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by Steven Emerson

Editor’s Note: This article originally was published by The Daily Beast. See the original here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-01-06/why-does-the-times-love-hamas

The paper of record refuses to call them terrorists, extols the groups’ humanitarian efforts, and whitewashes its behavior during the now-broken ceasefire.

In the past week, the Fourth Estate’s Hamas cheerleaders have stripped away any pretense of being honest or neutral, with the New York Times continuing to take the side of the terrorist group in one of the most shameful journalistic episodes I have ever seen. In following the Times coverage for the past six months and checking external sources of information, one can see a clear pattern of propagandistic reporting favoring Hamas that selectively suppressed or willfully misrepresented information. Even the Times knows it has a bias problem. Readers who detected it got a chilling confirmation of their suspicions in the December 13 column by Ombudsman Clark Hoyt. Addressing a public outcry over the paper’s failure to use the term “terrorist” for the attackers who executed some 170 people in Mumbai, India in late November (and mutilated the six Jews killed in the Chabad House—a fact never reported by the Times), Hoyt quoted several reporters and editors making extraordinary admissions that shed some light on the newspaper’s most recent dispatches from Gaza.

Addressing the general guidelines for using the T-word, “Ethan Bronner, the Jerusalem bureau chief, said, “Our general view is that the word terrorist is politically loaded and overused.” But he said that sometimes, “when a person’s act has been examined and its intent and result clearly understood, we call him a terrorist.” (Never mind that Lashkar e-Taiba, the group behind the Mumbai attacks, has committed hundreds of terrorist attacks since 1996. How much more “studying” needs to be done?)

As for Hamas, the organization that controls Gaza, it has been sponsoring suicide bombers and launching rockets into Israel since 1987, killing and wounding thousands of Israelis (and Americans). But the Times has refused to call it a terrorist group because, according to deputy news editor Phil Corbett, the paper did not want to get into a situation where it might label a worker at a Hamas hospital a terrorist. So instead, it has given a blanket amnesty to all of Hamas—including its Izzadin Al Qassem military wing, which openly claims responsibility for carrying out terrorist atrocities.

This is a familiar ruse by Islamic terrorist groups (including the non-profit Islamic charities in the United States, which were shut down after 9/11): create humanitarian branches to distract from the true nature of their organizations. But has Ethan Bronner ever stepped inside one of these Hamas hospitals or schools? I have, several years ago, in Gaza, where I saw murals on the wall of Palestinians stabbing Israelis to death.

In the stories filed this past week, Gaza-based Times reporter Taghreed El-Khodary, has also fallen for another classic tactic of terrorist groups:, embedding their fighters and facilities in residential areas to incur more civilian casualties. El-Khodary’s dispatches have decried the “shocking” nature of the Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians, sidestepping the fact that Hamas purposely locates its infrastructure among civilians—in effect holding them hostage.

Despite the fact that Hamas has executed scores of rivals, smuggled in hundreds of tons of explosives and tens of thousands of weapons, killed local Christians and shut down their churches, and summarily executed “collaborators” (those who have been accused, mostly falsely, of working with the Israelis), the paper appears intent on humanizing the brutal regime in Gaza.

On October 20, 2008, for example, the Times painted a sweet portrait of Hamas fostering love, not war, through arranged marriages for members of Izzadin Al-Qassem (the terrorist squad that specializes in suicide bombings, although this fact was conveniently left out in the story). “Taking advantage of the pause in violence,” Taghreed El-Khodary wrote, “the Hamas leaders have turned to matchmaking, bringing together single fighters and widows, and providing dowries and wedding parties for the many here who cannot afford such trappings of matrimony.”

How touching. The next installment could be on Al Qaeda’s mixers for Gen-Y terrorists or Hezbollah’s eHarmony-style dating service for those terrorists too shy to walk up to female mujahid and ask her if she likes his AK-47. And by the way, those Hamas lovebirds were able to participate in an open-air wedding ceremony, because, the Times reported, Hamas “has been observing a truce with Israel since June, allowing its underground fighters to resurface but leaving them without much to do.” In fact, Hamas was routinely violating the truce, allowing scores of rockets to be fired into Israel, smuggling explosives, building underground tunnels and, as we now know, building tens of thousands of rockets and long-range missiles to target southern Israel.

Yet a week before Israel launched its most recent offensive in Gaza, on December 20, Ethan Bronner was still promoting the Hamas line that it had “imposed its will and even imprisoned some of those who were firing rockets.” What he neglected to say is that those allegedly imprisoned were never jailed more than two days, and that more than 200 missiles were fired at Israel by Hamas during the truce.

In this same article Bronner places the blame for breaking the truce on “Israel’s decision in early November to destroy a tunnel Hamas had been digging near the border drove the cycle of violence to a much higher level.” In fact, if Bronner had read his own paper’s June 25 report, “Rockets Hit Israel, Breaking Hamas Truce”, he would have learned that “three Qassem rockets fired from Gaza on Tuesday struck the Israeli border town of Sderot….constituting the first serious breach of a five-day-old truce between Israel and Hamas.”

Another example of the Times downplaying Hamas’ evil nature occurred deep in a December 29 story by Bronner and El-Khodary. Although focused mostly on the Palestinians killed by Israeli bombs, it did make a relatively brief reference to the fact that “Hamas gunmen publicly shot suspected collaborators with Israel,” which the paper described somewhat nonchalantly as “internal bloodletting.” The Times said that five victims were taken out of their hospital beds and shot in the head—a chilling episode that should have been a stand-alone story about the thugs who rule Gaza. Moreover, calling these men “collaborators”—when, for all we know, they were simply political opponents of Hamas—conjures up self-justifying images of the French collaboration with the Nazis.

Throughout last week’s reporting by Bonner and El-Khodary, there were numerous references to two Palestinian children killed by an Israeli bombing raids, with the clear implication that Israel was recklessly attacking civilian areas. The paper never once blamed Hamas for intentionally using civilians as human shields. Even more telling of the Times‘ bias: On December 26, 2008, the Jerusalem Post reported that, according to the Palestinian Health ministry, two Palestinian children, ages five and 12, were killed when Hamas rockets fell short of their Israeli targets. Yet the Times never once reported those deaths.

In its purported evenhanded approach to reporting the news from the Gaza front, the New York Times continues to betray the trust placed on journalists to give readers all the facts. And in this clear attempt to place the blame on one party alone—Israel—the Times is advancing the cause of Hamas. If the Times really wanted to present the truth, it would simply drop the pretense of being honest and simply register as a foreign agent of Hamas.

—Additional reporting by Linda Keay

Steve Emerson is Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism and author of 5 books and countless articles on terrorism. His most recent book is Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S.

http://www.investigativeproject.org/article/967

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Cricket is supposed to have originated some 300 years ago in England, but it is just possible that the
game venerated all over the British Commonwealth, is older than currently thought.
The story, told me by the distinguished Kaghakatzi Armenian professor Dr Abraham Terian, was first
released online by the Australian Associated Press, and has been picked up around the world, with both the
reverent and irreverent, having a field day with the intriguing revelation.
Terian stumbled across the snippet in an ancient Armenian manuscript, The Gospel of Infancy, housed in the
manuscript library of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. He has since translated the book into English and
it has been published by the Oxford University Press.
Terian notes that long before the English launched cricket three centuries ago, similar games were being
played as early as the 8th century in the Punjab region, as Derek Birley writes in his “Social History of
English Cricket.”
But he says that there is good reason to believe that similar games were played in the Middle East long
before that time.
Terian, who was born and grew up in the Armenian Quarter, in the Old City of Jerusalem, and who was
recently a visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the
Humanities, says the Gospel was translated into Armenian in the 6th century from a much older lost Syriac
original.
It contains a passage that tells of Jesus playing what may well be the precursor of cricket, with a club
and ball.
Dr Terian discovered the manuscript more than a decade ago at the Saint James Armenian Monastery in the
Old City of Jerusalem.
He has now identified the same passage in a couple of other manuscripts of the same gospel, of which some
40 copies exist in various archival collections in Europe and the Middle East, including the oldest copy now in
Yerevan. The latter manuscript is dated 1239 (no. 7574, Madenataran collection), while the undated Jerusalem
manuscript is considerably later (no. 1432, in the Saint James collection).
AAP quotes Dr Terian as saying the gospel relates how Jesus, at the age of nine, had been apprenticed to a
master dyer named Israel in Tiberias, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
“Jesus is instructed to watch Israel’s house and not leave the place while the master goes away on a tour
to collect clothes to be dyed. But no sooner has Israel left the house, than Jesus runs out with the boys,” Dr
Terian says, AAP reports.
“The most amazing part of the story of the nine-year-old Jesus playing a form of cricket with the boys at
the seashore, is that he would go on playing the game on water, over the sea waves,” which Dr Terian says echoes
allusions to Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee, as told in the gospels.
“Jesus would take the boys to the seashore and, carrying the playing ball and the club, he would go over
the waves of the sea as though he was playing on a frozen surface, hitting the playing ball. And watching him,
the boys would scream and say: ‘Watch the child Jesus, what he does over the waves of the sea!’ Many would
gather there and, watching him, would be amazed.
“When Joseph heard this, he rushed there and said: ‘Son, what work are you doing? Your master has gathered
everything in the house and has entrusted it to you.’
“Jesus said: ‘I have done all that my master instructed me. I shall wait for his return.’ Joseph did not
hear what Jesus told him.
“When Jesus came to his mother, Mary said to him: ‘Son, have you done all that your master instructed?’
Jesus said: ‘I have done everything and nothing is missing.’
Mary said: ‘I have noticed that this is the third day that you have not entered that house.'”
As soon as the last words were spoken, Israel shows up, and Jesus has to account for what he has done in
the master’s absence. A fascinating miracle-story ensues.
“Of course, the story echoes allusions to Jesus’ walking on the Sea of Galilee, as told in the canonical
gospels. But the apocryphal story shows that for a ball game even Jesus would forget work and would go to have
fun with the boys, for days,” Terian adds.

The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) http://www.persecution.org has just learned that Buddhist monks have once again introduced an anti-conversion bill to restrict conversions in Sri Lanka.

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (National Heritage Party), which is led by Buddhist monks, introduced the bill under the title “Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion Bill” on Tuesday, January 6. The bill was first introduced in the Sri Lankan parliament in 2004, and was subsequently challenged in the Sri Lankan Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that the bill was valid except for two clauses, and since then the bill had remained in committee after being revised in accord with the Court’s ruling.

Reports indicate that the bill will be debated in parliament next month. Though proponents claim that the bill would only restrict “fundamentalist” groups from using monetary rewards or coercive methods to convert people, the language is so broad that it would criminalize any form of humanitarian assistance from religious groups.

The bill is especially concerning because it is the culmination of a widespread pattern of violent attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka. Similar measures enacted in several Indian states such as Orissa have led to an increase in attacks on Christians. If this bill is passed, it would likely serve to legitimize anti-Christian persecution.

ICC calls on all concerned parties to contact the Sri Lankan embassy in your country and express your opposition to this bill.

Sri Lankan Embassies:

United States
Embassy of Sri Lanka
Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya
2148 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: (202)-483-4025
Fax: (202)-232-7181
Email: slembassy@slembassyusa.org

Canada
Sri Lanka High Commission
High Commissioner Daya Perera
333 Laurier Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1C1
Phone: 613 233 8449
Fax: 613 238 8448
Email: slhcit@rogers.com

United Kingdom
High Commission of Sri Lanka
No.13, Hyde Park Gardens, London W2 2LU
Phone: 020 7262 1841-6
Fax: 020 7262 7970
Email: mail@slhc-london.co.uk

VATICAN CITY, 13 JAN 2009 (VIS) – In a homily pronounced at the end a funeral Mass for Cardinal Pio Laghi, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Holy Father recalled the career of the late prelate, who died on Sunday 11 January at the age of 86, following a long illness. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.

Benedict XVI mentioned the cardinal’s spiritual testament, dated 14 November 2008, in which the late prelate writes: “‘Once again I offer my life to God for the Church, for the Holy Father and for the sanctification of my confreres in the priesthood’. … We can say”, the Pope commented, “that the entire priestly mission of Cardinal Pio Laghi was passed in the direct service of the Holy See.

“Always”, added the Pope, “he drew inspiration from the words Peter addressed to Jesus on the occasion of the miraculous catch of fish: ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so I will let down the nets’. … He chose these words as the motto of his episcopal ministry … because when he was consecrated a bishop on 22 June 1969, that Sunday’s liturgy included the evangelical episode of the miraculous catch of fish”.

The Holy Father then reviewed the various stages of the late cardinal’s life, highlighting how he was born into a family “where he received a sound human and Christian formation, and which he described in his spiritual testament as ‘Christian, Catholic, hardworking and honest'”. The Pope also dwelt on the cardinal’s studies in Faenza, Italy, and at the Major Pontifical Seminary of Rome, and his ordination as priest on 20 April 1946.

Having graduated in theology and canon law from Rome’s Lateran University, “he began his long itinerary of diplomatic and pastoral work” in the apostolic nunciatures to Nicaragua, U.S.A. and India, after which he returned to the Secretariat of State for five years. In 1969, Paul VI appointed him as delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine, pro-nuncio to Cyprus and apostolic visitor to Greece; and in 1974 he was appointed as apostolic nuncio to Argentina. There he remained until 1980 when he took the office of apostolic delegate to the United States. “It was during those years”, the Pope recalled, “that official relations were established between the Holy See and the U.S. government”.

John Paul II, aware of Cardinal Laghi’s “long experience and knowledge of the Church”, appointed him as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, making him a cardinal in 1991. In 1993, he also appointed him as patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

“We must remember”, the Pope went on, “the special missions” entrusted to Cardinal Laghi, such as consigning a pontifical Message to Israeli and Palestinian authorities in May 2001 “to encourage them to implement an immediate cease-fire and resume dialogue”. Also that of March 2003 when, as special envoy to Washington, he delivered a pontifical Message to U.S. President George W. Bush “explaining the Holy See’s position and initiatives to contribute to disarmament and peace in the Middle East. Delicate missions”, said Pope Benedict, “which he, as always, sought to fulfil with faithful dedication to Christ and His Church”.

Finally, the Holy Father mentioned the cardinal’s “zeal in the promotion of vocations and formation for the priesthood”, and he concluded: “At the moment in which we bid him farewell, our hearts are moved by the firm hope which … ‘is full of immortality’, the same hope that illuminated the priestly and apostolic life of Cardinal Pio Laghi”.

VATICAN CITY, 13 JAN 2009 (VIS) – In a homily pronounced at the end a funeral Mass for Cardinal Pio Laghi, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Holy Father recalled the career of the late prelate, who died on Sunday 11 January at the age of 86, following a long illness. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.

Benedict XVI mentioned the cardinal’s spiritual testament, dated 14 November 2008, in which the late prelate writes: “‘Once again I offer my life to God for the Church, for the Holy Father and for the sanctification of my confreres in the priesthood’. … We can say”, the Pope commented, “that the entire priestly mission of Cardinal Pio Laghi was passed in the direct service of the Holy See.

“Always”, added the Pope, “he drew inspiration from the words Peter addressed to Jesus on the occasion of the miraculous catch of fish: ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so I will let down the nets’. … He chose these words as the motto of his episcopal ministry … because when he was consecrated a bishop on 22 June 1969, that Sunday’s liturgy included the evangelical episode of the miraculous catch of fish”.

The Holy Father then reviewed the various stages of the late cardinal’s life, highlighting how he was born into a family “where he received a sound human and Christian formation, and which he described in his spiritual testament as ‘Christian, Catholic, hardworking and honest'”. The Pope also dwelt on the cardinal’s studies in Faenza, Italy, and at the Major Pontifical Seminary of Rome, and his ordination as priest on 20 April 1946.

Having graduated in theology and canon law from Rome’s Lateran University, “he began his long itinerary of diplomatic and pastoral work” in the apostolic nunciatures to Nicaragua, U.S.A. and India, after which he returned to the Secretariat of State for five years. In 1969, Paul VI appointed him as delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine, pro-nuncio to Cyprus and apostolic visitor to Greece; and in 1974 he was appointed as apostolic nuncio to Argentina. There he remained until 1980 when he took the office of apostolic delegate to the United States. “It was during those years”, the Pope recalled, “that official relations were established between the Holy See and the U.S. government”.

John Paul II, aware of Cardinal Laghi’s “long experience and knowledge of the Church”, appointed him as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, making him a cardinal in 1991. In 1993, he also appointed him as patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

“We must remember”, the Pope went on, “the special missions” entrusted to Cardinal Laghi, such as consigning a pontifical Message to Israeli and Palestinian authorities in May 2001 “to encourage them to implement an immediate cease-fire and resume dialogue”. Also that of March 2003 when, as special envoy to Washington, he delivered a pontifical Message to U.S. President George W. Bush “explaining the Holy See’s position and initiatives to contribute to disarmament and peace in the Middle East. Delicate missions”, said Pope Benedict, “which he, as always, sought to fulfil with faithful dedication to Christ and His Church”.

Finally, the Holy Father mentioned the cardinal’s “zeal in the promotion of vocations and formation for the priesthood”, and he concluded: “At the moment in which we bid him farewell, our hearts are moved by the firm hope which … ‘is full of immortality’, the same hope that illuminated the priestly and apostolic life of Cardinal Pio Laghi”.

VATICAN CITY, 13 JAN 2009 (VIS) – Made public yesterday afternoon was an address by Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations at Geneva, delivered during the ninth special session of the Human Rights Council, on “the grave violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including the recent aggression of the occupied Gaza Strip”.

The English-language address, pronounced on 9 January and touching on such subjects as solidarity with victims of extreme violence, appeals for a cease-fire and a return to negotiation, intended to express the Holy See’s “solidarity with both the people in Gaza, who are dying and suffering because of the on-going military assault by the Israeli Defence Forces, and the people in Sderot, Ashkelon and other Israeli cities who are living under the constant terror of rocket attacks launched by Palestinian militants from within the Gaza Strip, which have caused casualties and wounded a number of people”.

The archbishop mentioned the initiative taken by patriarchs and heads of Churches of Jerusalem who declared Sunday 4 January “as a day of prayer with the intention to put an end to the conflict in Gaza and to restore peace and justice in the Holy Land”. He also recalled the Pope’s comments during the Angelus on that day and his meeting with members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See on 8 January during which he reiterated “that military options are no solution and that violence, wherever it comes from and whatever form it takes, must be firmly condemned”.

“It is evident”, the permanent observer went on, “that the warring parties are not able to exit from this vicious circle of violence without the help of the international community that should therefore fulfil its responsibilities, intervene actively to stop the bloodshed, provide access for emergency humanitarian assistance, and end all forms of confrontation.

“At the same time”, he added, “the international community should remained engaged in removing the root causes of the conflict that can only be resolved within the framework of a lasting solution of the greater Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the international resolutions adopted during the years”.

Mallaun Na Manush