Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dec 26 Media Critique: "Pallywood Xmas Special"

"Wire service photos demonstrate the distortions of the media."

Of course they do. Like this .

The photo caption says “tackles” which is the evil media distortion.

Pretty lame huh?

HR’s preference is another caption which uses the word “blocks” instead of “tackles”. The imbeciles at HR should take a look at a thesaurus.

But that’s not all folks,

Nowhere are you able to get an accurate picture of the size of the demonstration or otherwise. Photos of the event, such as the one below from Reuters are framed as close-ups giving the impression of a large turnout even when closer examination, such as the previous photos, may suggest the opposite

No. No picture, the articles just tell readers the size of the gathering,

About 50 Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists attended the rally in the village of Um Salomona, near Bethlehem

It’s all an evil conspiracy,

A good example of how the news can be distorted by photographers comes from a demonstration staged by Palestinians near Bethlehem on 21 December 2007. Pallywood has signed up one of the most visible and loved symbols of the holidays - Santa Claus. Wait until the cameras are in position and then confront Israeli soldiers.

Um, it’s a protest, as all the stories made that perfectly clear, even in the headlines.

This is pathetic stuff, even by HR’s appallingly low standards.

And to top it off,

Also notice how the Palestinian Santa appears to be well trained and media savvy - while managing to instigate dramatic photos of being "tackled" by Israeli soldiers, Santa suddenly becomes an advocate of peace and hope when interviewed by a Reuters cameraman. Such is the sophistication of the Palestinian propaganda machine that Santa is able to provoke violent confrontation while, at the same time, talking about peace.

Smell the desperation?

Horrible ‘Palestinian Santa’ stood in the way of peace-loving IDF soldiers armed with M-16s. Oh, the violence! After this shocking rampage he then had the temerity to speak of “peace and hope”. Beware the “sophistication of Palestinian propaganda machine”. Thankfully we have the totally objective HR to tell us what is really going on.

Can I laugh now?

This is all about the unsophistication of the blindly pro-Israeli hasbara machine. Focus on a tiny element of a story over which you can confect some controversy to distract from the larger story – peaceful Palestinian protests being conducted on their own land against an Israeli constructed wall that had been found to be illegal under international law.

Which is why they so desperately scramble to construct these ‘media critiques’, even if they are embarrassingly stupid. Anything to muddy the waters.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dec 12 Media Critique: "The Grinch That Destroys Christmas"

And who would that be? Ah yes, the evil media.

HR are decrying what they say is the yearly assault on Israel over the plight of Christians in Bethlehem. It's all a media conspiracy you know.


HR link to 3 articles to prove their "reality", that it has nothing to do with Israel. In their typical regard for honesty they seriously misrepresent 2 of the 3 articles.

The first is about a Christian TV station that has closed down. HR imply that is was purely about anti-Christian sentiments, but in a reflection of the general economic crises caused by the occupation the article cites "overwhelming financial debts" as a cause for the closure. And the second is a story about a Christian pastor threatened by a Fatah security officer. Again, HR imply this is a religious issue, but the article itself makes it clear that this is not necessarily the case,

It was not immediately clear Wednesday if the pastor was threatened specifically because of his missionary work among Muslims or as a result of the land his family owned in the city, or a combination of the two.
The same article links to another that provides a different perspective on the situation, though not one HR would like to draw attention to,
Socioeconomic hardships caused by the West Bank security barrier are contributing to the decline in the Christian population in the Holy Land, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
Such balance, honesty and fairness from HR.

Christians are over represented in the number of Palestinians leaving the occupied territories. But for a much simpler reason than the one HR push- they are much more likely to belong to the Palestinian middle-class, who as a group, are most likely to emigrate in difficult times. There were also outflows of Palestinian Christians in 1947-48, and again after 1967.


And every year HR, and the usual pro-Israel fanatics, drag out the same bedraggled corpse in the form of Justus Weiner to spruik the same message as every other year - the reasons Christians are leaving the Palestinian territories is because of the Muslims, not because of the brutal Israeli occupation that is destroying the possibility of normal life for Palestinians (see the Red Cross report in the previous post).

If you want a real look at the causes of the decline of the Palestinian Christian population, read this. The basic message is that 80+% of Christians seek to emigrate for work and economic issues, and 8% because of religious extremism.

Weiner is so predictable that it's enough to reproduce a 2006 quote from the 'Churches for Middle East Peace',
....Professor Justus Weiner, an American/Israeli academic [who] is a scholar at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in Israel. His research includes little or no input from the local indigenous Palestinian Christians--- Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran communicants, and has significant inaccuracies, exaggerated conclusions and major omissions.
Weiner is also infamous for his thoroughly dishonest and shoddy attack on Edward Said a few years back. Weiner has adopted the Alan Dershowitz approach to 'Lying For Israel' - dress it up in legalese or academic garb. My favourite contribution from Weiner was a book on illegal construction in occupied East Jerusalem where he made the stunning discovery that the primary illegal construction problem is caused by Palestinians.

For balance we get to hear from Weiner, Weiner and Weiner. Any voice for Palestinian Christians? No way, because, as we are helpfully told, "church representatives 'sing the PA's tune' and are quick to censure Israel for everything". Impossible that this could simply be true. Heaven forbid that Christian Palestinians' thoughts on the subject should be noted.

Which leads nicely and oh-so predictably into HRs next section.


Sabeel is one of the most active Palestinian Christian groups in the OTs. So despite the crocodile tears over the plight of Palestinian Christians, HR proceed to enthusiastically lay the boot into Sabeel (it's "extreme" and "anti-semitic") because it's a Christian Palestinian group exposing HR's highly partisan and dishonest portrayal of the situation.

So let's finish the year with a Christmas message from the people whose plight HonestReporting wants to use for it's own ends, while simultaneously denying them their own voice,

Ultimately, peace will come not from the Caesars and all those who trust in their military might and in the arrogance of their power but from the meek that put their trust in God. It is the meek who will inherit the earth. Peace will come from the labor, toil, and hard work of all those who do not glory in their riches or in their power but glory in their love and service of God and in their love and acceptance of others. God’s message of peace still rings true, not from Annapolis that represents empire, but from the small town of Bethlehem, Palestine that still suffers under occupation. The peace that the Caesars of the world give is largely false and deceptive, and it cannot last. Only the peace that God gives, the peace that is based on justice and truth will survive and prosper. In the midst of these uncertain times, Sabeel wishes all its friends a joyful Christmas. May the New Year bring us closer to the peace we hope for; and let us continue the struggle together for the achievement of God’s peace for all the people of Palestine-Israel.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

December 6 Media Critique: “The Post-Annapolis Blame Game”

Sorry for the delay. I’ve been trying to get through this one, but kept falling asleep before reaching the end.

HonestReporting don’t like this. That’s about all there is to it. Despite the endless claims of “anti-Israel media bias” HR have to content themsleves with one opinion piece in a paper half-way around the world.

HR do demonstrate their sick humour with this,

Shaik and Lowenstein also ignore Israel’s concern for the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, where all the essentials continue to enter the territory despite claims of a "blockade."

By a curious coincidence that highlights HR’s extreme bias, just a week after HR made this disgracefully dishonest claim, the Red Cross issued a rare public statement about the terrible humanitarian situation caused by the Israeli occupation,

Throughout the occupied Palestinian territories, in the Gaza Strip as well as in the West Bank, Palestinians continuously face hardship in simply going about their lives; they are prevented from doing what makes up the daily fabric of most people's existence. The Palestinian territories face a deep human crisis, where millions of people are denied their human dignity. Not once in a while, but every day.

Read the full report here.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

November 28 Media Critique: 'Annapolis And The Core Issues"

A primer on the core issues confronting world leaders and the media.

This ain’t no ‘media critique’. A primer? Yes. And what a primer it is. Priming the faithful to be ready to decry anything outside of HRs positioning of the issues as “anti-Israel media bias”.

HR set the core issues outside the parameters of either international law or the international consensus of a just solution.

The Jewish State
One of Israel’s most fundamental demands is Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Well, almost. It’s actually one of the 'most fundamentalist demands' you could hear.

Don’t expect HR to advocate that Israel must recognize Palestine as a 'Muslim State'.

Lawrence of Cyberia notes the history of this escalating ambit claim: first it was simply recognition of Israel (which the PLO unhelpfully did), followed by the demand that Palestinians recognize its' “right to exist”, which has morphed into its' “right to exist as a Jewish state”. Each development is meant to be unacceptable to Palestinians so that Israel can portray them as intransigent.

What the media often call "Arab East Jerusalem" usually refers to areas
temporarily under Jordanian rule from 1948 to 1967 and restored after the Six Day War. Those areas include the Old City and Judaism's holiest sites, the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
Israel has absolutely zero legal claim to East Jerusalem under International Law. HR attempt to blur the clear distinction between what Israeli is entitled to under law, with what it wants. And it wants East Jerusalem, so, hey, what’s the problem?

In addition, Israel has a proven track record of ensuring full access to the city's holy sites
And a few little lies never hurt. Israel routinely prevents Palestinian access to the Haram al-Sharif for “security reasons”. Not to mention incidents like the wholesale Israeli bulldozing of the Palestinian Mahgrebi quarter in East Jerusalem in the first weeks of the occupation in June 1967.

For many Israelis, final borders are ultimately a question of security……In contrast, the Palestinians demand an independent state in the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The beastly creatures! They want the ENTIRE West Bank and Gaza Strip!! As they are entitled to under international law. Again, Palestinians legal entitlements are nothing compared to what Israel says are its’ needs. If Israel says that parts of Palestinian territory are “vital” to it, well, surely that settles the matter?

…..Not surprisingly, Israel rejects Palestinian return as non-starter.

No surprise at all, given that the return of refugees to their former homes, should they wish to, is a right under international law.

HR however, are much more attuned to more important principles – “Israel’s Jewish identity”. Ethnocracy vs. legal entitlement? It’s no contest.

And we urge readers to monitor their local coverage and make their voices heard.
Yes indeed. Having been primed by HR to prioritize Israeli wants over international law and Palestinian rights, all the good HR sheep will be able to send outraged emails about “anti-Israel bias” to media outlets when they dare to stray from the acceptable narrative, into the bizarre world of law, rights and justice.