Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Today's Huffington Post Hit Piece

It appears that even with news of the settlements  the Huffington Post still doesn't have enough material with which to bash Israel and its supporters. The latter especially haven't received much attention, so it's time to hit the college campus with some left-wing Israel hating college students! Uloop claims to be a marketplace for college life, sort of like a college Craigslist. Apparently they also provide a platform for college students to spew hatred and lies about their favorite targets in the pages of the Huffington Post. On the pages of the HP, it's anonymous, to find out who wrote this article that is full of biased "reporting" (if you can even call it that), we have to go to the original source and find that it's a student named Asra Shakoor. I'm sure that she had absolutely no political opinions about Israel and the Palestinians before going to this protest, which is what the article is about.

In the first paragraph, we immediately spot many cases of bias:
"The protest was following the recent ceasefire from the Israelis and was held outside the UMASS student center where we were met by a prominent number of Zionists. The reason I used the word Zionist rather than Jewish was because the members who were present were from a student Zionist Organization. The participants of the Palestinian protest were of mixed races; there were several Arabs, many non-Arabs, and to my surprise, a group of Jewish students. Were they on the wrong side? Had they mistaken the group?"
Right away we see that the Israelis ceased fire. This is technically true as Palestinian terrorist groups have continue to attack Israelis living in the south, but I don't think that is what Asra meant. I would wager that she meant that one day the Israelis started attacking the Palestinians for no reason and then recently ceased attacking the Palestinians for no reason. The Palestinians never were firing at all. If she would like to come on the blog and tell me that I am mistaken, she can feel free to do so.

Secondly, the bias about how she describes the protesters is hilarious and incredibly transparent. She uses the dehumanizing label "Zionist" to describe people she doesn't like but not "anti-Zionists" or "pro-Palestinians." Furthermore, she describes the races of the anti-Zionists but not the Zionists. Why is that? Could it be because she knows that there were also mixed races on the other side, but is trying to literally whitewash her opponents through lying by omission? Does she think that we will believe that there are no Jews who are part of the Zionist organization?

(Here's something else interesting: on the original version of the article, when she says "Zionists," she links to Jews against Zionism. The Huffington Post didn't go quite that far I suppose  So I think it's fairly obvious that her biases are doing the reporting here, not the person.)

What this is known as is "Jew washing." Jews that are anti-Israel are given more weight and attention, as if being Jewish makes their opinion matter more only when they side with the author. Jews that are pro-Israel are simply ignored, and this article is a perfect example of both. Notice also how Asra never tells us how many Jews are protest for "Palestine," just that there is a "group" of them. A group can be anywhere from three to three hundred. Anyway the Jew washing continues with more bias:
"These students regarded themselves as being Jewish, as opposed to Zionist. She was disgusted with the works of the Zionist terrorist groups and wanted peace for Israel."
Leaving aside the "opposed to Zionist," she is actually saying two different things here. Just because someone wants peace for Israel doesn't make them non-Zionist. It's highly likely that the students in the Zionist organization also want peace for Israel. I have a feeling that Asra doesn't actually know what a Zionist is, and she will prove that later on. Anyway, what "Zionist terrorist groups" is she referring to? I doubt that anyone there is old enough to be alive during the tumultuous years of the 1940s when Zionist terrorist groups were active. So what "works" is she referring to specifically? One would hope that she actually asked the students there, as she is claiming to speak for them, but it isn't coming off that way. If she is using some kind of weasel words to refer to Israel's military, then she is even more dishonest than I thought. But let's move on, and just chalk this down as another case of bias.
"The protesters were chanting "peace for Palestine" and "stop the ceasefire," whilst the Zionists were campaigning for Israel shouting, "Palestine is not even a real state."
Now I don't know whether or not this is true, as I wasn't there. But I've been to a protest or two in my time and never in my entire life have I heard "pro-Palestinian" protesters chant "peace for Palestine." A youtube search reveals only counter demonstrators at Al-Quds day chanting it. So I'm not saying that she isn't telling the truth, but let's ask ourselves: If they were chanting "from the river to the sea Palestine will be free" do you really think that Asra would tell us? Let's not be disingenuous shall we?

On the other hand, I wonder if that's a Freudian slip that Asra reports them saying "stop the ceasefire?" Wouldn't people who want peace be glad that there's a ceasefire? Maybe she can educate us further about what was really going on there. And as for the Zionists, again: if they were chanting "stop the rockets" or "pro-Israel pro peace" (both of which I have seen at pro-Israel rallies) do you think Asra would tell us? Hell no, that's obvious by now. Anyway, it's story time!
"My friend, who had invited me to the protest, is from the Gaza strip and lives with her family in a refugee camp. She is a student at Mount Holyoke College and was asked to tell her story at the protest. She was dressed in jeans and a coat. As soon as she began to reveal her story, she was interrupted by a man who appeared to be in his late 30s and shouted "Is that how a refugee dresses?" I was disgusted with the ignorance and prejudice I had just witnessed."
What is ignorant and prejudiced about pointing out the fact that Palestinians have milked their refugee status for years? Why is a college student a "refugee" from a war that took place decades years before she was born? Would any other young person be able to get away with that kind of thing if they weren't a member of the chosen Palestinian race? The Palestinians are refugees because they choose to be, and "Zionists" have every right to call them out on it. There's nothing ignorant or prejudiced about the truth, no matter how much Asra doesn't want to hear it.

She then tells a story about an argument with what she calls "an ignorant, uneducated Zionist," thus proving her impartiality. One of the points the guy made is that the Palestinians don't have a national anthem, which is dumb, but doesn't make him either ignorant or uneducated, just mistaken. She then remarks on how protests are pointless, which supposedly was the whole subject of the article, thrown in at the end. For the record I actually agree that protests are pretty pointless especially after the fighting has already ceased. But let's conclude the way she does:
"Whilst I enjoy being part of political rallies, campaigns and events, protests are insignificant unless they have prominent publicity and become a political statement. And for any ignorant Zionists out there, do enjoy the Palestinian national anthem."
Notice how almost every time she uses the word "Zionist" it's paired with an insult. But as for the national anthem: here's the problem. She links to a Youtube video with "English subtitles" that are completely different from the actual Palestinian national anthem that includes such peaceful lyrics as
"With my determination, my fire and the volcano of my vendetta....I have climbed the mountains and fought the wars"
"With the resolve of the winds and the fire of the weapons...Palestine is my fire, Palestine is my vendetta...By my land and nation, and the fire of pain" 
It also includes references to being a fedayeen, i.e. a "martyr."

But even Asra's version, wherever it came from, wasn't so peaceful. Especially these lyrics:
"The youth will not tire, 'til your independence. Or they die."
"We will drink from death. And will not be to our enemies."
"The sword and the pen not the talk and the quarrel...are our symbols, are our symbols."
"O behold you in your eminence: victorious over your enemies."
And the guy who posted her video remarked at the end:
"Palestine will regain it`s hounor and Jerusalm will be the capital and Al Aqsa will be in no longer danger and the world will see that israel will have to pay for all his deeds painfully.INSHAHLLAH"
I'm glad to see that the Huffington Post is going back to its roots.


  1. I would add that several users including myself have complained about comment censorship on this particular entry. I have tried repeatedly (3 times) to get a comment which is critical of the blog posted. The "pending comments" counter is at 0, so I guess my comment was rejected repeatedly.

    I append my comment here so that you can judge for yourself whether it was inappropriate (as opposed to the disgusting and vile garbage that gets posted on HuffPost comments every day).


    The protest was "following the recent ceasefire from the Israelis"? The ceasefire was between the two sides, but isn't it a good thing anyway? I figured this was just a strange choice of words or a typo, but then I got to
    'The protesters were chanting "peace for Palestine" and "stop the ceasefire," '
    So which one is it? Peace and stopping the ceasefire don't exactly go together. Maybe the author is confusing "ceasefire" with "aggression"? But he/she is quoting the protesters as well, is it a misquote? Or were they all confused? I know I am.

    As for the blog itself, I find the author's constant use of the word "Zionist" in a negative context (as in "Zionist terrorist groups", "uneducated Zionist", "ignorant Zionists") to be in bad taste. I assure you, not all Zionists are uneducated, ignorant, and the like.
    Would you feel comfortable if something similar was written about Jews, Muslims, etc? What would you think if following a protest by some particularly violent Palestinian nationalists (and lord knows there's no shortage of those) I wrote a blog constantly referring to Palestinians as "terrorists", "uneducated", and "ignorant"?
    But of course, I wouldn't do that. That would smell of generalization and bigotry. That would be projecting a limited experience with a handful of people on an entire group. I would say that only an uneducated and ignorant person would express him or herself in that manner.

  2. @jonnyko.

    Agreed... "about comment censorship on this particular entry." However, it has been proven over and over again, the censorship that often takes place on *articles* (I use the term loosely) that are written by 'writers' and not journalists. This is all part of the bigger picture that includes Arianna Huffington to be a rabid anti-semite, who uses her 'writers', journalists, editors, and even every day posters/commentors to achieve her goal. It is a conscious effort to give a stage and platform for all of those who will vilify Israel, vilify Jews, and say anything to put Israel and Jews in a bad light. REGARDLESS OF TRUTH OR FACT.

    So they gave Asra Shakoor, this college going 19 year old anti-semite, a page (stage) on one of the most highly read *news sites*, to enable her to spew her biased, unsophisticated and immature brand of hatred. And she doesn't even have to offer up an identity, she just posts under the umbrella of a website for "college life".

    For more *insight*, please give this blog a read: asra's "political blog"

    about 3/4 of the way down the page, under a photo of the infamous (and incorrect) maps of "palestinian land", she admits this:

    "Just to let you know, I know very little about the history of the conflict. I am currently studying the US’s response to this crisis. By viewing this image, I am absolutely shocked. I had no idea that Palestine used to be the area of which we call Israel today. I simply thought that it was embedded in the Gaza strip.
    Thoughts: I am absolutely shocked by this map. Why on earth would the UN or anyone deprive the home of the Palestinians and replace it with Israel? Seriously sympathising for the Palestinians right now. I cannot believe that i am 19 years old and have only just discovered this."

    Your last sentence jonnyko, is right on target. A bullseye.

  3. The moderation is particularly outrageous on this article. I have had comments deleted, but never had so few make it through moderation. I had three comments that were pending for hours and then where simply deleted. So for lack of any other option, I will print my comment in full here:


    This article was written by "Uloop", an "online marketplace for college life."??
    I understand why no one would want to put their name on this disjointed piece of "journalism"

    "a Jewish girl approached me and told me of the turmoil she was going through following the ceasefire."

    Interesting. What was she as an american going through after the ceasefire? We will never know.

    " She was disgusted with the works of the Zionist terrorist groups"

    Who exactly are the "Zionist terrorist groups"?? Probably doesn't matter

    "The protesters were chanting "peace for Palestine" and "stop the ceasefire," "

    So they want peace, but they don't want to stop the violence. Seems like a significant point, but whatever. Moving on...

    "Protesting is a nice idea, it raises awareness further, but in no way does it help the suffering. This realization altered my view on protests."

    Yeah. No duh. If that 'realization' altered your view, that you had not put any thought into what protests accomplish. A pretty vapid epiphany from someone who claims to have "attended several student protests and enjoyed being part of the political scene"

    I am really embarrassed for HP that they are printing such junk. If this was turned was turned it by a freshman english major it would receive an "F", along with a suggestion to find a new major.


    Also...I tried to get this one through (still pending)


    49 posted, 4 pending for 3-4 hours.
    Then 49 posted 0 pending.

    Will sarcasm do the trick...?

    Well...this article was extraordinarily well-written. It was clearly presented the subject matter and made no unfounded claims. It sufficiently examined the perspectives of both the Palestinians and the " ignorant Zionists", without a hint of bias.
    Also the (unnamed) author's credentials as a sophomore in college and also "Having attended several student protests" is beyond reproach

  4. Json,

    Here are some facts for you.

    1) The "story" was written by a 19 year old college student named Asra Shakoor. She says about herself: "Hi there :) I am a political science and international relations student…."
    2) According to Asra, she is from England, but studying at Mt. Holyoke College as an international exchange student.
    3) Asra has a self described "political blog" which can be found here:
    (On her "political blog" she admits to knowing practically nothing about the Middle East, and what she does state is propaganda talking points full of misinformation)
    4) You can read her self written bio from the Uloop site here:
    5) Also on the Uloop page, you can get a glimpse of (and a link to) her other "articles".
    Exciting titles such as "Christmas shopping on a budget", and seven "How To…" articles, where her keen insights ventures out beyond protests in the Middle East.

    As for the article,
    1) the question was asked why it was written under "uloop" and not the authors name. I don't think an answer was given.
    2) It is my understanding that authors have the choice of self moderating, or turning it over to 'regular' moderation. My guess would be it was being self moderated. (At least initially)
    3) It is beyond sad, that Huffington Post would stoop to such levels as to actually print this type of garbage. One could not call it anything other than that. Garbage.

  5. @anon

    Thanks, but I had done some digging myself and knew who she was. She also mentioned it in one of her comments before her account was "removed". I assume she deleted it herself.

    I almost feel a little bad for her. HP put her in a difficult spot by publishing this terrible piece of "writing". She is obviously young, and not at well-versed on the subject at hand, so her ability to defend it from even mild criticism is limited.
    Her writing might (might!) be suitable for a college-level publication, but has no place in an outlet like HP. It is a shame that they stooped to publishing it (presumably ONLY because of its anti-israel perspective.)

  6. Json, clearly you are kinder than I am. I do not feel bad for her. Not one bit.
    She consciously and willingly wrote an article on a subject she admittedly knew little about,
    and did so in a very immature, biased and racist way. That is not the way one goes about being either a "writer" or a student of "political science" and "international relations".
    "International relations" ? Really? If that is the case, she has to learn to be more informed, unbiased, less racist, as well as honest, before publishing/speaking.
    Maybe, hopefully, this will be a good lesson for her.

    I am in total agreement that "HP put her in a difficult spot by publishing the terrible piece of "writing", but what did she think would happen? Did she truly expect not to be challenged or called out? Like the old saying goes, "if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen".

    BTW, did you see this?
    I think she appears in this video, I believe this is the protest she whined about.
    (I too assume it was she that removed her profile)


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