Source: If Americans Knew
View the Frontline Documentary on Gaza that PBS pulled
Source: Moon of Alabama
Since Friday noon a fire exchange between besieged Palestinians in the Gaza strip and Israel escalated into heavy bombing and missile fire.
The reporting thereof in U.S. media again proves that these are unable to fairly cover on the conflict.
Jeff Bezos’ blog headlines:
The first paragraph:
Militants in Gaza fired more than 250 rockets into southern Israel on Saturday, and Israel responded with airstrikes and artillery fire, ending weeks of relative calm and threatening efforts to forge a long-term truce.
Most readers do not read further than the headline and maybe the first paragraph. Their impression will understandably be that “militants in Gaza” started the fight and that the Zionists “responded”. But that is far from the truth.
[More from the Unholy Land…mw]
One has to read down to the fifteenth paragraph to learn that those ‘facts’ are probably false:
The Israeli military reported on Friday that two soldiers were lightly wounded in a shooting incident along its border with Gaza. In response, Israel struck sites belonging to the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, killing two fighters.Also on Friday, two Palestinian protesters were killed taking part in ongoing weekly demonstrations at the border fence with Israel, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
Note the sequencing. The exchange is again described as a “response” by Israel. The two murdered demonstrators, who were unarmed and posed no threat to Israel, are mentioned as an aside.
But it was their murder, by Israeli snipers, that actually started the escalating violence:
“It’s a reply to the Israeli targeting of peaceful civilians yesterday by Israeli snipers during the 58th Friday of Great March of Return,” said Basem Naim, a member of Hamas’s bureau for international relations, referring to the weekly protests staged in Gaza since last year. “Also, to the procrastination policies of the occupation toward lifting the siege on Gaza.”
A second story at Bezos’ blog, filed later, follows the same scheme though its first paragraph is slightly more neutral. It is headlined:
An escalation in fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza over the weekend also brought with it a growing death toll Sunday, with reports that six Palestinians, including a pregnant mother and a baby, had been killed by Israeli air strikes on the Palestinian enclave and one Israeli man killed as more than 450 rockets and projectiles were fired into southern Israel from Gaza.
In the following paragraphs there are eight statements attributed to the Israeli side and one from Palestinians. The Friday murder of two Palestinian civilians is only mentioned in paragraph sixteen.
The New York Times is equally partisan with the headline also falsely claiming that Israeli “responds”:
Palestinian militants launched about 250 rockets and mortars into southern Israel from Gaza on Saturday, and the Israeli military responded with airstrikes and tank fire against targets across the Palestinian territory, as tensions along the volatile border boiled over and a fragile cease-fire faltered again.
The piece also gives ample room to Israeli military claims. The murder of the two Palestinians on Friday, the immediate cause of the exchange, is mentioned as an aside in the fifteenth paragraph:
Saturday’s escalation in violence came a day after two Israeli soldiers were wounded by a Gaza sniper and four Palestinians were killed. Two were shot by Israeli forces during Friday’s weekly protest along the fence dividing the Palestinian coastal territory from Israel, according to Gaza health officials.
This fake reporting saying that Israel “responds” is nothing new. As Louis Allday wrote in 2011:
If one consults only mainstream media for information on the conflict in Palestine, what is immediately striking is that Israel appears to be in a permanent state of “retaliation” — a phrase which immediately confers at least a modicum of legitimacy or justification upon the act to which it refers. Israel is never presented as the aggressor and however much its actions are condemned — which they are by some mainstream sources — they are invariably portrayed as a reaction to some form of provocation. Conversely, missiles launched from the Gaza Strip or southern Lebanon are habitually portrayed as “attacks” — never “retaliations,” even if Israel has launched a devastating missile strike immediately prior to the event — as so often is the case.
The public is subliminally conditioned to understand that Israel is a permanent victim that on occasion is forced to lash out in response to the ostensibly irrational and unruly aggression of illegitimate non-state actors that encircle it.
This warped and cursory reporting by U.S. media of the conflicts launched by Israel is contrasted by reporting in Israeli itself. This Haaretz writeup of this weekend’s escalation, while also partisan, is way more informative than any reporting from the U.S. side. It explains the political background of the struggle:
Hamas Twists Israel’s Arm Right Before the Eurovision and Independence Day
Killing of Hamas operatives, delay in Qatari money transfer spurred a significant escalation
The escalation between Israel and the Gaza factions over the weekend – more than 400 rockets fired at Israel, a broad bombing of Gaza by the air force, seven Palestinians killed and six Israelis wounded – reflects an attempt by Hamas to address its economic woes by putting military pressure on Israel at a sensitive time.
To understand what’s happening, it’s crucial to revisit events from before the April 9 election. In recent months, Egyptian intelligence officials have been mediating between Israel and Hamas in an attempt to reach long-term agreements. The Palestinians would put a complete stop to airborne firebombs and rockets, while Israel would ease movement through border crossings, allow large sums of Qatari money into the Gaza Strip and take steps to accommodate large-scale, internationally-financed projects in Gaza to improve the crumbling infrastructure. At a later stage, talks over a prisoner swap would be renewed.Ahead of the election, and in light of the promises by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in the hopes of avoiding a conflict as Israelis voted, Hamas held its fire. But the payoff didn’t arrive at a pace that satisfied the Palestinians. Israel wasn’t quick to meet its commitments. The concessions at the border crossings were anything but swift, the number of trucks bringing goods into Gaza every day was modest, and efforts to increase the electricity supply hadn’t yet begun.
An unfortunately paywalled Haaretz opinion piece draws the correct historic comparison: The Gaza Ghetto Uprising
In this case it is undoubtedly the Palestinian side that is responding to Israeli violence. But even if Palestinians would fire missiles without an immediate cause it would be within the full rights of the Palestinian people. In its 1982 Resolution 37/43 the General Assembly of the United Nations reaffirmed:
the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle;
The UN GA resolution is standing international law. The Palestinian people have the right to resist against the occupation force.
In practice as well as legally Israel is a colonial entity that occupies Palestinian land, especially in Gaza and the West Bank. Any armed struggle by Palestinians against the occupation, provoked or not, is thus morally and legally justified.
But do not expect that any ‘western’ mainstream media will ever point that out.
Christians in the West need to cease giving uncritical, one-sided support to Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and instead engage with Christians in the Middle Eastern church who are working for peace and reconciliation.
That’s according to Rev Dr Stephen Sizer, an Anglican minister and founder of the UK-based Peacemaker Trust, a non-denominational Christian charity which works with churches in East Africa and the Middle East, particularly in areas where the church is marginalized or persecuted or where there are religious tensions, on projects based around evangelism, discipleship and issues of justice and peace.
Invited by various groups including the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network and Fighting Fathers Ministries, Rev Dr Sizer is spending a couple of weeks in Australia speaking at a series of events on a mission to “deconstruct” how the Bible has, in his words, been “misused” to justify what he describes as the “apartheid regime in Israel today” and how Christians can be involved in bringing peace to the region.
“[How] to be part of the solution rather than a problem in the Middle East, not siding with either the Israeli regime or the Palestinian Authority but identifying with the Christians in the Middle East who are working for peace and reconciliation,” explains Dr Sizer, who founded the trust a few years ago so he could work fulltime in peace-making work, having previously spent more than 35 years doing so part time while also serving as a parish priest in England.
His stance of not taking sides is one which runs contrary to that of the estimated 60 to 100 million Christians around the world – including many evangelicals in the US – who identify today as ‘Christian Zionists’.
That’s a term which Rev Dr Sizer says once simply meant giving support for the idea of a Jewish homeland and to those Jews who faced persecution during World War II, but has now moved “well beyond” that and come to mean giving “uncritical support” for the Israeli state – a position which results in some US churches, for example, giving unqualified support to controversial Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as well as supporting US President Donald Trump’s decision late last year to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“These are all political ways in which Christians in America are living out their faith in a belief that God will bless them because they are, as they see it, blessing Israel,” he says.
Rev Dr Sizer has charted the history of Christian Zionism for his PhD (it’s also a subject he tackles in books, Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon? And Zion’s Christian Soldiers: The Bible, Israel and the Church).
He says ideas surrounding Christian Zionism as it looks today first emerged in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries and were subsequently exported to the US where they were adopted by the likes of DL Moody and Cyrus Scofield (of the Scofield Reference Bible fame).
He adds that he doesn’t believe the central tenet of Christian Zionism as it is today – which centres on the concept that “God had two peoples – Israel and the church – and that they are separate and promises made in the Scriptures either apply to the church or to Israel”, an idea known in theological terms as ‘dispensationalism’ – fits with Scripture.
Rev Dr Sizer points out that in the Old Testament Book of Esther, for example, it speaks in chapter eight of the “many” people of other ethnicities who became Jews after the Persian King Xerxes issued a decree in support of them.
“What does that mean? It means that from the time of Esther on – 400 to 500 BC – a Jew was not necessarily someone who was descended from Abraham.”
He also points to Ezekial, chapter 47, where, in verses 21 to 23, God speaks of the distribution of land among the tribes of Israel: “You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe a foreigner resides, there you are to give them their inheritance,’ declares the Sovereign Lord.”
“You look at those three verses and it says the same thing three times in three verses – share the land with the foreigners,” says Rev Dr Sizer. “So if we’re looking for a solution today to the Middle East conflict, it is the one state solution. You share the land with those who live in the land, the foreigners as well as the native-born Israelites. God has to say it three times – why? Because they wouldn’t do it, they didn’t want to do it because they thought God had given them the land.”
Rev Dr Sizer rejects the idea that he is anti-Israel – saying he has always been opposed to racism and anti-Semitism – and says that he wants to see Israel “survive and prosper as a nation for its citizens, for those who choose to live there or who were born there”. “But that does include non-Jews,” he adds.
He says that he prays a solution to the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories can be reached without further bloodshed but he believes that such a solution will only came about when Israel either gives up the West Bank and allows “an independent, sovereign Palestinian state” or embraces a one state solution “whereby everyone within Israel and the Occupied Territories has equal rights and the right to vote, the right to education, healthcare and so on”.
“It’s either a one state or a two state – what we have at the moment is a no state solution and it’s one that the present Israeli Government is happy to perpetuate,” he says. “It wants the land without the people; it wants to allow the Palestinians to have autonomy but without having independent borders, without having a military, without having any sovereignty over their airspace, their water borders, their land borders. It is turning the Palestinians into the equivalent of a Bantustan in South Africa or Indian reservations in North America and that is not acceptable these days.”
Asked how Christians in countries like Australia can help in bringing about peace, Rev Dr Sizer says churches locally could consider partnering with churches in Israel-Palestine and other parts of the Middle East to help people gain a better understanding of the situation there as well as support the work of organizations like the Bethlehem Bible College, Holy Land Trust, and Musalaha.
And for those who want to get involved at a political level, he says, they could also support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement which aims to put pressure on Israel over Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories, considered illegal by most countries.
But the first port of call, Rev Dr Sizer says, is prayer.
“As Christians we start with prayer – pray for the peace of Jerusalem and that means pray for the people of Jerusalem…”
To see where Rev Dr Sizer is speaking during his Australian tour, head here.
As Jim Manly, former Canadian MP (1980-88) and retired United Church Minister, continues to be detained in Israel with many of the other crew members of the Estelle, without any news about when he will be released. This despite freeing the Greek, Italian and Spanish citizens who were on the Estelle and the release of Israeli activists after being detained and charged.
Elik Elhanan, one of the Israelis released, said that excessive force and tasers were used against them and that a Greek MP was beaten by Shabak Security Service interrogators.
“I am now on my way home, but I keep thinking of my shipmates, my fellow activists from abroad who are still imprisoned under harsh conditions and undergo interrogation by the Shabak Security Service, among them Parliament Members from several countries,” said Elik Elhanan, one of the Israeli activists who had sailed aboard the Gaza-bound Swedish ship “Estelle”. Today, the court ordered his release and that of two other detained Israelis, Yonatan Shapira and Reut Mor. “At first they tried to charge us with all kinds of very serious felonies, such as ‘aiding the enemy’. The court rejected this out of hand. Today they tried an article on the law books called “Attempted infiltration into a part of the Land of Israel which is not part of the State of Israel” (sic). But the court threw out this charge, too”. The detained activists were represented by Attorney Gaby Lasky and her team, who have considerable experience with Human Rights cases.
The released detainees were cheerfully greeted by peace activists who arrived at the courtroom, among them Elik Elhanan’s parents – Rami Elhanan and Nurit Peled-Elhanan, who is the daughter of the late Major General Matti Peled. Smadar Elhanan, Elik’s sister, was killed in a suicide bombing at the center of Jerusalem – a harsh experience which made surviving family members all the more determined to strive for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, so as to prevent further casualties on either side.
“They used a completely disproportional amount of force against us” continues Elhanan. “When the Navy arrived to take us over, Yonatan Shapira counted no less than fifteen vessels surrounding us on all sides. Large and small ships and boats, a ship carrying a helicopter, as well as the Zodiacs of the Naval Commandos. Fifteen armed naval vessels against one small civilian boat carrying games for the children of Gaza. We must have disturbed very much the Navy and those who give orders to the Navy.”
“These testimonies increase our concern for Jim and continue to raise the question why aren’t the Canadian government and the opposition NDP doing more to secure his release?” Said Eva Manly, Jim’s wife.
by Tom Compton Jun 26, 2010
Alan, Bob or Henry: ‘Would Jesus Concur Or Weep?’
2. They would be ambivalent and not care one way or the other. Or, they would not want to even talk about the subject.
3. They would say that I was not balanced in my statements because I didn’t mention anything about the deaths of innocent Israeli children. Never mine that there were no Israeli children killed during the 22 day siege on Gaza.
I never heard from any of the “Type 2” readers but did from the “1 & 3 types”. So what do Alan, Bob and Henry have to do with my reflections on the story? These three Jewish men represent three different and divergent opinions on questions related to the state of Israel. The “Alan” in my rhetorical question is Alan Dershowitz, well known Harvard Law professor and ardent Zionist gadfly. “Bob” is Bob Simon of CBS News & the 60 Minutes show. And, “Henry” is Henry Herskovitz of Jewish Witnesses for Peace & Friends2 a very active, anti-Zionist. Granted, Henry Herskovitz, is not a well known Jewish personality outside of his home town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, as the first two men.
Professor Alan Dershowitz was so moved by my article that he responded to an email we at We Hold These Truths sent out to the subscribers3 of our “Pharisee Watch” & “Unheralded News” newsletters. The email contained the story published in the Palestine Chronicle. Dershowitz wrote us: “Subject: Re: Would Jesus Concur or Weep? These deaths were not collateral. They were deliberately intended by Hamas by its wilfull (sic) use of human shields. Anuyone (sic) who supports Hamas is complicit in the death of these babies–you included!”
It’s clear from this short exchange that Professor Dershowitz fervently believes that Israel’s use of excessive force against the people of Gaza is necessary and proper. The professor’s comments were not surprising because he is an unabashed supporter of Israel. What was surprising was that I heard the same defense, “Hamas was using their children as shields” from a Christian friend. Never mind the logic that would tell us that Palestinian children are just as precious to their parents as Jewish children are to their parents. She had heard that thought from a Christian commentator that she trusted. The commentator confirmed that it was “true” because he had heard it directly from a source inside the Israeli Defense Force.
Because I am an American citizen and taxpayer, I must admit that I am somewhat “complicit” in the affair as charged by the professor. My tax dollars have been and are being sent, to the tune of billions of dollars per year, to countries like Israel and Egypt. Egypt is culpable because they have helped Israel by severely limiting the flow of goods into Gaza. And, Israel has the American weapons and aid to enforce the “peace” in Israel.
I’ve had no such interaction with Bob Simon of CBS News. However, I was fascinated by two shows that Mr. Simon appeared on that revealed the gamut of Jewish opinion in Israel on the Palestinian question. Mr. Simon was interviewed on the Charlie Rose Program4 on PBS aired on January 7, 2009 as the Israelis were carrying out their deadly attacks on Gaza. In the program, Mr. Simon described the Gaza strip as “the world’s largest prison”. He expressed the opinion that the “Two State Solution” was not possible because of the large areas of land taken by Jewish settlers from the Palestinians in the West Bank to create settlements with over 280,000 Jewish settlers. Mr. Simon thought that the only realistic solution left would be “apartheid” which is what is, in effect, has been practiced by Israel for some time. As we know, apartheid governments don’t fare too well. Recall South Africa. Mr. Simon’s piece on the CBS 60 Minutes show entitled, “Time Running Out For A Two-State Solution?”5, aired on January 25. 2009, showed in detail the dilemma facing Israelis with the huge number of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Henry Herskovitz’s views may not represent a majority of his Jewish brethren, but they are valid and should be considered. Henry is against Zionism, a political not religious, ideology. Some of the signs Henry and his supporters carry in front the synagogue he used to attend tell his side of the story: “The Former Victims Have Become the Victimizers”, “Is Ethnic Cleansing a Judaic Value?”, and “End The Israeli Occupation”.
The Jewish world is no more unified on the question of what Israel should do with the Palestinians then are Christians of the traditional or Christian Zionist flavor. Here in the United States it has been “official” policy to stand by Israel whether it is killing over 300 innocent children in Gaza or killing aid workers on a Turkish ship in international waters. Fortunately, a wind of awareness is blowing here in the US and Israel. In March, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported that “U.S. General David Petraeus said on Wednesday that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was fomenting anti-American sentiment due to the perception of U.S. favoritism towards Israel.”6 Also, recently, Haaretz, reported that: “Mossad Chief Meir Dagan said on Tuesday that Israel is progressively becoming a burden on the United States. ‘Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden,’ said Dagan, speaking before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.”7
And, Christian Zionism is being challenged here in the United States. Christian Zionists believe that the modern state of Israel is a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and that Christians must support Israel no matter what Israel does, and, support wars in the Middle East to protect Israel. A recently introduced documentary, With God On Our Side8 , and We Hold These Truths’ new documentary, Christian Zionism: The Tragedy and Turning9 help expose and explain why Christian Zionists hold to such religious dogma that allows them to turn their backs on the suffering of the Palestinian people at the hands of Israel with the support of the United States government. We must pray to God for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Israel but work as if it depends on us alone. After all, it was Jesus who said, “…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31)
Tom Compton is an American Christian who is one of the founding directors of We Hold These Truths ( http://www.whtt.org ). WHTT‘s mission is to challenge evangelical Christians in America and around the world who cling to the idea that the modern state of Israel is a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and that Christians must do nothing to hinder Israel, no matter what Israel does. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Palestine Chronicle: (http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=14761)
2 Jewish Witnesses For Peace And Friends: http://www.a2vigil.org/
3 We checked our subscriber list and found that Professor Dershowitz had subscribed to our free email newsletter over a year prior to his response. From that time we sent dozens of emails with no response or objection from him. Just to make sure that it was Professor Dershowitz who actually sent the email, we sent him a reply with a question to which a response, with a “harvard.edu” email address, came back in 1 hour and 14 minutes: “I couldnt care less.” I guess this shows that emails can move people to action.
4 Charlie Rose Show: Interview with Bob Simon of CBS News: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/9900
5 CBS 60 Minutes: “Time Running Out For A Two State Solution?”: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/23/60minutes/main4749723.shtml
6 Haaretz: “U.S. General: Israel-Palestine conflict foments anti-US sentiment” – http://www.haaretz.com/news/u-s-general-israel-palestinian-conflict-foments-anti-u-s-sentiment-1.264910
7 Haaretz: “Mossad chief: Israel gradually becoming burden on U.S.” – http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/mossad-chief-israel-gradually-becoming-burden-on-u-s-1.293540
8 With God On Our Side: http://www.withgodonourside.com/
9 Christian Zionism: The Tragedy & Turning: http://eshop.whtt.org/popupdetails.php?popup=1&prodId=315
Was Jesus a Zionist? Yes, says James Lewis in his essay “Anti-Zionist Christians” in American Thinker. Lewis, who ought to be writing for the “Israeli Thinker,” is angry because a reverend from the Disciples of Christ church wants to divest from the apartheid state of Israel (until the 400-mile wall is torn down). In Lewis’s mind, Jesus would bless the following statements from selected Christian Zionists:
From these statements, it appears that Christian Zionists worship first the racist state of Israel and God gets second place. Looks like they also believe that Jesus was some kind of real estate broker.
These statements also clarify why these extremist fundamentalists support war including the Israeli military blockade of Gaza, the brutal bombardment of Gaza in 2008-2009, and the recent lethal IDF attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.
Everyone remembers fake “investment advisor” Bernie Madoff (Shamir calls him the financial “suicide bomber”) who ripped off billions of dollars from his friends (even more from his foes) and said he’d do it again if he had the chance. But not everyone knows about “spiritual Madoffs” inside Christian circles.
Sure, we all know about the obvious “spiritual Madoff” scammers such as Israeli-born Benny Hinn. But do we know about the fakes in our own churches who can trick Christians for years? Two obvious fraud examples: Walid Shoebat and Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. If these messianic maniacs can fool “evangelical” Christians for years, who is to say that there aren’t other Christian fakes lurking behind pulpits?
I come now to the Rev. Dr. Charles McVety, a not so humble man (watch him). My personal take is that McVety is a Zionist shill; in fact, he almost admits it. In any case, here are a few reasons why I’m highly suspicious of him (other than the fact he is “the most high-profile champion of Christian Zionism“—the fastest growing cult in the world):
I could go on and list other things that make me suspicious of McVety such as his appearance in a news release of Likud Canada, and McVety inviting criminal Karl Rove to Canada. But that’s it for now.