While the BBC has been promoting Mahmoud Abbas and his bid for statehood, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini have been reiterating theirs, for everlasting permanent rejection of Israel’s presence on eternal Arab land.
This morning I have been watching some speeches on PJTV under the umbrella of ‘Durban Watch’, which delivers unto us the abomination of the UN’s farce, “World Conferences on Racism”: Durban (l, ll, and lll).
Even our own government (finally) pulled out of the latest Durban fiasco. “The UN is a place where lies are told.”
“I was taught that the elimination of Jews would be a service to mankind. A religious obligation.”
Here is a very rough transcript of some of the highlights:
“As a journalist working with the international media, when I tried to alert the foreign correspondents that there was financial corruption in the Palestinian authority, many western journalists asked me, ‘are you on the payroll of the Jewish lobby? Did Jews give you money to say these things against the PLO?’
I asked, ‘what do the Jews have to do with this, and secondly, where is this Jewish lobby, how much do they pay? Maybe it’s much better than working for the media. Why don’t you want to believe what the Palestinians are openly saying, and the PLO is openly admitting?’
They reply “We told our editors back home, they were not interested, Please give us an anti occupation story. Give us a story that reflects negatively only on Israel.
“Maybe these stories are true, but we are afraid, How can we go back to Ramallah? Arafat might kill us.” I say if anyone has reason to be afraid, it’s me, the local Arab Muslim journalist who wakes up in the morning and says these things in Arabic and still goes back to Ramallah and Gaza putting my life at risk. If you guys are really as afraid, what are you doing in the Middle East reporting? Go home and report sport and weather.
The US diplomats said “Just shut up. You should not be saying these things, these stories play into the hands of Jews.” The international media turned a blind eye because of the antisemitism among them. I think I am the only person there who has worked with journalists from all over the world over the past 25 years, and if I were to sum up my experiences with the international media I would say that the overwhelming number come with the perception that there’s a conflict going on over here, there are good guys and bad guys, and please don’t confuse us with the facts.
The good guys are the poor oppressed Palestinians living under occupation, and the bad are the Jews, the ones with the money and the guns, power, tanks and jets, and this is how we want to cover this conflict.
Two months ago A Palestinian university professor was arrested in the Palestinian areas, by the PA. When I called my foreign colleagues to report it they asked me “Who arrested the professor?” I said ‘the PA security forces.’ Only one out of nine journalists I contacted agreed to do the story. The others said “Leave it for now.”
A few days later, to test the same group, I made up a story. A Palestinian professor in Ramallah has applied for permission for himself, his wife and three children to eat in a fish restaurant in Jaffa and the Israeli authorities have not yet given him the permit. Seven of them asked for his number. “Tonight, not tomorrow. That’s an atrocity!” They wanted it as a scoop. It’s a continuing trend.
At an NGO meeting at the UN here in NY someone said: “In Palestine there’s a free media! At an NGO meeting! I laughed. Don’t they know that in Palestine the media is controlled by Fatah or Hamas? Last week Abbas arrested George Canawati, a Palestinian Christian journalist living in Bethlehem. He was arrested by the security forces under Mahmoud Abbas and ‘reformist’ Salam Fayyad. He is going on trial on October 3. His crime was that he had reported that Abbas’s representative had been drinking Israeli-made juice in violation of calls for a boycott. You would never read about these things in the New York Times.
Earlier this week I was in Ramallah with foreign journalists searching for stories on the eve of the Palestinian statehood bid. We received a phone call that there was violence by Jewish settlers, “bring the media”. Here’s a story, let’s go to Hebron to see what’s going on.
40 -45 journalists, 3 settlers and 200 Palestinians.
“These settlers threatened us as they walked past”. These foreign journalists thought this was a big story. These journalists can’t go to Syria, they can’t get visas for the Arab world, so they sit inside Israel. When I read the headlines the following day about settler violence I thought we were on different planets. Why does Israel look so bad in the media? When you are a democracy you pay a heavy price for allowing journalists to come and do what they cannot do elsewhere. They don’t care about anything else, they’re so obsessed with Israel. So what if people are murdered in Syria or Libya? If a Jewish soldier shouts at a Palestinian at a checkpoint that’s breaking news.