Having Googled both the sources, this is my understanding of each of their positions:Originally Posted by Sumud
He is critical of the Israeli electronic and printed news media for reporting on the Intifada in a biased, one sided and selective manner. He claims that the net effect of such reporting has been the hardening of Israeli public opinion against peace, not because Israelis are not prepared to offer â€œterritories for peaceâ€, but because they perceive that there is no partner for peace on the other side. Daniel blames the Israeli media for building up this â€œfalse impressionâ€ because he claims that:
- The Arab uprising (the Intifada) was spontaneous and Arafat was not personally responsible.
- The uprising was caused by Palestinian frustration about the stalemate in the peace process and Ariel Sharonâ€™s visit to the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount.
- Barak had a role in the failure of the Peace Process.
- The IDFâ€™s conduct caused the escalation of the uprising
- There was systematic disregard that Palestinians live under complete occupation
- The wave of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians made things worse
- The September 11 attack emboldened the media to treat Arafat as the local Bin Laden
He is critical of the Western electronic and print media for managing to turn tiny democratic Israel into a pariah state. He calls this phenomenon â€œa fascinating historical questionâ€. He attributes this to a number of prejudices including; anti-Semitism, sentimental third worldism, Marxist anti colonialism and anti Americanism. He claims that because western media are guilty of â€œbankrupt ideologies, and moral idiocies that have rendered the Middle East's only full-fledged democracy and free society into an international villain and that the selective, ignorant and biased reporting has misled the public about the real situation in the Middle East. He examined 10 key events and he claims that:
- Ariel Sharonâ€™s visit to the temple mount was used as only a pretext to the Uprising, not the cause of it. He mentions that a number of Arab leaders, including marwin Barghutti actually admitted this.
- The western media slavishly perpetrated the myth that Sharonâ€™s visit was a provocation and kept quiet about the fact that the Temple Mount is Judaismâ€™s holiest site and is not just a Muslim holy site.
- Much of the media ignored completely or played down a "vitriolic and incendiary sermon" preached by an anti-Semitic imam opposed to any negotiations with Israel. The imam stirred up the crowd with claims that the Israelis were going to turn the mosque into a synagogue and threats that Muslims "are ready to sacrifice their lives and blood to protect the Islamic nature of Jerusalem.
- The media was guilty of selective reporting by mentioning that Israeli police killed four rioting Palestinians but omitting to mention that this happened while Palestinians besieged a police post near the wailing wall and that the mob rained rocks on Jewish worshippers.
- Their report that day also ignored the death of an Israeli soldier who was gunned down by his Palestinian partner in a joint patrol
- He accuses the media of using false moral equivalency because they repeatedly gave credence to claims of discredited Palestinian spokesmen. He mentions the example of a particular accusation against Israeli settlers that they tortured a Palestinian man to death when in fact, it was proven the man died as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
- Another example of the use of false moral equivalency, involved the reported shelling by Israel of empty Palestinian police stations, Israel pre warned the Palestinians about their intentions after a frenzied Palestinian mob lynched the two captured Israeli reservists. A media outlet chose to present this by saying that â€œThere are Israelis and Palestinians who do not want this peace plan to succeed. Yasir Arafat is vulnerable to those forces and so is Prime Minister Barak."
- On another occasion, the same western reporter made the claim: â€œVarious Palestinian factions as well as Jewish settlers in the territories are calling for another day of rage,â€. The reality though was that the settlers never did call for days of rage.
- Another western media outlet equated the act of Sharon visiting the Temple Mount to the Palestinian act of destroying Josephâ€™s tomb. Joshua questions how the act of visiting a site that is holy to Jews is equivalent to an act of destruction of a site that is holy to someone else?
- The coverage of the so-called Jenin massacre encapsulates best the failures of the media to distinguish between the defensive actions of a democratic army and the murders of an autocratic terrorist gang. The media again initially gave credence to the exaggerated Palestinian claims that the Israelis killed over 500 people in a massacre. Of course, such claims were thoroughly discredited later.
Muravchik claims that the problem with the media's distortions, whether they result from professional sloppiness, ideological bias, ignorance, or fear of reprisal from Palestinian terrorists, is that first impressions are created that last beyond the later corrections. The "Jenin massacre," for example, lives on in a "documentary" circulating on college campuses,
My Reaction to Both Journalists
Firstly, I agree with both journalists that most if not all media outlets have their own biases and inevitably they have to displease one side or the other. The least biased ones tend to displease both sides. But it does not mean that the media cannot take sides, as long as they stick to proven facts and/or report other news as unsubstantiated claims (as much as possible).
Secondly, with regards to Sharonâ€™s visit of the Temple Mount: I donâ€™t really care whether the uprising was spontaneous or pre-planned. Either way, I agree with the general perception of many Israelis that that action and the subsequent wave of suicide bombings and terrorism (which incidentally never completely really ceased even before the Intifada) revealed that there is no real willingness for peace on the other side.
Thirdly, the claim that Barak had a role in the failure of the Camp David negotiations does not sound to be credible. No lesser people than Bill Clinton and Dennis Ross, who were directly involved in the negotiations, put the blame for the failure, fairly and squarely on Arafat and not Barak.
Fourthly, it is disingenuous to blame the IDF for the escalation of violence because the violence was clearly started by the Arabs. Although it is quite probable that the IDF was heavy handed and that because they were neither equipped nor prepared to deal with such violence, there were probably some unnecessary Palestinian deaths and casualties. Having said that, based on past historical patterns, I doubt that the events would have unfolded with significant difference even if the IDF would have been more professional in their crowd control. After all, this was not the first ever Palestinian uprising in the holy land. Such uprisings occurred even during the British mandate and invariably the violence escalated and thousands died before the uprisings subsided. For instance, in the 1936 to 1939 Arab revolt, it was estimated that over 5000 Arabs died.
And Sumud, lastly, just for the record, let me reiterate that I am pro Israel. In that sense, I donâ€™t describe myself in the middle ground with regards to this long standing conflict. By the same token, I would not describe you as being in the middle either because you on the other hand seem to be pro Arab/Palestinian. To my way of thinking, one can only describe themselves to be in the middle if they are neutral. However, when I described as being in the middle, I meant it within the spectrum of the pro Israel opinion. As I said, I favour the idea of land for peace but only if itâ€™s NOT pretend peace!