The Freedom Flotilla and Guardian Propaganda
Dear Sir/ Madam
I appreciate the Guardian allowing a range of voices to be heard on the issue of Israel-Palestine, but I find straightforward propaganda in the news (as opposed to opinion) pages very worrying indeed. I refer to the ‘story’ by Harriet Sherwood – “Flotilla raid: Turkish jihadis bent on violence attacked troops, Israel claims”.
In Muslim cultures, it is common to refer to those who have died for a cause or who have been killed by state terrorism as ‘martyrs’. In the hospitals of Palestine, one might hear people crying – “My baby has been martyred! They’ve martyred my mother! My grandfather was prepared for martyrdom, and now it’s happened!” This does not mean that the baby, mother or grandfather in question were trained-up, armed Wahhabi-nihilists.
Sherwood’s ‘story’, which the Guardian positioned so prominently, is based on the assumption that when grieving Turks use the word ‘martyr’ they mean ‘Islamist suicide bomber’, that they mean what we decide they mean. This is not journalism but propaganda. Its purpose is not to inform readers concerning facts or to give more background on Turkish culture and Turkish responses to the attack on their ships, but to whitewash the piracy and murder committed by Israel in international waters. Sherwood’s sources are “the Israeli government” and Colonel Richard Kemp, who Sherwood doesn’t tell us is a well-known pro-Israel propagandist.
A decent newspaper like the Guardian should allow a full range of Zionist and anti-Zionist arguments in the opinion pages. It should not trot out execrable propaganda on behalf of a foreign regime.
See Idrees’s more detailed attack here. A great speech by the great Naomi Klein, in which she says “These boats were like messages passed between prison bars,” is here. Another great speech here by MC Lowkey, who says, “It’s not a line of division between Muslims and Jews – it’s a line of division between those who stand with the equality of all and those who stand for the supremacy of some.” Here are Turks storming the Zionist consulate in Istanbul. Those following the slow but steady realignment of Turkey in the region will understand the importance of these events.