So the mainstream media have returned to Ferguson, Missouri to document the violence they helped foment. No one said “hands up, don’t shoot” when Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown in self-defense last summer. But two police officers have now been shot in cold blood and nearly killed at a “peaceful” demonstration incited by President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and serial race arsonist Al Sharpton. It is a familiar pattern–not just in America but the Middle East.
Since the start of the Ferguson protests last summer, anti-Israel activists seized on “hands up, don’t shoot” as a vehicle for their own cause, flying the Palestinian flag in Ferguson and at protests across the nation. They were drawing a spurious connection between American police and Israeli soldiers. But they were right in one respect: much of the global outrage that fuels anti-Israel hatred is based on fake news events that Palestinians create to gin up protest–and to shield terror.
The paradigmatic case is that of Muhammad al-Dura, a 12-year-old Palestinian who was allegedly shot by Israeli soldiers at a demonstration in Gaza as he cowered behind his father. The video footage, broadcast originally by France 2, caused a worldwide sensation and fueled much of the anger that drove support for the bloody second intifada. However, evidence emerged that the “shooting” was likely staged–as were many other events on the Palestinian cameraman’s full footage.
Likewise the so-called Jenin “massacre,” a lie propagated by Saeb Erekat and other Palestinian spokespeople, according to which Israel had killed hundreds–perhaps thousands–of Palestinians in its anti-terror operations in a Palestinian refugee camp in the spring of 2002. It turned out that roughly 50 people were killed, half of them Palestinian terrorists. But the lie went around the world. (For his trouble, Erekat is an honored guest of J Street at its annual conference in D.C. this month.)
The pattern has been repeated, in conflict after conflict. Hamas puts weapons in mosques or fires them from schools and waits for Israel to fire back, whereupon the international media–and the Obama administration–condemn Israel loudly. And the world falls for it every time.
Worse, the media actively collaborate with terror. Journalists travel, for example, to Hamas HQ underneath the al-Shifa Hospital to interview its leaders, without reporting where they are hiding, or why.
In the past, Palestinians have used protests against alleged Israeli brutality to commit acts of terror. In the second intifada, for instance, gunmen would use crowds of demonstrating children–sent out of school and into the streets by Chairman Yasser Arafat–to fire at Israeli soldiers nearby, using the children as cover and as propaganda fodder.
They are not alone in exploiting children: a new report alleges that the Associated Press staged photos of children in the last Gaza conflict.
That is the Middle East, with its fanatical religious dogmas and deep ethnic grudges. So why do the American media behave in the same way around issues of race? Why do they create events that never occurred, such as George Zimmerman’s racist phone call to police, deceptively edited to fan outrage? Why do responsible commentators–liberal intellectuals and even supposed conservatives–use cable news network studios to stage solidarity protests with the “hands up, don’t shoot” lie?
Part of the reason is that many journalists are activists who see the media as their way of bringing change to the world. Part of the reason is that the media are part of a political elite that enjoys flattering a perceived underclass as a way of keeping up the uneasy alliance between liberal gentry and urban poor.
But whatever the explanation, one thing is clear: people’s lives are ruined, and literally ended, because of these lies. Not just in the moment, but for months, years, generations after.