(CAMERA) An Associated Press report published on April 1 noted that at least 6000 Syrians were reported killed in the civil conflict in March, the highest single month toll yet. During this same period, the main news item of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the death of a single Palestinian hunger striker, a convicted terrorist, in an Israeli prison.
According to a tally from a Lexis-Nexis media search, the New York Times published a total of 39 articles (news articles, editorials, and on its blog) in March that were mainly focused on Israel and the Palestinian conflict, plus an additional 24 on U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Israel. The Nexis search turned up 59 pieces — a substantial proportion were brief blog items — focused on the conflict in Syria.
In a column in Sunday's New York Times, White House National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon condemned the terrorist acts committed by Hezbollah and called for the European Union to add Hezbollah to its list of terrorist organizations. Donilon's column follows a recent report from the Bulgarian government denouncing Hezbollah's role in the July Burgas bus bombing that killed five Israeli tourists and injured 32 others. Donilon wrote:
Since 2011, the group has murdered civilians in Bulgaria, seen its activities disrupted in Cyprus and Thailand, and worked to plot attacks elsewhere. It is helping to prop up the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria; and it acts as a proxy for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in the region and beyond. In doing so, Hezbollah is putting the well-being of Lebanon and its people at risk.
Bani Brith International's response on the subject after the jump.
For an inmate trying to maintain his connection to the outside world, a 15-minute phone call with a loved one might cost $17.00!
The Federal Communications Commission issued a notice of proposed rule-making, taking the first step towards federal regulation of prison calling rates. According to the satement of commissioner Mignon Clyburn:
The telephone is a crucial instrument for the incarcerated, and those who care about them, because voice calling is often the only communications option available. Most inmates along with their families and friends are low-income, so in-person visits due to distance and expense are infrequent. It is not uncommon for state prisons to be located hundreds of miles away from urban centers, but even in places where the facility is nearby, the engagement often requires a significant amount of time to clear security. And because many of these complexes are frequently overcrowded and ill-equipped to handle the volume of visitors, the wait (not even to mention the economic burden of missing work, etc.) is quite severe.
With Israel's announcement that it plans to proceed with construction in Area E-1, east of Jerusalem, earlier falsehoods about that land reemerge. Thus, Ha'aretz reports that construction in E-1
would effectively bisect the West Bank and sever the physical link between the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem.
Similarly, the New York Times reports:
Construction in E1, in West Bank territory that Israel captured in the 1967 war, would connect the large Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem, dividing the West Bank in two. The Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem would be cut off from the capital, making the contiguous Palestinian state endorsed by the United Nations last week virtually impossible.
So is it true that construction in E-1 would bisect the West Bank, and severing Palestinian contiguity, and cutting off Palestinian areas from Jerusalem? The answer is no. As CAMERA pointed out in 2005 (The Contiguity Double Standard):
Palestinian contiguity in the West Bank would be no more cut off with the so-called E-1 corridor than would Israeli contiguity if Israel were to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders, even with slight modifications.
Here's why. First, take a look at this map of the region.
The New York Times has developed a wonderful tool to see how often any given word was used at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
There was a bit of excitement at the DNC as Democrats were criticized for removing any mention of Israel from their platform (Republicans had removed all but one mention of Israel from their platform.) Democrats were quick to amend the platform and restore the language regarding Israel.
While some are raising concerns about the future of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty now that the Muslim Brotherhood candidate has won Egypt's presidential race, AFP has a different issue with the historic bilateral agreement. Today AFP refers to "1980, the year after Cairo signed its peace agreement with Tel Aviv." (Emphasis added.)
AFP would hardly be the first to relocate Israel's capital from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, but the misinformation is all the more jarring in light of then-President Anwar Sadat's unprecedented trip to Jerusalem in 1978, paving the way to the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement.
Perhaps AFP would do well to review its own archives from that time, including this AFP photograph of Sadat addressing the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in the capital city, Jerusalem:
AFP's own caption reads:
Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat (L) addresses the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in Jerusalem 20 November 1977 during his historic visit to Israel, as Israeli Premier Yitzhak Begin (C) listens to him. Thirty years ago, the Egyptian leader became the first Arab leader to visit the Jewish state. AFP PHOTO/FILES
Eleven days before Mr. Sadat made his trip to Jerusalem, he said in Cairo that he was willing to go to ''the ends of the earth,'' and even to the Israeli Parliament, in the cause of peace. The Israeli Government made known that he was welcome in Jerusalem, and after complex negotiations he flew there, although a state of war still existed between the two nations.
His eyes were moist and his lips taut with suppressed emotion as he arrived, but his Arabic was firm and resonant when, hours later, he told the hushed Israeli Parliament, ''If you want to live with us in this part of the world, in sincerity I tell you that we welcome you among us with all security and safety.
In 1978, the leader of the Egyptian nation, which at the time was in a state of war with Israel, could bring himself to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but in 2012, AFP cannot?
As Congress debates the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act — which has been passed and reauthorized with bipartisan support several times since it's inception in 1994 — prominent Democrats marked April 17 as "Equal Pay Day," recognizing the importance of continuing to fight for gender equality in the workplace. Several leading Democrats issued statements and penned op-eds in order to raise awareness of the issue, as well as the larger fight for women's rights.
Democratic National Committee Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said:
President Obama and Democrats understand that equal pay is so important for women and their families that one of the first pieces of legislation Democrats passed in 2009 and the first bill the President signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act ensures that women can fight for equal pay for equal work, and on National Equal Pay Day we celebrate our continued fight for economic equality, regardless of gender.
The President's commitment to women is in stark contrast to Mitt Romney and the GOP's attitude toward equal pay for women. While Democrats and the President were making equal pay for equal work a priority, nearly every Republican in the House and Senate voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who Mitt Romney has called a 'hero,' recently repealed that state's fair pay law; and Mitt Romney refuses to say if he would have signed Lilly Ledbetter had he been president at the time. His campaign on a conference call last week couldn't even articulate a response when asked his position on the law....
On Equal Pay Day women can rest assured that Democrats and President Obama will continue the fight for equal pay for equal work and will fight for their right to make health care choices for themselves and their families. It's a shame that Mitt Romney and Republicans can't say the same thing.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — the first female speaker in American history — also said:
I'm proud of the accomplishments of the Democratic-led Congress on behalf of equal pay and fairness. The Lilly Ledbetter Act-the first bill President Obama signed into law-restored the right of women and other workers to challenge unfair pay in court. Further, under the Affordable Care Act, soon women will no longer be charged higher premiums than men for the same coverage and no longer will being a woman be treated as a pre-existing condition.
On Equal Pay Day, we honor all of our nation's women, who through their labor - at home and in the workplace - have made our country strong. And we recommit to opening the doors of opportunity for the next generation of women.
Graph of pay gap by profession, a map of pay gap by state, and op/eds by Senators Gillibrand and Boxer follow the jump.
In preparation for the upcoming Passover holiday, President Barack Obama invited members of the Jewish community to the White House for a special cooking demonstration and discussion. Sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the National Endowment for the Humanities, White House chef Bill Yosses worked with Jewish chef Joan Nathan to demonstrate how to make, among other dishes, apple and pear charoset and matzo chremsel.
Haaretz writer Vered Guttman was one of the guests invited to the event. Guttman wrote:
Before the seder each year, guests are asked to send Bill and White House executive chef Cris Comerford their own family's Passover recipes. The chefs then design a menu for the seder and prepare the dishes according to the guests' recipes.
In previous years they served the classics: haroset and brisket. When we met Wednesday. Bill said they were still working on this year's menu. He did know, however, which desserts would be served: A flourless chocolate cake (which he promises will be on the White House website before the holiday) and a delicious sounding apricot roll cake, that he was kind enough to share the recipe with me. Bill gets extra points for a dessert that is not only fabulous, but also inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine. Does the president eat Jewish or Israeli food during the year? I asked.
'The president LOVES Israeli couscous!' Bill didn't have to think much before he answered. Since Israeli couscous is one of the most popular foods imported from Israel, it is often the target of boycott threats by anti-Israeli groups.
CAMERA: Mr. Obama, who has often lamented the United States' invasion of Iraq in 2003, made reference to European and American intelligence assessments that have found no evidence that Iran has decided to pursue a nuclear weapon.
A March 6 page-one story by Mark Landler in the International Herald Tribune made the same claim (in virtually the same words). And, yet, you can watch or read the speech until Ahmadinejad is a Zionist and still you will not find a single reference to European or American intelligence assessments that have found no evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear weapon.
Similarly, Gov. Mitt Romney has earned a reputation for playing fast and lose with his "quotes" when the actual source does not quite fit his narrative.
dishonestly presents a 2008 McCain campaign quote as the words of President Obama. The ad features a voice-over of Obama saying "if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." Then-candidate Obama indeed said those words, perhaps dozens of times during the closing month of the 2008 campaign. The only problem? Obama was actually quoting the words of a strategist from Sen. John McCain's campaign.
Even as we face the most serious economic crisis of our time, even as you are worried about keeping your jobs or paying your bills or staying in your homes, my opponent's campaign announced earlier this month that they want to 'turn the page' on the discussion about our economy so they can spend the final weeks of this election attacking me instead. Sen. McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, 'If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.'"
Well, New Hampshire, last night we had a debate. I think you saw a bit of the McCain attack strategy in action. But here's what Senator McCain doesn't seem to understand. With the economy in turmoil and the American Dream at risk, the American people don't want to hear politicians attack each other - you want to hear about how we're going to attack the challenges facing middle class families each and every day. You want to hear about the issues that matter in your lives. You want to hear about how we're going to bring about the change that we desperately need for our country. That's what the American people want to hear.
Even when Romney is being endorsed by newspapers, he is very selective in editing the endorsement to remove any sign of hesitation by the newspaper emailing that endorsement to the voters. According to Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker, the Romney campaign "has no better friend than the ellipsis".
Examples of some of the fine redaction by the eager staff at the Romney Campaign follow the jump.
(Last month, we printed this article by David Street alleging an implicit truce between anti-Israel GOP candidate Congressman Ron Paul and the nominal GOP frontrunner Governor Mitt Romney. Now, as Mitt Romney is losing momentum and may need Ron Paul's delegates to put him over the top, there are signs that overt negotiations are underway between the two campaigns. Time Magazine's Alex Atman reports:
"Aides say if Paul can't win the nomination, four legislative priorities would top the Texas Representative's wish list: deep spending cuts that lead to a balanced budget; the restoration of civil liberties; a commitment to reclaim the legislative branch's right to declare war, which it abdicated to the executive branch in recent decades; and reforms that shore up the U.S. monetary system, such an audit of the Federal Reserve or competing-currency legislation.
Paul might also be enticed "by the prospect of serving as a presidential adviser, a Cabinet position for someone in his orbit or 'perhaps a vice presidency.' Not for himself, but rather his son. Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky and a Tea Party icon, is expected to launch his own White House bid in 2016. Being on the ticket now - or even being mentioned for it - would be a helpful step.
- promoted by Publisher)
— by David Streeter
Over the last few months, The New York Times and The Washington Post have reported on the "strategic partnership" between Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and anti-Israel Representative Ron Paul (R-TX). This week, The Huffington Post's Sam Stein and Slate's Dave Weigel both noted that the Paul campaign's latest negative ad is directed at Romney's main rival-former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)-despite the claims in the ad applying to both Santorum and Romney. Many have speculated that Romney has been courting Paul in order to ensure a unified Republican Party if he receives the nomination. Stein also noted regarding the Romney-Paul relationship:
Mitt Romney gave his big economic policy statement today at Ford Field Stadium in Detroit, Michigan. However, Romney doesn't draw the kind of crowds that Ron Paul does. However, Romney calculates that his delegates along with Paul's will be enough to capture the Republican nomination, August in Tampa.
The Texas Republican has refused to attack Romney during televised debates. He's also devoted a considerable portion of his vast campaign resources to television ads that undermine Romney's opponent of the week, from Rick Perry, to Newt Gingrich, to his latest foe, Rick Santorum.
Paul and Romney are reportedly friends, but that seemed like only half the story. The most logical explanation for the alliance was that Romney had promised Paul some sort of future role, either at the GOP convention or even in his administration. Some also speculated that Romney might have plans for Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
As we've noted previously, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Representative Ron Paul have grown quite close on the campaign trail. Many believe that Romney will need Paul's support to win the Republican nomination, and Romney has told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he would vote for the anti-Israel Paul if he were the nominee. Several weeks ago, The Washington Post reported on the "strategic partnership" that the two candidates have formed.
In addition to the Paul campaign's latest TV ad, here's more evidence in the emerging Mitt Romney/Ron Paul bro-mance: The Paul camp is now passing around oppo[sition research] on Rick Santorum.
With Santorum potentially on the brink of upsetting Romney in Michigan next week, the Paul campaign is targeting the former Pennsylvania senator for what it says is hypocrisy -- after Santorum criticized Romney on the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Now, The New York Times reported that there is a "friendship [blossoming]" between the two candidates. The New York Times wrote:
In a Republican presidential contest known for its angry rivalries, the Romney-Paul relationship stands out for its behind-the-scenes civility. It is a friendship that, by Mr. Paul's telling, Mr. Romney has worked to cultivate. The question is whether it is also one that could pay dividends for Mr. Romney as he faces yet more setbacks in his struggle to capture the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination.
Ideological similarities among supporters of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich suggest that if Mr. Gingrich dropped out, many of his backers would coalesce behind Mr. Santorum. But as Mr. Paul steadily collects delegates, one thing that remains to be seen is whether his affinity - at least on a personal level - for Mr. Romney could help the former Massachusetts governor as the fight drags on...
"I talk to Romney more than the rest on a friendly basis," Mr. Paul said. "I throw Romney's name out because he's made a bigger attempt to do it. The others are sort of just real flat."
In an interview on CBS this past weekend, Mr. Paul volunteered that since his rivals were largely identical in policy substance, "when it comes down to those three, it's probably going to be management style more than anything else." According to one person close to the Paul campaign, it would be accurate to infer from that phrasing — "management style" — that Mr. Paul has a willingness to listen to overtures from Mr. Romney, who has been trying to sell himself to voters as a proven manager.
It has been several weeks since President Barack Obama first increased sanctions on Iran, effectively cutting off Iran's central bank from the global economy. To this point, the evidence is overwhelming that these sanctions have had a strong effect on Iran's economy and government.
Previously a major importer of steel, Iranian steel traders have found their business "grinding to a halt."
In Minnesota, a state which Mr. Romney carried easily in 2008, he has so far failed to win a single county - and got just 17 percent of the vote. That put him 27 points behind Rick Santorum, and 10 points behind Ron Paul, who finished in second.
Missouri is a less important result since its beauty contest primary did not count for delegate selection and since turnout was understandably low there. But Mr. Romney lost all 114 counties in Missouri - and the state as a whole by 30 points, far more than polls projected.
Then there was Colorado, a state that has reasonably similar demographics to Nevada, which Mr. Romney carried easily on Saturday. Colorado has somewhat fewer Mormon voters than Nevada, which hurts Mr. Romney - but it has somewhat more wealthy ones, which favors him. The betting market Intrade gave Mr. Romney about a 97 percent chance of winning Colorado entering the evening. But he lost the state by 5 points to Mr. Santorum.
Mitt Romney will have some time to contemplate this turn of events. The next contests are the Arizona and Michigan primaries on Tuesday, February 28 followed by the Washington State and Maine caucuses on Saturday, March 3, and Super Tuesday, March 6 with voting in Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.
The next debates currently scheduled will be held by CNN on February 22 at 8pm in Mesa, Arizona and a super Tuesday debate March 1 at 8pm in Atlanta, Georgia.
The New York Times detailed the White House's efforts to ensure that the catering at the annualHanukkahcelebration was certified Kosher for their Jewish guests. Led by Rabbi Levi Shemtov of the American Friends of Lubavitch, the White House kitchen staff joined with some mashgiachs to completely and flawlessly kasher the kitchen.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CBS News that a nuclear-armed Iran is "unacceptable" and that the United States "will take whatever steps necessary to stop it." The exchange between Panetta and CBS' Scott Pelley went as follows:
Pelley: If the Israelis decide to launch a military strike to prevent that weapon from being built, what sort of complications does that raise for you?
Panetta: Well, we share the same common concern. The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line for us and that's a red line, obviously, for the Israelis. If we have to do it we will deal with it.
Pelley: You just said if we have to do it we will come and do it. What is it?
Panetta: If they proceed and we get intelligence that they are proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon then we will take whatever steps necessary to stop it.
Pelley: Including military steps?
Panetta: There are no options off the table
Pelley: A nuclear weapon in Iran is...
Panetta's statements coincide with recent admissions from Iranian government officials that the country is sustaining damage from the recently-increased sanctions.
Artists in New York will display a dozen sukkot in Union Square just after Yom Kippor. You can vote on your favorite design in The New York Times. The winners will be announced in Union Square at 5:30pm on September 20 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and "a special guest".
The sukkot will be auctioned off with proceeds going to support homeless initiatives in New York City.
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