[UPDATE: See the HR communique on this topic]
The new documentary film Jenin: Massacring Truth debuted on Canada’s Global last night. The film addresses the international media’s false, irresponsible reporting on the IDF incursion to Jenin in April, 2002.
Damian Penny saw the film and transcribes this exchange between Martin Himel and Dr. Tim Benson, head of the British editorial cartoonists’ society which honoured the Independent’s Sharon-eating-babies cartoon:
Himel: My question to you is, why, in all these paintings [sic] don’t we see Sharon and Arafat eating babies?
Benson: Maybe Jews don’t issue fatwas.
Himel: What do you mean by that?
Benson: Well, if you upset an Islamic or Muslim group, um, as you know, fatwas can be issued by Ayatollahs and such, like, 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? Which is rather different.
Benson is grinning throughout this section of the interview.
Other “highlights” from the documentary: a smug Human Rights Watch spokeswoman saying Palestinian suicide bombings don’t really count as war crimes, because they’re carried out by “independent militias” instead of state armies. And while some British journalists who wrote about Israeli “atrocities” own up to their errors, Janine di Giovanni of The Times is unrepentant about her comparisons to Chechnya and Kosovo, says the Israelis are “never” condemned or vilified, complains about the “strong Zionist lobby” which influences the American media – and, yes, when things get heated she asks Martin Himel, “Are you Israeli? Are you Jewish?”
The Benson quote is a fine example of how Arab intimidation of the press plays out through anti-Israel bias. (Benson left some comments here on BackSpin after his organization’s infamous award was granted.)
Here’s a good article on the film from the Calgary Herald.