Sunday, July 03, 2011

Mideast Media Sampler 07/03/2011

From DG:
1) Bronner does Brisbane

Three weeks Arthur Brisbane the public editor of the New York Times, wrote a column, Where words can never do justice, in which he asserted

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in short, is the third rail of New York Times journalism.
Rather than reflect on whether the coverage of the Times was fair and accurate, Brisbane focused on the reactions to the paper's reporting. He found that both sides criticized the New York Times and concluded that if both sides were unhappy, the paper must be doing something right. This, of course, isn't assuming responsibility for the journalistic standards of the Times, it is abdicating any responsibility.

Today's Setting Sail on Gaza’s Sea of Spin by Ethan Bronner is more of the same.

Almost everything about the flotilla stuck in Greece and waiting to challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza seems to be a parable for something else, part of an unstated effort to recast the Israeli-Palestinian narrative in extreme terms. Instead of helping to clarify what Gaza needs and how it might build a future, the saga has merely brought out the public relations demons on all sides. 
Funny he should mention "extreme terms." Melanie Phillips quotes one of the leaders of the Free Gaza Movement, Adam Shapiro (h/t Daled Amos):

Free Gaza is but one tactic of a larger strategy, to transform this conflict from one between Israel and the Palestinians, or Israel and the Arab one between the rest of the world and Israel...
And Bronner himself wrote the following last week:

But the real purpose of the flotilla is less to deliver goods and building supplies, which are increasingly available in Gaza now, than to challenge Israel’s control over Gaza’s borders. The American vessel, for example, will not be loaded with any goods.
So according to today's analysis there's a "parable" attached to every aspect of the Flotilla story, but Bronner himself acknowledged that the point was to "challenge Israel's control."
Bronner writes further:
Ostensibly the 10 or so boats, with several hundred advocates from more than a dozen countries, are trying to take goods to Gaza because of a siege imposed by Israel and Egypt to pressure Hamas, the Islamist ruler there. A year ago a similar flotilla was stopped by the Israeli Navy, and after commandos boarded and scuffles ensued, nine activists were killed. 
"[P]ressure Hamas?" It was imposed to prevent arms smuggling. Nowhere in this article do the words "missiles," "rockets," or "mortars" appear. There's one reference to preventing "weapons" from reaching Gaza, but given the lack of context the article makes the blockade seem arbitrary.

"[S]cuffles ensued?" That's like "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out." The commandos were attacked and only then did they fire. A journalist on the Mavi Marmara, Cefik Dinc told Israeli TV:

“When the soldiers came on helicopters and started landing on the ship, they did not fire. It wasn’t until the soldiers were met with resistance and realized that some of their friends’ lives were in danger that they began using live ammunition” 
And of course, if testimony isn't enough, there is video showing that this is precisely the case.
It wasn't a scuffle it was an attack with weapons. Bronner's on thin ice here complaining about spin when he leaves out an essential element of the story.

Bronner again:

The Israeli position defies a brutal truth: last year’s flotilla made a big difference for the people of Gaza — at a terrible cost in lives — by refocusing international attention on their plight and forcing a change in Israeli policy. Today, twice as many goods enter from Israel as before. Nonetheless, Gaza remains a deeply sad and deprived place. 
Unmentioned here is that the increase in goods, was also almost certainly accompanied by an increase in weaponry and dual use goods. So whatever benefits accrued to the Palestinians of Gaza since last year may have come at a future cost to Israel. That's the brutal truth that Bronner ignores. 

Furthermore, even before last year, there were luxury hotels and restaurants in Gaza. A few years ago when Tony Blair's ridiculous sister-in-law complained about Gaza being a concentration camp, she was photographed in fully stocked grocery store! And even now does Gaza look "sad and deprived?" (the last h/t Elder of Ziyon)

Bronner brings this up:

Mendacity has already reared its head. An Israeli actor put up a YouTube clip saying that he was a gay activist rejected by the flotilla because of his sexual orientation. The video was exposed as a fake. Israeli officials, who had promoted the clip on Twitter and Facebook, said they had been duped. But suspicions remained since the clip’s production quality was high and officials had long used the talking point that Hamas and other Islamist groups were intolerant of homosexuality. 
True, Israel shouldn't have done this. But this isn't an Israeli "talking point." Islamists are known not to be tolerant of homosexuality. The killings of gays in Iran serve as a reminder of that.

Next we have:

The Turkish group I.H.H., which helps sponsor the flotillas, has ties to Hamas, and Israeli and Western concern that violence could occur if the flotilla sets sail does not seem far-fetched, despite the organizers’ vows to the contrary. 
"[C]ould occur?" Isn't that what happened last year? Not that Bronner acknowledges the source of the violence (the IHH "activists). And the ties to Hamas of the Free Gaza movement are pretty well documented. After all the "activists are doing Hamas's PR for them!

Finally we get to Bronner's conclusion:

His argument about the flotilla points to the larger dynamic: the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is increasingly disintegrating from a debate over borders and security into a battle between those claiming that Israel is a genocidal machine and those who dismiss every attack on its policy as an assault on its essence. 
Instead of reporting here, Bronner, like Brisbane takes the easy way out. He throws up his hands and complains about the spin.

But is there any other nation whose policies are criticized, not for being wrong, but for undermining its legitimacy. Bronner need not travel farther than the op-ed pages of his own paper to find "Turnip truck" Tom Friedman claim that Israel is heading towards being an apartheid state.

The term "genocidal machine" better applies to the ideology of Hamas the terrorist organization that runs Gaza, whose charter includes this:

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As in said in the honourable Hadith:
"The people of Syria are Allah's lash in His land. He wreaks His vengeance through them against whomsoever He wishes among His slaves It is unthinkable that those who are double-faced among them should prosper over the faithful. They will certainly die out of grief and desperation."
So while Bronner despairs over the lack of real discussion over the "Israeli-Palestinian dispute" he does more than his share to obfuscate the real issues.

2) The Holocaust happened, no it didn't, yes it did ...

The Muqata has fascinating post on Dutch politicians who refuse to meet with Mahmoud Abbas.

Maybe it's had an effect on Abbas, but as Daled Amos points out, he hasn't really come clean.

Technorati Tag: and .
Post a Comment