* Elton John banned from Egypt for being gay: No protests; almost no news coverage
* Noam Chomsky refused entry to Israel. Israel apologizes for border clerk’s error and immediately invites Chomsky back: Howls of protest; front page news coverage globally
* After being barred from entering, Chomsky was quoted as comparing Israel with “Stalin’s regime.” As everyone knows (perhaps even Chomsky) Stalin murdered tens of millions of innocent people.
* Associated Press reports: “Hamas police wielding clubs beat and pushed residents out of dozens of homes in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on Sunday before knocking the buildings down with bulldozers.” Yet virtual silence on this from media commentators, human rights groups, the UN, the EU…
1. Guess what the first demonstration against Cameron was about?
2. Self-righteous “luvvies” appear to have very little interest in black Africans
3. Activists storm Sainsbury’s in central London on Saturday
4. More Zionist crimes!
5. First greenhouses, now people’s houses
6. Impending severe food shortage in Arab World
7. Egypt reportedly severs links with Hamas
8. Israel’s mistake as Noam Chomsky barred from entering
9. Top world news?
10. Elton John banned from Egypt for being gay
11. Old-fashioned anti-Semitism isn’t PC; demonizing Israel in its place is
12. “Dumping Israel; America’s new anti-Semitism” (By Ralph Peters, NY Post, May 17, 2010)
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
GUESS WHAT THE FIRST DEMONSTRATION AGAINST CAMERON WAS ABOUT?
Here is a video of the very first organized rally on any issue in London outside the Prime Minister’s residence in Downing Street since David Cameron became British Prime Minister a week ago. Yes, while the economy may be in shambles, telling lies about Israel is the first priority for British activists.
Have they perhaps heard about Britain’s operation in (some would call it an occupation of) Afghanistan, where far more civilians were killed by the 44 countries who have soldiers there – Britain has the second highest contingent – than Israel has killed in the West Bank? And unlike what Palestinians have been trying to do in Israel, Afghans aren’t trying to blow up British shopping malls and school buses on a daily basis.
Among those in attendance at the rally were representatives of the Green Party, UNITE, UNISON, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and CND.
SELF-RIGHTEOUS “LUVVIES” APPEAR TO HAVE VERY LITTLE INTEREST IN BLACK AFRICANS
After the demonstration, a petition against Israel was delivered to the door of Downing Street signed by, among others, film director Ken Loach, Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge, “comedian” Jeremy Hardy, notorious Jewish anti-Zionist Sir Gerald Kaufman MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, actress Miriam Margolyes, Guardian journalist and editor Victoria Brittain, New Statesman columnist John Pilger and playwright Caryl Churchill (author of “Seven Jewish children,” a play denounced by many as anti-Semitic -- See the note “anti-Semitism in London’s theatreland” here).
The petition called, among other things, for Cameron to back down on his commitment to change British universal jurisdiction law so that Israeli politicians, such as the leader of the center-left opposition party Kadima, Tzipi Livni, can visit Britain without being arrested for “war crimes”.
One wonders how much these self-important theatrical and media types know about the hundreds of other conflicts raging around the world. For example, do they know or care about the latest bomb attacks on Monday in Rwanda at a crowded market and at the capital’s busiest bus station that killed and injured civilians, or the heavy clashes in Sudan last weekend that left over 160 dead. (An estimated 300,000 people have died in the conflict in Darfur since 2003.)
They also apparently couldn’t care less about conflicts inside Europe itself, such as the shootout by Albanian separatists in Macedonia that left four dead last week. (Albanians, who are discriminated against, make up about one quarter of Macedonia’s population). Or the continued flare-ups resulting from the Russian military occupation of the Transdniester region of Moldova.
ACTIVISTS STORM SAINSBURY’S IN CENTRAL LONDON ON SATURDAY
Here pro-Palestine activists descended on the Holborn branch of Sainsbury’s, one of Britain’s largest supermarket chains, in central London last Saturday to protest the on-going sale of Israeli fruit and vegetables.
Among those who can be seen in the video is Deborah Fink, a professional singer and a tireless Jewish campaigner against Israel, who for the last seven years has been leading a group of anti-Zionist activists who sing Christmas carols inside and outside London churches with the words changed to reflect “Israeli war crimes”.
For more on Fink, please see the dispatch: ‘Tis the season for anti-Israel tunes (& “Jews for Christmas”) (Dec. 24, 2008).
See also the dispatch of Dec. 20, 2003, titled “On the twelfth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me...”.
After these carols were sung in St James’s, Piccadilly, one of London’s most prestigious churches (thereby insulting both Christians and Jews), Michael Gove (who is a founding subscriber to this email list, and as of last week serves as the British government’s Minister for Education) writing in The Times of London, called it a “festival of anti-Semitism.”
(Among those attending the sham “carol” service was Liberal Democrat peer and former party spokesperson, Baroness Jenny Tonge, who alleged Israeli medics went to Haiti after January’s earthquake not to save lives but to harvest organs, a lie reminiscent of the kind told in Nazi Germany.)
For more dramatic scenes of anti-Israel activists storming into shops in Paris and London (H & M, Carrefour, Tesco), please watch these videos here.
MORE ZIONIST CRIMES!
Since the mass demolitions described below were carried out by Hamas, very few Western media reported prominently on this, even though it was carried on the main Associated Press news wire, to which most media outlets in the world subscribe:
Hamas destroys dozens of homes in southern Gaza
By RIZEK ABDEL JAWAD | AP
Published: May 17, 2010 02:54
RAFAH, Gaza Strip: Hamas police wielding clubs beat and pushed residents out of dozens of homes in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on Sunday before knocking the buildings down with bulldozers, residents said.
Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers said the homes were built illegally on government land. Newly homeless residents were furious over Palestinians on bulldozers razing Palestinian homes.
For years, Palestinians have criticized Israel for destroying houses, mostly because they were built without permits issued by the military. Now, Rafah residents complained, their own government, run by the Islamic militant Hamas that seized power in Gaza in July 2007, has done the same.
“They promised reform and change – instead they’ve destroyed our homes,” shouted Miasar Gan, a 54-year-old woman. Gan said she and her husband had nowhere else to go.
“I found my mattress, and that’s where I’ll be sitting,” she said, standing next to the concrete chunks – all that was left of her house.
Her neighbor, Nazira Abu Jara, 56, said policewomen wearing face veils typical of conservative Muslim women beat her with clubs until she fled her house with her husband and two children. “Neighbors help us get by with charity. We can’t afford to build again,” Abu Jara said.
Others picked through rubble to retrieve dusty clothing and mangled furniture.
Residents said between 30 and 40 homes were torn down, ranging from concrete structures to tin shacks. They did not know how many people were affected. Hamas officials did not allow reporters into the area until the demolition was over.
Residents said more demolitions in the area were expected Monday.
(Full article here from the independent Arab daily, Arab News.)
One of the few media outlets to cover this story, having come under pressure from critics (including myself) to stop covering up for the crimes of Fatah and Hamas, is the BBC, albeit online (here) rather than on air, and with a much lower profile than they grant anti-Israeli stories.
Western human rights groups are suddenly strangely silent. As are all those demonstrators in London, Paris and elsewhere.
FIRST GREENHOUSES, NOW PEOPLE’S HOUSES
Perhaps even more perversely, Hamas bulldozed the impressive greenhouses – the most economically-productive in the Middle East – which Israeli settlers in Gaza had built and the Israeli government had left for the people of Gaza so that they would help the Palestinian economy, when Israel withdrew in 2005.
This has never been properly reported in the Western media. Please scroll down to the foot of the page here and look at these photos.
These high-tech greenhouses had provided employment for thousands of Palestinians and produced an array of fruits and vegetables in the midst of a barren desert.
IMPENDING SEVERE FOOD SHORTAGE IN ARAB WORLD
Meanwhile, a severe food shortage may soon affect the Arab world, according to Tareq A-Zadjali, director general of the Arab Organization for Agriculture Development. He said Arab states need to invest a staggering $144 billion in agriculture over the next twenty years to meet the food demands of the growing population.
The Arab population in the Middle East, currently numbering around 335 million, is projected to grow to 545 million by 2030. In spite of the enormous wealth of many Middle Eastern countries, tens (if not hundreds) of millions already live in dire poverty there, heavily dependent on basic foods.
EGYPT REPORTEDLY SEVERS LINKS WITH HAMAS
There are reports in the Arab media that Egypt has decided to cut all ties with the leaders of Hamas, which would in effect make it hard for them to leave Gaza. This move follows Cairo’s anger at Hamas’ refusal to accept an Egyptian-brokered plan for Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and displeasure with what they say is a campaign of incitement against Egypt led by Hamas leaders.
As reported in one of last week’s dispatches on this list, Hamas recently accused Egypt of using poison gas inside smuggling tunnels that killed at least four Palestinians.
ISRAEL’S MISTAKE AS NOAM CHOMSKY BARRED FROM ENTERING
What has been described as an “overzealous clerk” at Israel’s border crossing with Jordan refused to allow Noam Chomsky, the anti-Israel American-Jewish academic, and darling of the international Far Left, to enter the country. Chomsky had been invited by Palestinians to lecture at Bir Zeit, one of the West Bank’s most radical universities, where incitement is rife against Israel and against Jews in general.
Israel has barred two other prominent American Jews from entering in recent months – Professor Richard Falk and Norman Finkelstein. In Falk’s and Finkelstein’s cases both had agitated in a way that could help terrorist groups and adversely affect Israel’s national security (in Finkelstein’s case arising in part from his liaisons with Hizbullah on a visit to Lebanon).
Their language is also notorious. Last year, as I pointed out on this list at the time, Norman Finkelstein told The Tehran Times that Israel is a “vandal state,” an “insane state,” a “lunatic state,” a “terrorist state,” a “satanic state” from “the boils of hell” which “is committing a holocaust in Gaza”.
Although Chomsky has made many odious political pronouncements, and his seeming justification for various massacres during the twentieth century, notably those carried out by Communists, is repugnant, his agitation against Israel is not in the same league as Falk’s and Finkelstein’s. It was clearly a mistake of Israel to refuse him entry, as indeed the Israeli government acknowledged yesterday, saying Chomsky would be welcome if he returned.
TOP WORLD NEWS?
Nevertheless, given how much else is happening in the world, it is still an amazing judgment by news editors to lead their world news pages with Chomsky’s non-entry into Israel as The Times of London, The New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune, and other papers did yesterday. (The International Herald Tribune printed a further editorial on it today, calling the treatment of Chomsky “outrageous” and saying “Israel has lost its last remnants of tolerance” – I don’t recall them ever calling America’s killing of civilians in Afghanistan and elsewhere “outrageous”.)
Israel’s interior ministry said the official at the border crossing who had refused Chomsky entry was being reprimanded – not that most international papers mentioned this in their often hysterical stories yesterday about Israel’s behavior.
“There is no change in our policy,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The idea that Israel is preventing people from entering whose opinions are critical of the state is ludicrous; it is not happening. This was a mishap. A guy at the border overstepped his authority.”
After being barred from entering, Chomsky was quoted as comparing Israel with “Stalin’s regime.”
As everyone knows (perhaps even Chomsky) Stalin murdered tens of millions of innocent people.
ELTON JOHN BANNED FROM EGYPT FOR BEING GAY
In contrast to the breaking news surrounding Chomsky, very few Western news outlets reported on the banning two weeks ago of British pop star Elton John from performing at a private concert in Egypt for being gay. The news was widely reported in the Middle East and by international agencies like the DPA. Elton John has been forced to call off his concert there by the government-controlled Egyptian Musician Union, but will still perform in Israel, where gays are welcome.
There has barely been a peep of protest about the Egyptian decision from his fellow pop stars, including fellow British pop star, Elvis Costello, who did however this week call off his concerts in Israel on June 30 and July 1 following pressure from anti-Israeli activists in Britain.
The Facebook page for Elvis Costello already includes remarks from people criticizing him for the decision: www.facebook.com/ElvisCostello
In a statement, Costello made criticism of Israel (about which he seems to know nothing other than from the highly distorted coverage in the British media) but added, presumably by way of saying sorry to Israelis:
“My thanks also go to the members of the Israeli media with whom I had most rewarding and illuminating conversations. They may regard these exchanges as a waste of their time but they were of great value and help to me in gaining an appreciation of the cultural scene.
“I hope it is possible to understand that I am not taking this decision lightly or so I may stand beneath any banner, nor is it one in which I imagine myself to possess any unique or eternal truth. It is a matter of instinct and conscience.”
Costello issued a further statement saying he couldn’t imagine ever being invited again to perform in Israel. From the angry reaction in Israel’s media it seems there’s little chance of that ever happening.
OLD-FASHIONED ANTI-SEMITISM ISN’T PC; DEMONIZING ISRAEL IN ITS PLACE IS
Below I attach an article by Ralph Peters from The New York Post.
Peters served for over two decades in the U.S. Army, as an enlisted man and officer. He writes for The New York Post and Armed Forces Journal, and is a subscriber to this email list.
He writes: “It’s no longer socially acceptable to accuse Jews of sacrificing Christian infants. But it’s quite fashionable to blame Israelis for the suffering of Palestinian children. One doesn’t mention ‘Jews.’ But calumnies against ‘Israelis’ are the new, politically correct blood libel.”
Peters (who is not Jewish) says he takes “personally” the fact that some in the U.S. military appear to falsely blame Israel for a “negative effect on our regional policy”.
“I ask the gripers for any evidence that our betrayal of Israel would have the slightest positive effect. The Saudis wouldn’t even drop the price of oil for 24 hours.”
He also says (correctly of course) that “Israel needs to rediscover public relations. With the global media rabidly pro-Palestinian, Israel had better get back in the information fight.”
(His full piece is below.)
[All notes above by Tom Gross]
MY ANSWER, AS AN AMERICAN, IS “NO.”
America’s new anti-Semitism
By Ralph Peters
New York Post
May 17, 2010
Old-fashioned anti-Semites: It’s no longer socially acceptable to accuse Jews of sacrificing Christian infants. But it’s quite fashionable to blame Israelis for the suffering of Palestinian children. One doesn’t mention “Jews.” But calumnies against “Israelis” are the new, politically correct blood libel.
Academics: It’s more than simply the juvenile leftism that diseases liberal-arts faculties. This is also a financial transaction. Massive Arab gifts and endowments have turned many of our “leading” universities into intellectual brothels.
President Obama’s left-wing base: From the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s congregation to the administration’s “social activists,” this bunch long has accepted as gospel the notion that Palestinian terrorists are “freedom fighters” while Israelis are “fascists.” Don’t try to reason with them -- this really is their “gospel.”
Military officers: I take this one personally. While only a sliver of the officer corps mumbles about Israel’s purported negative effect on our regional policy, this is nonetheless an alarming development. I read this uniformed lunacy as a schizophrenic reaction to a decade’s involvement in Iraq.
On one hand, extended first-hand experience of Arab culture has not filled our troops with respect for the same (any officer who had fairy-tale, Lawrence-of-Arabia notions about the region has had them extinguished, to put it mildly). Yet the daily drone of Arab complaints about Israel -- blamed for every Arab misfortune back to the destruction of Baghdad by the Mongols -- has had a cumulative effect. Criticism takes the form of “A plague on both their houses.”
I ask the gripers categorized above for any evidence that our betrayal of Israel would have the slightest positive effect. The Saudis wouldn’t even drop the price of oil for 24 hours.
Go back to the bordello side of all this: Wealthy Arabs have bought a great deal of influence in Washington, lavishing money on think tanks, contracts on US firms and expensive gifts on individuals. (A few years back, one American “authority” on the Middle East delightedly told me that he’d been given five Rolexes.)
In contrast to these ingratiating, deep-pocketed Arabs, Israelis are brusque and dismissive, relying on American Jews to smooth things over. Well, sorry, Israel needs to rediscover public relations. With the global media rabidly pro-Palestinian, Israel had better get back in the information fight.
The recent attacks on Israel that masquerade as sober analysis boil down to the age-old anti-Semitic query: “Wouldn’t we better off without those Jews?”
My answer, as an American, is “No.”