Friday, September 16, 2005

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Second Draft Takes on "Pallywood"

The Second Draft: Historians Look at Journalism

What do you do when you can't trust public information in the mainstream media (MSM)?

Critical minds have increasingly come to mistrust our MSM (or, as some call it with a nod to Chomsky, M$M). We begin to feel the kind of "information vertigo" one normally associates with totalitarian societies.

We offer a refuge from this information vertigo: The Second Draft: Historians Look at Journalism. Here we take a close look at some of Journalism's "first drafts of history." On September 14, 2005, The Second Draft opens with a dossier on "Pallywood" and a five-year retrospective on the way the MSM presented the "Al Aqsa Intifada" (October 2000).

Of course the MSM is not the only problem. If the internet has taught us anything, it's that you don't need Big Brother to get brainwashed. People do it to themselves, by going to the sites that only tell them what they want to hear.

That's the function of the MSM. To stay impartial, unbiased, to act as the gatekeepers of a public discussion that filters out false information, paranoid conspiracy theories, and hate-mongering. We need the MSM. They are the eyes and ears of civil society.

But in the one case that we at The Second Draft know well, Pallywood, the MSM have shown exceptionally poor judgment,credulous at best, dishonest at worst. The raw footage from September 30, 2000 shot at Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip shows us male youth faking scenes of conflict and injury (especially ambulance evacuations), filmed by Palestinian cameramen with Western equipment. The footage then goes to MSM news agencies where, stringing together the most believable sight-bytes, our reporters present these scenes as news. Viewing this footage we present you here, taken on a day when the world was told the most harrowing of tales of wanton violence, is literally surreal.

How often our media are this sloppy, we don't know. But we do know that these things must be confronted, however great MSM's reluctance to self-criticize.

The Second Draft, offers you your own look at the evidence, our take, and an invitation to a much larger discussion about what are the problems that led to this failure? What were its consequences, if any? How often do such fiascos occur? And How can our MSM avoid them in the future?

For more information, go to: http://seconddraft.org

Come, see the film, make up your own mind, and then let's talk.

Hamas: Haifa, Jaffa are next

From Ynetnews - News 14/9/05 by Ali Waked


Tens of thousands attend huge Hamas celebration in Gaza Strip; group leader al-Zahar vows to continue liberation journey until Islam's flag is raised over Jerusalem, . . .says Hamas would never agree to disarm. 'Zionist enemy only understands language of force,' he says

Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told tens of thousands of excited Palestinians at a Gaza Strip rally Tuesday his organization would continue to fight Israel following the withdrawal from Gaza, and vowed to liberate Haifa and Jaffa from the hands of its Zionist occupiers.

Al-Zahar, who was the keynote speaker, said the victory was achieved thanks to the blood of assassinated Hamas leaders Ahmed Yassin, Abdul Aziz Rantisi, and other martyrs. “We know our people is expecting us to continue the liberation journey, until the flag of Islam is raised over Jerusalem,” he said. Al-Zahar also said his group would continue to refuse calls to disarm.
“This is the weapon we used to crush the heads of the Zionist enemies. This weapon is at the service of the people and homeland…we won’t use it against anyone, but it must be in our hands because Jerusalem awaits us,” he said.

“The Zionist enemy knows no other language aside from the language of fire directed on him by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades,” he said. “We’ll continue to develop our arms industry.”

Al-Zahar’s remarks came several hours after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, in a televised speech, vowed to end the weapons anarchy in the PA.

The Hamas leader added that according to his group’s strategy, “This land should not have any Zionists in it,” and said the Palestinian people and his movement would never renounce the right of refugees to return to Palestine.

“If we cannot complete the victory, we’ll hand over the flag of the struggle to our sons, who will complete the journey,” he said.....

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Antiglobalism's Jewish Problem

"Antiglobalism's Jewish Problem" by Mark Strauss Foreign Policy, was published on 12 November 2003 on YaleGlobal Online. This review and exerpts are even more relevant today...

Review

Anti-Semitism is again on the rise, says Mark Strauss, a senior editor for Foreign Policy. Globalization is being pinned on the Jews, the traditional 'villain' of capitalism, and thus the Jewish people are being blamed for all perceived negative effects of increased market integration, Strauss writes. In the Middle East especially, where economies are stagnant everywhere but Israel, 'Islamists and secular nationalists alike portray globalization as the latest in a series of US-Zionist plots to subjugate the Arab world,' says Strauss. Israelis now have to defend their right to sovereignty against not only Arab activists but also anti-globalization figureheads like the French farmer Jose Bove. Within the rhetorical war against globalization, neo-Nazis have links on their websites to the writings of Noam Chomsky and other leftist intellectuals. Even more disturbingly, some leftist anti-globalization activists have been willing to advertise books that promote both anti-globalization and anti-Semitic principles. This willingness to allow anti-Semitism within the anti-globalization movement has scared some intellectuals, but, Strauss argues, too few pay it enough attention.

Exerpts
Anti-Semitism is again on the rise. Why now? Blame the backlash against globalization. As public anxiety grows over lost jobs, shaky economies, and political and social upheaval, the Brownshirt and Birkenstock crowds are seeking solace in conspiracy theories. And in their search for the hidden hand that guides the new world order, modern anxieties are merging with old hatreds and the myths on which they rest.

...The time frame for this resurgence of judeophobia corresponds with the intensification of international links that took place in the 1990s. "People are losing their compass,...A worldwide stock market, a new form of money, no borders. Concepts like country, nationality, everything is in doubt. They are looking for the ones who are guilty for this new situation and they find the Jews."

The backlash against globalization unites all elements of the political spectrum through a common cause, and in doing so it sometimes fosters a common enemy ...The new anti-Semitism is unique because it seamlessly stitches together the various forms of old anti-Semitism: The far right's conception of the Jew (a fifth column, loyal only to itself, undermining economic sovereignty and national culture), the far left's conception of the Jew (capitalists and usurers, controlling the international economic system), and the "blood libel" Jew (murderers and modern-day colonial oppressors).

...Jews have always aroused suspicion and contempt as a people apart...But modern anti-Semitism made its debut with the emergence of global capitalism in the 19th century. When Jews left their urban ghettos and a small but visible number emerged as successful bankers, financiers, and entrepreneurs, they engendered resentment among those who envied their unfathomable success, especially given Jews' secondary status in society.

....With familiar anxieties come familiar scapegoats. ...Modern-day resentment against the perceived power of international financial institutions has merged with old mythologies. The 19th century had its Rothschilds; the current era has had Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin at the U.S. Treasury Department, Alan Greenspan at the U.S. Federal Reserve, James Wolfensohn at the World Bank, and Stanley Fischer at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad once lashed out against "Jews who determine our currency levels, and bring about the collapse of our economy."

The spokesman for the Jamaat-i-Islami political party in Pakistan complained: "Most anything bad that happens, prices going up, whatever, this can usually be attributed to the IMF and the World Bank, which are synonymous with the United States. And who controls the United States? The Jews do."

Economic chaos in Zimbabwe, where a once thriving Jewish community of 8,000 has dwindled to just 650, prompted President Robert Mugabe to deliver a speech declaring that the "Jews in South Africa, working in cahoots with their colleagues here, want our textile and clothing factories to close down."

...Opposing the policies of the Israeli government does not make the new left anti-Semitic. But a movement campaigning for global social justice makes a mockery of itself by singling out just the Jewish state for condemnation.

...The consequences of embracing a double standard toward Israel are all too apparent at antiglobalization rallies. ...Worldwide, protesters carry signs that compare Sharon to Hitler, while waving Israeli flags where the Star of David has been replaced with the swastika. Such displays portray Israel as the sole perpetrator of violence, ignoring the hundreds of Israelis who have died in suicide bombings and the role of the Palestinian Authority in fomenting the conflict. And equating Israel with the Third Reich is the basest form of Holocaust revisionism, sending the message that the only "solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nothing less than the complete destruction of the Jewish state.

...Some Jewish groups sympathetic to many of the antiglobalization movement's goals have mistakenly chosen to remain on the outside. Jewish voices need to be raised when the shouting of the militants threatens to drown out other issues. ...In that spirit, Rabbi Joseph Klein told his congregation at a synagogue in Michigan ..."We will have to develop a strategy that allows us to participate in the effort to bring social equity and economic justice to all people, while at the same time distancing ourselves from these newest purveyors of (anti-Semitism)...."

He concluded his sermon by quoting from Pirkei Avot, the Jewish book of ethics: "It is not for you to complete the work, but neither are you free to withdraw from it."

Follow this link to the full article.

Also see this transcription of a Symposium: Leftist Anti-Semitism, By Jamie Glazov FrontPageMagazine.com September 19, 2003

Blair advisers urge that U.K.cancel Holocaust Day

From Haaretz - Israel News: 20:34 11/09/2005 By Haaretz Service

Advisers appointed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair are proposing that Britain get rid of Holocaust Memorial Day because Muslims find it offensive, the British Sunday Times reported.

The draft proposals - which provoked a backlash from British Jewish leaders - want to replace Holocaust Memorial Day with a Genocide Day that would include recognition of Muslim deaths in the West Bank and Gaza, Chechnya and Bosnia, the Times said.

A Home Office spokesman said it would consider the proposals but said it regarded the Holocaust as a 'defining tragedy in European history,' according to the report.

...'There are 500 Palestinian towns and villages that have been wiped out over the years,' Ibrahim Hewitt, chairman of the charity Interpal, told the Times. 'That's pretty genocidal to me.'

...Britain's Holocaust Memorial Day was first held in January 2001, and has been held on January 27 every year since then.

David Frum in (sad) France

From David Frum's Diary on National Review Online: 12/9/2005

...Adam Gopnik had a piece in The New Yorker about three weeks ago about the all-pervasiveness of the sense of crisis in France. Any doubts I had as to the accuracy of his perceptions have been dispelled today. I have been on French soil now for less than 12 hours, stumbling along in my miserable high-school French--and in that short space of time, three different French people--one a defense intellectual, one a teacher and translator, and one a cafe owner ...initiated conversations about the utter hopelessness of France's condition.

The only available consolation seems to be the hope that maybe things are even worse somewhere else--and it is on that hope that French television pundits make their careers (...by criticising the US...). It's irritating at first. But on second thought, it's rather sad.

France is a country that wants to be great. ...much about France truly is great...Certainly it is true that France stands with Britain as the only western European country that does not treat its own national defense with careless frivolity.

It makes me wonder: Maybe there should be some kind of American program to cheer the French up, help them regain their self-confidence, develop their self-esteem. ...while the French may be difficult when they feel successful, (...perhaps...) it is their sense of failure and disappointment that renders them hostile and aggressive.

John Bolton's "editing" is very welcome...

Exerpts from the Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal - Featured Article: Sunday, September 11, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT (this is edited for brevity - follow the link for the full article)

The U.N.'s prose--and policy--finally gets a close look.

... new U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton has taken a red marker to (...Kofi Annan's vision for a reformed U.N. and to which world leaders are supposed to affix their names when they meet this week in New York. It is a product of an opaque U.N. process...) and dozens of other misbegotten statements and suggested new language in their place. This is causing consternation in predictable quarters, but we hope Mr. Bolton keeps at it.

On foreign aid, for example, he wants to stress ...that the aid should go "particularly for countries that are making efforts to use resources wisely, strengthen governance, and reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth." That is, the aid should go to countries that aren't corrupt and will do something useful with it.

By the way, the U.S. has increased its development assistance by 90% since President Bush took office, to $19 billion from $10 billion--a point rarely mentioned by those who carp about U.S. "stinginess."

There's more. In the section on nonproliferation, ... Mr. Bolton rightly wants to strike ...language, which is often used by Iran and other rogue states as an alibi to skirt their nonproliferation commitments. In its place, he suggests: "The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, and the possibility that terrorists might acquire such weapons, remain the greatest threats to international peace and security." As Henry Kissinger likes to say, that has the added advantage of being true.

Some of Mr. Bolton's edits seem small but are literally worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The U.N. draft "commends" the Secretary General "to modernize the United Nations, in particular its headquarters." Mr. Bolton deletes the language about headquarters. ...millions in savings could be realized if the U.N. alters existing plans.

He also focuses on management reform, which came into special focus with the release last week of Paul Volcker's fourth report on the Oil for Food scandal. The report stressed Mr. Annan's multiple supervisory failures, yet Mr. Annan wants the world's leaders to accept his reform plan as a fait accompli before Mr. Volcker's findings are even read, much less considered.

...Mr. Bolton is doing (...the UN...) the favor of taking its words seriously. Those who want something more than a feckless and corrupt world body should welcome his efforts.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Palestinians set fire to Morag synagogue and vow to "destroy all the synagogues"


Palestinians celebrate the Gaza Strip pullout while on top of a burning synagogue AFP (from ABC News Online)

From Jerusalem Post Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: "Sep. 12, 2005 3:23 Updated Sep. 12, 2005 3:28, By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH AND AP ...

Only hours after IDF troops left the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinians entered the former settlement of Morag and set its synagogue on fire early Monday morning. Eyewitnesses said Hamas flags were carried around the former Jewish community.

Following Sunday's cabinet decision against the demolition of synagogues, ...Palestinian Interior Ministry spokesman, Tawfiq Abu Khoussa, told The Associated Press...that the PA intends to destroy all the synagogues.

The PA who claimed that the Gaza synagogues symbolized Israel's occupation earlier Sunday boycotted the ceremony marking the handover of the Gaza Strip in what was widely viewed as a protest against the cabinet's decision. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of 'throwing problems' in the Palestinians' faces. 'It's really unfair,' Erekat said."

Israeli army ends Gaza occupation

from The Australian: Abraham Rabinovich, Jerusalem, September 12, 2005

THE last Israeli soldier is due to leave the Gaza Strip today, ending 38 years of military occupation of the Palestinian territory. The departure will finally give the Palestinians control of a stretch of land - albeit minuscule - they can call their own.

But the ability of the Palestinian Authority to control militant groups in Gaza and suppress incipient chaos appears questionable in view of mounting signs of anarchy in the area.

... Palestinian leaders say Palestinian statehood will be achieved only after Israel departs from the West Bank as well.

The Israeli commander in Gaza, General Aviv Kochavi, was to participate in a handover ceremony with his Palestinian counterpart late yesterday, when the Israelis were to turn over maps detailing the water, electricity and sewage systems of the areas being evacuated. But Palestinian officials indicated they would not take part in the ceremony because of a continuing dispute over the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

At Israel's request, Egyptian troops began deploying over the weekend along the 14km border between their territory and Gaza to prevent smuggling of arms. As the Egyptian forces moved in and Palestinian security forces deployed in strength on their side of the border, Israeli troops pulled back from the area, which has been the scene of intense clashes during the intifada...

Palestinians enter settlements

From The Australian: From correspondents in Gaza City, September 12, 2005

PALESTINIAN security forces have entered former Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Palestinian interior ministry said.

'We have entered Netzer Hazani, Ganei Tal and Katif. The Palestinian flag has been planted in the three settlements so far,' Tawfiq Abu Khussa said.

The Israeli army had earlier lowered its flag over the Gaza Strip, the tiny territory it has occupied for the last 38 years."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Cabinet likely to vote against destroying Gaza shuls

From Jerusalem Post Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: "Sep. 7, 2005 22:33 Updated Sep. 10, 2005 23:03 By HERB KEINON

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is likely to vote in the cabinet Sunday against demolishing the Gaza synagogues, reversing a position he articulated just two weeks ago and all but assuring that the cabinet will vote not to destroy the structures.

...Opponents of the plan to destroy the synagogues received a major boost Saturday as six ministers voiced their opposition to the plan.

...If the cabinet does indeed vote to keep Gaza's synagogues standing, the pullout of IDF troops from Gaza -- dubbed Operation Ashmoret Aharonah -- is scheduled to begin late Sunday night and finish in the early hours of Monday, bringing to a close 38 years of Israeli occupation in the area.

...High-profile pressure by rabbis to keep the synagogue structures intact – the content of the synagogues have been removed – has apparently had an impact on Sharon, with the prime minister not wanting to be perceived in the Likud as doing anything that could be construed as "lacking consideration toward religion."

Two weeks ago at the cabinet, when the question was raised and the chief rabbis came to argue against destroying the synagogues, Sharon said he feared desecration of the synagogues, and remembered going to Hebron soon after the Six Day War in 1967 and seeing a synagogue dating back to the 1600's turned into a latrine and sheep pen.

...Now, however, a source close to Sharon said that leaving the synagogues would be a test for the Palestinian Authority. "The contents have all been removed, and all that is left is the structures," one official said. "This would be a challenge for the PA, because if the buildings were desecrated or destroyed, they would suffer from bad publicity. The last thing they now need is for the world to tell them that they are disrespectful of religious beliefs."

PA official Saeb Erekat was quoted as saying that leaving the synagogues intact would put the PA in an unfair position. "We maintain the highest respect for Judaism," he said. "We do not want to be put in a situation that we are demolishing synagogues in front of the world, or some of our people may do something that we don't want them to do."

...Foreign Minister Shalom said over the last few days he has received numerous appeals from Jewish communities abroad warning that the destruction of the synagogues by Israel could be a "dangerous precedent" that that could be used by governments around the world as an excuse to destroy Jewish holy sites. ...Shalom said he hoped the PA would not allow "barbarism and vandalism" to prevail, but that if it would, the world would know with whom Israel was dealing.

Margot Dudkevitch contributed to this report