Friday, August 13, 2010

“Grave” Errors and Serious Omissions as Swedish Media Group Pursues Anti-Israel Bias

TT (Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå), is Sweden’s wire service  for Swedish news and foreign reports as well as providing internet and radio news, and serving as a source for Swedish television. Owned by the major Swedish newspapers, it is practically monolithic as a mainstream new source. As we have reported this week, there is an Israel-bashing story almost every day in the mainstream press.

One of the anti-Israel stories TT sent around lately was about Israel allegedly desecrating Muslim graves to put up a Museum of Tolerance. The misinformation about this project is outlined in the blog Peace in the Middle East (Fred i Mellanöstern), which describes the total misrepresentation of the facts in this case which were originally “dug up” by blogger Elder of Zion. The Jerusalem Post confirms the blogger’s information, a key element of which is that:

- “the Supreme Muslim Council of British Mandate Palestine had planned to build a large commercial center directly on top of the cemetery in 1945.”

Incidentally, the English source for this information was none other than a 1945 edition of the Palestine Post, the precursor of the Jerusalem Post.  Basically, today’s complaints are completely false regarding Israeli intent to desecrate Muslim “holy ground”. In fact, that was already done by none other than the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini (a Nazi ally), who had built the Palace Hotel adjacent to the cemetery; due to arguments with the then-Muslim municipality, “Husseini agreed [with the contractors] to lay pipes to send the hotel's (partially treated) sewage - to the cemetery itself”. 

In effect TT, while claiming to be a professional and dedicated media organization, has managed to complain about Israeli development of a tract of land which Muslims themselves had planned to develop, and which the Mufti had already desecrated himself by pumping sewage into it.  All this information is readily available in English, including scans of original documents. Since running a story like this amounts to sheer propaganda and contributes to the anti-Israeli hatred already rampant in Sweden among Muslim immigrants and the leftists, the TT staff seems to be better described as professional liars and agitators. 

Having dismissed this non-news, fictional item, let’s have a look at just one story which was covered in the Israeli media in the last week. This story concerns an explosion in Gaza which leveled 8 homes, and damaged 30 more and left 50 injured. Yes, Palestinian homes were destroyed and civilians were hurt but there was no outcry by Hamas supporters among Sweden's loyal left.


Well, it seems that Hamas was using the house as an explosives depot, right in the middle of a residential area. Hot weather and poor storage conditions led to the spontaneous blast. Of course, for those familiar with Islamic terror organizations, this is more or less standard procedure.  The Israeli papers often report these “work accident” explosions which occur in inhabited areas.  Many villages in southern Lebanon are exploited in the same way, and these accidents happen there, too.

Use of human shields as cover for combatants and weapons directly contravenes the Geneva convention. The residents complained that they had repeatedly asked Hamas officials to relocate the explosives cache, but were silenced by Hamas authorities. This was corroborated by a local Palestinian human rights group notes the JPost:
“’Usually when such explosions occur the armed groups in Gaza announce it’s Israel’s fault,’” Hamdi Shaqqura, deputy director for program affairs at the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights, told The Media Line.

‘But our investigations often find that this is not the case.’

Shaqqura said armed groups try to hide the existence of bombs in residential areas, because local residents ‘would not agree to live on a barrel of explosives.’”

So, for TT and its media pals, it’s okay to report fake stories about Israelis, but you will never see the Gaza population depicted as victims of Hamas war crimes. This is yet another example of real humanitarian racism—most of the suffering of Gaza population is brought upon them by their corrupt, inhumane, and repressive regime. No one, especially in the Swedish mainstream media is calling for Hamas to stop putting its citizens at risk; in fact this kind of bias gives legitimacy to terrorists and their allies, such as the Ship to Gaza participants.  But as long as Hamas has Israel in its gun sights, it seems propaganda is fair play for TT.
What a shame that Sweden’s “free”, “democratic” and “transparent” of “promoting diversity and making sure that people get more than one side of a story”.

As the Swedish authorities also warn:
“…the right to express an opinion calls for responsibility. Freedom of speech can be offensive, incite discrimination or violence, or have negative consequences for an individual or society.”

It’s time for the press and the government to take their own words to heart.  They must stop supporting war criminals by bashing Israel in the government-supported media while ignoring the clear human rights violations on the part of Hamas. It’s time to stop making media darlings out of protest tourists who joined “Ship to Hamas”, and it’s inexcusable that the Foreign Minister,Social Democrat Carl Bildt, greeted them as V.I.P.s on their return to Sweden.  When the government bankrolls and encourages one-sided propagandists for terror, it is complicit in supporting terrorism. That is certainly a negative consequence for Swedish society.

By: Chanah Shapira

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