Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Eyeless in Gaza: Exposing Systemic Media Bias Against Israel

It was undoubtedly unsettling when Hamas started launching rockets aimed at Israel next to the Associated Press’s Gaza headquarters, but it sure should have made it easy to report the news. Yet, the incident was never mentioned in any of their dispatches. They also spiked any reference to the Hamas gunmen who stormed their office in a blatant act of intimidation. Matt Friedman would know. He was present for both events. He is one of a handful of Western journalists who expose the media’s deliberately and knowingly biased reporting of the Gaza conflict, siding against Israel and with Hamas in Martin Himel’s Eyeless in Gaza (trailer here), which releases today on VOD.

The Western media was right about one thing: war crimes were committed in Gaza. They just blamed the wrong combatants. By any standard of international law, the use of human shields constitutes a war crime. This was Hamas’s primary strategy in Gaza, but only a handful of media outlets, notably from India and Italy, reported on the practice. Callously and cynically, Hamas intentionally tried to maximize civilian casualties in Gaza, as part of their concerted propaganda campaign. In fact, the IDF did its best to warn the local populace of their impending counter-attacks, but Hamas pressured them to stay and become cannon fodder.

Meanwhile, the terrorist organization continued to rain down Qassam rockets on Israeli towns like Sderot. Those crude projectiles are essentially flying pipe bombs—too unpredictable for legitimate military applications, but perfect for inflicting pain on civilian populations. Given their nature, a high percentage of Qassam rockets fell short into Gaza, but who do you think got the blame for that?

In some footage, Western journalists literally ignore or mischaracterize Qassam rockets launched mere feet from their positions. They have also grossly under-reported the network of “terror tunnels” Hamas built under Gaza for the express purpose of attacking Israeli civilians (with Western “humanitarian” aid funds). Yet, perhaps most revealing is the radio silence on the plight of nearly 160,000 self-identifying Palestinians who have been dispossessed and in many cases killed by Assad and Daesh during the Syrian civil war. Contrast that with the chorus of protests for about 2,000 killed during the Gaza conflict. So much for the media’s sympathy for Syrian refugees.

Himel is a trenchant interviewer who has a knack for getting the cold hard facts out of his subjects—in many cases more so than they probably intended. He also assembles some pointedly telling footage from media reports that are almost Orwellian in their disconnection from reality. Although only running an economical fifty-one minutes, it is a damning indictment of media malpractice. It is truly impossible to watch Eyeless and not be convinced the Western media has betrayed all its principles, recklessly siding with an illiberal terrorist faction, for the sake of a preconceived victimization narrative. Highly recommended for anyone seeking clarity and insight on the Israeli-Hamas conflict, Eyeless in Gaza is now available via digital VOD platforms, including Vimeo.