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Why Does the Media Not Tell the Truth About Hezbollah’s Attacks on Israel?

Firefighters respond to a fire near a rocket attack from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, June 14, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Last month, the BBC News website published a report by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Lucy Williamson under the headline “Fires in northern Israel fuel demands to tackle escalation with Hezbollah.”

The following day, the BBC News website published another report by the same journalist on the same topic titled “Israelis using gardening tools to fight wildfires sparked by Hezbollah rockets.”

A couple of weeks later, that pattern was repeated. On June 19, the BBC News website published a report by Williamson headlined “Israel and Hezbollah play with fire as fears grow of another war,” which was previously discussed here.

Late on June 22, the BBC News website published another report titled “Unable to back down, Israel and Hezbollah move closer to all-out war,” which is credited to “Lucy Williamson, Reporting from the Israel-Lebanon border.”

If one assumed that the reason for the appearance within days of a second report on the same topic by the same journalist was the emergence of new information concerning the situation on Israel’s northern border, one would be wrong.

A considerable proportion of Williamson’s second report (which was also translated into Swahili) consists of interviews with people on both sides of the border: Israelis from Kiryat Shmona and Malkiya, and two residents of southern Lebanese villages.

Failing to clarify that her interviewee lives in a town described as one of the “bastions of strong Hezbollah support” where a strike against a Hezbollah command center took place in March, Williamson tells her readers that:

Fatima Belhas lives a few miles (7km) from the Israeli border, near Jbal el Botm.

In the early days, she would shake with fear when Israel bombed the area, she says, but has since come to terms with the bombardments and no longer thinks of leaving.

“Where would I go?” she asked. “[Others] have relatives elsewhere. But how can I impose on someone like that? We have no money.”

“Maybe it is better to die at home with dignity,” she said. “We have grown up resisting. We won’t be driven out of our land like the Palestinians.”

Readers may recall that just days earlier, another BBC report from southern Lebanon promoted that same “Nakba” comparison.

Similarly failing to note Hezbollah’s presence and infrastructure in Mays al Jbal (also Meiss al Jabal), Williamson continues:

Hussein Aballan recently left his village of Mays al Jbal, around 6 miles (10km) from Kiryat Shmona, on the Lebanese side of the border.

Life there had become impossible, he said, with erratic communications and electricity, and almost no functioning shops.

The few dozen families left there are mainly older people who refuse to leave their homes and farms, he told the BBC.

But he backed the Hezbollah assault on Israel.

“Everyone in the south [of Lebanon] has lived through years of aggression, but has come out stronger,” he said. “Only through resistance are we strong.”

Williamson fails to remind her readers that Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon 24 years ago, and that the only “aggression” has been in response to attacks by Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, such as the cross-border attack that sparked the war in 2006.

As in her previous report, Williamson portrays the events resulting from the Lebanese terror group’s decision to attack Israel on October 8 as “tit-for-tat”:

But as the tit-for-tat conflict grinds on, and more than 60,000 Israelis remain evacuated from their homes in the north, there are signs that both Israel’s leaders and its citizens are prepared to support military options to push Hezbollah back from the border by force.

Also, as in her own previous reports and in most other BBC content, Williamson fails to explain to her readers that according to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, Hezbollah should be nowhere near the border with Israel ,and that the UN’s “peacekeeping force” in Lebanon has failed to enforce that resolution since it was passed in 2006.

Williamson’s framing of the situation in the north of Israel includes the following:

The dangerous stalemate here hinges largely on the war Israel is fighting more than 100 miles (160km) to the south in Gaza.

A ceasefire there would help calm tensions in the north too, but Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is keeping both conflicts going, mortgaged by his promise to far-right government allies to destroy Hamas before ending the Gaza War. [emphasis added]

And:

Demands for political change are likely to increase when Israel’s conflicts end.

Many believe Israel’s prime minister is playing for time: caught between growing demands for a ceasefire in Gaza, and growing support for a war in the north.

In other words, Williamson’s framing ignores the fact that Hamas chose to attack Israel on October 7, and that Hezbolah chose to attack Israel on October 8, and almost every day since then. She erases the fact that Hamas has rejected multiple ceasefire offers in order to promote a narrative whereby it is Israel’s prime minister alone who is “keeping both conflicts going”.

Moreover, she tells BBC audiences that:

The problem for Israel is how to stop the rockets and get its people back to the abandoned northern areas of the country.

The problem for Hezbollah is how to stop the rockets when its ally, Hamas, is being pounded by Israeli forces in Gaza.

Williamson cites a statement made by the UN Secretary General on June 21:

Hezbollah is a well-armed, well-trained army, backed by Iran; Israel, a sophisticated military power with the US as an ally.

Full-scale war is likely to be devastating for both sides.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said it would be a “catastrophe that goes […] beyond imagination”.

Like the UN Secretary General, Williamson has nothing to tell her audiences about the Lebanese state’s decades-long failure to tackle the Islamist terrorist organization that has repeatedly dragged that country into conflict, and has nothing to say about the failure of the United Nations to enforce its own resolutions designed to prevent further conflict.

The BBC’s sidelining of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and its whitewashing of the failures of the UN forces that are supposed to enforce it, did not begin in October 2023: that editorial policy has been evident for many years.

Now, however, that policy is being used to advance framing of a potential escalation after over eight months of continuous attacks on Israeli communities by Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, as something that is the responsibility of Israel alone.

Hadar Sela is the co-editor of CAMERA UK – an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), where a version of this article first appeared.

The post Why Does the Media Not Tell the Truth About Hezbollah’s Attacks on Israel? first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Netanyahu Heads to DC After Biden Quits 2024 Race, Says Israel Will Remain ‘Strong’ US Ally Whoever Is in White House

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Jerusalem, Feb. 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday departed for a highly anticipated trip to Washington, DC, where he will meet with US President Joe and Biden and deliver a speech before Congress this week as America grapples with the aftermath of Biden’s unprecedented decision to end his 2024 reelection campaign.

During his first trip to the US capital in almost four years, Netanyahu plans to visit the White House and also address US lawmakers on Wednesday. Netanyahu was originally expected to meet with Biden on Tuesday; however, several Hebrew media outlets reported that the meeting will likely be delayed due to Biden still being sick with COVID-19.

It is unclear how Biden’s shock decision on Sunday to drop out of the US presidential race will impact Netanyahu’s address to the US Congress. According to Israel’s Channel 13, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, a close confidant of Netanyahu, assured US officials that the speech will not include criticism of or against Biden following repeated requests by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan for information about what the Israeli premier will say.

Netanyahu issued a statement following Biden’s announcement indicating the Israeli premier will underline the importance of bipartisanship in maintaining a close US-Israel relationship.

“I will seek to anchor the bipartisan support that is so important for Israel. And I will tell my friends on both sides of the aisle [in Congress] that regardless of who the American people choose as their next president, Israel remains America’s indispensable and strong ally in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said while leaving Israel for Washington, DC. “In this time of war and uncertainty it’s important that Israel’s enemies know that America and Israel stand together today, tomorrow, and always.”

The Israeli premier also expressed gratitude to Biden, stating that he will thank the US president for helping the Jewish state as he prepares to exit the White House.

“I plan to see President Biden, whom I’ve known for over 40 years. This will be an opportunity to thank him for the things he did for Israel in the war and during his long and distinguished career in public service, as senator, as vice president, and as president,” Netanyahu said.

Amid declining support for Israel among US liberal Democratic lawmakers, Netanyahu hopes to use his congressional address and White House visit to mend relations with Democrats, who have become increasingly uneasy over Israel’s war effort against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

Biden has come under heavy fire from Republicans as well as pro-Israel Democrats for what they’ve described as him turning against Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

The US president expressed strong support for Israel following Hamas’ brutal invasion of southern Israel on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists murdered 1,200 people and kidnapped about 250 hostages during their onslaught. In recent months, however, Biden has paused some weapons shipments to Israel and accused the US ally of “indiscriminate bombing” — a charge rejected by Israeli officials.

The Biden administration also discouraged Israel from launching a military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah to target some of the last remaining Hamas battalions, arguing such an operation would put too many civilians at risk. Experts told The Algemeiner at the time that Israeli forces needed to operate in Rafah in order to dismantle Hamas’ military capabilities.

More broadly, the relationship between the Democratic Party and Israel has deteriorated in the months following Oct. 7. Several high-profile Democrats, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), have suggested that Israel’s military operations in Gaza are tantamount to a “genocide.” Democratic lawmakers have also called on Biden to halt arms transfers to Israel, citing concern over mounting civilian casualties in Gaza.

While Israeli officials have expressed frustration about the Biden administration pressuring them to halt their military campaign, Netanyahu is expected to use his visit as a way to repair some of the damage. The trip could also serve as a way to make Israel’s case directly to the American public, which overall remains pro-Israel despite declining support among younger demographics.

The percentage of Americans that express “little or no confidence” in Netanyahu has increased by 11 points since 2023, according to an April poll by Pew Research Center. Among Democrats, a staggering 71 percent express “little or no confidence” in the Israeli leader. 

Anti-Israel groups have also organized protests in advance of Netanyahu’s congressional address. Far-left organizations such as Party for Socialism and Liberation and Palestinian Youth Movement are urging their supporters to “surround the Capitol” during Netanyahu’s address. Leaders of these groups have branded Netanyahu as a “war criminal” and have called for his arrest. 

The people charge Benjamin Netanyahu with genocide. When war criminal Netanyahu comes to Washington DC,” Palestinian Youth Movement wrote on Instagram, “the people of the world stand with Palestine and against the genocide committed by Israel with full support of the United States and impunity.”

In addition to meeting with Biden, Netanyahu may also speak with Republican presidential nominee and former US President Donald Trump. Netanyahu has requested an in-person meeting with Trump while in the US this week, according to Politico.

The Algemeiner could not immediately verify the report.

The post Netanyahu Heads to DC After Biden Quits 2024 Race, Says Israel Will Remain ‘Strong’ US Ally Whoever Is in White House first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Pro-Hamas Demonstrators Avoid Punishment Following Wave of Dropped Charges, Reports Say

Law enforcement officers detain a demonstrator, as they clear out a pro-Hamas protest encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Los Angeles, California, US, May 2, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/David Swanson

The State Attorney’s Office of Cook County, Illinois has dropped criminal charges filed against three Northwestern University faculty and one graduate student who allegedly obstructed law enforcement’s efforts to clear an unlawful demonstration at the Deering Meadow section of campus.

According to a local National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, the office said its decision is based on its “policy not to prosecute peaceful protesters.”

Charges against the four individuals were pursued by the Northwestern University Police Department, which said that they allegedly engaged in “obstructing a police officer during the protests,” a crime for which they could, if convicted, spend a year in jail and pay a $2,500 fine, The Daily Northwestern reported last week. They had already appeared before a judge and were scheduled to do so again in August.

The university had defended the recommendation of its police department and rejected the notion that the individuals acted peaceably, saying in a statement issued earlier this month that it “does not permit activity that disrupts university operations, violates the law, or includes the intimidation or harassment of members of the community.”

Many more protesters have similarly avoided punishment for the actions they took during a burst of pro-Hamas demonstrations at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year, according to a new report by The New York Times. Prosecutors in Travis County, Texas, for example, have dropped over 100 charges of criminal trespassing filed against University of Texas at Austin protesters, the paper said, and 60 other Northwestern University protesters saw their charges dismissed, with prosecutors calling them “constitutionally dubious.” The Times added, however, that some charges will stick, including those filed against someone who bit a police officer, and many students are still awaiting the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.

Per the report, “At the University of Virginia on May 4, as students were preparing for final exams, administrators called in police to break up an encampment. Police officers in riot gear used chemical irritants to get protesters to disperse and eventually arrested 27 people. The local prosecutor dropped the charges facing seven people after he determined there wasn’t enough evidence. He offered the rest an agreement: their charges would be dismissed in August if they didn’t have any outstanding criminal charges at the time.”

Prosecutors in other states have not been as forbearing. According to Fresh Take Florida, prosecutors in Alachua County, Florida charged seven University of Florida students, as well as two non-students, with trespassing and resisting arrest. The defendants have resolved to take their chances at trial, the news service added, noting that all nine have rejected “deferred prosecution,” an agreement that would require them to plead guilty, or no contest, in exchange for the state’s expunging the convictions from their records in the future so long as they abstain from committing more criminal acts.

One of the nine, computer science student Parker Stanley Hovis, 26, — who was suspended for three years — proclaimed earlier this month that they will contest the state’s cases.

“We did not resist arrest, and we are prepared to fight our charges,” Hovis said in a statement. “We’re standing in solidarity with each other, and collectively demanding that the state drop the charges against us.”

Jewish civil rights group have described the anti-Israel protesters across the US as posing an imminent threat to Jewish students and faculty while noting that many avert being identified by concealing their faces with masks and keffiyehs, a traditional headscarf worn by Palestinians which has become known as a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian cause and opposition to Israel. Images and footage of the practice have been widely circulated online, and it has rendered identifying the protesters — many of whom have chanted antisemitic slogans, vandalized school property, and threatened to harm Jewish students and faculty during a weeks-long demonstration between April and May — virtually impossible.

On Thursday, one such civil rights group, StandWithUs (SWU), implored the US Department of Justice to crack down on masked protests at Columbia University by enforcing legal statues which are widely referred to as the “KKK Laws,” citing numerous antisemitic incidents of harassment and assault on its campus and the difficulty of punishing the perpetrators.

Dating back to the administration of former US President Ulysses S. Grant, the so-called “KKK Laws” empower the federal government to prosecute those who engage in activities which violate the civil rights of protected groups, as the Ku Klux Klan did across the US South during Reconstruction to prevent African Americans from voting and living as free citizens. StandWithUs alleges that five anti-Zionist groups — most notably Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — currently operating on Columbia University’s campus have perpetrated similar abuses in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which guarantees all students, regardless of race or ethnic background, has the right to a safe learning environment.

“We hope the Department of Justice will take this opportunity to restore justice on Columbia University’s campuses and hold bad actors responsible for violating federal laws,” Yael Lerman, director of the SWU Saidoff Legal Department, said in a statement.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Pro-Hamas Demonstrators Avoid Punishment Following Wave of Dropped Charges, Reports Say first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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France Says Israeli Athletes ‘Welcome’ at Olympics Amid Mounting Threats, Added Security Measures

The Olympic Village prepared for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Photo: Paris 2024 / Raphael Vriet

French leaders said on Monday that the Israeli delegation to the 2024 Paris Olympics is welcome in France, despite what critics described as “antisemitic” comments to the contrary made by a French politician two days earlier

At an anti-Israel rally on Saturday, far-left French lawmaker Thomas Portes said, “I am here to say that, no, the Israeli delegation is not welcome in Paris. Israeli athletes are not welcome at the Olympic Games in Paris.”

Portes called for Israelis to be excluded from the Paris Olympics because of Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip who perpetrated the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel.

Portes later also told the newspaper Le Parisien that “France’s diplomats should pressure the International Olympic Committee to bar the Israeli flag and anthem, as is done for Russia” due to its invasion of Ukraine.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said Portes’ comments had “obvious antisemitic overtones” and “placed a target on the backs of the Israeli athletes.” He added, “I want to express my disgust at that. I want to assure the Israeli athletes of our full protection, like all athletes, but particularly them, also welcoming them.”

Darmanin also announced that Israel’s Olympic delegation, which includes 88 athletes representing the Jewish state, will have increased security and will receive 24-hour security from French police. He said the decision was made after taking into consideration the 1972 Munich Olympics — where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September — and how Israeli athletes are a target for attacks, especially since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

France has experienced a record surge in antisemitic incidents since Oct. 7, when Hamas launched the war with its massacre across southern Israel.

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné reiterated that the Israeli delegation “is welcome in France” for the Paris Olympics during his visit to Brussels on Monday, the French-language newspaper Le Monde reported. He called Portes’ remarks “irresponsible and dangerous,” and added that France “will ensure the security of the [Israeli] delegation.”

Paris Police Chief Laurent Nuñez said 30,000 to 45,000 police personnel will be working daily to ensure safety at Olympic sites and fan zones in Paris.

It was previously reported that Israel doubled its security budget for this year’s Games, which will be Israel’s 18th appearance in the Olympics. Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar told The Telegraph that the Israeli Olympic delegation this year, which is the second-largest Israeli delegation in Olympics history, has received threats but he did not go into detail. He added that delegation members will receive security details from Israel’s Shin Bet security agency but not everyone will have their own bodyguards.

“We try our best to make sure the athletes feel free but also safe and not afraid. We don’t want them to notice the security guards too much. We want them to feel confident so they can do their job,” he explained to the publication.

There have been calls to ban Israel from the Paris Olympics because of the Israel-Hamas war, but Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said in March there is no doubt that Israel will participate in the Paris Olympics.

The 2024 Olympic Games will take place from July 26-Aug. 11.

The post France Says Israeli Athletes ‘Welcome’ at Olympics Amid Mounting Threats, Added Security Measures first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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