* MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and The New York Times’s Ethan Bronner suggest Israelis hate Obama because he is black
* Ahmadinejad calls Israelis “the most criminal people in the world”
* “In Tunisia, a member of the Arab League, there is a ban on microphones at mosques due to the fear of Islamic extremism. But Israel, ‘the apartheid state,’ rightly allows imams to call the faithful”
* Can you imagine the reaction of the media and of Amnesty and HRW if Israel had detained a journalist for even four days in solitary confinement on trumped-up charges?
* Award-winning British columnist who says Israel reminds him of “shit” strikes again
* Rockets fired from Gaza into Israel yesterday. Western media don’t bother to report it. No condemnation by Obama administration, European Union (both of which issued condemnations of Israel yesterday and the day before)
There is also another dispatch this weekend which can be read here:
Palestinian Authority honors top terrorist the moment Biden leaves the West Bank
1. British journalist freed by Hamas
2. More on fake British passports
3. Number of recruits wanting to join IDF combat units at record high
4. Where to begin?
5. Ahmadinejad calls Israelis “the most criminal people in the world”
6. “So much for love bombs”
7. Matthews and Bronner play the race card
8. Israeli UAVs, world leaders
9. One more comment on “Israel Apartheid Week”
10. Israel taken aback as European Parliament endorses Goldstone Report
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
BRITISH JOURNALIST FREED BY HAMAS
[This item of mine first appeared on NRO, in the U.S., and The National Post, in Canada.]
British journalist Paul Martin was released into freedom in Israel yesterday after being held captive by Hamas in Gaza for the last four weeks. Martin, who is a subscriber to this email list, had spent most of that time in solitary confinement and was denied regular access to a lawyer and other basic human rights.
His wife said she was “extremely relieved that Paul has been released.”
His daughters, Laura and Suzy, added: “Our dad is a brave and dedicated journalist, whose passion is to give an objective and informed picture of events in conflict zones around the world. We are thrilled to know that he is safe and he is coming home soon.”
It is not known whether the British government paid any money to Hamas to secure Martin’s release. There are widespread rumors in the Middle East that the British and other European governments paid considerable cash sums in the past to free European nationals held by Palestinian forces in Gaza.
TELLING THE TRUTH
What is amazing is the incredible lack of coverage of Paul Martin’s case in the media (including outlets where he had worked, such as the BBC and The Times of London) and the lack of concern from human rights groups. Can you imagine the reaction of the media and of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch if Israel had detained a journalist for even four days in solitary confinement on trumped-up charges?
One of Hamas’ aims in detaining Martin was, of course, to further deter any brave foreign journalist on assignment in Gaza who might dare report the truth about the Hamas regime.
Indeed according to the Palestinian Maan news agency (but not reported by most Western media) Hamas detained Martin because he “sought to distort the image of Palestinians by going to tunnels, trying to prove that Hamas smuggles weapons, that we used children as human shields during the war.” In other words Martin wanted to tell the truth.
For background on the case, and for comparisons to the very different way that the BBC and other liberal media covered the captivity of another British reporter in Gaza: Alan Johnson – a reporter who unlike Martin was blatantly pro-Palestinian, please see the third item here and the second item here and here.
Above: Paul Martin was detained by Hamas’ security forces, here pictured during training.
[Update: The NRO version of this item is already being linked to in several places. For example, here on Melanie Phillips’ Spectator magazine blog in the UK.
MORE ON FAKE BRITISH PASSPORTS
This letter was sent to The Times of London:
The Editor, The Times
It is fascinating that the issue of the availability of fake British passports should have become such a key issue in your newspaper.
When cupboards full of fake British and other countries’ passports were discovered during the raid on the Finsbury Park mosque, scarcely a mention was made and there was little concern.
Why the change now?
NUMBER OF RECRUITS WANTING TO JOIN IDF COMBAT UNITS AT RECORD HIGH
According to data publicized on Wednesday, 76% of the March 2010 recruits to the IDF have asked to be deployed in combat units, the highest percentage in the history of the IDF. This is up 3 % from last year, which was then a record.
These figures directly contradict the absolute untruths written by some Western journalists claiming there has been a drop in the desire by young Israelis to serve in combat units.
WHERE TO BEGIN?
So much of what passes for news about Israel in major media such as the BBC is simply wrong. During the past week there has been considerable coverage concerning an announcement by the Israeli interior ministry of plans to build more housing in a severely overcrowded ultra-orthodox Jewish district to the north of downtown Jerusalem.
There has been so much inaccuracy surrounding housing and building in Jerusalem in much of the mainstream media these past few days – usually involving ill-informed journalists simply copying statements from one another – that it would take an entire dispatch (or two) to try and correct it. Unfortunately many policy makers and senior politicians in Western governments actually believe what they read in the media.
Foremost among the ill-informed, ignorant drivel that passes for comment about Israel was the piece yesterday by the award-winning columnist for The Independent, Johann Hari. Scarcely has so much dangerous and hateful misinformation appeared in a single piece in a supposedly respectable newspaper. I won’t repeat it here because it is so filled with repugnant assertions about Hitler and Gazan children and the like, that it is too upsetting to repeat.
I have previously written about Hari and his disgusting columns (for which fellow British journalists have given him an award) in items 4 and 5 here:
Journalist of the year calls Israel “shit,” as Israel marks Holocaust Memorial Day
I noted then that Hari, the leading political columnist for the British daily The Independent, and winner of the highly prestigious Orwell Prize for political writing, wrote “Whenever I try to mouth these words [about Israel], a remembered smell fills my nostrils. It is the smell of shit.”
In another piece, Hari referred to the Virgin Mary (who was, of course, Jewish) as a “Palestinian refugee in Bethlehem”.
In 2007, Hari was named “Newspaper Journalist of the Year” by Amnesty International. He has also been invited to write for The New York Times and Le Monde.
In 2002, I wrote that top columnists for The Independent often like to say Israel was “shitty”. In one article, Independent columnist Deborah Orr described Israel as “shitty” no fewer than four times. (Please see here for more.)
AHMADINEJAD CALLS ISRAELIS “THE MOST CRIMINAL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD”
Meanwhile the Western media continue to fail to report adequately on the hate towards Israel and the incitement of their own populations by various Middle East governments against Israel (and in the case of the Palestinian Authority the incitement to actually kill Israelis, as we witnessed again yesterday in Ramallah).
Also yesterday, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched yet another diatribe against Israel and called Israelis “the most criminal people in the world” in a speech to a crowd of thousands of supporters in Hormozgan province, in southern Iran.
He added that the Jewish state would “soon be annihilated, with God’s grace.” Ahmadinejad has on several occasions said he believed it is Allah’s will that Israel be destroyed. Iran is rushing at full speed ahead in its race to acquire nuclear weapons, while the U.S. government fumbles, and the Russian and Chinese governments look on in glee.
“SO MUCH FOR LOVE BOMBS”
Jackson Diehl writes in The Washington Post:
“Over the years U.S. envoys from Baker to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have learned that the trick is to sidestep such broadsides, expressing disapproval without allowing the toxic settlement issue to take center stage and derail peace negotiations. After all, most Israeli settlement announcements, including this one, are pure symbolism: No ground will be broken anytime soon, and even if the homes are eventually constructed they won’t stand in the way of a Palestinian state.
“By that measure, Biden flunked. Interrupted in the middle of what was supposed to be a day of love-bombing Israelis with speeches and other demonstrations of U.S. support, he kept Netanyahu and his wife waiting for 90 minutes into a scheduled dinner before issuing a statement that harshly criticized the interior ministry’s announcement. Biden chose to use a word – “condemn” – that is very rarely employed in U.S. statements about Israel, even though he and his staff knew that Netanyahu himself had been blindsided by the settlement announcement. So much for love bombs.”
Daniel Pipes writes on National Review Online:
“What Israel needs is not hectoring about its residential housing policies but an American ally that encourages it to win its war against the irredentist Palestinians of both Fatah and Hamas.”
Tom Gross adds: I attended Biden’s speech at Tel Aviv University on Thursday and Biden’s performance was smoother and more polished than I have seen in past performances of his. He barely put a foot wrong, including in the unscripted question-and-answer session conducted with Tel Aviv university students.
Of course, as a senator, he voted against sanctions against Iran, said he didn’t see anything necessarily wrong with Iranian nuclear ambitions and reportedly suggested that George W. Bush should be impeached if he sent Americans to bomb the Iranian nuclear plants. So despite his suave performance in reassuring his audience of the “unshakable bond” between the United States and Israel, it is unclear just how much of a friend he really is.
MATTHEWS AND BRONNER PLAY THE RACE CARD
In another disgusting bout of anti-Israeli racism, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews and his guest, The New York Times’ Ethan Bronner, have suggested that Barack Obama’s low popularity in Israel is connected to the fact he is black.
Bronner is the Jerusalem Bureau Chief and former deputy op-ed page editor of The New York Times. He was asked by Matthews why Obama is less popular in Israel than Bill Clinton was.
Instead of outlining examples of the extraordinary anti-Israeli pressure and sentiment that the Obama administration displayed in its first year in office, Bronner said (live on air) “I think there’s some degree of racism to be perfectly honest” and Matthews replied “Yeah, because they see him as a black man.”
If Bronner or Matthews had any integrity, they would have relayed the polling data, in which Israelis clearly state that the reasons they are not fans of Obama is because of the relentless one-sided pressure he has put on Israel since assuming office, because of his failure to resolutely support the pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran, and because of all the arms the American government is supplying to Arab countries.
Instead of actually trying to understand the situation in the Middle East, these two leading lights of MSNBC and The New York Times merely play the race card – a vile insult to both African-Americans and Israelis Jews.
(Of course don’t expect much reporting from MSNBC and The New York Times on the commonplace racism against African-Americans in general, and Condoleezza Rice in particular, displayed in Arab news outlets over recent years.)
ISRAELI UAVS, WORLD LEADERS
Poland will become the sixth country to fly Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Afghanistan, after the Polish Defense Ministry signed a $30m contract with Aeronautics (a company based in the Israeli town of Yavneh) to purchase eight Aerostar drones and support for use in Afghanistan.
Five NATO countries, Germany, Spain, France, Canada and Australia, already operate Israeli UAVs, manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries.
Israel is at the forefront of a technological innovation in a range of areas, from life-saving medical technologies to cellphone operating systems.
ONE MORE COMMENT ON “ISRAEL APARTHEID WEEK”
This is a follow up my previous dispatch (Israel has its faults, but apartheid isn’t one of them (& Another hit job by the FT)).
The center-right Israeli paper Yisrael Hayom accuses the organizers of “Israel Apartheid Week” (which ends today) of ignoring not only genuine apartheid in Iran, Sudan and Syria but the fact that Israel has never adopted laws remotely similar to the 1950’s apartheid legislation in South Africa. The paper’s editorial writer notes that he heard the call of the muzzein as he ate at a restaurant last Saturday in Jaffa and says: “In Tunisia, a member of the Arab League, there is a ban on microphones at mosques due to the fear of Islamic extremism. But Israel, ‘the apartheid state’, rightly allows imams to call the faithful.”
ISRAEL TAKEN ABACK AS EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ENDORSES GOLDSTONE REPORT
The much-discredited Goldstone report, which was a creation of the UN, has been referred from one UN body to another these past months. So what on earth was the European Parliament doing when it decided this week to vote on the Goldstone Report (they don’t vote on other matters of no relevance to them), let alone passing it (by a vote of 335-287)?
In an official statement, Israel expressed great regret at the decision of the European Parliament, which it says was unhelpful to the peace process and “not commensurate with the principles of law and justice.”
“Israel will continue to protect its citizens and soldiers,” the Israeli foreign ministry added in a statement.
Drawing upon several of the points, phrases and statistics provided in past dispatches on this email list, the American Jewish Committee, whose senior staff subscribe to this list, have produced this short new video rebutting the Goldstone report: