What victory looks like
I once heard Bill Maher say that: “Israel has won every war she ever had to fight because she has to, she has no choice. If she loses she will be wiped off the map.”
In 2006, Israel was attacked by Hezbollah and was forced to go to war in Lebanon. The war had no frontline, it was Israelis in their home who were under attack by terrorists shooting missiles from the neighboring country, Lebanon. For 34 days Israelis in northern Israel (me included) hunkered down in bomb shelters while missiles slammed into our towns, our homes. We waited patiently while our soldiers took the battle to the terrorists who were attacking us, doing everything possible to make it stop.
We waited, never knowing when the next missile would come, never knowing where it would hit. Sometimes the air-raid siren worked. Sometimes it didn’t. I will never forget stepping outside after a missile slammed down behind my home and hearing the neighbor across the street screaming: “Why didn’t the siren go off??” That was the only warning we had to race to the bomb shelter, the only hope of protection. There was no Iron Dome then.
While our soldiers were battling for their lives and ours, we waited. Scary and difficult, we would wait however long it took. We didn’t mind.
Because we knew our soldiers would win.
The war ended with a UN brokered ceasefire on August 14, 2006. Israeli news commentators and security analysts told the people that while there was no visual that showed our decisive victory, Israel had won the war, Lebanon had been bombed back into the stone age (poor Lebanon that was being used as a launching pad for Hezbollah to wage a war) and that the IDF had destroyed much of Hezbollah’s missile arsenal.
Victory is similar to pornography. You might not know how to define what it is but you recognize it when you see it. Victory is not something that necessitates interpretation.
Since then, the Israeli government has carefully defined wars as “military operations.” Part of this is for financial reasons (the government is obligated to compensate citizens for financial loss due to war). I believe that this definition also has something to do with the idea that wars have to be won.
In late June, thousands from across the Midwest congregated in Chicago to demonstrate their support for legal rights, recognition and cultural heritage of LGBT communities in the city’s annual Pride Parade. The event, which typically emphasizes inclusion regardless of ethnic or religious background, left Laurel Grauer feeling discriminated against after being removed from the parade for carrying a rainbow flag adorning the Jewish Star of David. Organizers of the program, justifying her removal, claimed that the flag was deemed unacceptable due to its association with the State of Israel.
Unfortunately, this incident signals a trend of increasing anti-Semitism masquerading under the guise of anti-Zionism in the United States and abroad. Although not every rejection of the Zionist movement stems from racially-motivated sentiments, the lack of adequate justification for much of the anti-Zionist movement and an active unwillingness to dissect the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reflect a malignant underlying reason for opposition to the Jewish state.
Perhaps one of the worst perpetrators of anti-Zionist bias is the United Nations. The international organization has dealt disproportional criticism to Israel in relation to other, arguably far-more-guilty member nations. In its 2015 session, the U.N. passed a whopping total of 20 resolutions condemning Israel, while only passing 3 condemning resolutions against other member nations. In June, U.S. Ambassadors threatened to pull out of the U.N. Human Rights Council for its consistent discrimination against Israel. The 78 resolutions and decisions passed against Israel dwarf the 29 passed against the next biggest offender, Syria. Meanwhile, Russia, China and Saudi Arabia have faced no condemnations at all.
In the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel is a country where “women fly fighter jets, lead major corporations, head universities, preside over the Supreme Court, and have served as Speaker of the Knesset and as Prime Minister.” Contrast these conditions to Saudi Arabia’s, where women are not only denied their autonomy, but also (quite literally) enslaved into arranged marriages.
Camp Solomon Schechter, one of the Pacific Northwest’s longest-serving and best-loved Jewish summer camps, caused a bit of a stir this weekend after it hosted a group of 14 children, including Christian and Muslim Palestinians, and flew the Palestinian flag in their honor. This upset some campers, parents, and alumni, who wailed that the black-white-green-and-red had no place among the blue-and-white, and that a camp committed to Zionism and Israel shouldn’t kowtow to the enemy.
Those outraged—and I say this as an uncompromising supporter of Israel’s right to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism and incitement—are missing the point. The problem here isn’t that the camp chose to welcome its Palestinian guests by flying their colors; that alone is a sweet gesture, especially when the Palestinians in question are prepubescents, not armed members of the Tanzim. The problem is that the camp chose to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a mindless, morally preening way, treating it not as something concrete but as a collection of grand symbolic gestures.
Here, for example, is the email the camp sent out in the aftermath of the controversy:
“For the sake of a teachable moment, we did raise the Palestinian flag as a sign of friendship and acceptance. It was met with uncertainty by some campers and staff, especially the Israeli’s [sic], but all understood that the message of hope for peace by flying the Israeli flag alongside helped develop empathy. Still we plan to take down all the flags for Shabbat since there is no peace and also to relieve the sadness and anger that some feel by the site of the flag. It was so fun to watch the kids from Jerusalem play soccer with our chanichim and madrichim!”
Ignore, if you can, the writer’s tenuous grasp on grammar, or the jarring shifts in tone between talk of sadness and anger and peppy reports of a spirited soccer game. But consider the logic at play here: we flew the flag because we hope for peace, then we took it down because there is no peace, and also because some people were upset.
You hardly have to be a great educator to realize just how profoundly idiotic this sentiment truly is, and how likely it is to raise a generation of children who are thoroughly confused. First, it reduces a thorny issue with real complexities and uncomfortable truths to one easy empty gesture. Why bother with facts and figures and nuance when you can just wave a piece of colorful cloth? And then, rather than use this gesture responsibly and invite the campers and staffers to talk about why the flag makes them uncomfortable—maybe, say, because the authority it represents spends a considerable portion of its budget promoting and rewarding the systemic murder of Jews—the camp opted to double down on the symbolism and take the flag down as a way to bemoan the elusiveness of peace. This is how you do bad performance art; it’s not how you educate children.
IsraellyCool: Jewish Camp Doubles Down on Palestinian Flag Fiasco
The clumsily worded statement in fact doubled down on the offending act, elevating the raising of the Palestinian flag as a demonstration of “the Jewish value of Hachnasat Orchim (welcoming guests)”, the guests being a Palestinian delegation spending several days with the Jewish camp under the auspices of Kids4Peace. Adding insult to insult, the Schechter administration further justified the Palestinian flag raising as an attempt to create a “safe space for all”, disregarding the emotional impact the flying of the Palestinian flag would have on their young Jewish campers. Despite the jumbled messaging the camp firmly maintains their Zionist bona fides.
While many in the tight-knit Pacific Northwest Jewish community expressed indignation at the flying of the Palestinian flag at the legacy Jewish camp, radical anti-Israel blogger, BDS supporter and terror apologist Richard Silverstein endorsed the camp, adding that “there should be nothing wrong with raising a Palestinian flag”.
Terror apologist Silverstein declared his support of the Palestinian flag raising.
Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg, who recently marched alongside anti-Israel group IfNotNow, posted a broadside attack against me (I broke the story on my own blog before posting here):
“This blog [The Mike Report] is a vile piece of trash it is truly anti-Jewish and anti-Israel in promoting hate. Camp Solomon Schechter is a very very Zionist camp and bringing kids 4 peace into their community was Jewish leadership at the highest level shame on all of you for reading this man’s blog.
Which leads us to ask the question, with endorsements like these, who needs endorsements?
Organized religion’s shallowest critics made the mistake of blasting Islam along with Christianity, and the Left crucified them for it.
On Friday, it became official: The New Atheists are no longer welcome on the left. Battered, condemned, and disinvited, these godless and once-favored “public intellectuals” are now homeless, spurned by their erstwhile progressive allies.
Richard Dawkins, the famously skeptical evolutionary biologist, was the last shoe to drop. He was disinvited from a speaking engagement at Berkeley because his “comments about Islam” had “offended and hurt . . . so many people,” according to the event’s organizers.
Dawkins is in good company. His New Atheist compatriots, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, had already been expelled from the party. In both cases, insufficient deference to Islam was the proximate cause. Hitchens remained a committed socialist, but felt a war on Islamic terror and autocracy was needed. For this, he was denounced as a “neocon.” Harris is a liberal, straight and true, but drew the ire of Reza Aslan for refusing to except Islam from his broad critique of religion. “Islam is not a religion of peace,” Harris often says. In fact, he thinks it’s just the opposite. For that, everyone from Glen Greenwald to Ben Affleck has cast him as an Islamophobe and a bigot.
The members of Australia’s New South Wales Labor Party have voted for the recognition of a Palestinian Arab state following a push by former Foreign Minister Bob Carr.
The resolution was watered down ahead of the conference on Sunday in Sydney and failed to follow its original call for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian Arab state. Carr, who also has served as Labor Premier in NSW, proposed the resolution.
Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten has come under pressure to confirm his stance on the matter as the vote called on the next federal Labor government to recognize Palestine as an independent state.
Following on the heels of similar resolutions in the states of Western Australia and South Australia, the vote will present a challenge for Shorten when he heads the federal Labor conference next year.
Speaking on the ABC’s RN Breakfast on Monday, Shorten said any recognition needs to address the concerns of both sides.
“There’s two issues, one is the legitimate aspirations, and I stress legitimate aspirations of Palestinians to have their own state and I do support that, but also the legitimate aspirations of the people of Israel to live in secure borders,” he said.
He reiterated his support for federal Labor’s long-held position of a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. “If you support a two-state solution ultimately that includes recognition of Palestine,” Shorten said.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said the resolution passed Sunday ” is a much better outcome than what was originally proposed in the conference booklet, and we applaud the efforts by many within the Labor Party who worked hard to achieve a more balanced resolution.”
IsraellyCool: Israel Losing The PR War
With the NSW Labor party adopting a motion to recognise the state of Palestine, Caroline Overington, Associate Editor of The Australian, has written a must-read Op-Ed.
The idea was always for Jews to share the Holy Land with the Palestinians.
Israel accepted those terms in 1947.
The Palestinians did not.
When Israel declared its independence in 1948, it immediately came under attack from Arab neighbours.
Israel has not known a day of peace since.
It has given an inch, in some cases miles, but peace has not been forthcoming.
In short, Israel remains a thriving, delicate, precious, youthful democracy in the Middle East.
In that sense, nothing has changed. But the language of the world is changing.
The hatred of Israel, felt by so many, is now the fault of the Jewish people. Israel is to blame for failing to make peace with their neighbours.
It is the Jewish people that stand in the way of a two-state solution, by refusing to relinquish land taken in a war for Israel’s survival.
In this version of the world, it is the Palestinians, and Hamas in particular, that dearly want to live in harmony with Israel.
The NSW Labor Conference will be held this weekend. Delegates were to deal with a resolution seeking Palestinian statehood but a deal has been made with former Foreign Minister and NSW Premier Bob Carr and others that the recognition will be a part of a two-state solution.
Mr Miller said from Cairns: “We would like to proudly follow in the footsteps of Australian Aboriginal William Cooper, who, in 1938, led a group of Indigenous Australians on a protest walk to the German Consulate in Melbourne to protest Kristallnacht, the start of the Holocaust.
“As it was the only known private protest worldwide against Kristallnacht, William Cooper was honoured by Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Centre in Jerusalem in December 2010. A bipartisan group of MPs from Australia was present for the event. We were privileged to be there with them and William Cooper’s family,” said Miller.
“It is fitting that an Indigenous voice be heard,” said Miller “because the Jewish people are the Indigenous people of Israel, contrary to some opinions.”
In contrast to the complete absence of Arabic writing or inscriptions to be found anywhere in the Holy Land dating before the Muslim conquests of the 7th century CE, and the absence of any reference to Palestine as a descriptor for a people before the late nineteenth century, there is an abundance of evidence of a distinct people and polity called “Israel” stretching back to the dawn of the Iron Age, more than 3,200 years ago. Even for those who do not believe in the Bible, there is a wealth of documents and other archaeological artefacts which attest to the antiquity of Israel, the Jewish people, and a Jewish polity in the Holy Land.
“A succession of conquerors displaced sections of the Jewish population at different times and the Roman colonizers changed its name from Judea to Syria Palaestina in 135CE to try to eradicate its Jewishness,” Miller continued.
Australian journalist John Lyons was among those in the media who, in 2014, leveled entirely false accusations that Israel sadistically tortured Palestinian children, abuse which purported to include whippings, beatings while tied to a cross and the practice of “caging Palestinian children outdoors”. As CAMERA noted at the time, Lyon’s report for Australia Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) “Four Corners” was based entirely on uncorroborated Palestinian claims, and – in contravention of basic journalistic ethics – Israeli officials were never given the opportunity to respond to the charges.
Senior IDF officials later characterised accusations by Lyons as “completely fictitious”.
Greg Sheridan, a colleague of Lyons at The Australian, referred to the Four Corners hit job on Israel as “a crude piece of anti-Israel propaganda that revived some of the oldest anti-Semitic tropes”.
These false charges that Israel tortures Palestinian children resulted in a row between Lyons and Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), a group which advocates the interests of Australia’s Jewish community. Echoing narratives that those who follow our blog would recognize, Lyons claimed in his 2014 op-ed at The Australian that AIJAC stifles criticism of Israel by bullying journalists, a narrative which he developed further in a book published this year which was the focus of a July 28th Guardian article by Amanda Mead.
The first sign that Lyons is going to receive sympathetic coverage from the Guardian is the headline:
“Pro-Israel advocates in Australia targeted three journalists, new book claims”
It becomes clear in the article that the highly evocative term “targeting” refers to the evidently insidious practice of attempting to hold Australian journalists accountable to accurate reporting about Israel.
Daphne Anson: Sophie, Israel & A Lyons Share of Spleen
Taking aim at Australia’s steady pro-Israel foreign policy (“illogical and unhealthy”) and at AIJAC and its director Dr Colin Rubenstein, Lyons asserts
“For more than 20 years, Australians have read and heard pro-Israel positions from journalists, editors, politicians, trade union leaders, academics and students who have returned from the all-expenses-paid Israel lobby trips. In my opinion, no editors, journalist or others should take those trips: they grotesquely distort the reality and are dangerous in the sense that they allow people with a very small amount of knowledge to pollute Australian public opinion.”
(What his opinion is of trips sponsored by APAN, the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, is not reported.)
Inter alia, Dr Rubenstein has told the Guardian:
“We did put together a public document explaining why we thought Sophie McNeill … was an inappropriate choice for Middle East correspondent for the taxpayer funded ABC, with its statutory obligations of impartiality.
Everything we do – critiquing media stories; contacting editors, politicians and journalists and explaining our point of view to them; writing our our letters and op/eds; making complaints – are absolutely normal elements of deliberation and debate in a democratic society.
I would call on those who oppose our views, including Mr Lyons, to engage with different views in a democratic, tolerant and constructive spirit, rather than demand, as he appears to be doing, that those who disagree with him be silenced or suppressed.”
He’s absolutely right, of course.
The ABC is Australia’s equivalent to the BBC: a national broadcaster upon which objective reporting is incombent in return for public funding, in the ABC’s case not out of a licence fee but out of taxes. But, again like the BBC, it is in the grip of the arrogant repulsive Left, and it promotes its leftwing agenda at will, thumbing its nose at critics and packing the panel and the audience to “flagship” programs such as Q&A (its version of the BBC’s Question Time) with a surfeit of leftists. In fact, if anything, its current affairs output and what it chooses to report and comment on is more brazenly leftist than the BBC’s.
Sophie McNeill came to journalism and the ABC from a background of political activism and a determination to continue to pursue that activism. This is how, six years ago, she described her view of a journalist’s role:
“If you just try to frame stories from the point of view of the people who are really suffering in a situation, be it in Lebanon, if you re hanging out in a Palestinian refugee camp, [or] in Gaza you re hanging out, you know, at the children’s cancer ward. One of the saddest things I’ve seen in my whole life is spending some time filming in a children’s cancer ward in Gaza. I just think if you just – if you look at a situation and you just – yeah, I guess just try to spend time with the people who are – who really don t have any power and it is hard, you know, for them to have a voice. Then that’s, yeah, that’s the kind of journalism I want to do…. Everyone knew what was happening in Gaza … you saw all the horrific videos … a lot of people died … there are no excuses any more…”
A journalist shared how his firsthand experience of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict changed his views to be more supportive of Israel.
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) and Honest Reporting on Monday hosted American journalist Hunter Stuart for a frank discussion on how his perception of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict shifted during his one and half years living in Jerusalem and reporting from the region.
Speaking before a packed house at the WJC headquarters, Stuart described his upbringing as a self-declared liberal WASP from a “quaint, politically-correct New England town,” a “liberal bubble” where it was “considered cool to refer to Israel as a ‘colonial power’ or an ‘apartheid state’.”
Stuart went on to study at liberal Middlebury College in Vermont and moved to Brooklyn to become a freelance journalist, where his “obsession” with the Middle East grew, along with his negative perception of Israel and conviction of Palestinian victimhood.
“The same way that I thought of Israelis as a bunch of paranoid extremists, I thought of Palestinians as a noble native people who only wanted freedom,” Stuart said. “I thought they were fighting for a two-state solution and Israel was preventing them from having it.”
Remember Hunter Stuart? He was the journalist who arrived in Israel as a pro-Palestinian and soon found that reality did not match his preconceived prejudices. He wrote a piece in the Jerusalem Post explaining how the scales had fallen from his eyes during his eighteen months based in Jerusalem.
Meeting Jews from Arab countries seems to have been central to Stuart’s about-turn. Smadar was one of the people who helped change Stuart’s views. A staunch defender of Israel in her 50s, Smadar and her family had been forced out of Morocco. She and Stuart had long talks together. Overcoming his initial suspicions, Hunter and Smadar became good friends, albeit coming in from opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Later Hunter Stuart met Jews from Iraq and Iran. He had thought all Israelis were ‘white Ashkenazim.’
Hunter Stuart: Podcast Interview
Julie Hazan, HonestReporting’s US Director and Shahar Azani, Executive Director StandWithUs in New York, interview American journalist Hunter Stuart. Stuart discusses how his perception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shifted as a result of his firsthand experience working as a journalist in the region. We also discuss Stuart’s hopes for the future of the news media, and his views on global politics.
Instead, the hostility toward Jews — and Israel — was expressed in more generalized settings, particularly the conspiracy theories that proliferate in Arab countries.
Wasserman said his favorite anecdote in the book is the student who told him that another teacher had said that “the Mossad was behind 9/11, and also that 9/11 was not a bad idea.”
He asked the student how both ideas could coexist in one person’s head. The student “looked at me for a moment, resigned that yet another naïve foreigner failed to appreciate how holding two contradictory opinions at the same time was consistent with the political views permeating the region,” Wasserman wrote.
Another student, Ella, graduated at the top of the class. Shortly after, Wasserman saw an interview with Ella in a local newspaper in which she was asked for her impressions of the 2012 US election. Her “depressing” answer, as he put it: “It really didn’t matter because the Zionists controlled the banks, the media, and both political parties and wouldn’t let anything change in America.”
Perhaps Wasserman’s most foolhardy quest was to teach the students about how the pro-Israel lobby functioned as a curative to the overly expansive description of its influence in the 2007 book by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel Lobby.” (Disclosure: This reporter and Wasserman collaborated for a period in the late 2000s on a book on the pro-Israel lobby. It found no buyers.)
“In my lecture, I tried to leave the class with a simple point: the power of the pro-Israel lobby had been inflated by supporters and opponents alike for their own reasons,” he wrote. “Although clearly a powerful player in foreign policy, AIPAC was only narrowly influential and constrained by other public and political interests.”
Did the students get the message? Not quite. Later in the book, Wasserman related that he often found that the students bought into myths of Jewish influence — but with admiration, not contempt.
Wasserman, alongside other faculty on campus, came to accept that they were not the vanguard of progressive values in Qatar. Instead, they set more modest ambitions, such as one-to-one opportunities to lend a hand to those seeking a way out of a society that was stifling, especially to women.
The Sunday Times has fired its columnist Kevin Myers for making reference to two highly paid female BBC presenters are Jewish. Writing in the Irish edition of the Times, Meyers said: “I note that two of the best-paid women presenters in the BBC — Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, with whose, no doubt, sterling work I am tragically unacquainted — are Jewish.”
“Good for them,” he continued. “Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price, which is the most useful measure there is of inveterate, lost-with-all-hands stupidity. I wonder, who are their agents? If they’re the same ones that negotiated the pay for the women on the lower scales, then maybe the latter have found their true value in the marketplace.”
Myers is already known as a particularly unpleasant journalist who has called the children of single parents “bastards” and claimed that “Africa is giving nothing to anyone — apart from AIDS,” according to the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, a volunteer-led charity dedicated to exposing and countering anti-Semitism through education and zero-tolerance enforcement of the law.
CAA also noted that Myers has also devoted an entire column in the Belfast Telegraph to claiming that there was no Holocaust on the basis that not all of the Jews murdered by the Nazis were cremated, and attempting to nit-pick over whether six million Jews really were murdered, claiming that the Holocaust had become a “dogma.”
In that same column, Myers wrote: “There was no holocaust, (or Holocaust, as my computer software insists) and six million Jews were not murdered by the Third Reich. These two statements of mine are irrefutable truths, yet their utterance could get me thrown in the slammer in half the countries of the EU.”
IsraellyCool: YouTube Silences Other Pro-Israel Activists
A few days ago, I posted how one of my videos on YouTube had been taken down, with YouTube considering it hate speech – even though it was merely exposing the hate speech of someone else (Roger Waters in this case).
It seems YouTube are doing the same thing with other pro-Israel accounts.
I have appealed the designation of my video as hate speech and am awaiting YouTube’s response. But mark my words. If they continue with this disgraceful policy, I will move my videos to another platform – all 167 of them – and I will encourage others to leave YouTube.
I’m simply fed up with YouTube’s aiding and abetting the antisemites.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law legislation that would bar the state from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.
The bill enacted Thursday requires divestment from, and prohibits state agencies from contracting with, companies that boycott Israel.
Earlier this month, the bill handily passed the state House of Representatives and the state Senate.
“This bill makes it clear that the State of North Carolina stands with Israel, which has long been an important trading partner of North Carolina,” said Carin Savel, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary.
North Carolina businesses conduct nearly $140 million per year in exports and commerce with Israel.
“The Jewish Federations across North Carolina have worked diligently on legislation to ensure that BDS efforts in their state fail. We applaud their tremendous work and commend the Gov. Roy Cooper for taking this important step against discrimination against Israelis by those who oppose the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in our homeland,” said Skip Schrayer, chairman of the Israel Action Network, an initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
North Carolina becomes at least the 22nd state with laws or executive orders banning state business with companies that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, against Israel.
I have received your letter inviting me to speak at your institution. Thank you. I feel honored to be considered for such an event. But before I give my formal response, I seek to clarify the terms and assumptions under which this invitation was proffered, to determine whether it was issued with correct information in mind. Are you aware that I have never killed a Jew or a law enforcement official? That being the case, I fear it inappropriate for me to address your student body.
Please understand that if you already knew of this salient fact and issued the invitation anyway, I withdraw these objections. You may of course invite whomever you see fit. But in the event that my record was unclear on the matter when the decision to invite was made, I must emphasize that at no time, under no circumstances, have my actions, to my knowledge, resulted directly in the death of a single Jew or police officer. You have been so advised.
This fact in no way contradicts the sentiments that might lead a person to contribute to the deaths of Jews or law enforcement personnel. I wish to underline as well that while I have never knowingly caused the death of such people, neither have I made statements opposing such eventualities. My expertise lies in fields that have only tangential bearing on Jews or the police, or at least no more bearing on them than on anymore else, such that I have never been called upon to issue such statements.
On July 28, CBC Radio’s As It Happens news program interviewed Rami Khouri, Professor of Journalism at the American University in Beirut, on how “Palestinians return(ed) to East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque after Israeli authorities agree to remove security restrictions they’d imposed on the site.”
When commenting on the killing of two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount, in a terror attack carried out by three Arab-Israelis several weeks ago, Khouri seemingly justified this terror attack by excusing and explaining that the attack occurred because “people were killed because there’s an occupation”. Here’s the exchange with the CBC’s radio host:
CBC Host: “Why was it so controversial to have metal detectors when you’re talking about a scene where people were killed?”
Khoury: ”People were killed because there’s an occupation and there’s people killing each other all the time. There’s a war going on.”
CBC Host: “I appreciate that, but I want to talk about the specifics of what’s happening at this site. Isn’t it important to keep it safe and secure?”
Khoury: “Absolutely and it should be safe for everybody, but it’s also a situation where any change in the status quo that has existed in the last 20 years since the Jordanians, the Palestinians and the Israelis reached an agreement on how the site should be managed, which is essentially saying that the Palestinian local religious leaders run Al Aqsa…”
In a report published yesterday on CBC News.ca, CBC editors gave the following misleading headline to an AP report:
Importantly, readers view headlines 3:1 over the adjacent article, and many never read the article at all. For readers who only saw this headline and never read the full article, they would never know that the dead Palestinian was a terrorist attacker who had stabbed and wounded another Israeli soldier. Yesterday, an Israeli military court upheld an 18-month sentence for Israeli soldier Elor Azaria who was convicted of fatally shooting Palestinian attacker Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, who was lying on the ground after wounding an Israeli soldier with a knife.
In fact, the CBC’s article featured this information in their lead paragraph, but failed to mention that the Palestinian was an “assailant” or “attacker”. Meanwhile, in previous coverage by the CBC about this matter, their editors did identify the Palestinian as an “assailant”.
IsraellyCool: Reuters’ Flying Pig Moment
Bring out the flying pig for this reporting of an incident in Los Angeles.
Nine people were injured, one critically, in Los Angeles on Sunday when a van that collided with a pickup truck jumped the curb and slammed into an outdoor dining area, authorities said, calling it a “complete accident.”
Eight people were transported to hospitals after the incident on West Pico Boulevard, the Los Angeles Fire Department said on Twitter. A ninth person, an off-duty Los Angeles firefighter, was hurt but did not need to be taken to a hospital, it said.
“Complete accident, nothing intentional,” said Lieutenant Jim Lewis of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The incident bore initial similarities to vehicle attacks by Islamist militants in Europe and Israel. Last month, a man drove a van into a crowd of worshippers leaving a London mosque.
Yes, I could not believe my eyes either. They actually mentioned the vehicle attacks in Israel – and we know that is not a given.
Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today‘ programme last week heard two reports on consecutive days relating to the Palestinian rioting ostensibly in reaction to security measures installed at Temple Mount after two Israeli policemen were murdered in a terror attack on July 14th. Both of those items were notable for their promotion of moral equivalence between the murders of victims of terrorism and the deaths of rioters killed while engaged in violence.
In the July 25th edition of ‘Today’, presenter Nick Robinson introduced the item (from 01:16:07 here) as follows: [emphasis added]
Robinson: “Will the decision by the Israeli security cabinet to remove metal detectors at one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites lessen the tension which has led to the deaths of three Israelis and four Palestinians in recent days, as well as an attack on Israel’s embassy in Jordan?”
The three Israelis mentioned by Robinson are the members of the Salomon family murdered by a terrorist who infiltrated their family home on July 21st as they finished dinner. The four Palestinians were all engaged in violent rioting (that was praised by the Palestinian president’s party Fatah) at the time of their deaths. Radio 4’s presenter however made no effort to inform listeners of the vastly different circumstances behind those deaths or to clarify that the Israelis were victims of terrorism.
Robinson likewise failed to clarify that the two Israeli policemen he went on to mention were also victims of terror, or who carried out that attack.
In 2015, Roxane Gay—bestselling author, New York Times contributing op-ed writer, associate professor of creative writing at Purdue, and all around it-girl of the Twitterati—was bestowed PEN’s “Freedom to Write Award.” It was a strange decision. Earlier that year, Gay had written a piece adopting the slogan, “Je ne suis pas Charlie”—throwing in her lot with those who equivocated on the tragedy befalling Charlie Hebdo, whose surviving staff members PEN awarded its Freedom of Expression Courage prize that May. She explained her resistance to holding up the metaphorical banner of “Je suis Charlie” as part of an effort not to jump to conclusions, not to join in groupthink, to avoid having knee-jerk reactions just because everyone else was vulnerable to them. “The older (and hopefully wiser) I get, the more I want to pause. I want to take the time to think through how I feel and why I feel,” Gay wrote. “I don’t want to feign expertise on matters I know nothing about for the purpose of offering someone else my immediate reaction for their consumption.”
All of which made it odd to see Gay race to the pages of The New York Times this week with an opinion piece about a television show whose premise had only been announced days earlier—a reaction that, by the laws of physics, almost couldn’t be more immediate and knee-jerk if she tried. In the process, she revealed something important about who gets the benefit of her doubt. I’ll give you one hint: It’s not Jews.
On July 19th, HBO announced that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will develop an alternate history series, Confederate, in which the Civil War ends in stalemate. Not even a week later, Gay wrote: “My exhaustion with the idea of ‘Confederate’ is multiplied by the realization that this show is the brainchild of two white men who oversee a show that has few people of color to speak of and where sexual violence is often gratuitous and treated as no big deal.” Placing Confederate squarely within the context of rising racial tensions in the United States, which can make it seem like “some people are still living in the antebellum era,” Gay divines that the series will be “slavery fan fiction” and that Benioff and Weiss are somehow insensitive towards, or even worse, sickly enthralled by American slavery. “I shudder to imagine the enslaved black body in their creative hands,” she says.
The Argentine Foreign Ministry delivered to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington a series of documents about World War II, some of them related to Nazi war criminals.
The digital copies of the documents delivered are mainly letters, telegrams, newspaper articles, notes and reports, totaling almost 40,000 documents. An agreement for this transfer was signed on Friday in Buenos Aires between Argentina´s Secretary of International Cooperation Ernesto Gaspari and USHMM representative Samanta Casareto.
The 38,779 documents were produced by Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 1939 and 1950.
Among the documents are the communications between Argentina and countries involved in the war, as well as information sent by the Argentinean embassy in Germany. Some documents also record a meeting of chancellors in 1944.
Argentina was a refuge for Nazis after World War II. Adolf Eichmann was captured in the northern area of Buenos Aires in 1960; another Nazi war criminal, Erich Priebke, also lived there.
Sarcasm is no laughing matter for people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, who have difficulty interpreting subtle irony and humor.
It’s an issue that’s become increasingly important as sarcastic comments abound on social media. A tweet like “The new ‘Fast and Furious’ movie is awesome. #sarcasm” is meant to be read the opposite of how it is written, but for some people, this literary twist is not readily apparent.
Researchers in the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology say they can transform sarcasm into straightforward statements using machine translation and artificial intelligence.
Sarcasm SIGN (for “Sentimental Interpretation GeNerator”) would transform the sarcastic sentence above to read “The new ‘Fast and Furious’ movie is terrible.”
Sentiment analysis applications are not new. Companies like Rosette Text Analytics pore over documents to look for attitudes, opinions and emotions to help companies predict employee churn, assess financial risk and volatility, understand market trends and disruptions, monitor signals for national security threats, and enable overseas call centers to better support their customers.
But existing apps get stuck interpreting sarcasm, says Lotam Peled, the industrial engineering and management graduate student who developed Sarcasm SIGN.
Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani is soon to open the latest branch of his Tel Aviv falafel joint, Miznon, in Melbourne, Australia. Miznon has already seen huge success in its Paris and Vienna locations and also will open in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market this fall.
Miznon (Hebrew for “buffet” or “canteen”) doesn’t serve only the signature spicy deep-fried chickpea balls in pita pocket bread, but also a variety of vegetables, salads, meats and breads prepared in-house. Part of the appeal is an open kitchen so patrons can watch the behind-the-scenes magic.
Shani chose his next location based on evidence that the good folks of Melbourne, Australia are going wild for Israeli-style street food. According to TimeOut Melbourne, two other falafel places have opened in the city over the past year.
The Melbourne branch of Miznon is set to launch this August.
Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban attended a groundbreaking ceremony in Israel’s northern Galilee for a Druze Soldiers Heritage Center.
Saban, an entertainment mogul, and his wife, Cheryl, are funding construction of the center in the town of Kisra-Sumei, which is also a memorial for fallen Druze Israeli soldiers, through Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, or FIDF.
Also attending Thursday’s ceremony were Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman; Sheikh Muwaffak Tarif, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel; and former Member of Knesset Shachiv Shanan, the father of Advanced Staff Sgt. Maj. Kamil Shanan, one of the two Israeli Druze police officers killed by terrorists at the Temple Mount on July 14.
“The Druze community’s reputation is always connected to terms like ‘bravery,’ ‘sacrifice,’ and ‘sanctity of life,’” Saban said at the groundbreaking. “To this day, hundreds of Druze soldiers have given their lives protecting Israel. The FIDF Druze Soldiers Heritage Center is the very least we can do to show our gratitude and admiration for their sacrifices. The Druze community deserves its own place that will be a source of pride.”
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