Melanie Phillips

15 November 2012

Pallywood, and the stench of an ancient score being settled

Published in: Melanie's blog

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Hamas and its acolytes are committing crimes against humanity twice over. They are deliberately targeting Israeli civilians with their rockets and missiles, trying to kill as many of them as possible including women and children. They are also using their own people as human shields, having deliberately hidden their rocket launchers among Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, thus deliberately exposing ordinary Gazans to the severe risk of being killed. In addition, the Hamas are committed not just to the destruction of Israel but also, by their own religious authority, to the genocide of the Jews, and indoctrinate their children accordingly into deranged, Nazi-style Jew-hatred.

Yet despite these Palestinian crimes against humanity and genocidal incitement British journalists have been outdoing themselves to blame Israel for what has happened. They have been making ever more grotesque claims that Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu provoked this war to win the upcoming Israel general election, for example, or to scupper the Middle East peace process (which the Palestinians terminated, but what does a little fact like that matter when there’s an Israeli character to assassinate?)

The idea that just like any other country in the world in such a situation Israel can no longer live under siege from thousands of rocket attacks (which as we saw today, backed by Iran can now reach Tel Aviv) is not even given house room. Instead these journalists seek to make the Israeli Prime Minister into a figure of quite cosmic evil, accused in effect of deliberately exposing his people to even more attacks, in addition to killing Palestinians, all for his own self interest. Truly there is a deep moral sickness in the British media (and also in the uniquely treasonous Israeli left-wing media, where some of these same claims are echoed).

Meanwhile, the Palestinians appear to be up to their old tricks in staging patently absurd theatrics to dupe credulous and lazy broadcasters into thinking they are transmitting pictures of Palestinians injured or killed by the wicked Israelis. They did it years ago with the infamous hoax over Mohammed al Dura -- the iconic Palestinian boy whose televised supposed killing in a barrage of Israeli gunfire incited terrorist atrocities across the world, but who not only miraculously showed no sign of injury whatever but after he was pronounced dead was filmed peeping through his fingers.

 Now the BBC have fallen for a similar example of ‘Pallywood’. Honest Reporting captures here the relevant footage. At 2:11 minutes in, a Palestinian in a beige jacket and black T-shirt, presumably injured in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike, is picked up and taken away. Yet at 2:44 minutes, the same Palestinian has staged a remarkable recovery and walks insouciantly away.

The BBC has now said this sequence was part of a Reuter’s report it transmitted in good faith. Guido Fawkes provides the BBC statement:

‘To the best of our knowledge the pictures do not show any kind of ‘staged’ event – and were run in good faith. The footage shown by BBC News was edited from a longer sequence provided by the Reuters news agency in which the man in question is shown being lifted from the ground. He is then given attention at the roadside, before appearing later having recovered. We ran a shorter edit of those pictures, and would point out that some re-uses of our output by others online have compressed the sequence further. Steps have been taken to ensure any re-broadcast reflects the full sequence so that it is absolutely clear to our audiences.’ 

The fact is that broadcasters including the BBC have been falling for Pallywood scams for years, for two reasons. First, a number of the freelances involved in the news agencies supplying these materials are themselves Arab or Muslim partisans or Palestinians under the thumb of, or even supporters of, Hamas; and second, such is the western animus against Israel that western broadcasters simply don’t see what is right there under their noses, that the Palestinian ‘victims’ in these staged tableaux are quite obviously play-acting.

One further thought about the malevolently warped reporting of this latest phase in the Arab and Islamic war against Israel. Among British reporters and commentators, there is a pronounced obsession with the numbers killed on either side. The three Israelis killed this morning were all but brushed aside by reporters hastening to tell us that (at that stage) eleven Palestinians had been killed.

The implication is of course as odious as it is irrational -- that Israel cannot be considered the victim of aggression unless more of its citizens die. It is also odious to suggest some kind of moral equivalence between those killed by acts of aggression in the cause of exterminating a country, and those who are killed by that country in its own self defence.

The implication of the numbers game is that there is no moral difference between aggression and defence. That’s why so much of the reporting seeks to suggest a ‘cycle of violence’ or ‘tit-for-tat’ attacks. But there is no tit-for-tat cycle. There is aggression, and there is defence against aggression; there is attempted mass murder, and there is the attempt to prevent mass murder. Those who claim a ‘tit-for-tat’ cycle are effectively sanitising, and thus helping promote, mass murder.

But there’s something even worse than this which I believe runs like a poisonous sewer beneath this bizarre numbers game. After all, this preoccupation with numerical imbalance in the casualty figures occurs in the reporting of no other conflict in the world. So what explains this obsession when it comes to Israel’s military actions?

The sustained dismissal of Israeli victimhood by the British media surely represents a desire at some level of the British mind to stamp out once and for all the idea that Jews are victims. For over and over again, and expressed in a myriad different ways, you hear in British educated discourse an unmistakeable and savage fury: that these wailing Jews are always waving the shroud of the Holocaust in our faces; that they seem to think they have some kind of monopoly on suffering, for heaven’s sake, as if the rest of us have no right to claim any suffering for ourselves; that they make themselves untouchable because of their wretched history; if only they would just shut up and go away and end these interminable accusations; and so of course we cannot allow them to be victims in Israel -- because unless we successfully recast them as latter-day Nazis, they will always be on our own conscience as the victims of us.

When you look in horror and astonishment at the British media’s coverage of the onslaught upon Israel from Gaza and Israel's actions in self-defence – and from the messages I am receiving, there are still many, many decent Brits who are indeed appalled beyond measure by the eye-watering bias of the coverage from the BBC, Sky and much of the press – you might well conclude that more, much more, is actually going on here than standard knee-jerk prejudice or ignorance. This is the ugly sound of a very old score indeed that is being settled.

About Melanie

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996, she is the author of All Must Have Prizes, an acclaimed study of Britain's educational and moral crisis, which provoked the fury of educationists and the delight and relief of parents.

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Melanie Phillips
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