Saturday, August 29, 2009

When immaturity meets double standards: the Aftonbladet "scandal"

A few days ago the Swedish evening paper Aftonbladet published a story suggesting that Israeli soldiers harvested organs from Palestinian prisoners who died in captivity to sell them on the international transplant market. The fact that a country takes prisoners alive and returns dead bodies (this part of the story is not being denied) is itself a major human rights issue, but to Israelis and Zionists worldwide the apparent outrage was the suggestion that their organs were severed for money, which was called, you know, a blood libel.

From a journalistic viewpoint, the story is, to use a euphemism, a piece of crap. But does it warrant the torrent of invectives hurled at it by all and sundry on the Zionist camp? Logic dictates that nonsensical stories should be dismissed. But feigning scandal and claiming Jewish victimhood is very convenient to some (in fact, in some cases it's also a profitable business), so that these professional sufferers have been busy blowing the incident out of all proportion. Foremost among them, the government of Israel, which has asked its Swedish counterpart to condemn Aftonbladet -- which it apparently won't do.

The best way to see the hypocrisy and double standards involved in the scandalization of this irrelevant instance of faulty journalism is to make a couple of comparisons:

Comparison #1: Foreign stories about Israel vs. Israeli stories about foreign countries

It's not like the Israeli press is free from unwarranted demonization of other peoples and countries. For instance, Israeli newspapers are rife with incitement against the Nordic countries, which have been widely described as bastions of antisemitism.

On 30 March 2009, for instance, The Jerusalem Post published an online article under the title "Norway: Increased anti-Semitism has local Jews anxious", which, among other things, reported on an anti-Israel demonstration that took place in Oslo the day before, making the egregious claim that Norway's Finance Minister, Kristin Halvorsen, had marched with the protesters shouting antisemitic slogans. In their words (preserved here):

During the [January 2009 Gaza] war, Olso [Sic!] was fraught with violent anti-Israel demonstrations. Numerous government officials decried Israel’s actions in Gaza – including Minister of Finance Kristin Halvorsen, who led a march shouting, “Death to the Jews!”
In other words, the JPost accused Halvorsen not only of being an antisemite, but also of being unredeemably stupid, to the point of freely expressing her hate at a demonstration that she knew was being filmed. In the Post's defense it must be said that in Israel it is normal for politicians to exhibit precisely that kind of stupidity.

The reaction of the Norwegian government was the only admissible one from a self-respecting authority.


Not a single step was taken by Norway's PM to infringe on the JPost's freedom of speech.

Halvorsen's Socialist Left party, however, did react. But what did they do? Ask the Israeli government to condemn The Jerusalem Post? Call for a boycott of Israeli journalists? No; they simply issued a press release:

Kristin Halvorsen participated in a demonstration for peace in Gaza on January 8th this year. There were no anti-Jewish slogans during the event what so ever, as The Jerusalem Post alleges.

There were appeals for inter-religious coexistence and peace, calling on Israel to stop the war on Gaza. The demonstration lasted for about an hour, and was a dignified and peaceful event.

A splinter-group continued a march towards the Israeli embassy afterwards. This was not a part of the official demonstration, and Kristin Halvorsen did not join this rally. She publicly denounced the violent outbreak that occurred in the aftermath of the peace demonstration.

In the face of which... The JPost retracted the story.

Well, not quite. They took it down from the web. A very bad journalistic practice, if you ask me: if you fucked it up, you must own up to your mistake.

When the Norwegian press did a search for the JPost's sources, it turned out that it was simply an attention-seeking Norwegian Jew who told a story of a nonexistent antisemitism to satisfy his ego. The JPost was left with no other option than to acknowledge the blunder, which it did in a convoluted way, putting the full blame on the deceitful Norwegian who had taken them in.

None of the Israeli politicians or Zionist bloggers now decrying Aftonbladet's bad standards said anything about the Jerusalem Post in the wake of this gaffe. Much less did the Israeli PM apologize to Norway or condemn the canard-telling paper, as he's now requesting from the Swedes.

Comparison #2: Blood libels against Israel vs. Israeli blood libels against others

Since Israelis seem so sensitive to what they call blood libels, they should also be outraged when these are used by other Israelis against certain groups.

Not so. On 19 February 2008, Shlomo Benizri, a Member of Knesset, stated that homosexual behavior caused earthquakes:

Mr Benizri made his comments while addressing a committee of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, about the country's readiness for earthquakes.

He called on lawmakers to stop "passing legislation on how to encourage homosexual activity in the state of Israel, which anyway brings about earthquakes".

Trust me; while a few Zionist bloggers did make token protest statements, not a single one stated that Israel was a gay-unfriendly country because a gay-hater was allowed to serve in the Knesset. (Benizri was eventually jailed -- on swindling charges.)

Another example. On 11 April 2008, Haaretz published a story about a strange Jewish sect, led by one Elior Cher, that had abused small children, among other things by pushing them against burning-hot heaters, in an apparent attempt at exorcism. Haaretz's journalist had no better idea than to consult rabbi David Batzri, a well-known anti-Arab racist, on the issue. Batzri:

To me it sounds like complete paganism, like sacrificing children to Moloch. This is a religious rite that does not exist in Judaism. There isn't any religious rite because there aren't any such things in the Jewish kabbala, not even in applied kabbala, which is forbidden. This is exactly how children are sacrificed to Moloch. Only in Christianity and in pagan religions is there a concept like that - to pass a child over a fiery oven so he will burn.

See, this is plain blood libel against the Christians. Not, however, to Israeli politicians or Zionist bloggers, who said nothing despite this story being as prominent as, well, Aftonbladet's organ-harvesting article.

Comparison #3: Zionist blogger reactions vs. Nordic blogger reactions

A Zionist blogger after the
alleged Aftonbladet blood libel:

Have a look at this face:That's Jan Helin [Aftonbladet's editor in chief], and he's an antisemite. He's not even a particularly interesting antisemite, with some novel angle that gives you pause or forces you grudgingly to recognize his intellectual innovation. This fellow, he just regurgitates stale old canards and lots of very worn clischees. (...) [Sweden is] a society that is saturated with hatred of Jews.

Don't know what clischees are (maybe clichés in Swedish)?

A Norwegian blogger after the Jerusalem Post canard:

The Norwegian media and public see the Jerusalem Post’s articles as an attempt at waging some sort of propaganda war on Norway, but I suspect it’s all to do with something far more simple, less dramatic: An editor’s urge to boost reader/traffic figures. We see it happen up here, too, on a daily basis. Which is not to say that the Israeli’s disappointment is hard to understand.

It could easily be explained by Norway’s pro Israel traditions. Sudden criticism from a long-time friend may be hard to take. It certainly explains most Norwegians’ disappointment in, and reactions to, Israel’s warfare methods.

What I see here is a mature Norwegian blogger who finds clearly rational explanations pointing to sensationalist journalism instead of putting forward obtuse conspiracy theories.

And an immature Israeli blogger who believes that an utterly irrelevant piece of yellow-press journalism is an example of the indelible Nordic antisemitism.

Or pretends to believe so, anyway.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Say "no" to the boycott

Of the Swedish furniture retailer IKEA.

According to Haaretz, on Sunday alone over 4,600 Israelis signed an online petition to boycott IKEA in the wake of a controversial article published in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet that suggested that Israeli soldiers "harvested" the organs of Palestinians (more on which in an upcoming post).

Let's see: in a number of countries, certain people (myself not included, for the record) are refusing to buy Israeli goods on the grounds that Israel's army killed 1,300 people, including 3oo children, in Gaza. The idea being that hitting the country's economy might pressure the Israeli citizenry into telling their government not to kill Palestinians so liberally.

Zionists have called this boycott antisemitic.

The logic behind the boycott of IKEA is somewhat more difficult to grasp.
Newspapers, as different from armies, don't represent whole countries. And there's no business link between the furniture chain and the evening daily. Hitting one will have no effect on the other. The only reason IKEA is targetted is because it's a Swedish company and they're doing business in Israel. I.e., a logic that all Swedes are responsible for all other Swedes' individual behavior is being applied.

Of course, Zionists will now furiously publish posts on their blogs to slam this boycott calling it what it is: anti-Sweditic.

Of course.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jordan and the Jews: Another lie Dershowitz told you

There will always be a market for books that explain complicated things, be it astronomy or Middle East politics, to laypeople who don't have much time to read. Some of the authors of those books, like Carl Sagan or Isaac Asimov, are serious writers. Some others, like Alan Dershowitz, are charlatans.

The problem is that because of Dershowitz's high profile, his bogus scholarship tends to go viral. Once he tells a lie, you can bet your monthly wage that web searches for that lie will yield a million hits in a matter of days.

Case in point, the Jordanian citizenship fable. As you have read time and again from a myriad commenters on the blogs and even from experienced journalists, "Jews are not allowed to be citizens of Jordan." The origin of this picturesque, but utterly wrong, notion can be traced back to Dershowitz's 2003 article The case against Jordan, a compendium of invectives against the Hashemite kingdom that sought (for a change) to apologize for Israel by comparison. In it, Dershowitz made the following astonishing claim:

Jordan has a law on its books explicitly prohibiting any Jew from becoming a citizen, or any Jordanian from selling land to a Jew.

Before we analyze the origin of this myth, let's hear the opinion of people just marginally more qualified than Alan Dershowitz to talk about human rights in Jordan (or elsewhere) -- the US's Department of State. In their 2006 International Religious Freedom Report, they had this to say:

The Government recognizes Judaism as a religion; however there are reportedly no Jordanian citizens who are Jewish. The Government does not impose restrictions on Jews, and they are permitted to own property and conduct business in the country.
So that the claim is a plain and simple lie.

However, and like most Dershowitz lies, this is one that is fabricated from an originally true fact, which was then twisted, distorted and magnified until it became a falsity. Jordan's Nationality Law includes the following clauses (Article 3):

The following shall be deemed to be Jordanian nationals:

(1)Any person who has acquired Jordanian nationality or a Jordanian passport under the Jordanian Nationality Law, 1928, as amended, Law No. 6 of 1954 or this Law;

(2)Any person who, not being Jewish, possessed Palestinian nationality before 15 May 1948 and was a regular resident in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan between 20 December 1949 and 16 February 1954;

(3)Any person whose father holds Jordanian nationality; (...)
As can be seen, there exists a restriction on SOME Jews (not on ANY Jew), namely the Jewish population that was involved in the Jewish-Arab conflict of 1948. These Jews (who, let's not forget, had a foreign nationality) were treated as members of an enemy belligerent faction and were thus denied citizenship by origin.

Unfair? Sure. Unique? By no means. Countries involved in conflicts usually go hysterical and tend to single out populations for discriminatory treatment. The US interned American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II. Perhaps more relevantly, Israel has laws that allow the foreign husband of an Israeli woman to become a resident of Israel except if he is a Palestinian from the occupied territories.

More to the point, however, the Jordanian law does not exclude Jews (even pre-1948 Palestinian citizens) from applying for naturalization. For instance, article 12 of the above-cited law says:

Any person other than a Jordanian who is not incapable by law may apply to the Council of Ministers for grant of a certificate of Jordanian naturalization if:

(1)He has been regularly resident in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for a period of four years preceding the date of his application;

(2)He intends to reside in the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan.

Article 4, for its part, states:

Any Arab who has resided continuously in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for not less than 15 years may acquire Jordanian nationality (...).

Where an Arab is a citizen of an Arab country -- for instance, a Moroccan Jew. No restrictions based on religion are made in either article.

In other words, a restriction on certain Jews who had been involved in an Arab-Jewish conflict, which is very similar to other comparable restrictions put into effect by advanced countries, was extrapolated by Dershowitz's dialectical magic wand to become a hateful ban on all Jews, which, presumably, would justify, for example, the Israeli settlers' brutal clubbing of elderly Palestinians. And once the lie was let loose, Zionists cut-and-pasted it with abandon.

So that, for the record: Jews can be citizens of Jordan. And they can own property there. The Department of State sez. It's official.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

With Nazis like these, who needs Jew-lovers?

I recall when extremist Israeli rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe said that Ehud Olmert had to be hanged because he collaborated with the Nazis in the Palestinian Authority (by giving them weapons for their policemen). Members of Knesset were indignant -- because he had called for the murder of a Prime Minister, not because he had called the Palestinians Nazis.

Actually, one doesn't see too many Zionists protesting the outrageous misuse of Nazi analogies to describe the people downtrodden by Israel. Quite on the contrary, an army of pundits and pseudo-scholars (yes, I mean Alan Dershowitz among others) have been busy all these years waving the photo of the unelected Mufti of Jerusalem with Adolph Hitler, and claiming that the whole Palestinian nationalist movement stems from a sick desire to kill Jews.

So what do you make of the following story?

Jerusalem-born Jew elected to Fatah Revolutionary Council

The official list published Saturday of winners in elections to the Revolutionary Council of the Palestinian Fatah movement included 67-year-old Dr. Uri Davis, a Jerusalem-born Jew.

He was the first Jew to become a member of the Revolutionary Council since it was established in 1958.

Davis, who in the 1980s abandoned his Israeli citizenship in protest over Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and later received Palestinian citizenship, was the only non-Arab to run for a seat in the Revolutionary Council, Fatah's legislative body.


Speaking perfect Arabic, he teaches Jewish studies at the Palestinian al-Quds University in Abu Dis, located just outside an eight-meter high concrete wall Israel has built around occupied East Jerusalem to separate it from its West Bank environs.

The problem with using loaded words for accusing people is that the more loaded the word, the easier it is to find counterexamples. If you call a guy a Nazi, you must prove he's never been friends with a Jew, because Nazism is a visceral hatred of Jews which allows for no exceptions. And the Palestinians have proved not only that they can accept a Jew living among them and teaching in their universities, but also that they can elect him to a position in the Revolutionary Council of their main party.

Of course, many will say now that Davis is a sell-out Jew, a self-hating Jew. That may be so, I never asked him about his self-attitude -- but he's still a Jew. And how many Jews, even self-hating ones, were ever there in the Nazi Party leadership?

Or, for that matter, how many Israeli Muslims, even self-hating Muslims, are there in the Likud Central Committee?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

When the defense of Israel isn't anti-Gentilism

Of course, not all staunch supporters of Israel are anti-Gentiles. That said, there exists an extreme kind of defense of Israel that has no other explanation than the deep hatred of Gentiles habrored by certain Zionists (including Gentile Zionists, who are thus self-hating Gentiles). So how can we tell when the defense of Israel is legitimate and when it is simply the product of anti-Gentilism? The following criteria may help the reader.

The defense of Israel is anti-Gentile:

1. When it's based on conspiracy theories or fantastic tales of boundless Arab power. Examples: The press and the left are strongholds of antisemitism; Prince Bandar did as he pleased with Pres. Bush; the Muslims are slowly taking over Europe and tilting it against Israel; Israeli Arabs want to marry Palestinians from the territories to quietly become a majority; Bedouin men seek to corrupt young Jewish girls. All the world is against the Jews and that's why Israel must be defended.

2. When it plays down any indication that Jews exercise any kind of power. Examples: Jewish American millionaires' contributions to the construction of settlements are "symbolic" amounts; there's no Jewish lobby in the United States, and if there's one it's completely toothless; Jewish screenwriters played no role in the production of anti-Arab racist films; AIPAC is just another lobby, like the garbanzo-bean producers' lobby, and all those Congresspeople, Secretaries of State and presidential candidates who go to AIPAC meetings do so because they like kasher food.

3. When the defense is total and unconditional. If the Israel Defense Forces don't beat Palestinian prisoners, they're the most moral army in the world. If they are filmed beating Palestinian prisoners, on the other hand, they're also the most moral army in the world because the incident will be investigated. No matter what wrong Israel does, anti-Gentile defenders of the country will turn it into further proof of the Jewish State's righteousness.

4. When barely humanitarian behavior is presented as extraordinary. When Israel drops leaflets announcing it will bomb civilian places (just like those human-rights paragons, the Russians, did in Grozny), its soldiers are said to be risking their lives because they're telling their enemies when they will strike (no mention that they'll do so from the safety of their tanks, planes and choppers). When Israel allows rice to be imported into Gaza (but not livestock or vegetables), it's shown as proof of its great concern for Gazan children, who are not allowed to die from starvation (no mention that they'll suffer malnourishment). When taxes paid by the Palestinians, but collected by Israel, are transferred to the Gaza government it's considered to be a display of generosity rather than the belated fulfillment of a signed obligation.

5. When different standards are applied to Israel and to its adversaries. The Hamas Charter, which calls for the elimination of the State of Israel, is considered to be binding for all Palestinians (even if the overwhelming majority of them don't live under Hamas) and must be changed before negotiations can even start. The Likud Charter, which forbids the creation of a Palestinian state, is, on the other hand, considered "mere sabre rattling," and there's no need to change it. When an unknown Palestinian journalist says that Israel handed out aphrodisiac gum to Gazans in order to weaken them, it's the hate of a sick society vented; when a Jewish Member of Knesset asserts that gays cause earthquakes, it's freedom of speech exercised.

6. When Israel is judged by its best representatives, and the Palestinians by their worst elements. Israel is Tzipi Livni, not Moshe Feiglin or the rabbi who called for the murder of 1 million Gazans; the Palestinians are the imam who called Jews apes and pigs, not Sari Nusseibi or Salim Fayyad.

A defender of Israel is anti-Gentile when he or she combines most or all of these features in their discourse.

Defenses of Israel that don't exhibit these symptoms, on the other hand, are legitimate.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Jewish terrorism: debunking yet another claim

I was appalled to read this post over at the otherwise excellent Mondoweiss. In it Phil Weiss describes an exchange he had with a PR expert:

Susie Kneedler tells me that an ad on National Public Radio for today’s "All Things Considered" teases a story by saying that "Jewish terrorists of 1947 were the first terrorists of the modern era." Or words to that effect. Huh. I brought this up with pr pro Marion Dreyfus the other night at a party. "But they warned the people," she said of the Irgun blowing up the King David Hotel in ‘46 (...).The Arabs never do that, said she.

What's Phil's response to that?

Does a flimsy warning excuse killing 91 people? Was Arlosoroff warned before Revisionists murdered him on the beach in Tel Aviv in ‘33 after he’d made the mistake of speaking about living with the Palestinians? Was Rabin warned before a rightwing nut shot him?

And I was appalled because I see that Zionists continue to succeed in restricting discussion of Jewish terrorism to the King David Hotel incident (plus a few isolated instances of Jew-on-Jew terror that can be easily dismissed as political violence). They use the warnings given (although there's no evidence whatsoever that they reached the British officers at the hotel) to draw a line between Jewish terrorism, which announced its strikes in advance so that civilians wouldn't die, and Arab terrorism, which only seeks to kill innocents.

So this is the Jewish terrorists gave warnings claim; how to debunk it? Once again, the Palestine Post (today's Jerusalem Post) archives come in handy. Here's the cover from 30 Dec 1947 (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE):

Notice the following story:

It reads:

Bomb at Damascus Gate kills 15 Arabs
A bomb attack at Damascus gate at 12.40 yesterday morning resulted in the deaths of 15 Arabs and injuries to about 50 more. (...) Riding in a green taxi, three Jews --two of them reportedly wearing tarbushes-- dashed past the Arab National Guard at the New Gate, continued down Suleiman's Way and tossed out a bomb near the bus station. The streets, crowded with Arabs waiting for buses to all parts of the country, were turned into a shambles.

Further, here's the cover from 20 Jun 1939 (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE):

The most prominent story reads:

49 Arab casualties in Haifa explosion
18 killed outright

Haifa, Monday.- A terrific explosion, the second this year and occuring within a few feet of the spot of the earlier one, claimed nearly 50 killed and wounded here this morning. Shortly after 6 o'clock a huge bomb, apparently time-set, exploded near the Paris Café, facing the Central Police Station, in the Arab market quarter.

So do Jews tossing a bomb from a taxi at a bus station at rush hour so that civilian victims will be maximized look like a "warnings were given" situation? And is there any evidence that the bombing of the Haifa market quarter was previously announced by the terrorists?

Education, education, education. The world needs to learn more about when Jews committed atrocities very similar to the Palestinians' (now they commit atrocities that are different from the Palis'). But how do we expect to expose the Zionists when not even the antis are aware of the scope and bestiality of Jewish terrorism?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ETA —and anti-Euskarism— strike again

We have already talked about anti-Euskarism, the irrational hatred of Basques. Last week's events prove that, at least in my country, anti-Euskarism is alive and well. Look at the cover of La Nación, one of Buenos Aires' leading dailies, from July 31:

As you can see, the most prominent headline on the cover reads, "Horror in Spain over new ETA strike." From the space devoted to the incident, you would think that hundreds of innocent civilians died in the Basque guerrilla's attack.

Actually, two armed Spanish policemen were killed in the bombing. Now while one condemns all forms of violence, it must also be said that this ETA attack pales beside other far more horrific violent actions that take place every day around the world.

Consider, for instance, the case of Egypt. On the same day in which La Nación found it fitting to report Basque, and only Basque, violence, around 4,000 Egyptian girls were victims of Female Genital Mutilation. Not only were these girls deprived of sexual pleasure forever, but some 1% of them will die due to infection caught during the procedure. Yet despite this slow holocaust inflicted on women for the sole crime of having the wrong gender, La Nación chose not to say anything about it on July 31.

Or, for example, Algeria. On July 30, 20 soldiers were killed and 7 wounded in a terror attack in the northeast of the country. That's ten times as many victims as in ETA's strike on the same day. La Nación's coverage? None at all. It looks like there's no need to report terrorism when Basques can't be blamed for it.

Lest anyone argue that we are only concerned with Islamic violence, let's turn to Christian terror. On Christmas of 2008, the Lord's Resistance Army, a Christian terrorist group in Africa, killed 45 people in a Congo church. You would search La Nación in vain for a single mention of the massacre.

In its inner pages, the daily devotes two lengthy articles to discussing ETA's irrationality. And it's not alone in its anti-Euskarism: today's Clarín (the other leading Buenos Aires newspaper) runs an editorial urging the Basques to drop the use of violence to achieve their national aspirations. Of course, the daily doesn't offer any alternative or explain how else the Basques could fight Spanish oppression of their country if a referendum on independence is constitutionally prohibited. And it definitely does not run an editorial scolding the Algerian terrorists.

In case someone hasn't gotten my point (and I know many a conceited Zionist who's too busy defending the indefensible to understand irony and grasp double sense):

It's not about Israel.

It's not about the Jews.

It's about Countries & Conflicts That People Know About.

Get over it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What kind of monsters would use their own babies as human shields?

Ultra-Orthodox Jews:

Police arrested 15 ultra-Orthodox Jews on Saturday during clashes that erupted after Haredim broke into a parking lot in Jerusalem, in the latest protest against the opening of the site on Shabbat. (...)

About 150 protestors managed to force their way into the site, despite efforts by police to prevent their entry.

Police subsequently threatened to forcibly remove the Haredi and bring a vehicle with a water cannon to the scene. At this point, a woman holding a baby joined the men demonstrating, in order to prevent police from making good on their threat.

What I don't understand is why the police didn't water-cannon the demonstrators all the same. Of course, the baby could have been hurt or even killed. But he would only have had his mother to blame, right? What is good for the Gaza is good for ... or how was it?