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Great Fake Journalism

Don’t get Muffti wrong, he is sure that the Gaza residents are suffering and sympathizes massively. But given all that suffering, do they really have to do this? Source: Jpost.

On at least two occasions this week, Hamas staged scenes of darkness as part of its campaign to end the political and economic sanctions against the Gaza Strip, Palestinian journalists said Wednesday.

In the first case, journalists who were invited to cover the Hamas government meeting were surprised to see Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his ministers sitting around a table with burning candles.

In the second case on Tuesday, journalists noticed that Hamas legislators who were meeting in Gaza City also sat in front of burning candles.

But some of the journalists noticed that there was actually no need for the candles because both meetings were being held in daylight.

“They had closed the curtains in the rooms to create the impression that Hamas leaders were also suffering as a result of the power stoppage,” one journalist told The Jerusalem Post. “It was obvious that the whole thing was staged.”

Another journalist said he and his colleagues were told to wait for a few minutes before entering the chamber of the Palestinian Legislative Council so that each legislator would have time to light his candle. He said that when he saw that the curtains had been closed to prevent the light from entering, he realized that Hamas was trying to manipulate the media for political gain.

17 Comments

  1. Gila

    1/23/2008 at 11:57 pm

    Of course, in the end, the whole world will see the pictures of the politicians meeting in candlelight, and no one will know that they were staged.

    Sad. Frustrating.

    Gila

  2. Rabbi Shimmi

    1/24/2008 at 1:15 am

    The forces of darkness and evil.

    Our “partners in Peace”

  3. Ben-David

    1/24/2008 at 1:40 am

    I believe the phrase is “fake but accurate”

    This is what comes of all the talk about the different “narratives” – respsect for objective reality is lost. Even by people paid to report that reality.

  4. altagrace

    1/24/2008 at 11:00 am

    Is there really no other solution to the rocket fire coming from Gaza?? There has got to be another way. Israel won the physical war but the Palestinians are winning the propaganda war.

  5. Tom Morrissey

    1/24/2008 at 11:35 am

    The BBC carried a similar report, so I don’t think this latest meisterwerk of Hamas propaganda went unnoticed in the West.

  6. froylein

    1/24/2008 at 12:02 pm

    The Orient’s got a different narrative tradition; a story counts as true if it validates your point – regardless of whether it presents facts or not (a thing Westerners often forget when they read books that stem from an oriental narrative tradition). Still, Western journalists should not fall for that, and still, they too often have fallen for it. (E.g. many of the women crying at Muslim funerals get paid for it; the more impressively one mourns, the more money one earns.)

    Now, I think we should run our own headline contest for that news story. I suggest: “Candlelight dinners in Gaza. Hamas prepping for Valentine’s Day”

  7. Ephraim

    1/24/2008 at 12:03 pm

    Actually, the fact that even the BBC acknowledges that the “humanitarian crisis in Gaza” is phony baloney means that the propaganda war is not completely lost.

    Wonder how Egypt is going to deal with the expansion of Hasmasistan into northern Sinai. Should be interesting.

  8. Jewish Mother

    1/24/2008 at 1:18 pm

    Froylein, you are the first person to say that reality, and thinking about “what makes sense and can be believed”, are perceived differently in the West and the East. Please enlarge on this.

    Western notions of “accuracy” are the product of three centuries of industrial revolution, which was an entirely Western experience. Concepts that didn’t work, or weren’t right, or weren’t true, didn’t make money, and were therefore disdained as false, for three hundred weary years. Bankruptcy doesn’t matter in a tribal context.

  9. jflins

    1/24/2008 at 1:29 pm

    I don’t know how you can believe that a group which murders indiscriminately would stoop to staging a candlelight condition.

  10. altagrace

    1/24/2008 at 3:13 pm

    I think that this article suggests a great idea.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/947858.html

    I think that they should let the Egyptians take responsibility for the Gaza Strip.

  11. froylein

    1/25/2008 at 11:47 am

    JM, certainly, when you read Oriental stories (legends, fairy tales, historical reports e.g. those on the Crusades), you’ll see that they commonly are very full of “decor”. Often those fairytales and legends state the moral in the end, often in the words of a listener who’s been told the story and has drawn his conclusions from it. A couple of years ago, I asked an exgesis professor of mine about it, who also is an expert on Islam and critical life of Mohamed research, and he verified that Oriental narrative tradition did not view a made-up story proving an intention as dishonesty but as a rhetoric means to bring one’s point across. He also made it a point that the biblical scriptures also stem from those narrative traditions, and that our Western, post-Enlightment, post-phenomenal, Stoa- and Aristotle-influenced minds try to read them either as factbooks or defy them altogether, neither of which approach doing the biblical scriptures justice. To whoever authored the biblical scriptures, it for instance was not important how many days the flood had taken or if it had taken place at all – the two different stories merged in a zipper-procedure clearly show that contradictions were taken into account; important was the message that was to be conveyed. In the Western world, we still use such narrative techniques when we tell children made-up stories to explain or convince them of something, but towards adults, we’d consider anything made-up or staged dishonest. The Orient does not feel this way. You’ll also find such dialectics in medieval sources, African legends etc.; the Middle Ages definitely were the Dark Ages modern-critically speaking, but they give us a good idea of what non-post-Enlightment societies feel and think like. BTW, the realm of medieval thought is more foreign to us than that of Ancient Rome.

  12. Jewish Mother

    1/25/2008 at 1:51 pm

    Great. Thanks!

    Is it also possible that there are no hard, fast rules of conduct in it? It only SEEMS as if there are. “Whatever works should be done”, basically. “Whatever leadership says to do, do”. There are no abstract principles, concepts that govern with authority, that must never be violated. Would this perhaps flow out of what you said, so very learnedly?

  13. froylein

    1/25/2008 at 3:40 pm

    Indeed, JM, this way of justifying one’s motions easily makes for arbitrariness. Oddly enough, there was a period of flourishing university-like institutions in Muslim countries during the Middle Ages (medical studies, languages, philosophy etc. were taught there; those institutions were usually even open to foreign students and students of other religions), but those institutions were forcefully shut down when religious extremists became rulers, whose legacy to this day enforces limited access to education in many religious Muslim countries, particularly banning girls from education.

  14. Ben-David

    1/27/2008 at 2:12 pm

    JM – Western notions of objective truth didn’t stem from industry – they stemmed from the scientific method, which traces back to Greek/Roman epistemiology.

    Those ancient texts were preserved during the (European) Dark Ages by the Muslim world – which made advances in chemistry and mathematics during the time these ideas held sway in their culture.

    So Christendom has not always been a place of objective, rational inquiry – and dar-es-Salaam has not always been a place of irrationality and myth.

    Here in Israel, we still see the use of “fake but accurate” storytelling among Jews from Arab lands – doctors and therapists are trained to parse stories about “a friend of mine” as reflecting on the patient, especially if there is shame or other taboo about the situation. A common human dodge, but more common in the Middle East. Something similar happens during business negotiations – until you catch on, you’re like “what the $%#$* does this tangent have to do with the issue at hand?”

    Froylein – I’ve got no problem with multivalent midrashic/mythological/historical understandings of the Torah, and love catching people up by reminding them that Judaism isn’t really a Western religion, but an Eastern one that traveled West. But… the claims of the Biblical critics have been so totally levelled by subsequent scholarship and archeology – and though it’s sweet to see the old theories gussied up in the new lingo of “narratives”, it doesn’t quite cut it for me.

    The old condescension towards the authors remains, alas – it’s a conceit of many “liberal” Jews to take pride in Jewish brains, while theorizing that our ancestors were ignorant primitives.

  15. froylein

    1/27/2008 at 2:44 pm

    BD, I wouldn’t call them primitives; considering the knowledge they had at hand, those narratives are ingenious; besides, as I – and many outstanding scholars I know (all of which are stout believers) – see it, those theories back belief rather than defy it as otherwise we’d inevitably turn to scrutinizing over those stories and by applying scientific standards, not only turning the messages those stories convey to a level of secondary importance but ultimately declaring beliefs of old null and void. Those that tried for a long time to either rationalize or romanticize biblical stories to fit, or whatnot, a post-Enlightment Western standard of thinking were ignorant of what those stories actually are and what cultural sphere they stem from (and created fanatism as a by-product). That ignorance was likely not a mean-spirited one, but rather evolved out of what was considered “right”. I’ve got the highest respect for the biblical authors as well as their works, mind you, but based on my experience, I don’t think respect needs to clash with tradition / faith when the same kind of respect can be shown to those that use their “god-given” brains and exercise them in fields such as archaeology or literary analysis. Also, only two of my (Chasidishe) rabbinical friends are away of the editorial history of the Pentateuch; neither of both’s got a problem with critical research, but: one’s a rosh yeshive and he wouldn’t go as far as to teach his bochurim about it. And those often do feel they’ve been fooled once they get to face the outside world. Ultimately, the power, or whatnot, to maintain faith and credibility at the same time lies with those that teach future generations. I don’t know what things are like in your community in Israel (you are in Israel, aren’t you?), but trying to preserve faith by trying to safeguard believers against the outside world has clearly proven to be inefficient and unsatisfactory in the US (and has often enough backfired as well).

  16. Ben-David

    1/28/2008 at 7:41 am

    Froylein – I am referring to a very specific aspect of Biblical Criticism: unlike most relatively impartial research, its proponents set out to discredit the historical accuracy of the Bible, and by extension to undercut its authority. This was part of a general Enlightenment effort to box off and ennervate Faith, and wrap Science in its mantle.

    A century of archeological finds have overwhelmingly confirmed Biblical accounts, and traditional scholarship has always had more convincing answers for the various literary artifacts cited by the Biblical Critics – yet it is still taught (sometimes unquestioningly) on many college campuses as the state of the art, by a professorate that is heavily invested in uprooting and disparaging the Judeo-Christian roots of Western culture. The most egregious examples of this are the “modern historians” here in Israel, whose politics drives them to deny the existnce of the ancient kingdoms of Israel, even as their colleauges unearth spectacular finds in David’s Judea.

    So: I also have no problem with application of modern scholarly methods to the Bible – but that’s not what Biblical Criticism was, or is, in most of the venues in which it is taught.

  17. froylein

    1/28/2008 at 8:41 am

    BD, part of my studies was just that, critical exegesis and history of religious. While I can well picture the kind of tutors you describe, I have never encountered of them in person; those trying to prove anything biblical invalid, no matter how trivial, are just as little enlighted as cavemen worshipping graffiti on their cave walls – research requires the readiness for the possibility of being proven wrong.

  18. Ben-David

    1/29/2008 at 2:05 am

    I am connected to the world of collegiate/adult Jewish education here in Israel – lots of programs in Jerusalem.

    The typical student in many programs is an assimilated Jewish-American college kid who has been stuffed with old-fashioned Biblical Criticism, old-style Reform rejection of ritual, and PC being-Jewish-means-being-a-leftist ideology.

    So although you may not have encountered it, such indoctrination is still going on in the remaining bastions of left-wing thought – and as I said, these folks are willfully ignoring almost a century’s worth of subsequent research.

    (which is typical of the general tendencies of modern lefties to spin away from inconvenient realities like the failure of socialism…)

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