Friday, January 25, 2013

Robert Naiman Whitewashes Palestinian Violence

Self proclaiming "human rights activist" Robert Naiman, who you might recall voyaged on the slow boats to Gaza but has stayed far away from Syria, is back on the Huffington Post to cheer for Palestinian "non-violent resistance" and dismiss all of those other Palestinian actions that aren't quite so peaceful.

Naiman leads off with a discussion of the recent Palestinian construction of villages in the West Bank (actions that if done by Jews he would refer to as "land theft") and complains about the lack of media coverage. Here's the quote:
"Economists like to say that the only thing that you can't predict is the future. But I think that the odds are very good that on Friday, a new Palestinian village is going to be established to block the confiscation of Palestinian land by the Netanyahu government.
If that happens, will American media report it?
If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?
To be effective, a strategy of nonviolent resistance to injustice requires an audience."
If there is one thing Palestinian supporters can never get enough of, it's media attention. The irony regarding rthe fact that Naiman himself is writing about this "resistance" in a media outlet is apparently lost on him. But let's examine the facts for a second. Has this village strategy really gone unreported by American media? (Note, he did not say the media in general. Nothing is ever good enough for Naiman)

The New York Times covered the creation of Bab Al-Shams on January 11th. 

USA Today and the Detroit Free Press covered the eviction of protesters from Bab Al-Shams on January 12th.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Washington Post covered the evacuation of protesters and Netanyahu's promise to build more settlements on January 14th.

The Huffington Post, the very publication Robert Naiman is writing for, published a Daoud Kuttab op ed about Bab Al-Shams on January 17th!

So judging by the past behavior of the American media, I think it is safe to say that American media will cover these Palestinian villages and Mr. Naiman's whining will be for naught. If they don't, it won't be because of any discrimination, it is simply because the story is "old news" and this little thing called North Korea is dominating the headlines right now.

But truth, of course, is not Mr. Naiman's goal. Like the Palestinians he lies for, he knows that the perception of being a victim (in this case of media basis) is far more valuable than the loss of credibility being caught lying causes. We see that in his next paragraph:
"Sometimes Western pundits have asked: Where are the Palestinian Gandhis? But when Palestinians have engaged in nonviolent protest and have been suppressed by Israeli occupation forces, Western pundits have been largely silent. The pundits' words communicate one thing; the choice by Western media to largely ignore nonviolent Palestinian protest movements communicates the opposite."
Truly nonviolent protests by Palestinians are very, very rare. The vast majority of them start non-violent and turn violent, while those protesters who don't directly attack the soldiers cover those who are. But anyone paying attention knows that nonviolent protests are only one part of the Palestinian cause, a cause dominated by violent people with violent goals. Gandhi was famous because he led the Indian people in a almost exclusively nonviolent movement. Nonviolent protests do no good if in the next village people on your side are breaking into homes and stabbing people. Furthermore, the Palestinians only use nonviolent protests when they think it will get them something that they want, which in this case is Jews not living in the West Bank.

The critical point is this: They don't practice nonviolence because they think violence is wrong. 88% of them think violence is very, very right. They practice nonviolence sometimes so that people like Robert Naiman can write articles about them and help them achieve their decided violent goals.

Palestinians are still attacking people, even if the American media doesn't cover that either. So sorry Mr. Naiman if the Palestinians that happen to be good don't get all the attention. What a shame.

Here's Naiman's next obsfucation:
"Thanks to movies like Budrus and 5 Broken Cameras, the story of nonviolent Palestinian resistance to land confiscation is reaching a new group of Americans. That's a fantastic development. But when civil rights marchers were beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, Americans didn't have to wait for a movie to find out about it. It was big news right away."
First of all, 5 Broken Cameras has been nominated for an Academy Award and will be seen by millions of Americans who tune into the Academy Awards, so there goes Mr. Naiman's own argument about lack of attention from Americans.

Second, Naiman's reference to Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge is pure apples and oranges. Of course Americans found out about it right away. It happened in America and it involved Americans, not half a world away as part of an ongoing 60 year old conflict. Do you think Palestinians hear about every police raid and Westboro Baptist Church protest in America? Do you think Americans hear about every news story from Australia and Thailand? Absolutely not. But when you're the chosen victims, apparently everyone in America needs to pay attention to you all the time. No matter how little you actually deserve it.

Finally, the goal of Naiman's article arrives, calling for "force":
 "Could Americans force the story of Palestinian nonviolent resistance to land confiscation onto the agenda of mainstream U.S. media?
There is a precedent that may be relevant. When Occupy Wall Street began, it was ignored at first by mainstream media. To find out what was going on, you had to go to social media like Twitter. When the story became well-established in social media, mainstream media had to take notice.
What if we raised an army of thousands of Americans who pledged themselves in advance to one simple task: when the news breaks of a new Palestinian village established to block land confiscation by the Netanyahu government, members of this army agree that they are going to be notified, and then they are going to spread this news on social media."
So Naiman is essentially trying to recruit Americans to be social media propagandists for the Palestinians. I thought only the evil Israeli "hasbarists" do that. But apparently, when you're the Palestinians, it's OK to do the things you accuse the Israelis of doing, like forcing the media to pay attention to you (aka "controlling" it) and recruiting propagandists to flood social media.

Classic Palestinian supporter hypocrisy, approved and published by the Huffington Post. And I'm sure the next time the Palestinians turn violent, Naiman will be there to blame the victims for it.

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