As Israeli citizens we watch CNN, BBC and other world news programs with great distress. We listen to the twisted, biased reports of the events in Israel and wonder how journalists who are so certain they are relaying only “events as they happen” can twist and disfigure the facts to such an extent.
Israelis who are born again regard the Bible as the supreme reference point, the final referee to all the Middle East conflict. God himself gave this land in a sworn promise to Abraham and his designated descendants1. He reconfirmed the promise through Isaac2 and not Ishmael, and again through Jacob3 and not Esau. He renamed Jacob “Israel,” and clearly stated that His promise of the land was for 1000 generations4.
God also gave large land areas to Ishmael5 and to Esau6, the forefathers of the Arab peoples. But He did not give them the land of Israel. It is God’s prerogative to give whatever land He wants to whatever people He desires.
The world media however, can in no way relate to the Bible as a base or starting point for solving the Middle East conflict. Rather, their humanistic vantage point sees the conflict as one of poor Arab natives being downtrodden by a powerful, harsh militaristic country.
The news media openly operates from the premise that the Palestinian people are the rightful owners of the land of Palestine - never mind that such a nation has never before existed. Never mind that the most read book in the Western World is the Bible. The Jewish people, says the news media, are a new nation that has recently come into the Middle East and taken away the land of Palestine from the ancient Palestinian people. The implication, of course, is that Israel is a brutal oppressor which puts down democratic expression of dissent among those whose land has been stolen from them.
Reuven Doron, a well-known Messianic Israeli leader, states: “The world media has always had an unwritten policy to malign the Jewish State as it never quite fit into the global humanistic dream of our modern day visionaries. Israel was, and forever shall be, a thorn in the side of a runaway world; a nagging reminder that there is a sovereign God who runs the affairs of man and of nations, before whom we shall give an account some day.
“Today, a constant barrage of misinformation is gaining acceptance and credibility with millions of naïve viewers and listeners who are receiving it as accurate and reliable “gospel truth.” (Embrace Israel Ministries, Nov. 23,00)
PALESTINIANS WINNING WAR OF WORDS
Israeli newspapers which cannot understand the spiritual implications, lament the superior PR work of the Palestinians: “Israel is losing the war of words yet again…Palestinian leaders remain as adroit as ever at spinning those sound bites and answer only questions that suit them. We call it ‘war.’ The PA calls it ‘popular uprising.’ Palestinian gunmen open fire on a Jerusalem neighborhood and the Western media report ‘Israeli helicopter gunships open fire on Palestinian schools.’” (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 5, 00)
CNN asks Arafat about Israeli convoys being ambushed: he answers with calls on Israel to “cease the use of illegal weapons.” A car bomb kills two at Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market, yet Arab commentators decry “daily massacres of children.” (Ibid.)
“TV news cannot be accurate,” says the Jerusalem Post, “because footage is cut to suit short attention spans. They know they can hold the viewer’s attention for no more than 15-20 seconds. For all practical purposes TV news has become just another form of entertainment. Thus, Palestinians seem to be fully aware that just appearing on TV guarantees its credibility. They present pleasing personalities and likable characters who look and sound like the ‘native’ homely academics fighting for human rights or ‘freedom from occupation.’” (Ibid.)
For example, spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi is the Palestinians number one star who knows precisely how to present her case. Every interview she makes is generously peppered with the follow mantras: indiscriminate bombardment of residential areas, continuing occupation, occupied lands, legitimate rights of the Palestinians, Israeli occupation, Israeli aggression, illegal occupation, illegitimate use of arms, illegal settlements, indiscriminate killing of our children, daily massacres, etc.
The emphasis is on Arab rights, as opposed to Jewish oppression and injustice. The Jerusalem Post says it this way: Hanan Ashrawi and her media partners “will at all times deliver a clear message in good English. They know precisely how and when to go on the offensive. They effectively convey a simple story of a poor indigenous people downtrodden by a wealthy militaristic Western power. And they repeat their message over and over and over again.” (Ibid.)
ISRAEL UNABLE TO DEFEND ITSELF
Meanwhile, Israel sees her very existence becoming more tenuous as time passes. Palestinians shoot into Israeli homes and then race to the Palestinian controlled areas, often only a couple of minutes away, where they have safe haven. Israeli cars are now regularly ambushed on our highways, mostly in the West Bank (the land of Judah and Samaria), but also on Israel’s main highways between the main cities.
Israelis are stoned, stabbed, shot, bombed, and if our government fights back, even many of Israel’s closest friends say we’re “overreacting”. The UN, with the initiative of the Arab nations, is creating serious legislation that could cause Israeli people to be tried for crimes against humanity!!! This prospect is a nightmare for Israelis.
Israelis, who are murdered in cold blood just because they are Jewish, are hardly given the sympathy which is reserved for those who are killed trying to murder or aim them. The media begins their broadcasts with something like this: “Over 300 people have been killed since the beginning of the Intifada most of them are Palestinians.”
Yet, says Reuven Doron, “Justice is never measured by how many people are killed in conflict. It is measured by how many people are killed in conflict. It is measured by the circumstances, which caused the deaths. It is our distorted morality, which equates the evil intent of those who come to murder and destroy Jewish life, with those who seek to defend it. Why would any nation tolerate insurrection, seeing a foreign element stoning, shooting and bombing her civilians?” (Embrace Israel Ministries, Nov. 23, 00)
One blatant inequality constantly witnessed in the media is the way they deal with casualties. Their broadcasts often go something like this: “An 18 year old Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli soldiers. An Israeli was killed in an ensuing exchange of fire….” They fail to note that the Israeli was a child or a pregnant mother attacked by Palestinian terrorists, as is often the case, and the soldiers were attempting to defend these Israeli civilians. The press, of course has never thought of mentioning that the Israeli soldiers sent to protect their nation are themselves usually 19 or 20 years old.
A poignant example of unbalanced coverage is a recent bombing of a school bus. Says Reuven Doron: “Most media services, when reporting of the children’s school bus which was ambushed and blown up not long ago in the Gaza strip, never bothered to indicate to the international viewers that this was a cold blooded and carefully executed terror attack specifically aimed at Israeli children. Instead, the wording often was: ‘A bus of Israeli settlers sustained severe damages during a recent clash in the Gaza strip. Two dead, nine wounded.”
“Yet the incident involved a sophisticated and powerful device put together by professionally trained terrorists with access to military equipment and supplies. It was planted on the but route leading fro the children’s village to their school, and detonated by remote control in perfect timing with the bus’ position and speed in order to cause maximum damage.
“The media also failed tot ell the world that of the nine casualties, five were children who lost legs and arms in the blast. The rest were schoolteachers and parents. The village, from which the bus came, incidentally, is not a lawless or fanatical Jewish settlement in the middle of Arab territory. Kfar Darom, rather, is a fine community which was planted by government decree (Rabin and Peres’ government on lands which were legally purchased for full price by the Jewish agency in 1948, and which were liberated from Arab occupation during the 1967 Six Day war.” (EIM, Nov. 23, 00)
In fact, the personal tragedies of the Jewish victims are rarely portrayed by the press. Three of the wounded children in the above attack were from the same family. The oldest, eight year old Tehila lost one leg. The doctors heroically tried to save her other leg but in the end they had to amputate it also. Her seven-year-old brother lost his right leg. Their little sister, Orit, had to have part of her right foot amputated. All the other wounded children remained in the hospital for an extended time. (J.P. Nov. 26, 00) This story the media forgot to tell. Yet, what if a busload of children were bombed in the U.S.? Or England? Germany or Japan?
GOING AFTER CHRISTIAN SUPPORT
Another of Arafat’s astounding and bold media strategies is his contention that he and his Muslim warriors are the negotiators of Christian rights and the gatekeeper of Christian holy sites. Every avenue of possible political manipulation is explored to use against Israel. Thus, Islamic leader Arafat attends the Christmas Midnight Mass in Bethlehem each year. Last December a letter was sent from Bethlehem to the media stating: “This year we will celebrate Christmas under the missiles of the Israeli forces.” (Ibid., Dec. 22, 00)
One of Hanan Ashrawi famous lines on a TV interview was that she and her Palestinian people were the first Christians. The reporter didn’t even blink. But the Israeli press was quite disturbed about that fabrication, and proceeded to set the story straight at least for Israeli viewers the first Christians were disciples of the early Jewish followers of Yeshua!
The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem spearheaded a petition to demonstrate Christian support worldwide for a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty and open to all faiths. The Embassy and like-minded Christian organizations in Israel were established to give support to Israel and her citizens.
Embassy spokesman David Parsons wrote in a letter accompanying the petition form: “It is presumptuous nay, preposterous for Arafat to claim he stands in proxy for nearly two billion Christians when it comes to Jerusalem. No one among us pines away for him to ‘liberate’ the holy sites like some modern Saladin. To Protestants, these area lien if not repulsive thoughts. On behalf of Catholics, the Vatican has indulged Arafat but never once given him a power of attorney, calling instead for an international regime. For Middle East Christians, the further away they live from Arafat’s police state, the less they think of him. And even the bulk of the 14,000 Arab Christians in eastern Jerusalem privately prefer living under Israeli rule to the Muslim-dominated Palestinian Authority.
“Further, it is absurd to hold the city and its majority Jewish population hostage to the whim of every last Muslim in Bangladesh. Never forget that during 19 years of Jordanian rule over the Old City [1948-1967], barely a trickle of Muslim pilgrims bothered to come pray there. Why? Because it is the Hebrew Bible that invites the nations to come worship the Lord in Jerusalem, not the Koran.
“But Arab and Islamic leaders menacingly threaten a global jihad if Israel ever asserts its rightful claim to her historic, biblical, religious and cultural capital. For over three decades, in order to protect themselves from this frightening prospect, the Jewish people have been forced to demean their incomparable spiritual attachment to this city….” (EIM, Nov. 23,00)
We might add that we are recipients of a regular prayer letter distributed by a close friend who works with converted Moslems in the West Bank under Arafat’s authority. Any Moslem who comes to faith in Yeshua the Messiah puts his life in danger, and that of his wife and children. We can assure you there is not freedom of religion for Moslems who choose to become Christians in the Palestinian controlled territories.
Meanwhile, commentators of the world’s news media continue to interview Israelis and Palestinians, discussing the viewpoints of the two “equal” sides in their historic claims for the Temple site. This is the very place where King David, Solomon and Yeshua Himself worshiped. Arab spokespersons deny there ever was a Jewish Temple while the Western media astonishingly nods approvingly. Instead, say the Palestinians, 600 years ago, at that spot, Mohammed flew to heaven on his white horse.
Another quite different reason that world journalists tend to be sympathetic with the Palestinians is because if they find themselves out of favor with Arafat, they will not be allowed into Palestinian areas a swan song to a journalist’s career in the Middle East.
Case in hand was an Italian journalist who somehow managed to take footage of the lynching of two Israeli soldiers who had lost their way and fell into the hands of a Palestinian mob. Other photographers present had their film confiscated on the spot. When the Palestinians found out that actual footage of the lynchings had been released to the media by the Italian journalist, she fled back to Italy. She then wrote a letter of apology to the Palestinian Authorities, reminding them of her sympathy to their cause. However, the Israeli authorities obtained a copy of the letter, and her newspaper was forced to disassociate itself from her actions, assuring the world that their coverage is without bias. She was subsequently transferred to another location. On the other hand, journalists know they can say whatever they wish concerning Israel and not a finger will be raised against them. It is the difference between a dictatorship and a democracy.
As for CNN, one Israeli journalist put it this way: As Jews, we should put it all in proper historical perspective. CNN has existed for barely 20 years, Jerusalem for over 3,000. (J.P. Nov. 12, 00)