Wednesday, January 28, 2015

28-Jan-15: In Washington DC, a red carpet for the Islamists

Waleed Sharaby: Image taken from his Facebook page;
the four-fingered salute, called "R4BIA", signifies
"those who wake all the Islamic world
with their death
". He was standing inside the US State
Department when this picture was snapped
We wrote several posts here over the past year and a half about the inexplicable difficulty the management team at the US State Department seem to have with calling terrorism 'terrorism', at least so far as it pertains to Islamist and radical Palestinian Arab practitioners of lethal terror. 

Some sample articles (among many) include
This morning, we have a scoop from the Washington Free Beacon where Adam Kredo has uncovered some remarkably close canoodling between unabashed proponents of Islamist strategies (with all that entails) and senior figures in the US government's foreign policy establishment. This, we freely admit, sends shivers of horror down our spines, knowing what we do about the terrorism-laden agenda of the Brotherhood and its various local editions, in particular Hamas.
Muslim Brotherhood-Aligned Leaders Hosted at State Department | Brotherhood seeks to rally anti-Sisi support | Adam Kredo | Washington Free Beacon | January 28, 2015 5:00 am | The State Department hosted a delegation of Muslim Brotherhood-aligned leaders this week for a meeting about their ongoing efforts to oppose the current government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, who rose to power following the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, an ally of the Brotherhood, in 2013. One member of the delegation, a Brotherhood-aligned judge in Egypt, posed for a picture while at Foggy Bottom in which he held up the Islamic group’s notorious four-finger Rabia symbol, according to his Facebook page. That delegation member, Waleed Sharaby, is a secretary-general of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council and a spokesman for Judges for Egypt, a group reported to have close ties to the Brotherhood...  Another member of the delegation, Maha Azzam, confirmed during an event hosted Tuesday by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID)—another group accused of having close ties to the Brotherhood—that the delegation had “fruitful” talks with the State Department... Assam also said that the department expressed openness to engagement, according to one person who attended the event... When asked to comment on the meeting Tuesday evening, a State Department official said, “We meet with representatives from across the political spectrum in Egypt.” The official declined to elaborate on who may have been hosted or on any details about the timing and substance of any talks...
Patrick Poole, a terrorism expert and national security reporter, said the powwow at the State Department could be a sign that the Obama administration still considers the Brotherhood politically viable, despite its ouster from power and a subsequent crackdown on its members by Egyptian authorities.
“What this shows is that the widespread rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East, particularly the largest protests in recorded human history in Egypt on June 30, 2013, that led to Morsi’s ouster, is not recognized by the State Department and the Obama administration,” Poole said. “This is a direct insult to our Egyptian allies, who are in an existential struggle against the Muslim Brotherhood, all in the pursuit of the mythical ‘moderate Islamists’ who the D.C. foreign policy elite still believe will bring democracy to the Middle East,” Poole said.
2013: Ahlam Tamimi, self-confessed murderer of Jewish children hanging
out with some pals, proudly gives the same sign (most likely not inside
the US State Department but we're checking)
It may be helpful to people in the State Department to take a look at a photograph of one of the most notorious of the Hamas murderers, the unrepentant and now-free killer of our teenage daughter. Her name is Tamimi.

In the photo at right, taken from a social media site in 2013, Tamimi too flashes those four fingers, surrounded by like-minded admirers. What she intends by it has to be understood against a background in which she praises her own handiwork - the murder of 15 Jews in the Sbarro pizzeria massacre which she engineered and for which she was convicted on her own confession, and then released in the extortionate Gilad Shalit Transaction in 2011. She did what she did in the name of Hamas, whose first-ever female terror-operative she is said to be, and in the name of Islam. A television program presenter these days, with a show praising jihadist terror and terrorists that is beamed throughout the world, she is a person who knows how to communicate messages.

She too travels widely, not yet to Washington (as far as we can tell) but certainly throughout the Arabic-speaking world, from her home base in Jordan. As the 'success model' of the students at Jordan's only graduate school for journalism, she probably has the skills to explain to the foreign policy officials at State the things they ought to know (but evidently don't) about the Brotherhood's aspirations and the role that their religion plays in their actions. They should call her in.

28-Jan-15: There's fighting on Israel's northern border today

Near Har Dov on Israel's northern border where incoming Hezbollah rocket and mortar fire
this morning has caused unspecified Israeli casualties [Image Source]
Wednesday noon, and it's shaping up to be a violent and fraught day.

In Israel's post-Shalit Transaction reality, the news from the north of Israel this morning that the IDF is checking into whether IDF soldiers may have been kidnapped by Hezbollah terrorists is as worrying as, and even more worrying in some respects than, the reports of Israeli service personnel hurt.

Here's what Times of Israel ["Casualties reported as soldiers attacked on Lebanese border"] is saying at this hour (noon):
At least four Israeli soldiers were reported wounded in the northern Har Dov area along Israel’s border with Lebanon on Wednesday morning as an IDF patrol came under attack. Initial reports said an army vehicle was targeted by anti-tank missiles. At the same time, IDF positions in the area were hit with mortar shells. Israel responded to the attack with multiple artillery strikes in southern Lebanon, Lebanese media reported. Residents in the nearby town of Metula were told to stay in their homes...  The attack, launched from an area controlled by Hezbollah, comes after repeated threats by the Lebanese terror group, which said it would retaliate against Israel for an airstrike earlier in January that killed its top commander in the Syrian Golan Heights, along with an Iranian general and 10 others. At least two rockets launched from Syrian territory landed in the Golan Heights Tuesday in an attack that Israeli defense officials attributed to Hezbollah. In response, Israel shelled Syrian army positions, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued a stern warning to Hezbollah and its patron Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Har Dov mentioned in this report is a place about which most people know very little. It's a strip of land 11 kilometers long and 2.5 kilometers wide located where the Lebanese-Syrian border meets Israel's Golan Heights border. Who owns it is a matter of controversy much older than the State of Israel:
The dispute over ownership of Shebaa Farms [the name by which the Arabs refer to it] resulted in part from the failure of the French Mandate administrations, and later the Lebanese and Syrian governments, to demarcate the border between Lebanon and Syria. Documents from the 1920s and 1930s indicate that inhabitants paid taxes to the Lebanese government. However, from the early 1950s until Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights in the Six Day War, Syria was the de facto ruling power. In 1981, Shebaa Farms was annexed by Israel as part of the Golan Heights, a move not recognized by the international community. The region has been a flashpoint for violence since Israel withdrew from Lebanon in May 2000. Hezbollah claimed that the withdrawal was not complete because Shebaa was on Lebanese - not Syrian - territory. After studying 81 different maps, the United Nations concluded that there is no evidence of the abandoned farmlands being Lebanese. Nevertheless, Lebanon has continued to claim ownership of the territory. In August 2008, the president of Lebanon, Michel Suleiman stated: "The countdown for liberating the rest of our lands has begun. And today I confirm the [use] of all available and legitimate means to achieve this goal"... On the eve of the 1967 war, the region was under effective Syrian control... [Wikipedia]
In other words, whatever is eventually decided about who has the right to control this piece of ground (25 sq. km, or about 10 square miles) roughly a quarter the size of Disneyworld, almost no one thinks it ought to be Lebanon or the Hezbollah forces that hold it in their effective control. Yet in the name of that specious claim, it's in the news again today and for the worst reasons.

Israelis living in the towns adjacent to the border zone have been on edge for some time. And as Ynet reports today, Iran's agents in the area, the terrorists of Hezbollah, have not been slow to claim 'credit' for the firing today:
Hezbollah for its part claimed they had hit an IDF convoy. The residents of two border adjacent kibbutzim, Dafna and Kfar Giladi were instructed to remain at home. Meanwhile, the IDF begun drilling along Israel's border with Lebanon amid fears that Hezbollah might be burrowing under the border... The IDF stress there is no intelligence indicating the existence of such tunnels, but that residents reported suspicious noises... For some time now residents of the area have complained of such noises and they say they fear Hezbollah might be building underground tunnels under the border, much like Hamas has built tunnels into Israel from Gaza. Last summer, local community leaders demanded the IDF examine the claims: "I have heard claims that soil in the north is harder to dig in than the one in the south. But this area is not rocky, it is actually very easy to tunnel there," said Benny Ben-Mubhar, head of the Mevo'ot Hermon Regional Council... Sarit Eliyahu, a resident of the border community, said the noises she hears are "like a vibrating cell phone." [Ynet today]
And where, you may ask, are the United Nations peacekeepers who patrol the area? Busy holding press conferences with their Lebanese partners in which they share the credit for preserving the peace that is so noticeable in the area. Think we're making this up? See "UNIFIL chief hails cooperation with Lebanese army" [Xinhua, January 28, 2015]. What a charming place the world of self-delusion is.

28-Jan-15: We're awarded

The Elder of Ziyon blog, a compulsory and rich resource for advocates of the case for Israel, issues annual awards to recognize the achievements of the pro-Israel advocacy community.

We were delighted to learn tonight that our blog is one of the recipients of the 2015 Hasby Awards. Here's the announcement in Elder's own words:
The most anticipated Hasby Award is for Best Blog, and there were a lot of nominations: Israel MatzavThis Ongoing WarJews Down UnderPro-Israel Bay Bloggers5 Minutes for IsraelIsraelSeenThomas WictorIsraelStreetAbu YehudaThe Mike Report. It was another difficult category, but for me an enjoyable one to research, as many of these excellent blogs are not on my normal radar. And the winner is Arnold and Frimet Roth's This Ongoing War.  
My main criteria for this award are originality of ideas, quality of long-form writing and frequency of posts. Arnold and Frimet's blog averages a post a day, and they are always original and thoughtful posts about the war against Islamic terror both within and without Israel. They are fine writers and they have the facts to back their arguments up. This Ongoing War is a very worthwhile blog to read. 
Mazal Tov, Arnold and Frimet!
We are proud to join the fraternity of past Hasby winners.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

27-Jan-15: Blessed be the True Judge: David Landau

The late David Landau: Click here (not on the picture) to see his
interview on the ABC Lateline program, arguing robustly
why the Shalit Transaction was so seriously wrong
A former editor of Haaretz and of the Jerusalem Post, David Landau passed away today. His funeral will be tomorrow (Wednesday) here in Jerusalem. An obituary has just gone up [here] on the Haaretz site. It describes an impressive career and a life of impact.

The few conversations we had with him were short and conducted - mostly - when we were both speakers at the same conference in England a few years ago. To say that a broad swathe of his political viewpoints were unpalatable to us is understating things.

But when he spoke out on the subject of Israel doing deals with the terrorists, and in particular the Shalit Transaction which remains one of the most bitter moments in our lives, he demonstrated real courage (given what most people from the camp that he says he belonged to were saying about that tragically misconceived submission to Islamist extortion) and integrity for speaking up when he could have let the wave of overwhelming (and to us, incomprehensible) public support for it in Israel speak for itself.

He was interviewed by Ali Moore on Australia's ABC on October 18, 2011, the day that Israel released the first of two tranches of 1,027 convicted killers and assorted other terrorists. The entire interview (video above, text at this link) from the Lateline program runs 16 minutes.

The deep concerns he expressed 3+ years ago have proven to be well-founded. May the memory of David Landau be for a blessing.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

25-Jan-15: Summing up the life of an absolute monarch in the mainstream media

Union Jack at half mast over Westminster Abbey
expresses British mourning at passing of
Saudi 'reformer' [Image Source]
This is not a blog post about Saudi Arabia or about its recently deceased absolute ruler. It's about how the people who own, operate and manage the news media sometimes deal with uncomfortable realities.

First, let's set the tone with some comments from VOX ['The obscenity of calling Saudi King Abdullah a “reformer”' | Zack Beauchamp | January 23, 2015]
  • Saudi Arabia's deceased King Abdullah, according to just about every obituary in major Western publications, was a reformer. The New York TimesWashington PostBBC, and NPR all describe Abdullah as a ruler committed to reforming Saudi Arabia's notoriously repressive practices. Sen. John McCain called Abdullah an advocate for peace; IMF head Christine Lagarde called him a "strong advocate for women"...
  • The Saudi political system, a blend of absolute monarchy and Islamic extremism, has one of the world's worst human rights records. There is no democracy and basic freedoms are limited… It punishes dissidents, including currently with multiple rounds of publicly lashing a blogger, amputates hands and legs for robbery, and enforces a system of gender restrictions that make women not just second-class citizens, but in many ways the property of men.
  • Abdullah did not, in fact, make any fundamental reforms to the Saudi state, which remains one of the most oppressive and inhumane on earth... Abdullah's reputation as a reformer comes from some relatively limited policy shifts he made.
  • Praising Abdullah as a reformer, in addition to being misleading, seems to imply that Saudi Arabia should be held to a lesser standard than the rest of humanity, and that its citizens should be somehow grateful for Abdullah's minor adjustments to a system that remains cruelly unjust… 
Now bearing in mind that the flags fluttering above London's Westminister Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Whitehall are all "flying at half mast as a mark of respect", let's survey how this man's life and achievements were summed up this week in the headlines of the major media outlets.
The king's personal net wealth was estimated [Wikipedia] at $21 billion. Most of the ministries of the Saudi government are headed by members of his family. And his replacement as head of state is rumored (according to an item in Friday's New York Times) "to be senile, but similar rumors swirled about Abdullah and he was still hailed as a heroic statesman around the world".  (And here's a link to a December 2013 article in the New York Post, "Inside the Saudi 9/11 coverup".)

Friday, January 23, 2015

23-Jan-15: What's said in London stays in London: Jordan's now-you-see-it-now-you-don't war on terror

Jordan's foreign minister [Image Source]
How firmly does the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon oppose terrorism? Very, according to its foreign minister. At least, it does when he's speaking in foreign places to foreign audiences.

From the Jordan Times today:
Kingdom renews anti-terror stand in London meeting | Jan 22, 2015 | LONDON — Jordan on Thursday reiterated its position on the war against terrorist organisations as a defence of its own security and religious beliefs. In remarks at a London-hosted meeting of partners in the international coalition fighting terrorists in Iraq and Syria, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said that combating extremists and their ideologies is aimed at defending Islamic values of tolerance, moderation and rejection of violence... Judeh stressed that whoever supports extremist ideology or tries to justify it is an “enemy”.
From on the ground in Jordan, reality probably feels a little different from the lofty policy statements conveyed in those grand sentences delivered in the UK.

As we pointed out a few days ago, over at the Arab world's most important and promising graduate school for journalists, the Jordan Media Institute (founded and presided over by the king's sister-in-law, previously a reporter with CNN), the students very publicly declared a mass-murdering terrorist to be their "success model" in December. From what we have learned, it seems they really meant it.

As for the management of the JMI, which depends on foreign aid for its operations, they appear to be in full backside-covering mode. Our perceptions are they are far more interested in trivializing the danger, using slogans and empty words to imply positive action when there is none, and resorting to pathetic fig-leaf tactics to cover up the JMI’s moral nakedness and their tolerance of Islamist terror.

The real wonder is not that this is happening but that so many foreign governments and major NGOs, made aware by us of what has happened and what is not happening, are more interested in looking away than in tackling the pathology. If they are going to continue to provide the JMI with their patronage with or without their cash, their citizens and supporters need to know that. We intend to continue to aid that process. Here's additional background: 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

22-Jan-15: Sleeping lions, hidden vipers: Jewish anxieties are rising in London

Stamford Hill, London: Haredi men walk home from prayer
services last Shabbat [Image Source
Jewish life in Europe is going through its most testing phase since the end of the Nazi Holocaust in the Eastern and Central parts of the continent. As happens when people pass through periods of great historic significance, the implications are unclear and confusing now. Time will provide the perspective and context that are eluding people for now. But the signs are there if we only give them our attention.

Several immediate instances to share, all relating to the UK. The first is from a month ago, before the latest murderous outbursts of Islamist violence in Paris:
BBC chief: Anti-Semitism makes me question Jews’ future in UK Times of Israel | December 21, 2014 | The director of BBC Television said rising anti-Semitism has made him question the long-term future for Jews in the UK. Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem on Sunday, Danny Cohen said the past year had been the most difficult for him as a Jew living in the United Kingdom. “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually. Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before actually,”... “And you’ve seen the number of attacks rise. You've seen murders in France. You've seen murders in Belgium. It’s been pretty grim actually. And having lived all my life in the UK, I’ve never felt as I do now about anti-Semitism in Europe.”
Cohen, who grew up and went to school in London — including to a Jewish elementary school — is a TV whiz kid. Still only 40, he was previously the controller of BBC1 TV, the youngest appointee to that post, before taking over a director of BBC Television last year.
London: Armed police on the streets [Image Source]
Yesterday, we saw some quantitative evidence to back up the BBC man's gut feel:
Scotland Yard reveals huge rise in antisemitic crime in London | Rosa Doherty | The Jewish Chronicle | January 21, 2015 | Hate crimes against Jews in London have more than doubled, according to the latest figures from Scotland Yard. The statistics showed there were 299 hate crimes against Jewish people between the start of April and the end of December. That represented a rise of 128 per cent on the same period in 2013, when there were 131 hate crimes. The period in question included the months during the Gaza conflict last summer which led to a substantial increase in antisemitic incidents in Britain. Police said last week that they were increasing patrols in areas with large Jewish communities following the terror attacks in Paris. Scotland Yard said officers were continually liaising with the community. They said they were also reviewing overall security measures and looking at the safety of other minority communities including Muslims, as well as the force’s own officers. Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said: “The global picture of terrorist activity does give us heightened concern about the risk to the Jewish community in the UK. We are seeing continuing antisemitic rhetoric from extremists and attacks on this community in France and elsewhere.” The new data shows overall hate crime was up 22 per cent to 9,103 incidents between April and the end of December.
While there will always be parts of the mass media that put a sensational spin on the events of reality (for instance, "Britain on beheading alert: Security stepped up for police and Jewish schools", Daily Mail, January 16, 2015; "Could London suffer an attack like Paris? British Jews on alert" in Haaretz, January 15, 2015), it's plain that reality is going through some seriously impactful changes.

Here below, captured inside a London Jewish school (established by Holocaust survivors, it's worth noting) by the BBC, is how those statistics and anecdotes and the visceral anxiety all translate into reality for Jewish children in today's United Kingdom.

As you will hear, they are being taught to act like sleeping lions which may sound morale boosting and vaguely uplifting. It's the exact opposite, and you can hear that the children know it. Click below for the radio program audio, or click here to go to the BBC article page.

One more angle.

When a branch of the J. Sainsbury supermarket chain in London removed all its identifiably-kosher products from  shelves during this past summer, the branch manager of the store in Holborn, central London, justified the astonishing move because of "fears that anti-Israeli protesters would attack it".

A report at the time ["Sainsbury's removes kosher food from shelves amid fears over protesters", The Guardian, August 17, 2014] illustrated how perfectly normal such measures can seem if you are in the mood for them:
"...A staff member defended the decision, saying: "We support Free Gaza"...  A spokesperson for Sainsbury's said it was "an absolutely non-political organisation" and said the food was returned to the shelves "as soon as was practically possible". "It was an isolated decision made by in a very challenging situation," she said. "It was chilled food and he was simply trying to preserve it." ...There would be no investigation or action taken against the branch manager. "It was the manager's decision there and then – not company policy at all. We have had similar demonstrations at stores where people have gone in and removed goods, though no great damage was done. A decision was taken by a store manager faced with a challenging situation outside the store."
In London and the UK and probably Europe too, we fear Jews can expect business managers and public officials to pay very close attention to the preservation of chilled food, and possibly a little less to the rights of people in those societies to go about their lives free of hateful intimidation and life-threatening violence.

The Jewish future in Europe is not what it used to be, and probably never will be again.

22-Jan-15: "I Am Knife"

Israeli victim of the knife-man's frenzied terror attack yesterday
on a Tel Aviv bus [Image Source
From the Daily Mail UK, January 21, 2015:
A hashtag that states 'I am knife' has begun trending on Twitter as hardline users take to social media to heap praise a Palestinian man who stabbed 11 people on a bus in Tel Aviv. The messages are an attempt to reappropriate the hashtag of solidarity - #JeSuisCharlie - which swept the world in the wake of the terrorist massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices. However, the tweets - often accompanied by illustrations which depict the Palestinian flag and a bloody knife - are being posted in support of the stabber, who was shot by a prison officer after injuring 11 people in a brutal act of violence.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus, writing on The Jewish Press website today notes
The hatred of Israelis, of Jews, has become such a public experience, that people on social media appropriated the recent homage to those murdered at the French satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine, “#JeSuisCharlie, and created their own version: #JeSuisCouteau, which means “I Am Knife.” The people using this hashtag, frequently accompanied by grotesque cartoons of stabbed Jews or glorifying pictures of knives, are celebrating the vicious attack on Jews.
What follows are many examples of the tweets and Tumblr posts glorifying the weapon used to attack Israelis.
Please click through to see the sickening gallery of malevolence collected there. And then let's ask ourselves where the media outrage is.

Here's what we just tweeted:

Meanwhile a reminder of how none of this is mere polemics if you live in the area:
Police on Thursday arrested a Palestinian man who entered Israel illegally and attempted to stab officers dispatched to detain him. The officers apprehended the 22-year-old suspect in the central city of Ra’anana, and found a second knife on his person. No injuries were reported. [Times of Israel, this afternoon]
The foreign media will ignore this since the operating dictum for many of them is "If it bleeds, it leads" - but otherwise it's mere background noise. Or they will treat the terrorism aspect as if it were something subjective - not reality but mere claims. Like the editors at The Telegraph, UK did -

Those quote marks around 'terrorist' are the larger story.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

21-Jan-15: Knife-wielding attacker in central Tel Aviv

The bus and the emergency service
vehicles are on the right [Image Source: Via
Too soon to have all the details, but the reports on Israeli news bulletins during this morning's (Wednesday) rush hour are of a terrorist stabbing attack on a busy city bus traveling Tel Aviv's Route 5 [correction: it was probably Route 40 from Bat Yam to Tel Aviv's northern suburbs] right in the middle of the country's business center.

Times of Israel says a man, not yet identified,
pulled out a knife and started stabbing passengers... leaving at least 10 injured... Most of the victims were lightly injured, but there were reports of at least two in serious condition.
On radio, it's reported he stabbed the driver first, but this did not prevent him from opening the doors to allow passengers to get out.

Other numbers of victims are being reported, and the fact that the stabber ran, was shot but not killed, and is now bound and in the hands of interrogators. There are photos of him handcuffed and lying in mud.

Two of the terrorist's stabbing victims, according to Ynet, are critically injured.

The attacker, armed with a concealed knife and lunging at commuters on their way to work, is already the recipient of praise from an organization that cultivates such outrages: Hamas, while the victims are still bleeding in the street, calls it "a heroic and courageous act".

UPDATE 9:25 am Larger number of casualties, says Haaretz: 16 injured, of whom 6 "in serious condition". (Ynet at 10:30 this morning says "13 stabbed, four badly hurt".) If the injured were cartoonists, the editors of the world's major news outlets might be having an easier time referring to them as victims of terror and referring to the attacker, with no need for the use of doubt-sowing apostrophes, as a terrorist. It's nauseating to see how some of the most influential names in news are doing gymnastics to avoid those plain terms. Their agenda ought to be troubling us and their consumers/readers.

UPDATE Thursday January 22: From Times of Israel -
Hamza Matrouk, 23, of Tulkarem, told Shin Bet interrogators that he embarked on the stabbing spree in retaliation for Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer and the recent unrest on the Temple Mount. He admitted that he was motivated by watching radical Islamic television programs, and spoke of “reaching paradise.” Israeli security forces on Thursday raided three houses belonging to friends and relatives of Matrouk.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

20-Jan-15: Peering into the utter emotional turmoil

The Hebrew commentary of this revealing YouTube clip (hat tip to the 0404 news site for pointing it out) explains that the Arab woman sitting in front of the posse of photographers in Hebron and crying her eyes out on demand is the mother of the woman on the right who evidently can't stop giggling and laughing at the patent absurdity of the whole thing.

There's more background here, on the Israel National News site, and at the always informative Elder of Ziyon site, about the staging.

We're not suggesting all the video news coming out of the conflict between the Arabs and Israel fits the Pallywood paradigm, but it is surprisingly common. So too is the demonstrated willingness of news film crews and reporters to play along.

For an explanation of how Pallywood works, the blog site of Prof. Richard Landes, The Augean Stables, and its Pallywood section, gives a good intro. (Richard coined the term.)

20-Jan-15: From the warzone

Belgian armed troops guard a courthouse in Brussels [Image Source]
Berlin, todayAssociated Press: After two suspected members of an Islamic terror cell were taken into custody by German police this past Friday (see our post: "16-Jan-15: Scenes from a warzone"), thirteen homes, mostly in Berlin, were raided today by a force of some 200 police "looking for further evidence". Most are Turks, and members of a mosque in Berlin’s Moabit neighborhood, as are the two suspects already in the hands of the police. The group’s leader, identified only as Ismet D. because his privacy is a major pre-occupation of the German law, is accused of recruiting Turkish and Russian nationals to fight against “infidels” in Syria. Emin F. is accused of being in charge of finances. It appears the police think the group's plans did not include attacks within Germany and "were unrelated to the recent attacks in Paris or raids in Belgium". German citizens are doubtless hoping the security men and woman are right.

Paris: How confident ought we to be that sooner or later the authorities in Western Europe are going to get on top of the rapidly metastasizing spread of Islamist terror? CNN doesn't reach a conclusion but reports on a list of what it calls "mishaps" (intelligence failures might be a more useful term) that culminated in the January 7, 2015, Charlie Hebdo massacre.
  • French security ended its surveillance of one of the murdering brothers, Cherif Kouachi, in November 2013. They knew he had gotten into the business of selling counterfeit goods, but failed to realize this was how he was financing his purchase of the weapons arsenal discovered after he had been shot dead by police. So he was not on their radar for the year leading up to the execution of the lethal plan.
  • A French surveillance agency received an unspecified alert concerning one of the Kouachi brothers in February 2014. How long before this intelligence was passed on to the country's main domestic spy agency? A mere four months. By then, neither of the brothers was under surveillance. Presumably the intelligence was then trashed.
  • French surveillance on the other brother, Said Kouachi, ended in June 2014. Why? No one is volunteering an answer, at least not to CNN.
  • The authorities in France now say both Kouachis traveled from their homes in Paris to Yemen in 2011 via Oman. But note that Cherif Kouachi's passport had been officially confiscated in 2010. So how could he have gotten across the borders? And neither brother's name has been discovered in any of the relevant government databases of travelers. Which brings up the next point...
Europe: The Wall Street Journal noted yesterday that
"Borderless travel across most of the European Union makes it easy for suspects to cover their tracks. Terror suspects are exploiting the ease of travel across the Continent to stay one step ahead of authorities as they move militants, cash and weapons across the bloc without raising alarms, according to European officials. In some cases, suspects are evading tough antiterrorism laws in countries like France—where travel to Syria and Iraq has been banned—by moving through other EU countries en route to Syria or Iraq. The problem is compounded, officials say, by a lack of coordination between national law-enforcement and intelligence agencies from Brussels to Athens who are straining to pursue suspects across European borders."

Monday, January 19, 2015

19-Jan-15: The dilemmas of funding and enabling terror

This self-confessed murderer, honored as the "success model" of Jordan Media
Institute's journalism grad students, has her own weekly TV show on a Hamas
satellite channel. From studios in Amman, she incites and encourages terrorism
to a global audience. Here she demonstrates prison-friendly dinner recipes in
a video we found on YouTube.
For those following our efforts to expose the Jordan Media Institute, here's an update.

JMI is the 'center of excellence' school for aspiring journalists whose "best and brightest" graduate students published a homage to a confessed and convicted murderer in early December 2014. Under the headline Success Model, they paid tribute to a female journalism student who had planned and engineered a massacre in the center of Jerusalem in 2001 on behalf of Hamas.

The explosion inside the Sbarro pizzeria - augmented by the use of nails to make the bomb's devastating effect even more vicious - took the lives of our daughter and 14 other victims, most of them children. Easy to see why the upwardly-striving JMI cadre saw that particular woman with those specific achievements as their model for professional success, right? Their action speaks for itself.

The details of the JMI scandal are in several of our previous posts listed at the foot of this one.

We are pursuing the JMI because of what it and the scandal represent. For too long, and in too many cases, enthusiasm for terrorism is quietly excused or overlooked or ignored because it's perceived as being part of the landscape, something about which nothing can be done etc. There is never any excuse for that.

But the JMI case is different, special. It is happening at a proud, well-run, promising and potentially important pro-democracy, pro-human rights institution (according to its self-description) that encourages performance-monitoring and which exists because of generous encouragement, guidance, support and funding of well-intentioned Western governments and NGOs (we name them here) along with a number of businesses from the Arab world. Organizations with aspirations like these are not so easily found among Arab countries.

We have personally contacted nearly all those Western parties over the past three weeks and alerted them to what's dysfunctional there. We have told them in particular about the open adoration (in Arabic, not in English) expressed by JMI's students for a homicidal jihadist who keeps saying publicly how proud she is to have killed so many Jewish children. We have explained how the JMI has failed to condemn the obscene homage, preferring first to simply ignore it, then to hide it, and now, through euphemism and double-talk, to pretend that it has been adequately addressed and reversed.

In our letters, we suggested that the backers should express their protest by terminating further support for the JMI's work. We have requested, and several (though not all) have agreed, that they insist on their names and logos being removed from the JMI's Partners and Donors Page.

Yesterday, the Amman embassy of one of those governments replied to us via a courteous and comprehensive letter. Among the points it raised was an aspect we had not known about: the JMI management had invited its Western supporters in for a confidential discussion on January 13 and had used the opportunity to explain their version of events. (Note: Though we addressed our concerns and demands to the JMI itself via a polite letter, the only response was a one-line email from a senior figure there the tone of which was, to put it mildly, the opposite of helpful.)

We responded immediately to the ambassador's letter with one of our own on Monday. It is reproduced below. Because we have no wish to embarrass that ambassador's government or its strategies, the text is slightly doctored to conceal the specifics of the country whose embassy sent it.
January 18, 2015
Your excellency,

Thank you for your detailed response... As private citizens who have been educated through bitter personal experience about the workings of realpolitik, my wife and I have few illusions about our ability to change the policies of [your country], or any other government, on terrorism. We keep trying because it horrifies to us to see how easily the people who put a polite face on jihad are managing to fool those who fund and enable it. 

We suspect you now consider the scandal at Jordan Media Institute to be over. We have a different opinion and will keep pursuing a constructive response from the Western sponsors who make possible and defend the JMI’s work. Below, I offer some reactions to the points in your well-reasoned email (in the order in which they appear in your letter).
  1. As parents deeply devoted to their children, you and I share important values. I sincerely appreciate the personal sympathy you expressed. But you are not accurate when you describe me as "personally offended". My wife and I are infuriated by the dangerous games played by the JMI management in the past month. I remind you respectfully that the subject we are discussing is not some offensive cartoon or personal rudeness. It is support for terror and encouragement for the murder of Jewish children. It is possible you do not realize that the convicted and unrepentant murderer Tamimi is a household name in Jordan. The details of her crimes are well-known there and hugely admired. When the journalists of JMI declared her to be their "Success Model", it was not some minor slip. That they made it a showcase event and repeated it on every page of the important JMI Journalists website speaks for itself. It is an unambiguous warning of how those young people view the trajectory of their professional careers in journalism. Is there any doubt that they view themselves as fighting for what Tamimi represents? They say openly that she is their inspirationIgnoring the deeply malevolent reality at JMI is to guarantee that it keeps growing. And please bear in mind that their tribute to Tamimi was not meant to be seen by Western governments and NGOs – this is why it was published in Arabic only. My letters to several dozen of them during December (along with letters from others who learned the details via my published articles) are the reason it was taken down. Every other explanation is contradicted by the facts.
  2. You praise the JMI for creating a new generation of Arab journalists who “abide by the highest professional standards and moral values”. I am not so confident. I emailed the Director of Training at the JMI, Yasar Durra, at the suggestion of one of the Western ambassadors in Amman. I asked the questions that appear in my letter to you concerning the homage paid by his students to the sociopathic female jihadist. You will surely agree that those “highest professional standards” and “moral values” ought to have guided the actions of the very JMI person responsible for teaching them to young journalists. But Mr Durra’s reply to me in the name of JMI was nothing more than an insulting one-line note referring to junk mail. He did not refer to even one of the serious concerns I raised.
  3. “XXX and Human Rights” [not the actual name] is a great title for the JMI workshop in which your country took part. Now that I know about it, I propose this challenge to you. When even one journalism student of JMI writes an article in any language about the trampling of my 15 year-old daughter's human rights (no human right can ever surpass the right to remain alive) or those of any other victim of Tamimi, we can agree that the Embassy's money was well spent. At that moment, I will be happy to acknowledge that JMI is the "good, professional and adequate partner" that you describe.
  4. Once discovered, was the article removed from the webpage in question without further delay, as you write? Not exactly. The entire JMI Journalists website was taken down 3 days after my articles began to appear. In place of the incendiary tribute to my daughter’s murderer, those responsible placed a sign dishonestly claiming that the domain name had expired. This may seem trivial but the domain name was a year away from expiring. They used a silly lie to cover their red faces. They then restored the entire site a few days later, in mid December, minus the homage to Tamimi and without a single word of explanation. Had they wanted to clarify their policy, or apologize, or take a stand against jihad or terror or the murder of Jewish children, that would have been the perfect time to do it. They did not do any of those things. I imagine they hoped this fuss would just disappear. 
  5. It is true, as you write, that "JMI published a statement on the webpage stating that an article was removed from this webpage which did not meet JMI values and professional standards." In case they eventually realize how much damage it does, I have ensured it remains archived online here. You might not have noticed that their statement does not appear on the JMI website where funders might see it. It was posted exclusively on the JMI Journalists website. Furthermore, the language of the statement itself highlights the seriousness of their failure. Can you imagine a publication in [your country] using language like "values and professional standards" when they are dragged into the spotlight for praising murder and calling for acts of terror? It is incredible that the JMI people chose this way of demonstrating good faith and integrity.
  6. Until you mentioned it, I was not aware that an "explanation" was given to "donors and partners in a meeting on 13 January". It has not been reported anywhere, as far as I know. But what sort of explanation? To say that publishing a tribute to a celebrity terrorist amounts to "inadequate internal oversight procedures" is bizarre. Did they define what kind of "measures they intend to implement in order to avoid similar incidents in the future"? And when they refer to "similar events in the future" do they mean events like incitement to murder? Or do they really mean that they want to prevent their students from bringing more shame and dishonor to the JMI management and its fund-raisers?
  7. Some comments now about this paragraph of your letter. You write: At no moment in that process did I have the impression that JMI as an institution or its members took the issue lightly, were not aware of its implications or showed any complacency or complicity regarding the issue at hand. On the contrary, they showed willingness to acknowledge that something had gone wrong, to draw the appropriate conclusions from that experience and to redress the issue. They apparently took the matter as an opportunity for an internal discussion with their students on how to improve and learn further. If you are right about the mindset of the JMI management, we might have expected them to make a public statement on the JMI website where funders would see it but they did not. They might have addressed terrorism, jihad, Tamimi, incitement, intolerancebut they did not. They might have issued a press release or other truly-public statement but they did not. They might have published it in the English or other European languages but (as far as I am aware) they did not. They would have addressed the person who raised these matters (me) and answered what I wrote to them, which includes some specific demands, but they did not. Instead they discussed it internally, behind closed doors, using terms more appropriate to a boarding school coping with naughty children. 
  8. You are kind to write that “the memory” of my daughter Malki “has been a force for good in this context”. But on this, we have a profound and complete difference of opinion. 
When millions of people took to the streets of France last weekend, their actions said something precious about how terror is spreading everywhere and the determination of civilized society to fight and defeat the threat. In that spirit, the governments and NGOs whose names and logos are on the JMI's trophy page have a real opportunity to do something concrete to show they mean it. I am distressed to think that [your country]  – which has a proud record in fighting jihadism – has decided to ignore that opportunity and prefers to politely look the other way when encountering it at JMI.

Solidarity like that which brought political leaders and ordinary citizens out into the winter chill of Paris is deeply moving. But what is happening at JMI is the exact opposite. There, we are seeing the trivialization of the danger, the use of slogans and empty words to imply positive action when there is none, and the resort to pathetic fig-leaf tactics to cover up the JMI’s moral nakedness and their tolerance of Islamist terror.

As we continue our efforts to shine a bright light into that dark corner. my wife and I sincerely hope the government of [your country] chooses to publicly declare its rejection of the JMI’s actions, its failures and its lethal tolerance of Islamist terror.

Arnold Roth

The ambassador has not yet replied but we are hopeful of a thoughtful response. Meanwhile, to get familiar with the background events of the past month, have a look at our previous posts:

19-Jan-15: EU will appeal court decision to take Hamas off the terrorist list

Hamas front man, groper, smuggler of banknotes and promoter of
axe-murder attacks Abu Zuhri explains that Europeans are taking
immoral steps [Image Source]
The Council of the European Union decided today (Monday) 1that the EU is going to appeal a December 17 decision by the General Court of the European Union that said Hamas ought to be removed from the official EU blacklist for technical reasons only a lawyer or politician could love.

The short-term effect, according to this source, is that Hamas’s European assets, which had been in a state of temporary freeze for the past three weeks, are going to remain frozen till the judgement is handed down.

Hamas is not happy with being frozen:
"The European Union’s insistence on keeping Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations is an immoral step, and reflects the EU’s total bias in favor of the Israeli occupation,” 
says Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman and one-time mule, quoted by Aljazeera.

Meanwhile, nothing is certain and until that European court hears the appeal, the question of whether or not Hamas is a terrorist organization in the eyes of Official Europe remains (astonishingly) open.

It's quite something to hear a crude thug like Abu Zuhri mouth the words "immoral step" without having reporters laugh directly into his face. The man has some background which, in a civilized context, would have ensured he was given plenty of free time alone to entertain himself:
  • He was arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces in Gaza (before Hamas seized control by force) in 2007 for placing his hand on the thigh of a person sitting next to him in a car. He admitted the charges. The person was a woman, which in sociopathic societies of a certain kind means the consequences are mild.
  • A July 2014 video [here] captures him speaking to a Hamas-friendly TV presenter, arguing that the Hamas strategy of pushing its people to endanger their lives, their homes and their children by being human shields is "effective". This is one of the myriad reasons why Hamas is globally outlawed as a terrorist entity. 
  • He was investigated, and then suspended, by the Hamas leadership a month ago [source] for sexually harassing a foreign reporter. The reporter was again a female, so that the damage, if any, to his standing was liveable in the specific context of the society in which operates and whose sexual and moral values tend to the extremely flexible (depending natuirally on specifically who is doing what to whom).
  • And a month before that, in November 2014, Abu Zuhri publicly (as spokesperson for the thugs of Hamas) praised the terrorist killing of unarmed worshipers at prayer in a Har Nof, Jerusalem, synagogue. Hamas, said this especially loathsome man, called for more "operations" like it. 
Quite a piece of work.