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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Protests don't reflect reality

The media has a field day covering the many protests against Israel happening worldwide. The protests are colorful; they always have someone photogenic to publish or a gimmick that makes good copy. The impression one gets is that there is a broad-based mass of people who are genuinely concerned about Gazan lives and aghast at Israeli policy.

While there are certainly no shortage of rabid Israel-bashers in this world, the coverage of these protests shows a deceptive picture.

For one thing, the media usually doesn't mention the groups behind the protests. for example, the one pictured on the right, in Jakarta, was sponsored by radical Islamist group Hizb-ut Tahrir. You woldn't know that unless you look carefully at the entire sign, not shown in this picture but visible here. That group wants to create a pan-Muslim nation that would of course include "Palestine" where Jews would not be the most welcome members.

Other groups sponsoring protests include the Communist Party of India and Hezbollah, not to mention the so-called "peace" groups who have nothing bad to say about thousands of Qassam rockets.

Another point to keep in mind about protests is that even the most Zionist is not going to create a rally supporting a war. This is not a war of choice but of necessity, as the alternatives have all been tried and failed.

Once you take away the people who want Israel to be destroyed out of the picture, the number of protesters is not very significant. Almost by definition, these protesters prefer Hamas terrorists living in peace in the Middle East to Jews doing the same.

The fact is that most governments and sober-minded people, even critics of Israel and even Arab leaders, know that Hamas and its ideology is a serious danger to world peace. They either secretly or openly want to see Israel topple Hamas. Fatah isn't going to do it, Gazans aren't going to, and neither is Egypt. They know that only Israel has a chance - and even that is by no means assured.

The media, by spending so much time covering these protests that are little more than photo-ops for people dedicated to hate, is giving the false impression that the world supports Hamas. Over time, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is why it is vitally important to be vigilant about this sort of subtle bias and point it out. So far, media coverage has not been as bad as it has been in the past, but that can change very fast. We have to keep on top of how even innocuous images can effectively become Hamas' best weapon.