Facts on the Ground, Brian Whittaker and several Arab bloggers have been doing a great job debunking the mythical MEMRI translation of the Hamas TV show which allegedly features Mickey Mouse provoking a young Palestinian girl into embracing martyrdom for the cause. Problem is, the actual translation isn’t what MEMRI claims it is. Chalk another one up to pro-Israel media manipulation.
As I noted in yesterday’s post on this, it is reprehensible to manipulate children into endorsing a political agenda no matter who does it. The Hamas TV show should be condemned for doing so. But it be condemned for its actual content, not for what some propagandist claims it says.
And while we’re at it, may we point out that Israelis too exploit their own children for political ends? Take a look at these images I’ve featured at this blog. In one a group of settler children hold bull’s eyes over their chests so that the Israeli police chief attempting to remove their families from illegal Israeli settler outposts can allegedly shoot them. In the second image, Israeli schoolgirls in northern Israel lovingly inscribe messages to Hassan Nasrallah on IDF munitions before they are lobbed into Lebanese territory. Unfortunately, two can play this game. For every sin that MEMRI and the Islamophobes can dig up, you can find similar sins on the other side.
Instead of scoring propaganda points as MEMRI wishes to do (with the willing cooperation of a gullible internationa media, I might add), why don’t we get down to actually solving the conflict and encouraing each side to make the real compromises they will need to make in order to achieve peace?
In light of what happened in Lebanon–Qana and all the other atrocities perpetrated against Lebanese cilvilians, including scores of children–I find the photo of Israeli children writing messages on these munitions bound for Lebanese soil particularly morally revolting. I realize that this is in part a reaction drawn from the vantage of hind-sight. But still.
And I realize that Palestinian (and perhaps Lebanese) children are also drawn into the cycle of hatred and violence and that is wrong, yet the extreme assymetry of power in the situation somehow makes the above image more stomach-churning for me. Maybe that’s a lack of balance in my perspective or even a kind of rationalization (I can work on that), but there it is. There’s a smugness of power and superior circumstance on the Israeli side that is truly repulsive. Although I should also say that we as Americans share in that smugness of power vis-a-vis the Arab (and Persian) world. You can look at our occupation of Iraq and probably discern a similar dynamic.
Tnks for this article as I too was fooled by MEMRI which is now a source to no longer be trusted unfortunately. On the other hand, I think it is in general pretty well documented that the level of anti-Israel and even anti-Jewish propaganda in Arab and Muslim countries is more frequent and certainly less subtle than in Israel. However the pictures from the war in Lebanon of the Israeli children signing bombs is particularly disgusting. Most important is to keep in mind that both sides in their own ways are distorting their children and probably violating to a great degree the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Certainly Israel through her occupation and even in Israel viz a viz the Arab minorities. But as you said Richard, instead of focusing on this kind of stuff let’s just solve the problem, embrace the future possibilities of peace particularly for the sake of the children.