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Right-wing Israeli TV channel boots pundit for calling to free Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin

TEL AVIV (JTA) — A right-wing TV channel in Israel has banned a guest from its programs after he called for the release of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, drawing applause from the audience.

Ari Shamai, a lawyer, made the remark on Sunday amid discussion of an Israeli Supreme Court decision that barred a right-wing candidate from running this year for mayor of Tiberias, a northern Israeli city. Shamai has voiced support for the Israeli government’s ongoing effort to weaken the Supreme Court. The first element of that effort passed last week and has sparked ongoing mass protests across Israel.

On Sunday, conflict between the governing coalition and the judiciary continued, as the Supreme Court postponed the implementation of a law that would have allowed the mayoral candidate to run. Shamai said the ruling amounted to a condemnation of “personal laws” meant to benefit one individual, and suggested that legislation denying the possibility of parole to Yigal Amir, Rabin’s assassin, was also an example of a “personal law.”

“The time has come to free the assassin Yigal Amir,” Shamai said on Sunday on “The Patriots,” a panel show on Israeli Channel 14. “Because personal laws were also legislated against him.”

Shamai, who has represented Amir in legal proceedings, was interrupted by his fellow panelists as members of the audience applauded. Following the incident, Channel 14 barred Shamai from its programs and, according to the Israeli publication Walla, cut his statement from replays of the discussion.

“The severe words that Ari Shamai said reflect his opinion only,” the channel said in a statement. “In light of the severity of the statements, Mr. Shamai will no longer be invited to appear on the channel’s programs.”

On Monday, Strauss Group, one of Israel’s leading food manufacturers, sent a letter to Channel 14 informing the network that it would pause its advertising due to “various hurtful expressions.” It did not mention Shamai’s statement specifically, but added, “We choose to advertise according to a code of ethics and demand the same from all of the channels and media platforms.”

Channel 14 responded to the letter by calling it an “embarrassing statement of condescension and an attempt at reeducation,” according to Raz Shechnik, a reporter for the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

Shamai is one among several voices on the right who have called for Amir’s freedom. In 2008, Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right politician who now serves as Israel’s national security minister, promoted a film calling for Amir’s release. More recently, a senior aide to Ben-Gvir has taken an active role in a nonprofit that donates money to the assassin and other Jewish extremists serving prison terms.

This is not the first time Shamai has stirred controversy on Channel 14. In February, amid protests of the judicial overhaul, he was suspended from the channel for saying that the legislation’s opponents were descended from Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto who declined to fight the Nazis.


The post Right-wing Israeli TV channel boots pundit for calling to free Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Jon Stewart & Christiane Amanpour Use ‘Daily Show’ Interview to Muddle Image of Israel

Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” on April 8, 2024. Photo: Screenshot

On a recent episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart hosted CNN personality Christiane Amanpour to discuss the ongoing war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.

While both veteran TV personalities had interesting takes on the ongoing conflict, including on the role of Arab states and on the political diversity of Israeli society, the remarks by both Stewart and Amanpour were marred by claims and comments that were either outright distortions of the truth, or lacking in proper nuance.

Put together, these problematic assertions could help create a fictitious narrative portraying Israel as the key aggressor in a war that is uniquely destructive, removing inherent responsibility from other regional actors.

The following are just some of the problematic claims and comments made by both Jon Stewart and Christiane Amanpour that help to create such a false image of the war:

In response to Jon Stewart’s quip that “There are journalists on the ground [in Gaza], they’re being killed,” Christiane Amanpour says that, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), almost 100 media workers and journalists “have been killed … in Gaza, West Bank, and Lebanon in six months.”

However, Amanpour omits the fact that this statistic includes Israeli journalists and that, even by the CPJ’s own records, a substantial number of journalists killed in Gaza were affiliated with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terror organizations.

Amanpour mentions a “terrible law” that aims to “throw out any organization from Gaza, including Al Jazeera.”

This is a misrepresentation of a law recently approved by the Knesset, which allows the government to temporarily shut down the Israeli offices of foreign media outlets deemed to be a threat to Israeli national security during war. The law will not impact journalists in Gaza.

Amanpour credits Al Jazeera with “trying to tell the truth in this waging war.”

The CNN host ignores the fact that Al Jazeera is a news outlet run by the authoritarian regime in Qatar; that it has known ties to Hama;s and that it has been a purveyor of fake news about Israel’s conduct during the war.

Amanpour says the Oslo peace process “failed because the people responsible for enacting it didn’t do it and actually sabotaged it,” seemingly placing blame on both Israel and the Palestinians.

However, in reality, then-US President Bill Clinton said it was the Palestinian leadership under Yasser Arafat that was the key factor in the “sabotaging” of the peace process by walking away from negotiations and initiating the violent Second Intifada.

With regards to Israel’s stated claim of continuing the war until Hamas is destroyed, Jon Stewart rhetorically asks “So, you’re just going to kill everyone?”

This implies that Israel is indiscriminately killing Palestinians and destroying Gaza in hopes of eliminating Hamas, rather than what it is actually doing: Going after Hamas targets that are deeply embedded among Gaza’s civilian population, in order to improve the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians that have suffered from the terrorist organization.

At one point in the interview, Amanpour draws a line between the American reaction to the war in Gaza and its reaction to the Rwandan genocide, implicitly comparing Israel’s defensive war against terrorism to the ethnic cleansing of a minority population.
Later, Amanpour claims that “At the moment, the Israeli government wants none of it. It doesn’t want the UN, it doesn’t want the Arab countries.”

Despite this image of Israeli recklessness and intransigence, Amanpour’s claim is belied by the fact that Israeli officials have expressed a degree of openness to certain Arab countries providing order and helping administer humanitarian aid and civil services in Gaza.

Near the end of the interview, Stewart questions why the war between Israel and Hamas is “not the top priority” and “not the only session that’s going on at the UN.”

In his formulation of the question, Stewart is exaggerating the import of the war in Gaza, making it out to be a unique conflict deserving of excess attention rather than one of many conflicts currently plaguing the world.

Soon after, Stewart claims that the figure of children killed in Gaza (“over 10,000”) is unprecedented and that he has never “heard of anything like that.”

Not only is Stewart ignoring the fact that Hamas’ listing of children casualties is highly contested, but he is once again making the war in Gaza into a unique phenomenon that deserves special attention and ignoring the high number of children killed in other conflicts, such as the Syrian civil war (30,000 children killed) and the Yemen civil war (at least 11,000 children killed or injured).

By peppering their conversation with baseless assertions and context-free claims about Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, both Jon Stewart and Christiane Amanpour are subtly creating a false image in the audience’s mind that portrays Israel as the aggressor and removes the bulk of responsibility from Hamas.

With the powerful influence that both Stewart and Amanpour have on American public opinion, this negative image of Israel’s conduct is not only poor journalism, but is also a powerful propaganda tool that can be used to weaken Israel’s fight against terrorism and strengthen the possibility of Hamas’ survival.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post Jon Stewart & Christiane Amanpour Use ‘Daily Show’ Interview to Muddle Image of Israel first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Time Magazine Includes Mother of Hamas Hostage in 2024 List of ‘100 Most Influential People’

Rachel Goldberg at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, Dec. 27, 2023. Photo: Shanie Roth

Rachel Goldberg-Polin, whose 23-year-old Israeli-American son is still being held hostage by Hamas terrorists following the Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel, has been included in this year’s Time magazine annual list of the “100 most influential people” for her global campaigning efforts to secure the release of her son and all the hostages in Gaza.

The post Time Magazine Includes Mother of Hamas Hostage in 2024 List of ‘100 Most Influential People’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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A Quiz About Israel and Hamas for Politicians, Protesters, and the Uninformed

An aerial view of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The six-month anniversary of the savage Hamas terrorist attack of October 7 came and went, and after seeing their vast lack of knowledge on the subject, I was convinced that most American politicians, TV talking heads, protesters, and so-called journalists, should not be talking about Israel.

Far too many just don’t know the simple historical facts needed to intelligently speak about this war. They refer all the time to what they call “Palestine,” the Israeli “occupation,” “Israeli apartheid,” and “Israeli settlements,” which shows they lack a basic understanding of simple facts.

How many of these so-called arbiters of truth do you think would be able to pass a simple quiz? Could they even score a passing grade? And if they could not, what drives them to speak out so harshly against Israel?

How many pundits and protesters could score a 50% on the below short quiz?

1. What year was the First Zionist Congress held?

This founding Zionist meeting was held in Switzerland in 1897. The idea that Zionism originated as a response to German Nazism is false, as is the claim that the Zionists wanted a Jewish State outside of the Holy Land and Jerusalem. The anthem selected at the 1897 Congress included the words “The land of Zion and Jerusalem.” The false claims about Zionism’s origins and goals were created to portray Zionism as having been created to further European colonialism and solve the European problem of antisemitism. Antisemitism was never only a European hatred, and was just as strong or stronger in Islamic majority countries.

2. What percentage of Israelis are not descended from European Jewish communities, but hail from the Middle East and North Africa?

According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of Israeli Jews are Sephardim or Mizrahim (48%) compared to 45% Ashkenazim (European). The remaining 7% are mostly Ethiopian and Indian Jews. The idea that all Israelis are descended from European Jews who came to Israel to escape Nazism is false.

3. Does Israel practice apartheid, and do Palestinian Arabs serve in the Israeli Knesset (legislature)?

The Israeli government system is the antithesis of apartheid. Multiple parties led by Arab citizens participated in Israel’s first election in 1949, and Arab citizens have been candidates and have been elected throughout Israel’s history. Currently, 10 Knesset Members are Arab. The Likud Party, which is very often labeled as racist by those ignorant of Israeli politics, had an Israeli Arab Druze Knesset Member for over 22 years named Ayoob Kara.

4. Who occupied Gaza from 1948 to 1967?

Egypt occupied Gaza from 1948 until June 1967. No attempt was made by any Gazans to free the area from Egypt, nor was there any international pressure to create a Palestinian state there.

5. When was the first President or Prime Minister of Palestine elected?

There has never been a Prime Minister of Palestine. Yasser Arafat became President of the Palestinian National Authority in 1994. The idea of separate Palestinian nationhood did not exist prior to the creation of Israel.

6. What are Israeli settlements?

Settlements are Jewish communities where there are neighborhoods of families in areas that Israel did not control before 1967; put another way, these are cities and towns founded by Israelis in Judea and Samaria, not the so-called “territories.” No settlements were attacked on October 7. There are families with deep roots in the settlements with several generations of children born and raised in the settlements.

7. How long has Israel occupied Gaza?

On October 7, there were no Israeli troops or any Jews or Israelis, in Gaza at all. All Israelis were removed from Gaza in 2005 as part of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan. Gazans had complete control within their territory for 19 years before October 7. Israel has already relinquished control of over 23,000 square miles of territory it captured in 1967 (including Gaza). By contrast, Israel is only 8,000 square miles. Israel has already sacrificed tremendous amounts of territory in its efforts to try to achieve peace with the Arab nations that surround it.

8. When was the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) formed?

The PLO was founded in 1964 when the Old City of Jerusalem, Gaza, and Judea-Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”) were all occupied by Jordan or Egypt. So, the PLO was created to end the existence of any Israeli control of any land it held after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

9. What did Hamas call its October 7 surprise terrorist attack and why?

Hamas and its terrorist allies named the attack Al-Aqsa Flood after a Jerusalem mosque built on the Temple Mount above the Western Wall. Hamas (like Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood) is dedicated to a violent, expansive militant version of Islam that sees the murder of civilians as a legitimate part of the wars they launch. Moreover, the use of the name Al-Aqsa is their way of saying that the war doesn’t end until Jews are driven out of Jerusalem.

Moshe Phillips is a commentator on Jewish affairs whose writings appear regularly in the American and Israeli press

The post A Quiz About Israel and Hamas for Politicians, Protesters, and the Uninformed first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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