Sunday, January 11, 2009

Will AP ever stop lying for Israel?

In opening a scathing dismantlement of historical myths on Israel-Palestine, world-renowned investigative journalist, John Pilger, recently wrote:
"When the truth is replaced by silence," the Soviet dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, "the silence is a lie."
When life-saving — arguably genocide-preventing — information is systematically and deliberately misreported and concealed by the world's largest news organizations, you can safely consider it, too, an act of lying.

On January 9, The Associated Press released a report titled "A look at the Islamic militant Hamas group." Like virtually all AP reports on Israel-Palestine, it is loaded with examples of journalistic malpractice: omission of the most basic and vital facts, use of the most sensationalistic or flatly wrong language, contradictions, and untruths.

From the report:

NAME: Arabic for "zeal." Is acronym of Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah, or Islamic Resistance Movement. Use first was in 1987 leaflet presaging launch of first Palestinian uprising against Israel, 1987-93.

GOAL: To establish Islamic theocracy in Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip. Does not recognize state of Israel and committed to its destruction.

OPERATIONS: Built grass-roots base through preaching and network of health, education and welfare services in Gaza Strip and West Bank. Preaches armed resistance against Israel and has staged dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks, killing hundreds. Listed as terror group by U.S., European Union and Israel. [1]

In the "NAME" point, AP admits that the name of the organization reveals its main purpose (resistance). So, why do AP reports always refer to Hamas as the "Islamic militant group" or "violent Islamic extremist group"? Why is AP so troubled by the phrase Islamic resistance movement, or even Palestinian resistance group? Is it the same reason AP doesn't mention Hamas' raison d’être: resisting the belligerent Israeli occupation of Palestine?

In the "OPERATIONS" point, AP firstly mentions Hamas' social and political foundations; so again, why refer to Hamas as solely "militant"? Are armed, occupying, belligerent Israeli "troops" not also "militant"? And what of their religious designations? Are they not "Jewish militants"?

In the "GOAL" point, AP uses deceitfully sensationalistic language and contradicts what it reported in "NAME." AP is basically lying here. Hamas' primary stated goal is to liberate Palestine from the Israeli occupation. The establishment of an Islamic state ("theocracy") is ancillary thereto. A theocracy was, in fact, established in the Levant more than 60 years ago; it is known as Israel ("the Jewish state").

And when reporting that Hamas is "dedicated to [Israel's] destruction," AP omits Hamas' peaceful and quite rational overtures these last few years, contradicting that sensationalistic and Orwellian inversion of reality. And what are the authoritative legal grounds for requiring Hamas to "recognize" Israel? There are none. And morally speaking, how can a stateless group of individuals be held at bay over their refusal to recognize an already established state? If anything, the roles should be reversed. Does Israel recognize statehood for Palestinians? Is Israel dedicated to the destruction of Palestine? Historical and ongoing facts on the ground (as opposed to loosely-interpreted and mostly irrelevant words in a charter) scream, "duh!"

AP mentions Hamas' violent and arguably immoral tactics. Indeed, detonating a bomb, knowing that non-combatant civilians will die as a result, is immoral and deserving of public contempt. On the other hand, if AP's readers knew that many, if not most, of those attacks were aimed at armed-to-the-teeth, belligerent "troops" and "settlers," then perhaps AP's readers would wonder whether there was no other feasible way of hitting legitimate military targets in resistance to the unbearable occupation. Furthermore, AP conceals another vital fact: Hamas, for more than four years now, has honored its commitment not to employ "suicide bombing" as a resistance tactic. [2]

Other Huge and Unavoidable Questions

As an unspoken rule of thumb, AP's reportage on Israel-Palestine is decidedly Israeli-centric. [3]
How else can AP answer the following questions honestly without admitting to blatant journalistic fraud?
  • Why hasn't AP released a similar report on the state of Israel? What is there to hide?

  • AP parrots the official (and dishonest) Israeli line, that Israel launched the current carpet-bombing and invasion of Gaza in order to stop the firing of rockets into Israel, as if it were the Gospel; so why won't AP even mention the Palestinian reason for firing those rockets?

  • When reporting that Hamas et al. are considered terrorist organizations by the U.S., Israeli, and other governments, why not also mention that Hamas et al. consider certain U.S. and Israeli entities to be terrorist organizations? The Iranian Parliament actually made the designation official!

  • Why does AP insist that Hamas are clearly and uniquely the violent, extreme, and iron-grip faction — and that their political opposition, Fatah, are clearly the "moderates" — when moderation is defined by stuff like this, this, and this?

  • If it is so true, so relevant, and so worth constantly repeating that Hamas is dedicated to Israel's destruction, then how, pray tell, should Hamas go about defeating the world's 4th-most-powerful military, which is nuclear-armed and blindly backed and subsidized by the world's preeminent superpower?
Perhaps AP takes its readers for such ignorant fools because AP, being "the world's largest and most trusted independent source of news and information," is supremely confident in its ability to get away with massively misinforming them to the point of utter state-worshiping servility.

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1. "A look at the Islamic militant Hamas group," The Associated Press, 1/9/9. Emphasis added.
(news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090109/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_palestinians_hamas_glance)

2. The last time Hamas uncontroversially claimed responsibility was in August 2004; whereas, the attack in Dimona, Israel, on February 5, 2008, was contested, with armed wings of both Hamas and Fatah claiming responsibility. (See:
haaretz.com/hasen/spages/951028.html.)

3. For examples, see the various articles and studies on AP in the "
Analysis of Media Coverage of Israel/Palestine" section at IfAmericansKnew, and "AP’s Chronological Disorder: Israel-Gaza Edition," by this author.

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AP Jerusalem Bureau
PO Box 13172
Jerusalem 91131
Israel
Tel: 972-2-538-5577
Fax: 972-2-537-6083
Bureau Chief, Steve Gutkin: sgutkin@ap.org
Managing Editor, Josef Federman: jfederman@ap.org

AP Headquarters
450 W. 33rd St.
New York, NY 10001
Tel: 1-212-621-1500
Email: info@ap.org

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