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Thursday, December 08, 2011

When you hate Israel, even pro-PalArab articles are hasbara

A few months ago I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about how Israel-bashers cannot stand any news from Israel, no matter how trivial or how local,  that does not prominently feature supposedly evil Israeli policies against Palestinian Arabs.

I suggested that you too can share their viewpoint if you wear the special Occupation Glasses, through which the entire world can be seen refracted correctly where "occupation" is the central theme of everything you look at.

A hilarious example could be seen this morning on Twitter - and the offending article doesn't praise Israel, but Palestinian Arabs!

The Atlantic has a piece about the art scene in Ramallah. It is upbeat and positive. It shows a thriving art culture and it highlights new institutions that bring art to Palestinian Arabs. It tells us about the effort to bring a Picasso to the territories and how popular that exhibit was.

It is a nice article, it tells a story that people do not hear about, and (as long as the art is not used as a cover for incitement to kill Israeli Jews) it is a trend that should be encouraged. I don't look at this pro-Palestinian article and foam at the mouth in anger that someone dares write a piece that doesn't demonize all Arabs in the territories.

But when you wear the Occupation Glasses, even this article is terrible!

Joseph Dana looked at this article that humanized and praised his erstwhile Palestinian Arab friends and seized onto one sentence. Here it is in context:

Thanks to Palestine’s tense political history, the visual arts in Palestine have long failed to gain the foothold they deserve. From 1967 until the signing to the Oslo Accords in 1993, when Palestinian cities were under military occupation, there were restrictions on arts and culture. For example, it was forbidden to paint images combining the four colors of the Palestinian flag, black, green, white, and red. "Painting a watermelon was not allowed," explains Khaled Hourani, one of Palestine’s leading artists and former Director of Fine Arts for the Palestinian Ministry of Culture.

Even after 1993 and the end of military occupation, the visual arts stalled in the territories.

The author obviously meant that the restrictions that Israel placed on Palestinian Arab art are no longer in place since Oslo. Whether there is a "military occupation" after Oslo or not, it completely peripheral to the article's intent and thrust - unless you are wearing the Occupation Glasses.

You have got to see this conversation between Dana (writing as ibnezra) and Jewlicious, a liberal and pro-Palestinian Jew, to see how hate twists people's minds:

ibnezra says:
1967-1993, "when Palestinian cities were under military occupation" http://t.co/yxZtNIHZ

jewlicious says:
@ibnezra The thrust of the article was arts, not politics, and from that perspective it was rather good and humanizing http://t.co/UX8v51zQ

ibnezra says:
@jewlicious the article claimed that there was no military occupation of Palestinian cities. That is a joke.

jewlicious says:
@ibnezra The nature of Israel's presence in the WB changed dramatically after 1993 and the article is about arts!

ibnezra says:
@jewlicious I am sure that you are not saying that Palestinians cities in the West Bank are not under military occupation

jewlicious says:
@ibnezra That's not what I said

ibnezra says:
@jewlicious then you should not have any problems with my argument that the @theatlantic should be ashamed with itself

jewlicious says:
@ibnezra Gevalt. I think it was overall a good piece, esp if you focus on the arts.

ibnezra says:
The article is basically saying there is an art culture in Ramallah and no military occupation. Why are they complaining about? @jewlicious

jewlicious says:
@ibnezra and i am not arguing with you to score points either...

ibnezra says:
@jewlicious I understand. @noamsheizaf is going to write a post soon which will be necessary reading on the matter.

jewlicious says:
@ibnezra i for one am just glad there's a thriving arts scene in Ramallah, c'est tout...

ibnezra says:
@jewlicious there is not a thriving arts scene in my opinion. There is something but it is not thriving.

jewlicious says:
@ibnezra ok more thriving then? more thriving than 7 years ago?

ibnezra says:
@jewlicious Not necessarily

jewlicious says:
@ibnezra So you're saying the entire article is completely flawed? Come on, be fair...

ibnezra says:
@jewlicious I am saying that the article is dangerously flawed and basically a piece of propaganda
Yes, an article that praises Palestinian Arabs, that humanizes them and is more sympathetic to them than anything you are likely to see in the mainstream media, is "basically a piece of [anti-Arab] propaganda." No redeeming qualities at all. Completely flawed.

It takes a special kind of hate to be able to discern such a bizarre version of reality.