The Media and Palestinian Schizophrenia: Access Journalism? Embarrassment? Cowardice?

Overheard by PZ in a Jerusalem Cafe yesterday:

A young journalist for a major American newspaper told a story about interviewing a bunch of schoolgirls in Gaza last week and one of them telling him “Well, if I don’t become a suicide bomber, maybe I’d like to go to college.” Here the teacher immediately intervened and told her to shut up: “Don’t say this to him.” Then the teacher apologized to the journalist and told him that “these views do not represent our society.”

Everyone at the table laughed.

I don’t think this story was published.


1) This kind of “correction” happens all the time. In Pierre Rehov’s documentary on the Palestinian refugee camps Hostages of Hatred, he catches a man carrying on about destroying Israel. Another interrupts him and, looking over at the camera, explains that his friend should not speak so in front of the camera because that is not the kind of thing we want the rest of the world to know. All of this reflects the dual register in which Palestinian discourse gets carrried out — one among themselves, one for the rest of the world. In this particular case, the young girl, not understanding the “rules of the game,” speaks forthrightly to the journalist, proud of her ambitions; and the teacher, aware of the PR stakes, steps in to correct any mistaken impression about “our society” this indiscretion might represent.

2) The girl’s remarks — between suicide bombing and college — reflect the schizophrenic nature of Palestinian society, torn between their hatred and admiration for the West, source of their shame and humiliation on the one hand, and what they admire and wish to possess on the other. Unfortunately, because of the highly polemic nature of higher education in the Arab world — hence no Nobel prizes — becoming a college graduate and a suicide terrorist are far from mutually exclusive. Apparently Saudi Arabians are shocked — shocked! — to discover that a math teacher and TV comedian had become a suicide terrorist.

3) It’s not clear why the table laughed at the tale. Apparently they were not around three years ago, when suicide terrorists were blowing up cafés on the very street where they sat, and they don’t know the genealogy of the people who check their bags at the doors of every shop and restaurant in Israel. But what is clear is that it would take a very brave and perceptive journalist to follow up on both aspects of the story contained in his amusing vignette: the revolting brainwashing in hatred and genocidal desires with which the Palestinian “educators” indoctrinate their youth on the one hand, and the Palestinian cover-up of such a disgusting aspect of their culture, on the other. To do that would mean risking a loss of access — imagine our intrepid reporter trying to get back into a school in Gaza after highlighting that remark! So MEMRI and PMW work daily to let the public know about how bad it gets; and our MSM journalists treat it as an amusing tale to share with friends. After all, the poor Palestinians have it bad enough, why should journalists make it even worse by revealing such ugly stuff.

One Response to The Media and Palestinian Schizophrenia: Access Journalism? Embarrassment? Cowardice?

  1. The Palestinians Have Been Abandoned, All Right.

    But not by the leaders of other groups; by their own “leaders,” who make the poverty pimps of the U.S.A. look good….

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