Sunday, September 10, 2017

Al Jazeera: Blood Libels, Defamation and Lies

Jews and other Israel supporters around the world work for the IDF in the same manner as fighters in the Syrian civil war: committing war crimes, both as volunteers and paid mercenaries on behalf of the Jewish state.


That’s the underlying message of an Al Jazeera “documentary” (it’s actually closer to a work of fiction) that skews context, overtly mistranslates statements, and even repeats outright lies in order to create this illusion.

Outright lies from the Ukraine
The documentary begins with Elena Zakusilo, a Ukrainian Jewish woman who claimed on a local television game show that she served in a combat role in the IDF, including being forced by the IDF to murder innocent children: a form of blood libel that has served as an excuse for violence against Jews throughout history.

The IDF and Ukrainian security services investigated: It turns out the woman had blatantly lied. In fact, the show’s producers had scripted her entire speech in a ploy to increase ratings, even though they apparently knew that Zakusilo’s role in the IDF had been low ranking, administrative and non-combat.

Al Jazeera then misleads audiences with a segment on an unrelated group called “Caliber 3,” a private firm that mostly trains civilian security contractors who work with the Israeli police. Caliber 3 also offers basic self-defense classes for private individuals, a minority of their work.

Yet Al Jazeera portrayed Caliber-3  as a military unit, and its civilian self-defense classes as a military activity. It’s like saying a person who takes a CPR class at the hospital is a surgeon. It’s just simply untrue...

Not just bad journalism: defamation.
...In these cases, volunteers were indeed portrayed falsely in a manner that definitely harmed their reputations and produced hostility against them. In short, Al Jazeera’s documentary isn’t just bad journalism, it is defamation: at least a civil, and possibly even a criminal offense.

To this end, the documentary includes offhand references to Brits who illegally fight for Islamic State (ISIS) and discusses two British nationals who were convicted and sentenced to prison for activities in the civil war in Syria.

Al Jazeera then indicates that Grete Kvelland Skaara and other Norwegian volunteers may have acted improperly or even violated their country’s laws: they accomplish this by blatantly mistranslating a statement from a local mayor Arvid Grundekjøn:
I have served in the Norwegian defense, so I can’t wear the uniform of another country.
HonestReporting obtained a correct translation, and learned what Grundekjøn had actually said:
For me who has served in the Norwegian defense, it seems strange to wear uniform for another country…but I will not criticize Grete Kvelland Skaara for helping the Israeli military.
…dozens of armies recruit volunteer soldiers, including Great Britain, the US, France, Spain, Denmark, the UAE, New Zealand and Serbia [and some] accept non-military volunteers, like Britain’s Army Cadets.

Once a reader sees past the outright lies, mistranslations and misleading editing, it becomes clear that Israel’s volunteer and recruiting programs are not only legal and ethical, but similar to the practices of most countries in the Western world.

The Israel Defense Forces
The IDF’s code of ethics states in part:
The IDF and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position. IDF soldiers will not use their weapons and force to harm human beings who are not combatants or prisoners of war, and will do all in their power to avoid causing harm to their lives, bodies, dignity and property.
The IDF is a modern, professional army with a high dedication to ethics in warfare and to upholding international laws.  It is therefore utterly absurd to even imply a comparison between the IDF and groups such as Syrian rebels or Islamic State (ISIS).

It is equally absurd to accuse international Israel supporters of improper or even criminal behavior for activities that are both legal and common in countries around the world.

It is for this very reason that in order to make its case, Al Jazeera relies on dramatic music, misleading editing, mistranslations and outright lies.

What happens next?
Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) has been considering whether to become the latest in a long line of countries to remove Al Jazeera’s local news bureau for committing incitement to violence. Incitement is not legal in any country, including in those that value free speech.

As part of this process the GPO recently revoked press credentials of one particularly problematic Al Jazeera journalist: Elias Karam. Yet even though Karam described his work as “resistance to the occupation” (effectively admitting that it is not actually journalism) the GPO nonetheless is now leaning in favor of reinstating his credentials.

However, Al Jazeera is now putting Jews, and Israel supporters around the world in direct personal danger through an act of illegal defamation. Perhaps the GPO should indeed move forward with their original plans: both for Karam and for the entire Al Jazeera bureau.

Defamation and incitement to violence is not “journalism” and it is not “free speech.”

It is just plain wrong.

No comments: