Well, it wasn't so but who reads the London Review of Books?
Thursday, January 02, 2014
Well, it wasn't so but who reads the London Review of Books?
Monday, October 17, 2011
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Here is an example.
It is important to study Peter Bouckaert’s “bait and switch” presentation of this video. First the dramatic discovery of documents and film in a Government archive then a quick switch to the real subject – a video tape brought to him by the brother of the condemned who “wants it digitised so he can view it” (a service available in any Tripoli neighbourhood prior to the “rebellion”). This is a little bit of showbiz to titillate the audience - shocking new revelations to come.
Bouckaert then shows the video pointing out the children in the crowd and “Huda the executioner” exhorting the crowd to a murderous pitch. He neglects to mention that Qaddafi is nowhere near the auditorium and that the trial and execution are conducted by the People's Revolutionary Council - many of whom no doubt are now converts to the NTC.
We are told that this is a classic "forced confession" when in fact it is a plea for mercy by a man who has been condemned by tribunal for an assassination attempt. It is brutal, barbaric justice but what is assassination if not brutal, arbitrary killing in the absence of trial?
Bouckaert also makes much of "Huda" pulling on the legs of the condemned, a heinous act in his eyes. Historically, this was considered an act of mercy, curtailing the victim's suffering.
Who could guess, from his presentation, that the video is old news?
It was broadcast around the World in 1984 when consent was being manufactured for another Libyan bombing.
In this version you will see a different crowd. No children, an all male audience as far as I can tell and a different auditorium.
This raises a number of questions about Peter Bouckaert and Human Rights Watch.
Was he not aware that the video, far from being secret, had been screened on Channel 7 in 1984?
Did he or his organisation insert the (probably sports fan) crowd scenes being roused by Huda – the Minister of Sports? Notice that the angle of seating in the auditorium is much less acute than the almost vertical bleachers in the Buckaert version and that the crowd scenes are preceded by the black lines of editing.
It could be that Bouckaert has been duped by those who gave him the film but HRW has been leading the charge against Gaddafi with their “Abu Salim Massacre” story which, as I point out below, they admit is based on just one witness and “cannot be verified”. This is touted as the primary motivation for NATO’s action which, according to the TNC, has now cost something like 30,000 lives.
Another point to ponder:
When was the last time a populace enjoying free Health, free education, 92% home ownership and enjoying a Human Development Index rating in the top third of the World rebelled against their Government without outside interference?
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Qaddafi has rather bizarre clothes sense, bad hair and appears to indulge a little nepotism but much of what is believed by the chattering classes is either factually incorrect or a spin on an existing factoid.
Qaddafi deposed the British appointed King Idris in a bloodless coup in 1969. Idris had managed, during his twenty year rule, to keep Libyans the poorest people in the world with an annual per capita income of less than $60 despite the discovery of oil in 1957 and production that reached 15.4% of OPEC’s total (7.5% of the world’s total) in 1968.
The flamboyant Qaddafi conceived and installed a non party system of Government he called “Jamahiriya”. Put simply, 6000 Basic People’s Congresses (District or tribal Councils) elect 2,700 representatives to the General People’s Congress which elects the General People’s Committee (executive), Secretary General, Prime Minister, then the President.
Qaddafi no longer holds public office or title, he is accorded the honorific “Guide of the First Great Revolution” in government statements and the official press. Here is a brief introduction to Jamahiriya in video format.
No mainstream media can resist adding "the Libyan Dictator" to Qaddafi's name yet Libya had a full compliment of Ministers elected by the General People's Congress. He had power but it was not dictatorial.
Qaddafi wanted to introduce female enlistment into the armed forces. The Congress turned him down (that, incidentally is why he created his female personal guard, in a thumb to nose gesture). The most striking example involves the present puppet Head of the TNC, Mustafa Jabril. This character was a Public Prosecutor then an appeals Court Judge, known for his decisions against the Government. In 2007, he was appointed Justice Minister. This is not possible under a dictatorship.
Qaddafi offered U.N. supervised elections in an effort to appease NATO. This was rejected despite there being no poll upon which NATO relied to justify regime change.
Lockerbie deserves a mention. Libya paid compensation to the victims but denied responsibility. It was all part of a deal to get Libya out of rehab. Qaddafi also said it was because of the possibility that some of the plotters may have been Libyan.
Al Megrahi was released because his appeal was about to expose perjury and false evidence at his original trial. This has been admitted "off the record" by Scottish authorities. John Pilger, Gwynne Dyer and U.N. Observer Dr. Hans Koechler are convincing.
The size of the Libyan Military was estimated at 76,000 rather poorly equipped personnel. They were deliberately recruited from every tribal group - not common among "dictators" who tend to rely on one clan - their own.
Until this conflict, the Libyan people enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the Arab world. Most Libyan families (92%) owned their own home and and a car.
The free public health system in Libya included travel and expenses for procedures not available domestically and Libya’s free education system up to the graduate level also paid for overseas post-graduate study. 1.7 million of Libya’s 6 million population were students enrolled in either compulsory primary and secondary education or one of the 80 some odd Universities and Advanced Technical institutions provided by the State.
The State provided interest free loans for housing and business, subsidies on food, gas was 70c per gallon. Mean incomes were around USD15,000 pa.
On the Human Development Index, Libya rated 53 - ahead of Brazil, Russia and 113 other countries - well in the top third of the World. One should also be aware that the index penalised Libya for straying from the norms of Western party-based democracy yet an argument can be made for its "direct democracy" model delivering a fairer society.
So why this “popular uprising”?
On the 23rd of March, the NY Times reported:
the army that rebel military leaders bragged about consists of only about 1,000 …..Those frank admissions came from Ali Tarhouni, who was appointed to the cabinet of the rebels’ shadow government..
NATO had begun bombing on the 19th.
No poll of the Libyan people exists (which raises questions about the NATO rationale) but widespread support for the Qaddafi regime was evident in July. In August, independent journalist Scott Taylor reported
On a fact-finding trip into Tripoli earlier this month, I was able to ascertain first-hand that Gaddafi has solidified his control over the capital and most of western Libya. Foreign diplomats still based in Tripoli confirmed to me that since NATO started bombing, Gaddafi support and approval ratings have actually soared to about 85 per cent.
There was a massive pro Qaddafi rally on 2 July this year. Independent journalist Mahdi Nazemroaya estimated a million and a half participants.
Obviously Empire cares not for living standards, education and health so it seems that NATO relies on the “Human Rights” to justify its attack.
According to the dubious Human Rights Watch, Qaddafi killed 1200 at Abu Salim in 1996. Yet even their estimate is based on the account of a single former inmate:
In June 2004 and again in June 2006, however, Human Rights Watch interviewed a former Abu Salim prisoner who claims to have witnessed the killings. Now living in the United States, where he has applied for asylum, Hussein al-Shafa’i said he spent 1988-2000 in Abu Salim on political charges, but was never brought to trial, and he worked in the prison kitchen in June 1996. Human Rights Watch could not verify his claims, but many details are consistent with a report from an “migr” Libyan group, based on another witness account."
"The only other description of the incident comes from a report by the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an opposition political group based outside Libya. Drawing on the account of an anonymous former prisoner who witnessed the incident (not al-Shafa'i), the report largely corroborates al-Shafa'i's account.
The Libyan Government position is that the incident took place amid a confrontation with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and that some 200 guards were killed.
The protests upon which the "rebels" and NATO piggy-backed began in Benghazi, supposedly on the anniversary of what Amnesty International called "a brutal crackdown on a public protest"
Here is a description of that event from (I kid you not) Fox News:
Libyan security officials said 11 people were killed or wounded during the riot in the eastern city when police firing bullets and tear gas tried to contain more than 1,000 demonstrators hurling rocks and bottles. The casualties included police officers.
Protesters set fire to the buildings, which are on the same street in central Tripoli, early on Sunday, an AFP reporter said, adding that the mob at the Italian embassy ripped down the Italian flag and threw it into the street."
Rioters charged the consular compound and set fire to the first floor of the building, the Italian Foreign Ministry said.
Domenico Bellantone, an Italian diplomat, said 10 or 11 people — all Libyan — had died......
The Italian ambassador to Tripoli met late Friday with the Libyan interior minister "who expressed the condemnation of his government for the acts of violence occurring in Benghazi," the Italian Foreign Ministry said.
One can only wonder what Amnesty International would have reported had the Libyan Government allowed the rioters to thoroughly sack the Italian Embassy. It is also worthy of note that the riots were in response to the Italian Consul wearing a "Danish Cartoon" T-shirt.
[The Fox report has now disappeared. Here is another]
Compare with this May 2011 report:
"Britain expelled the Libyan ambassador Sunday following attacks on the British and Italian embassies in Tripoli, saying Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s regime had failed in its duty to protect diplomatic missions.
Empire will have its way - even if it means promoting Islamic fundamentalists.
As at today's date, Qaddafi seems to be holding his own and controls the route to Niger, Algeria, Chad and the major Libyan oil fields. Time is on his side. One can imagine many loyalists quietly slipping away to join him if he wins a few more skirmishes like those of Sirte and Bani Walid in the past few days. There are also rumblings from African States whose traditional rulers crowned him Africa's 'king of kings' - a title derided in the popular press as just another grandiose Qaddafi fantasy. Wrong. Qaddafi is worshipped by struggling African states for his initiatives RASCOM (Regional African Satellite Communication Organisation) and African Development Banks which he funded to the tune of about $70 billion. It was they who bestowed the title on him. He seemed a little embarrassed about it at the time but it served to aid his ambition to unite Africa in a commonwealth. The rebels pogroms against black Africans (about a third of the Libyan population) may well be aimed at discouraging other Africans from coming to his aid. It may not succeed. Qaddafi might well have stockpiles of weapons in the desert with which to arm a potent guerrilla force.
Pepe Escobar who has called this game perfectly from the off reckons "The real war starts now".
Damn. I wish Frank Herbert was still around. Muad'Dib and the Fremen would give these fellows short shrift.
Here's a joke courtesy of the NTC.
Other leads I am following up. Any opinions welcome:
Sunday, May 30, 2010
On March 26 this year, the Cheonan, a South Korean Corvette, sank in waters off Baengnyeong Island. Initial reports from Naval and Intelligence chiefs ruled out foul play:
Won Se-hoon, director of the National Intelligence Service, was quoted as saying during a parliamentary committee session that to his knowledge, there was no direct link between North Korea and the sunken ship.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said that he had heard nothing to implicate any other country in the incident.
``Obviously, the full investigation needs to go forward. But to my knowledge, there is no reason to believe or to be concerned that that may have been the cause,'' he said.
Lee Ki-sik, head of the marine operations office at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ruled out the possibility, saying, “No North Korean warships have been detected, and there is no possibility of their approaching the waters where the accident took place.”....
“We closely watched the movement of the North’s vessels, including submarines and semi-submersibles, at the time of the sinking,” said Commodore Lee Gi-sik, chief of information operations under the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul, during a media briefing. “But [the South’s] military did not detect any North Korean submarines near the countries’ western sea border.”
"If a single torpedo or a floating mine caused a naval patrol vessel to split in half and sink, we will have to rewrite our military doctrine," said Baek Seung-joo of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses. Instead, he believes an accident within the vessel is to blame.......
Former Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Song Young-moo, said, "Some people are pointing the finger at North Korea, but anyone with knowledge about the waters where the shipwreck occurred would not draw that conclusion so easily." Experts say those waters are only 25 m deep and characterized by rapid currents, making it very difficult for North Korean submarines or semi-submersible vessels to operate.
Members of the right wing* Government of Lee Myung Bak took a different tack:
A torpedo is among the "most likely" causes for a South Korean naval ship that sank close to the disputed border with North Korea last month, killing at least 40 sailors, South Korea's defense minister said.
At this point, Lee's government put a clamp on speculation, gagging official spokesmen.
On May 20 the South Korean government announced that it has overwhelming evidence that one of its warships was sunk by a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine. The World's press trumpeted that the "International Inquiry" had unanimously agreed that a North Korean torpedo was the culprit.
This was a slight exaggeration. The committee was not "international" in any bi-partisan sense, it comprised North Korean adversaries America, Australia, Britain and neutral Sweden. Neither was it "unanimous. CBS news reported"
Only Sweden, which also sent investigators, is a reluctant partner in blaming the North Koreans.
The "evidence" of North Korean involvement does not pass the sniff test. If indeed the remains of a torpedo was found in the waters near the sinking, there is nothing that links it to the incident and much spent ordnance lies in the area. Compare the condition of the torpedo with that of the sunken ship.
Dissent within South Korea, unnoticed by the Western Press, is growing.
Mr S.C.Shin, one of the original inspectors of the wreck, has written an open letter to Secretary of State Clinton. He maintains that the ship grounded in the shallows of Baengnyeong Island and suffered a collision, probably with a vessel sent to her aid, then sank. Shin is now being prosecuted for "spreading false rumours"
Shin is not alone:
Prime Minister Chung Un Chan ordered the government to find a way to stop groundless rumors spreading on the Cheonan’s sinking, the JoongAng Daily said yesterday. Prosecutors questioned a former member of the panel that probed the incident over his critical comments, the paper said. The Joint Chiefs of Staff sued a lawmaker for defamation after she said video footage of the ship splitting apart existed, a claim the military denies, Yonhap News reported.
Almost one in four South Koreans say they don’t trust the findings of the multinational panel, according to a poll commissioned by Hankook Ilbo on May 24.
Park Sun-won has also been threatened with prosecution for voicing dissent:
Gagging the South Korean public has already been taking place openly. The Ministry of National Defense and the military have pressed defamation charges against former Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office in South Korea or Blue House) National Security Strategy Secretary Park Sun-won.
South Korean religious leaders question conclusions of the Cheonan sinking investigation
Why have the survivors been strictly separated and controlled since the tragedy happened? Why are they not allowed to say anything about it, though they know the truth best?
It is interesting to note that the Japanese Prime Minister has cited this incident when delivering his unpopular decision to the people of Okinawa:
"TOKYO — Washington and Tokyo agreed Friday to keep a contentious U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama highlighting the importance of the Japanese-American security alliance amid rising tension on the nearby Korean peninsula. "I am sincerely sorry for not being able to keep my word, and what is more, having hurt Okinawans in the end," he said. "In Asia, there still remain unstable and uncertain factors, including the sinking of a South Korean warship by North Korea," he said.
Japan's Social Democratic Party, SDP, has decided to leave the ruling coalition government amid a row over the controversial presence of the US military in the country.
The political fortunes of Lee Myung Bak have improved dramatically.
“The investigation results will likely emerge as a key issue, pushing aside all other factors ahead of the elections,” said Lee Chul-hee of the Korea Society Opinion Institute. “The increased attention on national security could drive younger voters away from polls while uniting the older, right-wing voters - the exact effect the ruling party is hoping for.”
*Lee is a North Korea-phobe who prefers a confrontational stance toward his neighbor to the north to the policy of peaceful coexistence and growing cooperation favored by his recent predecessors (and by Pyongyang, as well. It’s worth mentioning that North Korea supports a policy of peace and cooperation. South Korea, under its hawkish president, does not.)
BUCHEON, South Korea — The sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, apparently by a North Korean torpedo, has provoked an international crisis that has embroiled big powers like the United States and China. But here in South Korea, it has had another effect: buoying the country’s once embattled conservative, pro-American president, Lee Myung-bak.
Soon after taking office two years ago, Mr. Lee appeared at risk of losing public support, as he faced mass demonstrations on the streets of Seoul against the import of United States beef. Now, political experts are talking of the “Cheonan effect,” as polls show more than half of voters approve of the president and his tougher line toward the North.
"Russian experts who carried out a probe into the South Korean warship sinking refused to put the blame on North Korea, military sources said on Tuesday.
A team of four submarine and torpedo experts from the Russian Navy returned to Moscow on Monday after making an independent assessment of the March 26 sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan, in which 46 sailors were killed.
A Russian Navy source said the experts had not found convincing evidence of North Korea's involvement.
“After examining the available evidence and the ship wreckage Russian experts came to the conclusion that a number of arguments produced by the international investigation in favour of the DPRK's [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] involvement in the corvette sinking were not weighty enough,” a Russian Navy source told the Interfax-AVN news wire on Tuesday on condition of anonymity. Russia's Armed Forces Chief of Staff Nikolai Makarov said only that the Russian Foreign Ministry would make an official statement on the issue after the experts prepared their report.
“It is too early to make a definitive conclusion on the causes of the tragedy,” he was quoted as saying on Tuesday. "
Sunday, January 10, 2010
The legitimate voice of the Palestinian people is Hamas. The MSM rarely publishes what they say, only second hand commentary from those whose purpose is to distort the nature and negotiating position of this highly principled organization.
“The political leadership of Hamas is probably the most highly qualified in the world. Boasting more than 500 PhDs in its ranks, the majority are middle-class professionals - doctors, dentists, scientists and engineers. Most of its leadership have been educated in our universities and harbour no ideological hatred towards the West. It is a grievance-based movement, dedicated to addressing the injustice done to its people. It has consistently offered a ten-year ceasefire to give breathing space to resolve a conflict that has continued for more than 60 years.”
“Our message to the Israelis is this: we do not fight you because you belong to a certain faith or culture. Jews have lived in the Muslim world for 13 centuries in peace and harmony; they are in our religion “the people of the book” who have a covenant from God and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be respected and protected. Our conflict with you is not religious but political. We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us - our problem is with those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our society and banished our people.
We shall never recognise the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognise the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else’s sins or solve somebody else’s problem. But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are truly interested in a peace based on justice.”
“The logic of those who demand that we stop our resistance is absurd. They absolve the aggressor and occupier - armed with the deadliest weapons of death and destruction - of responsibility, while blaming the victim, prisoner and occupied. Our modest, home-made rockets are our cry of protest to the world. Israel and its American and European sponsors want us to be killed in silence. But die in silence we will not.”
“There are plenty of examples where no recognition does not mean war. China and Taiwan for example have not recognized each other but they trade and cooperate with each other. – By withholding a formal recognition we just don’t want to give Israel the legitimacy for having taken our land in the first place.”
I say bullshit to Hilary Clinton. She has not spoken one word to the legitimately elected representatives of the Palestinian people and the reason is clear. Hamas mean what they say and they will settle for nothing less than an end to Israel’s colonial enterprise.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Personally I was inclined to allow Bill the benefit of the doubt and assume he was acting devil's advocate, an acceptable journalistic technique. This despite my unease that he had neglected to mention the truce that Hamas had observed (despite the Israeli blockade and continued hostility):
The debate on Bill's blog soon became a troll-fest with the usual memes being trotted out. In response to one particularly offensive poster, I wrote a rebuttal of an entry maligning the activities of the Mufti - an evergreen and (in my view unsupported) theme of the hasbara. The site did not post it. I tried again a few days later and found the post blocked again.
Here is what I wrote:
Despite the fact that I do not condone the slanging match that this conversation has become, I cannot let phil's smear of Husseini go unchallenged. It is, at the least, a contested issue and probably historically inaccurate. The accusations against the Mufti stem from the evidence of one Dieter Wisliceny:
"Hannah Arendt, who attended the complete Eichmann trial, concluded in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil that, "The trial revealed only that all rumours about Eichmann's connection with Haj Amin el Husseini, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, were unfounded." Rafael Medoff concludes that "actually there is no evidence that the Mufti's presence was a factor at all; the Wisliceny hearsay is not merely uncorroborated, but conflicts with everything else that is known about the origins of the Final Solution." Bernard Lewis also called Wisliceny's testimony into doubt: "There is no independent documentary confirmation of Wisliceny's statements, and it seems unlikely that the Nazis needed any such additional encouragement from the outside.""
The simple fact is that Husseini, facing arrest by the British, took sanctuary with Britain's enemy and continued resistance to Zionism from there. Lenni Brenner has this to say:
"The Mufti gained nothing, then or later, from his collaboration with either Rome or Berlin, nor could the Palestinian interest ever have been served by the two dictators.... The Mufti was an incompetent reactionary who was driven into his anti-Semitism by the Zionists. It was Zionism itself, in its blatant attempt to turn Palestine from an Arab land into a Jewish state, and then use it for the yet further exploitation of the Arab nation, that generated Palestinian Jew-hatred."
(Chapter 8, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators.)
The Germans had a dollar each way. On one hand, they accomodated Husseini but they also encouraged Zionism - even setting up training farms for Jews to fit them for emigration to Israel.
Hannah Arendt (Eichmann in Jerusalem, pp. 59-61.) says this:
"Of greater importance for Eichmann were the emissaries from Palestine, who would approach the Gestapo and the S.S. on their own initiative, without taking orders from either the German Zionists or the Jewish Agency for Palestine. They came in order to enlist help for the illegal immigration of Jews into British-ruled Palestine, and both the Gestapo and the S.S were helpful.
They negotiated with Eichmann in Vienna, and they reported that he was ‘polite’, ‘not the shouting type’, and that he even provided them with farms and facilities for setting up vocational training camps for prospective immigrants. (‘On one occasion, he expelled a group of nuns from a convent to provide a training farm for young Jews’, and on another ‘a special train was made available and Nazi officials accompanied’ a group of emigrants, ostensibly headed for Zionist training farms in Yugoslavia, to see them safely across the border.) "
Here is an extract from the offer made to Germany by, among others, Yitzak Shamir:
"The solving in this manner of the Jewish problem, thus bringing with it once and for all the liberation of the Jewish people, is the objective of the political activity and the years-long struggle of the Israeli freedom movement, the National Military Organization (Irgun Zvai Leumi) in Palestine.
The NMO, which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that:
1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a new order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO.
2. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed folkish-national Hebraium would be possible and,
3. The establishment of the historic Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.
Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively lake part in the war on Germany’s side."
Lenni Brenner: The Iron Wall. Appendix II.
I invite Bill or his gatekeeper to explain what is objectionable about this post.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The established narrative holds that a Hezbollah suicide bomber, with the support and collusion of Iranian officials drove a white Renault Trafic van containing a bomb up to the premises and exploded it, killing 85 and injuring hundreds. It suggests that Iran, angered by the breakdown of negotiations with Argentina over Nuclear Technology, conspired with Hezbollah to carry out the attack.
The investigation responsible for this version of events was conducted by judge Juan José Galeano and based its findings on the evidence of one Carlos Telleldín, alleged to have provided the van used in the bombing and that of Abolghasem Mesbahi, an alleged former Iranian intelligence officer. Judge Galeano issued warrants for the arrests of 12 Iranians, including Hade Soleimpour, Iran's ambassador to Argentina in 1994. Britain's Home Office refused to deport Soleimpour due to lack of evidence.
The investigation has been described by former President Nestor Kirchner as a "national disgrace". Here is why:
Charles Hunter, explosives expert with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms team sent to investigate, found that the blast pattern evidence proved that the explosion occurred inside the building, not in the street.
A witness on the street survived despite being fully exposed to the blast had it originated in the street. The person standing close to him and to whom he had just been speaking was killed. This person was standing in front of the main doors, in the path of an internal explosion.
Of some 200 witnesses on the scene, only one claimed to have seen a white Renault Trafic in the street that day.
Parts of the vehicle were alleged to have been found in the rubble. The engine block was complete with serial number - a piece of evidence rarely, if ever, left by serious perpetrators. Gabriel Levinas, a researcher for AMIA's own legal team, discovered that fragments of the car found at the site had been tested by the manufacturer and found never to have been subject to high temperatures, either in the explosion or in the fire which the car matching the engine number was known to have suffered before being repaired.
In August 2005, Judge Galeano was impeached and he was formally removed from his post as a federal judge for "serious" irregularities and his mishandling of the investigation. This is hardly surprising as a video broadcast on Argentine TV showed him offering his main witness, Telleldín, $400,000, in return for evidence.
Galleano's witnesses to the Iranian connection, Abolghasem Mesbahi and two others, were revealed to be members of the Peoples Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and is dedicated to the overthrow of the Iranian Republic.
Argentina was continuing to provide Iran with low-grade enriched uranium and the two countries were in serious negotiations on broader nuclear cooperation at the time the bombing occurred. The U.S. was putting huge pressure on Argentina to cease all cooperation with Iran. It is unthinkable that Iran would sanction an attack on Argentine soil at that time.
It would make little sense for Hezbollah to plan and execute this complex operation then deny responsibility. The rationale of terrorism demands recognition or the act is rendered practically valueless.
The alleged suicide bomber, Ibrahim Hussein Berro, was killed in Lebanon two months after the AIMA bombing according to his family and Lebanese Radio. No DNA was taken from his head which was allegedly retrieved after the blast and soon discarded.
In an interview last May James Cheek, Clinton's Ambassador to Argentina at the time of the bombing, told me (Gareth Porter), "To my knowledge, there was never any real evidence [of Iranian responsibility]. They never came up with anything." The hottest lead in the case, he recalled, was an Iranian defector named Manoucher Moatamer, who "supposedly had all this information." But Moatamer turned out to be only a dissatisfied low-ranking official without the knowledge of government decision-making that he had claimed. "We finally decided that he wasn't credible," Cheek recalled. Ron Goddard, then deputy chief of the US Mission in Buenos Aires, confirmed Cheek's account. He recalled that investigators found nothing linking Iran to the bombing. "The whole Iran thing seemed kind of flimsy," Goddard said.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Two examples of main-stream journalism gone bad. The picture with the Fars News Agency label was published before the Iranian election. The other is being promoted as a post-election protest rally.
The BBC has also been at it:
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Following the fall of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, the League of nations carved up the Middle East into roughly the territories we see today. Conventional wisdom has it that the British, having been allotted the area we now call Jordan and Palestine, failed to properly establish a Jewish State and therefore left us with disputed territory. The argument stands or falls on whether or not Britain, the Mandatory power, was indeed empowered or under instruction to create a Jewish State under the League of Nations Declaration, known as The Palestine Mandate published in 1922. Many have argued the point but few have examined the document. The complete text is here:
In the preamble, the document cites the Balfour Declaration of 1917. This was a letter written by Lord Balfour, then British Foreign Secretary, to Lord Rothschild:
November 2nd, 1917.
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour
There is an informative discussion of the origin of this document here:
...and it’s consequences here:
Opinion as to whether the Balfour Declaration envisaged the establishment of a Jewish State is divided. One could argue however, that the answer is contained within the text. It would seem that such a State would not be feasible without prejudicing “the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.
Whatever Balfour's intentions may have been, a greater power held sway in that Britain's power to rule Palestine was conferred by the League of Nations, so it is to The Palestine Mandate we must turn.
It has been maintained that the proper interpretation of the following clauses in the document entail the establishment of a Jewish State.
The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.
An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognised as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration to assist and take part in the development of the country.
The Zionist organization, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognised as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty's Government to secure the co-operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home.
The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine.
The Administration of Palestine shall take all necessary measures to safeguard the interests of the community in connection with the development of the country, and, subject to any international obligations accepted by the Mandatory, shall have full power to provide for public ownership or control of any of the natural resources of the country or of the public works, services and utilities established or to be established therein. It shall introduce a land system appropriate to the needs of the country, having regard, among other things, to the desirability of promoting the close settlement and intensive cultivation of the land.
The Administration may arrange with the Jewish agency mentioned in Article 4 to construct or operate, upon fair and equitable terms, any public works, services and utilities, and to develop any of the natural resources of the country, in so far as these matters are not directly undertaken by the Administration. Any such arrangements shall provide that no profits distributed by such agency, directly or indirectly, shall exceed a reasonable rate of interest on the capital, and any further profits shall be utilised by it for the benefit of the country in a manner approved by the Administration.
English, Arabic and Hebrew shall be the official languages of Palestine. Any statement or inscription in Arabic on stamps or money in Palestine shall be repeated in Hebrew and any statement or inscription in Hebrew shall be repeated in Arabic.
The alternative view is that they contain simply the directive to allow Jews to assimilate into a plural democracy. This contrary opinion relies on the following clauses for support:
The Mandatory shall, so far as circumstances permit, encourage local autonomy.
The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that the judicial system established in Palestine shall assure to foreigners, as well as to natives, a complete guarantee of their rights.
Respect for the personal status of the various peoples and communities and for their religious interests shall be fully guaranteed. In particular, the control and administration of Wakfs* shall be exercised in accordance with religious law and the dispositions of the founders.
All responsibility in connection with the Holy Places and religious buildings or sites in Palestine, including that of preserving existing rights and of securing free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites and the free exercise of worship, while ensuring the requirements of public order and decorum, is assumed by the Mandatory, who shall be responsible solely to the League of Nations in all matters connected herewith, provided that nothing in this article shall prevent the Mandatory from entering into such arrangements as he may deem reasonable with the Administration for the purpose of carrying the provisions of this article into effect; and provided also that nothing in this mandate shall be construed as conferring upon the Mandatory authority to interfere with the fabric or the management of purely Moslem sacred shrines, the immunities of which are guaranteed.
It has always seemed to me that the British were handed a poisoned chalice and I have long sympathized with them in that they strove heartily to achieve a fair and reasonable resolution to the conflict that erupted between the Zionists and the indigenous people. Israelis tend to blame the British for frustrating their ambitions for a Jewish State, Palestinians blame Britain for giving away their birthright. Israelis considered Britain pro-Arab despite the appointment of Herbert Samuel, a Jew and Zionist sympathizer as High Commissioner, a post he held until 1925. Palestinians considered Britain pro Zionist for the same reason despite Samuel’s attempts at even-handedness.
In my opinion, a Jewish State was never the intention of the League of Nations and I am persuaded by the following.
A British White Paper published a month before the League’s Declaration states:
Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become "as Jewish as England is English." His Majesty's Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated, as appears to be feared by the Arab delegation, the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language, or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded `in Palestine.' In this connection it has been observed with satisfaction that at a meeting of the Zionist Congress, the supreme governing body of the Zionist Organization, held at Carlsbad in September, 1921, a resolution was passed expressing as the official statement of Zionist aims "the determination of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, and together with them to make the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which may assure to each of its peoples an undisturbed national development.
It is also necessary to point out that the Zionist Commission in Palestine, now termed the Palestine Zionist Executive, has not desired to possess, and does not possess, any share in the general administration of the country. Nor does the special position assigned to the Zionist Organization in Article IV of the Draft Mandate for Palestine imply any such functions. That special position relates to the measures to be taken in Palestine affecting the Jewish population, and contemplates that the organization may assist in the general development of the country, but does not entitle it to share in any degree in its government.
The aspirations of the Zionist Council for a Jewish State were very well known, as was the overwhelming opposition of the local residents. This was spelled out by the King Crane Commission, an Official United States Government Report sponsored by President Wilson in 1919:
It is therefore reasonable to assume that, if the League of Nations had been intent on a Jewish State, the document produced by them would have spelled it out in unequivocal language.
In every document related to this matter, the civil rights of the Arab population are stressed. It would seem to me impossible to impose rule by a minority (Jews consisted of approximately 10% of the population) without abrogating those rights.
It is not my intention to chronicle the events subsequent to the Declaration of the British Mandate. Suffice it to say that the Brits saw their task as supervising the orderly immigration and assimilation of Jews into a multi-cultural state which they were charged with guiding towards self-determination. This became an ever more onerous task and eventually, in 1948, following Ben Gurion’s unilateral declaration of a Jewish State, open hostilities broke out.
*Wakfs are Muslim trusts set up to administer a wide range of public facilities such as hospitals but also including local bodies to administer villages and even cities.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Information with provenance
Operation Cast Lead (Gaza 2008/9
Israeli terrorism 1930s
Erskine Childers (Did they jump or were they pushed?):
Treatment of POWs / Crimes of War
Christians against Zionism
Jews under the
Collection of “hate speech”
Who is the terrorist?
Author admits making up memoir of surviving Holocaust
Origins of Jewish people
Christians in Gaza
Relationship of Arab and Mizrahi
Who is killing whom.
Hezbollah and the origins of 2007 war
Decline and fall
Sabra and Shatila
Occupation and settlement
Al Qaeda CIA
Wars and who started them
Jews in Arab lands
Right of return
Right to exist
False flag ops
Aipac and spying
The land and maps
Ian S. Lustick
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The Luntz Research Companies & The Israel Project – April 2003 1
ISRAELI COMMUNICATION PRIORITIES 2003
The world has changed. The words, themes and messages on behalf of Israel must
include and embrace the new reality of a post-Saddam world.
In the past, we have urged a lower profile for Israel out of a fear that the American people would blame Israel for what was happening in the rest of the Middle East. Now is the time to link American success in dealing with terrorism and dictators from a position of strength to Israel’s ongoing efforts to eradicate terrorism on and within its borders. In the current political environment, you have little to lose and a lot to gain by aligning with America. With all the anti-
Americanism across the globe and all the protests and demonstrations, we are looking for allies that share our commitment to security and an end to terrorism and are prepared to say so. Israel is a just such an ally.
THE NEXT STEP
The fact that Israel has remained relatively silent for the three months preceding the war and for the three weeks of the war was absolutely the correct strategy – and according to all the polling done, it worked. But as the military conflict comes to a close, it is now time for Israel to lay out its own “road map” for the future which includes unqualified support for America and unqualified commitment to an ongoing war against terrorism.
Perceptions of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are being almost entirely colored and often overshadowed by the continuing action in Iraq. Partisan differences still exist (the political Left remains your problem) and complaints about Israeli heavy-handedness still exist.
Advocates of Israel have about two weeks to get their message in order before world attention turns to the so-called “road map” and how best to “solve” the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Developing that message is the purpose of this memo.
Author’s note: This is not a policy document. This document is strictly a communications manual. As with every memo we provide, we have used the same scientific methodology to isolate specific words, phrases, themes and messages that will resonate with at least 70% of the American audience. There will certainly be some people, particularly those on the political left, who will oppose whatever words you use, but the language that follows will help you secure support from a large majority of Americans. These recommendations are based on two “dial test” sessions in Chicago and Los Angeles conducted during the first ten days of the
Iraqi war for the Wexner Foundation.
This document is rather long because it is impossible to communicate all that is needed in simple one-sentence sound-bites. Yes, we have provided those on the pages that follow, but we have taken the space to explain why the language is so important and the context in which it needs to be used. If you only read two pages, these are the key conclusions:
1) Iraq colors all. Saddam is your best defense, even if he is dead. The worldview
Americans is entirely dominated by developments in Iraq. This is a unique opportunity
for Israelis to deliver a message of support and unity at a time of great international anxiety and opposition from some of our European “allies.” For a year – a SOLID YEAR – you should be invoking the name of Saddam Hussein and how Israel was
always behind American efforts to rid the world of this ruthless dictator and liberate their people. Saddam will remain a powerful symbol of terror to Americans for a long time to come. A pro-Israeli expression of solidarity with the American people in their successful effort to remove Saddam will be appreciated.
2) Stick to your message but don’t say it the same way twice. We have seen this in the past but never so starkly as today. Americans are paying very close attention to
international developments and are particularly sensitive to any kind of apparent dogma or canned presentations. If they hear you repeating the exact same words over and over again, they will come to distrust your message. If your speakers can’t find different ways to express similar principles, keep them off the air.
3) It DOES NOT HELP when you compliment President Bush. When you want to identify with and align yourself with America, just say it. Don’t use George Bush as a synonym for the United States. Even with the destruction of the Hussein regime and
all the positive reactions from the Iraqi people, there still remains about 20% of America that opposes the Iraqi war, and they are overwhelmingly Democrat. That leaves about half the Democrats who support the war even if they don’t support George Bush. You antagonize the latter half unnecessarily every time you compliment the President. Don’t do it.
4) Conveying sensitivity and a sense of values is a must. Most of the best-performing
sound bites mention children, families, and democratic values. Don’t just say that Israel is morally aligned with the U.S. Show it in your language. The children component is particularly important. It is essential that you talk about “the day, not long from now, when Palestinian children and Israeli children will play side-by-side as their parents watch approvingly.”
5) “SECURITY” sells. Security has become the key fundamental principle for all
Americans. Security is the context by which you should explain Israeli need for loan
guarantees and military aid, as well as why Israel can’t just give up land. The settlements are our Achilles heel, and the best response (which is still quite weak) is the need for security that this buffer creates.
6) The language in this document will work, but it will work best when it is
accompanied with passion and compassion. Too many supporters of Israel speak out
of anger or shout when faced with opposition. Listeners are more likely to accept your arguments if they like how you express them. They will bless these words but they will truly accept them if and only if they accept you.
7) Find yourself a good female spokesperson. In all our testing, women are found to be more credible than men. And if the woman has children, that’s even better.
8) Link Iraqi liberation with the plight of the Palestinian people. It is likely that the most effective argument(s) you have right now are those that link the right of the Iraqi people to live in freedom with the right of the Palestinian people to be governed by those who truly represent them. If you express your concern for the plight of the Palestinian people and how it is unfair, unjust and immoral that they should be forced to accept leaders who steal and kill in their name, you will be building credibility for your support of the average Palestinian while undermining the credibility of their leadership.
9) A little humility goes a long way. You saw this with your own eyes. You need to talk continually about your understanding of “the plight of the Palestinians” and a
commitment to helping them. Yes, this IS a double standard (no one expects anything
pro-Israeli from the Palestinians) but that’s just the way things are. Humility is a bitter pill to swallow, but it will inoculate you against critiques that you have not done enough for peace. Admit mistakes, but then show how Israel is the partner always working for peace.
10) Of course rhetorical questions work, don’t they? Ask a question to which there is
only one answer is hard to lose. It is essential that your communication be laced with rhetorical questions, which is how Jews talk anyway.
11) Mahmoud Abbas is still a question mark. Leave him that way. You stand much
more to lose by attacking him now. But similarly, he is not worthy of praise. Talk about your hopes for the future, but lay out the principles you expect him to uphold: an end to violence, a recognition of Israel, reform of his own government, etc.
THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT WORDS: SADDAM HUSSEIN (STILL)
This document is about language, so let me be blunt. “Saddam Hussein” are the two
words that tie Israel to America and are most likely to deliver support in Congress. They also just happen to be two of the most hated words in the English language right now.
Without being repetitive, Americans fundamentally believe that a democracy has a right to protect its people and its borders. Unfortunately, as a democracy, we tend to dwell on our failures (Vietnam, Watergate, etc.) more than our successes. It is essential for the long-term support of a strong military and a commitment to national security that we remind people again and again…and again that there are times when it is necessary to take preventative action and that military intervention is better than appeasement.
There are some who would say that Saddam Hussein is already old news. They don’t understand history. They don’t understand communication. They don’t understand how to integrate and leverage history and communication for the benefit of Israel. The
day we allow Saddam to take his eventual place in the trash heap of history is the day we loose our strongest weapon in the linguistic defense of Israel.
References to the successful outcome of the war with Iraq benefit Israel. While Americans don’t want to increase foreign aid in a time of significant budgetary deficits and painful spending cuts, there is one and only one argument that will work for continuing Israeli aid (in four easy steps):
THE ISRAELI AID MESSAGE TREE
(1) As a democracy, Israel has the right and the responsibility to defend its borders and protect its people.
(2) Prevention works. Even with the collapse of Saddam’s regime, terrorist threats remain throughout our region.
(3) Israel is America’s one and only true ally in the region. In these particularly unstable and dangerous times, Israel should not be forced to go it alone.
(4) With America’s financial assistance, Israel can defend its borders, protect its people, and provide invaluable assistance to the American effort in the war against terrorism.
This is important. All the arguments about Israel being a democracy, letting Arabs vote and serve in government, protecting religious freedom, etc., won’t deliver the public support you need to secure the loan guarantees and the military aid Israel needs. All the language we have written in past memos will not work when it comes to U.S. tax dollars. You need a national security angle – one that clearly links the interests of both Israel and America:
WORDS THAT WORK:
SELLING ISRAEL AID (I)
“It was Israel who risked their pilots and planes in taking out Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactors and thus thwarted his quest for nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
It was Israel who provided much of the intelligence that helped America defeat Iraq back in 1991.
It was Israel alone among Middle Eastern nations that supported America’s successful effort to remove Saddam Hussein and liberate the people of Iraq.
We stood without you against the Saddam regime from beginning to end. Israel has been a key regional asset and military ally of the United States for more than 50 years. That relationship must continue, even and especially in the post-Saddam era. It is a partnership of democracies devoted to the war against terrorism and the fight for freedom.”
As we have seen, the news cycle during and immediately following a war is is not a
matter of idle curiosity, it is compulsory viewing. Even more than in Israel, where conflict has tragically been almost commonplace, war means a new and real threat to personal and familial security in America. And Saddam Hussein, dead or alive, still embodies that threat.
Americans have been thinking and talking about the war on terror for almost a year and a half now, and they have come to conclude that Saddam Hussein is a sponsor of world terror and is a particular threat to the democracies of the world. New and shocking revelations about the brutality of his regime are discovered daily, which only reinforces American support of military action. But the fact that Hussein was a direct threat to Israel is especially important. Israel opposed his cruel ambitions for decades – a decade longer than the U.S. Remind audiences that Israel and America have common values, but then stress that we also share common enemies.
But deterrence is only half the message. You really do need to emphasize your historic willingness to compromise and sacrifice on behalf of America. This may not play well among some Israeli politicians but it will certainly play extremely well in the States.
WORDS THAT WORK
“During the Gulf War, Iraq attacked Israel with Scud missiles 39 times. Israel stood by each time, not knowing if the next missile contained biological and chemical weapons. Israel chose restraint instead of war, because it was what the U.S. asked. It was Israel’s way to support our ally, America, and its troops during the Persian Gulf War. We put supporting American priorities higher than our own. But now, with our national security at stake, we need America’s financial help.”
RESPONDING TO PALESTINIAN PRESSURE
While the Chicago and Los Angeles sessions yielded significant new language and
several new communication “principles,” most of our previous observations hold true. Too many in the Jewish community are too linguistically hostile at a time when the other 97% of America wants a resolution to the conflict. In particular, you cannot just issue recriminations, however justified, against the Palestinian Authority and expect American elites to be suddenly convinced of your righteousness. All the evidence and common sense can be on your side, but the hostility and negativity will be rejected as biased and one-sided.
Here’s a specific example:
WORDS THAT WORK
“When facing a fanatical enemy, you have two options: deter or destroy. Saddam was not deterred by inspections. He was not deterred by threats. He was not even deterred by military action against him in 1991. And if had possessed nuclear
weapons, nothing would have deterred him. For ten years the United Nations talked about deterrence, and for ten years Saddam defied the international community.
Just as America had no choice but to remove him from power, Israel has no choice but to protect its borders and its people from terrorists who mean us harm.”
WORDS THAT DON’T WORK
“There is no moral equivalency. On one side you have duly elected and appointed Israeli officials from a democracy that has been operating for more than half a century. On the other side you have corrupt Palestinian officials who have lied,
cheated and stolen from their people. Israel will not negotiate until they have someone to negotiate with.”
While the statement above is perfectly accurate and justified, it will not work.
Individually, the words are good, the facts are accurate and the message is correct. But this communication effort fails miserably because it is regarded as a complete rejection of negotiations and peace. Listeners see it as accusatory and contentious – exactly what they don’t want to hear and will not accept. We have a better approach, one that says virtually the same thing but in a more effective way:
WORDS THAT DO WORK
“Whatever the root causes of the Palestinian-Israeli crisis, there are certain tragic cultural facts and differences that stand in the way of peace negotiations between the people of Israel and the Palestinians. No Israeli child has ever strapped
a bomb to his back and gone off to kill civilian Palestinians, and yet the Palestinian leadership does too little to dispel the notion among its more extreme citizens that killing Israelis with a suicide bomb is the surest route to heaven. How can Israel deal with a population of parents that stand aside or even encourage their children to become martyrs?”
Yes, this is harsher and more explicit than the previous paragraph, but it works for
(1) The human touch. Mentioning parents and children humanizes and personalizes the
terror that Israel has to face every day.
(2) The rhetorical question. Even pro-Palestinians have a tough time answering that final question. It’s time for Israeli spokespeople to ask a lot more unanswerable rhetorical questions as part of their communication effort.
(3) Acknowledging a cultural difference between Israelis and Palestinians is stating the obvious – and good for your case. Even those Americans that have sympathies for the Palestinian struggle have an easier time relating to the Israelis because of the similarities between America and Israel in culture, tradition and values.
With this in mind, we have identified four specific spokesperson themes and emotions
that appeal to American opinion influencers when discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and whatever negotiations may or will take place:
“I am hopeful that with the end of this war, the peoples of the Middle East will celebrate life and freedom. I am hopeful that the scenes of Iraqis throwing off the yoke of tyranny and fear will serve as a model for all peoples of the region. Yes, I do have hope that by reaching out to the stars, we can bring something good back to earth.”
“What we are hoping for is that the Palestinian people recognize the leadership they have right now has unfortunately a very different agenda than the agenda of the real Palestinian people…We do not have the right to tell the Palestinians who to elect to represent them but we hope they will choose leaders that will listen and truly care about them. ”
THE HUMAN ELEMENT
“It’s very difficult for us. We know that going into these Palestinian cities creates hardships and dilemmas for the Palestinians. But it is even more difficult to look our own children in the face knowing that that there are people in these cities planning to commit terrorist acts and not go in there and try to stop them before they kill.”
DEDICATED TO DEMOCRACY
“We all know the importance of bringing genuine democracy and human rights to all nations and to uproot the ideology of terrorism. That is what we have tried to do, and we will keep on trying.”
We have tested about 75-minutes of new language in Chicago and Los Angeles. Much of
it was ineffective … or worse. However, we did uncover some messages that do move opinion elites from neutral to positive. Of all the language that deals with the Palestinians directly, here’s what works the best:
PALESTINIAN SOUND-BITES THAT WORK
Advocates of Israel will do well if they adopt the language that follows:
“The Palestinians deserve better leadership and they deserve a better society—with
functioning institutions, democracy, and the rule of law.”
“We are hoping to find a Palestinian leadership that really does reflect the best
interest for the Palestinian people.”
“As a matter of principle, Israel will sit down, negotiate and compromise with those
that wish all the peoples of the Middle East to live together in peaceful coexistence.
Egypt made peace with Israel. Jordan made peace with Israel. And both agreements still live on today.”
“We know what it is to live our lives with the daily threat of terrorism. We know
what it’s like to send our children off to school one day and bury them the next. For
us, terrorism isn’t something we read about in the newspaper. It’s something we see
with our own eyes far too often.”
“We don’t want to sign a meaningless agreement that isn’t worth the paper it is
printed on. We want something real. If there is to be a just, fair and lasting peace,
we need a partner who rejects violence and who values life more than death.”
“As a matter of principle, the world should not force Israel to concede to those who
publicly deny our right to exist or call for our annihilation.”
“Right now, today, there are still terrorist groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the
Al Aqsa Martyrs that the Palestinian Authority has either been unable or unwilling
to curb—and Israelis continue to die because of it.”
“Just as the American government pledges to secure for you life, liberty, and the
chance to pursue happiness, so must Israel’s government guarantee that we will be
secure and free.”
DEMOCRACY: CONNECTING IRAQ AND THE PALESTINIANS
“My earnest hope is that with regime change in Iraq, democracy may finally take firm root in the Middle East. If the Palestinian people and the people of other Middle Eastern nations are able to see the brilliant example of a successful Arabic democracy, I am confident the tide will turn.
Obviously it is wrong to assume that overwhelming American support for regime change
in Iraq is fully transferable to changing the Palestinian leadership. Americans view them as separate issues – at least right now. That being said, your support for the American efforts to liberate the people of Iraq can and should be tied to our mutual interest in guaranteeing freedom for the Palestinian people.
Americans want democracy to flourish in the Middle East. There is genuine hope that the Iraqi people will establish a representative government with genuine freedoms. In that vein, remind people that the Iraqi people need not look any further than their Israeli neighbors for an example of such a government.
Democracy loves company. So far, one of Israel’s most effective messages has been
that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. It’s time to take that message one step further. Emphatically state that while you are proud of Israel’s democracy, you would much rather be the FIRST democracy in the Middle East than the ONLY democracy in the Middle East. Consider the following communication ladder that draws the attention first to Iraq and only then to the Palestinians.
(1) Democracy matters. Never in the history of the world has a democratic government engaged in war with another democracy.
(2) Democracy in Iraq matters. Iraq’s transition to democracy is an essential first
step towards a stable Middle East.
(3) Democracy can bring peace. True regional peace will come only when governments truly represent the interests of their people and guarantee their freedom and security.
(4) It’s time for true democracy for the Palestinian people. They deserve no less.
This may seem simplistic but the message works when delivered this way and in this
order. Americans sincerely hope that Iraq – a former adversary – can become a partner in peace
once a representative government is installed. Insofar as they yearn for freedom and deserve representative leadership, the Palestinian people are no different. This is exactly what Israel has asked of the Palestinian Authority for so long: to establish a legitimate government that will become a partner in peace.
TALKING ABOUT HOPE & THE FUTURE: FOUR KEY SENTENCES
(1) We hope that we can once again achieve peace with an Arab neighbor.
(2) We hope that terror will no longer be the only thing that separates
Palestinians from having their own state and Israelis from living in
(3) We hope that the Palestinian people will no longer languish under a leadership that refuses to be a partner for peace.
(4) We hope that we can negotiate a fair agreement with a democratic government that is committed to the rule of law.
As zealous as Americans are about their own democracy, they quite often have to
be reminded why they defend it so fiercely. This reminder becomes your obligation
when associating Israel’s democratic values with those of America.
Using the word “democracy” without giving examples of what makes this system
of government so essential is like saying you want “peace” without giving evidence that you’ve made honest strides toward achieving it. Americans want proof that you know what these nice-sounding words mean.
When linking our common bond of democracy, use specific examples of why we hope that more nations establish the freedoms democracy guarantees.
- Women are treated as equals
- The press operates freely
- All religions are respected
- The people chose who represents them in free elections
- Democracies do not make war on each other
Finally, make the argument that if these freedoms are so dear to Israelis and
Americans, they are just as dearly missed by the Palestinian people. All people yearn to live free, and their current leadership denies them that right.
THE ROADMAP: A BALANCED APPROACH
[Author’s note: We include this section because the President’s speech did so well in
both Chicago and Los Angeles and because this topic will be at the core of Jewish and Israeli communication efforts in the coming months. We warn readers that a great deal of additional research is needed to offer a guarantee that the words and messages included here are the best available.]
As the post-war dust settles over the Iraqi desert, the focus has already begun to shift to the Israel-Palestinian peace process and President Bush’s so-called “roadmap” to peace. The good news is that the American people firmly believe that if the Palestinians want to demonstrate sincere commitment to peace, they must abide by the tenants of the President’s soon-to-bereleased roadmap. The not-as-good news is that they expect exactly same from Israel and they demand it immediately.
In both Chicago and Los Angeles, and among virtually all respondents regardless of
political party, Americans responded quite favorably to the language from President Bush for two reasons: “a balanced approach” and “shared responsibilities.” Keep those terms in mind and use them whenever possible.
WORDS THAT WORK: A BALANCED APPROACH
“I see a day when two states, Israel and Palestine, will live side by side in peace and security. I call upon all parties in the Middle East to abandon old hatreds and to meet their responsibilities for peace.
The Palestinian state must be a reformed and peaceful and democratic state that abandons forever the use of terror. The government of Israel, as the terror threat is removed and security improves, must take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable and credible Palestinian state, and to work as quickly as possible toward a final status agreement…
We believe that all people in the Middle East -- Arab and Israeli alike -- deserve to live in dignity, under free and honest governments. We believe that people who live in freedom are more likely to reject bitterness, blind hatred and terror; and are far more likely to turn their energy toward reconciliation,
reform and development.”
– President George W. Bush
COMPLICATING THE ROADMAP: MAHMOUD ABBAS (ABU MAZEN)
To some extent, your job as proponents of Israel has been easy. Under the Arafat regime, it’s not difficult to convince the American public of the corruption of the current Palestinian leadership. While many sympathize with the plight of the Palestinian people, there is no love lost for Yassir Arafat. Arafat is a terrorist; they know that. Better still, he looks the part.
The emergence of Mahmoud Abbas as the new Palestinian Prime Minister comes exactly
at the wrong time. His ascent to power seems legitimate. He is a fresh face, and a clean-shaven one at that. He speaks well and dresses in Western garb. He may even genuinely want peace.
Just as President Bush had begun to make headway in drawing attention on the need for a reformed Palestinian leadership, the Palestinians throw us this curveball. What will the world make of Abbas? Is he the new leadership for which Israel has pleaded for years? Or is he an Arafat in sheep’s clothing?
Given the haze surrounding this new figure, it is imperative that you NOT immediately
launch criticisms on Abbas. This is critical for three reasons:
(1) Overt negativity. If it turns out that Abbas legitimately wants peace and that he
represents the true interests of the Palestinian people, then the attacks you launch
today will turn the tide of public opinion against ISRAEL tomorrow. You will undermine all of your credibility as the willing partner for peace if you shoot down
the first true peace partner the Palestinians have offered. (We don’t expect this
scenario but it is possible.)
(2) The unknown factor. Abbas is a relative unknown in the international community.
Look at his emergence as if it were part of a political campaign. He is not a
candidate to sit at the negotiating table until he proves his worthiness. While
uncertainty makes your communication strategies complicated, it should not
necessarily change your priorities. The more you talk about him, the more he is
going to be talked about, which leads to the next point…
(3) Patiently Await a Peace Partner. Abbas may be a leader who wants peace, but it
is incumbent upon him to prove that he is the willing and serious partner Israel
needs to pursue peace together. Whether or not he has been elected or appointed to
this position, he still needs to demonstrate tangibly that he wants peace. Your goal
remains a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Once the Palestinians have shown
their house is in order, you will be ready and willing to find an agreement. And if
they don’t, they, not Israel, will be blamed.
NOTE: This is not to say that Abbas should be given a free ride in the press. It is only to say that criticisms must be confined to what he does to thwart the peace process as a leader of the Palestinian people. Allow him the chance to succeed. A brief exercise in game theory may better illustrate this point. What happens if…
You immediately attack Abbas, and he turns out to be a genuine and effective partner in peace?
Israel loses credibility as the party that wants peace above all else. He gains popularity among an international community that already doubts your rhetoric and “heavy-handed” actions, and wins over those Americans who sympathize with the
Palestinian people but support you because they distrusted previously corrupt Palestinian leadership.
This is the worst result possible.
You immediately attack Abbas, and he turns out to be an Arafat in sheep’s clothing?
What has Israel truly gained? You may have stripped his faux wool months before he would have done it himself, but you risked backlash. In the end, it would have been better off to publicly remain committed to peace while letting the Palestinian leadership implode on the public relations front – a strategy that has worked
effectively thus far.
You wait on Abbas to define himself, and he turns out to be a genuine and effective partner in peace?
The roadmap is instituted and there is a peaceful resolution to decades of conflict by this time next year. This is the best result possible.
You wait on Abbas to define himself, and he turns out to be an Arafat in sheep’s clothing?
Let him keep the faux wool; you’ll reap the benefits of this communications gold mine. All your old messages of needing a genuine partner for peace will ring even truer, and the next time, the new leader cannot be justifiably appointed by Arafat.
So when people ask for opinions or reactions to Abbas, put it in terms of a “scouting
report” with the following two facts:
(1) He was appointed to his current position by Arafat, which is suspect.
(2) He has denied the Holocaust, which is confounding at best and offensive at worst.
If he is an Arafat in Western clothing, it will not take long to identify him as such. The American people will know it by the actions he takes and the demands he makes. That is an incrimination that, if true, he will do to himself.
Is it a concern that he is a Holocaust denier? Absolutely. Will that fact convince
Americans that he cannot represent the Palestinian people in an honest bid for peace? Hardly. Americans don’t want to hear about the Holocaust anymore, and they particularly don’t want to hear it from the Jewish community.
Nevertheless, you need more substance on Abbas before you can tell the American
people you question his devotion to peace.
Americans believe that peace has to start somewhere other than Arafat. If Abbas is
presented as that alternative, they quickly identify him as a symbol of “hope.” His emergence as Prime Minister (a very Western, democratic-friendly title) is all Americans will need to believe that the peace process should be underway. They will expect you to follow suit and take a seat at the negotiating table. Finally, most believe that the United States can and should serve as an honest broker between these two parties. In their eyes, these are all the ingredients needed to
begin the peace process.
It is essential that you use positive language when asked about Abbas. However, that
does not mean you must compliment Abbas himself. While knocking him down now does little to help your long-term goals, building him up is also counterproductive. Therefore you must remain positive about the peace process and indifferent about Abbas until he defines his role. Above all else, reaffirm your position that first terrorism stops, and then negotiations begin.
WORDS THAT WORK
“Yes, we hope that this potential change in leadership signals a new opportunity for peace in our region. Israel has long sought a partner who wants peace as dearly as we do. But Israel reaffirms that before any peace talks can begin, terror must end. We cannot negotiate with any leadership that allows its people to murder our civilians.”
Mix this message in with one of compassion for the Palestinian people. Many Americans sympathize with their plight. So should you. Americans want to hear it. A
statement that the Palestinian people deserve better should follow every recrimination of a Palestinian leader or terrorist.
WORDS THAT WORK
“We know the Palestinian people deserve better. We want for them what we have in Israel: freedom to say what they want, believe what they want, and live in equality. They also should have the right to choose who speaks on their behalf. The Palestinian people deserve and want leaders who will work for peace and not for terrorism. We know that terrorism causes hardships for everyone involved. That is why we are committed to working for peace as soon as we have a willing partner.”
THE VALUE OF RHETORICAL QUESTIONS
An effective communication technique to continue to apply pressure to the Palestinian leadership without looking like you are ignoring Israel’s responsibilities is to pose rhetorical questions. These questions will lead to only one answer, of course: peace cannot be achieved until real reforms are in place, and that the terror must stop first.
RHETORICAL QUESTIONS TO ASK OPPONENTS OF ISRAEL
“How can the current Palestinian leadership honestly say it will pursue peace
when the same leaders rejected an offer to create a Palestinian state two and a
half years ago?”
“How can Yassir Arafat, whom Forbes Magazine says is worth more than three hundred million dollars, claim to be a leader who understands and represents an impoverished people when he has become rich at their expense?”
“Is it too much to ask that the Palestinian leadership not sponsor terrorists?
Are we unreasonable to insist that they stop killing our innocent children before we jeopardize our security and make concessions for peace?”
“How can we make peace with a leader that does not believe in or allow free
and honest elections?”
“Why do Palestinian schools have pictures of suicide bombers hanging up in the hallways of their schools or celebrate them as martyrs? Why do they name sports teams in the West Bank after suicide bombers? How can we make peace with the Palestinian people when their leaders instill a culture of terror against our people?”
“How can the Palestinian people end their impoverishment if their leaders
continue to steal precious resources from them, which are then used to support
Why has Yassir Arafat been in power for so long, and yet made so little progress towards a peaceful resolution? If he were truly committed to peace, would he not have made a sincere effort to achieve it by now?
When will the Palestinian people themselves have a voice at the peace table?
The answer of every rhetorical question is the same: peace will come when the current Palestinian leadership is truly reformed and the terror tactics have ceased.
CONCLUSION: A LITTLE HUMILITY, PLEASE
Presenting a fair evaluation of your past allows you to present a hopeful – and
believable – vision of your future.
You have your work cut out for you. As you emerge from one delicate public
relations situation – war with Iraq – you enter an even dicier situation – cooperating on “the road map” with an unknown counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas. Fortunately the former may provide you some breathing room and cover for the latter.
The essential conclusion is to remain focused on your communication priorities
from this point forward. Terror ends first. A willing peace partner emerges second. The roadmap is executed last. And throughout it all, you exhibit humility and reaffirm that the Palestinian people deserve better.
This memo has identified language that effectively articulates why – and how – the
Palestinian leadership must change. Critiquing the other side is the always the easiest part of public communication, but it is only half of effective language.
Opinion elites in America will not find repeated criticisms of the Palestinian leadership credible unless they are coupled with a similar onus on the Israeli government to accommodate for peace and acknowledge past transgressions. Assertions that Israel enjoys a blameless history are soundly rejected. This will not be received well by everyone but it is essential for your spokespeople to acknowledge it Israel has made some mistakes. Not only does this build credibility but it also allows the spokesperson to then explain and assert Israel’s history of taking
strides for peace.
Here is how this message is best developed:
ACKNOWLEDGING THE PAST, BOTH GOOD AND BAD
(1) We know that the history of our conflict has been marked by frustration and mistrust by both Israelis and Palestinians, and Israel is willing to accept some of the blame for what has happened in the past
(2) However, throughout our history we have demonstrated that we value peace above all else. In our hope for peace we overcame differences and found agreement with our Arab neighbors Egypt and Jordan.
(3) We remain committed to peace. We offered the Palestinian people a state of their own that included over 97% of the West Bank. Their leadership rejected this proposal, showing once again that we do not have a partner for peace so long as the current Palestinian Authority remains the voice of the Palestinian people. It’s time for a change – not just for us but for our Palestinian cousins as well.