Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bias All Around Us

Todays blog is a reaction to an article online at the Independent, which states the thesis that Americans have a one sided view of the middle east, the Lebanon crisis, and Israel in general.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article1219241.ece

I agree. Furthermore, I think the author of this article should follow their thought full circle, and realize: the same is true in the U.K., where the media report an anti-Israel bias day in and day out. But no one writes articles on that.

However, this article's author, Andrew Gumbel, points to certain one sidedness of American's view of certain areas, and then doesn't question why that is. Gumbel mentions that,

"Rupert Murdoch's Fox News has had reporters running around northern Israel chronicling every rocket attack and every Israeli mobilisation, but has shown little or no interest in anything happening on the other side of the border. It is a rarity on any of the cable channels to see any Arab being tapped for expert opinion on the conflict"

This is an extremely interesting viewpoint, since I view media from many different geo-political areas, and I see where different news organizations/cultures focus their attention. Outside of America, and Israel (not counting leftist papers), almost NO ATTENTION has been given to the Israeli side of this equation. Reuters and AP show dozens of photos, some doctored, of the Lebanese destruction, but I have seen almost no Israel destruction highlighted. I have to LOOK for that stuff. So for some American media to take Israel's side in this is more than okay since, and trust me on this, many more people are interested in speaking AGAINST Israel than for it.

THAT is why Jews and Israelis campaign so strongly for Israel, politically and militarily. Israel is a small country, with some 5-6 million citizens. It is surrounded by hundreds of millions of people screaming for it's destruction. It's military is high tech, well supplied, and well disciplined - which means nothing if 15 million soldiers attack it. All Israel has is bluster and the ability to strike extreme damage at an enemy, to dishearted it and its allies. Moreover, Israel has never had any other choice. Israel has never been able to achieve a status of security along all of its borders for its entire existence. The only thing that would appease its enemies is if it ceased to exist.

That point is certainly never discussed in the media.

Finally, Gumbel finds an Israeli hating Jew to back up his stance and show that many Jews don't support Israel,

"frustrating to liberal Jews like Michael Lerner, a San Francisco rabbi who heads an anti-war community called Tikkun. Rabbi Lerner has tried to argue for years that it is in Israel's best interests to reach a peaceful settlement, and that demonising Arabs as terrorists is counter-productive and against Judaism. "

"There is no major figure in American political life who has been willing to raise the issue of the legitimate needs of the Palestinian people, or even talk about them as human beings," Lerner said. "The organised Jewish community has transformed the image of Judaism into a cheering squad for the Israeli government, whatever its policies are. That is just idolatry, and goes against all the warnings in the Bible about giving too much power to the king or the state."

I can't even begin to point out how wrong this quote is, and in how many ways.

1. To quote a liberal Jew and say he reflects major Jewish opinion is just not kosher. Yes, I know a liberal Jew who hates Israel, and no, I don't think his position is very intelligent. Yes, the plight of the palestinians is horrid, but, and this is the important part - how much of the blame should Israel really accept?

2. "It is in Israel's best interests to reach a peace settlement." Peace with who? Peace with leaders who daily say their goal is to destroy Israel? Give me a break. Anyone who says something like that garners absolutely no respect in my book. Why don't you open your eyes and realize Israel's actions are inconsequential - its mere existence is the real crux of the problem.

3. The Palestinians live in horrid refugee camps and don't have an economy or jobs. However, they're not being massacred or becoming victims of genocide - their population has EXPLODED since 1948.

Enter Darfur and the Sudan - Americans get just as little coverage on the extent of the genocide there as they do on the plight of the Palestinians. Which is more important? So I think the blindfold over American's eyes is more than just localized to Palestinians. So I don't think that point has any validity at all.

4. For this rabbi to point to America's Jewish communities' support of Israel as "idolatry" is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. It is people like this who not only boggle my mind but make me angry - where they get off saying such things I have no idea. But anyway - Idolatry is making a person or idol into a God. Support for Israel and its government is socio-political in nature. Not religious. Get your facts and terms straight Lerner.

So, in conclusion, I generally find that bias runs AGAINST Israel almost everywhere I look. In America, its nice to see some fairly balanced reporting, or at least not hinting that Israel is a monster in the foremost headline. For all the blatantly biased reports and media against Israel, I don't think it is too much to ask that SOME areas of the world hear the Israel's position first - before the PR efforts of Palestinians and their sympathizers write up more biased reports.

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