Saturday, August 13, 2011

Unnatural Gas

What Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian and this country's most vocal Zionist apologist in the corporate media, gets away with day in, day out, is beyond belief.

Here are just two of his more recent Middle East-related emissions - followed by some furious window-opening on my part:

"Similarly there was in recent years one authentic Jewish terrorist, Baruch Goldstein, who in 1994, at the Tomb of the Patriarch in Hebron, shot and killed 29 innocent Palestinians. He was immediately condemned by all shades of Israeli politics and all mainstream shades of the Jewish religion. His action has not been repeated." (The unheeded steps of a psycho killer, 28/7/11)

If only Sheridan had taken the trouble to acquire and read a copy of Jewish Terrorism in Israel (2009) by Ami Pedahzur & Arie Perliger, he might have thought twice before uttering that falsehood. Pedahzur and Perliger provide detailed information on 309 Jewish terrorist attacks between 1932 and 2008, perpetrated by 224 individuals. And they're just the rogue terrorists. As for the state terrorists, how long have you got?

"One of the biggest challenges is to reform the Arab world's profoundly dysfunctional political culture of paranoia and conspiracy theories, most of them centred on Jews and Israel. You can't quickly build a democratic culture with the public discourse saturated in poison." (Chill wind blows for Arab spring, 4/8/11)

Maybe after reading the following, he might like to revise that. Only joking:

"Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an Israeli academic... summons up an image of rows of Jewish schoolchildren, bent over their books, learning about their neighbours, the Palestinians. But, she says, they are never referred to as Palestinians unless the context is terrorism. They are called Arabs. 'The Arab with a camel, in an Ali Baba dress. They describe them as vile and deviant and criminal, people who don't pay taxes, people who live off the state, people who don't want to develop', she says. 'The only representation is as refugees, primitive farmers and terrorists. You never see a Palestinian child or doctor or teacher or engineer or modern farmer'.

"Peled-Elhanan... has studied the content of Israeli school books for the past 5 years, and her account, Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology & Propaganda in Education, is to be published in the UK this month. She describes what she found as racism - but more than that, a racism that prepares young Israelis for their compulsory military service. 'People don't really know what their children are reading in textbooks', she said. 'One question that bothers many people is how do you explain the cruel behaviour of Israeli soldiers towards Palestinians, an indifference to human suffering, the inflicting of suffering. People ask how can these nice Jewish boys and girls become monsters once they put on a uniform. I think the major reason for that is education. So I wanted to see how school books represent Palestinians'.

"In 'hundreds and hundreds' of books, she claims she did not find one photograph that depicted an Arab as a 'normal person'. The most important finding in the books she studied - all authorised by the ministry of education - concerned the historical narrative of events in 1948, the year in which Israel fought a war to establish itself as an independent state, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled the ensuing conflict. The killing of Palestinians is depicted as something that was necessary for the survival of the nascent Jewish state, she claims. 'It's not that the massacres are denied, they are represented in Israeli school books as something that in the long run was good for the Jewish state. For example, Deir Yassin [a pre-1948 Palestinian village close to Jerusalem] was a terrible slaughter by Israeli soldiers. In school books they tell you that this massacre initiated the massive flight of Arabs from Israel and enabled the establishment of a Jewish state with a Jewish majority. So it was for the best. Maybe it was unfortunate, but in the long run the consequences for us were good'.

"Children, she says, grow up to serve in the army and internalise the message that Palestinians are 'people whose life is dispensable with impunity. And not only that, but people whose number has to be diminished'... Asked if Palestinian text books also reflect a certain dogma, Peled-Elhanan claims that they distinguish between Zionists and Jews. 'They make this distinction all the time. They are against Zionists, not against Jews'." (Academic claims Israeli textbooks contain bias, Harriet Sherwood,, 7/8/11)

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