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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Double standards the American & "Israeli" way

I am frustrated. I was in the midst of producing a huge entry, and my browser suddenly decides to crash. Remind me to copy my entry to a word processor next time. Or save a draft every once in a while. So this entry might not be as eloquent as the first one. I am still not over the shock. And here I was thinking that Macs were bad. Oh maaan. :-( Anyway, moving on...

The Daily Star, not that I consider it to be any more credible than CNN, has an interesting poll on its website this week.

The Daily Star poll

Now you will ask me, did you vote "yes"? No, I did not. I voted "no" (and a big no that was!), but I will talk about that later on in this entry. For now, I would like to point out a few undeniable facts. The first is that The Daily Star is, well, so obviously pro-opposition (and even more obviously pro-"Israel"). In the weeks following ex-PM Hariri's assassination, The Daily Star has produced one article after another (some of them by none other than a Michael Young, the opinions editor of The Daily Star - no, the irony is not lost on me) in support of the opposition. Photo galleries of opposition rallies have been launched, while no such galleries of the anti-1559 rallies were supplied to the newspaper's readership. Surprised? I hardly am. After all, The Daily Star is not only located in the right-wing Maronite sector of Beirut (Achrafieh), it has also "signed an exclusive marketing representation, printing and distribution agreement with the International Herald Tribune in year 2000. Under the terms of the agreement, the Daily Star represents the IHT in all the GCC, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen and Iraq. The Daily Star will also produce local editions wherever possible."

Now you will say, "what of that?" Indeed, what of it? Well, let's get our hands dirty, shall we? Let us first look at the International Herald Tribune, one of the most notorious pro-"Israel" papers out there and the leading spokesperson of Zionism. You see, I do not say this out of blind bias. In fact, it seems to me that the IHT is the one practising blind bias and bigotry. Back in September 2003, an article appeared in the IHT, titled "Crossing the line from criticism to bigotry". The authors were Barry Kosmin, executive director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, and Paul Iganski. They accused The Observer of being "a serial offender when it comes to bigotry against Jews". The Observer then published a piece by the ever eloquent Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the Comment section. Wheatcroft argues that "[i]f criticism of Israel, however brutal or unfair, is construed as anti-Semitism, then this must represent a grave failure for Zionism. No one cries 'racist' at the fiercest critics of Ireland or Pakistan. Why is Israel different?"

Good question. Why is "Israel" different? That it is different is undeniable. After all, which country makes no secret of finding nothing wrong in the fact that it was founded on the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population? Let us not forget what David Green (Ben-Gurion) said in 1936:
The destruction of Jaffa, the city and the port, will happen and it will be for the best. This city, which grew fat on Jewish immigration and settlement, is asking for destruction when it swings a hatchet over the heads of its builders and benefactors. When Jaffa falls into hell I will not be among the mourners."

One Palestine Complete, Tom Segev, p. 383
And in 1938 he said:
With compulsory transfer we [would] have vast areas .... I support compulsory [population] transfer. I do not see anything immoral in it. But compulsory transfer could only be carried out by England .... Had its implementation been dependent merely on our proposal I would have proposed; but this would be dangerous to propose when the British government has disassociated itself from compulsory transfer. .... But this question should not be removed from the agenda because it is central question. There are two issues here : 1) sovereignty and 2) the removal of a certain number of Arabs, and we must insist on both of them.

Expulsion of the Palestinians, Nur Masalha, p. 117
Thanks to Palestine Remembered for the awesome collection of Zionist quotes.

Now back to the The Daily Star and its so-called duty of "journalistic" coverage of the news, I must cite a news report dating back to April 12, 2002, on Jamil Mroue (can also be spelt as Mrowe or Mroueh) the son of Kamel Mroue, the first publisher of The Daily Star, and his pro-"Israel" bias:

The owner of a Lebanese newspaper may face 15 years jail for allowing a pro-Israeli advertisement to be published. See also this earlier report from Wednesday.

Jamil Mroueh owns the English-language Daily Star, which since September has been distributed together with editions of the International Herald Tribune (IHT) printed in Lebanon, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

[...]

Mroueh was accused of allowing the “publication of a notice which supports Israel in its war against the Palestinians, weakens national sentiment and raised dissension of a racist nature,” the judicial sources said.

They said Lebanese law lays down jail terms of between three and 15 years for such offences.

The quarter-page advertisement was placed by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League under the headline, “Israel we are with you … now more than ever.”

What does this mean? Well, for starters, this means that the results of the poll could be a reflection of the newspaper owner's background (i.e. rigged poll). That is not to deny that the demographics of readership has nothing to do with it. It could just as well be (and highly probable that this indeed is the case) that the results reflect a support for branding Hezballah a terrorist organisation based on the fact that most of the readers are from the Lebanese diaspora (mainly consisting of right-wing Maronites) and to a lesser extent "Israelis". The Daily Star has a larger readership among those groups than among the wider Arab population, whose views on Hezballah and other issues are reflected quite clearly on the Al Jazeera website.

As for why I voted "No", the most obvious answer is: I support Hezballah! I voted "no" because those who would like me to vote "yes" are hypocrites. They claim that Hezballah was behind the bombing of U.S Marine barracks in Lebanon? Sure, what about it? Were they not a military target, and a non-neutral one at that? What about the daily U.S and "Israeli" war crimes in Iraq and Palestine respectively? Then they talk about the hijacking of TWA Flight 847. What about it? And in fact, what about Iran Air Flight 655? Did the 290 passengers (including 66 children) of Iran Air have any choice? Did they even have the chance to be released, like most of the hostages of TWA Flight 847 were? And what about the compensation? Let's see, shall we? The U.S. paid $2.9 million compensation ($100,000 per person) to the families involved. Compare that to the $100 million lawsuit filed by (with the help of the U.S government) an American hostage of Hezballah, namely Terry Anderson, against Iran. Make the necessary calculations and you will find out how many Iranian lives LOST are equivalent to one American life NOT LOST.

If you're interested in Iran Air Flight 655, you can read more about it here, and also the public statements about it here. And here's the interview in which Admiral William Crowe admits that USS Vincennes was inside Iranian territorial waters when Flight 655 was shot down.

Edit 1: I just tried voting in that poll from another IP, and apparently my vote was not registered. This supports my argument that the poll seems to be rigged. The results currently stand at: 172 votes "yes" (58%), 124 votes "no" (42%). It seems to me rather illogical that there was such a huge change in such a short time. The Daily Star does not have a huge readership compared to such papers as Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post...

Edit 2: Well folks, it looks like the duration of the poll was extended for another day. Perhaps the folks over at The Daily Star offices were impressed with the "huge" showing against Hezballah and decided it would be more impressive if they widened the gap between the two voting factions....?

The results at 10:20 pm ET (GMT - 5):

Updated results

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