“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Imagine If….

with 13 comments

This piece, unintentionally, highlights the dual standards which exist in the West, when it comes to the welfare of Israelis:

“Imagine if the UN announced tomorrow that it was suspending all UNWRA activities and funding in the Gaza Strip until Gilad Shalit was released. Imagine if the EU refused to allow imports of strawberries and flowers from Gaza until the Red Cross was granted regular access to Gilad in accordance with his rights under international law. Imagine if Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or B’Tselem did more than release the occasional tepid statement. Imagine if the BBC and the Guardian actually reported this story with the same zeal and intensity as they invested in the kidnapping of Alan Johnston.”

13 Responses

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  1. Clap Hammer

    08/07/2010 at 17:11

  2. This piece, unintentionally,
    Strangest use of the word “unintentionally” I’ve seen for a while.

    Imagine if…the UN were to announce tomorrow it was going to enforce its resolutions on Palestine with the same rigour it did with Iraq. Imagine if UNRWA didn’t need to be active in Palestinian refugee camps because the victims of Zionist aggression had never been expelled from their homeland in the first place. Imagine if the Gaza economy was able to function normally without the Israeli collective punishment of an entire people. Imagine if there was a blockade on Israel preventing the import of the billions of dollars of weaponry with which they terrorise the Palestinians.
    Probably have trouble expanding your mind that far,eh? And Gilad Shalit has been all over the news in the last couple of days, unlike say the Hamas parliamentarians kidnapped by Israel. There is a double standard in the media, only it works the opposite way from the way you claim it does.


    09/07/2010 at 16:46

  3. Oh, Cook there’s a fine biased source if ever there was, still better than the SWP’s old fav. Gilad Atzmon eh?


    10/07/2010 at 02:47

  4. How about if Hamas agreed to release Shalit in the same way that Israel releases its prisoners? Instead of going back to Israel, they could send them to Tunisia, or perhaps Russia or Latin America? Of course, it’s not reported that Israel’s generous offer to release prisoners in exchange for Shalit is actually an offer to release them into exile. But that’s because of the double standard in reporting on these issues. I quite agree with you skidmarx.


    11/07/2010 at 09:03

  5. “I quite agree with you skidmarx.”

    I imagine you would, showing empathy with the plight of Gilad Shalit seems beyond the capacity of many Westerners.


    11/07/2010 at 12:03

  6. On a human level, it’s obviously heart-breaking for him and his family.

    On a political level, if we ask about whether the media fairly reports this incident, and whether human rights groups highlight it…it probably gets more attention than it should. In terms of airtime per individual, I would have thought that DR Congo or Burundi should get way more attention that Shalit. But I don’t think that’s the case.

    Your comment, incidentally, was somewhat harsh. I can take it, but if you want people to comment on your blog, perhaps you should be a bit more welcoming?


    11/07/2010 at 12:24

  7. “it probably gets more attention than it should. “

    It certainly doesn’t (or more accurately **didn’t**) get reported in the Western media sufficiently.

    To verify that you would only need to have a sense of history and look back at the rather limited coverage since Gilad Shalit’s kidnap.

    Compared to the feeding frenzy which went on over Alan Johnston and you’ll see the difference,

    But, of course, Johnston was a Brit and Gilad Shalit is an Israeli.



    11/07/2010 at 12:43

  8. Well, it probably has more to do with the fact that he worked for the BBC: British and journalist. Of course other journalists will sympathise with him more and of course the British press will focus on it. I think you are mistaken in attributing it to his nationality.

    And in any case, we’re talking about one person who has had ample coverage in the international media. Where is your (or the media’s) concern for all those still being held by FARC, for example? Or the millions who died in Congo? Or ethnic-based violence in Mexico? Those are the real scandals.


    11/07/2010 at 12:52

  9. For once I agree with you, there should be more coverage of FARC’s atrocities (and indeed the Colombian government’s).

    I have always found that the excessive concentration in the West with one country in the Middle East, Israel, whilst tens of thousands are murdered in Sudan and there is bloody murder in the Congo, to be peculiar and rather colonial in outlook.

    There are some 300+ conflicts in the world, yet if you read the quality British newspapers you would not necessarily gain that impression.

    There is a peculiar slant and unhealthy preoccupation in the British press with Israel, whist letting off other countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Syria are but two examples, there’s a score and more

    Why precisely that occurs I am not sure, but the evidence is there to say that it does happen.

    Still that is all well and good, but not terribly pertinent to the issue of Gilad Shalit, his exceedingly poor treatment by Hamas.

    Not that I expect to hear much of that from the British media, or Brits.


    11/07/2010 at 13:07

  10. Ok, so weighing up all the different (330+ as you say) armed conflicts, deaths, kidnappings, and balancing it against the constraint of space in a newspaper, limited correspondents, etc. (let’s stick with the case of a single newspaper for the time being), what exactly would be the appropriate level of coverage of Gilad Shalit? How many articles, words, etc. would be the right amount? Per week, month, year, whatever format you prefer.


    11/07/2010 at 16:03

  11. Philip, please, can you forget the pedantry? Can you see a bigger picture here?


    11/07/2010 at 16:07

  12. How about here, here, here and here?


    12/07/2010 at 16:29

  13. It’s not really pedantry. You made a disputable point (ie, that ‘Westerners’ don’t have sympathy for Israelis) based on a sample size of one. I question whether your one piece of data is accurate after all. If your only method of defence is to accuse me of pedantry…you might want to start re-thinking your approach to the pursuit of knowledge.


    12/07/2010 at 20:57

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