Tuesday, July 25, 2006

We're not standing with Israel, actually

A poll for The Guardian suggests 61% of Brits believe Israel has acted "disproportionately" to the threat it faces against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Since this is the Guardian its tempting to assume this is just the usual suspects on the Left, but sadly I don't think it is. The poll goes on to say even 68% of conservatives believe Tony Blair's position on this is too close to that of President Bush (and it is safe to say that "yo Blair" incident didn't help).

The British Conservative Party also seems to be following its leftward lurch in domestic policy with a similar change in direction in foreign policy. Even NRO has noticed this, with a typically accurate post on David Frum's blog:

This week... Cameron’s front bench indulged itself in the most serious attack to date upon its friends: this time, an attack upon US-UK diplomacy in the Middle East, upon George Bush, and upon Israel as it defends itself against terror attack.

This is because Tony Blair was openly mocked on the Conservative benches for being unwilling to "stand up to" Bush, and an admission from Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague that Israel's response has indeed been disproportionate (that specific word was used).

This was not however as bad as it got. 'Liberal Democrat' leader Ming Campbell had the following bile to spew:

The Government is right to ensure there are no arms transfers, either direct or indirect, from the UK to Syria, Iran or illegal armed groups such as the military wing of Hizbollah ... The Government must now comply with its own arms export rules and institute an immediate suspension of all UK arms exports to Israel

A moral equivalence is drawn between Israel and Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Tories may be doing their best to cuddle up to elitist opinion in Europe on this, but you still won't see such alarming idiocy from them as seems manditory for a liberal.

Without doubt, the UK isn't standing with Israel as it should be. But their is still a minority who sees Israel's fight as our broader fight, a fight against Islamofascism. This pro-Israel rally in London shows not everyone is suffering from pancake-on-the-brain syndrome

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Yoni Netanyahu, Hero

“I, and the Israeli youth, have the duty to defend this country. It is a great responsibility that has made us come of age prematurely: people from the Moshav, the city and the Kibbutz who are united by something stronger than political affiliation. They are united by a feeling of brotherhood, mutual responsibility, recognition of the value of human life, a strong and sincere yearning for peace but at the same time a willingness to stand up to any challenge”.

Thirty years ago today, on America's Two-hundredth birthday, Israel did what few even dared dream of, and liberated over 100 hostages in Entebbe, Uganda - 3,000 miles from home, in enemy territory. The man behind this most daring and most impressive of raids, Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu, was not to come home alive.

He rests on Mt. Herzl, in Israel's eternal capital, and within our hearts, he lives on.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Media Bias: Why is Israel to blame?

Once again the Arab-Israeli situation flares up in the Middle East. We've all grown used to seeing it in our news, and rarely do people seriously look at the events and the motives before them, instead using the situation to 'support' either side based on the prejudices they already have. Palestinian supporters cry that the Gaza incurison is morally unjustified and an act of "collective punishment"; Israeli supporters don't tend to understand why the IDF have stayed out of Gaza this long.

So what is the truth, assuming their can be an objective one? Most of the media is playing the standard anti-Israeli bias, with their message being if i summarise "Yes Israel was provoked, but its reaction is out of all proportion, unnecessary, aggressive, damaging to the peace process and designed not to get their soldier back but rather to extract revenge on the Palestinians, making their lives a misery".

One of the worst media offenders of ridiculous bias is the barely contained anti-semitism at UK Channel 4 News. Lets just have a look at this report (video link on this page), followed by an interview with presenter Jon Snow and the Israeli ambassador to the UK.

This 'special report' is billed as showing life in Gaza during the incursion. How Israelis view events, or how life is like in Israel during constant rocket attack or fear of suicide bombing, is of course uninteresting and irrelevant. Reporter Jonathan Miller first seeks the objective views of a Hamas guard on the bombing of a power station, with the guard saying of Israel “the only way they can get their way is by force". The staggering, breath-taking hypocrisy of this statement from a member of an armed terrorist organisation is gone unchallenged.

Miller than scours the Strip for more people who agree with his worldview. He finds someone in the form of a Palestinian whose roof has apparently collapsed from a sonic boom of Israeli aircraft, who says “I hope they get more of them" (them being kidnapped Israeli soldiers). Portrayed utterly unchallenged, the report barely stops short of at least sympathising with the kind of Palestinian terrorism that started all this.

It gets worse. We see a press conference by the Hamas prime minister, and it is reported “Ismael haniyeh had urged his people to remain patient and strong". Yes, the peace loving Palestinians must remain calm at this Israeli violence out of left field. Riiiiiiight. The report ends by commenting that "Gaza is running out of patience" , patience of course being something these "resilient people" have "abundance of".

If your stomach continues to have patience at this point, it will let rip its contents upon the floor after 'questioning' from Jon Snow of the Israeli ambassador, which goes something like this:

"...rockets, pretty pathetic things, nobody gets injured, home-made, and you well know they have nothing stronger than an AK-47 - an RPG - they have no weapons, and you're delivering some of the most sophisticated bombardment thats ever been subjected to a defenceless people. Is that an act of terror would you say?"

For viewers of course, the obvious answer is meant to be 'yes'. The Israeli argument that this is a response to constant rocket attack is dismissed effectively by saying that rocket attacks against innocent civilians mean nothing. The lack of casualties (and Snow shamelessly lies when he says no one gets hurt) is hardly a redeemer for the Palestinians. Yet, after two days of "sophisticated bombardment", just a single Palestinian is dead, which is less than the dead in the original kidnapping incident. Israel may indeed be trying to pressurise and intimidate, but with such a massive action causing so few casualties illustrates the extreme caution with which the IDF approaches this. This is no "act of terror".

The media stands blissfully unaware of the facts. The kidnapping of Cpl Gilad Shalit was the last straw of what amounts to almost a year of Palestinian terror originating from Gaza. With the proper background it hardly seems an overreaction.

Indeed, if I may say so, sympathy of the Palestinian cause can only result from a misunderstanding of the real situation. Some people, many of whom really should no better, are actually naive enough to believe, probably because of media spin, that there are really two 'wings' of Hamas - political and militant - and so are outraged when Israel arrests members of the Palestinian parliament. From top to bottom, from the lone guard in Miller's propaganda piece all the way up to the prime minister, Hamas is a terrorist organisation - a group which holds as its objective the destruction of Israel (and another media falsehood, that Hamas was about to sign a document with Fatah recognising Israel, is debunked simply by reading the document), which refuses totally to renounce violence, and whose grassroots members see the extinction of the Jewish people as being the will of Allah.

Many pundits often use the phrase "cycle of violence" to describe the middle east. This is a lie. The reality is Palestinian action and Israeli reaction. It is Palestinian terror followed by Israeli response which does its best to be humane under the most extreme and difficult circumstances and geography in the world (Gaza is of course the most densely populated area on earth - nothing can be done there which wouldn't effect everyone; it is not just punishment which is done collectively, inevitably and unavoidably everything is).

We all hope and pray this incident cools down and some resemblance of peace returns. We all hope Cpl Gilad Shalit is returned safely, no matter how unlikely that now appears. We all hope the Palestinians do not suffer excessively from Israeli efforts to rescue him and deal more widely with the situation. But equally, I sincerely think we should all also hope that this incident reveals the true nature of the conflict: a conflict which at its heart the Palestinians are to blame for, yet also a conflict which our enlightened media will use endlessly in its quest to unfairly smear Israel