Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

Turkish TV shows abundance of food and supplies in Gaza (& Iran FM caught calling for death of US & UK)

May 27, 2018

Tired of the anti-Israel bigotry and hysteria prevalent among many in the world of arts and media, French-Polish actress Monika Ekiert wore this dress above (designed by a Vietnamese designer) at the Cannes festival


[Note by Tom Gross]

(Because of my continuing Carpal tunnel syndrome, this dispatch is short.)

It is a follow up to:

Israel wrongly accused of killing Gazan baby, and a minute’s silence to help Hamas at Cannes film festival



New from Turkish TV: another example of the plentiful side of Gaza that the western media won't show us. This was broadcast on Turkish Channel TRT on May 24, 2018.

Also here and here.

See also this video from from Al-Jazeera Arabic and the accompanying article.



For those who still haven’t seen this video of far left Jews in London praying for Hamas members.

(I posted this on my public Facebook page on the day it was filmed.)



Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif – who John Kerry, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, senior British and French diplomats, and leading New York Times and BBC journalists, are constantly trying to persuade us is a moderate – was caught on tape on Thursday joining a crowd in a chant calling for the destruction of the US, UK and Israel. The chant broke out after a speech delivered in Tehran by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

While the crowd chants “Death to America”, “Death to Britain” and “Death to Israel,” Zarif mouths the fanatical words shouted by the audience.

Video also here and here



I attach an article below from today’s London Sunday Times.

The writer, Dr Mark Humphrys, is a lecturer at Dublin City University. He has extensively studied the situation in Israel and Gaza on the ground.


Solving Gaza crisis is easy — focus on living, not killing
By Mark Humphrys
Sunday Times (London)
May 27, 2018

Books of condolence have opened in Ireland for some hideous people, such as Fidel Castro in 2016 and Yasser Arafat in 2004. But the opening in Dublin of a book of condolence on May 16 for the Hamas rioters in Gaza takes the biscuit. More than 100 rioters have been killed attacking the border with Israel over the past two months, and the reaction in Ireland has been hysterical. There were calls to expel the Israeli ambassador and boycott Israeli goods. The Hezbollah flag flew at an Ireland-Palestine Solidarity protest in Derry. One popular Irish Twitter account even called for a terrorist attack on the Israeli embassy.

What happened in Gaza this month was that 50,000 rioters tried to break through the border and storm into Israel to kill Jewish families in houses nearby. They were open about that. Social media in Gaza was full of calls to attack and kill local Jews. One post said: “Kibbutz Kerem Abu Salem is . . . 200 meters from the fence . . . and only 15 families live there. Attack them with knives!”

One video showed a group breaking through the fence. They shout: “Allah Akbar. Remember Khaybar. Oh Jews, we’re coming to slaughter you.” Khaybar was the battle where Muhammad slaughtered the Jews and took their women as war booty.

Now you may say we don’t know that the rioters wanted to lynch Jewish families. But that doesn’t matter. The Israel Defense Forces believed the mobs wanted to lynch Jewish families, so it used force to stop them. And if tear gas and live fire are not enough, it will use helicopters and fighter jets. The military would never let 50,000 jihadis raid a Jewish village to see what happened. The only logical thing for Gazans to do is steer clear of the fence.

Could the Israeli army have stopped them with less bloodshed? Claims were made that soldiers were shooting indiscriminately. This was rather disproved by the emergence of photographs of military funerals for about half of those killed. A Hamas official said most of the dead killed in riots on May 14 were Hamas: “Sixty-two people were martyred; 50 of them are from Hamas and 12 from the people.” If Israel’s forces were shooting at random, then they had the luckiest shooting day of any army in history.

Gazans would clearly be safe if they left Israel alone. On May 14, huge mobs attacked the fence and 60 died. The next day, a few people attacked it and two died. The following day the rioters stayed away. This may indicate a way to keep Gazans safe. All they have to do is stay away from the fence. We heard the claim that they were driven by “despair”. What they were driven by is hatred, anti-semitism, jihad and the excitement of a march on Israel to cleanse the land of the Jews. They were driven by hope, not despair.

The tragedy of Gaza is that, ever since the Jews left, a new life has been there for the taking. All they have to do is ignore Israel, stop terrorism, stop thinking about the Jews, and build a state in Gaza. They should abandon “the struggle” and pursue money and life. If they did so, and if they were serious, Israel would drop the security barriers and partner with them to pump money into Gaza. They could become some of the richest and happiest Arabs in the Middle East.

But Gazans do not want to be rich and happy. They want other things: honour, blood, soil, revenge and jihad. These things will not make them happy, but that is what they want, so their misery will continue. They do not need books of condolence. They need someone to talk sense to them.


* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook

Bernard Lewis dies: "Osama bin Laden made me famous," he once quipped

May 20, 2018

Bernard Lewis in 2002



[Note by Tom Gross]

Bernard Lewis, arguably the greatest Middle East scholar of modern times, passed away yesterday, Saturday, May 19, in New Jersey, at age 101.

Lewis was born in London on May 31, 1916, at the height of World War I, a war which resulted in the fall of the Ottoman empire and the rise of modern nation states in the Middle East.

He published his first scholarly article in 1937, and over subsequent decades became what many leading Middle East experts – not just western ones, but Arab, Persian and Turkish ones – regarded as the world’s preeminent Middle East scholar.

As Jay Nordlinger noted: “One year, a book of Bernard’s was published in Hebrew translation – by the Israeli defense ministry. That same book was published in Arabic – by the Muslim Brotherhood. … Some former students of Bernard’s refer to him as ‘the Imam.’ I know just what they mean.”

However, it was only after the 9/11 attacks that his books became bestsellers. “Osama bin Laden made me famous,” he once quipped.

Lewis until a few years ago subscribed to this “Middle East dispatch list” and I feel honoured that he told me he found items in it of interest to him.

Here are links to two dispatches I ran in 2016 on the occasion of his 100th birthday:

* Bernard Lewis at 100: Defying conventional wisdom, being proved right

* “Some former students of Bernard’s refer to him as ‘the Imam.’ I know just what they mean”


* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook

Israel wrongly accused of killing Gazan baby, and a minute’s silence to help Hamas at Cannes film festival

May 16, 2018


A Hamas press release yesterday (photo above), proclaiming the deaths of 10 members of its so-called military wing in gun battles with Israeli forces on Monday. Today a senior Hamas spokesperson went further, and said that 50 of the 62 dead this week in Gaza were its militants.



[Notes by Tom Gross]

The coverage in European and some American media of events in Gaza this week has been riddled with inaccuracies, misleading information and highly inflammatory rhetoric. Interestingly, many media in Arab countries, fully aware of Hamas propaganda methods (the so-called “Pallywood”), have been less willing to believe Palestinian claims than the gullible western media. “Nakba day” protests in the West Bank have also been very muted.

Not mentioned in most western media today: Yesterday afternoon Israel named 24 of the 62 Gazans reported killed while trying to storm the Israeli border on Monday, as known terrorists and said they were still investigating the others.

A senior Hamas spokesperson today went further and acknowledged that 50 of the 62 dead were its militants. Many had assault weapons when they died in clashes with Israel.

In Arabic from Hamas-affiliated TV here.

The western media and European politicians misleadingly claimed that the dead were all or almost all peaceful civilians, whereas many or most were well-armed fighting age men affiliated to the armed wings of terror organizations.



While many European governments and politicians and journalists raged against Israel, governments elsewhere defended Israel.

For example, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull clearly blamed Hamas for the loss of life in Gaza. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop added, “We recognize that Israel needs to protect its population.... Australia urges Palestinian protesters to refrain from violence and attempting to enter into Israeli territory.”

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the Security Council yesterday that Hamas, backed by Iran, had incited the violence by urging protesters, many armed, over loudspeakers to burst through the border fence. “I ask my colleagues here in the Security Council: Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No one would. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”

Meanwhile the UN took the very rare step of holding a minute’s silence for the Gaza dead yesterday. A minute’s silence for the Gaza dead was also held by left-wing filmmakers at the Cannes Film festival yesterday.

[Breaking news: BBC World News has just now reported on the Hamas admission that most of the dead were its militants, but the BBC have not yet apologized for their disgraceful “fake news” reports against Israel in recent days.]

This is all very reminiscent of Jeningrad.



On posters displayed in Gaza yesterda,y another smaller Palestinian terror group, the Iranian government-financed and controlled Islamic Jihad, pronounced these three men (above), who died on Monday in gun battles with Israeli forces as they tried to storm into Israel across the border in Khan Younis, as members of its Saraya al-Quds military wing.

Here is their death notice from the Islamic Jihad website.

As “martyrs” their families will now receive large sums of money every month from European government donated aid to the Palestinian Authority.



Many western media have run prominent headlines claiming, or strongly implying, that the IDF killed a Palestinian baby in the Gaza riots this week.

For example, a Financial Times headline this morning reads: “Tragic baby Leyla symbolises Gaza’s life and death struggle.”

Today’s headlines come despite the fact that doctors in Gaza yesterday told the Associated Press that the baby in question had a pre-existing condition from which she died and the baby’s death had nothing to do with Monday’s border riots. This AP report notwithstanding, other media continue to count her in the Gaza riot death toll

For example, pictured above, a piece from today’s British tabloid the Daily Express, a paper that rarely covers foreign news, but repeats anti-Israeli propaganda virtually verbatim in this piece.

It is hardly surprising if such vicious coverage, repeated by politicians on the floor of the House of Commons on Monday, further fuels anti-Semitic attacks in Britain, already running at postwar record highs.



This photo taken by a Palestinian AFP photographer in Gaza, is being widely shared on Facebook, juxtaposed with the image of Michelangelo’s Pieta, the famous artwork that shows the Virgin Mary holding Jesus’ body

Many others have claimed that the picture is staged as part of the long standing collaboration between news agencies in Gaza and Hamas. A person, presumably running to get medical help for his injured friend, appears to stop to allow a photographer to take his picture.

See also:

* The Case of Reuters
* My short interview about the Al-Dura controversy has been watched 370,000 times.



Here is a short interview with me from Sunday on Israel Channel 10 news. It was broadcast before the current Gaza violence but remains true of Jerusalem about which the British media and foreign office continue to agitate despite the fact there has been virtually no serious violence there recently.

As I point out in the interview, over 250 people have been killed in France in terror attacks over the last three years, and dozens in terror attacks in Belgium, Barcelona, Berlin, Toronto and elsewhere. Thousands have died in mass shootings in America.

It is not a particularly good interview but you may wish to watch it.



A reminder that Gaza has a prosperous side too (which is why life expectancy there is five years higher than the world average, and higher than most Arab countries, and than in parts of Glasgow).

If you haven’t read it, you may wish to read this piece published earlier this year by The Spectator on the prosperous aspects of the economic situation in Gaza and the Al-Jazeera video that accompanies it.

Gaza’s prosperous side, that the Arab media show but the western media won’t


See also this analysis of Gazans wrongly reported in the New York Times as being civilians, who died in March and April riots on the Gaza-Israel border.

See also: Exodus From Gaza


* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook

Video: Alibaba CEO Jack Ma lavishes praise on Israel (& UAE and Bahrain teams in Israel)

May 07, 2018


Above, the UAE team and below the Bahrain-sponsored team (both countries that don’t officially have relations with Israel) in Jerusalem for this past weekend’s Giro d’Italia cycle race, one of the ten most watched sporting events in the world on TV.

It is the first time the Giro d’Italia has begun outside Europe, and it was the biggest sporting event ever held in Israel, with cyclists riding in Jerusalem, then from Haifa to Tel Aviv, and then from Beersheba to Eilat. Thousands of people visited Israel for the event.

Short video here.

There are some nice aerial views of Jerusalem here.

And riding in the Negev desert here.

While The Times (of London) and BBC could not resist having a go at Israel politically in their reports of the race (in a way they don’t do about any other country in the world when they host sporting events), The Guardian avoided doing so (though other Guardian articles did politicize the event, in the way that they don't about sporting events in, say, Dubai and Turkey – for example, when there is a football match in Istanbul, they don’t mention the bombing of Kurds).

The event will finish in the Vatican on May 27.

The Giro d’Italia organizers also said they were happy to start in Israel to honor one of the most famous Giro d’Italia champions, three time winner Gino Bartali, a devout Catholic who risked his life to save dozens of Italian Jews during the Holocaust by riding at great speed across the Italian countryside to smuggle false identity papersto Jews in hiding.

-- Tom Gross




Here is an extract I posted from the speech by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma in Israel a couple of days ago.

On his first trip to Israel, he says he is amazed how different the country is from the misimpression given by journalists and others: “It is so different than what I heard… Don’t believe what you read about Israel. You should come here yourself, feel it and touch it… it is a miracle country…. It is the ‘never give up’ country.”

Chinese business magnate Jack Ma is currently ranked 2nd in the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” list by Fortune magazine.

He brought 40 senior management of Alibaba group to Israel.

Also posted here.



* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook

After decades of defending him, NY Times calls Abbas “vile” and calls on him to go

May 04, 2018

A West Bank villa of one of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s inner circle. Abbas’ new house in Ramallah, which I drove past recently, is bigger than this.



[Note by Tom Gross]

For decades, critics of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have been drawing attention to his repeated anti-Semitism, to his Holocaust denial, to his large-scale corruption, and to his incitement and orders to kill Jews and others.

See, for example, my dispatch of June 2003 (Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and the Holocaust). (It was written when Abbas was still generally known as Abu Mazen, and was serving as Yasser Arafat’s prime minister and effective number 2.)

I asked then, as I have asked on many other occasions both before and since, why in all the countless articles about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and about Abbas himself, mainstream liberal newspapers and politicians almost always shy away from criticizing him.


For example, I wrote in 2003: “It is strange, especially in Europe, that the world’s most prominent prime ministerial Holocaust denier is being treated with such great respect and moral authority. Why hasn’t Abbas’s main champion in Europe, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, asked him to specifically retract his statements of Holocaust denial?”

On many occasions since Abbas became Palestinian President in 2004, I asking why the New York Times – that never seems to tire of criticizing Israel almost every day in its editorial and op-ed pages, and often on its news and culture pages too – barely ever mentioned that Abbas, whom they have heaped praised upon, had written a whole book denying the Holocaust -- “the fantastic lie that six million Jews were killed”, as Abbas wrote.


Finally, even the New York Times has had enough, and in an editorial (attached below) it calls on Abbas to resign. This follows Abbas’s latest speech earlier this week blaming the Jews for causing the Holocaust.

Those of us interested in Israeli-Palestinian peace have called on Abbas to resign for many years, since he is one of the greatest obstacles to peace, turning down peace offer after peace offer from successive Israeli prime ministers and refusing to even negotiate peace with Israel for a decade now.


It took over 50 years for the New York Times to apologize for deliberately not reporting on the Holocaust while it was happening.

As I have written before, in the days before TV and the Internet, the New York Times was by far the most important media outlet in America, and had they not covered up the Holocaust throughout the Second World War, public pressure might have grown on FDR to bomb the railway lines to Auschwitz and save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Now that they have finally acknowledged Abbas for the kind of man he is, the New York Times editorial board might ask themselves why for all these years they have been so soft on Abbas.

And even now, the Times editorial on Abbas (below) downplays the problem, as well as the massive level of corruption by him and his sons (who have filled their banks accounts with diverted western aid money) making it sound as if Palestinian corruption is merely result of insufficient oversight.


Just as the New York Times is finally criticizing Abbas so are his other longtime defenders in the West, including J Street, former Secretary of State John Kerry, Barack Obama’s former Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, and the European Union.


The Abbas they have suddenly decided to distance themselves from is the same Abbas who has continued, year after year, to name Palestinians schools, streets, public squares, sports teams, and children’s summer camps, after terrorists and suicide bombers. It is the same Abbas who pays over $350 million per annum to reward the families of Palestinian terrorists. It is the same Abbas who, for example, in a 2015 speech said “Jews had filthy feet”.


The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay E. Mladenov, said. “Such statements [by Abbas on May 2] are unacceptable, deeply disturbing and do not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or peace in the Middle East. Leaders have an obligation to confront anti-Semitism everywhere and always, not perpetuate the conspiracy theories that fuel it.”

(Of course Palestinian school books and media, many paid for with UN funds, are full of such conspiracy theories about Jews and denials of Jewish history -- Tom Gross)

The new head of the traditionally pro-Palestinian UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, tweeted:

“Joining my voice to UN envoy @nmladenov regarding comments by President Abbas. All forms of antisemitism, including Holocaust denial and relativization, are unacceptable. @UNESCO promotes Holocaust education against falsifications of history & combats antisemitism thru education.”

David Friedman, Donald Trump’s ambassador to Israel, said in relation to Abbas’ latest hateful remarks about Jews: “To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don’t have peace, think again.”

-- Tom Gross


See also:

“Yasser Abbas: Has anything really changed?” (By Tom Gross, Wall Street Journal

“The NY Times: All The News That’s Fit To Print?” (By Tom Gross, NRO)

Mahmoud Abbas and the Munich Olympics massacre



In separate news, the Jerusalem Post reports this morning:

“The Trump administration will ask Israel to withdraw from four Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, which will likely become the capital of a future Palestinian state, US officials told Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman during his visit to Washington last week.

“The transfer of control over the neighborhoods – Jebl Mukabar, Isawiya, Shuafat and Abu Dis – was presented to Liberman as just one piece of the larger peace plan the administration has been working on over the last year. Israel, the officials indicated, would be expected to accept the plan once it is presented despite the potentially painful concessions.

“News of the demand come less than two weeks before the US Embassy officially moves to Jerusalem on May 14. The full plan is expected to be unveiled shortly after the embassy moves.”

To the derision of many other commentators, I have on many occasions said that the Trump administration’s approach to the peace process is more likely to yield concrete results than the failed approaches of previous US administrations. Most recently, I wrote this last week:

Will Trump surprise some with Palestinian peace, just like he surprised with N Korea?

-- Tom Gross


Let Abbas’s Vile Words Be His Last as Palestinian Leader
By The Editorial Board
New York Times
May 3, 2018

Feeding reprehensible anti-Semitic myths and conspiracy theories in a speech on Monday, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner if the Palestinians and Israelis ever again have the nerve to try negotiations.

Speaking to the Palestinian legislative body, Mr. Abbas, 82, said the mass murder of European Jews in the Holocaust was the result of the victims’ financial activities, not their religious identity and anti-Semitism.

“So the Jewish question that was widespread throughout Europe was not against their religion, but against their social function, which relates to usury (unscrupulous money lending) and banking and such,” he said, according to the BBC.

Mr. Abbas’s anti-Semitic tendencies are not new. In the 1980s, he wrote a dissertation that seemed to question the widely accepted Holocaust death toll of six million Jews.

While seen as a successor to the longtime Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, in 2003 he played down that notion, saying, “The Holocaust was a terrible, unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by humankind.”

Things looked more hopeful in 1993 when Mr. Abbas stood on the White House lawn and watched Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Mr. Arafat sign the Oslo Accords that were supposed to eventually lead to two states and peace.

In the intervening years, there have been ups and downs in that quest, but the trend for some time has been depressingly downward. The dream of an independent Palestine faded further away and Mr. Abbas came under increasing pressure.

Since the last serious peace talks collapsed in 2014, Israel’s hard-line government has expanded settlement building to cover more of the land envisioned for a Palestinian state. Although President Trump promised a peace plan, none has materialized, but reports suggest it would favor Israel.

Arab nations, once the Palestinians’ patrons, have lost interest and have turned their attention to fighting wars in Yemen and Syria and checking Iran’s regional influence. During a recent meeting with Jewish-American leaders, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia faulted Palestinian leaders for complaining and rejecting past Israeli peace offers.

Mr. Abbas opposed Mr. Arafat during the 2000-2005 second intifada, recognized Israel, and committed himself to a nonviolent approach to negotiations for peace and a two-state solution. He was valued by the West as Mr. Arafat’s successor, and for years he has deployed Palestinian forces to help Israelis maintain security in the West Bank.

But pressures, some of his own making and many others caused by Israel, which has ultimate control over the West Bank, are building. Mr. Abbas, who oversees a governing system plagued by corruption and dysfunction, has lost support among the Palestinian people.

He has weakened government institutions that are essential for a future state and refused to call new elections, thus overstaying his term by many years and preventing younger leaders from emerging.

He has also failed to unify the Palestinians in the West Bank, where his Fatah faction dominates, with those in the even more desperate circumstances of the Gaza Strip, where Hamas holds sway.

Even in this gloomy climate, however, Mr. Abbas’s vile speech was a new low. No doubt he feels embittered and besieged on all sides. But by succumbing to such dark, corrosive instincts he showed that it is time for him to leave office.

Palestinians need a leader with energy, integrity and vision, one who might have a better chance of achieving Palestinian independence and enabling both peoples to live in peace.


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