"V" for Victory


On Sunday, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah announced a tactical cease-fire, or hudna. The media have by and large heralded this announcement as “a breakthrough” toward peace, accepting the PA Information Minister’s declaration that it marks “the beginning of a new era.”

Is your local media reporting, however, that the hudna demands “the release of all prisoners and detainees, Palestinian and Arab…without condition or restriction”? Or that the hudna declares that if Israel keeps mass murderers in jail (as any democracy would do) Hamas will “see ourselves unencumbered by this initiative and we hold the enemy responsible for the consequences”?

Breakthrough to peace? While a cessation of terror would be welcome, this hudna sounds like the very opposite of the road map, which rejects appeasement of terrorists and requires the PA to “begin sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.”

On Thursday, Associated Press issued a gross misrepresentation of Palestinian “peace” progress.

While the “V” sign became popular in the 1960s as a symbol of Western peace movements, in the Arab world the “V” sign has always meant “victory” over the enemy. The AP themselves labeled the Palestinian “V for victory” until recently.


And other media outlets have consistently captioned Palestinian “V’s” to mean “victory”.

AP’s “peace” caption delivers the false message that even the typical Palestinian protester has turned over a new leaf and now “reaches out in peace.” The truth, however, is quite the opposite: The Palestinian street, fueled by ongoing incitement from Palestinian media and textbooks, appears very much mired in their longstanding call for “victory” over the enemy.

While the free world so desires the road map’s success, all recognize a need for a deep change in Palestinian society marked by the acceptance of Israel. By prematurely conferring upon the Palestinian street the achievement of that goal, the AP not only misreports the news, but dangerously tries to push the peace process ahead before the necessary foundations have been laid.

Comments to: feedback@ap.org

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.



HonestReporting subscribers should find interesting the following report from The Times of London, which indicates Israel’s official recognition of the damage caused by biased reporting:


Israel breaks links with BBC in anger at ‘demonisation’
June 28, 2003
By Christopher Walker


ISRAEL broke all contact with the BBC yesterday in protest at its repeated “demonisation” of the country and today’s planned showing on BBC World of a critical documentary on Israel’s nuclear, biological and chemical arsenal. The move will involve a refusal to put up official spokesmen for BBC interviews. There will be visa restrictions, not imposed on other news organisations in Israel, to ensure that the bureau chief is rotated every few months and to make it hard for BBC staff to report.

“The BBC will discover that bureaucracy can be applied with goodwill or without it. And after the way that they have repeatedly tried to delegitimise the state of Israel, we, as hosts, have none left for them,” Daniel Seaman, director of the government press office, told The Times.

“We see the well-known pro-Arab touch of the Foreign Office and the traditional anti-Semitism of parts of Britain’s Establishment in the way they are acting against us.”

Also planned are non-co-operation in all requests for assistance with such restrictions as military road blocks in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. A decision to expel all BBC correspondents has been put on ice, but not dismissed out of hand. The first test comes today when the BBC requests that Israeli officials go to its studios to comment on the weekend visit of Condoleezza Rice, the US National Security Adviser, who is to have talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders about the “road map” to peace.

Mr Seaman, 42, said the sanctions had been decided at an angry meeting of representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Ministry and the government press office because of what was seen as an overall BBC attitude towards Israel “verging on the anti-Semitic”. They were in reaction to a series of programmes which had sought “to delegitimise Israel and showed some of the attitudes once familiar in Der Sturmer (the Nazi journal).”

Mr Seaman added: “Our complaint is with the BBC as an organisation rather than its bureau here, which does try from time to time to rectify its mistakes. The weapons programme, which contains the ridiculous false assertion that we used nerve gas against the Palestinians, was the last straw.

“We decided that we had to draw a red line rather than just complain about a consistent attitude in which successive BBC programmes attempt to place us in the same context as totalitarian, axis-of-evil countries such as Iraq and Iran.”

“The attitude of the BBC is more than a pure journalistic matter; it is dangerous to the existence of the state of Israel because it demonises the Israelis and gives our terrorist enemies reasons to attack us. There is no dialogue between Israel and the BBC and no recognition inside the corporation of the sensitivity of a people who have faced attempted annihilation. The questions about nuclear weapons asked by the BBC are never directed against the US or Britain. Mr Sharon is never mentioned without some critical reference to his alleged right-wing tendencies or military past, while Islamic terrorists are politely referred to as ‘militants’ out of a reluctance by the BBC to upset Muslims by telling the truth.”

The final element in Israel’s frustration was the BBC’s promotion of the programme Israel’s Secret Weapon, shown in Britain in March on BBC Two, with a series of provocative questions onscreen: “Which country in the Middle East has undeclared nuclear weapons? Which country in the Middle East has undeclared biological and chemical weapons capabilities? Which country in the Middle East has no outside inspections? Which country jailed its nuclear whistleblower for 18 years?” Israel said it would refuse to put up spokesmen to be interviewed on BBC programmes and would not co-operate with BBC requests for help in such matters as correspondents getting through road blocks and Tel Aviv airport, and in the issuing of press cards.

Israel has applied heavy pressure on the BBC not to re-broadcast the weapons programme. The sections that have caused such anger in Israel compare Israel to Iraq and raise the question of why the world had demanded UN inspections in Iraq, but not similar inspections on Israel.

Andrew Steele, chief of the BBC’s six-strong bureau in Jerusalem, which includes the correspondents Orla Guerin, Jeremy Cooke and James Reynolds, said that he had not even seen the programme. He had referred all queries to the BBC press office in London.

Richard Sambrook, Director of BBC News said last night: “We regret that the Israelis felt the need to
take this action but we stand behind the veracity of the film.”