Thursday, February 26, 2009

As the Arabs see the Jews - Historical

(written by King Hussein’s grandfather King Abdullah)

His Majesty King Abdullah

The American Magazine November, 1947

I am especially delighted to address an American audience, for the tragic problem of Palestine will never be solved without American understanding, American sympathy, American support.

So many billions of words have been written about Palestine—perhaps more than on any other subject in history—that I hesitate to add to them. Yet I am compelled to do so, for I am reluctantly convinced that the world in general, and America in particular, knows almost nothing of the true case for the Arabs.

We Arabs follow, perhaps far more than you think, the press of America. We are frankly disturbed to find that for every word printed on the Arab side, a thousand are printed on the Zionist side.
There are many reasons for this. You have many millions of Jewish citizens interested in this question. They are highly vocal and wise in the ways of publicity. There are few Arab citizens in America, and we are as yet unskilled in the technique of modern propaganda.
The results have been alarming for us. In your press we see a horrible caricature and are told it is our true portrait. In all justice, we cannot let this pass by default.

Our case is quite simple: For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been almost 100 per cent Arab. It is still preponderantly Arab today, in spite of enormous Jewish immigration. But if this immigration continues we shall soon be outnumbered—a minority in our home.
Palestine is a small and very poor country, about the size of your state of Vermont. Its Arab population is only about 1,200,000. Already we have had forced on us, against our will, some 600,000 Zionist Jews. We are threatened with many hundreds of thousands more.

Our position is so simple and natural that we are amazed it should even be questioned. It is exactly the same position you in America take in regard to the unhappy European Jews. You are sorry for them, but you do not want them in your country.

We do not want them in ours, either. Not because they are Jews, but because they are foreigners. We would not want hundreds of thousands of foreigners in our country, be they Englishmen or Norwegians or Brazilians or whatever.

Think for a moment: In the last 25 years we have had one third of our entire population forced upon us. In America that would be the equivalent of 45,000,000 complete strangers admitted to your country, over your violent protest, since 1921. How would you have reacted to that?

Because of our perfectly natural dislike of being overwhelmed in our own homeland, we are called blind nationalists and heartless anti-Semites. This charge would be ludicrous were it not so dangerous.

No people on earth have been less "anti-Semitic" than the Arabs. The persecution of the Jews has been confined almost entirely to the Christian nations of the West. Jews, themselves, will admit that never since the Great Dispersion did Jews develop so freely and reach such importance as in Spain when it was an Arab possession. With very minor exceptions, Jews have lived for many centuries in the Middle East, in complete peace and friendliness with their Arab neighbours.

Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and other Arab centres have always contained large and prosperous Jewish colonies. Until the Zionist invasion of Palestine began, these Jews received the most generous treatment—far, far better than in Christian Europe.

Now, unhappily, for the first time in history, these Jews are beginning to feel the effects of Arab resistance to the Zionist assault. Most of them are as anxious as Arabs to stop it. Most of these Jews who have found happy homes among us resent, as we do, the coming of these strangers.

I was puzzled for a long time about the odd belief which apparently persists in America that Palestine has somehow "always been a Jewish land." Recently an American I talked to cleared up this mystery. He pointed out that the only things most Americans know about Palestine are what they read in the Bible. It was a Jewish land in those days, they reason, and they assume it has always remained so.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is absurd to reach so far back into the mists of history to argue about who should have Palestine today, and I apologize for it. Yet the Jews do this, and I must reply to their "historic claim." I wonder if the world has ever seen a stranger sight than a group of people seriously pretending to claim a land because their ancestors lived there some 2,000 years ago!

If you suggest that I am biased, I invite you to read any sound history of the period and verify the facts.

Such fragmentary records as we have indicate that the Jews were wandering nomads from Iraq who moved to southern Turkey, came south to Palestine, stayed there a short time, and then passed to Egypt, where they remained about 400 years. About 1300 BC (according to your calendar) they left Egypt and gradually conquered most—but not all—of the inhabitants of Palestine.

It is significant that the Philistines—not the Jews—gave their name to the country: "Palestine" is merely the Greek form of "Philistia."

Only once, during the empire of David and Solomon, did the Jews ever control nearly—but not all—the land which is today Palestine. This empire lasted only 70 years, ending in 926 BC.

Only 250 years later the Kingdom of Judah had shrunk to a small province around Jerusalem, barely a quarter of modern Palestine.
In 63 BC the Jews were conquered by Roman Pompey, and never again had even the vestige of independence.

The Roman Emperor Hadrian finally wiped them out about 135 AD. He utterly destroyed Jerusalem, rebuilt under another name, and for hundreds of years no Jew was permitted to enter it. A handful of Jews remained in Palestine but the vast majority were killed or scattered to other countries, in the Diaspora, or the Great Dispersion. From that time Palestine ceased to be a Jewish country, in any conceivable sense.

This was 1,815 years ago, and yet the Jews solemnly pretend they still own Palestine! If such fantasy were allowed, how the map of the world would dance about!

Italians might claim England, which the Romans held so long. England might claim France, "homeland" of the conquering Normans. And the French Normans might claim Norway, where their ancestors originated. And incidentally, we Arabs might claim Spain, which we held for 700 years.

Many Mexicans might claim Spain, "homeland" of their forefathers. They might even claim Texas, which was Mexican until 100 years ago. And suppose the American Indians claimed the "homeland" of which they were the sole, native, and ancient occupants until only some 450 years ago!

I am not being facetious. All these claims are just as valid—or just as fantastic—as the Jewish "historic connection" with Palestine. Most are more valid.

In any event, the great Moslem expansion about 650 AD finally settled things. It dominated Palestine completely. From that day on, Palestine was solidly Arabic in population, language, and religion.

When British armies entered the country during the last war, they found 500,000 Arabs and only 65,000 Jews.

If solid, uninterrupted Arab occupation for nearly 1,300 years does not make a country "Arab", what does?

The Jews say, and rightly, that Palestine is the home of their religion. It is likewise the birthplace of Christianity, but would any Christian nation claim it on that account? In passing, let me say that the Christian Arabs—and there are many hundreds of thousands of them in the Arab World—are in absolute agreement with all other Arabs in opposing the Zionist invasion of Palestine.

May I also point out that Jerusalem is, after Mecca and Medina, the holiest place in Islam. In fact, in the early days of our religion, Moslems prayed toward Jerusalem instead of Mecca.

The Jewish "religious claim" to Palestine is as absurd as the "historic claim." The Holy Places, sacred to three great religions, must be open to all, the monopoly of none. Let us not confuse religion and politics.

We are told that we are inhumane and heartless because do not accept with open arms the perhaps 200,000 Jews in Europe who suffered so frightfully under Nazi cruelty, and who even now—almost three years after war’s end—still languish in cold, depressing camps.

Let me underline several facts. The unimaginable persecution of the Jews was not done by the Arabs: it was done by a Christian nation in the West. The war which ruined Europe and made it almost impossible for these Jews to rehabilitate themselves was fought by the Christian nations of the West.

The rich and empty portions of the earth belong, not to the Arabs, but to the Christian nations of the West.

And yet, to ease their consciences, these Christian nations of the West are asking Palestine—a poor and tiny Moslem country of the East—to accept the entire burden. "We have hurt these people terribly," cries the West to the East. "Won’t you please take care of them for us?"

We find neither logic nor justice in this. Are we therefore "cruel and heartless nationalists"?

We are a generous people: we are proud that "Arab hospitality" is a phrase famous throughout the world. We are a humane people: no one was shocked more than we by the Hitlerite terror. No one pities the present plight of the desperate European Jews more than we.

But we say that Palestine has already sheltered 600,000 refugees. We believe that is enough to expect of us—even too much. We believe it is now the turn of the rest of the world to accept some of them.

I will be entirely frank with you. There is one thing the Arab world simply cannot understand. Of all the nations of the earth, America is most insistent that something be done for these suffering Jews of Europe. This feeling does credit to the humanity for which America is famous, and to that glorious inscription on your Statue of Liberty.
And yet this same America—the richest, greatest, most powerful nation the world has ever known—refuses to accept more than a token handful of these same Jews herself!

I hope you will not think I am being bitter about this. I have tried hard to understand that mysterious paradox, and I confess I cannot. Nor can any other Arab.

Perhaps you have been informed that "the Jews in Europe want to go to no other place except Palestine."

This myth is one of the greatest propaganda triumphs of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the organization which promotes with fanatic zeal the emigration to Palestine. It is a subtle half-truth, thus doubly dangerous.

The astounding truth is that nobody on earth really knows where these unfortunate Jews really want to go!

You would think that in so grave a problem, the American, British, and other authorities responsible for the European Jews would have made a very careful survey, probably by vote, to find out where each Jew actually wants to go. Amazingly enough this has never been done! The Jewish Agency has prevented it.

Some time ago the American Military Governor in Germany was asked at a press conference how he was so certain that all Jews there wanted to go to Palestine. His answer was simple: "My Jewish advisors tell me so." He admitted no poll had ever been made. Preparations were indeed begun for one, but the Jewish Agency stepped in to stop it.

The truth is that the Jews in German camps are now subjected to a Zionist pressure campaign which learned much from the Nazi terror. It is dangerous for a Jew to say that he would rather go to some other country, not Palestine. Such dissenters have been severely beaten, and worse.

Not long ago, in Palestine, nearly 1,000 Austrian Jews informed the international refugee organization that they would like to go back to Austria, and plans were made to repatriate them.

The Jewish Agency heard of this, and exerted enough political pressure to stop it. It would be bad propaganda for Zionism if Jews began leaving Palestine. The nearly 1,000 Austrian are still there, against their will.

The fact is that most of the European Jews are Western in culture and outlook, entirely urban in experience and habits. They cannot really have their hearts set on becoming pioneers in the barren, arid, cramped land which is Palestine.

One thing, however, is undoubtedly true. As matters stand now, most refugee Jews in Europe would, indeed, vote for Palestine, simply because they know no other country will have them.

If you or I were given a choice between a near-prison camp for the rest of our lives—or Palestine—we would both choose Palestine, too.

But open up any other alternative to them—give them any other choice, and see what happens!

No poll, however, will be worth anything unless the nations of the earth are willing to open their doors—just a little—to the Jews. In other words, if in such a poll a Jew says he wants to go to Sweden, Sweden must be willing to accept him. If he votes for America, you must let him come in.

Any other kind of poll would be a farce. For the desperate Jew, this is no idle testing of opinion: this is a grave matter of life or death. Unless he is absolutely sure that his vote means something, he will always vote for Palestine, so as not to risk his bird in the hand for one in the bush.

In any event, Palestine can accept no more. The 65,000 Jews in Palestine in 1918 have jumped to 600,000 today. We Arabs have increased, too, but not by immigration. The Jews were then a mere 11 per cent of our population. Today they are one third of it.
The rate of increase has been terrifying. In a few more years—unless stopped now—it will overwhelm us, and we shall be an important minority in our own home.

Surely the rest of the wide world is rich enough and generous enough to find a place for 200,000 Jews—about one third the number that tiny, poor Palestine has already sheltered. For the rest of the world, it is hardly a drop in the bucket. For us it means national suicide.

We are sometimes told that since the Jews came to Palestine, the Arab standard of living has improved. This is a most complicated question. But let us even assume, for the argument, that it is true. We would rather be a bit poorer, and masters of our own home. Is this unnatural?

The sorry story of the so-called "Balfour Declaration," which started Zionist immigration into Palestine, is too complicated to repeat here in detail. It is grounded in broken promises to the Arabs—promises made in cold print which admit no denying.
We utterly deny its validity. We utterly deny the right of Great Britain to give away Arab land for a "national home" for an entirely foreign people.

Even the League of Nations sanction does not alter this. At the time, not a single Arab state was a member of the League. We were not allowed to say a word in our own defense.

I must point out, again in friendly frankness, that America was nearly as responsible as Britain for this Balfour Declaration. President Wilson approved it before it was issued, and the American Congress adopted it word for word in a joint resolution on 30th June, 1922.

In the 1920s, Arabs were annoyed and insulted by Zionist immigration, but not alarmed by it. It was steady, but fairly small, as even the Zionist founders thought it would remain. Indeed for some years, more Jews left Palestine than entered it—in 1927 almost twice as many.

But two new factors, entirely unforeseen by Britain or the League or America or the most fervent Zionist, arose in the early thirties to raise the immigration to undreamed heights. One was the World Depression; the second the rise of Hitler.

In 1932, the year before Hitler came to power, only 9,500 Jews came to Palestine. We did not welcome them, but we were not afraid that, at that rate, our solid Arab majority would ever be in danger.

But the next year—the year of Hitler—it jumped to 30,000! In 1934 it was 42,000! In 1935 it reached 61,000!

It was no longer the orderly arrival of idealist Zionists. Rather, all Europe was pouring its frightened Jews upon us. Then, at last, we, too, became frightened. We knew that unless this enormous influx stopped, we were, as Arabs, doomed in our Palestine homeland.

And we have not changed our minds.

I have the impression that many Americans believe the trouble in Palestine is very remote from them, that America had little to do with it, and that your only interest now is that of a humane bystander.

I believe that you do not realize how directly you are, as a nation, responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for the present terrorism. I call this to your attention because I am certain that if you realize your responsibility you will act fairly to admit it and assume it.

Quite aside from official American support for the "National Home" of the Balfour Declaration, the Zionist settlements in Palestine would have been almost impossible, on anything like the current scale, without American money. This was contributed by American Jewry in an idealistic effort to help their fellows.

The motive was worthy: the result were disastrous. The contributions were by private individuals, but they were almost entirely Americans, and, as a nation, only America can answer for it.
The present catastrophe may be laid almost entirely at your door. Your government, almost alone in the world, is insisting on the immediate admission of 100,000 more Jews into Palestine—to be followed by countless additional ones. This will have the most frightful consequences in bloody chaos beyond anything ever hinted at in Palestine before.

It is your press and political leadership, almost alone in the world, who press this demand. It is almost entirely American money which hires or buys the "refugee ships" that steam illegally toward Palestine: American money which pays their crews. The illegal immigration from Europe is arranged by the Jewish Agency, supported almost entirely by American funds.

It is American dollars which support the terrorists, which buy the bullets and pistols that kill British soldiers—your allies—and Arab citizens—your friends.

We in the Arab world were stunned to hear that you permit open advertisements in newspapers asking for money to finance these terrorists, to arm them openly and deliberately for murder. We could not believe this could really happen in the modern world. Now we must believe it: we have seen the advertisements with our own eyes.

I point out these things because nothing less than complete frankness will be of use. The crisis is too stark for mere polite vagueness which means nothing.

I have the most complete confidence in the fair-mindedness and generosity of the American public. We Arabs ask no favors. We ask only that you know the full truth, not half of it. We ask only that when you judge the Palestine question, you put yourselves in our place.

What would your answer be if some outside agency told you that you must accept in America many millions of utter strangers in your midst—enough to dominate your country—merely because they insisted on going to America, and because their forefathers had once lived there some 2,000 years ago?

Our answer is the same.

And what would be your action if, in spite of your refusal, this outside agency began forcing them on you?

Ours will be the same.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Get on Board the Convoy

Your sleaze media will never show what has happened in Gaza and to the Palestinian people. All you will hear them say over and over again, is that the genocide being committed by Israel, is the fault of Hamas. They will forget to tell you, that before Hamas was democratically elected, the border crossings to bring food and supplies into Gaza had been closed.

The Jews of Israel and the Jews in the United States shut down those border crossings in January 2005.

Hamas was elected in mid 2006.

It would take many pages to try to explain to you, the reader, how and when this started. You can do a little research for yourself on the Internet to get the facts. Do it soon though because Google in particular, along with Yahoo, are deleting the information and not publishing websites that do explain the details.

Every time anyone tries to explain what is going on the Jews immediately pull out their “trump card” of the holocaust. Then everyone who does try to give people the facts are labeled as anti-Semitic.

Keep in mind that all of the western media is controlled by 7 to 9 people who own every form of media. The same people own the TV networks, magazines, newspapers and radio stations etc.

The simplest way to explain it is to give you an example.

Imagine that wherever you are currently living and have built up friendships and a home is suddenly taken away. Not by a person down the road or some big corporation but by 1000s of people from another place in the world. They just arrive and take away your homes, land and tell you to move out or you will be killed. It would make you very unhappy when you are told to leave without any compensation or reason other than they are claiming your land etc to be theirs.

To top it all off they make sure that once you build somewhere else, they construct a 25 foot walls, around your former settlement. You now need their permission to cross the border into another walled in neighborhood where some of your family and friends are living. Sorry you are not allowed to grow any food so you depend on convoys of trucks to get food, water, medicine and other goods to you. The crossings are closed for months at a time. Your electricity can be cut off at their will, and nobody anywhere, cares about your situation. Nobody knows because the sleaze media does not tell the world the truth. You are blamed.

You might get angry.

The Apartheid Wall

A photo of the Wall in which you are imprisoned.

In order to ensure that you behave, another country far away, supplies the occupiers with highly sophisticated weapons. Whenever the people who have you walled into this prison want you are hit at random with missiles, chemical weapons and tank fire. The next photo gives you an idea of what is thrown at you.

nm_Gaza_090109_ssh

Keep in mind that you have no place to hide or run to since you are surviving within the walls. Your children are massacred and the outside world does not see any pictures and you are filled with grief and sorrow.

photo581

Finally, the word reaches the outside world by a few real journalists and not entertainment baboons.

Here is what happened to one of those walled in prisons recently

The Massacre – Part 1


The Massacre – Part 2


The Massacre – Part 3


The Massacre – Part 4


Then you get word that a group of people have a convoy on their way. You are hopeful knowing that their journey to you could be stopped at the walled border crossing.

You wish that the world would know that help is on the way. Sleaze media owners are not letting anyone know that you are hungry, you are thirsty, you have no medicine, your rights have been violated, your children are dying and yet, you are hopeful.

We are on our way to you because we see a wrong and want to make it right.

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth…” Corinthians 13:6


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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Canada becomes Israel

Yves E

Yves Engler - February 12, 2009

Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper's government publicly supported Israel's brutal assault on Gaza and voted alone at the UN Human Rights Committee in defense of Israel's actions three weeks ago. Now Canada has taken over Israeli diplomacy. Literally.

In solidarity with Gaza, Venezuela expelled Israel's ambassador at the start of the bombardment and then broke off all diplomatic relations two weeks later. Israel need not worry since Ottawa plans to help out. On 29 January, The Jerusalem Post reported that "Israel's interests in Caracas will now be represented by the Canadian Embassy." This means Canada is officially Israel, at least in Venezuela.

Prior to the recent bombing in Gaza, the Harper government made it abundantly clear that it would support Israel no matter what that country did. It publicly endorsed Israel's 2006 attack on Lebanon, voted against a host of UN resolutions supporting Palestinian rights and in January 2008 refused to criticize illegal Israeli settlement construction at Har Homa near Jerusalem (even Washington publicly criticized these settlements). Canada was also the first country (after Israel) to cut off financial aid to the elected Hamas government and Ottawa has provided millions of dollars as well as personnel to create a US-trained Palestinian police force to act as a counterweight to the Hamas government and to oversee Israel's occupation.

Harper's support for Israel is extreme, but despite what many well-meaning commentators claim, it is not a break from Canada's role as an "honest broker" in the Arab-Israeli conflict. There is a long history of Canadian support for Zionism, a European settler ideology that has violently dispossessed Palestinians for more than six decades.

The idea for a Middle Eastern Jewish homeland to serve Western imperial interests has a long history in Canada. Since at least the 1870s Christian Zionists called for their biblical prophesies to be fulfilled under British auspices. By November 1915, Solicitor General (and then Prime Minister) Arthur Meighen publicly proclaimed, "I think I can speak for those of the Christian faith when I express the wish that God speed the day when the land of your [Jewish] forefathers shall be yours again. This task I hope will be performed by that champion of liberty the world over -- the British Empire." Two decades later Prime Minister RB Bennett began a national radio broadcast of the United Palestine Appeal with a speech about how the Balfour declaration and British control over Palestine was a step towards Biblical prophecies. "Scriptural prophecy is being fulfilled," he noted. "The restoration of Zion has begun."

During the 1947 UN negotiations over the British mandate of historic Palestine, Canada played an important role in creating Israel. Lester Pearson (then under-secretary of state for External Affairs) who chaired two different UN committees dealing with the mandate and Supreme Court Justice Ivan C. Rand, a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), played central roles in the negotiations that led to partition. In State in the Making, David Horowitz (the first governor of the Bank of Israel and first director general of Israel's ministry of finance) writes: "It may be said that Canada more than any other country played a decisive part in all stages of the UNO [United Nations Organization] discussions of Palestine."

The UN's 1948 partition plan gave the new Jewish state the majority of Palestine despite the Jewish population owning roughly seven percent of the land and representing a third of the population. Rand's assistant on UNSCOP, Leon Mayrand, provides a window into the dominant mindset at External Affairs: "The Arabs were bound to be vocal opponents of partition but they should not be taken too seriously. The great majority were not yet committed nationalists and the Arab chiefs could be appeased through financial concessions, especially if these accompanied a clearly declared will to impose a settlement whatever the means necessary." A dissident within External Affairs, the department's only Middle East expert, Elizabeth MacCallum, claimed Ottawa supported partition, "because we didn't give two hoots for democracy."

Above all else support for partition was driven by a geostrategic worldview. An internal report circulated at External Affairs explained: "The plan of partition gives to the western powers the opportunity to establish an independent, progressive Jewish state in the Eastern Mediterranean with close economic and cultural ties with the West generally and in particular with the United States." The Ottawa mandarins largely supported Israel as a possible western outpost in the heart of the (oil-producing) Middle East.

When the first Palestinian intifada broke out in 1987, then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney told the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) that Israel's brutal suppression of rock throwing Palestinian youth was handling the situation with "restraint." When questioned by a CBC reporter about the similarity between the plight of Palestinians and Blacks in South Africa, Mulroney replied that any comparison between Israel and South Africa was "false and odious and should never be mentioned in the same breath."

A decade later, Ottawa signed a free trade agreement with Israel. It was only Canada's fourth free trade agreement. Begun January 1997, the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement includes the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of where Israel's custom laws are applied.

The political motivation for supporting Israel has not changed significantly over the years. The government in Ottawa today receives limited electoral support from the Jewish community, but is close to a right-wing Christian Zionist movement. Most importantly, the Harper government strongly supports Western (US-led) imperialism in the Middle East. This is why Canada has taken over Israeli diplomacy in Venezuela.

Yves Engler is the author of the forthcoming Canada on the World Stage: A Force for Good or Bad Actor? and other books. He can be reached at yvesengler A T hotmail D O T com

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gaza - Genocide of the People - Feb 2009

Starvation being brought on by Israel refusing to allow shipments of food, medicine, water, school books, paper or any repair material for sewers. We are witnessing the Israeli slaughter of 1.75 million people and none of the world leaders are willing to speak out against the genocide.

Sleaze media refuses to tell the truth of this 60 year long struggle since the Palestinians had their land stolen and homes demolished. They now live in poverty and Israel is making the move to starve them to death.

Please try to understand that 900,000 people in Gaza need food aids alone. With the supply being cut off by Israel 30,000 a day get food. Imagine standing in a line waiting all day for a small amount of food. In other words try going to your favortie eating place and waiting all day for your food. Where are the world leaders?

Boycott all products that have the label "Made in Israel".

Friday, February 6, 2009

FAIR challenges CBC Ombud's Report

As the BBC continues to come under fire for refusing to carry an aid appeal for Gaza, the U.S. media watch group FAIR is challenging the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for making false and biased claims after a campaign by groups that advocate for uncritical coverage of Israel.

The campaign was launched in response to CBC’s October 23, 2008 airing of the 2003 educational documentary Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land. The film cited a FAIR report on U.S. media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict, prompting the CBC's French-language radio ombud Julie Miville-DechĂȘne to question the independence of FAIR’s research, referring to the organization as a “pro-Palestinian” and “militant group.”

FAIR is an independent nonprofit group whose research is widely cited by respected media scholars in both the U.S. and Canada. Its spokespersons have appeared on several occasions on the CBC to discuss issues ranging from media coverage of the Kosovo War to radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Faulting the film for "failure to account for the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip," Miville-DechĂȘne also cited a 2001 FAIR study that found only 4 percent of U.S. network news reports "concerning Gaza or the West Bank mention that these are occupied territories" as an example of an "anachronism" in the documentary, because Israel had subsequently withdrawn military forces and settlements from Gaza.

Under international law, however, Gaza remains an occupied territory, because Israel continues to control its borders. FAIR's finding of a chronic failure by leading American media organizations to mention the occupation is actually even more true today: a search of the Lexis Nexis database during the most recent war (12/2/08-1/18/09) reveals that the percentage of network news programs about Gaza or the West Bank that mentioned the occupation has fallen from 4 to only 2 percent.

While the ombud said FAIR’s 2001 finding that only 4 percent of U.S. news reports mentioned the occupation was “shocking,” the coverage on CBC’s own evening newscast, The National, from the same period was roughly equivalent, with only 5 percent of reports concerning Gaza or the West Bank referring to occupation.

FAIR contributing writer Seth Ackerman, who authored the report, today issued a response to the president of the CBC.
***
Dear Mr. Lacroix,
I was surprised and a bit puzzled to read the remarks concerning Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (where I am now a contributing writer) in a recent report from the CBC Radio-Canada Ombudsman. The ombudsman's report, which deals with the Middle East documentary Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land, had this to say about FAIR and the use of our research by the film:

This proximity between militant groups and documentary filmmakers is disconcerting. For example, one shocking item of information featured in the documentary is that only four percent of televised news reports mention that the West Bank and Gaza are “occupied.”

A small note at the bottom of the screen attributes this statistic from 2001 to the group “Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, FAIR.” This is a pro-Palestinian media watch group, the counterpart of pro-Israeli groups likes CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in the Middle East Reporting in America) and Honest Reporting, which is involved in the bulk of complaints to my office against this documentary. It is not a case of independent research.”

I will address the "shocking" factual issue raised in this passage, but first I can't help but express my puzzlement at the characterization of FAIR as a "militant group," a "pro-Palestinian" pressure organization whose analyses don't constitute "independent research."

I distinctly recall that in 2000, as a FAIR media analyst, I was invited by CBC Radio, along with former Canadian ambassador James Bissett and others, to analyze news coverage of the Kosovo war in a post-broadcast panel discussion of Sandra Bartlett and Michael McAuliffe's prize-winning Kosovo documentary The Road to Racak. Other FAIR spokespeople have appeared on CBC to discuss everything from Rush Limbaugh to media coverage of the Afghanistan war. Evidently the CBC ought to be more careful about screening out the extremist groups it invites on the air to discuss international affairs.

It is also hard to understand why, after trying to cast a cloud of doubt over FAIR as the source of the cited statistic about TV news coverage of the West Bank and Gaza, the ombudsman apparently never attempted to discover whether the statistic was actually accurate or not. Had the ombudsman's office done so, it might have learned that this fact is easily verifiable.

As the report notes, the statistic came from a November 3, 2000 online FAIR analysis (which I wrote). The analysis stated:

The three major networks' evening news broadcasts-- ABC's World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News and the CBS Evening News--aired 99 stories mentioning the West Bank or the Gaza Strip from the outbreak of fighting on September 28 through November 2 [2000]. But only four of these stories informed viewers that Israel occupies those lands.

It would have been a simple matter to confirm that all of this is true. If you go to the Nexis news database, you can ascertain the number of stories containing the words "West Bank" or "Gaza" that aired on the three above-named newscasts within the specified dates, by entering the following search string:

[show (World News Tonight or NBC Nightly News or CBS Evening News) and date (is aft 9/27/2000 and bef 11/3/2000) and West Bank or Gaza]

When you do so, 99 stories come up. You can then find how many of these stories mentioned that the territories are occupied simply by adding the term "and occup!" to the search string.

This brings up all of the stories within these 99 that contain any variation of the word "occupied" (“occupation,” “occupy,” “occupying,” etc.) There are six such stories, two of which are false positives. (One refers to the occupation of Lebanon while the other refers narrowly to contested control of a specific holy site in Nablus.)

Thus, it is a fact that during the first month or so of the Second Intifada, only four out of the 99 stories mentioning the West Bank or Gaza on the three main U.S. evening newscasts reported that the territories are occupied – approximately 4%. I find it amusing that even the ombudsman's office thinks this omission on the part of the U.S. networks is "shocking."

If the ombudsman’s office believes this to be an issue worth pursuing further, it might consider airing a documentary on CBC investigating pro-Israel bias in the news media.

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