energetic and doing wonderful things! Are your lectures being taped?
They should be serialized and aired on public-access TV networks,
AlternateFocus.org, church-group settings, etc.
By chance (while reading an article about Militant Zionist Israel's
announced determination to continue "operations" into Gaza -- without
"occupying" it) and just after receiving your mail, I came across this
cross-referenced item from the London Financial Times. The bulk of it is
pretty much ho-hum, but please read the last two paragraphs. This is my
first knowledge of Brzezinski's (hardly my ideal foreign-affairs
analyst...) comments; were you aware of them? At the risk of being
called disingenuous if your answer is "yes," can you even IMAGINE any
space being given to such commentary in the US mainstream media?
Best regards and aloha, Bob
Soros considers backing peace initiative
By Guy Dinmore in Washington
Published: October 23 2006 21:27
Israel’s summer war with Lebanon’s Hizbollah ended after 34 days, but a
fierce debate within the American Jewish community over the nature of
Israel’s relationship with the US rages on, spurring efforts to create a
powerful voice to lobby for peace with the Palestinians.
George Soros, the financier and philanthropist, is said by friends to be
considering giving his support to a new initiative for an influential
alternative that would lobby for US engagement and a negotiated
Organisers deny they intend to rival the American-Israel Public Affairs
Committee (Aipac), one of Washington’s most effective lobby groups, and
say some of their number include Aipac supporters. But with sufficient
funding, its outlook could be seen as a counterweight to Aipac, which
strongly backed the unilateralist course set by former prime minister
“The Lebanon conflict provided a sense of urgency to discussions,” said
Jeremy Ben-Ami, an organiser of the proposed new “Israel project”. The
discussions represented “a new effort to promote the perspective in the
Jewish community that Israel’s security depends on ending this
[Palestinian] conflict peacefully”.
“We deeply care for Israel. The Lebanon conflict shows the dangers
facing Israel and its need for peace as quickly as possible,” Mr
Ben-Ami, vice-president of Fenton Communications, a PR firm and former
adviser to Bill Clinton, told the FT.
Other prominent figures involved in the talks include David Elcott,
director of Israel Policy Forum, Mort Halperin, director of US advocacy
at the Open Society Institute headed by Mr Soros, Debra DeLee, president
of Americans for Peace Now, and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Mr Soros, who poured money into the Democratic 2004 presidential
campaign, was vocal in his criticism of Israel’s tactics against
Hizbollah and has called for an “end to the vicious circle of escalating
violence” by reaching a political settlement with the Palestinians.
The debate over the US’s relationship with Israel was revived last March
by two political scientists – John Mearsheimer of the University of
Chicago and Harvard’s Stephen Walt. Their “Israel Lobby” paper was
intended to “break the taboo” by questioning the financial, political
and moral cost to the US of the alliance.
Since then the two academics have been accused of anti-Semitism, Human
Rights Watch has been attacking for comments criticising Israel’s
tactics in Lebanon, and a dispute has erupted over the cancellation of a
speech at the Polish consulate in New York by Professor Tony Judt, a
critic of Israel’s policies.
An open letter signed by more than 150 people – including prominent
academics, former diplomats and officials – decries what they allege is
a campaign of political vigilantism waged by American Jewish groups to
set the public agenda.
“Indeed, students [in a practice reminiscent of the most sordid aspects
of the McCarthy years] have been enlisted to act as informers on their
teachers. Institutions deemed to be insufficiently supportive of Israel
have been subjected to pressure by state legislatures or private
donors,” says the letter, signed by many prominent Jews.
“They’ve constructed a Warsaw Ghetto of the mind,” Norman Birnbaum,
professor emeritus at Georgetown University and one of the organisers of
the letter, told the Financial Times.
The letter accuses Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League,
of inducing the Polish consulate to deny its premises to Prof Judt, an
allegation the league rejected as “baseless”. Mr Foxman said the ADL was
proud of its 93-year record of defending free speech in its fight
against anti-Semitism, hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
Few serving Democrats are willing to wade into this debate, but Zbigniew
Brezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter,
was outspoken during the Lebanon conflict, calling Israel’s response to
Hizbollah’s attacks “dogged, heavy-handed, politically
counter-productive and morally unjustifiable.”
“When we supply Israel with cluster bombs, that’s an act of
international friendship and peace. When Iran supplies Palestinians with
weapons, that means terror,” he told a dinner hosted by the New America
Foundation. “Bush should say either I make policy on the Middle East or
Times Limited 2006
----- Original Message -----
*From:* fredericbush <mailto:email@example.com>
*To:* Frederic Bush <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
*Sent:* Tuesday, October 24, 2006 11:16 AM
*Subject:* Deadly Distortion
To: Justice and Peace in Israel/Palestine Group, October 24 2006. (If
you do not want to receive these emails, please let me know)
From: Fred Bush
You have not received anything from me for over three weeks. It is not
because your address has been dropped from the list. I have been
extremely busy preparing lectures for several opportunities that have
come my way to educate people about the causes of the current
catastrophe inPalestine and Israel.
In delivering these and other lectures, I am discovering that many
people find it hard to believe what I am telling them, both about the
causes of this catastrophe and the tragic effects, especially those of
the suffering people of Palestine, that it is having.
The reason for this is that they hear almost nothing about the extent of
this catastrophe in their normal sources of information, namely,
American print and TV media. I know that many of you are aware that this
silence and bias exists. But I am not sure that you are aware of its extent.
There is one web site which is devoted exclusively to documenting and
reporting this situation, www.ifamericansknew.org
is Alison Weir. If Americans Knew describes their mission as follows:
In a democracy, the ultimate responsibility for a nation’s actions rests
with its citizens. The top rung of government – the entity with the
ultimate power of governance – is the asserted will of the people.
Therefore, in any democracy, it is essential that its citizens be fully
and accurately informed.
In the United States, currently the most powerful nation on earth, it is
even more essential that its citizens receive complete and undistorted
information on topics of importance, so that they may wield their
extraordinary power with wisdom and intelligence.
Unfortunately, such information is not always forthcoming.
The mission of If Americans Knew is to inform and educate the American
public on issues of major significance that are unreported,
underreported, or misreported in the American media.
It is our belief that when Americans know the facts on a subject, they
will, in the final analysis, act in accordance with morality, justice,
and the best interests of their nation, and of the world. With
insufficient information, or distorted information, they may do the
It is the mission of If Americans Knew to ensure that this does not
happen – that the information on which Americans base their actions is
complete, accurate, and undistorted by conscious or unconscious bias, by
lies of either commission or omission, or by pressures exerted by
powerful special interest groups. It is our goal to supply the
information essential to those responsible for the actions of the
strongest nation on earth – the American people.
So today I am sending three reports from “If Americans Knew.” Two of
these reports document the extent of this reality and are attached to
this message. The first is dated April 26, 2006, and is entitled
“Deadly Distortion: /Associated Press/ coverage of Israeli and
Palestinian Deaths.” The second is entitled “Statistics,” and includes
charts of nine little-known statistics on the conflict.
The third is below. It is a particularly telling and troubling example
of both the silence/bias of the American press and how hard it is to
Just Another Mother murdered
By Alison Weir, If Americans Knew, October 6^th 2006
Almost no one bothered to report it. A search of the nation's largest
newspapers turned up nothing in USA Today, the Boston Globe, Boston
Herald, Chicago Sun-Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, San Francisco
Chronicle, Seattle Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Houston Chronicle,
Tampa Tribune, etc.
There was nothing on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, NPR, Fox News. Nothing.
The LA Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Associated
Press each had one sentence, at most, telling about her. All three left
out the details, the LA Times had her age significantly off, and the
Washington Post reported that she had been killed by an Israeli tank shell.
It hadn't been a tank shell that had killer her, according to witnesses.
It had been bullets, multiple ones, fired up close.
Neighbors report that Israeli soldiers had been beating her husband
because he wasn't answering their questions. Foolishly or valiantly, how
is one to say, the 35-year-old woman had interfered. She tried to
explain that her husband was deaf, screamed at the soldiers that her
husband couldn't hear them and attempted to stop them from hitting him.
So they shot her. Several times.
Her name was Itemad Ismail Abu Mo'ammar.
She didn't die, though. That took longer. It required her life to flow
out of her in the form of blood for several hours, as Israeli soldiers
refused to allow an ambulance to transport her to help. Her husband and
children could do nothing to save her.
Finally, after approximately five hours, an ambulance was allowed to
take her to a hospital, where physicians were able to render one
service: pronounce her dead, a few days before the commencement of
Ramadan, a season of family gatherings much like the Christmas season
for Americans. She left 11 children. None of this was in the Washington
Post story, which had reported her death in one half of one sentence.
Her husband's brother, who lived in the same house, was also killed. He
was a 28-year-old farmer.
Why did this all happen? The family lived behind a resistance fighter
wanted by Israel. They were simply "collateral damage" in a failed
Israeli assassination/kidnapping operation.
All together, five Palestinians were killed that day. The other three
were young shepherds killed in another area, two 15 years old and one
14, who seem to have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time: Gaza.
None of this was reported in most of America's news media, and so the
American public never learned about a mother bleeding to death in front
of her children, or young shepherds being blown to pieces. Apparently,
it just wasn't newsworthy.
A Case Study of "Good" News Coverage
The Washington Post at least mentioned these deaths, so perhaps those
who care about journalistic standards should laud the Post for its
And yet, the Post in its short report got so much so wrong.
In addition to misreporting Itemad's cause of death and omitting
critical facts, the Post's story portrayed the entire context
incorrectly, telling readers that these five deaths had broken a period
of "relative calm."
The fact is that while it was true that in the previous six months not a
single Israeli child had been killed by Palestinians, during this period
Israelis had killed 75 Palestinian young people, including an
8-month-old and several three-year-olds.
I phoned the Post and spoke to a foreign editor about the need to run a
correction, providing information on Itemad's murder. The editor said
that she would pass this on to their correspondent (who is based in
Israel), but explained that it was "impossible for him to go to Gaza."
When I disagreed, she amended the "impossible" to "very difficult." She
neglected to mention that the Post has access to stringers in Gaza
available to check out any incident the editors deem important.
Next, I wrote a letter to the paper containing the above information.
Happily, the Post letters department apparently checked it out and
decided it was a good letter. They sent an email informing me that they
were considering my letter for publication and needed to confirm that I
was the one who had written it, and that I had not sent the information
I replied in the affirmative, we exchanged a few more messages, and
everything appeared on target. Normally, when publications contact you
in this way, your letter is published shortly thereafter. I waited in
anticipation. And waited.
It is now almost two weeks after their report, and I have just been
informed that the paper has decided not to print my letter. The Post has
apparently determined that there is no need to run a correction.
I think I understand.
Although the Washington Post's statement of principles proclaims, "This
newspaper is pledged to minimize the number of errors we make and to
correct those that occur... Accuracy is our goal; candor is our
defense," the American Society of Newspaper Editors clarifies these
ethical requirements: corrections need only be printed when the error of
commission or omission is "significant."
And, after all, these were only Palestinians, and it was just another
Alison Weir is Executive Editor of If Americans Knew
<http://ifamericansknew.org/>, which has produced in-depth studies and
illustrative videos on American news coverage of Israel-Palestine.