Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
It's so refreshing to read an article from a journalist that reports the facts and the facts alone without drawing snide innuendos and pushing the author's own agenda against a country and its people.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Warren notes that "anti-Israel journalists such as Charles Enderlin depend regularly for emotion-laden pictorial content, and for the rumours they report as breaking news, on locally hired Palestinian photographers, cameramen, and stringers. The interests and loyalties of these people are not even an open question" and concludes that "tremendous damage is done by sensational mainstream media reporting that is, even when not fraudulent, considerably less than candid about sources. And this damage is compounded when the media give little or no attention to subsequent retractions."
It seems that in Canada, like Australia, the retractions are also slow in coming.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
"A Palestinian man was killed and five others wounded in violent clashes that erupted Thursday afternoon between militants and Israel Defense Forces troops at the Karni Crossing from the Gaza Strip to Israel."
A Palestinian man? Like another civilian death perhaps?
"The IDF said that hundreds of people had gathered at the crossing, some carrying light weapons and anti-tank missiles. Militants opened fire and hurled rocks at IDF troops stationed nearby. The soldiers returned the fire, leading to the Palestinian casualties."
"Also on Thursday, IDF troops operating in the Gaza Strip found a cache of weapons. including anti-tank missiles, hidden in a schoolyard in the Sajayeh refugee camp."
Weapons hidden in a schoolyard? Sounds like a good way to educate your kids, doesn't it?
"Earlier Thursday, a Palestinian bomber blew up an explosives-laden truck on the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing on the Israel-Gaza Strip border early Thursday morning. The driver was the only casualty in the attempted attack."
Is this is the crossing where vital humantarian supplies are brought across by aid agencies from Israel to Gaza? If the crossing is disrupted by these "militants" and supplies don't get to the people, who gets the blame in the media for their supposed "collective punishment"?
"The truck may have exploded on the Palestinian side due to a technical failure. As it approached the border, other militants fired mortar shells at the crossing. The explosion ripped a hole in a pedestrian passageway leading out of the Erez terminal and into Gaza, but no pedestrians were there because it was still early."
They call that a technical failure? Sheesh!
Here's the icing on the cake:
"A spokesman for Islamic Jihad said his group carried out the attempted attack in cooperation with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, an offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's more secular Fatah faction. Jihad described it as a successful martyrdom operation."
If that was a successful martyrdom operation, I'd like to see a failed one.
And is that the same President Mahmoud Abbas who is currently involved in peace talks with Israel?
Haaretz readers can be quite witty at times. Commenting on the story, one Leo Rosgarten must surely have had his tongue planted firmly in cheek when came out with this doozie:
"What a terrible waste of innocent life. Even worse, the loss of valuable resources, such as the truck, the fuel and explosives. How much European aid money went into all these preparations, and the devious zionist soldiers escaped harm. It is a sad day for us, progressive Haaretz readers."
And what a terrible waste for the mainstream media to deprive its readers of the insights of a quiet day at the Palestinian office?
Friday, May 23, 2008
PALESTINIAN BEDOUIN SAVED IN EMEK MEDICAL CENTRE - HOSPITAL OF PEACE
On Monday, May 19, 2008, thirty two year old Nadia Aieed was filling a water bucket from a water pipeline in the fields between Palestinian Jericho and the nearby Israeli Moshav Argamon. This is an area of the Jordan Valley located several miles north of the Dead Sea. Without warning, a poisonous Echis Coloratus (mid-east saw scaled viper) struck Nadia on the top of her left sandaled foot inflicting a deep and painful wound.
Nadia was screaming and writhing on the ground in pain when her mother, Watfa, who was working with her in the fields, ran to her daughter. Their screams attracted the attention of a couple of Moshav men who were also working in the distant fields. They rushed the stricken young woman to the Moshav’s medical clinic and from there a military ambulance was summoned.
Within minutes, an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) ambulance arrived with a driver and paramedic (both armed and in IDF uniform) and assisted the rapidly deteriorating Nadia into the vehicle together with her mother. They sped north through the Jordan Valley and by the time they reached the Israeli city of Beit Shean, Nadia was vomiting blood and losing consciousness. It is important to note that there were no delays whatsoever at the Israeli security checkpoints along the valley route and the ambulance with the two Palestinian women inside was rushed through. After another half hour the ambulance arrived to our ER and Nadia was then totally unconscious with severe internal and external bleeding.
Among the deadly effects of this snake’s envenomation is hemostatic failure or a breakdown of the bodies coagulation mechanism. The young Arab woman was treated with antivenom and admitted for hospitalization. The adult ICU (Intensive Care Unit) was full to capacity so the woman was rushed to our Pediatric ICU where she was still being treated when I walked in to interview her today, May 21st. Her mother, Watfa was by her side and a young Muslim woman whose infant daughter was being treated less than two meters away acted as my interpreter.
After introducing myself, I asked Watfa, "Were you afraid of traveling in an IDF vehiclewith armed soldiers?"
Before she answered, she had Nadia call her Uncle who gave them permission to speak freely with me. It was clear that they would not have done so without their male relative’s approval. ‘‘Not for one second,’‘ she answered with her index finger in the air to make her point. ‘‘Those men, including the Jewish farmers, came to help save my daughter and I only felt gratitude and never any fear."
"How do you feel here in an Israeli hospital surrounded by Israeli Jews and Arabs?" I asked, referring to the multiethnic staff and crowd gathering around us.
Nadia smiled and Watfa looked around her and then raised her eyes towards heaven before answering softly, "You saved my daughter’s life. I have three other daughters and two sons and I do not fear your people. I bless them."
"If I publicly tell your story, are you afraid that the Palestinian Authority will harm you or your daughter?" I asked, knowing how most Palestinians refuse to speak openly of their life-saving experiences at Jewish hands.
Watfa looked to me and the others nearby and answered, "You saved my daughter’s life. I am not afraid of the Palestinian Authority. All people need to know the truth."
Today, Nadia is being transferred to a bed in our Internal Medicine department and in a few days she will be home with her family. Nobody has any illusions about their inability to pay for the medical treatment the young dying woman received. The Palestinian Authority will continue to poison the media about Israel, while in real life – here at eye level, Jews continue to quietly neutralize poisons of another lethal nature.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
There's a new column in this week's Australian Jewish News from Tzvi Fleischer entitled "Media Week", the first of which takes aim at the myth about media silence on the so-called "Palestinian Narrative". Fleischer points out that in the space of a little over a fortnight there were seven op ed items published in various mainstream Australian newspapers explaining the Palestinian point of view which was generally in support of a solution to the conflict with Israel by the removal of the Jewish State - forcible or otherwise.
It should be noted that we've been hearing the same line for about forty odd years and, despite the increasing crescendo of whining complaints from the proponents of the Palestinian case, there's little doubt that it will be repeated again in the near future and again and again and ...
In addition to those seven op ed items, there is also the Media Watch/Ed O'Loughlin conspiracy scandal which simply won't go away. It has now been revealed by David Knoll (President of NSW Jewish Board of Deputies) that his Board was contacted by Media Watch on the missing O'Loughlin piece:
"Media Watch contacted us for our point of view, and CEO Vic Alhadeff informed them that the Jewish community has long held grave concerns about lack of balance in Ed O'Loughlin's reporting, but that the Board of Deputies had had nothing whatsoever to do with the non-appearance of his farewell piece in the Herald." However, they chose not to air our remarks."
"They also made no attempt to contact Board president David Knoll for a comment on the fact that they would be running an extract from his letter to the AJN."
And Sydney Morning Herald editor Alan Oakley’s response:
"I never discuss why something is or isn’t published, suffice to say it’s called editing and it happens daily."
So there's your evidence of a conspiracy. In its haste to make a case in favour of some nefarious Jewish lobby conspiracy to silence O'Loughlin, Media Watch deliberately silenced the Jewish voices that supposedly played a role in this cockamamy conspiracy. If there really was a conspiracy of silence it was not one to silence O'Loughlin although Media Watch has unwittingly exposed its own failed attempt to silence his critics.
Speaking of conspiracies, word is just out from Paris that a French court has dismissed libel charges against Philippe Karsenty in the case where Charles Enderlin and France2 television were exposed for their role in the Mohammed al Dura fraud which started Intifada 2 in September 2000 and which resulted in the loss of thousands of Palestinian and Israeli lives. The court effectively found that Karsenty had sufficient justification for accusing France2 of being duped by Palestinian cameraman, Talal abu Rahmah (O'Loughlin's rant partly involved a cameraman - what is it with Palestinian cameramen?).
There will be more about this later but it will be interesting to see how the mainstream media treats this story.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
"As Israel repulsed attempts to destroy it, the anger of the liberal Left increased in intensity. As internationally famous lawyer Alan Dershowitz stated, 'Throughout the world, from the chambers of the UN to the campuses of universities, Israel is singled out for condemnation, disinvestment, boycott and demonisation.'
"Anti-Semitism? 'No! No!' cried Israel's critics. 'We don't hate Jews, just Israel.' For many, Israel became the pariah state. Anti-Semitism became acceptable again. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman responded: 'Criticising Israel is not anti-Semitic and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction, out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East, is anti-Semitic and not saying so is dishonest.'
"It's the double standards by which Israel is judged that incenses Jews and their supporters."
This is the same double standard that Media Watch employed this week. Israel was involved and Ed O'Loughlin must surely be the exemplar of truth juxtaposed against the Israel lobby (read Jewish lobby). Yet, there was no attempt to get to the truth or examine O'Loughlin's stories. This was a man who worked very hard to give the appearance of even handedness but he dropped his guard at the end with that shocking report from Sderot where he claimed the existence of an "unofficial Jewish taboo" against land sales to Arabs. Media Watch didn't care to look.
That Media Watch gave no balance to its story is not surprising. It did the same thing some years ago with the infamous Leunig cartoon about the (non-existent) Jenin Massacre of 2002 which drew a comparison between the deaths of approximately seven civilians caught up in fighting in Jenin between the IDF and Palestinian terrorists who were despatching suicide bombers to murder Jews with the horrors of the Nazis who slaughtered 6,000,000 Jews - such was Leunig and Media Watch's debauched concept of proportionality.
And the Media Watch message was all wrong in its insinuation that supporters of Israel were seeking to silence Ed O'Loughlin.
What we wanted was for him to do his job and speak out more, not less. He could have done this by telling his readers the truth about Palestinian terror groups and how they are causing untold harm to Arabs and Jews alike in the region with their incitement against Jews and with their avowed and written down aim to destroy Israel.
But as Barry Cohen points out, it hasn't always been easy being a Jew. Whenever we complain about the double standards employed by the usual suspects in the media we always seem to face the same retort:
"You're changing the subject. I'm talking about Jews."
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The Media Watch people resort to concocting a conspiracy theory as they point the finger of responsibility at the supposedly ubiquous Israel lobby for being behind the Sydney Morning Herald's decision not to publish O'Loughlin's swan song.
Stand aside, Senator Joe McCarthy, the Media Watch pundits are in town!
And we're getting very tired of this ridiculous claim that the media should adopt a pro-Israel stance. All we've ever asked for is a balanced coverage of the events that take place. That means putting forward both sides of the argument and not hiding anything that paints Palestinian society in a bad light in the blank pages.
Monday, May 19, 2008
"A POPULAR pastime in Gaza is swapping gruesome footage of dead or dying victims of the Strip's incessant violence.
"The images used to be almost exclusive legacies of clashes with Israeli forces but last year that changed. Now being far more keenly traded are snapshots of Palestinian fratricide, gruesome images taken by "militia-cams' that record scenes for posterity.
"Spend any time near the emergency ward of Gaza's Shifa Hospital and security staff or ward workers will offer a look at their mobile phones, which they'll quickly switch to video mode to show images of victims of intra-Palestinian clashes being wheeled in agony from ambulances."
I'm truly gobsmacked. After 5½ long years of reading O'Loughlin I can't believe these people could possibly be capable of such shocking conduct.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
" The attention of much of the world's mainstream media was fixed on that victimhood to such an extent that very few of the real analytical questions that ought to be directed at the Pal-Arab leadership were raised in the media coverage.
"And what better way to celebrate your catastrophe than to point your weapons at the women and children of your enemy" ...
"For anyone paying attention to their sixty years of stagnation, poor hygiene, hopelessly misguided education and steady retreat into the Middle Ages, there's no doubt Palestinian Arab society's 'achievements' constitute a living catastrophe.
"The question that needs to be asked is: how did the world (explicitly including the other parts of the Arab world) get away with allowing the Palestinian Arab kleptocratic "leadership" to inflict such a disaster on their own kin over such a prolonged period of time, and continuing every single day into the foreseeable future?"
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Malcolm Fraser, who became Prime Minister of Australia in 1975 in controversial circumstances often likened to a putsh, was once found at the seedy Admiral Benbow Inn in Memphis without his pants and his passport. He later told a reporter he had no idea how he got there and two decades later he still has simply no idea.
Last week, the Melbourne Age gave him space to join another political relic of the past in Jimmy Carter, to argue the case for western appeasement with Hamas, the favourite boy scout group of the far right, the far left and politicians who have passed their use by date.
Mark Leibler's response was published today (Hard-nosed leader goes soft on Hamas) and typically, the Age decided to make even this a story of itself - Leaders in public spat over Israel. After all, one should never allow the pro Israel side to get the final word in and one must always raise the spectre of the "lobby".
For the record, Fraser doesn't respond to any of the points made by Leibler who claimed the former PM's piece was full of "contradictions, factual errors and a naivety about world events ..." The best answer that Fraser could come up with was this piece of nonsense:
"When the (Israel) lobby runs out of arguments, they attack the person".
Fraser won't even acknowledge the arguments raised by Leibler (suggesting possibly that he hasn't even read a single word of the article) and instead falls back on the tired old canard of "the lobby", a clear indication that he is bereft of any semblance of an answer to Leibler's persuasive case.
Fraser was critical of Israel's expansion of settlements on the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and its refusal to talk to Hamas, which won the 2006 Palestinian election but contrary to Fraser's rant, Leibler has answered that criticism in today's article:
"Yet Israel is not building any new West Bank settlements, and has not for many years. The current controversy involves a few hundred apartments within a few existing settlements, taking no additional land. It is absurd to see these few homes as the principal roadblock. After all, Israel withdrew all settlements from Gaza in 2005 and has been rewarded with rocket attacks."
"Fraser accuses Israel's supporters of not believing Hamas. On the contrary, we do believe its charter and its ongoing statements regarding its genocidal plans for Israel — backed materially by an Iran that also wants to "wipe Israel off the map". Its violent actions prove they are not mere rhetoric."
"To move forward, Hamas must adopt the conditions set by the international community, or else be marginalised in Palestinian society. Achieving either will require enormous patience, toughness and realism, qualities the Malcolm Fraser I used to know always exhibited. I wonder what happened to him."
Fraser simply has no wish to respond to Leibler's arguments so he resorts to playing the man. For that, he not only deserves to be attacked but he also answers the question Leibler raises about what happened to him. The answer is that, like Carter, Fraser should have gracefully retired from the political scene long ago but instead he chose to adopt this phony cause. And if you want an insight into the tendentiousness of the Carter/Fraser line then just wait until the Age publishes the obligatory venomous responses to Leibler's article come Monday morning in its letters section. They will try to rewrite history but they won't respond to Leibler's arguments or bring anything new to the table that might suggest a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
WHO IS FORMER PRIME MINISTER BEN AMIN?
Meanwhile, Jimmy the Dhimmi who was pantsed by the ayatollahs of Iran those many years ago, hasn't been idle either. Through his Carter Center, which is substantially subsidised by Saudi money (it saved the peanut farm so why not keep taking it?), he recently put out a trip report about his tour around the Middle East. It's a pity he didn't stop in Khartoum where he might have been able to put in a word for the hundreds of thousands of dead victims of the Arab militias running rampage around Darfur with the blessing of the Sudanese government but that's a real "nakba" and another story altogether.
My reading of the Carter Report indicates that he might be completely tripped out. This is how he concludes the document:
"After answering a number of questions in the public forum, I had a number of interviews including CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Fox, Reuters, AP, AFP, Chicago Tribune, ABC, NPR, two Israeli TV channels, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and LA Times. Meetings with the leader of Arab Israelis, Ahmed Tibi, Yossi Beilin, and former Prime Minister Ben Amin concluded a very busy day. Still not having a private plane, we departed Israel about midnight on a Delta flight to Atlanta. As I had predicted to Bob Pastor and Steve Solarz, the entire trip was exciting, challenging, adventurous, adequately productive – and fun!"
The reference to "former Prime Minister Ben Amin" really had me stumped until someone alerted me to the tale of the last days of the life of Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths in the 1970s, who found refuge in Saudi Arabia when he was deposed in 1979. The story goes that he converted to Islam and spawned a son named "Ben Amin" (son of Amin). At about the same time when the father died in 2003, Ben Amin was installed as Prime Minister of the obscure gulf emirate of Dementia.
In all probability, most of this is a fiction but it ties together the very sad story of three pathetic leaders of the seventies who, for one reason or another, simply couldn't keep their pants up.
Thankfully, their days in the sun are all well and truly over!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Yesterday, they hurt several citizens of Ashkelon with a missile fired indiscriminately by terrorists at the Israeli city.
Perhaps if they simply stopped trying to hurt others and turned their attention towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict the world might listen.
Perhaps if they stopped their disingenuous campaign of hatred and opened their eyes and ears they might realise that the Government and the Opposition voted for a resolution in March this year which mentioned Palestinian suffering on more than one occasion and advocated the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The truth hurts too.
As long as the Palestinians want this state to take the place of Israel they will simply continue to perpetuate their "catastrophe", which is one of their own making.
"The arguments of the ACTU, Joe Wakim and others on the moderate Left suggest a positive way forward for Jews and the Left to find common ground. Many can agree that a two-state solution based on Israel and Palestine as neighbours rather than Palestine instead of Israel is the desired solution. Perhaps they can now join together in common activities to identify practical political strategies that help make this solution a reality."
Another thought provoking work can be found in today's Age where staff writer Maher Mughrabi Two people, one state - deal with them together presents a flawed vision that denies the true reality of the history of the peoples and the deep cultural and economic divide that exists between the Israeli and the Palestinian populations in the region. The vision is really the old PLO vision of a "secular, democratic state" (Palestine instead of Israel) dressed up in utopian clothing.
Mughrabi ignores the fact that both sides have their own language, history, economies, religion, social and national aspirations and naievely believes that the background of mutual hatred developed for so long can be swept under the carpet and be forgotten in the wave of an idealistic hand of reconcilitation. It would be nice but it doesn't work.
One reason why it doesn't work is exemplified by the requirements under which the two people would have to live under an unified umbrella in Mughrabi's utopia where the very mention of a compliment to one side on the one hand would have to be simultaneously met with a mandatory backhanded slap with the other:
"Firstly, it would mean no mention of Israel's achievement without connecting it to the facts of Palestinian deprivation and the need for reconciliation."
Right. So that would also mean that there could be no mention of Palestinian deprivation without connecting it to the Hebron massacre and eight decades of threats to commit genocide against the Jews, which threats remain extant to this very day?
Sixty years of history has made it unreasonable to expect either people to live under a system whereby they could not give expression to their own national identities. Rather than create a unified state, Mughrabi's vision would create an economic system dominated by one group with ethnic tensions and civil war a real possibility at some time in the future. At best, it would ultimately meet the same fate that befell Czechoslovakia 15 years ago when it split to become two states - The Czech Republic and Slovakia. The one state solution might have been a possibility in the thirties or the forties. It is now doomed to failure.
The only way forward is to give expression and to recognise the rights of both Israelis and Palestinains to national self-determination by two states for two peoples living side by side in peace.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
MICHAEL Stevens (Letters, 12/5) laments the exit of Ed O'Loughlin for the loss of clear-sighted and courageous analysis of the terrible situation in Israel/Palestine. I wonder if Mr Stevens and I have been reading the same paper.
Consistently Mr O'Loughlin's articles portrayed Palestinian deaths in the course of fighting Israel. No doubt the death of any innocent civilian is a horrific event and should be condemned. However, he never really managed to give the complete picture of why these events occurred.
His work often rode on the strong inference that Israel, as a more powerful adversary in this conflict, was the aggressor and responsible for cruelly punishing Palestinians in Gaza, thus perpetuating the misery of the war.
In my view, it is poor journalism to not also refer the plight of the Palestinians to the actions of successive generations of Palestinian political leaders, who have failed to get past a blind determination to destroy Israel completely. As much as any Israeli tank this political failure oppresses Palestinians.
Jason Fink, Chadstone
Jason, I respectfully suggest that you have both been reading the same newspaper but, unlike Mr. Stevens, you know exactly what was left in the blank pages!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Close on 100 people have been killed in the current fighting in Lebanon but it isn't getting the close scrutiny or the saturation publicity of the 2006 War. Why is nobody concerned about the causalty figures let alone their breakdown between Druze, Sunni and Shia and between combatants and non-combatants?
Perhaps it all comes down to proportionality? Hundreds of thousands have been killed in Darfur over the past few years but the slaughter over there has engendered far less publicity than the 2006 War and only a miniscule amount when compared to the effects of the intifada unleashed by Arafat in 2000?
Anyone have an answer?
Saturday, May 10, 2008
After 5½ years of slanted reporting and biased, one-sided trashing of Israel and its citizens which culminated recently with his self-exposure as an unabashed bigot who inter alia gives credence to the blood libel of an alleged "unofficial Jewish taboo" on land sales to Moslems, O'Loughlin allows his own words to provide his former readership with a useful insight into the man and his agenda driven brand of journalism.
We discover for example, that he fits perfectly the description of a shnorer taken directly from the writings of such masters of Yiddish literature as the great Sholom Aleichem:
"Before I was sent to the Middle East in October 2002, I had spent the best part of eight years reporting on Africa, for this newspaper and for others. When people asked me which beat I preferred, I always said Africa, because it was bigger, and more romantic, and because you got to fly around in helicopters and light aircraft for free quite a lot, which I enjoyed."
So, when Ed lands in Israel he suddenly finds himself in a nest of Shylocks and laments that "in my entire time in the Middle East I never once got to go in a helicopter or private aircraft — mainly because it's a region where you pay for your flights ..."
The hardworking journo likes his liquor too which doesn't surprise considering the content of some of his output over those 5½ long years. One can understand his affinity with Hafez Daoud, a 49-year-old member of Gaza's Christian community (now down to 2,000 and dwindling fast) who has a penchant for losing his job as a result of Palestinian terrorism, the last one being a gig as barman in a United Nations-run social club, "the last place in Gaza where alcohol was openly served — albeit only to foreigners" (no discrimination there of course!). "Then in the early hours of New Year's Day 2006 unknown gunmen broke into the closed building and blew it up. The Beach Club never reopened and Daoud lost his job."
Therein lies the sadness of the confession of this lame-duck journalist who laments the destruction of a bar where they serve grog to foreigners by "unknown gunmen". But what of the fire-bombing of churches, the attacks on Christian schools or an investigation into why Christians are leaving Gaza and the West Bank in their droves and why Israel is the only place in the Middle East where the Christian population is increasing?
Instead, he concerns himself with a facile attempt to justify the stance he recently took when he covered the death of 23-year-old Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana whose camera he claims "revealed that he had actually filmed an Israeli tank firing the shell that killed him, as he stood in his clearly marked press flak jacket, by his clearly marked press vehicle." The suggestion is that Shana was targeted by the tank. However, we can't be sure that this is what happened. O'Loughlin does not reveal here that the tank was a kilometre away from Shana's car, nor that it was firing ordinance that doesn't start fires although his story begins with "[THE] car was still burning". As usual, all of the facts that are inconsistent with the tale spun by eyewitness are left out and this, of course, enables him to heap scorn on his detractors.
O'Loughlin reveals that he has finally struck it lucky and managed to scrounge a free lift to Sderot (would he have gone there to witness the suffering of its people were it not for this?) where:
"Our guide, Avi Melamed, was a former intelligence agent. On the ground in Sderot, he escorted us through sunny streets studded with reinforced bus stops and bomb shelters, some gaily painted by children. Behind Sderot's main police station Melamed demonstrated racks full of crumpled 'Qassam' rockets, some of the 7000-odd home-made missiles fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip in the past seven years, killing 12 civilians and terrorising thousands.
"The lunatic result is that everyday life, everyday decisions — should I take the kids to school? Should I go to the mall or the coffee shop? — become emotionally very difficult," he explained.
As he was talking loudspeakers placed all around the town began to crackle the warning "code red, code red". Radar had just detected the launch of four rockets in Sderot's direction. Fortunately the only casualty, on this occasion, was a dog who required veterinary attention.
As it happened, this particular salvo of rockets came a couple of hours after the deaths of housewife Miyasar Abu Muatak and her four children, aged 18 months to six years, during Israeli air-strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun, just across the border in Gaza. The Israeli Defence Force denied responsibility for their deaths. And Melamed did not believe that there was a causal relationship between Israeli policies and IDF operations and the bombardment of Sderot. "We had Qassam rockets coming yesterday, and the day before that, and nobody was killed in the Gaza Strip," he said."
And as it happens with O'Loughlin's work, he weaves into his story on Sderot an introduction to the five members of the unfortunate Muatak family who died in Beit Hanoun. He reports that the IDF "denied responsibility for their deaths" but fails to mention that it had good reason for this but, after all, that's the crux of the stories in his media war against Israel.
How could he possibly have failed to disclose here that the IDF released film that clearly shows how the Muataks really died - the very blank page story about the crimes against humanity perpetrated on a daily basis by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza and the West Bank who fight their war against the Israeli people using their own as cover?
This is a crime that has two victims - the Israelis and the Palestinians and it is at the very heart of the story of a reporter who accuses the IDF of having a "culture of denial and impunity" but who himself routinely fails to tell the whole story - and this story is one that must be told. O'Loughlin finally tells it with the help of the words of his escort:
"He smiled indulgently: most of the stories of suffering and death from Gaza were fake, he said.
"All the reporters there are Palestinians. You give them cameras but what they do is not reporting, it's propaganda. If you wanted to go to the other side and be a free reporter in the Gaza Strip you'd be kidnapped. You can only say what Hamas will tell you to say."
There's more to this and I'll get back to it in the near future but for now I'm going to take a little break to celebrate Israel at 60 and the fact that when I picked up a copy of the Age in my favourite little coffee place this morning, the name of the journalist next to "Jerusalem" on the Age list of world foreign bureaus is Jason Koutsoukis whose first piece in his new role there Israelis fly flags for statehood milestone is nicely balanced and deserving of our congratulations.
Welcome to The Club.
Friday, May 09, 2008
These are words from the Independent Australian Jewish Voices Statement of Principles: A Call for an Alternative View http://www.iajv.org/the-declaration/ as in March 2007 by its co-founders, one of who was Anti-Zionist Jew Antony Loewenstein. This same person is the co-author with Palestinian spokesperson Michael Shaik of the travesty of an op ed article in today's Age entitled "A celebration that ignores the plight of Palestine".
What makes this article such a travesty is that it is so full of factual errors, distortions, half-truths and false assertions that it simply beggars belief. The claim that Israel was formed, as if it arose out of nowhere in 1948, as compensation to the Jews for Nazi crimes, is but one of its absurd statements. There were commissions of enquiry studying the possible partition of the British Mandate before the Second World War and, in any event, descendents of the victims of The Holocaust are a minority in the State of Israel: more of population come from Arab lands which they were forced to leave principally because of persecution by despotic regimes.
The article's gross lies and omissions are too many to respond to here but it is suffice to say that the major historical omissions are the avoidance by its authors of reference to the ongoing reign of terror visited upon the Jews of the region by successive Palestinian leaderships both before and after statehood and of the collaboration of its leadership with the Nazi final solution.
Ignored is the incitement to violence that continues to this very day and the genocidal intentions inherent in the charters of the groups including Hamas who use violence not for territorial means but to ethnically cleanse the region of all Jews.
Also ignored are past agreements made by the Palestinian leadership to end the violence and incitement to violence and the fact that these agreements been routinely dishonoured over a period of years. What Shaik and Loewenstein disingenously seek to do is cover up for this duplicity by justifying the continued use of violence.
In order to achieve a better understanding of the depth, breadth and audacity of the deception that the Age has allowed Shaik and the confused Mr. Loewenstein to perpetrate in its pages, I refer readers to Ephraim Karsh's excellent Commentary article which I referred to here only two days ago.
Loewenstein makes it abundantly clear in this collaboration with Shaik, that he has eschewed the position taken in the IAJV Statement of Principles that "that Israel’s right to exist must be recognized". That he no longer accepts that proposition was evident in his introduction to the second reprint of his error riddled tome "My Israel Question" written only a month after the IAJV was formed.
Loewenstein lost many supporters when he tried to involve them in the notorious Nakba Advertisement in the Australian Newspaper in March of this year. He surely doesn't think they are all idiots but they, on the other hand, must be wondering now how the wording about the recognition of Israel's right to exist could have found its way into the so-called "Statement of Principles" and why Loewenstein's name is still attached to that document on the IAJV website?
Thursday, May 08, 2008
- Scientists in Israel, found that the brackish water, drilled from underground desert aquifers, hundreds of feet deep, could be used to raise warm-water fish. The geothermal water, less than one-tenth as saline as sea water, free of pollutants, and a toasty 98 degrees on average, proves an ideal environment.
- Israeli-developed designer-eyeglasses, promise mobile phone and iPod users, a personalized, high-tech video display. Available to US consumers next year, Lumus-Optical's lightweight and fashionable video eyeglasses, feature a large transparent screen, floating in front of the viewer's face, that projects their choice of movie, TV show, or video game.
- When Stephen Hawkins visited Israel recently, he shared his wisdom with scientists, students, and even the Prime Minister. But the world's most renown victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, also learned something, due to the Israeli Association for ALS' advanced work in both embryonic and adult stem cell research, as well as its proven track record with neurodegenerative diseases. The Israeli research community is well on its way, to finding a treatment for this fatal disease, which affects 30,000 Americans.
- Israeli start-up, Veterix, has developed an innovative new electronic capsule that sits in the stomach of a cow, sheep, or goat, sending out real-time information on the health of the herd, to the farmer via Email or cell phone. The e-capsule, which also sends out alerts if animals are distressed, injured, or lost, is now being tested on a herd of cows, in the hopes that the device will lead to tastier and healthier meat and milk supplies.
- The millions of Skype users worldwide, will soon have access to the newly developed KishKish lie-detector. This free internet service, based on voice stress analysis (a technique, commonly used in criminal investigations), will be able to measure just how truthful that person on the other end of the line, really is.
- Beating cardiac tissue has been created in a lab from human embryonic stem cells by researchers at the Rappaport Medical Faculty and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology's biomedical Engineering faculty. The work of Dr. Shulamit Levenberg and Prof. Lior Gepstein, has also led to the creation of tiny blood vessels within the Tissue, making possible its implantation in a human heart.
- Israel's Magal Security Systems, is a worldwide leader in computerized security systems, with products used in more than 70 countries around the world, protecting anything from national borders, to nuclear facilities, refineries, and airports. The company's latest Product, DreamBox, a state-of-the-art security system that includes Intelligent video, audio and sensor management, is now being used by a major water authority on the US east coast to safeguard the utility's sites.
- It is common knowledge that dogs have better night vision than humans, and a vastly superior sense of smell and hearing. Israel's Bio-Sense Technologies, recently delved further, and electronically analyzed 350 different barks. Finding that dogs of all breeds and sizes, bark the same alarm when they sense a threat, the firm has designed the dog bark-reader, a sensor that can pick up a dog's alarm bark, and alert the human operators. This is just one of a batch of innovative security systems to emerge from Israel, which Forbes calls 'the go-to country for anti-terrorism technologies.
- Israeli company, BioControl Medical, sold its first electrical stimulator to treat urinary incontinence to a US comp any for $50 Million. Now, it is working on CardioFit, which uses electrical nerve stimulation to treat congestive heart failure. With nearly five million Americans presently affected by heart failure, and more than 400,000 new cases diagnosed yearly, the CardioFit is already generating a great deal of excitement as the first device with the potential to halt this deadly disease.
- One year after Norway's Socialist Left Party launched its boycott Israel campaign, the importing of Israeli goods has increased by 15%, the strongest increase in many years, Statistics Norway reports.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
"Sixty years after its establishment by an internationally recognized act of self-determination, Israel remains the only state in the world that is subjected to a constant outpouring of the most outlandish conspiracy theories and blood libels; whose policies and actions are obsessively condemned by the international community; and whose right to exist is constantly debated and challenged not only by its Arab enemies but by segments of advanced opinion in the West."
Karsh takes apart the anti-Zionist case piece by piece exposing the many untruths prevalent among those who not only criticise Israel but call for the dismantlement of the Jewish state. He maintains that there is a need for a change in the dispositions of the Palestinian Arabs before they can realistically look forward to putting their self-inflicted "catastrophe" behind them.
For today however, it's a happy birthday to the State of Israel ...
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
In Israel, Yom Hazikaron commences with the sound of sirens proclaiming a two-minute silence during which all activity and traffic cease. Flags are flown at half mast and memorial ceremonies are held all over the country.
Ending at sundown, the sombre, reflective mood of Yom Hazikaron gives way to the celebration of Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day), a transition which emphasizes the lasting tie between the sacrifice of the countrys fallen and the continued existence of a vibrant and dynamic State of Israel.
Honest Reporting's Backspin provides the following data as Israel Remembers the Fallen:
- 69 Percentage of Israelis killed during the second intifada who were civilian.
- 1,634 Israeli civilians killed in terror attacks since the founding of the state.
- 14,000 Approximate number of Israeli civilians injured in terror attacks since the state's founding.
- 22,437 Number of servicemen and soldiers killed in defense of Israel since 1860, when Jews first began settling outside the walls of Jerusalem.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Citing Palestinian witnesses, the report said "an Israeli tank shell struck a one-story home in the northern Gazan village of Beit Hanoun, killing five members of the Abu Mutiq family" who were about to eat their breakfast. A Palestinian Authority Health Ministry official told the reporters that "the blast killed sisters Rudayna, 6, and Hanaa, 3; brothers Salih, 4, and Musab, 1. Their mother, Miyasar, 42, later died of her injuries. A passerby also was killed." The article told how Arab satellite channels were showing "four tiny corpses, swathed in white cloth, lined up in the hospital."
Several paragraphs into the article came the Israeli version of the event, i.e. that the home was not struck by a tank shell, that Israeli forces targeted from the air two armed men carrying bags approaching soldiers operating in the area and that the detonation of explosives in these bags "collapsed the nearby Abu Mutiq home."
As it turns out, the Palestinian eyewitnesses were lying about the tank shell. Those newspaper headlines trumpeting Israeli attack kills Palestinian mother and four children (The UK Independent) and Tank Kills Gaza Kids (Glasgow Daily Record) and the accompanying articles were misleading and deceptive.
The IDF which investigated the incident has now released a video clip that conclusively shows the deaths were caused by the explosives carried by the Gaza "militant" - IDF releases clip clearing itself of blame for Gaza family deaths.
The IDF probe has ruled out the possibility that the family was hit by Israeli fire. It reveals that four terrorists were spotted carrying weaponry and explosives on their backs. The IAF fire was on target and only hit the armed terrorists but the secondary explosion was far greater than that caused by the munitions used in the initial IDF bombing. While it was unfortunate that innocent people were killed in the incident, the blame clearly lies with Hamas which operates from populated areas, using civilians as human shields.
The biggest media lie came from a report from Associated Press whose articles are syndicated to outlets throughout the world. In Blast during Gaza fight kills Palestinian mother, 4 children Ibrahim Barzak had cited Palestinians who said "the militants were at least 400 yards from the house and none of the fighters were killed near the structure."
The deaths of the five members of the Abu Mutiq family and the single "passerby" provide an interesting insight into how some in the media work this conflict. The LA Times article is slanted in such a way that makes it difficult to escape from the conclusion that the operators of the (non-existent) Israel tank were responsible for the tragic deaths of this young family. There seems to have been little in the way of fact-checking or attempts to verify the stories of the "eye witnesses". A viewing of the house and the craters caused by the explosions alone would have dispelled the tank story as a lie. But by consigning the Israeli version to the nether regions of the article, it was clear what the authors wanted their readership to think.
The reality is something different altogether. Beit Hanoun is an area used by Palestinian terrorists from which daily rocket attacks are launched on Israeli civilians. They carry their arsenals through heavily populated civilian areas and use innocents - people like the Abu Mutiq family - as their human shields.
They and their handlers bear the responsibility for the war crime that the "passerby" was in the process of commiting when he took this young family with him to his paradise. Whether by design or by accident, it happens too often that the members of the media provide cover for these criminals and unless they are willing to pull back the curtain and reveal the truth about events like the Beit Hanoun deaths, they also share the responsibility.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Peter Hoskin of the Spectator recently visited the Southern Israeli town of Sderot and, unlike some agenda driven Hamas apologists in the media who bury news of the trauma suffered by innocent Israeli civilians living daily lives in the shadow of terrorist attacks, he took out his notebook, interviewed a wide cross section of townspeople and provided a real snapshot of the beleagured Israeli town.
The question is asked - "[w]hy are there no traffic lights in Gaza? Because the pipes which support them are being cut up and made into Qassams. Why is the Gazan drainage and sewage system so substandard? Same reason."
The fact that Palestinian terrorists have fouled their environment for the purpose of destroying their Israeli neighbours is nothing new. Nor will it come as a surprise to anyone that there are some perverted minds on this earth who are willing to turn fact on its head to blame the Jews alone for such muck. Johann Hari is one of them.
Hari is the author of a noxious op ed dripping with anti-Semitic bilge picked up by some of the murkier news outlets that fill the media world's sewers - such publications as the UK's Independent, the Irish Independent and our national capital's own The Canberra Times. Der Sturmer would have taken it but it appears that publication is no longer in production.
Hari, who last week won the Orwell Prize (once a prestigious award for political writing), revived the old blood libel of Jews "poisoning the wells" by adopting a Ministy of Truth pose and accusing Israel of deliberately polluting West Bank groundwater supplies without regard to its Palestinian neighbours and claiming that Israel is soley responsible for this problem. But, as Honest Reporting points out this is pure bullshit:
"It is no secret that Israel has a chronic water problem and lags behind many other developed nations in environmental protection. However, the Palestinians are equally to blame for polluting the environment in the West Bank, which has, in turn, also caused damage to Israel's own water supplies. The West Bank mountain aquifer is one of the largest freshwater sources supplying both Israelis and Palestinians. Indeed, Israelis and Palestinians have jointly tackled such pollution and Israel has used its own expertise to provide Palestinian population centers with sewage treatment facilities. Why would Israel purposely destroy its own limited water supply?"
Hari's rant goes beyond the nonsensical. He literally wallows in what has become typical of journalism's worst by resorting to sensationalism and lies to attack the Jewish State. Here's the classy part:
"Whenever I try to mouth these words [of reassurance for Israel], a remembered smell fills my nostrils. It is the smell of shit."
Of course, the reason why the smell of shit is so familiar to Hari is that he wakes up with that smell every morning because he's full of it!
"an invention, pure and simple, either by Hari or by whomever he is quoting (Ilan Pappe?)....
If this sounds all too familiar, it should be because the same line was taken by the equally odious anti-Zionist journalism lecturer (heaven help his students!) Peter Manning in a stinker of an op ed piece published this week in the Sydney Morning Herald and roasted by the Australian and many of its discerning readers later in the week. Manning also cited Pappe who, not only has admitted that the truth is of less consequence to him than his hate-filled ideology, but has recently been keeping company with some truly unsavoury characters. Tom Gross notes in his blog that on 21 March this year, Pappe gave an interview to the German neo-Nazi newspaper, National Zeitung. Hari, Manning and Pappe make good bedfellows.
The lies, half-truths distortions and outright racism coming from the anti-Zionist camp in the lead up to Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations are reaching fever pitch. As Tom Gross points 0ut: "Goebbels would be proud."
Friday, May 02, 2008
"According to the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Media Watch, the head of the Palestinian Centre for Strategic Research, Amin Dabur, said: 'The Israeli Holocaust - the whole thing was a joke, and part of the perfect show that (Zionist leader and future Israeli prime minister) Ben Gurion put on'".
"The 'young energetic and able' were sent to Israel, while the handicapped were sent 'so there would be a Holocaust'".
FOOTNOTE: Another item you won't find in the Melbourne Age is this one about the Islamic Jihad terrorist chief who doubled up as a teacher in an UNWRA school - CNN. It comes as no surprise that the United Nations in Gaza has been infiltrated by operatives of terrorist organisations. The UN has for years been aware of the problem and despite them mouthing platitudes about politics and staff rules, the problem continues and is, in all likelihood, beyond its control. That's why I don't believe what comes out of the mouths of UN officials in Gaza and why I'm so cynical about reports from journalists who cite them when they make claims supporting the thugs who rule in Gaza today.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Today's Australian quotes a Benny Morris letter to The Irish Times, in which he sets the record straight:
"ISRAEL-HATERS are fond of citing my work in support of their arguments. Let me offer some corrections. In defiance of the will of the international community, as embodied in the UN General Assembly resolution of November 29, 1947, (Palestinian Arabs) launched hostilities against the Jewish community in Palestine in the hope of aborting the emergence of the Jewish state and perhaps destroying that community. But they lost; and one of the results was the displacement of 700,000 of them from their homes.
"Most of Palestine's 700,000 "refugees" fled their homes because of the flail of war (and in the expectation that they would shortly return to their homes on the backs of victorious Arab invaders).
"There was no Zionist 'plan' or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population, or of 'ethnic cleansing'. Plan Dalet of March 10, 1948, was the master plan of the Haganah - the Jewish military force that became the Israel Defence Forces - to counter the expected pan-Arab assault on the emergent Jewish state. And the invasion of the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq duly occurred, on May 15.
"It is true that Plan D gave the regional commanders carte blanche to occupy and garrison or expel and destroy the Arab villages along and behind the front lines and the anticipated Arab armies' invasion routes. And it is also true that midway in the 1948 war the Israeli leaders decided to bar the return of the 'refugees' (those 'refugees' who had just assaulted the Jewish community), viewing them as a potential fifth column and threat to the Jewish state's existence.
"I for one cannot fault their fears or logic."
As for the use of Ilan Pappé by Manning as a reference, readers should be aware that he is a person who openly acknowledges that he is not objective and cares little about factual accuracy, readily admitting that ideology drives his historical writings and statements. At least Pappe openly admits this.
Although it is clear that there was no Zionist plan of evicting the Arab population, Manning disingenuously ignores the stated Arab plan to exterminate the Jews of the region by way of "a momentous massacre".
In the week leading up to the celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary, we can expect more of this nonsense dressed up as serious comment from the usual suspects. These people are present a danger to all those who seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians. They should be exposed at every opportunity.