(1) NPR: “Poisoning American Minds” (2) UK magazine: Israel as al Qaeda

March 20, 2004

Leading UK magazine the New Statesman: "Israel commits Madrid's horror week after week, month after month, in Palestine."


1. New Statesman magazine: "Israel commits Madrid's horror week after week, month after month, in Palestine"
2. Terrorists Toppling Democratic Governments
3. European Commentators Against Appeasement (Bild, Le Monde)
4. "NPR - Poisoning The American Mind" (Jerusalem Post, March 10, 2004)
5. "In Memoriam: A Tribute To Rachel Corrie" (The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2004)


[Note by Tom Gross]

Reminder: I do not necessarily agree in full with the tone or content of every piece I send. For example, "A Tribute To Rachel Corrie," is sent as counterweight to the many articles lionizing Corrie that continue to appear in papers such as The Guardian, International Herald Tribune, and the Seattle Times.



The new edition of the highly respected liberal British political weekly "the New Statesman" runs an article today by John Pilger -- an article which is already being compared to the myths of the Elders of Zion.

[For more on Pilger, an award-winning British-Australian journalist, see previous dispatches on this list. The New Statesman, a paper read by many British members of parliament and academics, previously apologized for suggesting on its cover two years that "a kosher conspiracy" secretly runs Britain.]

Today's New Statesman article begins:

"No front pages in the west mourn victims of the enduring bloodbath in occupied Palestine, the equivalent of the Madrid horror week after week, month after month, writes John Pilger... The Zionist state remains the cause of more regional grievance and sheer terror than all the Muslim states combined... the equivalent of Madrid's horror week after week, month after month, in occupied Palestine. No front pages in the west acknowledge this enduring bloodbath, let alone mourn its victims. Moreover, the Israeli army, a terrorist organisation by any reasonable measure, is protected and rewarded in the west... The "neoconservatives" who run the Bush regime all have close ties with the Likud government in Tel Aviv and the Zionist lobby groups in Washington. Until recently, a group of Zionists ran their own intelligence service inside the Pentagon... The author David Hirst [TG adds: Hirst is former Middle East correspondent for The Guardian] describes the "Israelisation of US foreign policy" as being 'now operational as well as ideological' ..."

[Much of the rest of Pilger's article relies for its "evidence" on the anti-Israeli Israeli communist historian Ilan Pappe. -- TG]

For the full article, see

At the end of this email there are some "Talking points" sent to me by "Media response UK," together with the New Statesman's email address.

Among the "talking points" are allegations that Pilger has completely fabricated much of what he has written, such as his claim that the British government has supplied Israel with "leg-irons, electric shock belts and chemical and biological agents".



Michael Berenbaum, a subscriber to this list, writes in relation to the dispatch "Madrid 2: 'The terrorists toppled a European [the Spanish] government'" (March 17, 2004):

"The terrorist had also toppled two Israeli governments. Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak. Peres lost to Netanyahu after leading by a wide margin and Barak to Sharon, but there the movement was for greater militancy."



The Washington Post's Jefferson Morley has a roundup of European commentary speaking out against appeasement:


"Only a dreamer would believe that Germany will not be attacked," say the editors of Bild, Germany's best-selling tabloid. "Islamic terrorists are waging a war against the West, not just against individual countries."


Sociologist Emilio Lamo de Espinosa says Europeans have been dreaming. Writing in Le Monde (in French), Lamo says Europeans have thought they would be spared because they haven't supported the Bush administration's policies.

"When the Americans declared war on terrorism, many of us thought they exaggerated. Many thought terrorism was not likely to occur on our premises, [inhabited by] peaceful and civilized Europeans who speak no evil of anybody, who dialogue, who are the first [to] send assistance and offer cooperation. We are pacifists, they are warmongers... Don't we defend the Palestinians? Are we not pro-Arab and anti-Israeli?"

"Can we dialogue with those who desire only our death and nothing but our death?" Lamo asks. "Dialogue about what? The manner in which we will be assassinated?"

"The war against terrorism will be long and difficult," he concludes. "It was that cretin, President Bush, who said that."




[For non-Americans on this list, NPR is America's influential National Public Radio.]

Poisoning the American mind
By Daniel Doron
Jerusalem Post
March 10, 2004

My February 12th column ("NPR'S anti-Israel bias") demonstrated how National Public Radio repeatedly promoted the Arab propaganda line by distorting or ignoring facts. This drew many responses. Most felt that a warning about NPR's success in defaming Israel, especially among inexperienced, idealistic university students, was long overdue.

But even more instructive, perhaps, were the few angry responses I received from avid NPR listeners who identify strongly with the station's message and are convinced that NPR's stance against Israel is justified.

One of these listeners suggested a comparison between Israel's occupation of the Arabs and Nazi oppression. And indeed it is easy to see how NPR listeners would jump to such a conclusion. NPR regularly presents Israelis as brutal oppressors, and Israel as a gratuitous and arbitrary occupying power. NPR does not explain how the conflict came about as a result of habitual violence by Arab leadership bent on Israel's destruction and how six million Israelis are still threatened by an Arab world with more than 100 million people in 22 militant dictatorships; how Israel is constantly battered by terrorism.

Israel is actually acting with great restraint. No other country would allow its citizens to be murdered and let the murderers operate openly and survive. But let's look at a sample letter and see what anti-Israeli frame of mind NPR promotes.

A listener, Dr. Phil Brewer, writes:

Let's see, how many illegal Jewish settlements are there in Gaza and the West Bank? How many more illegal settlements and settlers are there than 10 years ago? Five years ago? One year ago? How many homes a month is the Israeli army demolishing this year?

Are you not ashamed to write about the "constantly repeated falsehood of Arab propagandists and their many media advocates that Israel is guilty of stealing Palestinian lands?"

The only falsehood I see is your denial of the reality of the situation.

Oh, I get it.

The Palestinians aren't really human beings. They don't have the right to anything. They've only been living on "your" land for several centuries. Now you're back, it's time for them to go.

Funny, another group of people was saying the same thing about 60 years ago. It's certainly better to be the oppressor than the oppressed. Or is it?

Okay, okay, maybe I misunderstood. Fine. Just tell me this: When someone goes to a farm that a family has owned for countless generations, bulldozes the house, the olive trees, the vineyard, makes the inhabitants leave, then builds a new house, a road, and a security perimeter for another family, just what is that called?

In my language it's called theft. What language do you speak?

Here is my response to Dr. Brewer:

I am not surprised that as a NPR listener you are probably not aware of certain facts. The Arab-Israeli conflict is not about territory or occupation, it is about racist jingoistic Arab dictators not wanting any Jews living in what they consider holy Muslim territory anywhere in the Middle East.

You have appointed yourself prosecutor, judge, and executioner, but this does not make your statement about the illegality of settlements truthful. I invite you to study the history of the Versailles peace conference, where a deal was struck whereby the Arabs received 99% of former Ottoman territories with the understanding that 1% will become a national Jewish home. The Arabs took the 99% and then reneged on the deal.

After Jordan was torn from what was to be a Jewish national home by the British in the 1920's, the Palestinians were offered a second independent state in 1948 and in 1999. Twice their leadership refused to accept a state, preferring to wage a war with the express aim of destroying "the Zionist entity" and throwing its Jewish inhabitants into the sea.

Palestinians waged a terror war against Israel, before Jordan lost the West Bank, which it forcibly annexed in 1948, and after the 1993 Oslo Accords freed most of them from Israeli occupation.

Hamas, as well as other Arab radicals, say openly that even if Israel withdrew to the 1967 lines, they would still continue to attack it until the whole land of Palestine was free of Jews.

You make severe accusations about Israelis going to Arab farms, destroying them and taking them over. I hope you can cite one concrete instance where this has happened. But spare us the lies of Arab propagandists (remember the fabricated charges about the Jenin "massacre").

Just cite facts. Where did it happen and when?

The fact is that to this day, 93% of the land mass west of the Jordan is empty and government owned.

There is plenty of room for many more people there, Arabs and Jews. All Israeli settlements, which occupy less than three percent of "the West Bank," were constructed on such empty lands. They displaced few Arabs.

Could you tell me what is wrong with Israelis living in disputed areas of the West bank, while more than one million Arabs are living among the Jews in land that belongs to Israel? Only bigots cannot tolerate others among them.

I leave you to deal with your own conscience regarding the not so subtle allusion you made to what happened 60 years ago, trying to draw a really dastardly comparison between one of the most horrendous atrocities in history and the Palestinian predicament, mostly self-inflicted.

I invite you to consider the proposition that there is a better way to deal with the true tragedy of the Palestinian people than by supporting dictatorships, the terrorists and criminals who call themselves the Palestinian Authority, people who have inflicted infinitely more harm and suffering on the Palestinians than anyone else ever would or could, though this is apparently not reported by NPR.

(Mr. Doron is president of The Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress, an independent pro-market policy think tank.)



In Memoriam: A Tribute to Rachel Corrie
Thanks for showing us what "peace" really means
By Ruhama Shattan
The Wall Street Journal
March 16, 2004

(Wall Street Journal Editor's note: On March 16, 2003, 23-year-old Rachel Corrie died in a bulldozer accident in the Gaza town of Rafah.)

Today is the first anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death. I want to thank Corrie for the explosives that flow freely from Egypt to Gaza, via the smuggling tunnels under the Gaza homes that she died defending.

Perhaps it was these explosives that in the year since her martyrdom--oops, death--have been strapped around suicide bombers to blow up city buses and restaurants in Israeli cities, particularly in Jerusalem, killing men, women and schoolchildren (two of them classmates of my daughter and her friend in the February 22, 2004 bombing) and leaving hundreds more widows, orphans and bereaved parents.

On the first anniversary of her death, I want to thank Rachel Corrie for showing Palestinian children how to despise America as she snarled, burned an American flag, and led them in chanting slogans, and as she gave "evidence" at a Young Palestinian Parliament mock trial finding President Bush guilty of crimes against humanity.

Perhaps her help in fanning the flames of violent anti-American sentiment led to the October 2003 bombing of the Fulbright delegation to Gaza to interview scholarship candidates, killing three. There will be no new crop of Palestinian Fulbright scholars this fall.

On the first anniversary of her death, I wanted to thank Rachel Corrie for providing her organization, the Palestinian-sponsored International Solidarity Movement, with the opportunity to release a manipulated photo sequence "showing" an Israeli military bulldozer deliberately crushing her. (I would also like to thank the Associated Press and the Christian Science Monitor for taking up the baton and immortalizing this cynical ISM stunt.)

On the first anniversary of her death, I want to thank Rachel Corrie for showing the way to all those who seek peace in the Middle East. Unfortunately, Corrie's peace, as anyone familiar with the Palestine Liberation Organization, Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah organizations that she defended with her life knows--or as anyone familiar with the weekly rants of the Friday preachers in the Palestinian mosques is aware--means not peaceful coexistence but the elimination of the state of Israel, and death to those they call "the usurping Jews, the sons of apes and pigs."

Thank you, Rachel Corrie, of Evergreen State University, where the profs wear khakis and kaffiyehs at graduation ceremonies, for showing us what peace really means.

(Ms. Shattan is a translator, editor and writer who has lived in Israel since 1976. This article appeared in the Jerusalem Post.)



Media response UK adds the following Talking points:

"Please remember that your letters will not be printed if you do not include your full name, email address, postal address and phone number (you can request that your contact details are not published).


To suggest that Israel is responsible for more terror than all other countries in the Middle East is simply absurd. The extent, for example, of the terror inflicted upon the peoples of Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia by their own governments are well documented, as is the tacit support given to terrorist groups by governments of countries such as Syria.

Pilger quotes criticism of Israel's actions from the human rights report published by the British Foreign Office, but chooses to edit the quotations he uses to ensure they are only critical of Israel:

Pilger's edited quote: the Foreign Office criticizes Israel for its "worrying disregard for human rights."

The full quote from the Human Right report: "Both Israel and the Palestinian terrorist groups have shown a worrying disregard for human rights."

Pilger also uses the quote from the report that notes that Foreign Office's criticism of "the impact that the continuing Israeli occupation and the associated military occupations have had on the lives of ordinary Palestinians". He chooses, however, to ignore the paragraph prior to this line which states:

"Appalling acts of terrorism targeted at Israeli citizens, including suicide bombings, continued throughout the year." The Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that "every suicide bombing, as well as being an outrageous loss of life, which is totally unjustified, sets back the cause of peace in the Middle East. Palestinian militants continued to launch rocket attacks on Israeli settlements and towns, and Israeli settlers have come under fire from Palestinian gunmen. We utterly condemn such horrific terrorist attacks."

Pilger claims that the British government has supplied Israel with "leg-irons, electric shock belts and chemical and biological agents". A simple glance at the records of the UK's arms sales to Israel (www.fco.gov.uk/Files/kfile/Part%207.%20CM5819%20-7.pdf) show that Pilger's claims that Israel purchased leg-irons and electric shock belts are a complete fabrication. In addition, whilst Israel may have purchased chemical and biological agents they remain one of the only countries in the Middle East who have never used chemical or biological weapons on their neighbours or their own people.

Pilger's analysis of world events and the manner in which the foreign policy of the United States is shaped is a dangerous and inciteful one. His analysis is remarkably similar to the allegations that form the basis of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, where Jews rule the world through control of the media and governments. Such allegations are not only wildly off the mark, they also provide fuel for far-right an Islamic extremist groups who wish to portray the Jews and Zionists as blood-sucking egomaniacs who must be removed from society if the world is to remain a safe place.

Why does Pilger take issue with Israel to the extent that he does, but feel inclined to attack sanctions imposed on Syria and to question Iran's nuclear threat? Does he feel that Syria's continued occupation of Lebanon and ongoing support for Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa martyrs brigade is not reprehensible? Does Pilger not feel Israel is right to be concerned that Iran has developed nuclear capability at the same time as they have developed missiles capable of striking Israel, which they have since paraded in public covered in graffiti calling for the destruction of the Jewish state? Or is it that Pilger feels Israel deserve to be struck on a regular basis by suicide bombers and that they deserve to be threatened by rogue states with nuclear weapons?

Over the last three years there have been 20,910 terrorist attacks against Israeli targets, claiming the lives of 916 people. That is the equivalent of over 16 terrorist attacks a day and, in British terms, 9,160 victims.

Palestinian terror groups intentionally target civilians, and have carried out attacks in cafes, on buses, outside schools, on main roads, on train lines, in petrol stations and now in ports as well. In response Israel has targeted the terrorists directly - this is the difference between the Israeli army and the Palestinian terror groups.

Whilst the IDF do everything in their power to avoid civilian casualties, groups like Hamas do everything in their power to maximize civilian casualties. In addition, to maximize the number of innocent Palestinians caught in the crossfire, Palestinian terrorists hide in populated areas, using innocent women and children as human shields from behind whom they attack Israeli forces. It is clear to any neutral observer that Pilger's claim that the Israeli army is "a terrorist organistion by any reasonable measure" is a baseless and despicable allegation.

Following the attack in Madrid, Spanish authorities requested a team of experts from Israel to assist them in the identification of victims and other investigations surrounding the attack. If Israel were a terrorist state, as opposed to the victim of terror, such an invitation would never have been issued.

One hopes that Britain will never see first hand the sort of carnage and murder that Israel has witnessed for many years, and which the Spanish people were subject to last week. However, if Britain ever is subject to such an attack, how would the British people want their government to react? If Britain had suffered from 16 terrorist attacks a day for the last three years, and suffered the equivalent of over 9,000 deaths, would Britain act any differently to how Israel have reacted? Would any responsible government sit back and allow terrorist groups to continue to plot the murder of innocent women and children on the streets of London? The British Prime Minister suggested last year that they would act no differently: "The terrorism inflicted upon innocent Israeli citizens is wicked and murderous and undoubtedly will bring strong action from Israel. No democratic government could do otherwise."

To use the words uttered by Jack Straw whilst in Pakistan recently "terrorism should never be defended or excused by reference to an alleged cause. Terrorism is murder. And terrorists discredit any cause they claim to pursue." Just as terrorists discredit the claim they pursue, commentators such as Pilger who attempt to justify the terror, discredit the right to life of those innocent people that the terrorists continue to threaten.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.