Browsing Posts in Media

In his first press interview since taking office, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman spoke last week with editors of the Jerusalem Post. In a wide-ranging interview, Liberman clarified some of his statements on policy and discussed some of the challenges ahead.

David SarangaDavid Saranga, Consul for Media and Public Affairs at the Israeli Consulate in New York wrote an article to the Jerusalem Post about Holocaust Denial and dialogue.

From the jPost:

The Holocaust is undeniable. Unquestionable. Irrefutable. If the remains of the bodies aren’t enough to prove it, then one could visit a concentration camp, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem or the Holocaust Museum in Washington and see with his own eyes what it means to be deported, humiliated, tortured and slaughtered.

This is history, no matter how one tries to dissect it.

But this article isn’t about whether or not the Holocaust happened. It’s about people who don’t want their children to know about it. It’s about the people who skim over the Holocaust during history lessons. Not surprisingly, these are the same people who make violent threats against anyone in their community who dares to challenge these practices. And they are the same people with whom Israel is trying to negotiate peace. So ironic, so impossible, so tragic.

Read the full article at The Jerusalem Post Online.

Danny Zamir, head of the Rabin “Mechina” (pre-army academy), wrote a piece published in JPost today regarding the allegations that have surfaced over the past few weeks of IDF troops acting inappropriately during Operation “Cast Lead.”  We’ve written a post on the subject previously, but we’ll let Zamir’s thoughts speak for themselves.  An excerpt:

A number of articles published recently in The New York Times quoted or were based on words spoken by myself and by graduates of the pre-army leadership development program which I head (the “Rabin Mechina”) – graduates who participated as combat soldiers in Operation Cast Lead and who met recently to process personal experiences from the battlefield.

Both explicitly and by insinuation, the articles claim a decline in the IDF’s commitment to its moral code of conduct in combat, and moreover, that this decline stems from a specific increase in the prominence of religious soldiers and commanders in the IDF in general, and from the strengthening of the position of IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronsky in particular.

It was as if the media were altogether so eager to find reason to criticize the IDF that they pounced on one discussion by nine soldiers who met after returning from the battlefield to share their experiences and subjective feelings with each other, using that one episode to draw conclusions that felt more like an indictment. Dogma replaced balance and led to a dangerous misunderstanding of the depth and complexity of Israeli reality. The individual accounts were never intended to serve as a basis for broad generalizations and summary conclusions by the media; they were published internally, intended for program graduates and their parents as a tool to be used in the process of educating and guiding the next generation.

You can find the rest of the article on JPost.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman sat down yesterday for an in-depth interview with the Haaretz newspaper.  During the course of that discussion, he talked about his commitment to moving the State of Israel towards peace as envisioned by the American-sponsored Road Map to a Permanent Two-State  Solution, declared in 2003.  Here is some of what he had to say:

[...] Speaking to Haaretz Thursday, Lieberman tried to tone down his rhetoric slightly. “I am committed to the road map of 2003 as approved by the Israeli cabinet,” he said, referring to the outline for achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace proposed by then-president Bush. “I voted against it, but it is a cabinet resolution and I am bound by it.”

He added that the new U.S. administration itself no longer talks about the Annapolis process. “I propose following the road map, phase by phase,” he said. “I recently went quite far with my remarks, even saying that I was willing to leave my home at the Nokdim settlement if there was a cabinet resolution on the issue, but we can’t give all this up for nothing, and there must be reciprocity.”

Lieberman stressed that he would endeavor to meet all Israeli obligations regarding the road map. “Unlike others, we will carry out everything that is in writing, and there will be no contradiction between what we say and what we mean, but we will stick to the phased nature of the road map. We will conduct talks with the PA, but we want to make sure their ‘checks’ don’t bounce. The Palestinians must first of all confront terror, take control of Gaza and demilitarize Hamas. Without these, it will be difficult to move forward.”

You can find the rest of his discussion on Haaretz, and the speech to the Foreign Ministry on the Ministry website.

We were made aware of this fascinating article from the UMass Daily Collegian about Amit Rom, an 18-year-old Israeli working to make a difference in his country.  Of all things, he decided to volunteer in Sderot schools to help the kids there cope with the trauma of incoming rockets.  A great quote to close:

Just because the city is bombed, it doesn’t mean [the people] don’t need us to plan activities or for us to be with them,” Rom said. “In fact, they need it more. Every kid you talk to just wants someone to be there for them.

During the past several days, serious allegations have surfaced regarding the conduct of soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces during the recent Operation “Cast Lead” in Gaza.

The State of Israel takes all such allegations seriously. The IDF will carefully examine the circumstances of each alleged incident and will thereby determine the need for a further investigation.

The State of Israel is dedicated to maintaining morality during warfare. During the recent operation, the IDF strove to keep damage and casualties in the civilian sector to the minimum possible, and achieved remarkable success despite immensely difficult circumstances.

It should be noted that behaviors of the type alleged are not in keeping with the values and spirit of the IDF and deserve full condemnation. In addition, the IDF has undertaken measures to ensure that soldiers and officers internalize the moral and ethical aspects of combat.

Dear Friends:

Tomorrow, we will mark 1,000 days of captivity for Gilad Shalit. On this somber occasion, we ask that you keep him in your thoughts and prayers throughout the day. In that spirit, we would like to share with you once again the video of Gilad Shalit’s vision for peace, When the Shark and the Fish First Met, which can be seen above and on YouTube.

The Palestinian people, especially those in Gaza, have suffered for some time from abuse and being played as proxies in a war against Israel.  For many years, they were the proxies of the Arab world, which refused to welcome them and forced them to live in refugee camps.  Now, it is Hamas that manipluates the people of Gaza, putting them in harm’s way while its “fighters” take on Israel.

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal Europe suggests the path to peace lies in recognizing and redressing this injustice.  An excerpt:

The media tend to attribute Gaza’s decline solely to Israeli military and economic actions against Hamas. But such a myopic analysis ignores the problem’s root cause: 60 years of Arab policy aimed at cementing the Palestinian people’s status as stateless refugees in order to use their suffering as a weapon against Israel.[...]
Arabs claim they love the Palestinian people, but they seem more interested in sacrificing them. If they really loved their Palestinian brethren, they’d pressure Hamas to stop firing missiles at Israel. In the longer term, the Arab world must end the Palestinians’ refugee status and thereby their desire to harm Israel. It’s time for the 22 Arab countries to open their borders and absorb the Palestinians of Gaza who wish to start a new life. It is time for the Arab world to truly help the Palestinians, not use them.

Ibrahim Mousawi, a spokesman for Hizbullah and an editor of its al- Manar newspaper, has reportedly been denied entry into the UK–the latest in the story of an invitation to an advocate of terrorism.

Mousawi had initially been invited to speak at the School of Oriental and African Studies later this month on “Political Islam,” but the invitation caused quite the uproar.  Mousawi has been a senior figure at Al-Manar, which peddles antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiment and has therefore been banned in the United States.

According to the Jewish Chronicle and the Harry’s Place blog, the government was even set to welcome Mousawi, despite his job description of “whipping up hatred against Jews.”  Many people apparently thought the man did not quite raise enough tension with the country’s Jewish community to raise hackles.

It seems, for now at least, that more rational heads have prevailed.  Of course there is still the need to be vigilant and call incitement, hatred, and racism by their proper names–and refuse to promulgate such ideologies under any excuse.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met today with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Jerusalem for an in-depth discussion of the current situation.  They also held a joint press conference, the transcript of which follows below.  You can also watch the video coverage of the press conference. continue reading…