UPDATE Wed. Sept 8: Tuvia Grossman and HonestReporting's Simon Plosker discussed fauxtography and HR's founding with the Jerusalem Post.
In the interview, Tuvia referred to an Egyptian web site that misrepresented his image, depicting him as a Palestinian. That web site, www.islam.net, removed the poster, but not before we got a screen grab. It illustrates (literally and figuratively) Tuvia's main point:
“Even though the Times printed a correction, cousins of mine witnessing a pro-Palestinian rally in Sao Paulo, Brazil noticed demonstrators holding up posters of me to demonstrate Israeli brutality,” he quips. “There are always going to be people who saw original and but did not see correction.”
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It's now known that the Second Intifada began when the Camp David talks broke down.
But my reference point for bloody wave of terror's kick off was the savage beating of Tuvia Grossman by a Palestinian mob outside Damascus Gate. He was saved by a group of soldiers. AP dramatically immortalized the moment by describing the bloodied student as a Palestinian beaten by the soldier on the Temple Mount.
The incident happened on the eve of Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year. A day later, images of another boy — Mohammed al-Dura — were beamed into televisions around the world. All hell broke loose as suicide bombers, gunmen and rocket squads targeted Israelis for years. On the Jewish calendar, the anniversary is now.
The foreign press corps, which works according to the English calendar, will presumably note the important 10th anniversaries closer to the end of September. Anniversaries provide journalists with opportunities to look back on events; when the period of time is only a decade old, the incidents are recent enough to be relevant to news readers, but far enough back in time that reporters can look at events in a larger context.
This is when events begin moving from "history's first draft" mode to "history." So journalists plan out their coverage well ahead of time.
I presume that towards the end of September, we'll begin seeing some lookbacks that may touch on issues like the failed summit, Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, Mohammed Dura, the Ramallah lynch, Operation Defensive Shield, "Jeningrad," the Church of the Nativity exiles, Sderot under rocket fire, the most memorable suicide bombings, and more.
We may see commentary and analysis assessing Israeli security measures, Palestinian leadership, and the international response to the conflict and other issues. Perhaps unexpected new revelations will surface too. That sometimes happens on these anniversaries.
- I hope anniversary coverage includes appropriate followup on overlooked Israeli victims who survived Palestinian terror attacks, went through rehab and moved on with their lives.
- I hope anniversary narratives don't become a political issue between Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators.
- I especially hope that Sept. 30 (Dura's anniversary on the English calendar) doesn't devolve into ugly day of rage — on the streets or in the press.
I won't speculate on how Fatah and Hamas might mark their red letter dates. Don't expect any Israeli commemorations or P.R. initiatives. Israelis still view the Second Intifada as a wound not worth reopening.
Will we find that history's first draft of intifada is still too contentious? Or will we find hard national narratives starting to soften? And how will all this reflect on the media watchdogging and web activism of HonestReporting, bloggers and Israel's other supporters?
Just some thoughts as we enter a new year.
Shana tova to all our readers. I'll resume blogging on Sunday.