Monthly Archives: September 2013

Why Public Events Work!

September 30, 2013

CAMERA and our CCAP-Supported Organization, CIPAC, hosted Ishmael Khaldi last night at Cornell University. Khaldi, the first Bedouin to represent Israel as Consul General in America, spoke to a diverse audience of over 50 students about his experience growing up as a minority in Israel.

According to the Cornell Daily Sun, “Khaldi said he hoped his speech would help eliminate common misconceptions about Israel that exist due to negative media portrayal, as well as help Cornellians learn about a different aspect of Israel’s culture.”

Ishmael Khaldi, the first Bedouin diplomat in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, speaks at Anabel Taylor Hall Tuesday.

CAMERA Fellow Benjamin Horowitz stated the goal of the event eloquently. “The media often presents a one-sided view of Israel and said that the country’s diversity is under represented. Even though it’s a Jewish state, it welcomes all people. It’s not something you hear about in the news because the media likes to portray conflict and not what goes on internally.”

The Cornell Daily Sun, in the piece “Israeli Bedouin Reflects on Diplomacy“, reported that “Students attending the presentation said that they thought that Khaldi’s speech helped them understand what it is like to be a Muslim minority in a Jewish state.”

Ihsan Kabir ’14, president of the Committee for the Advancement of Muslim Culture, said that Khaldi’s speech provided the unique outlook of someone who comes from both an Israeli and Muslim background.

“I’m all for bringing in people with unique perspectives — we’ve all been exposed to the traditional narratives, but I value these unique ones just as much,” he said, “They help break a lot of stereotypes.”

Not only did this event attract and educate a diverse group of students, but it also made front page news on the Cornell Daily Sun. This successful event proves how important it is to speak publicly about Israel, and proactively educate students on campus about the reality of life in Israel.

Click here to read the Cornell Daily Sun article covering this event.

Contributed by Aviva Slomich

Dexter Van Zile of CAMERA Speaks at UMass Boston Event

September 18, 2013

Yesterday, UMass Boston’s Hillel students hosted CAMERA’s Christian Media Analyst Dexter Van Zile. Van Zile spoke about minorities in the Middle East, bringing awareness to the human rights catastrophe occurring right now in Syria and Egypt. By some estimates, there are almost two million refugees in Syria alone, with more deaths in the last two years in Syria than the total number dead in the Arab-Israeli conflict since the start of the 20th century. About 25-30 students, community members, and UMass Boston staff attended and learned about the minority communities in Syria and Egypt, their suffering from radical Islamic forces, and the root cause of much of the current violence.

The discrimination of minority groups in Arab countries is often glossed over by much of the mainstream media. While Israel is routinely criticized in papers such as the New York Times and in the UN, millions of people in the Arab world are becoming refugees because of their governments and Islamist forces. While Israel’s border fence with the Palestinian Authority is routinely subjected to criticism, Spain’s separation fence in Africa is rarely mentioned.

Thankfully, CAMERA is here to correct inaccuracies, bring to light both forgotten and relevant stories, and assist students on campus.

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CAMERA's Dexter Van Zile speaks at the UMass Boston Hillel opening event.

CAMERA’s Dexter Van Zile speaks at the UMass Boston Hillel opening event.

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Contributed by Gilad Skolnick

The Tripod: CAMERA Links in Three Languages

September 16, 2013

Tripod Logo.smDoes the evidence support the BBC’s touting of “less hardline Iranian stance” on nuclear issue?
The BBC continues to paint a misleading picture of a ‘moderate’ new Iranian president. (BBC Watch)

BBC regular Atwan’s week: speech at Hamas-linked conference, interview on Hizballah TV
A regular BBC guest commentator on the Middle East was recently found on Al Manar TV and at a Hamas-linked conference. (BBC Watch)

AP Better Than AFP on 20 Years Since Oslo
AP’s article on 20 years since Oslo mentions Palestinian terror attacks, something the AFP did not do in its egregiously skewed coverage. (Snapshots)

Glenn Greenwald’s top 5 anti-American rants
In addition to his well-documented record of anti-Semitism, Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald also possess an extreme hostility towards the United States – an ideological orientation which calls into question those who take seriously his reports on U.S. national security. (CiF Watch)

The Economist’s extraordinarily misleading 12 words on why Hamas hates Israel
The Economist‘s brief explanation of why ‘Hamas hates Israel’ is, sadly, par for the course in the context of the UK media’s continuing obfuscation regarding the Islamist terror group’s theologically inspired anti-Semitism and commitment to Jihad. (CiF Watch)

Assumptions presented as facts
Some Spanish-speaking media reproduced a Foreign Policy article stating as facts what are mere assumptions about Israel’s alleged nerve gas stockpile. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Northeastern’s SJP Violates School Policy
Students for Justice in Palestine protest a pro-Israel event without a permit, a violation of school policies. A Boston Globe columnist takes up their case. (In Focus)

The good, the bad and the naive
Yediot insinuates a sexist motivation for not appointing Israel’s first female governor of the Bank of Israel. (Presspectiva)

Middle East headlines in the Spanish-speaking press
The UN report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria centered the headlines, but the press also emphasizes that Israel hasn’t signed the UN Convention on Chemical Weapons. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Problematic UN
A CAMERA CCAP Liaison at the University of New Orleans sheds light about the UN in an op-ed and the the UN Human Rights Council condemns Israel while failing to mention Syria. (In Focus)

The Problematic UN

Chloé Valdary, CAMERA CCAP Liaison of Allies for Israel of the University of New Orleans, recently wrote the piece “Beyond Repair: Racist Revisionists, Injurious Illusions” for Arutz Sheva. In the piece, she covers a variety of issues such as the bigotry of Arab countries in the Middle East and the very problematic aspects of UNRWA, the United Nations arm that is devoted to aid Palestinians.

The UN’s double standard and duplicity is stunning. Below is a recent clip from the organization UN Watch. In it the speaker, at a UN session, speaks about how the UN Human Rights Council has chosen to condemn Israel once again while avoiding any mention of Syria and the human rights abuses occurring there. Learn more about the Arab-Israeli conflict and the UN here.

Contributed by Gilad Skolnick

The Tripod: CAMERA Links in Three Languages

September 13, 2013

Tripod Logo.smHas the BBC discovered 50,000 previously unknown Jews in Iran?
The BBC over-estimates Iran’s Jewish community by at least 50,000. (BBC Watch)

BBC ignores Ramallah demonstration against talks, PA cash to released terrorists
Certain events in Palestinian society are habitually ignored by the BBC in its portrayal of the ‘peace process’. (BBC Watch)

Where is the Star?
Students at McNeese State University in Louisiana start their school’s first pro-Israel group with CAMERA’s help. (In Focus)

Where’s the coverage?
The Spanish-speaking media continues to ignore Palestinian terrorism incitement. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Context without context
Spanish channel Cuatro web provided biased context about the new peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Middle East headlines in the Spanish-speaking press
The press discusses Israel’s “caution” regarding the turmoil in Syria and the Russian-American talks to be held in Geneva. (ReVista de Medio Oriente).

Supporting Palestinians, Except in Syria
An anti-Israel conference starts this week at Australian National University. (In Focus)

Multiple Perspectives
Gil Troy responds to Peter Beinert: “Do gays give out literature justifying homophobia? Do feminists make the argument for sexism?” (In Focus)

Richard Falk, Europa Press, BDS, and the “occupied territories” 
In a vicious circle, the media chooses biased sources in order to create a biased agenda and produce biased information. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Failing to report
The Spanish press consistently fails to report on Palestinian incitement to violence, leading to the recurrent question: Where is the coverage? (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

The Israeli Press Continues to Use the Loaded Term “Jewish Lobby”
Why the term the “Jewish Lobby” should no longer be used by the Israeli press. (Presspectiva)

The Guardian falsely characterizes First Intifada as a “largely unarmed rebellion”
Though the First Intifada may not have been as bloody as the Second Intifada, the iconic image of rock-throwing Palestinian youths associated with the Palestinian uprising from 1987-91 is extremely misleading. The fact is that more than 200 Israelis were killed during that time, and thousands injured. (CiF Watch)

Northeastern’s Justified Actions

The freedom of expression is laid out in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. While this freedom seems to be self explanatory, it is often more convoluted and complex than anyone could ever imagine. However, the biggest problem with the freedom of expression is that many people take it out of context. Many forget that the First Amendment, as well as the rest of the United States Constitution, applies to the government and not to private entities. The private sector includes everything from small businesses to large private universities.

In April, thirty-five members of Northeastern University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the school’s anti-Israel group, held a protest against an event organized by Huskies for Israel, the school’s pro-Israel group. Huskies for Israel had Israeli soldiers come to the university’s campus to give a presentation. SJP had been warned by the school keep to “respect and decorum”; however, they never followed the school’s protest policy and failed to obtain a permit at least seven days prior to the protest. This incident stands in contrast to an event in 2010, when Huskies for Israel protested SJP’s bringing Norman Finkelstein to campus, having obtained a permit in accordance to school policy.

Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham picked up the story and ran with it, but she ran in the wrong direction. Abraham’s article, entitled “Stifling campus voices,” does not put the blame on the students who broke the rules, but rather the school that makes them. In her article Abraham states, “if the pro-Palestinian group is really being sanctioned purely for failing to follow procedural rules, it’s time to take another look at those rules. No signs or shouting at demonstrations? Those things are essential to protest, time-honored democratic traditions. A requirement that students get a permit a week ahead is especially onerous.”

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There are many problems with her statement. First of all, she uses the term “Pro-Palestinian” which, much like the First Amendment, seems self-explanatory. The term is misleading at best. There are many Zionists who can also describe themselves as Pro-Palestinian. The term should simply imply that those who chose to identify with the term are supportive of Palestinians and believe that Palestinians have human rights. This term has now been taken to describe people who believe that Israel does not have a right to exist. That is an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel belief, not a pro-Palestinian belief. On this level, Abraham is inaccurate at her best.

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Boston Globe’s Yvonne Abraham

Another problem is that Abraham criticizes the school’s ruling on the situation, later saying that, “Balancing the right to protest against the need for decorum, Northeastern tilted too hard to the latter.” While Abraham has the right to her opinion, so does the school. If they feel that decorum is more important than signs and shouting on their campus, that’s their business and if any student has a problem with that, they are free to transfer schools. Northeastern University is a private school, and therefore has the right to make and enforce any rules on their own property.

The freedom of expression is a sacred right, one that all Americans hold dear. However, the clause was written in order to allow citizens to speak against the government and not against each other. When Northeastern University decided to punish Students for Justice in Palestine for violating the school’s policy, they were in their rights. SJP decided to deliberately violate the university’s rule and therefore risked the consequences. While Abraham may believe that the university was in the wrong, it is interesting that she puts all blame on the school, and not the students who are in the wrong.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Rachel Wolf

Multiple Perspectives

September 12, 2013

Gil Troy, a professor of history at McGill University, responds to Peter Beinart’s essay, writing “What Beinart Overlooks in His ‘American Jewish Cocoon’ Article“. Professor Troy explores the issue of how, oftentimes, groups advocating for Israel are accused of being one sided, and of failing to provide multiple perspectives. They are pressured to provide a “safe space” where students from all sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict can share their opinions.

 

Professor Gil Troy

Professor Gil Troy

Professor Troy explores this, writing, ‘“Do gays give out literature justifying homophobia? Do feminists make the argument for sexism? You are doing activism, not academics. It’s legitimate to give your pro-Israel narrative—just as most Palestinians activists give their narrative without ever feeling guilty about ignoring our narrative, or even denying our legitimate national rights.”‘

Attacks on Israel’s basic right to exist, absurd accusations, and calls for boycott are rife on campuses. Conferences further this cause, such as the US Campaign to End the Occupation Conference, occurring at the end of the month at George Mason University. This conference calls for the “Right of Return”; in other words, the end goal of the end of Israel. There is no need to further assist those who oppose Israel’s right to exist with “balance” of yet another anti-Israel event or speaker. As long as events about Israel are accurate, that is sufficient. Any expectation that pro-Israel groups on campus also provide perspectives of those who demonize Israel is simply absurd.

Contributed by Gilad Skolnick

Supporting Palestinians, Except in Syria

September 11, 2013

Gerald M. Steinberg writes today in The Australian, “Israel-bashing seminar does ANU no credit“, about this week’s anti-Israel conference at Australian National University. This conference has the purpose of furthering the campaign of demonizing Israel.

Based on the roster of speakers, the conference, titled “Human Rights in Palestine”, is unlikely to cover the human rights abuses perpetuated by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas on their own people (click here for more).

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A keynote speaker at the conference, Richard Falk, blamed the Boston terrorist attack on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv”.

As Steinberg writes, “only a few of the advertised speakers have relevant research credentials or peer-reviewed academic publications in the field of human rights.” Instead, their speakers are made up of conspiracy theorists, people who have previously praised Saddam Hussein’s commitment to human rights, etc. Steinberg superbly covers the troubling credentials of the conference’s speakers in his piece. Also problematic is that the conference organizers have mislead the public about being sponsored by the British Academy.

As Steinberg writes, “when shocking atrocities are being committed in Syria against Palestinians, among many others, an academic conference ostensibly dedicated to the entirely legitimate subject of Palestinian human rights should not be focused exclusively on the West Bank.”

Elder of Zion writes in a blog post this summer that over 1,500 Palestinians have been killed and 44,000 Palestinian homes destroyed or damaged since the Syrian civil war began. He concludes that the discrepancy between reporting about Palestinians in the West Bank and those in Syria “is more than a double standard. It is proof that the only reason people pretend to care about Palestinian Arabs is because they really want to demonize Israel rather than to lift a finger to actually help any Palestinian Arabs.”

Th conference in Australia, which will focus on Israel, ignores the role of Egypt, which borders the Gaza Strip, the dictatorships in Gaza and the West Bank, and the Palestinians suffering in Syria. It is once again a transparent ploy to attack Israel. Hopefully, others will see this as well.

Contributed by Gilad Skolnick

Where Is The Star?

September 10, 2013

This piece was contributed by McNeese State University CCAP Liaison Adam D. Harris

From the beginning I never saw one. I was looking for it too. Freshman orientation at McNeese State University begins in Bulber auditorium, where the balcony flags encamp above and around where we sat. I saw flags from possibly more than one hundred different nations encircling us. Orientation is a well-designed welcome to students from all backgrounds. The excitement and energy they bring is tremendous. I was excited to be a student, again, but I wondered inside, “where is the Star of David?”

After some information and a few fun skits, the McNeese Peer Leaders led a walking tour of campus and we attended a student organization fair. At the fair, student organizations send a representative (usually the group president or senator) to set up tables with information and provide help to sign you up.

Once the semester began I looked for a pro-Israel group and an Israeli flag. There was not one. The Jewish flag is not represented at the multi-cultural center or the student exchange in Smith Hall. In fact, there are no exchange students from Israel attending McNeese.

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Adam blows the shofar while tabling with Israeli Alliance

I learned there was a group called Jewish Cowboys (the McNeese mascot is a cowboy) several years before, but the Organization’s President graduated. I guess he was the last Jew on campus besides one professor. I searched for the professor who had been the adviser for Jewish Cowboys; I wanted his help opening an organization. He declined the offer. So did several other professors. I was told no because Israel was too controversial. I received a firm “no” from another professor who said he did not want to offend anyone in his department. I was told “no” at least four times before I got a yes. By this time I was in my fourth semester.

I was so excited. Finally, we started a pro-Israel group and at our first meeting, a Muslim professor sat in on our meeting. Dr. Hague works with the Islamic Center on campus and with the many Muslim students from various nations that attend the university. Only once the meeting was nearly over did he announce himself and his religion. He began to question our motives and my motives more specifically. He questioned my statement that McNeese students did not have the best information available about Israel and the ongoing conflict in the Middle-East. He asked, “Where do you think the bad information is coming from?” I said, “I do not know. I am not here to accuse anyone. My goal is to get accurate information in the hands of students. Then, they can make an informed decision for themselves.”

Now, with the help of CAMERA, we will be able to do just that. Our first goal is to get the information CAMERA provides in the hands of every student leader and all students on and around campus. IAM Banner (2)Qualifying for CCAP is a game changer for our organization. We will be able to have weekly events to promote healthy conversation about Israel. The more events you have, the better opportunity you have to build relationships with other students. We will use these opportunities as a platform from which to educate the student body concerning the truth about Middle-East reporting in America.

Thanks to CAMERA for their help in creating our new banner. The nearly seven foot tall banner, which includes the Israeli flag, flies in the New Ranch Student Union Hall located smack dab in the middle of campus. No longer do students at McNeese have to search for the flag of America’s best friend and ally, Israel. Am Yisrael Chai.

The Tripod: CAMERA Links in Three Languages

September 9, 2013

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Toned down BBC reporting on Iranian, Syrian threats against Israel
Despite its intensive coverage of the Syria crisis, the BBC is barely reporting threats against Israel coming out of Tehran and Damascus. (BBC Watch)

Filmed reports on the BBC News website’s Middle East page in August
Over half of the Israel-related filmed reports appearing on the BBC News website during August promoted the theme of Israeli building as an obstacle to peace. (BBC Watch)

Our Pro-Israel groups are starting the new year with information booths on campus
Our students are showing up at activity fairs and campus centers, teaching others about Israel and letting them know how they can get involved. (In Focus)

Parallel Manual of Style
The Spanish news agency Europa Press labels Israeli police raids “reprisals” instead of presenting them as law enforcement operations against suspected criminals. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Anti-Israel Professors at Northeastern
A new documentary will examine the problem of students studying in the biased and anti-Israel climate created by their professors at Northeastern University. (In Focus)

Ma’ariv Proves It Can Be Haaretz
Ma’ariv gives a one sided (and erroneous) summary of the case of Firezone 918 (Presspectiva)

Middle East in the Spanish-speaking press
The press points out the possibility of a chemical attack on Israel from Syria while at the same time emphasizing Syria’s decision to deliver their chemical arsenal to the UN. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

The Guardian again promotes myth that Ariel Sharon started 2nd Intifada
One of the more common false narratives regarding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict advanced by the Guardian is that Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in 2001 “sparked” the 2nd Intifada – a lie repeated so often that casual observers could be forgiven for believing it. (CiF Watch)