Al-Jazeera Feeds Anti-Semitism to Britain, Whose Media Lap It Up

Jan. 11 2017

A few days ago, a video clip showed Shai Masot, a low-level official at Israel’s embassy in London, sharing a drink with an aide to a British minister. In the clip, recorded surreptitiously by an undercover Al Jazeera reporter, Masot asks for help in trying to “take down” Britain’s deputy foreign minister. In the resultant full-blown scandal, the Israeli embassy has apologized and fired Masot; his interlocutor has lost her job; and the shadow foreign minister has called the incident a “national-security issue.” Brendan O’Neill takes the British media and politicians to task for their overwrought reactions:

The response to Al Jazeera’s months-long campaign to ensnare an Israeli official saying something off about British MPs has been extraordinary, and more than a little hysterical.
Al Jazeera has made a four-part TV series called The Lobby (they might as well have called it You Know Who), which apparently reveals the sinister reach and dastardly behavior of pro-Israel lobbyists in Britain. . . .

The Guardian referred to [the conversation] as an “Israeli plot.” This is a real and scary “plot against UK politicians,” said Al Jazeera. . . . [But] Israel certainly didn’t plan anything, so talk of “Israel’s plot” is utterly incorrect—a libel, one might say. This wasn’t a plot; it was an adviser showing off over booze. . . . It’s bravado, banter. If it’s a sinister plot to slag off MPs over drinks, then I’ve been behind hundreds of sinister plots in my life.

But of course when a British politico, even a British political adviser overseas, badmouths politicians he doesn’t like, it’s unlikely it would be splashed across the media as evidence of some shady “plot.” . . .

Israel, however, is treated differently. . . . The language used about Israel is striking. If one Israeli adviser says mean things about MPs, it’s a “plot”; when Israel takes military action, it is “bloodletting”; if Israel’s war moves kill children, as war tragically does, it is a “child-killer” or a “child-killing machine”—things very rarely said about the British or American military. There’s a striking double standard at play here—and a conspiracy-theory mindset too. Some have come to see Israel as an awesomely powerful force, seeking to puppeteer our political class, plot the overthrow of our democracy, and bend Britain and America to its allegedly craven cause. To control the world, in essence.

I can’t be the only person who hears in this the worrying echo of old prejudices.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Al Jazeera, Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, United Kingdom


How the White House Can Bring Mahmoud Abbas to the Negotiating Table

April 28 2017

Next month, the Palestinian Authority president is expected to arrive in Washington to meet with President Trump, perhaps as a prelude to a summit between Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu under American auspices. A Palestinian delegation is currently in the U.S. to conduct preliminary meetings with administration officials. Eran Lerman discusses what can be accomplished:

The most important aspect [in the present discussions] may remain unspoken. It can be defined as “strategic reassurance”: the realization that after years of uncertainty under Barack Obama, the American administration . . . is once again committed without reservation to its friends in the region, the so-called “camp of stability.”

President Obama’s abandonment of [the former Egyptian president], Hosni Mubarak, regardless of the merits of the case, was catastrophic in terms of the loss of any residual political courage on Abbas’s part. Obama was sympathetic to the Palestinians’ cause, but his policies generated an acute level of uncertainty for the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, laced with what seemed like a measure of support on Obama’s part for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere. This was not an environment in which to take fateful decisions.

The Trump team seems to be working to restore confidence and reconstruct [alliances with] both Israel and the pro-Western Arab states. In this new environment, it could be safer for Abbas to take measured risks and enter into an open-ended negotiation with Netanyahu. The effort may still fall apart, if only because the Palestinians have fallen into the habit of posing preconditions. But there seems to be a better chance of drawing them in when they feel that their traditional patrons in the Arab world, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are once again basking in the sunshine of American strategic support. . . .

At least in theory, it should therefore be easier now for . . . the White House to persuade Abbas to accept a point of entry into negotiations that stays within the two-state paradigm but is no longer predicated on strict adherence to the June 4, 1967 lines.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Donald Trump, Hosni Mubarak, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process, U.S. Foreign policy