Monday, April 7, 2014

HPM Cartoon: Three Sides

Hopefully none of you read Mondoweiss, and so you never read this article, which is a cartoon trivializing and defending the bullying and intimidation on campus. The cartoon itself is below.

The point of the cartoon, clearly, is that pro-Israel students aren't allowed to complain about being bullied, intimidated or threatened because the poor suffering Palestinians have it worse. In other words, Palestinian students are allowed to abuse Jewish students (and their feelings don't matter) because other people thousands of miles away are having a tough time.

Well, I made my own cartoon, to follow that line of thinking to its logical end:

Because clearly the suffering of the Palestinians isn't worthy of discussion because Somalians (among others) have it worse.

Monday, March 17, 2014

British Loss of Land: Map that Lies

I'm sure you're all familiar with the Palestinian "map that lies," a map that starts history in 1946 to claim Palestinians had control over all of Palestine and tracks their "loss of land" through the present day.

Well, I created the British version:

Someone do something about all the land stolen from the British in the past 90 years! What victims of land theft they are!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Israel Intercepts Weapons, HuffPosters Rage

You probably heard the news about Israel intercepting a literal boatload of weapons on their way to Gaza from Iran. The Huffington Post covered the story and for once the top favorited comments were a reasonable blend between reasonable and frothing hatred of Israel. Let's take a look. Notice how few of these are actually related to the article:

You gotta admire them. Their desire to blame Israel is truly impervious to facts.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

MJ Rosenberg's Brief Flash of Sanity

The AIPAC Policy Conference took place over the weekend, and the Huffington Post didn't churn out the articles as much as I expected that they would. Sure, they had one about Netanyahu demanding that the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state (the commentators bravely refused), but what was interesting was that unemployed blogger MJ Rosenberg had vacillated back to being reasonable again. Though I'm sure that he will eventually return to the barking mad state in which he normally resides, especially on Twitter, for now it's nice to hear that he has it somewhat together.

His first article was why he opposes BDS. At least that's what the title said, the article was slightly more confusing:
"I make it as someone who absolutely supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) as applied to the West Bank. Even if I deeply desired the seltzer machine Scarlett Johannson promotes, I would not buy one manufactured in occupied territory. I favor divestment from any company that sustains the occupation, which is both illegal and immoral."
Apparently Rosenberg didn't bother to do his research, because BDS doesn't have anything to do with the West Bank, at least outside of their press releases.  Also that Sodastream only has one factory in the West Bank, so if you buy one there's no guarantee by any measure that that device in particular was made in "occupied territory."

But Rosenberg doesn't support boycotting Israelis in general because he's a "liberal Zionist" and wants Israel to continue existing. Which is all very well and good but it doesn't explain why BDS is wrong, he waits a little bit  to get to there with what I think is a pretty good point:
"Where do Americans come by the sheer gall of demanding sanctions on all Israelis when they themselves have never been subjected to sanctions for the crimes of our government? After all, if every Israeli including old socialist kibbutzniks, school kids, and opponents of the occupation, deserve to pay a personal price for an occupation they may not support, shouldn't all Americans pay a price for American crimes that Israel could not match in a hundred years?"
This is true, but judging people is what BDS and Palestinian supporters do, so it's not likely to phase them. But it's true: America is way worse than Israel, and Americans wouldn't like being held responsible for the decisions of their government. You can also say the same of the vast majority of countries in the world, which is why BDS probably isn't going to get anywhere. But I do think it's interesting that Rosenberg can't even get through this article without taking shots at Israel's very existence such as "After all, they [Palestinian Arabs] were the overwhelming majority of the country until Israel was established in 1948." What country? The British Mandate was not a country. And what does that have to do with the subject at hand. Rosenberg finishes his first article not by attacking BDS for being genocidal, racist, or hypocritical, but rather by going after his actual favorite target:
"And, Israel, end the damn occupation because, whether I like it or not, the boycott movement against Israel itself is getting stronger every day. What kind of lunacy would jeopardize Tel Aviv to preserve the right of a bunch of religious fanatics to live in Hebron?"
Right. BDS is wrong, but it's totally winning so Israel should do what it wants. Yeah, that makes sense. Also I might add that Israel's enemies see Tel Aviv as just a legitimate target as Hebron, or anywhere else Jews live. Rosenberg's unwillingness to realize this is informs a lot of his work, which nicely leads me into the next article in which he declares "BDS isn't the issue," because he says so:
"What did offend me was Netanyahu's use of BDS as a diversion from the main issue: the occupation. It is the occupation, not BDS, that threatens to end Israel's existence as a democratic Jewish state. It is the occupation, not BDS, that has turned Israel into a pariah in most of Europe. It is the occupation, not BDS, that prevents Israel from achieving peace with the Palestinians and the entire Arab League (as offered in the Arab League initiative). It is the occupation, not BDS, that has jeopardized Israel's standing with liberal and progressive Americans, including the Democratic party at large, not BDS. In fact, if BDS disappeared tomorrow, all of Israel's problems would remain. All it would lose is a convenient scapegoat."
Ready for a shocker? On some level I actually agree. Attacking BDS doesn't solve Israel's problems per se, aside from eliminating one of the threats to its very existence. The problem is that "the occupation" is not only the main issue, it's not even an issue. It's a symptom of the real issue which is the Palestinian refusal to make peace with Israel, and BDS spawns from that as well. Rosenberg has it exactly backwards when he said that the occupation prevents Israel from achieving peace. "The occupation" doesn't do anything on its own, it's a result of the actions of both sides. Anyone with a basic history book can explain in more detail.

The trouble is that Israel can't make peace by itself, so all it has been doing is treating the symptoms and staying as stable as it can while the occupation remains. Rosenberg thinks that this is insufficient, and I don't entirely blame him for thinking that. But his argument is rather classic of a "liberal Zionist" of the kind that runs in the Huffington Post: attack attack attack Israel, but refrain from going over the edge to join BDS and the "destroy Israel" crowd. Israel cannot change the world around it just be waving its hands. Ending the occupation won't bring peace, and it's kind of amazing that Rosenberg still insists that it will. The sad part is that by Huffington Post standards he's considered a moderate.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Announcement: End of Daily Updates

It's with mixed emotions that Zach and I are announcing an end to daily updates to this blog. We've been blogging since October of 2009, and we've had some great times and big stories.

Our decision comes from a combination of other activities in our lives interesting us more, and the changes in the Huffington Post itself.  Since the creation of the Huffington Post's new comment policy, the number of comments have gone way down in articles in general and especially Israel related ones. An Israel related article that once generated a hundred angry comments now results in five or six. On top of that, at least in the few past months, the Huffington Post has removed its laser focus on Israel that it's had for the past four years in favor of more "gotcha" type headlines about foreign celebrities and bloody shirt photos.

With such a lack of material, it doesn't make sense for us to continue blogging daily. I'm sure regular readers would agree with us.

We plan to continue to check the Huffington Post daily and blog when big news or blatant bias hits, but the standard day to day updates are going to end.

Thanks to all of those out there who supported us, commented on this blog, and linked to us in the past four years, especially Huff-Watcher and CiFWatch.

If you come here looking for daily updates and are disappointed to find none, make yourself feel better with rewatching the biggest story we ever broke on this blog: Norman Finkelstein's criticism of BDS.

Friday, February 28, 2014

MJ Rosenberg Sides With Racist Richard Over Anti-Semitic Mondoweiss

You've probably heard that the infamous blogger Richard Silverstein has been taking fire from all sides after calling an African-American pro-Israel student a "Negro," which he promptly followed up by calling her a "house slave" and an "Uncle Tom." That is, when he isn't claiming that this is acceptable because he's a Jew, and Jews who don't live in Israel apparently aren't white and therefore can't be racist. Anyway, it's an amazingly hilarious mess, made even more hilarious when his fellow anti-Zionists started criticizing him.

Silverstein continued to dig himself deeper and deeper into a hole, this time with a post accusing "the anti-Zionist left," most notably the Mondoweiss crowd of trying to police his freedom of speech. Misunderstanding how freedom of speech works seems to be trait across all anti-Zionists. But what does all this have to do with the Huffington Post, you might be wondering? Well, Huffington Post blogger and Israel hater MJ Rosenberg marched into Silverstein's thread to defend him, shockingly:

I'll admit, I didn't think that defending racism was something I would ever see MJ Rosenberg do. Nor did I expect him to play the 'anti-Semitism' card against Mondoweiss. I have a feeling that they won't be accusing him of using that word to "stifle debate," though. This whole thread is an amazing mess of conflicting alliances and enemies, which just goes to show the state of anti-Zionism today.

Of course, we don't actually know this is MJ Rosenberg writing it, since it could be someone using his name. So if he would like to correct us, then go for it. And oh yeah, "the crazy left?" You're in deep with them. They are the ones who cheer you on in the pages of the Huffington Post when you whine about AIPAC for the 10,000th time. Be nice to them; they don't take criticism well.

Excerpts from "Pro-Human Rights"

The Huffington Post published a very long article about the experiences of two young Dutch women visiting "Palestine." The title is "Not Pro-Palestine or Pro-Israel, but Pro-Human Rights." It's long, so I'm not going to go through the entire thing, I just wanted to highlight some of the more interesting parts:
EK: We did not have a "routine." Every day looked a bit different. Four times a week two of us were at Checkpoint 300, the crossing point of the south of the West Bank into Jerusalem. It's one of the biggest checkpoints in the occupied Palestinian territory. We would start at 4 a.m. in the morning till the queue of Palestinians going into Jerusalem was clear, usually at around 7 a.m. We would monitor how many people were able to go through, intervene if there were problems, particularly when the Humanitarian Lane wasn't open (a lane for privileged access, people who have to go to the hospital, students, men and women over 65, and tourists), and provided protective presence in order to establish a smooth flow and prevent arbitrary actions from soldiers. A big part is obviously reporting everything to the concerning organizations and also back home, because part of our work is doing advocacy in our home countries. We hope that when people start realizing what is going on in Israel/Palestine, there will be pressure on national governments to put pressure on the Israeli government, and this will have as consequence that Israel will start abiding international law and human rights.
 So much for not being "pro-Palestine." If you think the "advocacy" she is referring to is to encourage Palestine to "abide by international law and human rights," you're more optimistic than I am. She openly admits that she only wants pressure on the Israeli government and wants Israel to abide by international law and human rights, not the Palestinian side.

Interesting bit about the Humanitarian Lane, isn't it?
EK: I had good and bad interactions with both sides. Usually the Palestinians were very nice and grateful for my presence. With Israeli soldiers it was a bit more difficult. Sometimes they were quite nice. More often they would ignore and not talk to me, and sometimes they would get aggressive.... I always thought twice about saying what exactly I am doing here to not end up in a heated discussion. For me this was quite strange. I am not pro-Palestine [or] pro-Israel, but I am pro-human rights, and I think no one should feel uncomfortable to stand up for those universal values. On the other hand I also had good encounters with Israelis who were open to what I had to say, who also were against settlements and the occupation, etc. Sadly, those interactions were not the majority.
Same woman, claiming that she's not pro-Palestine, but pro-human rights. So why only encourage one side to abide by international law and human rights? Either she believes that Palestinians ARE abiding by international law and human rights, or she knows they aren't, but for some reason she doesn't mind.

But hey, don't worry, she had good encounters with Israelis who agreed with her, but sadly, most weren't ready to receive her enlightened wisdom yet. Such a disappointment.
AR: One encounter I experienced with Palestinians is the following: When my boyfriend came to visit me, we got stuck in Abu Dis, a town next to Jerusalem, on our way to Bethlehem. The roads were closed by the Israeli army, and no buses were going to Bethlehem anymore. All cars that went to Bethlehem took hitchhikers in their cars. We got a lift from a young guy. He did not even check who got in the car. We got in together with an older man and a woman. He just asked where we wanted to go in Bethlehem and did not take any money, although my boyfriend repeatedly tried to give it to him. Honestly, I did not have that much interaction with Israelis. I had some interaction with the soldiers at the checkpoint, which were unfortunately mostly negative.
 Not pro-Palestine or pro-Israel, but we're going to advocate against Israel at home, and when we get there we don't even speak to Israelis, besides soldiers guarding checkpoints. Yeah, these ladies haven't picked a side.
Would you like to return to Palestine?
EK: I would absolutely like to return to Palestine. I am currently applying for an internship at the Swiss embassy in Ramallah and Tel Aviv, and hopefully I can go back this year. I think it's a wonderful country with nice people, good food, extraordinary landscapes and an interesting culture. When I left in December, I definitely left a part of my heart there.
AR: Yes! We said you either love it or hate it, and I thoroughly, with all my being, loved, loved, loved it. The country, the scenery, the people, the language, hope, laughter, smells, love, but also the feeling that what I do might actually matter to others, and maybe I could do something that positively influences other people in this lifetime.
 Left unasked: Would you like to go to Israel and talk to the people there?

Ladies, if you want to be pro-Palestine, then be pro-Palestine. But don't pretend you're some unbalanced, objective reporter when you haven't spent a day with the other side. Our readership knows that if the same thing was written from a visitor to Israel, the comments section would be full of people whining about how they didn't visit the West Bank.