Facts and anti-facts

Anti-Israel propaganda often operates by generating anti-facts, which are then believed by the media, told and retold until everybody believes them. By the time Israeli sources deny them, it’s too late; the media don’t give much — or any — space to the denials.

For example, there’s the story that Israeli tanks attacked an aid convoy, killing a Palestinian driver and wounding two others.  And the one about the Jabalya UNRWA school. In both cases, most media outlets have presented the Palestinian  version of the events. And it is turning out that this version is not correct.

There are others. Anything the Palestinians, UN officials, or Mads Gilbert says is given immediate publicity (usually, but not always, with attribution) and Israeli denials mentioned as afterthoughts, if at all. And there is never a discussion of the veracity or lack thereof of the UN or Gilbert.

Probably the biggest anti-fact is the figure presented for civilian casualties.   NPR this morning reported that “dozens of Palestinians were killed over the weekend, with many of them women or children”. Their reporter “on the ground” — but not in Gaza — said,

United Nations officials say of the close to 900 Palestinians killed in two weeks of war 40% are women and children. More than 3700 Palestinians have been injured, and more than half of those are women and children, according to Maxwell Gaylard, the UN’s chief coordinator of humanitarian aid. [Gaylard then speaks, saying that civilians are “bearing the brunt” of the conflict]. — NPR

Gaylard receives his information from UNRWA personnel in Gaza, 99% of whom are Palestinians and all of whom do and say what Hamas tells them to.

These anti-facts are repeated over and over in the ‘neutral’ media (anti-Israel sources like KPFA go much farther, accusing the IDF of war crimes and genocide daily). There is very little discussion of the facts that Hamas soldiers are fighting in civilian clothes, using civilians as shields, crippling Fatah supporters so they won’t be tempted to ‘help Israel’, stealing goods intended as aid for Gaza residents, and of course continuing to fire rockets at Israel’s population. All of these activities are war crimes.

If you take into consideration the fact that it is in Israel’s interest to reduce civilian casualties and Hamas’ to increase them — especially their own — then both Hamas’ actions and its statements (transmitted via the UN) make perfect sense.

Like matter and anti-matter, facts and anti-facts annihilate each other when they touch. Many people that I talk to will take the ‘pox on both of your houses’ approach, or say “the truth is halfway in between”. And those who listen to KPFA (etc.) have by now been inoculated to resist facts; since they believe that Israel is totally evil, anything said on Israel’s behalf is a priori false.

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