In 2011, the popular fashion magazine Vogue dubbed Asma Assad, wife of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, "the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies." But that's ancient history, long before the Syrian spring, and then the long, dark Syrian winter, claimed hundreds of thousands of Syrian lives many of them cut down by troops under her husband's command and displaced millions, among them the massive waves of desperate souls washing up on European shores. Vogue was not the first magazine to lionize Asma in this manner. In 2009, Elle, another fashion magazine, declared her the most stylish woman in world politics.
While it's no longer fashionable to admire Ms. Assad, whitewashing of Palestinian violence is currently in vogue at Elle. Thus, on Oct. 30, 2015, Palestinian-American Karmah Elmusa describes the last few weeks, in which Palestinians have carried out dozens of stabbing, shooting and ramming attacks against Israelis, as well as violent clashes with Israeli security, as follows:
After living under occupation their whole lives, and with no prospect of political resolution on the horizon, Palestinian youth have taken to the streets this month in protest. ("I'm longing for Palestine while living the American dream")
's misplaced admiration for Ms. Assad parallels Ms. Elmusa's admiration for one Dr. Mads Gilbert, whom she lionized on Twitter
a few weeks ago as a "true humanitarian."
Who is this great humanitarian whom Elmusa regards with such high esteem? Norwegian Dr. Mads Gilbert, expressed his support for the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States in an interview that he gave with the Norwegian daily, Dagbladet,
a few weeks after the attacks. He stated:
The attack on New York was not surprising, after the policy that has led the West in recent decades. I am upset over the terrorist attack, but am equally upset over the suffering which the United States has created. It is in this context that the 5000 dead people must be seen. If the U.S. government has a legitimate right to bomb and kill civilians in Iraq, then there is also a moral right to attack the United States with the weapons they had to create. Dead civilians are the same whether they are Americans, Palestinians or Iraqis.
When asked by Dagbladet
if he supported the terrorist attack on the U.S., he replied:
Terror is a bad weapon, but the answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned. (Sept. 30, 2001)
Given that a man who supports the 9/11 attacks is synonymous with "true humanitarian" in Elmusa's mind, her grossly distorted characterization of the last several weeks of Palestinian violence, as well as her apparent frustration with the United States for its pro-Israel stance, is no surprise. Her skewed depiction of the Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces serves as the framing for the rest of her story about Palestinian victimization. Thus, she makes a specious allegation lacking sufficient detail to allow any fact-checking:
This is the country [ie, the United States] that looked the other way when Israel sentenced my Palestinian cousin to nine years in prison for his role in a protest after the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir. They came to his house in the middle of the night and took him away based on an anonymous tip. At age 22, he will spend the rest of his youth in a cell.
Without details like a name and a date, it's impossible to determine why exactly her cousin was sentenced to nine years in prison. She says it was merely for "his role in a protest," as if he were guilty of nothing more than marching and waving protest signs, but then again, she also obscures the stabbings, shootings and rammings as "protest[s]." If her cousin were actually sentenced to multiple years for his involvement in a terror organization, or for his role in carrying out attacks against Israeli civilians or soldiers, it wouldn't be the first time that a media outlet would gullibly swallow claims that Palestinians were imprisoned for nothing more than participating in a protest. As The New York Times infamously reported in 2011, Izzedine Abu Sneineh was arrested three years earlier at the age of 15 supposedly for throwing stones and hanging Palestinian flags from telephone poles. But, as The Times itself was compelled to note in a Dec. 21 print edition correction:
. . . the article misstated Israeli charges against one of the freed prisoners, Izzedine Abu Sneineh, who had been arrested three years ago at age 15. Israel had accused him of weapons training, attempted murder and possession of explosives not throwing stones and hanging Palestinian flags from telephone poles.
Elmusa's lyrical voice does not conceal her loose and free treatment of the facts.
The implication that American politicians at large dismiss innocent Palestinian victims, fatalities or otherwise, as "terrorists" is utter nonsense. Consider the case of Tariq Abu Khdeir, a cousin of murder victim Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was beaten by Israeli police, according to video. Abu Khdeir was invited to visit the White House. CNN reported:
And we brace ourselves for the status quo: American politicians will dismiss dead Palestinians as "terrorists," while respectfully mourning each lost Israeli life. We live with the guilt that we are here, not there. The guilt that we can come and go as we please, while Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are barricaded into their homes, neighborhoods, or cities. Israel is flanked by water, but many Palestinians will never see the sea.
"The U.S. government has remained closely engaged with Tariq and his family since his return from Jerusalem," a White House official confirms to CNN. "As part of the follow-up on pending issues related to his case, National Security Council staff met with the Abu Khdeirs recently."
Elmusa's claims about travel are equally specious. Since Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Gazans have been able to freely travel throughout the Gaza Strip, aside from periods of acute violence, such as the summer of 2014, in which conditions were too dangerous to travel. And given that the Gaza Strip, like Israel, is "flanked by water," Gazans regularly see the sea. Palestinians from the land-locked West Bank, too, can travel from north to south within the West Bank. Evidence to the fact that they are not "barricaded into their homes, neighborhoods or cities" also is apparent in images of thousands of West Bank Palestinians visiting Tel Aviv beaches in for the holiday of Eid Al-Fitr last summer (Haaretz
, July 20, 2015).
The spate of recent Palestinian attacks, many of them emanating from east Jerusalem neighborhoods, has resulted in the erection of barriers throughout those neighborhoods, and some of them have since been dismantled
. Elmusa breathes not a word, though, about the Palestinian violence that led to those barriers.
the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) is an independent non-profit organization that provides journalists with quick access to information about Palestine and the Palestinians, as well as expert sources, both in the United States and in the Middle East. Both through its website and its staff, the IMEU works with journalists to increase the public's understanding about the socio-economic, political, and cultural aspects of Palestine, Palestinians, and Palestinian Americans.
It is the Institute for Middle East Understanding which published
Elmusa's fawning interview with Gilbert. In one of its recent posts, IMEU sought "to increase the public's understanding" by defending
MSNBC's use of egregiously misleading maps
supposedly purportedly showing Palestinian loss of land. The network retracted its use of the erroneous maps, with anchor Kate Snow apologizing
, "Last Thursday, in an attempt to talk about the context for the current turmoil in the Middle East we showed a series of maps of the changing geography in that region. We realized after we went off the air the maps were not factually accurate and we regret using them." Elmusa's outfit, however, maintains: "The map accurately depicts the land that has been forcibly taken from Palestinians since 1946."
As CAMERA noted last month:
The green area is simply a rendering of the territory not under Israeli sovereignty. It does NOT demarcate land possessed by Arabs or by the mythical state of Palestine. In fact, the vast majority of the land (over 90 percent) had no legally recognized owner after the dissolution of the Ottoman empire in the wake of World War I. The disposition of the green areas remains to this day undetermined because the Arabs rejected the United Nations partition resolution in 1947 and because the Palestinians continue to reject any final agreement with Israel.
But clearly these facts are not the picture that the Institute for Middle East Understanding, or Karmah Elmusa, an admirer of 9/11 terror supporter Mads Gilbert, would like readers to understand.