As if the truth even really mattered any more

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Ray Hanania’s Column

Who needs the truth when you have an Israeli military spokesman at your disposal answering questions, and an American media willing to be spoon-fed the fact?

Hitler couldn’t have had it better than Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who is using Mein Kampf as a blueprint for his own autobiography.

The Israeli military has refused to allow journalists, except those it has identified as “friendly” from the Israeli press, from covering the conflict. And, with them out of the way, the Israeli Government can, to put it simply, lie.

For example, the Israelis are shooting up Christian Holy Places in Bethlehem where journalists have been evicted and banned from entering.

Palestinians complain that the Israelis are destroying and damaging Christian Holy sites, such as the Church of the Nativity. In responses, an Israeli military spokeswoman said that the Israelis are only firing on Palestinian “terrorist” who are hiding behind the flowing robes of Jesus.

“We are under strict orders not to fire unless we are fired upon,” she said as F-16s, helicopter gun ships and tanks batter the Holy Christian city.

I guess we should just accept her word on that. Hell, why would a spokesman for a Jewish military army in emulating the Nazi blitzkrieg lie about damaging a Christian Holy site where Jesus was born?

In another incident, Palestinians complained that the Israelis were preventing ambulances of the Red Crescent from taking wounded to area hospitals. In fact, ambulance drivers have become a favored target of the Israelis. This gives the Israelis a higher per-capita murder rate. Why waste a bullet when killing the ambulance driver results in several deaths, included his wounded cargo?

The Israeli military spokesman explained it this way and it was repeated as if it were fact by Linda Gradstein, the NPR reporter who has earned a living as a speaker on the Pro-Israel speaker’s circuit: “We have caught Palestinians trying to hide belts of plastic explosives under their stretchers.”

Obviously even as they are dying, these Palestinians are trying to viciously murder the innocent Israelis who are doing nothing but trying to defend the homes and lands they stole from the Palestinians by driving their tanks, armored personnel carriers and weapons into Palestinian cities and towns.

Hey, if the Israelis say it, why would they lie about something like that, especially in the wake of the 2nd Millennium celebration of the Easter Holidays?

Of course, we will never know what the truth is in either situation because Israel is refusing to allow journalists to cover the conflict, again, unless you are one of Sharon’s pals or a proven pro-Israeli apologist, or PPA’s for short.

And, most American journalists are satisfied to just have that big, silver Israeli spoon sticking out of their mouths like the suckers that they are. Why risk it?

Instead, the Israeli spokesman takes his or her version of a story to the comfortable news room where people like Gradstein and others are spoon fed Israeli military excuses, err, “facts.”

What does the truth have to do with anything anyway?

If truth were important, Sharon would be in jail for war crimes, President Bush would be apologizing for stealing an election, Dick Cheney would be providing documents to a Grand Jury on the Enron scandal, and the American people would be living in an unusual era of peace and security.

(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American writer based in Chicago and a regular contributor to MMN. His columns are archived on the web at www.hanania.com)

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