Sunday, August 14, 2005
Anyway back to the original theme. The obsessive anti-americanism that is now so embedded in the country. Look at this excellent article by Carol Gould.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
The following excellent article by Mathias Döpfner appeared in the Sunday Times – Review, August 07, 2005
"The response to terror has been abject, says German publisher Mathias Döpfner The writer Henryk Broder recently issued a withering indictment: Europe, your family name is appeasement. That phrase resonates because it is so terribly true.
Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as Britain and France negotiated and hesitated too long before they realised Adolf Hitler needed to be fought and defeated, because he could not be bound by toothless agreements.
* Later, appeasement legitimised and stabilised communism in the Soviet Union, in East Germany and then throughout the rest of eastern Europe, where for decades inhuman, repressive and murderous governments were glorified.
Appeasement similarly crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Bosnia and Kosovo. Indeed, even though we had absolute proof of mass murder, we Europeans debated and debated, and then debated still more. We were still debating when finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe yet again, to do our work for us.
Europe still hasn't learnt. Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement often seems to countenance suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.
Similarly, it generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore the almost 500,000 victims of Saddam Hussein's torture and murder machinery and to harangue George W Bush as a warmonger.
This hypocrisy continues even as it is discovered that some of the loudest critics of US action in Iraq made illicit billions - indeed, tens of billions - of dollars in the corrupt United Nations oil for food programme.
Today we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement. How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in the Netherlands, Britain and elsewhere in Europe? By suggesting - wait for it - that the proper response to such barbarism is to initiate a Muslim holiday in Germany.
I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of Germany's government - and, if polls are to be believed, the German people - believe that creating an official state Muslim holiday will somehow spare us from the wrath of fanatical Islamists.
One cannot help but recall Neville Chamberlain on his return from Munich, waving that laughable treaty signed by Hitler, and declaring the advent of peace in our time.
What atrocity must occur before the European public and its political leadership understand what is really happening in the world? There is a sort of crusade under way; an especially perfidious campaign consisting of systematic attacks by Islamists, focused on civilians, that is directed against our open western societies and is intent on their destruction.
We find ourselves faced with a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military clashes of the last century, a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by tolerance and accommodation because it is spurred on by such gestures. Such responses have proven to be signs of weakness.
Only two recent US presidents have had the courage needed to shun appeasement: Ronald Reagan and George W Bush. The US's critics may quibble over the details, but in our hearts we know the truth, because we saw it first hand.
Reagan ended the cold war, freeing half of Europe from almost 50 years of terror. And Bush, acting out of moral conviction and supported only by Tony Blair, recognised the danger in today's Islamist war against democracy.
In the meantime, Europe sits back in the multicultural corner with its usual blithe self-confidence.
Instead of defending liberal values and acting as an attractive centre of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, the US and China, it does nothing. On the contrary, we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to the supposedly arrogant Americans, as world champions of tolerance, which even Otto Schily, the German interior minister, justifiably criticises.
Where does this self-satisfied reaction come from? Does it arise because we are so moral? I fear it stems from the fact that we Europeans are devoid of a moral compass.
For his policy of confronting Islamic terrorism head on, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt and a massive and persistent burden on the US economy. But he does this because, unlike most of Europe, he realises what is at stake is literally everything that really matters to free people.
While we criticise the capitalistic robber barons of the US because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our welfare states. "Stay out of it. It could get expensive," we cry.
So instead of acting to defend our civilisation, we prefer to discuss reducing our 35-hour work week, improving our dental coverage or extending our four weeks of annual paid holiday. Or perhaps we listen to television pastors preaching about the need to reach out to terrorists, to understand and forgive.
These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewellery when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbour's house. Appeasement? That is just the start of it. Europe, thy name is cowardice."
© Mathias Döpfner 2005
Mathias Döpfner is chief executive of the German media group Axel Springer. This article was published in Die Welt
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
What I have never understood about Bakri is why he has not been charged for his role in the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv undertaken by British Muslims Asif Muhammad Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif in April 2003. After the Tel Aviv attack, Bakri told The Daily Telegraph, "I knew Sharif very well, and he used to attend regularly at my sessions. He was my brother, and I am very proud of him and any Muslim who will do the same as him." (See here for a full description). It later transpired that Bakri had tutored both of the bombers shortly before the attack.
You only have to listen to any one of the so-called 'moderate' Muslims who have taken over our TV screens since the London bombings to realise that these guys, while mostly condemning the London bombings, cannot brings themselves to condemn suicide bombings in Israel (in fact many of the leaders of these 'moderate' Muslim organisation actually have gone on the record as fully supporting suicide bombings in Israel). So we know that the British Government thinks it is perfectly legal to support and glorify terrorism when it is committed against Jews outside the UK. But surely the act of planning such terrorism (as Bakri himself claims he has done) is a criminal offence. So why has Bakri never been charged?
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Picked this up from the excellent blog Harry's Place
You can watch what he is saying here (this is truly incredible stuff - make sure you watch the speech that follows the interview and try to remember that this man is a Member of the British Parliament)
This is what Galloway has been telling Arab television audiences on his recent tour:
Two of your beautiful daughters are in the hands of foreigners - Jerusalem and Baghdad. The foreigners are doing to your daughters as they will. The daughters are crying for help, and the Arab world is silent. And some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters. Why? Because they are too weak and too corrupt to do anything about it.
......It's not the Muslims who are the terrorists. The biggest terrorists are Bush, and Blair, and Berlusconi, and Aznar, but it is definitely not a clash of civilizations. George Bush doesn't have any civilization, he doesn't represent any civilization. We believe in the Prophets, peace be upon them. He believes in the profits, and how to get a piece of them. That's his god. That's his god. George Bush worships money. That's his god - Mammon.
Ironic, isn't it, that the world's last devoted pan-Arabist isn't even an Arab.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
I hope Charles Johnson, Michael Totten, and 'zombie' don’t mind my borrowing this photo. I printed it out yesterday and stuck it on the wall in my office this morning, where only I could see it. Today I sat with the man holding the sign, occasionally glancing at him while I worked, trying to understand.
‘SMASH THE JEWISH STATE’, he says. Smash the Jewish State. I’ve been rolling those words on my tongue and looking at the man’s image looking back at me.
He’s wearing a nice green golf shirt with a pocket. My dad likes a pocket in his shirts too, so he can have his sunglasses and other things handy. This person also has things in his pocket, just like my dad.
He’s also wearing a nice, good quality cap. It looks green, but it could be gray. I’d like to think it’s green and that he’s matched the colors. The cap looks like it has a little red five-pointed star pinned on it. Someone on Michael Totten’s comments said that he doesn’t look like a lefty, whatever that means, but doesn’t that star mean he’s a communist? I thought communists wanted to make the world a better place.
It looks like he’s made the sign himself, and attached it to the placard with clips. I wonder if he goes to a lot of demonstrations and changes the signs according to the subject on hand? That’s a very tidy, organized thing to do.
You know, physically, he reminds me of someone else. Someone I was just thinking about this year on Remembrance Day for the fallen of Israel’s wars. Guy called Yossi. He used to be in my class. I can’t remember how he was killed, but I remember not being surprised. He was the type of guy who was always ready to help, who carried the girls’ backpacks when they were tired on school trips. He was an innocent who really believed in things. And he was the type of guy who would think nothing of volunteering for the really dangerous stuff.
The appearance of the man in the photo is probably similar to how Yossi, my old classmate, would have looked had he been fortunate enough to reach fifty. He didn’t make it to twenty-six. But maybe our green-clad friend here could have learnt something from him about kindness, about industriousness, and about trying to make the world a better place. Oh, and about smiling at the camera. Yossi would have smiled at the camera, no doubt about it.
And he would never have been holding a sign saying anything like that.
Everything about the harmless-looking gentleman in the photo, in his green or gray cap, even his serious, committed expression, is in such sharp contrast with the viciously violent, hateful sentiment expressed on his little sign.
Smash the Jewish State. Smash the Jews in it. Smash my nine-year-old daughter. Smash her little collection of Bratz dolls, lovingly collected one by one. Smash our three-month-old kitten. Smash my great grandmother’s Shabbat candlesticks. Smash Ronit’s new baby with her dark skin and bright eyes, suckling milk from her mother’s breast in the shade of the tree. Smash Doctor Assuline, who helped bring her into this world. Smash Luda, who washed the room after mother and daughter had been wheeled away, and Hameed, who built the crib her parents bought for her when they brought her home from the hospital.
Smash the memory of my dead classmate, look-alike of one hate-filled American protester.
What did we do to this tidy, organized, serious man to make him hate us so much that he wants to smash us?
I suppose he will tell you he isn’t an anti-Semite.
"After a Palestinian boy was killed by a Qassam rocket fired by militants in Gaza on Tuesday night, Palestinian Minister Mohammed Dahlan said early Wednesday that those who launched the rockets were taking the place of Israeli occupiers and hurting innocent Palestinian civilians.
There was no claim of responsibility for the Tuesday night rocket attack and Islamic Jihad denied having fired the rocket.
Palestinian ministers gathered Wednesday morning to discuss the incident in which a six-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and eight Palestinians were wounded late Tuesday when the rocket missed its target and hit a family home in the village of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.
Five children were wounded by the rocket and one was in critical condition, Israel Radio said. Four of the wounded were the children of former Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs Hisham Abd al-Razik, according to the report. They sustained wounds ranging from light to moderate.
Witnesses said militants fired three rockets at Sderot, where thousands of opponents of the disengagement had gathered in a demonstration. Two of the rockets fell in Palestinian areas and the third fell in an open field near Sderot."
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
The following letter, from D MacGregor, of Ramsgate, Kent, was the star letter in the Sunday Times on 31 July 2005 (the emphasis is mine):
The letter started off quite promisingly didn't it? Can you see the significance of the anti-Israel comment in here, because I can't. Apparently his empathy with the Palestinians means he can't be a racist. Well that's really comforting for all of us. Note that he stresses the bombers have no right to murder the innocent British public (in contrast presumably to the 'guilty' Israelis and Yanks and maybe even the guilty Jews and others in Britain who support the Israelis and Yanks). So maybe he is saying that it's OK to murder Israelis (and possibly even Yanks) but the bombers had better leave London alone? Whichever way you look at it, it's a pretty ridiculous letter, so why did the Sunday Times print it as their star letter? Either the Sunday Times is really desperate for well-written letters (curious as they get thousands per week, many written be well-educated people) or the editorial staff are themselves so consumed by casual hatred of Israel and Bush that they thought the letter made perfect sense.
The recent bombings in London and the support shown for this carnage by a group of disgruntled Muslims brought to mind a slogan I used to see everywhere, from car bumpers to T-shirts, when I lived in Australia many years ago: "Australia — love it or leave it!". And before readers write in to accuse me of racism, I'd like to make it perfectly clear that I am not a racist. I spent many years travelling the world and I have friends of all colours, creeds and nationalities. I can fully empathise with the Palestinians, who are suffering appalling treatment at the hands of the (American-backed) Israelis; I can sympathise with anyone who detests the "Yankification" of this world — but please let them not take out their revenge on the innocent British public — most of whom have no time for George W Bush, or his gung-ho predecessors or our spineless leaders.
The London bombings have led to all media outlets falling over themselves to a) get interviews with any Muslim 'spokesman' they can get hold of and b) to 'prove' that in reality 99.9999999% of Muslims are peace-loving citizens who love living in the UK.
One of the effects of this barrage of Muslim commentators has been further unchallenged demonisation of Israel. Given the opportunity to profess their abhorrence of the bombers, the standard Muslim response is to explain how the Muslims everywhere are naturally enraged by the "massacres of Muslims taking place in Palestine and Iraq". Note that this is the response of ALL of them not just fanatics like Omar Bakri. I have yet to hear one interviewer challenge such an assertion. The questions they should consider asking the so-called moderate Muslims are:
- Do you believe that Osama Bin Laden is a terrorist?
- Do you believe Israel has a right to exist?
- Do you unreservedly condemn suicide bombings in Israel?
- Why is your rage against the US and the UK in Iraq when the real massacres taking place there are ALL committed by Muslims against other Muslims?
- In fact why are you enraged with 'foreign' influence in Iraq (meaning the US and the UK) when the atrocities are all being carried out by foreign Muslim suicide bombers (from Saudi, Iran, Pakistan, Syria etc) under the leadership of a Jordanian?
- Why weren't you enraged when Saddam Hussain was massacring thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Iran over many years?
- In fact come to think of it why aren't you enraged at the massacres committed by Muslims against other Muslims right now all over the world (Indonesia, Darfur, Malaysia)?
What's the bet that their answers to the first 3 questions would all be no, while they wouldn't even answer any of the others.
And while we're on the subject of asking Muslims questions, what I'd really like to know is the following: "Since you are all so convinced that it was the Israelis who carried out Sept 11th, how is that you also manage to praise Osama Bin Laden for it at the same time? Isn't there a bit of a contradiction here? And since Bin Laden has publicly taken credit for the attacks, does that mean that he is actually an Israeli agent. If so why do you all still love him so much that most of you name your baby boys after him? You do seem to be a bit mixed up on this one.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Egypt is a very popular tourist destination for Brits. In fact many British Jews go there in preference to Israel as they regard it as cheaper and safer. This is even true of places like Taba - a stone's throw from Eilat - despite the fact that 34 tourists were killed there in a terrorist attack in October 2004. What most people seem completely oblivious to is the depth of hatred the Egyptians have for Jews and Israelis, irrespective of the peace treaty in place between Israel and Egypt. The Egyptians, for example, have always been the leading sellers of the anti-Semitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" - they even screened a 20-week series on prime TV based on it recently. And it was the Egyptians who most vehemently promoted the conspiracy theory that Israel was behind Sept 11th - a view now believed by 90% of all Arabs worldwide and even 40% of all Muslims in the UK. But even I was shocked when I saw a report by Tim Marshall on Sky News. Marshall is Sky's top foreign affairs correspondent who is certainly no friend of Israel. But a few days after the 7 July London bombings he was in Egypt reporting on the reaction there to the bombings. What he found (and he was clearly shocked by it) was that from the lowest street cleaner to the highest echelons of government, the view of every Egyptian he met was that the London attacks had been carried out by the Israelis. When he interviewed on screen a supposed leading 'moderate commentator' this 'moderate' tried to physically manhandle Marshall when he dared to ask what evidence the Egyptians had for claiming the Israelis did it.
It was therefore not a great surprise when, a few days later after the 23 July terrorist attacks in Sharm-el-Sheikh, no less than the Egyptian Head of Police pronounced that these attacks too were the work of the Israelis. Reporters on the ground also learned that all Egyptians at Sharm were blaming the Israelis. It just so happens that much fewer Israelis venture down to Sharm these days compared with a few years ago. But there were about 1000 Israelis holidaying in the Sharm area at the time of the attacks. Most were in fact Israeli Arabs. Incredibly, to avoid being lynched, these Israelis had to hide in their hotel rooms and cover up the (Israeli) number plates on their cars.
It's also worth remembering that the song "I Hate Israel" by Haaban Abdel-Rehim topped the Egyptian charts for much of last year. Check out the words here (and here aome other Examples of Arab hate TV)
So, if you are thinking of taking a holiday in Egypt - do us all a favour and wait until the Egyptians stop poisoning their people with anti-Semitic rubbish.
Oh and by the way - if you are thinking about a holiday in Dubai...
..just make sure you remember that much of Al Quaida's funding comes from there as protection money. But this shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody who saw BBC's Question Time screened from Dubai during the Iraq war. The locals in the audience made very clear their support for Osama bin Laden ... and of course their view that Israel was to blame for all the world's problems.
Among the many ridiculous outrages of Ken Livingstone recently this one went unnoticed. He claimed (Radio London, 28 July 2005) that there was no better example of the West's 'double standards against Muslims' than its attitude to Iran's nuclear weapons progamme. Ken feels that Muslim countries like Iran have as much right to nuclear weapons as Israel (of course that's his biggest beef) the USA and the UK. So let's spell out to Ken and his mates the reason why this is not such a good idea:
- The constitution of Iran states that its goal is the destruction of Israel. This goal is the unifying theme of all Iran's mullahs. Even the supposedly 'moderate' former leader Rafsanjani stated this his ultimate goal was the destruction of Israel.
- In the annual military parade in Iran the missiles are painted with the slogans "Death to Israel"
- Iran continues to be the financial and spiritual source of most Islamic terrorist groups (including Hezbollah and Hamas) and its agents are currently paying to recruit suicide bombers in the Palestinian territories.
- Iran is currently advertising for suicide bombers in its own country (and thousands are registering every day) to be exported to Iraq, Chechnya, and of course 'Palestine' to kill every non-muslim on 'muslim soil'.
- Although people like Ken might not even be aware of it, Iran has no border with Israel, and Israel has never had any dispute with Iran. But that does not stop Iran wanting to wipe Israel off the map. In addition to Iran there are several Arab countries (including Syria and Lebanon) who ARE still officially at war with Israel and who, if they ever got hold of nuclear weapons, would also try to wipe Israel off the fact of the map. In fact, let's face it, when Egypt's Mubarak is eventually gone (and that might not be too far away) Egypt would also come back into that category. That's not to mention the assortment of terrorist groups in Palestine and beyond who would kill every Jew in the world if only they had the means to do so.
So you see Ken, there isn't exactly a moral imbalance when it comes to trying to stop Iran get a nuclear bomb. Israel has a very good defensive reason to retain its nuclear deterrent. Israel would never use such a weapon offensively because it has no intention of wiping its neighbours off the face of the map. But Iran (and others) are very explicit about what they intend to do once they get a nuclear bomb. When they say that it is their sworn intention to wipe Israel off the state of the map you had better believe them.
The extent to which the deligitimisation and dehumanisation of Israel has penetrated mainstream thought in the UK has been brought home to me by some recent examples:
- A programme, supposedly about football screened on BBC2 on 11 July 2005, was essentially a 40-minute recruitment ad for Hamas. Read my comments and correspondence with the BBC here
- A play currently on at the Tricycle Theatre Kilburn called "Arab Israeli Cookbook". The only fare on offer here is Palestinian propaganda. Read my review.
- A play about 'peace activist' Rachel Corrie currently showing to packed audiences. Read a review
Initial Letter of complaint sent to BBC
Programme name: Frontline Football Palestine
Transmission date: 11 - 07 - 05
This programme was nothing other than a pure anti-Israel propaganda piece. The reporter, Ben Anderson, was guilty of a continuous stream of uninformed comments and questions. The programme presented as 'fact' a number of ridiculous, unsubstantiated claims from Palestinian individuals about incidents of violence and repossession. Even where the 'facts' were true the programme made no attempt to explain the context. For example, it made a big issue of the fact that one of the few sports training camps in Gaza had been destroyed by the Israelis. What it failed to mention was the fact that at the time it was being used to launch missiles into Israel and to train Hamas terrorists; on Hamas's own admission, a number of its 'armed fighters' were killed in the attack.
At no time in the programme did Ben Anderson mention the context for any Israeli actions (such as extended border security checks), namely that the filming took place during a period of unprecedented terrorist attacks against Israelis. The bias in the programme is best summed up by Ben Anderson's own comment while he was witnessing a furious argument between the Palestinian FA president and one of the Palestinian players. The argument was about a ban being imposed because the players had left their training camp in Qatar to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Anderson's comment was: "The Israelis have created such an atmosphere of hate that it has forced the Palestinians to even argue among themselves". Finally, since one of the major 'arguments' in the programme was that the Palestinian team was severely disadvantaged because it could not play its matches 'at home', it is beyond belief that the programme failed to mention that Israel suffered exactly the same fate during the period 2000-2004 when FIFA forced Israel to play all its home matches in Cyprus because of the continued threat of terrorism.
Dear Mr Edgar
Thank you for your e-mail regarding 'Frontline Football'. I understand that you felt the programme broadcast on 11 July 2005 was biased and anti-Israeli.
The notion of impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC. The BBC serves the nation as a whole recognising and responding to all different tastes, views and perspectives. Programme makers aim to reflect, inform and stimulate this multiplicity of interests with a diverse range of quality programmes.
In our programmes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict we have tried to explain how the current situation started and has since developed and given air-time to representatives from across the political spectrum. However equal representation is not always possible or practical within individual programmes and account also needs to be taken of the way a subject is covered over a period of time. Individual reports or programmes may give more time to one particular incident, but we regularly report and display the suffering felt by both sides. Not every television or radio piece can include all aspects of the conflict, but this does not constitute bias. Perfect balance is difficult to achieve on every single occasion but overall it is a more achievable goal.
Nevertheless, I appreciate that you felt that on this occasion the programme displayed an unbalanced view and therefore please be assured that I have recorded your complaint on our daily log for the attention of BBC programme makers and management and for everyone involved in the production of 'Frontline Football'.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact the BBC with your views.
My response back
Your response would have been acceptable if the programme was purporting to be about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a Palestinian perspective. But it wasn't. The programme was about football. It therefore breached every reasonable rule about impartiality. There are many people who would have watched the programme simply unaware that what they were seeing was nothing other than a vicious anti-Israel Palestinian propaganda documentary. People without any previous knowledge of the conflict would have come away with a hatred of Israel. Is this what the BBC intended? And if the BBC was going to commission such a programme why on earth did it use a presenter who was so clearly ignorant of any facts about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
Awaiting BBC's second response
Edgar's Final Comment
The fact this programme was allowed to go ahead demonstrates the extent to which an anti-Israel attitude permeates throughout the BBC. Their response about balance is ridiculous. There is no meaningful 'counter-balance' because it would mean screening a programme about something unrelated to politics (say DIY) and using it as the basis to defame all Palestinians, with a mixture of some truth and mostly made up stories. Somehow I can't see the BBC doing that.
And to confirm how serious I think this is I noticed that in the Sun of all places the TV writer Ally Ross had a little footnote saying that he thought this programme was the one of the best documentaries he'd ever seen and was worthy of awards. I can understand why naive non-politically-aware viewers might say this. They were presented with an incredible story presented as unchallenged truth. Why would they not believe it?
Tricycle Theatre, 30 July 2005
An Israeli family member saw this play earlier in the week and thought it was good. So I really was taken by surprise at how offensive it actually was. This play is classic left-wing, moderately subtle, anti-Israel propaganda. The fact that it is based around food and cookery is irrelevant and purely pretentious, because it is actually a relentless diet of the simple "Palestinian = victim", Israeli = aggressor" message.
It is based around a number of characters relating their personal experiences of life during the intifadah. All the Arab characters are warm, wonderfully sympathetic and compassionate (who, as an aside, also cook or eat wonderful food that would be even better if only the nasty Israelis hadn't robbed them of their livelihoods). And of course the point is made very clearly that these Arabs and their families have been living on this land since the beginning of time. By contrast the first, and main, Jewish character is a stereotypical wealthy neurotic, thoroughly unpleasant, New York woman. She came to Israel 20 years ago when she says 'all Israeli food was disgusting Ashkenazi European fare like chopped liver and kishkas'. Note the implications here: Jews only came to Israel recently; they are all rich and neurotic. Moreover, not only was there no history of Jews in this land but they even had to bring with their disgusting European habits to pollute it. The only other Jews of note in the first half of the play are two appalling gay men lovers who know nothing about cooking even though they run a hip restaurant in Tel Aviv.
To give an example of the bias here one Arab man has recently got a job learning how to cook in a restaurant in Ramallah. This job was set up, so we are told, by a wonderful Arab Women's Organisation dedicated to alleviating hardship. The guy says that, until a month ago he was unemployed for nearly 4 years. Why? Because up until Sept 2000 he was working in a bar in Jaffa. But then "the radio brought news of Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount and the subsequent murder of Arab men, women and children". His Jewish bosses told him that he had to leave and "go back to the West Bank because we don't want any Arabs around here". When he got back to Ramallah he says he went to "help the emergency services saving Palestinians who were being shot by Israelis, but an Israeli shot him and smashed his arm to pieces". Hence he had be "helped by the very emergency services he was trying to help himself." Without the use of his arm, he could not get work. And of course "we receive not a penny in social services" etc.
So what about the Jewish Israeli victims? Well curiously there aren't any despite the first half of the play talking about two suicide bombs. The first was in a falafel restaurant whose owner (relating the story) could not understand why the restaurant was completely empty at a time when it should have been packed. Although nobody was in the restaurant a 16-year-old Arab boy walked in and blew himself up. The restaurant owner was aghast that this 'poor boy with his whole life in front of him should take his life in this way'. Note the bizarre distortion of reality here. You see the suicide bombers obviously don't want to kill anybody other then themselves, so they really are wonderful martyrs. The other suicide bombing is related by a Jewish woman who was buying her Passover shopping in a supermarket. Again miraculously nobody in the supermarket is injured because they are saved by a stack of toilet rolls that took the blast of the impact. In fact the only concern on the woman's mind is to return to get the shopping she had already paid for. So there you have it. Suicide bombings are not really such a bad thing after all.
I forgot: there was one Jewish victim. But of course this was at the hands of another Israeli Jew. The awful American woman tells us that her husband was knocked down by a lunatic Israeli driver 11 years ago. The Israeli police (note lacking any compassion) called her to tell her to get a taxi to the hospital.
During the interval we thought about leaving, but decided to stick it out. However, the second half opens with another wonderfully compassionate Arab woman relating the story of how Israelis shot up her house and killed children in the street, so at this point we decided to cut our losses and walk out.
So, I could of course have got it all wrong. Maybe the rest of the play told the story of some of the 90% of Arabs who strongly support suicide bombings of Israeli civilians. Maybe the play recounted some of the sermons broadcast on the Palestinian Authority TV calling for Arabs to kill Jews wherever they can find them. Maybe the play even focused on one of the relatives of the thousands of Israelis butchered for no reason other than that they were Jews. But somehow I doubt it....
Edgar, 30 July 2005
By TOM GROSS
"My Name is Rachel Thaler" is not the title of a play that is likely tobe produced anytime soon in London. Thaler, aged 16, was blown up at apizzeria in an Israeli shopping mall. She died after an 11-day strugglefor life following the February 16, 2002 attack, when a suicide bomberapproached a crowd of teenagers and blew himself up.
She was a British citizen, born in London, where her grandparents stilllive. Yet I doubt that anyone at London's Royal Court Theatre or mostpeople in the British media, have heard of her. "Not a single Britishjournalist has ever interviewed me or mentioned her death," her motherGinette told me last week.
Thaler's parents donated her organs for transplant (helping to save thelife of a young Russian man), and grieved quietly. After the accidentalkilling of Rachel Corrie, by contrast, her parents embarked on a majorpublicity campaign. They traveled to Ramallah to accept a plaque fromYasser Arafat on behalf of their daughter. They circulated her emailsand diary entries to a world media eager to publicize them. Among thosewho published extracts from them in 2003 was the influential Britishleftist daily The Guardian. This in turn inspired a new play, "My Nameis Rachel Corrie," which opened this month at the Royal Court Theatre,one of London most prestigious venues. (The New York Times recentlydescribed it as "the most important theatre in Europe.")
The play is co-edited and directed by Katharine Viner, the editor of TheGuardian's weekend magazine, and by film star Alan Rickman (of Die Hardand Harry Potter fame). Their script weaves together extracts fromCorrie's journals and e-mails. For those who don't recall the story,Rachel Corrie was a young American radical who burnt mock-American flagsat pro-Hamas rallies in Gaza in February 2003. A short while later shedied after jumping in front of an Israeli army bulldozer that wasattempting to demolish a structure suspected of concealing tunnels usedfor smuggling weapons.
Partly because of the efforts of Corrie and her fellow activists in theInternational Solidarity Movement (ISM), the Israeli army was unable tostop the flow of weapons through these tunnels. Those weapons were laterused to kill Israeli children in the town of Sderot in southern Israel,and elsewhere. However, in many hundreds of articles on Corrie publishedworldwide in the last two years, most papers have been careful to omitsuch details. So have Rickman and Viner, leaving almost all the criticswho have reviewed the play completely clueless about the background ofthe events with which it deals.
"Corrie was always a progressive with a conscience . she went to workwith the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza," wrote MichaelBillington in The Guardian last week, without a shred of explanation asto what the ISM actually is.
The ISM is routinely described as a "peace group" in the western media.Few make any mention of the ISM's meeting with the British suicidebombers Omar Khan Sharif and Assif Muhammad Hanif, who a few days laterblew up Mike's Place, a Tel Aviv pub, killing three and injuring dozens- including British citizens. Or of the ISM's sheltering in its officeof Shadi Sukia, a leading member of Islamic Jihad. Or of the fact thatin its mission statement, the ISM said "armed struggle" is a Palestinian"right." "'Israel' is an illegal entity that should not exist," wroteFlo Rosovski, the ISM "media co-ordinator," clarifying the ISM's idea ofpeace. Unfortunately for those who have sought to portray Corrie as apeaceful protester, photos of her burning a mock American flag andstirring up crowds in Gaza were published by the Associated Press and onYahoo News on February 15, 2003, before she died. But the play doesn'tmention this.
So British reviewers are left to tell the British public that the playis a "true-life tragedy" in which Corrie's "unselfish goodness shinesthrough" (Evening Standard).
"Corrie was murdered after joining a non-violent Palestinian resistanceorganization," writes Emma Gosnell in the Sunday Telegraph. ("Murdered"is a term that even Corrie's staunchest defenders have hesitated to useup tonow.)
Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph, talks of "Corrie's concern forsuffering humanity. ones leaves the theatre mourning not only RachelCorrie but also one's own loss of the idealism and reckless courage ofyouth." Not surprisingly, the play has also been praised on Al Jazeera'swebsite and in the Beirut Daily Star. In one of the most astonishingcomments, Michael Billington, the Guardian's critic, writes of the play:"The danger of right-on propaganda is avoided."
It is ironic to reflect that there have been several real victims of theIntifada called Rachel - and it is hard to believe that these criticshave ever heard of them. All these other Rachels died within a fewmonths of Corrie, but - unlike her - in circumstances that weren'tdisputed. They were deliberately murdered: Rachel Levy (17, blown up ina grocery store), Rachel Levi (19, shot while waiting for the bus),Rachel Gavish (killed with her husband, son and father while at homecelebrating a Passover meal), Rachel Charhi (blown up while sitting in aTel Aviv cafe, leaving three young children), Rachel Shabo (murderedwith her three sons aged 5, 13 and 16 while at home).Only one critic (Clive Davis in the Times of London) dismisses parts ofthe play as "unvarnished propaganda." At one point Corrie declares "thevast majority of Palestinians right now, as far as I can tell, areengaging in Gandhian non-violent resistance". As Davis notes, "Even thelate Yasser Arafat might have blushed at that one." Rachel Corrie'sdeath was undoubtedly tragic. But ultimately this play isn't reallyabout Corrie, but about fomenting hatred of Israel. The production isnow sold out and there is talk of it being staged in America. The RoyalCourt is also rushing out a printed edition of the play to give toschools.
(The writer is the former Jerusalem correspondent of The SundayTelegraph.)
Letter to Sky News re their claim that 'Israel has broken the middle east truce' (15 July 2005)
At approx 10.15pm on 15 July Sky News brought the story of Israel's attacks against Hamas 'militants' in Gaza. The newsreader then stated that 'this attack has broken the truce that has been in place since Februrary'. Was the newsreader not aware that Islamic Jihad had already broken the truce by mounting several suicide attacks inside Israel including one in Netanya as recently as Tuesday 12 July that killed 5 people (including two children) at a shopping mall? And that Hamas had broken the truce by mounting a barrage of Qasam missiles into Israel in the previous few days, including one which killed a 22-year-old woman sitting in the porch of her house in the Negev on Thursday evening?
The Israelis' pinpointed attack killed 6 Hamas terrorists who were in the process of carrying missiles to launch further attacks. An act of self-defence if ever there was one, not a 'breach of a truce'.
Perhaps the newsreader would not have made such an obvious error if Sky News had actually covered any of the previous attacks in any detail. In fact, even the Netanya suicide bombing failed to get a mention on Sky News throughout the whole of Tuesday evening (the attack happened at 4.00pm London time). For a 24-hour news channel this omission was truly remarkable.
Letter to the Sun in response to Anila Baig's article in the Sun (13 July 05)
Anila Baig ("All of us must pull together") in explaining the feelings of Muslims says "Feeling sorry for Palestinian orphans ... does not make us complicit in terror". Perhaps if Muslims also felt sorry for Israelis orphaned by the continual Palestinian suicide bombings (such as the two yesterday during a so-called 'truce') this might have more resonance. But they don't. And I have never heard a Muslim leader condemn the suicide bombings in Israel (or even Iraq) without also trying to justify it. It is time for Muslims to condemn terrorism without any 'buts'.
Complaint to the BBC (21 June 2005)
BBC World Service, News (10.00pm), 21 - 06 - 05
The leading item on the News stated that, according to Palestinians, the meeting between Israeli PM Sharon and Palestinian PM Abbas ended in disappointment. The report attributed this to 'the tense atmosphere... resulting from Israel's arrest earlier in the day of 50 Palestinian militants'. It is not clear why the BBC should regard only the Palestinian viewpoint as definitive, but this report was in any case seriously flawed since it failed to mention the string of deadly terrorist attacks on Israelis (and the attempted suicide bombing of an Israeli hospital) that immediately preceded the arrests of the terrorists . The BBC's failure to report the context of both the arrests and 'tense atmosphere' represents seriously anti-Israel bias and extremely poor and misinformed reporting.
Complaint to the BBC (20 June 05)
Today's BBC news on the Middle East fails to mention the two terrorist attacks in the last 24 hours that both resulted in loss of Israeli lives -- see the details, for example at:
Nor does the news contain any mention of the quite astonishing story of the female would-be suicide bomber who tried to repay the kindness of the Israelis who had been treating her at a Beersheba hospital by blowing them up. The full story can be found here:
Given that these (and many other similar) incidents of Palestinian terrorism are now taking place during a so-called truce I would have thought that it was imperative for the BBC to be reporting them. I would be interested to know why the BBC is keeping this information from its readers and viewers.