Israeli propaganda website

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2006-07-21

CAMERA.ORG is not "the other side", it is a well-known Israeli policy organ. One of many like it.

To say that Camera is just another of the AIPAC - Likud government propaganda sites doesn't exactly describe the tone of it, though that's basically what it is. (Not quite an objective source, to say the least) Their mission statement assumes an intellectual "purpose" -- masking its propagandistic purposes -- if it were just an obvious tabloid sheet, it then could be easily identified as "yellow press" which it is, but since it doesn't have the usual derogatory tone it's not obvious to the uninitiated. It's like the writing of many articles in the old Stalinist party newspapers, half-truths, exaggerations, misrepresentations, but moderate in tone.

Every one of their listed articles has distortions, half-truths (or quarter-truths) and a cool writing style that reflects an Israeli government PUBLIC RELATIONS team. And what one gets from each piece is the message of HOW WRONG any critical opinion of Israeli policy is. And they will correct the picture for you.

One example: "Backgrounder -- does Israel use 'Palestinian aquifers'?" -- article from July 1 complaining about press accounts that charged Israel with unfairly and illegally taking water from Palestinian areas for green lawns, swimming pools, leaving Palestinians with barely enough to drink. Camera complains that "not a single water expert or Israeli official" was cited in this report in the NY Times, (also on NPR) -- but "the facts tell a different story."

It then goes over the geology of the above-ground and below ground sources quoting heavily from Almanac and yearbooks, references much historical data going back to 1956 up to 1999, and after four pages of self-justifying "generous" "water-sharing" justifications, ends by the bland statement: "Thus Israel's first and continuing use of these water resources is justified by generally accepted international legal guidelines..."

What's wrong with this piece? Just the facts that are LEFT OUT of the picture. Since the beginning of Israel's military occupation of the West Bank in 1967 the land next to the lower Jordan River, a large source of water, has been declared a "closed military zone" and access for Palestinians has been denied. Historically the growing Israeli settlements as well as its military infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza has greatly reduced the availability of water in the Palestinian areas. The discrepancy in comparative consumption is glaring, according to the WHO and USAID. (There is much research and many studies about this effect, some by the World Health Organization and other official bodies -- bearing out these facts)

But the most recent Israeli construction of the massive wall around Palestinian towns and areas has further cut off Palestinians on both sides of it from water -- isolating people from wells and cisterns on the "other side", closing off farm lands from needed irrigation, damaging and often completely destroying wells, reservoirs, piping systems, and etc, etc., and one can only imagine the effect on the lives of the people who live there.

The piece about Chomsky's alleged "acting as a propagandist for the terrorist group" is a misrepresentation at least. Chomsky said that "until there is a general political settlement in the region and the threat of aggression and violence is reduced or eliminated, there has to be a deterrent to Israeli aggression," and since the Lebanese army is not equipped for that, Hezbollah should keep its arms. (Al Manar TV - May 2006)

(I would judge that a reasonable position considering the Israeli massacre that's now going on in Lebanon.)

But misrepresentation of Chomsky's intent is not good enough for the writer. After a long disquisition of the "murderous intent" of Hezbollah -- leaving out of the picture the arrogance and racism and terror of the Israeli policies -- he finally slanders Chomsky with "well-documented" connections "to European neo-Nazi groups and Holocaust deniers" -- the kind of defamation only a writer with NO facts to write about would utter. (Chomsky's democratic and humanist principles and beliefs are reflected in his many books and articles on US politics, the Middle East, and other contemporary issues)