Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's the Repression, Stupid

The Observer section of the Guardian website offers an innovative way to spin the weekend's story of violence in the West Bank. It starts just as you'd expect it to: Israel is shooting Palestinians, jeopardizing the cease fire and generally being its usual vicious self. Yes, there's a quick mention that the Israeli action in Nablus might be connected to the shooting of a settler, but the journalist races by that point in the fourth paragraph and never returns.

Then the fun begins. 14 of 20 paragraphs of the item report how Israel is clamping own on its own human rights organizations.

The shootings have come as Israeli human rights campaigners issued a stinging critique of how Israelis who opposed the war in Gaza have been treated by the state, claiming that they have been silenced, accused and vilified. In its annual report, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel states: "Instead of taking an honest look at its reflection, Israeli society and its institutions chose to smash the mirror."

I sometimes try to keep my language reasonable and civil. This line of argumentation, however, is so far beyond idiocy, that it can't be fudged. First, note that there's no news in the item: all the allegations are months old, and the threats of the politicians never led to any action, as any reasonable observer would have known in advance. Second, all these organizations (there are many dozens of them) have websites where they purvey their bile in English, even though the Israelis they're trying to educate prefer Hebrew; none of the websites is or has ever been censored in any way, nor could it be. Every one of these organizations can be found in the phone book (or its online version), and you can call them up, make an appointment and go visit them. They don't hide their addresses, as the Samizsdat publishers of the communist world once did. They routinely publish their opinions in the media. I can't think of a single arrest ever made of one of their members or staff, and certainly not of an indictment or court case. Of course not. No-one has ever been roughed up on a dark alley by thugs, nor been threatened by shady organizations with blurry lines to state organs. None of anything.

Instead, this tiny corner of Israeli society, perhaps two thousand people all told, busily churn out reams of reports and mountains of allegations about how awful we are, most of it in English, and enjoy an international exposure beyond any remotest relation to their size and more important, to the truth of what they say. After doing so for years (more than 30, in the case of ACRI, cited above), some politicians got peeved and sort of vaguely badmouthed some of them. Not nice, perhaps, but not a fraction of what they routinely dish out, either. This sent them into a paroxysm of narcissistic horror at the extent of their existential predicament as the last bastions of human decency in a society rapidly descending into bestial darkness.

The Guardian laps it up, predictably. Bahhh.


Alex Stein said...

What about the investigation of New Profile?

Anonymous said...

Invert Truth, Seek "debate," Obfuscate *)

always the same time proven tactic from the most minor office feuds up to genocide denials
... and it is lapped up by journalists because it makes for such easy almost automatical writing that is likely to generate tut-tutting at breakfast tables

German media (Bild, Spiegel) seem not to find it front-page-news-worthy - maybe they keep mum because our righteousness is in question right now because of the Kundus-story? and so they act in accordance with "wer im Glashaus sitzt, soll nicht mit Steinen werfen" (who sits in a glass house shouldn't throw stones)

*) quoted from here:


Yaacov said...

What about it, Alex?

AKUS said...

Yakov - Rachel Shabi is the daughter of Iraqi Jews who fled Iraq, couldn't make it in Israel, and emigrated to England, blaming Israel for the anti-Semitism that forced them to leave Iraq and for every other problem they faced ever since. She has been writing for the Guardian for a couple of years, and every article exposes her intense hatred and ignorance about the country, which, as with Seth Freedman, makes you wonder why she insists on staying there.

Before I was banned by the Guardian, I tore her pieces apart, exposing the bias and errors and sheer bloody ignorance she exhibits.

She trades on her role as a Mizrahi Jew (as if she has anything in common, having grown up in England, with Mizrachi jews who stayed in Israel), but actually knows nothing about them, their culture, or their successes in Israel. She always harps on the negatives.

In addition, she presents herself as a sort of Stalinist communist, ultra-left wing - another of the idiots that Guardian employs, like Seamus Milne, who dream of the glories of a communist state. She was convinced, for example, that the Black Panthers were resurgent and would win numerous seats in the Knesset - a theory based on class struggle and her weird belief that Mizrachi Jews will vote Communist .... what can I say?

NormanF said...

The anti-Israel NGOs do have Hebrew mirror sites but I bet their actual traffic in Israel is very low. Their English pages get far higher traffic and the bulk of their funding is foreign, not Israeli. That alone tells you the extent of their real popularity within Israel itself.