Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mideast Media Sampler 11/29/2011

From DG:
1) The story that Time manufactured

In September, 2010, Time Magazine featured a cover story, Why Israel doesn't want peace. It was written by Time's new Middle East correspondent, Karl Vick. Vick, in writing such tripe, showed himself to be a worthy heir to the likes of Tony Karon and Tim McGuirk, willing to push an anti-Israel narrative to substitute for news.

Now Vick has graduated to explaining how the terrorist organization, Hamas, really does want peace.
But as Honest Reporting points out, the source for Vick's positive assessment is his inability to understand the word, "popular."
The disconnect is simple. When Palestinians say “popular” Vick hears “non-violent.” But what they mean is grassroots. 
In the Palestinian dictionary, kids throwing stones at Israelis is grassroots “popular” resistance no less than adults holding a grassroots “popular” candlelight vigil. 
Gilad Shalit wasn’t kidnapped by any old resistance committees. He was snatched and held captive by the Popular Resistance Committees. Their popularity comes from promising to kidnap more soldiers, not holding marches, witty chants, or clever signs. 
Whatever Hamas signed onto in Cairo doesn’t represent Hamas moderation but Fatah extremism.
Elder of Ziyon takes issue with Vick's assertion that Hamas is moving closer to Fatah, which, at least, makes a pretense of coexistence with Israel.
Hamas cannot and will not recognize Israel. It cannot and will not accept a Jewish state in any form whatsoever. Literally. Its entire charter is based on Israel's destruction, and if Hamas can be counted upon for anything, it is to remain true to its principles. They have been remarkably consistent in their stated positions since their inception. If Vick actually believes that Hamas is one bit closer to recognizing Israel than they were in 2005 or 1995, then he is an idiot who simply refuses to open his eyes. 
I can see the PLO muddying the language of its recognition of Israel to accommodate Hamas. But it is absolutely inconceivable that Hamas would accept the current stated PLO position of recognizing Israel and officially being against terrorism (a position the PLO roundly ignored only a few short years ago anyway.)
...
Hamas is not moderating, and it never will. Just as there were people who were convinced that Hamas had moderated during the 2005 elections, and that Hamas had moderated before Cast Lead, there will always be credulous and utterly incompetent analysts who believe that Hamas is becoming more peaceful now.
In his recent When romanticism trumps reason you get radical chic catastrophes, Barry Rubin offers an explanation for what motivates people like Vick. (emphasis mine)
Here we go again. It’s the Islamists’ turn this time to follow the same pattern as they dispose of their former, nationalist partners while simultaneously wiping the floor with the moderates. 
Why do people keep choosing a path that leads to disaster? For many reasons, one of them being that it can be portrayed as glamorous, heroic, and devoted to justice. Why should we expect more of the Middle East when even Western societies which have full access to historic reality and political philosophy are ready to jump off the cliff?
2) On the Egyptian election season

Jackson Diehl asks Is Egypt voting for Democracy? 
Ten days ago, frustrated revolutionaries returned to Tahrir Square, the revolt’s birthplace, vowing to stay until the military submits to a civilian authority. More than 40 have died in clashes with riot police and troops. But the square, washed by heavy rain Sunday night, looked bedraggled and relatively deserted today; conflicted militants had left it to go and vote in an election they feel has been stacked against them. 
“We are truly feeling that the revolution is being stolen,” one of the Tahrir leaders, Shadi Ghazali Harb, told me. He and other young secular liberals have been reduced to a somewhat desperate bet: that a “second wave” of the revolution can prevent a creeping takeover of the country by Islamists, a restoration of the old autocratic order by the military, or some toxic mix of the two.
In a similar vein, Barry Rubin explains how Egyptian Moderates Throw Themselves to the Wolves:
Consider that instead of putting their energy into organizing, uniting, and getting out the vote, they are engaged in thoroughly useless demonstrations in Tahrir Square. What is the goal of these demonstrations? On one hand, they demand that the turnover of power be moved up; on the other hand, moderate politicians speak of postponing the balloting. Muhammad ElBaradei, once the Americans’ favorite candidate (before the Obama Administration switched to backing the anti-American, antisemitic Muslim Brotherhood) is actually creating his own virtual government! What a putz! 
Think about it. How can the moderates demand an immediate turnover of power? Turnover to whom? There is no executive authority. Clearly, no serious thought has gone into this campaign. If anything they should be demanding that the military stays in power longer since it is the only thing standing between them and the Muslim Brotherhood. 
And yet while the moderates are doing their Three Stooges routine over the turnover of power, the issue has already been resolved! The Brotherhood made a deal with the army junta and moved up the presidential elections by a full year. Instead of June 2013, presidential elections will be held around June 2012. That’s only seven months from now. And unless the moderate leaders drop their own candidacy and get behind Amr Moussa, the Brotherhood will win that one, too.
Both describe how the moderates have failed to unite. Prof. Rubin has provided more details and  Diehl seems to be more hopeful, even now.

Former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Zvi Mazel explains why - despite Diehl's stated objections - it is necessary for the army to retain control for now in Egypt. (via Daily Alert)
The political arena is split between secular, Islamists, young revolutionary and other political parties in a state of total confusion. 
As for the army, it cannot relinquish power because there is no one to take over. There is talk of setting up a civilian presidential committee, or of handing the reins to the Supreme Court, but there is no consensus for either solution and it is hard to see how organizations which are not representative and which have no executive powers could maintain law and order while ensuring an orderly political process in the chaotic situation prevailing today. 
It seems as if the army will have to stay on while keeping the elections on course, opening a frank dialogue with all political forces and drafting with them the longed-awaited new constitution.
3) Katyushas in the north 

The IDF spokesperson reports Katyusha rockets hit the Western Galilee.
A short while ago, a number of rockets hit the Western Galilee. No casualties were reported. The IDF responded by targeting the origins of the fire. 
The IDF regards this incident as severe, and holds the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Army responsible for preventing any rocket fire toward Israel. 
The IDF Northern Command is operationally prepared, and conducting an ongoing situation assessment in light of the incident.
Israel Matzav speculates as to whom launched the rockets:
I wouldn't let Hezbullah off so easily. There was a huge explosion yesterday at or near the Iranian nuclear plant near Isfahan. Iran is Hezbullah's patron and whether or not we had anything to do with it, Israel must be a suspect in that blast. Could the Hezbullah rockets have been a warning to us? I would not completely discount that possibility.
Daled Amos adds another suspect to the list , Syria - though the motive's the same, but wonders:
I would have thought Syria would be more concerned with Turkey, which is giving support to the now armed resistance to the Assad regime.
4) Of Vick and moderate Islamists

Meryl Yourish explains The myth of the moderate Islamists and the blind eyes of the media
The mainstream media, aided largely by politicans, have been flogging the myth of the moderate Islamists, which is exactly what the Brotherhood wants them to do. Because if the media lie for them, they don’t have to. And if they only speak their Jew-hatred in Arabic, well, then, the non-Arabic-speaking editors and writers of the AP, Reuters, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and all of the other media outlets that are carrying water for the Islamist takeover of the Middle East simply don’t report the truth. 
Because the truth goes against the narrative that Islamists, once in office, are going to change their anti-Israel, anti-Western tune because they have to deal with the day-to-day struggle of governing, doing things like collecting the garbage. This is exactly what every media outlet said about Hamas’ takeover of Gaza. Their extremism would moderate, because they’d be tax collectors and garbage collectors and they’d have to settle municipal issues and ultimately, they’d make peace with Israel. 
All of that has been proven false. Rockets still fly from Gaza into Israeli kindergartens. Men and women are no longer allowed to mix in hair salons and other places. Hamas is still sworn to Israel’d destruction, and they think they’re getting closer—because the Muslim Brotherhood just took over Morocco and is poised to take over Egypt. This is what will happen in Egypt, along with the persecution of millions of Egypt’s Christians, but the media narrative persists, and a blind eye is turned to the hatred and violence that is coming.
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