he received a six-month curfew and a ban on online engagement requiring him to abstain from posting any content related to the Jewish people for two years. Earlier this year, he proceeded to violate these terms by sharing antisemitic material and imagery.

The conditions of his updated three-year probation period include a ban on posting any online content related to the Jewish people, the Jewish religion, Israel, Israelis and Zionism. B’nai Brith Canada has praised the sentencing decision and welcomed this as a reminder that there are consequences for such offensive actions against Jewish citizens.
Australia primary school boy dresses up as concentration camp inmate
An elementary school in Melbourne, Australia, sparked controversy when one of its students dressed up as a concentration camp inmate for Book Week.

Taking place in mid-November at St. John Vianney's Primary School, the student was dressed as the titular character in the Holocaust novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. His mother posted the picture on Facebook, writing later in a comment that the "only thing letting his costume down is his blonder hair."

The incident sparked condemnation from Australia's leading civil rights organization, the Anti-Defamation Commission, who called on the school's principal Shane Regan to have the post removed, which it was, though Regan declined to comment.

"This is wrong on so many levels, and I am troubled by the level of insensitivity and ignorance displayed here," ADC chairman Dvir Abramovich said in a statement.

"I imagine that there would be many parents who would shake their heads in disbelief and find it hard to fathom why the mother sent her son to school as a concentration camp inmate, and later posted the images on social media," he said.

"Did she at any point consider the trauma this may cause to Jewish students who may have a Holocaust survivor grandparent, or that 1.5 million children were murdered in the Holocaust and that their death should not be the subject of a dress up?
UAE's Al Dahra, Israel's Watergen sign strategic partnership on water security
Abu Dhabi-headquartered Al Dahra Agricultural Company and Israel's Watergen have signed a strategic partnership in the field of water security on Thursday.

Al Dahra and Watergen agreed to establish a permanent centre in Abu Dhabi to produce and distribute machinery for producing water for drinking and irrigation in the region.

"The agreement aims to build a strategic partnership between the two sides to provide water from the air and add a renewable source of clean water suitable for human and agricultural consumption," Wam reported.

The agreement was concluded after the UAE company delegation visited Israel in October 2020, following the peace accord between the UAE and Israel, to encourage cooperation and strategic partnerships between the two countries, Al Darei said, noting that the company’s delegation met with representatives of Israeli companies operating in the sectors of agriculture, water and technology.

Since the UAE and Israel agreed to establish formal ties in August, several agreements have been signed between companies in the two countries, particularly in the fields of technology and agriculture.

During the visit, Al Dahra signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with Watergen covering an advanced technology for producing water from the air, while will help provide large quantities of drinking water, as well as water used in the irrigation of farms, parks, reserves, ranches and remote areas, he added. An AWG can produce up to 5,000 litres of water per day for drinking and irrigation purposes.









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