Thursday, 18 February 2010

Media Reaction To Dubai Assassination

I've been intrigued by the papers' coverage of the Dubai assassination story, which all seem to regard it with one shared emotion: fascination. The more anti-Israel outlets seem too caught up in the drama and mystery to properly find a way to make Israel look bad in all of this - except to omit details of the Hamas victim's involvement - confessed involvement, I should add - in terrorism.

Robin Shepherd has analysed the British media's reaction to the story.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Guardian Invents Evidence Against Israel

Last week, the IDF released it’s report to counter Goldstone. The Guardian, in it’s desperation to find a negative angle, resorted to their own “evidence” to delegitimize Israel’s version of an incident in which a flour mill in Gaza was damaged.

The Guardian repeats the Goldstone report’s claim that the flour mill was hit by an air strike, implicating that it was deliberately targeted and therefore a possible war crime.

The IDF meanwhile, described the incidents in detail, explaining how 
Hamas had fortified this area [of the flour mill] with tunnels and booby-trapped houses, and deployed its forces to attack IDF troops operating there... IDF troops came under intense fire from different Hamas positions in the vicinity of the flour mill. The IDF forces fired back towards the sources of fire and threatening locations. As the IDF returned fire, the upper floor of the flour mill was hit by tank shells.” 
They even arranged for fire engines to reach the area and extinguish the fire.
The Guardian quotes Israel’s defence as merely that “there were Hamas fighters ‘in the vicinity of the flour mill’”. But they claim that when they visited the mill just after the war last year, they “saw what appeared to be the remains of an aircraft-dropped bomb” on the first floor, stating that: 
“The UN mine action team, which handles ordnance disposal in Gaza, has told the Guardian that the remains of a 500-pound Mk82 aircraft-dropped bomb were found in the ruins of the mill last January.” 
While Goldstone also refers to helicopters, note that the Guardian report, which challenges the Israeli account, refers to a 500-pound bomb. Helicopters don't carry 500-pound bombs. A 500-pound bomb would not have left the roof intact. 
What, you want actual evidence? Alright. A satellite photograph published by UNITAR - the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, taken days after the alleged incident, shows the roof still intact. 

They note that “the damage signatures [indicate] that the majority of damage in this area was caused by intense IDF ground fire.” Elder of Ziyon points out that this is evidence that was presented to Goldstone but which he obviously ignored. This is the picture in more detail, from Dvar Dea .

More proof? A picture from a BBC report 2009, captioned “A large section of the top two floors of the al-Badr mill was completely destroyed”, also shows that despite that, the roof was, again, still intact .

Compared with the evidence in the IDF's favour, the Guardian's tale of the 500 pound bomb sounds like a work of fiction - and a very amateur and implausible one at that.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Israel Being Disproportionate Again

"Terror attempts were up in January, according to a report released Thursday by the Shabak Israel Security Agency. 
Eighty attempts were recorded during the month, compared to 51 in December. The most significant increase was in the firing of mortar shells, which went from three in December to 28 last month." 
There were also 13 rockets fired in January compared with six in December.

And what was Israel's reposnse to the Palestinians' 80 attempts to murder Israelis?

The IDF bombed five tunnels (used for smuggling weapons), a weapons-manufacturing facility, and attacked a group of terrorists about to launch rockets into Israel, one of whom was killed - an Islamic Jihad field commander known to be behind dozens of IED and gunfire attacks on Israel.

There's disproportionate for you.

More Proof That "Pro-Palestinians" Aren't Really Pro-Palestinian

How does supporting Hamas help the Palestinians? Why does it appear to be only Zionists who try to expose Hamas' corruption, thereby benefitting the moderate Palestinians who don't want to be drawn into Hamas' war games? In an op-ed in November, Khaled Abu Toameh wrote:
"If anyone is entitled to be called 'pro-Palestinian,' it is those who are publicly campaigning against financial corruption and abuse of human rights by Fatah and Hamas. Those who are trying to change the system from within belong to the real 'pro-Palestinian' camp.
These are the brave people who are standing up to both Fatah and Hamas and calling on them to stop killing each other and start doing something that would improve the living conditions of their constituents...
...The 'pro-Palestinian' activists in the West clearly do not care about reforms and good government in the Palestinian territories. As far as these activists are concerned, delegitimizing Israel and inciting against 'Zionists' are much more important that pushing for an end to financial corruption and violence in Palestinian society."
An incident that recently occurred at Toronto's York University is exactly the problem Toameh is citing.
A Hasbara student group was running a campaign at the university called "Free Palestinians from Hamas", where they were also creating awareness of Gilad Shalit. Inevitably a group of around 50 anti-Zionists gathered there, chanting anti-Israel and antisemitic slurs. Whilst pushing away cameras that were filming their abuse and aggression, they hit two of the Hasbara students. Another time when the Israel activists were campaigning, an 'Israeli Apartheid Week' activist told them "you should be ashamed of youselves".
"Free Palestinians from Hamas", and the Israel-haters still couldn't see past their hate that there is more to the Palestinians' suffering than just getting caught in the war between Israel and Hamas, but that their leaders are the direct cause of much of their suffering. Again and again the Palestinians' leaders get away with murder, literally, because people are so focused on painting Israel as the villain. They're so blinded by their hatred that when someone tries to expose Palestinian corruption, instead of listening or doing something about it, they just dismiss it as Zionist propaganda. Maybe deep down they do care a little bit about the Palestinians, but obviously not nearly as much as they hate Israel and... dare I say it... Jews.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Fisking And Phosphorus

In honour of Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January, Michael Gove wrote an article for the Telegraph, sensitive, thought-provoking, and true. Gove reinforces the importance of Holocaust education, particularly in the face of current antisemitism, giving as one example Ahmadinejad's call to wipe Israel off the map.

A week after this article, Robert Fisk wrote a two page spread in the Independent on Israel's conference in Herzliya.

Fisk lists instances of where Israel has killed enemies (and one incident where it wasn't Israel, but still blames Israel), implying that Israel only killed civilians, and mentions in brackets that 13 Israelis were killed during Cast Lead, and that Cast Lead came after Hamas rockets – but not giving the number of Israelis killed and injured by rockets and other terrorist attacks over the years, nor the times war has been waged on Israel by it’s Arab neighbours. And of course no mention of Ahmadinejad’s desire to destroy Israel.

Instead he mocks the idea of Israel being under threat or a victim of some sort, and implicates that Israel has no right to criticise the press coverage of it and Cast Lead, as though the press is totally fair and factual (see paragraph above for example of how the press is the opposite of fair and factual when it comes to Israel).

He salivates (to use the nice word) over Goldstone; “Goldstone, Goldstone, Goldstone. The eminent lawyer who so bravely… inspires…” bla bla bla, and criticises Israel’s concern that the Goldstone report aims to de-legitimise it.

Then Fisk himself tries to de-legitimise Israel by comparing Israel to Hamas for not co-operating with Goldstone, and saying that Israel only gave “a slap on the wrist for a couple of officers who used phosphorus”, (which isn't true - read on) without actually referring to the fact that Israel and the IDF carried out their own investigations into their actions in Cast Lead, let alone revealing some of their findings.

If all that wasn't bad enough, Fisk's horrendous piece of "journalism" was reincarnated in the Independent the next day - this time in the form of an editorial, which was well 'fisked'* by Robin Shepherd.

The Times editorial was a lot more balanced, stating that whatever wrong Israel did in Cast Lead, it is not Hamas' equivalent, and is still the only democracy in the Middle East. "Israel is not a rogue state... It is an accountable, democratic, transparent nation, and fighting to remain one amid challenges that few other nations ever have to face."

Despite the balanced editorial, though, when there's a chance for a headline about phosphorus, the Times can't help itself - even if the story is wrong.

In the article "Israeli officers get ‘slap on wrist’ for white phosphorus use in Gaza", the Times claims they were "responsible for firing white phosphorus artillery shells at a UN compound", and quotes the report as saying they were guilty “of exceeding their authority in a manner that jeopardised the lives of others”. Later in the article, the Times does acknowledge that the report doesn't state that the soldiers were responsible for specifically phosphorous shells, but since it was used in the incident the Times wrongly concludes that that must be what they were reprimanded for.

Melanie Phillips explains the truth:
"The two officers were reprimanded not for firing phosphorus shells but artillery shells. Phosphorus shells were being fired on this occasion, but entirely lawfully -- in order to create smoke to deter Hamas from firing its anti-tank weapons. The irony was that the officers were reprimanded for not firing phosphorus but disobeying their orders by firing artillery shells which endangered life (although no-one was actually hurt by them)." 
*Fisking: n. A point-by-point refutation of a blog entry or (especially) news story. Named after Robert Fisk, a British journalist who was [sic: and still is] a frequent (and deserving) early target of such treatment.
H/t Chas Newkey-Burden