Thursday, July 22, 2010

AJC Mideast Briefing: Understanding the Latest Conversion Crisis

This is the clearest account I've read of the current Israeli conversion bill (to be put off until the October session of the Knesset). The American Jewish Committee (AJC) Mideast Briefing explains both the problems the bill was intended to address and the controversial concessions MK Rotem had to make to Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) in order to get their approval on the legislation.

If I have time over the weekend, I will try to add a few thoughts about this, having made a serious attempt this week to try to understand this bill and how conversions have been governed in the modern state of Israel.

"AJC Mideast Briefing: Understanding the Latest Conversion Crisis," July 21, 2010.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How Jewish conspiracies become mainstream

"Mainstreaming Hate," Lee Smith. Tablet Magazine. July 21, 2010.

This is a gutsy piece.  Smith has called a spade a spade, and the spade, which fancies itself a flower, isn't going to like it.
One reason for the surge of public criticism of Israel over the last decade is the increasing interest of American media consumers in the Middle East as U.S. involvement in the region deepened after Sept. 11. The other reason is the triumph of the Internet, which lends itself to anti-Semitic narratives. The genius of the web is its interconnectedness, the facility with which it is capable of making links based on other links, which allows a chain of unbroken and unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo to acquire the stature of fact...
“It hasn’t been secret,” writes Carroll, a commenter on a Lobelog post, that “for a long time that we have a small cabal of US zionist operating in and manipulating the US for their vision of Israel and a group of US Neocons and other assorted special interest who never met a war they didn’t like. … What do we have to do to put an end to them? … Suicide the cabal?” On another post at the same site, a commenter named Rowan Berkeley writes: “It seems to me that it is no exaggeration to say roundly that the USA in its entirety is under Jewish control of one variety or another.” He then makes an entirely accurate observation: “Ten years ago, it would have been a safe assumption that only ‘neo-Nazis’ would say such a thing.”

What is notable about such comments is not that they are original or unusual, but that there are hundreds and thousands of them, each sicker and crazier than the next, appended like a mile-long oil slick to nearly any mainstream news story or opinion piece that mentions Israel. In addition to creating the impression of a wave of popular hatred directed against the Jewish state—an impression belied by polls that show nearly two-thirds of Americans support Israel—the commenters attempt to swamp the news with paranoid anti-Semitic rantings that are entirely detached from even the BBC’s version of reality. On Glenn Greenwald’s Salon blog, there were close to 1,000 comments when the news of the Gaza flotilla incident broke. One commenter took the episode as proof that “The jewish state intends to clean itself of all non-jews. Anything that might slow the starving of the hated ones will be dealt with in the most harsh of terms. This slow-motion genocide/ethnic-cleansing is a horror to witness.” One prominent contributor to Greenwald’s blog, a commenter calling himself Shingo, also appears in the comments section at Stephen Walt’s place, where he manfully exposes Zionist lies: “There is no archeologically and historically evidence that a Jewish state did exist,” he wrote in response to a Walt post.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Exploiting the Palestinian cause at the expense of actual Palestinians

Khaled Abu Toameh, veteran reporter at the Jerusalem Post, among other places, showing once again that the standard-bearers of the "Palestinian cause" are committed to an idea more than to the actual well-being of those they claim to defend.

"Palestinians in the Arab World," Khaled Abu Toameh. Hudson New York. July 20, 2010.

When was the last time the United Nations Security Council met to condemn an Arab government for its mistreatment of Palestinians?

How come groups and individuals on university campuses in the US and Canada that call themselves "pro-Palestinian" remain silent when Jordan revokes the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians?

The plight of Palestinians living in Arab countries in general, and Lebanon in particular, is one that is often ignored by the mainstream media in West.

How come they turn a blind eye to the fact that Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and many more Arab countries continue to impose severe travel restrictions on Palestinians?

And where do these groups and individuals stand regarding the current debate in Lebanon about whether to grant Palestinians long-denied basic rights, including employment, social security and medical care?

Or have they not heard about this debate at all? Probably not, since the case has failed to draw the attention of most Middle East correspondents and commentators.

A news story on the Palestinians that does not include an anti-Israel angle rarely makes it to the front pages of Western newspapers.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Britain's double-standards on use of forged passports

Michael Weiss of details the remarkably different reactions to two incidents involving forged British passports. It's an unforgivable crime when Israelis are suspected of using British passports as a part of targeted assassination of a Hamas arms dealer, and a charming little joke when its the Russians to spy on the U.S.

"Spies, Passports, and & The Guardian," Michael Weiss. The Weekly Standard. July 17, 2010.

See also Ireland's double-standards on forged passports. Apparently its only a crime when the Jewish state does it.

"Irish should expel Russian diplomat after spy passport fraud," Niall O'Dowd. Irish July 6, 2010.



Western activists shun Israeli doctors aiding burn victims in Congo

"Israeli doctors in Congo to aid burn victims get slammed for occupation," Cnaan Liphshiz. Haaretz. July 18, 2010.

Israeli doctors working in Congo learn locals turned out to be good hosts -- but working with Western volunteers is more complicated.