Monday, August 3, 2015

A look at BBC reporting on Hamas youth camps

...BBC audiences’ understanding of the Middle East would of course have been enhanced considerably had Lyse Doucet elected to devote more than 52 seconds of coverage to the topic of Hamas’ organised paramilitary and theological indoctrination of children.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
03 August '15..

Readers may recall that last February we pondered the question “Is a BBC documentary about Hamas’ child soldiers upcoming?” after a Tweet from Lyse Doucet in which she noted that she was filming at a Hamas youth camp.

“Whether or not this is part of the documentary on children in the Gaza Strip about which Doucet was interviewed by the Guardian last September is not clear. It will however be interesting to see whether the opportunity is used to inform BBC audiences about Hamas’ use of child soldiers – including during the most recent conflict – and whether or not it will be clarified that one of the UN conventions signed by the Palestinian Authority in April 2014 was the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, according to which no soldier should be under the age of 18.”

Footage from that visit to a Hamas organized youth camp did appear in Lyse Doucet’s recent film titled “Children of the Gaza War” – for less than one minute. Doucet’s commentary during that segment was as follows:

“Some boys as young as Abdul Rahman [phonetic] take part in this first youth camp organized by Hamas’ military wing. It’s for men aged 15 to 21. Some are clearly younger and at the closing ceremony there’s younger still. For the outside world it’s hard to comprehend why parents would put children in situations like this. Hamas says the camps keep boys off the street and teach values and martial arts for defence. But the young also learn about weapons and hatred: it’s what Hamas calls a culture of resistance.”

Doucet’s categorisation of the camp’s participants as “men” is obviously questionable in relation to half its age range and the camp she attended was not the “first”. Seeing as the BBC is not averse to amplifying the Hamas narrative of ‘resistance’, one might perhaps have expected that Doucet would have seized this rare opportunity to expand on a subject usually avoided by the BBC in order to inform audiences more comprehensively about what that “culture of resistance” really means.

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Bottom line. No dark secrets, just a propaganda film

...But there is another approach – neither historical nor scientific, but propaganda-related. It's the approach who prefers to manipulatively emphasize testimonies over exceptions. It's the approach who joins, perhaps knowingly, the massive campaign aiming to present Israel as a monster. It's the approach of the PR campaign of "Censored Voices," which includes the distorted claim that "70 percent of the material was censored" in order to create the suitable atmosphere to convey the message. The film will not only be screened around the world, but also in Israel. That's the way it should be. Israel is a democracy. But we should know that it's not an exposure, and there was no exposure there. Everything has already been published. The film's director didn't hesitate to present her political agenda. The result, we should all know, is a propaganda film.

Ben-Dror Yemini..
Israel Opinion/Ynet..
02 August '15..

Some 20,000 of the enemy's soldiers were killed in the Six-Day War, almost only soldiers. Thousands were captured. It wasn't a war without unusual incidents. There is not a single war in the past century which didn't include massacres and horrors.

Prof. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, the most important researcher in this field, argued in his book "Worse Than War" that about 90 percent of the casualties in conflicts after World War II are innocent, victims of massacres. While there is a dispute over the percentage, even those who disagree with him assert that most victims are innocent.

So the question isn't: "Did it happen in the Six-Day War?" Of course it did. The question is: "Was it the norm, or were these exceptions?" Even today, almost five decades after the events, evidence about exceptions can and should be presented.

The fact that IDF fighters carried out such illegitimate acts, a lot less than any other army those years, before those years and after those years – doesn’t mean that these things should be presented today either. We have to know. We have to condemn. The IDF's soldiers must be educated against such acts. It should be obvious. But in the heat of the battle, it isn't always obvious.

This is the background before presenting the new hit movie, "Fighters Talk: The Hidden Reels" (Hebrew title), a documentary based on the original recordings of intimate conversations with soldiers returning from the battlefield after the Six-Day War. The film received a huge wave of PR in Israel. After all, it presents Israelis' crimes, and those are always sought-after goods.

It is also becoming a hit around the world, under the name "Censored Voices." It provides an aura of exposure. "The Israeli army censored the 1967 audiotapes, allowing only a fragment of the conversations to be published until now. This film shares those 'censored voices' for the first time," the film's English synopsis says.

And in their interviews, the filmmakers, led by director Mor Loushy, instilled the myth of the brutal censorship – "70 percent." And we, the exposures in the turret, the commando of the forces of progress, are now revealing the dark secrets. Leading newspapers like the New York Times and Economist rushed to buy the goods.

But it's a lie, says Dr. Martin Kramer, following a long investigation he conducted.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Really can't make this kind of shot up Mr Dabour demonstrates so eloquently, that there is almost literally nothing hostile to Israel - no matter how ludicrous, no matter how totally lacking in evidence - that cannot be said by opinion-warriors like him.

Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
02 July '15..

A few hours ago, we wrote here about the rocket attack that emanated from the Gaza Strip last night, seeking in the traditional way more Israeli victims.

Several Israeli reports said there were two rockets in total, and that they came crashing down somewhere more or less on the border fence separating Israel from the Islamist regime's territory. Then when we went looking, we found a credible Gazan source that said there were in fact four rockets in the overnight barrage. And that all four crash-landed on the Gazan side.

Naturally (since Arab-on-Arab violence in the dark recesses of the Hamas regime's fiefdom has close-to-zero news value in the eyes of the mainstream media) there is not a word published anywhere about Gazan casualties resulting from this latest Gazan Fell Short (that's the name we give to Palestinian Arab rockets that misfire and hit something Gazan instead of something Israeli - they are very, very common). Sad, but nothing new. But worth knowing if you are trying to make sense out of the highly partisan way in which news is and is not reported from the violent margins of the great country in which we live.

Now we see this:

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Updates throughout the day at If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter

A society defines itself by whom it chooses to elevate to the status of icon and hero

...An unconfirmed report of the death of terrorist operative Samir Kuntar offers a reminder that a culture that extols a child-killer reveals its values.

Steven Stotsky..
CAMERA Media Analyses..
31 July '15..

On July 29, 2015 the Israeli media reported that Samir Kuntar, a former member of a Palestinian terrorist group and a current collaborator with the Syrian regime and Hezbollah was killed in an Israeli airstrike. While Kuntar's death has not been confirmed, it is, nevertheless, worth recalling who Kuntar is and why his possible demise was deemed newsworthy.

Kuntar is an icon to Israel's enemies. He is hailed as a hero by Hezbollah in Lebanon, formally honored by the Syrian regime and Iran and his past actions are celebrated across the region. After his release from incarceration in Israel in July 2008, he was greeted with much jubilation upon his arrival in Lebanon.

Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed proxy force in Lebanon, has long accorded Kuntar a special status. Prior to Israel's decision to release him, Hezbollah had demanded his release in exchange for the bodies of Israeli soldiers in Hezbollah's custody and threatened to kidnap Israelis for use as bargaining chips. The bloody war in the summer of 2006 initiated by Hezbollah was launched in part to gain the release of Kuntar from Israeli imprisonment.

According to the New York Times, after Kuntar's 30-year sentence in Israel was completed and he was allowed to return to Lebanon, a mass rally was held in which a banner hoisted above the crowd proclaimed, "God's Achievement Through Our Hands." At the rally, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah extolled Kuntar and the crowd chanted, "Samir, Samir, Samir."

Kuntar was feted by the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, where he was presented with the Syrian Order of Merit. During the ceremony, the Syrian dictator waxed eloquent, "His being here with us and his determination to promote Arab rights, despite everything he's been through, has turned him into a symbol of the struggle for freedom across the Arab world and the whole world."

Kuntar's celebrity tour did not end there. He also traveled to Iran, where he received yet another award from then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

As evidence of his popular appeal in the region, the Lebanese affiliate of Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite news station, welcomed him home by throwing an on-air birthday party that included a large frosting-covered cake. The station's bureau chief hailed him as a "pan-Arab hero."

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Lebanese government shut down to celebrate Kuntar's return. Haaretz reported that then Lebanese President Emile Lahoud called the event "dear to my heart. I view Samir Kuntar as one of my sons and I wish the couple a happy life."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praised Kuntar, calling him the "great Samir Kuntar."

When entering a pact with a country committed to annihilating another people

...This is the first time the U.S. will have deliberately entered into a pact with a country committed to annihilating another people—a pact that doesn’t even require formal repudiation of the country’s genocidal aims.

Ruth R. Wisse..
Wall St. Journal..
30 July '15..

Barack Obama’s election to the presidency represented to many Americans this country’s final triumph over racism. Reversing the record of slavery and institutionalized discrimination, his victory was hailed as a redemptive moment for America and potentially for humankind. How grotesque that the president should now douse that hope by fueling racism on a global scale.

The Iranian regime is currently the world’s leading exponent of anti-Jewish racism. Comparisons to Nazi Germany are always a last resort, since even with all the evidence before us it is hard to fathom the evil the Nazis perpetrated. Yet Iran’s frank genocidal ambition dwarfs its predecessor’s. Whereas Adolf Hitler and Reinhard Heydrich had to plot the “Final Solution” in secrecy, using euphemisms for their intended annihilation of the Jews of Europe, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweets that Israel “has no cure but to be annihilated.” Iran’s leaders, relishing how small Israel is, call it a “one bomb state,” and until the time arrives to deliver that bomb, they sponsor anti-Israel terrorism through Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militias.

President Obama takes some forms of racism seriously. Without waiting for a judgment to be rendered, he leaped to the defense of my Harvard colleague Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., who in 2009 was involved in a confrontation with Cambridge police investigating a reported break-in at his house. In the disputed shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., in 2012, the president identified with the victim of the alleged racism to the point of saying the 17-year-old “could have been my son.”

Yet when it comes to the world’s most widespread and ideologically driven racism, President Obama seems to have a blind spot, initiating a nuclear deal with the fanatical anti-Jewish regime in Tehran, despite what he calls Iran’s “bad behavior.” The euphemism this time is his, not that of the perpetrators, and it camouflages their intentions even if they won’t.

Perhaps Mr. Obama is oblivious to what the scholar Robert Wistrich (who died in May) called “the longest hatred” because it has been so much a part of his world as he moved through life. Muslim Indonesia, where he lived from age 6 to 10, trails only Pakistan and Iran in its hostility to Jews. An animus against Jews and Israel was a hallmark of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church in Chicago that Mr. Obama attended for two decades. And before he ran for office, Mr. Obama carried the standard of the international left that invented the stigma of Zionism-as-imperialism. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama felt obliged to repudiate his pastor (who had famously cursed America from the pulpit), and muted his far-left credentials. Mr. Obama was voted into office by an electorate enamored of the idea that he would oppose all forms of racism. He has not met that expectation.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Dear President Abbas by Vic Rosenthal

...What did you expect? After a hundred years of terrorism directed at us, some members of our nation have learned to imitate yours. We’re human too. We have our criminals, our assassins, and even our terrorists. Of course we don’t treat them as heroes. We don’t broadcast incitement on our radio and television stations. Rabbis don’t exhort their congregations every Shabbat to go out and kill Arabs. We don’t hand out sweets when a murder is committed.

Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
01 August '15..

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is calling for an international commission of inquiry to investigate the terrorist attack, presumably by Jewish militants, that took the life of an 18-month old baby and severely injured his parents and siblings in the village of Duma, in Samaria.

Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian Authority

Dear President Abbas,

I’m writing to express my horror at the vicious terror attack that occurred yesterday in Duma, and my hopes that the survivors will have a full and speedy recovery. I’m sure that virtually all Israelis join me in this.

You see, we know how you feel.

I can only imagine how the surviving members of the Dawabsha family feel, but there are countless remnants of Jewish families ripped apart by terrorism who don’t need to imagine.

For at least a hundred years, Palestinian Arabs have been murdering our children, our athletes (you personally know something about that one), our bus passengers, pizza eaters, disco-goers and random Jews in the wrong place at the wrong time. They’ve been shot, stabbed, blown up, beaten or burned to death, or had their throats slit. Whole families, like the Dawabshas, have been destroyed.

You have sent your bestial terrorist filth out to kill us and then welcomed them back, dripping blood, as heroes.

And it turns out, not so surprisingly, that we have bestial terrorist filth amongst us as well. What did you expect? After a hundred years of terrorism directed at us, some members of our nation have learned to imitate yours.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Sovereignty is not something gained by force -- it requires compromise and endless patience.

...In the last 48 years, no Israeli government has imposed full sovereignty over the parts of the homeland that we have conquered. I am not afraid of puritanical language. We reconquered the land that was originally ours, the land that had waited for us for years. We did not take this land away from any foreign entity that had sovereignty over it, and therefore our claim to it is entirely justified -- historically, legally, internationally and religiously. But the fact is that for decades Israel has avoided imposing full sovereignty over the entire scope of the land.

Dror Eydar..
Israel Hayom..
31 July '15..

Two buildings in the settlement of Beit El that were demolished under order of the High Court of Justice this week have brought a small group of Jewish pioneers to the point of frustration, prompting them to insult IDF soldiers and harshly criticize the legal system and the government. Before we go any further, I must say that the remarks made by MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) on Wednesday (saying the High Court should be bulldozed) were not legitimate criticism, but rather an embarrassment to his party and to the pioneering settlement enterprise that he purports to represent. Having said that, I will say this: Dear brothers and sisters, the current government is as right-wing as a government in Israel will get. It is legitimate to criticize, even harshly, and it is okay to protest, but anyone who is incapable of playing by the rules of democracy needs to step out of the game and let others carry the settlement enterprise on their shoulders.

It was only 10 years ago that entire communities were destroyed by order of the Israeli government. Has our spirit been broken? Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook used to say that during times like these, nerves of steel are in order. Do not fall into the trap of impatience and frustration and avoid throwing away all the good that we already have. Look for what we have rather than yielding to the fatalist tendency to see only what is absent. The demolition of two buildings is no reason for all this drama. Where is the common sense? This is a classic recipe for "cry wolf" syndrome: When something truly devastating happens, the general public will not be receptive, having had its fill of empty, wasted drama.

The Jewish people are returning home. I say "returning" because this is a years-long process -- hundreds of years in the making and with hundreds of years left to go. The people who look at the diplomatic, social and political picture as a string of specific failures or successes are looking at reality through minimizing, petty eyes, and obviously no government could possibly live up to their expectations.


It is fascinating to see the mirror image of last week's Peace Now conference in some of the reactions to the events in Beit El. In both cases the "rule of radicalization" was in play -- with individuals turning to the radical end of the spectrum when things don't go their way in a kind of puritanical way, as if to say "at least my conscience is clear." It is legitimate to want more, but it takes some degree of maturity and responsibility to understand that you can't always have everything. Sometimes it is best to be content with what you have, out of respect for the independent passing of time that is not always congruous with our own inner timing.

What does it mean to be puritanical? It means a lack of maturity and failure to understand that by nature, political, diplomatic and social processes require compromise. If we aspire to absorb large social groups, in the millions of people, we have to strike a middle ground that will accommodate the widest possible range of people.

In the last 48 years, no Israeli government has imposed full sovereignty over the parts of the homeland that we have conquered. I am not afraid of puritanical language. We reconquered the land that was originally ours, the land that had waited for us for years. We did not take this land away from any foreign entity that had sovereignty over it, and therefore our claim to it is entirely justified -- historically, legally, internationally and religiously. But the fact is that for decades Israel has avoided imposing full sovereignty over the entire scope of the land.

On the other hand, we are settling the land, acre by acre, family by family, home by home -- using the good old Zionist method. Most of us have plenty of patience. What doesn't get done in this generation will be done in the next, God willing. In the meantime, the important thing is to make sure the Zionist foundations are strong.

Those who today revive the humanistic ardor of interwar Poland

...Rather than a boycott, the EU moves constitute the provision of indispensable consumer information – exactly as in prewar Poland. It’s chillingly the same sham. The Polish government didn’t officially send thugs to Jewish shops just as organized Europe sends no thugs to supermarkets at its official behest to spy out made-in-Israel produce, toss it to the floor and trash it to the accompaniment of sonorous expletives. Endek thugs did attack Jewish merchants but the government’s hands were clean. Today’s BDS thugs in some of the most civilized European urban centers attack emporiums selling any made-in-Israel wares (regardless from which side of the Green Line) but such hooliganism cannot be directly tied to the Brussels bureaucracy.

Jewish storefronts in prewar Krakow: the
mandatory name-sign decree was hardly innocuous.
Sarah Honig..
Another Tack..
30 July '15..

Poland made history on Monday morning, April 19, 1937. It taught the world how to implement a boycott without actually admitting that it’s doing anything of the sort.

Headliners of today’s European Union have learned the lesson well, even if few of the EU’s sanctimonious sermonizers can likely cite the source and inspiration for their very unoriginal charade.

The Polish non-boycott was no mean feat on the eve of WWII, when dark clouds of impending doom already gathered over the heads of European Jewry. Given the bestial goings-on and the brutish anti-Jewish boycotts next-door in the Third Reich, Poland appeared positively refined by comparison – the soul of sophistication.

The Poles never sank as low as the crude and vulgar Germans. They didn’t adopt the practice of daubing storefronts with giant Jude inscriptions, smashing windows or sending out storm troopers to form scary picket lines, carry offensive signs in the formidable Teutonic tradition and warn off the super-race away from subhuman Jewish shopkeepers.

Instead, Poland’s Minister of Industry and Commence Antoni Roman issued an edict that looked impeccably non-discriminatory. It ordered that all business signs boldly display the proprietor’s name, directly above any other incidental scrap information such as what was sold at the premises. Precise rules were stipulated regarding the size of the letters required.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

The measure applied to everyone throughout the republic. Surely nothing could be more equitable. No single community or grouping was targeted. Technically this was not an anti-Judaic decree. Quite the reverse: here was an exemplary act of public service born of the public-spirited conviction that the public was entitled to know the identity of each vendor everywhere.

No way could the Polish government be blamed for the fact that Jews – estimated (depending on the location) at between one-tenth to one-eighth of the population – on the whole had surnames that instantly betrayed their ethnic extraction.

Poland was already endemically anti-Semitic. From the early 1920s it had tolerated an unofficial numerus clausus geared to drastically reduce the number of Jewish students. It had also introduced innovations like the “Ghetto bench” – special seats in university lecture halls earmarked for despised and humiliated Jewish students. This started at the Lvov Polytechnic Institute on December 8, 1935 and quickly spread countrywide as the academic must-follow fad.

When human rights advocacy appears indistinguishable from rationalizing the crimes of terrorists

...In the meantime, the family of Lt. Goldin still awaits the return of his body from Hamas that may be holding his remains in order to exact another gruesome exchange for live killers. If Amnesty wants to live up to its claim of advocacy for human rights, it might want to get involved in that issue. More to the point, the group and its financial backers need to understand that by conducting such attacks on Israel, it cannot pretend that is rationalizing the actions of one side in the conflict. In this case, their version of human rights advocacy appears to be indistinguishable from rationalizing the crimes of terrorists and seeking to hamstring the efforts of those seeking to stop them.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
30 July '15..

Yesterday, Amnesty International issued its latest broadside at the State of Israel. The group’s report, titled “Black Friday: Carnage in Rafah” dutifully reported at length by the New York Times, seeks to portray an incident from last summer’s war in Gaza as an example of particularly awful Israeli war crimes involving shelling of civilian areas and egregious loss of life. But, as with most such accusations, the closer you look at the charge the more it becomes clear that the point of the exercise isn’t merely a supposed quest for justice for dead Palestinians. While this must be seen in the context of a campaign to prepare war crimes charges against the Israel Defense Forces before the International Criminal Court that was recently joined by the Palestinian Authority, the effort has a broader purpose than merely beginning a human rights prosecution before that body. By expending a great deal of its limited resources on this one incident, Amnesty is seeking to make a much broader political point: delegitimizing Israeli self-defense under virtually any circumstances.

The incident that generated the reported took place on August 1, 2014. On that morning, a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was put into effect that sought to end the war that had begun a month earlier. The conflict started when a Hamas terror cell kidnaped and murdered three Israeli teenagers and then escalated when the group began firing rockets at Israeli cities and towns. Several thousand of these missiles would be launched at Israel before the war ended. In addition to that, Hamas attempted to employ tunnels it had dug underneath the border with Israel to conduct more such kidnap/murder raids. Though the Israelis tried at first to halt the attacks with air power, when that didn’t work, ground forces were required to stop the terrorists. Though the August 1st cease-fire — like the one that later finally did end the shooting — left Hamas in place and in possession of its rocket arsenal, Israel agreed to it.

But only an hour after the fighting was supposed to stop, a Hamas terror squad ambushed a group of Israeli soldiers in the city of Rafah along the border with Israel. Two were killed and the body of one, Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, was dragged into the tunnel from which his attackers had emerged. That set off a desperate search and counter-attack aimed at recovering him and/or his body. That directive, known by the code name, “Hannibal” aims to use maximum force to prevent terrorists from escaping with a hostage. The order is always controversial because some interpret it as encouraging Israeli forces to even endanger the life of the captured soldier rather than standing down and subjecting both the individual and his country to a protracted hostage negotiation that inevitably involves the release of a disproportionate number of terrorist murderers.

In this case, Amnesty accuses Israel of using artillery fire in such a way as to conduct “disproportionate or otherwise indiscriminate attacks” on civilian areas with no regard for the lives of innocents who might be killed in the barrage. According to Amnesty and its Palestinian sources, the Israelis fired 1,000 shells and 40 bombs on the area where the Hamas assault took place resulting in 135 Palestinian deaths.

But while the loss of life during this battle was regrettable, the focus of the Amnesty report is remarkably skewed.

After all, the one war crime that we can be sure that took place was the attack on Goldin and his squad. It was a deliberate violation of a cease-fire that might have been a godsend for ordinary Palestinians, but which didn’t serve the purposes of Hamas. Having bled Gaza white for weeks, the leaders of the terrorist group were not yet satisfied with the toll of casualties among their own people. Hamas places its missile launchers and terror squads among civilians in order to deliberately expose them to Israeli fire. While there are plenty of fortified shelters in the strip for Hamas fighters and their massive arsenal, there are few for civilians. In Hamas-run Gaza, the shelters are for the bombs, not the people.