A man and a woman have been remanded into custody by Attunda district court in Sollentuna on suspicion of having subjected their daughter to female genital mutilation (FGM).The couple who are both in their 30s are suspected of having allowed the procedure to be carried out on their 3-year-old sometime between January and April 2012 in either Sweden or Gambia.
Child Abuse Arrests Involving the Jordanian Paralympic Team
Three men associated with the Jordanian Paralympic squad were arrested in Northern Ireland on Monday the 20th of August 2012, following allegations of sexual assault on several women and children. The team is staying in County Antrim, leading up to the Paralympics in London next week.
The story of the arrest seems to have first appeared rather late the following day. Initially the reports only stated that it involved three women.
However, reports the day after (Wednesday the 22nd) now state that two of the three men have been charged with sexual offences involving children, one man exclusively so:
A 23-year-old-man was charged with two counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of sexual assault against a woman and voyeurism.
A 35-year-old man was charged with two counts of causing sexual activity with a child.
The third man charged, a 36-year-old, faces one count of sexual assault against a woman.
A Google search reveals that the story hasn’t made it around the world, with the exception of a few US reports, and a short report in Ynet.
Considering the serious nature of the story, as well as its international dimension, it is odd how muted the reporting has been, especially in the UK and Ireland. For example, the initial report on Tuesday evening disappeared from the state broadcaster RTE’s teletext service after a relatively short period of time, and after having been given a very low news ranking (number 14 or 15 out of 16 listed stories). It has been given a similarly low ranking today (a drop from number 13 to 16 before again disappearing from the listings in the early afternoon), which is odd considering the revelation that the story involves children.
Could it be another example of the media’s fear of anything highly controversial that could be linked with Muslims, as illustrated by the obfuscatory British media reports that continually substituted the word “Muslim” with “Asian”? It is difficult to say with any certainty but the muted media reaction is very odd to say the least.
Additional information has since emerged after a court hearing in Londonderry earlier today. The three accused have been granted bail. They are:
Powerlifter Omar Sami Qaradhi, 31, has been charged with three counts of sexual assault, two of them against children, and one count of voyeurism.
His fellow powerlifter Motaz Al-Junaidi, 45, faces one charge of sexual assault against a woman.
Trainer Faisal Hammash, 35, has been charged with two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
The story seems to have gained greater attention from the mainstream media, perhaps after the court heard that King Abdullah had taken an interest in the case, perhaps due to its potential for embarrassment:
The king of Jordan is taking a personal interest in the case of three members of his country's Paralympic team accused of sex offences during pre-Games training in Northern Ireland, a court has heard.
The Arab administration promised to bring the men back before the court in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, if bail was granted, district judge Richard Wilson was told. […]
A representative of the Jordanian government, counsellor Rulan Samara from the London embassy, told the court: "His majesty the King of Jordan (King Abdullah the Second) was inquiring about the matter and was asking about all the details."
The Israeli Embassy, situated in Dublin, was hit by a hoaxed bomb alert yesterday, which led to the Irish Army’s bomb disposal squad attending the scene. It may have links with three additional bomb alerts during the same day, in residential areas of the country. One of these alerts being another hoax, and the other two alerts featuring viable devices or bomb components.
There have been very frequent reports in the Irish media concerning the appearance of (presumably primitive) explosive devices in recent years. The source(s) of these devices remains unclear as the media reports are notably vague. It may be non-political criminal gangs and/or Irish republican groups, which in Ireland are typically of a hard-leftist political persuasion.
Until now the Israeli Embassy appears not to have been a target of these incidents, although it has been the target of bomb/chemical hoaxes in the past.
The Israeli Embassy is subject to weekly pro-Palestinian demonstrations, and continuous demands to have the Ambassador expelled. Attempts in recent years to control or take the Embassy over have also been made by left-wing politicians and activists, such as Richard Boyd-Barrett.
Educational Reform In The Islamic Republic Of Iran
From The Telegraph:
Aug. 20, 2012
Anger as Iran bans women from universities
Female students in Iran have been barred from more than 70 university degree courses in an officially-approved act of sex-discrimination which critics say is aimed at defeating the fight for equal women's rights.
By Robert Tait
In a move that has prompted a demand for a UN investigation byIran's most celebrated human rights campaigner, the Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, 36 universities have announced that 77 BA and BSc courses in the coming academic year will be "single gender" and effectively exclusive to men.
It follows years in which Iranian women students have outperformed men, a trend at odds with the traditional male-dominated outlook of the country's religious leaders. Women outnumbered men by three to two in passing this year's university entrance exam.
Senior clerics in Iran's theocratic regime have become concerned about the social side-effects of rising educational standards among women, including declining birth and marriage rates.
Under the new policy, women undergraduates will be excluded from a broad range of studies in some of the country's leading institutions, including English literature, English translation, hotel management, archaeology, nuclear physics, computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering and business management.
The Oil Industry University, which has several campuses across the country, says it will no longer accept female students at all, citing a lack of employer demand. Isfahan University provided a similar rationale for excluding women from its mining engineering degree, claiming 98% of female graduates ended up jobless.
Writing to Ban Ki Moon, the UN secretary general, and Navi Pillay, the high commissioner for human rights, Mrs Ebadi, a human rights lawyer exiled in the UK, said the real agenda was to reduce the proportion of female students to below 50% – from around 65% at present – thereby weakening the Iranian feminist movement in its campaign against discriminatory Islamic laws.
"[It] is part of the recent policy of the Islamic Republic, which tries to return women to the private domain inside the home as it cannot tolerate their passionate presence in the public arena," says the letter, which was also sent to Ahmad Shaheed, the UN's special rapporteur for human rights in Iran. "The aim is that women will give up their opposition and demands for their own rights."
The new policy has also been criticised by Iranian parliamentarians, who summoned the deputy science and higher education minister to explain.
However, the science and higher education minister, Kamran Daneshjoo, dismissed the controversy, saying that 90% of degrees remain open to both sexes and that single-gender courses were needed to create "balance".
Iran has highest ratio of female to male undergraduates in the world, according to UNESCO. Female students have become prominent in traditionally male-dominated courses like applied physics and some engineering disciplines.
Sociologists have credited women's growing academic success to the increased willingness of religiously-conservative families to send their daughters to university after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The relative decline in the male student population has been attributed to the desire of young Iranian men to "get rich quick" without going to university.
Irresponsible politicians, and press go on rampage
By ISI LEIBLER
Candidly Speaking: In recent weeks, the ugly side of Israeli public life has been on display with irresponsible politicians, supported by the sensationalist media, engaging in cheap demagoguery in relation to the Iranian nuclear threat.
In recent weeks, the ugly side of Israeli public life has been on display with irresponsible politicians, supported by the sensationalist media, engaging in cheap demagoguery in relation to the Iranian nuclear threat.
Yet simultaneously, in the course of one week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that “Israel is a malignant cancer” and that “the black stain of Zionism must be removed,” Ayatollah Khomeini stated that “Israel will disappear from the map” and a prominent Iranian general proclaimed that “Israel must be destroyed forever.” In the light of such incitement, to deny that a nuclear Iran represents an existential threat to Israel is to deny reality.
Mutual Assured Deterrence (MAD), which prevented a nuclear conflict between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, is inapplicable today. A messianic Islamic leadership convinced that by “nuking” Israel it will expedite the coming of the Mahdi and obtain heavenly rewards for its adherents is unlikely to be deterred out of fear that its people would also be incinerated.
While it is on the front line, this is far from being an exclusively Israeli problem.
A nuclear Iran will alter the balance of power in the Middle East with potentially disastrous implications for global stability, and as US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned, would pose an enormous threat to the US and the rest of the world.
Netanyahu’s campaign has certainly obliged the United States and Western countries to confront the nightmare that would ensue should Iran emerge as the dominant regional nuclear power. But I do not believe that he is simply bluffing about an independent Israeli strike.
So far, although US sanctions have impacted on the Iranian economy, with China, India and Japan continuing to trade, the Iranians seem determined to press on. I avoid adopting a public position on how I believe Israel should respond because I lack access to the intelligence to enable an evaluation of Ehud Barak’s “zone of immunity” or assess the odds of a successful solo Israeli military offensive to destroy or delay the Iranian bomb.
The decision on the timing or whether or not to take military action will not be determined by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu alone but by a majority of the security cabinet, which comprises a cross-section of responsible leaders reflecting the broad political mainstream. I have confidence in their integrity and ability to make a rational decision on what they consider will best serve the interests of the nation. It is absurd to suggest that such policies should be determined by engaging public opinion.
We all recognize that a military operation spearheaded by the US would be far more effective than Israel going it alone. Many of us wish we could rely on President Barack Obama’s vague undertakings that the US will ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear power. However, when we review the track record of third parties who pledged to stand by us in times of need, it would be a somewhat foolhardy gamble to rely exclusively on broad US undertakings in relation to such a crucial issue for our future.
Besides, the US hardly has a great success rate with regard to preventing rogue states like North Korea from developing weapons of mass destruction. That applies especially to Obama, who is not renowned for taking tough global military decisions and continues to defer to the dysfunctional Islamic- and rogue-dominated UN. Nor for that matter to Mitt Romney, who, if elected, may also hesitate to inaugurate his term with a major military confrontation which may have severe ramifications for the global economy.
While the negative statements issued by US spokesmen in recent weeks could be highly sophisticated examples of disinformation, it is more likely that they reflect the reality that nothing has yet been resolved. Of course, when Obama meets Netanyahu in the fall, he could persuade him to suspend independent action by convincing him that a US military option is credible and committed to a timeline for acting in the absence of any diplomatic breakthrough with the mullahs.
Failing any progress, our government is now preparing the Israeli public for the possibility that Israel will be obliged to act independently. Yet unlike previous occasions when there was little public debate prior to Israel taking unilateral military action, today we have a surfeit of politicians afflicted with flapping gums, babbling away, creating confusion and undermining unity and confidence on the home front.
The most recent outburst was from President Shimon Peres, who until now had appeared to have set aside his days as a politician and committed to acting as a responsible president. Now, the man who sought to undermine Begin for taking out Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor, who predicted a “New Middle East” after the Oslo Accords and supported the disastrous 2005 unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, is demanding that Israel not “attack Iran alone.” Such a statement contradicting government policy is totally beyond the jurisdiction of a president.
The hysterical personal attacks on Netanyahu by Opposition Leader Shaul Mofaz were simply mind-boggling. He ranted that Netanyahu was “playing a dangerous and irresponsible game with the future of the entire nation.” He accused Netanyahu of promoting war in order to influence the outcome of the US presidential elections, asking “why are you putting your hands deep in the American ballot boxes” and “endangering the future of our children.” So much for a responsible opposition!
In a similar vein, discredited former prime minister Ehud Olmert, the architect of the failed Second Lebanon War, insisted that “Iran is far from the point of no return in terms of its nuclear project” and expressed “alarm” at the “great public damage” Netanyahu’s warlike policies were inflicting on Israel, which “disgusted us.”
Aside from Yisrael Hayom, the Hebrew media also went overboard. Haaretz, and even more so Yediot Aharonot and the major TV stations assailed Netanyahu’s “irresponsibility” and even accused him of seeking to go to war with Iran in order to divert attention from social issues. The journalists are not privy to intelligence or inside information, yet they run scare stories on the home front and attempt to create panic. Haaretz even published an article headlined “Mr. Netanyahu, before you bomb Iran, say goodbye to everyone you know.”
The hysteria widened, with retired IDF chiefs of staff and former intelligence heads joining the fray, hinting that the prime minister would be accountable to a Commission of Inquiry if military operations failed.
There were bizarre demonstrations against military action. Artists Gila Almagor and Achinoam Nini promoted anti-war petitions. There was even a seditious petition from 400 academics, including a former head of Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Law, calling on pilots to refuse to obey orders to bomb Iran.
Yet notwithstanding this hysteria, Israelis remain calm. Some update their gas masks and check their shelters, but overall life goes on and there is no panic. Because Israelis today are reasonably confident that our leaders will decide what is best for the nation and recognize that if necessary we must confront those who seek our demise.
The employment of "filthy bacteria" by Iran's Ahmadinejad can be compared not only to the imagery, with murderous consequences, of the Nazis, but to the standard Arab metaphor for Israel. It is a "cancer." Now one does not merely shrink the size of a cancer, and allow it to remain. One excises it, removes it, altogether --sometimes by first shrinking it, and then removing what fails to disappear entirely, sometimes by simply cutting the whole thing out.
By their metaphors shall ye know them. And that "cancer" metaphor for Israel (like Ahmadinejad's Der-Stuermer- like "filthy bacteria") is telling. An Infidel nation-state interrupts the smooth flow of the Dar al-Islam. If Arab Muslims actually had the slightest bit of real "tolerance" in the Western sense, they would first come to understand that in the vast areas of the Middle East and North Africa, others besides themselves -- both non-Muslims such as the Jews now in-gathered into their historic homeland which they managed to rebuild with no natural resources and, until the last few decades, almost no aid save what co-religionists sent, but also Christians (the Copts who are the descendants of the original inhabitants of Egypt who managed to reject islamization), the Maronites in the Lebanon, the Chaldo-Assyrians, and smaller groups), and non-Arab Muslims (the Kurds, the Berbers). They have a chance to redeem themselves from the charge that Islam treats non-Muslims only as inferiors, allowed to avoid the other alternatives (death or conversion) only by submitting to the status of dhimmi, by accepting the Infidel nation-state of Israel, and not with treacherous intent, not trying merely to win its trust so as to inveigle it, and its Western supporters, to get it to be diminished even further in size, with no control over invasion routes, or aquifers, and then to renew the pressure until daily life in Israel becomes so intolerable, so perilous, that there will be an out-migration and a weakening within, and the Arabs can go in for the kill. And the same could be said for full-throated Arab Muslim acceptance of the Maronites and their claims in Lebanon, and in Egypt, this could lead to an end to the intolerable treatment of the Copts (many of whom, while in Egypt, find themselves forced to internalize, and promote, the Arab Muslim view of the world, but once safely outside, they permit themselves the mental freedom to see things differently). In Iraq, the Christians who remain deserve an autonomous enclave in the north, possibly guaranteed by a larger Kurdish state, itself dependent on the United States for diplomatic and possibly military support.
And until the Arabs recognize, by ceasing to threaten the Kurds and the Berbers, by ceasing to treat non-Arab Muslims as inferiors to be deprived of autonomy, and subject to Arab linguistic and cultural imperialism, they will also remain open to the charge -- a truthful one -- that Islam is, and always has been, a vehicle of Arab imperialism. For everything about Islam encourages arabization. One must read the Qur'an in Arabic, and tens of millions of madrasa students all over the world are having their young brains used up in memorizing verses in classical Arabic of which they can hardly understand ten words. Muslims face Arabia five times a day. They take Arabic names, effacing their own ethnic and national identities. What does Pakistan have, what do those descendants of Hindus have, except Islam? And in having only Islam, they wish to become little Arabs, and so pseudo-Arab identities are assumed, with every third Pakistani being a "Sayeed," indicating descent -- a false and comical descent, both touching and depressing -- from the family or tribe of Muhammad. If Islam consists of Qur'an and Sunnah, then the Sunnah, derived essentially from what is written down in the accepted (and most authoritative) Hadith, and the Sira (the biography of Muhammad), is merely the record of the ways of behavior, the customs and manners, of seventh-century Arabs. No wonder that Islam is naturally the vehicle for Arab supremacism.
And if the Arabs wish to deny that it is any longer that way, they will have to prove it not by words but by deeds. And the deed that counts is for them to recognize, and not to oppose, Berber autonomy (or more) in North Africa, and Kurdish independence in Iraq. And an end to the insistence that, within Islam, it is Arab commentators, Arab institutions, Arab desires, that will take precedence, that must be followed by non-Arab Muslims everywhere. It is that Arabia-first attitude that Ataturk recognized when he commissioned a Turkish Qur'an and a Turkish tafsir, and when he ended the use of the Arabic script in which Ottoman Turkish had been written. The Persians and the Turks, the most successful of the non-Arab Muslims to resist arabization, or at least the educated Persians and Turks, are quick to assure visitors that "we are not Arabs" and even "we can't stand the Arabs." The los-de-abajo Ahmadinejad and other supporters and epigones of Khomeini in Iran, to the extent that for them there exists Islam and only Islam, become less interested in, less sympathetic to, the history, pre-Islamic and non-Islamic, of Iranian identity. And the same is true of Erdogan and those who are attempting, slyly, step by step, to undo -- and they are trying to undo -- all of what Kemal Ataturk wrought, when he systematically tied Islam, as a political and social force, up in knots.
Islam as a vehicle of Arab supremacism.
It is true. It needs to be said, again and again, all over the Muslim-ruled lands, with the details spelled out. It can be done.
But not if all the Infidels can think of doing is "winning in Iraq" through "the surge" and suchlike.
Who will start to use his brains, to divide and demoralize and weaken the Camp of Islam? Is there anyone in power, or anyone likely to come to power as an advisor, who will be capable of this?
Or are "we the ones we have been waiting for?" And if so, how do "we" obtain the ear of those who are likely to be the next ones strolling down those same, slippery, strewn-with-banana-peels, corridors of power?
Ahmadinejad, On Tumors, And Rumors Of War, And War's Alarms
From a news story today: :
On Friday, Ahmadinejad, speaking on Iranian television, made some of his most extreme comments about Israel since becoming president of the Islamic Republic.
“The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumor. Even if one cell of them is left in one inch of (Palestinian) land, in the future this story (of Israel’s existence) will repeat,” Ahmadinejad said. "The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurpers in the Palestinian land."
Now you might re-read the just re-posted "By Their Metaphors Shall Ye Know Them."
There is a battle of ideas going on in South Florida in the Presidential campaign trying to win the Jewish vote in this swing state. Problem is that it appears to be disrupted at every turn by Democrat operatives and Jewish community allies with the shield of deniability. Democrat National Chairman and Florida US House Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been the flash point for such incidents. In mid May we highlighted in an Iconoclast post, the ejection of Jewish Republican protesters at an appearance of US UN Ambassador Susan Rice at a Boca Raton synagogue. We noted:
The event was sponsored by the ADL, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Community Relations Council of South Palm Beach County. Dr. Rice’s speech at Bnai Torah was disrupted by a few dozen Jewish activists who rose en masse waving Israeli flags and were escorted from the auditorium and ejected from the synagogue property. They were protesting the Obama Administration policies towards Israel, especially demands for Israel to rein in its settlement development program in Judea and Samaria.
We noted that the protesters left quietly and what happened to the group’s organizer, Alan Bergstein, a former New York School system principal and retiree in this excerpt from a BizPac report:
Missing from the group was the protest’s organizer, Alan Bergstein, a strong pro-Israel, anti-Obama activist, lecturer and writer. Bergstein said he arrived early and was greeted by event organizers, who locked the door and would not allow him access. Bergstein said he was told to leave and was then escorted out by law enforcement officers.
Bergstein said he is concerned that he and other Jewish activists who stand up to the administration will see more censorship like Thursday’s removal if Obama stays in office. The former New Yorker said is certain that he is on a watch list and is outraged at how he was treated for conducting a peaceful protest.
We mention Bergstein because he and The United West colleague, Tom Trento were involved with a debate last night at the Boynton Beach Jewish Community Center on the issue of “Should Jews vote for Obama or Romney”? Bergstein and Trento, a Christian –Zionist, were engaged in a repeat of an earlier debate that had occurred in May with Mark Alan Siegel, the head of the Palm Beach County Democratic Committee and Rabbi Barry Silver, both Democrats, although Silver is not so sanguine about Obama (he is not on Rabbis for Obama List).
On May 15, 2012, the Controversial Issues Series held the first debate in this year’s election series. The question debated then was: “Is President Obama Good or Bad for Israel?”
Tonight’s question is a slightly broader one: “Should Jews Vote for Obama or Romney?”
The same quartet from May is back for tonight’s rematch. In the blue corner, representing the pro-Obama vote is Mark Alan Siegel, chair of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, and Rabbi Barry Silver. In the red corner, speaking for the pro-Romney vote will be Alan Bergstein, a transplanted Brooklynite, currently a South Florida pro-Israel activist and Tom Trento, president of The United West. The United West describes itself as a counter-jihad organization. It is adamantly supportive of Israel, which Trento describes as America’s beacon of light in the Middle East. Siegel, however, described Trento and Bergstein as anti-Islamic extremists.
In the earlier debate, Trento seized on Siegel’s statement, that “there is more to this election than merely Israel.” To which Trento responded: “no, there isn’t, there’s one issue – it’s Israel. It isn’t abortion, it isn’t healthcare, and it’s Israel.”
[ . . ]
Siegel especially focused on “the Democratic party being more representative of the Jewish belief in communal responsibilities, such as for education, than is the Republican Party,” which he said “focuses on individual responsibility, in other words, everybody for himself.”
In contrast to Siegel, who is a party line supporter of President Obama, Rabbi Silver is less enthusiastic. Silver told The Jewish Press that the president “speaks well, but what he does doesn’t match up with the rhetoric.” The Republican challenger, however, fares even worse. In Silver’s estimation, “Romney doesn’t even say the right things, and unlike Obama’s baby steps in the right direction, Romney is taking huge leaps in the wrong direction.”
Marcus noted that Rabbi Silver is not your average progressive:
“Israel and the US and the rest of the western world should declare war on terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and also Ahmadinejad,” Silver explains.
“How does the world expect Israel to achieve peace with those terrorists?” asked Silver. “Just as during World War II we didn’t try to find a way to live with the Nazis, we defeated them militarily, and then we found friends with whom we could make peace.” According to Silver, “the same has to happen with the Islamic fundamentalists.”
But intelligent discourse in the public square did not occur. It was balagan (chaos) and denial of free speech by an aggressive band of 60 Bubbes (grandmothers) for Obama who showed up to lambast Bergstein and Trento and shut down the closing statements that even upset Rabbi Silver.
An early "uh-oh" sign popped up in our heads when, just one hour before the doors were opened, the JCC informed us that all videotaping and cameras were banned from the room. Just the day before, a JCC official carefully planned where the best locations for the cameras would be. Why was the recording of the event canceled? We found out during the meeting. Obviously, with the disruptions so well-planned, the Democrats wanted no record of this behavior to reach the public. They succeeded. An early band of about 50 elderly women, brandishing professionally designed "Women Will Remember in November" signs, occupied the front of the auditorium. Some had Obama stickers glued to their foreheads. The table occupied by Tom and me had a contingent of these seniors in the standing-room-only area right by us. During the event, until it was closed down because of their disruptive antics, they sauntered over to us, uttering denunciations and comments.
During the debate, this raucous, rude, disrespectful, well-trained squad heckled, jeered and disrupted Tom and me so often that I announced to the time keeper that my speaking time had to be extended in order to compensate for the disorder in the room. The final straw came when a woman, adorned with an Obama sticker, was hauled away from the microphone while shouting indecipherable epithets. Armed security personnel roamed the hall to threaten anyone with a camera that they would be expelled for having them in view.
Trento sketched in more details:
There were over 300 people and about an additional 100 were turned away as the room was SRO. The two top directors of the JCC gave me a complete contradictory “explanation” about why we were NOT allowed to Stream or to just videotape. They told me that the rental contract did not allow videotaping. I said OK; let me see the contract as I’m the one paying the fee for use of the facility. They told me that the original contract was signed by Rabbi Silver, so they would not let me see it. When Silver arrived, and I requested to see the contract, so that I could see the prohibition on videotaping, the executive director told me that there is no written contract but that it was a “policy” of the JCC and if I didn’t like it, I could leave. And it went badly downhill from there. They actually made us stop at 9pm and not finish the debate when we needed about 16 minutes more to finish a 4 minute close for each debater!
I don’t think I have even seen an audience of old Jewish ladies that acted like “animals” like this one. It was beyond belief.
Trento indicated that he is preparing a video commentary with the title; “Palm Beach JCC shuts down free speech of The United West.”
I asked another attendee, Roger Homefield, host of “The Joe Citizen Show” on WLJV in South Florida what the debate was like. He responded with these comments:
Although opinions differ, from my perspective from standing in the back of the room, was that the majority of support was for the Trento/Bergstein team. Years ago, conservative Jews dare not open their mouths or risk being outcasts of the condo!
I was surprised at the rhetoric used by the Rabbi’s team...using sweeping, stereotypical rhetoric as premises to support their argument why Jews should vote for Obama! They were stuck in the old saw of Democrats are for the people and Republicans are for the rich ...simply stated as fact. Typically, the Rabbi would say something insulting (that he considers general fact) such as “How can we vote for a party that always puts up rich people to run”.....to which there would be groans & murmurs about Kerry & Kennedy....to which the Rabbi would chastise the crowd for rudeness. This cycle of him insulting conservatives in the audience, and then berating them if they showed any pain.
So there we have it. Jewish Democrat operatives are engaged in a tit for tat campaign to limit free speech in the public square, again. The shameless behavior of those Bubbes for Obama engaged in bullying tactics is the latest incident. It does not surprise many of us that affiliates of Jewish Federations are denying free speech. How do we know? Remember the 2008 Obama Campaign The Great Schlep episode with comedian, singer, actress Sarah Silverman asking Bubbes and zaydies (grandfathers) not to vote for McCain-Palin. Well, Ms. Silverman is doing it again. Perhaps, last night’s episode in Boynton Beach with these aggressive Bubbes for Obama is the latest example.
Media Comment: Iran and Israel’s extreme left-wing media
By YISRAEL MEDAD AND ELI POLLAK
Our suggestion: let the news speak for itself. Our media “experts” should stick to reporting the facts. That is the professional, the democratic and the lawful way for them to do their job.
On Tuesday, during an interview by a sports reporter a politician commented that: “political reporters are a lot like sports reporters. They’ve all got opinions, even if they never played.” That politician was US President Barack Obama, and the interview was broadcast over the Des Moines, Iowa, KXNO sports radio. In Israel, the term we would use would surely be “kibitzing.” But there’s a multi-pronged barb in Obama’s words, which are applicable to our local media and those who run it.
As we understand it, this political contender for office knows well that reporters are not objective. It is only a matter of the degree to which they insert not only wrong information, through sloppy work or otherwise, but a bit of bias, whether through omission or commission. In addition to opinions that sometimes insert themselves into the reporting of news, there is also the lingering concern as to whether reporters are truly knowledgeable about their beats. Are they sufficiently experienced “players” who can take to the field to compete not only with rival journalists but also with the people and events they cover?
This last point is especially relevant to the tom-tom beating that has been going on, at ever-increasing volume, in certain media quarters covering the possibility that Israel’s government may be forced by circumstances to employ military alternatives to curb the nuclear weapons program of Iran.
Iran is the country whose supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, recently announced that Israel will disappear from the “landscape of geography” and that its land will be returned to the Palestinians.
A few days later, on the occasion of Al-Quds Day, he characterized Israel’s administration of the disputed territories and, for good measure, the formation of Israel as the root of evil in the Middle East, which was a “conspiracy [of] colonialists and oppressors.”
This past Friday, in a speech marking Iran’s Quds Day broadcast on state television, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke of “the Zionist regime and the Zionists” as “a cancerous tumor.” And he added that the nations of the region will soon finish off the “usurper Zionists” and that “in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists.”
The Israeli media’s response to the Iranian challenge is perhaps surprising. Haaretz, not known as a great fan of either Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or Defense Minister Ehud Barak, outdid itself over the past few weeks in presenting a fair and rather comprehensive picture of the dilemma created by Iran for Israel’s political leadership. Its headlines were typically factual. Some examples are in order.
On August 1 it was: “Netanyahu: the political leadership will decide whether to attack Iran.”
On August 3: “Estimates – an attack will set back Iran by a year or two.”
Another large headline on August 7: “Iran is in an advanced stage in its nuclear program.”
On August 10: “Senior Israeli: Iranian sword at our neck is sharper than the situation in 1967.”
Two days later it was: “Iran has made progress in the development of nuclear warheads.”
Compare these to Yediot Aharonot’s coverage.
Its headlines during the same period went as follows: “Cabinet Ministers: we are not kept up to date [on Iran]”; “Saudi Arabia: We will shoot down Israeli planes on their way to Iran”; “Netanyahu and Barak have decided to attack Iran in the fall”; “Is Israel prepared for an attack against Iran? – unprepared for war”; “The atomic error of Ehud Barak”; “US Chief of Staff: Israel cannot destroy Iran’s nukes.”
DOES YEDIOT really know what the prime minister’s plans are? Have they become mind readers? Israel’s media consumers should be asking whether Yediot’s criticism is based on facts supplemented by analysis or whether it is just the result of ideological opposition; that whatever decision Netanyahu makes, military, economic or social, is to be countered in editorials, columns and even news stories?
One response to this was given by Defense Minister Barak in the Knesset when, in referring to a strike on Iran, he said, “The decision, if it is required, will be made by the government, and not by a group of citizens or editorial articles.”
A poll conducted by New Wave for Yisrael Hayom found that 83 percent of the public think there is too much chatter on the matter of Iran. One left-of-center personality, Hebrew University professor Shlomo Avineri, was honest enough to point out that “things several writers and journalists have said on this issue are infuriating, and they are a dangerous sign. They have no place in a democratic state.”
Some of the foreign media have also demonstrated rather unprofessional standards. Richard Silverstein, Tikkun Olam blogger who previously revealed Anat Kam’s name, was defined as a “well-informed source who has been very accurate” by Judith Miller, a FOX News contributor.
The BBC granted Silverstein an interview, elevating him to the status of kibitzer-plus. This followed Silverstein’s claim that he had published a secret official document, received from a reliable source, detailing Israel’s plan of attack against Iran. It just so happens that this “secret document” was publicized four days earlier on the Israeli “Fresh” website (fresh.co.il) and that moreover it was written by a user of the website who openly clarified that the plan of attack was nothing but his imagination.
So, what have we? “Much ado about nothing.”
Yediot knows no more or less than Haaretz, Yisrael Hayom or The Jerusalem Post about the Iranian issue. The central difference is that Yediot does not seem to know how, or perhaps does not care to distinguish between news and views.
It uses the Iranian issue as a springboard to attack the present Israeli government. It would seem that the Iranian issue has brought with it a fundamental change in the balance of Israeli new outlets. At least here, Yediot has outflanked Haaretz to the left. It has replaced the principle of vox populi vox dei (the voice of the people is the voice of God) with vocem nostram deus est vox (our voice is that of God) and is attempting to force on Israel’s society a media putsch of the minority.
As Avineri openly admitted: “It is regrettable to see that now those questioning democratic authority are personalities from the Left.”
IN FACT, everything being said now in the media is rather meaningless. If the government attacks Iran and is successful, then all those in the media who are criticizing the government today will take the credit, claiming that it was their warnings which assured that the government acted responsibly. And if heaven forbid such an attack fails, then no matter what one thinks, the Netanyahu government will be replaced – but this would be the least of our worries. And if the government decides to do nothing, we will be facing a nuclear Iran, and these same critics will criticize the government for not taking action on time.
Our suggestion: let the news speak for itself. Our media “experts” should stick to reporting the facts. That is the professional, the democratic and the lawful way for them to do their job. And if they don’t, then we, the media consuming public, should stop listening to them.
The authors are respectively vice chairman and chairman of Israel’s Media Watch.