UN Double Standards

Meryl’s post UN on Israeli “war crimes” in Gaza: The fix is in brings to mind an old joke.

Dan Rather, Katie Couric, and an Israeli sergeant were all captured by terrorists in Iraq. The leader of the terrorists told them he would grant them each one last request before they were beheaded.

Dan Rather said, ‘I’m a Texan, so I’d like one last bowlful of hot spicy chili.’ The leader nodded to an underling who returned with chili. Rather ate it all and said, ‘Now I can die content.’

Katie Couric said, ‘I’m a reporter to the end. I want to take my tape recorder, then describe the scene here and what’s about to happen. Maybe someone will hear it and know I was on the job till the end.’

The leader directed an aide to hand over the tape recorder, and Couric dictated some comments, then said, ‘Now I can die happy.’

The leader turned and said, ‘And now, Mr. Israeli tough guy, what is your final wish?’

‘Kick me in the ass,’ said the soldier.’

‘What?’ asked the leader? ‘Will you mock us in your last hour?’

‘No, I’m not kidding. I want you to kick me in the ass,’ insisted the Israeli.

So the leader shoved him into the clearing and kicked him in the ass. The soldier was sent sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled a 9 mm pistol from under his flack jacket, and shot the leader dead. In the resulting confusion, he jumped to his knapsack, pulled out his carbine and sprayed the rest of the terrorists with gunfire. In a flash, all terrorists were either dead or fleeing for their lives.

As the soldier was untying Rather and Couric, they asked him, ‘Why didn’t you just shoot them in the beginning? Why did you ask them to kick you in the ass first?’

‘What?’ replied the Israeli, ‘And have you two assholes report that I was the aggressor?!’

That’s the sort of humor that creates a wry grin because there is a perverse truth to it. If you picked up the paper and read that a senior IDF official sneezed on a Palestinian and was being investigated for war crimes you’d shake your head, but some of you would believe it to be a true story.

Some of you would believe it to be true because you have been conditioned to believe that most Israeli actions are based upon malicious intent. But before some of you accuse this post of being the standard polemic I want to draw your attention elsewhere.

The Guardian has some terribly shocking video and an article that has received far too little media coverage.

Video of girl’s flogging as Taliban hand out justice

A video showing a teenage girl being flogged by Taliban fighters has emerged from the Swat Valley in Pakistan, offering a shocking glimpse of militant brutality in the once-peaceful district, and a sign of Taliban influence spreading deeper into the country.

The two-minute video, shot using a mobile phone, shows a burka-clad woman face down on the ground. Two men hold her arms and feet while a third, a black-turbaned fighter with a flowing beard, whips her repeatedly.

“Please stop it,” she begs, alternately whimpering or screaming in pain with each blow to the backside. “Either kill me or stop it now.”

A crowd of men stands by, watching silently. Off camera a voice issues instructions. “Hold her legs tightly,” he says as she squirms and yelps.

After 34 lashes the punishment stops and the wailing woman is led into a stone building, trailed by a Kalashnikov-carrying militant.

Where is the outrage. Where are the hundreds of newspaper stories decrying this action. Where are the editorials demanding justice. How can such a thing take place and receive so little news coverage.
The silence is deafening.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Israel & Gaza

The War in Gaza hasn’t really ended it has just moved into a different venue. Now we get to see it taken apart within the blogosphere and the MSM. Not to mention the report filed by the UN.

If you know nothing about the war and rely solely upon these stories and reports you receive a very skewed perspective that lacks context and context is everything. These articles do a very fine job of painting a picture of a Big Bad Israel that is intent on murder, mayhem and mischief.

The lack of context creates a very fine narrative for the sort of screenplay that movie watchers love. You have a noble underdog fighting to free themselves from the yoke of some oppressive tyrant. Pardon me for a moment, I think that I am getting a bit choked up about it.

What they neglect to mention is that the noble underdog helped to create the problem by indiscriminately firing rockets into Israel. Nor do they spend time discussing the actions of the peaceful government of Gaza. You know, the fine fellows of Hamas who like to engage in vigorous interaction with those they disagree with.

Take a look at the video and tell me what you think about people who settle their disagreements in such a peaceful manner.

You’ll forgive me for being a bit skeptical about the peaceful intentions of people who treat their fellows in such a fine fashion. But is that video really any worse than watching them use children as human shields.

It really comes as no surprise that certain groups are pushing to try Israel for war crimes or that much of this drama is taking place in the court of public opinion. In an earlier post I pointed out some of the flaws in the UN report and also gave some attention to some of the problems created by shoddy journalism.

But it is always worth noting that journalists are not fail proof and that they do make mistakes. So while the Guardian, HaAretz and others eagerly strive for a hard hitting piece let’s take a moment to consider some of these issues.

Yourish provides one example to review in Is Ha’aretz is pulling a Scott Thomas on us? and Yaacov Lozowick shares another in UK Journalists are Fools and we’ll hit the trifecta with Solomonia’s Who Makes Your News: An Outburst on Tape.

So before some of the fans of The Shack go apoplectic let’s cover a few basic points and then we’ll wrap it up.

The decision to go to war did not take place in a vacuum. No nation will ignore daily rocket attacks. It doesn’t matter how many people are killed by said rockets. There is no relevancy between the decision to defend people and how many are killed or injured by the rockets that precipitated the response.

I have never heard of a war in which civilians were not killed. It is a terrible tragedy and we can say that the victims died a senseless death. But we have to remember that it is war and that Hamas took an active role in trying to create a situation which would result in an invasion.

The problem was that they had their asses handed to them. So when they were unable to capitalize upon the war as a great military victory they switched to Plan B in which they try to delegitimize Israel’s right to defend itself.

Circling back to the topic of context I would anticipate that there are those of you who provide accusations of that being a PR trick. But the reality is that context is not a PR trick. It is the substance that is required to make an informed and honest decision. It is just too bad that so many articles seem to be lacking it.

Crossposted on Yourish.

UN’s "Unbiased Observer" Alleges Israeli War Crimes

Ynet reports that the a United Nations Human Rights Investigator alleges that Israel committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead.

Color me skeptical but the UN is not exactly a bastion of human rights. In fact if you look at who sits on the human rights committee and their supporters you’ll see examples of countries that are human rights violators.

Color me skeptical but the man appears to have taken Palestinian press releases and just regurgitated them on UN letterhead. It is common knowledge that the terrorists do not wear uniforms and intentionally operate from within densely packed civilian areas, but that doesn’t matter to Mr. Falk.

Before we go any further let’s look at an excerpt from the story.

A United Nations human rights investigator said on Thursday that Israel’s military assault on densely populated Gaza appeared to constitute a grave war crime.

Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the Geneva Conventions required warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians.

“If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law,” Falk said.

“On the basis of the preliminary evidence available, there is reason to reach this conclusion,” he wrote in an annual 26-page report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council.

Falk gave the same death toll from Israel’s offensive in December and January – 1,434 Palestinians, including 960 civilians – as the Palestinian human rights center.

Israel, which lost 13 people during the war, disputes the figures and has accused Hamas fighters in Gaza of using civilians as human shields during the conflict – an allegation which Falk said should be investigated.

Is Falk blind or unable to use the internet. There is raw footage that shows evidence of Hamas war crimes such as the video of them using children as human shields.

Maybe the issue is that he receives his information from biased members of the media such as
Nidal Rafa.

You know who Nidal Rafa is, don’t you. She is the journalist who was employed by CNN. Tom Gross provides a short report that sheds some very interesting information about her partisan approach. It includes a YouTube video in which she verbally attacks a member of the Knesset.

I know, journalists would never be biased. They serve the public by providing an unbiased report of the news. If only that was the case.

To be clear I do not believe that all journalists are bad. I do not believe that journalists who portray Israel or other countries in a negative light are automatically bad. But there are lines and Rafa crosses them far too often.

And when you take a situation where the foreign press must rely upon interpreters I grow very concerned at what is being translated and what is not.

So it really warms the cockles of my heart when I see a fine man like Falk deliver such an important and well thought out report.

Ok trolls, go to town.

Olmert Reacts to Rockets

It makes me ever so happy to know that the U.S. is going to send $900 million in aid to terrorists who continue to fire rockets at Israel. Prime Minister Olmert made it clear that Israel will not allow the attacks to continue and that it will not hesitate to respond.

Funny thing about this CNN report is that it is another example of how the terrorists manipulate the media. Hamas does not wear uniforms. They intentionally dress in civilian garb and operate in highly populated areas.

While it is certain that civilians were killed during the war, it is also certain that a large portion of the 1,300 reported killed in the report were not actually civilians.

JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israel will retaliate against Palestinian-controlled Gaza with a “painful, sharp, strong and uncompromising response” if rocket attacks do not stop, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday.

He warned “terrorists” that they would not be able to anticipate Israel’s moves.

“The Israeli response will — in no way — be what the terrorist organizations expect. The state of Israel has a wide range of options that will be utilized in order to bring complete quiet to the south,” he said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Rocket fire from Gaza, which is run by the militant Hamas movement, was the main reason cited for Israel’s three-week assault on the territory in December and January. The air and land campaign left about 1,300 Palestinians dead. Thirteen Israelis died.

But rocket attacks into Israel continue.

Over the weekend Palestinians fired nine rockets into southern Israel. One of them slammed into an empty school in the city of Ashkelon, causing extensive damage. Since the end of the military operation in Gaza, over 110 rockets have been fired into Israel, a spokeswoman for Israel’s military said.”

Israel On College Campuses

Many Jewish college students have been struggling with the way Israel is treated on campus. It is becoming more common for adversaries of the state to hold anti-Israel demonstrations and activities on campus.

Quite a few of these activities are not friendly gatherings of students handing out flowers and suggesting that we just give peace a chance. Many are populated by rampant antisemitic commentary and false accusations about the misdeeds of Israel. Counter demonstrators routinely tell stories of being threatened, intimidation is routine.

The demonstrations rarely are balanced. You don’t attend them to hear speakers present both sides. They are hate rallies in which the speakers do their best to whip the crowd into a frenzy. They are part of a movement that is doing its best to delegitimize Israel and make it untenable to voice dissent for fear of repurcussions.

UCLA professor Judea Pearl wrote an essay that is worth reading.

…when an e-mail from a colleague at Indiana University asked: “Being at UCLA, you must know about this symposium … pretty bad.” Attached to it was Roberta Seid’s report on the now famous “Human Rights and Gaza” symposium held a day earlier at UCLA (see “UCLA Symposium on Gaza Ignites Strong Criticism,” Jewish Journal, Feb. 11, 2009).

To refresh readers’ memory, this symposium, organized by UCLA’s Center for Near East Studies (CNES), was billed as a discussion of human rights in Gaza. Instead, the director of the center, Susan Slyomovics, invited four longtime demonizers of Israel for a panel that Seid describes as a reenactment of a “1920 Munich beer hall.” Not only did the panelists portray Hamas as a guiltless, peace-seeking, unjustly provoked organization, they also bashed Israel, her motives, her character, her birth and conception and led the excited audience into chanting “Zionism is Nazism,” “F—-, f—- Israel,” in the best tradition of rhino liturgy.

Point of information: In the late 90’s I worked on campus at UCLA and have a few stories of my own about what was happening then. I was confronted several times by male students who suggested that it wasn’t safe for me to disagree with them. Perhaps I’ll share more about this later.

Pearl continues on and suggests that Jewish faculty members should have anticipated this and done more to try and help to steer the conversation so that it wasn’t so one sided. He writes about the many dilemmas presented by a society that tries to protect rocket launching terrorists and decries self defense.

And he discusses how it has become harder to be an outspoken Zionist for fear of the repurcussions.

These are dilemmas that had not surfaced before the days of rockets and missiles, and we, the Jewish faculty, ought to have pioneered their study. Instead, we allowed Hamas’ sympathizers to frame the academic agenda. How can we face our students from the safety of our offices when they deal with anti-Israel abuse on a daily basis — in the cafeteria, the library and the classroom — and as alarming reports of mob violence are arriving from other campuses (San Jose State University, Spartan Daily, Feb. 9, and York University, Globe and Mail, Feb. 13)?

Burdened with guilt, I called some colleagues, but quickly realized that a few have already made the shift to a strange-sounding language, not unlike “Honk, Honk.” Some have entered the debate phase, arguing over the rhino way of life vs. the human way of life, and the majority, while still speaking in a familiar English vocabulary, are frightened beyond anything I have seen at UCLA in the 40 years that I have served on its faculty.

Colleagues told me about lecturers whose appointments were terminated, professors whose promotion committees received “incriminating” letters, and about the impossibility of revealing one’s pro-Israel convictions without losing grants, editorial board membership, or invitation to panels and conferences. And all, literally all, swore me into strict secrecy — we have entered the era of “the new Maranos.”



I am sad to say that I wasn’t surprised by any of this. It is not so long since I was producing daily updates about the War in Gaza. In return I was repeatedly attacked on the blog and via email with some of the most hateful speech I can think of. I was called a racist and a nazi. I was told that the world would be a better place if I died.

People did their best to try and intimidate me. Intimidation is a central part of their tactics. It is what they do best. If you don’t toe the party line, if you dare deviate then you are attacked from every angle. Physical threats combined with attempts to ostracize you socially and professionally.

I’ll continue to advocate fair and balanced of criticism of all countries. Israel can and should be criticized. But when the Anti-Israel crowd continues to include epithets suggesting that Jews should go to the gas chambers and similar hate speech it is impossible to accept their claims that their criticism is not antisemitic. These types of attacks are attacks on all of us and must be opposed.

Unless we take action we are going to read more stories about intimidation at the universities. It is past time to draw a line in the sand and hold the universities accountable for activities that take place under their purview.

Crossposted on Yourish.

P.S. for those who are interested here is a link to some resources you can use to help educate people.