Blogs > HNN > MYTHS OF THE INTELLECTUALS IS APPROPRIATE READING BEFORE YOM HASHOA

May 2, 2005 5:46 pm


MYTHS OF THE INTELLECTUALS IS APPROPRIATE READING BEFORE YOM HASHOA



Jonathan Tobin explores the lessons of some well known intifada related myths. It begins thus:

Ya'acov"Koby" Mandell and Mohammed Al-Dura were both kids. One was an Israeli, the other a Palestinian. But the deaths of 13-year-old Mandell and 12-year-old Al-Dura in the first year of what's been called the second Palestinian intifada have come to symbolize the distorted coverage of that conflict by the international media.

Al-Dura, who died during an exchange of fire between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers, was lionized as a martyr whose slaying epitomized Israeli brutality. Film footage of the incident from the French state-owned TV channel France 2 portrayed the event as a straightforward Israeli slaughter of an innocent.

Only later did we learn that the footage had been selectively edited, and that it misled viewers about what actually happened. Objective analyses of the story by German television and The Atlantic magazine leave little doubt that Al-Dura was likely killed by bullets fired by Palestinians.

DEATH OF A ‘COLONIST’

By contrast, Koby Mandell's death is little remembered. Just one of many Israeli children who've perished in this senseless war, he and a classmate were murdered in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists who stoned him to death and then mutilated his body. When this crime was reported by the same French media that had popularized the Al-Dura myth, they characterized Mandell as a" colonist" that was killed by the Palestinian resistance.

The significance of this distinction was highlighted in a French-made documentary"Decryptage" (defined as"deciphering"), which is making the rounds of American Jewish film festivals this spring.

Made in 2002 at the height of the now-concluded intifada, the film is an interesting counterpart to"Relentless," a less skillful, though useful, English-language polemic about who was responsible for the collapse of the Oslo peace process.

Though a bit dated now that Yasser Arafat is dead and the terrorist war he launched is over, French filmmakers Jacques Tarneo and Phillippe Bensoussan are still able to cut to the heart of the question of why the French media's coverage was so one-sided.



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