Saturday, August 29, 2015

29-Aug-15: Revisiting a Palestinian Arab village and its monsters

Nabi Saleh this past Friday [Image Source: Daily Mail UK]
Imagery in the service of jihad, mayhem and chronic
child abuse
There's a media fuss about images [here] of an Israeli serviceman tangling with "a little boy" in a Palestinian Arab village. The Daily Mail UK, one of the busiest online news sites, gave it very considerable attention on Friday here, correctly linking it to the particular form of image exploitation defined by Prof. Richard Landes as Pallywood
the alleged media manipulation by Palestinians to win public relations war against Israel [Daily Mail UK, today]
This short video clip of the same interaction provides a little more helpful context.

People not-so-much-in-the-know are unlikely to realize that the published photos are a small part of a larger, orchestrated event of the kind that happens in Nabi Saleh every week. Local press people know this because of the weekly invitations they get to come along and provide coverage. But most news consumers don't know that. They have no reason to understand - or to care about - the context and the larger picture.

Back in March 2013, we wrote ["A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns"] about several of the people who appear prominently in today's photos: about their town; about its systematic abuse of its own children; about how a place hell-bent on acts of lethal violence directed against Jews and Israelis has succeeded in camouflaging itself thanks to the willingness of gullible reporters, photographers and editors who provide them with the exposure they crave like oxygen; about the girl - the one in the pink t-shirt in the photo above - who for years has been paraded in front of the cameras in a variety of spunky-on-demand poses (all based on the certainty that IDF personnel are required to be careful and considerate when facing children - this isn't Syria, Ramallah or Gaza) and who has fully earned the nickname given to her by insightful observers who understand the artificial nature of the provocations in which she is the central performer. They know her as Shirley Temper: it's a totally fitting stage name.

From our March 2013 post
That article remains the most viewed post we ever wrote. But most news consumers unfortunately have no idea of the points we made and are making now. The mainstream news reports didn't tell them.

We went back to the contents of that 2013 post tonight in light of what happened on Friday. And we were struck by something interesting that unfortunately we failed to notice much earlier. Here's part of what we said in 2013:
The Wikipedia entry for Nabi Saleh describes the village of some 550 people in notably gentle terms. Centred on an old religious shrine to the prophet Shelah whom we encounter in Genesis as the son of Judah and grandson of the patriarch Jacob, it was a hamlet of a mere five houses in the late nineteenth century when the Turks ruled the area. It grew slowly under the Jordanian military occupation that started in 1948; then declined when Israel took control of the West Bank in 1967, and flourished and multiplied in the past two decades. Today, it’s the scene of weekly protest demonstrations and, to judge from Wikipedia’s English-language version, a place where things are done to passive inhabitants and for no apparent reason. Now if you go to the Arabic-language version of Wikipedia, you see a quite different emphasis. It's not at all a direct translation of the English version. It's created by different people for a different audience and different sensibilities. The Arabic Wikipedia entry depicts Nabi Saleh as a place of “popular resistance” that boasts of having taken a prominent role in two Intifadas, providing “hundreds of prisoners” and 17 so-called “martyrs on the altar of freedom”... The most prominent of the prisoners (Wikipedia's description) is a woman called Ahlam. Her surname is shared with almost every other inhabitant of the village: Tamimi.
(That woman is the convicted murderer of our daughter Malki. Often described as an "escort", she was in reality the chief planner of the massacre at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria on August 9, 2001. She personally brought the bomb to the site that she had selected, and fled before the explosion. She lives free as a bird today in Amman, Jordan, from where she makes weekly TV propaganda programs encouraging more acts of terror. Her chilling demonstrations of pleasure at the deaths of her victims, and in particular the children she killed, have given her the status of an iconic figure in the social media of both sides.)

If you go to the Arabic Wikipedia entry for Nabi Saleh today, you will see only a small fraction of what we saw then. Every single reference to the village people's adoration of jihad, martyrdom and death to the Israelis has been erased. The place is filled with restored-virgins all over again.

This seems unfair to us, so we went digging and - bless the Internet and its boundless resources - found the original Arabic text as it appeared on Wikipedia in May 2013.
  • We have now saved the original Arabic text here
  • The contents of that page, machine-rendered into English from the source Arabic, are here. [We updated that link on March 6, 2018 after an alert Twitter user pointed out that our original link - here - no longer works. The new one does.]
Friends of Israel, and of objective and accurate news reporting, understand well that the negative, visceral impact of powerful imagery - irrespective of whether it is stage-managed or altogether faked - is powerful and often unstoppable. The Tamimis of Nabi Saleh know this better than most and act on it. Their abuse of children, truth and the global news media channels will certainly continue because... it simply works.

UPDATE: Here's a longer video of Friday's Nabi Saleh production courtesy of the Tamimi publicity enterprise. And another here. The IDF service men we see clearly have the power, the skill, the strength and the weaponry to do something dramatic and long-lasting to stop the unpleasantness to which they are exposed in this stage-managed eruption of violence. They choose to avoid rising to the locals' provocation, handing the provocateurs a publicity gift, but ensuring the patient men and women of the IDF will continue to face the same kind of challenge in the coming days in Nabi Saleh - as they have for years already.

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