Sunday, January 8, 2012

Yermi Brenner and Machsom Watch

Continuing where we left off with the previous post, I wanted to talk briefly about the article surrounding Yermi Brenner's not-actually-that-shocking videos. 

The first case of bias, naturally, is the fact that he doesn't refer to Israel's security barrier as anything else except a "separation barrier." I know that it's pretty much impossible to find an apolitical term for it, but the purpose of the barrier is not to separate the Israelis and the Palestinians. The fact that the Palestinians are passing through it (as depicted in the videos) is proof enough of that. The barrier is there to only let Palestinians who have peaceful intentions through it. In other words, security. But I guess Mr. Brenner would not fit in among the women of Machsom Watch if he didn't repeat their language. He doesn't entirely ignore this point of view though:
"The construction of the Separation Barrier began in 2002, and today it is mostly completed. Its declared objective is to prevent uncontrolled entry of Palestinians into Israel."
That's it. The rest is a description of the barrier itself and its route. So I don't see where the evidence is posted to call it a separation barrier, or even to question its declared objective. But let's move on to Machsom Watch, the organization for which this article might as well be an advertisement.
"The women volunteering for MachsomWatch are considered by some in the Israeli society as leftist and traitors..."
Gasp! How awful! What could they have possibly done to deserve such horrible labels as "traitors?"

If you don't know who these people are, that's Raya Yaron, spokeswomen of Machsom Watch. And she is providing a comforting shoulder to one of the mothers of the Itamar massacre perpetrators. Let's not forget this story either (H/T NGO Monitor, which also has more). So yeah, this is an organization that exists to make the lives of Israeli soldiers harder and the lives of the enemies of Israel easier. I can't imagine why anyone might consider that to be treasonous. 

Don't worry though, Mr. Brenner has his own theory:
"...[they are called thatbecause the organization's activists write and publish reports which in some cases display Israeli soldiers misusing their power and behaving immorally."
Is that so? Let me pick one of the reports at random and see what it says:
"Alltogether, the inspection of the cars entering the West Bank is quick and superficial. At 07:24 the children arrive in Y.'s yellow Transit. The inspection is quick, a light touch to the school bags, and that's that. But a child who arrives with his schoolbag closed is asked to open it." 
"At 08:30 we wonder as we observe a long red car come up the sleeve leading out of the inspection area; a car on the way to the West Bank, polished to perfection. The driver and the passenger, young and elegant, are sent to sit in the shed opposite and car is inspected thoroughly, including its 'stomach' and internal organs under the cover of the motor. It looks to us as if this is an exceptional inspection and the people who work in the CP are apparently instructed to inspect cars that raise a suspicion of criminal activity. And the fact is that the three ordinary cars that went through afterward – were not inspected at all, and their passengers only had to show their IDs and permits."
Really? This is like the videos all over again: The "reports" by Machsom Watch actually do more damage to their cause than they help. Now I'd be remiss not to say that in that same report they include a story by a Palestinian who was allegedly beaten when he refused to move his car. But that's because it's just that: A story. The Watchers didn't witness it for themselves, so it does not back up what Brenner said. And that's the end of the story, with one last cheap shot at Israel's "right wing government:"
"Recently, MachsomWatch and other Israeli human rights organizations have been targeted by Israel's right wing government, and legal steps have been taken to try to limit their influence."
That would be the much maligned NGO funding law. Ooh, scary!