Sunday, August 10, 2008

Anti-Israel Media Bias and Mahmoud Darwish

I don't know if you've ever heard of the subject of anti-Israel media bias. If not, you should go check out www.honestreporting.com for an insight into what it's all about. I spent the summer of 2005 as a research intern at The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where I worked on anti-Israel media bias in the post-Holocaust anti-semitism department (a lot of hyphens, right?). I essentially was working under the chairman's direction, as this is his main field of expertise.

Anti-Israel media bias is really quite disturbing. In a sentence, this form of bias is whereby main media outlets cover Israeli news stories with an anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian perspective. For example, when reporting on a suicide attack inside Israel by a Palestinian, they would 'blame the victims,' essentially saying that Israel brought the attack on itself by 'oppressing' the Palestinian people. Stuff like that.

Now, I don't want to go into a whole big discussion about this topic. It's really quite sickening, considering it's the most pervasive media bias in the world, and just about every single outlet is guilty of it - BBC, AP, Reuters, NYTimes, CNN, AFP (French), and so on. If you want to learn more about it, just get a feel for what I'm talking about and how really ridiculously outlandish and bold this bias can be, check out CAMERA, an organization devoted to challenging media outlets to provide accurate, undistorted coverage in the Middle East and Israel.

So, what I wanted to point out was a nice little article found on CNN's website today. Typical with anti-Israel media bias, the Palestinian/Arab/non-Jew is portrayed as the hero, while Israel is the villain to his heroism. Here's the first sentence of the article:

"Mahmoud Darwish, whose prose gave voice to the Palestinian experience of exile, occupation and infighting, died Saturday in Houston, Texas."

That may not sound too bad to those of you who haven't really thought about this before, but let me explain to you what tone that sets. That just told the reader that Israel is an occupier, oppressor, and exiler of a people. Fine, that may be your opinion, but opinion has no place in a mainstream news outlet.

CNN spends about 75% of the article praising Darwish's evocation of the Palestinian plight and national struggle. CNN speaks of how certain poems of Darwish gave voice to the struggles of the Palestinians, such as the implied humiliation of having to carry identity cards. Problem is, everyone in Israel carries an ID card - Jew and non-Jew alike. Finally, they even discuss his crafting of the Palestinian declaration of independence, a document read by Yasser Arafat. Let's take a look at a line from the declaration:

"The intifada has set siege to the mind of official Israel, which has for too long relied exclusively upon myth and terror to deny Palestinian existence altogether."

Wow. Israeli terror? Let's take a look at this intifada that Darwish, the CNN hero, has praised so highly. (WARNING: graphic image)




I hate to go to that level, but when CNN essentially praises Darwish and his representation of the Palestinian 'struggle,' I feel I need to say a word or two about what that struggle actually is. I'm not saying Darwish was some kind of a terrorist, but he sure as hell supported the martyrs and terror of the intifada - at least from his own words. This is the guy that the media outlets are hailing as the appropriate voice of the people.

Yeah, CNN, Mahmoud Darwish was some kind of guy.

I won't even get started on the Reuters article. Reuters is, easily, the most unabashedly anti-Israel media stringer in the world. Sometimes I just read their articles for fun, just for a laugh!

I think I'll leave this post off with some of Mahmoud Darwish's profound words on peace and coexistance between Jews and Arabs:

"Live wherever you like, but don't live among us. Die wherever you like, but don't die among us."

Truly hero's words...

20 comments:

Ben-Yehudah said...

B"H

If people are concerned about anti Israel media bias, then they need to go farther:

There is no such thing as "palestine."

It's one of the biggest shams pulled off in the 20th Century.

Anonymous said...

what about the three oaths Hashem had us take? it's a pretty serious thing. if people cared about Jewish life they would not be zionists

Danny Brothers said...

What three oaths are those? Because Hashem certainly gave us a command to live in Eretz Yisrael, which is zionism.

Ben-Yehudah said...

1. "Zionism" is simply part of the Torah AND it's not running around fighting for "settlements" without being concerned with all other misswoth like tzni'uth.

2. The "three oaths" in Mesecheth Ketubboth (111a) are aggadatah. The Hungarians (ie Satmar) were more antiZionist than more ashkinazim, as the were threatened by incursions by the so called reform movement and maskilim. They had no choice but to insulate their communities. Since Zionists were often secular and communist, that put Zioninsm as a whole on the black list. Some other areas of Europe didn't have that problem. Over time, not over night, the "halacha" was interpreted according to hashqafah (POV). This is not the correct way to determine halacha. Agadatah doesn't cancel out misswoth mid"Oraita.

3. Even so, the three oaths were agreements with HaShem as to how to interact with the goyim. The goyim violated their parts of the bargain, so the contracts are null and void al pi halacha, even if they were relevant to begin with.

I suggest you read Em HaBanim Smeicha, written by Rav Teichel HY"D. He was a Hungarian who came to the conclusion that we had to make aliyah. He wrote the book in hiding during the holocaust. He answers all of the "Haredi arguments" w/o even mentioning Rav Kook, etc.

It had great difficulty gettting published in Israel, as you can imagine.

Rafael said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. It's not something difficult to notice, even living in a far away country.

Anonymous said...

So the whole world is biased against Israel. There is one common factor: you. You don't think it might be your own bias?

Honest Reporting, indeed. That title is a bit like Bushs' 'Clean Air Bill'. They call themselves honest, but they are a lobby group for Israel.

Danny Brothers said...

I hear you, anonymous poster. I myself am biased towards Israel. You want to know what the difference is? I'm not a Reuters journalist with a degree from some top school and have taken an oath to report the news without their bias. I would not be a good reporter on Israel news for a non-biased newspaper or stringer. I could write for the Jerusalem Post, but I don't think the Washington Post would want me to write on Middle East news.

But, just because I'm biased for Israel doesn't mean that the media I mentioned isn't biased against Israel.

Here's a link, and next time bring a little more juice to your argument. People like to come on here and try to give these little one liners about this or that. Bring it on. I've got all day.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-gross031403.asp

Anonymous said...

"You don't think it might be your own bias?"

That's right: the Jews are to blame for antisemitism. Thanks for clarifying this.

Danny Brothers said...

Yeah, thanks Anonymous #2 for clarifying what Anon #1 even said. I tend to not pick up on idiotic comments, so the implication that we are in some way responsible for anti-semitism went over my head.

I guess Anon #1 would say we are even more to blame considering how Jews control the media, right?

Dom said...

I laughed all the time while reading this article, which is so biased itself that it is ironic. I sincerely thought this was a humorous blog at first. Maybe anti-Israel bias sometimes appear (very rarely) in mainstream news, but anti-Arab and anti-Islamic bias is streaming through conventional news on a daily basis. Almost all news coming from the Middle East are biased, and more than 90% are anti-Arab. The best example of this is the existence of the word 'terrorist', that is applied indiscriminately to every opponent to the oppressive regime of Israel (by the way, saying this regime is oppressive is not biased, it's even an euphemism, it's easy to prove by facts, just look at the death count for the two sides). All 'terrorist'(arab/palestinian) attacks are reported by using melodramatic vocabulary, to instill a sense of revolt against the so-called 'terrorists' in the reader's mind. On the other side, when the almighty Tsahal replies with disproportionate force to the first offense, killing many more people (bombs are more deadly than bulldozers), the media says it's only self-defence, and that Arab civilian casualties are 'errors' (whilst Arab people killing Israeli civilians are rightly called innocent murderers).

Danny Brothers said...

Dom, thanks for your comment. I hope I didn't lose your readership.

I do have to disagree with you. In fact, while reading your comment my face could be described only as exhibiting the thought: "WHAT?! Are you kidding?"

I just want to refer to one thing that you said, namely that the mainstream media uses anti-Arab rhetoric in nearly all (90%) of its publications. That is a blatant untruth - and I would say lie, but I doubt you are lying on purpose, so that's not fair.

A keypoint in identifying anti-Israeli media bias, which is in fact more around your 90% figure, is the very thing you bring up, the use of the word terrorist. As I pointed out in my most recent post on the Western coverage of the BMW East Jerusalem attacker (Sep 23, 2008), certain mainstream sources didn't even use terminology in their headlines to show that it was an attack - it sounded like an accident according to their language. When the word attack was used, it was placed in quotations, as well as the word terrorist.

Terrorist, that word... it's funny you bring that up. That is the #1 complaint of the pro-Israel world against mainstream media, that they refuse to use it. The only time it is used is when it comes from the mouth of an Israeli, and they quote that person.

Here's a gem from the BBC's Gaza correspondent: All this calls to mind the words of BBC's Gaza correspondent in Gaza, Fayad Abu Shamala, who told a Hamas rally on May 6, 2001: "Journalists and media organizations [are] waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people."

Here are some things to read:

http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/Documenting_BBC_Documentaries.asp

http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/mediaobjectivity/Reuters_Overshadowing_Bias.asp

And though I don't want to promote his own rhetoric, here is a good example of how media bias terminology and language is ALWAYS anti-Israel and not anti-Arab:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/03/deconstructing_antiisrael_bias.html




Dom, please show me one example from Reuters, AP, BBC, or any other major news outlets that have anti-Arab bias. PLEASE! Can anybody in the world do that? NO, but I would very much like to see it.

Dom said...

I've read the links that you supplied in your last reply, but uising 1 sentence excerpts from selected articles can't convince anybody of an 'over-shadowing' bias.

Coming back to the word 'terrorist', I think that it's great that some journalists refuse to use that word blindly over all Arab resistants. For example, when Israel bombed the crap out of Lebanon in 2006, were these attacks labeled as terrorist attacks? Damn no, but still, they killed innocent people most often then not. But you can't charge bombs with murder. This double-standard exists because Israel has a 'legitimate' army to protect them, while neighbouring countries can only rely on civilian militia for defense, for they have no army able of competing with the almighty Tsahal.

I'm not excusing the horrific acts committed by the Arab side, I'm just saying time for equality has come, Arab lives are as valuable as Israeli lives, period.

As for the bias, you also have to consider that most of the world's population get their information from local news networks. If we take the example of the US, that means 1/4 of the time: FOX. If you ever watched that network, you know what anti-Arab bias is, and it has much more effect on public opinion than Reuters, BBC or AFP.

Danny Brothers said...

Dom - the only thing you're right about is that Fox News is ridiculous. Whenever I talk about them, I put "News" in quotations. They aren't really a news channel. So, I give you that..

However, you're incorrect in saying that Fox has more of an affect on people than the stringers like Reuters and AP. Reuters and AP are THE ONLY SOURCE for local media outlet's foreign coverage. They provide the word to local news outlets that don't have foreign correspondents. That's the entire point of Reuters and AP and all other stringers.

So, when a stringer service uses blatant anti-Israel bias, it gets plastered everywhere.

Dom said...

I'm not gonna continue arguing with you on the issue of Reuters, AFP and BBC. Those news outlets, include in their ranks the most experienced journalists (especially for the BBC). Also, considering that most Western governments are openly pro-Israel(I should say pro-Zionism, in the expansionnist sense), and most occidental economic sectors are pro-Israel too(mainly because of their envy and greed motivated by the richness of Arab nations), they have no interest in expressing anti-Israel bias, because you and I know that it's very easy to cry out at suspected anti-semitism these days, and this label ruins lives by thousands.

Coming back to your post, I visited the website you proposed (www.honestreporting.com). It astonished me right on the first glance, mainly because of a claim made in a video (appearing on the first page) that Irak was making WMDs. That has been proven to be false so many times that it's not funny. And still, they continue claiming Iran is doing it too, without any proof. That isn't 'honest' reporting at all.

You see anti-Israel bias where there is only fair and accurate information, but I do not blame you , because you live in a country where the media actively tries to brainwashing the population and orienting their thoughts by using precise words and arbitrary 'moral' judgements, in a certain version of the truth. That is true in North America, and also in Israel. Things are changing though, and we must thank the Internet for that, for allowing the challenging of government manufactured history.

The certain words I am refering to include, you knew it, the word terrorist. The IDF and the Mossad, with the implicit authorization of the different Israeli governements during time, have a long history of using terrorist tactics to attain strategical gains. Going back to the King David Hotel bombing in 1946, there's a long history of false flag attacks that have been proven (but forgotten for the most part), and attacks which have been labeled as errors. Remember the USS Liberty(proven to be a deliberate attack), the Lavon affair, the massacre of 1000 Egyptian disarmed prisoners of war, and the German scientists killed by secret Mossad agents for cooperating with Arab countries. The Mossad and the IDF have taught terrorism to the Arabs, and now, evidently, it backlashes at them, and in my opinion, they still use it to counter Arab terrorism, considering most of the Israeli terrorists who have committed these monstrous acts during the 40s extending to the 80s now occupy high levels of the Israeli government establishment: Netanyahu, Sharon, Peres, etc. This year again, they were commemorating the King David Hotel bombing, and I should say that they were CELEBRATING it.

Danny Brothers said...

Besides wanting to clarify for you that I do not live in a country where the media brainwashes us, considering Israel has an entirely free, non state-run media, and especially considering that Israel has very popular newspapers on every inch of the political spectrum (from racism to self-hatred), for the past 8 years I've read newspapers from England, America, France, Canada, Germany, Israel, AND Al Jazeera. I am in no way brainwashed.

And I agree, I think you're wrong and blind, you think I'm wrong and blind, so I don't feel like continuing this discussion. But please, continue commenting and I'll post your comments.

Anonymous said...

There is one thing I'd like to clarify though, do you acknowledge that the actual Likud party (which has led or been part of the Israeli government continually since 1977), and before that the Herut party, are offshoots of the Irgun, an established Jewish Zionist militant organization, that launched terror attacks against Western citizens for strategical means?

Danny Brothers said...

Before I answer that, how about you give me the terrorist acts you are talking about. I say that because I hear you, and I have an answer, but the way you asked is highly misleading to anyone unfamiliar with the situation.

Dom said...

First example: Deir Yassin 1948, a small village decimated by the Irgun, an act clearly aimed at depopulating the areas surrounding Jerusalem of their Arab inhabitants. Second example: King David Hotel bombing, in July 1946, executed by the Irgun(then led by Menachem Begin), that killed 91 people and wounded about 45, mostly employees of the hotel or of the British diplomatic mission that had it's headquarters there. For the King David Hotel, it is often said that warnings were issued 15 minutes before the explosion, but these warnings were given to persons that had no power of ordering an evacuation.

There are other examples of this, as there are examples of terrorism executed by the IDF, as the attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, that killed 25 servicemen and injured many more. It happened even though the aicrafts attacking it positively identified it as a US ship, because it had a huge US flag flying over it. More recently, there has been the 25 July 2006 attack on a UNIFIL base near Khiam, in southern Lebanon, that killed four UNTSO observers, this base was shelled 14 times even though the personnel inside issued 7 warning calls to the IDF, each time getting an answer that the attack would stop. Either the IDF did both those for evident strategical gains, or they really suck as an army, and commit fatal errors daily, and still to this day. With the incredible amount of technology given to them by the US army, I strongly doubt that they can make so much errors.

The point I'm trying to put across, is that the West has lost it's neutrality in this conflict, and this is largely caused by false flags attacks and terrorism secretly orchestrated by secular Zionist politicians with no moral compass whatsoever.

Danny Brothers said...

Ah, Dom, thank you for saying what you REALLY mean: "terrorism secretly orchestrated by secular Zionist politicians..."

I do have what I consider very cogent, clear, comprehensive answers to your objections to the Irgun and IDF, but I know that they will fall on deaf ears, and more importantly, from what you said about the 'secret Zionists' apparently controlling the West, I know that I am only fueling your anti-Semitic fire.

Thank you for saving me the page or two I would have written. I will not publish any more of your comments along these lines.

Anonymous said...

It has gotten to the point that I have stopped reading MSM news articles dealing with Israel-Arab attacks. It invariably ends up as [i][b]"XX number of inncent Palestinians were KILLED yesterday by elite Israeli military forces. XX number of the poor, defensless Palestinian victims were children, XX of them under the age of 5. Israel 'claims' that the attck was in response to a missile attack from the location which they 'say' occurred earlier that day. The 'alleged' missile attack may or may not have injured an unspecified number of people. Israel 'claims' that the Israeli victims were innocent bystanders, and were not a military target, but that has not been confirmed."[/i][/b]