18 September 2011
Putting in a Nice Word for Israel
Hameed Abdul Karim
Over the past few months the local (Sri Lanka) English media, including the government owned ones, have been dropping in a nice word for Israel every now and then whilst shunning any news that might be even mildly negative of Israel.
This began when the Israeli ambassador accredited to Sri Lanka and residing in New Delhi came over on a visit to Sri Lanka some months ago. During his sojourn he visited many newspaper offices giving rosy little speeches about Israel, ignoring the apartheid system according to Archbishop Desmond Tutu that his government has enforced in occupied Palestine. No Sri Lankan journalist had the spunk to question him on Israel’s vicious occupation of Palestine.
What’s more, quite a few Sri Lankan journalists were given free trips to Israel and one journalist from a government owned weekend paper wrote an article promoting the image of Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion as a man of peace, even though it is well known it was he who engineered the mass expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinian Christians and Muslims from their homes in the worst ethnic cleansing programme in recent time. Churches, mosques homes and farmlands lay in shambles after Ben Gurion accomplished his plan. This journalist even had the temerity to mention in his article that he had ‘just returned from a tour of Israel’.
A journalists in an English daily who is known to bend over backward for Israel went to the absurd extent to report that ‘Israel’s top diplomat in New Delhi’ had alleged that the LTTE had inspired suicide attacks on the Jewish (sic) state and that the Norwegian bomber Breveik ‘could have had a link with LTTE activists in Norway’. He attributed his tale to ‘informed sources’ subtly moving the ‘sourcing’ away from ‘Israel’s top diplomat’. There has been neither a follow up nor a further elucidation on this ‘breaking news’ which suggests this story was not true in the first place. A journalist is required by the ethics of his profession to investigate his story without attributing it to anonymous ‘informed sources’ or to pander to ‘top diplomats’ in anticipation of a ‘foreign trip’.
Recently, another English daily in an editorial, no less, went on to say that Israel was an egalitarian state and then went on to call Israel a ‘Jewish’ state in pursuance of Benyamin Netanyahu’s ‘command’ the world recognises Israel as a Jewish state. How is it possible for a state to be a mono ethnic state and egalitarian at the same time seemed to have escaped the author of the editorial? Obviously the author was oblivious to the contradiction in his or her claim. Weren’t we dead against the creation of a mono ethnic state in the north and east called Eelam?
All this pro-Israel propaganda comes despite the well known fact that it was Israel who trained the LTTE and our army at the same time. Israeli authorities had gone to the extent of deriding our army boys by calling them monkeys according to Victor Ostrovosky in his book ‘By Way of Deception’. Mervyn Silva’s Guardian newspaper (Sri Lanka) had reported there was ‘hard evidence of Israel supplying arms to the LTTE’ quoting an Australian newspaper report which said the Australian police had confirmed Israel supplied arms to the LTTE. The Jain Commission in India probing the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi reported that there were links between Israel’s spy agency Mossad and the LTTE.
The pro-Israel propaganda (hasbara) comes at a time when Israel’s myth as ‘the only democracy in the middle east’ lies in tatters. The pictures of Israel’s cruel and arrogant assault on Gaza using sophisticated US supplied state of the art arms and ammuntion as well as chemical weapons horrified the whole world. This has led to calls for the arrests of Israeli leaders on allegations of war crimes by human rights groups.
Israel’s well documented human rights violations, crimes against humanity and its racist policies have come under severe criticism by no less a person than former US president Jimmy Carter amongst a host of other world leaders.
Colombo – Sri Lanka