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WAWA/WeAreWideAwake is my Public Service to America as a muckracker who has journeyed seven times to Israel Palestine since June 2005. WAWA is dedicated to confronting media and governments that shield the whole truth.

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Home arrow Blog arrow September 2008 arrow September 24, 2008

September 24, 2008
WAWA Blog September 24, 2008: What I learned at the University of Tampa 

I will write about that later. Today I offer the following and BOLD emphasis is mine.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad's speech to the United Nations General Assembly early Wednesday morning, as translated by the Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran News Service:

Mr. President, Excellencies,

I am grateful to the Almighty for granting me another opportunity to be present in this world Assembly.

In the last three years, I have talked to you about great hopes in the bright future of human society, and some solutions for achieving sustainable peace and expanding love, compassion, and cooperation.

I have also talked about unjust systems governing the world; pressures exerted by some powers seeking to trample the rights of other nations, oppression imposed on the majority of the global community, especially on the people of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Africa, Latin America, and Asia; about challenges we are faced with, such as efforts to shatter the sanctity of families, destroy cultures, humiliate lofty values, neglect commitments, expand the shadow of threats, as well as about the arms race and the unfairness and inability of the systems governing world affairs in reforming the status quo.

With the occurrence of various new developments, the debility of existing mechanisms has been revealed even more. However, at the same time, an encouraging trend, which has originated in the thoughts and beliefs of peoples, has blossomed and become stronger. Posed against the despairs caused by the new developments, this trend has ignited the ray of hope for a brilliant, desirable and beautiful future in the hearts of men.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Colleagues,

Today I would like to talk to you about the main reasons behind the conditions ruling the world and the means to tackle them. Of course, you are already aware of what I am talking about, but I think it is necessary to remind ourselves.

It seems that the roots of problems lie in the way one views and perceives the world and humankind, as well as in the important issues of freedom, obeisance to God, and justice. The world, humankind, freedom and obeisance to God, and justice, have been of utmost importance to humans throughout history.

1. The World:

God Almighty purposefully created the world. This world is the bedrock for the evolution and growth of a creature called man, and the laws governing the world and all other creatures are at the service of man's quest for loftiness. The world should provide the needed opportunities for the fulfillment of the purpose behind man's creation. No phenomenon, creature, or indeed anything has been created in vain. Together they all pave the ground for the flourishing of mankind in a complex and purposeful system, and they are, each, one of the signs of God Almighty. All are His creations and He is the sole creator and ruler of the world. All existence including power, knowledge and wealth come from Him.

2. Humankind:

God created the world for humans and humans for Himself. He created humans from mud and in the soil, but He did not want them to remain in the soil and with animal instincts. He kindled the light of guidance in their souls and asked them to rise from the soil to the heavens and to Him with the help of wisdom, prophets and perfect men.

The world will ultimately disappear, but God has created man for eternity and has made them a manifestation of Himself. Creativity, mercifulness, kindness, knowledge, wisdom, zeal, concealment of sins, splendor, justice, bounteousness, generosity, greatness, love, glory, dignity, forgiveness, insight, kingship and all other goodness and beauty are attributes of God.

God has not created humans for aggression, bloodshed, rancor, selfishness and destruction. He made humans His vicegerents on earth and has asked them to, on the one hand, make earth prosper by using their God-given potentials and to prepare the ground for the growth of divine attributes in all humans, and to provide all with a life full of beauty, amity, freedom, justice and goodness; and on the other hand in pursuance of this path, to prepare for a prosperous, everlasting life endowed by God's mercy.

God has obligated humans to live divinely and socially, for it is only through social life and interactions with others that divine attributes may emerge.

3. Obeisance to God:

God Almighty has tied their perfection and true freedom of humans to their devotion and obedience to Himself. True freedom and obedience to God are in balance and in fact are two sides of the same coin.

Obeisance to God means confessing to monotheism and obeying His commands, and to be free from ungodly worship.

Obeisance to God means the acceptance of the absolute truth, the absolute light, and the absolute beauty.

Obeisance to God means abandoning selfishness and animal instincts, power-seeking and aggression, surrendering to righteousness, justice, love, and perfection.

And in this way, humans can achieve their true freedom and flourish, they can grow and manifest divine attributes, have affection for others, stand up for justice, and fear no power or threat, and defend the oppressed. In such an environment, one's freedom will not impinge on any others.

Contention and conflict are characteristic of materialistic freedom and animal instinct. The essence of all divine religions and obeisance to God and true freedom is disassociating from oppressors and instead obeying and worshiping God, for:

- God is omniscient and knows all that is revealed or kept secret, and He is kind and merciful.

- All creatures are humble before Him and resign to His will.

- God is alive and is the Creator of the universe and all life.

- God loves His creatures and desires nothing but goodness, blessings, and perfection for them, and is against bullying, injustice, selfishness and domination.

4. Justice:

Justice is the foundation of the creation of humankind and the whole universe. Justice is tantamount to placing every phenomenon in its own place, and providing humans with opportunities to actualize all their divine capabilities. Without it, the order of the universe will collapse and the opportunity for perfection will fade away. Without justice, it would be impossible for human society to taste real peace, beauty, joy and happiness. Justice is the main pillar of social life and without it, social life cannot continue or grow.

Humans need to know God in order to realize a prosperous society in this world as well as to strive for a beautiful eternal life, and to this end they first have to know themselves and strive for loftiness in themselves and their societies. However:

- as long as the world is construed as closed, limited and aimless,

- as long as eternal life is considered imaginary and illusory and afterlife and the Judgment Day as well as reward and punishment are thought of as fictional and unreal,

- as long as morals and commitment to them are called backwardness, and immorality, lies, deceit and selfishness are considered desirable, and humans are limited to a materialistic life in this world,

- as long as attempts are made to replace obedience to God and following His prophets and true freedom with servitude to materialistic tendencies and animal instincts and servitude to oppressing human beings, and contention reaches its pinnacle,

- as long as the aggressors, because of their financial, political and propaganda powers, not only escape punishment but even claim righteousness,

- and as long wars are started and nations are enslaved in order to win votes in elections,

 not only will the problems of the global community remain unsolved, but they will be increasingly exacerbated.

Friends and Colleagues,

Let's look at the situation of the world today:

Iraq was attacked under the false pretext of uncovering weapons of mass destruction and overthrowing a dictator. The dictator is toppled and WMDs are not uncovered. A democratic government is established by the votes of the people but, after 6 years, the occupiers are still there. They insist on imposing colonial agreements on the people of Iraq by keeping them under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. Millions of people have been killed or displaced, and the occupiers, without a sense of shame, are still seeking to solidify their position in the political geography of the region and to dominate oil resources.

They have no respect for the people of Iraq and disregard any dignity, rights or status for them. The UN is not capable enough to solve the problems and to remove aggression, occupation and imposition.

In Palestine, 60 years of carnage and invasion is still ongoing at the hands of some criminal and occupying Zionists. They have forged a regime through collecting people from various parts of the world and bringing them to other people’s land by displacing, detaining, and killing the true owners of that land.

With advance notice, they invade, assassinate, and maintain food and medicine blockades, while some hegemonic and bullying powers support them. The Security Council cannot do anything and sometimes, under pressure from a few bullying powers, even paves the way for supporting these Zionist murderers. It is natural that some UN resolutions that have addressed the plight of the Palestinian people have been relegated to the archives unnoticed.

In Afghanistan, production of narcotics has multiplied since the presence of NATO forces. Domestic conflicts continue. Terrorism is spreading. And innocent people are bombarded on a daily basis in streets, markets, schools and wedding ceremonies. The people of Afghanistan are the victims of the willingness of NATO member states to dominate the regions surrounding India, China, and South Asia. The Security Council cannot do anything about it because some of these NATO members also happen to be the major decision makers in the Security Council.

In Africa, efforts are made to re-establish the relationships of the colonial era. By starting civil wars in large countries including Sudan, disintegration of those countries is planned in order to serve the interests of some corrupt powers. In case there is a national resistance, the leaders of the resistance are put under pressure by legal mechanisms created by the very same powers.

In Latin America, people find their security, national interests and cultures to be seriously endangered by the menacing shadow of alien domineering governments, and even by the embassies of some empires.

The lives, properties and rights of the people of Georgia and Ossetia and Abkhazia are victims of the tendencies and provocations of NATO and certain western powers, and the underhanded actions of the Zionists.

The never-ending arms race and the proliferation and stockpiling of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and the threats to use them, and the establishment of missile defense systems, have made the situation unstable.

With regard to Iran's peaceful nuclear program, despite the inalienable right of all nations including the Iranian nation, in producing nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes, and despite such facts as the transparency of all Iranian activities and our country's full cooperation with the inspectors of the IAEA and the Agency's repeated confirmation of the fact that Iran's activities are peaceful, a few bullying powers have sought to put hurdles in the way of the peaceful nuclear activities of the Iranian nation by exerting political and economic pressures against Iran, and also through threatening and pressuring the IAEA.

These are the same powers that produce new generations of lethal nuclear arms and possess stockpiles of nuclear weapons that no international organization is monitoring; and, the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were perpetrated by one of them.

Indeed, they are not against weapons, but they oppose other nations’ progress, and tend to monopolize technologies and to use those monopolies in order to impose their will on other nations. But it is very natural that the great Iranian people, with their trust in God, and with determination and steadfastness and with the support of its friends, will resist the bullying and has defended and will continue to defend its rights.

The Iranian nation is for dialogue.

But it has not accepted and will not accept illegal demands. The time has come for the IAEA to present a clear report to the international community on its monitoring of the disarmament of these nuclear powers and their nuclear activities, and for a disarmament committee to be established by independent states to monitor the disarmament of these nuclear powers.

The theories of development that are in line with the hegemonic system and not in accordance with the true needs of humankind and human societies, have turned into repetitive and bland tools for assimilation of economies, expanding hegemonic domination, destroying the environment and destroying the social solidarity of nations. There is no end in sight to this. Poverty, hunger and deprivation are hurting more than one billion of the world's population and have dashed their hopes for a decent life.

The dignity, integrity and rights of the American and European people are being played with by a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists. Although they are a miniscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the US in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner. It is deeply disastrous to witness that some presidential or premiere nominees in some big countries have to visit these people, take part in their gatherings, swear their allegiance and commitment to their interests in order to attain financial or media support.

This means that the great people of America and various nations of Europe need to obey the demands and wishes of a small number of acquisitive and invasive people. These nations are spending their dignity and resources on the crimes and occupations and the threats of the Zionist network against their will.

Friends and Colleagues,

All these are due to the manner in which the immoral and the powerful view the world, humankind, freedom, obeisance to God, and justice.

The thoughts and deeds of those who think they are superior to others and consider others as second-class and inferior; who intend to remain out of the divine circle, to be the absolute slaves of their materialistic and selfish desires, who intend to expand their aggressive and domineering natures, constitute the roots of today's problems in human societies.

They are the great hindrances to the actualization of material and spiritual prosperity and to security, peace and brotherhood among nations. I explicitly state that the Iranian people and the overwhelming majority of peoples and governments are against those deeds and perspectives of the world- domineering powers. Establishment of justice requires people who have achieved moderation and justice inside themselves, and have restrained their domineering attitudes and actualized their attributes of self-sacrifice and are at the service of humanity. The complete and full-scale manifestation of such characteristics can happen only under the rule of the righteous and perfect human being who is obedient to God and who is promised by the divine Prophets.

Dear Colleagues,

Of course with the grace of God Almighty a hopeful trend is flourishing in the heart and soul of human societies. The universal eagerness for justice, purity, and love for others, monotheism and the quest for perfection is clearly and increasingly on the rise. A universal resistance against the acquisitiveness, aggression and selfishness of the bullying powers is being formed.

Today, the bullying powers' thoughts, practices and strategies are rejected by nations and governments, and all are seeking to establish new human relations based on justice with a view to attain prosperity, perfection, security, and sustainable welfare. This is the very auspicious phenomenon that all the traditions of creation and the ruling laws of the universe emphasize and support.

Today, the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse, and there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters. The Islamic Republic of Iran, while fully respecting the resistance of the oppressed people of Palestine and expressing its all-out support for it, submits its humane solution based on a free referendum in Palestine for determining and establishing the type of state in the entire Palestinian lands to the distinguished Secretary General of the UN.

American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders. Today, the thought of hegemony quickly becomes a demerit.

And now a few words with the expansionist governments ruling global relations:

Be aware that living with obedience to God and carrying out His orders, compassion for people and striving for the fulfillment of justice is to your advantage too. I invite you to return to the path of God, the Prophets and to the path of the people of the world and to the truth and justice.

The only route to salvation is a divine straight path. Otherwise, God's hand of power will emerge from the sleeve of oppressed nations and will make your life difficult, and will put an end to your hegemony.

Let's love the people of the world and respect their rights. Rectify past behavior. This will benefit you and the human community. The Iranian people are prepared, along with other nations, to help you be rescued from your current situation and to establish peace and prosperity.

My Friends,

Fortuitously, opportunities are accessible. With the grace of God Almighty, the existing pillars of the oppressive system are crumbling. Great developments in favor of humankind as well as its true and real rights are on the way. A golden and brilliant future is awaiting mankind.

A global community filled with justice, friendship, brotherhood and welfare is at hand, as I have elaborated.

A community which will tread the path of beauty and love under the rule of the righteous and perfect human being, the One promised by all divine prophets and the One who is the true lover of humanity. A community that will be devoid of any fear, despair and privation. Such a community will soon be ours. The community promised by the great divine Prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ and Mohammad (PBUH) is about to materialize.

Let us, hand in hand, expand the thought of resistance against evil and the minority of those who are ill-wishers. Let's support goodness and the majority of people who are good and the embodiment of absolute good that is the Imam of Time, The Promised One who will come accompanied by Jesus Christ, and accordingly design and implement the just and humanistic mechanisms for regulating the constructive relationships between nations and governments.

Oh great Almighty, deliver the savior of nations and put an end to the sufferings of mankind and bring forth justice, beauty, and love.


Friends; Let’s have a proper share in the establishment of that illuminated and promised divine age.

Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has shed light on his views about the Holocaust in an interview with CNN's Larry King Live.

In a recorded Tuesday interview with the renowned TV host, President Ahmadinejad said that Zionism blocks research on the Holocaust.

“They (Zionists) don't allow anyone to freely discuss the historical events that happened. They just say this is our account of history, this is what happened and everybody else must just accept it,” said Ahmadinejad.

Larry King then asked the president if, from his point of view, the Holocaust did not happen.

“No, what I am saying is let more research be done," Ahmedinejad said.

"There is a claim about the extent of the calamity. There are people who agree with it and people who disagree. Some totally deny and some completely agree with the whole given account. What we are saying is that an impartial group should be formed to conduct an independent study on the extent of the calamity.”

On December 2005, Ahmadinejad made several comments about the Holocaust, criticizing European laws against research on the historical event.

Following his remarks, Western politicians and media outlets launched extensive attacks against him, accusing him of anti-Semitism.

However, during his interview with Larry King, Ahmedinejad denied this.

"Iranians have nothing against the Jewish people or their religion," Ahmedinejad said.

Ahmedinejad differentiated between Zionism and Judaism saying that Zionists are not real Jews.

"How can you be religious and kill women and children at the same time?” he argued.

King also asked Ahmadinejad to confirm or deny whether he wanted to "wipe Israel off the map".

Ahmedinejad replied saying that the Israeli regime would disappear in the same way as apartheid South Africa and the Soviet Union.

“The solution that we are proposing is a humanitarian one. What we say is that a free referendum must be held in the Palestinian territories, allowing the Palestinian people to determine their own fate," Ahmadinejad said.

Nuke arms seekers 'politically backward'  

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has described nuclear weapons seekers as "politically backward" after his speech to the UN in New York.

“The Era of nuclear bombs has ended and those who are after such weaponry are losers”, said President Ahmadinejad in a press conference Tuesday.

The Iranian president challenged the UN Nuclear Watchdog to report on the nuclear weapons of current nuclear weapon states and criticized major powers for stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.

Meanwhile foreign ministers from the six major powers canceled their meeting to discuss further sanctions against Iran after protests from Russia which has officially stated its opposition to further Iran sanctions.

The United States and its Western allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program, despite the UN Nuclear Watchdog finding no evidence support the claim.

“We believe the nuclear issue is resolved and the ongoing hue and cry is just negative propaganda,” Ahmedinejad told reporters.

US President George W. Bush has repeatedly threatened Iran, stating that "all options are on the table" if Iran continues its uranium enrichment program. Israeli officials, have also said explicitly that they would be prepared to carry out air strikes to end Iran's nuclear program.

The Iranian president addressed world leaders at the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. He criticized the UN Security Council's support for the Zionism under pressure from the United States and also its failure to end the US occupation of Iraq.

During his speech, Ahmadinejad criticized the 'unjust [international] system' and urged respect for human dignity.

Dear All,

The report below exposes Israeli racism in one sector: religious schools.  This is not the sole Israeli sector that displays racism.  Not all Israelis are by any means racist.  Nevertheless, racism is built into Israeli society.  Therefore, it is not in the least unusual to hear reports on the radio or read in the media about someone who has not been allowed into a given pub, restaurant, or club because his/her skin is too dark.  This is especially painful for soldiers in civies out for an evening of fun.


Also below is a link to a new addition in Mahsanmilim.  If the methods of the Shabak (the General Security System) interest you, you might want to listen to the video.


Racism in the name of religion

Sep. 23, 2008

There are moments when I find myself truly ashamed to be part of Israeli society. I had a moment like that recently as I stood outside the Supreme Court with women from Ahoti, a Sephardi feminist organization, waiting for a ruling on the religious girls' school in Emanuel where racism is so entrenched that parents will do all it takes to keep antiquated Jim Crow-like separations in place.

What is happening in the Beit Ya'acov school is nothing less than the formalization of racism. Here the school implements a policy in which Sephardi girls are not allowed to be in a class with Ashkenazi or hassidic girls, and they have different teachers, different classes and even different recess times and a fence between their yards just to ensure that the two groups do not mingle during the breaks.

It's not just Emanuel, but in other religious girls' schools around the country, such as Elad, where parents protested to ensure that a Sephardi girl would not be allowed in to the class. Protested! There have been reports from around the country of girls being rejected or ejected from schools because of the color of their skin or their last name. And even though the High Court ruled last week that the apartheid has to end, the school and parents are refusing to comply, thus rejecting civil as well as moral obligations. This is not the post-Civil War South, but Israel of 2008, where I would have expected more people to be outraged by this blatant racism.

"WHAT'S HAPPENING in the Beit Ya'acov is outrageous," said Yael Ben-Yefet, one of the leaders of Ahoti. "The girls get the message that they are deformed, that they are less good, that there is something inherently wrong with them. This happens everywhere in Israel, but it is the most prominent in this school."

This story comes on the heels of a similarly shocking exposure of racist practice in a religious school in Petah Tikva. Earlier this year, in a state religious school, the school physically and academically separated the Ethiopian girls from the rest of the school - separate teachers, separate curricula, separate rooms, separate recess.

My kids and I spent some time last year at a predominantly Ethiopian preschool in Mevaseret Zion, shortly after the Petah Tikva events came to light. One morning, as the kids all played together in the sand, the teacher said, "This community is very hurt. It just doesn't understand how such a deep-rooted hatred can exist in the country that its members dreamed of coming to."

The teacher suggested that as a form of healing, kids from around the country come and play with Ethiopian kids in preschool. It sounds so basic, and yet that basic sense of morality and equality is so profoundly lacking.

It's no coincidence that many these stories of racism take place in religious schools. Religious schools are drenched with practices that created social hierarchies between those who are "more" and those who are "less," or those who are "in" and those who are "out." Indeed, for my doctoral research on religious school culture, I discovered multiple hierarchies intersecting and intertwining in religious schools via a discourse that takes for granted Ashkenazi culture as morally, intellectually and religiously superior to Mizrahi or Sephardi culture.

The demeaning of Mizrahi kids is sometimes subtle, but often strikingly overt. Discrimination may take the form of teachers casually referring to "Ashkenazi intellect," and "Mizrahi emotion," or where the highest tracks become predominantly Ashkenazi and the lowest tracks predominantly Sephardi, based presumably on "intelligence." Mizrahi students are typically penalized and suspended more often than Ashkenazi students; they are reprimanded for the same offenses that Ashkenazi kids get away with, and are lectured on how to avoid things like dropping out, getting pregnant or turning on a light switch on Shabbat. Mizrahi students are assumed to be "problems," on the margins of society, teetering on the edge of an abyss or at high risk of being deemed the worst of all - non-religious.

Indeed, in religious schools, as opposed to state schools, discriminatory practices are rationalized on the basis of "religiousness." That is, whereas in non-religious schools, discrimination revolves primarily around academics and class, in religious schools, there is an entire extra level of patronizing in which Mizrahi kids are assumed to be less religious. Thus, for example, United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz, in an attempt to "explain" the events in Emanuel and Elad, said that "the ethnic discrimination stems first and foremost from the desire to maintain the school's educational atmosphere... We educate on internal and external values and there are differences among the different ethnic groups."

IN OTHER words, Sephardim have different "values" that threaten the "educational atmosphere." Mizrahi students are thus viewed as being on the margins educationally, economically and morally - and in religious schools, these hierarchies ultimately conflate into the view of Mizrahi students as less "religious."

This language of Sephardi culture as "threatening" to religiousness is rampant. Yair Sheleg, in his book Dati'im Hadashim (The New Religious), documents Ashkenazi fear of "contamination" by Mizrahi families. He writes that the 21st-century version of "white flight" is among Ashkenazi religious families. That is, as soon as parents see that Mizrahi students are entering "their" schools, they open up a new elitist "torani" school in the name of creating a "higher" religious level, but is in fact simply Mizrahi-free.

These religious hierarchies are the latest version of 19th-century colonialist racism of the "Great Chain of Being" and "Social Darwinism." Shlomo Deshen and Moshe Shokeid brilliantly write in Dor Hatemura (Generation in Transition) that Mizrahi and Ashkenazi religious identities take different forms - not superior and inferior, but simply different. Mizrahi religiousness is transmitted via people, families and traditions, while Ashkenazi religiousness is transmitted via the written word.

So a kid who spends Shabbat with her family and flicks a light switch is keeping the faith in Sephardi culture, whereas a kid who spends Shabbat all alone but does not flick the light switch is keeping the faith in Ashkenazi culture. But in state religious schools, only the Ashkenazi version of religiousness counts, and those who don't abide by the Ashkenazi culture are just inferior outsiders.

"FOR A girl to make it in this system," said Vardit of the organization Tmura, "girls in Beit Ya'acov are expected to give up their entire culture, everything they know and love from at home. They have to accept that their food, their customs, even their pronunciation of Hebrew, are wrong. They have to be willing to reject their entire spiritual and cultural heritage as inferior. It's horrible."

In the Beit Ya'acov in Emanuel, Vardit explained, Sephardi girls who want to enter the "regular" track are told to actually sign a written contract to the effect that they will conduct themselves according to Ashkenazi expectations - and, by the way, pay an extra school fee. "So far, no girls have agreed to sign," she said.

As I discussed these events at home, my 11-year old daughter was dumbfounded. "Why won't they let the girls into class?" she demanded. She could not get her head around this racist reality. Kids can be very wise - wiser, in fact, than many adults. My daughter understands how such practices violate our basic humanity.

The writer is an educator, writer, researcher and activist and blogs regularly for at A Woman's Own

This article can also be read at

Copyright 1995- 2008 The Jerusalem Post -

Dear All,

B’tselem will undoubtedly respond to this op-ed, and certainly should.  I merely comment briefly on the above two statements.

But first, I think it only fair to warn you about the type of organization that the author of the opinion piece below reports for. You can see for yourselves by checking out the CAMERA website

It is a right-wing Zionist organization that criminalizes every article, organization, or medium (e.g., movies as Mohammed Bakri’s Jenin Jenin) that opposes Zionism or is critical of Israel. 

CAMERA'S comments on the FreeGaza boat movement are reminiscent of the right-wing attempts to blacken the name of Rachel Corrie and to denigrate the International Solidarity Movement. 

CAMERA is in much the same vein as the various Academic watchdogs. 

This means that its findings and reports are slanted.

Take, for instance, the two statements above—the first not only does not mention the names of the organizations that “have definitively ruled out that possibility,”  but also neglects to say that one could make the identical claim (i.e., “that a number of independent investigations have definitively ruled out that possibility”) for Holocaust deniers.  In point of fact, the Muhammad al-Dura case went to court in France, and ultimately the libel against those who contended that the video clipping of the killing was false was overturned, but merely because the court believed in the sincerity of those who claimed that the video of the killing was contrived.  That is to say, the court judged that those who contended this believed that they were speaking truth, not that the court thought that they were speaking truth.  The verdict says nothing about the truth or falsity of the video itself, nor does it express a judgment about what actually happened to the boy.


As for the second statement, it implies that one is guilty by association and therefore a justifiable target for Israeli forces.  If we follow this logic, then every IOF soldier is also guilty by association (belonging to an organization that kills) and are therefore justifiable targets for Palestinian freedom fighters. One needs to read such stuff critically to expose its fallacies. -Dorothy

 Bending the truth

Human rights group B’Tselem’s statistics are far from being trustworthy,7340,L-3601691,00.html

Tamar Sternthal

On Jan. 17, 2002 Abdul Salaam Sadek Hassouneh of Nablus burst into a bat mitzvah celebration at a Hadera reception hall, shooting dead six and injuring 35 before Israeli security forces ended the bloodbath by killing him.

But Hassouneh has another, lesser known claim to notoriety. He was the first of several Palestinian terrorists killed while attacking Israelis to appear that year in B'Tselem's list of "Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli security forces." He was followed by numerous other so-called Palestinian "civilians" in 2002, including Omar Mahmoud Abu Rub and Yusef Muhammad

Abu Rub, killed by border police gunfire after they murdered six Israeli civilians in Beit She'an. Both attacks were claimed by Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.

In the wake of CAMERA's criticism of this grossly deceptive practice, B'Tselem revamped its methodology for tracking Palestinian casualties of the intifada. In more recent years, the self-described human rights organization has dropped the "civilian" label as pertaining to Palestinians
and describes most - but not all - Palestinians fatalities as either "killed when participating in hostilities" or "did not participate in hostilities when killed."

Nevertheless, the organization's current detailed data on all Palestinians killed by Israelis since Sept. 29, 2000 - cited widely by Western news organizations - are no less problematic for a number of reasons. Most importantly, B'Tselem's research is as shoddy and unreliable as ever.

Take for instance, the case of 11-year-old Muhammad Ali Abu al-Wafa, killed Dec. 31, 2007 in Khan Younis. B'Tselem lists him as one of those killed by Israeli security forces, although he actually died in Hamas-Fatah clashes, a fact undisputed by Palestinian sources such as the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Ma'an News Agency.

Even more shocking, perhaps, is that B'Tselem continues to blame Israeli security forces for the Sept. 30, 2000 death of 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura, despite the fact that a number of independent investigations have definitively ruled out that possibility.

And, as it turns out, B'Tselem's newer system distinguishing between those who were and were not participating in hostilities when killed is no more trustworthy than its earlier false identification of "civilians."

Thus, B'Tselem reports that Muhammad Zaki Jum'ah al-Najar, killed Nov. 20, 2007 in Khan Younis, "did not participate in hostilities when killed." Yet, Hamas' English website boasts that "today, al-Qassam Brigades mourn the death of the mujahim (fighter): Mohammed Zaki al Najjar. The mujahid was martyred during a clash with the Zionist occupation forces. . . "

Terrorists’ affiliations ignored

An examination of this year's data is just as disheartening. B'Tselem carries an unusually brief listing for Fahmi Abd al-Jawad Hussein a-Darduk, 15, of Nablus, killed May 19, 2008 "by gunfire." B'Tselem does not specify that he was "killed while participating in hostilities" even though he was carrying explosives and ignored soldiers orders to stop and raise his hands at a checkpoint when he was killed.

Another serious flaw in B'Tselem's current data is that terrorists' affiliations are virtually always ignored. Thus, one would have no idea that Bilal Hamuda Muhammad Saleh, supposedly "killed while sleeping in a car" April 17, 2008 was the head of Islamic Jihad in Qabatiya, or that Muhammad Shhadeh Abed Shhadeh (a-Ta'amari), killed March 12, 2008 in the Tulkarm district, headed Islamic Jihad in Bethlehem.

Making this omission yet more deceptive, B'Tselem's end-of-the-year press release on Palestinian casualties specifically claims that the organization has tallied civilian Palestinian casualties. For instance, the press release from Dec. 31, 2007 misleads, stating that in 2007 Israeli security forces killed 373 Palestinians and that "about 35 percent of those killed were civilians who were not taking part in the hostilities when killed."

Yet, Islamic Jihad leaders from Bethlehem or Qabatiya, even if they weren't murdering anyone at the moment they were killed, are no more civilians than the man who shot dead six people celebrating at a bat mitzvah.

Unfortunately, journalists are time-strapped, and most are unlikely to look past B'Tselem's user-friendly press release to discover the inconsistencies and blatant falsehoods that stand behind it.This leaves yet one more casualty of the conflict - the truth.

 Tamar Sternthal is director of the Israel office of CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle
East Reporting in America), http.// .

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