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Thursday, September 12, 2002

Thanks to Nikita, I found these rather gruesome pictures of a Palestinian lynch in Hebron on 23th April 2002. Unfortunately, the site on which they're posted also contains a link to a classic piece of obfiskation from the Independent of 24 April, which I'm please to say I missed when it first came out.

Fisk's ridiculously unbalanced reporting of the Middle East is well known to those familiar with his work. However, in this article he excels himself. Already, the headline is a give-away: Brutalised by war, a savage mob turns on its own. There's no need to go into the details: the Fiskian narrative of the wicked Israelis and the poor suffering peace-loving Palestinians is used to excuse (sorry, to "explain") even these barbaric acts. The perpetrators are really the victims.

Fisk conveniently overlooks the fact that Palestinian mob violence did not begin with Israeli rule over the West Bank and Gaza. Israelis didn't rule Palestine in 1929 when Palestinian Arab mobs massacred Jewish civilians, nor did they rule in 1948 when the mob savaged the residents of Kfar Etzion and dismembered their bodies; British photographs of the latter events have only recently come to light. Nor did Israel rule over Lebanon in the 1970s when Christian and Muslim militias - including Palestinian militias - liked to murder their enemies and drag their bodies through the streets before dumping them into the river. None of this is allowed to challenge his thesis that all Middle-Eastern violence and hatred stems from Israel. This kind one-dimensional nonsense long ago led serious commentators to dismiss Fisk's work as propaganda, and it is unfortunate that the site which posted the pictures put alongside it a link to Fisk's distorted commentary.

[Incidentally, Fisk uses the term "pornography" to describe the attack. However, Greek "porne" means 'harlot'. I assume that Fisk did not intend to imply that there was a sexual element to this lynch. Perhaps Fisk paid insufficient attention in his Greek lessons at school, just as he pays insufficient attention to so many other details.]

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