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How Forums Are Being Taken Over By Pro-Arab Groups, Who Flood The Forums With Hate Propaganda
Ha'aretz ^ | June, 5, 2002 | Mary Sagi-Maydan

Posted on 06/05/2002 3:36:46 AM PDT by the_second_moon

PALO ALTO – When he discovered anti-Israeli propaganda in an Internet site devoted to baking bread, Doron Gal was dumfounded. It would seem that Islamic and anti-Israeli forces discovered the world wide web long before Israelis did, and they are running a well-oiled machine to create public opinion in cyberspace. For such purposes, a site on making cookies is just as good as a political vehicle.

Asked why such groups infiltrate non-political sites, Gal, a doctor in geophysics and a co-founder of the startup DigiGroups, explains that like movie stars – bad publicity is better than no publicity at all. Even if other participants in the forum ask them to change the subject, it takes time until their claims drop to the bottom of the screen. Meanwhile, people see them and take in the message.

"They have set criteria by which to choose sites," Gal says: sites that can boast heavy surfer traffic, or that are popular with younger people, because the young tend to be more radical. And, of course, sites devoted to political debate.

Moreover, they have clever ways to promote their agenda. For instance, the writer could claim that he can’t concentrate on baking bread because his uncle in Bethlehem was just killed by Israelis. That attracts attention.

Only after Gal had visited several sites over several days did he cotton on. It can't be that every time somebody starts to break the eggs into his bread dough in Palestine, his uncle gets killed. Something methodical was going on. The following sentence, after mentioning the uncle's demise, would take a more militant tone, for instance a description of how Israelis murder babies and sell their organs.

The hate-drenched lies appear in thousands of sites. Googling for "intifada" leads to some 50 pro-Palestinian sites, and barely two or three pro-Israeli ones. That is because Google's technology leads to the most popular sites. Popularity is measured, in part, by the number of links to the site on Internet. The Palestinian sites link to one another, and Google identifies them as outstandingly popular.

Methodology of disseminating hate

The Islamicist extremists are cunning in their exploitation of the electronic media, , Gal admits. One method is for several activists to log on to a forum or chat room together, and discourse between them. One raises the claim about Israelis selling body parts of murdered Palestinians. When the argument turns tense, another comes in ostensibly holding more moderate views – making the other chatters feel he is objective.

"It is very hard for a private individual to handle this kind of propaganda on the Internet," Gal says. If the situation is to be amended, it has to be handled in an organized fashion.

"When I realized how serious the situation is, given my experience in Internet communities (through his startup DigiGroups), I decided I want to undertake the mission. I don't see myself as a propagandist and don't see it as a career. But I know what has to be done and how to return war."

Gal, 37, is at a good time in his life to undertake the job. His startup was sold in a stock swap. Given the tough market he'd be better off looking for a new job right away, but as an Israeli who cares – he feels compelled to tackle this mission first.

Doron Gal founded digiGroups in 1999 together with Uri Sarid and Eran Liron. The company created a web-based platform for building business communities. Gal says he was less attracted by the hope of making millions, and more by the opportunity to be at the fore-front of technological advance, and to create something big of use to people. Back then, he says wryly, naivete was okay. The three ex-academicians thought they were joining a brand new world –mistakenly, of course.

Anyway, they managed to raise $14 million for their startup, settled for unusually low salaries (for that time) and settled down to work very, very hard. At its peak the company boasted 40 employees, but it targeted vertical marketplaces, which turned out to be a bad move. As its market dried up, the company started to seek new angles, Gal tells.

"It isn't easy to take a glove and find it a new hand," he says. The company adapted its product to big enterprises. But the sector, and Internet, were at a nadir. The venture capital funds figured it would take ages to return their investment, and when digiGroups got a takeover offer – they pushed, and it bit. Despite prior understandings, the buyer, Noosh, cut the staff in half and Gal too found himself on the sidewalk, holding a block of Noosh shares, living in an expensive neighborhood with his wife Michal and two kids, and with no salary.

Seduced by Internet propaganda

It may not have gone public, but digiGroups brought Doron Gal to the world of Internet communities.

"I noticed that several big forums in which hundreds of thousands of people participate are being taken over by anti-Israeli and pro-Arab groups, who flood the forums with hate propaganda," Gal says. "If you consider that in the U.S. alone, 134 million people are linked to Internet, and half of them actively participate in all kinds of groups, you see that the impact of such propaganda can be enormous."

"The deeper I probed, the graver the things I uncovered," he continues. "A typical story might run like this.

'Here's proof there never were gas chambers (in the Holocaust – the writer links to several sites). 'It's a bunch of Jewish lies to divert attention from their massacres of Palestinians.' (More links.) 'The Jews aren't strategic allies. All the States needs is oil, but it supports the Jews because they control Congress and the media. (More links to prove his case.)

"I sat down to reply at length, to refute his case," Gal says. "I showed that the links were misleading. In retrospect, I realize I was amateurish. When you encounter such claims for the first time, it takes ages to prove they're fatuous. Meanwhile tons of people have seem them and the debate has changed subject. The key is that the answer has to come fast.

"The more experience I gained, the more I understood the need for fast, catchy answers. It isn't just a war over opinions, it's a propaganda war. Sometimes the answer needs to be clear and informative, sometimes just a disparaging comment like 'Don't you get tired of writing that crap? Go fly a plane into a skyscraper.'

"It's a war, and we're coming to it too little, too late. The assumption is that they have hundreds of thousands of activists and about 10 to 20 times as many inactive supporters, meaning, millions. They are well organized, they have access to easy, convenient-to-use information, and they are trying to delegitimize Israel by rewriting the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Results in half a year

"The war isn't lost," Doron Gal declares. There are pro-Israeli groups that produce solid information, but their efforts are too scattered and purely pathetic compared with the smooth operation of the anti-Israeli groups.

DigiGroups taught Gal the power of Internet communities, in which leaders wield tremendous clout. "I believe we can round up several hundred volunteers, including Israelis with good command of English. Our purpose is to support our activists, and organize material and technology allowing efficient use of Internet for them." The idea would be to insert replies within seconds to hate-propaganda on websites.

Gal believes that organizing and training people will take a few months. Results should become evident within half a year. He needs $580,000 to make it happen, a fraction of the cost of big ad campaigns.

"As a family man and father to two children, I should have started looking for a job right away," he admits. "My wife Michal hates uncertainty." But a cause is a cause and Gal is confident the money for the anti-anti-Israel campaign can be found, enabling him to devote all his attention to the project.

And if it can't? He'll have to take a day job, and devote his evenings, weekends and holidays to the cause. "It may not be efficient," he realizes, "but I'd rather fight the war with one hand tied behind my back, than not fight at all."


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: arabs; forums; hate; israel; propaganda
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To: Dales
Another one today:

***PHOTOS*** Israel bus terror attack

:-(

51 posted on 06/05/2002 7:26:18 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: the_second_moon
For the last several months, virtually every Usenet group has been getting regular posts titled "News the Kikes don't want you to hear."

It's about time we noticed the organized nature of the effort. Al-Qaeda has a LARGE amount of support in the American Muslim community, and we need to grow up and acknowledge that.

52 posted on 06/05/2002 7:26:42 AM PDT by denydenydeny
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To: the_second_moon
Related Articles:
Trying To Find A `Moderate' Islam Is A Quixotic Quest
Source: CNSNews.com; Published: May 20, 2002;
Author: C.T. Rossi

The Islaming of Europe
Source: CNSNews.com; Published: May 20, 2002;
Author: Alan Caruba

Why Islam Can't Join the Modern World
Source: FrontPageMagazine.com; Published: May 16, 2002;
Author: Jamie Glazov

It's The Attitude, Stupid [re: Palestinians]
Source: Toogood Reports; Published: May 14, 2002;
Author: Philip Safran

Reports of Moderate Islam's Existence Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
Source: CNSNews.com; Published: April 22, 2002;
Author: C.T. Rossi

It's time to snap out of Arab fantasy land {Steyn}
Source: National Post; April 19 2002;
Author: Mark Steyn

Islam Vs. The World
Source: Toogood Reports; Published: December 2, 2001;
Author: Alan Caruba

Will the Real Islam Please Stand Up!
Source:Van Jenerette Editorial Comment, Various Publications;
Published: October 14, 2001; Author: Van Jenerette

Civilization Envy
Source: National Review Online; Published: September 28, 2001;
Author: Jonah Goldberg

Terror's Homebase, All Over The Map -- Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam
Source: Wall Street Journal-- Book Review; Published: | March 29, 2002;
Author: Adrian Karatnycky

They Live to Die (Islam Martyrdom)
Source: Wall Street Journal; Published: April 7, 2002;
Author: Reuel Marc Gerecht

20 Suppressed Facts About Israel, Islam
Source: Koenig's International News; Published: April 9, 2002;
Author: Jim Bramlett

HOROWITZ: A MIDDLE EAST HISTORY PRIMER
Source: News and Opinion.com; Published; April 10, 2002;
Author:David Horowitz

Arafat Must Go!
Source: CNSNews.com; Published: April 10, 2002;
Author: Alan Caruba

Netanyahu speaks before the US Senators
Source: http://netanyahu.org/netspeacinse.html; Published: April 10, 2002;
Author: Netanyahu address US Senators


53 posted on 06/05/2002 7:27:44 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
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To: B Knotts
. . . anti-Western nutcases who spew hatred

Democratic Undergound?

54 posted on 06/05/2002 7:29:44 AM PDT by Kevin Curry
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To: philman_36
I've got two words for you...refugee camp!

I've got two words for Lyer's den as well, but I'll not repeat them in this forum. LOL

55 posted on 06/05/2002 7:33:04 AM PDT by meyer
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To: faintpraise
It could very easily be read as labeling anyone who strongly supports Israel as 'mindless'. I read it as an broad insult, as did several of the respondants.
56 posted on 06/05/2002 7:50:18 AM PDT by RabidBartender
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To: faintpraise
We can judge who is flooding this forum with hate propaganda. It isn't pro-Arab groups.

Very true. I've lost count of the number of times Arabs in general have been called cockroaches and other de-humanizing names by the pro-Zionist crowd on FR, but even the mildist criticism of Israel is often greeted with cries of nazi or other ad hominum stuff. I think these folks should take a good look in the mirror.

57 posted on 06/05/2002 7:50:21 AM PDT by northernwilson
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To: Amelia
Only after Gal had visited several sites over several days did he cotton on.

Has someone been >>>sharp intake of breath<<< lurking?

58 posted on 06/05/2002 7:56:05 AM PDT by philman_36
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To: Lion Den Dan
Venom? You ain't seen venom yet. I got a place that sells this stuff by the case! (And it tastes better than Red Bull, too!)
59 posted on 06/05/2002 7:57:49 AM PDT by mhking
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To: Amelia
"I noticed that several big forums in which hundreds of thousands of people participate are being taken over by anti-Israeli and pro-Arab groups, who flood the forums with hate propaganda," Gal says.
Someone has been lurking. /Goldilocks spoof
60 posted on 06/05/2002 8:04:31 AM PDT by philman_36
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To: mhking
Venom? You ain't seen venom yet. I got a place that sells this stuff by the case! (And it tastes better than Red Bull, too!)

Hey, where do you get that stuff? Looks like something I need. (BTW, anything tastes better than Red Bull!)

61 posted on 06/05/2002 8:07:40 AM PDT by northernwilson
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To: meyer
I've got two words for Lyer's den as well, but I'll not repeat them in this forum. LOL
A picture can say a thousand words...

Maybe not your particular words of choice, but I get the feeling the sentiment would be the same.
62 posted on 06/05/2002 8:15:10 AM PDT by philman_36
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To: faintpraise;veronica;Sabramerican
Lion Den Dan's comment about 'mindless support', whether you agree or disagree with it, was not ad hominem. It was an assertion, not a personal attack.

Welcome, "newbie!" I'm Astonished a passin pilgrim from Kudzu Flats would give us faintpraise.

Yes, it WAS a personal attack.

63 posted on 06/05/2002 8:19:32 AM PDT by Poohbah
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To: northernwilson
Jones Soda (http://www.jonessoda.com/) makes it and sells it in different places 'round the country. But if you can't find it (or if you want it by the case), go to ThinkGeek.com -- they sell all sorts of goodies like that (including Jolt Espresso Cola; the world's strongest beverage). Their price on a case of 24 cans of WhoopAss is $39.99.
64 posted on 06/05/2002 8:20:46 AM PDT by mhking
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To: philman_36
I prefer the Beastie Boys' version: the airplane on their first album had the registration code 3MTA3.
65 posted on 06/05/2002 8:20:48 AM PDT by Poohbah
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To: northernwilson
Is this specific enough for you- any supporter of the terrorist groups called "the Palestinian people" or the Islamaniacs acting on the views of Mad Mo (piss be upon his head) is not only my enemy, but the enemy of the United States and the human race.

I deal with facts and those are the facts.

66 posted on 06/05/2002 8:24:51 AM PDT by justshutupandtakeit
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To: Poohbah
A "factoid"...When held up to a mirror so that you are able to read it backwards in the mirror, it should be easy to read the words 'EAT ME'. Many claim that the MTA also has significance as to where the Beastie Boys went to school when they were younger, Yeshiva University High School for boys (a/k/a MTA), a private Jewish school in Washington Heights.

Licensed To Ill

I'm not too familiar with the Beasty Boys so I had to look that one up.

67 posted on 06/05/2002 8:29:32 AM PDT by philman_36
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Comment #68 Removed by Moderator

To: philman_36
I didn't know the part about the Yeshiva.

"NO...SLEEP...'TIL BROOKLYN!"

69 posted on 06/05/2002 8:33:32 AM PDT by Poohbah
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Comment #70 Removed by Moderator

Comment #71 Removed by Moderator

To: faintpraise
You're a five-day wonder on this forum. Are you a member of the tag-team the article was referring to?

Leni

72 posted on 06/05/2002 8:39:11 AM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
Yark! Now it's getting worse....you can keep her...
73 posted on 06/05/2002 8:39:38 AM PDT by Tennessee_Bob
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To: faintpraise
We can judge who is flooding this forum with hate propaganda. It isn't pro-Arab groups.

Mainly because they get caught out and deleted as the disruptors they are. So, what other screen names have you been posting under, or are you going by your five days of experience??

74 posted on 06/05/2002 8:44:06 AM PDT by Tennessee_Bob
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To: B Knotts
I guess Christians and Jews weren't enough of an enemy for this guy.

All infidels are hated, we should all stick together as fellow infeidels.

75 posted on 06/05/2002 8:49:08 AM PDT by NeoCaveman
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To: E Rocc
Even someone who supports Israel can be accused of being a PLO supporter or even "anti-semetic" if they criticize the actions of the current Israeli government or :gasp: claim that Israel can't always be trusted.

A huge mistake. The name calling worked in the past but not on the internet. One can check and see if the words match the actions. And they don't. Lots of double standards and shading or ignoring of history when it comes to Israel.

76 posted on 06/05/2002 8:55:29 AM PDT by LarryLied
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To: Always Right
Lion Den Dan is an anti-Semite straight up. His use of the term "Zionist" rather than Israeli was the first tip off. To him, Jews deserve what they get at the hands of the Palestinians, hence his unquestioning belief in whatever line the Moslems feed him.
77 posted on 06/05/2002 9:29:58 AM PDT by Junior
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To: RabidBartender;
It could very easily be read as labeling anyone who strongly supports Israel as 'mindless'. I read it as an broad insult, as did several of the respondants.

I don't read it that way, though I respect your right to politely disagree. Other posters, who choose to express their opinions with personal abuse, are not worthy of any response.

78 posted on 06/05/2002 9:31:46 AM PDT by faintpraise
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
Those look like they hurt. They look rock hard.

Boom, ba, ba,ba, boomba!

79 posted on 06/05/2002 9:39:25 AM PDT by MotleyGirl70
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To: northernwilson
Well, are you going to provide some factual criticism of Israel or not?
80 posted on 06/05/2002 9:42:58 AM PDT by Ajnin
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To: faintpraise

Wah...Wah...Wahhabibaby!
81 posted on 06/05/2002 9:45:49 AM PDT by philman_36
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To: faintpraise
I don't read

Well, thank you for sharing that.

82 posted on 06/05/2002 10:05:01 AM PDT by Poohbah
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To: Ajnin
Well, are you going to provide some factual criticism of Israel or not?

I'll let Ran HaCohen explain: Palestinian Enslavement Entering a New Phase

83 posted on 06/05/2002 10:05:42 AM PDT by northernwilson
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To: Poohbah
Sounds like we need to thin the herd some.

Hey, Poobah, not THIN the herd.
A similar but completely different concept is needed.
The herd needs to be CULLED.
I do agree with your basic premise though.

84 posted on 06/05/2002 10:20:42 AM PDT by Just another Joe
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To: Just another Joe
Thank you for the vocabulary--I stand corrected, good sir!
85 posted on 06/05/2002 10:21:19 AM PDT by Poohbah
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To: the_second_moon
How Forums Are Being Taken Over By Pro-Arab Groups, Who Flood The Forums With Hate Propaganda

Well, they managed to force terrorism investigator Steven Emerson off of any
broadcasts of National Public Radio (NPR) some years back with an organized b-tching campaign.

As some background info, read about how Emerson stumbled onto the Jihad in American on
Christmas Day in Oklahoma City in 1992.
(Still blows me away that this stuff was happening about 10 blocks from where I used to work...)

http://www.jewsweek.com/aande/127.htm
86 posted on 06/05/2002 10:31:06 AM PDT by VOA
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To: philman_36
Yes, not the exact words, but the sentiment is similar. :^)
87 posted on 06/05/2002 10:32:34 AM PDT by meyer
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To: northernwilson
I noticed Ran HaCohen, conveniently left out Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. As violent and immoral as the Palestinian leadership is, it's no surprise such draconian measures are used against Palestinians.
88 posted on 06/05/2002 10:33:46 AM PDT by Ajnin
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To: SJackson
Palestine Report has ax to grind w/ FR Website

Good.
If they are p-ssed-off against the general tone of freerepublic.com, this must
be a pretty good cyber-neighborhood.

And if they were ticked in July of 2001, they must have had a stroke every time they
have visited this site after 9-11.
Hopefully that will be the case going forward as well.
89 posted on 06/05/2002 10:34:21 AM PDT by VOA
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To: B Knotts
The Buddhists are feeling left out, y'know, the Taliban only blew up a couple of historical gems. Those statues.
90 posted on 06/05/2002 10:52:16 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: Ajnin
it's no surprise such draconian measures are used against Palestinians.

Actually it probably would be a surprise to many moderate Americans to learn just how draconian the Israeli's have become under Sharon. Many American newspapers tend to be slanted toward the Israeli's, unlike Europe's, where they give a more balanced perspective on this issue. This is the most likely reason that many Europeans tend to sympathize with the Palestinians and are more critical of Israel.

91 posted on 06/05/2002 10:52:22 AM PDT by northernwilson
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To: Alas Babylon!
Throw Hindus and secularists in the list as well. Supposedly the top imam in Saudi Arabia has designated them as problem populations as well(uh-oh, guess that means liberal apologists too). If this isn't a religious war, than why do Islamics insist on referring to the religiousity or lack of it when talking about thier Jihad du jour?
92 posted on 06/05/2002 11:00:33 AM PDT by glory
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To: B Knotts
Beat me to it B Knotts...sorry for my repeat. I asked in that post that if this is not a religious war, than why do Islamic people continue to religiousity(or lack of it) when pointing out thier enemies?
93 posted on 06/05/2002 11:04:23 AM PDT by glory
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To: northernwilson
Europeans sympathize with the Palestinians because they are not the ones being blown to pieces in the streets. As long as the Palestinian people tolerate the terrorism perpetrated by the PLO leadership, I think they deserve everything they get. If they want a homeland, they should become good Israeli citizens like the Druze and Bedouine.
94 posted on 06/05/2002 11:06:15 AM PDT by Ajnin
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To: mhking
I would do a cheese eating act and drop a big dimme on these guys. I doubt the command and general staff college is very enthusiastic about this sort of thing.
95 posted on 06/05/2002 2:00:19 PM PDT by Lion Den Dan
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To: mhking
Try "dime."
96 posted on 06/05/2002 2:01:07 PM PDT by Lion Den Dan
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To: Justin Raimondo
Hey Justin, you're not doing this are you?
97 posted on 06/05/2002 2:05:11 PM PDT by Wm Bach
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To: northernwilson
Many American newspapers tend to be slanted toward the Israeli's, unlike Europe's,
where they give a more balanced perspective on this issue.
This is the most likely reason that many Europeans tend to sympathize with
the Palestinians and are more critical of Israel.


I'm sure that having about 27-30 MILLION "peaceful" muslims in their midsts has
absolutely nothing to do with the version of journalistic reporting by
European (and NPR) about the thousands of innocents killed at the Jenin massacre.
We are fortunate to how how European cousins to give us an objective view.

Not to mention Peter Jennings as he surely gets some very objective briefings from
his old girlfriend (and Corp. Klinger look-alike) Ms. Aswari (sp?).

And I'm sure that sensing an opening to return to the "good old days" by the grandchildren
of the Vichy and Nazi regimes is also not a factor.
98 posted on 06/05/2002 2:12:15 PM PDT by VOA
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To: northernwilson
We are fortunate to how how European cousins to give us an objective view.

Pardon my slip at the keyboard (one of many I am afraid)
Correction:
We are fortunate to have our European cousins to give us an objective view.
99 posted on 06/05/2002 2:14:58 PM PDT by VOA
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To: Lion Den Dan
So what mideastern country are you from?
100 posted on 06/05/2002 2:16:36 PM PDT by Frumious Bandersnatch
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