How not to report on Israel (and how it can be done correctly)

Mideast reporting

Middle East Reporting

Most of us are aware that much of the international mass media (and I include English Haaretz in this as they are considered the Israeli edition of the Guardian)  simply do not “get” Israel.  They either misunderstand, misrepresent or blatantly lie, depending on how deep their prejudices are buried.  If they do understand Israel and its hyper-democracy, they blatantly ignore Israel’s good standing and concentrate microscopically on Israel’s perceived faults.  There is one “Tzaddik be’Sdom” (a righteous person in Sdom) which I will come to later.

A series of articles in recent days on various blogs and sites bring this media bias into sharp relief.

We start with the famous “boycott law” which has caused such a ruckus worldwide, including and especially in Israel. CiFWatch rips apart the Guardian and Haaretz in one incisive article:

The sub-headline, in the Ha’aretz editorial critical of the anti-BDS legislation, which Greenslade approvingly references, accuses the bill’s supporters of attempting to “liquidate democracy” and, later in the essay, warns that “very soon, all political debate [in Israel] will be silenced.”

This last passage is indicative of why the radical Israeli left is so marginal: They have all lost grip on reality, as have their ideological fellow travelers in the U.S. and Europe who all too readily parrot the most hateful and bizarre accusations against the democratic West.  It’s never enough to simply criticize or refute, they must impute the most sinister values and malicious intentions to their more conservative political opponents.

Daniel Goldstein of the IDC’s Gloria Center provides us with a Mideast Media Sampler where he similarly attacks the New York Times’ coverage of the boycott bill. He covers a number of other Israel-related issues, such as the defensive Separation Wall and refugees. It makes for interesting if depressing reading.

Jonathan Tobin in Commentary Magazine blasts the New York Times for their inanity in reporting on the latest social protests against rising prices in Israel in his item: “The most foolish story about Israel ever published in the NY Times”.

It is an old cliché that for journalists history is what happened the day before yesterday. Ancient history is what happened last week. No better example of this axiom can be found than in today’s New York Times story about various protests going on in Israel. The conceit of Ethan Bronner’s feature is that the wave of protest movements that spread across the Arab world this year has had some influence on the Jewish state. According to Bronner, Israelis have been inspired by their counterparts in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria to demonstrate against their government’s economic policies.

The foolishness and sheer ignorance of the country’s history of protest movements is staggering. Not only is there no analogy or even the faintest connection between Arab efforts to overthrow authoritarian tyrants, the idea Israelis needed Arab inspiration to generate protests against the government of the day is simply absurd.

…While the Times has run many far more damaging and fundamentally misleading articles about Israel, I doubt they’ve ever published a piece as foolish as this one.

We now move on to the latest antisemitic, oops, I mean anti-Israel conspiracy theory: the one where a little local New Zealand newspaper reported that one of the Israelis killed in the devastating earthquake in Christchurch a few months ago was … yes, you guessed it …  a Mossad agent!  The news conspiracy theory has been spun out of all proportion despite denials from Israel (“well, they would deny it, wouldn’t they?”) and New Zealand’s own Prime Minister John Key (“well, he would deny it, wouldn’t he? He’s Jewish”).

Kiwi conspiracy

Kiwi conspiracy

Honest Reporting gives us a comprehensive list of all the news outlets reporting and editorializing on this issue.

As for the story itself, it follows a long line of conspiracy theories ranging from the hateful accusations of Mossad involvement in the 9/11 atrocities to the downright absurd Mossad sharks, vultures and any number of highly trained animals serving Israel’s nefarious aims.

According to New Zealand’s Southland Times, the response of the Israeli government was suspicious following the Christchurch earthquake and the deaths and evacuations of Israeli citizens. Despite the paper making the original allegations, at least the Southland Times updated the story under the headline: “Investigation cleared Israelis of spy claims: PM”. Contrast this with some of the other sensationalist headlines which deliberately leave the story open to interpretation:

Read the rest. It’s too long an article to quote but I really recommend you read the whole thing.  It’s highly entertaining in a sick sort of way.  If it weren’t so outrageous it would be hilarious.

Tim Marshall

Tim Marshall of Sky News

And now we arrive at the Tzaddik BeSdom that I mentioned at the beginning of the article.   Sky News’ Tim Marshall has a blog (which is good reading in my humble opinion) in which he shows that it is possible to report accurately and fairly on Israel and Gaza if the will is there.   In his blog post entitled “Palestine: Occupation Incorporated” he addresses the subject of the huge amount of aid that the Palestinians receive, well above the amount of aid received by any other country, even those in much more dire need of aid than them

The Palestinian Authority likes to boast about the West Bank’ s 8% economic growth, so does the Israeli government, which uses it to suggest that a prosperous Palestine would make an easier negotiating partner. They also know the Palestinians have more lose if a 3rd Intifada breaks out.

What they fail to remind us is that there are well over 200 NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza, and 30% of the GDP here comes from international aid. Palestinians are among the most foreign aid funded people in the world and the place is awash with money.

This underlying economic problem is further complicated by the fact that UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees stipulates that not only are the Palestinians who fled their homes in 1948 refugees, but so are their sons and daughters grandsons and granddaughters, great grandsons and granddaughters and so on into the future. In Palestine many people are born refugees. There are people who have a vested interest in this continuing. In 1950 there were 750,000 Palestinians in the Middle East, now there are 4.8 million. UNWRA is considered a ‘temporary agency’.

Even if the Palestinians declare full statehood in September they would not be truly independent, not only because of the continuing Israeli occupation, checkpoints, lack of freedom of movement of goods etc, but also because Palestine is addicted to aid and as long as you are addicted you are in thrall to your supplier.

The billions that pour in here mean the Palestinian Authority does not need to try very hard to deliver the services expected by voters, it also stifles the private sector, inflates wages and causes an internal ‘brain drain’.

You can read more about the vast amount of aid received by the Palestinians in detail at Elder of Ziyon.

In a little remark Marshall also discloses how biased media reporting, as shown in my other stories above, aid and abet this situation.

“Palestine is the best-kept secret in the aid industry,” a medical NGO worker recently told This Week In Palestine, “People need field experience and Palestine sounds cool and dangerous because it can be described as a war zone, but in reality it’s quite safeand has all the comforts that internationals want’.

He should tell that to the flotilla fools.

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4 Responses to How not to report on Israel (and how it can be done correctly)

  1. RealRightWinger says:

    Actually, there is another tzaddik out there. Glenn Beck – gives a true picture of what is going on. Too bad the leftists try to drown him out with all the conspiracy theories and the rest

  2. Mweya says:

    So ,everyone else out there is wrong and Marshall is right? There is no right reporting on anything.There are reports and the general public looks for the truth amongst all the lies from both sides,surely? Champion any one person and they automatically appear biased.

    • anneinpt says:

      Mweya, it appears you didn’t read or didn’t comprehend my article in full. I didn’t say that Marshall is right and everyone else is wrong. What I did do was point out how so many mainstream media outlets are guilty of lazy if not biased reporting on Israel, and how the Middle East journalists are so uneducated and ignorant of basic Israeli history and current Israeli events.

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