60 Minutes, and the response

So I watched the 60 Minutes report on the West Bank settlers. For the mainstream media, it’s actually pretty good. There are lots of problems, and the reporter is obviously very new to the subject. For example, he claims that the UN regards the West Bank as disputed territory. No, Mr Bartlett, the UN reaffirms every year that it is occupied Palestinian territory. The international court of justice ruled that it is occupied Palestinian territory. The preamble of UN SCR 242 begins by stressing the inadmissibility of gaining land through conquest. Israel has about as much right to the West Bank as Iraq had to Kuwait.

However, he does some good things. He speaks to Mustafa Barghouti, he goes on a non-violent protest where he shows Israeli soldiers firing tear gas at protestors (though he doesn’t explicitly say “look how non-violent protests are being treated”), he interviews some settlers who are crazy (though mild by settler standards. I have no idea why he regards it as hard to find a settler willing to defend pogroms and confiscations and so on. That’s not to say that the settlers are representative of the government – I think they’re simply the useful tools of the Israeli government and ruling elites which use these fanatics for their own ends, but no one should deny that the religious extremists in the West Bank are almost unbelievably racist and routinely attack Arabs etc.)

Anyway, consider the response of the Zionist Federation of Australia. Typically, they cite MEMRI and PMW, which are Israeli propaganda outfits (and irrelevant to the program, but why not take the opportunity to cite Hamas’s charter?)

It becomes more comical. Compare ZFA and ECAJ responses. ZFA says:

Indeed, if one only considers the report itself, the perpetrator of the shooting was charged and prosecuted under Israeli law. Despite Bartlett’s claims, there is no evidence to suggest that Zev Broude was proud of his action, or that it was unprovoked.  To the contrary the video vision suggests that blows were being struck or stones thrown at the time of the shooting.   Bartlett does not investigate or report on the reasons that the prosecution did not result in a conviction.

This was where the settler shot at several Palestinians. Firstly, the video shows he shot several unarmed Palestinians. ZFA brags that he was tried under Israeli law.  You can read what ECAJ says at Sensible Jew. ECAJ brags that Braude was acquitted by the Israeli courts. Yes, exactly, despite the video footage, because in Israel and the occupied territories, Israelis can shoot Palestinians on camera and still walk free.

But this is the highlight of the ZFA:

The snippet with Barghouti sees Bartlett claim that there are “hundreds” of checkpoints. Again, a blatant fallacy. Over the past two years, and increasingly in the past few months, two thirds of the forty-one permanent checkpoints have been removed and there are currently only fourteen in operation.

Yes. Danny Lamm thinks that there are 14 checkpoints in the West Bank. Oh. My. God.

Just one more thing.

“The report centres on an incident which took place near the town of Hebron, and Hosni Matrie made comments, unchallenged by Bartlett, that the Jewish settlement in the area began in 1973. Even cursory checking of facts would have revealed to Bartlett that there has been a Jewish settlement in Hebron for centuries. Indeed, in 1929 there was an Arab massacre of the Jewish population of Hebron, in which 67 of the 700 members of the Hebron Jewish community were killed.”

Apparently, no one informed Lamm what happened to the Jewish community after the massacre of 1929.

Robert Goot of ECAJ complains that Bartlett didn’t give Braude – the Israeli trigger happy settler – a chance to present his side of the shooting. Well, he did, but perhaps in future we can also let rapists tell their side of the story too. He even begins his longer letter by saying there “was not a single example” of someone from one side expressing hatred for the other. The famous video of the settler calling out “whore” over and over again apparently isn’t considered hateful by Goot.

He also claims Israel hasn’t built any new settlements since 1996. Yes, Mr Goot, okay. He also claims there are 18 checkpoints in the West Bank. He goes on to brag that life in the West Bank is better than that in Gaza. The mind boggles.

Oh, and Mustafa Barghouti says he would be imprisoned for 6 months if he drove on a settler apartheid road, and ECAJ replies: the reporter hasn’t proven this. Why would anyone trust an Arab?

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