September 30, 2014

Middle East Media Sample for August 29, 2012


The Corrie Verdict

The New York Times reported in Court Rules Israel Is Not at Fault in Death of American Activist:

Ms. Corrie, a student at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., joined the International Solidarity Movement in January, 2003, and spent the last weeks of her life in Rafah, the Gaza town that borders Egypt. In a Feb. 27, 2003, e-mail home, she wrote that 600 homes had been destroyed there since the start of the intifada. On March 16 she and seven other American and British activists acted as human shields, dropping to their knees between the bulldozers and a home they believed were marked for destruction. The verdict came more than a year after the last of 15 sessions of oral testimony, which began in March 2010. Some of the witnesses, including the drivers and commanders of two bulldozers that were operating in the area that day, testified from behind a screen to protect their identities. Ms. Corrie’s parents or sister attended every session of the trial, spending about $200,000 on travel, translating about 2,000 pages of documents, and other expenses.
“A lawsuit is not a substitute for a legal investigation, which we never had,” Ms. Corrie’s mother, Cindy Corrie, said at Tuesday’s news conference. “The diplomatic process between the United States and Israel failed us.” The United States Embassy, which sent a representative to the oral-testimony sessions, declined to comment on the verdict. In June 2004, a representative of the secretary of state wrote to the Corrie family saying the United States agreed with them that the military’s investigation was not “thorough, credible and transparent.”
In Washington, the State Department’s spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said, “We understand the family’s disappointment with the outcome of the trial,” and noted that American diplomats “have worked with the family all through this process” and that they would continue to do so. She declined to discuss the remarks that Ms. Corrie’s family attributed to the American ambassador that the Israeli investigation had not been transparent. But on Tuesday, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, said in a statement that the United States government “has been noticeably absent, and its silence is deafening,” calling Washington “complicit in compounding the crime.” She also said that the trial had revealed “overwhelming proof that Rachel was deliberately murdered” and said that “Palestinians as a whole will continue to love Rachel and cherish her memory.”

Much of the article is devoted to Corrie’s posthumous fame and the grief of her family and supporters and little to the evidence or the legal reasoning of the court. In Context has a comparison between two points reported in the New York Times and what actually was presented in the report. Though not related to the New York Times story, CiF Watch looks at a photograph of Rachel Corrie and concludes that it was photoshopped.

And while this has nothing to do with what was reported, the New York Times chose a picture of Corrie with a reflective pose. But a different picture, specifically the news photo used by Front Page, would tell a much different story. Certainly, it tells a different story from the narrative that the New York Times presents here.

David Bernstein writes at the Volokh Conspiracy about Poor coverage of the Rachel Corrie verdict:

I’ve been reading different accounts of an Israeli court’s decision to deny a judgment for Rachel Corrie’s parents. Corrie, you may remember, was the young American activist who was struck by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza while protesting trying to prevent housing demolitions during the first intifada [UPDATE: more precisely, she intentionally went to a closed military zone and put herself in between a military bulldozer and a house it was trying to demolish; see how easy it is to make a pretty reckless action on her part sound like she was just quietly protesting on the sidelines; and I didn't even do it on purpose.]. I’ve come up with a pretty clear dividing line for sound coverage and poor coverage. Sound coverage at the very least mentions that Corrie was working for the International Solidarity Movement. Even if the story doesn’t give any further details, a bit of Googling would quickly reveal that the ISM is a far-leftist organization that supports Palestinian terrorism, has served as cover for terrorists, and encourages its participants to insert themselves as dangerous situations where they may suffer “martyrdom.” Consider this: “Less than two weeks after Corrie’s death, ISM members allegedly tried to prevent Israeli troops from searching their office in Jenin in the West Bank. When the soldiers forced their way in, they discovered Shadi Sukia, a leading member of Islamic Jihad.”

(See In Context, cited above, regarding the house. Still Bernstein’s critique is well worth reading in its entirety.)
Brendan O’Neill writes at the Telegraph in the Secular Beatification of Rachel Corrie …:

The transformation of Corrie’s life and death into a black-and-white morality tale – featuring a well-off white American who was pure of heart, poor little brown people who have no hope, and a Zionist entity that is supremely evil – sums up the boneheadedness of modern-day Palestinian solidarity. There was a time when supporting Palestine meant looking upon Palestinians as a people capable of governing their own lives, even of running their own state, free from the meddling or bossing-about of outsiders. Now, Palestinian solidarity is all about treating Palestinians as the ultimate victims, as helpless, hapless, sad-eyed creatures who need decent Westerners, ideally well-educated ones brought up in Amnesty-supporting households, to come over and “save” them, in a not dissimilar way to how Bible-wielding white folk once tried to saved the savages of Africa.
Palestinian solidarity has become creepily anthropological. It increasingly treats Palestinians, not as a people who simply need more political independence, but as a threatened tribe that must be protected from further harm by “human shields” from the enlightened west. Decked out in Arafat-style keffiyehs (a PC form of blacking up), and possessed of a conviction that it falls to white-skinned, iPhone-armed westerners to expose Israel’s “genocidal” crimes to the world media, solidarity activists who travel to Palestinian territories are becoming more and more like secular versions of the crusaders of old. They are effectively going to Palestine to find themselves, to try to give meaning to their potentially shallow lives through imagining that they can “save” an entire people and halt a “genocide” by standing in front of a tank or writing some blog posts about how tragic are the lives of cute Palestinian children. It is a peculiar form of solidarity that reduces an entire foreign people to the level of child-like victims who need the likes of St Rachel to save them.

Tom Gross recalls the forgotten Rachels:

But other Rachels have lost their lives as well – Jewish victims of the Intifada. Does anyone remember them? In Britain, where the play is being staged, how many people even know the name of Rachel Thaler, a British citizen who was murdered by a Palestinian suicide bomber in an Israeli shopping mall at the age of 16?
“Not a single British journalist has ever interviewed me or mentioned Rachel’s death,” her mother Ginette Thaler told me three and a half years after her murder. Below, an article of mine published in the weekly British magazine, The Spectator, explores these phenomena and also marks the first time Rachel Thaler’s name has been mentioned in the mainstream British media. Earlier, in April 2005, I wrote another piece on “The Forgotten Rachels” for The Jerusalem Post, to mark the play’s initial staging.

So has the Muqata.

Other roundups of material are at Honest Reporting, Meryl Yourish and Elder of Ziyon.

About Daniel Goldstein

Daniel Goldstein is a media critic and recovering blogger. He has been critiquing media bias against Israel since his first letter to the editor in 1987.