on balance

carlos latuff's "gaza ghetto"

a good exercise in media distortion, especially with respect to zionist propaganda, can be seen in a piece published today in ynet. the piece is about the christmas carols about israeli apartheid in palestine that were created and sung this christmas in london:

Several British NGOs are manipulating Christmas and its religious symbols, in order to promote an anti-Israel political agenda, Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor revealed in a new report.

Prominent groups, such as War on Want and Christian Aid have exploited holiday sentiment through highly politicized Christmas cards, carols and charity fundraising, to condemn Israeli responses to terror in a distinctly unbalanced manner, the group noted.

In November, an ‘alternative carol service’ was held at the prominent Anglican St James church in Piccadilly, London. The event was strongly condemned by Christian and Jewish community leaders, as traditional lyrics were crudely altered to bluntly make a political statement.

Alternative lyrics for the “Twelve Days of Christmas” included: “Twelve assassinations, Eleven homes demolished, Ten wells obstructed, Nine sniper towers…And an uprooted olive tree.” Numerous NGOs participated in the event, at which War on Want was an official supporter.

Both War on Want and a group called the Amos Trust are marketing Christmas cards highly critical of the security barrier, which promote a dangerous association between Jesus and Palestinian suffering, NGO monitor wrote.

A War on Want card shows Mary and Joseph encountering a Bethlehem that is “effectively sealed off from the outside world by Israel’s Separation Wall” and “Mary and Joseph being frisked on their way to find an inn for the night.”

Amos Trust advertised similar cards, NGO monitor reported, and encouraged the public to use their “Wall Nativity” scene which comes with a prayer guide and “complete with separation wall (that) depicts the current situation in Bethlehem.”

(note: i posted the card they mentioned on christmas day if you want to see it.) i wrote about these carols after seeing a piece about them on cnn on kabobfest a few weeks ago. interestingly, what this israeli reporter doesn’t reveal is that it is a jewish british woman who wrote the lyrics to these songs. while i am unable to post cnn videos on wordpress, you can go to cnn’s website to see the video yourself. the cnn piece is biased too, of course. you need to listen to the language the journalist uses to understand. but deborah fink, the jewish women who wrote these songs, does not use such biased rhetoric when she is interviewed in the interview. she says “what’s the point of singing about what happened 2,000 years ago when it is completely different now.” then we hear some of the other lyrics (not contained in the ynet piece above) from “the twelve days of christmas”:

“five settlement rings,
four falling bombs,
three trench guns,
two trampled doves,
and an uprooted olive tree”

the cnn journalist, atika shubert, doesn’t offer any commentary and who else she decides to include in this story, as well as the sort of language she uses indicates her bias. she tells us, “it’s not just words that are courting controversy, it’s the location. these beautiful acoustics are courtesy of the saint james church in london.” she tells us that this church in picadilly has a history of courting controversy, especially for “christians supporting israel.” she interviews a man named geoffrey smith who is a part of an organization called “christians for israel” who says, “what is shocking to me is that it is being parodied to make a political point in a church against israel. the parody is to convey the reverse of truth. it is to try and label israel as an apartheid state.” totally whack. of course, this journalist doesn’t question or critique the flagrant violation of truth in his statement–particularly that last line. but the clip cuts to fink’s second song and the lyrics are:

“once in royal david’s city
stood a big apartheid wall
people entering and leaving
had to pass a checkpoint hall”

shubert then tells us, “the words of the revised version of ‘royal david’s city’ attacks the security barrier israel has erected around bethlehem. the concrete wall is designed to prevent palestinian militant attacks in nearby jerusalem. the number of attacks has dropped dramatically since the wall was built, but it has also choked off business in this ancient city and isolated many residents into concrete enclaves.” as she narrates this, we see images of the 25 foot tall apartheid wall and of israeli bulldozers demolishing palestinian homes, israeli terrorist forces’ (itf) sniper towers. but she says nothing of the peoples’ lives in bantustans (not “enclaves”) because of course that would conjure up apartheid and undo her mistaken belief that she is providing us with a “balanced” point of view. no discussion of the resistance fighters right to resist or what they might be needing to resist (and of course she calls them “militants”). no discussion of nightly raids and invasions and kidnappings all across palestine, including bethlehem. though some of the images she shows us certainly provide a critique, i would hope, for the careful observer.

and a brief intermission here given that the subject of an uprooted olive tree was mentioned in the lyrics of some particularly horrifying news (thanks rami) :

A century-old olive tree from Walid Joumblatt, chairman of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party, was transplanted to the Israeli embassy compound in Washington.

okay now back to regularly scheduled programming… for another example of so-called balance i am often annoyed when press tv or al jazeera includes “both sides” of the story on palestine or iraq as if there is more than one side to these stories. but it is also infuriating because most of the time the news presenters do not moderate the discussion and the raving zionist gets to silence the palestinian speaker. but yesterday was a bit of nice surprise on “inside story.” imran garda’s amazing questions that he posed to his three guests–functioned to cut to the chase in his interviews (highlights below) on the subject of gaza:

now for my commentary. the men interviewed on the program were: efraim inbar, professor of political science at bar ilan university and former israeli paratrooper (note: one of the hundreds of reasons for the academic boycott of israel); abdullah al ashaal, professor of international law at the american university in cairo and a former assistant to the egyptian former minister; mustafa barghouthi, general director of the palestinian national initiative and former palestinian minister of information. i’m highlighting key points of the interview from garda, particularly to suggest what all interviewers should do when confronted with the prospect of having to interview zionists.

garda begins with questioning inbar asking in his second question after inbar suggests that attacking gaza represents the general public opinion of the zionist regime, “what about the fact that there is collective punishment and a siege of 1.6 million people in gaza? has that not created the conditions that have led to rocket attacks on southern israel?” of course the delusional zionist thinks that the israeli terrorist forces “left” gaza in 2005 and that hamas was democratically elected, but nevertheless the suffering there is related to any society that goes to war. but garda interrupts him and says, “sorry, that’s a very interesting thing you said there: because it sounds very similar to what osama bin laden says. he says the united states elected their leadership, they do bad things in the middle east so therefore civilians are fare game. it sounds to me a similar type of ideology.” of course inbar can’t handle the analogy and tries to pretend like the comparison should be between bin laden and hamas. i think he didn’t understand because he’s so wrapped up in his own false ideology. inbar is so psychotic that he actually responds that the people of gaza are to blame because “they had the opportunity to turn gaza into a singapore, into a hong kong.” and then he says “if they suffer, too bad.” of course, barghouti comes back and corrects all of inbar’s lies.

after barghouti finishes his lovely, succinct rebuttal, garda asks al ashaal a question about egypt’s role in the situation: “egypt has been mediating. egypt brokered that 6 month truce which has recently expired. what would you make of those who say egypt is more a party to the conflict rather than a mediator?” al ashaal denies that it is a party to the conflict, but he does make some very crucial statements that we hear far too rarely from egypt in the english-language media: “it is not neutral in this conflict because egypt is very much committed to the side of israel. let me say, in fact very frankly, egypt has mediated this appeasement agreement. this appeasement agreement in fact has obligations on egypt and on israel as well as on other organizations. but unfortunately, egypt and israel violated this appeasement agreement because egypt has an obligation to open rafah crossing. and israel had to lift the embargo, which has imposed now a blockade on gaza. so egypt is in fact supporting israel in genociding palestinians in gaza and this is a crime which is taking place before the whole world. and i think that israel is now trying to complete that because the policy of israel, which has been declared today publicly, by mrs. livni in egypt, that it is going to extricate, to abolish totally hamas from the equation. so this policy of excluding totally hamas from life and from the equation, the political equation in the area, i think this is very wrong because israel which has been implanted here in this area did not respect the rules of the neighborhood and the international rules. so in this case we feel in egypt that in fact the government of egypt has to do a lot so as to press israel. and egypt never presses israel at all. it is in fact taking a very lenient policy and we have a quarrel with the government here in egypt concerning the gas, which is exported in a very scandalous way to israel. so while gaza is suffering and why israel is in fact genociding the gazans now, egypt in fact didn’t say anything.”

midway through the second half of the interview, garda asks inbar, “mr. inbar, there is an editorial today in the israeli newspaper ha’aretz, it says, i quote ‘past experience has often shown that aggressive shows of force such as bombing civilian populations and land invasions have produced opposite results from what was intended.’ so it tells me that there is a big view within israel that going into gaza won’t solve any of the problems.” inbar agrees with garda. he prefers “force in a selective manner” in other words “targeted killing.” he argues that this approach brought hamas to a truce in the past. garda interrupts him and says, “calling for the assassination of elected politicians in a selected area, how can that possibly bring about peace?” inbar’s response is whack. he thinks that because they want destruction of the jewish state they will never be partners for peace therefore it is acceptable to kill them now. garda allows barghouthi to answer the questions without intervening to which barghouthi replies: “i’m deeply shocked by what i just heard: isn’t that the same logic as hitler assassinating people because of their opinions? isn’t the–renewing and calling for assassination policy nothing but a violation of human rights and violation of international law where israel’s army is making of itself a prosecutor, judge and executor at the same time? in which law does this exist that you kill people because you think they might be dangerous? this is a very serious downgrade of the level that israeli policy has reached. of course it is going to happen, but it will not solve any problems. there were times when the israeli army assassinated many hamas leaders, but that produced more radical leaders. and what israel does not understand–it cannot learn from history. in 1982 it invaded lebanon to push out the plo out of the lebanese areas, the outcome was the creation of hezbollah and hamas. and if they crush hamas in gaza tomorrow, which i doubt they can, then they will crate another, and probably more serious, more tough force. what is problematic here is the insistence of the israeli society, and unfortunately the governments, to ignore the cause of the problem. they keep concentrating on the symptom of the problem or disease rather than the cause of the problem.” of course, barghouthi identifies the cause as both the occupation and the ethnic cleansing of the land of palestine of its indigenous population. the final comments by inbar and al ashaal are worth listening to; of course inbar is whack yet again, but useful for an idea about zionist propaganda for those who are unfamiliar with it.

and if you really want to cut to the chase, angry arab said it all best yesterday: “Olmert urges Gazans to stop Hamas”. Angry Arab urges Israelis to stop Israel.

as for what is going on in gaza today…well it looks like war is imminent:

Egypt is beefing up security along its border with Gaza on Friday in the face of what Egyptian officials consider an “imminent” Israeli Military operation within the Gaza Strip, fearing a breach of the integrity of their borders, Israel online Haaretz reports.

and the zionist regime allowed a very limited supply of humanitarian aid into gaza (though i can’t help but wonder if this is like that last supper prisoners are given in the u.s. before they are executed):

Israel has temporarily opened three crossings into Gaza, allowing a limited amount of food and fuel to reach blockaded Gazans.

The Israelis allowed 40 lorries loaded with grain and bird feed to pass through the Karem Abu Salem crossing on Friday.

Another 40 lorries carrying food supplies are expected to reach Gaza via the Karni crossing later on Friday, with 400,000 litres of industrial fuel destined to reach Gaza’s only power station via Nahal Oz.

About 120 tonnes of cooking gas is also expected to reach the Strip via Nahal Oz.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, said he ordered the crossings opened for essential humanitarian supplies in response to numerous requests from the international community.

Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Gaza, said while the move would be welcomed, the amount of supplies allowed through was nowhere near enough to genuinely ease conditions.

although a small amount of cooking gas was allowed in it certainly is not enough so yet another creative gazan developed an alternative:

Gazan resident Abed Ar-Rahman Farajallah revealed an alternative to cooking gas that he developed at a press conference on Thursday. Cooking gas is in extremely short supply in the Gaza Strip due to the continued border closures imposed by Israel.

Farajallah explained that he invented a device using chemical substances available in Gaza, which burn when mixed and brought into contact with oxygen. He added that his concoction can be stored in medium-sized metal containers and used in homes, restaurants and bakeries as an alternative to cooking gas, since Israel has prevented deliveries of cooking gas to Gaza.

to get a better understanding of what it is really like in terms of hunger in gaza right now you must read sameh habeeb’s latest piece in electronic intifada where he describes in detail what it means to leave under siege in gaza. here is the opening part of his article:

Israeli politicians, in the run-up to elections, are promising to deal a severe blow to Gaza as this is how Israeli policy is made. However, every household in Gaza is already under siege. In Gaza you can only find pale, angry and frustrated faces. If you visit my house you won’t find power, while my neighbor is out of gas. Another neighbor seeks potable water as power outages have left him without for four days. A third neighbor desperately looks for milk for his child but does so in vain. Another friend who lives on the corner needs medicine that can’t currently be found in Gaza.

There is no shortage of such stories in Gaza (though there is a shortage of nearly everything else). Perhaps broadcasting such stories would result in pressure on Israeli leaders to stop the siege. Because what is happening is that the entire Gaza population of 1.5 million — densely packed into a small area — is being punished for crude rockets being fired into Israel by a few.

this article, like the carlos latuff cartoon above says it all.

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