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Home » Backspin» Israel Daily News Stream 05/21/2012

Israel Daily News Stream 05/21/2012

May 21, 2012 14:46 by

Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.

60 Minutes returns to Israel. PA press freedom takes a strange turn. Any truth to rumors of an Israeli military presence in Cyprus?

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Israel and the Palestinians

• Bob Simon of 60 Minutes returns to Israel to profile Tel Aviv (video or transcript). Is this an attempt to atone Simon’s recent Unholy Attack On Israel? This time around, Simon touches on the city’s cosmopolitan reputation, party scene, gay tolerance, high-tech start-ups, and, of course, “the Tel Aviv bubble.”

• Now that products from the West Bank face a South African labeling law and a similar initiative is gaining traction in Denmark, Palestinians are testing the waters for a similar effort in Canada. The Co-op, one of Britain’s largest food chains, announced its own boycott of settlement products.

Avi Boaz

• The Irish Times catches up with Jihad Jaara, a fugitive from the Church of the Nativity siege. Jaara arrived in Ireland ten years ago this week as part of the internationally brokered exile which ended the standoff. I’m glad to see the Times didn’t overlook this big skeleton in Jaara’s closet:

Jaara’s case is further complicated by the fact US investigators allege he is implicated in the murder of Avi Boaz, a septuagenarian US-born émigré to Israel who was killed near Bethlehem in January 2002. A former Newsweek journalist who wrote a book about the Church of the Nativity siege alleges Jaara told him in an interview that he had been involved. Jaara has since denied this.

The former Newsweek journalist is Josh Hammer, who elaborated on the Jaara file in the NY Times Magazine a few years ago.

• To strengthen Palestinian press freedom, “special judges” will be appointed in cases dealing with journalists. I have a better idea for strengthening press freedom in the PA. Stop arresting journalists, bloggers and Facebook activists. More on this at Maan News. Meanwhile, the PA released blogger Jamal Abu Rihan after 36 days. According to the Jerusalem Post:

He was detained on instructions from the PA attorney-general, Ahmed al-Mughni, after creating a Facebook group called “The people want to end corruption.” . . .

Most of the questions centered around my activity with the Facebook group,” Abu Rihan told the London-based  Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.

“This confirms that I was arrested only because of my being a blogger.”

• Hamas’s conundrum: How do you block an Israeli-made film about the assassination of Mahmoud Mabhouh without going through the Israeli justice system you don’t recognize? This from AP:

The movie, which features Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli as a temptress working for the hit team, is a “Zionist conspiracy” to defame al-Mabhouh, said a cousin, Ahmed, who lives in Gaza. Details of the suit, including where to file it, are still being worked out, he said.

AP: “Palestinian rivals set timetable for unity deal.” Yogi Berra: “It’s like deja-vu, all over again.” ‘Nuff said.

Continued on Page 2


Israel Daily News Stream 05/21/2012 May 21, 2012 14:46 by

Iranian Atomic Urgency

Jonathan Tobin‘s worried about the US-Iranian nuclear talks dance:

But while prolonging “the diplomatic dance” will aid the president’s re-election prospects, it also very much plays into Tehran’s goals. So long as the talks go on, an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is out of the question. And though some administration officials have made noises about America’s contingency plans for an attack, it’s difficult to see why Iran would take such talk seriously so long as “senior administration officials” are promising them lollipops even before the Baghdad talks start. Once re-elected, the president will, as he has said in other contexts, have the “flexibility” to change his mind about some issues. Iran has little reason to believe they are in any danger as long as they can keep Washington dancing.

Arab Spring Winter

• The Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbasset al-Megrahi, died. I’ll link to coverage in the Herald Scotland and The Scotsman. Megrahi was the only person ever convicted for blowing up Pan Am flight 103. All 259 people aboard the flight and 11 more people on the ground were killed in the 1988 attack.

• AP  capsule profiles the five main contenders for the Egyptian presidency while McClatchy News profiles a Sinai sheikh who hates Israel and secular Egyptian candidates.

• Syrian uprising spills over to Lebanon. Tim Marshall of Sky News reports on the overnight clashes between militias for and against Bashar Assad.

The fighting was sparked by the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Abdul-Wahed and a companion at an army checkpoint. Sheikh Wahed was a prominent preacher opposed to Assad. The Daily Star takes a closer look at the murder.

Dr. Amal Al-Hazzani picks apart Human Rights Watch’s criticism of NATO air strikes which reportedly killed 72 civilians. Had Dr. Al-Hazzani applied this logic to Operation Cast Lead and the Goldstone report, he’d be a pariah. Collateral damage is always tragic, but I see a lot less tolerance for it when Israel’s blamed.

Rest O’ the Roundup

• This debate between Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammed and Dr. Wafa Sultan is a great example of sunlight being a great disinfectant. Bakri’s brutally frank about radical Islam’s views on tolerance, while Sultan’s response was spot-on.


(Hat tip Israel Matzav)

Turkish media‘s buzzing with rumors that Israel intends to create a military presence on Cyprus to its protect oil and gas interests.

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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