The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Israel at War—A Warning from 2014

As Israel enters into a deal with the devil to get as many hostages as possible released, its intentions are laudable, but the outcome is perilous. Islamist barbarians who committed mind-numbing atrocities are now being quietly praised by some in the propaganda media for releasing battered civilians and small children who they kidnapped and are now using as bargaining chips in a cynical attempt to survive. 

The Islamist barbarians, Hamas, and their hundreds of thousands (millions?) of palestinian supporters will assuredly violate the hostage agreement,. When they do, Israel might respond with disproportional violence (as the palestinian apologists gasp in faux-horror). The propaganda media will then resume its dishonest and repugnant condemnation of Israel and push The Biggest Lie over and over again.

This entire war follows a script written by Hamas and presented by the propaganda media and  its left-wing puppet masters. Almost 10 years ago, during the 2014 Hamas-Israel confrontation, former AP reporter and editor Matti Friedman (read the whole thing) wrote an analysis the could have been written last week (h/t: @AGHamilton29). As you read some of these excerpts (written in 2014), ask yourself if anything has changed over the past decade:

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.

While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility—in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession—my profession—here in Israel.

Friedman's key point: "The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations." And therein lies both the power and the corruption of the propaganda media.They allow pro-palestinian lies to go unchallenged, phony palestinian death statistics to be reported without context (many of the deaths are Hamas) or cynicism (Hamas controls the narrative and left-wing media and NGOs repeat it).

A reporter working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel. If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government. Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate. The West has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact ... The story mandates that they exist as passive victims of the party that matters.

Israeli actions are analyzed and criticized, and every flaw in Israeli society is aggressively reported. In one seven-week period, from Nov. 8 to Dec. 16, 2011, I decided to count the stories coming out of our bureau on the various moral failings of Israeli society ... I counted 27 separate articles, an average of a story every two days. In a very conservative estimate, this seven-week tally was higher than the total number of significantly critical stories about Palestinian government and society, including the totalitarian Islamists of Hamas, that our bureau had published in the preceding three years.

The Hamas charter, for example, calls not just for Israel’s destruction but for the murder of Jews and blames Jews for engineering the French and Russian revolutions and both world wars; the charter was never mentioned in print when I was at the AP, though Hamas won a Palestinian national election and had become one of the region’s most important players. To draw the link with this summer’s [2014] events: An observer might think Hamas’ decision in recent years to construct a military infrastructure beneath Gaza’s civilian infrastructure would be deemed newsworthy, if only because of what it meant about the way the next conflict would be fought and the cost to innocent people. But that is not the case. The Hamas emplacements were not important in themselves, and were therefore ignored. What was important was the Israeli decision to attack them.

Heh. If you've been following propaganda media's blatant lies about "Israel's attacks" on Gaza's hospitals, you'd think that the Hamas tunnels didn't exist under the hospitals and that Hamas doesn't use its own civilians (not to mention the hostages it has kidnapped) as human shields. 

Friedman goes on to discuss the claim by some propaganda media "journalists" today that Hamas intimidation warps media coverage. Remember, this was written 10 years ago:

The fact is that Hamas intimidation is largely beside the point because the actions of Palestinians are beside the point: Most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians. That is the essence of the Israel story.

Going back 10 years, Friedman notes the harsh reality that I have tried to emphasize throughout the "Israel at War" series:

The Israel story is framed in the same terms that have been in use since the early 1990s—the quest for a “two-state solution.” It is accepted that the conflict is “Israeli-Palestinian,” meaning that it is a conflict taking place on land that Israel controls—0.2 percent of the Arab world—in which Jews are a majority and Arabs a minority. The conflict is more accurately described as “Israel-Arab,” or “Jewish-Arab”—that is, a conflict between the 6 million Jews of Israel and 300 million Arabs in surrounding countries. (Perhaps “Israel-Muslim” would be more accurate, to take into account the enmity of non-Arab states like Iran and Turkey, and, more broadly, 1 billion Muslims worldwide.) This is the conflict that has been playing out in different forms for a century, before Israel existed, before Israel captured the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, and before the term “Palestinian” was in use.

Let me be blunt. Muslims are taught to hold infidels in contempt—to convert them to Islam when possible, to subjugate them when necessary, and to use other more violent methods of "submission" when appropriate. That's the dirty big secret that the woke media simply will not explore or criticize or even describe. They frame that secret as "Islamophobia" As leftists, they've learned that name calling and epithets work when people who question the narrative begin to get too close to the truth. 

And finally, Friedman gets to the larger issue of anti-Semitism and the manner in which young, liberals viewed the world in 2014. The 2014 worldview was the same one used by young Jewish progressives until the onslaught of overt leftist anti-Semitism masquerading as pro-palestinian sentiment erupted in 2023:

For centuries, stateless Jews played the role of a lightning rod for ill will among the majority population. They were a symbol of things that were wrong. Did you want to make the point that greed was bad? Jews were greedy. Cowardice? Jews were cowardly. Were you a Communist? Jews were capitalists. Were you a capitalist? In that case, Jews were Communists. Moral failure was the essential trait of the Jew. It was their role in Christian tradition—the only reason European society knew or cared about them in the first place.

Like many Jews who grew up late in the 20th century in friendly Western cities, I dismissed such ideas as the feverish memories of my grandparents. One thing I have learned—and I’m not alone this summer—is that I was foolish to have done so. Today, people in the West tend to believe the ills of the age are racism, colonialism, and militarism. The world’s only Jewish country has done less harm than most countries on earth, and more good—and yet when people went looking for a country that would symbolize the sins of our new post-colonial, post-militaristic, post-ethnic dream-world, the country they chose was this one.

When the people responsible for explaining the world to the world, journalists, cover the Jews’ war as more worthy of attention than any other, when they portray the Jews of Israel as the party obviously in the wrong, when they omit all possible justifications for the Jews’ actions and obscure the true face of their enemies, what they are saying to their readers—whether they intend to or not—is that Jews are the worst people on earth. The Jews are a symbol of the evils that civilized people are taught from an early age to abhor. International press coverage has become a morality play starring a familiar villain.

Today, November 24, 2023, Friedman's comments echo across time. Less than 2 months ago, most Jewish progressives "dismissed such ideas as the feverish memories of [their] grandparents. They could not see the ingrained anti-Semitism of the left, or its vicious and enthusiastic support for enemies of the Jews. 

Today, I hope that a majority of Jewish progressive admit, "I was foolish to have done so." But I worry that won't be the case. And if I'm right, that may be among the biggest tragedies of all in this war against Islamist barbarism.