Friday, October 7, 2011

Daoud Kuttab Propagandizes Again

I like Daoud Kuttab when he acts like the journalist he claims to be. Most of the time he does. But not this time. His latest awkwardly named blog entry is, "Palestinian Prisoners Take Center Stage in Palestine." And like most propaganda or polarized writing, his article is filled with half truths and outright lies. We'll start with the most blatant at the beginning of his article:
"Sumud Ahmad Saadat is the daughter of the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), kidnapped from the Palestinian Authority's prison in Jericho by military force."
Grammar quibble: Read this sentence again. To me it kind of sounds like the daughter was the one kidnapped and not the terrorist mastermind. And by the way, this is the first and last time that Mr. Kuttab will comment about who Saadat is and what he did. Since Mr. Kuttab won't, I will: This guy was the leader of a group that has committed hundreds of military attacks against Israel and other nations. He also masterminded the assassination of Rehavam Zevi, and that's what he is imprisoned for right now. But apparently Mr. Kuttab thought that of all this was irrelevant information, and it would be better to leave it out rather than let Palestinians look like anything other than innocent victims. The lying continues:
"Saadat is locked up in a jail inside Israel proper, in contravention of the Geneva Conventions, which forbid occupiers to transfer prisoners into the country of occupation."
First of all, that is not what happened. Saadat was not transferred. The prison he was in was shutting down and the Palestinian Authority was going to let him go, but then Israel stormed the prison and after a gun battle recaptured him. It sounds like Mr. Kuttab is saying that the only way Israel can follow the law would be to let a murderer of their people escape. The claim that he was "transferred" is a joke, Israel had to fight their way past 30 armed gunmen to take him. And of course none of this "irrelevant" information would ever appear in a Kuttab article. He wouldn't want his readership to get the wrong impression.

Time for a little hypocrisy:
"Sumud, in her early 20s now, has not seen her father in five years. Attempts to obtain this basic human right through the International Committee of the Red Cross have failed...the high court of the "only democracy in the Middle East" forbade a young woman from seeing her father for the fifth year in a row."
Hm, that does sound kind of familiar. But oh wait, Gilad Shalit is a Jew who hasn't killed any Israelis, so don't expect Daoud Kuttab to stick up for him. And of course Kuttab can't help but take a shot at Israel's democratic nature just because they aren't nice to people who want them all to die. Now the thing is, if Israel was mistreating him in other ways besides this daughter thing (cough cough) Mr. Kuttab might have a bit more of a point. But he doesn't, and that's where the article really becomes farcical:
"Solitary confinement, banning family visits, collective punishment and depriving prisoners of access to satellite TV are some of the things Palestinian prisoners are subjected to."
Oh God! Not the satellite TV! Those monsters! By the way, here in America, solitary confinement is normal and family visits are a privilege to be earned. Not a right to be whined about. And these are American criminals, not terrorists. So maybe Kuttab will get some sympathy from his peanut gallery on the Huffington Post but he won't be getting any from me. Click below to read the rest, when he starts talking about hunger strikes, their latest attention seeking behavior.

So Kuttab has started talking about some prisoners starting hunger strikes and isn't it so great and heroic blah blah blah. Then he says a couple of very informative things. Here's the first:
"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made special reference to the need to pay attention to Palestinian freedom fighters held in Israeli jails in difficult circumstances."
Yeah, difficult circumstances like not being able to watch TV while you get paid your salary from US tax dollars and work toward a graduate degree. And I don't know whether Kuttab is quoting Abbas when he uses the term "freedom fighters" or if he is speaking for himself. If it's the latter...hoo boy. One would think that a journalist like Mr. Kuttab would be a little more professional than that but I guess not. And here's the second very informative thing he says:
"As prisoners on hunger strike become sick and there is a possibility of loss of life, the emotions outside prisons are often raw and produce active reactions."
"Active reactions?" Like what Mr. Kuttab? Blowing up buses? Throwing rocks at babies? Other forms of violence? This is especially strange because it sounds like Mr. Kuttab is saying that the hunger strikes are a good thing because it motivates the Palestinians to violence, and the Israelis are somehow bad for not wanting that to happen. That's not a very moderate position. Are we sure that Sharmine Narwani didn't write this article and put Kuttab's name on the cover? Regardless I can't help but wonder if "active reactions" is going to be the latest in a long line of weasel words that pro-Palestinian writers use to whitewash violence.

After playing some morality by numbers, such as telling us that "children" are held in Israeli prisons without mentioning the vast majority of them are 16 or older, he says something else that is informative:
" [Among the prisoners] there are 22 members of parliament taken as hostages."
Does Mr. Kuttab know what the word "hostage" actually means? Because it means "a person given or held as security for the fulfillment of certain conditions or terms, promises, etc., by another." Without more specific information on who these people are, one cannot say exactly the terms of their imprisonment detail. But if they are like other Palestinian prisoners, they have been tried and convicted of a crime and are now serving a sentence. That is not a "hostage" situation by any definition of the term, unless Israel has offered to send them back in exchange for something in return. You know, like Hamas has done with Shalit, an actual hostage. 

And finally his hypocritical conclusion:
"Palestinian protesters are hoping that their hunger strike will produce the needed attention to their suffering."
Don't worry fellas, I'm sure you'll get your satellite TV back soon enough. And then Kuttab will have to find something else to complain about.

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