April 21, 2012 | 10:15 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
One of the reasons I write here is to present a different perspective to what you may see or hear on the news. The news may be presented as objective, but when it comes to news, there is no such thing as “objective”: from the topic you choose, to the order in which you present the comments by the people involved in the story- you show your opinion even if you don’t intend to.
This is why it is only natural for the international news to sometimes present a certain point of view which is slightly or distinctively against Israel. Some watch and read about the things some claim we do for the reasons they claim we go by, and are convinced that that information is true. After all, if it is on the news, it must have happened. The same goes here, I am sure of it. Being aware of this lacking of objectivity, I usually take the news I read for granted. Only after reading the same story in at least three different papers, do I rely on the shared information.
My point is that sometimes we fall for half-truths, and even twisted truths. But since true stories are the best way of demonstrating a point, I want to tell you the story of Nicky Larkin. The Irish filmmaker watched the violence in Gaza, courtesy of Israeli soldiers. The hatred burned through his veins as he read about operation Cast Lead in 2009, and he decided he could no longer stand aside. After receiving funding for filming a documentary about the vicious acts by the IDF, Larkin packed his bags and went on the first flight to Israel. Equipped with his camera, Larkin started filming in Bethlehem. What happened next turned everything around. In a column published in the Irish Independent, Larkin wrote about the adventure he could not foresee:
“I used to hate Israel. I used to think the Left was always right. Not any more. Now I loathe Palestinian terrorists. Now I see why Israel has to be hard. Now I see the Left can be Right—as in right-wing. So why did I change my mind so completely? Strangely, it began with my anger at Israel’s incursion into Gaza in December 2008 which left over 1,200 Palestinians dead, compared to only 13 Israelis. I was so angered by this massacre I posed in the striped scarf of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation for an art show catalogue.”
“Yet when I interviewed Hind Khoury, a former Palestinian government member, she sat forward angrily in her chair as she refused to condemn the actions of the suicide bombers. She was all aggression.
This aggression continued in Hebron, where I witnessed swastikas on a wall. As I set up my camera, an Israeli soldier shouted down from his rooftop position. A few months previously I might have ignored him as my political enemy. But now I stopped to talk. He only talked about Taybeh, the local Palestinian beer.”
“Looking back now over all I have learnt, I wonder if the problem is a lot simpler. Perhaps our problem is not with Israel, but with our own over-stretched sense of importance—a sense of moral superiority disproportional to the importance of our little country?”
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