Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

“Bravo, bravo, bravo, Columbia!” (& Hillary Clinton “confirms” Israel took out Syrian nukes)

September 27, 2007

* Arab Al-Sinara paper reports today on secret Syrian-Israeli foreign minister meeting yesterday
* Iranian daily Kayhan hints Iran is hiding various nuclear facilities from the IAEA: “Iran’s strategic facilities are scattered across the breadth of Iran, and are completely camouflaged”



1. Hillary Clinton “confirms” widespread rumor that Israel took out Syrian nukes
2. Arab paper reports on secret Syrian-Israeli meeting yesterday
3. A dictator lunches
4. “Bravo, bravo, bravo, Columbia!”
5. The front page of today’s (New York) Daily News sums it up
6. Forgotten victims (forgotten by most of the media that is)
7. Iranian daily: IAEA ignorant of full extent of Iran’s nuclear program
8. Apparently, we’re in the dark ages
9. Muslim demonstrator in New York calls for murder of Jews
10. “Bush quietly advising Hillary Clinton, top Democrats about Iraq”
11. “F*** Bush” editorial in college paper draws complaints


[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach some of the items written by myself this week for “media section” of National Review Online (one of the two most read opinion websites in America). These ones mainly concern Iran, and also the high-profile two-and-a-half-day visit to New York this week of the Iranian president.

These items can also be read here.

I would like to draw your attention in particular, to the photograph linked under item 5 below (“Forgotten victims”).

-- Tom Gross



(Thursday, September 27, 2007)

In last night’s televised debate in New Hampshire, when asked about Iran, leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came close to confirming the widespread rumor that earlier this month Israel took out a Syrian nuclear facility, built with North Korean aid.

When asked if she would support a U.S. air strike against Iran’s nuclear program, she dodged the question but instead said: “Attacking Iran is a hypothetical question... What Israel did in Syria is real life.”

She went on to say (according to press accounts): “What we think we know is that with North Korean help, both financial and technical and material, the Syrians apparently were putting together, and perhaps over some period of years, a nuclear facility, and the Israelis took it out. I strongly support that... there was evidence of a North Korea freighter coming in with supplies. There was intelligence and other kinds of verification.”



(Thursday, September 27, 2007)

Meanwhile the Al-Sinara newspaper today reports that Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni held a secret meeting for over an hour yesterday with Syrian foreign minister Walid Moallem at the U.N. headquarters in New York. The meeting was arranged by Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, according to Al-Sinara.

An Arab source told Al-Sinara that Israeli ambassador to the U.N. Danny Gillerman and Syrian ambassador to the U.S. Mohammed Nassif were also present at the meeting.

Neither Israeli nor Syrian officials will confirm the report.



(Monday, September 24, 2007)

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has plenty of fans if you look at the readers’ comments section of the New York Times website.

Apparently “Ahmadinejad is intelligent, honest and reasonable” and “zionist terrorists” are behind the “dictator Bush.” “Bravo, bravo, bravo, Columbia!” writes another Times reader.

These are the kind of comments one might expect on the Daily Kos, but on the esteemed New York Times website?

Mind you, I was just listening to the BBC Radio World Service’s call-in show and one of only two emails the BBC chose to read out was “it doesn’t hurt anyone to deny the Holocaust”.


Thank you, BBC.



(Monday, September 24, 2007)

Rumors of a luncheon today between the New York Times editorial board and Iran’s Holocaust-denying president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, appear to be unfounded.

But the Iranian dictator has got the next best thing. He is currently being feted at a luncheon thrown for him at the National Press Club – and it is being shown live on C-SPAN2.

Maybe tonight C-SPAN will show vintage footage of the Nuremberg rallies?



(Monday, September 24, 2007)

Click here to look at the front page.



(Wednesday, September 26, 2007)

In their near saturation coverage of the Iranian president’s high-profile visit to New York over the last two days, almost none of the mainstream media found space to mention the Islamic regime’s victims.

Here is one: Shiri Negarin, one of 19 people (mainly children on their way to school) who were murdered on a bus in Jerusalem when Iranian-funded terrorists detonated a large bomb packed with ball bearings to maximize death and injury.

Please do click here to look at this picture.

(For more, see:



(Thursday, September 27, 2007)

The Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday strongly suggested that Iran is hiding various nuclear facilities from the IAEA, and that the West does not have all the intelligence information that it needs to completely destroy Iran’s nuclear program.

The paper wrote, according to a translation by MEMRI:

“The important questions are: How wide is the gap between the exact point to which Iran’s nuclear program has progressed and what the Americans perceive to be the point of no return ?...

“The intelligence that the West currently has on Iran’s nuclear program is limited to the sites accessible to IAEA inspectors, and more than that they do not know...

“Is the number of Iran’s nuclear facilities limited to those facilities that have been reported – so that America can be certain that by destroying them it will destroy Iran’s entire nuclear program, or at least set it back for a very long time?...

“Iran’s strategic facilities are scattered across the breadth of Iran, and are completely camouflaged.”



(Wednesday, September 26, 2007)

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly yesterday in a speech again televised live by major news networks the world over (as was his speech at Columbia University on Monday), Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said “the people of America and Europe will be free of the pressures exerted by Zionists.”

The “era of darkness will end,” he announced, and the world would soon have a “bright future” ushered in by the “return” of the 12th imam, a messianic figure in Shia Islam.

“Without any doubt, the Promised One who is the ultimate Savior will come. The pleasing aroma of justice will permeate the world,” he said.

On many other previous occasions when speaking in Farsi in Iran, Ahmadinejad has said he needs to “hasten the imam’s return” through a “great thunder.”

Is the West really going to stand by and let this man develop a nuclear weapon?

In fact the only dark ages today are not in the West or democracies like Israel, but in places like Iran.

Ahmadinejad said at Columbia that there are no homosexuals in Iran. This is because his government is slowly murdering them.



(Tuesday, September 25, 2007)

Free speech?

Although the vast majority of those demonstrating in New York today and yesterday were doing so against the “petty and cruel dictator” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, some were in support of him. See here, for example.



(Tuesday, September 25, 2007)

Writing in The Washington Examiner today, Bill Sammon relates the following:

President Bush is quietly providing back-channel advice to Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to modulate her rhetoric so she can effectively prosecute the war in Iraq if elected president. In an interview for the new book “The Evangelical President,” White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said Bush has “been urging candidates: ‘Don’t get yourself too locked in where you stand right now. If you end up sitting where I sit, things could change dramatically.’”

Bolten said Bush wants enough continuity in his Iraq policy that “even a Democratic president would be in a position to sustain a legitimate presence there.”

“Especially if it’s a Democrat,” the chief of staff told The Examiner in his West Wing office. “He wants to create the conditions where a Democrat not only will have the leeway, but the obligation to see it out.”

To that end, the president has been sending advice, mostly through aides, aimed at preventing an abrupt withdrawal from Iraq in the event of a Democratic victory in November 2008.

It’s different being a candidate and being the president,” Bush said in an Oval Office interview. “No matter who the president is, no matter what party, when they sit here in the Oval Office and seriously consider the effect of a vacuum being created in the Middle East, particularly one trying to be created by al Qaeda, they will then begin to understand the need to continue to support the young democracy.”

Asked by The Examiner whether the Democrats were reluctant to have private contacts with the administration, the White House official replied: “No, I think they sort of welcome conversation.”

Besides, he said, Democrats understand the negative consequences of moving too quickly to reverse Bush’s Iraq policy. The official noted that in the wake of Vietnam, anti-war Democrats “suffered for 20-some-odd years because they were identified as the party, when it came to national security, of being weak.”



(Tuesday, September 25, 2007)

Student journalists, great minds of tomorrow?

A four-word editorial published in the student newspaper at Colorado State University has landed the paper’s student editors in hot water with campus administrators, reports The Coloradoan.

The Rocky Mountain Collegian published an editorial that reads, in total, “Taser this... F—- BUSH,” spelling out the expletive, along with an explanation that “this column represents the views of the Collegian’s editorial board.”

The second two words of the editorial are printed in extremely large print, about twice the size of a headline.

In a letter addressed to the university community and Collegian readers, Jeff Browne, director of student media, said he is planning to launch an internal investigation into “the decision-making process” followed in publishing the editorial.

Deny Holocaust? Get welcomed by Columbia University (& invited to lunch by the NY Times?)

September 24, 2007

* Columbia welcomes Ahmadinejad, even though among the pro-democracy academics his regime has imprisoned is one of Columbia’s own alumni, Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh
* Iran’s official Holocaust denial website launched last week
* Iran: a country where people are still stoned alive
* Revealed: Last weekend Ahmadinejad sent his nephew to Syria to assess the damage to the nuclear device being prepared there



1. A Holocaust denier at Columbia
2. Columbia’s decision sparks outrage
3. Silence from Columbia’s board of trustees
4. Columbia Dean: “We would have invited Hitler too”
5. NY Times editorial board “to host Ahmadinejad for lunch at the Four Seasons”
6. Iran’s official Holocaust denial website launched
7. What Ahmadinejad did this past weekend
8. Iran’s national security chief: western sanctions are ineffective
9. Ahmadinejad calls Hamas leader yesterday, endorses terrorism
10. Why isn’t the mainstream media reporting any of this?
11. The labor crackdown continues in Iran
12. Envoy: Ahmadinejad visiting Ground Zero like Hitler visiting Auschwitz
13. Columbia bans outside demonstrators against Ahmadinejad
14. Bollinger previously praised in mainstream media
15. Sarkozy: Get tougher with Iran
16. A country where people are stoned alive
17. Israel thwarts major Tel Aviv suicide attack on Yom Kippur

[All notes below by Tom Gross]


This afternoon Iran’s Holocaust-denying president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will speak to university faculty and students at Columbia, one of the America’s most prestigious Ivy League campuses.

Further honoring Ahmadinejad’s presence, he will be introduced by none other than the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger.

Ahmadinejad is in New York to address the upcoming 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. Many other presidents, prime ministers and world leaders are in New York for the UN General Assembly and yet Columbia University has not invited any other to speak on campus.



Columbia’s decision has sparked outrage across America, from both Republicans and Democrats.

Among the objections to providing such a prestigious platform to Ahmadinejad:

1. The Iranian President has turned Holocaust revisionism into a state policy, going so far as to host an entire Holocaust denial conference last year, which he dressed up as a scholarly inquiry. His invitation by Columbia legitimizes Holocaust deniers. When speaking to the Muslim world he has repeatedly called the Holocaust “a myth”.

2. His regime has suppressed women, gays and minority ethnic groups in Iran. It has hanged many people this year and has even allowed some to be stoned to death in defiance of all civilized norms. His regime has flogged homosexuals and murdered Bahais and Kurds. Women have been beaten for not dressing according to “Islamic law”.

3. His regime is actively involved in blowing up Americans and British troops in Iraq and supplies terrorist groups that have killed civilians in Lebanon, Israel, Argentina and elsewhere. The head of U.S. Central Command, Admiral William Fallon, also revealed last week that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is supplying sophisticated bomb parts to the Taliban.

4. Iran is rushing to build nuclear weapons and may well use them if acquired.

5. Ahmadinejad has on many occasions called for the destruction of Israel, and threatened to wipe Israel and its inhabitants off the map.

6. This year Ahmadinejad has increased his crackdown on Iranian universities, arresting professors who have spoken out against his regime. Among those imprisoned is one of Columbia’s own alumni, Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh. Providing Ahmadinejad a platform at Columbia is a betrayal of the persecuted scholars and students in Iran who do not enjoy academic freedom.

7. Ahmadinejad is personally involved in the attempts to give Syria and Hizbullah chemical weapons and nuclear devices, no doubt to be used against Israeli civilians. This weekend Ahmadinejad sent his own nephew, Ali Akbar Mehrabian, to Syria to assess the damage from Israel’s destruction on September 5 of one such facility.

8. Bollinger is granting Ahmadinejad one of the best propaganda coups the regime could have hoped for. But then extending invitations to vehemently anti-Semitic leaders is not a new phenomenon for Columbia University. In 1933, then Columbia President Nicholas Murray Butler hosted a reception for the Nazi ambassador.



Not a single one of Columbia’s board of trustees has called for Ahmadinejad’s invitation to be withdrawn, and the board’s chairman has defended Bollinger’s decision.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that the visit is an internal matter.



John Coatsworth, the Dean of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, has confirmed that, given the chance, Columbia would have invited Hitler too. You can watch his interview here.

As George Orwell once remarked to a Communist sympathizer in the 1930s, “You must be an intellectual. Only an intellectual could say something quite so stupid.”

A master propagandist, Ahmadinejad will know how to win over gullible westerners just as Hitler did (among them British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who infamously announced after his meeting with Hitler in 1938 that we would now have “peace in our time”).



Before Monday afternoon’s speech at Columbia University, there were rumors that the New York Times editorial board has invited Ahmadinejad for lunch at the Four Seasons, one of New York’s most prestigious hotels.

There are murmurs of disquiet among some Times staff at the rumors of the proposed luncheon.

If it goes ahead, The Times will not have witnessed anything so disgraceful since it covered-up the Holocaust in the 1940s and it covered up Stalin’s starving to death of millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s. (Both of these cover-ups have been documented on my website and elsewhere.)

See also: NY Times-owned Herald Tribune runs Iranian government advert to build nuclear reactors (May 1, 2007).

** Sept. 27, 2007 UPDATE: The NY Times lunch did not go ahead and the rumors proved unfounded. However, Ahmadinejad instead had lunch with other American journalists. See the next dispatch: Bravo, bravo, bravo, Columbia!” (& Hillary Clinton “confirms” Israel took out Syrian nukes).



The official Iranian “Muslim Blogger’s Committee” was last week put in charge of Iran’s official Holocaust denial site:



After arriving in America yesterday Ahmadinejad gave an interview to the CBS television network, proclaiming that he came in peace.

News media around the world, such as the BBC, have repeated this, without mentioning where he was on Saturday, the day before.

Here is what Ahmadinejad did on Saturday. Please note there is nothing peaceful about it.

These pictures are from the semi-official Fars news agency.

Among the slogans painted on some of these missile trucks were “Death to the U.S.” and “Death to Israel.”



Meanwhile, in Tehran, also on Saturday, the head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Majlis, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said that IAEA sanctions and attempts to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons were ineffective. “Enemies’ sanctions will not work against Iran and on the contrary will pave the way for flourishing of national talents,” Boroujerdi told IRNA on Saturday.

A partial translation of his remarks in English can be found here, from IRNA, the official government-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency.

Iran also claimed to have begun mass producing radar-evading drones.



And virtually the very last thing Ahmadinejad did before leaving for the U.S. yesterday was to call Hamas’s leader in Gaza, endorse terrorism, and make “a divine promise that Jerusalem will be liberated from the Jews”.

A partial translation of his remarks in English can be found here.



Even though news media like the BBC, New York Times and Washington Post have devoted much coverage to Ahmadinejad’s visit they have not mentioned the above. If I can find these things, it is amazing that these major news organizations with all their staff and resources, cannot, even though the Iranians make most of it readily available in English on their official news websites.

It is hard not to conclude that Western left-leaning mainstream media choose not to mention them for political reasons, not because they don’t have the resources to find them.



Meanwhile, virtually unmentioned by the left-leaning mainstream Western media (these things have only been mentioned on so-called right-wing media like Fox news and the National Review), the labor crackdown continues in Iran.

While British unions spend much of their time organizing a boycott of Israel, (the only democracy in the Middle East, and where labor unions enjoy considerable power), they haven’t said a word about Iran’s ongoing arrest of union leaders and its banning of trade unions.

Mansour Osanlou, the so-called “Lech Walesa of Iran,” has now been in prison 75 days on charges of “trying to unionize bus drivers. “

And teachers who participated in the recent labor protest have their salary reduced.

(There are many other examples of this crackdown, but I don’t have the resources to outline them all in full here.)



Ahmadinejad’s request to lay a wreath at Ground Zero, site of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, was denied by New York city officials on security grounds and condemned by local politicians.

There was also concern that his true motive was to lay a wreath in honor of the hijackers, not the victims. The Iranian regime has done more than any other government to encourage and pay for suicide terrorism against civilians.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Gillerman, said that a proposed visit by Ahmadinejad to Ground Zero would be similar to a visit by a resurrected Hitler to Auschwitz.



Columbia University has refused permission from Jewish, gay and other groups to demonstrate against Ahmadinejad, unless they are presently students at Columbia. Such groups have expressed bewilderment that Bollinger has banned them from peacefully demonstrating outside the hall in which Ahmadinejad is due to speak.

One Columbia alumni who subscribes to this list said: “This is a university president at his stupidest. Bollinger is a modern day useful idiot, reminiscent of Western apologists and supporters of Stalin and Hitler in the twentieth century.”



Among many examples over the last five years:

Newsweek has called Bollinger a “new, visionary breed of college presidents.”

In The New Yorker, Nicholas Lemann wrote that “if you were called upon to invent a perfect university president, you couldn’t do better” than Bollinger.

At the same time, Bollinger has consistently supported far leftist causes.

Despite having a Jewish background himself, he has been criticized by Jewish groups in the last few years for allowing an “intimidatory, anti-Semitic atmosphere” to exist among some professors and students on campus.



In an interview with The New York Times, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he wanted tougher sanctions applied on Iran. He also warned two French energy companies not to invest in Iran.

But Sarkozy distanced himself from comments made by his foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, who said last week that preparations must be made for war with Iran as a “last resort.”

Sarkozy said there was a “range of solutions” to be found “between surrender and war,” and predicted that “reinforced” sanctions could succeed. He also said the European Union should institute its own sanctions against Iran if the United Nations does not go far enough with its package of sanctions.

Sarkozy, who has toughened the French position on Iran since taking office in May, called the possibility of Islamic Iran getting a nuclear bomb “unacceptable.”

(Separately, a 34-year-old Jewish woman, Chrystel Friedman, was violently attacked in Paris, it was revealed yesterday. The attack took place last Tuesday afternoon, the latest in a long line of anti-Semitic attacks in France in recent years. Friedman was beaten by a gang, and suffered severe injuries to her face and body. She was wearing a Star of David necklace, and her attackers were described as North African.)



Here is a picture of one of the recent stonings in Iran. According to the Iranian interpretation of Islamic law, victims are first buried up to their waist, before being stoned to death.

For more on stoning, see: American ‘Rachel Corrie’ judge compares Israel to Nazis (& Stoned to death in Iran) (July 12, 2007)



A terrorist attack in Israel’s largest city, Tel Aviv, on Israel’s holiest day, Yom Kippur (which this year was on Saturday), was thwarted when police recovered the suicide bomb belt packed with explosives to be worn by the attacker.

The belt was in the possession of a Palestinian from Nablus who worked in Tel Aviv.

Following a tip by Israeli intelligence, an elite Israeli army unit entered Nablus on Friday and arrested the man who provided the belt and learned about the planned attack from the suspect. The suicide terrorist was also arrested. One Israeli soldier, Staff Sergeant Ben-Zion Haneman, was killed, and another injured during the operation.

In the search for the explosives in Tel Aviv on Saturday, a police officer was injured in a scuffle with Palestinians living in the Tel Aviv apartment. The belt was detonated in a controlled explosion, Ha’aretz reported.

The weapons cache had been smuggled into Israel by a pregnant woman who hid it under her clothes. Following criticism from Israeli human rights groups, the army has not been checking pregnant women recently.

In spite of the attempted terror attack, the Ehud Olmert government yesterday announced it would free another 90 convicted Palestinian prisoners. Lawyers representing the victims of Israeli terror victims have appealed to the Supreme Court to stop the prisoners from being released.

-- Tom Gross

Hunt for Israeli Bond girl is on (& U2’s Bono is Jewish, apparently)

September 21, 2007

Because these dispatches so often contain very depressing items, I occasionally send lighter, more “human interest” stories, such as those below.



1. Hunt for Israeli Bond girl is on
2. Madonna meets Shimon
3. Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and other stars also in Israel this week
4. Much international media coverage
5. Bono says he is Jewish
6. Israeli is named as coach of one of world’s top soccer teams
7. FTSE promotes Israel to Developed Market

[Note by Tom Gross]


The producers of the next James Bond movie, the 22nd in the series, have announced that they are coming to Israel to search for a dark-skinned beauty to star as the next Bond girl.

The chosen girl will star alongside Daniel Craig, the current 007, who previously played a Mossad agent in Steven Spielberg’s “Munich”.

The character of the new girl in the script will not be Israeli but Spanish, but according to the producers a dark-skinned Israeli girl would best fit the role, especially as many Israeli actresses speak fluent English.

The film, the name of which has not been decided, will primarily be shot on location in Italy, and will be directed by Mark Forrester.

Since Ursula Andress emerged from the water in a white bikini and a hunting knife in the first Bond movie, “Dr. No,” in 1964, the Bond girls have commanded much attention.



Pop icon Madonna, in Israel for the Jewish New Year period, has met Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Peres gave her a copy of the Old Testament (perhaps because he read about Madonna’s recent purchase).

While in Israel, Madonna attended a conference on Jewish mysticism. Last weekend she was filmed singing Jewish songs and dancing with a crowd of hundreds of Kabbalah devotees at a Tel Aviv hotel.

Although she has not converted to Judaism, the singer has taken the Hebrew name Esther, and has been seen wearing a red thread on her wrist in what according to some is a Jewish tradition to ward off the evil eye.



Madonna, 49, was joined on her trip to Israel by her film director husband Guy Ritchie, 39, and their children Lourdes, 10, Rocco, 7, and 22-month-old David – the young child Madonna controversially adopted from Malawi last year.

The Material Girl reportedly planned to “cleanse” the souls of her children during the pilgrimage to celebrate the Jewish New Year.

The Queen of Pop paid her first visit to Israel three years ago, and has since declared herself to be an “ambassador for Judaism”.

Also in Israel for the Jewish New Year were other non-Jewish celebrities including the husband-and-wife actor team of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, and American talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell.



Here is a picture of the Peres-Madonna meeting from “Gulf News” in what the paper calls “Occupied Jerusalem”.

And more pictures here, including Guy Ritchie taking a swim in Tel Aviv.

The Hamas-affiliated “Committees for Popular Resistance” last week made death threats against Madonna and Britney Spears, apparently for their involvement with the study of Kabbalah.



Leading pop star Bono, from U2, has discovered his Judaism after he approached an ultra-orthodox Chabad Jewish man on a street corner in New York this week.

Bono, from Ireland, told him that he was “half Jewish on account of his Jewish mother.”

He was then told that in that case he was completely Jewish. Bono left, after laying tefillin and taking a Chabad skullcap with him and the young Chabad man was told, by the hundreds of people who had gathered, who Bono was.



Former Israeli national team coach Avram Grant was yesterday appointed as the new manager of Chelsea, one of the world’s leading soccer (football) clubs.

It is the most prestigious ever position an Israeli has been appointed to in the world’s most popular sport.

Chelsea, the world’s richest soccer club, currently sits in a mediocre fifth place in the English Premier League and could only manage a draw in its opening European Champions League match earlier this week.

The club is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, and had been managed by the charismatic Portuguese coach José Mourinho, who fell out with Abramovich.

Mourinho was much loved by the Chelsea players and Grant’s job is likely to be extremely difficult. One former Chelsea player said that Grant would be “as welcome at Chelsea as Camilla would be at Diana’s memorial.”

David Mellor, a Chelsea fan and former British (Conservative party) government minister, who later acted as a Palestinian spokesman, called the appointment “laughable, risible, completely and utterly stupid.”



The FTSE Group, the global index provider, announced yesterday that Israel would be promoted to “Developed” status from June 2008.

“Israel meets all quality of markets criteria for a Developed market and has done so since being included on the Watch List in 2006,” it said.

FTSE, a joint venture of the Financial Times and the London Stock Exchange, classifies countries into developed and emerging market categories.

These categories are used by institutional investors worldwide. Helped by an expert committee of market practitioners, FTSE reviews quality of market criteria for all stock markets to assess the ease, cost and security of underlying investment transactions by international investors.

Israel will become the first country in the Middle East to join the prestigious Developed Markets club.

-- Tom Gross

BBC children’s site removes offensive page on 9/11 attacks – at least for now

September 12, 2007


[Note by Tom Gross]

What a surprise. The BBC has, as predicted in my dispatch yesterday, today removed the page from their children’s website on the 9/11 attacks which had virtually amounted to al-Qaeda propaganda. (And they have this lunchtime, at 13:03 GMT, updated another of their pages on 9/11 to exclude all references to al-Qaeda or militant Islam.)

The dispatch (and my corresponding NRO item) was picked up yesterday by dozens of websites around the world, for example here at Andrew Sullivan, and here by Stephen Pollard at Britain’s Spectator magazine.

However, the BBC’s problems do not stop with one webpage on 9/11. Their entire foreign coverage is riddled with bias – particularly so against Israel and the U.S. The BBC – a lavishly funded public corporation – is by far the world’s largest broadcaster, with dozens of radio and television stations broadcasting in over 30 languages.

For more on the BBC’s mideast coverage, see here and here.

According to its charter, the BBC is under a British legal obligation to be “open minded, fair and show a respect for truth” in its news coverage.

What the BBC is telling children about 9/11 (& Palestinian rocket injures 69 Israelis)

September 11, 2007

* Israel among only countries to grant citizenship to Darfur refugees
* Israeli Arab dies from wounds sustained in Hizbullah attack
* San Diego festival reverses ban on Israeli films



1. What the BBC is telling children about the 9/11 attacks
2. Palestinian rocket injures 69 Israelis
3. Attempted attacks on Israel from Palestinian areas on rise
4. Palestinian Islamic Jihad “proud of targeting children”
5. Israel grants citizenship to Darfur refugees
6. Israeli Arab dies from wounds in Lebanon War
7. But Human Rights Watch condemns Israel, yet again
8. San Diego festival reverses ban on Israeli films
9. College presidents continue to condemn British boycott
10. BBC: “In pictures: Lebanon army’s victory”

[Note by Tom Gross]


Below, is what the BBC’s widely-read children’s section of their website (CBBC) is telling kids about the 9/11 attacks, the 6th anniversary of which falls today. (The attacks killed 2,973 people and left 24 others missing.)

It is not quite the al-Qaeda view, but it almost is.

(The last time* I criticized the Children’s BBC website – about their definition of the Holocaust, which omitted references to Jews, etc – they subtly rewrote the entry to include the fact that Jews were among the victims, and then backdated the time stamp to make it appear as if the change had been made prior to my criticism – so I attach the 9/11 entry in full below. There are dozens of employees of the BBC who subscribe to this email list.)

Guides: 11 September 2001 attacks
Last Updated: Friday June 29 2007 10:33 GMT

Why did they do it?

The way America has got involved in conflicts in regions like the Middle East has made some people very angry, including a group called al-Qaeda - who are widely thought to have been behind the attacks.

In the past, al-Qaeda leaders have declared a holy war - called a jihad - against the US. As part of this jihad, al-Qaeda members believe attacking US targets is something they should do.

When the attacks happened in 2001, there were a number of US troops in a country called Saudi Arabia, and the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, said he wanted them to leave.

* [Tom Gross adds: for the way in which the Children’s BBC changed their entry on the Holocaust as a result of criticism, see: Forgetting to mention the Jews: The BBC, Prince Harry, and the Holocaust (Jan. 16, 2005). You can compare what was actually written by the BBC at that time, which is recorded on my website, and what the BBC have now written – which includes reference to Jews – with a backdated BBC time stamp of Thursday January 13 2005 13:57 GMT) when in fact the change was made only on January 17, 2005 following criticism made on this list / website.]



A Palestinian rocket – one of dozens fired randomly at Israelis most weeks – exploded in an Israeli army base early this morning (Tuesday), wounding at least 69 young Israeli soldiers, some severely. The wounded were both male and female, and overwhelmed doctors have struggled to cope with the injured. (At the present time, several of the wounded are being operated upon. At least one has lost a leg.)

The wounded soldiers were all recent recruits undergoing basic training, and were asleep when the rocket hit their tent, the army said.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, speaking on Hamas radio this morning, praised the rocket attack and the number of Israelis injured, calling it a “glorious victory from Allah.”

The latest incident has led to calls within Israel for the government to begin responding firmly to the ongoing attacks from Hamas-controlled territory.

Sderot, a working-class town near the Israel-Gaza border, and surrounding towns and villages, have been battered by thousands of rockets launched nearly daily from Gaza. The rockets have killed over two dozen civilians. Attacks last week on Sderot, including a rocket that landed near a crowded day care center, led anxious Israeli parents to pull thousands of children out of school and brought demands for the Israeli government to retaliate but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert refrained from doing so.

Another rocket hit an Israeli kibbutz this morning, and Hamas has announced within the last hour that they were responsible for a mortar barrage earlier today at Kerem Shalom, a border crossing where Israeli and international humanitarian aid crosses from Israel into Gaza.

At their three-hour summit conference in Jerusalem yesterday (Monday), Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed “ways of advancing the peace process and of reaching a two-state solution,” said Olmert spokesman David Baker. Abbas called the talks “successful”.



The head of Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency told the Israeli cabinet on Sunday that attempts to infiltrate from the Gaza Strip and West Bank and attack Israeli targets were on the rise. Yuval Diskin revealed that security forces foiled a planned suicide bombing last week when a car carrying seven terrorists and explosives was blown up near the Kissufim border crossing in the Gaza Strip.

In another incident on Sunday police arrested a Palestinian teenager armed with three pipe bombs, who was on his way to Tel Aviv. The teen was planning to hand over the bombs to a suicide attacker.

Last week, Egyptian police officers said they discovered more than two tons of TNT in the Sinai Peninsula. Police said they believed that the material, found in more that 50 bags, was en route for Gaza to be used in attacks on Israelis.

Also last week, during a night operation on September 5 in the West Bank town of Nablus, a large explosives lab was uncovered.

On August 30, Israeli troops stopped a 15-year-old Palestinian suicide bomber at an army checkpoint.

Israeli intelligence says that since June, 40 tons of military grade explosive materials have been smuggled into Gaza (the same amount as was smuggled in total during the previous two years), along with thousands of guns, about 5 million units of light ammunition, 150 RPG bombs and 65 launchers, 20 advanced anti-tank missiles and 10 anti-aircraft missiles.

An increasing number of Israelis now believe that withdrawing from Gaza in 2005, prior to the emergence of a Palestinian government that wanted peace with Israel, was a mistake.



The Palestinian Islamic Jihad website claimed the volleys of Qassam rocket fired at Sderot last week were launched to mark the beginning of the Israeli school year. They boasted that they had disrupted the studies of Israeli schoolchildren and the daily lives of Israeli civilians.

The posting which appeared on PalToday (one of the PIJ’s Websites) on September 2 in the afternoon (the first day of school) said: “Rockets of the [Jerusalem] Battalions met the Sderot children when their new school year began.”

They were accompanied by photos of Israeli children screaming in fear as they fled rocket attack from Gaza. (These photos were taken by international press agencies such as AP but are rarely chosen for use by western news editors.)



Unlike almost any other country in the world, Israel is granting citizenship to those who have fled the ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

Indigenous black African Darfurians are being murdered by Arab tribes invading from the north, supported by the Sudanese government. (Sudan is a member of the Arab League.)

At least 2,000 African refugees have made it into the safety of Israel and Interior Minister, Meir Sheetrit (formerly of Likud party, now of Kadima), has announced that hundreds of Darfur refugees will be granted full Israeli citizenship.

This refugee group had previously fled to Egypt where several of them were then murdered by the Egyptian security forces.



Muhammad Saloum, a 40-year-old Israeli Arab, has died in an Israeli hospital, over a year after being wounded during Hizbullah’s war with Israel. Saloum was dubbed a hero in Israel because he was attempting to rescue family members from a burning building that had taken a direct hit from a Hizbullah missile. He sustained shrapnel wounds and burns over 85 percent of his body, and never regained consciousness.



Meanwhile the New York-based group Human Rights Watch (which is supported financially by several anti-Israeli American Jews) last Thursday issued yet another report condemning Israel for defending itself against Hizbullah attack.

The report gained widespread international media coverage. For example, it was the lead international news story in the Washington Post on September 7, 2007.

In an editorial last week, the Israeli daily Ma’ariv criticized Human Rights Watch and its director Ken Roth saying that: “Instead of advancing universal human rights, HRW uses $40 million-plus to promote an extremist, post-modern and anti-democratic ideology” … Roth [who is Jewish] is “obsessed with Israeli ‘war crimes,’ and has used inaccurate and misleading data to bolster his case.”

The paper condemned the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for inviting Roth to speak without rebuttal at an upcoming conference.

(For more on HRW, see previous dispatches on this website, and also HRW’s damage can’t be undone, by Gerald Steinberg, in the Jerusalem Post, Sept. 6, 2007.)

Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Hizbullah’s rocket arsenal was now bigger than before the war.

Hizbullah continues to rearm thanks to Syria and Iran while the French and Italian-led UN force in south Lebanon does virtually nothing to stop it, as seen for myself during a visit I made last month to the Lebanon-Israel border region.



The San Diego Women Film Foundation and Festival has issued an apology about its previous intention to ban Israeli films. The annual festival opens October 4. The Film Festival’s apology has been posted on its website, currently the first item here:

A spokesperson for the San Diego Festival added in private that she was aware that a campaign of lies and smears against the state of Israel and Jews who support her had been launched in the U.S. and abroad recently by the American academics John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, providing a bandwagon for other anti-Zionists and anti-Semites to jump on to, and the San Diego Festival did not want in any way to contribute to this.



Eighty-one more presidents of American colleges and universities have joined the petition denouncing the UK’s University and College Union decision to promote a boycott of Israeli educational institutions.

Over 400 college and university presidents have now condemned the British decision. These include the presidents of several of the leading universities in the world.

The petition has been organized by the presidents of Princeton and Columbia universities.



Here is the new BBC photo essay on the Lebanese army’s victory in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon last week, where hundreds have been killed. Can you imagine the BBC’s reaction and photo selection if Israeli soldiers had emptied out a Palestinian refugee camp?

-- Tom Gross