As Israel’s Operation Cast Lead enters its sixth day, so the critical battle for public opinion in the media is intensifying. HonestReporting and HR UK will be combining to bring you regular Special Alerts on the best and worst in the media and how to get involved in the online battle. Here are a small selection of action items that you can contribute to during this crisis situation. Please get involved!
URGENT – RESPOND TO BBC’S HAMAS PHONE-IN
The BBC World Service’s “World Have Your Say” will be hosting a Hamas representative live on air answering calls, e-mails and texts from listeners. Please do not allow Hamas propaganda to go unanswered. The program will be broadcast today (Thursday) at 18.00 GMT (13.00 EST) for an hour.
To participate, dial 020 7083 7272 from within the UK or 44 20 7083 7272 from outside the UK.
Use HonestReporting’s Primer to help you confront Hamas with its breaking of the ceasefire, long-range missile attacks on Israeli civilians, using its own civilian population as human shields, and its extremist jihadist ideology.
Also use Jeff Robbins’ commentary in the Boston Globe taking Hamas to task for bringing suffering upon its own people as well as Israel’s:
In direct contravention of international law, Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, utilizing homes, schools and community centers as launching pads, content in the knowledge that if innocent Palestinian civilians are caught in the cross-fire, it will be Israel that is criticized. This amounts to a sort of Daily Double of human rights violations: the use of innocent Palestinians as human shields for the infliction of violence upon innocent Israelis.
In an op-ed in Tuesday’s Washington Post, Palestinian commentator Daoud Kuttab writes:
In its efforts to stop amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities, Israel appears to have given new life to the fledging Islamic movement in Palestine.
Far from being “amateur,” Hamas has demonstrated its ability to strike as far as 40km inside Israeli territory bringing over 800,000 Israelis within missile range, including the cities of Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon. As for “nagging the residents,” Hamas missiles have made life unbearable for Israeli communities for 8 years and they kill. (Click here for video footage following a deadly attack on Ashkelon.)
In a particularly crude op-ed in The Independent, Mark Steel claims:
The gap between the might of Israel’s F-16 bombers and Apache helicopters, and the Palestinians’ catapulty thing is so ridiculous that to try and portray the situation as between two equal sides requires the imagination of a children’s story writer.
As the JPost explains, the Grad-model Katyusha rockets that were fired into Beersheba on Wednesday were manufactured in China and smuggled into Gaza after the Sinai border wall was blown up by Hamas in January, defense officials said.
The Chinese rockets have a range of 40 kilometers. They are very similar to the 122 mm Soviet-made Katyusha that was used extensively by Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War and are slightly more sophisticated than an Iranian-made Grad-model Katyusha that is also in Hamas’s arsenal.
The four rockets that hit Beersheba this week were filled with metal balls that can scatter up to 100 meters from the impact site, officials said. These rockets have also been fired into Ashkelon and Ashdod.
Please write to The Washington Post – firstname.lastname@example.org and The Independent – email@example.com and respond to any other media that downplays the impact of Hamas missiles on Israeli civilians.
The damage was, as usual, heavy and disproportionate. Hundreds of Palestinians dead and wounded under the bombs, while the feeble rockets fired back at Israel caused minor damage. With Israel it is often 10 teeth for one chipped tooth.
Please use this resource and contribute to the online debate, both at The Huffington Post, Boston Globe – firstname.lastname@example.org – and elsewhere:
- Did Israel Use “Disproportionate Force” in Gaza?, Dore Gold, JCPA
HELP US WIN
HonestReporting is working with many other organizations during this crisis period, including StandWithUs and the IDC Herzliya who have formed an Internet Task Force. As well as providing rapid responses and using technology to fight the internet war of public opinion, they need the help of all volunteers at this critical time.
HR TV FOR VIDEO NEWS
In association with JerusalemOnline, we have launched HR TV, providing you with Israel’s highly respected Channel 2 News translated into English. Go to our homepage or click on the image below for a daily news roundup from Israel to see the real story from Israeli towns and cities under fire as well as developments surrounding the IDF’s actions in Gaza.
- SUBSCRIBE TO THE IDF’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
The IDF has launched its own YouTube channel showing video footage of the Israel Air Force’s pinpoint operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Please help elevate footage of, for example, the neutralization of Hamas weapons stored in a mosque, precision strikes against Grad launchers, as well as Israel’s efforts to send humanitarian aid to Gaza and admitting a Palestinian child to cross into Israel for medical treatment.
- FIGHT BACK ON FACEBOOK
In addition to HonestReporting’s very own Facebook group, please also join the group “I Support the Israel Defense Forces in Preventing Terror Attacks From Gaza,” which is also providing regularly updated resources to promote online.
- FOLLOW BACKSPIN ON TWITTER
Follow HonestReporting’s Backspin blog on Twitter.
- SIGN AND FORWARD OUR PETITION!
View our Breaking Point presentation and sign our petition calling on the media to provide balanced, objective coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict and not rely on information from Hamas as a source of news. Please forward our video and petition to your friends and family. One person alone may not impact this struggle, but thousands united can! Click on the image below to view.
We are only able to touch on a fraction of the media coverage during this time. We’ll be back next week with regular Special Alerts focusing on specific media for as long as this crisis situation continues.