Guess who’s paying for Gaza’s electricity?

You cannot have failed to see the angst in the media about the poor Gazans due to have their electricity cut off because Hamas refused to pay for it, and the PA wasn’t going to either. You cannot have failed to notice that, with some honorable exceptions, Israel was blamed. If you ever wanted another fine example of how the West (in particular) treats the Palestinian people and their leadership as immature and unable to determine their own way in life, the electricity supply narrative is as good as any. Hamas isn’t responsible for the electricity supply. The PA isn’t responsible for the electricity supply. Neither of them has any obligation to look after their people, or pay for the electricity they consume. Or so they say. What nonsense. Would any other group of people be treated in such a manner? Of course not. It only works when you can blame the damn Jews Zionists.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the crisis. The electricity supply wasn’t turned off. Why? Because, as the Elder reports, Israel is paying for it.

Think about it for a moment: a people who hate us, who are incited daily to hate us more, and kill us at every opportunity, and yet we supply electricity to them when we have no obligation, moral or otherwise. And, since the situation does not fit the narrative, this is not reported. Arguably, that failure to report by bastions of anti-Israel hate like the Guardian, the BBC and – of course – Haaretz – is as much incitement against Israel as anything Hamas and the PA get up to. But it is a guilt and trouble free incitement with no downside. By their actions, these media outlets are complicit in stoking the fires of anti-Israel feeling. They are, indeed, the enemy.

Conspiracy of the weak

From the Elder of Ziyon:

Hezbollah claims Israel plans to destroy Al Aqsa. It’s sure taking a long time.

Hezbollah on Tuesday charged Israel with planning to demolish the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Now, where have I heard that before?

Maybe in 1929.

And in 1931, seen here.

And in 1936.

And 1991.

And in 2001.

And in 2007.

And in 2009.

And in 2010.

And in 2012.

And in 2013. Including from Abbas.

It sure takes a long time to do a simple demolition job, doesn’t it? It’s taking Israel longer to destroy it than it took people to build it!

Classic. How many in the mainstream media will report this, fully? Or even ask the right questions? Like why is it the Palestinian and Arab leadership can lie, lie, and lie again, without paying a penalty for their perfidy? But every time an Israeli spokesman pops up – and tells the truth – he’s condemned as a liar, and is reported as being labelled as such by the mainstream western media?

There are times when I wonder if there’s something in the food supply.

This reminds me

This, from BBC Watch, reminds me of something:

Why we need to talk about the BBC’s promotion of Middle East conspiracy theories

Here is David Aaronovitch – who knows a thing or two about conspiracy theories – writing in The Times(£):

“It’s the late morning, two days ago. And I’m sitting in a BBC studio to discuss the death of the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, in 2004.” […] 

“[….] one of my fellow panellists is a veteran Palestinian journalist, Abdel Bari Atwan, and Atwan is in no mood to examine the alternatives. His first jump is to assert without qualification that the scientists have concluded that Arafat was murdered with polonium-210. His second leap is to state, unequivocally, that Israel did it. No question.

And then he pulls a fact out of his sleeve. Only three countries have access to polonium-210: Russia, the US and you-know-who. Russia couldn’t have done it, America wouldn’t have and that leaves only one possibility. When I get home I look this “fact” up and I can find only one source. An article by Abdel Bari Atwan, and it isn’t true.

Too late for correction. And in any case Atwan has a Twitter audience of nearly 300,000, mostly in the Arab world. The thing is already inscribed in stone.”

Aaronovitch is right, of course. Conspiracy theories tend to fall on particularly fertile ground in the Middle East, not infrequently morphing into lethal narratives.

The question is though, how can a publicly funded organization which has its entire raison d’etre set out in the charter and agreement which are its constitutional basis and which define its public purposes – including “promoting education and learning” and building “a global understanding of international issues” – justify  the provision of a platform for the amplification (and legitimization, through the stamp of BBC respectability and its unrivalled outreach) of conspiracy theories?

It is difficult to imagine the BBC inviting ‘Elvis is alive’ or ‘the moon landing was faked’ conspiracy theorists to participate as regular panel members on its current affairs programmes, and yet BBC editors and producers apparently cannot grasp that Abdel Bari Atwan at best falls into the same genre. In fact, Atwan’s promotion of conspiracy theories is fuelled by his political motivations, putting him into an altogether less eccentric category.

Last week the BBC covered the recent publication of a report from the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency showing that antisemitism in Europe is once again on the rise. One of the many topics addressed in that report is that of antisemitism stemming from perceptions of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which of course the majority of Europeans learn about through the mainstream media.

Members of the media in general would do well at this point to devote some thought to the subject of the trickle-down effects of irresponsible, inaccurate coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict as a catalyst for increased antisemitism both in Europe and beyond.

But another of the BBC’s public purposes – going under the title of “sustaining citizenship and civil society” – obliges BBC management in particular to consider this subject very seriously, with its recent amplification of Arafat-related conspiracy theories (by no means limited to the programme in which David Aaronovitch took part) being a good place to start.

And what does this remind me of?

  • It reminds me of what it is like to have the BBC as a main news provider.
  • It reminds me of what it’s like to live in the UK and be bombarded – sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly – with out and out anti-Israel or anti-Jewish or combination material that, collectively amounts to a delegitimization campaign.
  • It reminds me that this scenario is an often unreported cause of intermarriage and of people drifting away from their heritage and their religion.

Every little particle of poison, every little lining of lies, is an attack that goes largely unremarked on, and largely without accountability.

Kudos to BBC Watch for taking them to task.

When will somebody in authority listen?

Standards Standards

Or, to put it another way: double standards. You want them? Well, look here:

Egypt vs. Israel casualty coverage

A few things are notable about the current fighting in Egypt between the government and the supporters of Morsi in comparison to how the media covers Israel.

Firstly, as of this writing, the death toll in less than 24 hours is 281, mostly civilians (no matter what you think of the Muslim Brotherhood, while some of them are armed, most of the protesters were peaceful.)

Last November, Israel and Gaza terror groups fought Pillar of Defense. Israel dropped hundreds of bombs on Gaza and the news coverage was non-stop, as was the vitriol against Israel for supposed wanton killings and disregard for civilian lives.

The one day with the most Arab casualties in Pillar of Defense was November 18. Guess how many were killed by Israel’s fearsome war machine on that day?


Either the Egyptian security forces’ bullets are far more deadly than Israel’s bombs and missiles – or Israel was extraordinarily careful in who they targeted and how.

In fact, in one day, Egypt has killed more Arabs than Israel did since January 2012 – including Pillar of Defense!

Also, the number of civilians killed in the current fighting is much, much higher than the number killed by Israel since the end of 2011.

There is another double standard to the reporting that is important to note as well.

The Muslim Brotherhood claimed at various times during the day a death toll of over 2000. While these huge numbers were quoted, practically no reporter took those claims seriously, knowing that the group would tend to exaggerate to a great degree and because the numbers just didn’t seem realistic. The media acted responsibly and reported only the statistics that could be confirmed by more reputable sources.

Yet, the same media swallows the death statistics from Muslim Brotherhood offshoot Hamas and reports them in detail, as fact, without the slightest amount of skepticism.

The only way to explain this is to recognize that the media, by and large, has a false impression of Israel as a brutal regime and is willing to believe the worst about it – no matter how many times the lies are exposed (unfortunately, often days or months later.)

Yet even after seeing the Egyptian security forces machine-gun civilians at point blank range, the media is not willing to believe inflated claims about casualties without further checking.

This encapsulates the problem with media coverage of Israel nicely. Pre-existing biases are assumed true, and fact checking is lacking when the reports fit what the reporter believes.

Watch the coverage from Egypt. The double standards are clear.

As usual, the Elder of Ziyon hits the nail squarely on the head. There is bias in the media against Israel; it’s there in black and white. But the herd instinct is so strong, nobody among the major players is prepared to step back and indulge in some introspection about what they routinely do. (It’s a variation of the emperor’s new clothes syndrome.)

Are they scared? Are they bought and paid for? Do they all subscribe to theory of the end justifies the means, and so as opposed to a Jewish state, don’t care? Do they truly prefer a simple David v Goliath story, instead of the more complex truth?

In short, why does the west have this type of media? And what can we in Israel do about it?

FT. Financial Times? Flipping Trash!

I saw this story mentioned in the Elder of Ziyon blog and thought it an important reminder: even the allegedly quality press belonging to the mainstream media is, often, garbage:

Financial Times Fantasy Air Strikes in Ramallah

Does Thomas Hill, an employee of Save the Children in the West Bank, believe that he is somehow helping Palestinian children by making up stories about Israeli air strikes in Ramallah?

In a May 24 “life and arts” feature in the Financial Times, Nathan Deuel describes Hill’s life in Ramallah, and the job which finds him “travelling weekely to Gaza, Hebron, Nablus and Jerusalem” (“Expat lives: Los Angeles to Ramallah”). “Hill’s ability to move around so widely is rare and gives him a good perspective on the region,” enthuses Deuel about the California native who relocated to the Middle East in May 2012.

The notion that Hill possesses a “good perspective on the region” is completely demolished as the Californian muses about his Ramallah life: “Things here are inconvenient, but it’s safe — with the exception of the random air strike.”

You don’t need to live in Ramallah, or travel weekly to Gaza, Hebron, Nablus and Jerusalem, to know that there have been no air strikes in Ramallah — random or otherwise — in something like 10 years. And with all due respect to Hill, his “good perspective” does not stretch back that far. According to the article, he and his wife arrived in Israel in May 2012, moved on to Ramallah sometime later. A photo caption at the top of the article…[snip]…repeats the false claim that there are air strikes in Ramallah.

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. But, hey, it’s only Israel being defamed. As CAMERA points out:

The Financial Times has allowed a story about an expatriot living in the West Bank to become yet another bit of poorly researched propaganda that portrays Israel in an unfair and inaccurate light.

Read the whole piece, here.

Do not dare

An outstanding (and important) comment from Harry’s Place:

Greenewald is morally bankrupt. Norm Geras is excellent once again on this and I can’t add anything to his precis.

I am proud and privileged to have served in Helmand Province both as a soldier and latterly as a civilian. I have seen at close quarters the damage inflicted on Muslims by…yes, other Muslims. I have seen the results of poison attacks on girls for the crime of going to school and I have seen the corpes of those Muslims murdered by their fellow Muslims for the crime of taking part in development projects. I have also seen the armies of the United Kingdom, United States and others place themselves in incredible danger in order to save the lives of Muslims and I have seen life-saving medical care given to Muslims who not ten seconds earlier were trying to kill my comrades and I. I have seen the gratitude in the eyes of those Muslims whose villages had been liberated from the tyranny and cruelty of the rule of other Muslims. I have seen the exacting and exhaustive investigations into instances where our armies unintentionally killed or injured innocent people and I have seen cash handed over to those whose properties have been damaged by fighting. I have seen the apprehension and fear on the faces of these Muslims when they speak of what awaits them when the western forces leave them, potentally to the mercy of other Muslims.

I do not support all which we have done in Afghanistan and elsewhere, but, Glenn Greenewald, do not dare try to tell me that life would be better if we had never turned up. Do not dare tell me that western armies are worse behaved than the mysogynisitc murderers of the Taleban and al-Qaeda. Do not dare tell me that if only we stopped upsetting them, the extremists would somehow convert to social democracy. Do not dare.

[The original is here.]

I’m a disbeliever

This is too important to passover. From the Elder of Ziyon (with my added emphasis):


Don’t believe anything you read in the PalArab media

The “International Middle East Media Center” says:

Monday evening, May 13 2013; a group of extremist Israeli settlers set ablaze Palestinian olive orchards and farmlands that belong the villages of Qaryout, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Local sources reported that the armed settlers burnt the agricultural lands, and prevented the villagers from reaching their lands to put the fire off.

Bashar Qaryouty, coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Qaryout village, reported that the burnt lands were planted with wheat and olive trees.

And from Palestine Info:

Jewish settlers set ablaze more than 20 dunums of cultivated land lots in Qaryut village, south of Nablus, on Monday and prevented their owners from approaching to put it off.

Bashar Al-Qaryuti, in charge with monitoring settlement activity in the village, said that dozens of settlers from the settlement of Shilo started the fire that burnt the land cultivated with barley, wheat, and olives.

He charged that the Israeli occupation forces provided protection for the settlers and blocked the land owners, 25 individuals, from extinguishing the fire.
There are stories like this daily in the PalArab media. Unfortunately, it is all too rare to find out the other side of the story.

Luckily, this time we can.

The land is owned by a Jew and this was upheld by a court judgment. He is the only person who ever cultivated that field. He started a controlled fire to get rid of overgrown brush.

No barley, no wheat, no olives, no Arab owners. Every single word that was reported by the Arab media, and by the spokesman, was a lie.

How can anyone believe anything these people say when we have proven time and time again that they lie with impunity?


Ra’anana Gamer: I suggest the last question is directed to every mainstream western media outlet. Just what fact checking do they bother to do?

Calling all Brits

The inimitable Elder of Ziyon has an important essay about the Hawking BDS situation.

“In a nation that has embraced the false themes of unlimited Israeli evil and absolute Palestinian Arab victimhood, can we expect people to suspect that they are being fed a diet of lies? Finding out the truth takes time; it takes effort, and it takes commitment, all resources that most people cannot be bothered with. If their newspaper says that Israel is the intransigent party, who will spend the time to research the other side? Who would even consider that there is another side?

Read it all. If you are British, read it twice. Then never say again that you haven’t been warned.