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

Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC