Tuesday, April 24, 2007

April 23 Media Critique: "Straining a 'Ceasefire' "

Yes, there is much straining going on. HonestReporting is under a terrible strain to continue to find (or invent) “media Anti-Israel bias”.

AP is the target again, for this story on the killing of 9 Palestinians by the IDF over the weekend.

Over the past few years the media has consistently downplayed or ignored Palestinian violence, while apportioning blame on Israeli retaliatory or preventative actions as the cause of "escalating violence" or "breaking of ceasefires". It appears, yet again, necessary to protest this inaccurate and misleading representation of the conflict.
Fortunately, our exemplars of detached objectivity, HR, are here to correct that by highlighting Palestinian violence and reminding all fair-minded people that Israeli acts of violence are only ever “retaliatory or preventative” unlike the nasty Palestinians who just kill Jews for fun. And any alleged evidence to the contrary, is obviously the product of a biased media, even if it’s the testimony of IDF soldiers.

A 22 April Associated Press report says that: "Hamas militants called Sunday for a fresh wave of attacks against Israel after troops killed nine Palestinians in weekend fighting, straining a five-month-old cease-fire."
Thus, Israel is blamed for "straining a ceasefire".
There is no blame, the facts are simply laid out in the order that they occurred. Hamas wasn’t calling for renewed attacks before the killings, so AP are quite right to say this. This is not bias, this is chronology.

According to the AP: "The Gaza truce has largely held, though militants have frequently fired rockets into Israel and have attacked Israeli patrols along the border fence." How serious must Palestinian actions be in the eyes of the AP before a "ceasefire" is broken?
Let’s be serious, while Palestinians themselves talk of the truce/ceasefire, in reality there is none. Palestinian militants have said that there can be no separate truce in Gaza and the West Bank (WB), and so they reserve the right to respond to continued Israeli violence in the WB. Israel, for it’s part, does not want a ceasefire to include the WB anyway, so it has zero intention of encouraging one.

Recent Israeli operations against targets in Gaza are a direct response to the latest Qassam missile attacks. Yet, the AP saves this for the third paragraph of its report: "The fighting also included a Palestinian rocket attack on the southern Israeli town of Sderot that damaged a home."
Such terrible bias. The world-wide media conspiracy against Israel is so effective that this only comes to light in the third paragraph!! So what if 9 Palestinians, including a 17 yr old girl standing at her window, are killed. A Jewish home was damaged, can’t AP see the equivalence? HR can – 9 dead Palestinians, one damaged Jewish home, that’s about right.

Some Palestinians claim that their Gaza attacks have been in response to Israeli operations in the West Bank, where a "ceasefire" is not in effect. Much of the media, while focused on Israeli counter-terror measures, have, however, forgotten the constant Palestinian terror efforts that led to the IDF operations in the first place.
And naturally, HR, in its' tireless commitment to accuracy and fairness ignores the ongoing illegal occupation, land theft, administrative detention, road blocks, checkpoints and movement restrictions against an entire population that goes on 24/7. But all that is OK. The real issue is,
To ask the AP what it defines as a "ceasefire", please send your constructive comments to feedback@ap.org.

They could at least start by calling it a Palestinian ceasefire, or perhaps by noting the strange spectacle of an occupied people suffering 40 yrs of repression calling a ceasefire against their occupiers.

Amira Hass on the ceasefire fallacy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

April 17 Media Critique: “UK Journalists' Union Votes to Boycott Israel”

Another tiny tantrum from HonestReporting.

The UK’s National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have voted to boycott Israeli goods. Good on them.

HR are aghast at what it calls the “gross antipathy” of the NUJ towards Israel.

If any further proof was needed of the British media's inability to deal with Israel in an objective and fair manner, it arrived on 13 April as the UK's National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted at its annual meeting for a boycott of Israeli goods as part of a protest against last year's Lebanon war.

HR are confused, as usual. Conveniently confused that is. To start with the ‘British media” does not equate with the NUJ. And journalists are allowed to have opinions. Where does this strange idea come from that journalists are unthinking, unfeeling robots, who aren’t allowed to hold personal opinions?

HR provides some pointless commentary from Tom Gross,

Just to show what disregard British (and indeed most European) journalists have for the truth about Israel "The motion called for the end of Israeli aggression in Gaza." In case they haven't noticed, Israel withdrew from Gaza in the summer of 2005...

Tom must have missed the elementary lessons on international law at journo school. Attacks by a nation on those outside its borders are military ‘aggression’.

NUJ member and journo with the UK Daily Telegraph, Toby Harnden, is highly critical of the move. Though it’s interesting to note this part of his reasoning,

Doing one's best to remain impartial in the most volatile and divided part of the world is incredibly difficult. Every single sentence or utterance by a journalist is scrutinised by both sides…….So what does the NUJ motion do for its members there? It helps smear them all as being biased and anti-Israel.

Exactly the kind of thing HR strives for. The problem with this line of reasoning is the very existence of groups like HR. As I’ve been demonstrating for months, HR will attack any view that is critical of Israeli policy in the OT’s . Hence, if we take Hardens' advice, the only way to avoid being “smeared as…..biased” by HR is to agree with their stridently pro-Israel point-of-view.

To put Harndens advice in some perspective, in his article quoted by HR, he actually links to one of HRs mendacious ‘Media Critiques’ (isn’t that cosy?). Someone advocating that journalists should “remain impartial” at the same time as linking to the often dishonest and stridently partisan HonestReporting, has to be taken with a very large dose of salt.

The nature of the NUJ vote (66-54) and the comments made by some criticizing the motion just highlight one simple little fact, one that HR can’t tolerate - that this is a deeply contested issue, with many varied opinions and positions. HR hates the intellectual diversity that the NUJ position represents. Again, HR can’t distinguish between diversity in opinion and bias.

For HR there is only one acceptable position – the one it holds.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

April 12 Media Critique: "Israeli Freedom of Religion Attacked in San Francisco Chronicle"

Times continue to be very lean for those engaged in the search for “media anti-Israel bias”.

HonestReportings latest effort is directed at an Op-Ed in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Yet again, HR conflate media bias with the expression of an opinion that they either don’t like or disagree with. It’s a common affliction of the intolerant.

The writer, Omar Ahmad, bewails what he sees, as threats to Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem and restrictions on access. And it is undoubtedly true that Israel regularly restricts access to the Haram al-Sharif for Muslim worshippers, usually in the name of ‘security’.

The recent controversy over Israeli excavations has heightened concerns, with good reason. Despite HR assertions to the contrary, Israel has been criticized over these works by UNESCO, as well as by Israeli archeologists. The primary problem is that Israel repeatedly violates the terms of its' agreements with UNESCO over the conduct of digs. Israel is meant to co-ordinate such work with the Islamic Waqf – it routinely ‘forgets’ to do so, leading to the kind of problems we saw recently.

Then, true to form, the incompetent bunglers at HR get it wrong. HR is unhappy with this from Ahmad,

In 1967, the Israeli army's chief rabbi, Shlomo Goren, urged Israeli forces commander Uzi Narkis, to use 100 kilograms of explosives to "get rid of" Al-Aqsa "once and for all." Narkis, as quoted by Israeli historian Avi Shlaim in "The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World," (W.W. Norton &Company, 2001) had the wisdom to refuse the rabbi's request.

Says HR,

Ahmad quotes the then Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren as advocating the destruction of Al-Aqsa in 1967. While this quote was actually attributed to Goren before he became Chief Rabbi, this in no way represents the religious or political view of Israel's Chief Rabbinate or indeed any Israeli government, which has always respected the rights of Muslims to their holy sites, as outlined above.

Unfortunately for the dimwits at HR, Ahmad was right, Goren was the “Chief Rabbi”. Goren became the IDF Chief Rabbi in 1948, a position he held until 1968. Maybe HR meant to say that he became Chief Rabbi of Israel in 1973.

How embarrassing, but then, facts have always been HRs weak point.

More so when HR asks its’ legion of gullibles to complain,

Please write to the San Francisco Chronicle - letters@sfchronicle.com - asking why the paper has published an op-ed so riddled with inaccuracies and poor journalism from a writer with such an obvious and false agenda.

Inaccuracies and poor journalism! How outrageous. And Omar Ahmad isn’t a journalist, an accusation that will never be leveled at HonestReporting.

HR have corrected their error on the matter of Ahmads reference to the IDF Chief Rabbi,
Ahmad quotes the then Israeli army chief rabbi Shlomo Goren as advocating the destruction of Al-Aqsa in 1967. While this view was expressed by Goren at a time before he became Chief Rabbi of Israel,
What point HR are trying to make remains obscure however, except to fabricate an imputation so to refute it.