Some people can see better than others

Ynet has a decent story that offers a huge chunk of hope about the current security situation, and the future:

Why Jenin is staying out of current wave of terrorism

Jenin, once the home of suicide bombers, is now the quietest city in the West Bank. After 4 attempted attacks at the Jalamah checkpoint, the residents realized their economic prosperity could stop, and rushed to restore calm; ‘an attack at the checkpoint is an attack against us,’ says local businessman.

Continue reading


Guardian guarding its old guard

UK Media Watch has an on target post about the Guardian‘s latest media manipulation. Adam Levick does a great job of sorting through the rubbish to clearly portray what is going on.

This sets the background:

To sum up: Palestinians violated two fundamental principles of political freedom:

<> They denied access to a journalist due to her nationality and/or religious background.

<> They responded to Johnson’s contrary political views not by engaging in an argument with him, but by dis-inviting him and creating an atmosphere whereby his physical safety couldn’t be guaranteed.

What happened?

…how did the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont – who presumably supports absolute freedom of the press and free speech more broadly – cover the row?

First, he completely ignored the Palestinian discrimination against a Jewish-Israeli reporter.

Think about that for a moment. This reporter ignored a blatant case of discrimination. He pretended it did not exist. Why? There are several potential reasons, but none of them do Mr Beaumont or the Guardian any credit. By their behavior they are taking sides, and not with the good guys.

Additionally, he framed the dis-invitation and threats of violence against Johnson not as an offense against the principles of free speech and a free press, but as a faux pas by mayor known for his “flippancy” and “hyperbolic enthusiasm for Israel”.

On this part, the criticism is valid, but the Guardian’s perspective is at least defensible. However, only if they hadn’t ignored the free speech issues. In other words, they should have mentioned both, and let the reader decide.

Beaumont also conveniently omitted the part of Johnson’s statement to the media where he noted one other fact inconsistent with the Guardian narrative on boycotting the Jewish state. As The Independent, Daily Mail, and other papers noted, Johnson reminded Palestinians that Mahmoud Abbas himself “said very clearly and several times that he was opposed to a boycott of Israel.”

Beaumont would likely be familiar with Abbas’s opposition to BDS, as the Guardian reported the news when the story broke in late 2013.

Now that is funny. Beaumont had to engage in cherry picking what Johnson said, so as to guard the Guardian’s world view. That is not journalism. Adam Levick makes this point very well:

But, of course, this is more than simply one example of a biased journalist covering for Palestinians based on his personal sympathy for their political cause. Rather, it’s a small part of a larger pattern, prevalent in within the opinion elite, of denying Palestinians moral agency and failing to hold them to the same political standards Israelis are held to – a view which demands that Palestinians only exist as passive victims of Israeli oppression and Western arrogance.

Whatever you say about Boris Johnson, his rejection of such a patronizing view of Palestinians almost guaranteed such coverage by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent.

If Beaumont and other reporters based in the region want to be a political activists that’s of course their right. However, those who read such reports from Israel and the Palestinian territories must understand that what they’re reading is advocacy, not professional journalism as it’s normally understood.

Read the whole post, here. And do what you can to spread the word. This material deserves a much higher circulation. Just like the Guardian deserves a much lower circulation, given its abominable non adherence to standards, and its activism based campaigning, or whatever you want to call it. It’s not journalism. It’s guarding their world view, just for the sake of it.


Suddenly, the Guardian takes notice

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

So far as I can tell, Gerard Kaufman’s outburst of anti-Semitism at a recent pro Palestinian meeting, had gone unreported by the Guardian and the BBC, until now.

This is on the Guardian site, as I type:


The article starts off:

Jeremy Corbyn has condemned one of his Labour MPs, Sir Gerald Kaufman, for making “completely unacceptable” remarks about the Jewish community.

Kaufman, the longest-serving MP in the Commons, was hauled into a meeting with the Labour whips after he talked last week about how “Jewish money” was influencing the Tories.

“It’s Jewish money, Jewish donations to the Conservative party – as in the general election in May – support from the Jewish Chronicle, all of those things, bias the Conservatives,” Kaufman said. “There is now a big group of Conservative members of parliament who are pro-Israel whatever government does and they are not interested in what Israel, in what the Israeli government does.

“They’re not interested in the fact that Palestinians are living a repressed life, and are liable to be shot at any time. In the last few days alone the Israelis have murdered 52 Palestinians and nobody pays attention and this government doesn’t care.”

Nice guy. You can read the whole thing here.

The interesting thing is that the Guardian is now reporting on the hate speech, but only after the passage of time and the (grudging?) public denouncement by Jeremy Corbyn.

Questions, questions, questions

One question is why didn’t the Guardian report the matter before now?

Isn’t it reasonable to assume that a paper with a stated liberal, anti-racist ethos, would want to report anti-Semitism? It surely wouldn’t want to sweep it under the carpet, would it?

So why did the Guardian wait until now? Did Corbyn’s intervention mean they felt there was no alternative? Is anti-Semitism not news worthy? Is anti-Semitism by “the longest-serving MP in the House of Commons” not news worthy? Did the Guardian need help to identify what Kaufman said as being hate speech? Are they that culturally blinded?

It simply beggars belief that the oldest hate reared its ugly, smelly head, and the Guardian neither noted (apparently) nor cared.

It’s unlikely we will get a clear answer (if any) but their behavior regarding this dreadful episode has been a disgrace.

The other question is why is the BBC still ignoring this?


Dershowitz defeats BDS at Oxford Union

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

As you may read at these websites – Jewish ChronicleJerusalem Post, Haaretz, Arutz Sheva – on Sunday, Professor Alan Dershowitz won a debate on BDS at the Oxford Union. The motion Is the BDS movement against Israel wrong? was carried by 137 votes to 101.

While the result has no practical impact at Oxford, or anywhere else, it was somewhat unexpected given the generally vicious anti-Israel climate in UK universities, and the UK generally. That Guardian advert promoting BDS by 343 UK scholars is only one recent example. (Did the Oxford Union react against that, I wonder? People do not like to be told how to think, in my experience.)

Funnily enough, despite plenty of previous mentions of the Oxford Union for past debates, you will struggle in vain to find any coverage of Dershowitz’s victory against BDS in the Guardian, or the BBC. Why?


Strictly kosher?


A plug in the Guardian:

Strictly kosher: Jewish slogan tees become a cult fashion fascination

A pair of designers have come up with a range of T-shirts that combine Yiddish expressions and Jewish culture with meme linguistics. Will they catch on?

Don’t they need to catch on first, before they become a cult fashion fascination?

Here’s some more:

It’s tough, when you’re a self-deprecating Jewish hipster of mid-level means, to find humourous Hanukkah presents (dreidel fillers?) for your like-minded friends. Or at least it was until the launch of Unkosher Market, a range of lolzy T-shirts that combine Yiddish expressions and Jewish culture with the meme-linguistics of the day. So there’s “Totes Koshe”, “Matzah Ballin” and an alternative to Taylor Swift’s advice on dealing with tsauris: “Schvitz It Out”. They’re not laugh-out-loud funny, but quite good shitck.

Lolzy? That’s a stretch. Regardless, you can read it all, here.

This way for Unkosher Market.  (Aren’t their prices outrageous?)

Why do I have this gut feeling that the Guardian’s publication of this piece is at least partly intended as a shield against certain criticism?


Just how bad is the BBC?

Bibi’s visit to the UK was bound to met with public protests given the political landscape there. (Such is the hate, if the Jewish equivalent of Mother Theresa were prime minister of Israel, her visit to the UK would still be protested against!) And, predictably enough, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign were at the forefront of the protests.

There are, typically, certain things you will see at anti-Israel protests throughout the world. Apart from what might pass as fair political posturing, you will also see some nasty stuff. Some of that may, occasionally, be neither incitement nor bigotry.(For example, promotion of the apartheid or genocide themes, which are however preposterous.)  But you will also see incitement and bigotry, and it is not unusual to see out and out antisemitism.

The context within the UK, and also within Europe, is that many mainstream politicians recognize how often political criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitism, and how it promotes and incites that ancient hatred. Many have spoken out against it. It is a live issue, even if I might think that some of those who talk the talk (are you there, Jeremy?) have no intention of walking the walk.

So, to put it in simple terms, if there is antisemitism on the streets of the UK, in a prominent public protest, I would expect that to be reported on. Further, when such happens at an event organized by one of the BBC’s pet pro Palestinian bodies, it is yet another acid test for the BBC’s stated objectivity.

Well, as per a previous acid test (see here) the BBC has spectacularly failed. The excellent BBC Watch has details here.

Just how bad is the BBC?

When you think about that question for a moment, also think about this one: do you think things are going to get better or worse?

The BBC is bad, bad, bad. And the future is bleak.

[Note: funnily enough, the Guardian does an extreme job of ignoring the antisemitism, too. I often feel the cold wind of a 1984 style editor blowing through these pieces, and this one is no exception. Whitewash? Sanitized? The publicly owned, national broadcaster, has an editorial line, and reporting approach almost identical in this arena to that of the most bigoted, anti-Israel mainstream press in the UK. Birds of a feather, the BBC and the Guardian, and  if that is not a danger sign, what is?  UK Media Watch can fill you in, here.]


Acid test

Source: Simon James via Wikimedia

Source: Simon James via Wikimedia

If ever there were an acid test about the independence and objectivity of the BBC (stop laughing at the back!) this is it.

If ever there were an acid test of how seriously the Guardian treats antisemitism (enough already with the laughing!) this is it.


The unbelievable, but indisputably true story that UNRWA is riddled with antisemitic and terror inciting employees and officials. It’s a story documented at length by the incomparable Elder of Ziyon, backed up by a recent home run from UN Watch, and has had some (so far, limited) mainstream media coverage. You can see a couple of samples of the cases here, and here.

What we have, therefore, are multiple sightings of UNRWA officials on social media, posting bigoted, antisemitic material, and celebrating, marking, noting, enjoying, and encouraging attacks on Jews and Israelis. UNRWA – funded by your money and mine. UNRWA – a UN body, is employing and protecting haters and inciters. For sure it’s a story of interest.

Chris Gunness, UNRWA spokesman, claims it’s a non story. I find that stance an appalling abrogation of responsibility. It’s a cross between sticking your head in the sand, and having your backside speak for you – crap, crap, and more crap. What he should have done was admit there was an issue. What he should have done was investigate each and every case. What he should have done was publish the results. Transparency. Accountability. Honesty. It appears these words are not in the UNRWA dictionary.

So, why doesn’t the BBC cover this?

So, why doesn’t the Guardian cover this?

My own theory is that it does not fit their worldview, and to publicize the existence of such endemic hatred and incitement would threaten much of the pillar of nonsense they promulgate about the Middle East.  In other words, the BBC, the Guardian, and UNRWA see themselves as being on the same side. Guess who is on the ‘other’ side?

But there is no good reason for their failure. Therefore, even if my guess is wrong, that neither changes nor excuses a single bit of their collective failure.

It’s a despicable state of affairs, which serves to illustrate in stark terms how bad the BBC has become, and how bad the Guardian continues to be.


Nowhere to be seen

In this review of Tuvia Tenenbom‘s Catch the Jew, it says:

This myth-shattering book became an instant bestseller in Israel last year, yet, Germany aside, it has largely been ignored in American and European media outlets and by the reigning Middle East punditocracy. Ostensibly, Tenenbom’s book is disdained because the author lacks the academic or journalistic credentials to be taken seriously as a commentator on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

It’s an explanation. But it doesn’t stand up to examination.

For example, search long and hard at the BBC or the Guardian websites and you will not find a review or mention of Catch the Jew. But you will find Shlomo Sand, and Ilan Pappe, to name but two who conform to the BBC and Guardian view of the world.

  • Shlomo Sand. Perfectly described by the Elder of Ziyon as “the academic with no background in history who wrote an absurdly ridiculous book The Invention of the Jewish People to much acclaim by anti-semites.”
  • Ilan Pappe. Benny Morris,a  real historian, could not restrain himself: “At best, Ilan Pappe must be one of the world’s sloppiest historians; at worst, one of the most dishonest. In truth, he probably merits a place somewhere between the two….”

Shlomo and Ilan and their output are welcome at the BBC and the Guardian. Tuvia Tenenbom, it appears, is not.

Now why might that be?


Sense the seething hate

The Guardian‘s report about the the conclusion of the Israeli military investigation into “one of the most controversial incidents in last summer’s Gaza war: a missile attack that killed four children on Gaza beach and injured a number of others” is fronted with this headline:


Do you think an investigation by any other country’s military authorities would be described in such terms? What a disgusting headline. What brazen double standards. The undertones are rising to the surface, and they bring with them a stench of an age old hate.


A hint of hypocrisy

I missed Joe Sacco‘s cartoon at (where else, but the Guardian) about the Charlie Hebdo affair until earlier today. It’s entitled:

On Satire – a response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks

The acclaimed graphic artist and journalist Joe Sacco on the limits of satire – and what it means if Muslims don’t find it funny

And when I read it, it rankled. But I won’t attempt any commentary, because this piece at Harry’s Place (by Quizblorg, whoever that is) is damn fine blogging, and spot on.

For example:

Sacco begins by mocking those who respond to the massacre with “defiance” and by “reaffirming the principles of free speech”, representing such an attitude as atavistic and primitive by way of a loincloth-wearing, Tarzan-esque version of his cartoon avatar – implying that it can never be an intellectually considered response, but only one of pure irrational emotion. Defiance is, of course, the exact response that the survivors and the bereaved of the attack consider appropriate – Charlie Hebdo columnist Patrick Pelloux has said that his dead colleagues “would be murdered twice if we remained silent” – but that doesn’t discourage Sacco from denigrating it.

Read it all. And note the conclusion – one I heartily endorse:

The place of publication delivers a final irony. The Guardian had just explained that it wasn’t going to show its readers Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad cartoons (not because of the associated risk, but for “principled” reasons) – but had obviously no problem with publishing Sacco’s cartoon, and the grossly racist images contained therein. So those looking for hypocrisy would be better advised to look to the Guardian than to Charlie Hebdo.

Absolutely correct.