White House Protest Corps


American Media Failure Again: Israeli Raid Coverage

American Media Failure Again

Israeli Raid Coverage

By LINN WASHINGTON, Jr.

http://www.counterpunch.org/washington06152010.html

An American art student loses an eye when struck in the face by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli Defense Force (IDF) personnel breaking up a demonstration in the occupied West Bank which itself is a protest against the deadly commando raid on the Free Gaza flotilla.

No, you didn’t miss U.S. news media coverage of this IDF attack on 21-year-old Emily Henchowicz, a student at Cooper Union in New York City who was standing with a group of foreigners during that demonstration near a checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

You didn’t miss it because the mainstream media in the U.S. ignored it.
Apparently news of Henchowicz’s maiming was not news deemed worthy enough for print in the New York Times or Washington Post or meriting broadcast network/cable news attention.

It’s no surprise that the avowedly right-wing FOX ignored this incident, but the liberal-leaning MSNBC ignored this story also.

The blackout of this partial blinding of an American citizen darkens the already black eye the mainstream American news media has giving itself by its crimped coverage of the deadly Israeli raid on that flotilla attempting to bring humanitarian supplies to the Israeli-besieged Gaza and of the international fallout in the wake of that illegal raid.

The same major U.S. newspapers that found space during the two weeks after that May 31st assault in international waters for over 1,200 articles about the Tea Party or that “movement’s” darling du jour Rand Paul, carried only 58 references to the American-born teen killed during that raid, according to a review of articles in the LexisNexis database of U.S. newspapers and wires.

So, what would explain why the fatal shooting of Troy, NY-born Furkan Dogan’s merits only one-ninth of the 500+ article coverage devoted to prattle from Sarah Palin, all of which was published during that same two week post-raid period?

Maybe it’s the fact that the 19-year-old Dogan, who had dual US/Turkish citizenship, lived the last 17-years of his short life in Turkey. Did his “Turkishness” trump the news that autopsy results showed the young Dogan had died from multiple gun shots including four shots to the head, one of them from the back?

Or maybe this minimalist coverage of Dogan’s death, as documented by a Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) anylisis, results from the fact that much of the “U.S. press coverage takes Israeli government claims at face value…”

If FAIR’s criticism that the media exhibited a lack of “skepticism” toward Israeli government spin is on target, maybe media managers simply embraced Israeli government claims that their crack commandos only boarded the Mavi Marmara armed with paint-ball guns and small caliber pistols, and then concluded that perhaps Dogan must have died either from gunfire from his fellow peace activists, or that he had shot himself four times in the head?

FAIR cited a Washington Post editorial as an “appalling” example of the U.S. news media’s penchant for reporting on the Israeli assault exclusively through Israel’s eyes.

That Post editorial characterized participants in the flotilla as a “motley collection,” deserving no sympathy due to their ulterior motive on “provoking a confrontation.”

Acknowledging that the Israeli raid was “misguided and badly executed,” this editorial in one of the nation’s major newspapers (a paper that did not report on the blinding of Emily Henchowicz) took a pro-Israeli perspective, inferring that calls for an international investigation into the flotilla raid could potentially become part of a campaign to “de-legitimize the Jewish State.” Such language is a talking-point lifted straight from the Israeli government and its American lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Irrespective of the sympathy many Americans have for Israel, the Ethics Code of America’s Society of Professional Journalists states that journalists should: support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

Any fair-and-balanced report on the flotilla raid would have to have to include the perspective of flotilla participant and Israel Parliament member Hanin Zoabi, an Israeli-Arab, which ran in an AP article, and which was thus available to virtually every news editor in the country. In that AP story, which ran on June 10, she said, “The Israeli military is like a rapist that gets scratched and then blames the victim…Israel acts like a bull.”

According to a LexisNexis review condcted three days later, Zoabi’s words had still not been published in any major American newspaper.

Many American journalists – like many Americans – may feel Israel is justified in taking military actions in its professed self-defense, even as other Americans might consider those actions to be war crimes. Yet the point remains that support for the Israeli position does not justify suppression by the media of information integral to the story that conflicts with that position. At that point, the “news” becomes simply propaganda.

As George Curry, columnist for the BlackPressUSA site, noted in a recent article about the FAIR analysis, “For years, Palestinians have been unable to get their side fairly reported in the U.S. media and the latest international incident is yet another example.”

The critiques of Curry, FAIR and many others about the pro-Israeli/anti-Palestinian slant in America’s news media echoes a decades-old finding about news media failings to adequately cover race-related matters in the United States.
America’s news media have “not communicated to the majority of their audience – which is white – a sense of the degradation, misery, and hopelessness of living in the ghetto,” stated the March 1968 report of the Kerner Commission, which examined the causes of urban riots during the 1960s.

The Kerner Commission’s examination of news media practices criticized exclusionary coverage that consistently failed to provide context critical for a full understandings of race-related issues.

“If what the white American reads in the newspapers or sees on television conditions his expectations of what is ordinary and normal in the larger society, he will neither understand nor accept the black American,” the Kerner Report noted, concluding that slanted news coverage had “contributed to the black-white schism in this country.”

Slanted coverage on Palestinian issues similarly deprives Americans of the context needed to understand the complicated controversy that keeps the Middle East volatile and keeps America as a primary target of terrorists.

While accounts of that blinding injury to Emily Henchowicz are available in the blogosphere, the Inter Press Service is the only major U.S. news organization listed in the LexisNexis database to carry a story specifically reporting on the incident.

A June 1, 2010 IPS report from Ramallah stated that Henchowicz “…appeared to be deliberately targeted when a teargas canister was fired at her head, causing her to lose an eye.”

That same IPS article included context about IDF personnel regularly violating regulations barring firing those powerful gas canisters directly at protestors…violations that have produced in a number of deaths and serious injuries.

That Society of Professional Journalists Ethics Code urges journalists to “Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it’s unpopular to do so.”

The failure of many American media organizations to adhere to SPJ Code provisions produces the dynamic of: text without context is pretext.

LINN WASHINGTON is a founding member of the new independent collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper ThisCantBeHappening.net. His work, and that of colleagues John Grant, Dave Lindorff and Charles Young, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net



German Activists File War Crimes Complaints Against Israel

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,700127,00.html

By John Goetz

Left Party parliamentarians Annette Groth (l.) and Inge Höger (r.)  together with human rights activist Norman Paech (c.).

Left Party parliamentarians Annette Groth (l.) and Inge Höger (r.) together with human rights activist Norman Paech (c.).

Public prosecutors in Germany are looking into a war crimes complaint filed against Israel by two members of parliament with the far-left Left Party and a human rights activist who were on board the Mavi Marmara when Israeli troops stormed it 11 days ago.

Eleven days ago, the Israeli military stormed the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla carrying pro-Palestinian activists toward the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade. Now, it has become a case for German prosecutors.

Human rights activist Norman Paech and two German parliamentarians from the far-left Left Party, Annette Groth and Inge Höger, have filed criminal complaints for “numerous potential offences, including war crimes against individuals and command responsibility … as well as false imprisonment.”

At 5:10 a.m. on May 31, the complaint reads, Höger, Groth and Paech heard from the captain of the Mavi Marmara via the ship’s loudspeaker that the Israeli soldiers who had boarded the ship as part of the commando operation were taking over control of the ship. An hour later, Israeli soldiers ordered the Germans on deck, where their backpacks and other belongings were searched. Their hands were temporarily bound.

German Jurisdiction?

It wasn’t until 9:10 p.m. that parliamentarian Annette Groth was given the possibility of contacting the German Embassy. At 2 a.m. on June 1, the Germans were brought to the airport in a prisoner transport vehicle for their flight back home.

According to international criminal law expert Florian Jessberger of Berlin’s Humboldt University, “there is cause to believe that false imprisonment was perpetrated as understood by German law.” He says that German criminal law would have jurisdiction “irrespective of the fact that the act was perpetrated on the high seas.”

German public prosecutors told SPIEGEL ONLINE that they were currently investigating whether there was enough evidence to warrant pursuing the case further.

‘Barbaric’

The Israeli raid of the Mavi Marmara, which resulted in the deaths of nine activists onboard the ship, unleashed a storm of criticism against Israel and its ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip. It has also severely damaged Israel’s relations with Turkey.

The blockade began in 2007 after the Islamist militants from Hamas took over power in Gaza. Israel claims that many of those traveling with the flotilla had ties to Hamas or other terrorist groups, but the activists deny the charge.

Upon returning home to Germany, Höger told reporters that “we felt like we were in a war, like we had been kidnapped.” Her colleague Groth spoke of a “barbaric act.”



Israel plans to send bill to Palestinians over boycotts
June 14, 2010, 1:38 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Catrina Stewart, The Independent
11 June 2010

What do The Pixies, Elvis Costello, and Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, have in common? A cursory glance might suggest not much yet all have deeply irked Israel.

When Mr Fayyad first embarked on a door-to-door campaign to persuade Palestinians to shun all products made by Jewish settlers, the Israeli public simply shrugged. But when veteran crooner Costello peered into his conscience and pulled a scheduled appearance in Tel Aviv, Israelis sat up and took notice.


Jewish settler in Hebron throws wine at Palestinian Muslimah

Embattled and increasingly isolated, a group of politicians are now proposing a bill that would outlaw boycotts against the Jewish State, both homegrown and international.

Should the proposal gain traction in its current form, it would force boycotters to pay compensation to settlers who claim their business had suffered. It would also affect foreign citizens calling for a boycott of Israel, potentially barring them from Israel for 10 years.

The Land of Israel, a right-wing parliamentary lobby group committed to Jewish settlement of the West Bank, submitted the bill with the support of 25 politicians from right wing and centrist parties. If approved, it could theoretically force the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay thousands of dollars in compensation to Jewish businesses affected by the Fayyad-led boycott campaign, a scenario that would likely spark furious reaction from Palestinians.

The move comes amid a growing global backlash against Israeli policies, which has intensified since Israel launched its bloody raid on a Turkish-led humanitarian convoy trying to breach the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Even before the flotilla affair, a campaign to persuade artists and authors to protest what they describe as an illegal and oppressive military occupation of the Palestinian territories was gaining ground. “Merely having your name added to a concert may be interpreted as a political act… and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent,” Costello said in a statement prior to the raid.

After last week’s deadly raid on the flotilla, US rock band The Pixies cancelled their gig. Several other bands have followed suit, prompting Israeli music promoter Shuki Weiss to complain that performers are waging a form of “cultural terrorism”.

Human rights activists, meanwhile, decried efforts by politicians to alienate those critical of Israel with new legislation. “We have wild right-wing politicians presenting wild demagogic bills … which create a very nasty public atmosphere,” said Adam Keller, spokesman for Gush Shalom, an Israeli NGO that has joined calls for a boycott of settler-made goods. “If this is passed into law, it would mean a total breakdown between Israel and the PA.”

Israel has condemned Mr Fayyad’s boycott campaign as harmful to the fragile peace process, and Israeli settler leaders have urged the government to respond with harsh retaliatory measures.

Should the proposal gain traction in its current form, it would force boycotters to pay compensation to settlers who claim their business had suffered. It would also affect foreign citizens calling for a boycott of Israel, potentially barring them from Israel for 10 years.

But activists said attempts to muzzle peace activists would make the movement stronger. “No Knesset laws can stop this tide of non-violent, morally consistent struggle for justice, self determination, equality and freedom,” political activist Omar Barghouti said in a statement.

Mr Fayyad, an economist by training, has provided the boycott campaign with fresh impetus in recent weeks, putting it at the heart of a peaceful resistance movement aimed at winning over international support. The boycott calls for Palestinians to shun all products made in the Jewish settlements, most of which sit on expropriated Palestinian farmland and are regarded as illegal under international law.

The PA has also barred Palestinians from working in the settlements as of the end of this year, an unpopular move only slightly eased by the promise of a $50m “dignity” fund designed to help workers make the transition. The PA has threatened those who fail to comply with fines.

The Jewish settlements, which sit atop the West Bank hills, have long been a thorn in the side of the peace process. Palestinians have maintained that as long as Jews are grabbing Palestinian land in the West Bank, Israel cannot be committed to a two-state solution.

“If I… were a Palestinian, I would certainly join the boycott that is being imposed on the settlements and their products,” wrote Yossi Sarid, a commentator in liberal Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. “After all, it would not be human to expect me to buy my tombstone from people who were determined to bury my hopes for a good life and independence.”

Israeli Minister of Minority Affairs, Avishay Braverman, who is responsible for Israel’s Arab population, said the boycott was a diversion from the pressing need for direct peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. US-sponsored efforts have brought both sides back to talks, but not in the same room.

“This boycott will have no real impact on Israel, but will harm Palestinian workers,” said Mr Braverman, a former World Bank economist. What it will do “is create a more general boycott on Israel that will harm relations between Israel and the Palestinians”.

And not everyone is moved, Rod Stewart, Elton John and Diana Krall, who is married to Costello, are still scheduled to perform in Israel later this year.

Meanwhile, authors Margaret Atwood and Amitav Ghosh, the joint recipients of an Israeli literary award, have bristled at calls from activists to refuse the prize, with Atwood describing cultural boycotts as “a form of censorship”.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-plans-to-send-bill-to-palestinians-over-boycotts-1997295.html



Protest Opportunity in Washington DC: Christians United for Israel
CUFI invites you to A Night to Honor Israel

The Leadership of CUFI invites you to
A Night to Honor Israel

at the Fifth Annual CUFI Washington Summit

Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Please be seated by 6:45 p.m. (Doors open at 6:00 p.m.)

Washington, D.C. Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place Washington, DC

$50 Per Person

RSVP for this NIght to Honor  Israel

During the Holocaust, too many Christians were silent, and we were left to mourn the slaughter of 6 million Jews. Today, Bible-believing Christians must speak up and stand up for Israel.
Our faith demands it. The times require it.
We will be silent no longer.  Please attend CUFI’s Night to Honor Israel to stand up and speak up for the State of Israel and the Jewish people.  Click here to RSVP.

Featured Speakers: Pastor John Hagee and Ambassador Oren

A Night to Honor Israel is an expression of Christian solidarity with the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

Event photos
RSVP for this NIght to Honor  Israel



NOW AVAILABLE: Full 60-minute footage smuggled from Mavi Marmara

NOW AVAILABLE: Full 60-minute footage smuggled from Mavi Marmara

June 11, 2010

MEDIA ALERT:

JUST RELEASED: ONE HOUR OF FOOTAGE FROM MAVI MARMARA
Footage taken aboard largest ship in Gaza Freedom Flotilla in hour before and during raid by Israeli military

New York, NY—

A full hour of raw footage taken aboard the Mavi Marmara in the hour leading up to and during the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla has just been made available to view at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwsMJmvS0AY

The footage is also available for download at: http://tinyurl.com/flotilla-footage/

Despite the Israeli government’s efforts to confiscate all of the footage taken during the attack, CULTURES OF RESISTANCE filmmaker Iara Lee was able to smuggle one hour of footage back to the United States and is releasing it raw to the public today.

Yesterday at the United Nations, Ms. Lee presented the footage for the first time to the international press corps after the following statement:

“I want first to thank the United Nations Correspondents Association for organizing this event on such short notice.

“My name is Iara Lee. I am a dual U.S.-Brazilian citizen of Korean descent. I am a filmmaker and a human rights activist.

“I decided to join the Freedom Flotilla after going to Gaza a few months ago and seeing first hand the devastation there. After hearing the pleas of the people living in Gaza to have the blockade lifted, I felt I must do something.

“The Gaza Freedom Flotilla was on a humanitarian mission.  We expected to be deterred from delivering our aid to Gazans, but we did not expect to be attacked.

“We started filming from the moment we boarded the Mavi Marmara right through the Israeli assault on the ship. Although all of our equipment was confiscated, we managed to smuggle this footage out.

“Mine is high-definition footage of the Flotilla attack and also the only sustained footage of the ship and its passengers preceding the deadly Israeli commando raid. Watching this raw, unedited footage, you will get a sense of the mood on the ship and of the passengers on it.

“Undoubtedly, many of you will be scrutinizing it for clues to resolve the mysteries that still surround what happened that fateful night.

“During this past week the Israeli government has repeatedly alleged that these passengers — or some of them — laid a trap for Israel, duped the Israeli military, and plotted a lynching. Israel has repeatedly alleged that we were anti-Semitic Muslim fanatics connected to terrorist organizations.

“In fact, the passengers on our mission came from many countries and religious and ethnic backgrounds.  Our one common denominator was that we wanted to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza by highlighting the injustice of Israel’s blockade.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “This wasn’t the ‘love boat,’ this was a flotilla of terror supporters.” Our footage will help you decide whether we were a love boat or a hate boat. You will see secular and devout passengers. You will see people at prayer and people working at their laptops.

“Was this a lynch-mob moved by hatred of Israelis or was it a cross-section of humanity moved by the plight of Gaza? Did we lay a trap for the Israeli commandos or did they unnecessarily attack us? Did we take them by surprise or did they take us by surprise?

“Do you see a premeditated ambush, or do you see some passengers using items at hand to protect themselves from an unprovoked assault by heavily armed commandos?

“You decide.”

CONTACT:

Iara Lee: iaralee@culturesofresistance.org

please cc: assistant@gg3.com for prompt reply

www.culturesofresistance.org

http://www.facebook.com/ profile.php?id=100000928581236

Posted at http://gazaflotilla.delegitimize.com/statements/activist-statements/full-60-minute-footage-smuggled-from-mavi-marmara/

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Israel’s Lifting of Gaza Blockade Means Junk Food, But No Cement to Rebuild Damaged Buildings

Salem-News.com http://salem-news.com/articles/june092010/blockade-reality.php

The marginal easement is a step in the right direction, but a very small one.

Raffah Crossing at Gaza
File image of Raffah Crossing at Gaza during a previous effort, Viva Palestina. Courtesy: Wikipedia

(JERUSALEM) – Some food items that had been banned under Israel’s and Egypt’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, are now finding their way into this battered, walled and tortured land.

The Gaza Freedom Flotilla set out with a goal of breaking the several years old siege that has brought this population to piteous depths of poverty, the likes of which even this place had been able to avoid.

Reporters with the Times of India spoke to officials Wednesday, who agree that it is a small step toward easing its three-year-old blockade of the territory, after worldwide criticism of last week’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound international flotilla.

The decision only narrowly expands the list of goods that can enter Gaza — and most of the newly permitted items are already being smuggled into the area from neighboring Egypt.

The move also does not include the most-sought items in Gaza, such as cement, steel and other materials needed to rebuild the war-devastated strip. But it is the first tangible step by Israel to temper the uproar caused by the raid, which left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead after a clash with Israeli naval commandos on one of the flotilla’s ships.

Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh, who coordinates the flow of goods into Gaza with Israel, said that soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy were now permitted. He said some products have already entered Gaza, and others would cross in the coming days.

The naval raid drew attention to the blockade, imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas militants seized power in Gaza in 2007.

The closure has devastated Gaza’s already battered economy, erased tens of thousands of jobs and prevented the area from repairing damage after a fierce Israeli military offensive in Gaza early last year.

Wednesday’s gesture was unlikely to blunt the global criticism, since it doesn’t lift the ban on materials needed to rebuild Gaza.

=======================================================

Special thanks to the Times of India



Erdoğan warns turning blind eye to raid will legalize future brutality
http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=212643

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned the international community about the potential harm of turning a blind eye to the illegality of the May 31 Israeli raid on an aid flotilla in the eastern Mediterranean that led to the deaths of nine peace activists, saying such an approach would inevitably lead to repetition of similar violent acts.

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“Look, I want to say it because it is important to our agenda. On May 31, there was a very grave violation of international law,” Erdoğan said on Wednesday at a UN meeting held in İstanbul.

Nine Turkish nationals were killed last Monday during an Israeli commando raid of the Mavi Marmara, part of a six-vessel convoy that set out to challenge the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel said its troops used lethal force in self-defense after they were attacked by pro-Palestinian activists wielding clubs and knives. Both Turkish leaders and the global public were infuriated by the killings.

“Israeli commandos attacked passengers of ship, which included civilian aid volunteers from 32 countries carrying humanitarian assistance to Gaza and slew exactly nine innocent people.

Twenty-four people were wounded. Remaining silent, again, about this attack, which took place in international waters and which is completely unlawful, and turning a blind eye [to this attack] like [has been done in] the earlier [examples] will open a new wound in the conscience of humanity,” Erdoğan went on to say.

The two-day regional conference on progress towards the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals will close today. The conference, which draws on the full strength of the UN system, is hosted by the Turkish government and co-organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). In line with the theme of the conference, Erdoğan reiterated Turkey’s call to international bodies, which it says should be more representative and should be proactive in dealing with regional and international disputes that erode mutual confidence among nations of the world.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned the international community that the May 31 Israeli raid may be repeated if the world turns a blind eye to it, while speaking at a UN meeting in İstanbul, on Wednesday.

“Violations of law committed by a state — in an irresponsible manner, thoughtlessly, fearlessly and without any hesitation — will harm humanity’s sensitivity to justice and will further diminish the trust among international organizations,” Erdoğan said.

“If we are talking about global peace and if we are sincerely aware that we have to find solutions to global problems together, then we have to display a humanitarian stance against these kinds of unlawful [incidents], — a just, determined and courageous stance. Those who remain silent, who remain indifferent, and who turn a blind eye will not only be partner to these massacres, but will also legitimize new attacks in the future and will be lending support to such attacks,” he said. Erdoğan’s speech in İstanbul came on the same day when certain powers notified the UN nuclear watchdog of their concerns regarding the proposal for Iran to send 1.2 tons of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for reactor fuel.

Russia, France and the United States handed a response to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano, said the IAEA and diplomats on Wednesday. It was then sent to Iran’s IAEA envoy before a pending UN Security Council vote on new sanctions against Tehran.

The United States has said Tehran’s decision to back the nuclear fuel swap deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil, is a ploy to avoid new sanctions against Iran, the world’s fifth-largest crude exporter. Diplomats said Iran’s proposal lacked practical details needed to carry it out. In İstanbul, Erdoğan called the deal “a diplomatic victory.” He said, “A victory of diplomacy has been gained in the name of regional and global peace.”