The particular Zionist misrepresentation I have in mind came in the opening paragraphs of an opinion piece by Ida Lichter, Feminists forget their Muslim sisters, in yesterday's Australian:
"An article in a Hamas daily accuses women of spreading a recent outbreak of swine flu. The columnist blames women for being transmitters of epidemics due to a predilection for congregating in groups to exchange news and rumours. He suggested that outbreaks could be averted if men imposed more limitations on women's movements. These claims might be dismissed as laughable, but they are not isolated allegations of female culpability."
'Aha!' the reader is supposed to respond, 'not only is Hamas a terrorist organization but misogynist as well!'
However, this is an 'opinion' piece in The Australian, and any thinking reader will take a few precautionary steps before jumping to the kind of conclusion Ida and Rupert are hoping for.
Google the words 'Hamas' & 'swine flu', for example, and you're liable to find a slightly more detailed version of the above, something like this:
"A Hamas columnist has attributed the outbreak of swine flu to the freedom of women. In a piece transcribed by Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Friday, Issam Shawer, who writes for Felesteen [sic], claimed that the outbreak of swine flu in the West Bank and Gaza was caused by 'women [who] emerge from every corner... and then congregate in one place. Women are the most numerous and fastest transmitters of viral diseases and epidemics such as swine flu. They spread news and rumours, but also viruses that waft through the stuffy air. Then they disperse, and many go on to perform some other duty at some other home or function hall. This is why I think women are the fastest transmitters of epidemics.' Mr Shawer's piece, published on December 24, offers a solution. As well as wearing a niqab, '[men] can also take a greater part in fighting disease by imposing stricter constraints on the movement and gatherings of the womenfolk - at least in the next 3 months.'" (Women spread swine flu, Hamas columnist claims, Sandy Rashty, thejc.com, 4/2/13)
Well, the fact that you're dealing with MEMRI, an Israeli propaganda outfit that trawls the Arab (and Iranian) media for items which can be used to blacken Arabs (and Iranians), should set off alarm bells. (Selective) MEMRI translates - how accurately is anybody's guess - and cuts and pastes these items, posting the finished product as black propaganda on its website to fuel the demands of the Arabo-/Islamo-phobic market for ever more sensational dispatches from the dark abyss which the Arab world is made out to be.
Locate the Hamas/swine flu item on MEMRI's website and you'll first find this potted summary, beyond which 9 out of 10 customers will probably not venture:
"Columnist in Hamas daily calls to limit women's movement because they spread disease (1/2/13): Following a recent outbreak of swine flu in the West Bank, which later spread to Gaza as well, 'Issam Shawer, a columnist in the Hamas daily Falastin, wrote that women are the worst transmitters of diseases because they tend to gather in groups and to move from place to place. He advised them to wear a niqab, saying it protects them from infection, and called to limit their movements in the next few months in order to curb the spread of germs."
Note that what follows are "excerpts" only; that the original Arabic text is nowhere in sight for purposes of comparison; and that no mention is made of Gaza. Still, reading through them and noting the contextualising lines that are omitted from the above variations puts Shawer's supposed misogyny in a completely new light. First, it's obvious he's motivated by a concern over the spread of a life-threatening disease, not by some supposed Islamic loathing of women. Second, he's not having a go at Arab women as women, but rather warning them about the possible health consequences of otherwise "positive" customary behaviour. Nor is he exploiting the epidemic to sell the niqab. Third, he also enjoins Arab men to refrain from certain customary practices which could also help spread the disease. Fourth, it's clear that his advice has a use-by date of 3 months. Here's the rest of MEMRI's 'translation' with the omitted information highlighted:
"The following are excerpts from his article: The swine flu virus, H1N1, is spreading through West Bank towns, especially the northern ones. Four people have died so far and dozens are sick, and the numbers are increasing, [though] we hope they will stop. I believe that women are the most numerous and fastest transmitters of viral diseases and epidemics such as swine flu, and I am not making baseless accusations when I describe them as such. This is especially [true] in Arab societies like ours, which follow customs that are positive and pleasant, but are also deadly in [certain] unusual circumstances. [For example, when there is need] to make a condolence call, women emerge from every corner and flock from every direction, even from afar, and then congregate in one place. They comfort [the family] and also trade stories - this is very important to them and spread news and rumors, but also viruses that waft through the stuffy air. Then they disperse, and many go on to perform some other duty at some other home or function hall. This is why I think women are the fastest transmitters of epidemics. Some of them take the necessary precautions and wear face masks when they are alone, yet, when they meet, they remove the masks to chat and to do what they are best at: exchanging news. But viruses also find their way to new victims in this manner. There is endless evidence that what we have said [here] about women [is true]. Therefore, they must understand that the duty of protecting the life and health of society is greater than other duties that can be performed in less harmful ways. Also, we cannot avoid mentioning the advantage of the niqab, worn by devout Muslim women, in protecting them from contagious diseases. Men, too, have a role in spreading infection, but since they keep busy, and are slower to perform their [social] duties and follow the traditional customs, they have a smaller role in this compared to the 'other side'. Nevertheless, they can [help] stop the spread of disease by avoiding some inappropriate customs like kissing [people] at weddings and funerals and serving coffee in non-disposable glasses. They can also take a greater part in fighting disease by imposing stricter constraints on the movement and gatherings of the womenfolk, as broadly as possible... at least in the next 3 months.'"
Finally, google the words 'swine flu' & 'prevention' and you'll come across the kind of advice which merely corroborates Shawer's:
"Contain your coughs and sneezes: Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Avoid contact: Stay away from crowds if possible. Reduce exposure within your household: If a member of your household has H1N1 swine flu, designate one other household member to be responsible for the ill person's close personal care." (MayoClinic.com)
My, haven't we come a long way from Ada Lichter?