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.
After a week-long ban on the sale of two Israeli wines produced in the West Bank — in a style eerily reminiscent of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement — the Canadian government and LCBO backtracked late Thursday afternoon.
A mealy-mouthed statement from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency — which instituted the ban on the wines imported from Psagot and Shiloh Wineries — claimed they had not fully considered the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement in what they called their “wine labelling assessment.”
The United Church of Christ (UCC), a liberal Protestant church with roots that go back to the Mayflower, is at it again. During the first few days of July 2017, the denomination’s deliberative body, the General Synod, will gather in Baltimore Maryland. The General Synod will approve the denomination’s budget and vote on some proposals that determine how the church’s national bureaucracy will be reorganized. The synod will also vote on a number of resolutions that call on the denomination’s officers and local churches to advocate for particular social causes that the assembly deems important.
According to Palestinian sources, the Israeli TV crew members were threatened by “activists” belonging to the Palestinian “anti-normalization” movement.
Yet it is now Palestinian journalists who are spearheading a campaign against Israeli reporters. These journalists believe that it is their role and duty to defend their leaders and people against negative reporting in the media. They have been taught that a journalist who dares to criticize the Palestinian Authority or Hamas is a “traitor.” They expect Israeli and Western journalists to report bad things only about Israel.
As community organizations dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for Jewish students on campus, and advocating for the Jewish community, we read your recent statements in the Canadian Jewish News (CJN) and the National Post with great interest. We were disappointed to see comments that we felt were condescending to the concerns of our community and dismissive of the concerns of our students.
No surprise. Look at who is occupying the Oval Office:
Israel bristled on Thursday at U.S. suggestions it may have used excessive force to confront Palestinian stabbings, and also published hospital images it said refuted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s allegation a teen suspect had been “executed”.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was using legitimate force and any other country would do the same to deal with “people wielding knives, meat cleavers, axes, trying to kill people on their streets”.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon accused Washington of “misreading” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying shooting knife-wielding Palestinians was self-defense. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called the U.S. remarks “foolish”.
Thirty-two Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in the past two weeks of bloodshed. The Palestinian dead include 10 knife-wielding assailants, police said, as well as children and protesters shot in violent demonstrations.
The violence has been triggered in part by Palestinians’ anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound, which is Islam’s holiest site outside Saudi Arabia and is also revered by Jews as the location of two destroyed biblical Jewish temples.
Responding to today’s Times of Israelinterview with Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, legal expert Eugene Kontorovich tweeted, “you got to ask#Bensaouda questions & didnt ask about an inquiry into settlements in Cypru[s]?” But Bensouda could actually offer a reasonable response to this challenge about double standards. The people who couldn’t – and who should therefore be hounded about it at every conceivable opportunity – are senior European Union officials who insist that any facilitation of Israeli activity in the “occupied West Bank” is illegal, yet happily facilitate Turkish activity in occupied Northern Cyprus, Moroccan activity in occupied Western Sahara, Chinese activity in occupied Tibet, and much more.
The criticized cartoon depicts a foreign correspondent reporting from the Gaza Strip and giving an account different from the terrorist ongoings seen behind his back.
Israel issued a report on Sunday arguing its 2014 Gaza offensive was lawful, a move aimed at pre-empting the release of findings of a U.N. war crimes investigation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scorned as a waste of time.
The 277-page report, which cited Israel’s internal probes and statements from Western leaders backing its right to self-defence, suggested the Netanyahu government hoped to defuse criticism from the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) inquiry in advance.
Deeming the HRC biased, Israel boycotted its investigators as it did those from the council who looked into its 2008-09 Gaza offensive. That HRC inquiry accused Israel of war crimes.
Launched last July after a surge of cross-border rocket fire by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, Israel’s 50 days of shelling, air strikes and ground incursions in the congested enclave killed more than 2,256 Palestinians, including 1,563 civilians, a U.N. report said in March.
Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel also died in the conflict.
The new Israeli government report disputed the U.N. figures, saying confirmed non-combatants made up 36 percent of the Palestinian dead and many militants were misidentified as civilians.
“Harm to the civilian population also occurred as the result of unfortunate — yet lawful — incidental effects of legitimate military action in the vicinity of civilians and their surroundings, and as a result of the inescapable constraint of commanders not being infallible, intelligence not being perfect and technological systems sometimes failing,” the document said.
In public remarks to his cabinet, Netanyahu again accused Hamas of hiding behind civilians by deliberately operating in Gaza’s crowded districts.
“Whoever wants to continue with baseless blaming of the State of Israel, let them waste time reading the report by the U.N. commission. We, for our part, will continue protecting our soldiers. They will continue protecting us,” he said.
A few facts:
– the conflict started after three Israeli teen-agers (one of whom was an American national) were kidnapped and later founded murdered. A Palestinian teen-ager was murdered reportedly out of revenge for the kidnappings and his killers were later convicted.
– Hamas shot rockets into Israel, one spate shooting thirty rockets in ten minutes
– children were used to dig tunnels (that were later destroyed by the IDF)
– according to Israeli intelligence, the majority of fatalities in this conflict were terrorist operatives (886) with 712 confirmed civilian casualties and 542 casualties were not determined at one time.
I have no idea why Israel- or anyone else- stays in the UN.
Lee Smith: What’s happened in Europe since 1967 that has turned popular as well as elite opinion against Israel?
Joshua Muravchik: Two kinds of forces have been at work. One consists of material pressures in the form of terrorist intimidation that evoked a reaction of appeasement; the leverage inherent in Europe’s dependence on Arab oil; and sheer weight of numbers, with one-hundred Muslims in the world for every Jew, 22 member states of the Arab League and 57 members of the Organizations of Islamic Cooperation arrayed against one Israel, all of it adding up to considerable diplomatic and economic sway.
No less important has been an intellectual transformation not specific to the Middle East but with profound effects on the perception of Israel in its conflict with the Arabs or Palestinians. This is a transformation of the central paradigm of Leftism. At the time of Israel’s birth, its detractors came mostly from the Right; but today the engine of hostility to Israel is on the Left. This is immensely important because while the Left constitutes a majority in few, if any, countries, it constitutes a decisive one in the precincts of academia, journalism, entertainment—in short, in the world of discourse.
From the mid-19th until the mid-20 century, the central paradigm of Leftism consisted of a passion play pitting poor against rich or workers against capitalists. This drama lost force in the latter half of the twentieth century and gave way to a new, more contemporary version. The exploitation of English mill hands or German steel workers no longer fired imaginations as much as the degradation of proud African warriors and pacific Hindu mystics and the mistreatment of blacks in America. Instead of class conflict, the redemptive struggle of the new era became “the rest against the West” or the “people of color against “the white man.” The iconic arbiter of latter day Leftism, Jean-Paul Sartre, expressed the paradigm shift in his preface to Frantz Fanon’s canonical The Wretched of the Earth: “Natives of all underdeveloped countries, unite!”
When this lens is focused on the Middle East, the Israelis appear as the Western, white men, and the Palestinians as the anti-colonial people of color. The former are inherently wrong and the latter inherently right. It does not matter how either side behaves. History has decreed who are the good guys and who the bad…
Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies and a contributor to this magazine. He is also author of 11 books, including the recently published Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel.
A rally in support of Islamic Jihad at Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem, in November 2013 (Courtesy of Matti Friedman)
During the Gaza war this summer, it became clear that one of the most important aspects of the media-saturated conflict between Jews and Arabs is also the least covered: the press itself. The Western press has become less an observer of this conflict than an actor in it, a role with consequences for the millions of people trying to comprehend current events, including policymakers who depend on journalistic accounts to understand a region where they consistently seek, and fail, to productively intervene.
An essay I wrote for Tablet on this topic in the aftermath of the war sparked intense interest. In the article, based on my experiences between 2006 and 2011 as a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, one of the world’s largest news organizations, I pointed out the existence of a problem and discussed it in broad terms…
But how precisely does this thought pattern manifest itself in the day-to-day functioning, or malfunctioning, of the press corps? To answer this question, I want to explore the way Western press coverage is shaped by unique circumstances here in Israel and also by flaws affecting the media beyond the confines of this conflict. In doing so, I will draw on my own experiences and those of colleagues…
I’ll begin with a simple illustration. The above photograph is of a student rally held last November at Al-Quds University, a mainstream Palestinian institution in East Jerusalem. The rally, in support of the armed fundamentalist group Islamic Jihad, featured actors playing dead Israeli soldiers and a row of masked men whose stiff-armed salute was returned by some of the hundreds of students in attendance. Similar rallies have been held periodically at the school…
Such an event at an institution like Al-Quds University, headed at the time by a well-known moderate professor, and with ties to sister institutions in America, indicates something about the winds now blowing in Palestinian society and across the Arab world…
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Exacting standards designed to avoid unintended casualties do not apply to fight against Islamic State, White House says
The White House revealed on Tuesday that its usually strict rules of engagement, intended to prevent civilian casualties of US airstrikes, have been relaxed in the current offensive against the Islamic State and other radical Islamist groups.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told Yahoo News in an email that a much-publicized statement last year by President Barack Obama that US drone strikes would only be carried out if there is a “near certainty” of no civilian injuries would not apply to the US campaign against jihadi forces in Syria and Iraq.
Hayden wrote that the “near certainty” rule was intended “only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as we noted at the time.
Well, how very… interesting. After chastising Israel all through the Gaza War!