Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Abu Mazin and the "Zionist Enemy"

As I was reading the Washington Post Express this morning (the free paper they give to Metro riders here in DC, the Express is a cobbling together of wire stories from the previous day) and saw this AP story about Abu Mazin having referred to Israel as the "Zionist enemy." And I realized that this is more of a story than the 7 people who were killed, prompting Abu Mazin's statements. Seven people (three 17-year-olds, two 16-year-olds, a 12-year-old, and a 10-year-old) dying was not news; some old man with a moustache's choice of words in reacting to it was. This is what is wrong with the news (to piggy-back on Aunt Deb's comments about the news in the comments of my previous post). The news is not about the news. It's about the statements of the elite and powerful in reaction to the news. At least the Washington Post decided to lead with the story of seven youths being killed. But without Abu Mazin's reaction to cause the stir, I doubt the Post would have run a story at all. I read about Palestinians being killed every day, but rarely do I read it in the Washington Post. (Perhaps this is the fruits of the democratic system, since if it were not election season in Palestine you might not get any coverage at all. See, Palestine, democracy means an A12 story in the Washington Post. Isn't it all worth it?) The New York Times led with the "Zionist enemy" reaction. NPR discussed Abu Mazin's "Zionist enemy" reaction without even mentioning the seven dead youths. Electronic Intifada's Ali Abunimah reacted with a letter to NPR that stated:
NPR's Morning Edition today featured a report by Peter Kenyon about the upcoming election for Palestinian Authority president in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Kenyon's report was informative but did little to challenge the dull conventional wisdom that Palestinian reform rather than an end to Israel's military tyranny is the key to peace, and failed to address in any detail the substantial obstacles Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international peace process industry have placed in the way of genuinely free and fair elections...

Most disturbing, however, was Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep's lead-in to Kenyon's report. Inskeep introduced the report thus:

"Sunday's election for Palestinian president could provide clues to the future of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The frontrunner is Mahmoud Abbas. He's seen in the west as a potential partner for peace talks. He's calling for demilitarizing the struggle against Israeli occupation and he criticized some violence just today, but also today Abbas described Israel as the "Zionist enemy." He has to appeal to Palestinian voters, many of whom recently supported the Islamist Hamas in municipal elections."

This intro highlighted the phrase "Zionist enemy," and suggested that it was a deliberate appeal to Palestinian extremism. But Inskeep did not mention the shocking context in which Abbas used this, for him, uncharacteristic language. What Abbas actually said, at a campaign appearance was, "We came to you today, while we are praying for the souls of the martyrs who were killed today by the shells of the Zionist enemy in Beit Lahiya."

The "martyrs" he was referring to were seven Palestinian children, the youngest of them aged 10, murdered by Israeli occupation forces in the northern Gaza Strip...

NPR often uses lead-ins to reports which have been filed earlier to provide updated information. But Inskeep made absolutely no mention of this atrocity, and NPR apparently decided that Abbas' comment rather than the killing of seven children was the "news."
Ahh, the beauties of a free press, where two words are more important than seven lives.

Did you see Jim Hoagland's thing in Thursday's Post? So completely unconsciously anti-Palestinian in perspective --takes your breath away.

Aunt Deb
yeah real crap. sharon is the "old warrior" but abbas is "mired in the past." i mean, i don't understand why somebody would waste their time writing, reading, or publishing this crap that doesn't offer any analysis of any kind. my guess is that he can write this shit in his sleep - maybe there was a ballgame on that he wanted to watch or something.
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