In the news this week, as journalists around the imploding Middle East are being detained, beaten, raped and shot at, a producer for Dan Rather complained to the Associated Press that his crew was “harassed and humiliated” by Israeli security officials.
The guy says crew members “were forced to drop their pants for a strip search before seeing an Israeli Cabinet minister.”
The A.P., in an apparent attempt to create some sort of parity between how security in Israel and in the Arab world treat journalists (not to mention others), wrote that these heinous allegations were “the latest in a swelling list of complaints about how Israeli security officials treat the foreign media.”
So, maybe Israeli security officials are overly cautious or maybe they’ve copped a little bit of an attitude, which possibly can be partially explained by stuff like this headline also from this week:
“Israel violence complicates Gates’ call for peace.”
This A.P. story was about U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ trip to Israel and the Palestinian occupied territories in which he said, in light of escalating violence against it, the Jewish state has the unequivocal right to self-defense.
That is not, however, how the A.P. writer presented the story, as one might guess from the headline.
Rather than put the focus on the Jews’ right to defend themselves against a surge of rocket fire into populated areas, the murders in their home of a mother and father and three of their young children and the deadly bombing of a busy Jerusalem bus-stop at rush hour, the writer suggests these are minor incidents best ignored. And she tries, by her wording, to place prospects for calming the Arab world’s savages at Israel’s feet.
“While Gates condemned the bombing of a bus-stop in Jerusalem and said Israel has the right to defend itself, he sought to use his visit to the region to try and convince both sides that negotiating peace is a way to get ahead of the wave of populist uprisings sweeping the region,” she wrote.
It isn’t until near the bottom of the story that the writer notes that during a news conference with Gates, Ehud Barak made clear that Israel must respond when its citizens are targets of indiscriminate attacks. “And he said that while his country is determined to bring tranquility back to the region, it can’t be done ‘in this tough neighborhood’ without the use of force from time to time,” she wrote.
“Gates agreed that no sovereign state can tolerate having rockets fired at its people,” she was forced to concede, “But, he added that ‘we don’t want to do anything that allows extremists or others to divert the narrative of reform that’s going on in virtually all the countries of the region.’”
I read, from the way this is written, that the writer thinks, or at least wants us to think Gates thinks, that if the Jews don’t allow themselves to be violently victimized by the barbarians at her gates, the “reformers” currently tearing apart the Arab world will be “hijacked” by extremists.
Don’t look now, but I have a feeling it’s those very extremists behind most of what’s going on over there, and even if a percentage of protesters really are in it to create positive change, those behind the scenes – read Iran – have a completely different agenda.
And then, by way of background, the writer informs us that the “latest spike in attacks began Wednesday with a bus-stop bombing in Jerusalem, followed by Israeli strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza,” completely failing to note the murders of the Fogel family a couple of weeks ago and the barrage of rocket attacks in southern Israel since then.
Those things didn’t count, I guess.
The Manson-like slaughter of that family, which included the stabbing and throat slashing of 3-month-old girl and a toddler, barely made the news, as opposed to the accidental killing of several Palestinian family members when a military reprisal went off course.
That was all over the news.
While the outcome of each was the same – dead civilians – the difference between these events, of course, is intent.
The Israelis apologized for their terrible mistake while the Palestinians handed out candy in congratulations for a “heroic operation.”
And in the media’s presentation in nearly every case, if they were mentioned at all, the Fogel family was reduced to the description, “settlers,” while the Palestinian casualties were described in much more human terms.
And this is not an isolated case.
So, excuse them if the Israelis get a little annoyed with the international media sometimes.
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