Sunday, October 21, 2012

Michael Madormo's 11th Hour Propaganda

In classic Huffington Post style, they published this latest anti-Israel hit piece late on Friday afternoon, coincidentally just before Shabbat begins. Michael Madormo, the latest  brand new Huffington Post blogger, teaches at a Palestinian school in what he refers to as "Ramallah, Palestine," so you know right away where his biases are coming from. And what do you think he is talking about this time? It's obvious: contextless complaining about Israel. What's the subject this time around?
"While students across America and around the world took the SAT exam on October 6th, my Palestinian students were denied the chance to do the same. Why? Israeli customs held the exams and failed to release them in time for my students to take the exam..."
Yep, that's right. 500 Palestinians alone have been killed in Syria over the past year and the Huffington Post is whining and moaning about SAT exams. This is further proof that literally anything that makes Israel look bad is elevated to critical importance when in the hands of willing propagandists like those in the Huffington Post's "World" section.  This may be one of the most petty complaints the Huffington Post has spotlighted where Israel and the Palestinians are concerned but you have to give Mr. Madormo credit cause he milks it for all he can:
"My students and I couldn't help but ask the obvious question: If Palestinians controlled their own borders, could these students have taken this exam along with American college hopefuls around the globe?"
Gee, Michael, maybe you and your students should apply your clearly genius-level intellect and try to ponder this question: Why don't the Palestinians control their own borders? Could it be the hundreds of suicide bombers you sent charging into Israeli cities ten years ago? Or maybe the rockets landing on Israeli kindergartens just this week? Or maybe it's the election of terrorist organizations pledged to the annihilation of not only Israel but all Jewish people to represent you?

Careful, these are exactly the kinds of questions that your superiors on the Huffington Post and in the West Bank don't want you and your students to be asking. It's much easier to spin the endless and tired refrain of the poor suffering Palestinian victim than to actually make an effort to understand the situation. And if Mr. Madormo has it his way, he won't talk about the context at all. In most of the article he talks about his history (nobody cares) and that Palestinians take the SAT. He whines about "the occupation" and that Yom Kippur might have something to do with it and then makes this big claim:
"It is the responsibility of the occupying power to guarantee basic access and rights to the people under occupation. This is, after all, a test that will affect their educational and professional trajectory."
Yes, basic access. Most people don't get to go to American universities, not even most Americans. Israel isn't under any obligation to help the Palestinians get into college, because, as for some reason I have to keep reminding people, they are at war with the Palestinians. What, did you think that refusing to make peace decade after decade wouldn't lead to negative consequences? Not just the kind of negative consequences that look good on camera either I might add. Yeah, Israel makes the lives of the Palestinians hard because the college education of Palestinians is not their top priority. And everywhere except for the Huffington Post this actually makes sense. Fortunately Mr. Madormo supplants strong claims with even stronger ones:
"More importantly, this failure troubles me deeply as an educator. I joined the movement for educational equality because I believe that all students deserve the opportunity to attain an excellent education. The injustices and obstacles that Palestinians face on a daily basis as a result of the Israeli occupation are difficult to fathom, and this is not the first time Israel has obstructed Palestinian education."
(cough) Academic boycott! (cough)

Excuse me. Anyway, compared to 99% of the Middle East, the Palestinians are miles ahead in education. They are getting free education from UNRWA and millions of dollars in well stocked charities, all with no expectations attached to them except to keep being Palestinian. Compared to a kid in Somalia or Iraq, the Palestinians have absolutely nothing to complain about. But as I think we have learned pretty well by this point, their spokespeople can complain about literally anything.

And here's what Mr. Madormo seems to be forgetting: Wars have consequences. Yes, I know I've already said that. But apparently I need to keep repeating it: As long as this conflict innocent people will suffer collateral damage. Do you think Israeli students like going from high school into the army instead of college? You don't think that sets back their education? But they are in there because of the actions of the Palestinians who choose not to make peace and keep the dream of destroying Israel alive. Not that we can expect Mr. Madormo to mention that little factoid of course. Apparently he isn't that well educated.

Here's more of that context free storytelling:
"In October 2009, for example, the Israeli military arrested a Bethlehem University student named Berlanty Azzam in the middle of the night; handcuffed and blindfolded, she was moved against her will from Bethlehem to Gaza."
Now if you go to the actual story, you will find that's not exactly how it happened. And according to the Israelis she was in the West Bank illegally. Now you may or may not find these details convincing and think that what Israel did was still unjust. Okay fine, but Mr. Madormo should know that you have to tell the whole truth, and that's exactly what he didn't do. I'm not sure what kind of an educator he is but it seems clear that his devotion to education is not as strong as his devotion to making a point in the pages of the Huffington Post.

Let's conclude with the final propaganda parting shot:
"However, this "mistake" begs the question: if these were American students, would Americans allow anything -- much less a foreign power -- to stand in the way of our children's chances to take the test that determines their future? So it goes for Palestinians under occupation."
Yes! Let nothing stand in the way of the future of Palestinian children! Don't let the desire to wipe out Israel, the demand that the West Bank be Judenrein, the insistence that Jerusalem can belong only to the Palestinians, the demand for the non-existent right of return, or the insistence that Palestine be free "from the river to the sea" stand in the way of the most important thing: education. Instead do what it takes to guarantee a better future for all people and make peace with Israel!

But I don't think Mr. Madormo would agree with that. He's not here to criticize the Palestinians after all, that isn't allowed in the West Bank or on the pages of the Huffington Post, apparently.

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