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A.LOEWENSTEIN WEEKLY NEWLETTER

NOVANEWS

Jew who loves Israeli soldiers, makes him proud to be Jewish

Joel Chasnoff, stand-up comedian and author, tells us one of the reasons he just adores Israel:

Drop-dead gorgeous Israeli soldiers. The men are hunky, the women beautiful. Try not to drool as you watch them strut down Ben Yehudah Street in their olive-green uniforms, M-16s slung across their backs. It’s not so much their physical beauty that charms us as what they embody: Jewish power.

Israel is behaving like Fidel Castro, says Fox News

Fox News interviews reporter Judith Miller recently on the Anat Kamm case. Host Shep Smith seems outraged that supposed democratic Israel would censor information and put an individual under house arrest. “This is very Fidel Castro”, he says. He tells viewers that when anybody says anything even mildly critical of Israel they are accused of anti-Semtism. Miller quickly says that she’s not “anti-Israel” for writing about the case:

Are Western reporters also just printing Pakistani spin?

Wondering how much we really know about Pakistan’s war against “terrorism” (so writes a Pakistani journalist below)?

The Pakistani army has killed at least 71 civilians in an air strike in the Khyber Agency. As news gets around, people are slowly beginning to express their shock about this incident. But no one should be surprised, as I am sure 71 is just a tiny fraction of the total number of civilians who have been killed in Pakistan’s various wars against its people in Swat, Waziristan, Orakzai, Balochistan and other places.

The media rarely reports on the civilian deaths due to a combination of self-censorship, difficulties in accessing the conflict, and pressure from the military. The cover up of what is going on is systematic. The only reason why we are hearing about these 71 civilians is because an official confirmed it (anonymously).

When I was reporting on the war in Swat and the IDP crisis in May last year, we came across countless civilians whose family members or friends had been killed in the conflict. About two days after the army claimed it had “cleared” Buner of the Taliban, our team drove there to report on the situation. Along the way, we saw houses, shops and vehicles that had been bombed.

As we drove by the carcass of one burned out truck there was a revolting stench hanging in the air. We stopped at the petrol station a little further down to ask about it. The station owner and a few grey-bearded men gathered there insisted that the truck had been carrying several women and children who were fleeing the fighting when it was struck by a rocket.

We drove further into Buner and stopped at the Dagar Hospital to look around. Here we met several injured people and families from Swat who all told a similar story: they were trying to flee the fighting on foot, but they were unaware of a curfew that had been imposed by the military. The army fired at them. Those who survived had to walk with their injuries through the moutainous terrain to the hospital to receive treatment.

We interviewed some of these people on camera, and when I went back to the office I filed a report that tried to show both sides of the picture: On the one hand there were people who welcomed the army and the offensive against the Taliban, and on the other hand there were those who were angered about their family members being needlessly killed by the army while trying to flee the violence.

I made the package and sent it to our head office. The next morning, they were running my report in the news bulletin — but the editors at the head office had censored out any mention of civilian casualties caused by the army. I was angered and called the head office to find out how they could remove such an important aspect of the story. The producer apologized: “Sorry, the management has told us that we can only run pro-Army stories. These are orders from the top”.

I was ashamed, and protested — but not enough.

The “idealism” of Iraq and Afghanistan

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman reminds his readers what the “war on terror” is all about:

Unlike Afghanistan, the war in Iraq was, at its core, always driven more by idealism than realism.

Israel and its 300 nukes

Bombs away:

Israel, whose prime minister withdrew Friday from next week’s US-hosted nuclear summit, is viewed as the sixth country to have acquired nuclear weapons — a title it has neither denied nor confirmed.

Analysts at British defence specialists Jane’s believe the Jewish state has between 100 and 300 nuclear warheads, putting them among the more advanced nuclear weapons states and roughly on a par with Britain.

The London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) estimates Israel has “up to 200″ warheads delivered on land-based short-range Jericho 1 and medium-range Jericho 2 missiles.

An Israeli Arab has some rights

Hands up who wants to visit an “enemy state”?:

The High Court of Justice on Tuesday granted permission for Israeli Arab writer Ala Halihal to visit Beirut, despite opposition from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

Generally, it is forbidden for Israeli citizens to visit Lebanon, considered by Israel to be an enemy state. According to the petitioners, this High Court decision marks the “first time since 1948 that an Israeli citizen is permitted to visit a state defined as an enemy state.”

In their decision, the justices said that the there is no existing information to negate the petitioner’s claim, adding that in their refusal to approve his travel, the authorities did not weigh all the relevant considerations in this unique case, the ruling said.

How Israel markets the joys in Gaza

The latest edition of Gaza Gateway:

The following guide was inspired by a report by the Government of Israel, summarizing Israel’s humanitarian activities for the Gaza Strip in 2009 and at the start of 2010, which was submitted yesterday to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee.

  1. Take things out of context. When you say that, “41 truckloads of equipment for the maintenance of the electricity networks were transferred”, you do not need to mention that those spare parts were waiting for many months for clearance, and that, at the end of 2009, the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company reported that 240 kinds of spare parts were completely out of stock or had dipped below the required minimum stock. Likewise, “There was a significant increase in the number of international organization staff entering the Gaza Strip” does not require explanation that, were the productive sector in Gaza not almost completely paralyzed, so many aid workers would not be needed and the number of aid recipients would not be so high. You also don’t need to explain that the high number of staff you quote might be misleading, since it’s likely you are counting individual entrances and not unique visitors (the same international aid workers enter and exit multiple times per month).
  2. Demonstrate impartiality. Present the transfer of 44,500 doses of swine flu vaccine as having nothing to do with you. There is always a chance people will forget it is a border-transcending epidemic and that the head of the Gaza District Coordination Office himself said an outbreak in Gaza would endanger Israel.
  3. Make it look like you are paying the bill. Use vague language such as “In 2009, Israel continued to supply electricity to the Gaza Strip”. Count on the fact that most people don’t know that Israel charges full payment for the electricity by deducting the amount from the VAT and taxes it collects for the Palestinian Authority via import into its territory.
  4. Take credit for the work of others. Note that “Between April and October 2009, maintenance work was conducted on the power station by Siemens” and “In 2009, the international community transferred 141,390 tons of humanitarian aid” are your successes too. These actions were undertaken after you decided in a unique instance to lift the restrictions you imposed yourself. You deserve credit even for the summer camps UNRWA runs for children in Gaza: in an exceptional measure you did not prevent the transfer of musical instruments and other items you define as “non-humanitarian” (such as ice cream machines and swimming pools).
  5. Make sure to even present your failures as successes. “As part of the preparations for winter” you approved the transfer of glass. Even if you did so only after external parties exerted heavy pressure on you, even if you had to make an exception to a prohibition you imposed for two winters, even if you started transferring the glass only on December 29 (long after winter weather had already begun battering destroyed homes in Gaza), and even if you continue preventing the transfer of heaters – present the transfer of glass as your success.
  6. Make sure to use headlines that will stun your readers. “The activities of the private and banking sectors in the Gaza Strip are maintained”. With a headline like that, few are likely to realize you are talking about maintaining an economy that has been at an almost complete standstill for nearly three years, with more than 90% of the factories closedrestrict the transfer of industrial diesel fuel to the power plant, which is crucial to the functioning of the water and sewage systems and other vital infrastructure, in an attempt to pressure the Hamas government. or working at minimal capacity, because Israel has been preventing the transfer of raw materials. The headline “Over the years, Israel has kept the issue of public humanitarian infrastructure out of the conflict” will also obscure the Cabinet Decision to
  7. Use vague terminology. Choose words such as “transferred” and “were transferred”. This way, some people will understand that “Over 1.1 billion NIS were transferred to the Gaza Strip to cover the salaries and activities of international organizations” came out of Israel’s pocket and not, as actually happened, that Israel simply did not prevent the PA and international organizations from transferring the money through the border crossings under Israel’s control, in a rare exception to its restrictions on cash transfers and on the banking system in Gaza.
  8. Use visual tricks. State the number of individual flowers you allowed to Gaza farmers to export (9,782,076). This method can become problematic only if you mention that the potential for export is 55 million individual flowers per year, or that in 2006, 2,089 tons of strawberries were exported (compared to only 54 tons in 2009). 105,701,740 liters of industrial diesel fuel (according to COGAT’s 2009 report) sounds like a respectable amount when you state it in individual liters, but is a little less respectable when you discover that it amounts to only 57% of the amount required for maximum electricity production at the Gaza power plant.

You do not have to reveal everything. Play down the extent and nature of your control of the Gaza Strip’s border crossings, including indirect but substantial control of the Rafah Crossing.

Boycott Iran but embrace Israel like a young girl in need

Oh, the irony, Here’s Jewish news service JTA publishing a piece demanding that private companies divest from Iran because it’s a threat to world peace blah blah blah.

Of course, if anybody dares suggest that a company making money from the Israeli occupation of Palestine should be boycotted they’re labeled extremists and mad.

Iran is evil. Israel is good. Repeat after me.

When most Iranian Twitter fiends were actually living in the US

Food for thought.

Moeed Ahmad is the head of New Media at Al Jazeera and he spoke a few months ago at Australia’s Media 2010 Conference.

An astute reader pointed out this clip and he comments about Iran’s so-called Green Revolution in 2009:

Moeed studied the “Twitter” accounts of posters purporting to be in Tehran during the elections. Seems most of those accounts were being run from metro hubs in the US only two weeks before, in NYC, Chicago, DC etc.

The relevant bit starts at 18:29 and takes about 5 minutes. 

Does the Rudd government care what happens to refugees when sent home?

A helpful reminder how the Australian government is failing legally, morally and politically by refusing to listen to legitimate claims for refugee status by Sri Lankans and Afghans:

Immigration Minister Chris Evans has rationalised this suspension of due legal process on the unsustainable grounds that in three months the situation in both Sri Lanka and Afghanistan might have improved. Clearly he is receiving poor advice about the situation on the ground in both places, and perhaps does not even read daily newspapers.

See: www.antonyloewenstein.com

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