Accuse First, Ask Questions Never: Mainstreaming Anti-Semitism
A massive number of stories and tales are generated daily by this -- to borrow Helin’s phrase -- “powerful propaganda machine” aimed through a cooperative media to Western governments and public opinion. Some of its stories are not so successful in the West, perhaps in part because they are more directed at the local audience: Israel distributing poison candy or aphrodisiac chewing gum, for example.
Many stories stay more on theme: The Jenin "massacre", Gaza "war crimes", the deliberate murder of Muhammad al-Dura, and so on. These succeed.
We hear about it when one of the visibly crazy stories -- like Israel’s government ordering Palestinians killed so it can profit from their organs -- gets attention. But it’s really the more “credible” stories that do the most harm. Read the AP, Reuters, or Agence-France Presse any day and you get these productions, or at least the associated slant.
What should the media, governments, and human rights’ groups look for in avoiding propagation of slander? Simply what they are supposed to look for in every story:
Until there is some proof, stories shouldn’t be reported.
In Gaza, Palestinians charged Israel with using white phosphorus weapons. Amnesty International issued a report about the horrendous consequences. Yet while Palestinians claimed to have seen strange wounds, there were no medical records, photographs, or interviews with those who were so wounded.
The Jenin massacre, which became a huge story, was essentially based on the claims of one hitherto unknown (and afterward never seen again) ordinary Palestinian. That was enough to set the world howling about murderous Israelis.
Why not employ simple fact-checking and balance?
What fuels this kind of thing is a double standard. Not a double standard of demanding more of Israel than other countries -- though that also exists -- but a double standard regarding proof. Behind this are two underlying assumptions made by media, human rights’ groups, and governments:
-- Israelis are capable of anything, so you can believe any evil of them.
This is an old staple of anti-Semitism. Would any other democratic government be accused of murder to obtain organs? Is it credible that, instead of seeking to win a war, Israeli soldiers were fixated on killing civilians for fun?
-- Due to hatred of Israel, leftist ideology, and plain old anti-Semitism (which has been defined out of existence when it comes to Israel), a lot of people are prone to believe things which are either unproven, illogical, or obviously propaganda.
Thus, if you are a crackpot -- like the authors of the Swedish and Dutch articles -- you can get published saying things regarding Israel that would get you thrown out the door if on any other subject.
Beyond the two assumptions, it gets worse. A lot of the reporters on the scene, or UN officials, or supposed experts have become collaborators in fabricating and distributing such lies. In regard to this, of course, Jews and Israelis in particular are the only people not covered in the worldwide campaign against racism, against discrimination, for acceptance of the “other,” for self-censorship to avoid offending anyone, and all the other blessings of political correctness.
And if you want a nice little illustration, here’s an appropriate one: Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who has now emerged as a supposed defender of free speech for standing by the blood libel in his country’s leading newspaper, was the same man who shut down the Internet servers and tried to repress anyone in Sweden daring to publish the Danish cartoons about Islam’s founder.
What is so horrifying is not just the extreme cases of obvious anti-Semitism, but the daily slanders and conveyance of anti-Israel propaganda that is performed a bit more carefully. They laugh at the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion as they gleefully churn out the new Protocols of the Crimes of Zionism.