Jonathan Cook: Five Primetime Lies from the American Media
Israel's immediate response was to send a tank into Lebanon in pursuit of the Hizbollah fighters (its own foolhardy violation of Lebanese sovereignty).
By Jonathan Cook
This week I had the pleasure to appear on American radio, on the Laura Ingraham show, pitted against David Horowitz, a "Semite supremacist" who most recently made his name under the banner of Campus Watch, leading McCarthyite witch-hunts against American professors who have the impertinence to suggest that maybe, just maybe, Arabs have minds and feelings like the rest of us.
It was a revealing experience, at least for a British journalist rarely exposed to the depths of ignorance and prejudice in the United States on Middle East matters -- well, apart from the regular whackos who fill my email in-tray. But five minutes of listening to Horowitz speak, and the sympathy with which his arguments were greeted by Laura ("The Professors -- your book's a great read, David"), left me a lot more frightened about the world's future.
Horowitz's . It's as simple as that. ; just the message that the Arab world is trying to finish off the genocide started by Europe.
Horowitz is keen to . And to help him, he and the massed ranks of US apologists for Israel -- regulars, I suspect, of shows like Laura's -- are Unless they are challenged at every turn, the danger is that they will win the ground war against common sense in the US. The is that
But presumably Horowitz and his friends realized that 400 Lebanese dead and counting in little more than a week was hard to sell as a "proportionate" response. In any case . Hundreds of dead in Lebanon, at least 1,000 severely injured and more than half a million refugees -- all because Israel is not ready to sit down at the negotiating table. Even Horowitz could not "advocate for Israel" on that one.
So the The international community is buying the argument hook, line and sinker. "Israel has the right to defend itself", says every politician who can find a microphone to talk into. But, if we cast our minds back, that is not how the "Middle East crisis", as TV channels now describe it, started. It is worth recapping on those early events (and I won't document the long history of Lebanese suffering at Israel's hands that preceded it) before they become entirely shrouded in the mythology being peddled by Horowitz and others.
Early against an army border post, in what was in the best interpretation a foolhardy violation of Israeli sovereignty. In the fighting the Shiite militia As a result of the shelling, five Israelis were "lightly injured", with most needing treatment for shock, according to the Haaretz newspaper.
Rather than open diplomatic channels to calm the violence down and start the process of getting its soldiers back, . Given Israel's world view that it alone has a right to project power and fear, that might have been expected.
But the next day Israel continued its rampage across the south and into Beirut, where the airport, roads, bridges, and power stations were pummeled. We now know from reports in the US media that
In contrast to the image of Hizbollah frothing at the mouth to destroy Israel, its leader Hassan
No one should have been surprised. Nasrallah was doing exactly what he had threatened to do if Israel refused to negotiate and chose the path of war instead. Although the international media quoted his ominous televised message that "Haifa is just the beginning", In the same speech he warned: Well, Israel did, and so now has Nasrallah. The is that Hizbollah's According to Horowitz and others, Hizbollah collected its armory with the sole intent of destroying the Jewish state.
If this really was Hizbollah's intention in amassing the weapons, it has More likely, it collected the armory in the hope that it might prove a -- even if a very inadequate one, as Lebanon is now discovering -- , and the occupation that lasted nearly two decades afterwards.
In fact, according to other figures supplied by the Israeli army, at least 2,000 Hizbollah rockets have already been fired into Israel while the army's bombardments have so far destroyed a further 2,000 rockets. In other words, northern Israel has already received a fifth of Hizbollah's arsenal. The Galilee may be emptier, as up to third of Israeli Jews seek temporary refuge in the south, but
The is that, while by targeting only terrorists, Hizbollah prefers to bring death and destruction on innocents by firing rockets at Israeli civilians.
It is amazing that this myth even needs exploding, but after the efforts of Horowitz and co it most certainly does. As the civilian death toll in Lebanon has rocketed, international criticism of Israel has remained at the mealy-mouthed level of diplomatic requests for "restraint" and "proportionate responses".
The best estimates, though no one knows for sure, are that Hizbollah deaths are not yet close to the three-figures range.
In the latest emerging news from Lebanon, human rights groups are accusing Israel of violating international law and using , which kill indiscriminately. There are reports too, so far unconfirmed, that Israel has been firing illegal bombs.
Unlike Horowitz I won't presume to read Nasrallah's mind: whether he wants to kill large numbers of Israeli civilians or not cannot be known, given his inability to do so.
It is obvious to everyone in Nazareth, for example, that the rockets landing close by, and once on, the city over the past week are searching out, and some have fallen extremely close to, the sited near us.
Hizbollah seems to have as little concern for the collateral damage of civilian deaths as Israel -- each wants the balance of terror in its favor -- but it is nonsense to suggest that Hizbollah's goals are any more ignoble than Israel's. It is trying to in retaliation for Israel's total destruction of the Lebanese economy. Equally, it is . Both strategies appear to be having an impact, even if a minor one, on weakening Israeli resolve.
The is a continuation of the third: Hizbullah has been endangering the lives of ordinary Lebanese by
We have seen this kind of by Israel and Horowitz before, though not repeated so enthusiastically by Western officials. The UN head of humanitarian affairs, Jan Egeland, who is in the region, accused Hizbollah of "cowardly blending" among the civilian population, and a similar accusation was leveled by the British foreign minister Kim Howells when he arrived in Israel.
The implication of Egeland's cowardly statement seems to be that any Lebanese fighter, or Palestinian one, resisting Israel and its powerful military should stand in an open field, his rifle raised to the sky, waiting to see who fares worse in a shoot-out with an Apache helicopter or F-16 fighter jet. Hizbollah's reluctance to conduct the war in this manner, we are supposed to infer, is proof that they are terrorists.
If only the same could be said of the Israeli army and air force. One need only look at the images of the victims of its strikes against residential neighborhoods, car, ambulances and factories to see why most of the dead being extracted from the rubble are civilians. And finally, there is a I almost forgot to mention. That people like David Horowitz only want to tell us the truth.
-Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His book "Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State" is published by Pluto Press. His website is www.jkcook.net