04 March 2008

Gaza media wars and proportionality

The following great article by Ami Isseroff is copied here in its entirety. The original is located here.

Almost everyone agrees that Israel is losing the infotainment media wars. I personally am very happy about this. I am happy not because I am a left-wing progressive Zionist, though I am also that. I am happy because I am an Israeli and a patriot. I am happy not because I am a "defeatist." Quite the opposite.

Every day, the media all over the world show terrible pictures of fighting in Gaza. A picture is worth a thousand words, 2000 words for people who move their lips when they read. Terrible pictures and terrible statistics. One Israeli was killed by a rocket. 60, no 101, no 120 Hamas terrorists militants and associates were killed by Israel.

I hope it keeps going in the same way. Is that a cruel thing to say? Think about it. We Israelis did not chose this war with the Arabs of Gaza. They freely elected a government of genocidal war criminals in democratic elections, as we are reminded constantly. Then the genocidal war criminals took over all power illegally, because that is what genocidal war criminals have a tendency to do. They bombard our towns with rockets and smuggle in illegal weapons. They refuse to recognize our right to live in peace as a free people. I have nothing against innocent people in Gaza. The Arabs of Gaza may be sorry that they brought to power a government of genocidal war criminals, as all the polls show, but that is not relevant. The Germans were also sorry they brought Hitler to power, once it was clear that they were losing the war. Wars are only fun for warmongers when they are winning. I am sorry for every innocent person who is hurt in Gaza, for every home that is ruined for no reason by mistake. But imagine if it were the other way around? I would be much sorrier if all those homes were in Sderot or Ashqelon, and all those dead people had voted for a government that declared its determination to make peace.

Israel is losing the media wars not because, as hysterical op-ed columnists claim, we have an incompetent government of traitors who should be hanged and an incompetent and cowardly army. We are losing the media wars because we have the best army in the Middle East and perhaps, qualitatively, in the world. We are losing the media war because, while the people of Sderot and the rest of the Western Negev, some 250,000, are terrorized by little rockets that carry a few pounds of explosives, 1.5 million Gazans have to reckon with bombs carrying hundreds of pounds of explosives, with 175 mm howitzer shells and deadly accurate missiles. As long as we keep killing tens of Palestinian Arabs for every Israeli we have to be losing the picture book infotainment media wars.

The media wars are going precisely according to script. In the previous episode of Media Wars, I predicted about the Gaza media war:

The following stage is that Israel is forced to stop the operations, and the enemy declares a big victory.

We are now at the next stage. Hamas has declared a victory. Like the narrator in any serial TV melodrama, my predictive success is not due to prophetic abilities. BBC sends me the script in advance. It is not clear why the media are angry at Israel. Don't they sympathize with the underdog? That is the freely elected Palestinian government as we are told. Those are their policies and those are their victories. So what is the problem for BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, Reuters, and Al-Jazeera? They should be celebrating the victory with their admired friends, the Hamas. They should be showing all the happy faces of the Gazans celebrating their victory.

Pictures cannot show policies. They can't show what is in peoples' hearts and minds. Children look like children, whether they have been learning to love their neighbor, or whether they have been learning about the Hamas bunny that eats Jews. Women look like women. When they are in pain or dead, there is no way to know which woman would say with pride, "My son, the doctor gets so many pretty girlfriends," and which would say "My son, the Shihad suicide bomber got 72 virgins." There is no way of knowing who voted for a party that promised to work for peaceful coexistence with its neighbors, and who voted for a party that promised to wipe its neighbors off the face of the earth in order to bring about the end of days.

In this war, whoever kills the most people will lose the mindless infotainment media wars. Had there been camcorders and Internet in 1944, there is no doubt that pictures of the suffering civilians of the Third Reich would have been flashed around the world. Poor little Fritz in his crib, and Frieda knitting warm socks for her husband, the guard at the camp in Oswiencem, poor little Siegfried dead in his starchy and neat Hitler Jugend uniform, and poor Marlene in her dainty and spotless Bund Deutscher Madschen uniform, now stained by blood - all civilians. The kids were on a Strength Through Joy outing, you see.

The Nazis would have won the media wars hands down in 1944 and 1945. They were being pounded by overwhelming force. People would be just as sorry for them as they are for poor little Ahmed who died with his cuddly giant toy bunny that eats Jews, and Fatima, who died while dreaming of blowing herself up to liberate Jerusalem. All of them - the Germans and the Arabs of Gaza - were victims of monstrous regimes and monstrous societies. We can't blame a ten or fifteen year old kid for believing the hate they are taught by their elders. Perhaps many of those Germans who got killed by the bombs were socialists and pacifists who hated Hitler and Nazism, and perhaps many of the Arabs who will die - or even most - are wonderful people who want peace. We mustn't ever dehumanize or demonize the enemy. Heinrich, the guard at Bergen-Belsen, had a loving family and so does Ismail Haniyeh. Wars are made by ordinary people, and most of then are "innocent." The tragedy is that wars work that way. We did not start this war.

It is important however, that thinking people. now as then, remember what the war is about. The Hamas are an illegal government of a genocidal and racist militant terrorist organization that insists that they want to wipe out Israel and kill all the Jews. The Reuters news organization cannot be suspected of Zionist sympathies. They interviewed, and proudly quoted, a Hamas militant terrorist who had this to say:

"In the end, Israel will have to agree to our terms. There is no alternative to returning all of our Palestine."

That is the Hamas manifesto. What talks can one have with such a group, and what compromise, and what coexistence? What choice is there other than to fight these people? Who can return to the Arabs of Palestine what was never theirs? They never ruled Palestine since the time of the early Caliphs. Imagine if a Zionist had made such a statement - that all of the land of Israel must be "returned" to the Jewish people. The Zionist would be on much firmer historical ground, but Reuters would no doubt portray him as a fanatic. The unconsciously ironic Reuters headline for this encomium to terrorism was Inspired by God, Hamas fighters battle on. The "god" of Reuters inspires people to be terrorists.

Everyone who reads or sees or hears about Gaza must remember what it is all about. The Hamas is an illegal government of genocidal, racist terrorists. Their medium term goal is to wipe out Israel and murder or subjugate the Jews of Israel in an Islamic apartheid regime. They are a branch of the Muslim brothers. Their long term goal is to institute a caliphate in the Middle East. The short term goals of Hamas, the goals of these rocket attacks, are to sabotage the peace process and unseat the Palestinian Authority government.

When the BBC reports, "1 Israeli killed by Qassam, 120 Palestinians killed by IDF" they think they are reporting war crimes of the Zionist war criminals and "disproportionate response." When the BBC reported, "1 Londoner killed by V-II, 500 Germans killed in RAF night raids" it was treated as a great victory, was it not?

Ami Isseroff