Friday, October 26, 2012

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin Cheers for Gaza and Qatar

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is an HuffPost employee, according to his bio he's the host/producer of HuffPostLive, which hasn't exactly made a big splash. Is it unsurprising, then, that he would write a blatantly pro-Palestinian op ed for the HP, abandoning all indications of impartiality? The article is about the Emir of Qatar pledging millions of dollars to Gaza and to promote the HuffPostLive discussion Ahmed had with other talking head. I didn't watch the video, but there's more than enough in the short introduction to the video to make it worthy of an HPM response.

Right off the bat Mr. Shihab-Eldin starts whining about lack of American sympathy for the poor suffering Palestinians:
"In America, it is all too easy to forget about the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation - and it should come as no surprise."
Yeah, it is no surprise because Palestinians under Israeli occupation don't affect the lives of Americans any more than Tibetans living under Chinese occupation do, or all the people suffering in Africa. Why should Americans are more about Palestinians than any other foreign people? Because Mr. Shihab-Eldin said so, of course. Let's not forget either that if you read the Huffington Post "World" section it's impossible to forget about the Palestinians as there are anti-Israel propaganda articles being published practically on a daily basis.
"During Monday's foreign policy debate Obama and Romney fought throughout the debate over who was a more staunch supporter of Israel. The word Israel was mentioned 34 times, six times more than Syria where more than 30,000 have died in the ongoing conflict. But more troubling, the one and only mention of "Palestinian" came from Romney, the same man who has said Palestinians want to destroy and eliminate Israel, do not want peace and are somehow struggling economically because their culture is inferior to Israel's."
Very hypocritical paragraph here. If Mr. Shihab-Eldin actually cares about the dead in Syria, why didn't he lead off this essay with "In America, it is all too easy to forget about the thousands of dead in Syria?" After all, it's not like that's something that weighs on every American's mind. But rather like Palestinian supporters before and since he uses the Syrians to pursue his real goals: bashing America and Israel. He laments that the Palestinians aren't mentioned enough, because the only thing that Palestinian supporters demand besides less attention towards Israel is more attention towards them. Then he attacks Romney for telling the truth, that the Palestinians "want to destroy and eliminate Israel, [and] do not want peace", something Mr. Shihab-Eldin does not deny in his article. Indeed how could he and maintain a shred of credibility? Instead we get the classic Palestinian supporter outrage: How dare you say something that is completely true but that I don't want to hear, Mr. Romney?

Right from the beginning, Mr. Shihab-Eldin shows himself to be a propagandist, long on outrage and unreasonable expectations, short on facts. Next, Mr. Shihab-Eldin pulls a classic Palestinian supporter bait and switch:
"Romney may ignore the role Israel's occupation has on Gaza and the West Bank, but the United Nations doesn't. Gaza will no longer be "livable" by 2020 unless urgent action is taken to improve water supply, power, health and schooling, according to a recent UN report."
Mr. Shihab-Eldin mentions this UN report, and then immediately moves on to the Emir visiting Gaza and pledging to help. There is no mention of Hamas' long history of choosing war and violence over improving life in Gaza, there is no mention of the dozens of rockets fired in the days immediately prior to the publishing of this article (and are indeed still ongoing). Even if the report is true, posting it outside of context is the equivalent of a prisoner jailed for life complaining about being kept in a small room for years but not mentioning the crime that put him there. Let's not forget the less than subtle mistake of declaring that Gaza is occupied, not to mention the role that Egypt is also playing in keeping Gaza cordoned from the rest of the world.

Here's one last half-truth for you:
"And Qatar's Emir is stepping it up: on Tuesday he became the first head of state to visit Gaza, where more than 1.6 million people live under an Israeli-led blockade, since Hamas took full control in 2007."
Mr. Shihab-Eldin doesn't bother to mention that Egypt's crossing with Gaza is open, nor does he bother to mention Hamas' "taking control" of Gaza put 118 people in the ground and 550+ in the hospital. Little details like that would only make the article balanced, so why include them?

It's a shame, but not a surprise, that someone who directly represents the Huffington Post would write so partisan an essay.

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