The Gaza War and American Media

A reader asked me to comment on the current Gaza military campaign Israel is undertaking. They specifically said they’d like to know what the American media is not saying.

So, not being any kind of expert on “the American media” I simply went to CNN.com where I found this article (beware, it is one-sided):

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/gaza.israel.airstrikes/index.html

The CNN article shows a photo of three dead Palestinians and a mourner. 95% of the article is about damage to Gaza and Palestinians. The 5% or less that mentions why Israel has a reason to attack Gaza is quite limpid:

Monday, Israel’s defense minister said the nation was in an “all-out war” with Hamas, which rules Gaza.

“We have stretched our hand in peace many times to the Palestinian people. We have nothing against the people of Gaza,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel’s parliament. “But this is an all-out war against Hamas and its branches.”

Mortar fire along the Gaza border late Monday killed one Israeli soldier and wounded four others, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman told CNN.

So, my conclusion is that this one article, which may be representative of American media, makes no attempt to show Israel’s side. This despite the fact, IMO, that Gaza has no justification whatsoever for what they have done by sending missiles against Israeli civilians. Gaza started this war and asked for this attack.

So, let me share with you three things: an analogy, a statement by Peres, and a way for you to get better media coverage.

First, an analogy. Imagine that Nicaragua (I picked them at random from Central America) decides that America has caused it financial ruin. Terrorists in Nicaragua take up on apartment buildings and civilian neighborhoods with missile launching platforms. They start sending missiles for months into Texas. A few of them hit schools while American children are learning and a few of them get lucky and hit homes, occasionally killing Americans who are watching TV in their homes.

The liberal politicians in the U.S. keep saying, “Let’s not do anything. Let’s just condemn the attacks.”

After a while, the situation becomes intolerable and the U.S. decides to attack. We send notices to apartment owners, “You have missiles in your building. Evacuate all residents because we are going to bomb you.”

Then the U.S. takes out several buildings and a neighborhood from which many missiles are coming. 350 Nicaraguans die. How many are terrorists and how many are civilians? Who knows? The Nicaraguans claim they are all civilians. The terrorists know they are their wives and children whom they refused to allow to leave and other families who decided or were not allowed to leave.

How does this analogy strike you? If you saw footage of American children in a burning school from a Nicaraguan missile, would you be in favor of letting it continue?

Now, listen to a statement by Shimon Peres, a man about as liberal as any Israeli politician can get, and yet a man fed up with the senseless attacks from Hamas:

PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE

Sunday, December 28, 2008

President Shimon Peres Has Made A Special Statement on “Operation Cast Lead” and the Ongoing Palestinian Rocket Attacks

This morning, President Shimon Peres made a special statement to the media regarding Operation Cast Lead (Israel’s attack on the Hamas terror infrastructure in Gaza) and the ongoing Palestinian rocket fire on civilian areas in southern Israel. A transcript of the statement, which is also available on video from the Associated Press and Reuters, is below.

It is the first time in the history of Israel that we, the Israelis, cannot understand the motives or the purposes of the ones who are shooting at us. It is the most unreasonable war, done by the most unreasonable warriors.

The story is simple. Israel has left Gaza completely, out of our own free will, at a high cost. In Gaza there is no single Israeli civilian or soldier. They were evacuated from Gaza, our settlements, which called for a very expensive cost. We had to mobilize 45,000 policemen to take out our settlers from there. We spent $2.5 billion. The passages were open. Money was sent to Gaza. We suggested aid in many ways – economically, medically, and otherwise. We were very careful not to make the lives of the civilian people in Gaza difficult. Still I have not heard until now a single person who could explain to us reasonably: why are they firing rockets against Israel? What are the reasons? What is the purpose?

And I must say also that the phenomenon about Israel is the restraint of the army and the unity of the people. The army waited and waited; the Palestinians asked for a ceasefire, and we agreed. They themselves have violated the ceasefire. Again, we didn’t know why, until it came to a point where we were left without a choice but to bring an end to it. The operation was planned carefully and the army was true to its principles: namely, to be precise in its targets and careful not to hit civilian life. There is a problem because many of the bombs were stored in private houses. We have contacted the owners of the houses, the people that dwell there, and told them leave it. You can’t live with bombs. We have to bring an end to the source of the bombs.

Israel doesn’t have any ambition in Gaza. We left out of our free choice. We have never gone back to the idea of returning to Gaza. It’s over. But we cannot permit that Gaza will become a permanent base of threatening and even killing children and innocent people in Israel for God knows why. I feel that in our hearts, we don’t have any hatred for the Gazan people. Their suffering doesn’t carry any joy in our hearts. On the contrary, we feel that the better they will have it, better neighbors we shall have. Now that Hamas is turning to the Arab world for help, the truth is that the Arab world has to turn to Hamas for the help of Hamas. If Hamas will stop it, there is no need for any help. Everything can come again to normalcy. Passages: open; economic life: free; no Israeli intervention; no Israeli participation in any of the turnarounds in Gaza.

As a nation, we feel united. As a nation, there is wholehearted support for the army, the way they handled it, their restraint, their discrimination, and their responsibility. The great winner can be reason, and reason will lead to peace. We are very serious, in a serious mood. Many of our children are still in the shelters, and we would like them, like the children of Gaza, to breathe fresh air again. This is the story, and whoever asks us to stop shooting – they have to change the address. Let them turn to Hamas and ask them to stop shooting, and there won’t be shooting.

Finally, where can you get accurate reporting? Why not try Israeli news websites? You might say they will be biased toward Israel, but the Israeli press, unlike the press in Muslim countries, is a free press and is often critical of its government and armed forces. I get my news from:

http://www.haaretz.com/

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Islam and the West, News. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Gaza War and American Media

  1. A reader asked (in a comment under the article “Meeting a Half-Jew in Douglasville, Georgia”) if there are any biblical proportions to the current Gaza war.

    My only thought is that there is talk in Iran of going to war with Israel. At the moment I do not know how serious Iran is about doing this. Some regard the prophecy of Gog and Magog as being unfulfilled (Ezek 38-39) and see this as Russia and Iran making war on Israel (and losing). The novels of Joel Rosenberg are all about this possibility. Although I do not see prophecy in the same way as Rosenberg, I love the books and recommend them.

    Derek

  2. 4joyc says:

    It is written in the bible that Russia and Iran making war on Israel and losing. Which bible? Right now Israel is losing in Gaza, as they lost in Lebanon. Hezbolah is still in the north. Hamas is still in the south. And you all beloved Iran is in the west. And the east is where the Israeli need to go.

  3. 4joyc:

    I debated about whether to delete your comment, mainly because it is so irrelevant and incorrect. I think, for example, you meant to say Iran is to the East and the place for Israelis is to the West, meaning America, I suppose. I gather this is your Muslim view of the best course of action — deport all Israelis to refugee camps in America.

    Well, America would not take the Jews after WWII and they had nowhere to go. The nations of the world, to make themselves feel better for not being willing to give displaced Jews a home, voted in the UN to give half the nation of British Palestine to the Jews and half to the Arabs. The Arabs said no and started a guerilla war until they could get some Arab nations on board to fight the Jews with them. The Arabs lost that war and have been complaining about it ever since.

    Derek

  4. harleyflhx says:

    4joyc…what planet are you on..? have you seen southern Lebenon..? Are you aware that the Hezbolah
    leadership was sent packing back to Iran..where they
    came from..? do you know that the rockets coming in from Lebenon late last summer have ceased..? Reason has it that Isreal was successful in thier campaign..
    4joyc… stop with the mis-information.. just because you say “Isreal is loosing” doesn’t make it so.. they will
    be successful in this campaign as well.. they will eliminate the threat.. then leave..
    Right on Derek..
    cs

  5. harleyflhx says:

    Derek..
    unfortunately, if the U.N. were to vote on that same issue today.. I don’t believe it would pass….a very shameful situation indeed..
    cs

  6. Connie says:

    I’m sorry, but I think this column is beneath you. I am a strong supporter of Israel, including the ongoing action in Gaza, and I scan 4 to 6 news outlets daily. Two of those are from Israel. I’ve seen CNN reports that defend Israel’s justification and articles that covered only the damage done. I don’t expect the damage reports to carry a preamble giving Israel’s reasoning, especially when that reasoning has been laid out clearly in other articles.

    I want my news to come from all sides. That’s the only way I can hold informed opinions. I’m glad that American outlets show multiple sides to the story. As a pro-Israel Christian, what I find much more upsetting is the bashing that the media takes from America’s evangelical community for reporting anything that is not blatantly pro-Israel.

    • Connie:

      I understand your frustration with Christian bashing of the media. I hope I have been restrained in what I have said. I examined one article only and I only made claims about that one article. I don’t watch cable television and I don’t pretend to be an expert. Yet I do feel that one article needed some balance. Thanks for caring and commenting and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

      Derek

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