Sunday, January 02, 2011

Useful Idiots and Fifth Columnists:
The Media Role in the War Against the West

by Melanie Phillips

We are living through a global campaign of demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel in which the western media are playing a key role.

The British media are the global leaders of this campaign in their frenzied and obsessional attacks on Israel. In the BBC in particular, such virulence attains unparalleled power and influence since it is stamped with the BBC’s global kitemark of objectivity and trustworthiness.

Israel’s every action is reported malevolently, ascribing to it the worst possible motives and denying its own victimisation. Instead of the truth, which is that every military action by Israel is taken solely to protect itself from attack, it is portrayed falsely as instigating the violent oppression of the Palestinians.

Tyranny around the world — such as the 20-year genocide in southern Sudan, or the persecution of Christians in Africa or Asia — goes almost unreported, as does Palestinian violence upon other Palestinians.

Yet Israel is dwelt upon obsessively, held to standards of behaviour expected of no other country and, with its own victimisation glossed over or ignored altogether, falsely accused of imposing wanton suffering.

Time after time, otherwise cynical, reality-hardened journalists have published or broadcast claims of Israeli ‘atrocities’ which are clearly theatrically staged fabrications or allegations. The false narrative of Arab propaganda is now so deeply embedded in the consciousness of journalists that they cannot see that what they are saying is untrue even when it is utterly egregious and indeed absurd.

The war against Hamas in Gaza in 2008/9 was a case in point. The British media had scarcely reported the constant rocket bombardment from Gaza. Most of the public were simply unaware that thousands of rockets had been fired at Israeli citizens.

But when in Operation Cast Lead Israel finally bombed Gaza to put a stop to the attacks, it was denounced for a ‘disproportionate’ response and for wantonly and recklessly killing ‘civilians’ — even though, according to Israel, the vast majority were targeted terrorists. Nevertheless, the media gave the impression that the Israelis were a bunch of bloodthirsty child-killers.

Israel is further accused of causing a humanitarian catastrophe in maintaining a blockade of Gaza. But there is scant mention of the many supplies Israel does allow through, nor the steady stream of Gazans being routinely treated in Israeli hospitals, nor the fact that it is Egypt which maintains a much tougher blockade on its own Gazan border.

This is because Israel’s crime is to defend itself militarily. To much of the media, Israel’s self-defence is regarded as intrinsically illegitimate. It is routinely described as ‘vengeance’ or ‘punishment’. Thus Sir Max Hastings wrote in the Guardian in 2004: ‘Israel does itself relentless harm by venting its spleen for suicide bombings upon the Palestinian people.’

Israel’s attempt to prevent any more of its citizens from being blown to bits on buses or in pizza parlours was apparently nothing other than a fit of spiteful anger. The Israelis were presented by Hastings not as victims of terror but as Nazi-style butchers, while the aggression of the Palestinians was ignored altogether.

In short, Israel is presented as some kind of cosmic demonic force, standing outside of humanity.

To what should we ascribe such unique malice towards an embattled and besieged people?

The first thing to say is that this phenomenon is characteristic not just of the media but the wider intelligentsia and political class.

In Britain, the established church, the universities, the Foreign Office, the theatrical and publishing worlds, the voluntary sector, members of Parliament across the political spectrum, as well as the media — have signed up to the demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel.

It’s the home of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

It’s where human rights lawyers threaten to arrest Israelis for war crimes as soon as they step off the plane at Heathrow.

It’s where an English judge virtually directed a jury to acquit anti-Israel activists, who cheerfully admitted committing criminal damage against an arms factory because it sold equipment to the Israelis, on the grounds that the Israelis were making life in Gaza ‘hell on earth’, and were behaving like Nazis and that if they had done this during World War Two they ‘might have got a George Medal’.

It’s where Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron told the Turkish Prime Minister that Gaza was a prison camp, that the Israeli ‘attack’ on the Turkish terror flotilla ship was ‘completely unacceptable’, and where the British Foreign Secretary ‘deplored the loss of life’ in that Israeli attack.

Britain has effectively become a kind of global laundry for the lies about Israel and bigotry towards the Jews churning out of the Arab and Muslim world, sanitising them for further consumption throughout English-speaking, American and European society and turning what was hitherto confined to the extreme fringes of both left and right into the mainstream. Where Britain has led, the rest of the west has followed.

What is striking is the extent to which a patently false and in many cases demonstrably absurd account has been absorbed uncritically and assumed to be true.

History is turned on its head; facts and falsehoods, victims and victimisers have their roles inverted; logic is suspended, and an entirely false narrative of the conflict is now widely accepted as unchallengeable fact, from which fundamental error has been spun a global web of potentially catastrophic false conclusions.

Read the whole article here. It's a masterpiece.
And here is a TV interview with this sharp lady.

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