Friday, February 12, 2010

Radical leftist at Reuters provides soapbox for fellow traveler

In a 700+ word breathless interview/op-ed disguised as a news piece, Reuters Allyn Fisher-Ilan rushes into the fray to defend and promote the views of New Israel Fund (NIF) president Naomi Chazan.  Two weeks ago, an investigative study by the Zionist group Im Tirtzu revealed that the Goldstone report on the Gaza war had been seeded with defamatory claims against Israel by political NGOs financed by the NIF.  The Im Tirtzu report and subsequent well-publicized, ill-tempered reaction from Chazan and the NIF has led to widespread panic in the anti-Israel NGO community and of course at their propaganda arm, Reuters.

Fisher-Ilan begins her damage control effort on behalf of Chazan by lumping together the NGOs funded by the NIF under the righteous banner "civil rights groups".  So characterized, they are of course beyond reproach -- precisely the notion Chazan is peddling:
In an interview with Reuters, Chazan said she saw a "very, very dangerous process" under way in Israel, where human rights groups such as hers were increasingly targeted for criticism... "The very pillars of democratic society are being assailed and we have to be very concerned about that," said the former left-wing Meretz party legislator.
Got that?  According to Chazan, and parroted by Fisher-Ilan, "human rights groups" must be above criticism or the foundations of a democratic society are at risk.  Funny, we always had the impression that criticism was an essential component of a democratic society.  Apparently, not when it is the left-wing being criticized.

Fisher-Ilan continues:
Goldstone's report found evidence of war crimes by both Israel and Hamas Islamists in the three-week Israeli offensive in Gaza, in which over 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed... But it put most of the blame on Israel, stoking worldwide criticism of the Jewish state's behaviour in the war. Israel has dismissed the report as biased and supporters are lashing out at left-wing groups who had a role in Goldstone's work.
Yes, Israel has dismissed the Goldstone report as biased for any one of a hundred reasons and as Im Tirtzu has noted, 191 of 207 negative references to the Israeli army and government appearing in the report were supplied by organizations receiving NIF money.  In view of the fact that the NIF bankrolls groups like Adalah which advocates for the return of millions of Palestinian Arab "refugees" to Israel -- neatly eradicating the Jewish state -- supporters of Israel might be on the right track criticizing the NIF for funding this type of anti-Israel activity.

Fisher-Ilan then takes a stab at persuading readers with the bandwagon logical fallacy:
Left-wing activists in Israel and abroad, joined by New York-based Human Rights Watch, have rallied behind Chazan, denouncing the criticism of her and the arrests of peace activists at recent protests as "an affront to democracy."
Er, citing Human Rights Watch may not be the most effective way to make the case for democratic ideals.  And as we noted here, these "peace activists" are anything but.

Then, there's a red herring:
The right wing is well represented in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition.
As is the left-wing.
Right and left-wing Israelis have been arguing for decades for and against withdrawing from occupied Palestinian land for peace.
No.  Israelis have been arguing for and against surrendering unallocated land won in a defensive war to a group of people sworn to their destruction for the promise of peace.

Fisher-Ilan continues with another mischaracterization:
A separate Israeli legislative probe has been launched into funding for non-government groups, seen as targeting human rights organisations in particular.
No.  The probe is intended to expose and monitor those Israeli NGOs of any flavor that receive large sums of money from foreign governments and organizations.
The English-language Jerusalem Post, meanwhile, has cancelled Chazan's biweekly column.
Yes, after she threatened to sue the paper.
Chazan criticised the Israeli government's refusal to cooperate with Goldstone and said Israel should launch its own investigation into the Gaza war
Ah, but it has.

We recommend Allyn have a soothing Chamomile tea and catch up with her horoscope.


  1. Allyn Fisher-Ilan is a "fan" of New Israel Fund on Facebook...

  2. I apologize. She is not a fan, but New Israel Fund is listed on her Facebook page, so I guess she is a member of the (Facebook) group, or something.

  3. We're not big believers in guilt by association but then again, one can often judge a person by the company that she keeps. Perhaps the best illustration of that tenet is Fisher-Ilan's Facebook Friend Diana Buttu, a Palestinian lawyer who represented the PLO and in an interview with Fox news on the Gaza conflict famously declared: "We aren't firing rockets, and let me clarify the rockets we aren't firing don't have explosive heads".

    We rest our case.