Friday, July 27, 2007

On the One Year Anniversary of the Seattle Jewish Federation Shooting

My reflections, written on the night of the fatal shootings, July 28th, 2006
May Pam Waechter's name and memory be forever blessed--'Yehi Zichra Baruch'

While it is still too early to fully assess the implications of the shooting at the Jewish Federation building in Seattle just hours before the onset of the Jewish Sabbath, some initial observations are in order. What happened on Friday was not an isolated hate crime, but is integrally connected to the larger dynamics currently playing out on the world stage, most notably the war that is raging in the Middle East today. In fact, the shooter, Naveed Afzal Haq, a 30 year-old Muslim-American from the tri-Cities area in central Washington, burst into the Federation, gun in hand, claiming he was upset “about what was going on in Israel” and opened fire, killing one woman and injuring five others, one seventeen weeks pregnant. Whatever we may come to learn in the coming days regarding his motivations and affiliations, it is no longer possible to ignore the fact that a battle is being waged today not just against Israel, but against the West, and just as Israel is the beachhead for this jihadist war in the Middle East, so are Jews around the world likely to find themselves increasingly at risk.
Only five days after The Seattle Jewish Federation and the Anti-Defamation League staged a rally in support of Israel, the Seattle Jewish community finds itself stunned by Friday’s attack. Last Sunday, close to 2,000 people banded together on a blisteringly hot day to show their solidarity with Israel, support her unassailable right to defend herself, demand that the international community not remain silent in the face of unprovoked aggression by Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north, and to pledge their continued efforts to work towards peace and freedom for all peoples in the Middle East. Indeed, the very mission of the Jewish Federation is to “ensure Jewish survival and enhance the quality of Jewish life locally, in Israel and worldwide”. How ironic that it is such an institution that is brutally attacked in broad daylight, signaling that Jewish life may well be under siege again.
Many will argue that today’s assault was an isolated incident, that the shooter was acting alone, and that it would be dangerous to draw any parallels to events in the Middle East and beyond. Yet it may prove increasingly difficult to divorce such incidents from the backdrop of the war currently being waged against Israel. The shooting came a day after the FBI had warned Jewish organizations nationwide to be on alert after Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon and, Al-Qaeda’s second in command, Al-Zawahri, urged followers to carry the war raging in the Middle East to the shores of America. Hamas and Hezbollah, the party of God, are both proxies of Iran; the latter using more and more sophisticated Iranian weaponry. Both organizations are united in their theology of genocide. The charters of both groups call for the destruction of Israel. President Ahmadinejad of Iran has declared his intention to “wipe Israel off the map” and called the Holocaust a “myth,” while his regime races to develop nuclear capabilities. Ahmadinejad has let the Jews the world over know that they are now legitimate targets of his wrath. Al-Zawahri has said that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and Palestinian militants would not be ended with “ceasefires or agreements.” He said, “it is a jihad for the sake of Allah and will last until (our) religion prevails…from Spain to Iraq. We’ll attack everywhere.” And Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, has been quoted as saying “We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win, because they love life and we love death.”
While the world watches the carnage in Israel, only to be appalled by the mounting civilian casualties in Lebanon, it should be remembered that it is the party of God, Hezbollah, that deliberately embeds itself among those civilians, from where it deliberately targets Israeli non-combatants on sovereign Israeli soil, with Iranian rockets penetrating deeper and deeper into Israel, a country the size of New Jersey. It’s high time for the international community to identify the aggressors, and to recognize that it is no longer just Israel and Jews that are in harm’s way. Just last week I wrote in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer “Israel today is the beachhead against radical, fundamentalist Islam, whose ultimate goal is the re-establishment of a worldwide Muslim Caliphate. Perhaps it’s not outlandish to think that in the not too distant future we may come to understand that ‘today we are all Israelis’.” The not too distant future is upon us, and we ignore its encroachment at our peril.
David Brumer

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Monday, July 23, 2007

On the Manipulation of Western Media Under the Guise of Freedom

Why do we confer undue legitimacy on the likes of Hamas spokespeople and Hezbollah media manipulators? Freedom of the press does not imply that we grant carte blanche to sworn enemies of the very freedoms western civilization cherishes.
The western press has always employed editorial discretion in determining what is worthy of publication. Denying crass manipulators of truth and reality a mass public forum is not the same as censorship. It is merely the sane exercise of an intelligent selection process. As Hier & Cooper note below, would we also entertain giving op-ed space today to the likes of Dr. Mengele?

In a similar vein, Marvin Kalb looks at how we in the West were crassly manipulated by the expert propagandists of Hezbollah in last summer's Lebanon War. Where was the MSM when it should have been challenging the 'fixers' of Hezbollah, who determined when and where and what could be covered? Why was it not deemed peculiar that no Hezbollah 'soldiers' were filmed during the war? As Kalb points out, it was as if Israel was fighting ghosts. Hezbollah expertly manipulated the coverage so that most of what the West got to see was women and children fleeing from the smoldering rubble of Israeli 'aggression.'
david brumer

A Byline for Hamas?
Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper

First, the New York Times and the Washington Post simultaneously ran Op-Ed articles by Ahmed Yousef, a senior leader of Hamas who defended his group's bloody putsch in Gaza. Now, the Los Angeles Times has opened its Op-Ed page to Hamas political bureau deputy Mousa Abu Marzook. Whatever happened to the basic standards that civilized people are expected to live by? Why is the Times conferring a journalistic honoris causa degree on terrorists whose modus operandi is to deliberately target innocent civilians of all faiths on buses, in theaters and in shopping malls? Hamas' views deserve real-time coverage, just the way the statements and actions of Hitler and Stalin received coverage. But such people do not deserve the status of a sagely byline, because that destroys the distinction between honorable men and women bound by basic principles of humanity and the despots and terrorists eager to destroy those values. If the criteria is simply because "it is an important story," then would the editors have welcomed articles by Auschwitz's Dr. Josef Mengele justifying his gruesome medical experiments, or by the Virginia Tech killer explaining why he committed mass murder? When will Osama bin Laden's guest column appear? Newspapers don't have the right to bestow editorial credibility on those bent on genocide. (Los Angeles Times)

(video) Marvin Kalb: Hezbollah intimidated & manipulated western media

Prof. Marvin Kalb is saying that Hezbollah intimidated and manipulated the western media and that Israel deals with news while Hezbollah deals with news that is propaganda. Look at minute 4:01 in which he tells how Hezbollah misled the western media by making up an event that never occurred in reality and also at the start where he talks about how Hezbollah threatened to confiscate cameras of journalists.
The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006: The Media as a Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict

By Marvin Kalb
Working Paper Number:RWP07-012Submitted: 02/28/2007
Based on content analysis of global media and interviews with many diplomats and journalists, this paper describes the trajectory of the media from objective observer to fiery advocate, becoming in fact a weapon of modern warfare. The paper also shows how an open society, Israel, is victimized by its own openness and how a closed sect, Hezbollah, can retain almost total control of the daily message of journalism and propaganda.

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