In the hullabaloo last week over potential names for the new royal baby (who has since been named), the most obvious choice was left out of contention, despite all the betting taking place. (”George, James: Royal Baby Boy Names are Bet On“)
It seems to me that an increasing number of stories involving the Israel/Palestinian Arab situation appear in print without by-lines, and I can’t help thinking this may be a way of making it difficult to hold anyone accountable for propaganda passing as news.
It could also be a mechanism for protecting journalists from attack by Islamists, whose sensibilities are evidently easily bruised, and who tend to react to such perceived injuries in extremely violent ways. But those don’t seem to be the stories whose authors go unnamed.
Anyway, a case in point ran in today’s paper.
An Associated Press story out of the Gaza Strip, with no writer noted, was about Israel preparing to release another large batch of Palestinian Arab terrorists and murderers as a show of good faith or something for planned newly re-engaged peace talks.
The accompanying photo is of a man and his son, raising a banner in honor of one of the man’s other sons, Omar Masoud who a decade ago, with three accomplices from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, broke into a Gaza City European aid office, and stabbed to death a young Israeli lawyer working there.
Israel arrested him a month later and sentenced him to life in prison.
“Now Masoud, along with dozens of other long-term Palestinian prisoners, is up for release as part of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempt to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks after five years of diplomatic paralysis,” according to the story.
Israel is again being asked to release cold-blooded killers, who will hailed as heroes at home and who likely will at least try to kill again.
They are being asked to do this in exchange for nothing whatsoever.
In the story, Palestinian Arab leader Mahmoud Abbas says he agreed to discuss the creation of a Palestinian Arab state in part of what’s left of what Israel was originally supposed to be, predicated on Kerry’s assurances that talks will be based on everything the Arabs have demanded.
“He said the American invitation would state that the talks will be about establishing a Palestinian state next to Israel, based on the 1967 borders and with mutually agreed upon land swaps,” the story said.
This is not the first time Israel has released terrorists with blood on their hands in exchange for promises never kept, and have paid the price in more spilled blood.
The story says that Israel’s government releasing these monsters “poses the most difficult test so far of ITS PROFESSED WILLINGNESS to reach a peace deal.”
The story mentions not one, single concession being asked of the Palestinian Arabs. Not a single thing. Not even the promise of anything.
At least in the past, the PA has been made to promise to consider thinking about some issue or other, but this time, not even that.
But it’s the Israelis whose desire for peace is merely “professed.”
This is the special kind of stealth propaganda hidden in these nameless articles.
Netanyahu said that a decision to release prisoners “is painful to the bereaved families, painful to the people of Israel and very painful for me,” but that sometimes unpopular decisions must be made for the good of the state, the nameless writer wrote.
So, once again, the Jews are given little choice but to agree to a lopsided arrangement to avoid looking like the intransigent ones, because no one remembers, and journalists don’t remind them, of the countless similar arrangements that have come before and produced few positive results.
Ordinarily, journalists are expected and required to include context, background, to stories like this, so people who are “just tuning in,” so-to-speak, can understand what brought the situation to its current place. Not doing so, like in this story, leaves the impression that this is happening in a vacuum, and has no history, which is obviously, precisely what is intended.
And, I think this intentional skewing of stories on this issue, helps explain the omission of the names of the hacks that are turning them out.
Also, to provide a little context in THIS piece, which you will note, DOES include my name, the following other stories appeared in the press on the same day it was announced that the Middle East’s only democracy and the world’s only Jewish state is being required to release the killers of its people in exchange for the privilege of re-starting peace talks with just one Palestinian-Arab faction:
The Syrians are still killing each other at an alarming rate, just over one of Israel’s borders. Thousands protested in Tunisia at the funeral of an opposition leader, and a bomb exploded under a car outside a police station there. Egypt is out of control on another of Israel’s borders, as 65 more were killed in street riots, and more than 1,000 violent criminals “escaped” a Libyan prison during riots there, in “a nation overrun by militias and awash in weaponry,” according to reports.
Meanwhile, right here in the U.S. of A., Major Nidal Hasan, the man who carried out the Fort Hood massacre, released a statement apologizing to the Islamic faithful for his years in the U.S. military, and his part in our government’s “war on Muslims and Islam.”
Our Justice Department says Hasan’s mass murder was a case of “workplace violence” – that he was a regular guy who “went postal,” so-to-speak – and not an act of terrorism.
It looks to me like we are either blind or complicit in our own cultural suicide and insisting Israel be the same.
In the annals of modern history no year ever affected the current world more profoundly than 1848, the year social revolutions fomented political change in Europe and South America, and Karl Marx published The Communist Manifesto. In America, a group of women organized the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, led by abolitionist Elizabeth Stanton Cady, mentor to Susan B. Anthony.
Things are not looking good for the Jews, folks. Not in the United States, not in the Middle East and not in Europe.
The Islamo-Fascists are violently enveloping the Arab/Muslim Middle East.
In America, one of our most respected institutions of higher learning this week, appointed an outspoken, anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Muslim to its Board of Regents, despite strong objections from Jewish and other alumni and others. Tells you something about the way the world is turning on the academic front — the same front, particularly in England, constantly calling for the intellectual boycott of Israeli academia.
Add a new EU directive baring its members from cooperating, funding scholarships, research grants and prizes to Israeli entities even partly operating in east Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.
The EU also now requires all documents signed with Israel include a clause “admitting” areas beyond the 1967 green line aren’t Israel and are excluded from the agreement. The Europeans may make exceptions for Israeli governmental bodies located over the green line, like the Justice Ministry, as long as its activities are carried out within the pre-1967 borders.
Of course, the Jews are obligated to listen to whatever Europe says because of its long history of fair and equitable treatment of its Jews. Not. Even before the Nazis swept through and made violent anti-Semitism the norm, Europe was already predisposed to it.
Let’s take Britain, for instance, from which all Jews were expelled in 1290.
This is a country suffering for many years from some sort of schizophrenia when it comes to the Jews.
On the one hand, it was Britain’s Lord Balfour that helped make possible the reborn Jewish state. But the Brits also blocked the entry of Jews fleeing certain death at the hands of the Nazis.
Now, Britain has officially lumped the Middle East’s only democracy in a list with countries with terrible human rights records, according to the Associated Press; states that fire on unarmed citizens from behind women, children and old people.
That story says Britain has issued more than 3,000 licenses for arms and military equipment exports “to countries where the U.K. has concerns about human rights…”
These countries include Myanmar, China, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria, and, stuck right in the middle of that list, as though its behavior can seriously be compared to those just listed, is Israel; where the army prefers to put itself in harm’s way to prevent “collateral damage,” rather than flatten their enemies with some large bomb from the sky – something it has for years been easily capable of doing.
The rest of the story – about how the government is assuring its concerned citizenry that it’s as careful as possible about who it’s sending arms to, is irrelevant, in my opinion.
It is just galling that these countries, with histories as long as your arm, of terrible human rights abuses, particularly when it comes to the Jews, would have the chutzpah to include Israel, an island of sanity in a frothing sea of hysterical violence, in a list with countries like Syria (right now involved in slaughtering tens of thousands of its own people) and Saudi Arabia (which doesn’t allow Jews to set foot on its soil or women the most basic freedoms).
Are they blind or stupid? Probably. But also, they’re infected with that seemingly incurable disease called anti-Semitism.
As of this writing, Edward Snowden has been ensconced in the holding area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for nearly a month. While this confinement alone would be more than sufficient punishment for most crimes (imagine daily breakfast of Russian pizza and Pepsi at the airport Sbarro), Snowden has been accused of the serious charge of espionage by the American Government through his public leaks to The Guardian.
In the new Danish film “The Hunt,” Mads Mikkelsen plays a kindergarten teacher named Lucas who is wrongfully accused of sexually abusing the students. What begins as an offhand comment by Klara, a little girl whose feelings are hurt by his perceived rejection of her affection, soon escalates into the proverbial witch hunt, made worse by the fact that the people in charge believe that they are doing what is necessary to protect the children - always remember what paves the road to hell…. Despite the numerous times when viewers are hard pressed to understand why Lucas, a demonstrably sensitive man, can’t instantly guess which child made the accusation and why, the charges take on a life of their own, gaining in intensity that we are forced to accept as a given. Lucas’ life takes a nightmarish turn as he is dismissed from his job, alienated by his colleagues and most of his friends and considered a degenerate pariah by the entire community. His personal life is thrown into turmoil as his teenage son leaves the mother who is divorced from Lucas and comes to live with him , attempting to defend him and putting himself in harm’s way in so doing. Eventually, Lucas descends into a personal breakdown, confronting the father of the young accuser in church on Christmas eve. This symbolically crucified man does not turn the other cheek.
For more than half its running time, “The Attack” is an absorbing film about an outstanding, prize-winning Palestinian surgeon working in Israel and clearly meant to represent the hope of moderate Jews and Arabs living together peacefully and productively. We see Amin’s competence under the intense pressure of saving victims of a recent suicide bomber attack; we see his friendship and ease with his Israeli colleagues; we see his solicitude for a family member to whom he extends his open hospitality. And mainly, we see in flashback, his loving relationship with his graceful and sensual Palestinian wife who is Christian and who is suspected of being the bomber.
As soon as the Egyptian military asked President Mohammed Mursi to step down and dismantle his Muslim Brotherhood regime, millions in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities and towns celebrated the end of what they felt was a dangerous fascistic regime. But despite an overwhelming popular support for the ousting of the Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) from power, some U.S. leaders, starting with President Barack Obama and later joined by Republican Senator John McCain, expressed their rejection of the move because they argued it was “directed by the Egyptian military against a democratically elected Government.”
Awkwardly, the United States executive branch, along with some of its supporters in the legislature, sided with the Muslim Brotherhood, known to be hard core Islamists, against a wide coalition of democratic and secular forces which called on the military to help them against what they perceived an oppressive regime. Observers both in the Middle East and in the West have asked how this equation can hold. Why would Obama and McCain end up backing the Ikhwan while the liberals and seculars forces of Egyptian civil society rise against the Brotherhood? The chaos in Washington has several roots but one global fact is clear: U.S. Foreign Policy has lost momentum in the Arab Spring.
The first waves of the revolution in January 2011 were launched and inspired by secular and reformist youth, as I had projected in my book The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East published in 2010, before the upheavals. The first Facebook page of the “Egyptian Revolution” attracted 85,000 “likes.” Many of these early online supporters hit Tahrir Square and drew up to a million citizens from the middle class, from labor, students, women and minorities. The revolution was the baby of moderate, secular and democratic segments of Egyptian civil society who have never spoken in public or taken action on the streets. Once the U.S. and international community recognized them as peaceful demonstrators, the Muslim Brotherhood rushed in and created their “quarter” inside the Square.
From there on, the Ikhwan maneuvered between the military and the youth, pitting one against the other and taking full advantage of the Obama Administration’s vigorous support. In June 2012, Mohammed Mursi won Egypt’s presidential election. This election was praised as “democratically held” by Washington and Western chanceries. While vastly questioned by the Egyptian opposition, the results were accepted as a democratic fact, internationally. Mursi was “democratically elected” in as much as the opposition was not able to draw any attention from a U.S. influenced Western coalition. The sour reality was more of a Washington endorsement to the Ikhwan, trusting their ability to change towards the better, than a truly popular representation. All observers agreed that half of the Mursi voters were not even members of his party, but were rather simply opposed to the other candidate, a remnant of the Mubarak regime.
Mursi then used the next twelve months to deconstruct every aspect of the democratic achievements of the initial Egyptian revolution. He issued a Presidential “constitutional decree,” modifying the constitutional basic rights of Egyptians with major setbacks for women, minorities and seculars and without consultations with the opposition. On those grounds alone, Mursi has committed a breach in constitutional and human rights of Egyptians. He then attempted to transform the leadership of the Army and security forces into Ikhwan extensions; appointed extremist governors throughout the country, including a member of a terrorist group as a governor of the Luxor district, a target of the group’s terror strikes in 1997. In parallel, the Brotherhood regime allowed Islamist militias to grow across the country and opened a dialogue with al-Qaeda linked groups in Sinai. In foreign policy, Mursi stood against the African campaign against al-Qaeda in Northern Mali; consolidated ties with the ICC-indicted head of Sudan’s regime, General Omar Bashir; hosted terror group Hamas in Cairo, aided the Nahda Party in Tunisia as the latter reduced women’s rights in their country and established cooperation with the Jihadi militias of Libya, one of which was responsible for the Benghazi attack against the U.S. consulate in September 2012. In 2013, Mursi presided over a rally to support the A-Q affiliated al Nusra Front in Syria and backed suicide fatwas issued by his allies.
On the economic level, the Brotherhood regime mismanaged the country’s fledgling finances while at the same time receiving significant funding from the United States, Europe and Qatar. The social disparities already monumental under Mubarak became epic under Mursi.
The Ikhwan regime, though democratically elected, has deconstructed the democratic legitimacy of the one-time election process by becoming an isolated oppressive elite ruling the country at the expense of all other citizens. One election rendered Mursi a legal President, but by his anti-democratic actions, the legitimacy of his presidency was lost.
Unfortunately, Egypt has no recall process or impeachment mechanisms. Besides, the Brotherhood had secured as much power as the national socialists and fascists had in pre-WWII Europe after being elected at the helm of the legislative and executive powers by the power of “brown shirts.” Egypt’s democratic forces had no choice but to resort to demonstrations and free expression. They staged marches after marches since the end of 2012, but the U.S. and Europe were silent, hoping Mursi would survive the tremors. The Ikhwan took the deaf-ears policy of the West as an endorsement to their agenda and applied more violence against their opponents. The liberal opposition appealed to the Army for months, to no avail. It was only when civil society revolutionary groups such as “Tamarod” (rebels) mobilized the masses against the Brotherhood suppression that Egypt was closer to its second revolution. Revolutionizing the Arab Spring, “Tamarod” called for a national popular demonstration to vote with their feet for the removal of Mursi on June 30, 2013.
Very few in the West paid serious attention to Tamarod and its bottom-up uprising. The second wave of the Arab spring was boosted by the shocking practices of the Islamist regime in Cairo. On Sunday June 30, more than 22 million Egyptians marched in their capital and in other cities. Statistically, this was the largest demonstration in history, topping the Cedars and Green revolutions of Lebanon and Iran combined. What was morally left of Mursi’s regime was shattered by this mega referendum. The demonstrators were three times the total numbers of his voters one year ago. A petition calling for his resignation gathered another 22 million signatures. But Mursi refused to resign and ordered his followers via a live speech, to mobilize for “Jihad till death.” Responding to a nation gathered on the streets, the Egyptian Army stepped in to prevent a civil war and to end a regime-coup against its own people. The shock of removing Mursi reverberated worldwide, particularly across the petrodollars web of influence backing the Ikhwan. The people’s revolution in Egypt was the accomplishment of the real Arab Spring, at last. The overwhelming majority of Egyptian citizens that took part in the second revolution prompted the country’s armed forces to remove the Muslim Brotherhood and contain the Jihadists across the country.
Sadly, the Obama Administration resisted the popular revolt, arguing Mursi was “democratically elected,” forgetting that he governed oppressively. Some international media also endorsed Mursi and his followers as armed Islamists roamed throughout Egypt, killing and maiming. The second Egyptian revolution is now facing and will be confronting for a long time the counter revolution forces including a non-repentant Ikhwan and a myriad of dangerous Jihadi Terrorists. Egypt will have to fight this cancer for years, but thanks to its courageous civil society, it has already survived the extremists’ yoke. Egypt will not be Iran. The millions who took to the streets formed a Nile of democracy that will flood the Jihadists of Egypt. It will be long and hard, but the Egyptian Spring is now, finally, in progress.
Dr Walid Phares is the author of The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East which in 2010, predicted the Araab Spring and its evolution. He serves as a Co-Secretary General of the Transatlantic Parliamentary Group on Counter Terrorism.
Years from now, on some frigid midwinter’s night Chicago hockey fans will congregate, fathers will regale their sons, and mothers their daughters, with favorite memories of the 2013 Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory, the fabulous celebration two million strong, and wondrous tales of Kane and Hossa, Toews and Crawford. Personally, the moment I will never forget was The Miracle Of The Resurrection Of The Golden Jet, the stirring saga of the death and rebirth of that venerable old Blackhawk great, Bobby Hull.
There’s a lot more to President Obama’s proposal in Berlin to cut U.S. nuclear warheads by one-third (beyond the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) if Russian President Vladimir Putin agrees to do the same.
President Obama and others in his globe-trotting administration are out there trying to put out the international fires set by fugitive Edward Snowden, who leaked information on U.S. officials spying on just about everybody at home and abroad.