A Guide to the Perplexed on Middle East Reporting

Anti-Israel media bias

Anti-Israel media bias

After all the serious news that’s been dominating these pages for a long while, here’s a little levity (though it’s not as funny as we’d like to think) to lighten those long winter evenings, and to educate you at the same time. A two for one!  Via Honest Reporting. It was the name of the author that gave me the first inkling that this was to be an article with a difference.

This is a cross-post by Dr. Yasser Dasmabebi, reprinted with the permission of FrontPage Magazine.

I have come to realize just how difficult it may be to decipher news about the Middle East, Islam, Israel, the Arab World, and all these powerful and explosive issues of our times for those who rely on such media stalwarts as The New York TimesThe Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the major television networks, cable news, etc. for their information. For example, how is a person to ascertain whether the slayer of a family is a terrorist or a militant or a gunman or an assailant or an activist or a freedom-fighter?

So, purely as a public service, I have organized the following glossary of the most pertinent terms and expressions, as typically used in the above-mentioned news sources. I hope, insha’allah, the reader will find it helpful to unravel the Gordian Knot of language that is today’s (and yesterday’s and tomorrow’s) Middle East!

Dr. Yasser Dasmabebi holds the Edward Said-Noam Chomsky Linguistics Chair at Abdul Abulbul Amir University in Cairo.

*************

Aggression: Killing people who are trying to kill you.

Al Qaeda: the terrorist group that, according to American security sources, embodies the world-wide Islamist movement, and that is either “significantly degraded” or is still “extremely dangerous,” depending on which government official is doing the talking.

Apartheid:  The political/social system of the one and only country in the Middle East that integrates Jews, Beduins, Arabs, whites, blacks, Muslems, Ethiopians, Russians, Christians, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Bahai, et al.

“Apes & Pigs”: See “Jew” below.

Arab Emir: Military dictator.

Arab King: Military dictator.

Arab President: Military dictator.

Arab Prime Minister: Military dictator.

Arab Spring: Replacement of one dictatorship with another, with the help of Western money and media cheerleading.

Arab Street: Enraged mobs chanting and screaming their hatred, determined to annihilate Israel and the Jews. They can often be seen burning American and Israeli flags, passing out candies and firing guns into the air in response to successful murders of Westerners (closely related to):

Arab Humiliation: The pervasive feeling on the Arab street generated by their failure to annihilate Israel and the Jews in several wars. Many opinion-makers, Middle East experts and op-ed writers argue that Arab humiliation is at the root of the Middle East conflict; i.e., “If only the Jews would let themselves be destroyed, the Arab street would feel better about themselves, and then there would be peace.”

Ayatola: Persian dictator. Spiritual leader of that faith that desires to ignite nuclear holocaust in order to bring about the arrival of the Mahdi. (See “Mahdi” below.)

Bias: An expression of support for the existence of Israel.

Caliphate: The unification of lands ruled in the name of Islam, ruled by a Caliph. (See “Arab King,” “Arab President,” etc. above.)

Compromise: To give something palpable, such as land, in return for a promise not to keep on trying to annihilate you.

Developing Country: A country that is not developing.

Disproportionate Response: Winning.

Carry on reading all the way through to Z.  Enjoy! And try not to weep too, even though there is so much truth in these humorous definitions.

If you have any other bright suggestions for definitions, share them with us in the comments!

This entry was posted in Media and journalism, Mideast news and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to A Guide to the Perplexed on Middle East Reporting

  1. Prince says:

    You are really blind. You can not face truth and that’s why you labelled the discussion we had as stupid and close it. [Edited by admin. Antisemitic garbage here]. Anyway lets talk here, tell me, how is a country democratic when it has different laws for jews and non- jews?

    • cba says:

      A country that has different laws for Jews and non-Jews (or, to use another example, for Muslims and non-Muslims) isn’t democratic.

      Since Israel does NOT have different laws for Jews and non-Jews, that isn’t an issue. Is Israel perfect? No, of course not. But it’s as good as any other country in the world, even under challenging circumstances, and it’s a damned sight better than most.

      In contrast, look at the many Muslim countries that DO have different laws for Muslims and non-Muslims–and in some cases (Saudi Arabia springs to mind) doesn’t even allow non-Muslims to pray, let alone be citizens.

      • anneinpt says:

        Methinks the goodly Prince is not a prince at all but a troll, an anti-semitic one at that. He is not interested in learning from our arguments. He wants an argument for its own sake.

  2. Prince says:

    Now lets me give you my definitions in contrast of yours. I hope you can face this debate, atleast.

    Arab Street : Arabs walking in the street to overthrow their dictator, there’s nothing with israel for majority of ppl

    Arab Spring : Arabs walking in the street with nothing in relation with israel. Why you take all things against israel and jews?

    Arab Prime Minister,king,president etc :lol, all the dictators , i may agree, but all were working under your control, did not u find something to say then? We know all, if these ppl decide, there’s no israel. So think well and thanks your american masters to bribe these leaders and let u survive.

    Apartheid : A state with a wall separating the west bank and israel, after the zionist take its land and day after day they rob lands and houses of the palestinians, and even their battle and olive trees! What a country!

    Al Qaeda : An institution joining the Mossad , Mi5, CIA which has been created to taint the image of islam and to kill innocents for the protection of israel. An example is 9/11. The game is simple, kill americans and make em go fight in the ME, attention is shifted to the wars and the media ignore the case of the palestinians, result- more lands are rob, more palestinians imprisoned. Has Al Qaeda ever attack Israel? No! So i hope you get the picture now.

    Truth hurts, I AGREE, 4 yr case.
    Prince

    • anneinpt says:

      I thought you were going to write the same boring rubbish, but really, you’re great entertainment. Let me just correct your comments to make them more accurate:

      Arab Spring : Arabs walking in the street with nothing in relation with israel. Why you take all things against israel and jews?

      Arab Spring: Arabs rising up against their dictators. You have a reading comprehension problem. I never mentioned Israel in the article and neither did the original author. You are the one with an obsession here, not me.

      Arab Prime Minister,king,president etc :lol, all the dictators , i may agree, but all were working under your control, did not u find something to say then? We know all, if these ppl decide, there’s no israel. So think well and thanks your american masters to bribe these leaders and let u survive.

      Ah, of course! Those all-powerful Jews, who control the whole world, including its own enemies. Now seriously, how do you explain that? You make no sense. So the Jews or Israel control the dictators, but if they say so, “there’s no Israel”. Now either we control them or we don’t. So tell us, which is it?

      Apartheid : A state with a wall separating the west bank and israel, after the zionist take its land and day after day they rob lands and houses of the palestinians, and even their battle and olive trees! What a country!

      Right, the Zionists take so much land that they gave back the whole of Gaza, including synagogues, farms and greenhouses. Which the Muslim Hamas and their Palestinian supporters destroyed the very next day and turned Gaza into a terrorist enclave. And yes, the withdrawal from northern Samaria also equals Israel “taking away” land. And black is white, night is day and the sun rises in the west.

      Al Qaeda : An institution joining the Mossad , Mi5, CIA which has been created to taint the image of islam and to kill innocents for the protection of israel. An example is 9/11. The game is simple, kill americans and make em go fight in the ME, attention is shifted to the wars and the media ignore the case of the palestinians, result- more lands are rob, more palestinians imprisoned. Has Al Qaeda ever attack Israel? No! So i hope you get the picture now.

      Your conspiracy theory is so convoluted that you’ve given me a headache. You’ve now accused Israel of organizing and carrying out 9/11. And you claim that al Qaeda has never attacked Israel which a) no one knows for sure and b) I repeat that you have a reading comprehension disorder. I never mentioned Israel in the article.

  3. anneinpt says:

    So Prince Troll, now that you’ve proved that you can’t read a simple blog post without misunderstanding, you blame Israel for every ill in the world, you claim that the Jews control Arab governments, and that Zionists are liars, I hereby pronounce you my official Blog Troll™ and you are hereby pre-moderated. And if you carry on you’ll be banned. Take your bias and your stupidity elsewhere.

  4. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Tell you what, Prince, why don’t you follow this link:
    http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=363&year=2010
    to the Freedom House website, and click on all the countries in the region and see which ones are defined as “free”. Precisely one. Guess which it is? Right in one, Prince: Israel. Of all the others, only Lebanon even gets as high as “partly free”.

    I wonder why that is? But don’t answer that it’s an imperialist trick; or that it’s a western-biased and slanted set of criteria.

    If you don’t accept the facts, or claim that they aren’t facts, give us a detailed critique. I’m sure anne will post it , if you’re polite and do it properly. (And yes, I am being sarcastic.)

  5. Andrea says:

    If I can add my view there is another sad consideration . Give a look to South America or Africa : if you compare this map with a similar one dating back thirty years ago, you can see the progress : Chile, Argentina, Brazil and South Africa are now counted among free countries. Give a look to Middle East and North Africa now – not a step forward in thirty years.
    I know many Arabs ( muslims and christians ) aware of this poor result – they used to blame the “ziyonist aggression” for this in the past but now in the Internet era everyone can have access to information and most of them are looking for other reasons inherent to Arab societies.
    Yet anti-ziyonism ( and more often Judeophobia ) always pays like in Germany or Italy over the 30′s. Question is : have Arab countries necessary to follow Europe’s mistakes ?.Hunting imaginary ghosts – now the Jews, now the Copts now the Mandeans ? Wiill the Obscure Era finish or not ?
    Will them be fooled again over the years to come ?

    • anneinpt says:

      That’s a very interesting observation about how S. America and S. Africa have progressed compared to the Middle East.

      The corrupt Arab dictators find that Israel is a very convenient bogeyman for them. The masses have been brainwashed into deep antisemitism so that they are prepared to believe almost anything about the Jews or Israel, and the leaders use this bogeyman to unite the people against a common enemy and cover up their own corruption and totalitarianism, not to mention their inability to provide a decent living standard for their citizens.

      My question is why the Western media feels compelled to play along. Why don’t they expose the Arab leaders’ corruption? Why do they join in the Israel-bashing? They would help the Arab populations so much more if they exposed these double standards.

  6. Andrea says:

    My suspect is that many Western media tycoons have a lot of interests to share with Arab corrupted leaders ( just some names . Khaddafi in the recent past, families in Emirates now and many others ).
    A general statement says that Jews have control of Western press and media. I do not want to replace one bad image by another but I am convinced that National Oil Companies and Saudi financial intersts have their own weight in the matter you pointed out.
    Whilst writing I am wondering why some newspaper and media used to be reported as influenced by Jewish culture and intellectuals are now full of criticism toward Israel and in the same time never a word of criticism toward Arabs regimes of the Gulf came out from Arabs channels even based in UK …. to put it clearly where are the Arab versions of “New York Times”, “Haaretz” or some Jewish Occupy Wall Street leaders ?
    The point is stil there : Jewish culture leads minds towards self criticism and free thinking to the extent that it does not happen with traditional religious oriented Arab culture ( and certain Catholics and Protestant cultural backgroud to say all the truth. ). The Arab version of Freud or Marx has yet ages to wait and this does no make me really happy.

    • anneinpt says:

      Yes, the oil industry with all its branches and influence is definitely an interested party in Western politics and the media. That could go some way to explaining the bias against Israel. And yet – the oil industry has existed for decades, and until 1967 most of the media was pro-Israel. It was only since 1967, and even more so after 1973, that western liberals turned against Israel. I think it’s at least as much a matter of the human rights “industry” as the influence of the oil lobby.

      to put it clearly where are the Arab versions of “New York Times”, “Haaretz”

      Excellent point! On the same subject, where are the Arab versions of Peace Now?

      or some Jewish Occupy Wall Street leaders ?

      I think that the OWS does have some Jewish leaders, but they are of the extreme liberal left persuasion, so I’m not quite sure this proves your point. :-)

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