Often when talking with uninformed but well-read people who think Israel is a neo-colonial aggressor, one finds a decided admiration for Amira Hass’ courageous work criticizing her country Israel for its mistreatment of the poor Palestinians. Here’s a rather amazing analysis of one of her articles which illustrates her modus operandi, and sheds light on how the reader of her work, as with many similar articles, gets not a distorted, but an inverted image of empirical reality.
Haaretz: Amira Hass’ Ideological Agenda Trumps Journalistic Integrity
Ha’aretz regularly reports on demolitions of Palestinian homes by the Israeli administration and presents its readers with a grim picture of destruction and misery among the Palestinians. In fact, a reader who believes Ha’aretz’s news accounts, trusting that the newspaper actually adheres to journalistic norms of objectivity and accuracy, would be appalled by the situation described.
But Ha’aretz does not follow such journalistic norms. Take for example, Amira Hass’ July 21, 2010 report, entitled “IDF destroys West Bank village after declaring it military zone.” It provides a clear demonstration of how facts can be manipulated through distortions and omissions to present a false picture of events.
Here is a summary of Haas’ article: Israel’s civil administration demolished the homes of 120 men, women and children, who lived and worked – some for decades – in the Jordan Valley village of Farasiya. Before destroying the village, the civil administration cut off the inhabitants’ water supply and forbade the residents to use other water wells in the area belonging to the Mekorot Water Company. But this is not an accurate account of events.
First, there is no registered village in the West Bank called Farasiya. It does not appear in either the census data of the Palestinian Authority or that of the Israelis. What Hass neglected to inform readers was that this was an illegal encampment which, like dozens of illegal settlements and hundreds of illegal buildings throughout Israel, was slated for demolition.
Read the rest of the forensic demolition of this drive-by shooting that parades as “journalism.”
Picture of what Hass claims is a 10-year-old village with 55 structures including a packaging plant.
Note the 800+ Facebook recommendations to Hass’ article. This is classic red meat for the “pacifists” who demonstrate “We are Hamas.”
UPDATE: For another example of hit-and-run journalism, read this analysis of a Huffington Post article and its comments.