Saturday, 19 January 2008

The Al Durah affair - why truth matters, by Solomonia

Solomonia correctly draws the conclusion (unfortunately far from obvious to everyone) that truth is important:

"Richard Landes gave a presentation in Israel on the Al Durah controversy last week and writes about it here: "So What if Al Durah was Staged?": Meditations on the Colonization of the Israeli Mind. Infuriating:

"I recently gave a talk at a conference on Media and Ethics in Jerusalem, where I presented the case against Enderlin’s version of the Muhammad al Durah story. Apparently, the presentation was relatively convincing since one of the first criticisms I immediately received from a prominent Israeli professor of communications was: "So what? According to reliable statistics, the Israeli army has killed over 800 Palestinian children since the second Intifada. So what difference does it make if this case is staged or not?" His intervention was followed by a round of applause from about a third of the 200-some person audience..."

A predictable attitude. … here are a couple of why's: Because it was a lie. Because people who lie always have a reason for doing so, in this case to incite more murder and perpetuate a blood libel. Speaking as the average American, most people can understand when innocents are killed in the course of war, but the scene staged by the Al Durah myth was unforgivable if true. No collateral damage this. We had (supposedly) a father and son in the cross hairs in plain site fired on with small arms (and missiles so the fairy tale goes) for 45 minutes with no armed enemy in site. This was murder on film. These were not casualties of war, these were murder victims as plain as day -- even to the most cold-hearted purveyor of the collateral damage concept. That changes everything.

"...The big losers in this process were the forces of moderation on all sides: many Palestinians eagerly threw themselves into as total a war with Israel as they could muster; moderates could not brake their momentum; they could not even talk with their Israeli partners in dialogue without appearing to betray their people..."

Indeed! This scene made moderation impossible on BOTH sides. One side's already weak moderates were completely disarmed, the other (Israeli) side's were completely powerless in the face of a lie. When did you stop beating your wife? When will you stop murdering children in cold blood? Yet you never started! How do you respond except with arms to defend yourself from the horrendous attacks the lie has sparked?

This is the classic tactic of the terrorist. Instigate an outrage -- perpetuate it yourself if you have to -- and destroy prospects of a negotiated settlement. The media and the left, the Israeli, left play right along with it. In fact, they are essential for its success."

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