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Cracks In the Wall

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Amnon Rubinstein sees cracks in the wall of lockstep anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli propaganda in the Arab press:

    Media outlets in the Arab world are a unique phenomenon – hatred and defamation are a staple, anti-Semitic propaganda recalls that of Goebbels, and what masquerades as fact is in fact a figment of psychopathic imagination.

    Take, for instance, an article published last week by the Egyptian opposition newspaper Al-Wafd, which blamed the “Zionist lobby” for the French law banning the appearance of certain religious symbols in educational institutions, such as Muslim head coverings. This article perceived the law as part of a Jewish conspiracy to take over Europe; and it quoted Lebanon’s culture minister, who claimed the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” verify the existence of a Jewish plan to foment disputes between the other monotheistic religions, in order to precipitate wars between the states.

    After perusing such malicious lies, including articles that evince support for Holocaust denial (even in “moderate” outlets, such as Al Jazeera, whose Internet site features such an article), it becomes necessary to pose a troubling question: Does the outright fabrication reflect the views of the Arab intelligentsia? Is there a murmur of dissent beneath the surface? After all, it is impossible to know what really goes on in dictatorial regimes. Such regimes put up a veneer of stability, unity and consensus, just as democracies project a misleading veneer of weakness.

    ….In fact, evidence has started to mount that the external facade presented by Arab media is a deception; and whenever the belt is loosened a little, new voices can be heard in the Arab world

    ….This is what columnist Ahmed Ramrabi in the Qatar newspaper Al-Watan had to say about the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hezbollah: “One of my colleagues drew my attention to the Lebanese and Palestinian citizens who returned to Beirut and to Ramallah, and to the fact that their faces radiated health, as though they returned from vacations in Europe. The moral of the story is clear: Prisons in Israel are better than those in the Arab world. My colleague told me that had these people left Arab jails, they would have looked like skeletons. Not to mention those who never get out of such prisons alive.”

    Rassan Suleiman al-Atibi wrote in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas: …. The truth is that the deal illustrated to us the value that the body of an Israeli soldier retains, compared to the disregard for the value of an Arab life. It also made palpable the extent of Arab foolishness.”

    Khaled Jalabi in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Watan wrote with forthright candor: …. the meaning is that Israel viewed the three corpses and the one living man as being equivalent to any number of people, even if that total reached hundreds or thousands. In terms of moral logic, the moral is that, in Israel’s view, the life of an Israeli, even one of Arab origin, is considered invaluable.

    ….it’s important to know that the Arab world is not the sum of what’s written in Cairo, Damascus and Ramallah. [Haaretz]

Yes, this is very important to know because any expression of opposition to the party line is evidence of felicitous fallout from the war on terror: the autocrats are getting nervous and their scapegoating of Israel and the U.S. for their own miserable failings is receiving more scrutiny and holding less water. In the face of daily negative coverage and opposition demagoguery, we need to call attention to the positive where it arises.

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