Clashes between Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi’s opponents in Tahrir Square

October 12, 2012

CAIRO (AP)Demonstrators throw stones and Molotov cocktails; at least 10 injured according to local activists (Times of Israel) For the first time since Egypt’s new Islamist president took office, his supporters clashed with liberal and leftist protesters in Cairo, storming a stage erected by the opposition activists, smashing loudspeakers and tearing the structure down during competing rallies Friday.
A protester throws a stone after scuffles broke out Friday between groups of several hundred protesters in Cairo's Tahrir square when chants against the new Islamist president angered some in the crowd. (photo credit: AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)The mass demonstration, “Accountability Friday,” was organized by more than 21 political groups against what they claimed was President Mohammed Morsi’s failure to fulfill his promises for social justice and democratic reforms. Clashes erupted between pro-Muslim Brotherhood activists and their opponents.
Demonstrators threw stones and Molotov cocktails into the crowd. The BBC reported on Twitter that its news crew had to leave the scene because “there was so much stone throwing.” Other local activists stated that at least 10 were injured, and that women were fighting with clerics for their right to attend the rally.
The melee between supporters and opponents of Morsi reflects deep political divisions among the country’s 82 million people, more than a year after the popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

A protester throws a stone after scuffles broke out Friday between groups of several hundred protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir square when chants against the new Islamist president angered some in the crowd. (photo credit: AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Egyptians are struggling with a plunging economy, deteriorating security and disputes over the writing of the country’s new constitution. They were also stunned by a verdict earlier this week that acquitted 25 Mubarak loyalists on charges of manslaughter and attempted murder during last year’s revolt.
Liberal and leftist groups had called Friday’s protest to demand more action from Morsi after his first 100 days in office. The liberals also want greater diversity on the panel tasked with writing Egypt’s new constitution, which has been packed with Islamists, including members of Morsi’s fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.
Following calls for the protest, Morsi’s supporters called for a separate rally to demand judicial independence following the acquittals of Mubarak loyalists Wednesday.
The former regime figures were acquitted of organizing the so-called “Camel Battle,” — an incident on Feb. 2, 2011, when assailants on horses and camels charged into crowds in Cairo protesting against Mubarak, leaving nearly a dozen people killed in the assault.
Around 1,000 protesters died across Egypt in the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak.
Friday’s melee erupted after Morsi’s supporters stormed the activists’ stage at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, angered by chants from the opposition they perceived as insults to the president.
Protesters were seen with bruises and scrapes as the two camps fought with fists and sticks. Gunshots were also fired.
Meanwhile, Morsi was in Egypt’s second largest city, Alexandria, on Friday, where he pledged that former regime figures would be brought to justice despite Wednesday’s verdicts.
He invoked the “martyrs of the revolution,” including Khaled Said who died at the hands of Mubarak’s police in Alexandria in 2010. Images of Said’s severely disfigured face that had circulated widely online, helped galvanize calls for last year’s uprising that eventually overthrew Mubarak, after nearly 30 years in power.
“All of the segments of Egypt’s society were deprived of many rights” under Mubarak, Morsi told a crowd of supporters. “And the biggest right deprived of us was the right to freedom.”
Following the acquittals of the 24, Morsi on Thursday dismissed the country’s prosecutor general — a Mubarak appointee — in a bid to calm widespread anger. However, the prosecutor, Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud, refused to step down and vowed to remain in his post in defiance of Morsi citing a law that protects the prosecutor general from being ousted by the president.
Mubarak is serving a life sentence along with this longtime interior minister for failing to stop the killing of protesters last year.
After the clashes in Tahrir Square, the April 6 Movement, which played a significant role in bringing down Mubarak, said its supporters would march to the prosecutor’s office and protest there instead.
Caught in the scuffles, Ashraf al-Said said he tried to calm both sides but instead found himself doused in white paint thrown onto the crowd.
“I am here with the revolution, the people and Egypt. I am not with anyone side,” he said, his hands and hair dripping with white paint. “What we are doing now is a sin.”


NPR’s Jaffa Story Alleges Israeli Plot to Eradicate Arabs

November 21, 2011
( Sheera Frenkel‘s Nov. 18 NPR news report charges Israel with a purported agenda “to have a purely Jewish state and to get rid of all Palestinians, the ones in the West Bank and in Israel,” as one of her main interviewees puts it. Frenkel bases her alarmist story on three cases of vandalism and the distortion of terminology, among other misrepresentations (“Attacks Target Palestinians in Israeli Towns”).

Host Renee Montagne introduces the broadcast:

In Israel, tensions are rising between the country’s Jews and the Palestinian Arab citizens, who make up about 20 percent of the population. Over the past few months, several Arab sites in Israel have been vandalized by militant Jews who’ve left graffiti such as Death to Arabs. Sheera Frankel reports.

Frenkel reports:

Over the last few months, there have been a series of attacks targeting Palestinians within Israel. In October, a mosque in the northern Arab village of Tuba Zangaria was torched and a Muslim cemetery [sic] was vandalized and tombstones smashed. At both sites, graffiti was found linking the attacks to Israeli settlers from the occupied West Bank.Avia says she came to the protest because she was shocked by what was happening. She speaks in English as she points out that many right-wing Israelis use different terms for Palestinians that live within Israel.

Avia: They don’t call them Palestinians. They call them Israeli Arabs. That’s their way to erase their Palestinian identity, okay, and kind of contain them within Israel. But the agenda is to have a purely Jewish state and to get rid of all Palestinians, the ones in the West Bank and in Israel. 

Misrepresentation of Terminology
Avia’s assertion, which Frenkel wholeheartedly accepts, that the term “Israeli Arab” is a derogatory term used by “right-wing Israelis” is patently absurd. In fact, a broad swath of Israel, as well as non-Israelis, use this accepted terminology. While in recent years some Israeli Arabs have in fact prefered the term “Palestinian,” and some members of the Israeli far-left (as well as, apparently, NPR as of late) have adopted this terminology, “Israeli Arabs” is most commonly in use. Even groups on the left, such as the New Israel Fund , refer to Arabs in Israel as Israeli Arabs. Moreover, Avia herself even signed a NIF petition which refers to Israel’s Arab population as Israeli Arabs. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, which can hardly be considered right-wing, regularly uses the term Israeli Arab, and the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, mentioned in Frenkel’s broadcast as fighting against alleged racist practices in Jaffa, also uses that language. Outside of Israel, Al Jazeera apparently has no problem with the term, nor does NPR itself. (For example, Terry Gross and John Powers used the term on “Fresh Air,” Feb. 25, 2010, and Robert Siegel likewise referred to “Israeli Arabs” on Jan. 19, 2010, and on July 23, 2009). Are Ha’aretz, the New Israel Fund, Al Jazeera and NPR also guilty of being right-wing outfits bent on erasing Palestinian identity because they refer to “Israeli Arabs”?
Settlements Bogeyman Following the false “Israeli Arabs” bogeyman, Frenkel then raises the West Bank settlements bogeyman by misrepresenting the B’Emuna construction firm. She reports:

Avia says these kids of attacks are new in Jaffa, a coastal community hugging the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city. For years, Jews and Arabs coexisted here in relative peace. That was interrupted in early 2010, said Fatima Helewa, a local Palestinian activist.That’s when B’Emuna, a construction company that specializes in building subsidized homes for religious Jewish families in West Bank settlements, started building in Jaffa. Their first project was in the largely Palestinian neighborhood of Ajami.The Israeli Association for Civil Rights petitioned Israel’s high court against the building, claiming that B’Emuna’s openly stated policy of only providing apartments to Jews is racist. Israel’s high court ruled against them, and B’Emuna continues to build in Jaffa. (Emphasis added.)

But B’Emuna does not specialize “in building subsidized homes for religious Jewish families in West Bank settlements.” According to its Web site, the construction firm specializes “in the establishment of housing neighborhoods for the national religious public (Dati), all over the country.” (Emphasis added.) Of the five building sites featured as of press time on the firm’s Hebrew home page, three are within Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries – Even Shmuel, Yokneam, Pardes Chana, and Tirosh. But Frenkel’s alarmist report, charging Israel with erasing the Palestinian identity and seeking to establish a purely Jewish state eradicated of Palestinians, piles on the hot button settlement issue as well, no matter its relevance or lack thereof. Heaping on to the tangled charges of racism, settlements, and the ultimate sin — Zionism itself, Frenkel quotes Fatima Helewa, “a local [ie Jaffa] Palestinian activist”: “Arab people, they ready to live with the Jews. We are living with them for years by years. It’s just Zionism (ph) made the Jewish people, the settlers, more and more racist.”
Exclusive Housing
A balanced report, as mandated by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, would have noted that it’s not just religious Zionist Jews who can look forward to ethnic-based housing in Jaffa. As reported by Ha’aretz on Feb. 28, 2011 :

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality is planning to build affordable housing exclusively for Jaffa’s Arab residents, in order to send the community a clear message that city hall supports it.Municipal officials have met with representatives of the Israel Lands Administration, the Housing and Construction Ministry and the attorney general several times in recent months.The city intends to build about 100 housing units on two Jaffa lots owned by the municipality and the ILA. It wants to condition their sale on the buyer being an Arab resident of Jaffa.

But government building exclusively for Arabs in Jaffa undercuts the narrative of racist Zionism seeking a purely Jewish state, so why mention it? (Of course, if you wanted to find a distinction between the two projects, you could. In the case of the B’Emuna project for religious Zionists, the construction is private, and that firm weighed in with the highest tender. In the case of the Arab-only building project, it is the Zionist municipal government which is footing the bill and the Zionist Israel Lands Administration which is providing the land. So, the two cases are not exactly equivalent. While the government funds Arab-only housing in Jaffa, it does not fund Jews-only housing.)
Three Acts of Vandalism
Beyond the distortion of the “Israeli Arab” terminology and the apparent racist crime of a Jews-only residential building in Jaffa, the remaining substance of Frenkel’s heated report on anti-Arab activity involve three cases of vandalism – the attack on the mosque in Tuba Zangaria, the graffiti in the Muslim and Christian cemetery, and the graffiti and apparent arson attempt of an Arab-owned Jaffa restaurant. Such acts, directed at a certain population, are deplorable hate crimes which warrant condemnation. Yet, in the case of the cemetery, it is not at all clear that the motive was nationalist. As reported by the Jerusalem Post:

The words “death to Russians – G.A. 02” were also spray-painted in the cemetery.Police said the incident was “linked to a soccer group,” and that they were not convinced it was carried out by right-wing elements.

Yet, Frenkel does not report that the circumstances behind the cemetery vandalism are unclear. Instead, she presents the questionable anti-Arab motive as fact. (The Muqata blogger points out that soccer-related graffiti, namely the word “Barcelona,” also appears at the vandalized restaurant.)
Moreover, it is inexcusable that a report specifically dealing with Arab-Jewish tensions in Jaffa ignored the molotov cocktail attack on the Rabbi Meir Ba’al Hanes synagogue which took place just one day after the cemetery vandalism. If vandalism of one sacred place in Jaffa is worthy of news coverage, then surely a violent attack of another sacred site in the very same city is also newsworthy. And, finally, it is worth noting, the attack on the Jaffa synagogue was not the only religious Jewish site targeted in Israel in recent months. On Nov. 6, several tombstones were smashed at the ancient Jewish cemetery at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Apparently, though, attacks, violent or otherwise, on Jewish sacred sites do not warrant mention at NPR
Official Reaction to the Vandalism
As mentioned above, NPR’s Frenkel quotes Israeli activist Avia as stating the Israel right-wing agenda, as evidenced by using the term “Israeli Arab,” and as demonstrated by the vandalism is “to have a purely Jewish state and to get rid of all Palestinians, the ones in the West Bank and in Israel.” And yet, Israel’s government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud party, strongly denounced the attacks on the Arab sites. As Ha’aretz reported:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday decried the desecration of graves in Christian and Muslim cemeteries in Jaffa during Yom Kippur, saying that Israel is “not willing to tolerate vandalism, especially not the kind that would offend religious sensibilities.”“Israel shows tolerance for religious sentiments and a desire for peaceful coexistence without violence, but will show no tolerance for those who oppose it”, said Netanyahu during a cabinet meeting.

Ha’aretz added that others to condemn the attacks on the Arab sites included Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau, and President Shimon Peres. But, once again, the high-level condemnations of deplorable attacks such as the one on the Tuba Zangaria mosque does not fit with Frenkel’s narrative about a Zionist plot to drive out Palestinians, wherever they be. And so she ignores them.
Population Error
Finally, in a straightforward factual error, Frenkel refers to Tel Aviv as “Israel’s largest city.” With a population of 773,000 (as of 2009), Jerusalem is nearly double the size of Tel Aviv (population 403,700).

Railing against Reality: Lisa Goldman tries to defend Journalists who Use Pallywood

October 17, 2011
(Richard Landes h/t DOCS TALK and Augean Stables)

Recently a number of articles by photojournalists who turned their cameras on their fellow photojournalists have reinforced an argument I first made in 2005 with my first documentary short, Pallywood. They revealed the extent to which journalists, with their pack mentality and their eagerness to get pictures of the victimization of the Palestinian David by the Israeli Goliath, may influence, even make the “news” they record about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Ritual from Andrew Lampard on Vimeo.

Photojournalism Behind the Scenes [ITA-ENG subs] from Ruben Salvadori on Vimeo.
Obviously such charges runs the risk of undermining the narrative that the MSNM so relentlessly record for their audiences, a narrative that has had an enormous impact on images of Israel in the West. In response Lisa Goldman, a blogger at 972, has come to the defense of this kind of news. Her piece illustrates from many angles just what’s wrong with people who think they’re “journalists” when they’re really advocates.

The questions people don’t ask about ’staged photojournalism’
A few years ago, a far-right commentator on Israel-Palestine coined the term “Pallywood” to describe video clips and photographs which were allegedly staged or manipulated to score public relations points against Israel.

Lisa defines what she means by “far-right” later in this essay: those who call the occupied territories the ‘administered territories’ and insist that Israel must keep its settlements in the West Bank. There are two major points to be made here.
1) This is a pretty weak definition of “far-right.” I would have imagined something more along the lines of forceful transfer of population from both Israel and the territories for the sake of an Arab-free greater Israel. That would, after all, be a fairly neat parallel to an apartheid position that has its mirror opposite among so many Palestinians. But what Goldman’s trying to do here is to label anything that isn’t close to her position “far-right.” Presumably, she’d have no problem labeling “far-right” anyone who referred to them as “disputed territories” or felt that some of the settlements should, indeed remain part of Israel.
2) Nowhere can Lisa, who knows me personally because I invited her to participate in a conference at the IDC in 2006, find in my fairly copious writings, anything resembling these positions. I personally find even the “right-wing” label inaccurate, much less “far-right,” but that’s probably because I don’t skew the political spectrum heavily to the left in order to define anything that disagrees with me “right-wing.” On the contrary, I think that, when speaking of the Arab-Israeli conflict we need to have a spectrum that can accommodate both Palestinian and Israeli politics. That way we can avoid such foolish generalizations as, on the one hand, calling Abbas a “moderate” when, by my definition, he and his fellow PA officials are “far-right,” in favor of ethnic cleansing of a Palestinian state and keeping the refugees in camps, and on the other, avoid calling Netanyahu a “hardliner” when, in comparison, he’s far more accommodating than Abbas.
So we learn from Lisa Goldman’s first sentence of her post that: a) she is a poor journalist who doesn’t even care to research her claims, b) she’s into smearing people who get in the way of her narrative, and c) she defines matters with a heavy skew to the PCP (2) as normative, rather than one-sided.
All three of these observations will continue to hold true throughout an examination of her piece.

The term is now quite widely used by those who take an uncritical Israel-advocacy position. People who subscribe to the Pallywood theory believe that Israel is the true victim in its conflict with the Palestinians. Israel’s only real wrongdoing, they claim, is in its failure to combat effectively what they perceive as a relentless media battle waged by Palestinians and their advocates. What Israel needs, they say, is better hasbara.

This analysis reveals still more about Goldman’s world. I would have thought that people who “subscribe” to the Pallywood theory are people who have looked at the evidence – quite copious – and have come to the conclusion that it’s true, regardless of where they stand politically. Has Lisa even seen the movie or the rushes upon which the movie is based? I won’t deny that it’s water to the mill of those who defend Israel, but it’s empirically sound evidence that should, in principle, trouble those who think Israel is in the wrong.
Apparently, however, it does trouble people with a particular agenda. I remember a colleague of mine told me that he proposed I present al Durah and Pallywood to the journalism department at a major California university, and someone objected that I was trying to destroy the peace process. On the contrary, I tried to argue, no peace process will succeed when all the Palestinians need to do is fake an incident and break all their promises.
Lisa prefers to label anyone who takes this evidence seriously as an ideologue who takes an uncritical stance towards Israel. In other words, apparently, Lisa thinks that any criticism of the Palestinians and their narrative is a position that considers any criticism of Israel illegitimate, what so many on the “left” call the “Israel right or wrong crowd.” The idea that people can at once consider evidence for and against both sides seems alien to her. If you defend Israel and criticize the Palestinians, you’re “Israel right or wrong.” In her mind, people like me think Israel’s only fault is its poor hasbarah. If only it were so simple. But I guess that works for the simple-minded.

But the far-right – those who call the occupied territories the ‘administered territories’ and insist that Israel must keep its settlements in the West Bank – are not the only ones who claim that images of clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli security forces are staged. Sometimes, people who do not have a personal stake in the conflict make the same claim. These are intelligent, sensible people who visit Israel-Palestine, observe the situation for a short time – but do not study it or investigate it – and then draw their conclusions.

Oh dear. Innocent bystanders have been poisoned by far-right ideologues. Goldman to the rescue. We must look deeper to understand.

Recently, two young journalists – one Italian and one from the United States, created video reports about what they saw at clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces. In these video reports,  news photographs and video clips are juxtaposed alongside images that show the same scenes from a wider angle, so that they include a scrum of photojournalists madly clicking their shutters in the direction of a single teenage boy with a keffiyeh wrapped around his face and a chunk of rock clutched in his hand, while a tyre burns in the background. The implication is that these images are, if not exactly staged, then manipulated. If the photographers and videographers were not present, they suggest, these clashes would not happen. This claim leads, of course, to the next one – ie, that if these scenes are staged, then they must be inauthentic.

I personally would not jump to that conclusion. Are there scenes that are inauthentic? Yes. Are they all? Not necessarily. I’m certainly not going to take the position that all Palestinian claims to mistreatment and injury by the IDF are false. I have no doubt the Palestinians, even innocent ones, suffer at the hands of a military that must deal with terrorism from the seemingly innocent. But given the widespread propensity of Palestinians to stage scenes, the idea that they should be granted authentic status a priori seems like a foolish epistemological move… one typical of many journalists up till now.

But there are a few questions that are not asked by these journalists – or by those who have enthusiastically posted and re-posted their videos. Questions like, Why are these Palestinians out demonstrating in the first place? Why do they come out, week after week, to face Israeli security forces who choke them with tear gas, beat them and arrest them? What are their grievances?
Well, for starters, how about checkpoints, land confiscations, arbitrary arrests, military trials that are effectively kangaroo courts, arbitrary beatings at the hands of Israeli security forces and settlers, a life without civil rights or legal recourse, night raids by the army, destruction of water cisterns, destruction of homes, no freedom of movement and… Oh, come on. If you know anything about the occupation, then you know all this. If you are an intelligent person who is interested in Israel-Palestine issues and you don’t know all this, then you don’t want to know.

I don’t have the time to go into this list one by one, but I do think it worth mentioning that a) the checkpoints (and the separation fence/wall) are a direct response to Palestinian terror directed specifically against civilians; b) most of the arrests are hardly “arbitrary” by any but an ideologue’s standards; c) Palestinians have extensive protection before Israeli law (including the Supreme Court), indeed far more than they do before Palestinian “law.”
In short, this list is advocacy driven, has no sense of balance or perspective, no depth or complexity. It merely parrots the most one-dimensional Palestinian narrative, and then, in a classic move, accuses anyone of not agreeing, of acting in bad faith.

Do teenage boys wearing jeans and muscle shirts swagger and act all macho when a bunch of photojournalists point big lenses in their direction? Yup, they do. Do they sometimes make a mockery out of stressful, frightening situations in order to preserve their dignity, their cool and their street cred? Sure.

Let’s take it a bit farther. Do they fake scenes in order to produce “sight-bytes” for the Western news to run? Yup. Does their macho get in the way? You bet. Look at this fellow, who’s been made up with blood on his forehead, run along, hand off a Molotov cocktail, and enter a crowd that carries him to an ambulance that’s directly in front of the Israeli position where (presumably) the soldiers are shooting wildly at him and everyone else. He can’t even pretend he’s been injured. Note how he holds up his “wounded” head as he’s carried to the ambulance.

Does that mean they have no reason or purpose in demonstrating? Of course not. Would the same people demonstrate if there was no media presence? Yes. I know, because I have attended many demonstrations from which the media was completely absent,

Except, of course, you Lisa. And how many others? Can you give us some examples?

and events unfolded in pretty much the same way as they do when the photographers are there.

Excuse my skepticism here. This contradicts what you just said about how they mug for the camera. I don’t believe for a minute that they behave differently when the camera isn’t there. Indeed, the key moment for me in “discovering” Pallywood was watching a big fat guy in Netzarim Junction, filmed by Talal abu Rahmah, who faked a leg injury and when he realized he wasn’t going to get the media “treatment” – carried to an ambulance in front of the cameras – he walked away without a limp. (NB: France2 cut this clip from the video they showed the court.)

Neither of the two video reports, which are embedded below, include any background or explanation.  They also don’t really touch on the fact that very few of the photos and videos shot at these demos are ever published.

This may actually reflect a welcome trend in current journalism. Certainly, during the first and second Intifadas, these images were eagerly snatched up by journalists (I made Bob Simon the butt of my movie, but there were plenty of examples to draw from, that continued throughout Operation Cast Lead). Now, perhaps because having once had the faking pointed out, and having been stung by bloggers for their gross incompetence, reporters are less likely to do so.
Or maybe, just maybe Lisa, the world has awakened to the fact that their obsession with the Arab-Israeli conflict has blinded them to far more important conflicts and far greater suffering than what the Palestinians suffer at the hands of the evil Israelis – like what’s happening next door in Syria, where the paragraph above that outlines what they have to protest would be ten times as harsh (including what they do to Palestinian refugees) and a thousand times more accurate.

Editors are not interested anymore. Their readers have turned away; Israel-Palestine is regarded as a story that is stuck in Groundhog Day, doomed to repeat itself in perpetuity.

There’s only so long a boy can cry wolf, even if people so desperately want to believe it. I’m under the impression that even though the media does its best to blame Israel for the failure of negotiations, their audience has begun to realize that the Palestinians have played a major role in their own failure to have a country.

But once in awhile there is an egregious incident that is deemed newsworthy. And if a persistent photojournalist or videographer who has been attending these demos every week for years happens to be there, s/he could have the shot that will make the front page or win a prize.

You mean, like Talal abu Rahmah and the Muhammad al Durah affair. He got lots of prizes for his staged blood libel. By the way, Lisa, as one of your commentators (RichardNYC) also asked, what is your position on Al Durah? Have you looked at the evidence? Are you aware of how the piece was used as a “icon of hatred” by the Palestinians, the Muslims, the radical “left”? Do you have a position on egregious propaganda, or does the “victim status” of the Palestinians forgive anything, and answer to a higher truth?
Except for the fact that you don’t seem interested in going anywhere else, it would not be hard to photograph egregious incidents that are noteworthy every day, many times a day in Syria right now. Anyone getting them into papers? Anyone getting prizes?

But rarely – almost never – will you see a print or television journalist at these demos. Because they are not reported. Because hardly anyone cares anymore.

I’m sorry. What are you talking about? Wasn’t the footage you’re complaining about showing a – in your own words – a “scrum of photojournalists madly clicking their shutters in the direction of a single teenage boy with a keffiyeh wrapped around his face and a chunk of rock clutched in his hand, while a tyre burns in the background“? Try reading Stephanie Gutman, The Other War.

Lisa, let me suggest something that I doubt you’ll consider, but think you should. Maybe your uncritical embrace of the Palestinian narrative of suffering that you defend so poorly is part of the Palestinian problem. Maybe if Palestinians had real friends, who gave them valuable advice, rather than merely reaffirmed their sense of victimhood, maybe if you helped them address the degree to which their own leaders (Palestinian and Arabs and Muslims) have victimized them, then maybe this wouldn’t be groundhog day. But of course, that would take what you call “study and investigation” and what I would call complexity and depth.
It may well be that the real problem is not Israeli failure of hasbarah, but the unmerited success of Palestinian hasbarah. And to that, you and your friends in the center of the far left contribute way too much.

Egypt: Two Molotov cocktails hurled at Arab League HQ

August 5, 2011

…(AFP) Saboteurs on Thursday threw two Molotov cocktails at the Arab League headquarters in central Cairo, with no reports of casualties or serious damage, an Arab League source told AFP. “At dawn this morning, there were two Molotov cocktails thrown into the Arab League building. There were no casualties, and only minor damage was caused to one of the air conditioning units,” the source said. Another source close to the Arab League said the 22-member body had received several threats by telephone from members of the Libyan and Syrian communities. He said there had been “several phone calls” expressing anger at the league’s response to the conflicts in both countries, but refused to provide further details. More… via