But the clearest endorsement of terror as a legitimate instrument of political bargaining came from former President Jimmy Carter. In his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” Mr. Carter appeals to the sponsors of suicide bombing. “It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Road-map for Peace are accepted by Israel.” Acts of terror, according to Mr. Carter, are no longer taboo, but effective tools for terrorists to address perceived injustices.
Mr. Carter’s logic has become the dominant paradigm in rationalizing terror. When asked what Israel should do to stop Hamas’s rockets aimed at innocent civilians, the Syrian first lady, Asma Al-Assad, did not hesitate for a moment in her response: “They should end the occupation.” In other words, terror must earn a dividend before it is stopped.
The media have played a major role in handing terrorism this victory of acceptability. Qatari-based Al Jazeera television, for example, is still providing Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi hours of free air time each week to spew his hateful interpretation of the Koran, authorize suicide bombing, and call for jihad against Jews and Americans.
Then came the August 2008 birthday of Samir Kuntar, the unrepentant killer who, in 1979, smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl with his rifle after killing her father before her eyes. Al Jazeera elevated Kuntar to heroic heights with orchestras, fireworks and sword dances, presenting him to 50 million viewers as Arab society’s role model. No mainstream Western media outlet dared to expose Al Jazeera efforts to warp its young viewers into the likes of Kuntar. Al Jazeera’s management continues to receive royal treatment in all major press clubs.
Some American pundits and TV anchors didn’t seem much different from Al Jazeera in their analysis of the recent war in Gaza. Bill Moyers was quick to lend Hamas legitimacy as a “resistance” movement, together with honorary membership in PBS’s imaginary “cycle of violence.” In his Jan. 9 TV show, Mr. Moyers explained to his viewers that “each [side] greases the cycle of violence, as one man’s terrorism becomes another’s resistance to oppression.” He then stated — without blushing — that for readers of the Hebrew Bible “God-soaked violence became genetically coded.” The “cycle of violence” platitude allows analysts to empower terror with the guise of reciprocity, and, amazingly, indict terror’s victims for violence as immutable as DNA.
With a unanimity that has become all too familiar, politicians, the media, NGOs, and church leaders across the globe took their cue to denounce Israel’s legitimate act of self-defense against one of the world’s most extreme terror organizations. This chorus of disapproval is in stark contrast to the utter indifference to far bloodier conflicts that have been going on around the world.
Why do citizens in democracies enthusiastically embrace a radical Islamist group that not only seeks the destruction of a fellow democracy but is overtly committed to the substitution of a world-wide Islamic caliphate for the existing international order?
Decades of mistreatment of the Palestinians by the Arab states have gone virtually unnoticed. Only when they interact with Israel do the Palestinians win the world’s attention.
The fact that international coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict has invariably reflected a degree of intensity and emotional involvement well beyond the normal level to be expected of impartial observers would seem to suggest that it is a manifestation of longstanding prejudice that has been brought out into the open by the conflict.
The Palestinians are but the latest lightning rod unleashed against the Jews, their supposed victimization reaffirming the millenarian demonization of the Jews in general, and the medieval blood libel – that Jews delight in the blood of others.
In Toronto, anti-Israel demonstrators yell “You are the brothers of pigs!”, and a protester complains to his interviewer that “Hitler didn’t do a good job.”
In Fort Lauderdale, Palestinian supporters sneer at Jews, “You need a big oven, that’s what you need!”
In Amsterdam, the crowd shouts, “Hamas, Hamas! Jews to the gas!”
In Paris, the state-owned TV network France-2 broadcasts film of dozens of dead Palestinians killed in an Israeli air raid on New Year’s Day. The channel subsequently admits that, in fact, the footage is not from January 1st 2009 but from 2005, and, while the corpses are certainly Palestinian, they were killed when a truck loaded with Hamas explosives detonated prematurely while leaving the Jabaliya refugee camp in another of those unfortunate work-related accidents to which Gaza is sadly prone. Conceding that the Palestinians supposedly killed by Israel were, alas, killed by Hamas, France-2 says the footage was broadcast “accidentally.”
As Israel continues to hammer at Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the same old games are being played by observers around the world — especially the “war crimes” accusations.
The current contender for dumbest accusation has to be that Israel is violating international law by using white phosphorus munitions in Gaza. This is a re-run — the same charge was made a couple of years ago against the United States and Fallujah. This is an argument born of tremendous ignorance — the type that can only be explained as deliberate. White phosphorus munitions have tremendous utility for the military. Due to White phosphorus’s unique properties, it serves two very useful (and contradictory) purposes. It burns very brightly, and it gives off a great deal of smoke. That means that if it’s used in midair, it lights up the area and makes it very hard for the enemy to hide. When it’s used on the ground, it puts out a lot of smoke that makes it very hard for the enemy to see.
In Gaza, Israel is primarily using it for the latter — to conceal its ground troops and allow them to get close enough to the enemy to engage them before they can find more civilians to hide behind. White phosphorus can be a very dangerous substance. It burns on contact and can cause fires if it lands on something suitably flammable.
Noah Pollak of Commentary Magazine has a few words regarding the feckless media coverage of the events taking place in Gaza, which Michael J. Totten correctly refers to as Journalistic Malpractice:
Allow me to propose a metric for evaluating whether a journalist is behaving responsibly or not: If he reports that Israel bombed a UN school and killed 30 civilians, he is irresponsible. If he reports that Hamas used a UN school as a weapons cache and base of operations for launching mortars at the IDF, and the IDF’s return fire killed the Hamas cell along, tragically, with a yet-unspecified number of civilians, then he is behaving responsibly. If he wishes to be particularly scrupulous, he might additionally note that Hamas had rigged the school with explosives which detonated after the IDF took out the mortar team, killing a large additional number of civilians. And he might add that you can go to the IDF’s Youtube channel to view footage from 2007 of Hamas using the very same school as a mortar-launching base.
Journalists who abjure reporting the vital details of this story should be called what they are — activists masquerading as reporters.
Shortly after the London Tube bombings in 2005, a reader of Tim Blair, the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s columnar wag, sent him a note-perfect parody of a typical newspaper headline: “British Muslims Fear Repercussions Over Tomorrow’s Train Bombing.”
Indeed. And so it goes. This time round — Bombay — it was the Associated Press that filed a story about how Muslims “found themselves on the defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion.”
Tom Gross produced a jaw-dropping round-up of Bombay media coverage: The discovery that, for the first time in an Indian terrorist atrocity, Jews had been attacked, tortured, and killed produced from the New York Times a serene befuddlement: “It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene.”
And, here’s the astonishingly
obtuse feckless headline from that NYT article: Brooklyn Rabbi and Wife Caught in Attacks. An especially feckless example of agenda-driven propaganda, disguised as journalism, when, as Steyn reports:
The sole surviving “militant” revealed that the Jewish center had been targeted a year in advance.
By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they’ve all heard the story of the “Jena 6.” White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests – the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.
There’s just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.
I should know. I live in Jena. My wife has taught at Jena High School for many years. And most important, I am probably the only reporter who has covered these events from the very beginning.
The reason the Jena cases have been propelled into the world spotlight is two-fold: First, because local officials did not speak publicly early on about the true events of the past year, the media simply formed their stories based on one-side’s statements – the Jena 6. Second, the media were downright lazy in their efforts to find the truth. Often, they simply reported what they’d read on blogs, which expressed only one side of the issue.
The real story of Jena and the Jena 6 is quite different from what the national media presented. It’s time to set the record straight.
This hurricane of hurricane retrospectives was no doubt long in the works, as editors like to put stories â€œin the canâ€ for vacation time. The media seemed to cover every angle, particularly the Bush administrationâ€™s missteps in response to the disaster. And while some might quibble with this or that characterization or selection of facts, ultimately the media were doing what theyâ€™re supposed to do: hold government accountable.
But there was one thing missing from the coverage of this natural, social, economic, and political disaster: the fact that Katrina represented an unmitigated media disaster as well.
I confess: Denial never solves anything. But neither does sensational and deceptive journalism.
Newsweek illustrates this point by its choice of cover art–a picture of the sun, where the surface temperature hovers around 6,000 degrees Celsius. Given that the consensus scientific estimate for average temperature increases over the next century is a comparatively modest 2.6 degrees, this would seem a rather Murdochian way of convincing readers about the gravity of the climate threat. On the inside pages is a photograph of a polar bear stranded on melting ice. But the caption that the bears are “at risk” belies clear evidence that the bear population has risen five-fold since the 1960s. Another series of photographs, of a huge Antarctic ice shelf that quickly disintegrated in 2002, suggests the imminence of doom. But why not also mention that temperatures at the South Pole have been going down for 50 years?
The New York Times recently declared “the disturbing truth … that … the United States is a laggard not a leader in providing good medical care.”
As usual, the Times editors get it wrong.