Good News Friday

Here’s this week’s Good News Friday installment.

BBC Watch

BBC Watch

The most important news of this week was the launch of BBC Watch, a sister site to CiFWatch (which monitors the Guardian).  BBC Watch describes its mission thus:

In its editorial guidelines, the BBC defines its editorial values as follows:

“Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.  We are committed to achieving the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences.

The BBC is independent of outside interests and arrangements that could undermine our editorial integrity.  Our audiences should be confident that our decisions are not influenced by outside interests, political or commercial pressures, or any personal interests.”

However, the BBC’s coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict has long been a source of contention, with severe criticism of its standards of accuracy and impartiality being frequently voiced.

In the year 2000, British and Israeli lawyer Trevor Asserson established the ‘BBC Watch’ website and over the following decade produced several reports on various aspects of BBC reporting on the Middle East. In recent years however, Mr. Asserson’s external commitments as founding partner of a UK law firm based in Israel have restricted his ability to continue with that work. The closing of the media monitor ‘Just Journalism’ in 2011 further exacerbated the obvious need for close and regular monitoring of the world’s most influential broadcaster.

It was therefore decided to re-launch BBC Watch as a sister project to CiF Watch (established in 2009 to monitor the Guardian newspaper’s ‘Comment is Free’ website) and with the independent support of CAMERA – the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. The site is run by Managing Editor Hadar Sela and Adam Levick – Managing Editor of CiF Watch.

Make sure you bookmark BBC Watch’s site – they already have several posts up. Follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook and spread the word to your friends and family to join in combating the bias against Israel at the BBC.

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim

My next item for this week is actually from last week (h/t Israellycool), but is so extraordinary that I cannot let it pass.

Abdulateef al-Mulhim, a columnist writing in the Arab News, published an article in which he mocked the Arab Spring, condemned Arab leaders for oppressing their citizens, and praised Israel for its democracy.

I decided to write this article after I saw photos and reports about a starving child in Yemen, a burned ancient Aleppo souk in Syria, the under developed Sinai in Egypt, car bombs in Iraq and the destroyed buildings in Libya. The photos and the reports were shown on the Al-Arabiya network, which is the most watched and respected news outlet in the Middle East.

The common thing among all what I saw is that the destruction and the atrocities are not done by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction in these Arab countries are done by the same hands that are supposed to protect and build the unity of these countries and safeguard the people of these countries. So, the question now is that who is the real enemy of the Arab world?

The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people.

These dictators’ atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.

[...]

Finally, if many of the Arab states are in such disarray, then what happened to the Arabs’ sworn enemy (Israel)? Israel now has the most advanced research facilities, top universities and advanced infrastructure. Many Arabs don’t know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers. Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. Wasn’t one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail is an Israeli-Palestinian?

The Arab Spring showed the world that the Palestinians are happier and in better situation than their Arab brothers who fought to liberate them from the Israelis. Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations.

This is astounding coming from an Arab author, writing in an Arab newspaper for an Arab audience. Kudos to Mr. al-Mulhim for his courage and his honesty. I hope he stays safe. If only there were many more people like him in places of influence, peace in the Middle East could break out tomorrow.

Even more surprisingly, Mr. al-Mulhim states that there are many Arabs who agree with him.

A retired Saudi Naval Commodore who has written an article criticizing the Arab world for placing blame on Israel for its many problems spoke with the BBC Tuesday evening.

[...]

When asked about the response he was receiving to the article, which has been trending on social media sites such as Twitter, Al-Mulhim gave a somewhat surprising answer:

“You would be surprised, a lot of people don’t realize how much media freedom we have in Saudi Arabia. The editor-in-chief of Arab News told me from day one  I didn’t have a red line. I could write practically about anything that’s of course logical. I never got any hate me from anybody who was upset with the article because most of the people think what’s in the article is the reality. Maybe they don’t say it in public, but I haven’t gotten any hatemail—yet.”

Perhaps there really is hope for the future.

Professors Konstantin Komoshvili and Jacob Levitan

Professors Konstantin Komoshvili and Jacob Levitan

My final item for today is another health-related invention.  A joint Israeli-Danish team is finding a new way to zap malignant cells:

Radiation therapy may be effective when it comes to killing cancerous cells, but it also has a devastating side effect — destroying healthy cells as well. As a result, the amount of radiation used is limited and cancerous cells may survive the treatment.

New research by a joint Israeli-Danish team, however, could point the way to a new type of radiation therapy that may help patients avoid the worst side-effects. The technology is called millimeter radiation, and consists of using a specific radiation wavelength when targeting cancerous cells. According to a series of experiments by a team at the Ariel University Center, the treatment significantly limits damage to healthy cells, to the point where doctors are able to “turn up the heat” on cancerous cells and destroy them far more effectively.

Rather than using X-rays, radiation is generated from the sub-millimeter band and aimed at specific cancerous cells, interrupting their ability to grow and reproduce. There is no excess heat to kill healthy cells, so the only cells affected are the cancerous ones.

In a series of experiments performed by the Israeli-Danish team at Ariel University, researchers used the method to irradiate human lung-cancer cells, which are generally extremely resistant to chemotherapy methods, whereas aggressive use of radiation therapy would badly damage the lung.

[...]

The results of this very early-stage research has meant that the project has already received funding from several foundations, including the Carlsberg Foundation and Denmark’s Fraenkel Foundation, which supports research in cardiology and cancer treatment.

The Israeli team includes three veteran researchers — physics professors Konstantin Komoshvili, Jacob Levitan, and Asher Yahalom, as well as engineering professor Boris Kapilewitch, and Dr. Stella Aronov of Ariel’s cancer research lab. On the Danish side, the team includes researchers from Denmark’s Technical University, and includes the well-known physicist Henrik Bohr, grandson of the Jewish physicist and Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr, and a nephew of nuclear physicist Aage Bohr, also a Nobel Prize winner.

Kol hakavod once again to Israel’s wonderful scientists (not forgetting their Danish partners), working for the betterment of human society.

Shabbat shalom everyone, and may I wish you all a “Guten Winter” (a good Winter, or חורף טוב), as we traditionally wish at the end of the festivals of Tishrei.

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7 Responses to Good News Friday

  1. Aridog says:

    Abdulateef al-Mulhim, writing in the Arab News, has reiterated more or less my words, but with much greater impact because he is Arab rather than a bleach white Yankee living among Arabs. Everything he says reflects my experience with the stories of my neighbors, with a few exceptions for the lunatics, who have few friends in the Community. The risk here is that our government is demonstrating the ability to lie and deny truth on a par with the worst of Middle Eastern tyrants and jihadist groups. When a government demonstrates disregard for life, such as its soldiers or ambassadors, soon enough the good people will join the bad, out of fear more than any cause….because the real American cause they believed in has been destroyed from within.

    Regarding Professors Konstantin Komoshvili and Jacob Levitan’s research and Anne’s “real hope for the future” vis a vis treatment of lung cancer. I suspect that future is here, now, as we speak. Is it possible the professor’s research has been shared and implemented more widely now? I have recently been treated for lung cancer in a major US teaching hospital, where I had choices of treatment ranging from surgical resection to a very focused form of radiation therapy whose description nearly mirrors the description in the post/article on the subject. Surgical resection was identified as extremely high risk for me, although acceptable to the “tumor surgical board” and required that I accept severe limitations thereafter. Quality of life is important to me, and I do not plan to live forever, so I opted for the intense radiation treatment that used cone CT scanning for targeting the lesion and nothing else in the lung lobe….it promised far better quality of life after treatment. There were four treatment sessions only, every other day, where “aiming” and “targeting” took up to an hour before the radiation emitter was fired for less than a couple minutes. You could tell when the radiation was going on, a loud “thunk” was heard, everyone was gone from the room and the big warning sign was lit brightly. Zap!

    Under 6 months from treatment, follow-ups show lesion reduction by 80%, growing smaller each time, and very little peripheral damage to healthy tissue. I have another follow up in a couple months. I did participate in a “study” of some kind immediately after the treatment, answering myriad questions and providing samples of blood and various tissues, including my toe nails (Yuk!) Funny thing, the study group mailed me $50 bucks for my time. That’s probably the only time I have ever been paid by a hospital group. Wonders never cease. Now, so long as I don’t begin to glow in the dark …..

    Meantime, the 40 lbs I’d lost has returned (195 down to 155 lbs now back up to 197) and I am in the out-patient self-directed stage of physical therapy at a hospital clinic to resolve adhesive encapsulation in my shoulders where considerable atrophy had occurred simultaneous to the weight loss. On the physical therapy stuff I’m not convince they know what caused it, nor what will resolve it, but I get to play with all kinds of neat exercise machines mo’ betta’ than the ones I have at home :-)

    Yes, there are some things that really are good news.

    • anneinpt says:

      Oh. My. G-d. Aridog! I had no idea!! I am speechless.

      While I scrape my jaw of the floor, firstly I would like to wish you a heartfelt “refuah shlema” – a complete recovery.

      Regarding your treatment, I can’t say whether it’s been shared yet, or put into practice, although I get the impression from the article that they are still at the research stage.

      However there have been so many Israeli inventions and discoveries, besides all the others from dozens of other countries, that who is to know which particular research has helped in your treatment. Although truth be told – I really hope it was an Israeli discovery that has helped you! :-)

      I’m so glad (glad is much too mild a word. Hopping around in delight comes closer :-D ) that the treatment has been so successful. Modern technology really never ceases to amaze me.

      May you continue to heal and grow strong – even if you do glow in the dark! :-) I’m sure our “Dimona dude” could help you with that!

      • Aridog says:

        The cancer treatment centers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit are connected to multiple research centers around the world. It is entirely possible they utilized Israeli research in their treatment of me. What caught my attention was the almost word for word similarity in descriptions of a highly focused (lesion only) treatment with minimal collateral tissue damage. I will definitely ask about the radiation levels utilized in my treatment, including the band levels. The shoulder adhesion issues arrived simultaneously with the weight loss and discovery of non-metastasized cancer in a shadow that had defied positive identification for over 2 years….but I doubt it is related at all. More like not enough exercise, period. One test would say I was a dead dude walking, the next couple would say the opposite. Hell, I didn’t know and for a good while, the Oncologists didn’t either. Now we know and we know it is successfully treated.

        At the time it didn’t seem like a big deal to me and I don’t think even a half dozen people knew anything about it all…and two of them were my doctors. The time between positive discovery and treatment was short…and you just go and do what you gotta do, right?

        As for the adhesion therapy, I am learning not to down play what “pain” is …exaggerate because they expect you to do that. Years ago, I went through two severe bouts of cervical spine injuries, sports related, and THAT was frigging pain…morphine defying pain, 11 on a scale of 10, due to pieces of vertebrae impacting the spinal cord. Now a days…cramps in my shoulders, pshaw…at worst a 4, mostly a 2 or 3 …by MY frame of reference….and irritating bit of physiology, but I have learned…say it is at least a 7 or 8 out of ten, then they will calculate 5 and treat accordingly….aaaaggggghh. Range of motion is coming back well, pain is actually worse now (???), and strength is far below pre-weight loss days. Just about the time I’m inclined to let the Orthopods inject cortisone and steroids, out comes the news about infectious meningitis caused by contaminated said injections. Bah. I will stick to the exercise routine. When it hurts a bit I have an excuse to be cranky ;-) I’m good at that.

  2. reality says:

    oy firstly a BIG refuah Shlema to you Aridog & I am bowled over by your reaction to pain(I too have had 2 back surgeries & before that the pain was well over 10 !) & thank G-d exercise is a wonderful helper of back problems. But keep on getting well & be strong do whatever it takes to beat the awful cells! What a wonderful post. Why can’t more Arabs or any leader of the free world be more like Mr. al-Mulhim? Life would certainly be pleasenter around here!

    • Aridog says:

      Thanks, Reality. You shouldn’t be “bowled over” by my reaction to pain, because you’ve already been there, too. Trust me, when I can get away with it, I am still a big sissy.

      I agree that it would be helpful if more articles like Mr al-Mulhim’s bit would be helpful. My viewpoint is that although there are more people who think as he does, too few of them are unafraid of what might be severe consequence. My government’s (the USA) pontifications are of the highest order of ignorance when it comes to dealing with people who have been subjugated and are trying to climb out of that morass. We are quickly perceived as “users & takers” not “helpmates.” Men like Ambassador Stevens lose their lives as a consequence. The fact we let it happen as it did doesn’t incline the natives, in Libya or anywhere else, to trust us very far. In short, we don’t take care of our own, so why would we protect those among them who might otherwise speak up?

      My only advantage as a witness now is my experience as a participant in a long ago war with some similar “nation building” that might have succeeded but for our hubris where proven methods were often ignored. I know we are capable of so much better. I am always perplexed by Americans who critique Israel and Zionism, while feeling quite comfortable with our own “Manifest Destiny” that enabled our geography.

  3. Pingback: Good News Friday | Anne's Opinions

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