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Jun. 20 2010 — 12:48 pm | 1,342 views | 0 recommendations | 26 comments

From AIPAC: Anti-Arab video made by a Jerusalem Post editor

It seems the Jerusalem Post’s Deputy Managing Editor, Caroline Glick, doesn’t have much real work to do, since she has produced her second racist video in two weeks. [The first being 'We Con the World,' making light of nine dead activists on the Gaza aid flotilla.]

AIPAC has generously distributed this one for her to U.S. journalists.

H/T M.J. Rosenberg from Media Matters for America, a self-described former operative for the American Israel Political Action Committee, the uber lobby in the U.S. for the right-wing government currently in power in Israel.

Here’s how M.J. Rosenberg describes Glick: “She’s like a white supremacist in Alabama in 1959 who only became somebody by virtue of his white skin. There are other analogies I might make but they are considered verboten.”

Glick’s latest anti-Arab video features the ‘Three Terrors’ – governmental leaders from Iran, Syria, and Turkey. It’s particularly absurd to see that Glick has included Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan singing “jihad is sweet jihad.”

Do I need to again state my view that Glick should be forced to resign as a newspaper editor for this? Or that she is doing Israel no favor? Imagine what would happen to an American newspaper editor for making a racist video. [remembering Helen Thomas] Yes, Glick lives in a theocratic/democratic society, but she works for a newspaper – as an editor, not as an editorialist.

Imagine what influence someone with Glick’s platform could have if she wrote about individuals in Israeli and Palestinian society who were finding ways to achieve peaceful coexistence. I am assuming Glick is interested in peaceful coexistence. From her website, here’s just a sample of Glick’s views:

Led by US President Barack Obama, the West has cast its lot with Hamas against Israel.
It is not surprising that Obama is siding with Hamas. His close associates are leading members of the pro-Hamas Free Gaza outfit. Obama’s friends, former Weatherman Underground terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and William Ayres participated in a Free Gaza trip to Egypt in January. Their aim was to force the Egyptians to allow them into Gaza with 1,300 fellow Hamas supporters. Their mission was led by Code Pink leader and Obama fundraiser Jodie Evans.
Another leading member of Free Gaza is former US senator from South Dakota James Abourezk.
All of these people have open lines of communication not only to the Obama White House, but to Obama himself.
Obama has made his sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood clear several times since entering office. The Muslim Brotherhood’s progeny include Hamas, al Qaida and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, among others. Last June, Obama infuriated the Egyptian government when he insisted on inviting leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood to attend his speech at Al Azhar University in Cairo. His administration’s decision to deport Hamas deserter and Israeli counter-terror operative Mosab Hassan Yousef to the Palestinian Authority where he will be killed is the latest sign of their support for radical Islam.
Given Obama’s attitude towards jihadists and the radical leftists who support them his decision to support Hamas against Israel makes sense.
Caroline Glick, pictured with another famous anti-Arab, the neocon polemicist Daniel Pipes.

Caroline Glick, pictured with another famous anti-Arab, the neocon polemicist Daniel Pipes.

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Jun. 17 2010 — 10:04 am | 569 views | 1 recommendations | 12 comments

110,000 Orthodox Israelis Riot to Support Segregation


It is with American ears that revere the separation of church and state that we listen in awe to extreme religious happenings in the Middle East.

Sometimes its the Muslims, sometimes its the Christians.

Today it’s the Israeli media reporting that 110,000 members of ultra-Orthodox sects are rioting in favor of segregation in their government-funded schools.

Ultra Orthodox in Jerusalem today. (AP photo via Daylife.)

Ultra Orthodox in Jerusalem today. (AP photo via Daylife.)

It’s not bad enough that  many of these folks live on state welfare subsidies in West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements and openly oppose the two-state solution. It’s not bad enough that many are openly racist about mingling with Palestinians – see this Jerusalem Post story about their Tel Aviv-area town where Palestinians [known locally as "Arabs"] are banned. This isn’t bad enough.

Now thousands of these religious extremists have streamed out of their settlements to come to this same town, Bnei Brak, and to West Jerusalem to riot against an Israeli supreme court decision ordering Ashkenazi [European] Jewish girls going to school along with Sephardic [Middle Eastern] Jewish girls.

The Israeli supreme court’s rulings are often ignored, such as its orders to move the separation barrier [aka 'the wall'] from Palestinian lands and to open segregated highways to Palestinian citizens.

“]Children of the ultra-Orthodox watch their rioting parents in Jerusalem today. [Getty Images photo via Daylife.]

Children of the ultra-Orthodox watch their rioting parents in Jerusalem today. [Getty Images photo via Daylife.

Makes me want to run to my schoolbooks and kiss the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law establishing a state religion, nor inhibiting the free exercise thereof.”

UPDATE: Writer Gal Beckerman of The Forward had a bon mot for today’s unprecedented events: “Haredi-fada”

Jun. 5 2010 — 10:00 am | 379 views | 2 recommendations | 8 comments

‘Rachel Corrie’ proves Israel doesn’t need commandos or shootings

So no Irish activists were shot this morning as the Israeli navy – during daylight, from boats, not helicopters – boarded the Gaza-bound ship ‘Rachel Corrie.’ Hooray. If only this sensible strategy had been used a week ago, the world might not be looking so unkindly toward Israel.

Rachel Corrie ship replica used in West Bank protest

Rachel Corrie ship replica used in West Bank protest (Getty Images photo from Daylife)

While the world’s attention is focused on this, we are missing the grinding violence of the occupation on the West Bank:

A settler got out of his car and shot two 16-year-old Palestinian boys in Hebron, then calmly got in his car and drove home. He phoned police to turn himself in and was merely given ‘house arrest.’ If this isn’t terrorism, what is?

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s office released a statement based on witness accounts about the shooting that said, “the settler shot randomly at school students. Shop worker Nidal Mawi, said a man driving a white Citreon car with yellow plates ’stopped in the middle of the street and one of the two settlers in the car stepped out and started shooting at the students.’

An American Jewish student from Cooper Union, Emily Henochowitz, 21, lost her eye after Israeli soldiers hit her in the head with tear gas canister fired at protesters during a demonstration at the notorious Qalandiya checkpoint. Soldiers on the West Bank should be shooting tear gas canisters into the air – not directly at protesters. It leads to criticisms of inhuman military practices – doing more damage to Israel’s image abroad.

Protesters' photo taken right after American student was shot in the eye by an Israeli soldier firing a tear gas canister at protesters, from ISM.

Make no mistake: These actions might not be widely reported in the United States, but they are widely reported throughout the Muslim world. Every shooting, every house demolition. And every time the right-wing Israeli government foolishly restricts Palestinians from worshiping at their holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City – as they did yesterday.

All people carrying Palestinian ‘residency’ cards were restricted from praying on their holy site, the Haram al-Sharif, site of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Only Palestinian men considered residents of Israel over age 50 and women who are considered residents of Israel were permitted. This frequently-imposed restriction cuts off literally millions of Palestinians from their holy sites.

And boy does it feed the holy war.

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Jun. 3 2010 — 10:43 am | 263 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Martin Indyk’s plan to bring Israel and Turkey back from the brink

It’s hard to find a more universally respect Middle East policy expert than British-Australian-American former Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk. He’s worked at AIPAC and its cousin WINEP, was at Camp David a decade ago for the peace negotiations, and now heads the Middle East project at Brookings funded by uber-pro-Israel American billionaire Haim Saban.

Writing in Time today, Indyk offers what he calls a “package deal” for the Obama administration to get Israel, Turkey, Gazans, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, and Gilad Shalit out of the prison of Middle East politics. That prison is real – as in the case of Shalit and thousands of jailed Palestinian activists, politicians and students – and metaphorical.

A tall order, Indyk’s package has three elements.  Obama, he writes:

… should encourage the negotiation, by an Arab or European mediator, of a package deal between Hamas and Israel. The key ingredients are commitments by Hamas to prevent all violent attacks on Israel and stop smuggling weapons into Gaza. In return, Israel should lift its siege, allowing goods to flow in and out of Gaza with appropriate inspections. If Hamas breaks its commitments, which Israel has the ability to monitor, then the borders can be closed again — with Hamas rather than Israel bearing the blame. And in this context, a prisoner swap should be concluded so that Gilad Shalit, the kidnapped Israeli soldier, can be freed.

At the same time, Obama should try to shift attention to the West Bank, making sure that the “proximity talks” proceed. There is a quick fix available that would do much to improve Israel’s image while strengthening the Palestinian leadership there. It involves the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces from the West Bank territories they reoccupied during the intifadeh. The Palestinian security forces have demonstrated that they can prevent terrorism and maintain order in these areas, including during this crisis. Extending that control to all the areas ceded to Palestinian rule in the Oslo agreements would enable the Palestinian Authority to claim it had “liberated” Palestinian territory, not through violence but through peace negotiations with Israel.

Finally, Obama should try to patch things up between Turkey and Israel by refocusing them on the effort to promote an Israeli-Syrian peace. With the previous Israeli government, Turkey had played a key role as mediator with Syria. This gave Erdogan, with his intense interest in promoting Turkey’s regional role, a stake in maintaining a relationship of trust with Israel. Although hurt feelings on both sides are bound to complicate this effort, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs to find a way to rebuild Israel’s strategically important relationship with Turkey, and Obama needs to bring Syria into his peacemaking effort.

The Syria-Turkey part of Indyk’s “package” is an important and intriguing one, as it explains one reason why Turkish leaders have been moving steadily away from Israeli leaders. As recently as late 2008, Turkey was brokering Israel-Syria talks on the Golan Heights. The talks were halted after the Gaza bombardment and then died when Avigdor Lieberman from the extremist Israel Beiteinu party was named Foreign Minister. There’s no way he would discuss returning the Golan Heights to Syria, or even sharing them, or turn them into a giant international demilitarized peace park – some of the proposals that had been on the table under his predecessor, Tzipi Livni.

As Israel’s foreign ministry moves away from its nation’s founding democratic ideals – supporting anti-Arab legislation and the further confiscation of Palestinian lands – while Turkey has moves away from its once-prized secularism and toward an increasingly Muslim society, the chances of these two nations working together drops precipitously. The flotilla fiasco is serving to turn these nations into outright antagonists. Indyk’s proposal recognizes the need to bring Turkey and Israel back before it’s too late, while at the same time renewing overtures to Syria.

The stakes in this are very high for the U.S., given how far out on a limb Obama has gone for our ally, Israel. As Indyk puts it:

Given the mess we’re in today, success seems unlikely. But a severe crisis forces leaders to recalculate the costs of the status quo and perhaps recognize the need for a fundamental change of direction. If Obama doesn’t test this opportunity, there’s a good chance that the battle over the Gaza fleet will sink his own Israeli-Palestinian peace boat.

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Jun. 2 2010 — 1:30 pm | 257 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Goldstone II: UN Rights Council Launches Probe of Israel’s Gaza Flotilla Raid

U.S. President Barack Obama stepped in to save Israel yesterday at the United Nations Security Council from an independent probe of Tuesday morning’s Gaza flotilla raid that resulted in the Israeli navy killing nine civilians. Hopefully, Israel will express its gratitude to our nation by continuing its freeze on settlements in the West Bank and negotiating seriously with the Palestinians toward an end to the occupation and a solution for Gaza.

President Obama today in Pittsburgh, PA.

Now that President Obama has saved Israel from a damaging UN Security Council probe of the Gaza flotilla deaths, will right-wing Israelis stop calling him 'Barack Hussein Obama?' Reuters photo of Obama in Pittsburgh today via Daylife.

But a U.S. ‘no’ vote could not halt another U.N. body, the Human Rights Council – the group that commissioned the Goldstone Report – from today launching its own probe of the botched Israeli move to halt a civilian humanitarian aid operation for Gaza. Hasbarans around the world, might as well convene your PR advisors now, because the council’s draft resolution already condemns Israel for violating international law when it boarded the Turkish and other ships in international waters.

Get ready for Goldstone II, the sequel.

Hasbara, or Israeli political spin, is actually already underway – a multi-million-dollar PR machine, involving government employees, academics, friendly journalists, consultants, and activists around the world. CNN reports that, after displaying “a willful indifference to public opinion for years,” the Israel Defense Force is trying hasbara on the convoy killings story, posting a series of heavily-edited short videos of the situation aboard ship on YouTube, showing only soldiers being hit as they arrived on board – no footage of the soldiers killing nine civilians.

Israel-related media around the world are running stories about the commandos landing and shooting their paintball guns – with zero reference to the fact that their real guns killed nine people. From a Yediot Ahronoth piece entitled ‘A Brutal Ambush at Sea:’

However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests…., The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up.”

Gaza protest in Belgium.

Two boys hold up pictures during a pro-Palestinian protest in front of the European Commission Building in Brussels, Wednesday, June 2. AP photo via Daylife.

Hasbara means going to any length to paint your opponent as a terrorist. The IDF website is blaring a story: ’Attackers of the IDF soldiers are found to be Al Qaeda mercenaries.’ The Jerusalem Post runs this claim without even a hint of journalistic skepticism about the lack of an offer of proof. Neocon writer Lee Smith, in the Tablet magazine, picks up the spin and runs with it, labelling Turkey a state encourager of ‘terrorism’ and calling on the U.S. to seek the overthrow of the Turkish government. More from Fox News, the Washington Times,  and Yediot, which referred to the dead on the humanitarian aid convoy as  ’flotilla lynchers.’

And my personal favorite from Arutz Sheva, the official news site of the settler movement. [I wonder what American billionaire underwrites its operations?] The title: ‘Media War on the Flotilla Clash: AP Anti-Israel Bias Exposed.’

But how effective is hasbara? You can’t ’spin’ the flotilla death statistics any more than you can ’spin’ the chilling death statistics from Israel’s 2008-09 Gaza operation, which left one hundred times as many dead Palestinians as it did dead Israelis. Especially in the United States, where the Jewish community is overwhelmingly liberal and, like most Americans, skeptical of a foreign policy that seems to depend so much on violence. The New York Times this morning reflects this disconnect between hasbara and reality.

A Times editorial, ‘Israel and the Gaza Blockade,’ has this to say:

On Tuesday, President Obama expressed his “deep regret” over the flotilla incident. He is doing Israel no favors with such a tepid response. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown time and again that he prefers bullying and confrontation over diplomacy. Washington needs to make clear to him just how dangerous and counterproductive that approach is.

Mr. Obama needs to state clearly that the Israeli attack was unacceptable and back an impartial international investigation. The United States should also join the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — Britain, France, Russia and China — in urging Israel to permanently lift the blockade.

That would lessen the suffering of the people in Gaza. And it would give the United States more credibility as it presses both Israelis and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to negotiate a peace deal.

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    I'm a former Wall Street Journal defense, technology, and telecomm reporter and helped launch the Friday Weekend Journal as a contributing writer. For the past several years I have been a writer, editor, and communications professional for international NGOs in human rights, microcredit, and advocacy. Currently working on an anti-genocide project at a Washington, DC, think tank.

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