Monday, May 23, 2022

Western Media Organizations Promote Anti-Israel Propaganda

It still has not been definitively determined who killed antisemitic journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but in an opinion piece titled How Western dupes help propagate murderous Palestinian lies, Melanie Phillips makes some important observations about how the investigation has been handled: 

...any fair-minded person would say the Israelis are more likely to be telling the truth. They said that having gone into Jenin to root out terrorists responsible for a recent wave of murderous attacks, their forces had come under "substantial fire." After studying what evidence they had, it looked as if Abu Akleh had been felled by a Palestinian bullet.

This was because, in a video from the scene, Arabs are heard shouting: "We hit a soldier; he is lying on the ground." Since no Israeli soldier had been hurt, however, the suspicion was that this was Abu Akleh.

Moreover, Honest Reporting's translated commentary on this video contains another crucial line. After the shouts about a soldier on the ground, there’s a further shout: "It's a woman."

Hamas, which immediately removed her body, rejected Israel's suggestion of a joint investigation to establish who did kill her and are refusing to hand over the bullet they removed from her body while insisting that the Israelis fired the fatal shot.

By contrast, the Israelis have made no assertions they can't back up. They have pointed out the obvious fact that the truth can't be established unless Hamas operatives bring forward relevant evidence. The fact that they are refusing to co-operate suggests that they have something to hide.

In a court of law, the burden of proof is on the prosecution, not the defense. Journalists would be well-advised to apply a similar standard. In other words, the Israelis (or anyone else being accused) are innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent. Moreover, journalists should give more weight to information from credible sources than from unreliable sources--and a democratic country is a more reliable source than a terrorist organization. Here, when the democratic country (Israel) has been open and transparent while the terrorist organization (Hamas) has suppressed information and hindered the investigation, it is clear that media organizations should assign more credibility to what the democratic country says than what the terrorist organization says.

Unfortunately, Western media organizations consistently display blind trust in terrorist organizations while simultaneously displaying tremendous (and unwarranted) skepticism regarding Israel. Phillips cites several specific examples, including a falsely reported 2000 incident that is still used by anti-Israel propagandists:

In 2000, French TV footage purported to show 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura dying under a hail of Israeli bullets in the "West Bank." In fact, the TV station had edited out of the footage a section in which the boy--who had been declared dead a few moments earlier--could be clearly seen alive and moving.

Yet the image of that child clinging to his father moments before he "died" was used as the iconic recruiting sergeant for countless acts of murder perpetrated against Israelis, Diaspora Jews and Westerners.

Meanwhile, Jenin itself was the scene of the infamous blood libel in 2002 when the western media recycled wild Palestinian claims that the Israelis had committed a cold-blooded massacre of thousands of Palestinian Arabs.

Phillips cites a more recent example as well:

Through such gullibility, ignorance or malevolence, the Western media have turned themselves into accomplices of a diabolical agenda.

This is again on display in Eleven Days in May, a new movie about last year’s "Operation Guardian of the Walls" in the Gaza Strip when Israel bombed the Hamas terrorist infrastructure to stop the rocket attacks aimed at killing Israeli civilians.

The fact was that the 11-day Israeli bombardment of Gaza, deploying a volume of munitions so large that in the hands of any other army it would have left an enormous toll of dead civilians, killed hardly any at all. The barrage produced a vastly smaller proportion of dead civilians to combatants than has ever been achieved by American, British or any other armed forces.

According to Israel's Meir Amit Terrorism and Information Centre, 234 Gazans had been killed--nearly half of whom were Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad combatants. Of the 95 killed who had no terrorist affiliation, 52 were children--nine of whom were killed by Hamas's own rockets falling short.

Yet Eleven Days in May, narrated by Kate Winslet and directed by Gaza-based filmmaker Mohammed Sawwaf and the British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom, features heart-wrenching interviews with the families of the dead children. These interviews are grossly decontextualized to constitute a manipulative Hamas propaganda film aimed at demonizing Israel.

While the media organizations that shamelessly promote lies deserve the bulk of the blame for their misconduct, Israel could and should do a lot more to correct inaccuracies that are asserted about her and her policies. Shimon Peres once asserted that as long as Israel has good policies she does not need public relations, and that if Israel has bad policies then public relations will not help. It is doubtful that a single country, business, or public official conducts their affairs based on such asinine thinking. That kind of "logic" is one example of why Moshe Sharett, Israel's second Prime Minister, once said that he would "rend my clothes in mourning for the State if he (Peres) becomes a minister in the Israeli government." Peres eventually served in several ministerial positions--including Prime Minister--and his failure to comprehend the importance of not just having good policies but explaining those policies is a flaw shared by many in Israel. Israel does not fight vigorously enough against the false narratives about her, and those false narratives have consequently become accepted truth for far too many people.

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