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Monday, July 03, 2006

Imagining massacres

'One might have thought Israel would have learned enough from history to know collective punishment is rarely effective. That was the lesson of the Second World War, when German attempts to cow the Czechs by the mass execution of the inhabitants of Lidice, for example, had the opposite effect.'

So begins a leader in today's Independent. If you fancy paying a quid to read the whole of it, the best of British to you.

Israeli forces have, as I write, killed five 'militants' and attacked infrastructure, the latter causing considerable hardship to Palestinian civilians, among whom are children and adults who do not condone terrorist murders of Israeli civilians. The wisdom and humanity of these actions is open to question, however sorely provoked Israel has been.

But since there has been nothing remotely resembling a mass execution, what purpose does the Lidice reference serve, other than to subliminally reinforce the 'Israelis are Nazis' equation?

Or maybe to express the unconscious wish that Israel should present its critics with a really juicy massacre. I've not forgotten how uncritically the Independent relayed reports of a massacre of (at least) Lidice proportions at Jenin, or how grudgingly it conceded that it had been feeding its readers propagandist lies. The incident was one of the key experiences that eventually led me to create this blog. [The BBC was no better: the day after the UN confirmed that the '500 killed' claim was fantasy, it quoted a Palestinian gunman who repeated the claim, without feeling it necessary to contest it.]

Actually, the Middle East did experience a mass execution over the weekend. Where are the indignant editorials in the Indie and the Grauniad, where are the tear-jerking accounts of shattered families from the BBC? Nowhere, of course. Wrong kind of massacre.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Best not to read the Indy, if you are worried about blood pressure.

Another example:-

The other day I tried to discuss with a regular Indy reader about the fall in global temperature (global cooling) between 1948 and 1970, as opposed to the recent rise. From the puzzled look on his face, it was clear that for all the Indy front page articles on warming, he had never heard of this phenomenon! Clearly the Indy hadn't bothered to provide the facts to its readers, so one can expect the same and worse for the Middle East.