No 942 Posted by fw, December 29, 2013
A Windsor Star story, Spate of attacks on Israel in form of rogue acts by Aron Heller of the Associated Press (AP), published on December 27, 2013, prompted me to do some quick research and fire off a letter to the editor in response. Part 1, in the preceding post, includes my letter to the Star editor revealing the pro-Israeli bias not only of AP stories, but, as well, of other articles published by the Star.
In this, Part 2, an analysis of the writing style of the Star’s AP story reveals it to be a piece of pro-Israeli propaganda, and a not very good one at that.
As I discovered in researching this story, Israel’s propagandists have a 116-page training manual —
“… devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace.” The Israel Project (TIP) … provides journalists, leaders and opinion-formers with “accurate information about Israel”. Its purpose is to help the worldwide Zionist movement win the propaganda war by persuading international audiences to accept the Israeli narrative and agree that the regime’s crimes are necessary for Israel’s security and in line with “shared values” between Israel and the West. (See Israel’s professional liars by Stuart Littlewood, Redress Information & Analysis, October 19, 2012).
Here is a reprint of the AP story with my critical analysis of its propagandist style inserted in indented italics —
Note the use of loaded terms in the title: ‘spate’, in the Free Dictionary, is defined as “A sudden flush or outpouring”; ‘rogue’ means “unprincipled, deceitful, wicked, evil”. Note, too, that the attacks are “on Israel.” So even before any supporting evidence is presented, the reader is subtly primed to pre-judge the Palestinians as the aggressor.
JERUSALEM — A spate of violent Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets in recent weeks is raising concerns in Israel that it may be on the verge of a new type of Palestinian uprising.
In contrast to previous waves of Palestinian violence, the recent incidents do not appear to be an organized effort by militant groups but rather a collection of individual acts.
Right from the outset, Palestinians are twice labelled as the aggressor — ‘violent’ attackers — the Israelis as victims — i.e. ‘targets’. Moreover, absent supporting evidence of the numbers of ‘attackers’ involved, the story initially characterizes this as a Palestinian ‘uprising’ implying marauding masses, raising ‘concerns’ in Israel. Then follows a clarification of sorts – these are ‘individual acts’. So, two paragraphs into the piece and not a word about the Palestinian side of the story.
Their rogue nature has made it difficult for Israeli leaders to respond or even identify their exact cause.
There’s the word ‘rogue’ again. This sentence primes readers to believe that the leaders of a state ranked 13 in the military power in the world find it ‘difficult’ to know how to respond. Even more incredulous, they can’t even guess at the ‘exact cause’ of Palestinian anger? Why would a people whose land in the West Bank is being stolen from them day-by-day, hectare by hectare, and whose inhabitants in Gaza have been ghettoized, be upset? One can appreciate how difficult it must be for Israelis to ‘guess’ at the ‘exact cause of Palestinian anger’ given the long list of flagrant abuses to which they subject Palestinians.
After years of relative quiet, Israel’s Shin Bet security service has reported a steady rise in attacks since Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed peace talks in July.
Once again readers are presented with the Israeli perspective — “years of relative quiet.’ Quiet for whom, one might ask? Certainly not for the Palestinians. A report from Israel’s ‘security’ service, which is keeping score, indicates a ‘rise in attacks.’ No equivalent scorecard report from the Palestinian side is advanced, and such reports do exist. Apparently AP press didn’t bother to check. Is the passing mention of the ‘peace talks’ intended to have us believe that Israel takes them seriously? The latest headline I read about the peace talks was this one: Kerry wants to imprison West Bank with massive security fence along Jordanian border.
In November, for instance, there were 167 attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank, compared to 136 in October, the agency said.
Note first, these figures are from a biased Israeli source. Second, there is no definition of what constitutes an ‘attack’. Third, where is the scorecard of Israeli attacks on Palestinians?
The past few days have been particularly dramatic.
On Sunday, a pipe bomb believed to be planted by Palestinian militants exploded on a bus in central Israel in the most serious attack inside Israel in more than a year.
The bus was evacuated moments before the blast, but the explosion caused heavy damage.
The next day, an Israeli police officer was stabbed outside a West Bank settlement and on Tuesday an Israeli civilian was killed by a Palestinian sniper in a cross-border shooting from Gaza, sparking a series of Israeli airstrikes that killed a Palestinian girl.
‘Dramatic’ attacks on Israelis are itemized first. The comment about an Israeli airstrike killing a Palestinian ‘girl’ is introduced at the tail end of a sentence justifying an airstrike “sparked’ by the shooting death of an Israeli civilian. To balance the AP account, here’s a photo with the name of the dead 3-year-old, Hala Abu Sbeikha.
Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said the incidents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which are ruled by rival Palestinian governments, were unrelated, calling them “atmosphere attacks.”
But he promised that Israel would respond nonetheless.
“This is an unacceptable situation for us and despite the difficulty of dealing with an individual assailant who is incited to kill Jews, we will act with force and in other ways to harm those who try to carry out attacks,” he said.
And readers are presented once more with the viewpoint of an Israeli official who characterizes the military response as acts of self-defence against unprovoked Palestinian violence ‘incited to kill Jews.’ What could possibly have incited the Palestinians? And how dare they attack. While Israel has right to defend itself, Palestinians, it seems, only “have the right to die”
The West Bank and Gaza Strip, located on opposite sides of Israel, are ruled by different governments.
Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority are engaged in peace talks aimed at ending decades of conflict and establishing an independent state for Palestinians.
Peace talks? Get serious! Any responsibly informed reader knows that Israeli settlements expand, their demolition of Palestinian homes increase, and attacks on Palestinians continue unabated during the façade of ‘peace talks’.
Gaza’s Islamic Hamas rulers, on the other hand, refuse to recognize Israel and call for its destruction.
It’s difficult to believe the AP is still trotting out this red herring. In fact, in 2008, the Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, stated that Hamas would agree to accept a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, and to offer a long-term truce with Israel.” More to the point, according to a report in the Israeli paper Haaretz, Netanyahu proved Israel doesn’t want peace (Sept. 26, 2011)
Both Israel and Palestinian officials agree that violence from the West Bank is connected to the peace talks, though they pin the blame on each other.
Palestinians say the current climate is a result of brewing frustrations over the perceived lack of progress in peace talks while Israel continues to build Jewish settlements on land it claims for a future state.
On Wednesday, an Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned to announce new settlement construction next week.
“Politically, there is no sign of any hope, and on the economic side there is no sign, too,” said Jihad Harb, a Palestinian commentator. “People are frustrated by political groups who failed to bring them independence, so therefore they behave individually.”
Israeli leaders accuse the Palestinians of spreading hatred and incitement.
“The terrorist attacks against Israelis over the last few days are a direct result of the incitement and hatred propagated in Palestinian schools and media,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu.
“We are disappointed that so far President (Mahmoud) Abbas has not condemned these acts of terrorism as one would expect from a partner in peace talks.”
The AP reporter first elevates the Palestinian attacks from ‘rogue’ to ‘terrorist’ level. Then he concludes his one-sided, rather shoddy propaganda piece with a quote from Netanyahu’s official ‘storyteller’, Mark Regev, accusing Palestinians of ‘spreading hatred and incitement’. A search of ‘Mark Regev’ on The Electronic Intifada’s (EI) website returns pages of complaints about Regev’s misleading statements when called upon for a comment by the Western media. According to the EI, Regev, is not noted for his truth-telling. Here’s just one of dozens of EI examples: “the press safety watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists has criticized baseless claims made by Israeli spokespersons, [including Regev], to justify the deadly targeting of media workers in Gaza.”
In conclusion, the above analysis of the writing style of the Windsor Star’s AP article by Aron Heller should remove any doubts from the minds of reasonable, intelligent readers that it is little more than a thinly disguised piece of pro-Israeli propaganda.