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.