Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

The eiland report: spinning it against israel

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 04:08 AM PDT

Originally the Washington Post reported Israeli troops raid aid flotilla headed for Gaza, killing nine and the New York Times reported Deadly Israeli Raid Draws Condemnation. Both articles seem reasonably accurate in hindsight.

Now Israel has released the results of Gen. Eiland's investigation into the raid on the Mavi Marmara. Checking Yahoo! News yields the following headlines:

Israel military faulted over flotilla raid (AFP)
Israel report blames flawed planning for Gaza raid (AP)
Israel failed in ship interception planning: reports (Reuters)

It's true that the report faulted the IDF for failing to prepare for contingencies, but the report also concluded that the soldiers who fired only did so in self-defense. So the New York Times, was technically correct with Israeli Military Finds Flotilla Killings Justified, but I think that "Israeli military found soldiers acted in self-defense" would have been less inflammatory. Ethan Bronner of the Times adds this:

The military's investigation, carried out by eight officers, did not deal with larger policy issues like the legality or appropriateness of Israel's blockade against Gaza or its takeover of the six-boat flotilla in international waters on May 31.

Should it have dealt with those things? This was an investigation into the operation. Furthermore the blockade is legal. Perhaps the Times wishes it were not so, but that's an editorial judgment and doesn't belong in a news story.

The Washington Post's headline emphasized the operational failures, Israeli review finds fatal raid on Turkish ship lacked planning and alternatives

Like the New York Times, the Post, towards the end notes that the Israeli soldiers were fired upon:

The report concluded that four to six Israeli soldiers were fired on and that one of the wounded was shot in the knee by a non-Israeli-issued firearm, suggesting that the activists had brought at least one gun on board. The inquiry also found that passengers had cut off banisters from the ship to use as weapons against the soldiers.

Given the international outrage - which was very much part of the story from the beginning - isn't the detail about the "demonstrators" having a firearm significant? If the Israeli soldiers acted appropriately, then, wasn't that outrage misplaced?

Now will we hear of a Turkish inquiry as to how they allowed armed terrorists to sail towards a friendly country? Will there be a media investigation into how they amplified the outrage beyond all reason?

Daled Amos, Elder of Ziyon, Israeli Matzav and Fresno Zionism have more.

One more question. The IDF recently had another press conference: to reveal the extent of Hezbollah's re-arming in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701. How much coverage did that get? Not much:

The entire story is only four paragraphs long, and the omitted grafs don't mention the civilian angle, either. So you have the AP releasing an article about IDF photos of Hezbollah weapons caches in civilian areas without a single mention of civilian areas. Because that's what the AP is all about, passing along Hezbollah propaganda. I mean, news. What, you think I'm making this up? Well, the AP also passed along the information that Hezbollah was really ticked that CNN fired its Middle East editor after she tweeted her praise of Hezbolla's spiritual leader. They whitewashed the anti-Israel (and pro-Hezbollah) background of the man behind the Lebanese flotilla that was heading for Gaza. Instead of writing the words "UN Security Council Resolution 1701," AP refers to "A U.N. deal to end the 2006 war between Israel and the Shiite militants required Hezbollah to disarm." A binding UN resolution becomes a deal. Non-binding General Assembly resolutions? Well, of course, Israel is in "violation" of those. (But I digress.)

But honestly passing along the news that Hezbollah is hiding weapons caches in civilian areas? Forget about it. That one's gone. And it will stay gone, if Israel has to go into those villages and civilians die. Wait for it.

Israel conducts an investigation into its own actions: that merits a full spectrum of news coverage. Israel's enemy violates a resolution of the UN and the media is remarkably incurious.

Crossposted on Yourish.

The nyt opposes honor killings

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 03:40 AM PDT

Of course anyone with a conscience would oppose so-called "honor killings." But today's editorial about honor killings is missing a certain word. Let's parse it.

There is much to admire in India today, including its vibrant democracy and economy and its rich traditions. It should also lead the way in protecting and empowering women by ending so-called honor killings.

I know a little bit about honor killings, but am not surprised to hear that it occurs in India. I was sort of surprised that it was India that the Times was calling on to "lead the way" in fighting this practice.

Jim Yardley recently reported in The Times on the case of Nirupama Pathak, a 22-year-old journalism graduate student from northern India who was found dead in her bedroom in April. Police arrested her mother on suspicion of murder; the family insisted Ms. Pathak had killed herself after confessing that she was pregnant.

The legal process must move forward, but what is clear is that Ms. Pathak's family -- members of the Brahmin caste, the highest Hindu caste -- fiercely disapproved of her engagement to a young man she had met at school who was from a middle-upper caste. When she told her family of her plans to marry, The Times reported, she was accused of defiling her Hindu religion.

Good! The Times reported on this phenomenon, so that's why its editors opined on the subject.

Responding to an apparent resurgence in "honor killings," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ordered a cabinet-level commission this month to consider tougher penalties in such cases. In June, India's Supreme Court asked seven states and the national government to report on what is being done to address the problem. Mr. Singh and the court need to follow through.

Well it does sound like India is doing something.

Honor killings are widely reported in the Middle East and South Asia, but in recent years they also have taken place in Italy, Sweden, Brazil and Britain. According to Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, there are 5,000 instances annually when women and girls are shot, stoned, burned, buried alive, strangled, smothered and knifed to death by fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, even mothers in the name of preserving family "honor." Ms. Pillay has rejected arguments that such family violence is outside the conceptual framework of international human rights.

Honor killings take place in the "Middle East!" Who knew!?! And they've been spreading to other parts of the world. (They've also been known to occur in the United States, not too far from the offices of the New York Times, but "United States" were not the missing words I was seeking.)

Finally we come to the Times's conclusion:

There is a reason these religious and cultural beliefs are allowed to persist. Politicians don't have the courage to call it what it is: murder.

That is a pretty harsh judgment. Politicians are cowards because they refuse to recognize what it is. What about newspapers who are unwilling to mention which religion "honor killings" are a part of?

Phylis Chesler writes:

Why do I write "gladly?" Because this, after all, is proof that honor killings are not specific to Muslims. Nevertheless, according to my 2010 study in Middle East Quarterly, 84% of those who commit honor murders in North America have been Muslims and 96% of honor murderers in Europe were Muslims.

Yes, Hindus and Sikhs have committed honor murders in the West. Apparently, the kind of Hindus who emigrate to the West do not bring such tribal or religious customs along with them.

But Muslims do.

(I wish she had addressed what percentage of honor killings occur in Hindu lands and which in Muslim lands.) This is instructive, as the New York Times describes honor killings as a growing phenomenon, but still can't bring itself to mention members of which religion are most responsible for spreading the practice to new lands.

The Times's failure to mention the religion "Islam" in any form when confronting honor killing is gutless. To insist India take the lead in fighting this horrible crime when India, in fact, is doing something, dilutes the strength of the editorial.

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