Saturday, May 23, 2009

On the allegedly antisemitic failure to report nonevents

Zionist bloggers in Spanish come from two major sources: Argentinian Jews and Spanish non-Jews.

The first group is understandable, even forgivable. They are brainwashed from the crib, and few people can survive relentless indoctrination unscarred. The second group, however, is a bit more complex to analyze, not least because it can, in turn, be broken down into two subcategories: righties and lefties. Rightwing Spanish Zionists believe the Muslims, whom they call the Moors, are out to destroy European culture, and any ally, even if it's the kikes, is welcome. In this they're no different from other European fascists, who only the day before yesterday were preaching antisemitism, but now have become ardent supporters of the State of Israel.

Somewhat more puzzling are Spanish Zionists who come from the left. They normally belong to parties that have not made it into government coalitions; and they take special pleasure in chastising other leftists, particularly those who do enjoy the exercise of power, as antisemites. Oversized egos also seem to play a role. After all, it must be gratifying to know you're the only enlightened one in a group of very wrong people, especially when you can tour Spanish-speaking Jewries delivering speech after Israeli-flattering speech before adoring crowds (and earning handsome sums in the process).

On the advice of an Argentinian Zionist I recently visited the blog of one such Spanish Zionist, Jorge Marirrodriga. The former had described the latter in glowing terms, claiming, among other things, that "I truly don't know how he manages to keep such high standards with such a high [publishing] rate [about one post a day]. (...) Jorge (...) keeps delighting us with original, creative, up to date and interesing contents." I must admit that I'm somewhat foolish and tend to have my curiosity awakened by these raving reviews.

As a less naive person would have forseen, however, the blog turned out to be a sophomoric exercise in whataboutery. But it did contain a piece of information that had apparently evaded my radar. The latest post presented the earth shattering new concept that Israel is unfairly treated by the press. After fixing a few grammar problems from the original (but probably introducing fresh mistakes of my own), here's my translation of the relevant paragraphs:

This has happened in less than 72 hours this week.

1-) A Sderot home was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza;
2-) Iran tested a missile able to deliver any kind of bomb Ahmadinejad wishes to any location in Israel, be it conventional, biological or nuclear when he gets one;
3-) Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has declared that his organization is prepared for "a new war with Israel."

But, apparently, the true problem is the Prime Minister of Israel's stubborn refusal to make big concessions without anyone else lifting a finger. Journalists assert that:

1-) he is encouraging new settlements in the West Bank. This week we have rushed to report that construction has started on a new one: Maskiot. But yesterday (Thursday), the security forces dismantled one and not a word has been said about it.

So that the unraveling of the settlements had begun and I hadn't noticed! That's what happens when you're so busy bashing Israel that you don't notice its peace overtures.

Since Marirrodriga did not provide a link, I did some AllTheWebbing to learn more about it. Just like when my soccer team wins, I wanted to know and revel in all the wee details. I finally found this story from the Jerusalem Post:

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the IDF to complete a contingency plan for the forced evacuation of illegal West Bank outposts, officials told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Barak intends to begin removing the outposts in the coming weeks but has instructed his settlement adviser Eitan Broshi to first try to reach an agreement with the settlers under which they will leave of their own accord, the officials said.

The IDF's surprise destruction of the fledgling Maoz Esther outpost near the Kochav Hashahar settlement on Thursday morning was an isolated incident and was not part of the contingency plan.

When you read about Israel evacuating things in the West Bank, there's always a caveat. In this case, Barak swears, promises and vows that he'll begin removing outposts... but first he'll try to reach an agreement with the settlers. Of course, years will pass trying to agree with them, a new legislature will come and the outposts will not have been removed.

However, an outpost was destroyed -- but the operative word is fledgling.

You see, there are three kinds of land-grabbing units in the West Bank. One is the settlements, which are legal under Israeli (but not international) law. Another one is the established outposts, which are illegal but have been provided with services (water, gas, phone lines) by the State. The third type of unit is the encampment -- small gatherings of makeshift homes, in some cases tents. It's an encampment, and a very tiny one at that, that was destroyed, as the JPost later clarifies:

Five families lived in the encampment's seven wooden huts.

But even so, and like my mother used to say, something is something, and is better than nothing. An encampment was removed, and that's news, right?

Wrong. The Post goes on to recall:

Since its establishment in December 2007, the IDF has demolished it a number of times.

But even if it has been repeatedly demolished, this at least disrupts the settlers' plans, right?

Wrong. The JPost, once more:

By nightfall on Thursday, settlers had already replaced five of the wooden structures.

So that, with all due respect for Mr. Marirrodriga, I have a theory, alternative to antisemitism, for why the removal of this settlement wasn't reported by the press: 1) it wasn't a settlement; 2) it was a repeat of several similar ineffectual actions that seem to have been taking place every few months; 3) the encampment had been set up again by the time Marirrodriga wrote his post.

In other words, the media sticked to the good journalistic practice of not reporting on trivial nonevents. And meeting the standards of good journalism is not (at least until a new Working Definition decrees otherwise) antisemitism.


Gert said...

One could say that the Israeli government is 'thoroughly' committed to the dismantling of 'illegal' outdoor toilets in the West Bank but that would be a thorough overstatement, as you point out. First they'll supply said outdoor toilets with flushing water, proper locks on the doors, hand washing basins, hand drying blowers and army protection, then they'll consider to either render it 'legal' or to tear it down (and expect the international MSM to publish this great feat and 'painful concession').

As regards the Spanish non-Jewish Zionists, IMHO Hasbara is the main, simple explanation. Hasbara (and its often ominous threats) is the reason why I was for 20 years or more a 'critic of Israel' but also a soft-power Zionist. It's really only after Gaza I started to formulate what I thought about the whole enterprise in all honesty. Cowardly, I know. But no more...

My post on your ban at HP is now up, BTW.

andrew r said...

Gert, in some ways my position was more shameful. Basically, Israel could remain a Jewish state, but it had to implement a limited right of return, was more or less my idea. It would have to acknowledge the nakba but not necessarily abolish it.

It took a slight perspective adjustment to reject Israel entirely. Namely three things, realizing that a two-state solution is never going to happen, even if it did it would probably be an excuse to physically or legally expel Palestinian-Israelis, and the simple fact that liberal zionism doesn't exist.

Gert said...

andrew r:

Realistically, pro-Palestinian activists and anti-Zionists had better start preparing for a 'no-solution solution' because state-wise, justice will never be done to the Palestinian people, despite the 'peace process industry'.

Apparently Bambams is cobbling together his own peace plan: in the world of international high flyers you're a nobody if you haven't got your own, personalised, tailored 'peace plan'.

But in reality it's 'f*ck peace and the Palestinians' anyway.

Anonymous said...

Poor Gert was so scared of the ominous threats. Wet his panties the poor boy.

Absolutely Gert, fuck the Palestinians. They don't care about rights or an economy or schools or a state. Don't be a miserable coward your whole life. Just admit the truth already.

Medicine said...

They normally belong to parties that have not made it into government coalitions; and they take special pleasure in chastising other leftists, particularly those who do enjoy the exercise of power, as antisemites.