Friday, January 06, 2006


The Same As It Ever Was

Over the last couple of days as Ariel Sharon has been undergoing various operations and is in critical, yet stable condition, the media has continued as ever to portray him in a false and dark light.
The man is no hero of mine, yet I know when is the right time to criticise and when is the right time to have a bit of respect. I know when criticism is deserved and when it is opportunistic.
I also know when I see self-righteous news organisations, journalists and news readers who use any attempt they can to fulfil their agenda of demonising Israel and ensuring the lies created by "palestinian" Muslims are transformed into truth.
Luckily, there are organisations like who have made it their job to expose exactly this kind of false reporting (the following is only an extract) :

Misleading references to Sabra and Shatilla Massacres

The 1982 Sabra and Shatilla massacres in Lebanon are frequently referred to in a very misleading way, wrongly implying that Sharon and Israelis were directly responsible for carrying out the murders. Any reference to the 1982 massacres should always include mention that it was the Lebanese Christian militiamen who carried out the massacres and that Israel's Kahane Commission found that Sharon was indirectly responsible for the massacres because he did not anticipate that the Lebanese Christian militia allied with Israel would engage in such killing, and did not take appropriate action to prevent the massacres.

Here are some examples of distorted, misleading coverage on this topic:

---- January 5th, ABC World News Tonight with Bob Woodruff:

Woodruff: "...Ariel Sharon has been one of this region's most powerful and enigmatic figures for decades. He has been called 'The Bulldozer' and 'The Butcher.' In 1982, as defense minister, he authorized the invasion of southern Lebanon and was later held responsible for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in refugee camps there..."

---- NPR's "Talk of the Nation" with Neil Conan: On the January 5th radio program, as part of summing up Sharon's life, Neil Conan said:

"...He was hailed as a military hero in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and denounced for the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and, for his part in massacres at Palestinian massacres in refugee camps in West Beirut."

---- Daily Telegraph (London), January 6th: Article:

"Sharon's unlikely legacy of peace will be hard to overturn" by Con Coughlin "...This, after all, was the man who, until very recently, was regarded as an international pariah, the 'Butcher of Beirut,' the man ultimately responsible for the appalling atrocities that took place at the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982."

Sharon Incorrectly Labeled as "Sparking Second Intifada"

Sharon's walk on the Temple Mount is frequently portrayed as having "sparked the second intifada" or as having so "inflamed" or "outraged" the Muslim world, that violence was inevitable. This ignores the calculated Palestinian incitement used to provoke the violence and directly contradicts the words of Palestinian leaders who admit that they had planned the terror campaign ahead of time and simply used Sharon's visit as a pretext to launch the violence:

According to then-Communications Minister Imad Al-Faluji:

"Whoever thinks that the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is wrong.. . . This Intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations, where he turned the table upside down on President Clinton." (Al-Safir, March 3, 2001. Translated by MEMRI) Elsewhere, Al-Faluji said: "The PA had begun to prepare for the outbreak of the current Intifada since the return from the Camp David negotiations."(Al-Ayyam, December 6, 2000. Translated by MEMRI).

A similar assertion has been made by then-senior Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti (currently in jail on terror-related charges), who told an interviewer that:

"The explosion would have happened anyway. It was necessary in order to protect Palestinian rights. But Sharon provided a good excuse. He is a hated man." (New Yorker, January 29, 2001)

Lopsided choice of guests to comment on Sharon

Many news programs are asking guest speakers to comment on Sharon's life. However, all too often, the guest list is lopsided in favor of people harshly critical of Sharon. This is not only unfair but extremely insensitive.

---- For example, the January 5th NPR "Talk of the Nation" radio program included 3 harsh critics of Sharon (Daoud Kuttab, Robert Malley, and Rami Khouri), 1 neutral journalist (Scott Wilson of the Washington Post), and Israeli Yaron Ezrahi (who was essentially neutral) to comment on Sharon's life and the political situation there. This is hardly fair or informative.

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