Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"To be expected from Arabs"

The Jerusalem Post has a story about a girl, aged 16, from the Israeli Arab city of Nazareth who was attacked by a 51-year-old man who happened to be a relative and neighbor of hers. The man was indicted, along with an accomplice, for spilling acid on her face some twenty days ago after learning she was to marry a Jordanian man. The two had been, according to the indictment, sexually abusing the girl for the last few months.

The tragedy seems to be a very welcome piece of news for the Jerusalem Post's commentariat. They are especially excited that it's Israeli Arabs who are involved in this crime. A selection of the comments follows:

lnfidel  3 days ago

"She also said that her daughter had recently become engaged to a student living in Jordan shortly before the attack began."
"Gag order" or not, everything, including the above quoted text in the article, points to "the religion of peace", as the probability of a Jew or Christian getting engaged to someone in Jorden, has to be diminishingly small.

Joseph  NoRighty  19 days ago

If her finace is Jordanian it's more likely she's Muslim. The acid attack tends to be in Muslim societies.

Mickey Oberman  20 days ago

Wooing Muslim style.

leo Deutsch  20 days ago

to be expected from arabs!!!!!!!!!!!!

The girl was taken for attention to the Ramban Medical Center. David Ratner, the director of public affairs and spokesman for the Center, asserted:

This is something more fitting to Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan. It’s not something people expect here.

Pick any day of any week of any month of the year and the country where the largest amount of acid-attack stories comes from is, far and away, India. The crime is so endemic in the country that an organization exists exclusively devoted to stopping it. So why would Mr. Ratner name three other countries as those to which acid attacks are "more fitting"? Maybe he had some religion in mind?

Mr. Ratner's assessment only adds to the misinformation spread by the mainstream media, which usually carries stories, complete with gruesome pictures, of women splashed with acid in Muslim countries, while largely ignoring the prevalence of the crime in the whole of South and Southeast Asia, as well as several African countries like Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa. I leave it to the reader to do the Googling for themselves.

Perhaps more to the point, you're not likely to learn from Western media about acid attacks among Israeli Jews -- but they exist. On 5 June 2008, Ynet reported:

A 14-year-old girl from Beitar Illite was taken to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem after an unknown person spilled acid on her face, legs and stomach, causing light burn wounds. The act has been attributed to a representative of the so-called 'modesty guard' in this town where religious and secular residents are increasingly at bitter odds.

The story describes how the attackers mistook the girl for her sister, who had been warned by the "modesty patrol" not to wear "immodest" clothing. Unlike in the case of the Nazareth attack, which had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with lust, the Betar Ilit attack was perpetrated because of the criminals' Jewish belief that women should go around modestly dressed. It's true that not all Jews think alike, but it is also true that the Jews who don't haven't made a credible effort to stop the fanatics within their religion. Evil prevails where good people do nothing.

Curiously enough, I haven't seen any follow-up stories about the Betar Ilit girl, or any description of how she was left after the attack, or, of course, any pictures. While conspiracy theories are not my weakness, one can't help but notice a failure on the media's part to adequately investigate this Jew-on-Jew acid attack.

By way of another example, a fresh intra-Jewish acid attack was reported only yesterday by Ynet:

Teen pours acid on his sister in Kiryat Ono mall Investigators say attack result of long-standing dispute between the two; sister suffers light facial burns

So that despite Mr. Ratner's inability to fathom an acid attack in Israel, it has happened and it happens, be it for religious reasons or as part of family disputes. It is something to be expected not only from Arabs but also from many other peoples in the Asian and African continents, including Hindus, Cambodians, Christian Nigerians and -- Jews.

Monday, March 11, 2013

CAMERA in need of more correction (or: a bad day for the MLK quote)

In my previous entry, I related how CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, had to take back their assertion that Martin Luther King had said his famous, but disputed, quote equating anti-Zionism to antisemitism in 1968. Their current correction reads:

Clarification: An earlier version of this article attributed Dr. King’s comment to a 1968 appearance at Harvard. To clarify, professor Seymour Martin Lipset and Congressman John Lewis, a disciple and associate of Dr. King, both point out that the comment was made shortly before King’s death, but did not name the precise date. Lipset asserted the comment was made in Cambridge, Mass., and Lewis cited Harvard University as the location.

So that CAMERA is currently saying that King said the quote in Harvard, albeit on an unspecified date.

Enter Martin Kramer, an Israeli professor very much worried that Wikipedia lists the quote as disputed. In a well-documented article, Kramer proved that Martin Luther King traveled to Boston in October 1967 on a fundraiser and was invited to Marty Peretz's  house in Cambridge, together with his aide Andrew Young, who would later become the US's Ambassador to the UN and the mayor of Atlanta. It was there, Kramer asserts, that King said the quote. In his words: "We now have a date, an approximate time of day, and a street address for the Cambridge dinner, all attested by contemporary documents." Kramer goes on to state:

And just to run the contemporary record against memory, I wrote to Peretz, to ask whether the much-quoted exchange did take place at his Cambridge home on that evening almost 45 years ago. His answer: “Absolutely.” I’ve written twice to Andrew Young to ask whether he has any recollection of the episode. I haven’t yet received a response.
So will the guardians of Wikiquote redeem this quote from the purgatory of “disputed”?

To put things in context, Marty Peretz is a well-known Zionist fanatic and anti-Muslim bigot, who has resorted to dishonesty to advance his cause. "Lying for the crown" is a behavior one would expect from him. The fact that Andy Young hasn't corroborated the quote doesn't help either (although even if he had it wouldn't mean much; after 45 years, memories tend to be blurred: personal recollections about issues one is not very much involved with are not usually reliable).

But remember, CAMERA quoted Congressman John Lewis, a disciple and associate of Dr. King, as also confirming the quote, in an article first published in the San Francisco Chronicle which eventually was adopted by the US Congress and made its way into the Congressional Record, V. 148, Pt. 1, January 23, 2002 to February 13 2002. In that article, Lewis states:

During an appearance at Harvard University shortly before his death, a student stood up and asked King to address himself to the issue of Zionism. The question was clearly hostile. King responded, “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.”

So that Kramer claims that the quote was said at a dinner at Marty Peretz's home, while Lewis claims it was said at Harvard. If one is right, the other is wrong, and vice-versa. What we have here is what appears to be a number of people interested in supporting a pro-Israel narrative (Kramer, Peretz and Lipset out of ideological motives; Lewis because he needs the money of his Jewish donors), all claiming that Martin Luther King Jr. equated anti-Zionism to antisemitism, but unable to get their act together as regards the details.

I expect CAMERA to clarify this mess; as long as they don't, the world has every right to doubt the authenticity of MLK's quote, and Wikipedia is fully justified to describe it as disputed.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Hasbara Buster forces CAMERA correction

On January 21, 2009, I wrote a post about Martin Luther King's alleged quote, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism.” The phrase, allegedly said by King to an anti-Zionist black student, is likely an invention of an arch-Zionist by the name of Seymour Lipset, who published it after King's death without providing a single verifiable detail. Lipset didn't specify when or where or to whom the phrase was uttered. In my post, I stated:
Do we have further details from other sources? Well, yes; CAMERA claims that King's words were pronounced "in a 1968 appearance at Harvard." Is that so? Er no. On the day of his death, the Harvard Crimson (the university's students' paper) reported:

The Rev. Martin Luther King was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago--April 23, 1967.

So that CAMERA is wrong on this (which, by the way, debunks the often-made claim "CAMERA may be biased but it's always factually correct"). All other references to the King quote are either explicitly based on Lipset's article or verbatim transcriptions without attribution.

The Wayback machine is a site that stores screenshots of webpages from all over the Internet. The sites are periodically scanned for changes, so that given a certain page you can know the full history of changes made to it. Up to 17 June 2009, the CAMERA page I linked to contained the wrong information that the King quote came from a 1968 appearance at Harvard, as can be seen in the Wayback snapshot from that day.

Then on 26 February 2010 the CAMERA page was modified. The reference to the exact year of the King quote was deleted, and the following text was inserted:

An earlier version of this article attributed Dr. King’s comment to a 1968 appearance at Harvard. To clarify, professor Seymour Martin Lipset and Congressman John Lewis, a disciple and associate of Dr. King, both point out that the comment was made in Cambridge shortly before King’s death, and did not name the precise date and venue.

To the best of my knowledge, no one had called out CAMERA over its inaccuracy before I did. I think I'm not wrong if I say that it was my post which forced CAMERA to correct itself.

Is this important? Yes, it is important, because it proves that CAMERA does not check its statements for accuracy, and because that leaves us with no concrete detail, let alone solid evidence, as regards the claim that MLK ever equated anti-Zionism to antisemitism.