Friday, June 23

Deja vu all over again: In-depth interview with Israeli-American novelist Naomi Ragen (Podcast)

"FBI says U.S. suspects sought al-Qaida help: Plot to blow up Sears Tower ‘more aspirational than operational’"

The headlines give me a gut sense of dread and deva vu about what the US is facing in its war against terror. On 9/11/2001, I was on the Internet newsdesk at The Jerusalem Post.

In an exclusive interview held soon after, world-acclaimed Israeli-American novelist Naomi Ragen told me in plain words about living with terrorism and how it affects her life in Israel, her writing, relations with foreign journalists covering the conflict - and the increasing threat it poses for all of us, worldwide.

Her words were so clear and to-the-point that I wanted to share them anew, unfortunately, because of all-to-familiar circumstances.

"CBS News Photo essay: Authorities talk after a raid Thursday, June 22, 2006, in Miami's Liberty City area. Seven people were arrested in connection with the early stages of a plot to attack Chicago's Sears Tower and other buildings in the U.S., including an FBI office in Miami, a federal law enforcement official said. As part of the raids, FBI agents swarmed a warehouse, using a blowtorch to take off a metal door."

"ABC News: June 24, 2006 — The alleged terrorism plot broken up in Miami is sending out shock waves as people realize terror threats can come from within the United States as well as abroad. But critics are raising questions about how serious the threat actually was."

(Segments excerpted from our discussion on JPost Radio)

Worthwhile video debate on Sderot and Gaza events (Video)

Worth watching:

People killed in Gaza, Kasams dropping in Sderot - A Video Debate

"Things are getting out of hand. Kasams are dropping on Sderot and people are getting killed regularily in Gaza. My mother always told me, “add a little salt to what you hear and a little sugar to what you say”. Please keep that in mind when you see the following videos and/or make your comments. These are taken from YouTube."

(Hat tip and thanks to

Gaza mayor declares: 'Kassams are not meant to kill' (Update - Images)

Sderot residents killed in Kassam and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip (all photos: Dave Bender)

From a Hashmonean post, headed, Don’t drink the bong water please..:

"From the diary of the absurd, proof positive the Arabs are never responsible for anything.

"This is what you get for pandering to them for the last 58 years. Their own divisions in the UN, historically the highest per capita aid of any people. The perpetual refugee victims of their own folly actually believe their own bull, it is astonishing.. I'm left wondering if this Hamas elected official is living on another planet?

"Enjoy this illuminating interview in JPOST with the Mayor of Beit Hannoun in Gaza, pls keep in mind the man has a PhD."

The Jerusalem Post's original report:

"But how do you want me to talk to the resistance when there is bombing from Sderot on Beit Hanun? It's not patriotic."

The mayor, a father of eight, insisted that the Palestinian "resistance" came from residents outside his town. "If any of them are from here then they cover their faces so that the residents don't know it and try to stop them."

In any case, he claimed, the Kassams were harmless. "These are very elementary rockets," he said. "They are not for killing. They are for rejecting the occupation."

Just a few reminders from Sderot.

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Palestinian Authority: Guns & Butter (Editorial Cartoon)

Custodian sweeping incoming traffic lanes at Karni Terminal between Israel and Gaza. (Photo: Dave Bender)

Israeli humanitarian aid and goods waiting to be transferred through doors in background to Palestinian side of terminal. (Photo: Dave Bender)

Yet again, the dynamic duo of
Cox & Forkum (Caped crusaders? Who plays the sidekick?) absolutely nail it: Palestinian Authority: Guns & Butter.

posted on this issue last week, with an exclusive podcast interview with Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev during a visit to the Karni good and cargo crossing point into Gaza.

Can You Believe Your Eyes? (Guest Press Analysis)

Colleague Alan Abbey (who still keeps a hand in with op-eds over at YnetNews) calmly sums up the whole media screw-up over coverage of the non-IDF shelling of a Gaza beach, and the furious Human Rights Watch backpedalling, in a guest posting at the renowned Poynteronline media megasite.

The site itself's worth a thorough look-see for quality blogggers and thems that "wanna be's," and journalists honestly trying to deal with the fast developing paradigm of, what they dub, "standalone journalism."


E-Media Tidbits
Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Posted by Alan Abbey 8:00:05 AM
Can You Believe Your Eyes?

"In the last week, heart-rending images of a weeping Palestinian girl on a Gaza Beach after an explosion that killed members of her family and others have received widespread coverage. What is clear is that people were killed and others injured. What isn't clear is who was responsible.

"Initially, the media -- Israeli, Arab and Western -- said it was Israeli Army shelling. But there was little actual evidence of that. In the next few days, the Israeli Army, human rights teams and Palestinians and Western journalists reached different conclusions.

"The Israeli Army's investigation indicated it was not at fault. Others differed. One German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, apparently questioned the Palestinians' account and came close to accusing them of fabricating the incident after their own munitions caused the deaths.

"What's problematic here is that the press -- all of it, coming from different angles -- jumped to a conclusion early on before any solid facts were in place. Even after more than a week what happened is not clear, and the "truth" may never be known. The famous statement is that "in war, truth is the first casualty." Unfortunately, the media in this case seem to have forgotten this basic rule in its rush to get the story out."


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