US Media Losing Control of the Middle East Narrative?

Citizen journalists armed with ubiquitous smartphones and access to social media platforms have challenged the western media reporting of the latest Israeli brutal assault on Gaza. While the established western media outfits have stuck to "Israel's right to defend itself" narrative, this new breed of young journalists has posted unfiltered images and videos of the Israeli war crimes against Palestinians. Some of these powerful posts have gone viral with many young people, including Jews, sharing them broadly on social media. People, particularly Americans, who share these posts see the Palestinian struggle as a civil rights struggle not unlike the recent Black Lives Matter movement in America. 

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on CNN

The western media, particularly the mainstream American media, are quick to accuse Israel's critics of being anti-semitic, a familiar tactic to distract from the Israeli crimes against humanity. A recent example is the CNN anchor Bianna Golodryga who labelled Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's criticism of western media as anti-semitic, a charge that even President Jimmy Carter could not escape when he criticized Israel's Apartheid.  Here's what Mr. Qureshi  told the CNN anchor: 

“Israel is losing out (in spite of their) deep pockets, they are losing the media war despite their connections.. ..Well they are very influential people. I mean, they control media.....point is they have a lot of influence, and they get a lot of coverage. Now what has balanced that is the citizen journalist who has been reporting, sharing video clips and that has jolted people and that has woken up people, and people who were sitting on the fence are today speaking up.”

Golodryga interjected and said, “I would call that an antisemitic remark". I am not sure if Qureshi knows but it seems to me that phrases like "control media" and "deep pockets" hit close to home for Golodryga. She and her husband Peter Orszag are both Jewish. Golodryga is an influential media person while Orszag is an investment banking executive on Wall Street. 

The power of Jews in American media and finance is undeniable. Goldman Sachs is the most influential investment bank in the United States. It was founded by Jews in the nineteenth century. Most of its partners since then, almost all of its leaders, and its current CEO (Lloyd Blankfein) are Jews. Similarly, most of the top media executives and best-known US journalists are Jews. 

The role of money and media is particularly important for domestic politics in the United States. What Mr. Qureshi said is especially true of the powerful Israel lobby group American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that lobbies for Israeli interests in the United States. AIPAC is flush with cash contributed by rich American Jews. AIPAC has lots of friends in mainstream US media. 

Western media not only fail to accurately report current events in Palestine but they also do not contextualize such events. For example, the current crisis in the region started with attempts by some Israeli Jews to steal Palestinian homes in Jerusalem. A viral video shared on social media illustrates what is happening there. It shows a young Palestinian woman in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah saying to a Jewish man named Yakov, “You are stealing my house!” “If I don’t steal it, someone else will steal it,” he responds. 

Popular comedian John Oliver has called out the western media for promoting "both sides" narrative in the Middle East. Here's what he said:

“There’s a real tendency, particularly in America, to ‘both sides’ this situation, and I’m not saying that there aren’t some areas where that’s warranted. But it’s important to recognize there are also areas where it’s simply not...Both sides are firing rockets, but one side has one of the most advanced militaries in the world. Both sides are suffering heartbreaking casualties, but one side is suffering them exponentially.... Falling back on, convenient sanitized terms like ‘real estate disputes’ and ‘airstrikes on militants’ feels a little disingenuous when what you’re describing is forcing people from the homes they’ve lived in for decades and killing civilians, and children...And again, none of this frees Hamas from responsibility. But Hamas doesn’t represent all Palestinians just as what Israel is doing right now doesn’t represent all Israelis, or indeed Jewish people...Lots is complicated here, but some things are pretty simple...One side is suffering much more.”


Mayraj F. said…
You cannot pound a people into submission by military force. You only push the solution further into the future.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of War in the Age of Trump (Verso).
Cross-posted from Counterpunch

When I first visited Israel in 1976 after spending three years in Northern Ireland working on my second degree, I was struck by the similarities between the situations in the two countries.

It is therefore entirely appropriate that on the same day that the Israeli-Palestinian crisis was exploding this week, an inquest in Belfast was reporting on a mass killing by the British Army in Belfast half a century earlier.

This was what became known as the Ballymurphy Massacre which took place between 9 and 11 August 1971, when 10 Catholics were shot and killed in the working-class district of Ballymurphy in west Belfast. The British government and army claimed for years that the dead were IRA gunmen or had been throwing petrol bombs. But the inquest determined this week that all the dead were innocent civilians – and the army’s actions were “unjustified”. Boris Johnson has apologised unreservedly for the killings.

An important parallel between Northern Ireland then and Israel/Gaza today is that, in both cases, grossly excessive military force was and is used to try to solve political problems that it only succeeds in exacerbating. In the case of the Ballymurphy shootings, which took place during the introduction of internment without trial, the British government managed only to delegitimise itself, to spread hatred against itself and to act as the recruiting sergeant for the Provisional IRA.

As in Northern Ireland half a century ago, the Israeli security services keep announcing that they are winning famous victories and killing enemy commanders, as if local leaders of the rag-tag paramilitary forces of Hamas and Islamic Jihad were irreplaceable military technicians. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Hamas and Islamic Jihad “will pay a heavy price for their belligerence.” No doubt they will, but the heaviest price will be paid by civilians in Gaza, like in the last such conflict in 2014 when 2,000 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed in a ‘war’ lasting 67 days.

In some respects, not much has changed since then, but that in itself is significant because Donald Trump was the most pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian president ever to occupy the White House. He and his son-in-law Jared Kushner enthusiastically endorsed Netanyahu’s thesis that Israel can achieve a lasting peace while at the same time keeping the Palestinians in a permanently subordinate position as a defeated people.


Palestinian weaknesses, several of them self-inflicted, include very poor leadership and political organisation. Hamas can fire lots of rockets into Israel in a show of defiance, but this is politically counter-productive since it enables Israel to frame its actions as defensive and part of a war on terror. The Palestinian National Authority based in Ramallah hasn’t held an election for 15 years, with the latest attempt being postponed indefinitely last month — and is now deeply compromised as a representative of its people.

The best strategy for the Palestinians should be to use their great numbers in a peaceful mass campaign demanding civil right and an end to discriminatory restrictions.

The Palestinians do hold a card of the highest value, which is that Israel will not have won until the Palestinians declare that they have lost. The events of last week showed that this is not going to happen. Israel wins trick after trick at the political and military card table but can never be declared the winner because it is playing a game that does not end.
Riaz Haq said…
#CNN's @biannagolodryga has accused #Pakistan's @SMQureshiPTI of #antisemitism for criticizing #Israel. Israel's great benefactor Jimmy Carter who brokered Israel-#Egypt Peace Accord also faced anti-semitism charge for criticizing Israeli #Apartheid. #Gaza

The Moral Disintegration of Jimmy Carter
By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach • 08/11/14

For years I have been defending Jimmy Carter against charges of anti-Semitism. Maybe I just didn’t want to believe that a President of the United States – the freest country in the world – could dislike Jews.

So I chalked up his animus toward Israel and his awful accusations of Israeli apartheid to a faulty moral compass. Even the other day on NewsMax TV my friend Steve Malzberg asked me point blank if Jimmy Carter is an anti-Semite and I said no, blaming his inane statements on Israel to his being what Vladimir Lenin described as ‘a useful idiot.’

Mr. Carter always sides with the weaker party in a conflict notwithstanding their immorality. Let us never forget that the Carter Administration tried to seat the exiled Khmer Rouge as the rightful government of Cambodia even though they slaughtered one out of three Cambodians in the 1975-78 genocide. For Mr. Carter, weakness was itself a sign of righteousness.

But Mr. Carter’s recent accusations of Israeli war crimes, his demand for a United Nations investigation into Israel’s actions in Gaza, and his call for Hamas – a genocidal terror organization – to be recognized as a legitimate political partner by Israel is making it near impossible not to ascribe to Carter some nasty feelings toward the Jewish state.

Where is Mr. Carter’s call for the world to recognize the legitimacy of Al Qaida or the Taliban? Why isn’t Mr. Carter calling on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to recognize the legitimacy of Boko Haram? Why is it only the Jews who have to recognize the legitimacy of the terror organizations sworn to their annihilation?

Mr. Carter’s pronouncements on the Middle East have become so toxic that had he not once been the American Commander-in-Chief they would be dismissed as the ravings of a man utterly out of touch with reality. But notwithstanding all the damage to his credibility, and notwithstanding his own grandson Jason, currently running to be Governor of Georgia, basically asking him to shut up, he remains obsessed with the Jews and Israel. While ISIS is trying to carry out the slaughter of Yazidis and Christians in Iraq, while Libya descends into a hellish morass of violence, and while hundreds of thousands die in Syria, Jimmy Carter remains fixated on the crimes of the Jewish state.

I grew up in the United States during the 1970’s when we danced to disco music, wore leisure suits, and watched the Brady Bunch. But as if that weren’t torture enough, we had Jimmy Carter as president. I can still recall how depressing it was to watch his taciturn face announcing one catastrophe after another, from the skyrocketing misery index, to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, to the capture of our hostages in Iran, to the tragically botched rescue attempt to free them. Fortune did not smile on Jimmy Carter and he was, poor thing, hapless at nearly everything he touched.

But Mr. Carter’s biggest failing was to be bereft of a moral compass. To be sure, his heart wished to do good. It’s just that his head was often confused as to what the good was. Throughout his career he invariably found himself defending tyrants and dictators at the expense of their oppressed peoples, not because he was insensitive but because he was confused.
Riaz Haq said…
#Canada's National Broadcaster CBC Tells Journalists They Can’t Cover #Israel-#Palestine After Demanding Fairer Coverage. Over 2,000 of them signed an open letter saying #Canadian #media outlets “tiptoe around coverage of Israel and Palestinians” via @vice

The letter also highlighted the CBC’s decision not to cover a Human Rights Watch report that described Israel’s conduct towards Palestinians as apartheid.


Two journalists from Canada’s national broadcaster say they’ve been barred from covering the ongoing violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories after signing an open letter calling for more nuanced coverage.

On May 14, an “open letter to Canadian newsrooms on covering Israel-Palestine” began circulating online. The letter, which has now been signed by more than 2,000 people, including many journalists, said Canadian media does not include enough context or Palestinian voices when covering “the ongoing nature of the Israeli occupation.” It ended by asking for “fair and balanced coverage” of the conflict.

Since the letter was published, two employees with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation told VICE World News they were advised that they could no longer cover the issue because they signed it.

CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson told VICE World News that no employees are being disciplined for signing the letter but the broadcaster is ensuring “editorial distance between signatories (of the letter) and our daily coverage for the near future.”

The letter comes after more than a week of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, which have killed 228 Palestinians, including dozens of children, according to Reuters. Israel said it was defending itself from Hamas’s rocket attacks, which have killed 12 people. The violence escalated after Israeli police raided the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, injuring hundreds of Palestinians, following tensions over Israel’s attempts to evict Palestinian families from a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. On Thursday, Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire.
Riaz Haq said…
#Americans largely support #Israel -- but sympathy for #Palestinians is rising. “It’s not a huge surprise that a lot of non-white Americans can empathize and identify with Palestinians because of their own history of oppression and settler colonialism”

That support for both Palestinians and the Black Lives Matter movement have gained support concurrently is not a coincidence, said Elgindy, director of the Washington institute's Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs program. Both are rooted in similar anger over a lack of accountability, police brutality and systemic racism, he said, especially among young people.

As buildings fall in Gaza and whole families are wiped out, and as the United States stays largely silent about the plight of Palestinians, he said, “that contrast has not been lost on large numbers of Americans who are starting to awaken to this. For a lot of young people who were in middle school the last time this happened and not necessarily politically aware, they’re coming of age politically, and they’re horrified.”


Last weekend in Atlanta, as hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators rallied downtown, one sign stood out in particular: “We can’t breathe since 1948,” it read – a nod to the social unrest of the last year that has followed the murder of George Floyd.

Experts say it’s a reflection of the way that American support for the Palestinian cause is growing, a trend that a recent Gallup poll showed was on the rise even before the most recent Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“It’s not a huge surprise that a lot of non-white Americans can empathize and identify with Palestinians because of their own history of oppression and settler colonialism,” said Khaled Elgindy, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. “The old image of Israel as David fighting the Arab Goliath, if it was ever true, is now completely obsolete. Israel is not the underdog anymore, and people realize that.”

Results of Gallup’s annual World Affairs poll, released in March, show that while most Americans still sympathize with Israel, favorable views of Palestine are on the rise. Roughly 30% of overall respondents said they had favorable views of the Palestinian Authority, up from 21% in 2018 and higher than the annual average of 19% since 2001.

Such views are increasingly partisan, with Republican support for Israel at 85%, compared to 77% of Independents and 64% of Democrats. However, the percentage of Republicans who view the Palestinian Authority favorably has risen to 19%, up from 9% in 2018.


The area encompassing Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory is home to about 6.8 million Israelis and 6.8 million Palestinians, according to Human Rights Watch. Israel exercises primary authority over the territory, which consists of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with limited Palestinian self-rule. According to the human rights organization, the discrimination and subjugation experienced by Palestinians in parts of the territory are tantamount to apartheid and persecution.

Riaz Haq said…
#Palestine Is No Longer the Third Rail for #Democrats.
In March, well before #Israel's assault on #Gaza, Gallup found 53% of Democrats favored putting more pressure on Israel (rather than on the Palestinians) to resolve the #MiddleEast conflict.

Today’s cease-fire is a victory and a relief for Palestinians. But with Palestinians still under siege, the struggle against ethnic cleansing and occupation isn’t over. For Democrats, “progressive except Palestine” still won’t cut it.

n May 18, amid the growing carnage of the Israel’s eleven-day assault on Gaza, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D‑MI) — the only Palestinian American member of Congress — confronted President Joe Biden on a tarmac in Detroit over his administration’s continued support for Israel. According to the New York Times, Tlaib told the president he was enabling crimes against humanity and failing to protect Palestinian lives.

Less than a week earlier, while Israeli air strikes flattened residential buildings and killed hundreds of civilians, members of the US Congress did something they had never done before on the House floor: openly criticize the state of Israel. Progressive Democrats took issue not only with Israel’s assault on Gaza but with its longstanding reality of occupation, ethnic cleansing, and, yes, apartheid.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D‑WI) had organized the bloc in support of Palestinian rights; Tlaib spoke first. ​“To read the statements from President Biden, Secretary Blinken, General Austin, and leaders of both parties, you’d hardly know Palestinians existed at all,” Tlaib said. She continued:

There has been no recognition of the attack on Palestinian families being ripped from their homes in East Jerusalem right now or home demolitions. No mention of children being detained or murdered. No recognition of a sustained campaign of harassment and terror by Israeli police against worshippers kneeling down and praying, celebrating their holiest days, in one of their holiest places. No mention of Al-Aqsa being surrounded by violence, tear gas, smoke, while people pray. . . . Above all, there has been absolutely no recognition of Palestinian humanity.

Wearing a keffiyeh, Tlaib was giving voice to millions of Palestinians left voiceless by the media and within the halls of power, and to the many millions more who stand with Palestine. ​“If our own State Department can’t even bring itself to acknowledge that the killing of Palestinian children is wrong,” she said, ​“I will say it for the millions of Americans who stand with me against the killing of innocent children, no matter their ethnicity or faith.”

For decades, the US media and political class have parroted Israel’s claims of victimhood, despite Israel being an occupying state power acting against an occupied people. The details change, but the story remains the same: Israeli forces attack civilians — in this case, violently evicting Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, firing tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets at worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and emboldening Israeli mobs across the country. Hamas retaliates with low-grade steel rockets. Then Israel responds by raining all-out war on Gaza with state-of-the-art weaponry, funded by billions in US dollars, in the name of ​“self-defense.”

In the wake of these latest strikes, however, this consensus may finally be crumbling. Today’s cease-fire, if it holds, will end eleven days of relentless air strikes that have left at least 243 Palestinians dead, including at least 64 children. Many on the left wing of the Democratic Party have been left with the same question as Tlaib: ​“How many Palestinians have to die for their lives to matter?”
Riaz Haq said…
An open letter to CNN’s Bianna Golodryga
Omar Badi-uz-Zaman's open letter to CNN's Bianna Golodryga is making the rounds on social media. The letter, first published on the author's Facebook page, asks Ms. Bianna to face some hard facts.

Dear Bianna,

I saw your interview with Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi. In this interview, the Honorable Foreign Minister of Pakistan was accused of anti-Semitism for his assertion that the state of Israel has ‘deep pockets’ and that it ‘controls media’.

To be clear from the outset, any form of racism, bigotry, or prejudice – be it against ANY people – has no place in the 21st century. But let’s take a moment and take an objective look at his claim – the objective being the operative word here. CNN boasts of having won many awards for iReport – its platform for citizen journalism so before I present the facts, I’d like to begin with a Pakistani citizen’s report.

The year was 2008. I was studying political science at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. My friends Fatemah, Leila Abs, Mehran, and I revived the dormant Vancouver chapter of a social justice platform called Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) on a UBC campus 40,000 students strong. What this platform advocated is fairly self-explanatory.

As part of our activism, we organized visits and lectures of notable scholars, journalists, and personalities who had first-hand knowledge of Israel’s illegal, inhumane and tyrannical occupation of the Palestinians.

One such talk was delivered by Canadian photojournalist Jon Elmer who had just returned to Canada after having spent a considerable amount of time in occupied Palestine.

Barely 10 minutes into Mr. Elmer’s presentation, 3 drunk gentlemen, reeking of beer, strutted into the hall with glasses full of what was presumably – well – beer (no surprises there). One of these students was the president of the ISA – you guessed it – the Israeli Student’s Association at UBC.

Shortly after taking a seat and much to the horror of the few hundred audience members, he ‘flipped off’ the guest speaker (feel free to google the term), shouted at him, and continued to do so until the presentation was forced to a halt. Because this student wouldn’t relent, he was summarily, duly, and peacefully escorted out of the hall by security. Now though these sorts of happenings might be common across campuses worldwide, what followed suit was not at all usual.

The next day, one of Vancouver’s leading newspapers, The Vancouver Sun, decried rising anti-Semitism at the Academic heart of Vancouver. The paper carried a report claiming: Jewish students forcibly kicked out of an anti-Semitic event at UBC merely for expressing their opinion.

Talk about spin.

Since then, it has been increasingly clear to me that any criticism of Israeli policy and the blind support for it in MOST of what is considered ‘Western media’ leads to unfounded charges of anti-Semitism; charges carefully crafted to malign and silence those who speak truth to power.
Riaz Haq said…
An open letter to CNN’s Bianna Golodryga
Omar Badi-uz-Zaman's open letter to CNN's Bianna Golodryga is making the rounds on social media. The letter, first published on the author's Facebook page, asks Ms. Bianna to face some hard facts.

In 2009, as Israel massacred 1,500 Palestinians, the BBC refused – under pressure from the Israeli government – to air the bank account details for organizations sending emergency humanitarian relief to Gaza. The brave and late cabinet minister Tony Benn had to appear personally on the BBC and appeal for aid for dying women and children and condemn the BBC’s bizarre complicity in spreading the Israeli government’s propaganda (youtube search: Tony Benn & Palestine)

This is the definition of control.

Why, during the current massacre, did CNN feel the need to issue a memo informing its editorial staff to refer to the Gaza Health Ministry as “Hamas-Run”?

This is a textbook example of undue influence.

Why do CNN, BBC, Fox, and countless other channels continue to ‘sanitize’ their coverage of Israeli war crimes – calling what can only be described as ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem and historic Palestine ‘evictions’; why does the media refuse to acknowledge Palestine’s right to exist? Why is Palestine’s right to self-defense almost never mentioned? Why does each leg of the conflict started, as per your reporting, from Hamas’ firing of rockets while ignoring completely Israeli barbaric provocations?

Such ‘journalism’ would make Goebbels proud.

Why does the US government continue to provide unconditional aid and ammunition to Israel? Why does it continue to equip one of the most powerful nuclear states in the world to systematically subjugate and slaughter one of the most defenseless and oppressed people in the world with impunity?

It is clear that most of the media have become a mouthpiece for the Israeli narrative.

Read more: How is the western media presenting Israel’s crimes against humanity?

And here is the kicker: How is it that all of the above-stated media organizations failed to unequivocally condemn Israel’s wanton destruction of AP and Al-Jazeera offices in Gaza? What happened to journalists standing up for freedom and protection of the press?

And this is perhaps, the media’s biggest betrayal of its own fraternity in recent times.

To conclude, you should know that, by definition, Arabs are a Semitic people too. This is true. Feel free to google it. And so, my dear sister, if you have read this letter, understood it, but still do not apologize and demand justice for the Palestinians, then please, ask yourself:

Bianna, are you anti-Semitic?
Riaz Haq said…
More Than 500 of the Staffers Who Got #Biden Elected Demand That He Defend #Palestinian Rights. They want “concrete steps to end the occupation in pursuit of justice, peace, and self-determination for Palestinians.” #Gaza #Israel | The Nation

Heba Mohammad poured her energy and her considerable skills into electing Joe Biden president in 2020. As the digital organizing director for the Democrat’s campaign in the critical swing state of Wisconsin, she was one of the great mass of young people who powered the Biden campaign to victory. But as the Biden administration has failed to take a firm stand in defense of Palestinian rights in recent weeks, Mohammad has grown increasingly frustrated with the man she did so much to elect. She says she felt “deep dismay watching the president’s limited response to what was happening in Gaza.”

Mohammad isn’t alone. After images of the death and devastation following Israeli air strikes on Gaza filled screens across the United States in mid-May, activists who worked to elect Biden began to communicate among themselves on how to get a message to the president and other senior Democrats about the need for a shift in US policy that focuses on achieving justice for the Palestinian people.

On Monday, more than 500 of these 2020 campaign staffers signed a letter demanding that the Biden administration abandon a status-quo approach to Israel and Palestine that “deprives Palestinians of peace, security, and self-determination.” Addressed to the president, the letter explains, “The very same values that motivated us to work countless hours to elect you demand that we speak out in the aftermath of the recent explosive violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, which is inextricable from the ongoing history of occupation, blockade, and settlement expansion.”

The letter comes at a point when Biden and his aides have faced criticism from Democratic members of Congress such as Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, and Wisconsin’s Mark Pocan for failing to focus sufficiently on the dislocation of Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as Israeli air strikes that have left hundreds dead in Gaza. As in the 1960s, when many of the Democratic Party’s savviest officials and ablest activists broke with President Lyndon Johnson over the war in Vietnam, this is shaping up as a moment when dynamic young activists—and more than a few of their elders—are warning that the president and party leaders must wake up to that fact that, as Mohammad says, “from here on out, we will not allow our Democratic officials and candidates to be silent on Palestine.”

The signatures on the letter to Biden include those of 10 members of his 2020 campaign’s national headquarters staff and eight members of the Democratic National Committee staff during the race. But most of the signers worked at the states where Biden won the presidency—including the five battleground states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Arizona, which flipped from the Republican column in 2016 to the Democratic side in 2020. Drafted by a coalition of Palestinian American, Israeli American, Jewish, and allied former staffers, the letter offers a knowing and nuanced take on the violence in the Middle East, explaining:

We remain horrified by the images of Palestinian civilians in Gaza killed or made homeless by Israeli airstrikes. We are outraged by Israel’s efforts to forcibly and illegally expel Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah. We are shocked by Israel’s destruction of a building housing international news organizations. We remain horrified by reports of Hamas rockets killing Israeli civilians.

While Israelis had to spend nights hiding in bomb shelters, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had nowhere to hide. It is critical to acknowledge this power imbalance—that Israel’s highly-advanced military occupies the West Bank and East Jerusalem and blockades the Gaza Strip, creating an uninhabitable open-air prison.
Riaz Haq said…
#Google employee resigns saying company ‘silences #Palestinians’. Ariel Koren, who is #Jewish, has worked for Google for over 7 years and said Google’s actions to stifle outspoken workers – not just herself – have been par for the course. via @AJEnglish

Ariel Koren had spoken out about a $1.2bn collaboration between Google, Amazon and the Israeli military called Project Nimbus.

A Google employee who became a high-profile opponent of the tech giant’s $1bn artificial intelligence and surveillance contract with the Israeli military has announced her resignation.

Ariel Koren, a marketing manager, will be leaving the company this week, citing what she said was its creation of a hostile work environment due to her social activism.

“I am leaving @Google this week due to retaliation & hostility against workers who speak out,” tweeted Koren. “Google moved my role overseas immediately after I opposed its $1B AI/surveillance contracts with Israel. And this is far from an isolated instance.”

The controversy began when Koren protested Google’s $1.2bn collaboration with Amazon and the Israeli military on a programme called Project Nimbus.

She spent more than a year organising her protest to persuade Google to pull out of the deal, including circulating petitions, lobbying executives and speaking out to news organisations.

However, Koren said that instead of listening to her concerns, Google blindsided her in November 2021 with an ultimatum: either agree to move from San Francisco in the US state of California to Sao Paulo, Brazil, or lose her job.

Koren said there was no business justification for the mandated move and filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

However, both Google and the NLRB investigated her complaint and found no wrongdoing, according to multiple media reports.

At least 15 other Palestinian employees and allies have shared their experiences describing the “institutionalised bias” within the company.

“It has become impossible to express any opinion of disagreement of the war waged on Palestinians without being called into a HR [sic] meeting with the threat of retaliation,” one Palestinian employee said.

In an online post written Tuesday on the publishing platform Medium, Koren said her outspoken views and social activism prompted Google to stifle her by relocating her employment overseas.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistani-#American delegation, including former minister, lands in #Israel. Ex Minister & Pak #cricket board head Nasim Ashraf said that he was “delighted and honored” to take part in a delegation intended “to promote peace and interfaith dialogue.”

The Pakistani delegation, which also includes members of Muslim-American peace groups, is currently in Israel despite a lack of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries

A delegation of Pakistani-Americans, including a former government minister, arrived in Israel on Tuesday, less than a year after a prominent Pakistani journalist was fired following his visit to Jerusalem and meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

The delegation consists of members of the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) and Sharaka, an NGO founded in the wake of the Abraham Accords to embed people-to-people normalization between Israel and Muslim-majority states.

Among those visiting is Dr. Nassim Ashraf, the ex-head of the Pakistan Cricket Board and a former Pakistani Minister of State for Human Development.

In a statement reported by the Pakistani news site, Ashraf said that he was “delighted and honored” to take part in a delegation intended “to promote peace and interfaith dialogue.”

A delegation of Pakistani-Americans, including a former government minister, arrived in Israel on Tuesday, less than a year after a prominent Pakistani journalist was fired following his visit to Jerusalem and meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

The delegation consists of members of the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) and Sharaka, an NGO founded in the wake of the Abraham Accords to embed people-to-people normalization between Israel and Muslim-majority states.

Among those visiting is Dr. Nassim Ashraf, the ex-head of the Pakistan Cricket Board and a former Pakistani Minister of State for Human Development.

In a statement reported by the Pakistani news site, Ashraf said that he was “delighted and honored” to take part in a delegation intended “to promote peace and interfaith dialogue.”

“Such people-to-people contacts,” he said, “are very important to develop understanding and harmony between Abrahamic Faiths to which we belong.”

Anila Ali, the president of AMMWEC and a Sharaka board member, told the site that “we must continue our work to build peace on a people-to-people connection to promote the Abraham Accords in Muslim countries,” including between Israelis and Pakistanis.

“The aim of the trip is to allow the participants to see and explore Israel for themselves, and to transmit what they learn and experience to audiences in Pakistan to help provide information for the important debate underway on whether Pakistan should join the Abraham Accords,” she said, adding that “due to the tragic flooding in Pakistan, much of the visit will focus on life-saving technologies developed in Israel relating to water and food security and to mitigating climate and environmental disasters.”
Riaz Haq said…
Kyrie Irving Boosts Antisemitic Movie Peddling ‘Jewish Slave Ships’
The video is based on a venomously antisemitic book which asserts that "many famous high-ranking Jews" have "admitted" to "worship[ing] Satan or Lucifer."

HOURS BEFORE ANOTHER Brooklyn Nets loss on Thursday, noted “free-thinker” and basketball player Kyrie Irving took to Twitter to boost a movie and book, Hebrews to Negroes, stuffed with antisemitic tropes.

The 2018 film was directed by Ronald Dalton, Jr., and based upon his 2015 book of the same name. A description for the film states that it “uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel,” while a similar one for the book reads, “Since the European and Arab slave traders stepped foot into Africa, blacks have been told lies about their heritage.” Both suggest Hebrews to Negroes espouse ideas in line with more extreme factions of the Black Hebrew Israelites, which have a long history of misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and especially antisemitism.

The Black Hebrew Israelite movement is fairly broad, comprising organizations that (per the Anti-Defamation League) “operate semi-independently.” The movement generally coalesces around the notion that Black people are the real descendants of the ancient Israelites, with more extreme factions claiming that Black people have been “robbed of their identity as being ‘God’s chosen people'” (via the Southern Poverty Law Center).

It’s those extremist sects that have often parroted “classic” antisemitic tropes, like claiming European Jews (often referred to as the “synagogue of Satan”) wield outsized control over society, especially in industries like banking and the media. They’ve also pushed antisemitic claims that Jews are responsible for slavery and the “effeminizing of Black men.”

At one point in the purported documentary Irving shared, Dalton (who also narrates the film) brings up the “real truth about the slave trades.” He claims that, when teaching slavery, schools don’t mention the involvement of the Catholic Church, Arab, East African, or Islamic slave traders, or “the Jewish slave ships that brought our West African negro or Bantu ancestors to slave ports owned by [Jews].”

Immediately after, Dalton pivots to the mass media, calling it “the biggest tool of indoctrination, brainwashing, and propaganda that the world has seen” and adding that it’s been “helping Satan deceive the world” for centuries. To back up his claim, Dalton utilizes a fabricated quote that’s been a staple of antisemitic literature for decades. The quote — which details the supposed control Jews have over every facet of society — is attributed to Harold Rosenthal, an aide to former New York Senator Jacob Javits who was killed in a terrorist attack in Istanbul in 1976. The “quote” first appeared two years later, published in a pamphlet called The Hidden Tyranny by a man named Walter White, Jr., who appeared to make up an entire interview with Rosenthal to push this antisemitic theory.

In introducing the phony quote, Dalton pointedly describes Rosenthal as an “Ashkenazi Jew.”

Hebrews to Negroes, the book, contains even more instances of antisemitism. The book’s fourth chapter — “When Did Racism Towards Blacks Start?” — starts by falsely suggesting that anti-Black racism can be traced back to key Jewish texts. “Western Education and Religion tries to teach the world that blacks are cursed with their skin color by the Curse of Ham/Canaan. This is also taught in European Jewish documents and in the teachings of the Talmud book in Judaism. Some can say that it established the base for black racism even before the KKK.”

Riaz Haq said…
Everyone has a theory of contemporary anti-Semitism. Progressives tend to see the threats to American Jews emanating from the conspiracy-driven Right, with white supremacists and neo-Nazis taking their cues from dog-whistling Republicans. Conservatives observe that Jews frequently endure harassment, denigration, and violence from the anti-Zionist Left, which wields progressive academic theories to demonize them as complicit in white supremacy, if not perpetrators themselves.

These theories—admittedly simplified, but then again, the simplified arguments are the ones most frequently made—have some things in common. They are both elite-driven, seeing politicians and academics as the prime movers in a chain reaction leading to Jewish suffering. And they are, not coincidentally, convenient. Each side has a neat story to tell about who is responsible for the uptick in anti-Jewish violence in recent years: it’s our cultural opponents. And that seems suspiciously convenient.

That is not to say that neither side has a point. Clearly some anti-Jewish violence can be traced to malicious elites and their bad ideas or rhetoric. But most just doesn’t quite fit, as the experience of visibly Orthodox Jews here in New York suggests. Hasidim and other ultra-Orthodox Jews have borne the brunt of the assaults, harassment, and arson attacks, in neighborhoods with few Republicans (let alone white supremacists), at the hands of perpetrators who don’t seem steeped in postcolonial theory, to put it mildly.

Modern Orthodox Jews like me, who do not wear distinctive clothes except for perhaps the yarmulkes on our heads, have felt it, too. Growing up in the New York area, I can recall being harassed twice in 20-odd years. In the past two years living in Manhattan, though, I have been yelled at and menaced numerous times, and on one occasion assaulted (and then followed through a subway station). Something has changed, and blaming elite opponents just doesn’t get at the heart of the issue. I have observed the people trying to make my life miserable; they are neither MAGA types nor campus progressives.

They are, in all likelihood, tuned into mass popular culture, however. Which is why the scandal of hip-hop and fashion mega-star Kanye West, who recently made a series of bizarre and flagrantly anti-Semitic public comments, deserves some attention. For better or worse, West is better known than, say, Marjorie Taylor Greene or Edward Said. He made his comments on radio shows and podcasts that enjoy big followings but evade outgroup attention, much less analysis. Perhaps his brand of vulgar anti-Semitism can tell us something about what is motivating similarly vulgar—in the sense of being both ugly and common—violence.

First, it’s notable that West’s anti-Semitism comes in the midst of what appears to be a mental breakdown. This suggests that we should not read too far into the motivations or culpability of West as an individual. But it also reminds us that anti-Semitism thrives within delusion and conspiracy theories. Indeed, those who attack Jews on New York streets are far more likely to parrot such conspiracies than campus buzzwords or white-supremacist slogans. Controlling such violence is a function of effective treatment—or at least incapacitation—of mentally ill individuals, whose rantings can quickly turn to something worse.

Riaz Haq said…
Barbara Walters, Celebrated Jewish TV Persona, Dies at 93 - World News -

Walters made history for women and Jewish anchors on mainstream television and was known for 'inventing intimacy on television'

Riaz Haq said…
An Israeli minister (Gila Gamliel) reveals one rationale for destroying so much of Gaza. By rendering large parts of it inhabitable, Israel can "promote the voluntary resettlement of Palestinians in Gaza, for humanitarian reasons, outside of the Strip."

One of the issues on which my office has been working diligently is how to proceed the day after Hamas has been defeated and annihilated.

Albert Einstein was quoted as saying: “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”

The State of Israel is in the midst of one of its greatest crises, certainly for at least two generations.
More than 1,200 of our people were viciously murdered, 239 brutally kidnapped, thousands more injured, and 240,000 made homeless by the Nazi-like regime in Gaza.
Women were raped. The elderly were abused and taken hostage. Children were beheaded. Families were tortured in front of each other for the entertainment of their captors before being burned alive while bound to each other.These inhuman atrocities changed everything.

It is clear that much has to change, as many conceptions were proven wrong on the day of the pogrom on October 7.

What should be just as clear is that many more conceptions must be addressed, challenged, and possibly destroyed in the weeks and months ahead.
One of the issues on which my office has been working diligently is how to proceed the day after Hamas has been defeated and annihilated.
We will still have around two million people in Gaza, many of whom voted for Hamas and celebrated the massacre of innocent men, women, and children.

Gaza is a breeding ground for extremism. It is a small area, by no means the most populated on earth, but one where for too long, its rulers have prioritized war against the Jews over a better life for their people.
It is a place devoid of hope, stolen by the genocidal terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups.
This situation has already led to a large exodus of youths from Gaza. It has been estimated that since Hamas violently took over the Strip in 2007, between 250,000 and 350,000 mostly young adults have left Gaza to make a new life abroad.

As we consider our options for the day after, the international community appears to be pushing to bring the Palestinian Authority back to rule Gaza. This has obvious structural flaws, as it was tried in 2005 after the disaster of the Disengagement when all 8,600 Jewish residents were forcibly evicted from the Gaza Strip. It took only two years for Hamas to seize power, largely by throwing PA leaders off high roofs.
Furthermore, as we are witnessing at this very moment, the PA does not have a markedly different ideology from Hamas. Recently, for example, the PA Ministry of Religious Affairs distributed instructions to preachers in mosques throughout Judea and Samaria to deliver a teaching about the requirement to kill Jews and the wider goal to exterminate all Jews.
So, this option – bringing the PA back to rule Gaza – has failed in the past and will fail again. It is an option that is seen as illegitimate by the Israeli public and one that would put us back to square one within a short amount of time.

Other options for Gaza's future
ANOTHER OPTION is to promote the voluntary resettlement of Palestinians in Gaza, for humanitarian reasons, outside of the Strip.

It is important that those who seek a life elsewhere be provided with that opportunity. Some world leaders are already discussing a worldwide refugee resettlement scheme and saying they would welcome Gazans to their countries. This could be supported by many nations around the world, especially those that claim to be friends of the Palestinians.
This is an opportunity for those who say they support the Palestinian people to show these are not just empty words.
Riaz Haq said…
Israeli archives from 1948 shed light on Nakbah

In December 2021, Haaretz published an investigation that revealed new information about the 1948 Israeli massacres of Palestinians, based on documents from Israeli government archives. The documents included cabinet meeting minutes and soldiers' letters, and the report found that top Israeli leaders were aware of and complicit in the violence. The investigation also uncovered a "migration report" that details Israel's depopulation of Palestinian villages in the first six months of the 1948 war, which contradicts official Israeli narratives.

Institute for Palestine Studies |
The Erasure of the Nakba in Israel's Archives
Keywords: depopulation. expulsion. nakba. Israeli archives. whispering campaigns. psychological warfare. dispossession. 1948 war. Abstract: 2019 investigation by the Israeli NGO Akevot and Haaretz newspaper has uncovered official suppression of crucial documents about the Nakba in Israeli archives. The Journal of Palestine Studies is publishing print excerpts and a full online version of the buried “migration report,” which details Israel's depopulation of Palestinian villages in the first six months of the 1948 war, a document that clearly undermines official Israeli state narratives about the course of events.

TRT World
Palestine: Declassified documents reveal details of Israeli ...
Newly-released documents from Israeli government archives reveal details of atrocities committed against Palestinians during two large-scale operations carried out by Israeli forces during the Nakba of 1948, several months after the official establishment of the State of Israel. The classified information was made available following a request to the state archivist by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research, and a report on the findings was published in Haaretz by researcher Adam Raz.

Jewish Currents
Archives of Israeli Oppression - Jewish Currents
Sep 29, 2023 — Mitchell Abidor. September 29, 2023. The Visitors' Center at the Israel State Archives. Avishai Teicher / PikiWiki Israel. In December 2021, Haaretz published a groundbreaking investigation exposing previously unknown information about Israel's massacres of Palestinians in 1948. Drawing on newly uncovered documents from government archives—including cabinet meeting minutes and soldiers' letters—the report found that top Israeli leaders were aware of, and complicit in, the violence of the Nakba, when Zionist militias expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their land.
The Nakba, which means "catastrophe" in Arabic, refers to the mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians were made refugees beyond the borders of the state.
However, some say that many of the documents that expose the systematic nature of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine are no longer accessible to the public or to researchers. A 2019 investigation by the Israeli NGO Akevot and Haaretz newspaper uncovered official suppression of crucial documents about the Nakba in Israeli archives.
Generative AI is experimental.,750%2C000%20Palestinians%20from%20their%20land.

Riaz Haq said…
Bernie Sanders Campaign Manager Briahna Joy Gray: “I’m not talking about China, but Israel. In a leaked recording, ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt admitted that Israel had a ‘TikTok problem.’ Suddenly, a divided congress agrees on one thing: A social media ban.”


“We really have a TikTok problem, a Gen Z problem,” Anti-Defamation League (ADL) director Jonathan Greenblatt said in a recording. He notes that Israel is facing a “major generational problem” in the United States and that “the numbers of young people who think that Hamas’, you know, massacre was justified is shockingly and terrifyingly high.”

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