Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Using science fiction for anti-Israel propaganda

Last year, a much heralded book was released called Palestine +100, with Palestinian Arab writers writing about how the region could look in the year 2048.

Here's the book's blurb:

Palestine + 100 poses a question to twelve Palestinian writers: what might your country look like in the year 2048 – a century after the tragedies and trauma of what has come to be called the Nakba? How might this event – which, in 1948, saw the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs from their homes – reach across a century of occupation, oppression, and political isolation, to shape the country and its people? Will a lasting peace finally have been reached, or will future technology only amplify the suffering and mistreatment of Palestinians?
Notice the phrase "a century of occupation." This means, of course, that Israel itself is completely illegitimate - if the "occupation" began in 1948 then Israel is an illegal entity on both sides of the Green Line.

This is the most insidious type of propaganda, where statements like these are written as if they are an established fact, and the readership - who is generally not attuned to the nuances of language that people steeped in the conflict understand - subconsciously accept these descriptions as true.

Sure enough, that is exactly what happened when Jonathan Strahan, in my opinion the best SF editor  around, described this book in the introduction to his "The Year's Best Science Fiction Vol. 1
The Saga Anthology of Science Fiction 2020" - and he parroted the false Palestinian claim without any caveat:

Journalists and others know that they are walking in a minefield when they write about the Middle East, and they will get complaints from both sides, so they at least try to be careful in their language. But when Palestinian propaganda is transferred to other media, the lies can multiply without the same scrutiny.

Which is exactly what happened here.

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