AP: Gaza is thriving again (& Turkish govt fines Kurdish TV for showing Holocaust film, The Pianist)

September 17, 2014

The Turkish authorities have fined Kurdish TV for showing the Oscar-winning Holocaust film The Pianist

 

* Associated Press: “After a ruinous war, Gaza is rushing back to a veneer of normalcy at astonishing speed. Street cafes and beaches are packed with people until late at night. Commercial streets are choked with shoppers. Wedding halls are booked solid.”

* The Guardian’s new comment writer: Chelsea Manning.

* The international New York Times, while still obsessing over Gaza (for example, with a front page photo of destruction yesterday) all but ignores civilians being killed by America in Afghanistan in the past week – you have to follow other media, like Reuters, for details of those American airstrikes in recent days that killed women and children but no militants.

***

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CONTENTS

1. The Stasi? Filth?
2. Advice on ISIS from the Guardian’s Chelsea Manning
3. Some of the “civilians” killed in Gaza, detailed on a case-by-case basis
4. AP in Gaza: “Street cafes and beaches are packed. Streets are choked with shoppers. Wedding halls are booked solid.”
5. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett sing to packed crowds in Tel Aviv
6. Turkish government fines Kurdish TV channel for showing the Holocaust film The Pianist
7. Bill Clinton gets caught on camera disparaging Netanyahu
8. Bibi and the “language” of the peace processors
9. Notable absences from the world’s top university rankings
10. Some American women leave to join the Islamic State


[All notes below by Tom Gross]

THE STASI? FILTH?

Some people have asked me why so many Israelis have cancelled their subscriptions to Haaretz, even though they acknowledge that Haaretz has some very good reporting.

One key reason former subscribers cite is that day after day Haaretz runs stories about Israel which many find hateful, with headlines like this one from earlier this week:

“Mutiny in the Israeli Stasi: exposing the occupation’s worst filth”

Most readers of these dispatches will be aware of these things but here are a few observations nevertheless:

* The use of the word “Stasi” suggests Haaretz headline writers don’t know much about the Stasi, and just how malignant an organization it was.

* The use of the word “filth” puts Haaretz in the same category as the Chinese Communist news agency and the old Pravda at the height of the purges when tens of millions of innocent people were killed. To the best of my knowledge, the word “filth” is not now used in headlines like this by any other respectable newspaper in the world – the only “mainstream” media where this kind of term is still used is in North Korea. The word “filth” is also used by some of the more radical and anti-Semitic elements of the Iranian regime, and by some Al-Qaeda types.

* The English edition of Haaretz is read primarily by non-Jewish opponents (or enemies) of Israel abroad. They might enjoy this kind of headline and continue their paid subscriptions to the online version of the paper, and presumably the owner of Haaretz is happy with that.

 

ADVICE ON ISIS FROM THE GUARDIAN’S CHELSEA MANNING

Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning has started writing for The Guardian.

Her first comment piece was posted yesterday afternoon:

“How to make Isis fall on its own sword”
By Chelsea Manning

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/16/chelsea-manning-isis-strategy

The Guardian website’s bio of Manning reads as follows: “Chelsea E Manning is a United States Army intelligence analyst. She writes for the Guardian in her personal, civil capacity. Her opinions do not represent those of the US Disciplinary Barracks, the US Army, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or any other government department, branch or agency of the United States.”

http://www.theguardian.com/profile/chelsea-e-manning

Not mentioned in The Guardian’s bio online is that last year Manning was convicted of violations of the U.S. Espionage Act and other offenses, and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Personally I think the U.S. justice system has been overly harsh on Manning, and unnecessarily cruel and degrading towards him/her during the period after her arrest, but The Guardian still might have mentioned her conviction in her bio.

(The print edition of The Guardian also runs Manning’s piece today and the bio does mention he was convicted.)

 

SOME OF THE “CIVILIANS” KILLED IN GAZA, DETAILED ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS

The BBC and other news outlets continue to significantly mislead the public over the number of civilians killed in Gaza this summer – while failing to report properly on the civilians being killed by America in Afghanistan, and by the US and Iraq jointly in Iraq – you have to follow other media, like Reuters, for details of those killed in American airstrikes.

The International New York Times is still obsessing over the Gaza issue. For example, yesterday on its front page and again on an inside page, it ran color photos of Gaza destruction from a month ago -- while the International New York Times print edition as far as I could tell, didn’t even mention the U.S. airstrike that killed 14 civilians (including children but no militants) in Afghanistan a few days ago. Other media reported on it, but not the New York Times. This fits into a longstanding pattern of New York Times selectivity. (The Times did have one small report online – in which it mentioned the death toll was only four Afghan civilians – but I could not find it in the print edition of the international NYT.)

Both Palestinian Authority President Abbas and Hamas leaders have now acknowledged that about half the Palestinians that died in Gaza this summer were militants (or resistance fighters as they call them). This is about the same number that the IDF has cited.

Among those hundreds of persons the BBC is still citing in reports as Israeli-killed civilian casualties are those who died a natural death in Gaza and those who died as a result of the hundreds of misfired Hamas rockets that fell short and landed in Gaza.

And there are many individuals who are being counted as civilians who were clearly not.

I suggest that journalists from the BBC and elsewhere subscribing to this list scroll down, this link for example.

 

AP IN GAZA: “STREET CAFES AND BEACHES ARE PACKED. STREETS ARE CHOKED WITH SHOPPERS. WEDDING HALLS ARE BOOKED SOLID.”

In contrast to the doom and gloom of the New York Times, BBC and Haaretz, the Associated Press reports yesterday:

Gazans Rush to Enjoy Life after Ruinous War
By Hamza Hendawi (AP)

After a ruinous war, Gaza is rushing back to a veneer of normalcy at astonishing speed. Street cafes and beaches are packed with people until late at night. Commercial streets are choked with shoppers. Wedding halls are booked solid.

However, Gazans acknowledge the revelry thinly masks trauma and widespread despair. Many complain that none of the gains they hoped for from the war have been realized.

Hamas security agents are so omnipresent people nickname them the “ground drones” - a play on the Israeli drones that often hover over Gaza.

Most main squares are adorned with giant billboards extolling jihad against Israel.”

Full article here:

http://news.yahoo.com/gazans-rush-enjoy-life-ruinous-war-184211918.html

 

LADY GAGA AND TONY BENNETT SING TO PACKED CROWDS IN TEL AVIV

Although many tourists are still frightened of coming to Israel, things are also back to normal after a summer of rockets attacks on Tel Aviv and other Israelis cities. (Because of its low crime rate, Israel is actually one of the world’s safest countries.)

On Saturday evening Lady Gaga performed for 25,000 people in Tel Aviv, speaking in Hebrew at times and saying it was “wonderful to be back in Israel”.

At one point Tony Bennett joined her on stage and sang a duet with Gaga. The next evening Bennett gave his own concert in Israel, his first in the country.

Both he and Lady Gaga noted in interviews what a lively and beautiful country Israel is and what a vibrant city Tel Aviv is.

 

TURKISH GOVERNMENT FINES KURDISH CHANNEL FOR SHOWING THE HOLOCAUST FILM THE PIANIST

The Turkish State Council for Radio and Television has fined the Kurdish channel Gün TV for showing the Oscar-winning drama film about Wladyslaw Szpilman (played by Adrien Brody) a Jewish pianist who survived the Holocaust. The fine was ostensibly on the grounds that the Pianist was a violent film, even though other films on Turkish TV are much more violent.

Erdogan’s ruling party has on many occasions been accused of anti-Semitism. An opposition deputy condemned the decision to fine the channel as “ridiculous.’’

Story from the Turkish press here:

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/kelebek/keyif/27199827.asp

(The screenwriter of the Pianist, as well as two of the lead actors in the film, are subscribers to this dispatch list and I am speaking to them to see whether they wish to write a joint protest letter to the Turkish government.)

 

BILL CLINTON GETS CAUGHT ON CAMERA DISPARAGING NETANYAHU

At the end of Sunday’s “Iowa Steak Fry Fundraiser” organized by Senator Tom Harkin, former U.S. President Bill Clinton was recorded making negative comments about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he agreed was “not the man” to make peace with Palestinians.

The former President was caught making the comments at the end of the 3 hour 15 minute C-Span coverage, in an informal conversation with pro-Palestinian activists, after he thought the camera had been turned off.

Clinton also claimed that at the Camp David talks in 2000 he had squeezed then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak into giving Yasser Arafat almost everything he wanted, including parts of Jerusalem.

Clinton said he “had gotten [from Barak] 96% of the West Bank, land swaps in Gaza, appropriate water rights and East Jerusalem, something that hasn’t even been discussed since I left office. And by the way, don’t forget, both Arafat and Abbas later said they would take it: ‘We changed our minds, we’ll take it now’.”

By contrast, his wife Hillary Clinton has turned into a strong defender of Israel in recent months. On the Jon Stewart show and elsewhere, she stood up for Israel’s military campaign to stop rocket attacks from Gaza this summer and praised Netanyahu for his leadership and moderation.

 

BIBI AND THE “LANGUAGE” OF THE PEACE PROCESSORS

Observers say that Bill Clinton has never let go of his grudge against Netanyahu for winning the election against Shimon Peres after Yitzhak Rabin was killed. “It’s nasty and personal for Clinton,” one insider remarked.

Another reader points out that “Of course, Netanyahu makes a convenient whipping boy. No one seems to remember that Netanyahu ceded most of Hebron, something neither Peres nor Rabin did. i.e. he did more to advance the peace process than any of his critics ever did. And more than any Palestinian leader ever did.

“Netanyahu may be as flexible as most of his predecessors but he doesn’t speak the language of the peace processors. They will never forgive him for that.”

 

NOTABLE ABSENCES FROM THE WORLD’S TOP UNIVERSITY RANKINGS

A reader writes:

Would it be inappropriate to point out that not one Arab country is represented on this list of the top 200 universities and ask that all those professors at western universities who so tirelessly campaign to boycott Israeli universities (where about 20% of the student body are Arab, and which produce major scientific and medical breakthroughs as well as Nobel prize winners) take a Sabbatical to go to one of the universities in the Arab world and improve it?

http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/ng-interactive/2014/sep/16/-sp-qs-world-university-rankings-2014

Some Arab universities, particularly in the gulf, receive very high funding, so one might have expected them to do better.

 

SOME AMERICAN WOMEN LEAVE TO JOIN THE ISLAMIC STATE

Reuters reports:

Islamic State Attracts Female Jihadis from U.S.
By Alistair Bell
Reuters

EXTRACTS

At least three Somali families in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area have female relatives who have gone missing in the past six weeks and may have tried to join Islamic State, said community leader Abdirizak Bihi.

In a separate case, a 19-year-old American Somali woman from St. Paul snuck away from her parents on Aug. 25, flew to Turkey and joined IS in Syria.

In addition, law enforcement officials say they learned of 15-20 men with connections to the Minnesota Somali community fighting for extremist groups in Syria.

Moreover, scores of European Muslim women, mostly from Britain and France, have joined IS.

Full article here:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/14/us-iraq-crisis-usa-women-idUSKBN0H90DE20140914

[All notes above by Tom Gross]

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