Friday, February 22, 2013

Was there a "naqba" in 1967? One way anti-Israel propaganda works

Sometimes the most insidious lies one sees in the media are the ones that are not directly related to the topic being discussed.

From the UN's news service, IRIN:
Ahmed Dweik’s family knows a thing or two about the refugee experience.

Theirs started in 1948, when his father fled his Palestinian home town as Israeli forces captured the village of West Batani near Ashdod in present-day Israel.

From there, he settled in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, further south, until the 1967 Arab-Israeli war pushed him to search for an easier life abroad. He went first to Egypt to study, then to Yemen to find work.

That is where Dweik was born. But like his father, he too sought better opportunities, migrating to Syria to look for a better paying job and settling close to Yarmouk, the largest camp for Palestinian refugees in Syria.

“But what happened to my father after the 1967 war happened to me in 2012,” Dweik told IRIN.
Excuse me?

Not one Gazan was expelled when Israel took it over in 1967. During the Six Day War there wasn't even time for the Gazans to flee.

But thousands of them decided to flee anyway after the war. The reason was simple: they didn't want to live under Jewish rule. Many thousands went to Jordan - going through Israel itself. Many others, as was the case with Dweik's father, chose to go to other Arab countries to get jobs.

When IRIN quotes the younger Dweik as saying that his fleeing war-torn Syria is similar to his father fleeing Gaza in 1967, the implication is that Israel was treating Gazans the way Syria is treating its citizens today. This is a baldfaced lie. Readers, not being on the lookout for anti-Israel bias in an article that is about the problems of Palestinians in Syria, will accept this nugget of misinformation as fact.

Multiply that by tens of thousands of such lies one sees in newspapers and books and other media, and you can see how even well-meaning people can be indoctrinated with anti-Israel propaganda without realizing it.