Archive for February, 2008

‘Great’ newspapers and Fresno Bee have something in common

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

I’ve been suspecting this for a long time, but now someone has come along and proven it:

The New York Times, LA Times (may its name be erased), and Washington Post’s op-ed sections are heavily biased against Israel:

A 19-month CAMERA study, from January 2006 through July 2007, of guest Op-Eds about the Arab-Israeli conflict found that in these three papers pro-Arab Op-Eds and/or those critical of Israel overwhelmingly outnumbered pro-Israel Op-Eds and/or those critical of Arabs. Even more telling is the striking fact that during the 19-month period, none of the newspapers ran even a single Op-Ed by an Israeli official. In contrast, each of the three papers ran four Op-Eds by Arab officials, including multiple pieces by Hamas leaders…

It should be noted that many of the Op-Eds generally supportive of Israel also contained criticism of the Jewish state. In contrast, virtually none of the Op-Eds expressing a pro-Arab point of view contained criticism of the Arab side.

While CAMERA inexplicably left our local paper, the McClatchy-owned Fresno Bee, out of the study, I have no doubt that it falls into the same category. Notable are periodic unsigned editorials which supposedly represent the opinion of the editorial board, although they are not written locally. And from time to time there is a particularly objectionable reader submission. Two weeks ago the Bee gave a prominent place to a poorly-written 700-word piece by a local pastor, a rehash of every libel and slander made against Israel, including accusations of murder, atrocities, ethnic cleansing, racism, apartheid, persecution (of Christians yet), etc.

I’m not the first one to note that journalists at media outlets great and not-so-great all do their best to get people to read their papers. And the op-ed page is, after all, the place where opinions are expressed, and strong opinions are interesting.

Nevertheless we know that the Timeses, the Post, or the Fresno Bee would not print an article which defames a racial or ethnic group. The editors would rightly judge this to be irresponsible.

So why is it acceptable to print hateful material that defames a nation?

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Former ‘self-hating Jew’ becomes Israel-hating Methodist

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

JTA writes,

Jewish groups blasted a Methodist study guide to Israel as riddled with inaccuracies and intemperate rhetoric.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, a public-polcy umbrella body of local and national groups, this week published a 25-page deconstruction of “Israel-Palestine: A Study Mission for 2007-2008.”

“I was particularly distressed to see the conditions created by the birth of Israel called ‘original sin’ and to see Israelis characterized as ‘hysterical’ and ‘paranoiac,'” said Steve Gutow, JCPA’s executive director. “The quest for peace is not helped by those who demonize and distort”…

B’nai B’rith called the report an “affront to Israel and Jews,” singling out passages from the guide that critique Jewish “obsessions” with the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, and notes the United Methodist Church general conference in April, when the church will consider divestment from Israel…

The author of the guide, Rev. Steven Goldstein, is the top mission official at the church. In personal history passages in the publication, he describes how he might have been described as a “self-hating Jew” prior to his conversion from Judaism to Christianity. 

So…how would he be described today?

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The more bad things that happen to them, the better they like it

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Another ‘international’ wounded in action:

Some 2,000 Palestinians and left-wing activists gathered in the West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday to commemorate three years of their struggle against the security barrier in the area.

According to the organizers of the demonstration, 10 people were wounded in clashes with security forces, including a US peace activist who was hit in the head by a rubber bullet and evacuated in moderate condition to a hospital in Ramallah…

Since 2002, 11 people have been killed and thousands wounded in the weekly demonstrations. — Jerusalem Post

It would be cruel, but correct, to say that the organizers of the demonstration intend for such things to happen. That’s what makes them effective, and that’s why they do their best to provoke reactions from the soldiers and police who are trying to protect the fence (otherwise the ‘demonstrators’ would tear it down).

In my local newspaper today, there was a letter that pretty much encapsulates the point of view of the people who would risk injury or death to help the Palestinians.

The writer mentions “41 years of military occupation”, and talks about limitations on the freedom of Palestinians, such as Gaza residents who are allegedly (but in fact not) suffering from electricity reductions, etc. “Wouldn’t you fight back?” he asks.

He is unable or unwilling to see that the situation of the Palestinians today is a result of not 41 but close to a hundred years of war waged on the Jewish population of the region by the Arab world, especially including the Palestinians. He is unable to understand that the Palestinians have consistently rejected attempts to partition the already-partitioned Jewish portion of the Palestine mandate in such a way as to create an independent state of Palestine, choosing to hold out for the replacement of the Jewish state with an Arab one.

Even a Zionist like myself will admit that the Palestinians are having a rough time. The thing is, we are simply not prepared to give up the Jewish state. The Palestinian position that it all belongs to them is not justified historically, and certainly their murderous behavior and serial failures of leadership — the Mufti, Arafat, Hamas, etc. — place the majority of the blame for their problems squarely on them.

But the poor ‘international’ who was injured and my local letter-writer have room in their brains only for a list of Palestinian grievances — they did this to us, they did that to us. They don’t notice or don’t believe that the security fence has anything to do with terrorism. They don’t see that the minimal (in truth, laughable) reductions of fuel and electricity to Gaza are direct results of Hamas rockets hitting Israeli cities. And they are unaware of the long history of Arab terrorism against Israel (and against Jews in Palestine, before there was an Israel).

At some point, very soon I’m afraid, a rocket will hit a school and kill a bunch of children. Then Israel will invade Gaza, having exhausted every other means of stopping the rocket fire, and the internationals and letter-writers will go into high gear, exaggerating Palestinian suffering, inventing massacres, etc.

As I have pointed out, Hamas knows this and are continuing to shoot. This means that they welcome a confrontation. They expect that they will be able to cause significant Israeli casualties, which they think will weaken Israel’s resolve (to exist?) But also, they know that there is great value for them in Palestinian casualties, real or made up. They expect that the US, UN, etc. will intervene, protect Hamas from Israel, and force concessions.

Like the Bil’in demonstrators, the more bad things that happen to them, the better they like it.

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International plan to roll back history continues

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Yesterday I discussed a plan to station UN troops in Gaza, as an ‘exit strategy’ for the IDF after an incursion to remove Hamas from power.

Today, I am reading about plans to introduce NATO soldiers into the West Bank:

The plan, which is being spearheaded by US Special Envoy to the region Gen. James Jones, is being floated among European countries, which could be asked to contribute troops to a West Bank multinational force.

Jones, a former commander of NATO, was sent to Israel in November to help the Israelis and Palestinians frame some of the security mechanics necessary for a broader peace agreement.

As first reported in the Post last month, Jones’s plan calls for stationing third-party troops in the West Bank to secure the area in the interim period following an Israeli withdrawal and before the Palestinian Authority can take over full security control. — Jerusalem Post

Currently, the only thing keeping the Abbas/Fayad faction of Fatah in power in the West Bank is the IDF and its operations against Hamas and anti-Abbas segments of Fatah. NATO would not have the intelligence capabilities of the IDF, nor the knowledge of the area nor the stomach to replace the IDF. And Abbas/Fayad is growing weaker, not stronger.

Despite certain failure of this and similar plans, they continue to go forward. Why? Because the international community has one and only one goal: create a Palestinian state.

This goal is being promoted as a way to bring peace, but it is the opposite. It is based on false assumptions: that the conflict between Israel and the Arab nations is based on the Palestinian issue, and that it is possible to create a Palestinian entity that will be moderate — that is, that will not wage war on Israel. It pays only lip service to Israel’s security.

But this doesn’t matter, because it is only important to curry favor with the Arab oil powers by rolling history back before 1967 as promised. There is no concern for security. Get the Palestinian state, and everything will be OK, say the Saudis, and heads at the State Department and EU nod in unison.

This is only a first step. Assuming that a weak Israeli leadership allows this to happen, the next one — it is already beginning — will be agitation by and for the ‘oppressed’ Arab minority inside Israel, and of course the refugees. This is evidenced by the refusal of the Fatah moderates to accept that Israel is a Jewish state.

So what is supposed to come next? International troops inside Israel to help transition it to a ‘state of its citizens’? Will the US and EU time machine bring back the mandate?

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Gaza war and aftermath will be unique

Monday, February 18th, 2008

The Jerusalem Post reports:

Israel is considering a large-scale incursion into the Gaza Strip during which it would present an ultimatum to the international community for the deployment of a multinational force as the only condition under which it would withdraw, defense officials have told The Jerusalem Post…

While Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said numerous times that a major operation in Gaza is inevitable, the IDF has been reluctant to recommend such an incursion for a number of reasons, especially the lack of a clear exit strategy.

Without a multinational force on the ground and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party too weak to retake control of Gaza, a large operation seems unlikely…

“We are talking about the Second Lebanon War model,” a defense official said. “To go to war and tell the world that if they want a cease-fire and for us to leave then they will need to send a force to replace us.”

I hope it will not be precisely that, where the multinational force is incapable of preventing the enemy from rebuilding its capabilities, and indeed ends up protecting it from Israel. There will have to be several differences:

First, Hamas will have to be completely crushed, its weapons and infrastructure destroyed. It will have to be liquidated as a functioning organization. In Lebanon, although Hezbollah suffered severe losses, Nasrallah remains in control, Hezbollah fighters are returning to South Lebanon, and there are installations north of the Litani river where UNIFIL is not deployed.

Second, Israel will need to take control of the Gaza-Egypt border. In Lebanon, UNIFIL has not been willing or able to keep supplies from flowing across the Syrian border.

Even so, I see some serious problems:

The war itself will be fought in the glare of TV lights, against a very media-savvy enemy. This will be the most thoroughly covered war in history, even more than the 2006 war. Every civilian casualty or damage to property will be multiplied by 10 in the unfriendly media. International reactions will be quickly fed back via the US and Israel will be forced to back off in critical situations. The only way to avoid this will be to seal off the strip, shut down communications and exclude the press. Is this even possible?

What will happen to the thousands of Hamas fighters that Israel will capture? Will they be imprisoned? Where? For how long? Who will guard them? And what happens when they are released?

Peacekeeping forces are known to be very risk-averse. How will they prevent terrorist attacks on Israel? It’s easy to go somewhere, fire rockets, and run away. How will the multinational force prevent this? And if not, how will Israel be able to respond? She will certainly lose the freedom of action in Gaza that she now enjoys.

It’s often said that generals always prepare to fight the last war. One naturally thinks of things like new weapons in this connection, but there are other kinds of change to be taken into account too, such as the evolution of war from a primarily military struggle in which armies fight battles into one in which the political and media aspects overshadow fighting as the primary determinants of the outcome.

There is no question that Israel has a great advantage in the ‘fighting’ part. The question is whether or not she can modernize and improve her abilities to fight in the political and media theaters as well.

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