Haifa

Matti Friedman on the Media?s Obsession with Israel

This speech by Matti Friedman, a journalist, explains much about the manipulation by media organisations against Israel.

It is being liberally published and has appeared at Honest Reporting and Quadrant Online.

I doubt it will get published in any mainstream media here, so I will.

Read it and understand how you are being manipulated, particularly over issues concerning Israel. It is quite long but very revealing.

One night several years ago, I came out of Bethlehem after a reporting assignment and?crossed through the Israeli military checkpoint between that city and its neighbor,?Jerusalem, where I live. With me were perhaps a dozen Palestinian men, mostly in their?thirties ? my age. No soldiers were visible at the entrance to the checkpoint, a?precaution against suicide bombers. We saw only steel and concrete. I followed the?other men through a metal detector into a stark corridor and followed instructions?barked from a loudspeaker ? Remove your belt! Lift up your shirt! The voice belonged to?a soldier watching us on a closed-circuit camera. Exiting the checkpoint, adjusting my?belt and clothing with the others, I felt like a being less than entirely human and?understood, not for the first time, how a feeling like that would provoke someone to?violence.

Consumers of news will recognize this scene as belonging to the Israeli occupation of the?West Bank, which keeps the 2.5 million Palestinians in that territory under military rule,?and has since 1967. The facts of this situation aren?t much in question. This should be an?issue of concern to Israelis, whose democracy, military, and society are corroded by the?inequality in the West Bank. This, too, isn?t much in question.

The question we must ask, as observers of the world, is why this conflict has come over?time to draw more attention than any other, and why it is presented as it is. How have?the doings in a country that constitutes 0.01 percent of the world?s surface become the?focus of angst, loathing, and condemnation more than any other? We must ask how?Israelis and Palestinians have become the stylized symbol of conflict, of strong and?weak, the parallel bars upon which the intellectual Olympians of the West perform their?tricks ? not Turks and Kurds, not Han Chinese and Tibetans, not British soldiers and?Iraqi Muslims, not Iraqi Muslims and Iraqi Christians, not Saudi sheikhs and Saudi?women, not Indians and Kashmiris, not drug cartel thugs and Mexican villagers.

Questioning why this is the case is in no way an attempt to evade or obscure reality, which is why I opened with the checkpoint leading from Bethlehem. On the contrary ? anyone seeking a full understanding of reality can?t avoid this question. My experiences as a journalist provide part of the answer, and also raise pressing questions that go beyond the practice of journalism.

I have been writing from and about Israel for most of the past 20 years, since I moved?there from Toronto at age 17. During the five and a half years I spent as part of the?international press corps as a reporter for the American news agency The Associated?Press, between 2006 and 2011, I gradually began to be aware of certain malfunctions in?the coverage of the Israel story ? recurring omissions, recurring inflations, decisions?made according to considerations that were not journalistic but political, all in the?context of a story staffed and reported more than any other international story on earth.?When I worked in the AP?s Jerusalem bureau, the Israel story was covered by more AP?news staff than China, or India, or all of the fifty-odd countries of sub-Saharan Africa?combined.

This is representative of the industry as a whole. ? ? ? Read more »

The Israeli Navy – Defending the toughest border

Yesterday I was treated to a visit of the Israeli Navy in Haifa.

Security was tight, but not as tight as I expect tomorrow for my trip to IDF Intelligence.

We were told that we could only take photos of soldiers and sailors from behind, or from afar. Every photo had to be inspected.

After a briefing on how the Navy controls all shipping out to and beyond the 12 mile limit and the borders with Lebanon and Gaza we were escorted about a?Super Dvora class fast patrol boat?to have a look.

This border is their toughest boarder due to the constant movement of vessels, the terror threat along with smuggling and other criminal activity.

One was leaving on patrol and so we were allowed to photograph that as it left the dock.

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Super Dvora class fast patrol boat leaving dock in Haifa. Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

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Golan Heights, Syria and Lebanon

Al Qunaytirah, Syria - smoke from Rebel artillery strike against Assad forces   Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil media

Al Qunaytirah, Syria – smoke from Rebel artillery strike against Assad forces Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil media

Yesterday I went to the Golan Heights, to the border of Syria, and also to the border of Lebanon.

From atop Mount Bental, an extinct volcano atop the Golan Heights plateau you can see the almost all of the Heights, from Mount Hermon to across the plateau into Syria.

There are IDF bases on all the high points to protect the land that Israel annexed in the Six Day war. The decision to take the Golan Heights was made on the 4th day and the they have been taken in just two days.

On the drive up there are minefields still in place, left by Syrian forces, and there are warning signs everywhere.

From the top of Mount Bental you are not far from the border, and we were looking down on Al Qunaytirah in Syria. This is an Assad regime held town, from where we were looking there is a Druze town to the left called Jubata Al Kashab, a larger town called Khan Arnabeh and on the right of?Al Qunaytirah is a town called Al Qahtaniah. Those three towns are rebel held. ?? Read more »

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