Israel Resource Review 27th April, 1999

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From Bastion of Balance to Defamation of Israel

by David Bedein

As a matter of policy, ADL's office in Jerusalem had always fought to cope with any media coverage of Israel that would reflect any hint of either anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism.

The ADL office in Israel helped to expose the anti-Israel bias of the 1987 TV documentary on NBC entitled, Six Days and Twenty Years.

In 1988, the ADL investigated tendentious human rights reportage of AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL and published a study of the anti-Israel bias of human rights reports that were written by AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. At the time, ADL helped to expose the fact that AMNESTY reports were based on fraudulent data and research provided to them by the PLO and PLO-organized human rights organizations.

In 1989, ADL helped to investigate and counter the anti-Israel PBS documentary entitled DAYS OF RAGE.

In 1990, ADL helped to investigate and eventually to expel an anti-Semitic bureau chief of a major TV news network in Jerusalem.

Also in 1990, the ADL helped to bring former US undersecretary of State Allen Keyes to Israel to counter Arab propagandists who were at the time overwhelming the media with anti-Israeli informants who were associated with the US state department.

In sum, throughout the Intifada, the ADL played an unsung role in issuing numerous position papers and leaflets that countered the numerous position papers that were provided to the media by a closely coordinated network of pro-Arab lobbyists.

Today, all that has changed. The ADL no longer responds to the organizations that orchestrate anti-Israel information for the media. Instead, the ADL staff director in Jerusalem is now an active member of the Rabbis for Human Rights, which is closely coordinating its efforts with the same organizations that have been placing anti-Israel material in the media for over a decade.

The RABBIS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS is part of an umbrella coalition known as Committee Against Home Demolitions, which claims that Israel has become an apartheid regime that has "destroyed" 30,000 Arab homes, making them all "homeless". No mention that this figure is comprehensive, inclusive of 1967. No mention of the thousands of homes, medical facilities and Universities which Israel DID build for Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza since 1967. No mention of the 1,300 homes built by Israel for Arab refugees near Nablus that are unoccupied because of UNRWA's refusal to allow Arabs to leave their shacks in refugee camps.

When the ADL was asked by the media to respond to this defamation campaign that has been promulgated by the Rabbis for Human Rights and the Committee against Home Demolitions, the ADL director asked his assistant to tell reporters that he agreed with their premise - that Israel is indeed behaving like a racist White South Africa regime and that it has indeed destroyed 30,000 homes.

Meanwhile, The ADL's annual survey on anti-Semitism, issued on the day before HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY each year and produced in conjunction with Tel Aviv University's prestigious Stephen Roth Institute of Anti-Semitism at Tel Aviv University, has for the past five years glossed over the consistent anti-Jewish expression of the official organs of the Palestinian Authority.

In 1994, 1995 and 1996, the full text distributed to the press of the ADL's TAU international survey did not even mention the Palestine Authority.

In 1997, the full text of the survey mentioned the PA in only a few paragraphs and analyzed one PA poet.

The 1998 report mentioned only that the Israeli government had expressed concern about expressions of anti-Jewish sentiments in the official electronic media of the Palestinian Authority's PBC.

The 1999 ADL annual survey on anti-Semitism chose to casually mention that the holocaust is often "discussed" within the Palestinian Authority, , "forgetting" to mention that the PA often describes Israel as a Nazi state in its broadcasts and telecasts.

ADL's TAU The staff who present these reports have simply declined to study the output of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation TV and radio stations, and canceled the one session been had set up for them to visit a media lab that monitors the PBC.

Since the ADL and the staff of Tel Aviv University had not made any academic review of the PBC broadcasts and telecasts, that policy of oversight led to yet another glowing inaccuracy:

In the 1999 ADL survey on anti-Semitism, the PLO "nakba" observance last May 15, 1998, which the PA has declared to be "their" holocaust remembrance day, because it is the calendar day that marks Israel's creation, was described by the report's chief researcher as a "legitimate" form of Palestinian nationalism.

When I asked the researcher to comment on the official designation of the PBC TV of MAY 15, 1998 which described NAKBA as the day of war against the "Zionist-Nazi" enemy, the researcher simply denied it.

After all, she said, she had does not watch or review official Palestinian TV.

Perhaps the unkindest cut of all occurred at the presentation of the ADL annual survey on anti-Semitism, when the ADL was asked about the reports presented to the ADL concerning the new Palestinian Authority curriculum and a recent academic review of 140 PA schoolbooks which have been shown to teach hatred of Jews to a new generation of Palestinian children. This curriculum has been shared with the staff of the ADL.

Instead of responding with concern, the ADL director in Jerusalem preferred to repeat and give credence to the assurances of Yassir Arafat who had met with the ADL 6 months ago and had presented them with the information that the books were all published abroad that a peace curriculum was being prepared for the year 2002.

The ADL preferred to repeat Arafat's statement, despite the fact that the ADL had already reviewed the evidence which showed that vast majority of the texts presented to the ADL for its review were marked, 'Published in Ramallah by the Palestinian Ministry of Education', which as a matter of course eliminates any reference of connections between Jews and the land of Israel.

The ADL director chose not to report the fact that his staff had met with the researchers who shared with ADL all of the evidence of this brand new curriculum that has been introduced into the school system of the Palestinian Authority which prepares Palestinian children for war.

It would seem that Arafat has more credibility with the ADL Israel office than the Israeli academics who are researching the Palestinian school system.

The ADL Israel office this year have reported on other concerns with similar myopic policy concerns.

In October, 1998, the ADL has issued a briefing paper to the media which describe the settlers beyond Israel's green line as a great security threat facing Israel. The staffer who wrote the report did not even bother to visit the settlements or meet with the settlers.

In November, 1998, the ADL issued a widely circulated condemnation of Zev Hartman, a minor political candidate in the Nazareth Elite elections who had made racist comments about Arabs during the campaign.

Yet when ADL was asked to comment on Arab candidate MK Azmi Bishara's praise of the Hezbullah's call for the extermination of the Zionist entity, ADL wrote me that they would not issue any statement in this regard, since Bishara'a statement was only "political". Later, the ADL informed me that they had sent a strong letter of protest to Bishara. I asked ADL if it would circulate the letter against Bishara, as they had with Hartman. The answer: This was "private" correspondence.

In sum, The March, 1999 ADL ISRAEL quarterly report reported that on six occasions during 1998, the ADL office in Israel had intervened to challenge racial prejudice in Israel. Each instance involved inappropriate acts of Orthodox Jews. From the ADL report, it would seem that no other sector of Israeli society needed to come under the scrutiny of the ADL office in Israel during 1998.

ADL in Israel would not respond to certain 1996 Israeli political commercials that compared Orthodox Judaism to a spreading AIDS disease.

ADL in Israel would not respond to the 1998 Beersheva judge who compared the Orthodox to lice.

ADL in Israel would not respond to demonstrators who used attack dogs to stop little children from going to a Talmud Torah in a secular Israeli neighborhood. egged on by two Israeli political organizations.

ADL in Israel, once a bastion for promulgating balance of media coverage for Israel, now tips the scales of balance . . . .

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Shimon Peres:
Overthrow Saddam
Mideast's Villain: It's Not Islam; It's Saddam
by Shimon Peres
Special to Washington Jewish Week
25th March, 1999

President Clinton deserves every praise for "Desert Fox." Yet it, too, did not resolve the Iraqi dilemma: Iraq is still controlled by a pathological despot who initiated bloody battles with his neighbors (Iran in 1981, Kuwait in 1991) and his own people (the Kurdish minority) during which unconventional weapons were utilized.

Iraq paid with hundreds of thousands of casualties for these bloody adventures, and Saddam Hussein is hungry for more: more weapons and greater destructive power, endangering neighbors near and afar.

The threat is uniquely troubling as some of Saddam's favorite weapons -- biological, for example -- can be miniaturized, hence easily concealed and transferred beyond control. Others -- be they chemical or weapons-grade uranium-producing centrifuges -- are hard to pin-point in the vast reaches of Iraq. This proved difficult under the U.S. and British-inspired United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) regime. It will be even more difficult -- perhaps impossible -- without it.

Saddam's lethal arsenal is supported by a verbal one: He uses the name of Allah in order to incite Muslims the world over; he preaches the "liberation of Palestine" to mobilize support among Arabs; he creates images of fear to justify brutality at home.

If there is a war criminal in our midst, it is this man Saddam Hussein. The convergence of a serial murderer, weapons of mass destruction and verbal agitation all in one man creates an imminent threat that the world cannot ignore at the dawn of the second millennium.

Yet, the world is hardly united in addressing the menace. Some, most notably the United States and Great Britain, take the lead in shouldering global responsibility to contain Saddam and those who might otherwise emulate him. Others, such as China, Russia, and France, allow their hesitation to provide Saddam with illusions of hope. Those who question the U.S. military presence in the Middle East must ask themselves what would the region be like in its absence. How else can one prevent the emergence of a region saturated with chemical, biological and, eventually, nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver them with devastating accuracy in the service of violent fundamentalism or reckless dictatorship. Thus, ending a war with Iraq is hardly the objective. Removing its capacity -- or, better yet, incentive -- to build a new war machine, is. This cannot happen as long as Baghdad is ruled by Saddam.

An interesting and frightening New York Times article a few months ago described the devastating effect of germ warfare and the potential for bio-terrorism. The same article also told the story of another approach -- of a country that undertook to destroy the arsenal and production capacity it inherited from days past.

The former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan was the site of the Stepnogek germ production center. Today, those structures stand abandoned and serve no evil purpose. In 1996, the United States concluded its symbolic ($5 million worth) effort to transform the site into a peaceful location.

With 130 different ethnic groups and trying to accommodate the Muslims and Christians while still emerging from the ruins of the Soviet era, Kazakhstan proved it can be different. A Muslim society need not be aggressive. Quite the contrary. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has opted for a responsible course of internal reconstruction and external peace.

He proved it in his attitude toward Israel as well: Nazarbayev was the first president of a post-Soviet republic to visit Israel and has maintained most friendly relations since.

Kazakhstan is still struggling with serious socioeconomic challenges. Nonetheless, Nazarbayev has long concluded that a policy of development and progress at home must be reinforced by the pursuit of peace abroad. The alternative, the Saddam-like choice of an investment in the instruments of war, is an assured prescription for continued poverty.

Two Muslim countries. Two Muslim leaders. The one launched on a course of horror. The other choosing to invest in life. It is not Islam; it is Saddam. And he must go.

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Our Fascists
by Mohamed El-Sayed Said
Deputy Director of Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies
Al-Ahram Weekly, 8th-14th April, 1999

Full Text
Why do the Albanians of Kosovo deserve self-rule, but not the Kurds in Turkey? [IMRA: And the Kurds of Iraq?] Why do the Albanians merit being defended, while the Kurds deserve the humiliation of watching the capture of their leader and his dispatch, blindfolded, to stand trial for high treason by the Turkish military? Why does the US support Turkey's assault, inside Iraq, on the forces of the Kurdistan Workers Party, while it strikes Belgrade to prevent it from attacking Kosovo Liberation Army bases in a province which is still under the control of the Serb Republic?

It will be a long time before all the secrets behind the US's double standards vis-a-vis national minorities are disclosed. Nevertheless, two points are clear. First, NATO's war against the Serbs is devoid of any true global support. This is especially evident in the Arab region, despite NATO's allegations that the strikes are in defence of the Muslims in Kosovo.

Second, Turkish military fascism has always been a strategic ally of the US. In contrast, Serbian fascism, from its inception, has been "independent" of the US and its European allies.

Ronald Reagan overtly supported dictators in Central and Latin America because it was in the US's interest. He referred to the rulers of those countries as "our dictators". The difference, therefore, between Turkey and Serbia is that the Turkish military are, to adapt Reagan's phrase, "the US's fascists".

Translations by
Dr. Joseph Lerner,
Co-Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645

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