Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Feb 5 Media Critique: "CSM: Beyond Recognition"


Just yesterday, in conversation with a commenter regarding an article in the Christian Science Monitor, I said “I expect an hysterical and disingenuous HR ‘Media Critique' on it any day now”.

And HR predictably lives down to my dismal expectations of them.

A CSM op-ed whitewashes Hamas and delegitimizes Israel.
How so? (Note: typically, HR gets this wrong. It wasn’t an Op-Ed, ie opinion written by the editorial staff, but a routine opinion piece.)
Questioning Israel's right to exist is one of the most abhorrent means of delegitimizing the Jewish state.
Very impressive. HR manages to be as disingenuous and hysterical as I predicted with their very first sentence!

Disingenuous, as Whitbeck argues, with perfect reason, that the “right to exist” argument is a complete furphy. No state has any such abstract right. And hysterical, as Whitbecks argument isn't that Israel has no "right to exist" but that such a right simply doesn't exist anywhere for any state. It’s a theatre of the absurd with HR.

Whitbeck reveals his unwillingness to recognize Israeli and Jewish rights in any context, regardless of borders.
Does he really?
Now HR just resort to their usual distortion and twisting of the truth to score cheap points and inflame the passions of their unthinking followers. This is what Whitbeck says on the topic,
if this were all that was being demanded [recognition of Israel] of Hamas, it might be possible for the ruling political party to acknowledge, as a fact of life, that a state of Israel exists today within some specified borders. Indeed, Hamas leadership has effectively done so in recent weeks.

Though it is worth noting how HR tries to quietly slip from a discussion about “Israels right to exist” to something entirely different, “Israeli and Jewish rights”. In so doing, HR attempts to mis-represent Whitbecks argument from one regarding a states rights, to one of an individuals rights. Very nasty, and utterly dishonest.

The claim that Israel treats the Palestinians as "subhumans" ignores Israel's compliance with humanitarian law despite the immense security pressures it finds itself under.

Well, there’s an interesting claim. How is Israels compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL)? Let’s allow the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem have a few words on the topic,
......changes in the Open-Fire Regulations led to the killing of hundreds of Palestinians who did not take part in the fighting. These killings violated IHL relating to occupied territory………… Since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada, Israel has continuously violated the laws of warfare.
Oh, so Israels compliance is appalling. I guess that means Whitbeck’s point is a very valid one, supporting his overall argument.

The demands of Israel and the Quartet (the US, EU, Russia and the UN), that Hamas recognize Israel, renounce violence and adhere to previously signed agreements, are a logical and necessary precursor to any sort of attempt to make peace. Yet, Whitbeck refers to the demand for Hamas to recognize Israel's "right to exist" as a "roadblock to peace" that, for Hamas, is "unreasonable, immoral, and impossible to meet.
When all else fails, just be deliberately obtuse and then lie. Whitbeck specifically made the distinction between a reasonable “recognition of Israel” and the unreasonable recognition of Israels “right to exist”. HR link this to the Quartet, but the Quartet doesn’t call for the recognition of “Israels right to exist” as HR try to imply. HR is simply, and dishonestly, trying to frame Whitbeck as being opposed to a 2-state solution.

Once again, HR misrepresent and lie to attack those who express views they don’t agree with. As the BBC recently noted, HRs claims are “utterly false and disingenuous”.