A study of the political, religious and cultural factors underlying the pro-Israeli bias apparent in the Western media today, as depicted in the mainstream news and television programmes.
Using two recent Hollywood blockbusters (‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘Munich’) as case-studies, Seyfeddin Kara draws parallels between the traditional presentation of racial minorities in Western cinema and the representation of Palestinians in Hollywood today.
Extracts from a study by the Islamic Human Rights Commission into the representation of Muslims in the media that reflect the intersection of ideas of Palestine and Muslims and Islam in the British media. These particular extracts look at the portrayal of Palestine in some Hollywood movies and suggest that the impact of these types of images and ideas are of huge significance in shaping public opinion against Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.
A review of the documentary based on the book of the same name which meticulously examines the portrayal of Arabs in some 750 movies from Hollywood’s earliest days until today.
The book under review courageously explores the bitter realities behind the creation of Israel, a process of ethnic cleansing which continues today.
The issue of representation in the media is a major issue and has spanned many studies in academia. Representation in the media of certain communities or peoples or races for that matter has serious repercussions on how the subject is viewed by the masses. Take the issue of Palestine for example and its ongoing crisis with the Zionists. It is often portrayed within a war framework. Such a framework is used by the mainstream media in its regular reports or analysis of the crisis although it is wholly unjustified. How can it be when a war is supposed to be between two countries of equal capabilities? In the case of Palestine and Israel it is hardly an equal match-up. It is more of a David versus the Goliath scenario; the David in this case being the Palestinians and Goliath the Israeli army. With more than 400 nuclear warheads on one side with not even an established army on the other, it is more of a slaughter than a war. The activities of various armed factions in Palestine can be seen merely as guerilla movements rather than an organised army. However, the media does not see it that way and would rather make it fit within the framework of a war between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The deeper you analyse the conflict the more you realise that what is at stake here is the actual survival of a people against a steady campaign of ethnic cleansing, and thus it should be viewed as such.
This forms the subject matter of a new book written by Dr Ilan Pappe, reviewed here by Dr Mohamad Nasrin. Pappe demonstrates the need to replace the war framework with an ethnic cleansing framework through utilisation of various evidences from archive files and documented history written by prominent leaders of Israel (i.e. David Ben Gurion et. al) themselves. Ramzy Baroud on the other hand talks about how the media language in America is designed to conjure up images to support Israel and degrade the Palestinians. In Britain, the media has also been tailored to suit a preferable Israeli framework as can be seen here in the extracts from a report on British Media Representation. The media responses to such accusations have been attempts to humanise the Arab which can be seen clearly in Seyfeddin Kara’s article. However as Kara concludes, the Arabs or the Muslims in general are still ‘implicitly misrepresented’ in the two instances that he analyses, using various academic approaches. Last but not least, we have a DVD review by Arzu Merali. The DVD is based upon a book written by Dr Jack Shaheen which has the same title as the DVD i.e. Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People. Our aim has been to expose the double standards and stereotyping that occurs in the mainstream media in the hope that this will change, and a more stable or more balanced framework will be used in analyzing, reporting and representing the Palestinians.
Dr Mohamad Nasrin bin Mohamad Nasir
[Editorial Note: In the process of writing this editorial, news has reached us of the passing away of Ramzy Baroud’s father. We at the Palestinian Internationalist convey our sincere condolences to the Baroud family. Ramzy Baroud’s article on the death of his father can be seen at www.counterpunch.org/baroud04052008.html ]
Copyright © 2005 Palestine Internationalist
source: Volume 3 Issue 3 (Apr 2008), http://www.palint.org/mag.php?issuenum=33
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