The Media often publish and syndicate stories regarding the Middle East which present the Palestinian narrative unchallenged by basic tests of reasonableness and without even considering the Israeli perspective. This “news” is then reproduced almost verbatim by thousands of local, national and international newspapers, radio and television outlets. Complaints of bias are met with a total lack of understanding – after all, these were just reprints of syndicated stories from “reputable” media sources.
Additionally, abuses of the terms “war crimes” and “international law” are unquestioningly quoted and repeated, without any reference to what really happened on the ground, Israel’s right and obligation to protect its citizens from the genuine war crimes perpetrated by the Palestinian terrorist regime in Gaza.
How will the UN investigation headed by Justice Goldstone be treated? It is about to issue its report, which could well lead to legal action against Israel in international courts. The frame of reference of the commission was tainted and biased from the outset, assuming that Israel had committed war crimes and that the Palestinians had not – or if they did, then they were not really worthy of attention. One member of the commission publicly admitted that she had already found Israel guilty before the commission even began, and before a single witness had been called.
It is no wonder that in this environment, Israel refused to give legitimacy to the commission by co-operating with or appearing before it.
Nevertheless, good friend Maurice Ostroff made sure that a great deal of publicly available material which supported Israel’s case was put to the commission. (You can see it at his website, together with a summary questioning the impartiality of the commission.) Gilad’s father, Noam Shalit, also testified as a private citizen. Of course, given the predisposition of the panel to find Israel guilty, it is not clear how much weight will be given to this evidence.
What is needed are facts in anticipation of this report, which will also answer the many NGO “reports” which have simply taken the Palestinian narrative as absolute truth, with no proper investigation, evidence, or consideration of the right and obligation of Israel to defend its citizens. Facts that also show that Israel is a democratic state of law, and if individual soldiers acted against Israeli or international law, that they will be duly answerable.
Most unusually, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a detailed, 164 page report analyzing just these questions. And so that the press could not claim “too long” or “too complex”, the MFA held a pro-active press briefing this week, where it presented the report to the foreign media and answered questions. Unfortunately, it would be naïve to think that the syndicated media (who have proved themselves to be no friends of Israel over the years) will use this material in a manner that will give Israel’s positions a fair reflection.
Can anything be done? And if so by whom? I am not sure you will like my answers here.
YES something can be done; by YOU.
Write to the international media, and especially your local media now. Tell them that you are disappointed in the way that they have treated the topic in the past. Tell them that before they report on the Goldstone commission, you wanted to make sure that they had all the facts in hand so that they could make proper editorial decisions. Send them the above links and information so that they can do the research and balance their reports. Let them know that the public is watching, and after the reports are published, let them know how they went.