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Hadar Sela

palestinian israeli incitement terror hamas fatah middle east politics education’Tis education forms the common mind,
Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.

(Alexander Pope, Epistles to Several Persons, 1734)

What do the convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti (currently serving five life sentences), the suicide bomber who murdered nine people and wounded over 20 others at Tsrifin in 2003, the  founder of the Hamas military wing  Yahya (‘the engineer’) Ayash and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement have in common?

All of the above terrorists - and several more - studied at Birzeit University near Ramallah which has been under the control of the Palestinian National Authority since the mid 1990s according to the Oslo Accords.

Birzeit is notorious for its extremism and the fact that in elections for its student council, rival terror factions compete for the student vote.

“A third example of a Palestinian university where there has been major crime incitement is Birzeit University near Ramallah. At the end of 2003, elections were held for the student government council. The campaign featured...More >>

The Road to Fatima Gate
The Beirut Spring, the rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian war against Israel

By Michael J Totten
Encounter Books, Publication Date: April 5th 2011

road to fatima gate michael totten israel hezbollah iran middle east politics book reviewThe current political and social upheaval throughout the Middle East and North Africa has highlighted something that those of us living in the region have known for a long time; just how rare accurate reporting and analysis of events in this area is.

Too much of the commentary produced by foreign correspondents and Middle East ‘experts’ is one-dimensional and it is the result of both the inability of writers to set aside their own cultural straight-jackets which have little or no relevance in this region, together with the commercial pressures to compete for headlines in a digital age in which speed and volume of content trump accuracy and quality reporting.

I often think of this prevalent sort of Middle East journalism in terms of mass-produced, flat-pack chipboard furniture. It’s not meant to last, it all looks pretty...More >>

united nations human rights council democracy middle east arab revolution politicsThe recent incidents on the streets of countries as far apart as Libya and Bahrain, Tunisia and Iran have riveted the Western world to its television sets and Twitter accounts. The sight of authoritarian regimes gunning down their own people as though they were swatting flies has us outraged. Western politicians and human rights activists issue sober statements. Western journalists devote indignant column inches to the question of ‘how could they?’  But one thing is conspicuous by its absence; any honest and thorough appraisal of how the West has been complicit for years in ensuring that such human rights abuses could come about.

To our disgrace, we in the West have largely stood by silently whilst the world’s premier human rights institution, the UN Human Rights Council, has been monopolised by nations which belong to the cadre of those today firing on their own civilians in the streets of Benghazi and Tehran. 

The Human Rights Council currently includes members such as Libya, Bahrain, China, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi...More >>

israeli palestinian peace talks j street hamas jewish osama hamdanThe recent ‘Palestine papers’ leaks have ensured that even if the current caretaker Palestinian government does not collapse as a result of their revelations, it will now be exceedingly difficult  to resume the much-needed peace negotiations.

 From the media commentary surrounding the leaks, it is also perfectly obvious that such a situation is far from undesirable for some, and in particular Hamas, which rejected and did its best to sabotage the latest round of discussions. The rejectionist stance, as taken by Hamas, was expressed by its representative Osama Hamdan in a recent   op-ed in the Guardian.

“The Palestinian negotiators named and quoted in these documents have betrayed their people and the Palestinian cause. We are in no doubt that, as a result of these revelations, they have lost their credibility for good. It is unthinkable that the Palestinian people will ever approve any deal concluded with the Israelis by this team of negotiators, for they will always be suspected of selling out and of betraying the cause. The Palestinian people can never...More >>

the propagandist political propaganda essay writing editorial news current affairsWhen The Propagandist started an essay contest, we had no idea just how well it was going to go. We got a ton of hard-hitting, eloquent articles on themes like spreading democracy, opposing dictatorships and exposing political correct shills for autocrats and terrorists.

We loved them. Our readers loved them. And while we wouldn't take credit for the pro-democracy revolutions sweeping the Middle East today, we're sure our propaganda didn't hurt.

Out of over 25 essays submitted, the judge's points tallies for the top finalists were extremely close. Without further ado, here is our list of runner-ups:

And the winner of the $1,000 grand prize for best essay is - drumroll, please...

How Not to Feed A Revolution by David Zeglen

Read an excerpt:

When rice

...More >>

middle east conflict israel palestinian peace talks palestine papers al jazeera

The broadcast and publishing of the leaked ‘Palestine papers’ by Al Jazeera and the Guardian puts a spotlight on some issues which are actually much more interesting and far-reaching  than the papers themselves. After all, it is only those who hold completely unrealistic ideas about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict who could claim to be surprised by their content; the rest of us know that in the end, the 2008 Olmert offer is more or less how the future will look because it represents the most Israel can give and the least that the Palestinians can accept.

Nevertheless, we have witnessed waves of selective outrage from foreign journalists and commentators – their words conveying a deep sense of betrayal. Horrified by the Palestinian negotiators’ pragmatism, indignant at the very idea of compromise, they rushed to brand them as traitors and sellers-out of the Palestinian cause.

What is interesting is that these voices are for the most part not coming from the people who would actually be affected by...More >>

european union israel diplomacy palestinianA recent document drawn up by the EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah raises some worrying issues, not least the proposal for organised boycotts. Readers will doubtless notice the report’s reliance upon information gleaned from politically motivated NGOs such as UN OCHA and ACRI, which set the tone for the cavalier repetition of numerous untruths such as;

“Successive Israeli governments have pursued a policy of transferringJewish population into the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law.” (my emphasis)

It is also blatantly apparent that despite the fact that the status of Jerusalem is supposed to be the subject of long-awaited negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the EU Heads of mission seem intent upon creating their own ‘facts on the ground’, together with a flawed narrative which seeks to over-ride any negotiation process.

However, the report’s ‘action plan’ is possibly its most disturbing aspect in that it includes outright initiatives for boycott of Israeli businesses and institutions as well as specific calls for intervention in the affairs of...More >>

viva palestina terrorism hezbollah hamas funding george galloway muslim brotherhoodSince its establishment in the United Kingdom in 2009, George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ brand has expanded its operations to include branches in America and Lebanon and association with organisations in New Zealand and Malaysia as well as connections with the International Solidarity Movement and the IHH – aka the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Insani Yardim Vakti. 

 ‘Viva Palestina Arabia’ – according to its web-page a registered charity in Lebanon – organised and ran what it termed ‘The Summer University of Palestine’ from July 25th  to August 1st 2010 at the Lebanese International University in the Bekaa Valley. Participants from countries around the world, including Ireland, Germany, Malaysia, Jordan, Iran, Kuwait and Australia spent a week listening to lectures from some of the most prominent attackers of Israel’s legitimacy as well as taking part in trips facilitated by a proscribed terrorist organisation – Hizbollah.

The Lebanese International University was founded (and according to some, is owned) by Lebanese politician Abdul Rahim Mourad; a Sunni from the Bekaa region who is a member...More >>

palestinian human rights europe israel peace talks united nations recognition state independenceAbout four years ago I happened to be sitting in a threadbare pub in a northern English mill town on a dank winter evening when two middle-aged, middle class couples sat down at the next table. One of the women was evidently a teacher at the local high school and she was describing to her friends a wedding which she had recently attended. The bride was one of her pupils – a young woman whom she repeatedly described as “my little Palestinian girl”.  

Enthusiastic and detailed descriptions of exotic dress, food and ceremony were eventually interrupted by the other woman in the party who somewhat hesitantly expressed discomfort with the fact that such a young girl had taken part in what was, according to the raconteuse, an arranged marriage. Flicking the ends of her fuchsia pink and silver tasselled ethnic-style scarf impatiently, the teacher silenced her friend with the standard debate-killing, politically-correct slogan of last resort employed so often by those afflicted by normative relativism: “But that’s part of their culture!”

Earlier...More >>

islamophobia bigotry usa america islam muslim brotherhood racismStanding way behind the sidelines and observing  the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ controversy develop in recent weeks, I was struck by the often intemperate use of the term ‘Islamophobia’ to describe criticism of the project. From CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper  to Georgetown University’s John Esposito, through the Muslim Public Affairs Council  and even across the Atlantic at MPAC UK and in the Guardian, there appeared to be a concerted effort to convince the general public that we are living in times of a ‘heightened climate of Islamophobia’ to quote MPAC’s communications director Edina Lekovic.  

Of course anti-Muslim bigotry exists in any country one could care to mention and it must be fought, along with many other kinds of bigotry, racism and discrimination, but in the current climate it is prudent to think back to Kenan Malik’s 2005 essay in which he warned that “The charge of ‘Islamophobia’ is all too often used not to highlight racism but to stifle criticism” and to consider who is promoting the concept of Islamophobia and why.

It is hard...More >>

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