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    Al Jazeera Tag

    Upon taking the oath of office a few days ago, South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, indicated the he is willing to visit the nuclear-armed North.
    Moon, who was declared the winner on Tuesday of the presidential election, said he will "sincerely negotiate" with the United States, South Korea's chief ally, and China, South Korea's top trading partner, over the contentious deployment of the US anti-missile system THAAD.

    In July 2016 I documented a growing tactic in the anti-Israel movement, to blame Israel for domestic U.S. police shootings of blacks, such as Michael Brown in Ferguson. The tactic, meant to exploit preexisting racial tension and stoke anti-Semitism to turn people against Israel, had been many years in the making, as I wrote in Exposed: Years-long effort to blame Israel for U.S. police shootings of blacks:
    ... there has been a multi-year effort by left-wing and Islamist anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and openly anti-Semitic activists to hijack racial tensions in the United States and redirect that anger towards Israel. That effort has been on overdrive since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson and is accomplished through a combination of false and misleading statements regarding the militarization of domestic U.S. police departments and U.S. police training in Israel.

    Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is a non-Jewish organization that undermines the fight against, and enables, antisemitism by legitimizing and mainstreaming the anti-Israel movement’s assault on Jewish identity. JVP presents itself as a social justice organization committed to non-violence and peace. But as we’ve documented in dozens of posts, its tactics and affiliations tell a different story. JVP masquerades as merely devoted to ending Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Judea and Samaria/the West Bank when what it really wants is to end Israel. Its leadership and activists frequently promote and partner with extremist individuals and groups that demonize the Jewish state and delegitimize Zionism, while trafficking in negative stereotypes of Jews.

    The latest big bold anti-Trump move from the resistance is going to be a worldwide screening of the 1984 film "1984" based on the George Orwell novel of the same name. The Hill reports:
    Theaters to play ‘1984’ in global Trump protest Nearly 200 movie theaters worldwide reportedly plan to screen the film version of “1984” simultaneously Tuesday in protest against President Trump. The demonstration, called "National Screening Day," primarily involves cinemas in the U.S. but also includes venues in Canada, Croatia, Sweden and the United Kingdom, according to Monday reports.

    Mainstream media is reeling following the victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu-Right BJP party in nationwide state elections, with leading liberal newspapers and news outlets raising the cry of ‘Islamophobia’ in India. The UK's left-wing newspaper The Guardian called the Hindu-Right electoral gains in the biggest Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), which has a population of 220 million, “a victory for anti-Muslim bigotry”. Aiming its criticism of the man elected to run the state -- a 44 year-old Hindu Monk -- Yogi Adityanath, The Guardian complained  that "[Adityanath] backs a Donald Trump-style travel ban to stop "terrorists" coming to India." According to Indian media reports, President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Modi today to congratulate him on his electoral success.

    Mazen Faqha was a Hamas official responsible for organizing a 2002 suicide bombing attack in Israel. Found guilty and given a life sentence for the crime that killed nine people and injured scores more, he was among the over 1000 terrorists—many of them also with blood on their hands and serving life sentences—released in 2011 as part of the prisoner exchange to free hostage IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Faqha was deported to Gaza. From there, according to Israeli officials, he became a “key planner” in setting up Hamas terror cells in the West Bank, directing them as they organized and launched deadly terror attacks against Israelis.

    An Egyptian court has sentenced two al-Jazeera journalists to death for allegedly providing Qatar with state secrets. The court gave former President Mohammed Morsi 40 years prison for "leading an unlawful organisation." The new government banned Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood after they deposed him in 2013. Amin el-Sirafy, Morsi's secretary, and his daughter Karima also received 25 years in prison and added 15 more years to the sentence. The court also sentenced four other people to death. From Fox News:
    The two Al-Jazeera employees -- identified by the judge as news producer Alaa Omar Mohammed and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal -- were sentenced in absentia along with Asmaa al-Khateib, who worked for Rasd, a media network widely suspected of links to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was banned and declared a terrorist group after Morsi's ouster. The three other defendants sentenced to death Saturday are documentary producer Ahmed Afify, EgyptAir cabin crew member Mohammed Keilany and academic Ahmed Ismail.

    I'm not sure who thought "al Jazeera America" would be a good idea in the first place, but as many of us predicted, the network which began in 2013 just didn't catch on. In a sense it was doomed from the start because it began when its media group—al Jazeera Media Group owned by the Qatari government—bought Al Gore's embarrassingly unsuccessful Current TV.  Al Jazeera America also suffered a decided lack of enthusiasm in the American market. The ratings problem was so marked that when al Jazeera America managed to twice beat out MSNBC for two daytime hours, it was noteworthy and quite remarkable given how abysmal MSNBC's own numbers are.  As late as November of last year, al Jazeera was reorganizing and desirous of changing the network's image. Variety reported at the time:
    The new chief of Al Jazeera America says the early-stage cable-news network is moving forward after a rocky launch that left the staff demoralized and prompted speculation that the Qatar-backed outlet might abandon its efforts to plant a flag in the United States. “There is a clear picture of where we are going to go,” said Al Anstey, who was named chief executive of the cable network in May. After supervising the operations of Al Jazeera English, Anstey replaced Ehab Al Shihabi, whose tenure overseeing the network was marked by the departures of some senior executives and a $15 million lawsuit from a former employee alleging that a senior executive was hostile to women and made remarks that could be construed as anti-Semitic.

    Throwing reporters in jail is worrisome, even if they are from Al-Jazeera.  Did they commit actual crimes, or is it simply an attempt to silence reporting? Egypt to put 20 journalists on trial on terrorism-related charges
    Egypt said 20 Al-Jazeera journalists, including both Egyptians and foreigners, will face trial on terrorism-related charges. Among them are three journalists employed by Al-Jazeera English, the Qatari-based international news channel. Award-winning Australian correspondent Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian producer Mohammed Fadel Fahmy, and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed were arrested on Dec. 29 in a raid on a Cairo hotel room, which the network was using as a temporary bureau. The Egyptian government alleges that 12 of the Al-Jazeera journalists remain at large, while eight are in state custody, including Greste, Fahmy and Baher. Authorities have not set a date for the trial or released the full list of the defendants' names. However, in a statement released by the General Prosecutor's office, the Egyptian defendants have been charged with “crimes of belonging to terrorist organizations violating the law, calling for disrupting the law and preventing state institutions from conducting their affairs, assault on personal liberties of citizens and damaging national unity and social peace.”
    The report went on to say: Egypt has become among the most dangerous and difficult places to work for journalists. This cannot be news...especially to CBS reporter Lara Logan. Since the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi, Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has become extremely popular among his countrymen for his aggressive handling of the Muslim Brotherhood. A video report from CCTV Africa offers some intriguing background:

    Al-Jazeera, which has served as a continuous conduit for al-Qaeda videos, has released a hit-piece on American troops in Afghanistan.The highly edited, and ominously narrated, few minutes of tape purport to reveal a plot a year ago by a group of Christian evangelical American soldiers...

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