Friday, January 02, 2009

Rules of the Western Media in dealing with the Middle East

from Michel Collon

Rule 1: In the Middle East, it is always the Arabs that attack first, and it's always Israel who defends itself. This is called "retaliation".

Rule 2: The Arabs, whether Palestinians or Lebanese, are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called "terrorism".

Rule 3: Israel has the right to kill Arab civilians; this is called "self-defense", or these days "collateral damage".

Rule 4: When Israel kills too many civilians, the Western world calls for restraint. This is called the "reaction of the international community".

Rule 5: Palestinians and Lebanese do not have the right to capture Israeli military,
not even a limited number, not even 1 or 2.

Rule 6: Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (Palestinians: around 10000 to date, 300 of which are children, Lebanese: 1000s to date, being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or trial. All that is needed is the magic word: "terrorism"

Rule 7: When you say "Hezbollah", always be sure to add "supported by Syria and Iran"

Rule 8: When you say "Israel", never say "supported by the USA, the UK and other European countries", for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.

Rule 9: When it comes to Israel, don't mention the words "occupied territories", "UN resolutions", "Geneva conventions". This could distress the audience of Fox.

Rule 10: Israelis speak better English than Arabs. This is why we let them speak out as much as possible, so that they can explain rules 1 through 9. This is called "neutral journalism".

Rule 11: If you don't agree with these rules or if you favour the Arab side over the Israeli side, you must be a very dangerous anti-Semite. You may even have to make a public apology if you express your honest opinion (isn't democracy wonderful?)


At 11:50 AM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

Oh boy, I see Israel has really pissed you off this time, Gert. Anyway, here's my point-by-point rebuttal:

Rule 1: Sometimes Israel does attack first, and the media (other than Fox News, maybe) reports that it attacks first. A lot of times, the media makes it sound like that's the case even when the other side started the aggression.

Rules 2+3: It isn't about killing civilians, it is about targeting them. If civilians are the target, it is terrorism. In 2006, Israel was not careful enough and the civilian death toll was unacceptable. This isn't the case with Gaza, though.

I don't support attacking my own soldiers, but it isn't terrorism.

Rule 4: What does Michel Collon expect - military intervention against Israel?

Rule 5: The soldiers were taken from within Israel. This was illegitimate, especially in the case of Hezbullah, since we don't occupy southern Lebanon in any way anymore. If they had been captured from within Palestinian or Lebanese territory it would have been a different case.

Rule 6: There are no longer any Lebanese prisoners held by Israel. As for the Palestinians, I agree that administrative detention is overused. If there is evidence of terrorism, a person should be put on trial, unless there are very extreme circumstances.

Rules 7+8: Hezbullah is not a country. Israel is. Hezbullah is a terrorist organization that would not be able to arm and finance itself without Syria and Iran.

Israel is an ally of the United States and does indeed recieve aid from it. Without the US we'd be worse off, but we'd manage. I wouldn't call the UK a big supporter of Israel.

Who ever said this has to be an equal conflict? Thank goodness it isn't! If Hezbullah and/or the Palestinians were as strong as Israel we'd be in deep shit.

Rule 9: This one is totally obsolete. Are we still in the 80's? "Occupation" and "occupied territories" have not been taboo in Israel for quite a while, neither are the Geneva conventions (though officially our government says they do not apply to the Palestinian territories).

UN resolutions are a touchy subject, since Arab and muslim states are seen as having an automatic majority in the organization. It should be mentioned that none of the resolutions Israel hasn't adhered to are binding.

Rule 10: Huh? This is totally baseless. Both Israel and the Arabs have some representatives who speak excellent English and some who "to not knowing a good speak". The media interviews both sides.

Rule 11: This is a total misrepresentation of reality. Israel does not call all criticism of its policies anti-Semitic. It does do it sometimes, but not often (but even then, I do think they exaggerate a bit).

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Gert said...


Thanks for your rebuttal but it wasn't strictly necessary.

The post is mild satire on how many see Israel and its supporters' prickly reactions of any reporting it deems 'out of line'. See e.g. the usual barrage of complaints that follows much of the BBC's reporting on the I/P conflict (see my past posts on Mr Seaman e.g.) See also Israel's at times rather poor treatment of foreign journalists.


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