Thursday, April 14, 2011

Where is the outcry against Arab Apartheid?

By Khaled Abu Toameh

Mohammed Nabil Taha, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, died this week at the entrance to a Lebanese hospital after doctors refused to help him because his family could not afford to pay for medical treatment.

The tragic case of Taha highlights the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in impoverished refugee camps in Lebanon and who are the victims of an Apartheid system that denies them access to work, education and medical care.

Ironically, the boy's death at the entrance to the hospital coincided with Israel Apartheid Week, a festival of hatred and incitement organized by anti-Israel activists on university campuses in the US, Canada and other countries.

It is highly unlikely that the folks behind the festival have heard about the case of Taha. Judging from past experiences, it is also highly unlikely that they would publicize the case after they heard about it.

Why should anyone care about a Palestinian boy who is denied medical treatment by an Arab hospital? This is a story that does not have an anti-Israel angle to it.

Can anyone imagine what would have happened if an Israeli hospital had abandoned a boy to die in its parking lot because his father did not have $1,500 to pay for his treatment?

The UN Security Council would hold an emergency session and Israel would be strongly condemned and held responsible for the death of the boy.

All this is happening at a time when tens of thousands of Palestinian patients continue to benefit from treatments in Israeli hospitals.

Last year alone, some 180,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip entered Israel to receive medical treatment. Many were treated despite the fact that they did not have enough money to cover the bill. In Israel, even a suicide bomber who is -- only! -- wounded while trying to kill Jews is entitled to the finest medical treatment. And there have been many instances where Palestinians who were injured in attacks on Israel later ended up in some of Israel's best hospitals.

Lebanon, by the way, is not the only Arab country that officially applies Apartheid laws against Palestinians, denying them the right to receive proper medical treatment and own property.

Just last week it was announced that a medical center in Jordan has decided to stop treating Palestinian cancer patients because the Palestinian Authority has failed to pay its debts to the center.

Other Arab countries have also been giving the Palestinians a very hard time when it comes to receiving medical treatment.

It is disgraceful that while Israel admits Palestinian patients to its hospitals, Arab hospitals are denying them medical treatment for various reasons, including money. But then one is reminded that Arab dictators do not care about their own people, so why should they pay attention to an 11-year-old boy who is dying at the entrance to a hospital because his father was not carrying $1,500?

But as the death took place in an Arab country – and as the victim is an Arab – why should anyone care about him? Where is the outcry against Arab Apartheid?

Khaled Abu Tomeh is an award-winning Israeli Arab journalist and documentary film-maker. He was born in the West Bank city of Tulkarem in 1963 to an Israeli Arab father and a Palestinian Arab mother. He studied at Hebrew University from where he received a B.A. in English Literature and lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children. He refers to himself as an “Israeli-Arab-Muslim-Palestinian.”

Goldstone Analysis

Nearly all the newspapers around the world are analyzing the effect of the letter by Richard Goldstone in the Washington Post “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes”. It is clear that through the efforts of so many individuals Goldstone has had second thoughts on the basis on which his report was written.

However, even as Goldstone himself says “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document”, it appears that once again, facts seem to confuse the British government who are pledging continued support for the report – see first article below.

It seems to us at BIG, this requires EVERYONE living in the UK to write to their MP demanding a retraction of support for the report.

Below this first article is an interesting letter which we feel very relevant to the subject being reviewed.

Britain pledges continued support for Goldstone report against Israel, even as Goldstone retracts allegations

April 5, 2011 in Robin Shepherd’s new online magazine, The Commentator,

For complete article click on

The British Government is standing by the United Nations Goldstone Report alleging that Israel committed “war crimes” in its Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 even though Justice Richard Goldstone has now distanced himself from his report’s most controversial conclusions.

On Friday, Goldstone wrote a piece in the Washington Post in which he stunned diplomats, politicians and analysts by withdrawing the allegation that Israel had deliberately targeted civilians during the 22-day conflict. He said: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

The Foreign Office, however, confirmed its continued support for investigations into Cast Lead and said it did not want to see the withdrawal of the Goldstone Report from the United Nations.

“Justice Goldstone has not made such a call, and he has not elaborated on his views surrounding the various other allegations contained in the report, allegations which we firmly believe require serious follow-up by the parties to the conflict,” a Foreign Office spokesman told the Commentator on Monday evening.

In his piece, entitled “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and War Crimes”, Goldstone admitted that it was now clear that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy”. With reference to evidence provided by Israel, he added: “…I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes”.

Dear Mr. Goldstone: Six months until Kol Nidre
By David Suissa April 4th 2011

For full article click on

Dear Mr. Goldstone:

You really screwed up. You screwed up so badly that Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic says you contributed, more than any other individual, to the delegitimization and demonization of the Jewish state.

The deliberate killing of innocent civilians is the equivalent of murder. As far as accusations go, that’s about as low as you can go. Your report accused Israel of a lot of things, but that accusation was the most lethal: targeting innocent civilians.

Now you write that you were wrong. Israel is not the war criminal she was made out to be. It was Hamas that targeted innocent civilians, not Israel. Well, like Goldberg says, “It is somewhat difficult to retract a blood libel, once it has been broadcast across the world.”

Remember, this was no ordinary blood libel. This was an official indictment bearing the stamp of approval of the closest thing we have to a global legislative body — the United Nations. Thanks to this stamp of approval, Israel’s enemies have feasted on Israel’s good name like vultures on a carcass.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the global campaign to delegitimize Israel, as well as the flourishing BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement that is turning Israel into a pariah state. Sadly, much of the ammunition for these movements has come from the Goldstone report — the same report you now have repudiated with a phrase that might go down in Jewish infamy: “Civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”

I wonder what went through your mind as you wrote those words: “Why did I rush to judgment? Should I have paid more attention to the hundreds of thousands of Israeli leaflets and phone calls that warned civilians, and to the preliminary Israel Defense Forces reports and other publicly available information that contradicted our conclusions? Should I have put Israel’s behavior in the proper context of defending its people after years of Hamas rockets? Should I have been more skeptical of sources I knew were unreliable?”

While you can never undo that damage, there is still something you can undo: the report itself. Given your deep knowledge of international law, with all its arcane rules and procedures, if anyone can formally retract the report or officially amend it, it is you.

It won’t be easy. You will be going up against the many enemies of Israel, those who dream of turning the Jewish state into an illegal enterprise, those for whom the Goldstone report is the gift that keeps on giving — their little gold mine rich with never-ending ammunition against the hated Zionist entity. They won’t let you take away their gold mine that easily.

But I have confidence you can do it. I have seen how you can be dogged and relentless in front of intense opposition. I have seen how when you put your mind to something, nothing can stop you, not even your own people. I have seen you go the distance.

Now go the distance on this one, Mr. Goldstone. Make this your cause. Put the Goldstone report where it belongs, in the delete button of history. You can replace it, amend it, retract it or do whatever you feel will correct it. You will not undo the damage, but you might at least stanch some of the bleeding — not just in Israel’s name, but perhaps in yours, as well.

Kol Nidre is still six months away, but you don’t have to wait that long.

The Threat to a British Liberty

Fraser Nelson 9:54pm . March 18th

British understatement is a wonderful thing. Here is how Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator, introduced a posting on the magazine’s website (see link above) last weekend: “It’s a funny old world,” he said, “I have now been contacted by two journalists informing me that Bedfordshire Police are investigating The Spectator”. The reason? Because a group called, wait for it, “Muslims4UK” took exception to a piece by Melanie Phillips on her Spectator blog in which she referred to the Arabs who had murdered five members of a Jewish family in Itamar the week before as “savages”.

The story was reported in the media, but if you’d blinked you’d have missed it, and the slant of the reporting was that Israel was at least as much to blame for the killings — due to settlement policy — as the killers themselves. Melanie’s column was a typically robust effort to point out the moral depravity of news outlets such as the Guardian, the New York Times, CNN and the BBC who, if the situation had been reversed — if five Arabs including a three month old baby had been knifed to death in their beds in a lethal racist attack by Jewish “settlers”, for example — would have given it saturation coverage.

So not so much a “funny old world” as a “brave new world”: a prominent British columnist does what prominent British columnists are supposed to do — she attempts to shift the terms of the debate back on to a more rational and principled footing — and the net result is that the police have been called in, with the Guardian newspaper
cheerleading on the sidelines, because she has offended Muslim sensitivities.

As Nelson summed it up, the train of events went like this:
“1) Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4UK, gets angry about what he reads on Melanie’s blog.2) Complains to the PCC [The Press Complaints Commission].3) Complains to the police.4) Phones up The Guardian and says “The PCC are investigating The Spectator!! Story!! Police too!!5) The Guardian duly writes it all up, on its website.6) The Independent follows up The Guardian.7) An inverted pyramid of piffle is thus constructed.”

It isn’t yet clear on what grounds the investigation is being conducted, but you can bet your boots that it is the following paragraph from Melanie’s piece that they are salivating over:

“So to the New York Times, it’s not the Arab massacre of a Jewish family which has jeopardised ‘peace prospects’ — because the Israelis will quite rightly never trust any agreement with such savages — but instead Israeli policy on building more homes, on land to which it is legally and morally entitled, which is responsible instead for making peace elusive. Twisted, and sick”.

An “Arab massacre”? What all of them? “such savages”? So all Arabs are “savages”? Oh, come off it. It is quite clear that she is referring to the “savages” who slaughtered a family in their beds, and it is “such savages” and those who incite them with whom peace cannot be made. It is also clear that in this instance the thrust of the argument is against the New York Times, itself being used as a proxy for the liberal left media in the West, and not the killers as such.
And it is precisely because the multi-culturalist assumptions underpinning the western liberal left media lead consistently to a downplaying or sanitisation of crimes, however appalling, committed by non-white, third-world perpetrators designated as “victims” that Melanie Phillips employs such strong language to jolt western readers out of their dogmatic slumbers. Again, that’s what columnists are supposed to do, and in any other situation this affair would have passed off without notice.

But, as Nelson makes clear, changes are afoot in modern Britain that threaten to rip apart the fabric of one of the world’s most developed free societies: “Freedom of expression is under attack in Britain, from our notorious libel laws to this new phenomenon of police forces being asked to investigate what people put on their blogs,” he said.

And as we know from cases involving Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and others across the continent, all of this is starting to look like a depressingly common feature of the new European politics. To those who value freedom, merely sitting on one’s hands is no longer an option. We all hang together, or we all hang separately, as Benjamin Franklin is said to have averred at the siging of the American Declaration of Independence.

So write to Fraser Nelson in the comments column at the end of the article and tell them you support their right to be heard. Surely, that’s the least you can do.