Pro forma, the world was shown countless false images and reports over the course of Operation Pillar of Defense, illustrating a criminally irresponsible and negligent narrative propagated by the international media to indict the “wantonness” and “inhumanity” of the IDF’s necessary counter-attacks against Hamas terrorists. The same terrorists who attempted to murder tens of thousands of Israeli civilians, then hid behind their own children when Israel had no choice but to defend itself.
Undoubtedly, you have watched and read innumerable journalists from news organizations around the globe analyze the tragic conflict, many of whom patently blamed Israel for its “aggression” – for having the audacity to finally try to put an end to over 12,000 rockets fired into this country over the past 12 years.
However, many of these same news organizations unremittingly, and glaringly, failed to mention Hamas’s dual crimes against humanity: purposely launching attacks against densely populated Israeli civilian areas; and then strategically using their most vulnerable population as human shields – ostensibly as media props – during retaliations.
What you also probably didn’t hear from these same news organizations is that the IDF preemptively and repeatedly dropped tens of thousands of leaflets throughout Gaza before defending itself – beseeching the region’s non-combatants to seek shelter and stay as far away from Hamas terrorists as possible.
You also probably didn’t hear how Israel used unprecedented pinpoint retaliation militarily to spare the lives of as many innocent Gazan men, women and children forced into this conflict by Hamas as possible.
If you were made aware of this by the majority of journalists reporting the “facts,” it was likely cited at the bottom of the story, after a litany of false and indelibly damaging allegations against Israeli soldiers, including staged murders of Gazan children and women.
Then, of course, there was Israel’s widely condemned assassination of Ahmed Jabari, Hamas’s equivalent of Osama bin Laden – despite bin Laden’s internationally lauded murder by US forces.
And, perhaps the coup de grace: the media’s refusal to make it crystal clear that no other country in the world has allowed one rocket – let alone 12,000 – to be fired at its citizens, without retaliating with fire and brimstone (think 9/11); while Israelis use surgical precision in retaliations, lest they be accused of more falsified war crimes.
In short, it was a replay of the libelous and fictitious Goldstone Report in real time, just without the useless apology after the damage was already done.
AS MOST Jews and intellectually honest people know all too well by now, the mind-numbing hypocrisy of this ongoing intellectual misrepresentation of the IDF is tantamount to a war crime, in and of itself. A crime that is no less dangerous than the unconscionable moral and physical atrocities perpetrated by Hamas against this country, as well as against its own people.
For my money, though, one instance in the myriad unfair assaults on Israel that served as a classic encapsulation of this uninformed, reckless and biased reporting during the eight-day war, included BBC journalist Mishal Husain’s November 20 “interview” of my Jerusalem Post colleague, Senior Political Reporter Gil Hoffman.
Actually, it wasn’t so much an interview between two journalists as a misguided, unprofessional and delusional inquisition and attempted take-down by Husain of a respected veteran reporter trying to inform her considerable audience about the realities of the conflict.
Indeed, during the four-minute, internationally televised diatribe, Husain did everything short of calling Israelis victimless murderers to express her clear and profoundly biased support for Hamas.
Some highlights from the interview:
“You say Israelis have been ‘running for their lives’ from rockets fired from Gaza,” Husain said to Hoffman in a patronizing tone. “So, tell me then, until this current confrontation, how many Israelis have been killed by these rockets from Gaza this year?”
“Well you know the numbers don’t matter,” Hoffman rightly responded. “The fact that Israel has shot down hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza...”
“No, no! I think the numbers do matter,” Husain interrupted him, in a confrontational manner. “Do you know – do you know the answer to this? How many Israelis have died this year until this current...”
“No, I really, really know that the numbers don’t matter, ma’am, because...” he attempted to respond.
“Why doesn’t it matter?” Husain interrupted again. “I’m asking you the question!”
“Because each one of those rockets could have killed five people,” Hoffman calmly replied.
“No, but how many Israelis were actually killed by these rockets?” she implored him.
At this point, Hoffman attempted to explain the dynamics of attempted mass murder, as if informing a petulant, slow child.
“Do the math,” he said. “Assume that every rocket can kill five people, and there have been more than 700 fired since last week.”
(With all due respect to Gil, I would have argued that each of the 12,000 rockets fired into Israel over the past 12 years could have easily killed a minimum of 10 people. Now, I’ve never been good with numbers, but I’m pretty sure that amounts to 120,000 attempted murders.)
“That was not – that was not my question,” Husain indignantly responded.
“The fact that Israel is protecting its citizens a lot better than any other country is... Israel has no reason to apologize for that, the same way that England and every other country wouldn’t apologize for protecting its citizens well,” Hoffman stated.
Husain was livid at this point.
“Let me give you the answer... you are either unwilling or are unable to give us the answer to that question,” she said. “So, let me tell you.”
“Because it’s irrelevant, ma’am,” Hoffman continued. “It’s irrelevant because Israel is protecting its citizens well.”
“Well, that’s your view,” she retorted. “But we’re trying to bring this story to our audiences around the world.
“Since 2004, according The Economist,” she said triumphantly, “20 Israelis were killed by rockets that came from Gaza into Israel. And this year not one Israeli was killed by these rockets until this current confrontation began. Do you accept those figures?”
To this, Hoffman, the father of two young Israeli children, finally responded with a degree of emotion:
“Mishal, I would like you to see what it’s like to be stuck in a [bomb shelter] where you can’t leave with your children for hours on end, [because] at any given moment a siren will go off [because a rocket could] go through your roof. The fact that Israel has managed to stop that from happening using defensive measures has prevented war – has prevented a lot of people from being killed on both sides...”
Still unconvinced, Husain then used perhaps the most idiotic and puerile logic I have ever heard regarding this conflict (which is saying something), by offering this insightful gem:
“Or, certainly you could argue, couldn’t you, that Hamas was also stopping worse [from] happening all of this period because although there were [1,500] rockets being fired [by them], they weren’t the big rockets that have caused damage in recent days – they were mostly homemade contraptions,” she said.
Hoffman then effortlessly hit Husain’s slow-ball out of her absurd park.
“Because Israel, at the beginning [of the conflict]... destroyed the long-range missiles that Hamas had,” he countered. “Otherwise the damage would have been much more. Hamas was trying to kill civilians with every single rocket that they fired, and the fact that they didn’t succeed – the fact that Hamas is a failure over the past week – is a very good thing for both sides.”
You get the idea...Evidently, at the BBC, attempted mass murder is not considered a crime. Only direct kills warrant coverage.
I WISH I could say that Hoffman’s interview was an anomaly – that his interrogator was an aberration in an otherwise honorable field.
But I can’t.
The interaction was par for the course for the BBC – and innumerable other journalistic institutions – when it comes to Israel’s treatment in the international press.
And it’s a damn disgrace.
The double standard Israelis are subjected to in the media is not only breathtaking in its scope and damage, but also fully represents an intellectual crime. A crime against truth and a country desperately attempting to ethically protect its people against an incomparably and incomprehensibly unethical, evil enemy.
As Operation Pillar of Defense has made all too clear, this crime is still being committed without any accountability or policing the world over – in newspapers, on the radio, on the Internet and on television – and it must finally come to a stop and be identified for what it is: an intellectual war crime.
There is absolutely no “moral equivalency” to be found in this war, despite innumerable journalists like Husain making pathetic attempts to present one, in defiance of all logic.
Perhaps the only way this obscene reporting will finally change will be when their societies are attacked by the very monsters they now perversely defend.
But by then, it will be too late.
Won’t it, Mishal?