Thursday, August 03, 2006

John Pilger

I've started reading The New Statesman recently, and find it to be pretty informative and more or less balanced on foreign affairs issues. But I was pretty stunned by how awful John Pilger's piece in the current issue is. He's passionately anti-Israeli with nary a condemning word about Hezbollah in Lebanon or Hamas in Gaza, and he writes with all the subtlety of a battering ram. Here are some of the worst bits:
An Israeli soldier belonging to an invasion force was captured and held, legitimately, as a prisoner of war. Reported as a "kidnapping", this set off yet more slaughter of Palestinian civilians.

This reminds me of a CNN International bit that I saw on the first day or so of Israeli response to Hezbollah. The anchor (Fanulah something or other?) interviewed the Israeli ambassador to Britain and was literally yelling at him, asking him how many innocent civilians he had killed so far. Mind, this was before Israel had accelerated to a full-out response and before they started tripping all over themselves. To be sure, Israel has lacked any strategy and shown true cruelty these past weeks, though not at that point. The anchor was just determined to villify Israel from the get-go. But the interesting thing is, they then cut to a demonstration in Trafalgar Square against the Israeli response, and they interviewed a Respect MP and a leader of the British Muslim Council. These interviewees also referred to Gilad Shalit as a legimiate prisoner of war, as John Pilger does above. The correspondent allowed them to go on for a long while with an anti-Israel tirade, then simply thanked them for their comments without so much as a challenge.

So where does this idea that Shalit was a legitimate prisoner of war come from? Palestinian militants tunneled under an Israeli base, killed several soldiers, kidnapped Shalit and withdrew to Gaza with him. Pilger endorses this is as legitimate. Something to remember when you read his stuff.

Another bit from Pilger:
"I want nobody to sleep at night in Gaza," declared the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, as children went out of their minds. In their defence, the Palestinians fired a cluster of Qassam missiles and killed eight Israelis: enough to ensure Israel's victimhood on the BBC; even Jeremy Bowen struck a shameful "balance", referring to "two narratives". The historical equivalent is not far from that of the Nazi bombardment and starvation of the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto. Try to imagine that described as "two narratives".

Shameful words from Mr. Pilger. Comparing Jews to Nazis is a classic tactic of the anti-Semite, and it's amazing that the New Statesman finds this fit to print

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