Updates: 1) Bill Stewart again; 2) Clive Lipchin event; 3) Ruth Anne Faust My View; 4) Federation Super Sunday; 5) Next SFMEW meeting; 6) TBS Israel at 70; 7) AIPAC Policy Conference

A lot to catch up on – please read through the entire post for news and to respond…

1. Bill Stewart – another nonsense column.

Let’s see, Iranians are protesting, Yemen has fallen apart (along with Syria), the Palestinians have again shot themselves in the foot with refusing to negotiate (that’s been going on for 9 years now), and Bill Stewart chooses to allege that Netanyahu corruption is at the core of the Palestinian’s problems (“The Israeli Right Wing Makes Its Move,” New Mexican, January 5, 2018).

We guess Iranian freedom doesn’t mean anything to Bill Stewart – but OK, the New Mexican continues to let him rant on whatever comes to mind, even if his facts are muddled, his rhetoric is extremely biased, and he has no independent sources to find out what really is going on.  His obsession with writing about Israel and his double standards clearly fall within the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitic.

We can reflect Stewart’s own words from this last column’s rambling, nonsensical column:  “He simply doesn’t know or understand much of the history or many of the major points in diplomacy in some of the world’s most critical areas, including the Middle East.”

Talk to anyone in the intelligence community in the US government and they’ll tell you that most pundits like Stewart, once they’ve been “out of the game” for even a few months, have almost no insight into what is really going on in most international hotspots.  Stewart has been “out of the game” for many years.  His contacts (if he still has any) are also likely “out of the game.”  This is evident in that Stewart doesn’t reference any contacts in his articles, only other articles or pundits, like in this column in the New York Times.  Stewart clearly is running on empty, with no credible sources and a bias that strains the New Mexican‘s credibility as well.

We have stopped doing a point-by-point critique on Stewart’s articles because they have become repetitive.  If you’d like to see some of those critiques you can search for Stewart’s name in the search function in the sidebar.

It’s time for the New Mexican to get an international columnist who is not antiquated, and who knows the history, politics, and diplomacy of the world from a twenty-first century, first-hand view, with contemporary real sources and insight.

Take Action:  write to the New Mexican publisher (Robin Martin:  rmartin@sfnewmexican.com) and editorial page editor (Inez Russell Gomez:  igomez@sfnewmexican.com) and urge them to find someone credible and unbiased.  

2.  Clive Lipchin Event a success.

Congratulations to Lance Bell and his Speakers Committee, and to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Reagan Weil (JNF Southwest executive director) for a successful collaborative effort in bringing Clive Lipchin to Santa Fe for his talk on “ISRAEL’S GIFT: A WATER SOLUTION FOR THE WORLD.”  If you missed his talk you can watch it soon on our website – thanks to Ron Duncan-Hart and Gaon.  Stay tuned at www.sfmew.org/lipchin/.  In the meantime, listen to his interview on the Richard Eeds KTRC show here.

3. Yasher Koach to Ruth Anne Faust’s My View, “Healing and Discernment,” in the New Mexican

Ruth Anne took the New Mexican and Jeffrey Haas to task for his seriously flawed My View (and the New Mexican giving him free advertising space) back in December.  Interesting that the New Mexican chose to print this so long after it was submitted.  See the end of this post for the full text.

4. Help us help the Federation

The Jewish Federation of New Mexico’s Super Sunday telethon will be February 4 in Albuquerque.  The Federation provides funding for some of Santa Fe Middle East Watch’s activities, and they provide substantially administrative support.  Help us help them raise funds in two ways:

  1. We are committed to providing at least 4 people from SFMEW to help make phone calls in ABQ on February 4 from 10 am – 1 pm.  Halley Faust will be driving down to participate and is happy to transport others, leaving Santa Fe at 8:45 am from DeVargas Mall.  Please contact him directly by email:  halley@fausthaus.com, or calling 505-501-8181.  Won’t you help with a little bit of your time?  And, don’t worry – we’ll be back in plenty of time for the Super Bowl.
  2. If you get a call on Super Sunday, please give generously.

5. SFMEW next meeting

Mark your calendars to attend the next SFMEW membership meeting, Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 7:00 pmRSVP to info@sfmew.org for more information, directions, and to register your intended attendance.

6. Israel at 70 speaker series at Temple Beth Shalom

Temple Beth Shalom has received a grant to provide non-political programming of Israeli culture.  The first event is Sunday, January 21, Joel Chasnoff, comedian and author will deliver a night of stand-up comedy at 7:00 pm.  For more information contact Ed Borins, VP Programs and Membership:  e_borins@yahoo.com.  As well, put these dates on your calendar for talks up-coming:

  • February 17, Ido Aharoni, on Israel as the “Can-Do Nation.”
  • April 22, Benji Lovett, comedian and Listen Up! musical performance.
  • May 19, Rabbi Naamah Kelman and Dr. Elan Erachi, guest scholars.

The rest of the 2018 series can be seen at this link:TBS Israel at 70.

7.  AIPAC Policy Conference, Washington, DC

If you are a pro-Israel advocate, or want to be, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy confernce is the place to learn about contemporary US legislation and Middle East affairs, history, and how to be an ever better advocate, while meeting with our elected representatives.  Don’t miss it, this year March 4-6.  Go to www.aipacpolicyconference.org for more information.


Full Text of Ruth Anne Faust’s My View:


Healing and discernment

How sad to abuse our First Amendment rights — to misinform, distort and place blame on Israel decisions that the terrorists in power in Gaza have forced upon its own population. I refer to Jeffrey Haas’ “invitation” to “learn about the children of Gaza,” in The New Mexican (“Learn about the children of Gaza,” Dec. 2).

How convenient it is to leave out the manipulation and abuse of its own population by placing missile sites in hospitals, schools and apartment buildings so that Hamas is not held accountable for the horrible but normal response Israel takes in defending itself against thousands of rocket attacks on its population — a country that does hold value in the life of each child, each human being.

Nowhere does Haas point out how Israel sends warnings in hopes the Gazan citizens will do what they can to protect themselves. Nor does it say anything about how frequently Israel provides health care to the Gazans.

How effective Hamas has been in denying its own people health care and infrastructure from the hundreds of millions of dollars nations around the world have sent to them to help them rebuild, create jobs and improve living conditions, choosing instead to use those dollars to buy more arms; to create more terrorist tunnels to infiltrate and inflict more harm and then blaming Israel for doing everything it can to protect its own population.

The Gazan population deserves better. I applaud the efforts by humane and moral individuals in Gaza trying to make things better for its peoples. I pray sanity might return to the bullies and thugs running Gaza. But we don’t have to leave our intelligence behind or distort the causes of the harm being done there by blaming a nation doing everything it can to defend its own.

Then, perhaps, one might really learn about the children of Gaza. Perhaps one can make note of the abuse reigned upon Gazans who get health care in Israel or participate in peacemaking efforts. Many forces are brought to bear against many who really want peace, who really care about its citizens and who value life.

I, too, am grateful for those who rise above the horror to bring healing to its citizens. May they be multiplied and overwhelm the forces of evil that rule in Gaza.

Jeffrey Haas paints a devastating and limited picture of Gaza and places blame on the wrong party. Let’s wake up to those really responsible and not scapegoat Israel for the willingness of the terrorists in Gaza to cause such great harm. If they were to lay down their arms today, there would be peace. If Israel were to lay down its arms, there would be no Israel. That’s unacceptable.

Ruth Anne Faust lives in Santa Fe.

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