The conflict, the law and the media

egg exploding

Clinical professor of law and director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic at the Emory University School of Law, Laurie Blank, looks at the facts of the current conflict between Gaza and Israel in light of how the media (do not) cover them. BBC proves to be particularly egregious in their biased covering. (See BBC Watch).


I’m perpetually struck by the rather flippant disinterest on the left, whether news sources or individuals, for Hamas’ overt strategy:

a) of targeting civilians centers and even – by their OWN admission – a freakin’ nuclear reactor in Dimona two days ago. (Where is the outrage, people?)

b) of using human shields, again by their OWN admission. On July 8, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri lauded as ‘noble’ civilians for climbing unto the roof to ‘defend’ their houses (used as depots and quarters) with their ‘bare chests’. This IS a war crime under international law. It fits right in with the martyr culture, which is not a ‘racist’ figment of the imagination, but something proudly proclaimed. Al Aqsa MARTYRS Brigades (Fatah), anyone? Just last year we saw an exhibit in Jeu de Paume (Paris) by the Palestinian artist Ahlam Shibli (‘Terrorist Chic’, coins Richard Landes in Tablet Magazine) documenting a culture of celebrating and worshiping so called martyrs, who purposefully target civilians on their suicide missions. The existence of such a culture isn’t exactly a secret, yet Palestinian spokeswoman Diana Buttu found it in herself to blatantly deny it and to accuse anyone who dares mention it of racism. lol. You can always try to shut people up by hurling empty and grotesque accusations, of course – and the guilt-ridden left is particularly sensitive to such behavior.


(Perhaps the first word employed in this way by Islamists was Islamophobia. It was specifically invented by the mullahs of Iran around 1980, to shut up critics and has proven to be extraordinarily effective. See for its exact history the work of Paul Berman, who claims it was first used to squelch the speech of Iranian and Muslim critics rather than Western ones. But I’ve also read somewhere – lost the source – that it was actually first used against American feminist Kate Millett, who came to Tehran in support of Iranian women. As we’ve seen consistently, the Islamist male supremacists are dead-set on reversing any progress in terms of equality and women’s rights. Iran has even, per 2010, forbidden women to study women’s studies and human rights. Lest women get ideas. The supreme leader Ali Khamenei has said this: “One of the biggest intellectual mistakes of the West about the issue of women is ‘gender equality.“)

c) of using hospitals as munition depots and rocket launch sites, and civilian houses for military purposes.

These practices qualify as war crimes; they are ILLEGAL under international law. Where is the outrage and condemnation? When is it pointed out and criticized? Instead, the reasoning and Orwellian language game of Hamas are simply accepted and parroted (‘apartheid’ ‘racism,’ ‘genocide,’ ‘ethnic cleansing’). Pallywood is working in overdrive and the useful idiots are eagerly spreading the false images (fauxtography) – e.g. of the war in Syria and even of street theater in Bahrain. And so it goes…

For a sober look at international law:

Wonder about the IDF? Read Slate William Saletan’s account. Even the Palestinian envoy to the UNHCR agrees.The Gaza Rules: Israel, unlike Hamas, isn’t trying to kill civilians. It’s taking pains to spare them, July 9, 2014

Also: Canada Rejects UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Criticism of Israel’s Response to Rocket Attacks from Gaza, communique by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, July 12, 2014
“There must be no moral equivalence between Hamas, a listed terrorist organization, and its blatant disregard for human life, and the liberal democratic State of Israel’s duty and obligation to defend its people from cowardly and indiscriminate attacks.”

Support secular forces instead of appeasing the bully

Karima Bennoune, of Algerian extraction, is the author of Your Fatwa Doesn’t Apply Here; Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism (2013). Like the indomitable political activist Maryam Namazie Bennoune stresses the importance of support from the West for secular forces in the Middle-East. Do this, I add, instead of engaging with Islamists, apologizing for them, ‘understanding’ them and looking away from their, in Bennoune’s words, all out war against women because of cultural sensitivities.

Indeed, Hamas, Isis, the Muslim Brotherhood and the like, are male supremacist movements, that seek to implement Sharia law under which a woman’s testimony is worth half of that of man’s, rape is legal, a rape victim can be stoned to death for adultery (link leads to particularly gruesome example, be forewarned), ‘domestic violence is the prerogative of the husband,’ gender apartheid is enforced and women are marked as second class citizens by restrictive compulsory clothing codes such as the burqa and the hijab. It is deeply ironic – and would be funny if it were not so dead-serious – that feminists and the left would support any of these groups. And yet they do. They support Hamas and Fatah, for one. I see this in my Facebook newsfeed just as much as on Twitter. Useful idiots…

The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s statement: “One of the biggest intellectual mistakes of the West about the issue of women is ‘gender equality.’” Khamenei’s views are not mere rhetoric; they have been codified since 1979 in Iran’s system of Sharia law. The Islamic Revolution brought Iran back to the medieval ages with stoning, gender apartheid and systematic oppression of the country’s women.

 New educational restrictions were imposed on women in 2010, barring female students from access to certain social studies courses (women’s studies and human rights) because they are deemed to be “incompatible with Islamic teaching.”
Iran’s war on women One year into Rouhani’s presidency, equal rights remain elusive BY Saba Farzan , Benjamin Weinthal for NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bennoune’s talk was uploaded by Ted Talks on July 10, 2014.