March 24, 2009

Israel & Gaza

The War in Gaza hasn't really ended it has just moved into a different venue. Now we get to see it taken apart within the blogosphere and the MSM. Not to mention the report filed by the UN.

If you know nothing about the war and rely solely upon these stories and reports you receive a very skewed perspective that lacks context and context is everything. These articles do a very fine job of painting a picture of a Big Bad Israel that is intent on murder, mayhem and mischief.

The lack of context creates a very fine narrative for the sort of screenplay that movie watchers love. You have a noble underdog fighting to free themselves from the yoke of some oppressive tyrant. Pardon me for a moment, I think that I am getting a bit choked up about it.

What they neglect to mention is that the noble underdog helped to create the problem by indiscriminately firing rockets into Israel. Nor do they spend time discussing the actions of the peaceful government of Gaza. You know, the fine fellows of Hamas who like to engage in vigorous interaction with those they disagree with.

Take a look at the video and tell me what you think about people who settle their disagreements in such a peaceful manner.

You'll forgive me for being a bit skeptical about the peaceful intentions of people who treat their fellows in such a fine fashion. But is that video really any worse than watching them use children as human shields.

It really comes as no surprise that certain groups are pushing to try Israel for war crimes or that much of this drama is taking place in the court of public opinion. In an earlier post I pointed out some of the flaws in the UN report and also gave some attention to some of the problems created by shoddy journalism.

But it is always worth noting that journalists are not fail proof and that they do make mistakes. So while the Guardian, HaAretz and others eagerly strive for a hard hitting piece let's take a moment to consider some of these issues.

Yourish provides one example to review in Is Ha’aretz is pulling a Scott Thomas on us? and Yaacov Lozowick shares another in UK Journalists are Fools and we'll hit the trifecta with Solomonia's Who Makes Your News: An Outburst on Tape.

So before some of the fans of The Shack go apoplectic let's cover a few basic points and then we'll wrap it up.

The decision to go to war did not take place in a vacuum. No nation will ignore daily rocket attacks. It doesn't matter how many people are killed by said rockets. There is no relevancy between the decision to defend people and how many are killed or injured by the rockets that precipitated the response.

I have never heard of a war in which civilians were not killed. It is a terrible tragedy and we can say that the victims died a senseless death. But we have to remember that it is war and that Hamas took an active role in trying to create a situation which would result in an invasion.

The problem was that they had their asses handed to them. So when they were unable to capitalize upon the war as a great military victory they switched to Plan B in which they try to delegitimize Israel's right to defend itself.

Circling back to the topic of context I would anticipate that there are those of you who provide accusations of that being a PR trick. But the reality is that context is not a PR trick. It is the substance that is required to make an informed and honest decision. It is just too bad that so many articles seem to be lacking it.

Crossposted on Yourish.

14 comments:

H@KiM said...

Israel had a political leverage, the blockade. They could have used that to negotiate a deal. The blockade is worse than all the rockets fired. They cripple the economy and starve the gaza people. Is it justifiable that Israel punish the entire population just because of hamas?

If you say the gaza offensive is a response to the attacks, the rockets is a response to the blockade.


You fail to notice that Israel has been getting away with loads of stuff that any other nations in the world would be critcised for. Like its nuclear program for example. Israel a victim? Think again. Israel gets away with A LOT of things because the US supports Israel all the way. Do you deny that US is a staunch supporter of Israel? Do you know how many UN resolutions US vetoes for Israel? UN resolutions that are a consensus of the members of the security council and yet vetoed JUST because US supports Israel almost unconditionally.

The UN reports are not the only source for the allegations. There are testimonials FROM ISRAEL'S OWN SOLDIERS attesting that killing of civilians are indiscriminate.

Of course civilians are always killed in a war, but there's a difference between accidental killings and making civilians a target. Again read the testimonials from israel's own soldiers. They're on the net.

The right to defend a country is universal, but Israel clearly knows that Israel is militarily more powerful than any force Gaza can muster. Israel knows that many civilians will be killed. Hamas storing rockets in public areas? Using population as human shield? Israel still pulled the trigger. It's israeli rockets that killed the civilians. Israel could have invaded gaza by foot and instead remove the rockets by hand. That way far fewer civilians will be killed.

You think the world media is biased against Israel?

They're merely reporting what UN said. There's no "lack of context" Context is clear: War crimes in gaza offensive. You should realise that the UN report showcases Hamas's crimes as well. How is that biased?

You're just unhappy the report does not portray Israel in a good light.

If the UN report is about the arabs committing war crimes only, you wont complain, no matter how "biased" it can be.

Jewish Atheist said...

This is ridiculous. Most reasonable people aren't saying that Hamas is a noble underdog. You're just being disingenuous. Hamas is a bloody, murderous, evil terrorist organization. Pretty much everybody in the Western world knows that. But you can't just keep using that fact to defend everything Israel does.

Israel killed HUNDREDS of civilians. Human beings, just like you or me or any one of your readers. You keep trying to change the subject to whether Israel has the right to defend itself or whether Hamas is a bad bunch of evildoers. But hundreds of innocent men, women, and children are dead and maimed and traumatized and orphaned and widowed, and there's not even anything positive to show for it. Hamas still controls Gaza, they still fire rockets into Israel, and any possibility of peace is even farther away than it was beforehand, if that's possible.

If Israel committed war crimes -- and some of their soldiers are testifying they did, while others dispute that, as always (see Vietnam) -- it's not relevant whether Hamas is noble or not. (Not, obviously.)

You can't just say that party B is bad therefore party A obviously couldn't have done anything wrong. It just doesn't follow. No country is 100% innocent or 100% guilty. Quit pretending otherwise.

Jack said...

Hakim,

You jump into the middle and ignore many of the important questions/issues. But we'll ignore that for now.

You fail to notice that Israel has been getting away with loads of stuff that any other nations in the world would be critcised for. Like its nuclear program for example.

Has Israel ever dropped a nuclear bomb on anyone? No. So that is a non-issue. What else are they getting away with.

Do you know how many UN resolutions US vetoes for Israel? UN resolutions that are a consensus of the members of the security council

Do you know the difference between General Assembly resolutions and those issued by the Security Council. Do you know which are considered to be binding and which are not.

Do you know how many other countries ignore or follow UN Resolutions. Do you know how many members of the Security Council ignore resolutions that were issued against them.

You make a lot of unfounded generalizations here that aren't necessarily based upon fact or don't really have much substance to them.

The UN reports are not the only source for the allegations. There are testimonials FROM ISRAEL'S OWN SOLDIERS attesting that killing of civilians are indiscriminate

And there are testimonials from other soldiers that dispute the others. We also know that Hamas terrorists intentionally do not wear uniforms so that they can try and exploit civilian deaths.

This automatically calls into question the number of civilians versus terrorists who were killed.

Israel could have invaded gaza by foot and instead remove the rockets by hand

You really didn't follow the war or you would know that much of the war was fought on foot. If you looked at footage of the war you would see that all of Gaza was not leveled. But instead you choose to use generalizations and rely ill informed opinion to make your case.

They're merely reporting what UN said. There's no "lack of context" Context is clear: War crimes in gaza offensive. You should realise that the UN report showcases Hamas's crimes as well. How is that biased?

The report spends very little time discussing multiple war crimes committed by Hamas. And the fact is that the majority of the media spends almost no time discussing their actions and their role in this war.

The reality is that it is unbalanced. I provided documentation of issues with the media such as the Nidal Rafa situation and pointed out your own misunderstanding of the UN and of the war.

If the UN report is about the arabs committing war crimes only, you wont complain, no matter how "biased" it can be.

I could spend time discussing your bias. I could point out that you completely ignore the video of how Hamas treats people it takes issue with, but I won't.

Instead I'll use that to make a different point. Israelis are free to criticize their government. Independent organizations within Israel are free to conduct an investigation and issue reports that are critical of Israel. And they can do this without fear that they are going to wind up being beaten.

A video that I might add helps to demonstrate that Arab life is cheap to many people because so many like you could care less about it. It is more important to criticize Israel than to spend any time talking about the shameful behavior in that piece.

Jack said...

This is ridiculous. Most reasonable people aren't saying that Hamas is a noble underdog. You're just being disingenuous.

Where are these reasonable people.

Hamas is a bloody, murderous, evil terrorist organization. Pretty much everybody in the Western world knows that. But you can't just keep using that fact to defend everything Israel does.


I haven't defended everything Israel does and have said many times that Israel has created many of its issues. Israel like every nation should be criticized but I want to see fair and balanced criticism.

That doesn't mean that we can't say that Israel was wrong for action XYZ. And it doesn't mean that it can't be covered in the media.

You keep trying to change the subject to whether Israel has the right to defend itself or whether Hamas is a bad bunch of evildoers.

Reasonable people agree that there are two sides and that it is tragic that innocents have died. Show me where I wrote/said that Palestinians/Arabs aren't people.

The beauty of the world is that we all have our perspective. I see a media narrative that glosses over many of the details so I am here to correct it. Others can do the same if they choose.

Hamas still controls Gaza, they still fire rockets into Israel, and any possibility of peace is even farther away than it was beforehand, if that's possible

See, that is a legitimate question. In fact your comments are based in reality. You should see what I don't approve for posting.

No country is 100% innocent or 100% guilty. Quit pretending otherwise.

JA,

You are a smart guy but you need to pay more attention to what I am writing, or show me where I said differently.

We ask soldiers to conduct an impossible task, to be humane during inhumane times. Somehow many of them do it and sadly others fail.

Those that cross the line should face the consequences. I never said otherwise.

Anonymous said...

It is not the blogosphere, the traditional media, the UN, the whole world etc that places Israel in a bad light. It is entirely Israel that is putting itself in a bad light. You complain of a lack of context, i say thank God for the blogosphere for offering context to a conflict that has long lacked a serious context within the traditional heavily pro-Israel biased media.
I can see though that it is indeed becoming more and more difficult to keep people fooled with the traditional propaganda that has been used over the last 40 years.( the evil arabs are not interested in peace; Israel has the right to defend itself; there are no palestinians, etc).

Anonymous said...

One short question. Would the US stand still if Canada decided to colonize portions of the states near its borders. Would we not react and wage open resistance against an invader? Remember the concessions for the formation of Israel and what was to be the Palestinian territory?

Inauguration slaps the face of Darwinism said...

I am happy that you said that UN keep voting for Isreal. The same Un votes for Saudi and many other Arab countries. We are not blind, we know who to attack on this issues. How can we allow that Iran to have Nuclear Rockets that will be the of this Civilisations.

They think that they have a plan, that is rubbish. This is the most intelligent race in the world and history. Iran is just insane with hate that they dont think.

Respect your neighbour and your neighbour will in turn love you. Hamas had Gaza for years what have he invested in or have done to better the life of his people. All he wants to enjoy an underversed respect, that is called fear not respect.

I wish Isreal will start another attack soon i love watching the news when it happens again. Hamas still fire his toy rockets into Isreal with any damage whatso ever. Why continue just mere madness, so i am in love with their madder Neighbour.

Ballanced huu

Jack said...

Anonymous,

If you care to provide some details and some facts we might be able to have a discussion.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of good blogs posted on this topic. But in my opinion, I agree with the person who stated that hundreds of people were killed, children were orphaned, and nothing has changed. The right to defend a country (land) is sometimes taken too far. No human being owns the land. It all belongs to the Most High/Mother Nature. We are not born owning land (most of us), so I don't see why we give/take lives for it. We all should treat each other how we want to be treated. If the U.N. were a forward thinking group of people, they would promote total disarmament. Real soldiers would settle disagreements with hand-to-hand combat. Wouldn't it be great if conflicts were solved with paintball fights? Israel and Gaza are both at fault. They should both be relocated to Antarctica. Let them fight over the ice. Let the children live in peace.

Anonymous said...

Before we begin, I suggest everyone here to pick up a book by a former Israeli official who puts things in a good perspective. His name is Shlomo-Ben Ami and his books is Scars of War, Wounds of peace.

now we are talking about Gaza. did you know that a part of the cease fire agreement between Hamas and Israel in the summer of last year was that Hamas would stop rocket fires into Israel, in exchange for Israel lifting the devastating blockade of Gaza that has made basics of life difficult for all Gazan civilians.

Israel did not lift the blockade whatsoever. And also on Nov. 4, when the world's attention was towards Obama, Israel does an incursion into Gaza and there are about 7 deaths that result from this. did anyone mention and when and why Israel attacked? nope.

Now you tell me, who broke the truce first. Did Israel lift the bloackade as it was supposed to, according to the cease-fire that it signed?


And right now, Israel has not allowed any human rights organizations to enter Gaza. Why won't it? the conflict is over and an objective human rights overview would show what really happened? wouldnt that enhance Israel position, assuming Israel's position to be true, like not using white phosphorous in urban areas (oh wait, Israel did do that).

Oh, did you know Archbishop Desmond Tutu was among a group of 16 who asked a UN inquiry into what happened in Gaza. “It isn’t that we want to sensationalize. It’s just that some very serious things have happened, and if we are hoping to have a world that is stable, a world that abides by the rule of law, then it has to apply to everybody."

Other signatories included former Irish president Mary Robinson and Richard Goldstone, former Chief prosecutor for Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Anonymous said...

SANCTIMONIOUS. That is the problem with ego that says-"Look how bad they are-Look how good we are(yes, we saw your video-does it make you feel more-righteous?). "We are Gods people!"-as if others are not? All the Sanctimonious say the same thing--The hard line Moslem clerics, the Jews, the Christian Right. It really hasn't a thing to do with religion. It's all about EGO and a way to convince ones self that they are right and more deserving of Gods rewards and blessings.--- SANCTIMONIOUS.

Ben-Yehudah said...

B"H

Well, now you know why many of us Jews in Israel blog.

Personally, I don't give rat's tuchus as to what the goyim think about the Jews.

But, it would be nice for fellow Jews to get accurate infomation about what's going on here.

WomanHonorThyself said...

excellent piece!..truth is hard to swallow..dont count on the libs owning reality any time soon.:)

Jack said...

We all should treat each other how we want to be treated.

Of course we should, but the world doesn't work that way so we need to deal with reality.

now we are talking about Gaza. did you know that a part of the cease fire agreement between Hamas and Israel in the summer of last year was that Hamas would stop rocket fires into Israel, in exchange for Israel lifting the devastating blockade of Gaza that has made basics of life difficult for all Gazan civilians.


And the blockade did not create a problem of the magnitude that some people claim and the rocket fire never ended. But you don't address that.

like not using white phosphorous in urban areas (oh wait, Israel did do that).

See you repeat talking points without knowing or understanding whether you are correct. Are you really familiar with the guidelines surrounding the appropriate use of white phosphorus. If you were you wouldn't just throw it out there as if it proved a point.

“It isn’t that we want to sensationalize. It’s just that some very serious things have happened, and if we are hoping to have a world that is stable, a world that abides by the rule of law, then it has to apply to everybody."

When the world and UN starts to act in a fair and balanced manner than such rhetoric will be meaningful.

Isn't it interesting that virtually no one commented on Hamas,on the video I put up or their actions.

Almost all of the focus is on Israel and their actions.

One commenter on this thread, one, acknowledged that Hamas is composed of murderous thugs. One person called them for what they were and went back to Israel.

That offers an opportunity for dialogue. Those that ignore Hamas or gloss over their actions make it next to impossible to be taken seriously.