Monday, August 28, 2006
The Tel Aviv Syndrome, and other recent articles on the web
1. Anti-Human Rights Watch
Ken Roth's blood libel
GERALD M. STEINBERG, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 26, 2006
A Malaysian newspaper recently published an article headlined "Israel
deliberately targeting civilians, says Human Rights Watch."
Turkish newspapers ran similar items, repeating HRW's statements that
"Israel intentionally bombs civilians." During the Lebanon War HRW's press
releases, opeds and interviews with officials were cited in hundreds of
newspapers around the world, providing seeming legitimacy from a "neutral
source" to the violent anti-Israel protests and calls for revenge.
For HRW and executive director Kenneth Roth, Israel is a highly emotional
focus, and their reports are often biased and unreliable.
Roth's ideological objectives and slipshod methods are illustrated in an
August 18 column published in The Jerusalem Post ("Indiscriminate
Bombardment"). Rejecting claims that "the IDF was doing the best it could"
or that Lebanese civilian deaths "were the result of Hizbullah hiding its
rockets and fighters among civilians," Roth declared that this "assertion
doesn't stand up to the facts." This modern blood libel accuses Israelis
of "indifference to the taking of civilian lives."
But the factual basis for this article itself was glaringly absent.
Instead, Roth relied on the "halo effect," (the NGO version of "trust
me"), claiming that HRW "investigated some two dozen bombing incidents in
Lebanon. In none of those cases was Hizbullah anywhere around at the time
of the attack."
Lacking any verifiable evidence, Roth reassures his readers that HRW
research techniques "cut through people's incentive to lie." These
researchers "probed and cross-checked multiple eyewitnesses," who "were
adamant that Hizbullah was not at the scene of the attack. We examined
bombing sites for evidence of military activity such as trenches,
destroyed rocket launchers and military equipment, or dead or wounded
ROTH DOES not provide names, but it is likely that Lucy Mair, HRW's
researcher for Israeli/Palestinian issues, was involved. A number of HRW's
statements on the Lebanon war provided Mair's name and a Beirut phone
number. Before coming to HRW, she published anti-Israel propaganda in
pro-Palestinian platforms such as the "Electronic Intifada." This is
hardly a credible biography for an "independent" researcher.
Furthermore, none of Roth's other claims can be checked, and they are
totally inconsistent with the hard evidence, such as the 4,000 missiles
launched by Hizbullah at Israeli civilians during this period.
Reporters from The New York Times, The New Yorker and elsewhere had no
difficulty finding reliable detailed evidence of Hizbullah's activities in
these areas, but HRW's "probes" and "searches" came up empty. Perhaps they
were not looking very hard.
And in dismissing the justification for the IDF attack on Kana, Roth
relies on confused interpretations of an article by an Israeli journalist,
and denigrates video footage "trotted out" by the IDF "of Hizbullah firing
rockets from a village." Instead, Roth makes the patently absurd demand
for a video that would show "that Hizbullah was in a civilian building or
vehicle at the time of an Israeli attack."
Finally, Roth admits that "Hizbullah certainly should not be let off the
hook" - as if the kidnappings and massive missile bombardments by
terrorists are minor footnotes in terms of human rights. His claim that
HRW has conducted "detailed investigations of the militia's obvious war
crimes" is also inconsistent with the evidence. Of the 24 HRW statements
and opeds during this war, as listed on NGO Monitor, most targeted Israel,
and the only lengthy study, of over 50 pages, also focused on allegations
against Israel. HRW's very limited criticisms of Hizbullah, like its
statements on Palestinian terror, appear to be little more than fig
In assessing HRW's biased and unprofessional performance in the Lebanon
War, previous examples provide a consistent picture. In October 2004, Roth
flew to Jerusalem to publicize Razing Rafah, HRW's glossy 135-page
publication condemning Israel's anti-terror operations in Gaza. The
evidence in this report, which dismissed the impact of the weapons
smuggling through tunnels from Egypt, was based largely on Palestinian
"eyewitnesses" and claims by Marc Garlasco, HRW's "military expert."
Garlasco's published biosketch shows very limited military experience,
particularly in the areas of tunneling and forensics that were emphasized
in this report. Garlasco was also central to HRW's public relations
campaign over the Gaza beach incident in June 2006, which supported the
Palestinian version and blamed Israel. In this case as well, Garlasco
relied on evidence provided by the Palestinian police, while ignoring
details that were not consistent with his thesis.
With an annual budget of $50 million, Roth and his funders are obliged to
insure that HRW's reports are accurate and free of ideological bias. In
contrast, when these reports are instrumental in spreading anti-Israel
sentiment in Malaysia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Europe and elsewhere, the
result is the antithesis of the human rights objectives proclaimed by HRW.
Rather than the independent investigations of Israel that Roth always
demands, it is his HRW's activities that need to be investigated.
The writer is the director of the Program on Conflict Management at
Bar-Ilan University and the editor of NGO Monitor.
2. Georgetown cultivates suicide bombers:
The Washington Times
Georgetown professor mentors "martyrdom" supporter
By Joel Mowbray
Published August 25, 2006
Headline-grabbing stories about a British-based Muslim academic's public
support for "martyrdom" last weekend missed a key detail: His mentor and
frequent collaborator is a high-profile scholar who has been consulted
repeatedly by the FBI, Professor John Esposito of Georgetown University.
Mr. Esposito has long courted controversy . most recently when the
Georgetown-based center he founded in 1993 accepted $20 million last year
from (and took the name of) a notorious Saudi prince. Yet, the professor
has somehow been able to maintain a relatively high reputation in academic
and government circles.
That Mr. Esposito is still largely respected owes to the subtlety of
his apologism. He acknowledges that there is radicalism in Islam, and he
generally avoids defending the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah. Even as he
argues for engaging Islamists, he does so without overtly endorsing their
worldview. But Mr. Esposito skillfully downplays the threat posed by
radical Islam, and as demonstrated by his close affiliation with Azzam
Tamimi, who told a massive crowd in the UK on Sunday that "dying for your
beliefs is just," he willingly associates with avowed cheerleaders of
Mr. Esposito's defenders . and there are many . claim that his critics
conflate his practical advice that Islamists cannot simply be ignored with
apologism for radical Islam. While such an answer may be appealing for
those who believe in giving the benefit of the doubt, it simply doesn't
square with the facts.
Although Mr. Esposito is less transparent than most apologists for
radical Islam, he is more than a mere apologist. He defends supporters of
Islamic terrorism. He even mentors them.
Mr. Esposito has lavished praise on two prominent advocates of Islamic
terrorism: former University of South Florida professor (and convicted
terrorist) Sami al-Arian, and al Jazeera phenomenon Sheikh Yusuf
When the university moved to fire al-Arian in April 2002, Mr. Esposito
wrote to the university's president that he was "stunned, astonished, and
saddened." While naysayers point to acquittals on eight of 17 charges
brought against him, al-Arian was indisputably an avowed Islamic radical
long before September 11. Among other examples, he played host in the
early to mid-1990s to some of the most notorious jihadists in the world,
all of which was well-documented by the Tampa Tribune and in the 1994 PBS
documentary "Jihad in America" by Steven Emerson.
Even more troubling is the affection Mr. Esposito has displayed for
Sheikh Qaradawi. In 2003, he fawned over Mr. Qaradawi's "reformist
interpretation of Islam and its relationship to democracy, pluralism and
human rights." The famous cleric, though, has issued fatwas endorsing
suicide bombings in Israel and has said that those who kill Americans in
Iraq are "martyrs" with "good intentions." Mr. Qaradawi also supports the
killing of homosexuals or anyone who has converted away from Islam.
With neither al-Arian nor Mr. Qaradawi does Mr. Esposito have any
plausible deniability. But he doesn't owe nearly as much of an explanation
for those sleights of hand as he does for his still un-severed
relationship with his protege, Mr. Tamimi.
In 2000, Mr. Esposito co-edited with Mr. Tamimi a book called "Islam
and Secularism." The next year, Mr. Tamimi published a biography of
Tunisian Islamist Rachid Ghannouchi, which was part of a series edited by
Mr. Esposito. In the book's introduction, Mr. Tamimi calls Mr. Esposito
his "ustadh," or teacher.
To this day, Mr. Esposito sits on the board of advisers of the
Institute for Islamic Political Thought, founded and run by Mr. Tamimi,
who confirmed this fact during a phone interview. He's had multiple
opportunities when comments by Mr. Tamimi should have prompted his
resignation. None did.
A November 2001 Spanish newspaper article about an interview with Mr.
Tamimi was titled "I admire the Taliban; they are courageous." The
following July at a speech in South Africa, Mr. Tamimi paid stirring
tribute to "martyrs" who blow themselves up. Then in 2004, Mr. Tamimi
expressed to the BBC his desire to become a suicide bomber: "If I can go
to Palestine and sacrifice myself I would do it."
What's most disconcerting about the case of Mr. Tamimi is not that
someone who studied under and later worked with Mr. Esposito could turn
out to be so noxious. It's that someone like Mr. Tamimi almost certainly
could not have kept hidden his real and deeply held beliefs from his
mentor and collaborator.
In two separate phone interviews, Mr. Tamimi was quite freewheeling.
Though he gave the standard disclaimer that "any killing of innocent
people is unacceptable," he quickly clarified . or rather, contradicted .
his statement. When asked if this applies to "innocent people in Israel,"
he responded, "Palestine is a special case." How so? "It is legitimate for
the Palestinians to fight the Israelis who are occupying their land." Does
this apply to Americans and Brits killed in Iraq? "Of course it holds true
Mr. Tamimi's only testy moment during the interviews came when asked
if it was morally acceptable to kill Americans who are only in Iraq to
rebuild things like roads and schools. He snapped, "It is not my
responsibility to tell the Iraqi people who they can kill or not."
To put it gently, Mr. Tamimi is not afraid to express radical views to
a stranger, or for that matter, to 8,000 people in Manchester. It raises
the question: What kind of venom has he spewed privately to Mr. Esposito?
Better yet, what has Mr. Esposito said back?
3. From Israel Academia Monitor:
Five Israeli academic women blame Israel, not a single blame on the
IWC CALL FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION
As Israeli, Palestinian and International women leaders and activists,
members of the IWC, dedicated to the goal of ending the occupation and
achieving a just and sustainable Palestinian-Israeli peace based on a
two-state solution, committed to the respect of international law, human
rights and equality, we are alarmed at the escalating use of force and
violence that threatens to destroy all options for creating a humane
future for ourselves and our children.
WE CALL on the government of Israel to immediately cease its war on the
civilian population of Gaza and withdraw its armed forces. We demand the
cessation of the irresponsible and totally unacceptable policy of
deprivation and collective punishment. The destruction of power stations
and infrastructure has denied access to water and electricity to over
two-thirds of the population, which has aggravated an already
deteriorating situation due to the long-standing siege imposed. Today the
humanitarian crisis is reaching unprecedented proportions.
WE CALL on the international community to exercise its responsibility for
the protection of human security, human rights, and the fundamental rights
of all to live in an environment of peace and security, free from
occupation, oppression and the arbitrary use of force as stipulated in
international law and human rights conventions.
Galia Golan, Professor of Government, Hebrew University
Naava Eisin, Director, the Archives of Jewish Education, Tel-Aviv
Naomi Chazan, Professor of Political Science, Hebrew University (emerita)
Sarai Aharoni, PhD Candidate, Bar-Ilan University
Anat Saragusti, Editor Channel 2 News and Humphrey Fellow, University of
4. Israel's Friends of Nasrallah are holding a conference:
5. British film director moonbat:
Someone worth boycotting!
6. The Tel Aviv Syndrome:
7. How to get rid of peace activists:
8. Pogroms coming to Venezuela?
9. Speaking of pogromchik wannabes:
10. Academic Atrocities, news about Israel's Academic Fifth Column from
Israel Academic Monitor:
Latest News from Israel's Academic Fifth Column
Just in July and August this year, I found the following five quotes made
by Israeli men arguing that the Arab-Israeli conflict is resolvable, or
thinking that if we have a oneState solution, Jews and Arabs will live in
harmony. If worse comes to worse, they think, under Muslim rule once
Israel lost the battle, they will be happily spared, while spreading such
words they get loads of support from bashing-Israel organizations. Here
Ilan Pappe, University of Haifa - "...To sum up, Hizbollah.s achievement
may indicate that the days of the US empire in the Middle East are
numbered and nearly over. However in history .nearly. can take years..."
Pappe's twisted history can be found at
Gadi Elgazi, Tel Aviv University: "this war is being carried out on the
poorest peoples' backs, both in Israel and Lebanon. Those who cannot
escape pay the dearest price of this war."
Dov Khenin, (Tel Aviv University) MK, praised those who participated in
the demonstration and said that "a demonstration attended by thousands
expresses the expansion of the anti-war
front".http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3286718,00.html (in Hebrew)
Daniel Bartal, Tel Aviv University
"I belong to those who consider Israel's reaction with massive bombing,
the widespread extent of the violence, the widespread damage to the
civilian population, the unwillingness to negotiate, and the unwillingness
to accept a ceasefire as symptoms of Israel's forceful way, as an
expression of the culture of conflict that has become rooted in Israeli
society, as an expression of the blind rallying of its members, of the
ethnocentric, simplistic and one-sided perception of the Arab-Israeli
conflict and the military's decisive influence on our lives and ways here
[in this country]"
Ze'ev Sternhell, Hebrew University, in Haaretz: "Let's declare victory and
"And a word about the price of American support. Sometimes it seems as if
U.S. President George W. Bush wants Israel both to destroy Lebanon and to
sustain painful losses. That way, Israel provides him with an excellent
alibi for the war in Iraq:
The fight against terror is global, the blood price is the same, the
methods of operation and the means are identical, and the time needed for
victory is long. The Israeli vassal is serving its master no less than the
master is providing for its needs."
Ze'ev Maoz, Tel Aviv University
"There's practically a holy consensus right now that the war in the North
is a just war and that morality is on our side. The bitter truth must be
said: this holy consensus is based on short-range selective memory, an
introverted worldview, and double standards.
This war is not a just war. Israel is using excessive force without
distinguishing between civilian population and enemy, whose sole purpose
is extortion. That is not to say that morality and justice are on
Hezbollah's side. Most certainly not. But the fact that Hezbollah "started
it" when it kidnapped soldiers from across an international border does
not even begin to tilt the scales of justice toward our side."
Some more pearls from the mouth of Ze'ev Maoz: In October, 1996 he said:
"chance of army coup now possible." And in August 1996: "If the political
deadlock continues for a long time, and Syria reaches the conclusion that
there is no solution in the political option, it may reconsider the
military option as a viable one," he [Ze'ev Maoz] wrote.
In March 2002 he was interviewed saying: "Any initiative that comes from
the Arab world makes me considerably more optimistic," says Ze'ev Maoz, an
Israeli political scientist, "because it has the potential ... to lower
the psychological barriers that many Israelis have in terms of making
concessions for peace." At the same article it said: "Tel Aviv University
professor Maoz says Israeli supporters of a negotiated solution are
"regrouping because they are starting to realize that a policy of applying
force just for the sake of applying force, without any sort of political
vision, doesn't lead anywhere."
Further reading on Ze'ev Maoz:
http://www.freeman.org/m_online/sep96/basch.htm (half way down the page)
Those are not just Israeli men, they are Israeli academics. Why should we
have to listen to their nonsense? Even though we all support freedom of
speech, why should the Israeli public accept academics who are calling for
Dr. Haim Bresheeth is an ex-Israeli who lives and teaches in Oxford,
He wrote an article to Al-Ahram recently which says: ".I have no doubt
that many of those who justify and argue away Israeli barbarities as
"strategic moves" are quietly ashamed of themselves, but hold the party
line as is expected of them. In so doing, they betray Jewish tradition and
values, Jewish liberalism, and a long history of suffering from racism and
anti-Semitism. They also make such terrifying historical echoes more
likely to return in the future, when they are part of removing the limits
and boundaries, of justifying the unjustifiable. Justice, we learnt from
Hillel the Elder, is not divisible -- either we all have it, or none shall
have it. They, and the rest of us, may rue the day they were too
frightened to remember their own history, and act to keep the boundaries
intact between humanity and barbarism."
After reading all this it is hard to resist the conclusion that some of
the above mentioned "academics" were hired to teach in their universities
and promoted not for their research merits but their political extremism.