Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The 'Why Oh Why' School of Palestinian Advocacy/Journalism

The story on page one of the New York Times today on the horrible, inexplicable, irrational suffering of poor, innocent, suffering Gazans who live within mortar-fire distance of Neve Dekalim is an outstanding example of the “why oh why” school of Palestinian advocacy in the guise of journalism.

Why oh why are the Israelis so cruel? Why oh why are the Israelis so heartless? It makes no sense—and, damn it, it is against international law! We are told that the “Israeli army wanted to clear a wider buffer zone” because “Islamic militants were firing mortars and homemade Qassam rockets” into Neve Dekalim. But we are immediately told that “such action is considered illegal by much of the world”—and by Israelis too, which seals the deal.

The article quotes B’Tselem, the “Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.” A perfectly objective group in the eyes of the Times—not the Moonbat, terrorist-loving group despised by most Israelis. What we don't hear from are actual Israelis providing the Israeli side of the story, apart from a perfunctory "Israeli officials say." Nor do we hear from the victims of the peace-loving Gazans lionized in this article.

We learn that a “few yards away” lives a fellow named Muhammed. He “was wounded in Nablus in 2000, at the beginning of the second Intifada.” Hmmm…. Interesting. “Was wounded.” How come? Was he, oh I dunno, maybe trying to kill somebody? The reporter, Steve Erlanger, doesn’t ask and doesn’t care and doesn’t raise the issue.

Muhammed is now patrolling to stop “militants” from firing rockets. Yet this same fellow says that one of the groups whose activities he is trying to stop—Hamas—would “take better care of him and his family if he should be hurt or killed than would Fatah, the dominant political faction.” Hmmm…. “hurt or killed” doing what, I wonder? Gee, what does that mean? Could it mean—just to take a wild guess—firing rockets at Neve Dekalim? Again, Steve Erlanger doesn’t ask, doesn’t care, and doesn’t raise the issue.

Did Muhammed, or the hero of the story, the nice man with the beard on page three, sit by and cheer while the “Islamic militants” were firing rockets from his property with the aim of murdering civilians? Again, Steve Erlanger doesn’t ask, doesn’t care, and doesn’t raise the issue.

We know how one of these wonderful, wonderful people feel "when she sees the Israeli flag from her broken house?" It is beyond words, her rage, her shame. But how does she and our other heroes feel about the firing of rockets into Neve Dekalim? Again, Steve Erlanger doesn't ask.... etc. etc. etc.

Erlanger doesn’t raise these issues because he is performing the Times’ usual function in stories such as this -- because doing so would be dispassionate fair journalism, and not advocacy for the Palestinian cause.

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