An important new documentary film, Jenin: Massacring Truth, debuted on Canada’s Global TV last night. The film addresses the grossly irresponsible world media coverage of the IDF’s 2002 Jenin incursion, which left an indelible stain on world opinion of Israel.
The film includes this revealing exchange between filmmaker Martin Himel and Dr. Tim Benson, founder of the British editorial cartoonists’ society that honored the Sharon-eating-babies cartoon with its 2003 ‘Cartoon of the Year’:
Himel: My question to you is, why, in all these [images] don’t we see Sharon and Arafat eating babies? Benson: Maybe because Jews don’t issue fatwas.
Himel: What do you mean by that? Benson: Well, if you upset an Islamic or Muslim group, as you know, fatwas can be issued by Ayatollahs and such, and maybe it’s at the back of each cartoonist’s mind, that they could be in trouble if they do so. Himel: If they do what?
Benson: If they depict, uh, say, an Arab leader in the same manner. Himel: Then they could suffer?
Benson: Then they could suffer death, couldn’t they?
Benson’s statement is an open admission that Arab/Palestinian intimidation produces an anti-Israel bias among western journalists.
When HonestReporting confronted Dr. Benson about his organization’s award last year, Benson wrote us:
You have all taken this award completely out of perspective and context. Shame on you! We do so much good. If only you looked at our website properly you would have noticed that in fact we promote anti-fascism and educate about the dangers of extremism.
Dr. Benson, in this film, educates everyone on one of the dangers of Muslim extremism ? the intimidation of his journalist colleagues, cowed into a false portrayal of the Mideast conflict. We now also understand the proper ‘perspective and context’ of the Sharon cartoon ? a threatening environment to journalists who dare portray Arab leaders in a negative light.
HonestReporting has long maintained that Palestinian intimidation of the press is a key contributing factor to biased coverage of the Mideast conflict ? see our special report on this topic. Perhaps such intimidation contributed to this event, two years ago in Ramallah, related this week by Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh:
With a crowd of international reporters standing around, two Palestinian policemen brought a man out, threw him up against a wall and shot him ? right under the window of Arafat’s office. When the reporters converged, the policeman seemed bewildered. It was just a simple execution, nothing to get excited about, he said. And no one did. In fact, according to Abu Toameh, no one else even mentioned it.
HonestReporting encourages subscribers to contact your local cable companies to arrange broadcasting Jenin: Massacring Truth in your area. The film is available through CanWest.
[Here's a good article on Jenin: Massacring Truth from the Calgary Herald.]
NEW VERSION OF RELENTLESS
Speaking of essential documentaries, HonestReporting has released a new version of our documentary film Relentless: The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East. This updated version includes added footage of current Mideast developments, and interviews with:
Natan Sharansky, Israel Minister of Diaspora Affairs
Yariv Oppenheim, Secretary General, Peace Now
Mr. S. El-Herfi, Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa
Tashbih Sayyed, Editor in Chief, Pakistan Today
Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.