The AP Bias

(Photo: Associated Press)

(Photo: Associated Press)

From 2006 to 2011, journalist Matti Friedman was assigned to the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press (AP). During that time, Friedman was dismayed at the blatant bias that reporters and senior editors showed toward Israel, a bias which clearly slanted the news against the Jewish state.

In the aftermath of this summer’s conflict, Friedman wrote a Tablet Magazine article on the anti-Israel bias he witnessed while reporting for the AP. He highlighted the disproportionate media coverage that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict receives as opposed to other, more devastating conflicts around the world.  The piece also exposed editorial decisions Friedman witnessed firsthand, choices clearly based on ideological and not journalistic considerations.

In a newly published article in The Atlantic, Friedman blows the whistle on yet another disturbing trend in the media’s coverage of Israel. Non-Governmental-Agencies (NGOs) have long been biased against the Jewish state, and many are not accountable to anyone.

The only oversight body existing today – to ensure the fairness and honesty of NGOs – is a group called NGO Monitor. Interestingly, NGO Monitor has found many cases of dishonesty and corruption within the growing community of NGOs, as well as a slew of such groups whose sole mission is to defame Israel. As Friedman reports, NGOs work closely with journalists covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and in return, these reporters  never cover stories that shed light on the biases of such groups towards Israel.

And so, Matti Friedman had explicit orders to “never quote [NGO Monitor] or its director.” In his Atlantic article, Friedman candidly describes the attitude the AP took toward NGO Monitor and its director:

“In my time as an AP writer moving through the local conflict, with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor [Gerald Steinberg director of NGO Monitor.]”

Why would a reputable news organization like the AP intentionally silence reporters who want to do their job and report critically about NGOs? But after reading Friedman’s…

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Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 at 8:36 AM  | Stand For Israel

Business As Usual with UNRWA

(Photo: flickr/ imagenenaccion)

(Photo: flickr/ imagenenaccion)

Last week, Stand for Israel looked at the (sadly) unsurprising links between Hamas and the United Nations’ UNRWA agency. Now former U.S. national security adviser Elliott Abrams looks at the United States’ responsibility to investigate and fix these ties between the U.N. and the Gaza-based terror organization:

This month the Department of State published its “Framework for Cooperation Between the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the Government of the United States of America for 2015″ …

The Framework might as well be legally binding, for all the reforms it demands of UNRWA.

What reforms might one seek?

Think about the discoveries of last summer, during the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas.  July 17: 20 rockets found in a vacant UNRWA school. July 22: more rockets found in another UNRWA school. July 30: rockets found in an UNRWA school for the third time. Nor was that all. In the first case, it seems that Hamas was called upon to remove the rockets, which suggested that UNRWA was turning them back over to Hamas rather than seizing them or asking the UN for help. In the 2012 employee union elections, 25 of 27 seats apparently went to Hamas supporters. (This may make it slightly less mysterious why Hamas can hide rockets at UNRWA locations. And here is a more recent report of support for terrorism by UNRWA staff.) Finally, there was this moment during last summer’s war: “Three IDF soldiers were killed on Wednesday in Gaza in an explosion at a booby-trapped UNRWA health clinic that housed the opening of a tunnel….”

Here are some ideas for those regular bilateral consultations in 2015: No more business as usual. Thorough, independent investigations of each rocket incident. An investigation of the health clinic incident. An investigation of the influence of Hamas on UNRWA staff, and through that staff and its union on UNRWA schools and…

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Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 at 8:34 AM  | Stand For Israel

Netanyahu’s Youngest Son Begins IDF Service

(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/ASHERNET)

(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/ASHERNET)

In Israel, all young people are required to serve in the military. That includes offspring of those in the highest reaches of the Israeli government. The Jerusalem Post reports that today, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s youngest son, Avner, began his service with the IDF:

You’re in the army now! Avner Netanyahu, the youngest son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, began his three-year mandatory army service on Monday, enlisting in the IDF’s Combat Intelligence Collection Corps.

Like every soldier on the first day of service, Avner, accompanied by his famous parents, arrived at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill.

“Like any parents sending their child off to the army,” Netanyahu said, “we are excited to see our son” begin his army service.

He and his wife Sara were “full of pride” at the milestone of their son, and like “every home in Israel, we are no different.”

Netanyahu told his son to protect the country and protect himself, the proud father told reporters.

In a personal note to other soldiers drafted that day, he wished them success and reassured other parents that “everything will be OK.”

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Monday, December 1st, 2014 at 9:56 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israeli Stabbed by Palestinian Woman in West Bank

(Photo: flickr/kelleelund)

(Photo: flickr/kelleelund)

Even before the recent terrorist massacre in a Jerusalem synagogue, terror stabbings and vehicular attacks have been on the rise in Israel. The Times of Israel reports on yet another such attack that occurred today in the West Bank, where one of The Fellowship’s adopted IDF battalions responded when a Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli man:

An Israeli was stabbed and lightly injured Monday morning in the West Bank south of Jerusalem.

The female Palestinian attacker was shot and badly injured by security forces after assaulting the victim at Gush Etzion junction, on a major road in the Etzion settlement bloc.

Emergency services provided first aid to the victim.

Initial reports from the IDF indicated the victim was a civilian …

The Palestinian Ma’an news site identified the attacker as 22-year-old Amal Taqatqa from Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem, and said she was affiliated with the Fatah movement.

In 2011, Taqatqa tried to stab a soldier at the same location, according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an.

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Monday, December 1st, 2014 at 9:45 AM  | Stand For Israel

Hamas Says Unity Government Is Over

(Photo: flickr/ crazymaq)

(Photo: flickr/ crazymaq)

While Hamas and Fatah, no fans of one another, came together earlier this year by forming a Palestinian “unity government” – uniting in their shared hatred of Israel – the two factions now seem ready to go their separate ways once again. The Jerusalem Post reports that Hamas has declared the unity government “over”:

Hamas announced on Sunday that the unity government established with Fatah over the summer has ended.

The unity government’s six-month term has expired, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said at a press conference in Gaza City, adding that talks would take place regarding a future government, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.

Hamas “isn’t interested in incitement, but rather seeks to maintain national unity,” he said.

Gaza’s leaders responded to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who accused Israel and Hamas of secretly negotiating. Hamas called on the Palestinian president to stop spreading lies, Israel Radio reported, and accused Abbas’s forces of arresting its members for political reasons.

Zuhri said that Hamas “does not control the Gaza Strip at all…. If the national consensus government doesn’t want to take responsibility for Gaza, this doesn’t mean the government is exempted from this responsibility,” Ma’an reported.

Abbas said earlier that Hamas is completely responsible for Gaza, and not the joint Fatah-Hamas unity government.

He continued, saying that he will not negotiate over land with Israel, and accused Israel of holding secret negotiations with Hamas.

“I have evidence that Hamas and Israel are conducting negotiations,” he said.

According to an interview Abbas gave to an Egyptian TV station on Saturday, Hamas and Israel were directly negotiating in secret and reached “understandings,” Channel 10 reported.

The Palestinian president claimed in the interview that Israel offered Hamas control over 50 percent of the West Bank and that negotiations would be held over 15 years to decide on control over the other half.

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Monday, December 1st, 2014 at 8:58 AM  | Stand For Israel

Cities Against Israel

(Photo: Flickr/ Takver)

(Photo: Flickr/ Takver)

Despite the terror attacks that led to this summer’s conflict in Gaza, and despite the ongoing terror attacks against Israelis – the most recent of which are reported in today’s Daily Dispatch – so much of the world still seems more concerned with opposing Israel than it is opposing the terrorism the Jewish state faces. A good example of this is a British city that has voted to boycott all Israeli goods. Writing at Arutz Sheva, Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld says that such anti-Israel actions merely draw attention away from the true enemy:

The city council of Leicester, UK, has decided to boycott all Israeli goods. It is a town in which 19% of the population is Muslim. The Labor party completely dominates the city council.

This new event is opening yet another avenue in boycotting Israel. If one looks back into the history of boycotts, the only precedent which comes to mind concerns an occurrence in Norway …

Shimon Samuels, The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director for International Relations, described that proposed boycott of Israeli products in a letter to Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as:

  • an act of anti-Semitism in the spirit of Hitler’s “don’t buy from Jews” campaign of the 1930
  • a continuation of Norway’s collaborationist history under its own Nazi leader, Vidkun Quisling
  • in violation of the freedom of commerce provisions of the European Union and the World Trade Organization
  • an embarrassment to the Norwegian foreign policy, as it places Oslo in the camp of the rejectionist of the Middle East peace process and the forces of terrorism

Much of what Samuels wrote is also true for Leicester. There is one other, more recent aspect which was not relevant in the Norwegian situation: the continued massive, unselective immigration of Muslims into Europe, which has been the most negative event since the Holocaust for European Jewry, as well as for Israel.

Some of the previous battles concerning cities and their particular relationship to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have focused on other issues. A few are worthwhile mentioning.

In 2004,…

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Monday, December 1st, 2014 at 8:35 AM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: With Praise and Thanksgiving

(Photo: wikicommons/אוטו גיל)

(Photo: wikicommons/אוטו גיל)

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD:
    “He is good;
        his love toward Israel endures forever.”
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
(Ezra 3:11)

In this photo from 1940s on a kibbutz, farmers rejoice at the bountiful land God has provided. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, November 28th, 2014 at 7:00 AM  | Stand For Israel

EU Vote to Recognize Palestinian Statehood Postponed

iitnA vote in the European Union to recognize Palestinian statehood has been postponed — thanks, in part, to the hard work by Israeli delegates who fought for more time to change minds. The vote will now take place in mid-December. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called recognition of a Palestinian state “a grave mistake.”

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• The deadline to reach an agreement between Western nations and Iran over its nuclear program was extended after talks broke down this week. The new deadline is set for the end of June 2015.
• The U.S. continues to pressure Russia to honor its side of the peace agreement it struck with Ukraine this fall by adhering to the ceasefire and removing military forces.
• With tensions mounting in the West Bank region, Hamas has reportedly test-fired rockets into the Mediterranean Sea — a move that some in Israel see as a show of force.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, with a message of thanksgiving for Christian support for Israel.

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Thursday, November 27th, 2014 at 5:00 PM  | Stand for Israel

Happy Thanksgiving

(Photo: wikicommons/ פנחס קריסטל)

(Photo: wikicommons/ פנחס קריסטל)

“The LORD will surely comfort Zion
   and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
   her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
   thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
(Isaiah 51:3)

To celebrate Thanksgiving, Stand for Israel is suspending activity Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28. We’ll be back on Monday, December 1 — and rest assured, if any critically important developments related to Israel come up over the weekend, we’ll be here to let you know about them. We wish each and every one of you a happy Thanksgiving, and thank you all for always standing for Israel!

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Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at 2:59 PM  | Stand For Israel

Majority of Americans Oppose a Nuclear Iran

(Photo: wikicommons/ Fastfission)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Fastfission)

As the deadline for an agreement between the United States and other world powers on Iran’s nuclear program was extended, we’ve been keeping an eye on global reactions to the situation – American, Israeli, and otherwise. The Times of Israel’s David Horovitz reports that 69% of Americans oppose a deal that would allow Iran – which they consider the greatest threat to the U.S. – to obtain nuclear capabilities:

More than two-thirds of Americans oppose a deal with Iran that would allow it to maintain nuclear weapons capabilities, according to a new survey by American political strategist Frank Luntz. Americans are also overwhelmingly mistrustful of Iran, and consider it to be the country that poses the greatest threat to the United States …

… an overwhelming majority of Americans believe the Iranians are stalling rather than negotiating in good faith, and that the regime in Tehran cannot be relied upon to honor any accord it may reach.

More broadly, Americans overwhelmingly feel the world to be less safe today than 10 years ago, and believe America is weaker today than it was 10 years ago …

The survey also showed 62% of Americans consider that Iran is an enemy of the US, while 37% consider it neutral, and 1% consider it an ally. It found that 73% of Americans consider that Iran is an enemy of Israel, while 25% consider it neutral, and 1% consider it an ally.

A staggering 81% of respondents do not believe the current government in Iran can be trusted to keep agreements, compared to 5% who think it can be trusted. And an even more overwhelming 85% do not believe the Iranians’ assertions that their nuclear program is peaceful, as compared to 8% who do.

“When it comes to Iran, the Israeli prime minister is closer to the American people than the US president,” Luntz said of the findings. This was a reference to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for any deal with Iran to provide for the dismantling of Iran’s entire nuclear…

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Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at 8:36 AM  | Stand For Israel

"informing, equipping and mobilizing individuals and churches to support the
State of Israel"

Rabbi’s Commentary
Answering His Call, Faithfully and Joyfully

2014 has certainly been a year of struggles. But those challenges have been answered by God, and by His faithful followers. The Fellowship and our generous friends have been able to offer assistance to those who need it most, from the Holy Land to the former Soviet Union, and we look hopefully to the coming year as one of peace, prosperity, and repairing the world.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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