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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Finally: An Israeli government representative speaks out against media bias

This is the first time I can remember a senior Israeli government representative going after the media directly for its anti-Israel bias. Michael Oren rips the media for its slanting the news in Thursday morning's Washington Post.
But Hamas also has a media strategy. Its purpose is to portray Israel’s unparalleled efforts to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza as indiscriminate firing at women and children, to pervert Israel’s rightful acts of self-defense into war crimes. Its goals are to isolate Israel internationally, to tie its hands from striking back at those trying to kill our citizens and to delegitimize the Jewish State. Hamas knows that it cannot destroy us militarily but believes that it might do so through the media.  

One reason is the enlarged images of destruction and civilian casualties in Gaza that dominated the front pages of U.S. publications. During this operation, The Post published multiple front-page photographs of Palestinian suffering. The New York Times even juxtaposed a photograph of the funeral of Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari, who was responsible for the slaughter of dozens of innocent Israelis, with that of a pregnant Israeli mother murdered by Hamas. Other photos, supplied by the terrorists and picked up by the press, identified children killed by Syrian forces or even by Hamas itself as victims of Israeli strikes.
In reporting Palestinian deaths, media routinely failed to note that roughly half were terrorists and that such a ratio is exceedingly low by modern military standards — much lower, for example, than the NATO campaign in the Balkans. Media also emphasize the disparity between the number of Palestinian and Israeli deaths, as though Israel should be penalized for investing billions of dollars in civil-defense and early-warning systems and Hamas exonerated for investing in bombs rather than bomb shelters. As in Israel’s last campaign against Hamas in 2008-09, the word “disproportionality” has been frequently used to characterize Israeli military strikes. In fact, during Operation Pillar of Defense this year, Hamas fired more than 1,500 missiles at Israel and the Israeli Air Force responded with 1,500 sorties.
The imbalance is also of language. “Hamas health officials said 45 had been killed and 385 wounded,” the Times’ front page reported. “Three Israeli civilians have died and 63 have been injured.” The subtext is clear: Israel targets Palestinians, and Israelis merely die.
The media perpetuated Hamas propaganda that traced the fighting to Jabari’s elimination and described Gaza as the most densely populated area on earth. Widely forgotten were the 130 rockets fired at Israel in the weeks before Jabari’s demise. For the record, Tel Aviv’s population is twice as dense as Gaza’s.
Read the whole thing.

I constantly hear justified complaints about how Israel has no media strategy and doesn't do hasbara properly. I can't think of a better answer to both of those claims than having our ambassador go after the host country's media for being biased against Israel. I hope that others in the diplomatic corps will follow suit.

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