December 21, 2016

MEDIA COMMENT: Friedman!

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:43 pm by yisraelmedad

Friedman!
By YISRAEL MEDAD AND ELI POLLAK
12/21/2016
The bottom line is clear: the liberal leftwing media will do all that it can to stop this appointment, with no holds barred.
Last week, we were informed that President- elect Donald Trump will appoint David Friedman as the next US Ambassador to Israel. Friedman is an unabashed supporter of Israel, and a proud member of the Jewish People. He, like Trump, is not politically correct, supports Israel’s right to settle in Judea and Samaria, and “worst” of all, does not believe in the viability of the two-state solution. The self-proclaimed Israel lovers all over the world are really worried.

Something must be done to stop this insanity! President-elect Trump must be brought to his senses! The future of Israel as a liberal democracy is at stake! If God forbid the US Embassy would be returned to its proper place – the unified city of Jerusalem – as advocated by Friedman, Israel’s place among the nations would be jeopardized, and they warn it would become, in the words of J Street, an “apartheid” state. The impression this and other similar groups in the Jewish “progressive” camp wish to purvey is that the United States would be creating havoc within the Arab world, would lose its influence, and it is clearly against American interests to allow such a policy to become reality.

Much is at stake. It is unthinkable that our local media, as well as that of Europe and parts of the American media, who presume to know it all, would find out that in reality – as compared to their imaginary media world – the annexation of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital would after 50 years be recognized as such, without ifs and without buts.

This is a war launched by the media, and it started with the New York Times’ mild headline of last Thursday: “Trump chooses hard-liner as ambassador to Israel.” But the column itself was far from mild. The Times made sure that its readers would know that in June Friedman wrote: “The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty … But J Street? They are just smug advocates of Israel’s destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas – it’s hard to imagine anyone worse.”

The sign was given, and the good and loyal soldier, in the form of Haaretz, immediately followed through. The next day, December 16, one might have thought that an international incident of the highest urgency had occurred. Their headline was “Trump taps David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel.” But in the article describing the atrocious act, we are informed “Friedman has been a columnist for two Israeli rightwing English-language media outlets: Arutz Sheva and The Jerusalem Post.” One wonders what some of the editorial writers in this paper think about their identification as being part of a “right-wing” newspaper. Personally, we are proud of it, but this is beside the point. Writing in a “right-wing newspaper” obviously identifies the author as belonging to an immoral camp. Friedman’s antipathy to J Street to whom he referred to in one of his articles as “worse than Kapos,” was similarly mentioned.

This, though, was just the beginning.

Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev, on the same day, had an article headlined: “Trump’s radical- right ambassador makes Netanyahu look like a J Street lefty.” True to form, the subtitle was: “It’s good thing ambassador-designate David Friedman will have diplomatic immunity; otherwise he might get arrested for incitement.” Shalev wrote that “from where Friedman stands, most Israelis … are more or less traitors.” Ridiculous, libelous, but who are we to dare and disagree with a Mr. Know-it-all? Indeed, in Shalev’s la-la land, Friedman’s ilk would “give rise to more extreme leaders who will try to spark a new intifada.”

Debra Nussbaum Cohen followed in the same direction, making sure to repeat Friedman’s crimes against J Street. Arieh Golan of Israel Radio, who had publicly sided with Hillary Clinton, was quick to pick up the implications. In his ramblings prior to the 7 a.m. news magazine on Friday morning, he made sure that all of Israel knows that Friedman dared to accuse those peace-loving J Street supporters. Actually, Friedman’s crime was of the worst kind: he dared to use World War 2 imagery with respect to the decent people of J Street.

Back at Haaretz, Allison Kaplan Sommer cited Friedman as saying “Palestinians seek ethnic cleansing of Jews.” The paper made sure to remind the world that on a September 11 interview, Friedman claimed that “Palestinians want ‘their so-called state’ to be, ‘as the Nazis said, Judenrein,’ or devoid of Jews.”

The battle intensified on that same Friday, with The New York Times, no less, describing the appointment as “a dangerous choice.”

In the words of the Times editorial board, Friedman “would be far more likely to provoke conflict in Israel and the occupied territories… and undermine American leadership.”

The New York Times also knows it all, noting that Friedman “hold(s) extremist views that are radically at odds with … the views of most Americans.” One wonders whether their source was the same reliable one that predicted the victory of Hillary Clinton.

But who cares about truth these days, when such catastrophic events are unfolding.

The onslaught continued Sunday with Barak Ravid, one of Haaretz’s senior correspondents, and true to form army radio station Galatz picked it up. Prior to the 7 a.m. news, Asaf Lieberman, the anchor – whom we pointed out some weeks ago was also a Clinton supporter – made sure to read out his column, and then have Ro’I Dan and Rotem Danon, two discussants with the same views, criticize the appointment.

The European media followed through.

The Swiss Neue Zuericher Zeitung had the headline: “Trump is sending more than Netanyahu would like,” as if the correspondent, Ulrich Schmidt, knows how to read the prime minister’s mind. The article clarifies to the Swiss public that Friedman is an unrealistic hardliner. The Frankfurter Allgemiene Zeitung stressed that Friedman is an Orthodox Jew who supports moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and has nothing against the construction of settlements on “Palestinian land.” Their political correspondent for Israel, Jochen Stahnke, knows that Friedman calls all those who think differently “antisemites.” And so the diatribe continues.

The British Guardian was not far off the mark. Correspondents Peter Beuamont in Jerusalem and Julian Borger in Washington open their report with: “Donald Trump has named as his ambassador to Israel a pro-settler lawyer who has described some US Jews as worse than concentration camp prisoner- guards.”

The French LeMonde had it that “Friedman is actively engaged with the extreme Israeli right wing.”

Even veteran Israeli presenter Ya’akov Achimier broadcast on his weekly Saturday night Ch. 1 program “Seeing the World” a CNN review of Friedman’s appointment, without finding it necessary to mention that CNN was an avid supporter of Clinton, that it had its facts wrong prior to the election, and in general, has a pro-left bias.

The bottom line is clear: the liberal leftwing media will do all that it can to stop this appointment, with no holds barred. We would only hope that President-elect Trump will continue to ignore these voices which belong to the past, and do what he believes in, support Israel wholeheartedly.

The authors are members of Israel’s Media Watch (www.imediaw.org.il).

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December 8, 2016

MEDIA COMMENT:Raviv Drucker: Journalist or political crusader?

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:01 am by yisraelmedad

Media Comment: Raviv Drucker: Journalist or political crusader?
By YISRAEL MEDAD AND ELI POLLAK
12/07/2016
Netanyahu’s weakness as well as those of many other politicians in facing off against a media corporation has aided and abetted this atmosphere.
For almost a decade, since his 2008 story on the travel arrangements and expenses of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, investigative reporter Raviv Drucker, current star of Channel 10 television, host of its investigative reporting magazine Hamakor (“the Source”), has been trying to haul Netanyahu before criminal proceedings.

The history of their mutual animosity is long and complex but it has not only become a local story. It has also attracted foreign media attention especially those who seem to delight in portraying Israel as undemocratic or akin to dictatorships.

Ha’aretz’s Udi Segal recently told The Guardian’s Peter Beaumont that Netanyahu is in “a win-win situation because he manages to have a chilling effect on the media outlets while portraying himself as a victim.” Of course, it could be just the opposite: that the media, while portraying itself as a victim, is actually attempting to frighten or chill the prime minister with, so far, baseless reporting of his supposed crimes and illegalities.

Even Drucker himself, in that same December 1 Guardian interview, admitted, “I don’t think we’re on the slippery slope towards Erdogan and Putin. In Russia and Turkey people like me were already behind bars years ago.”

What is new is the extent to which Drucker and his fellow journalists, such as Ilana Dayan of Channel 2 television, are willing to bend ethics for the sake of their crusade to bring the “Bibi era” to an end, as well as distort Netanyahu’s personal responses on social media platforms.

At the beginning of November, Dayan, who hosts the investigative reporting Uvda program, after unsuccessfully attempting to smear Netanyahu through the actions of his wife, read out the response from the Prime Minister’s Office word-for-word for over six minutes. That response was sharp, biting, and it labeled her a “leftist.”

In Drucker’s case, Netanyahu took to Facebook and wrote, “by means of daily brainwashing the public and character assassination against me and my family, the [media] hope to distract the public’s attention from the core issues of the political debate in Israel.”

Some journalists, like Greer Fay Cashman, are wondering if Drucker is “carrying out a vendetta against Netanyahu and members of his family.” As she wrote last week, “when Drucker can’t find any real dirt to hurl at the prime minister, he starts on Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, and son Yair…

This week Drucker really went overboard [in reporting on the Netanyahu family’s relations with Australian James Packer].”

Yoav Yitzhak, an award-winning investigative journalist in his own right claimed in a November 21 Galatz radio interview that Drucker had been misleading the public when he “exposed” the “conflict of interest” in the purchase of German submarines, involving David Shimron, who also happens to be Netanyahu’s personal lawyer and confidant. Yitzhak used rather strong words with respect to Drucker: “He misled everyone; false information, simply a blood libel.”

The seeming vendetta against the prime minister even reached the Saban Conference in America last week where part of his video recorded message echoed a Facebook post Netanyahu published a week ago: “It is also amusing to hear the media’s cries of dismay and its double standards when I respond to their smears. They hold freedom of speech to be a preeminent value – as long as it is reserved only for them.”

Drucker’s crusades are not limited to the prime minister. This past Sunday, journalist Erel Segal interviewed Oded Svorai, a lawyer, on his Galatz radio program. Svorai is a personal friend of Brig.-Gen. Ofer Winter, formerly a commander of the Gaza Division’s Northern Brigade and currently the chief of staff to the GOC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Roni Numa. Svorai related that in 2012, Drucker sent a soldier with a concealed recording device to try and entrap Winter, by getting him to admit to giving an order to shoot an innocent Arab boy. Winter not only was not trapped, he offered to provide the soldier with psychological help.

To defend his actions, Drucker, on his Facebook page, insisted that the soldier had initiated the matter and that he (Drucker) was simply using normal methods of obtaining evidence. As reported in Walla, according to Svorai, the soldier, when caught with the recording device, claimed that Drucker sent him. “Drucker understood that you would be appointed to head the Givati brigade and we decided to prevent that from happening.” Winter, a religious soldier, drew criticism for his biblically phrased battle order to the Givati Division at the start of Operation Protective Edge, as well as his later Hannibal Order, aimed at preventing Israeli soldiers from falling into the hands of Hamas.

The prime minister himself was angered at the method Drucker employed. Using Facebook, a platform which nowadays is replacing newspapers, televisions and radios, he attacked Drucker, posting, “If this is true, it is just shocking.” He then launched a frontal assault, adding, “The people of Israel know full well that Channel 10 is taking part in the smear campaign led by [Yediot Aharonot publisher] Noni Mozes, Raviv Drucker and others… Channel 10 airs libelous propaganda against me and my family every night, with the goal of toppling a Likud prime minister, but apparently Channel 10 and Drucker think that is not enough. [Will] Drucker, the darling of the New Israel Fund… be investigated as well?” As we have noted previously, it was as though Netanyahu himself, who knuckled under media pressure and, despite Channel 10’s enormous debts of unpaid financial broadcasting license commitments to the state – to the tune of over NIS 60 million – permitted them to continue to broadcast.

For over ten years, Channel 10 created an ethos of unethical relations to the state.

This creates a lack of respect for law, order and ethics.

Netanyahu’s weakness as well as those of many other politicians in facing off against a media corporation has aided and abetted this atmosphere.

This lack of respect surfaced again on Drucker’s Hamakor program on Tuesday evening. Evidently, Winter’s ethical reaction to Drucker’s setup was strong enough to prevent Drucker from even attempting to use it directly. But this did not deter Drucker or his partner Baruch Kra from trying to give Winter and General Sami Turgeman (Winter’s boss) a black eye. The central accusation was that they dared to try and solve sexual problems that were disclosed over two years ago within the Givati Brigade on their own without going to the police. The program was a rehash of known stories, nothing really newsworthy in them except for muckraking, innuendos and unsubstantiated accusations.

We should add that Turgeman and Winter’s “guilt” is that they are excellent soldiers who continue to make significant contributions to the security of the State of Israel.

But this does not deter Kra and Drucker.

Kra used the summary at the end of the program to describe Winter’s behavior as “disgraceful.” Winter was not even asked to respond. We should pity Drucker. His legacy is the attempt to give people a black eye from the bully pulpit. Truth, ethics and honest journalism are beyond him.

The authors are members of Israel’s Media Watch (www.imediaw.org.il).

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