Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Rules and Guidelines for Westerners reporting on the Middle East

Following  recent media reporting about Israel I am pleased to reveal the following rule book issued to all members of the Western media corps:


Rule 1 (Incidents involving possible loss of Arab lives)

If there is any incident either in Israel or near its borders in which there are claims of Arab losses you should write a report with the following headline:
“Israeli troops kill X Arab civilians including Y children”
For the numbers X and Y simply choose the highest figures from the following sources:
  • Syrian State Television
  • Hamas
  • Hezbollah
  • The Palestinian Authority
  • Al Jazeera
  • Any person within 20 miles of the incident who is wearing a kaffiya or a Burka.
You do not need to state the source of your claim. In the unlikely event that an Israeli spokesman claims either a different figure or that the incident simply did not happen you may end your report with the following:
“An Israeli spokesman claimed, without evidence, that they ‘acted in self-defence’.
Note that there are certain circumstances where Arab deaths from violence should not be reported at all. This is when Arabs themselves openly claim to be the killers. This applies, for example, in the following cases:
  • Mass slaughter in fighting between different rival groups (Hamas vs PA, Hamas vs Al Qaeda, PA vs Islamic Jihad etc)
  • Where the victims are accused of being Israeli collaborators
If news of these killings does leak out into the Western media then simply write a brief statement including the words:
“The underlying cause of the violence was the oppressive Israeli occupation”
Any claims of deaths of Israelis during such incidents can be assumed to be false and hence ignored.

Rule 2: Incidents involving loss of Israeli lives

If Israelis are killed in a terrorist attack, then treat this as an opportunity to take a vacation from reporting.

However, you should immediately return from your vacation if it is discovered that an Israeli family in Jerusalem is planning to build an extra bedroom to accommodate their new baby. In that case you should write a story with the headline
Israelis destroy chance of peace by announcing new West Bank settlement plans. 
At the end of the article you can use the following statement:
An Israeli government spokesman claimed that the settlement plans were in response to what they claimed was a ‘terrorist attack’. 
The only exceptions to this rule are as follows:
  • In the event of a suicide bombing you may interview the suicide bomber’s family and write a sympathetic piece stating how the bomber was a loving family person driven to his/her actions by the Israeli occupation. Be careful to refer to the actual suicide bombing only in vague abstract terms, never mentioning the victims or their families.
  • In the event of a particularly brutal terrorist attack, such as the slaughter of an entire family in their home in which a baby is decapitated, you can, if news of the attack reaches outside Israel, write a brief report with the following words:
“Although the Israelis claim that a terrorist attack occurred at X, it is more likely to have been the result of a disgruntled Thai worker, Jewish militants intent on sparking anti-Arab violence, or simply a family dispute. ”

Make sure you never mention the widepsread celebrations that take place throughout the Palestinian territories. Instead you should quote a Palestinian Authority spokesman, who having just led the celebrations with proclamations such as "This will be the fate of all Jews" in Arabic tells you in English that the Palestinian Authority do not approve of the attack as it damages their cause, and that in any case such actions are the natural response to the Israeli occupation.

Rule 3: Demographics

Remember the following important demographics in any report:
  • Any Palestinian under the age of 24 is a child.
  • Any Palestinian under the age of 12 is a baby.
  • Any Palestinian over the age of 33 is a grandfather/grandmother.
  • There are no Israeli ‘civilians’ and certainly no Israeli ‘children’. They are just soldiers or settlers.
  • Every Palestinian is a civilian. Those who produce suicide videos armed with machine guns vowing to kill as many Jews as possible are simply civilians forced by the Israeli occupation into becoming ‘militants’. 
  • Palestinian cities and towns are refugees camps.
  • Israeli cities and towns are settlements.
Rule 4: Speaking to the natives

Never interview an Israeli. Although this is especially important after an incident such as the above, it applies equally to any aspect of life in Israel or the Middle East. The only exceptions to this rule are:
  • Haaretz reporters
  • Members of the Islamic Movement
  • Amos Oz
  • Any recent American Jewish immigrant living in the West Bank who uses Biblical quotations every other sentence.
To ensure this rule is adhered to it is safest to simply never speak to any Israeli Jew. Hence, make sure that whenever your are in Israel you either stay in the (Arab) American Colony Hotel Jersusalem or are hosted by a member of the Palestinian Authority or a person with a Haaretz press pass.

Rule 5 (Terminology)
  • The word ‘terrorist’ must never be used except when referring to Jewish residents of the West Bank accused of acting provocatively in the presence of an Arab.  
  • Any Arab in a combat zone is unarmed if they are not carrying a mobile missile launcher.  Any kind of guns, knives, swords, rocks, sticks or heavy metal items are, as a matter of course carried by unarmed Arabs since it is part of their cultural heritage.
  • In any report you must insert the word “settler” after the word “Israeli”, unless it is known that they live outside of Central Tel Aviv, in which case you must add the word “fanatical” before “Israeli”. 
  • When mentioning the name of any Israeli city or town (i.e. settlement) you must also include the words occupied terroritory.
  • When mentioning any Israeli politician you must insert the word “hardline”, “extremist”, or “right-wing” before their name (if in doubt it is best to insert all three words).
  • In any report about Palestinians use the following words: “authentic”, “welcoming”, “poor”.
  • When mentioning any Palestinian politician you must insert the word “moderate” before their name, even if they are a leader of Hamas.
Rule 6 (Peace activists)

Any non-Arab in the region who is involved in violent anti-Israel activities is a peace activist. If such a person dies under any circumstances then you must state before any evidence is produced that this person “was killed by Israeli troops”. You must also put out an urgent call to all journalists in the world to write about nothing else for the next 7 days. Also contact every playwrite to request a play dedicated to this martyr of the Palestinian cause.


Rule 7 (Arabic speeches)

Never use the services of an Arabic translator to find out what Arab leaders and clerics are telling their own people, as in “We will not rest until every Jew is dead”. This will ensure you do not have to waste time telling readers that they have directly contradicted what they told you in English (as in “We want peace with Israel”). It will also save you having to explain (or even report) that wild anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are believed by 99.999% of all Arabs. A simple rule of thumb is the following:
Any statement X made to you by an Arab in English is to be treated as unimpeachable truth. Any statement Y made by an Arab in Arabic that contradicts X, can be treated as false and hence ignored.
In the unlikely event that news of the translation gets into the main stream media you simply have to report that the translation is the work of MEMRI – a Zionist organisation dedicated to mis-translation to make Arabs look like anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic psychopaths. If, even after that, the translation is proved to be accurate then you can simply say that the statement was "theatrical rhetoric which was never supposed to be meant literally".

Rule 8 (Israeli evidence)

Be aware that in most major stories where you are able to cast Israel as the devil incarnate, the Israelis subsequently produce hard evidence (videos, documents etc) that prove they were not guilty of the claims that had been made. In such cases there is no need to report on the new evidence. However, if you wish to remind readers of the original story you can include the following words at the end:
“Israel has claimed that some of these accusations are not true, but sources cast doubt on the authenticity of the Israeli evidence”.
Rule 9 (Rocket attacks against Israel)

The rule here is simple: Never report on any rocket attacks against Israel (also note: there is no Israeli town called Sderot). The only exception to this rule is if Israel eventually retaliates. In that case you can lead with a major story reporting that Israel has attacked civilians and you can include the following statement at the end of your 26 page report:
“The Israelis claim that their attack was in response to home made rocket attacks from Gaza/Lebanon.”

Rule 10 (Geography and Religion)

  • Never look at a map of the whole Middle East. That way you will never have to reveal that Israel is less than the size of Wales surrounded by Muslim countries with a land mass several thousand times as large.
  • Although you can refer to the fact that 20% of Israel's population are Arabs you should only do so if you include the words "oppressed minority", "abused", "underclass", "impoverished".
  • Never ask why over 50% of Israel’s Jewish population appears to have dark or even black skin. This might otherwise force you to reveal that, contrary to your assumption that they are all of European/American origin they are actually native Middle Eastern and Ethiopian. 
  • Never ask why there are 0 Jews living in Gaza, 0 Jews living in the PA occupied part of the West Bank, 0 Jews living in Jordan, less than 50 Jews living in Egypt, less than 20 Jews living in Syria, and less than 30 Jews living in Lebanon. Do, however, say that Israel's policies make it an apartheid state committed to ethinic cleansing of all Arabs.
  • Never ask why Israel is the only country in the Middle East whose Christian population is expanding.
  • Never ask why Jersusalem is mentioned 800 times in the Old Testament and 0 times in the Koran. Do, however, refer at least once in every report to the fact that Jerusalem is sacred to Muslims.
Rule 11 (Tactics of War)

  • Targetted assassinations of terrorists carried out by Israelis are, under all circumstances, heineous war crimes. When reporting such crimes always use the words widespread international condemnation and invoke the spectre of  a UN Security Council resolution. Never mention that the assassination was carried out with such careful planning and skill that no civilian was harmed during the operation. Also never mention the direct threat the terrorist posed to Israel, nor the Israelis previously killed by the terrorist.
  • Targetted assassinations of terrorists carried out by any country other than Israelis are, under all circumstances, causes for jubiliation. When reporting such crimes always use the words widespread international support although you can include the words "concern expressed by some Muslim militants". Never mention the fact that, unlike assassinations carried out by Israelis, dozens of innocent civilians were also killed. Also never mention the fact that the terrorist did not pose a direct threat to the country carrying out the attack.
  • Never mention the fact that in Palestinian suicide terrorist attacks, children are always specifically targetted. Just stress that such attacks are the inevitable result of the 'occupation' and 'poverty'.
  • The total blockading of a country's borders and carpet bombing of its cities by nations from the other side of the world   (as in, e.g.  Libya) is a highly comendable tactic even though the country poses no threat to its neighbours. Stress the tyrannical nature of the regime being bombed (and do not remind readers that 6 months earlier you were telling them what a wonderful reformer their leader was) and never remind readers about the civilians living there (who mostly hate the regime)
  • The blockading of Gaza's sea border to stop weapons deliveries, and the targeted bombing of its terror facilities by its neighbour (Israel) who the Gazans have shelled indiscriminately, is a heineous war crime, that must be the subject of multiple UN resolutions, enquiries, and 'peace' flotillas.  Never mention the tyrannical nature of the Hamas regime but focus only on the civilians living there (without mentioning that they support the regime and all rejoice in the deaths of Israeli citizens). You should also point out the 'hypocrisy of the West' in not imposing a no-fly zone on Israel.



Rule 12 (Peace Partners)

Under no circumstances ever mention that the Hamas Charter calls for the death of all Jews and cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for its inspiration. Similarly, never mention that, even after the Oslo accords, the Palestinian Authority has never renounced its own charter calling for the destruction of Israel.

Rule 13 - The Final Option


If you have any doubt about the content of a story, or if you simply cannot be bothered to write anything yourself, then simply copy and paste whatever Al Jazeera is saying on its website.

53 comments:

Daphne Anson said...

Excellent, Edgar! A tour through the hypocrisy, and a tour de force!

Edgar Davidson said...

Daphne

Thanks!

YMedad said...

After three decades of professional media monitoring, I award you my approbation.

Daphne Anson said...

I predict it will go viral!

btw, I've taken the liberty of posting rule 11 on my blog, with a link to this post for the rest of the rules.

Edgar Davidson said...

Daphne

I am very happy you posted it. Thanks.

Shirl in Oz said...

Fantastic Edgar. I just picked it up on Daphne Anson's blog

It's now on it's way around Australia, Canada and the USA

Shalom for 'down under'

Vandoren said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear! I fear, Edgar, that you may have intended this as a spoof, trouble is it is actually the case. A friend of mine who has been a correspondent for a couple of national media organizations in Australia and the US, has told us of compulsory 'inductions' for newly arrived journalists who want to report from the PA administered areas, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and, to a less forceful extent, Jordan. Most media outlets want to maintain a position in these areas and so the journos are told by the bosses back home to bow to thew local 'rules'. Objective reporting in Saudi and the Gulf States just doesn't happen.

BBJ said...

Oh, that just about covers it. And is funny to boot!

Edgar Davidson said...

Anonymous:

>Oh dear! I fear, Edgar, that you may have intended this as a spoof, trouble is it is actually the case.

Yes, my experiences in complaining directly to UK media suggest it is not far from the truth.

OyVaGoy said...

V good, very funny.

Indigo said...

Excellent stuff!! Funny and sharp. And poignant...

Abu Teddy said...

Great article , Edgar. Thanks for your contribution to the truth.

Anonymous said...

thank you edgar! do you know what happens when christians and other people of this world sees this? THEY send a letter to tell them to look at this website and that every letter the arabs are sending is complete crap! do you guys not know what the meaning of peace means! i'm sending a letter to the US the UK and Israel!

silverdog said...

A classic worthy of a new UN Resolution...or perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize. Well done sir.

Michael said...

Wow, outstanding work - as a non fanatical, former Tel Aviv dwelling Israeli American, I say THANKS EDGAR!

amie said...

Oh, now I get it; this BBC reporter Kevin Connolly I heard yesterday who seemed to me to be another Jeremy Bowen is just following the Rules!

"Something in the futility of the protests - the way the demonstrators were stuck at the razor wire perhaps - conjured echoes of the vulnerability and pathos of soldiers fighting in World War I.

Except, of course, that the groups we watched carried no firearms".
....

"In the eyes of enemies, Israel will have confirmed itself as a brutal, ruthless, militaristic and expansionist state, because it has no internationally-recognised legal right to the Golan Heights."

And then gives a clear hint he agrees with these "enemies":

"And the Israel of Majdal Shams hardly seems like the Jewish David ranged against the collective Goliath of the Arab world".


He doesn't believe the "Israeli" version that protesters are paid (he must have missed the Guardian report) but concludes that anyway

"Someone who is prepared to risk their life for $50 is going to make a pretty desperate long term enemy"

read the whole transcript here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/9508156.stm

Edgar Davidson said...

Yes that BBC report was the one I wanted to respond to but there is nowhere to leave comments.

Karmafish said...

Edgar,

I am going to post this to my blog, as well.

Israel Thrives

http://karmafishies.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

hail to you brave edgar!
couldn't be put better.
you also may add a warning :
"beware, if fail to comply, you may be killed/disappear due to some act of annonimus forces".

Anonymous said...

Great post!

malgorzata.koraszewska said...

May I translate it into Polish and try to find a good site to place it?

malgorzata.koraszewska said...

Maybe I should have added that I'm responsible for all the translations of MEMRI's material into Polish so I can promise that your wonderful text will not be mis-translated...

Juan Manuel Sacristán said...

Very good!! I don't agree with everything but helps to understand the difficultness of the problem.

Shirl in Oz said...

malgorzata.koraszewska

If you don't hear back from the originator of this blog and seeing that there is no way to contact "Edgar"

I would say go for it, as it is a compliment, but make sure the copy to credited back to this blog

Edgar Davidson said...

I already emailed Malgorzata to say I was happy to have a translation. The more the merrier!

Shirl in Oz said...

In that case Edgar, I'll happily post it around the place with a link back to you of Course!

Edgar Davidson said...

Shirl

Please do

Jonathan Levy said...

Very Clever!

Tours Israel said...


Jerusalem Tours

malgorzata.koraszewska said...

Your text in Polish is here: http://izrael.org.il/opinie/1499-edgar-davidson-reguy-i-wytyczne-dla-dziennikarzy-zachodnich-relacjonujcych-z-bliskiego-wschodu.html
I've also sent it to a printed monthly magazine "Midrasz" but haven't got any answer yet. Thank you!
BTW - never got that e-mail but, never mind, permission was more important:)

Edgar Davidson said...

Malgorzata

Thanks (I now realise I did not have a correct email address for you)

Anonymous said...

DO you know that in the Israeli constitution, lethal force is to be used to kill and maim Palestinians and the rest of the Middle East? Did you know that in the book written by former Israeli president Ariel Shaaron, violence is preached against Israel's biggest ally, the United States of America? Israeli people must stand up against their state and realize that being supportive of the Israeli government is not necessarily conforming with the standards of their culture and/or religion. And you seem to have mentioned that there are 0 jews living in Saudi Arabia - can you please quote your source? Don't bother, I'm a jew and I live in Saudi Arabia, and I have a number of jewish friends here, some who are much like yourself, blindly supportive to the Israeli government and open to its propaganda and how it tends to always victimize itself.

tl;dr : umadbro?

malgorzata.koraszewska said...

Here is another site which posted your text in Polish - I do hope it will go to more places yet: http://fzp.net.pl/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6519

Malgorzata

Edgar Davidson said...

Anonymous who said

"I'm a jew and I live in Saudi Arabia, and I have a number of jewish friends here, some who are much like yourself, blindly supportive to the Israeli government and open to its propaganda"

is a liar unless he is simply working in Saudi Arabia and not practicing his Judaism. As in Jordan Jews are banned from being citizens and Census data does not identify any Jews as residing within Saudi Arabian territory. Jewish (as well as Christian and other non-Muslim) religious services are prohibited from being held on Saudi Arabian soil. When American military personnel were stationed in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, permission for small Christian worship services was eventually granted, but Jewish services were only permitted on US warships.

SapperK9 said...

Rule 14

The Arab invasion of the UN authorised State of Israel in 1948 in an attempt to see Hitler's "Final Solution" inflicted on Jews never happened. And the fact that Arabs FAILED, and therefore lost all moral efficacy for millennia will also be denied at every opportunity as a clear example of Zionist propaganda...

Anonymous said...

RULE 15 (if I may)
After an anti_Israel story you have printed with much fanfare on the front page for a few days is proven to be either completely false or grossly overstated, make sure any retraction, apology or correction is a small paragraph, buried in an irrelevant and inconspicuous part of the paper.

Edgar Davidson said...

SapperK9 (re proposed Rule 14):

Yes I plan to update it soon with rules on the History of the Middle East.

Anonymous (re proposed Rule 15)

I think I already covered this one in Rule 8

jdubow said...

This article needs to be circulated to every Jewish group on US Campuses such as Hillel groups and every temple in the country. I have exhausted myself trying to open peoples eyes to the growing anti-Semitism on campus and in the media.

This article will help because it spells out the techniques and people will subconsciously see when the media use the techniques described here. George Orwell would be proud of you!

thebilateralist said...

I wanted to add your link to my blog but I am not set up to have separate links as you are. My blog is "thebilateralist@blogspot.com" can you guide me?

Edgar Davidson said...

To thebilateralist:

To add links you need to edit your template in the blogger dashboard.

Look at the html which does the "About Me" section. Copy and paste this, but replace "Aboout me" with "Links" etc.

The Promised Landing said...

Great piece (peace?) Edgar!
I love it!!!

Is there a hebrew translation of it or would you mind a hebrew translation be made for the not-so-englishable residents of the holy land??

thanks & bless,
The Promised Landing

p.s. - to anonymous who said:
"DO you know that in the Israeli constitution.... bla bla bla"

i would like to ask him to show where it says whatever he's saying as to the fact Israel has NO constitution to this day (unfortunate fact of course).

Edgar Davidson said...

Promised Landing:

My Hebrew isn't good enough to do a satisfactory translation, but I would love it if you were able to do one.

The Promised Landing said...

Hey Edgar,
i pull out a Hebrew translation hopefully it is good enough...
i hope you don't mind me forwarding this translation to interested residents of the holy land... (with credits of course).

let me know if you want it as well to be posted somewhere.

all best,
The Promised Landing

Ray Cook said...

I just tweeted a link with a good response.

Excellent

David Kessler said...

I once did a word count and could only find Jerusalem 690 times in the Hebrew Bible - not 800. (OTOH, I may have omitted the apocrypha).

I note that the "Jewish" Saudi Arabian was anonymous. Maybe he doesn't want the Saudis to know!

Not a sheep said...

A simply fantastic piece of analysis. I have reposted it on my blog, with link and attribution. I trust that you do not mind. If you do tell me and I will remove

Stephan White said...

Very good!! I don't agree with everything but helps to understand the difficultness of the problem.

Media Monitoring

anneinpt said...

Excellent article! I just found it via your comment on Harry's Place.

I would add that you omitted one small item on Rule No. 3 and Rule No. 5:

When mentioning the word "settlements" always add the phrase "the settlements are illegal under international law".

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Endof Daze said...

Brilliant!
Sarcasm and satire really are the only tools to use when writing about Israel in a world of double standards and hypocrisy

Anonymous said...

I think the BBC will be very annoyed you leaked one of their internal policy documents.