Thursday, July 31, 2014

Israel Condemning Persists Even as UN Official Admits Hamas Uses Their Buildings

Israel Condemning Persists Even as UN Official Admits Hamas Uses Their Buildings

by Phyllis Chesler
July 31, 2014
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A senior UN official, UN OCHA director, John Ging, confirmswhat the IDF and other informed experts have been saying all along, but to little avail. In a television interview yesterday, Ging said that Hamas terrorists "are firing their rockets into Israel from the vicinity of UN facilities and residential areas."

This statement by so senior a UN official confirms what the IDF has said repeatedly since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, namely that Hamas uses Gaza's civilian population as a human shield. This is a transcript of the key moments in this video. If you begin at 4:19, you will see and hear this:
JOHN GING: The militants, Hamas, and the other armed groups, they are firing also their weaponry, the rockets, into Israel from the vicinity of these [UN] installations and housing and so on, so the combat is being conducted very much in a residential built up area.
CBC NEWS ANCHOR: The Israeli government has said repeatedly that Hamas is using human shields, they are using UN schools, hospitals -- not only, by the way, to store weapons -- I know 3 UN-run schools have been found with munitions stored in them, as weapons depots -- but in the UN's experience, is Hamas or militant groups, Islamic Jihad, are they launching rockets nearby these shelters, these UN schools? Are they using it essentially as a shelter?

JOHN GING: Yes, the armed groups are firing their rockets into Israel from the vicinity of UN facilities and residential areas, absolutely.
(End at 5:31)

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Kerry Trying To Save Hamas, Restore Muslim Brotherhood

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Kerry Trying To Save Hamas, Restore Muslim Brotherhood

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  July 31, 2014 at 10:00 am
There is growing concern in Ramallah, Cairo, Riyadh and Dubai that the U.S. Administration is working to prevent the collapse of Hamas.
"The Americans mistakenly think that moderate political Islam, which is represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, will be able to combat radical Islam. The Americans are trying to bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to the region." — Palestinian official, Ramallah.
The Iranians, with whom the U.S. is now negotiating on nuclear weapons -- amid fears in the Middle East that the U.S. will capitulate to Tehran's demands if it has not effectively capitulated to them already -- have now joined Qatar and Turkey in opposing any attempt to confiscate Hamas's weapons.
The Paris conference was actually a spit in the face to the anti-Hamas forces in the Arab world. By failing to invite the Palestinian Authority to the conference, Kerry indicated that he does not see any role for Abbas and his loyalists in a post-Hamas Gaza Strip.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shares a laugh with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Al Attiyah during cease-fire negotiations in Paris, on July 26, 2014. (Image source: U.S. State Department)
The U.S. Administration's main objective in cease-fire talks is clearly to empower Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, Hamas.
This is how the Palestinian Authority [PA] sees the recent efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to achieve a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
It is no secret that the PA, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would like to see an end to Hamas's rule over the Gaza Strip. Moreover, they seem to support the idea of disarming Hamas as part of any agreement to end the current crisis.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been issuing strong condemnations of the Israeli "aggression" on the Gaza Strip over the past few weeks, is hoping that the war will result in the return of his loyalists to control the Gaza Strip or, at least to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

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Eye on Iran: Asian Buyers Take 25 Percent More Iran Oil in First Half

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Reuters: "Iran's biggest clients took in a quarter more oil in the first six months of 2014 than in the same period of last year, with China and India holding to the higher volumes they started after the agreement that relaxed Western sanctions on Tehran. Iran's exports to its top four oil buyers - China, India, Japan and South Korea - may keep rising even though a deadline for a final deal on its disputed nuclear programme had to be extended. The lead U.S. nuclear negotiator on Tuesday said participants aim to reach a resolution on the decade-old dispute by the end of the four-month extension. Iran last week received the final instalment of the $4.2 billion (£2.4 billion) in oil payments released as part of the earlier agreement, although another $2.8 billion was released as part of the extension. 'From this point forward, we expect more upside than down with respect to Iranian crude exports to Asia with the caveat that talks don't collapse completely,' said James Davis, a consultant at Facts Global Energy. 'We see an extra 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude production from Iran by end-2015 as very possible,' he said.  The four Asian buyers imported 1.2 million bpd in the first half of 2014, versus 961,236 bpd in the same period a year ago, according to official customs data and tanker arrival schedules. China, Iran's biggest customer, raised its imports by almost 50 percent in the first half, while India increased its purchases by a third."

AFP: "The chief of Iran's elite Quds Force has ridiculed calls for Hamas to be disarmed and urged the Palestinian Islamist movement in Gaza to 'turn the land and skies into hell' for Israel. Major General Qassem Suleimani's message to militant factions resisting Israel's military operations in the Gaza Strip was published late Wednesday by Iran's official IRNA news agency. Suleimani 'underlined that confronting the Zionist enemy is a necessity and the Palestinian resistance movement will turn the land and skies into hell for the Zionists.' 'Disarmament of resistance is a daydream that will only come true in the graveyard' for Israel, said the rarely-quoted senior figure... 'Martyrdom for Palestine is a dream of every noble Muslim and freedom-seeker.'"

Free Beacon: "Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at Israel in vitriolic terms on Wednesday, referring to Israel as a 'festering Zionist tumor.' Rouhani, who has been championed by Western media as a moderate reformer who could change Iran's extremist ways, appears to be adopting a violent tone similar to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has advocated for the complete destruction of Israel in recent days. 'Today, this festering Zionist tumor has opened once again and has turned the land of olives into destruction and blood and littered the land with the body parts of Palestinian children,' Rouhani was quoted as saying in a statement that was translated by the Brookings Institution. Rouhani's comments have received little attention in the Western media, which rushed to congratulate the Iranian leader last year for sending a greeting to Jews during the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Rouhani went on to compare Israel to the jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), which Iran is fighting against in Iraq. ISIL is 'a second festering tumor that murders people in the name of Islam,' Rouhani said, adding that, 'analysts say that both of these tumors derived from the same origin.'"

Sanctions Relief

Tasnim (Iran): "Austrian President Heinz Fischer will pay an official visit to Iran after the end of the extended nuclear talks between Tehran and six world powers, the Austrian news agency APA reported on Thursday. 'Vienna and Tehran are consulting on the timing of Fischer's trip. But it is expected to take place after the conclusion of nuclear talks on November 24th,' said Austrian Presidential Spokeswoman Astrid Salmhofer. A high-ranking economic delegation will accompany Fischer during his visit to explore investment opportunities in Iran."

Iraq Crisis

Reuters: "A Hezbollah commander has died during a mission in Iraq, sources familiar with the incident said on Wednesday, indicating the Lebanese group that is already fighting in Syria's civil war may be involved in a second conflict in the region. Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shi'ite Islamist group, has not previously announced any role in the conflict in Iraq, which escalated last month when radical Sunni militants seized large areas of territory from the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad. Four sources in Lebanon named the Hezbollah commander as Ibrahim al-Haj, a technical specialist involved in training. They said he was 'martyred' in a battle near Mosul, a city in northern Iraq seized from government control last month by an al Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State. His funeral was held on Wednesday in the village of Qilya in the Bekaa Valley. A Hezbollah official contacted by Reuters declined to comment."

Human Rights

Guardian: "Iran's crackdown on journalists and political activists is being spearheaded by a small group of judges under the influence of the country's intelligence and security apparatus, according to human rights organisations. Four judges with Iran's revolutionary court and two appeal judges have led numerous court sessions that activists say did not conform to fair trial principles according to Iran's constitution, and are in breach of international treaties to which Tehran is a signatory. The six judges are accused of losing their judicial impartiality and overseeing miscarriages of justice in trials in which scores of journalists, lawyers, political activists and members of Iran's ethnic and religious minorities have been condemned to lengthy prison terms, lashes and even execution. Those accused are judges Abolghassem Salavati and Mohammad Moghiseh, former justices Yahya Pirabbasi and Hassan Zareh Dehnavi (known as judge Haddad), and appeal judges Hassan Babaee and Ahmad Zargar. According to several former prisoners who spoke to the Guardian, and testimonies received by human rights groups, common violations by the judges include holding trials behind closed doors, lasting only a few minutes and without essential legal procedures, intimidating defendants, breaching judicial independence by acting as prosecutors themselves and depriving prisoners of access to lawyers."

Reuters: "An Iranian-American man detained along with three journalists in Iran last week has been released, a source close to one of those being held said on Wednesday. The United States has called for their release and a senior U.S. official said Washington was using 'all appropriate channels' to make its concerns known to Iran. 'They were treated with respect, given food and water,' said the source, adding that the man, who is the husband of one of the three detained journalists, was not tortured. Their names are being withheld at the request of the couple's relatives. Still in detention along with the freed man's wife, who is an Iranian-American photographer, are Jason Rezaian, 38, an Iranian-American and Tehran correspondent for the Washington Post, and his wife Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper The National. The four were arrested in Tehran last Tuesday."

Al-Monitor: "Iran's Labor Ministry has sent a letter to Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf expressing its misgivings about the proposed segregating of the sexes at municipal offices. Deputy Labor Minister Mohammad Taghi Hosseini wrote to the mayor and Tehran's city council July 4, 'As you know, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a member of the International Labour Organization, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, as the national reference for membership in this organization, is required to observe obligations and commitments ... to international labor conventions, such as non-discrimination in the work place.' The letter stated that such a practice could provoke an 'international reaction,' even going so far as to say that 'it could be considered a human rights violation' by some international organizations."

Eye on Iran is a periodic news summary from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eye on Iran is not intended as a comprehensive media clips summary but rather a selection of media elements with discreet analysis in a PDA friendly format. For more information please email

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.

Profs Blame Pro-Israel Bias for Stereotyping Muslims

Campus Watch

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Profs Blame Pro-Israel Bias for Stereotyping Muslims

by Andrew Harrod
FrontPage Magazine
July 31, 2014
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Arabs and Muslims have an image problem in media and entertainment as a result of a pro-Israel political agenda. So claimed Edmund Ghareeb and Jack Shaheen, professors at American and New York Universities, respectively, on June 11, 2014, before an audience of forty middle-aged individuals at Washington, D.C. Jerusalem Fund think tank.
Ghareeb and Shaheen's presentation, "Portraying Arabs: 30 Years Later," commemorated their respective 1984 publications, Split Vision: The Portrayal of Arabs in the American Media and The TV Arab.  Drawing upon personal experiences, Ghareeb decried a "lack of balance" in Middle East news coverage in Israel's favor, although groups such as CAMERA and Honest Reporting routinely demonstrate the reverse. According to Ghareeb, this allegedly biased media stereotyping "dehumanizes a people" and "allows for the use of force" against Arabs.
As evidence for this dubious claim, Ghareeb relied upon equally dubious sources such as Senator William Fulbright, who announced on television in 1973 that "Israel controls the United States Senate" and later became a registered lobbyist for Saudi Arabia.  Ghareeb also praised the reporting of  Peter Jennings as an isolated example of balanced Middle East coverage and labeled Orientalism author Edward Said an "important figure" for writing, Covering Islam:  How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World.  He then cited Muhammad Hassanein Heikal, longtime editor of Egypt's semiofficial Al Ahram newspaper and government minister under Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser, two individuals who inspired little confidence.
Shaheen began his presentation by recounting how, in 1974, his children told him about "bad Arabs on television," prompting him to study Arabs and Muslims in popular entertainment.  For his interest in this subject, Shaheen claimed he was "tagged the Arab professor" and had his research dismissed as "not academic; it's propaganda." A Rockford Files producer, meanwhile, allegedly rejected his interview request with the statement, "I hate Arabs."
Hollywood prejudice has now "spread its wings" from Arab Muslims to Muslims in general. Shaheen claimed, noting in a subsequent article on the event that "Islamophobia [has] joined Arabophobia."  He objected to headlines involving "Islamist extremists" in stories where Islam is not a factor, although he neglected to provide any examples. He did concede that, when pertinent, religion "should be part of the story."
Shaheen alleged that "people who have a political agenda" play a significant role in creating such stereotypes, while entertainment involving an "Israeli connection" is "pervasive." Eight seasons of the television crime show NCIS, he noted, featured American intelligence cooperation with an Israeli Mossad agent, not with a Palestinian or Yemeni agent. Yet despite CIA cooperation with Palestinian and Yemeni agents, American ties with Israel are clearly much stronger and mention of them in a TV show involving spies simply reflects reality. Vaguely referenced "friends of Israel" in the media are "much more influential, powerful," than their opponents, Ghareeb added conspiratorially.
After the event, this reporter asked whether there was an analogy with consistently negative portrayals of Germans, given their authoritarian and aggressive past.  Shaheen called this a "totally different issue."  He then reiterated his 2002 Nightline comments that Americans "were at war with a country" in the World Wars and not with Islam's supposedly "lunatic fringe, al-Qaeda."  Yet decades-long conflict with various Islamic terrorist organizations and dictatorial regimes is hardly a "fringe" phenomenon.
Undeniably, Hollywood's dream factory and the media can stand more realism, but Shaheen and Ghareeb's often cartoonish views condemning a supposed pro-Israel political agenda offer little benefit.   Substantial evidence of anti-Israel media bias, however, does exist, and despite Ghareeb and Shaheen's dubious sources and wishful thinking, art does, in fact, imitate life when it depicts violence among Arabs and other Muslims. Ignoring these facts in deference to the professors' fantasies would be the real fiction.
Andrew E. Harrod is a freelance researcher and writer who holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a JD from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project; follow him on twitter at @AEHarrod. He wrote this essay for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.
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