Jonathan Cook

The racist subtext of the evacuation story

Jonathan Cook
19 July 2006

On Tuesday, when at least 35 Lebanese were killed, we had the BBC’s Ben Brown in Beirut giving a blow-by-blow account of every facet of the evacuation of foreign nationals in general and British nationals in particular. If anyone doubted the racism of our Western media, here it was proudly on display. The BBC apparently considers their Beirut reporter’s first duty to find out what meals HMS Gloucester’s chef will be preparing for the evacuees. Lebanese and Palestinian civilians die unnoticed by the Western media while we learn of onboard sleeping arrangements on the ship bound for Cyprus.

Notes from northern Israel: In the line of media fire

Jonathan Cook
18 July 2006

Nazareth hit the international headlines for the first time in this vicious war being waged by Israel mostly on Lebanese civilians. Reporter Matthew Price, corsetted in a blue flak jacket in Haifa, told BBC viewers that for the first time Hizbullah had targetted Nazareth late on Sunday. “Nazareth is a mostly Christian town”, he added. Before the strike close to Nazareth late on Sunday night, several Arab villages in the north had been hit by Hizbullah rockets trying to reach these factories. The BBC saw the need to mention these attacks nor the fact that “mostly Muslim” villages had been hit. So why did the strike against Nazareth — and its mistaken Christian status — became part of the story for the BBC?

Israelis are dying: it must be an escalation

Jonathan Cook
17 July 2006

Here we go again — another “serious escalation” has begun in the Middle East, or so BBC World was telling audiences throughout Sunday. So what prompted the BBC’s judgment that the crisis was escalating once more? You can be sure it had nothing to do with the more than 130 Lebanese dead after five days of savage aerial bombardment from at least 2,000 sorties by Israeli war planes that are making the country’s south a disaster zone and turning Beirut into a crumbling ghost town. Those dead, most civilians and many of them women and children, hardly get a mention, their lives apparently empty of meaning or significance in this confrontation.

Israel's latest bureaucratic obscenity

Jonathan Cook
12 July 2006

The same malign intent by Israel towards the Palestinians is stamped through its history like the lettering in a children’s stick of seaside rock. But despite the consistent aim of Israeli policy, generation after generation of Western politicians, diplomats and journalists has shown a repeated inability to grasp what is happening before its very eyes. The Palestinian historian Rashid Khalidi once noted that the first goal of Israel’s founders as they prepared to establish their Jewish state on a large swath of the Palestinian homeland in 1948 was to empty Palestine’s urban heartlands of their educated elites.

Israel's experiment in human despair

Jonathan Cook
6 July 2006

The Alice Through the Looking Glass quality of Israeli disinformation over the combined siege and invasion of Gaza — and its widespread and credulous repetition by the Western media — is successfully distracting attention from Israel’s real goals in this one-sided war of attrition. The current destruction of Gaza’s civilian and administrative infrastructure is reminiscent of the Israeli army’s cruel rampages through the streets of West Bank cities in the repeated invasions of 2002 and 2003, and the Jewish settlers’ malicious attacks on Palestinian farmers trying to collect their olive harvests. Three long-standing motives are discernible in Israel’s current menacing of Gaza. Jonathan Cook reports.

Jewish tribalism comes clean

Jonathan Cook
30 June 2006

Until the advent of Zionism at the turn of the twentieth century, Jews for whom their Jewishness mattered believed either that their identity was of a strictly religious nature or, if they were secular, that it was a meaningful marker of their ethnicity. In other words, Jews who wanted to identify themselves as Jews were either Jews in that they practised a religion called Judaism or they were Jews in that they believed they belonged to a distinct ethnic group. But Zionism added a third possible category of Jewish identity. The new kind of Jewish identity was a strange hybrid from the outset.

'Escalation', 'retaliation' and BBC double standards in Gaza

Jonathan Cook
26 June 2006

The killing by Palestinian militants of two Israeli soldiers and the capture of a third from an army post close to the Gaza Strip set the scene for Israeli “reprisals” and “retaliation”, according to the reports of BBC correspondents in Israel and Gaza at the weekend. We can ignore the weeks of shelling by the Israeli army of Gaza, the firing of hundreds of missiles into the crowded Strip that have destroyed Palestinian lives and property, while spreading terror among the civilian population.

The truth lies buried in Gaza sands

Jonathan Cook
21 June 2006

If you keep lying long enough and with enough conviction, people start to believe you — or at least doubt the evidence in front of their own eyes. And so it has been with the Israeli army’s account of how seven members of a Palestinian family were killed, and dozens of other Palestinians injured, during shelling close by a beach in Gaza. The army has been claiming for more than a week, based on its own evidence, that the lethal explosion was not caused by a stray shell landing on the Gaza beach but most probably by a mine placed there by Palestinian militants to prevent an Israeli naval landing. The army’s case could be dismissed outright were it not for the racist assumptions that now prevail as Western “thought” about Arabs and Muslims.

How Israel’s Jewish terrorist became a victim

Jonathan Cook
14 June 2006

Imagine the following scenario. A Palestinian gunman boards a bus inside Israel and rides it to the city of Netanya. Close to the end of the line, he walks over to the driver, levels his automatic rifle against the man’s head and pumps him with bullets. He turns and empties the rest of the magazine — one of 14 in his backpack — into the passenger behind the driver and two young women sitting across the gangway. As bystanders in the street outside look on in horror, our gunman then reloads his weapon and sprays the bus with yet more fire, injuring 20 people.

How Olmert conned Washington over convergence

Jonathan Cook
1 June 2006

Israelis have a word for it: “hasbara”. It is often misleadingly translated as “advocacy for Israel”. But what the word signifies more deeply for Israel’s supporters is the duty, when the truth would be damaging, to dissemble or to disseminate misinformation to protect the interests of Israel as a Jewish state — that is, a state with an unassailable Jewish majority. If hasbara is expected of the lowliest members of Israel’s international fan club, it is a duty of the first order for the country’s prime minister.

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