Israel’s image continues to nose dive

In spite of the valiant efforts of the Israeli lobby to stifle criticism, Israel just can’t seem to get good press these days.

Young non-Orthodox US Jews are becoming increasingly lukewarm if not alienated in their support for Israel in a trend that is not likely to be reversed, according to a study released on Thursday.

Blending into US society, including marriage to non-Jews and a tendency to look on Judaism more in religious terms than ethnic ones, is part of what’s happening, the study found.

Norway has chipped in to criticize Israel.

Norway’s embassy in Tel Aviv has urged the government to criticize Israel for the alleged use of torture in prisons, the state radio network NRK reported Thursday.

The network said it had obtained a secret diplomatic document from the embassy urging action by expressing our concern that torture is still practiced in Israel.

According to Norway’s NRK, the concern stemmed from a report by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, an Israeli human rights group, claiming that prisoners were sometimes beaten during interrogation, held in painfully tight handcuffs and suffered isolation, threats, humiliation and sleep deprivation.

This made Israel less than happy, expressing the usual outrage at being held to account without actually denying the allegations.…  As is often the case, it’s not the criticism that Israel has a problem with, it is the fact that it is being criticized at all.

The officials said that the Norwegian embassy was “acting in an unprofessional and very one-sided way, and that their actions bordered on hostility.”

Human Rights Watch revealed what we already suspected from last year’s Lebanon War, that Israel does indeed target civilians.

In its harshest condemnation of Israel since the Second Lebanon War, Human Rights Watch charged that most of the Lebanese civilian casualties came from indiscriminate Israeli air strikes, according to a report to released Thursday.

Presenting the group’s findings at a news conference, Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said there were only rare cases of Hezbollah operating in civilian villages.

“To the contrary, once the war started, most Hezbollah military officials and even many political officials left the villages,” he said. And indeed what we found is that most Hezbollah military activity was conducted from prepared positions outside Lebanese villages in the hills and valleys around.”

Meanwhile, Israel continues to behave badly.

According to a Western diplomat in Damascus, IAF planes which had allegedly infiltrated into Syrian airspace overnight Wednesday were most likely positioned in the area to take photographs, Israel Radio reported on Thursday night.

After Syrian aerial defense systems identified the jets, the pilots were forced to throw bombs and fuel tanks out of the planes, said the official.

The IDF spokesperson declined to comment, saying that the army does not respond “to such reports.”

One can only imagine the cries of indignation from Israel’s amen corner had an Arab country violated Israeli air space, along with the obligatory claims of right to self defense.

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