TURKEY DEFACTO SUPPORTS THE IS AND ITS FIGHTERS? IS THIS REALLY AN ALLY AND A FRIEND CAN TURKEY REMAIN A MEMBER OF NATO?

11/03/2014

Perhaps it should be a hint to the western power to back out of a coalition against the Islamic State, IS. It seems that all the hoopla about it in the west has served and benefited ISIS OR ISIL OR IS rather than held it back.

So about Turkey’s role:

The following report is a complimentary offering from MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

Note to media and government: For a full copy of this video, send an email with the title of the report in the subject line to media@memri.org. Please include your name, title, and organization in your email.

An October 27, 2014 report by the Kurdish news agency DIHA claims that Turkey is cooperating with the Islamic State (IS), and presents as evidence footage that it claims was shot by the agency on October 22 which shows IS fighters meeting with Turkish soldiers.

The English-language DIHA report states:

“Turkish support for ISIS gangs has been proved once more with photographic evidence. Armed gang members have been photographed at the border with Turkish soldiers, bidding each other farewell.

“Turkish support for ISIS gangs, which is constantly on the international agenda, has been documented once again by footage shot by the Dicle News Agency (DİHA), which shows armed men talking to soldiers before crossing into Rojava. This close support for ISIS contrasts with the treatment accorded to dozens of civilians from Kobane who have been made to wait for hours at the Murşitpınar border gate by soldiers and have lost their lives as a result.

“Intimate meetings between Turkish soldiers and ISIS!

“Footage shot on the Zorava hill in Kobanê on 22 October 2014 shows five gang members arriving at the border where citizens of Kobane have left their vehicles. The gang members burn the property of the Kobane citizens, before taking away anything useful in the cars and heading towards the village of Siftek, which is under their control. Then 2 gang members come to the border and talk to 7 soldiers who get out of an armoured vehicle. After about half an hour they say farewell to each other and leave the area. While what was said in the conversation is not known, the gangs who said farewell to the soldiers will be preparing to perpetrate fresh massacres.” [1]

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AN OPEN LETTER TO SENATOR ROBERT PORTMAN OF OHIO

10/20/2014

Senator Portman posted an elaborate concise proposal to overcome EBOLA in the USA, I wish that he would assume more responsibility towards what affects more Americans every day of their lives.

Senator PORTMAN,
You will save AMERICAN LIVES if you had put into action such a concise plan to stop and reverse gun proliferation. Stop FRACKING, fight global warming, enact social and tax reforms laws that will reduce poverty, enact laws guaranteeing minimum living wages countrywide. There is so much you can do that will save so many more lives and improve the quality of life of so many! Yet all you can talk and act about is EBOLA!
You are nothing but a hypocritical forked tongue paid off stooge of big money!

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DOES THIS COUNTRY REALLY CARE FOR VETERANS? SOUNDS TO ME MORE LIKE LIP SERVICE!

10/19/2014

I got an e-mail listing all the resources for veterans which you will find following my diatribe:

The need to have so many of these ‘helpful’ sites means that that no one owns the actual responsibility to care for veterans. All congress has ever done since the end of the Korean War is pay lip service without actually funding any bill to actually deliver. No wonder the VA is turning into a patchwork that innumerable external organization get involved and muddy the water.
There should only one entity responsible and accountable to all their needs for a predetermined period of time and for life time for recognized impacts to their well being.
No country in the world assumes a lifetime care responsibility for veterans except for recognized outcomes of their service or those who serve long enough to earn retirement benefits.
Also world wide military regulars earn a living wage not like the USARMED SERVICES which pay what amounts to a starving wage forcing military families to need FoodStamps and other social services support!

It is long overdue to have some fundamental changes to make service personnel fit better into the federal employment standards and the VA enabled appropriately.

Having to make such a list makes me feel like puking!

Ami

These are the resources, which I feel are like spitting in our eyes and the eyes of those we promised to care for:

THE LIST IS BELOW:

From:Subject: Important websites
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2011 19:03:24 -0500

Subject: Important websites

Comment: Someone has gone to a lot of trouble. If this helps one person, then it was worthwhile. Please pass this on to all Veterans on you e-mail list.
Below are web-sites that provide information on Veterans benefits and how to file/ask for them. Accordingly, there are many sites that explain how to obtain books, military/medical records, information and how to appeal a denied claim with the VA. Please pass this information on to every Veteran you know. Nearly 100% of this information is free and available for all veterans, the only catch is: you have to ask for it, because they won’t tell you about a specific benefit unless you ask for it. You need to know what questions to ask so the right doors open for you and then be ready to have an advocate who is willing to work with and for you, stay in the process, and press for your rights and your best interests.

Appeals http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch05.doc
Board of Veteran’s Appeals http://www.va.gov/vbs/bva/
CARES Commission http://www.va.gov/vbs/bva/
CARES Draft National Plan http://www1.va.gov/cares/page.cfm?pg=105
Center for Minority Veterans http://www1.va.gov/centerforminorityveterans/
Center for Veterans Enterprise http://www.vetbiz.gov/default2.htm
Center for Women Veterans http://www1.va.gov/womenvet/
Clarification on the changes in VA healthcare for Gulf War Veteranshttp://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000016.html
Classified Records – American Gulf War Veterans Assochttp://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/Forum18/HTML/000011.html
Compensation for Disabilities Associated with the Gulf War Servicehttp://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/part6%20/ch07.doc
Compensation Rate Tables, 12-1-03 http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/comp01.htm
Department of Veterans Affairs Home Page http://www.va.gov/
Directory of Veterans Service Organizations http://www1.va.gov/vso/index.cfm?template=view
Disability Examination Worksheets Index, Comp http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/exams/index.htm
Due Process http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch02.doc
Duty to Assist http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch01.doc
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ecfr/
Emergency, Non-emergency, and Fee Basis Care http://www1.va.gov/opa/vadocs/fedben.pdf
Environmental Agents http://www1.va.gov/environagents/
Environmental Agents M10 http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1002
Establishing Combat Veteran Eligibility http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=315
EVALUATION PROTOCOL FOR GULF WAR AND IRAQI FREEDOM VETERANS WITH POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO DEPLETED URANIUM (DU) http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DUHandbook1303122304.DOC andhttp://www1 .va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1158
See also, Depleted Uranium Fact Sheet http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DepletedUraniumFAQSheet.doc
EVALUATION PROTOCOL FOR NON-GULF WAR VETERANS WITH POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO DEPLETED URANIUM (DU) http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DUHANDBOOKNONGW130340304.DOC
Fee Basis, PRIORITY FOR OUTPATIENT MEDICAL SERVICES AND INPATIENT HOSPITAL CAREhttp://www1.va..gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=206 Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependants 2005 http://www1.va.gov/opa/vadocs/fedben.pdf OR,http://www1.va..gov/opa/vadocs/current_benefits.htm
Forms and Records Request http://www.va.gov/vaforms/
General Compensation Provisionshttp://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter11_subchaptervi_.html
Geriatrics and Extended Care http://www1.va.gov/geriatricsshg/
Guideline for Chronic Pain and Fatigue MUS-CPG http://www.oqp.med.va.gov/cpg/cpgn/mus/mus_base.htm
Guide to Gulf War Veteran’s Health http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/VHIgulfwar.pdf
Gulf War Subject Index http://www1.va.gov/GulfWar/page.cfm?pg=7&template=main&letter=A
Gulf War Veteran’s Illnesses Q&As http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/GWIllnessesQandAsIB1041.pdf
Hearings

http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch04.doc

Homeless Veterans http://www1.va.gov/homeless/
HSR&D Home http://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/
Index to Disability Examination Worksheets C&P examshttp://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/exams/index.htm
Ionizing Radiation http://www1.va.gov/irad/
Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom Veterans VBA http://www.vba.va.gov/EFIF/
M 10 for spouses and children < http://www1..va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1007
M10 Part III Change 1 http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1008
M21-1 Table of Contents http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/M21_1.html
Mental Disorders, Schedule of Ratings http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_130.DOC
Mental Health Program Guidelines http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1094
Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers http://www.mirecc.med.va.gov/
MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Centers of Excellence http://www.va.gov/ms/about.asp
My Health e Vet http://www.myhealth.va.gov/
NASDVA.COM http://nasdva.com/
National Association of State Directors http://www.nasdva.com/
National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Preventionhttp://www.nchpdp.med.va.gov/postdeploymentlinks.asp
Neurological Conditions and Convulsive Disorders, Schedule of Ratingshttp://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38cfr/bookc/part4/s4%5F124a.doc
OMI (Office of Medical Inspector) http://www.omi.cio.med.va.gov/
Online VA Form 10-10EZ https://www.1010ez..med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez/
Parkinson's Disease and Related Neurodegenerative Disordershttp://www1.va.gov/resdev/funding/solicitations/docs/parkinsons.pdf
and, http://www1.va.gov/padrecc/
Peacetime Disability Compensation http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+38USC1131
Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability or Deathhttp://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter15_subchapteri_.html and,http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter15_subchapterii_.html
and, http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter15_subchapteriii_.html
Persian Gulf Registry http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1003
This program is now referred to as Gulf War Registry Program (to include Operation Iraqi Freedom) as of March 7, 2005: http://www1..va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1232
Persian Gulf Registry Referral Centers http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1006
Persian Gulf Veterans' Illnesses Research 1999, Annual Report To Congresshttp://www1.va.gov/resdev/1999_Gulf_War_Veterans'_Illnesses_Appendices.doc Persian Gulf Veterans' Illnesses Research 2002, Annual Report To Congresshttp://www1.va.gov/resdev/prt/gulf_war_2002/GulfWarRpt02.pdf
Phase I PGR http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1004
Phase II PGR http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1005
Policy Manual Index http://www.va.gov/publ/direc/eds/edsmps.htm
Power of Attorney http://www.warms.vba..va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch03.doc Project 112 (Including Project SHAD) http://www1.va.gov/shad/
Prosthetics Eligibility http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=337
Public Health and Environmental Hazards Home Page http://www.vethealth.cio.med.va.gov/
Public Health/SARS http://www..publichealth.va.gov/SARS/
Publications Manuals http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/publications.cfm?Pub=4
Publications and Reports http://www1.va.gov/resdev/prt/pubs_individual.cfm?webpage=gulf_war.htm
Records Center and Vault Homepage http://www.aac.va.gov/vault/default.html
Records Center and Vault Site Map http://www.aac.va.gov/vault/sitemap.html
REQUEST FOR AND CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION FROM CLAIMANT'S RECORDShttp://www.forms.va.gov/va/Internet/VARF/getformharness.asp?formName=3288-form.xft
Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses April 11, 2002 http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/Minutes_April112002.doc
Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses

http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/ReportandRecommendations_2004.pdf

Research and Development http://www.appc1.va.gov/resdev/programs/all_programs.cfm
Survivor's and Dependents' Educational Assistancehttp://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partiii_chapter35_.html
Title 38 Index Parts 0-17

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfrv1_02.tpl

Part 18

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfrv2_02.tpl

Title 38 Part 3 Adjudication Subpart A "Pension, Compensation, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfr3_main_02.tpl
Title 38 Pensions, Bonuses & Veterans Relief (also Ã,§ 3.317 Compensation for certain disabilities due to undiagnosed illnesses found here) http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfr3_main_02.tpl Title 38 PART 4–SCHEDULE FOR RATING DISABILITIES Subpart B- -DISABILITY RATINGS

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=ab7641afd195c84a49a2067dbbcf95c0&rgn=div6&view=text&node=38:1.0.1.1.5.2&idno=38

Title 38§ 4.16 Total disability ratings for compensation based on unemployability of the individual. PART A "SCHEDULE FOR RATING DISABILITIES Subpart à "General Policy in Ratinghttp://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&rgn=div8&view=text&node=38:1.0.1.1.5.1..96.11&idno=38
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims http://www.vetapp.gov/
VA Best Practice Manual for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)http://www.avapl.org/pub/PTSD%20Manual%20final%206.pdf
VA Fact Sheet http://www1.va.gov/opa/fact/gwfs.html
VA Health Care Eligibility http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/home/hecmain.asp
VA INSTITUTING GLOBAL ASSESSMENT OF FUNCTION (GAF) http://www.avapl.org/gaf/gaf.html
VA Life Insurance Handbook ¬” Chapter 3http://www.insurance.va.gov/inForceGliSite/GLIhandbook/glibookletch3.htm#310
VA Loan Lending Limits and Jumbo Loans http://valoans.com/va_facts_limits.cfm
VA MS Research http://www.va.gov/ms/about.asp
VA National Hepatitis C Program http://www.hepatitis.va.gov/
VA Office of Research and Development http://www1.va.gov/resdev/
VA Trainee Pocket Card on Gulf War http://www.va.gov/OAA/pocketcard/gulfwar.asp
VA WMD EMSHG http://www1.va.gov/emshg/
VA WRIISC-DC http://www.va.gov/WRIISC-DC/
VAOIG Hotline Telephone Number and Address http://www.va.gov/oig/hotline/hotline3.htm
Vet Center Eligibility – Readjustment Counseling Service http://www.va.gov/rcs/Eligibility.htm
Veterans Benefits Administration Main Web Page http://www.vba.va.gov/
Veterans Legal and Benefits Information http://valaw.org/
VHA Forms, Publications, Manuals http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/
VHA Programs – Clinical Programs & Initiatives http://www1.va.gov/health_benefits/page.cfm?pg=13http://webmaila.juno.com/webmail/new/UrlBlockedError.aspx&gt;
VHA Public Health Strategic Health Care Group Home Page http: // http://www.publichealth.va.gov/
VHI Guide to Gulf War Veterans ¬(tm) Health http://www1.va.gov/vhi_ind_study/gulfwar/istudy/index.asp
Vocational Rehabilitation http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/
Vocational Rehabilitation Subsistence http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/InterSubsistencefy04.doc
VONAPP online http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp
WARMS – 38 CFR Book C http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/bookc.html
Wartime Disability Compensation http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+38USC1110
War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center – New Jersey http://www.wri.med.va.gov/
Welcome to the GI Bill Web Site http://www.gibill.va.gov/
What VA Social Workers Do http://www1.va.gov/socialwork/page.cfm?pg=3
WRIISC Patient Eligibility http://www.illegion.org/va1.html

A STORY RARELY TOLD ABOUT JEWS FORCED OUT OF ARAB COUNTRIES

10/16/2014

The following is quoted from MOSAIC written by Raffi Friedman, June 2014.

Aleppo, 1947
Opposite Rafi’s apartment in a middle-class neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria, was a delicatessen owned by a Jewish family named Mizreb. This was in 1947. The deli sold canned foods imported from abroad, preserved meats, pickled cucumbers made by the proprietor’s mother, and French baguette sandwiches. The Jewish geography of Aleppo was ancient: Jews had been praying at their Great Synagogue since the 5th century C.E., and the first known evidence of Jews in the city is seven centuries older than that. The community thus predated not only Islam but also Christianity and the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The Jews were the oldest of the city’s native sects.

Mizreb’s delicatessen was a new addition to the geography, but an important one, or at least so it seemed to Rafi. If a young Jewish man wanted to treat his girlfriend in those days, he took her to the deli and bought her a baguette sandwich and a drink. Rafi was not yet old enough to do such things himself but he was, in the manner of fifteen-year-olds, attentive to them.

On November 30, 1947, a Sunday, Rafi looked out at his street from between the slats of wooden shutters. The night before, he had listened on the family’s radio to the broadcast from the United Nations where delegates voted to partition Palestine into a state for Arabs and a state for Jews. Now Jewish stores were ablaze in Aleppo, and up the street were piles of Jewish books in flames; like the burning of books and smashing of glass nine years earlier, in colder cities, the smoke augured the end of a Jewish world. Bands of rioters incited by the press and the government roamed the neighborhood looking for Jewish homes and businesses. According to one contemporary report, the mob burned down 50 stores, 18 synagogues, five schools, the community’s orphanage, a youth club, and more than 150 homes. In the ancient Jewish quarter in the Old City, families huddled in basements, hid in the apartments of friendly Muslim or Christian neighbors, or—in the case of one boy I would interview as an elderly man decades later—jumped barefoot from a kitchen window ahead of a mob bursting through the front door and sprinted through the alleys to a chorus of Arabic jeers and breaking glass.

A group of rioters gathered outside the storefront of Mizreb’s deli. Rafi could tell by their worn slacks and shoes that they were from the provinces or the city’s poorer quarters. They smashed the storefront, and two of the marauders ran across the street with an enormous jar of Mizreb’s famous pickled cucumbers. Sitting on the steps of Rafi’s building, they began to fight over the jar, tugging it back and forth until finally it fell to the ground and shattered, spilling the contents on the ground. This would be one of Rafi’s indelible memories of that day, a fifteen-year-old’s view of the beginning of the end.

By the next day the community’s well-off families had fled. By the mid-1950s, of the 10,000 Jews in Aleppo in 1947, only 2,000 remained, mostly the poor. They were prisoners of the Syrian regime and its secret services, the mukhabarat. The Jews’ passports were stamped in red with the word mousawi, “Mosaic,” so that their movements could be more easily restricted. Travel between cities was forbidden except by special permission. Many university faculties were closed to Jews. In the early 1990s, when the remaining members of the community were finally allowed to leave, they did so immediately, shuttering the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, the oldest functioning house of Jewish prayer in the world.

By this time, Rafi was long gone. In 1949, two years after watching the riot through the shutters of his home, he escaped on a rickety boat that sailed from Lebanon and deposited him on a beach in the new state of Israel.

My first intimate exposure to this history came in the course of writing about the Aleppo Codex, a manuscript of the Hebrew Bible guarded in that city for six centuries. That led me to Rafi, who became a character in my book. Prior to our long conversations, which still occur regularly, I might have thought of Jews like him as Sephardim, meaning Jews of mainly Spanish descent—but Jewish Aleppo and other eastern communities existed not only before the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 but before they arrived there in the first place. Or I might have thought of them as Jews of the Islamic world, which is not inaccurate but conceals its own slight, since Jews were in places like Aleppo at least a millennium before the birth of Islam. Jews of the Arab world, then? True of most of them—except that Jews had been living in Arab countries long before those countries were Arab.

Let us call them, with apologies for the lack of geographical logic, Jews from the Middle East, stretching the term “Middle East” to include North Africa even though the “eastern” city of Casablanca is farther west than the “western” city of London. In the 1940s there were about 260,000 Jews living in Morocco, 140,000 in Algeria, 40,000 in Libya, 140,000 in Iraq, 80,000 in Egypt, 60,000 in Yemen, and many others in Arab countries and in non-Arab countries like Iran and Turkey. Most were Arabic-speaking, with minorities who spoke Persian, Kurdish, Turkish, and other languages.

In all, there were nearly a million Jews living throughout the Middle East only 70 years ago, members of one of the region’s ancient native religious communities. Beginning in the mid-20th century they were forcibly displaced en masse, never to see their homes again. Most of them became concentrated in one minute slice of the region. There they developed the ability to defend themselves and have thus survived and thrived, unlike every other religious minority in this part of the world.

In Israel they have become known collectively as Mizrahim, easterners, a generalization that incorporates people from vastly different countries and classes but sharing roots in the world of Islam and similar experiences after their arrival in Israel. (The other generalization is Ashkenazim, describing Jews from a multiplicity of backgrounds anywhere between Vilna and Vancouver.) At age seventeen, Rafi became one of these many hundreds of thousands. Joseph Intabi, the child who ran barefoot from his home in Aleppo’s old city, arrived in Israel at the same time. Batya Levi, the woman who lives in the apartment next to mine, arrived from Morocco. The parents or grandparents of half of the 20 families who live in our building in Jerusalem came from elsewhere in the Middle East. My brother-in-law’s family arrived from Oujda, on the Morocco-Algeria border, my sister-in-law’s family from Yarim, in the highlands of the Yemeni interior. Others came from hundreds of other cities, towns, and villages.

Today, these Jews and their descendants can be said to make up, according to the Israeli demographer Sergio DellaPergola, 50 percent of Israel’s total Jewish population of just over six million, although the numbers are becoming significantly blurred by the kind of mixing evident in my own family. Fifty percent: this means that in 2014 their story is, as much as any other, the story of Israel.

The tracks

10/08/2014

leanpower:

Right and wrong in a short story, and an innocent view!

Originally posted on Busy Mind Thinking:

railroad tracks

It was a funny thing when I was little – railroad tracks, and the discussions surrounding them. According to legend – dependent on which side of them one was born on, determined your fate. As often as I looked at those tracks, I could never figure it out. Yet – on one side, all the homes were beautiful; all the people were clean, dressed, and even had shoes. You would never hear the rumble of tummies, just trains; and there was another sound I hadn’t been able to identify, which later I learned was laughter.

Yes, I had been born – according to townsfolk, on the “wrong” side of the tracks. I looked for the signs that said “right” side and “wrong” side, but they were invisible to me. Over time, I noticed that folks never seemed to cross those tracks. There didn’t appear to be a barrier, but perhaps…

View original 929 more words

THE DARK FORCES THAT USE MONEY TO KEEP CONGRESS IN THEIR POCKET AND THE REST OF US BAREFOOT AND IGNORANT ABOUT ABOVE ALL CLIMATE CHANGE AND THEN WHO ACTUALLY GOVERNS US!

09/26/2014

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“Dark Money” Funds Climate Change Denial Effort
A Drexel University study finds that a large slice of donations to organizations that deny global warming are funneled through third-party pass-through organizations that conceal the original funder

By Douglas Fischer and The Daily Climate Dusk at U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.

A shift to untraceable donations by organizations denying climate change undermines democracy, according to the author of a new study tracking contributions to such groups.
Wikimedia Commons/Carol M. Highsmith
The largest, most-consistent money fueling the climate denial movement are a number of well-funded conservative foundations built with so-called “dark money,” or concealed donations, according to an analysis released Friday afternoon.

The study, by Drexel University environmental sociologist Robert Brulle, is the first academic effort to probe the organizational underpinnings and funding behind the climate denial movement.

It found that the amount of money flowing through third-party, pass-through foundations like DonorsTrust and Donors Capital, whose funding cannot be traced, has risen dramatically over the past five years.

In all, 140 foundations funneled $558 million to almost 100 climate denial organizations from 2003 to 2010.

Meanwhile the traceable cash flow from more traditional sources, such as Koch Industries and ExxonMobil, has disappeared.

The study was published Friday in the journal Climatic Change.

“The climate change countermovement has had a real political and ecological impact on the failure of the world to act on global warming,” Brulle said in a statement. “Like a play on Broadway, the countermovement has stars in the spotlight – often prominent contrarian scientists or conservative politicians – but behind the stars is an organizational structure of directors, script writers and producers.”

“If you want to understand what’s driving this movement, you have to look at what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Consistent funders
To uncover that, Brulle developed a list of 118 influential climate denial organizations in the United States. He then coded data on philanthropic funding for each organization, combining information from the Foundation Center, a database of global philanthropy, with financial data submitted by organizations to the Internal Revenue Service.

According to Brulle, the largest and most consistent funders where a number of conservative foundations promoting “ultra-free-market ideas” in many realms, among them the Searle Freedom Trust, the John Williams Pope Foundation, the Howard Charitable Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation.

Another key finding: From 2003 to 2007, Koch Affiliated Foundations and the ExxonMobil Foundation were “heavily involved” in funding climate change denial efforts. But Exxon hasn’t made a publically traceable contribution since 2008, and Koch’s efforts dramatically declined, Brulle said.

Coinciding with a decline in traceable funding, Brulle found a dramatic rise in the cash flowing to denial organizations from DonorsTrust, a donor-directed foundation whose funders cannot be traced. This one foundation, the assessment found, now accounts for 25 percent of all traceable foundation funding used by organizations promoting the systematic denial of climate change.

Jeffrey Zysik, chief financial officer for DonorsTrust, said in an email that neither DonorsTrust nor Donors Capital Fund “take positions with respect to any issue advocated by its grantees.”

“As with all donor-advised fund programs, grant recommendations are received from account holders,” he said. “DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund ensure that recommended grantees are IRS-approved public charities and also require that the grantee charities do not rely on significant amounts of revenue from government sources. DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund do not otherwise drive the selection of grantees, nor conduct in-depth analyses of projects or grantees unless an account holder specifically requests that service.”

Matter of democracy
In the end, Brulle concluded public records identify only a fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars supporting climate denial efforts. Some 75 percent of the income of those organizations, he said, comes via unidentifiable sources.

And for Brulle, that’s a matter of democracy. “Without a free flow of accurate information, democratic politics and government accountability become impossible,” he said. “Money amplifies certain voices above others and, in effect, gives them a megaphone in the public square.”

Powerful funders, he added, are supporting the campaign to deny scientific findings about global warming and raise doubts about the “roots and remedies” of a threat on which the science is clear.

“At the very least, American voters deserve to know who is behind these efforts.”

Editor’s Note (12/24/13): This story has been updated to reflect a late comment from DonorsTrust.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Climate, the climate change news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.

THE GAZA CONFLICT, AN ACADEMIC RESPONSE TO THE LANCET DIATRIBE

09/17/2014

Copyrighted material:

Israel—Gaza conflict

Qanta Ahmed a b, Alon Y Avidan c, Aaron Ciechanover d, Daniel Shechtman e, Daniel Zajfman f, Uriel Reichman g, Roger Kornberg h, Avram Hershko d, Peretz Lavie d

We, like you, are doctors and scientists who have devoted our lives to serving others, restoring health, and protecting the vulnerable. We are also informed, and also safeguard ethics in every sphere of our influence. Among us are those who have long collaborated in the advancement of medicine, science, and health with our colleagues, including those in Gaza. Many of us writing today are either members of Israeli academia, or formally or informally engaged with Israeli academia.
As ethical, apolitical, and professional members of the academic community, we find the open letter for the people in Gaza1 an outrageous diatribe lacking context and a deliberate vilification of the sovereign state of Israel and, by extension, every Israeli. In publishing such invective, The Lancet has allowed itself to become a platform for distorted political activism, as has been previously noted by others.2, 3 Because we are scientists and physicians who are accustomed to incorporating all data into the formation of educated opinions (even public commentary), we are obliged to redress the imbalance.
Although the letter implies that we are devoid of feeling, let us first assert that each of us shares the sorrow at the loss of human life in the present Israel—Hamas war in Gaza. Our loss is equal, whether lives lost are Israeli or Palestinian. For some of us, these losses are deeply personal, realised as direct bereavements; for others, this loss represents the loss of ideals, the interruption, and perhaps even the termination of long struggled for collaboration or the pain in realising a deep assault to our private ideals.
But the portrait the authors paint of wanton “Israeli aggression” by the mythically identified “largest and most sophisticated modern military machines” triggered by “perverse propaganda” fuelling “a ruthless assault of unlimited duration” is not only inaccurate, but outright histrionic, a dramatisation that can only serve unethical, non-scientific motives.
Exaggerations aside, we are further surprised to see the above assessments without any reference whatsoever to the well documented actions of Hamas, which speak to its militant intentions in no uncertain terms, realities that our colleagues obscure for reasons unknown. Allow us to rectify the deficit.
Since this particular conflict, Israel has been subject to thousands of rockets—at the time of writing, exceeding 2927 individual strikes—launched indiscriminately at its entire population, imperilling more than 7·9 million Israelis, among whom 19% are Muslim. Israelis as far away as 120 km north of Gaza have been targeted not with makeshift primitive weaponry but Syrian-made M-302 Khaibar missiles armed with 175 kg warheads that were first used in Haifa in the 2006 Israel—Lebanon war, courtesy of Hezbollah. Since Israel’s independence, the Israeli aggression the authors so readily condemn is in fact the exercise of the right of a legitimate state to protect its citizens and residents—many of whom identify themselves as Palestinians—from assault, an assault that Hamas has demonstrated itself to be deeply committed to irrespective of the sequelae befalling either its targets or its own host community.
Absent also from mention is the extraordinary network of tunnels Hamas has developed—presently numbered at 66 with more than 23 points of egress—from which attacks are launched and within which weapons are transported.4 These are concrete tunnels of remarkable sophistication, often electrified with illumination and telephone wires, and certainly constructed at the expense of the direct needs to repair the schools, homes, or hospitals of Gaza’s citizens. Lest anyone be mistaken, these tunnels are not perverse propaganda as Manduca and colleagues would claim, but verified by international media, identified by neighbouring Egypt as a menace to security, and forming an established route for Islamist terrorism assaults in Egyptian Sinai.
Certainly, we agree that a blockade has been imposed upon Gaza since 2006, but it is important to record why. The blockade, deliberately described falsely by Manduca and colleagues as a siege,1 is in response to the declared positions and explicit actions of Hamas, and positions and actions that Hamas refuses to relinquish because they are in line with their founding charter.
We accept that Manduca and colleagues, like us, aspire to regional peace. Hamas has no such aspirations. Seeing itself as the spearhead in the war against World Zionism—article 32 of Hamas’ founding charter5, 6—Hamas expressly seeks the extinction of the Jewish state, the Jewish people, and also of the Muslims among us who would dare collaborate or engage with any Jewish entity. The Hamas charter expressly outlaws all Muslim actions to ease tensions, let alone make peace with Israel, condemning any efforts to work towards peaceful resolution of the conflict as violation of sharia law. Muslims refusing to desist from peaceful collaboration or interaction with Israeli people are accused of “Khiyana Uzma”—a great treason.5 This would encompass the Muslim coauthor of this document.
Although Hamas certainly marries Palestinian nationalism with Islamism and we agree that Palestinians, including those in Gaza, seek statehood, Hamas seeks to claim all land, Israel included, for Palestine. It is with these sentiments that Hamas has launched this war on Israel, commencing with an unending barrage of rockets and missiles, now engaging the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in intense ground combat. Under assault in this theatre of war, the IDF established a sophisticated field hospital for the Palestinians of Gaza at one of the entry points into Gaza, equipped with delivery rooms, an outpatient clinic, and operating theatres—Hamas promptly banned Palestinians in Gaza from accessing it.
Hamas’ actions are explicitly manifest with Islamist anti-semitism, which demands denial of the right of Jews to exist, let alone to a nationhood, and is an anti-semitism, political scientists agree, that is far more virulent than Nazi anti-semitism, which lacked the added and very compelling appeal of impostor religious legitimacy.
Embracing religionist war as a sacrament, Hamas has no dilemmas even as the Palestinians of Gaza bear extraordinary loss of life. Denying them access to the aforementioned field hospital underlines both Hamas’ identication of Jews as the cosmic enemy and the source of all evil6 (article 22 of the Hamas charter) and that a wounded or martyred Palestinian has more value to the Hamas mission.
Islamist jihad has been central to Hamas’ mission since its 1987 inception, a mission many liberal democracies are currently confronting. Although the post-9-11 era has escalated the Islamist assault on secular democracies, engaging the USA, UK, and western Europe in military confrontation with Islamist terrorism as well as many Muslim nations (some of which, such as Pakistan, are currently pursuing domestic military operations to counter these attacks), Israel remains the only country denied the right to defend itself from Islamist assault.
Manduca and colleagues would do well to recall that Hamas explicitly rejects western intellectual ideas—citing them to be “an intellectual invasion”—and thereby rejects the humanist agenda of the 21st century, among which one of the pillars is the commitment to never again repeat the European Holocaust. In abandoning humanism, the gateway to genocidal thinking is once more flung open. Ironically, even though Hamas denies the Holocaust, it revels in describing Israel’s actions on Gaza (including in this theatre of war) as Nazi and themselves as the new Jews, a hypocrisy rarely exposed. Furthermore, Hamas has been, in this particular conflict, little short of masterful at engendering extraordinary displays of anti-semitism around the world in its support.
We unequivocally agree that children and women most often sustain the greatest losses, and in this conflict, the losses have been extremely high for the Gazans, but it still remains legitimate to identify the civilians in Gaza as captive to Hamas policy, a captivity that is imposed independently of physical and political barriers imposed by Israel and Egypt.
Under Hamas’ leadership in the past 8 years, religious and personal freedoms in Gaza continue to shrink, and the movement and activity of women is becoming increasingly confined.7 According to the International Religious Freedom Report for 20127 published by the US Department of State, the de-facto Hamas authorities in Gaza have continued to restrict religious freedom in both law and practice.7 Children in Gaza, like those surrounded by other Islamist ideologies, are regularly recruited and enmeshed in the Hamas apparatus from the earliest years of their education. Congressional briefings, in which some of us have taken part, have documented the diversion of aid to service child radicalisation. Evidence of radicalisation in the school curricula is widely available,8 as is the social value placed on jihadist martyrdom imposed on Palestinians in early life.9 All this is the work of Hamas, the political leadership that Manduca and colleagues claims seeks normality for its people while persistently ensuring quite the opposite. To claim that the Hamas leadership have moved to resolve their conflict with Israel “without arms and harm” via the short-lived Unity Government is extremely naive. While paying such lip-service, Hamas was in fact shoring up armaments, fortifying subterranean positions, and amassing militant operatives in the service of radical Islamist ideology, as the present conflict has revealed. Hamas’ commitment to subterranean networks above the sanctity of its people is self-evident and speaks louder than calculated diplomatic words.
Over and above all of these observations that were deliberately excluded, what shakes us to our core is the dehumanisation and bigotry exercised by Manduca and colleagues, who stand in accusation, claiming each Israeli Arab and Israeli Jew among us as bloody-handed genocidaires “complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza”.1
Furthermore, we find the authors’ call for sanctions of the severest kind on Israel, a state that enshrines the religious, academic, and political freedoms of its citizens irrespective of faith, ethnicity, gender, or race, morally bankrupt. This, in the era of an unfolding Syrian genocide that has triggered nothing in the way of an international response, and 3·5 years later has yet to yield penalties for perpetrators of the 21st century’s most egregious warmongering to date. This is absolutely not to equate Israel with Syria, but to reveal the depth of prejudice in the sentiments levelled wholesale at an academic community to satisfy extreme bias. We fear The Lancet has crossed the line and lost credibility among its readership.
For The Lancet and its editors to avoid any further embarrassment in associating this prestigious journal with such a vituperative betrayal of its scientific mission, we recommend The Lancet retract the authors’ letter on the basis of favouritism for anti-Israeli political positions, the victimisation of Israeli academia, and the competing interests of a lead author known to be a political activist with anti-Israeli stances. At the very least, the letter, such as it is, should have been balanced by an article offering a rebuttal, or an editorial providing context, but should never have been allowed to be published in this fashion, which explicitly empowers polemicist politics above measured academic discourse. We believe it prudent for The Lancet, as a valued and still-respected academic authority, to reassess its practice of biased publishing in the service of polarising political interests of one group.
In closing, we note Manduca and colleagues’ “disgust” at the events in Gaza, the “wounds to the body and soul” of the Gazan people, and their “temptation to conclude” that, “with the exception of this 5%, the rest of the Israeli academics” bear responsibility for the death, displacement, and deliberate dismemberment of Palestinians in Gaza. We too wish to register our own feelings, reach the conclusions we are now tempted to make, and identify the wounds that have resulted.
We find abhorrent that academic authors would, without evidence or data, accuse an entire academic community of crimes against humanity by association of national identity or professional affiliation, an accusation that is not only a rank dehumanisation of an entire state, but explicitly seditious in propagating virulent anti-semitic sentiments to the detriment of whole academies. Although our feelings will undoubtedly recover, the authors, through their reckless words, have inflicted a deep wound to the body and soul of global scientific and medical academia at the very moment opportunities for apolitical engagement, collaboration, and bridge-building are most needed. This is a victory only for Hamas, and a shameful one at that, emerging as it does from among our distinguished ranks.

AN OPEN LETTER TO SENATOR PORTMAN OF OHIO

09/11/2014

Dear Senator Portman,

I wrote to you two weeks ago regarding this matter, you did not bother to respond to me then and I am certain you won’t this time either.

Me and three million other Caring American signed a petition asking congress to move forward on a constitutional amendment to reverse the SCOTUS decisions in the matter of Citizens United, an organization that does not stand for democracy in the USA but the the interests of a few big money and corporate entities not a very distinguished cabal other than their influence in GOP circles.

You and your confederates did not have the courtesy to even give us the honor of voting on the Amendment in the Senate of the USA and that is a direct insult to three million signers and to all citizens of the US, depriving us all from the ability to affect the outcome and our rights as voters.

You are not representing as any longer, you ought to be ashamed of yourself pretending to do so.

It would be quite alright for you to cede the seat you occupy in this venerable institution and let the voters select someone more attuned to our wishes and needs not those of some money bags who exploit our national resources for their personal benefit.

Disrespectfully,

Thanks, Ami

A TIME CAPSULE: AN ARTICLE WRITTEN IN 1955 BY THE ISRAELI DAILY MAARIV EDITOR!

09/03/2014

ARTICLE BY: Azriel Carlebach Oct 10. 1955 in Maariv.

I used google translation and took out the most obvious mis-translations and added in parenthesis comments to reflect today’s comparisons!

A view of REALITY, by the first editor of “Ma’ariv”, written in 1955, is just as happening in our day!
(ARTICLE BY. Carlebach Oct 10. 1955)

Borders are not a source of conflict between the Arabs and Israel or the western world, Islamic psychology, religion and sectarianism are.

Between the world of Islam in the Western world there is no common language, never was and never will be. This does not refer just to religion. It refers to the effects of Islam on social life and Society, and relationships with other human beings.

Muslims do not agree on anything even among themselves, not only in matters of Israel. Their reactions to everything are all emotionally calculated. With everything …. You can talk about “business”, even with the devil, but not with Allah …

We (Israel) are adding insult to injury when we distort the image and reduce the dispute to a border or land dispute between Israel and its neighbors (or the PA). (In 1955 pre-dating the Six Day war no PA only terror attacks from all sides).

Conquest by the sword in the eyes of Islam is not a wrong, on the contrary. Conquer and proselytize. Concern for refugees, dispossessed brothers, are not part of the world of Islamic thought. If Allah expelled, Allah will take care of.

Israel is debating with them on the basis of Western concepts, we (then Israel, now the western world) are addressing savages in the language of European justice. Instead of alarming the peoples of the world, we anesthetize them (even now it is not too late). This is the basis of our ( then Israel now the Western World) mistake, and in my opinion, the key to Israel’s isolation and failures.

The truth is that the enemy of Israel is the spirit of Islam. (and today of the western civilization).

Islam is the enemy of all free societies.
Islam is the enemy of fertile thought, all initiative and creativity.
Islam is the enemy of every Jew, every Christian and every Muslim.
Islam has not contributed anything to lead the world forward in any area.
Islam is a prison for 500 million (today over a Billion) people, who are being tortured.

Islam is the inherent obstacle to peace of the world, and as long as we can not make the effort to impart this knowledge to the free world, it will always be us (Israel) the victims because of lack knowledge and understanding.

ARTICLE BY. Carlebach Oct 10. 1955

CURRENT PHOTOS OF ISLAMIC INTERPRETERS COMMENTING ON ISIS ACTIVITIES AND LOGIC:

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YOUR PERCEPTION WILL CHANGE: If indeed you can be persuaded by rational argument rather than by preconceived opinions and emotions.

08/27/2014

DO TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS!

An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story about Israel and how its image is shaped!

A former AP correspondent explains how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters

By Matti Friedman|August 26, 2014 12:00 AM (FROM: THE TABLET)

The Israel Story
Is there anything left to say about Israel and Gaza? Newspapers this summer have been full of little else. Television viewers see heaps of rubble and plumes of smoke in their sleep. A representative article from a recent issue of The New Yorker described the summer’s events by dedicating one sentence each to the horrors in Nigeria and Ukraine, four sentences to the crazedgénocidaires of ISIS, and the rest of the article—30 sentences—to Israel and Gaza.

When the hysteria abates, I believe the events in Gaza will not be remembered by the world as particularly important. People were killed, most of them Palestinians, including many unarmed innocents. I wish I could say the tragedy of their deaths, or the deaths of Israel’s soldiers, will change something, that they mark a turning point. But they don’t. This round was not the first in the Arab wars with Israel and will not be the last. The Israeli campaign was little different in its execution from any other waged by a Western army against a similar enemy in recent years, except for the more immediate nature of the threat to a country’s own population, and the greater exertions, however futile, to avoid civilian deaths.

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.

While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility—in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession—my profession—here in Israel.

In this essay I will try to provide a few tools to make sense of the news from Israel. I acquired these tools as an insider: Between 2006 and the end of 2011 I was a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, one of the world’s two biggest news providers. I have lived in Israel since 1995 and have been reporting on it since 1997.

This essay is not an exhaustive survey of the sins of the international media, a conservative polemic, or a defense of Israeli policies. (I am a believer in the importance of the “mainstream” media, a liberal, and a critic of many of my country’s policies.) It necessarily involves some generalizations. I will first outline the central tropes of the international media’s Israel story—a story on which there is surprisingly little variation among mainstream outlets, and one which is, as the word “story” suggests, a narrative construct that is largely fiction. I will then note the broader historical context of the way Israel has come to be discussed and explain why I believe it to be a matter of concern not only for people preoccupied with Jewish affairs. I will try to keep it brief.

How Important Is the Israel Story?

Staffing is the best measure of the importance of a story to a particular news organization. When I was a correspondent at the AP, the agency had more than 40 staffers covering Israel and the Palestinian territories. That was significantly more news staff than the AP had in China, Russia, or India, or in all of the 50 countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined. It was higher than the total number of news-gathering employees in all the countries where the uprisings of the “Arab Spring” eventually erupted.

To offer a sense of scale: Before the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, the permanent AP presence in that country consisted of a single regime-approved stringer. The AP’s editors believed, that is, that Syria’s importance was less than one-40th that of Israel. I don’t mean to pick on the AP—the agency is wholly average, which makes it useful as an example. The big players in the news business practice groupthink, and these staffing arrangements were reflected across the herd. Staffing levels in Israel have decreased somewhat since the Arab uprisings began, but remain high. And when Israel flares up, as it did this summer, reporters are often moved from deadlier conflicts. Israel still trumps nearly everything else.

The volume of press coverage that results, even when little is going on, gives this conflict a prominence compared to which its actual human toll is absurdly small. In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives—that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago. Jerusalem, internationally renowned as a city of conflict, had slightly fewer violent deaths per capita last year than Portland, Ore., one of America’s safer cities. In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago.

News organizations have nonetheless decided that this conflict is more important than, for example, the more than 1,600 women murdered in Pakistan last year (271 after being raped and 193 of them burned alive), the ongoing erasure of Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party, the carnage in Congo (more than 5 million dead as of 2012) or the Central African Republic, and the drug wars in Mexico (death toll between 2006 and 2012: 60,000), let alone conflicts no one has ever heard of in obscure corners of India or Thailand. They believe Israel to be the most important story on earth, or very close.

What Is Important About the Israel Story, and What Is Not

A reporter working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel. If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government. Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate. The West has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact, though anyone who has spent time with actual Palestinians understands that things are (understandably, in my opinion) more complicated. Who they are and what they want is not important: The story mandates that they exist as passive victims of the party that matters.

Corruption, for example, is a pressing concern for many Palestinians under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, but when I and another reporter once suggested an article on the subject, we were informed by the bureau chief that Palestinian corruption was “not the story.” (Israeli corruption was, and we covered it at length.)

Israeli actions are analyzed and criticized, and every flaw in Israeli society is aggressively reported. In one seven-week period, from Nov. 8 to Dec. 16, 2011, I decided to count the stories coming out of our bureau on the various moral failings of Israeli society—proposed legislation meant to suppress the media, the rising influence of Orthodox Jews, unauthorized settlement outposts, gender segregation, and so forth. I counted 27 separate articles, an average of a story every two days. In a very conservative estimate, this seven-week tally was higher than the total number of significantly critical stories about Palestinian government and society, including the totalitarian Islamists of Hamas, that our bureau had published in the preceding three years.

The Hamas charter, for example, calls not just for Israel’s destruction but for the murder of Jews and blames Jews for engineering the French and Russian revolutions and both world wars; the charter was never mentioned in print when I was at the AP, though Hamas won a Palestinian national election and had become one of the region’s most important players. To draw the link with this summer’s events: An observer might think Hamas’ decision in recent years to construct a military infrastructure beneath Gaza’s civilian infrastructure would be deemed newsworthy, if only because of what it meant about the way the next conflict would be fought and the cost to innocent people. But that is not the case. The Hamas emplacements were not important in themselves, and were therefore ignored. What was important was the Israeli decision to attack them.

There has been much discussion recently of Hamas attempts to intimidate reporters. Any veteran of the press corps here knows the intimidation is real, and I saw it in action myself as an editor on the AP news desk. During the 2008-2009 Gaza fighting I personally erased a key detail—that Hamas fighters were dressed as civilians and being counted as civilians in the death toll—because of a threat to our reporter in Gaza. (The policy was then, and remains, not to inform readers that the story is censored unless the censorship is Israeli. Earlier this month, the AP’s Jerusalem news editor reported and submitted a story on Hamas intimidation; the story was shunted into deep freeze by his superiors and has not been published.)

But if critics imagine that journalists are clamoring to cover Hamas and are stymied by thugs and threats, it is generally not so. There are many low-risk ways to report Hamas actions, if the will is there: under bylines from Israel, under no byline, by citing Israeli sources. Reporters are resourceful when they want to be.

The fact is that Hamas intimidation is largely beside the point because the actions of Palestinians are beside the point: Most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians. That is the essence of the Israel story. In addition, reporters are under deadline and often at risk, and many don’t speak the language and have only the most tenuous grip on what is going on. They are dependent on Palestinian colleagues and fixers who either fear Hamas, support Hamas, or both. Reporters don’t need Hamas enforcers to shoo them away from facts that muddy the simple story they have been sent to tell.

It is not coincidence that the few journalists who have documented Hamas fighters and rocket launches in civilian areas this summer were generally not, as you might expect, from the large news organizations with big and permanent Gaza operations. They were mostly scrappy, peripheral, and newly arrived players—a Finn, an Indian crew, a few others. These poor souls didn’t get the memo.

What Else Isn’t Important?

The fact that Israelis quite recently elected moderate governments that sought reconciliation with the Palestinians, and which were undermined by the Palestinians, is considered unimportant and rarely mentioned. These lacunae are often not oversights but a matter of policy. In early 2009, for example, two colleagues of mine obtained information that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had made a significant peace offer to the Palestinian Authority several months earlier, and that the Palestinians had deemed it insufficient. This had not been reported yet and it was—or should have been—one of the biggest stories of the year. The reporters obtained confirmation from both sides and one even saw a map, but the top editors at the bureau decided that they would not publish the story.

Some staffers were furious, but it didn’t help. Our narrative was that the Palestinians were moderate and the Israelis recalcitrant and increasingly extreme. Reporting the Olmert offer—like delving too deeply into the subject of Hamas—would make that narrative look like nonsense. And so we were instructed to ignore it, and did, for more than a year and a half.

This decision taught me a lesson that should be clear to consumers of the Israel story: Many of the people deciding what you will read and see from here view their role not as explanatory but as political. Coverage is a weapon to be placed at the disposal of the side they like.

How Is the Israel Story Framed?

The Israel story is framed in the same terms that have been in use since the early 1990s—the quest for a “two-state solution.” It is accepted that the conflict is “Israeli-Palestinian,” meaning that it is a conflict taking place on land that Israel controls—0.2 percent of the Arab world—in which Jews are a majority and Arabs a minority. The conflict is more accurately described as “Israel-Arab,” or “Jewish-Arab”—that is, a conflict between the 6 million Jews of Israel and 300 million Arabs in surrounding countries. (Perhaps “Israel-Muslim” would be more accurate, to take into account the enmity of non-Arab states like Iran and Turkey, and, more broadly, 1 billion Muslims worldwide.) This is the conflict that has been playing out in different forms for a century, before Israel existed, before Israel captured the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, and before the term “Palestinian” was in use.

The “Israeli-Palestinian” framing allows the Jews, a tiny minority in the Middle East, to be depicted as the stronger party. It also includes the implicit assumption that if the Palestinian problem is somehow solved the conflict will be over, though no informed person today believes this to be true. This definition also allows the Israeli settlement project, which I believe is a serious moral and strategic error on Israel’s part, to be described not as what it is—one more destructive symptom of the conflict—but rather as its cause.

A knowledgeable observer of the Middle East cannot avoid the impression that the region is a volcano and that the lava is radical Islam, an ideology whose various incarnations are now shaping this part of the world. Israel is a tiny village on the slopes of the volcano. Hamas is the local representative of radical Islam and is openly dedicated to the eradication of the Jewish minority enclave in Israel, just as Hezbollah is the dominant representative of radical Islam in Lebanon, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and so forth.

Hamas is not, as it freely admits, party to the effort to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It has different goals about which it is quite open and that are similar to those of the groups listed above. Since the mid 1990s, more than any other player, Hamas has destroyed the Israeli left, swayed moderate Israelis against territorial withdrawals, and buried the chances of a two-state compromise. That’s one accurate way to frame the story.

An observer might also legitimately frame the story through the lens of minorities in the Middle East, all of which are under intense pressure from Islam: When minorities are helpless, their fate is that of the Yazidis or Christians of northern Iraq, as we have just seen, and when they are armed and organized they can fight back and survive, as in the case of the Jews and (we must hope) the Kurds.

There are, in other words, many different ways to see what is happening here. Jerusalem is less than a day’s drive from Aleppo or Baghdad, and it should be clear to everyone that peace is pretty elusive in the Middle East even in places where Jews are absent. But reporters generally cannot see the Israel story in relation to anything else. Instead of describing Israel as one of the villages abutting the volcano, they describe Israel as the volcano.

The Israel story is framed to seem as if it has nothing to do with events nearby because the “Israel” of international journalism does not exist in the same geo-political universe as Iraq, Syria, or Egypt. The Israel story is not a story about current events. It is about something else.

The Old Blank Screen

For centuries, stateless Jews played the role of a lightning rod for ill will among the majority population. They were a symbol of things that were wrong. Did you want to make the point that greed was bad? Jews were greedy. Cowardice? Jews were cowardly. Were you a Communist? Jews were capitalists. Were you a capitalist? In that case, Jews were Communists. Moral failure was the essential trait of the Jew. It was their role in Christian tradition—the only reason European society knew or cared about them in the first place.

Like many Jews who grew up late in the 20th century in friendly Western cities, I dismissed such ideas as the feverish memories of my grandparents. One thing I have learned—and I’m not alone this summer—is that I was foolish to have done so. Today, people in the West tend to believe the ills of the age are racism, colonialism, and militarism. The world’s only Jewish country has done less harm than most countries on earth, and more good—and yet when people went looking for a country that would symbolize the sins of our new post-colonial, post-militaristic, post-ethnic dream-world, the country they chose was this one.

When the people responsible for explaining the world to the world, journalists, cover the Jews’ war as more worthy of attention than any other, when they portray the Jews of Israel as the party obviously in the wrong, when they omit all possible justifications for the Jews’ actions and obscure the true face of their enemies, what they are saying to their readers—whether they intend to or not—is that Jews are the worst people on earth. The Jews are a symbol of the evils that civilized people are taught from an early age to abhor. International press coverage has become a morality play starring a familiar villain.

Some readers might remember that Britain participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the fallout from which has now killed more than three times the number of people ever killed in the Israel-Arab conflict; yet in Britain, protesters furiously condemn Jewish militarism. White people in London and Paris whose parents not long ago had themselves fanned by dark people in the sitting rooms of Rangoon or Algiers condemn Jewish “colonialism.” Americans who live in places called “Manhattan” or “Seattle” condemn Jews for displacing the native people of Palestine. Russian reporters condemn Israel’s brutal military tactics. Belgian reporters condemn Israel’s treatment of Africans. When Israel opened a transportation service for Palestinian workers in the occupied West Bank a few years ago, American news consumers could read about Israel “segregating buses.” And there are a lot of people in Europe, and not just in Germany, who enjoy hearing the Jews accused of genocide.

You don’t need to be a history professor, or a psychiatrist, to understand what’s going on. Having rehabilitated themselves against considerable odds in a minute corner of the earth, the descendants of powerless people who were pushed out of Europe and the Islamic Middle East have become what their grandparents were—the pool into which the world spits. The Jews of Israel are the screen onto which it has become socially acceptable to project the things you hate about yourself and your own country. The tool through which this psychological projection is executed is the international press.

Who Cares If the World Gets the Israel Story Wrong?

Because a gap has opened here between the way things are and the way they are described, opinions are wrong and policies are wrong, and observers are regularly blindsided by events. Such things have happened before. In the years leading to the breakdown of Soviet Communism in 1991, as the Russia expert Leon Aron wrote in a 2011 essay for Foreign Policy, “virtually no Western expert, scholar, official, or politician foresaw the impending collapse of the Soviet Union.” The empire had been rotting for years and the signs were there, but the people who were supposed to be seeing and reporting them failed and when the superpower imploded everyone was surprised.

Whatever the outcome in this region in the next decade, it will have as much to do with Israel as World War II had to do with Spain
And there was the Spanish civil war: “Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which do not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. … I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what had happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines.’ ” That was George Orwell, writing in 1942.

Orwell did not step off an airplane in Catalonia, stand next to a Republican cannon, and have himself filmed while confidently repeating what everyone else was saying or describing what any fool could see: weaponry, rubble, bodies. He looked beyond the ideological fantasies of his peers and knew that what was important was not necessarily visible. Spain, he understood, was not really about Spain at all—it was about a clash of totalitarian systems, German and Russian. He knew he was witnessing a threat to European civilization, and he wrote that, and he was right.

Understanding what happened in Gaza this summer means understanding Hezbollah in Lebanon, the rise of the Sunni jihadis in Syria and Iraq, and the long tentacles of Iran. It requires figuring out why countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia now see themselves as closer to Israel than to Hamas. Above all, it requires us to understand what is clear to nearly everyone in the Middle East: The ascendant force in our part of the world is not democracy or modernity. It is rather an empowered strain of Islam that assumes different and sometimes conflicting forms, and that is willing to employ extreme violence in a quest to unite the region under its control and confront the West. Those who grasp this fact will be able to look around and connect the dots.

Israel is not an idea, a symbol of good or evil, or a litmus test for liberal opinion at dinner parties. It is a small country in a scary part of the world that is getting scarier. It should be reported as critically as any other place, and understood in context and in proportion. Israel is not one of the most important stories in the world, or even in the Middle East; whatever the outcome in this region in the next decade, it will have as much to do with Israel as World War II had to do with Spain. Israel is a speck on the map—a sideshow that happens to carry an unusual emotional charge.

Many in the West clearly prefer the old comfort of parsing the moral failings of Jews, and the familiar feeling of superiority this brings them, to confronting an unhappy and confusing reality. They may convince themselves that all of this is the Jews’ problem, and indeed the Jews’ fault. But journalists engage in these fantasies at the cost of their credibility and that of their profession. And, as Orwell would tell us, the world entertains fantasies at its peril.

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