Home > News and politics > Hamas Exploits ‘The CNN Strategy’ As Instrument of Modern Warfare

Hamas Exploits ‘The CNN Strategy’ As Instrument of Modern Warfare

18-Jan-09 02:29 am EDT Leave a comment Go to comments
“The international community doesn’t even seem to care when Palestinian children are killed by rocket fire — unless it is from Israeli rockets. The day before the recent outbreak, Hamas fired an anti-personnel rocket at Israeli civilians, but the rocket fell short of its target and killed two Palestinian girls. Yet there was virtually no coverage and absolutely no protests against these "collateral" civilian deaths. Hamas refused to allow TV cameras to show these dead Palestinian children.”[Link]

The National Post,
   Editorial: Alan Dershowitz,
   “The CNN Strategy”

I had a buddy get seemingly frustrated and angry with me last week for attempting to make many of the same points as this article.  (I’m not usually a fan of the National Post, but…I can’t deny the similarities between its content any my own views.[¹])  The idea that I could find decisions and actions taken on both sides of the Hamas/Israel conflict in Gaza morally reprehensible translated in his mind to my being unbelievably ignorant. Although to his credit, before digressing to this argument, he asserted it was my seeing the media coverage as unbalanced (against Israel) that provoked his outrage.

This buddy of mine isn’t stupid.  He’s in post-graduate studies at York University (in Canada) in the field of political studies – and is very interested in Mid-East politics.  However, he seemed very focused on making the case that Israel was the bad guy of the region ahead of accepting any criticism whatsoever of Hamas’ tactics.  And I think it says a lot about the effectiveness of a Hamas media strategy (and we’d be naive to think there wasn’t such a thing) if the relatively well-educated and enlightened folk of a peace-loving nation like Canada adopt the views of what can only reasonably be called a terrorist organization with little or no consideration of the rights of Israel.  Indeed, the view that has quickly become the dominant one on university campuses in this country seems to be that Hamas should have rights at the expense of Israel, simply because Israel can’t assume the role of ‘underdog’ in the conflict.

It’s as if the conflict has taken on the dimensions of some college sport where you’re not cool unless you support Hamas and all its demands – whatever they may be.  Such an achievement – surely the envy of many a marketing firm courting the college student demographic – is the product of an organized effort and not the result of an objective analysis of the conflict!

And to that friend of mine – whose linked articles (on the Facebook edition of this blog) I took time to read over the course of the past week along with others – I can offer only this one sentiment: I really don’t think it marks me as ignorant or somehow undereducated on this or any other issue simply because I believe that regardless of who struck whom first or why a wall got build in one place versus another are irrelevant to establishing the obvious diagnosis that many wrongs are being committed on both sides.  Furthermore regardless of how much wronger Israel is than Hamas in the context of the current conflict (a point I’m quite confident I could readily refute were I inclined to); evidence to the effect of making the case unassailable would fall short of negating the original point I’d made – that the media coverage favouring Hamas overwhelmingly is creating far too many misconceptions about Israel and the rationale for its actions.  As such my view remains, reinforced by articles referenced by you and the others I’ve read to compliment them, that this development is unhelpful to resolving the conflict and bringing peace to the region.

¹ I can’t agree with the article entirely – in particular where he states Israel is “trying to fight a limited war of self-defense designed to protect its own civilians from rocket attacks”; there seems to be some evidence Israel’s selection of targets unnecessarily compromises basic public services, such as police and fire services.  Also, the IDF doesn’t seem too concerned about obeying international agreements concerning the treatment of civilians, although it probably overstates the situation to claim Israel is outright “targeting civilians”.  (If it were – the casualty numbers would doubtlessly be a lot higher than they are.)

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Categories: News and politics
  1. R. Ross
    26-Jan-09 02:52 pm EDT at 02:52 pm EDT

    Ian – thanks for the comment once again. The inflamatory rhetoric is so entertaining; I simply must break away from a busy day at work to offer this quick rebuttal to the first of your two follow-ups to my article on Mr. Dershowitz\’s piece.First – and I ask this rhetorically – how the hell do you know who I am familliar with? Of course, you don\’t – and the obvious pretense you do, while mildly amusing, is yet another distraction from the discussion at hand. Second, whether he\’s a fool or not in your view is irrelevant. And you know it – as is any other ad hominem digression, like the debates he\’s had or comments he\’s made on other topics to prove his clownliness. Do I agree with this author often? I already said not, but his admittedly brief rendition of the conflict simply reflects what many feel about it.And we\’re not all "clowns" for doing so, my young friend. 😉 Nor did I suddenly adopt rightist political doctrine or slogans to arrive at the arguments I\’ve put forth here. I\’m an advocate of peace foremost, as you know.

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  2. Unknown
    22-Jan-09 07:13 pm EDT at 07:13 pm EDT

    Alan Dershowitz!! The biggest clown of them all (I, unlike you, am very familiar with this fool).If you wish to see the true character and quality of this \’professor\’ I would consult certain debates and speeches he has conducted. He knows no lows in his attempts to justify his unjustifiable positions. I have heard him speak many times and each time he is more and more debased and more and more cartoonish in his twists of logic and facts. Normally I don\’t condone ad hominem, but Dershowitz is a prima faci joke and garners little respect beyond the National Post / Weekly Standard crowd of rabid right wingers, and reactionary Israel-firsters who will pay homage to any hack who carries their water. Some examples of his buffoonery:"Alan Dershowitz Says Torture By US Law Enforcement Is “Inevitable,” and Might As Well Be Legalized."http://www.democracynow.org/2001/12/21/civil_liberties_lawyer_alan_dershowitz_says – 2001Scholar Norman Finkelstein Calls Professor Alan Dershowitz’s New Book On Israel a “Hoax”http://www.democracynow.org/2003/9/24/scholar_norman_finkelstein_calls_professor_alanA most important one to listen to. Dershowitz, a supposed lawyer, will go to any lengths to justify exceptionalism for parties he favours (i.e. the Bush administration, Israel) at the cost of undermining the very notion of the rule of law itself. Law must apply to everyone, or it applies to no one – Dershowitz makes it quite clear that law is a special case for those opposed to his partisan views only (i.e. Palestinians), and those who he favours can act with impunity. Further, Finkelstein quite clearly and systematically destroys any plausible credibility or cogency in his book and arguments.When he does not get his way, Dershowitz will use the tactics of zionism and the bush administration – complete repression of dissenting views by appeals to power: "The Nation magazine is reporting that Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has written a letter to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to quash a book about to be published by University of California Press." ( http://www.democracynow.org/2005/7/1/headlines#11 ), see also “Noam Chomsky Accuses Alan Dershowitz of Launching a “Jihad” to Block Norman Finkelstein From Getting Tenure at Depaul University” (http://www.democracynow.org/2007/4/17/noam_chomsky_accuses_alan_dershowitz_of )Noam Chomsky v. Alan Dershowitz: A Debate on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflicthttp://www.democracynow.org/2005/12/23/noam_chomsky_v_alan_dershowitz_a – 2005Another debate between the infamous, underhanded, professor and a true scholar. Listen or read all of these and judge for yourself – I think you’ll find quite clearly that nothing Dershowitz says holds any water.

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  3. Unknown
    22-Jan-09 07:13 pm EDT at 07:13 pm EDT

    But as far as my ‘buying into Hamas’, this is a complete fantasy. To imagine that Hamas (or the PA, or Egypt or any arab/palestinean faction) has even a gram of influence in comparison to the total partisanship towards US and Israeli policy of the North American media extending from the National Post to the New York times and so forth is lunacy. Never would I support Hamas either, I have no love for theocratic thuggery – but like it or not, they were the legitimately elected government of the Palestinian people ( “Results showed that Hamas won the election with 74 seats to the Fatah\’s 45, providing Hamas with the majority of the seats and the ability to form a majority government on their own” ). And it is those very people who have been on the receiving end of decades of brutal, vicious and total warfare by the world’s fifth largest army (who, by the way, are an occupying force, and thus have liabilities under international law different that a sovereign state – they have the burden of welfare of those they occupy and cannot act with impunity) regardless of who has led them – the secular PLO/Fatah or Hamas. The leadership makes no difference; the occupation, the apartheid, and the murder of their civilians continues. Further, to conceive that this is somehow a conflict of equals is a total delusion – and one of the effects of Israel’s ‘CNN strategy’ (which of course they don’t need, as they have the Asper Global Media in Canada to faithfully sing Israel’s tune – I can’t imagine any Hamas/Islamic/Arab network having such a stranglehold on Canadian media as Asper does in fact). To this effect, I will quote Robert Fisk, who has spent several decades in the middle east covering many conflicts,“My favourite moment came when I pointed out that journalists should be on the side of those who suffer. If we were reporting the 18th-century slave trade, I said, we wouldn\’t give equal time to the slave ship captain in our dispatches. If we were reporting the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp, we wouldn\’t give equal time to the SS spokesman. At which point a journalist from the Jewish Telegraph in Prague responded that "the IDF are not Hitler". Of course not. But who said they were?” From here: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fiskrsquos-world-wherever-i-go-i-hear-the-same-tired-middle-east-comparisons-1297595.html I would recommend reading all his dispatches.As I would recommend the following stories, many from JEWISH authors and scholars who are not Hamas partisans, but like me, are for honest interpretations of history and the rule of law whether international or domestic. Unless ALL of these various authors, reporters, and academics of various backgrounds are ALL deluded by some vast Hamas propaganda scheme, unseen but of enormous proportions, then I am victim as well – but this simply cannot be the case. No doubt there is actual Hamas propaganda and press but it is so vanishingly marginal to have almost 0 effect. But that which does exist is right here, and you ought to read it for yourself and not take silly Dershowitz’s word for it – “Ismail Haniyeh: My message to the West Israel Must Stop the Slaughter By Ismail Haniyeh, Prime Minister of Gaza” – http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21775.htmValuable links (many of which are debates, not opinion, so you can determine the victor yourself):Another War, Another Defeat: The Gaza offensive has succeeded in punishing the Palestinians but not in making Israel more secure. By John Mearsheimer (from the American Conservative magazine by a JEWISH author/scholar)http://www.amconmag.com/article/2009/jan/26/00006/Captive Nation: How Gaza became a Palestinian prisonBy Avi Shlaim (Jewish scholar and historian at Oxford)http://www.amconmag.com/article/2009/jan/26/00009/Leading Israeli Scholar Avi Shlaim: Israel Committing “State Terror” in Gaza Attack, Preventing Peacehttp://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/14/leading_israeli_scholar_avi_shlaim_israelEmbedded With Gaza Medics (France ITV)http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=UVHai01Toag&eurl=http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21811.htmThis is an extremely valuable report, straight from the source and reported on French TV. No Hamas involvement, no Israeli involvement, just straight journalism.Palestinian Astrophysicist in US Recounts How His 11-Year-Old Son Died When Israeli Warplanes Bombed His Family’s Househttp://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/16/palestinian_father_in_us_recounts_howPart II: Palestinian US College Grad Loses 2 Brothers in Israeli Shooting; Father Watched Son Bleed to Death After Israeli Troops Blocked Ambulanceshttp://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/22/part_ii_palestinian_us_college_gradBloody Israeli Assault on Gaza Enters Fourth Week, Palestinian Death Toll Tops 1,100Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. His forthcoming book is Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Hegemony in the Middle East. He joins us in the firehouse studio.http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/16/bloody_israeli_assault_on_gaza_entersViolating US Law: Kucinich Cites Arms Export and Control Act in Decision to Vote Against House Measure Supporting Israeli Offensivehttp://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/12/kucinich_cites_arms_export_and_controlFmr. Clinton Special Counsel Lanny Davis vs. Israeli Professor Neve Gordon: A Debate on the Israeli Assault on Gazahttp://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/12/fmr_clinton_special_counsel_lanny_davisFormer Amb. Martin Indyk vs. Author Norman Finkelstein: A Debate on Israel’s Assault on Gaza and the US Role in the Conflicthttp://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/8/former_amb_martin_indyk_vs_authorIsraeli F-16 Attack Kills Father of Palestinian Journalist; Israel Bombs UN School, Killing Threehttp://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/6/israel_f16_attack_kills_father_ofA Debate on Israel’s Invasion of Gaza: UNRWA’s Christopher Gunness v. Israel Project’s Meagan Burenhttp://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/5/a_debate_on_israels_invasion_ofIsraeli Professor Under Hamas Rocket Fire, Neve Gordon Condemns Israeli Invasion of Gazahttp://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/5/israeli_professor_neve_gordon_condemns_israeliEx-Carter Admin Official: Israel Ignored Hamas Offer Days Before Attacking Gaza; Violated Ceasefire with Attacks, Blockadehttp://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/22/ex_carter_admin_official_israel_ignored (I reported on this earlier by posting a link to a story by Gareth Porter from Jan 9 here: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45350 )UN Expert: Compelling Evidence of Israeli War Crimes in GazaIndependent Investigation Urged Over \’Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions\’http://news.antiwar.com/2009/01/22/un-expert-compelling-evidence-of-israeli-war-crimes-in-gaza/

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