Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Alibhai-Brown's Media Outrage

Independent columnist asks "Where is the media outrage over Gaza?"

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, a columnist for the UK's Independent, regularly features on HonestReporting and its UK affiliate due to her propensity to describe Israel as a "racist" and "apartheid" state.
In her latest anti-Israel screed, Alibhai-Brown rails against Israel's closure of Gaza:
It is a siege without mercy, locking people into a prison, most of whom have not been convicted of any crime except that of being Palestinian. I am not defending the militants who attack Israel; what they do is extreme provocation. But even that cannot excuse Israel's actions. Neither United Nations food aid nor European Union medical supplies are allowed through. Fishermen are gunned down, power cuts mean industries have shut down.
  • Contrary to Alibhai-Brown's accusations, food aid and medical supplies have been allowed into Gaza and crossing points have only been shut due to persistent Palestinian rocket attacks. See here for details of goods and food as well as medical evacuations taking place between Israel and the Gaza Strip since the Hamas takeover of Gaza.
  • As recently as today (Nov. 24), the Gaza crossings have been reopened for supplies.
  • Contrary to Alibhai-Brown's charge regarding power cuts, even the Palestinian Authority has accused Hamas of staging the latest blackouts in the Gaza Strip in a bid to win sympathy and incite the Palestinian public against Israel and the PA.
  • The charge that Israel "guns down" Palestinian fisherman is extremely serious and without any basis and goes beyond previous unsubstantiated allegations made against the Israeli navy.
Despite the fact that HonestReporting has monitored many column inches of coverage and comment on the Gaza situation in the media, Alibhai-Brown disgracefully compares it to the very real crisis in Mugabe's Zimbabwe and asks:
where is the outrage in the media? I have scoured the newspapers, and there is nothing. Israel can get away with anything it chooses to do. So low are expectations of this democracy that such a state-made humanitarian disaster is not even news.

Alibhai-Brown then goes on to attack the right of British Jewish institutions to defend and support Israel, describing it as "propaganda to justify the unjustifiable." She even criticizes the Jewish Chronicle newspaper for becoming "hardline" under its new editor Stephen Pollard, despite the fact that Pollard only started the job today! (Nov. 24)

Pro-Israel and Jewish organizations, including HonestReporting have just as much right to carry out their activities as those organizations and columnists such as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who resort to demonizing Israel at every opportunity while accusing Israel's supporters of "stifling debate".

Alibhai-Brown aptly demonstrates this demonization in her concluding paragraph, where a parable with the horror of the Nazi Holocaust is impossible to ignore:

Evil happens when the world says and does nothing. That a Jewish state expects no condemnation of the evil it perpetrates shows that nothing is learnt from history.

While such an article will undoubtedly generate an angry and emotive response, please send considered comments to The Independent - - remembering to include your name, postal address and daytime telephone number to ensure a chance of publication on the letters page.

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