Monday, February 16, 2009

Double Standard at the Waterbury Observer, Part IV

In January, I described how the publisher of the Waterbury Observer had rejected a column I had submitted with the explanation:
"Hi Alan Thanks for sending me your notes from your speech May 1st for consideration in the Observer. I'm going to pass on publishing them because you have already strongly expressed these opinions in the Observer several times before and I'm not inclined to re-ignite the he said-she said-he said dialogue between Marilyn Aligata, Mr. Hajjar and yourself about Israel and the Palestinians. The Observer is not the forum to solve the dispute.

Thanks for thinking of the Observer.

peace, John."

In Part I I posted the text of the column I had submitted.

In Part II I posted an anti-Israel screed he published in the January issue despite his clear indication that he wouldn't be publishing anything else on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In Part III I posted a letter I sent to him pointing out the double standard being observed in The Waterbury Observer.

To his credit, Murray published my letter in the February issue under the accurate headline "Hajjar's Column On Israel Off-Base."

Not to his credit, Murray added the following note of his own:
(editor's note--The Observer admires Alan Stein's passion for Israel's struggle in the Middle East, but must not that Mr. Stein has no idea of the realities of publishing a free community newspaper in Waterbury. We have no more obligation to publish a speech Mr. Stein gave in Hartford, than he has to assist us in paying our monthly printing bill.)

In that note, Murray falsely implies I had claimed he had an obligation to publish the commentary, which he falsely referred to as a speech. (The item had submitted had been based on notes I used for a speech, but was far more comprehensive than the speech I had given at a Hartford Holocaust commemoration.)

I had made no such claim; I had merely pointed out the double standard being observed by The Observer and my astonishment at his publishing an anti-Israel screed given the reason he had given to me for not publishing the article I had submitted.

The Observer also compounded its affronts to journalistic integrity by publishing yet another heavily biased, error-filled anti-Israel screed.

Of course, the publication of a biased column is not a cause for complaint; the nature of commentaries is that they express an opinion. However, once again, the column published contained numerous factual errors, some of an absurd variety, such as the assertion that Dennis Ross was a co-founder of AIPAC, an organization founded in the early 1950's, when Dennis Ross wasn't even in kindegarten, and took on its present name in 1959, when Ambassador Ross was eleven years old.

This is one blog posting to which I would appreciate some comments, particularly regarding the errors in the column below, including, where easily available, references. In particular, I have not been able to find any corroboration of the writer's assertion regarding the Winograd report. I am almost certain it is yet another fabrication, but I don't have time to read every word in the report myself to definitively point that out and haven't yet found anyone else having refuted the writer's accusation.

I apologize for the numerous grammatical errors in the column; they appeared in the published version in The Observer and I just don't feel like splattering "sic" all over the post.

Waterbury Observer

February 2009

Hajjar's American-Middle East Assessment is Spot On

By Marie-Therese Saad

I would like to expound on some of the important points George Hajjar Jr. made in an article in the January issue of the Observer - that Joe Lieberman has become a one issue senator focused on Israeli needs and policy over our own.

To begin with, Mr. Hajjar correctly states that our university students have an increased interest in Middle East studies now more than ever. So it is important that our students receive accurate information as they will be the ones to solve the Middle East crisis.

Mr. Hajjar rightfully points out that several Jewish American politicians that were completely biased toward Israel, were assigned to fairly negotiate Arab-Israeli peace. But instead they simply reiterated Israeli demands in a take it or leave it order. For example, Dennis Ross is a Jewish American with dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship. He is the co-founder of the American-Israeli Public Affairs committee [AIPAC] and lived and worked in Israel for months on end. Placing biased Ross in a negotiating role between the Arabs and Israelis is like putting a fox in an Arab hen house. Even according to Jewish American Aaron David Miller, a Zionist himself and a "member of the Ross-led US negotiating team in 1999-2000, under Ross they frequently acted as 'Israel's lawyer', and that a policy of 'no surprises' (meaning all US proposals were first reviewed by Israel), led to a lack of negotiating flexibility and independence.'"

Another example of this is Mr. Martin Indynk, a British, Australian and now U.S. citizen. Indynk was fast tracked to becoming a U.S. citizen just days before being appointed to work as a U.S. policy manager for the Middle East by the Clinton administration.

Before during and after this, skewed Indyk worked for AIPAC and he was twice a U.S. ambassador to Israel [even though he's Australian]. Is this a neutral negotiator?

Furthermore, Mr. Hajjar's point of Israel being in violation of numerous international laws and treaties is a fact. The highest authority in the world today is the International Court of Justice [INCJ] which "seeks to resolve matters of international law disputed by state governments." Each and every year the INCJ resolves that Israel must return all of the Palestinian territory it holds illegally. That all Israeli settlements and their settlers are illegal and that East Jerusalem is part or the Palestinian territories and the Palestinians have an absolute right to return to their homeland of Palestine.

Some clever Israeli strategists use the cop out that INCJ is anti-Semitic. Few if any people are buying that nonsense as some of the members of the INCJ are Jewish themselves.

Lastly, let's take a look at some local examples. Mr. Alan Stein of Waterbury, a frequent writer to the Observer, the Republican and other Ct. Newspapers, is clearly misleading people. Stein states he's the president of PRIMER and on his website he illustrates some cartoons. His website displays a Palestinian soldier pointing his rifle from behind a baby in a carriage while the Israeli soldier fires his rifle from in front of the carriage, thus protecting the baby. Stein's point here is that Israelis don't attack from civilian areas while the Palestinians and other Arabs do. This is a false statement. In 2006, after years of planning, Israel invaded Lebanon yet again and killed over 1,000 Lebanese with over 80% being civilians. The Lebanese, who have much less sophisticated weaponry, killed 150 Israelis, 90% of whom were invading soldiers. Israel dropped millions of cluster bombs [that still kill civilians and UN peacekeepers today] on civilians' areas in violation of international law; When criticized about this, in Israel's Winograd report itself, the military admitted that the Lebanese did not launch attacks from civilian areas.

Indeed, it was Israel who attacked from and directly against civilian areas. For example, Israeli photographs that are widely available on the internet, show little girls writing love messages on Israeli missiles just before they were launched into Lebanese civilian areas, killing hundreds. Also in the scene is some Israeli's bobbing in prayer.

In conclusion, I can say I agree with two statements posted on Stein's website which, I think, is some form of a self fulfilling prophesy for him. Stein posts:

"Unanswered media bias and misinformation repeated often enough is accepted as truth." - PRIMER

"A huge lie repeated often enough is accepted as truth." - Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister

(Saad is a resident of Prospect, CT)

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