Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Saturday that when a Palestinian state is established, it will have no Israelis in it.
“We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it,” Abbas told reporters in Ramallah.
read all about it
Friday, December 10, 2010
The recognition of the Palestinian state is part of the Brazilian conviction that a process of negotiation that results in two states coexisting in peace and security is the best path to peace in the Middle East, the goal that interests all humanity. Brazil will always be ready to render any assistance necessary.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Among Obama's concerning remarks:You'll never guess who's frightened Obama is too weak
* "The notion that prestige comes from holding these weapons, or that we can protect ourselves by picking and choosing which nations can have these weapons, is an illusion." – Obama in Moscow in August 2009.
* "No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons." – Obama in his address to the Muslim world from Cairo in June 2009.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
By SONER CAGAPTAY
The AKP is setting the stage for a total recalibration of Turkey’s global compass.
.....Turkey is a Muslim nation by origin – a feature shared perhaps only with partitioncreated Pakistan.
Turkey was created as an exclusive Muslim homeland through war, blood and tears. Unbeknownst to many outsiders, modern Turkey emerged not as a state of ethnic Turks, but of Ottoman Muslims who faced expulsion and extermination in Russia and the Balkan states. Almost half of Turkey’s 73 million citizens descend from such survivors of religious persecution. During the Ottoman Empire’s long territorial decline, millions of Turkish and non-Turkish Muslims living in Europe, Russia and the Caucasus fled persecution and sought refuge in modern-day Turkey.
They succeeded, making Turkey a purely Muslim nation that had been born out of conflict with Christians. Religion’s saliency as ethnicity lasted into the post- Ottoman period: When modern Greece and Turkey exchanged their minority populations in 1924, Turkish- speaking Orthodox Christians from Anatolia were exchanged with Greek-speaking Muslims from Crete.
Although Ataturk emphasized the unifying power of Turkish nationalism over religious identity, Turkishness never replaced Islam; rather, both identities overlapped. Ataturk managed to overlay the country’s deep Muslim identity with secular nationalism, but Turkey retained its Muslim core.
AKP leader and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with his government, believe in Huntington’s clash of civilizations – only they choose to oppose the West. The AKP’s vision is shaped by Turkey’s philosopher- king, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who summarizes this position in his opus Strategic Depth, in which he writes that “Turkey’s traditionally good ties with the West... are a form of alienation” and that the AKP will correct the course of history, which has disenfranchised Muslims since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
The AKP’s foreign-policy vision is not simply dualistic, but rather premised on Islam’s à la carte morals and selective outrage, and therein lies the real danger. One case in point is to compare the AKP’s differing stances toward Emir Kusturica and Omar al- Bashir. The former, a Bosnian film director who stood with the Yugoslav National Army as it slaughtered Bosnians in the 1990s, was recently driven out of Turkey by AKP-led protests, resulting in threats against his life – a victory for the victims of genocide in Bosnia. The latter, the Sudanese president indicted for genocide in the International Court of Justice, was gracefully hosted by the AKP in Turkey. Erdogan has said, “I know Bashir; he cannot commit genocide because Muslims do not commit genocide.”
Like their close neighbors, the Russians, Turks have moved in lockstep with the powerful political, social and foreign-policy choices that their dominant elites have ushered in.
In effect, the AKP’s steady mobilization of Turkish Muslim identity along with its close financial and ideological affinity with the nation’s new Islamist elites is setting the stage for a total recalibration of Turkey’s international compass.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and coauthor (with Scott Carpenter) of Nuanced Gestures: Regenerating the US-Turkey Partnership (2010).
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Why Israel is a Rogue State
This is a war of ideals, and the other speakers here tonight are rightfully, idealists. I'm not. I'm a realist. I'm here to win. I have a single goal this evening -- to have at least a plurality of you walk out of the “Aye” door.
I face a singular challenge -- most, if not all, of you have already made up your minds. This issue is too polarizing for the vast majority of you not to already have a set opinion. I'd be willing to bet that half of you strongly support the motion, and half of you strongly oppose it.
I want to win, and we're destined for a tie. I'm tempted to do what my fellow speakers are going to do -- simply rehash every bad thing the Israeli government has ever done in an attempt to satisfy those of you who agree with them. And perhaps they'll even guilt one of you rare undecided into voting for the proposition, or more accurately, against Israel.
It would be so easy to twist the meaning and significance of international “laws” to make Israel look like a criminal state. But that's been done to death.
It would be easier still to play to your sympathy, with personalized stories of Palestinian suffering. And they can give very eloquent speeches on those issues.
But the truth is, that treating people badly, whether they're your citizens or an occupied nation, does not make a state “rogue.” If it did, Canada, the U.S., and Australia would all be rogue states based on how they treat their indigenous populations. Britain’s treatment of the Irish would easily qualify them to wear this sobriquet. These arguments, while emotionally satisfying, lack intellectual rigor.
More importantly, I just don't think we can win with those arguments. It won't change the numbers. Half of you will agree with them, half of you won't. So I'm going to try something different, something a little unorthodox.
I'm going to try and convince the die-hard Zionists and Israel supporters here tonight, to vote for the proposition. By the end of my speech I will have presented five pro-Israel arguments that show Israel is, if not a “rogue state,” than at least “roguish.”
Let me be clear. I will not be arguing that Israel is “bad.” I will not be arguing that it doesn’t deserve to exist. I won't be arguing that it behaves worse than every other country. I will only be arguing that Israel is “rogue.”
The word “rogue” has come to have exceptionally damning connotations. But the word itself is value-neutral. The Oxford English Dictionary defines rogue as “aberrant, anomalous; misplaced, occurring (esp. in isolation) at an unexpected place or time,” while a dictionary from a far greater institution gives this definition: “behaving in ways that are not expected or not normal, often in a destructive way.”
These definitions, and others, center on the idea of anomaly -- the unexpected or uncommon. Using this definition, a rogue state is one that acts in an unexpected, uncommon or aberrant manner. A state that behaves exactly like Israel.
The first argument is statistical. The fact that Israel is a Jewish state alone makes it anomalous enough to be dubbed a rogue state: There are 195 countries in the world. Some are Christian, some Muslim, some are secular. Israel is the only country in the world that is Jewish. Or, to speak mathmo for a moment, the chance of any randomly chosen state being Jewish is 0.0051%.* In comparison the chance of a UK lotto ticket winning at least £10 is 0.017% -- more than twice as likely. Israel’s Jewishness is a statistical aberration.
The second argument concerns Israel’s humanitarianism, in particular, Israel’s response to a refugee crisis. Not the Palestinian refugee crisis -- for I am sure that the other speakers will cover that -- but the issue of Darfurian refugees. Everyone knows that what happened and is still happening in Darfur is genocide, whether or not the UN and the Arab League will call it such. (I actually hoped that Mr. Massih would be able to speak about -- he's actually somewhat of an expert on the crisis in Darfur, in fact, it's his expertise that has called him away to represent the former dictator of Sudan while he is being investigated by the ICC.)
There has been a mass exodus from Darfur as the oppressed seek safety. They have not had much luck. Many have gone north to Egypt -- where they are treated despicably. The brave make a run through the desert in a bid to make it to Israel. Not only do they face the natural threats of the Sinai, they are also used for target practice by the Egyptian soldiers patrolling the border. Why would they take the risk?
Because in Israel they are treated with compassion -- they are treated as the refugees that they are – and perhaps Israel's cultural memory of genocide is to blame. The Israeli government has even gone so far as to grant several hundred Darfurian refugees citizenship. This alone sets Israel apart from the rest of the world.
But the real point of distinction is this: The IDF sends out soldiers and medics to patrol the Egyptian border. They are sent looking for refugees attempting to cross into Israel. Not to send them back into Egypt, but to save them from dehydration, heat exhaustion, and Egyptian bullets.
Compare that to the U.S.’s reaction to illegal immigration across their border with Mexico. The American government has arrested private individuals for giving water to border crossers who were dying of thirst -- and here the Israeli government is sending out its soldiers to save illegal immigrants. To call that sort of behaviour anomalous is an understatement.
My third argument is that the Israeli government engages in an activity which the rest of the world shuns -- it negotiates with terrorists. Forget the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, a man who died with blood all over his hands -- they're in the process of negotiating with terrorists as we speak. Yasser Abed Rabbo is one of the lead PLO negotiators that has been sent to the peace talks with Israel. Abed Rabbo also used to be a leader of the PFLP -- an organisation of “freedom fighters” that, under Abed Rabbo’s leadership, engaged in such freedom-promoting activities as killing 22 Israeli high school students.
And the Israeli government is sending delegates to sit at a table with this man, and talk about peace. And the world applauds. You would never see the Spanish government in peace talks with the leaders of the ETA -- the British government would never negotiate with Thomas Murphy. And if President Obama were to sit down and talk about peace with Osama Bin Laden, the world would view this as insanity. But Israel can do the exact same thing -- and earn international praise in the process. That is the dictionary definition of rogue -- behaving in a way that is unexpected, or not normal.
Another part of the dictionary definition is behaviour or activity “occurring at an unexpected place or time.” When you compare Israel to its regional neighbours, it becomes clear just how roguish Israel is. And here is the fourth argument: Israel has a better human rights record than any of its neighbours. At no point in history, has there ever been a liberal democratic state in the Middle East -- except for Israel. Of all the countries in the Middle East, Israel is the only one where the LGBT community enjoys even a small measure of equality.
In Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and Syria, homosexual conduct is punishable by flogging, imprisonment, or both. But homosexuals there get off pretty lightly compared to their counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, who are put to death. Israeli homosexuals can adopt, openly serve in the army, enter civil unions, and are protected by exceptionally strongly worded ant-discrimination legislation. Beats a death sentence. In fact, it beats America.
Israel’s protection of its citizens’ civil liberties has earned international recognition. Freedom House is an NGO that releases an annual report on democracy and civil liberties in each of the 195 countries in the world. It ranks each country as “Free,” “Partly Free,” or “Not Free.” In the Middle East, Israel is the only country that has earned designation as a “free” country. Not surprising given the level of freedom afforded to citizens in, say, Lebanon -- a country designated “partly free,” where there are laws against reporters criticizing not only the Lebanese government, but the Syrian regime as well. I’m hoping Ms. Booth will speak about this, given her experience working as a “journalist” for Iran.
Iran is a country given the rating of “not free,” putting it alongside China, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Myanmar. In Iran, as Ms. Booth I hoped would have said in her speech, there is a special “Press Court” which prosecutes journalists for such heinous offences as criticizing the Ayatollah, reporting on stories damaging the “foundations of the Islamic republic,” using “suspicious (i.e., Western) sources,” or insulting Islam. Iran is the world leader in terms of jailed journalists, with 39 reporters (that we know of) in prison as of 2009. They also kicked out almost every Western journalist during the 2009 election. (I don't know if Ms Booth was affected by that.)
I guess we can’t really expect more from a theocracy. Which is what most countries in the Middle East are. Theocracies and autocracies. But Israel is the sole, the only, the rogue, democracy. Out of every country in the Middle East, only in Israel do anti-government protests and reporting go unquashed and uncensored.
I have one final argument -- the last nail in the opposition's coffin -- and it’s sitting right across the aisle. Mr. Ran Gidor’s presence here is the all evidence any of us should need to confidently call Israel a rogue state. For those of you who have never heard of him, Mr. Gidor is a political counsellor attached to Israel’s embassy in London. He’s the guy the Israeli government sent to represent them at the UN. He knows what he’s doing. And he’s here tonight. And it’s incredible.
Consider, for a moment, what his presence here means. The Israeli government has signed off, to allow one of their senior diplomatic representatives to participate in a debate on their very legitimacy. That’s remarkable.
Do you think for a minute, that any other country would do the same? If the Yale University Debating Society were to have a debate where the motion was “This house believes Britain is a racist, totalitarian state that has done irrevocable harm to the peoples of the world,” that Britain would allow any of its officials to participate? No.
Would China participate in a debate about the status of Taiwan? Never.
And there is no chance in hell that an American government official would ever be permitted to argue in a debate concerning its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
But Israel has sent Mr. Ran Gidor to argue tonight against a “journalist”-cum-reality TV star, and myself, a 19-year-old law student who is entirely unqualified to speak on the issue at hand.
Every government in the world should be laughing at Israel right now -- because it forgot Rule No. 1. You never add credence to crackpots by engaging with them. It's the same reason you won't see Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins debate David Icke. But Israel is doing precisely that. Once again, behaving in a way that is unexpected, or not normal. Behaving like a rogue state.
That's five arguments that have been directed at the supporters of Israel. But I have a minute or two left. And here's an argument for all of you – Israel wilfully and forcefully disregards international law. In 1981 Israel destroyed Osirak -- Sadam Hussein’s nuclear bomb lab. Every government in the world knew that Hussein was building a bomb. And they did nothing. Except for Israel. Yes, in doing so they broke international law and custom. But they also saved us all from a nuclear Iraq.
That rogue action should earn Israel a place of respect in the eyes of all freedom-loving peoples. But it hasn't. But tonight, while you listen to us prattle on, I want you to remember something: while you're here, Khomeini's Iran is working towards the Bomb. And if you're honest with yourself, you know that Israel is the only country that can, and will, do something about it. Israel will, out of necessity, act in a way that is the not the norm, and you'd better hope that they do it in a destructive manner. Any sane person would rather a rogue Israel than a Nuclear Iran. Except Ms. Booth.
The author, a Cambridge University law student, will be a 2011 intern with UN Watch.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Zionist Organization of America - Press Releases - ZOA: It's Troubling To See Jewish Leaders Defend.
Soros: 1944 (Nazi occupation) “was happiest time of my life … adventure … fun”
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed its concern over the strong criticism that a number of American Jewish leaders and other prominent Jews in recent days have directed at Fox broadcaster, Glenn Beck, for his criticism of Israel/U.S.-basher, financier George Soros, regarding his behavior in Nazi-occupied Budapest in 1944.In that year, George Soros’ father obtained forged papers and bribed a government official to save his son, George, then 14 years old, by taking him in as his alleged godson under a falsified Christian identity. In this capacity, George Soros accompanied his fake godfather on his appointed rounds as a government official, confiscating property from Jews who were to be deported to their deaths in Auschwitz. George Soros later said that he felt no guilt, remorse or difficulty whatsoever for being in this situation. In fact, he wrote in a forward to his father’s book, “these ten months [of the Nazi occupation] were the happiest times of my life ... We led an adventurous life and we had fun together.”
ZOA on Soros
Saturday, November 06, 2010
A considerable number of instructors in these departments teach their students that Israel is the spearhead of colonialism in the Middle East, that Zionism is a racist movement that supports expulsion and that the Law of Return is racist.By Israel Harel
In the wake of reports that were compiled in regard to anti-Zionist slants in research and instruction in a number of the country's university social sciences faculties, and after students and teachers complained about being reprimanded and insulted when they voiced their opposition, on Tuesday the Knesset Education Committee debated the issue. Lo and behold, members of the Knesset - so protective of freedom of expression of this body - claimed that the discussion is not legitimate.
The very act of discussing academia at the Knesset, argued several MKs, including Haim Oron, Nitzan Horowitz, Ahmed Tibi, Raleb Majadele and Orit Zuaretz, is a violation of academic freedom. University heads who attended the session echoed the same sentiments.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
"Arab states make up five of the ten "top movers" in the Human Development Index (HDI) -- countries that have "made the greatest progress relative to their starting points on the HDI over the past 40 years," said a UN briefing on Arab states in the 2010 Human Development Report, which was released Thursday."
"Few Arab states have experienced in-depth democratization," it said, and though some states have multiparty systems, they "do not always equate to competitive multiparty democracy."
But, the briefing said, advances in other areas are still significant -- life expectancy in the Arab world, for instance, has risen from 51 years in 1970 to 69 years in 2010, and overall education enrollment has almost doubled to 64 percent in that period.
i was not able to find the evidence of the Palestinian Authority ("Palestinian People") as a demographic entity at this H.D.I., although it is listed as a member, so i went out and searched.
i will not speak to the depth of democratization but i will about life expectancy and overall education in the Palestinian territories from a credible source.
- life expectancy 73.945
- education 78.3%
given that the "development strides" praised for the Arab world were:
- 69 years life expectancy
- 64 percent for education
it appears the Palestinians are doing better than their Arab brethren
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
from the JP
Hizbullah is preparing to seize power in Beirut should a UN tribunal implicate the group in the assassination of the country’s former prime minister Rafik Hariri, according to Lebanese sources quoted in Lebanon’s Asharq Alawsat newspaper on Tuesday.
The report said that the group was preparing for a “zero hour scenario” and was rehearsing its moves in the capital city.
Hizbullah, Amal and other pro-Syrian groups have been in close contact, coordinating a stand-by plan to take control of Beirut and the road to the South of the city, the paper said. The Christian and Sunni areas would also be neutralized.
The sources said that the groups were already assigning possible zones – who would control which areas – in a dayafter scenario.
According to the sources, Beirut would be divided into three zones of military control, assigned to Amal, Hizbullah and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.
Alternative plans, they said, were being prepared by Hizbullah in the event the other groups could not control their zones.
“Zero hour” in the report apparently refers to a scenario in which the Lebanese capital descends into violence and leaves a security vacuum after the Hariri tribunal publishes its report and indictments are issued.
The report quoted retired Lebanese Brig.-Gen. Amin Hattit, who is known to be close to Hizbullah, as saying that many aspects of the plans were realistic.
He said that Hizbullah’s current strategy was to prevent strife, but if the group were unable to prevent an explosion of unrest, it would exploit the situation.
“Everyone knows that the temptation will be limited geographically to areas where there is a Shi’ite majority,” Hattit added, referring to areas of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley region, and the South of the country.
He concluded that “if this scenario does take place, Hizbullah would be able to seize power in three days, or a week at most,” and that the “era of Hariri in Lebanon” would end forever.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
A great analysis at an interesting blog. See also earlier:
Which goes along with John Bolton's article on WallStreet Journal and on Facebook if you have an account,
I fear the worst.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
The Pathology of Jewish Anti-Semitism
It sounds like a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron. And if only it were.
Jewish-anti-Semitism is a modern disease. In the twenty-first century the world is experiencing an explosion of it, a virtual plague. Among the most malicious and venomous of all bigots, the Jewish anti-Semites are at the forefront of each and every smear campaign against Israel and other Jews. Jews today are leaders in the campaigns to boycott and "divest from" Israel, including the Solidarity with Terrorists groups. They make pilgrimage to the terrorist camps of the Hamas and the Hezb-Allah, cheering on terrorist atrocities against Jews. They pioneered the smear campaign to paint Israel as an apartheid regime and denouncing Israel as equivalent to Nazi Germany is their favorite pastime.
Western campuses are crawling with them. Some of the Jewish anti-Semites even hold leadership positions in Hillel houses. Many others are tenured professors. An anti-Semitic Jewish judge chaired a UN commission demonizing Israel. A Jewish member of Britain's Parliament (Gerald Kaufman) compared Hamas terrorists to Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto and denounced Israel as a Nazi entity. And a shockingly large number of Jewish anti-Semites are Israelis or ex-Israelis.
Most Jews dismiss such people as "self-hating," but that term is misleading. These rogues do not hate themselves. Indeed they are masters of narcissism. They hate other Jews and wish them harm. These are not the assimilationists of Jewish descent who have simply lost interest in Jewish heritage, or those indifferent towards Jewish history and Israel. Anti-Semitic Jews often make a point out of waving their own Jewish "roots" as artillery support for their anti-Semitism. In some extreme cases they collaborate with Neo-Nazis, Islamist terrorists, and even Holocaust Deniers. No, that is not a misprint; there are today in the world Jewish Holocaust Deniers!
very well put, as usual with Plaut
Friday, October 01, 2010
'Z' WORD | The Company They Keep: Antisemitism's Fellow Travellers
anthony julius | july 2008
" IN APRIL 2005, THREE Jewish members of the National Union of Students (NUS) executive in the United Kingdom resigned from their positions. One of them, Luciana Berger, the NUS "anti-racism convenor," explained her position to the union's conference:
"This year, a comment was made in a Student Union saying that burning down a synagogue is a rational act. When asked to comment, National Executive Committee members could not even bring themselves to condemn that statement. Over five months ago serious complaints were lodged about antisemitic comments made by an NEC member in a public meeting. There is yet to be any form of official response to these complaints. [...] While I accuse no one of antisemitism, this year NUS has been a bystander to Jew-hatred." 
The question arises, is it right to characterise as antisemitic those adverse stances towards Israel and the Zionist project that are derived from false facts, and / or are malicious, and / or are taken without regard to Jewish objections, and / or resonate with antisemitism's history and / or deploy antisemitic tropes? Mostly, the answer is "yes" - particularly when several of these features are combined. But in certain instances, the answer might be, "no" - or "not quite."
First, the affirmative answer might be a tactical mistake. It might be received as merely abusive - no more than a piece of name-calling. It often serves as a mere provocation, inviting the tedious riposte, "I am not an antisemite, indeed I deplore antisemitism, I am instead a partisan of the Palestinians, you are making a false accusation of antisemitism against me to squash my unanswerable case, etc." Why, then, take this step, one which almost always signals the end of any useful exchange of views, and instead inaugurates the trading of insults, the argument no longer being about the coherence of the stance, but instead about the respective moral character of its advocates and critics? 
Second, the affirmative answer might be premature. Antisemitic anti-Zionism is so much part of the zeitgeist, it is reasonable to assume that many of the people who draw upon its tropes do so without reflection. If they are open to correction when the provenance of their language is pointed out to them, they are not antisemites. Antisemites are obdurate in their Jew hatred. They display their antisemitism as much in their response to challenges to their discourse as in the discourse itself. They will respond, that is, with counter-accusations; there will no pause for self-interrogation. Further, these counter-accusations will tend to trade on the ugly characteristics typically attributed to Jews - the use of their power or money to silence truth-tellers, the exploitation of their historic suffering to gain present-day advantages, a ready resort to character-assassination or smear, and so on.
Finally, a "yes" risks lumping together two kinds of people. For the first kind, antisemitism determines their positions; they embrace Jew hatred; they acknowledge and welcome the antisemitism of others. For the second kind, antisemitism is not relevant to the positions that they take; they do not recoil from antisemitism when they encounter it; they are insensitive to the presence of antisemitism in their own positions or in the positions that they support. They may not be antisemites themselves, but they collude with antisemitism. They are often found defending antisemites - not guilty of the offence themselves, but quick to champion others who are guilty of it. The distinction I am drawing is between the culpable adoption of antisemitism and a culpable indifference towards it. Many "new anti-Zionists" bear this latter, lesser responsibility. They share space with antisemites, untroubled by the company that they keep; they comprise a species of "fellow traveller" ("bystander" does not quite do the vice justice), the kind of person ready to overlook or excuse everything that is vicious in the cause he supports, the protagonists he admires. "
Con't'Z' WORD | The Company They Keep: Antisemitism's Fellow Travellers"> here. This is a long article but very good. Next section: The Soviet Analogy
Julius has recently written a book entitled "Trials of the Diaspora" reviewed in the Telegraph here, favorably, and of course there are the unfavorable ones as well.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
WHY DOES THIS “CHRISTIAN” ALWAYS FLOCK TO HEAR THE "MUSLIM" MESSAGE? - by Brigitte de Maubec
Did Obama attend a Protestant church on Sunday because a pro-Palestinian Muslim was invited to speak?
(Sept. 20, 2010) — Yesterday, on Sunday, September 19, 2010, the Obama family attended church for only the third time in a year. They went on foot to the St. John’s Episcopal Church situated across the Lafayette Park.
But what is widely not reported by the White House and the MSM is that on that particular Sunday in that particular church, Dr. Ziad Asali, M.D., a Muslim, founder and president of the American Task Force on Palestine (see also this), was the guest speaker. He was there to speak on the subject of “Prospects of the two-state solution in the Middle-East.”
Obama goes to church to hear a Muslim speaker! | Read more at The Post & Email
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
At eMunah Magazine
By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
So Brian Williams asks President Obama what he thinks of the fact that one fifth all Americans believes he is a Muslim. The President gets defensive and sheepishly responds that this issue was put to bed during the campaign.
But let’s ask ourselves an honest question for a moment. If he were a Muslim, would it matter?
If An American President Were Muslim, Would we Care? | eMunah Magazine Read this wonderful article by Rabbi Boteach at eMunah . Section above is just a teaser...
Thursday, September 09, 2010
The supporters of Israel can write for the enemy, but the supporters of "Palestine" simply cannot. According to Wikipedia "It is the mark of good Wikipedia editors to be able to understand and present various POV, including those they find distasteful." By that definition, there are damned few on that side today that can be considered "good Wikipedia editors" Ramallite, was a worthy advocate/adversary, that is, he fought fair. But he does not appear to be editing anymore. Today it is a battlefield. There is no way in hell that the atmosphere at Wiki will contribute to wikilove, let alone ''world'' peace. Do we really need another battleground?
Wikipedia is supposed to be a place to share, not just knowledge, but understanding. It has become anything but... and one of the worst sections of it has to be in what is called the Israeli-Palestinian section. The reason it is so bad is because of the quality of the editors. No longer satisfied to try to achieve high standards of neutrality and honesty, editors attempt to meet the propaganda of one side with the propaganda of the other. But the pro-Israel side is highly under under represented in the area. There may be a lot of Israelis at Wikipedia, as some have claimed, but they are certainly not all editing historical and political articles. In the Israeli-Palestinian area, we are a mere handful against the hoards. We try to edit fairly but are faced with a wall of anti-Israel editors. Further, they are emboldened since they are so numerous, that they are quite willing to let their bias be known without fear of repercussions. [1.] For some reason or other, pro-Israel editors, generally labeled "Zionists," are immediately treated with suspicion and attacked. How is this done? Based on my investigations:
Step one) Identify the enemy (anyone who might edit in the area who has the odor of "Zionism" about him)
Step two) Intimidate him using insults and belittlement, in edit summaries and on the talk page. Revert him or her, suggesting they are a troll, or vandals.
Step three) Initiate personal contact through warnings and threats
Step four) Revert virtually everything the opponent writes, accusing him of bias, ignorance, or poor sourcing
Step five) call in
Step six) With the help of your friends the enemy is hammered enough to make an error, which renders him vulnerable to an administrative process.
Step seven) At the administrative process, all the friends come in and speak to how bad you are, and one or two on your side come in to speak on your behalf. Some of these friends are of course administrators as well, who while they are supposed to be fair, are sometimes frankly biased. Unbiased administrators are mostly unwilling to get involved and those who do will often be intimidated or threatened as well. So there is a very good chance that the hoards will achieve a victory here, and the enemy will at least have a black mark, get a small ban, or better yet, a large one.
Step eight) Always keep your enemy under your watch, by following him or her to virtually every page, reverting and challenging every point. Eventually the enemy will slip up, and more administrative action can be taken.
Step nine) While the enemy is topic or article banned, you insert your POV into as many of the contentious articles as possible.
Step ten) If the editor comes back after this,
Eventually the enemy gets banned for contentious edits and you have the field to yourself! This is the situation these days. As shown by examples such as this, it is possible to delete any article that shows your cause in a bad light, or the other fella's (the I in the I-P conflict area) in a good light. This is just how it is these days.
I edited Wikipedia for a number of years, and the atmosphere now is the worst ever. Most honest warriors have given up and gone home on both sides. What is left is a handful of stalwarts and maybe one or two on their side (though frankly, not so sure about them) but in the main it is bunch of ideologues who battle people not ideas. It is fine to argue honestly, to make a real attempt to compromise to achieve neutrality. We cannot cherry-pick reality to make it fit our wishes. Using sources such as Finklestein to support a historical fact, is like asking that Amadinejad be considered an expert on the Holocaust. It is so bad there now, it is 1984 all over again.
Saturday, September 04, 2010
By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
The Arab lobby, which has no popular support and makes little effort to woo elected officials, profoundly impacts decision-making in the US democracy.
HOW THEN does a lobby with no popular support manage to exert influence in a democratic country? The secret is very simple. The Arab lobby in general and the Saudis in particular make little effort to influence popularly elected public officials, particularly legislators. Again, listen to Bard: “The Saudis have taken a different tact from the Israeli lobby, focusing a top-down rather than bottom-up approach to lobbying. As hired gun J. Crawford Cook wrote in laying out his proposed strategy for the kingdom, ‘Saudi Arabia has a need to influence the few that influence the many, rather than the need to influence the many to whom the few must respond.’” The primary means by which the Saudis exercise this influence is money. They spend enormous amounts of lucre to buy (or rent) former State Department officials, diplomats, White House aides and legislative leaders who become their elite lobbying corps. Far more insidiously, the Saudis let it be known that if current government officials want to be hired following their retirement from government service, they had better hew to the Saudi line while they are serving in the US government.
read on here
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents/Wikilobby campaign is the latest, but as Wikipedians now have access to the entire Isra-paedia mail list archives, and plan to publish them more users will be revealed as belonging to this cabal that aimed to violate WP:CANVASS, meatpuppetry rules, and WP:NPOV to follow a pro-Israeli agenda. One admin has in turn threatened to block anyone who does so. Unlike the Durova/!! private mail scenario, these cannot be considered good faith emails in any capacity, but as evidence of planned assault on WP:NPOV. As this information is likely to published somewhere imminently, a lot of Wikipedia editors may be implicated here shortly. This needs review on this level now. (found here)
I will now rewrite it the way I (and some others) read this:
This was written as part of the CAMERA accusation:
"Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents/Wikilobby campaign is the latest, but as Wikipedians now have access to the entire Isra-paedia mail list archives, and plan to publish them more users will be revealed as belonging to this cabal that aimed to violate WP:CANVASS, meatpuppetry rules, and WP:NPOV to follow a pro-Israeli agenda. One admin has in turn threatened to block anyone who does so. Unlike the Durova/!! private mail scenario, these cannot be considered good faith emails in any capacity, but as evidence of planned assault on WP:NPOV. As this information is likely to published somewhere imminently, a lot of Wikipedia editors may be implicated here shortly. This needs review on this level now."
I don't believe these people made the case in the CAMERA case, excuse the pun. The decision ban people based on a private mailing list that was made public by the highly partisan group "Electronic Intifada" is really outrageous. The use of the word cabal is highly judgmental and ironic coming as it does from a group called the Electronic Intifada. It is also a highly charged word, but apparently the powers that were saw nothing offensive about it, seeing as how they were sitting comfortably in judgment, rather than being the judged. The group made an assumption about the original intent of the so-called "cabal" and they did not use the original CAMERA email which went out to ALL members of Wikipedia and was perfectly appropriate, just offering to help train people to help Israel get its voice heard in Wikipedia? What's wrong with that anyway? It is a party to a 2-way conflict, of course it is important that its voice is heard! Balance is part of NPOV.
There was never an assumption of good faith. Virtually all of the "offending" emails were written by one individual, yet any one who had edited Wikipedia was given long sentences. CAMERA and every editor that received an email after that first letter was held responsible for everything said in other peoples' emails. All sorts of people were "outed," as well as shamed for their views ("evidence of a planned assault on Wikipedia"). While some (more like 1) may have planned an "assault" - I don't think one recruit ever made it to Wikipedia. Too bad, since many were highly educated people who would have a lot to offer. People should be banned on the basis of their own behavior (at Wiki), not the basis of what they say off-Wiki, in privately leaked emails, on groups and forums, or with whom they associate. How chilling is that? That is what happened with that BAD CAMERA decision. I hope Wikipedia rethinks and reverses that decision.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Oh the Horrors! It was "frightening" and "subversive" and intended to "harm Wikipedia."
But when it was discovered that there was another group of Wikipedians, about 12 of them, who called themselves "Wikipedians for Palestine" , no one seemed frightened or considered them "subversive," for some odd reason. This secret group had this to say about membership in it:
"In order to verify their status as both a Wikipedian in good standing and someone who is pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist, those wishing to join this group will be asked to provide their Wikipedia user ID."
o.O They have to prove that they are "anti-Zionist"? But, apparently, there is nothing really wrong with that.
Andre Oboler at ZionismontheWeb.com investigated and wrote about it at the time. It is well worth reading and thinking about as this case is being discussed on Wikipedia here and now
"The penalties imposed on members of the CAMERA group were harsh in part because it was argued that this was a new threat to Wikipedia and an example needed to be made. The feeling was that recruiting people from within grass roots advocacy organisations, enlisting experienced editors to help, and having the discussions outside of wikipedia could all contribute in a way that went against the nature of wikipedia. This was naive. Our research shows past attenpts, by Palestinian advocates, some of whom commented and pushed for sanctions in the CAMERA case, that meet all of these criteria. The admins considering the case found some of this information too, their attempts to investigate did the equivalent of starting the shredding machines. "
Absolutely zero came of it. It was never investigated. One or two people were asked if they were members and they said no. That was that.
Oboler also exposed user: Bangpound in this excellent investigative article as the member of Electronic Intifada who outed the email group. Turns out this editor was in the employ of that organization. Some are arguing today that an employee of an advocacy group should not be editing in the area, but the editor called Bangpound still contributes a little these days, under that name.
The twelve members of the Wikipedians for Palestine with their self-proclaimed anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian bias are no doubt still at Wikipedia. Some of them are most probably fellow editors at the discussion board, urging sanctions against others; some may be administrators, checkusers, even arbitrators.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Ha’aretz has noticed the need for more knowledgeable editors to work on Israel-related articles. They cite edit wars over whether the demonstrations against the security barrier at Bil’in should be described as “violent” and whether the Ariel University Center should be described as “the largest public college in Israel” or “the largest Israeli public college?” Or, at least, Ha’aretz has noticed that “the Israeli right” has noticed the need for better editing.
Even The Guardian has the story, pointing out that the status of Jerusalem is “constantly altered” on Wikipedia. Is it or is it not the capital of Israel? (The best NPOV answer I have seen is that it is the de-facto capital of Israel. While I personally consider it the capital of Israel, the status is often challenged and showing both sides, as has been done in the past, is the only correct option for Wikipedia.)
According to The Guardian, “The organisiers of the Wikipedia courses are already planning a competition to find the “Best Zionist editor,” with a prize of a hot-air balloon trip over Israel.”
check out the site @ wikibias.com
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Do Gaza Flotillas Provide Material Support to Hamas?: If so, should those U.S. funders of the flotilla be subject to prosecution?
Do Gaza Flotillas Provide Material Support to Hamas?: If so, should those U.S. funders of the flotilla be subject to prosecution?
by Jonathan Schanzer
Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy recently argued at National Review Online that the federal government has reason to investigate Rashid Khalidi, an activist Middle Eastern studies professor at Columbia University. What prompted this? Khalidi's efforts to raise $370,000 for a new sea vessel (to be named The Audacity of Hope, after President Barack Obama's second book) designed to break the Israeli blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
As increasing numbers of pro-Palestinian activists try to break the blockade of Gaza, McCarthy's argument is worth exploring. Are these flotillas legal?
McCarthy notes that it is illegal for Americans "to furnish or fit out a vessel in the service of any foreign entity 'to cruise, or commit hostilities' against a nation with which the U.S. is at peace." Israel, of course, is an American ally that is imposing a policy in Gaza that Washington officially supports.
McCarthy also notes that the Logan Act prohibits U.S. citizens "from carrying on 'any correspondence or intercourse' with any foreign government… to 'defeat the measures of the United States.'" To this end, McCarthy then suggests that the Justice Department should investigate flotilla organizers' communications with the de facto Hamas government in Gaza, particularly if they seek to undermine U.S. policy.
In the end, it is McCarthy's third point that is the most convincing: The Justice Department, under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, could also investigate American flotilla organizers for providing material support to a terrorist group.
Read full article
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Turkey Gases Kurds and the World is Silent|
While Israel is feeling the heat from multiple international probes into its May 31 commando raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, Turkey is now reported to have used chemical weapons against its Kurdish population, and yet the world remains silent.
Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper reports that German experts have confirmed Turkey’s use of chemical weapons against at least eight members of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters in September 2009.
The story has been covered in the Israeli and Armenian media, but has attracted scant attention elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Kurds are being killed with the help of Israeli-made spy drones as Israel maintains its high-level military cooperation with Turkey.
Meanwhile, Turkey is reportedly planning to transfer weapons to Hezbollah. Since Turkey has access to the latest Israeli and NATO technology, the next Israel-Hezbollah war could be that much more devastating.
As of yet, no calls for an investigation have been heard from the Western media, governments or the UN.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Friday, August 06, 2010
This is sad but no doubt true. I have posted the entire article, something to think about.
by BEN HUBBARD, Associated Press Writer Ben Hubbard, Associated Press Writer – Fri Aug 6, 3:06 am ET
SHATI REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip – From his ramshackle Gaza home, Palestinian Sobhi Hamami, 61, fondly recalls the 23 years he worked on an Israeli kibbutz, where he learned Hebrew, swam in the pool with Israeli friends and celebrated holidays with his Jewish boss.
His son Mohammed, 21, sees Israelis differently: "They're the enemy," he says, "without exception."
This generational split slices through families across Gaza, where older people remember when jobs in Tel Aviv and contact with Israelis were a short drive away, while those under 25 have grown up locked in, seeing little from Israel but fighter planes and bombs.
Israel has been tightening restrictions on who can leave Gaza for nearly two decades, finally imposing a strict blockade with Egypt when the Islamic militant group Hamas overran the territory in 2007.
After its deadly May raid on an activist flotilla seeking to break the blockade, Israel allowed more consumer goods into the impoverished seaside strip. But outside of rare exceptions for medical patients, Israel says the travel ban will remain to keep out would-be attackers until Gaza is ruled by a government that doesn't seek Israel's destruction or consider Israeli civilians legitimate targets. Hamas rejects those conditions.
This means Gaza's youth — 68 percent of its 1.5 million residents are under 25 — have no contact with people outside, which critics warn could make them more susceptible to militant groups and calls to violence.
"We have a whole generation that has no chance to see the other, whether that other is an Israeli, a European, another Palestinian, anyone," said Hamdi Shaqqura of Gaza's Palestinian Center for Human Rights. "This will push people more and more toward self-containment, further from other communities, and widen the gap with Israel."
The gap is clear in the crowded streets of this refugee camp, from which hundreds of men once commuted to Israel daily for jobs in industry, agriculture and construction. Most are now middle-aged and haven't left Gaza in years. Still, they can recall Israeli towns in street-by-street detail and the names of Jewish colleagues, bosses and friends.
The elder Hamami spent what he considers the best 23 years of his life working on Israeli kibbutzim, or collective farms, near Gaza. He had his own room, took Hebrew classes, swam in the community pool with kibbutz members and danced at their parties.
"They were all my friends," he said, "from the old man to the child."
When asked about Israel, his son Mohammed sees "mass destruction and killing people," he said. "I've seen lots of houses destroyed and children killed."
Mohammed has never left Gaza nor met a Jew. He has childhood memories of Israeli soldiers storming the camp during the Palestinian uprising that erupted in 2000, and clearly recalls Israel's three-week offensive last year to stop militant rocket fire on Israeli towns. The war killed 1,400 Gazans, many of them civilians, and left swaths of the strip in ruins. Thirteen Israelis also died.
Their politics also differ. The father thinks violence is self-defeating. His son supports those who fight Israel.
"As long as they are fighting the army, we have to support them," Mohammed said. "They fight the enemy that kills children and destroys homes."
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev defended the Gaza travel ban as protection against militant attacks and blamed Hamas' rhetoric for younger Gazans' negative views of the Jewish state.
"The Hamas regime in Gaza is constantly bombarding the younger generation with extreme violence and anti-Israeli propaganda that plays on traditional anti-Semitic themes, often describing Jews as Satanic," he said.
This prevents them from seeing the good Israel has done, he said, citing the withdrawal from its settlements in 2005 and its allowing thousands of Gazans to enter Israel for medical care.
Sari Bashi of the Israeli group Gisha, which advocates for Palestinian freedom of movement, said the lack of contact between Gazan and Israeli civilians leads to the "demonization" of Gazans in the Israeli mind. This she said, could lead to greater violence from the Israeli side.
"This separation is very dangerous for the future because if people in Gaza are not human beings, you can do pretty much anything to them," she said.
Moussa Himmo, 45, also from Shati camp, worked for years in a factory in Tel Aviv, eating and lodging with the Jewish owner's family, which sent him home on weekends with sweets for his children.
In 1990, during the first Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation, Israel arrested Himmo for throwing firebombs at an army jeep in Gaza and imprisoned him for three and a half years. He says he was repeatedly beaten. Still, upon entering Israel seven years later, he sought out his old boss, who embraced him like a prodigal son.
"He was a beautiful guy, with green eyes and curly hair," his former boss Nuriel Izhaki, 70, said of Himmo. "It was only because he was an honest guy and did clean work that I let him work here. I trusted him."
The men lost touch years ago. And both see no way to return to the old days. Izhaki blames Hamas for Gaza's woes, especially for holding Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit captive for four years.
"If they hold Gilad Schalit and don't let anyone visit him, how do they think life can be good for them?" he said.
Himmo, the Palestinian, said he doesn't believe Israelis want peace. "They think all Arabs are dangerous," he said. "The whole situation has changed and there is no way to go back."
The former boss of Hamami, the kibbutz worker, said Hamami was "like family." Strolling through the tree-lined community of Gvulot, Michael Adler, 70, pointed out many buildings Hamami helped build, including the dining hall and Adler's own home.
His wife, Daphna, remembered the local children liking Hamami's Gaza-style felafel.
They, too, had lost touch with their former employee. Now, they said, their children and grandchildren live in communities near the Gaza border that have been frequent targets of militant rockets.
"I don't see a solution in the near future," Adler said, suggesting that the only way out is for the sides to talk to each other.
"If we don't speak, what else do we have?" he said.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Sunday, August 01, 2010
FROM: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
TO: Free Gaza Freedom Flotilla
RE: Gaza Tourism Guide
Dear Crazy People,
We’ve been given to understand that you intend to stage another media stunt, wherein you’re again going to float some empty ships – they may be full this time, they were mostly empty last time – in the general direction of the Gaza Strip. Your hope is apparently that your cameramen will capture the Israeli reaction and edit it into an overreaction or, failing that, simply reprint your feverish fantasies with slack-jawed credulity. Again.
Our problem isn’t so much that your goal involves obfuscating the millions of tons of food and aid we’ve delivered to Gaza civilians, which allowed Hamas to move money away from infrastructure and into weaponry, which led to more of our cities getting bombarded with rockets and missiles. It’s not even how, knowing that we deliver 15,000 tons of goods every week, your 10,000 tons of concrete isn’t exactly a shining testament to your good intentions. Not when just last week we handed over 810,209 liters of heavy duty diesel fuel, 21 truckloads of milk powder and baby food, 897 tons of cooking gas, 66 truckloads of fruits and vegetables, 51 truckloads of wheat, 27 truckloads of meat, chicken and fish products, 40 truckloads of dairy products, 117 truckloads of animal feed, 36 truckloads of hygiene products, 38 trucks of clothing, 22 trucks of sugar and 4 trucks of medicine and medical equipment. But again: not the issue.
Continue Reading @ Mere Rhetoric
"This year, the Community Department will be hiring for a series of important senior and entry level positions. All positions will involve collaborating and communicating with Wikimedia project contributors and users intensively and publicly, grappling with many problems that no one has ever solved before, navigating technological and social challenges and opportunities, and dealing with a high level of complexity and uncertainty. Candidates should have extremely high levels of skill and comfort in communication (especially writing), qualitative and quantitative analysis, management and self-management. Candidates who are not already deeply immersed in online collaborative communities will have to show an aptitude for quickly gaining a deep understanding of our communities' technologies, practices, traditions and culture -- and to become trusted and productive members of the Wikimedia community and movement.
We are looking for candidates from all over the world. Wikimedia Foundation has a policy of hiring without regard to locale. If eventually accepted for a position, Wikimedia Foundation will assist with work visas and relocation costs."
Of course, the relocation is to San Fransisco, a beautiful, if politically f---ked up city.
also see here: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Job_openings
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Allegations of Wikipedia disinformation have been around a long time. It is certainly inevitable as an encyclopedia that (mostly) anyone can edit. As early as 2005 John Seigenthaler Sr, a journalist and writer, wrote an editorial in USA Today excoriating Wikipedia for his false biography. His biography included the spurious accusation that Seigenthaler was "thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations of both John, and his brother, Bobby."
When I was a child, my mother lectured me on the evils of "gossip." She held a feather pillow and said, "If I tear this open, the feathers will fly to the four winds, and I could never get them back in the pillow. That's how it is when you spread mean things about people."
For me, that pillow is a metaphor for Wikipedia.
Since 2005 and this notorious incident, Wikipedia has made some changes in its "Biography of Living People" policies essentially in order to avoid suits and legal problems; but its policies in contentious areas do very little to prevent racism or other forms of political bigotry, which remain very much there. Policies are in place, but are broad enough or unenforceable enough that there is plenty of "gossip," to put it kindly, masquerading as "fact" in Wikipedia today.
Liberal bias has long been asserted on Wikipedia. Matthew Sheffield, writing for the Washington Post, accused Wikipedia of having "tilted leftward." Indeed the bias was pronounced enough to prompt the creation of the conservative wiki called Conservapedia with its article called "Examples of Bias in Wikipedia"
John Farrell, writing for Cosmos Magazine in 2007 noted:
"An increasing number of academics - many of whom have helped edit the resource to maintain informal quality control - are concerned that Wikipedia is becoming a stronghold for cranks: people who anonymously submit and edit entries on pet subjects to bolster the credibility of highly questionable theories."
Equally concerning for some of us are the allegations that Wikipedia is anti-Israel, and that the "highly questionable theories" being pumped out are pumped out by "cranks" with axes to grind.
In 2008, David Shamah, writing for the Jerusalem Post in his article "The other side of Wikipedia, writes
As most of us have come to realize, it's too late for Wikipedia, as far as Israel is concerned. The "Npov" crowd (an acronym for the supposedly Neutral Point of View of Wikipedia editors) have basically installed themselves in the positions of editorial authority that control the site.
So, for someone looking for the truth about Israel, Wikpedia is pretty much a dead end - it seems to carry only the "truth" as approved by the international Arab propaganda machine."
But is it merely Israel? Or is there an anti-Jewish bias as well? Stephen Dubner notes
"Also, FWIW, has anyone else noticed that Wikipedia entries often exhibit a rather serious interest in a subject’s religious background? particularly if the subject is Jewish?It turns out that Sergey Brin of Google has also noticed this."
And in fact, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, in this 2007 interview, specifically fingers Wikipedia when asked if he has experienced antisemitism.
"'I’ve experienced it',he tells me. 'Usually it is fairly subtle. People harp on all media companies being run by Jewish executives, with the implication of a conspiracy.' As an example, he cites the entry about him in Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia that famously accepts submissions and edits from anyone. 'The Wikipedia page about me will be subtly edited in an anti-Semitic way,' he says."
Author Karen McQuillan, in a FrontPageMag article entitled ''Wikipedia's Jewish Problem'' describes the editing environment at Wikipedia:
Unless you like endless fighting with anti-Semites and Israel-haters, it is not pleasant to try to contribute to topics dealing with Israel. Major topics like Jerusalem or the Holocaust attract enough attention that destructive editors’ depredations are kept at a minimum.
Propaganda purporting to be reference material, such as "Israel and the Apartheid Analogy," is tolerated although it is against the rules.
This system has not worked well on Jewish or Israel related topics. As Larry Sanger points out, it is a system that is easily gamed by the malicious, abetted by a nerd culture that doesn’t understand proper supervision.
Recent articles bemoaning Wikipedia's Israeli coverage include articles in the left-wing Israeli paper, Ha'aretz "Wikipedia editors: Coverage of Israel 'problematic," in which author Cnaan Liphshiz notes that "[Wikipedia] Editors say world's fourth most popular Web site presents "problematic views on Hamas, Iran, Holocaust denial."
Haviv Gur, in the Jerusalem Post, describes the anti-Israel editors as "anti-Israel 'mobs'" and part of international campaign to erode Israel’s legitimacy" which is "slowly expanding its reach into the online encyclopedia Wikipedia..." adding,
However, in recent months, Israeli editors have sensed a growing presence of pro-Palestinian activists who have begun to develop ways to sidestep these controls. The result has been the introduction of narratives that question Israel’s legitimacy and advocate international legal and political action against the Jewish state.
These activists also use teams of like-minded editors working together to sustain debates about new edits ad infinitum, thus improving the chances that their changes will be accepted and preventing the removal of any claims they have added.
Other methods used by editors to push their political view into the encyclopedia include censorship and personal attacks.
In an article by Andre Oboler (a one-time editor in Wikipedia) and others, the authors show how biased editors can write articles and censor out criticism of a favored subject. "Yet Wikipedia as a system doesn't seem to know how to deal with this damage, or perhaps it is just that various admins don't want to get involved? Either way the system relies on people's honesty and continues to be broken as Palestinian advocates seek to exploit it," Oboler notes in an article in AISH.
As Matthew Sheffield says "What this means in practical terms is that people with enough determination to force their viewpoints on Wikipedia can do so."
Add to this numerous Arabs, Muslims, and Islamists along with garden-variety antisemites on Wikipedia and if you imagine that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict area in Wikipedia is rife with anti-Israel ("anti-Zionist") propaganda, and you would be right.
This anti-Israel bias has not escaped the notice of mainstream media, "leading" editors of Wikipedia or the government of Israel. One such editor of Wikipedia was invited to Israel by the Foreign Ministry.
In 2009, David Saranga from the Consulate General in New York, invited Wiki editor David Shankbone and a dozen or so American journalists to Israel in hopes of expanding their (the US media's) "one-dimensional view of Israel."
Saranga says Wikipedia is generally fair in regard to Israel. He is unfazed when he hears that the entry on Israel mentions the word "occupation" nine times, whereas the entry on the Palestinian People mentions "terror" only once. "It means only one thing: Israelis should be more active on Wikipedia. Instead of blaming it, they should go on the site much more, and try and change it."
Jimbo Wales also called on Israelis to join Wikipedia just last year.
Indeed Wikipedia could use an infusion of Israelis and pro-Israel Jews and others to counteract the Arab propaganda "mob," or at least to provide some balance to many of the articles. However, as Karen McQuillan noted above, it requires "endless fighting with anti-Semites and Israel-haters."
Wikipedia claims to be based on "Five Pillars" or fundamental principles. Presenting a neutral point of view, is one, and respectful interaction another. When it comes to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, neither is upheld. In fact, in this area, it is not even true as claimed that it is an encyclopedia that "anyone can edit." The leftist/Arab/anti-Israel/antisemitic majority pushes and shoves and elbows out and finally bans any editors who support a fair and balanced approach to the subject.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Check out the Activist Network. But this story about Wikipedia and Israel is tops. Having once edited Wikipedian, I can tell you this story is right-on. If you have time, some writing ability, and the stomach for it, I urge you to go to Wikipedia and give them the real facts about Israel. Here is what the activist network
has to say:
The Not So Silent War of Words
There is an information war being held on the online battlefield of Wikipedia. Wikipedia.com is an online encyclopedia which is user-base driven and claims 65,000,000 monthly visits from unsuspecting information-seekers. It is also used as a dependable source for research in the mainstream media outlets on a huge range of topics, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike any other topic, it is so heated and has instigated its own online Wikipedia conflict, to a point where Wikipedia designated a special division called the IP (Israeli-Palestinian) Section to monitor edited information from contributing users.
The site works in a way that allows anyone with internet access and a user-name to edit Wikipedia articles. This means that although anyone can contribute, the contribution or editor is screened by the fellow editors of that article, not by Wikipedia. For example, if the majority of editors on a particular article are liberal, a conservative editor will be scrutinized and have difficulty retaining an edit before the majority liberal editors easily undo or re-edit.
Having said that, there is a certain amount of objectivity that is maintained in most articles, but many users are learning that when it comes to IP, Wikipedia is not objective or neutral, but filled with Palestinian sympathizers determined to undermine Israel’s legitimacy. They are using unethical tactics by Wikipedia standards to ensure the Israeli position is not presented in its articles. In fact, administrators who are supposed to be maintaining objectivity in IP articles are quick to block pro-Israel contributors and their edits for no legitimate reason.
It has gotten to a dangerous, out-of-hand situation simply because there are many more pro-Palestinian editors than Israel supporters. Lies are being disseminated virally. Thus, any pro-Israel contributor is easily labeled and dismissed as a biased source, while the Palestinian supporters hide behind their screens and continue to shape anti-Israel public opinion and rewrite history. For instance, if one looks up “Deir Yassin,” an article titled the “Deir Yassin Massacre” will be pulled up on Wikipedia. Deir Yassin by numerous accounts was not a massacre and many attempts to change the title were dismissed without giving any weight to the legitimate sources referenced. Clearly, the article itself is riddled with questionable facts and half truths, but the point is that one does not have to get beyond the title to see the bias. For more recent examples of the edit wars we are up against, take a look at the Gaza Flotilla article or the Helen Thomas article. You may be frustrated by what you read, but if you don’t remain apathetic you can actually do something about it.
You see, unlike other media outlets, there is no barrier to entry to Wikipedia, so in minutes you can get involved and make a difference. The more Wiki editors we are, the more impact we can have in countering the heavy anti-Israel slant. This is all you have to do to become an editor:
1) Log on to www.wikipedia.com
2) Click top right to create an account – which requires no personal information
3) Create a non-provocative user ID so as not to give credit to accusations of bias
4) Preferably begin by editing non-controversial articles so as to gain a respected reputation and avoid being labeled as a single purpose account. All edits must be sourced (see Wiki guidelines for acceptable sources)
5) Gradually begin edits on IP articles, taking great care to reference solid sources
Because Wikipedia is a numbers game, once there are enough pro Western editors working in tandem, the anti-Western folks and their sympathizers will hopefully be held to a higher standard of proof. Wikipedia is known to minimize pro-Israel editors relative to the pro-Palestinian editors and they have banned pro-Israel editors from the site without cause, so be sure to keep all correspondence civil so as not to give them an excuse.
If you have any technical questions about editing and more complex Wiki behaviors, or for short instructional seminars, please email....
Contact information at the site here. Go take a look around.