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Why the Media Habitually Side with the Palestinians By: Erick Stakelbeck
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, January 30, 2003


I’ve finally figured out why the media habitually sides with the Palestinians against even the slightest Israeli movement. As Frank Sinatra might have said after reading the script for The Manchurian Candidate, "They’ve been brainwashed, baby." And I think I know just when it happened:

The date: September 30, 2000—the earliest stages of the current Palestinian Intifada. The setting: A dank, windowless basement somewhere deep in the West Bank. Twenty Western journalists are kidnapped from their hotels and brought to this dungeon-like hovel, where they’re injected with a powerful brainwashing drug obtained by the P.L.A. courtesy of Iraq. Yasser Arafat, his bumpy face illuminated by a single bare light bulb dangling from the ceiling, sizes up the weak Western devils seated before him and breaks into a yellow-toothed grin. This is his moment. A French cameraman tries to scream, but all that comes out is a whimper. Resistance is futile.

Arafat: "Repeat after me, infidels!"

Journalists (zombie-like): "Repeat after me, infidels."

Arafat: "You will go back to your pitiful countries and report the following, each and every day for as long as I let you breathe: The Israelis are nothing but Zionist aggressors occupying what is and always has been Arab land. The Jews are the true terrorists! "

Journalists: "The Israelis are nothing but Zionist aggressors…"

Okay, so I exaggerated a bit. (Isn’t that the Middle Eastern way?) But somebody call Hollywood, because I think we’ve got ourselves a movie. We could call it The Moroccan Candidate, or maybe The Boys From Bethlehem. We could even get has-been filmmaker Oliver Stone to direct. After all, Stone just wrapped a fawning documentary about Arafat entitled Persona Non Grata (to go along with his pro-Castro piece, Commandante, that premiered last weekend at the Sundance Film Festival), and was recently quoted in the New York Post as saying "I can see why suicide bombers feel the way they do. Israel doesn’t belong in the West Bank." Never mind that said suicide bombers are the reason the Israelis occupied the West Bank in the first place. With befuddled Leftists like Stone wielding media influence, it’s no wonder that in the case of the Palestinian refugees, Arabs have managed to perpetrate what author Hal Lindsey calls, "one of the most colossal lies in the history of mankind." In his book, The Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad, Lindsey writes:

"For some reason, the whole world has swallowed unbelievable products of the Arab propaganda machine…The record shows that migrant Muslims came from other Arab lands to areas of Palestine that were reclaimed and developed by Jews in order to get jobs. It was afterward that they began to claim that Jews displaced them from land that had been in their families for hundreds of years."

The vast majority of today’s Palestinians are descendants of people who immigrated to Israel in the 19th and 20th centuries. In fact, some Muslims came from as far away as Bosnia-Herzegovina to reap the benefits of the Jewish revitalization of the Holy Land, which had become a malaria-ridden wasteland under centuries of Ottoman rule. Yet, as Lindsey states in his book:

"These same poor Muslims who benefited from the Jewish jobs later charged the Jews had stolen their land, which had been in their families since time immemorial…The West has bought this lie without questioning its veracity."

A particularly noxious example of the Western media’s gullibility in regards to the so-called Palestinian plight appeared in the January 8 edition of the Philadelphia Daily News. A four-page photo spread entitled "Cycle Of War" was featured prominently in the paper, which prides itself on being the type of liberal progressive rag that litters far too many of America’s newsstands. Despite its title, "Cycle Of War," portrayed anything but a mutually recurring conflict between two opposing sides. Rather, the eleven full-color photos showcased in the spread amounted to no less than a ringing endorsement of the Palestinian cause. The photos were taken in the West Bank city of Nablus, and a more slanted view of the Middle East crisis you aren’t likely to see this side of Al-Jazeera television. Jennifer Midberry, who took the photos and also wrote the short article preceding them, says that she "studied in Jerusalem in spring, 1999 and grew fond of Israel and Jewish culture." Her snapshots, however, which purport to show "life under Israeli curfew and its toll on children," tell quite a different story. Here are brief descriptions of four of the more incendiary pictures, along with the captions that accompanied each:

—A shirtless, bloodied Palestinian teenager lies on the ground, writhing in pain. The caption beneath his picture reads, "Hossam Katawi, 16, is treated after being shot in the chest while throwing stones at Israeli tanks." I hate to be cynical, but something tells me there is a bit more to this story than what we’re getting from the Daily News.

—A group of Palestinian teens and young men run from an Israeli tank after pelting it with stones. "We know the stones don’t do anything to the tanks," offers one of the teens. "But what can we do? It is our only defense." Here’s an idea: put down your rocks and tell your parents to demand the immediate resignation of Yasser Arafat. Then maybe the suicide bombings will cease and the Israeli tanks can leave.

—A forlorn-looking young boy stares into the camera from a huge hole that has been blown into the side of his house. The caption reads, "Salah Bushcar stands in the rubble of his family’s home after it was demolished by Israeli forces in retaliation for a suicide bombing carried out by Salah’s brother, Osama Bushcar." Which explains the Israeli "occupation" in a nutshell.

—A group of elementary school students is shown leaving a school building, which is surrounded by rubble. "One-third of the term has been canceled because of the curfew," reads the caption. "So teachers will not be able to complete all of the material in the curriculum." This would bother me much more if the curriculum didn’t include textbooks that explain how Jews use the blood of young children to make matzo at Passover. And let’s not forget the popular kids’ program that glorifies suicide bombing.

I could describe the remaining photos, like the one where an ailing Palestinian boy lies in a hospital bed "after being shot in the ankle by Israeli Defense Forces for playing outside after curfew," but you get the idea. The most ironic part of this piece is that it was published just three days after a horrific suicide bombing in Tel Aviv killed twenty-two Israeli civilians. As stated previously, the article appeared on January 8, but I decided to wait two weeks to write this column in order to gauge Daily News readers’ reaction. As expected, their response was intense and varied. But for me, the following excerpt from one of the letters sums things up perfectly:

"Israel must continue to defend its citizens until a more trustworthy hand is extended from the Palestinians. As the late Golda Meir said, ‘there will never be peace until the Arabs learn to love their children more than they hate ours."

Now that would make for a great movie.




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