Humanitarian Warfare

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Two news stories regarding recent events in the Gaza Strip and commented upon by The Wall Street Journal illustrate how the Arab world is using the moral code of the West as a weapon in its conflict with Israel.

Apparently, it is easy to play up a power outage to make Israel look bad -- by using candles in broad daylight -- when the news media are in the habit of presenting Israel as the aggressor. Only a few of the journalists noticed the ruse:

"They had closed the curtains in the rooms to create the impression that Hamas leaders were also suffering as a result of the power stoppage," one journalist told The Jerusalem Post. "It was obvious that the whole thing was staged."

Another journalist said he and his colleagues were told to wait for a few minutes before entering the chamber of the Palestinian Legislative Council so that each legislator would have time to light his candle. He said that when he saw that the curtains had been closed to prevent the light from entering, he realized that Hamas was trying to manipulate the media for political gain.
Hamas obviously has a low estimate of the capability for critical thinking of most journalists. Unfortunately, they are mostly correct.

Some in the media, being extremely altruistic, will knowingly and happily go along with such charades. In addition, the extreme altruism of some of the rest will cause them not to exercise their critical faculties. They will be so eager for any evidence that Israel is imposing hardship on the Palestinians that they will lap, up such stunts. It is as if the tent is really a building, and there is not alternative to artificial light within. In a sense, they will see what they want to see.

The Palestinians know this and intend to use this militarily. And the rest of the Arab world is in league with them, as noted by The Wall Street Journal (which also pointed to the account above). The Journal points to several stories that indicate that the Arab world is perfectly capable of caring for the Palestinians and that the swarming over the wall even suggests a solution for the conflict with the Palestinians: Resorption of these territories into neighboring Arab states.

But, notes the Journal:
This is of a piece with Arab dictators' attitude toward the Palestinians more generally, which is that it is best to keep them in "refugee camps" so that they may continue to serve as a tool to cudgel Israel--and to draw attention away from the Arab dictators' own misrule.
I think they're correct. All of this behavior is indeed "of a piece". It is a deliberate attempt to use the West's altruist moral code against it, by creating humanitarian crises, and either blaming the West for them or asking for its help to alleviate them, whichever best serves the goals of the moment. There is psychological warfare and then there is this use of the enemy's moral code as a weapon. Perhaps we should call it "humanitarian warfare".

Read the whole thing (Start by searching "Potemkin".)

-- CAV


: Dropped initial paragraph leading in with the Gaza Wall and made other editorial changes. As I had said, in part, "
the existence of a wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt was news" to me. Apparently, this shouldn't have been. Thanks (cough), Noumenal Self!


Anonymous said...

Actually the wall between Gaza and Egypt was built by the Israelis. It has the same purpose as the other walls: to protect Israel (in this case, indirectly):


Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for point that out so quickly!