Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rasheed Screed Trilogy, August 2011, Part 3

I sent a letter to the New Haven Register in response to Rasheed's screed and The Register was good enough to publish it on August 16. There are, however, some interesting differences between the letter published and the letter submitted. We include both, followed by some comments.

The Letter Published August 16

Questionable assertions about Gaza, civilian deaths

Jamilah Rasheed's Forum article, "Palestinians also struggle for freedom,"contains many questionable assertions.

Rasheed contradicts her assertion that the "Gaza Strip is an open air prison" with her acknowledgment that Gaza has an open border with Egypt.

Rasheed says Israel killed 1,417 civilians during Operation Cast Lead. This is blatantly false. Nobody knows how many Arabs in Gaza were killed and the number given by Rasheed is the highest estimate, including civilians and combatants, I've seen.

If one accepts Rasheed's inflated figure as the total, Hamas admitted that between 600 and 700 of those killed were combatants, so no more than 817 could have been civilians.

Most likely, the total number of casualties was below 1,200 and the number of civilians killed well under 500.

Alan Stein

Editor's note: Alan Stein is president of Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting-Connecticut.

The Letter Sent to the Editor

Dear Mr. Kochakian:

Jamilah Rasheed's August 9 Forum article, "Palestinians also struggle for freedom," contains many questionable assertions. Indeed, Rasheed herself contradicts her assertion that the "Gaza Strip is an open-air prison" with her acknowledgment two paragraphs below that Gaza has an open border with Egypt.

In the same paragraph as her assertion about Gaza being a prison, Rasheed falsely asserts Israel killed "1,417 civilians" during Operation Cast Lead. This is a blatantly false assertion which should not have been published and should be corrected by The New Haven Register.

Nobody really knows how many Arabs in Gaza were killed during Operation Cast Lead and the number given by Rasheed is the highest estimate of total casualties, both civilian and combatants, I've ever seen. Even if one accepts Rasheed's inflated figure as the total, even Hamas representatives ultimately admitted that between 600 and 700 of those killed were combatants, so that no more than 817 could possibly have been civilians.

Most likely, the total number of casualties was below 1,200 and the number of civilians killed well under 500. However, however generously one estimates the number of civilian casualties, Rasheed indisputably inflated the number of civilian casualties by at least 600.

While Rasheed's biased arguments are appropriately countered via letters to the editor, such a factual error calls for an official correction by The New Haven Register. Also, since Rasheed's Forum articles almost always contain blatant factual errors, we strongly urge you to carefully scrutinize future submissions from Jamilah Rasheed for factual accuracy.

Note: Two reliable sources, among many, for the Hamas admission are the Alan Dershowitz article "Finally, a Hamas Leader Admits That Israel Killed Mostly Combatants In Gaza," available at and the Jerusalem Post article "Civilian casualties, Gaza and the political war," available at .


Alan Stein


The original letter was sent directly to the editor, not to the address for letters for publication. It was clearly written as a request for The Register to issue its own, official correction of one of the factual errors in Rasheed's screed, not as a letter for publication. The Statement of Principles of the American Society of Newspaper Editors obligates newspapers to issue such corrections.

Instead of issuing that correction, The Register basically eliminated that portion of the letter and published it as if it was written for publication. It also eliminated the part where it was pointed out such false assertions should not be published in newspapers.

Rasheed Screed Trilogy, August 2011, Part 2

This letter was sent to the New Haven Register on August 9, the day Rasheed's screed was published. The writer was contacted by The Register, but as of August 17 the letter has not been published. It was submitted with the proposed title: "Bizarro world, parallel universe or just willingly ignorant?" along with an explanatory note to the editor, Charles Kochakian.

Note to Mr. Kochakian: I have probably exceeded my four per year limit on letter publication, but I think it is still important to send them in because I hope the "powers that be" at the Register will realize that there are probably a lot of us not at all fooled by Jamilah Rasheed, Stanley Heller, and the rest of the "Hate Israel - Hate America" crowd.

I understand why there has to be a limit to letter writers, but what irritates me is to not see it applied to someone like Rasheed who seems to have a much wider access to column space than the average Joe (or Josephine!), i.e. Faith Matters, Forum, and regular letters section.

Maybe you could look into this.

Nevertheless, do appreciate all the times you did feature my contributions and those of Neil Berro and Diana West, for example, who actually know what they're talking about!

The Letter Submitted

To the Editor:

I was and am a big sci-fi fan. When I was a kid, the top guy was Superman. Some of the comics feature a storyline based on a place called the Bizarro World where everything was reversed. Bad was good, good was bad, Superman, who was really a pretty sharp guy on our Earth, had a Bizarro version was probably the dullest pencil in the pencil box.

Star Trek featured an episode called Mirror, Mirror which featured an almost parallel universe but in which the benevolent Federation of Planets of our universe was brutal and warlike.

Lost in Space had an episode called "The Antimatter Man" in which John Robinson was captured and replaced by his evil opposite.

I'm wondering which of these places Jamilah Rasheed is getting her information because it certainly doesn't square with what I see anywhere in this universe on my planet.

She mentions in positive terms dictators being overthrown in the Middle East, which is good as far as it goes, but how often do thee places which lack a Judeo-Christian belief system invariably pick someone or something worse? Like Hamas, Hezbollah, or, in the case of Egypt a real possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood.

She mentions the plight of the Palestinians whose own choice of leadership is one of confrontation which will be satisfied only with the total destruction of Israel, something which they have proudly and publicly proclaimed - and then she can't seem to figure out that they are their own worst enemies.

Abetting them are the naive people who send "humanitarian aid" ships whose real goal is one of inciting confrontation in hopes of securing world sympathy when Israel has to take measures to protect itself.

One thing seems clear - either Rasheed and her like-minded proponents, or the rest of us have somehow materialized onto the wrong world or they are wishing to remain willingly ignorant of reality.

In either case, I hope they will open their eyes or perhaps Mr. Scott can either send us . . . or them . . . back home!

Edward Wood

Rasheed Screed Trilogy, August 2011, Part 1

The New Haven Register regularly published op-eds written by Jamilah Rasheed , coordinator of the Connecticut Islamic Speakers Bureau. Rasheed ironically has the email address, ironic since so much of what she writes is of, at best, highly questionable veracity.
The Register published one of her op-eds, more accurately referred to as a Rasheed Screed, on August 9, 2011, with the title "Palestinians also struggle for freedom."

We post three entries relating to Rasheed's latest screed. This one contains quotes from her screed along with comments about each.
The second will contain a letter sent to The Register but, as of today, unpublished.
The third will also contain two versions of a letter sent to The Register, the published version and the original.

The Quotes and Comments

Re the title "Palestinians also struggle for freedom":

The Palestinian Arabs certainly have a strange way of "struggling for freedom."
They rejected "freedom" in 1947, when an Arab state was proposed by the United Nations through the Partition Plan. The Zionists agreed. The Arabs rejected it and launched a war instead.
They rejected "freedom" throughout the period 1948-1967 when the currently disputed territories were under Arab occupation and an independent Palestinian Arab state could have been established unilaterally.
They rejected "freedom" after the Six Day War when Israel offered to withdraw from all the captured territory in exchange for peace.
They rejected "freedom" in 1978, when the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt called for the negotiation of autonomy for the Arabs in the disputed territories by they refused to negotiate.
They rejected "freedom" in 2000, when they were offered a state in nearly all of the disputed territory, even including parts of Jerusalem, and they instead launched a brutal terror offensive.
They rejected "freedom" in 2008, when they were offered a state in the equivalent of all the disputed territory and they didn't even bother to respond.
They've rejected freedom for the last two and a half years, during which they've refused to even pretend to negotiate with Israel.


Re "Sadly, the plight of Palestinians continues without intervention by the United States. ":

Au contraire, it would be a gross understatement to say the Obama Administration has given the self-induced and self-perpetuated plight of the Palestinian Arabs disproportionate attention. One might more reasonably argue that the Obama Administration has undermined the real interests of the Palestinian Arabs by being far too accommodating of their intransigence.


Re: "The total disregard for the brutality that continues against a population of more than 1.7 million is appalling.":

One wonders to what population Rasheed is referring. According to Wikipedia, the Arab population in Judea and Samaria is roughly 2 1/2 million and the population of Gaza is just under 1.6 million.
One also wonders about what "brutality" Rasheed is referring, since all those Arabs in Gaza and roughly 95 percent of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria live under their own governments.


Re: "The 60-year struggle of Palestinians has been encumbered by the failure of the Obama administration to deal firmly with the intransigence of the Israeli government."

The Israeli prime minister has repeatedly stated his willingness to agree to the establishment of another Palestinian Arab state and his willingness to make enormous concessions. He has made it clear he expects to give the Palestinian Arabs most of the disputed territory and even displace significant numbers of Israelis.
In contrast, Mahmoud Abbas, the so-called "moderate" leader of the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and the PLO, has insisted he will never make any concessions on the core issues and admitted peace would have been made long ago had he been willing to show any flexibility.
"I can't allow myself to make even one concession." (Al-Ayyam newspaper, September 7, 2010)
"If we showed flexibility on these issues the peace agreement would have been signed a long time ago." (October 15, 2010)
Re "To live free in their place of birth is a dream deferred. Palestinians want to regain some semblance of their life before occupation.

Is Rasheed referring to their life before 1948, when Egypt occupied Gaza and Transjordan occupied Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem? She certainly can't be referring to their life between 1948 and 1967, since their lives improved dramatically when Israel took over the administration of the disputed territories. Unfortunately, things have basically gotten worse since the Palestinian Authority took over near the start of the failed Oslo Process.
Among many other sources, the article "What Occupation?" by Ephraim Karsh, available at and originally published by Commentary in 2002, details some of the vast improvements in the lives of the Arabs in the disputed territories in the aftermath of the 1967 war.


Re " Their desires are no different from those any human being would want for themselves and their fellow citizens.":

Perhaps this is true for many, but they have certainly followed leaders who put far more importance on their desire to destroy Israel than on the welfare of their people.


Re "According to statistics gathered by the website,since Sept. 29, 2000, 6,430 Palestinians have been killed. Factored into this number is the attack on Gaza in December 2009 in which Israel bombarded Gaza for 23 days, killing 1,417 civilians.":

This is simply false. Even representatives of Hamas have conceded a large majority of those killed during Operation Cast Lead were not civilians but were fighters and operatives of Hamas and other terror groups. See "Finally, A Hamas Leader Admits That Israel Killed Mostly Combatants In Gaza," 
by Alan M. Dershowitz . See also .


 Re "The Gaza Strip is an open-air prison where food and water are restricted and unemployment is at 40 percent.":

Gaza has an open border with Egypt. If Gaza is an "open-air prison," then Hamas is the jailor.
Israel certainly tries to control its border with Gaza. In this way it is no different from any other state, although most other states don't have a government pledged to its destruction on the other side, nor do they have missiles launched at their citizens on virtually a daily basis. Amazingly, Israel also transfers massive amounts of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, helping the very people attacking Israel. This is virtually unprecedented in human history.


Re "Citizens of the world have to unite to free the people of Gaza and the West Bank from the debilitating assault on their humanity.":

To do that, they need to put pressure on the rulers of the Arabs in those areas, Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in Judea and Samaria, to treat their subjects like human beings.


Re "The revolution in Egypt brought a glimmer of hope to the Palestinian plight. The new administration in Egypt has opened permanently its border with Gaza.":

Rasheed contradicts her own assertion about Gaza being an "open-air prison."


Re "Organizations outside the occupied territories have been sending people into Gaza to assure Palestinians that they are not forgotten.":

Given the obsession of the United Nations with the Palestinian Arabs, there is no chance they are being forgotten. Unfortunately, international coddling of Arab rejectionism actually harms the Palestinian Arabs by encouraging their continued refusal to make peace.


Re "In June, American activists organized a U.S. vessel named Audacity of Hope that was to join a flotilla assembled by activists who were gathering to challenge the illegal Israeli economic blockade of Gaza.":

Even the United Nations, hardly friendly to Israel, recognizes that Israel's blockade, preventing some heavy weapons from reaching terrorists in Gaza, is legal. See, for example, the Haaretz article "Gaza flotilla probe: IDF used excessive force but naval blockade legal"  .

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Palestinians Stalling Mideast Peace Talks

Published in the Waterbury Republican-American Wednesday, August 3, 2011.

The July 28 article "Abbas wants mass rallies" omitted the context of its reference that "with peace talks stalled since 2008," Palestinian Arabs will ask the United Nations to recognize their "state."

Peace talks have been stalled since 2008 because Mahmoud Abbas walked out of the talks and, with the exception of a short, three-week interval, has been refusing to talk with Israel ever since. When one side refuses even to talk, it's difficult for the talks to be anything other than stalled.

The world should not let Abbas get away with his end run around negotiations, in violation of the solemn commitment made by the Palestinian Arabs and Israel to make no changes in the status of the disputed territories except through a negotiated agreement.

Time and again, Israel has made offers the Palestinian Arabs would have eagerly grasped had they any interest other than the destruction of Israel. We in America, and the rest of the world, need to stop rewarding Abbas for perpetuating a conflict he has admitted would have been resolved long ago had he been willing to show any flexibility.

Alan Stein

The writer is president of PRIMER-Connecticut (Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting;