Wednesday, March 2, 2022

What Will Amnesty International and Misguided Media Members Learn From Russia's Ukraine Invasion?

My previous article discussed the origins, likely outcome, and consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine while imploring the West to confront autocratic nationalist Vladimir Putin before it is too late. The top priority now must be to stop Russia and restore Ukraine's freedom, but it is not surprising that many people are focused more on the "blame game" than solving the crisis; it is easier--and less risky--to blame others for what is going wrong than to figure out how to solve the problem, let alone muster the courage to take the difficult but necessary steps to deter and repel Russian aggression. We should not focus on the "blame game" to the extent that we fail to take needed actions now, but understanding how we reached such a disastrous state of affairs could help us avoid similar problems in the future.

In America, regardless of the issue or problem, Democrats blame Republicans, Republicans blame Democrats, and socialists seek to dismantle capitalism. Partisan rhetoric fires up the "true believers" but does not solve anything. For a long time, Garry Kasparov has provided insightful commentary on a wide range of issues. He laments the American Left's embrace of socialism while also noting that America used to stand for striving for excellence, but now our Presidential elections have devolved into a choice between the lesser of two evils; one consequence is that, as Kasparov has repeatedly emphasized, every U.S. President since Ronald Reagan has fallen short in terms of long-term strategic planning regarding the Soviet Union and Russia. Russia's invasion of Ukraine happened in the wake of a long, pathetic line of Presidents whose failures to confront Putin emboldened him to invade Ukraine. That being said, it is not a coincidence that Putin started the first major ground war in Europe since World War II just a few months after President Biden orchestrated a chaotic, disastrous, and humiliating American retreat from Afghanistan. Autocrats respect power and they have contempt for weakness. This problem began long before President Biden took office, but it is fair to say--to put it mildly--he has not yet done enough to solve the problem.

In addition to the poorly conceived strategies of multiple Presidents, we are also seeing the tragic results of the lack of responsible media coverage of world events. Objective truth matters. The rule of law matters. Arguing otherwise is not only a threat to our education system, but a threat to our freedom and way of life. The sad reality is that many mainstream media outlets no longer believe in or try to investigate objective truth, preferring to tell their personal "truth" as they believe it and feel it to be.

I have written many articles about biased media coverage, particularly pertaining to Israel and antisemitism. One might wonder why I focus on that issue in general and those topics in particular, and the answer is that biased media coverage has a major impact not only on the targets of the bias, but also on the people and issues that are swept under the rug while the media attacks its chosen targets.

When media outlets indulge their bizarre obsession with berating Israel with false accusations of apartheid and genocide this is not just an attack against Israel: it is an assault on objective truth, and it shows contempt for the rule of law. When media outlets pretend that terrorists are "freedom fighters" and that a democratic government lawfully fighting terrorists is committing war crimes this causes lasting harm; all of that energy misdirected toward delegitimizing Israel could have instead been focused on the depredations committed by Vladimir Putin during his reign of terror for years prior to his invasion of Ukraine.

Mideast history is often described in a biased, one-sided way, and it is often portrayed as complex, but the facts are not hard to research, and the facts contradict the narratives that are told by many media outlets. For example, it is easy to prove that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was not founded by or for Palestinian Arabs. Egyptian President Gamal Nasser, aided by the Soviet Union, created the PLO in Cairo, Egypt in 1964 not because he cared about Palestinian Arabs, but rather as a means to aggrandize and consolidate his power within the Arab world. Note that when the PLO was founded, Egypt controlled Gaza, and Jordan controlled Judea/Samaria (widely referred to as the "West Bank," a neologism intended to replace the ancient, Jewish names for these areas with a clumsy geographic term that does not accurately describe a river bank). What "Palestine" was the PLO created to "liberate" in 1964? Since Arab countries controlled Gaza, Judea, and Samaria when the PLO was founded, it is obvious that the PLO was created not to "liberate" "Palestine" but to destroy Israel. The PLO was financed by the Soviet Union, and worked closely with other terrorist organizations, including the IRA. The PLO has consistently partnered with the world's worst, most depraved tyrants; for example, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, Palestinian Arabs cheered and the PLO allied itself with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. 

Fast forward to today. Who supports the PLO now, and who does the PLO support? Many of the same bad actors are still connected decades after the PLO's founding: Russia (the successor state to the Soviet Union) supports Iran and Syria, and also provides funding to Palestinian Arab terrorist groups, including the PLO. President George W. Bush has been mocked for speaking of an "axis of evil," but he spoke the truth: there are evil governments and evil organizations that pose a critical threat to freedom and democracy.

When Amnesty International and self-proclaimed progressives falsely term Israel an apartheid state, media members have a responsibility to research and then report about the legal definition of apartheid, and then clarify why it is incorrect to hurl that accusation against Israel. Media members have a responsibility to research the true history of the PLO, and the PLO's connections to autocratic regimes and other terrorist organizations.

When the media attacks Israel it not only weakens the Mideast's lone bastion of freedom and democracy, but it cheapens the meaning of words like apartheid and genocide, and it takes the focus away from the evil governments and evil organizations that are fomenting terror and war. 

When you see the horrifying reports of Russian attacks and atrocities in Ukraine, never forget that far too many of the politicians and media members who could have stopped this tragedy from happening were instead focused on promulgating a vile antisemitic/anti-Zionist agenda. How much better off would everyone, including Ukrainians, be if the U.N., Amnesty International, and media organizations had not spent so much time, energy, and money targeting Israel with false allegations that are unsupported by any evidence?

We should not only cry for Ukraine and fight against Russia's invasion, but we must insist that our politicians, self-proclaimed human rights organizations, and media members focus their energies and efforts in more productive directions. I am not naive enough to believe that the answer to this article's title question is that Amnesty International and misguided media members will voluntarily mend their ways; we all must demand that organizations and individuals place the highest value on objective truth and the rule of law, and reject the notion that each person and group has an equally valid "personal" truth. Good and evil exist, and woe to us as a species if we are unwilling or unable to recognize the difference between the two.

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