Sunday, 31 January 2010

Iraqi President Thanks Britain

Jalal Talabani writing for the Guardian:
"The Iraqi people now have the right to build their own freedom and are deeply grateful to British prime ministers Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, for their assistance.
At the time, I and other leaders of the Iraqi opposition asked Mr Blair's government to help the Iraqi people get rid of the dictatorship. And we praise the bravery and sacrifice of British troops.
We suffered under Saddam Hussein in ways that too many in the international community seem to have forgotten. His regime was a republic of fear, which slaughtered Iraqis on an industrial scale and attacked our neighbours. We are fortunate he has gone and that we have a chance to rebuild our society.
Iraq is one of the historical founts of modern civilisation. Our tragedy is that Saddam pillaged our potential for his own purposes.
Now that he is gone we have a great opportunity to overcome our isolation from decades of modernity and to rebuild our links with the international community. Our second parliamentary elections, on 7 March, will provide an opportunity to consolidate our growing democracy and further isolate those who use the bomb and the gun against the will of our own people.
We, as a people, have a great regard for and affection towards the British and we are seeking deep, broad and long-term relationships with your politicians, academics, sporting groups and businesses.
We are a potentially rich country but our legacy is a poor one. We value the ability of British business to unlock our resources through increased investment and by trading with us. Iraq is becoming increasingly open to commerce, which is a means of giving our people the better way of life that they seek and deserve.
It would also be in Britain's interest to continue its relationship with us. We are proud to be your friends and hope that you will always be our friends, working together for the common good of humanity."
I genuinely wonder, what do Tony Blair's critics say to the president of Iraq?

Friday, 29 January 2010

Human Rights Watch Reject Hamas' Claims

In response to the Goldstone report that made vague references to some rockets being fired into someplace in Israel from somewhere nearby, but didn't actually name the people firing the rockets , or give victims' accounts; Hamas have defended themselves and claimed that the rockets were not directed at civilians.

HRW said Hamas' claim was "belied by the facts", of which there are plenty, not least on the IDF's YouTube channel (link on the right). The whole scenario is so ridiculous; Hamas with their laughable claim that Israeli civilian casualties were accidental, and HRW actually addressing their "report", humouring them the way you would humour a child who's drawn a not-very-good picture and tell them "Well done! But the nose shouldn't be on the forehead."

In between the Guardian taking this opportunity to try and say that HRW isn't biased against Israel, and look it's all just a Zionist conspiracy to stifle criticism, it (the Guardian) manages to throw in right at the end HRW's grievance at Hamas launching rockets from populated areas in Gaza, which endangers the Palestinians "by raising the likelihood of Israeli retaliation"but doesn't mention an incident where two Palestinian girls died when a Hamas rocket accidentally struck inside Gaza.

Strangely enough, that was just before Cast Lead when there were no Israeli military targets in the area.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Just Journalism Exposes BBC's Twisting Of Defence Into Attack

In the BBC's recent documentary on Jerusalem (last paragraph in this post), there was an incident described that left me confused. The documentary portrayed an Israeli's seemingly extremely aggressive shooting of Palestinians in Jerusalem, including a child, which left a father apparently unable to walk without crutches and his son traumatised. (Watch it here at 22 minutes, but it'll probably become unavailable soon.)

I recalled reading about an incident where an Israeli was arrested for shooting two Palestinians, but was then released when CCTV footage revealed he had been threatened by the Palestinians and had acted in self defence.

Indeed, the BBC documentary actually showed this footage, but the story they described sounded so different that for a second I actually thought these might have been two seperate incidents. It reminds me of that game where you have to click on the word in red, but the word red is written in blue and the word blue is written in red and it's all very disorienting!

A Haaretz article I found confirmed that they were the same incident, but didn't give many more details than the BBC's version.

Just Journalism though, have exposed the inaccuracies and lack of context in the BBC's version of events, and link to a YNet article that gives the Israeli's story in more detail - including the fact that even when he first fired a warning shot in the air, the Palestinians did not back off.

Just a minor detail on the Israeli side of the story that the BBC forgot to mention.

The Times' Assault On Israel

The Times obviously can't bear the positive coverage Israel is finally getting in the press, most notably by news channels including Sky, CNN, and Fox News.

So it now has devoted a whole page in the newspaper to a complete non-story that seeks out to utterly vilify Israel in case there was anyone who saw what Israel is doing in Haiti and thought, "hey, maybe Israel's not all evil."

The story claims that Israel is not granting aid workers for the Palestinians work permits, and implies that Israel targets the aid organisations because they don't like their criticism of Israel. Israel's interior ministry denied that visas had been stopped.

This is clearly a cynical attempt by the Times to defame Israel at a time when people (heaven forbid!) might start warming up to the country. This is made even clearer by the small piece accompanying the article, entitled 'Haiti and Gaza are not the same'.

In the piece, instead of praising Israel for saving lives in Haiti, the Times chooses to criticse Israel for "noisily trumpeting its own relief efforts" there.

How terrible of Israel! The Times doesn't understand that since every good thing Israel does is usually completely ignored by the world media, so when Israel contributes a good thing to a place in the world where everyone is watching, it might be nice to be seen as a country that doesn't just "ethnically cleanse" people and "commit genocide".

Also, I don't really see Israel "noisily trumpeting" anything. Are they not allowed to update the IDF spokesperson site and upload Youtube videos to show what they're doing in Haiti? Should they have told Sky and CNN "no, don't film us or talk to us, this is top secret." Should they close their twitter account rather than communicate with people who need aid or rescuing from the rubble? Should they not publicise their location so people know how to find them? 

The only phrase the Times uses to describe Israel's efforts there is "image-burnishing". It's almost as if the Times would rather that Israel never turned up to Haiti at all, and left the non-existent hospitals there to treat the survivors instead.

The "noisy trumpeting" that the Times criticises is actually an email being sent around written by some Jewish Zionist, and nothing to do with the sinister government-implied "hasbara war" the Times refers to.

Though I hate to say this, I will be honest, as I always try to be: the email is badly written. It makes a good point, (that Israel's "disproportionate" response in Haiti should not be ignored, whilst the media and governments amplified Cast Lead); but it comes across all wrong. First, it implies that because of what Israel is doing in Haiti, all criticism of Cast Lead is invalid. I would say that most criticism of Cast Lead is invalid anyway, not because of Haiti, but because of Hamas and their rockets and using Palestinians as human shields, and Israel not deliberately targetting civilians, etc etc. The email sounds as though it expects Goldstone to take back what he said just because Israel is doing a good thing, but this is ridiculous; people who criticised Cast Lead would not change their minds just because Israel is doing something good somewhere else, and I don't expect them too. The most we can hope for is that people realise Israel's not all bad (not even close), but I'm sure most people know that already, although sometimes it seems like they don't.

The other fault of the email is that it mentions the Arab and Muslim world's lack of aid to Haiti, which is, accoring to the email, nothing. That's just not true. The Arab world has given very little, but not nothing. There's Islamic Relief which collected aid, and a few countries got involved like Egypt and Morrocco. 

Jewish and Zionist criticism of Arabs and Muslims is almost always justified, but since they would probably be accused of racism or Islamophobia for it, it's probably best to just stick with "noisily trumpeting" Israel's good actions rather than bringing down the Arabs. (Especially when it's done without thinking, like in the email). When it's obvious, like Iran and Saudi Arabia's disregard for the suffering of Haiti, other people will do it instead. When it's not obvious, (or it is but is ignored by the rest of the world), like honour killings and forcing an 11 year old girl to marry her father's 80 year old cousin, we're almost morally obligated to expose it, and shouldn't not just for fear of being called racist.

Having said all that, the Times' gleeful exploitation of a badly worded email that means well, to use as a way to quash Israel, it's efforts in Haiti, and it's supporters even when Israel is giving of itself to do dangerous, difficult, exhausting, not to mention costly work saving lives; is disgusting. I didn't think the Times would stoop that low. Their attitude can be summed up by Telegraph blogger Stephanie Gutmann's amusing piece.

Please donate to Haiti if you haven't already. We haven't forgotten who this is really about, (although the Times seems to think we have), but we can and should take pride in Israel's amazing work over there.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Weapons In A Mosque?!?

Since people don't really listen to the IDF when they say Hamas store weapons in civilian buildings, maybe they'll believe Gulf war vetaran, Colonel Tim Collins.

He filmed a 10 minute segment in Gaza and Sderot for the BBC's Newsnight . (It will be removed in a few days and I don't think can be watched abroad, but for whoever can watch it, it starts at 27.23 minutes.)

Collins talks to some Gaza militants, who admit that the TNT in their rockets has been smuggled throught the tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border.

He examines a destroyed mosque and states (at 34.40) that in the cellar of the mosque he has found clear evidence of secondary explosions, and the damage caused to the mosque can only be explained if weapons were stored there.

So now what will be done with this evidence of Hamas war crimes? They smuggle weapons and explosives illegally into Gaza. They use their people as human shields by storing those weapons in schools and mosques. They launch the rockets from inside or near those buildings even when civilians are around. And they direct the weapons at Israeli civilians.

The IDF has already investigated Cast Lead. Goldstone and the UN have investigated Israel. The Israeli government is writing a report.

Israel's accusations have been backed up by their own evidence, and now by Tim Collins, and still nothing is being done about Hamas' crimes.

Speaking of the BBC, on 18th January they aired a documentary on East Jerusalem. Robin Shepherd and Honest Reporting analyze it perfectly, picking out the typical bias and lack of context.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Three Days After Haiti... Who Is Commemorated?

Three days after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, in which up to 200,000 people are estimated to have died, over 150 people gathered in Trafalgar Square for a commemoration, and five minutes silence... for Gaza.

They held up sheets of paper with the names of 1417 victims (of which over 700 were terrorists, and many more were killed either by being used as human shields by Hamas, by secondary explosions, or by Hamas rockets accidentally landing in Gaza instead of Israel.)

"I came here to show my solidarity with the Palestinian people. I feel that they are being ignored", one protestor said, ignoring the hundreds of thousands of Haitians in need of aid.

But one protestor didn't forget Haiti:
"Andrew Medhurst a banker said: 'I am appalled that the British government is either too scared or has an agenda which means it can't criticise the Israelis. Everybody needs to say this is not right and put pressure on the government'. His daughter compared the damage to Gaza to the damage caused by the earthquake in Haiti."
No wonder the girl is so brainwashed, if her father thinks the British government never criticises Israel. Were the Haitians to hear of this comparison, I'm sure they would have a similar reaction to Jews when Gaza is compared to the Holocaust: i.e. if only it was just a "blockade" and a war against armed terrorists, instead of hundreds of thousands killed.

Meanwhile, the Gazans themselves have been collecting for Haiti (also comparing Cast Lead to the earthquake, but at least they're contributing something.)

And Israel of course, was the first to set up a field hospital in Haiti, where they are the only ones equipped to perform operations. They have treated hundreds of injured , and delivered several babies (one of which was named 'Israel' by the grateful mother). They also rescued numerous survivors from the rubble, including eight university students rescued by Zaka.

You can read more stories of Israel's efforts on the IDF spokesperson site and see amazing footage on their YouTube account, CNN's video report, and Sky News .

And don't forget to donate. (it won't be stolen by Hamas and used for weapons)

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

UK's Appreciation Of Antisemitism

If anything was to prove the existence and obvious, continuous escalation of antisemitism in the UK, it's this.

British TV audiences' favourite Channel 4 programme in the year 2009 was Peter Oborne's Dispatches documentary on the Israel lobby.

The documentary was borderline antisemitic and the perfect example of the type of journalism it claims doesn't exist - because of the "Jewish lobby's" supposed sinister campaign to stifle criticism of Israel. What the documentary does is demonize Israel, demonize Jews who support Israel, and create a Jewish conspiracy where there is none.

And the audience just loves it.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Ross Kemp In Israel

Part 2 of Ross Kemp in the Middle East aired tonight, this time with Kemp investigating in Israel - speaking to victims of suicide bombers and rocket attacks, as well as extremist settlers.

Like in Part 1, the documentary appeared to be quite balanced and objective; however there were once again obvious flaws, and important issues ignored.

Of those I noticed last week, only one was addressed in this episode: the reason for the blockade/security fence, to prevent suicide bombings. This was still something that should have been mentioned in Part 1 to provide context, as in this episode he only referred to the West Bank fence, not the Gaza one. In fact, Kemp should have asked Palestinians what they think about the fact that the fence has drastically reduced suicide bombings and terror attacks in Israel.

There were two main flaws overall in the documentaries, and they're big ones.

The first is that Kemp spoke a lot about division in Israeli communities, and how this posed as an obstacle to peace negotiations; however he did not properly look into the divisions between Hamas and Fatah, and how they torture and kill each other.

The second is that Kemp seemed to equate the extremists on both sides, and claimed that hate on both sides is an obstacle to peace. Equating suicide bombers and Palestinian extremists who want every Jew dead, with Jewish settlers who are simply building shacks on hillposts is utterly ridiculous. As for hate, I did not see one Israeli in the programme say anything about hating the Palestinians or wanting them dead. The settlers in the programme may have seemed a little crazy, but their actions weren't physically hurting anyone.* Murder is much worse than robbery (especially robbery of the kind where you're taking back what you think belongs to you.)

Hatred on the other side, though, is a completely different story, and one that needs investigating. Like I pointed out last week, Kemp did not sufficiently investigate Hamas tyranny in Gaza, or look at the contents of their official charter. Most importantly, he did not look into the brainwashing of Palestinian children that takes place in their schools, or the intrinsic antisemitism they are taught by extremists in control of their education.

Still, I commend Ross Kemp for his efforts, and we can't expect him to do everything! At least he is one journalist who approached the situation in Israel with an open mind and the objective of being, well, objective. In that respect, his documentary is possibly groundbreaking.

Now we just need a documentary about Hamas, and perhaps when people see the truth about them, we can try to come up with a realistic solution to peace in Israel rather than hypothetical talks with terrorists who don't want to talk and just want to kill.

*I am aware that there are settlers who have attacked Palestinians, but the ones Ross Kemp was referring to were not violent.
If I'm being totally objective, perhaps Kemp could have looked into allegations of crimes the settlers have comitted, but I doubt he would have found out anything much. The Palestinians accuse the Israelis of a lot of things that aren't true.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

How Terrorists Help Gaza

Here's what happens when you try to help the people of Gaza through terrorism (funded partly by George Galloway):
"Gaza terrorists fired a volley of 10 mortar shells at southern Israel at midday on Thursday, all of them exploding in open areas around the western Negev. Three landed near the Kerem Shalom crossing while trucks were waiting to deliver humanitarian supplies in Gaza; the crossing was closed, the shipments were cancelled and the trucks turned back."

*that was sarcastic, and aimed at the faliure of the terrorists' objectives, not at the Gazans not getting their aid. Believe it or not, it is possible for me to be a Zionist and still want the Palestinians to get what they need (which isn't weapons).

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

What Shocking Israel News Did The BBC Report Today?

Can you guess what news from Israel the BBC reported today?

Is it...
A. Today a Palestinian admitted he planned to carry out a terror attack at the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron and stab as many Jews as he could; but was caught in possession of a knife before he could do it
B. Today a Palestinian planned to stab Jews in the Old City and was caught in possession of a knife
C. Today a Palestinian in possession of a knife and Molotov cocktail was arrested at a (darned) checkpoint
D. Last night three Palestinians were caught outside the Old City carrying knives with which they wanted to stab an Israeli policeman or soldier
E. Last night two Palestinians at the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron planned to stab Israeli settlers or soldiers and were caught carrying knives
F. On Sunday two Palestinians admitted they planned to carry out a terror attack , when they were caught carrying large knives
The answers is, of course, none of those. Now before you think I have an agenda against the BBC (hah!), it wasn't only them that didn't report any of those incidents. They were only reported in the Israeli media. The reason I singled out the BBC here is because on a news feed on Israel, sandwiched between all the reports of failed terrorist attacks was the BBC article with the headline, "Israel approves four new buildings in East Jerusalem".

It quotes Saeb Erakat as saying that Israel is "talking about peace and negotiations in a way that is totally opposed to the reality on the ground".

But Palestinians' attempts to murder Jews really says "let's talk peace".

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Gaza Documentary

Part 1 of Ross Kemp's  (incidentally spoofed 4 posts down!) Middle East documentary was aired tonight, this one telling the story of Gaza, and the next one being on Israel.

Whilst on the face of it it seemed quite a balanced documentary, there were flaws, including:
-no mention or investigation of the smuggling of weapons through the tunnels into Egypt (he didn't go further than asking one man about arms, who replied - looking quite shifty -  "I don't know")
-no mention of why there is a blockade (to prevent suicide bombings) or Egypt's role in it
-no mention of the fact that Israel delivers tonnes of aid into Gaza, or that Hamas sometimes steals the aid
-not sufficient investigation into Hamas control and tyranny in Gaza (he spoke to a policeman, but didn't speak to Palestinian victims of Hamas terror, only victims of Israel's war); or why Hamas doesn't do more to help it's people
-no mention of the Hamas charter or the real reasons behind extremism (Kemp's concluding comments on the episode suggested that despair from the war is what drives extremism, but did address the comments made by a would-be suicide bomber that Islam commands martyrdom for the sake of Allah, or words to that effect.)
Whilst I am not expecting Kemp to investigate Hamas' war crimes, when a charge is made by UNRWA director John Ging that "buildings of peace" were destroyed, perhaps then would be a good time to mention at least that Israel says Hamas uses those buildings to store weapons, and launch rockets from - or else show the evidence .

However, that was only one half of the documentary, and hopefully most of the above issues will be addressed in the last episode next week.

Also, Kemp does deserve a lot of credit for his efforts in exposing the type of terrorists that Israel is dealing with.