Ribbity Blog

baqqa mqarqra
A Frog's-eye view

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Saturday, March 29, 2003

The top story in Israel at the moment is the mistreatment of leading TV reporter Dan Scemama by the American forces in Iraq (report). The radio reports on this story are ending with a statement from Scemama that the US forces are trying to control the media reports emerging from Iraq, and are co-ordinating a widespread campaign on disinformation.

What is interesting is that when this report was posted on the war-blog site The Command Post, by Israeli blogger Gil Shterzer, it was treated with nothing short of derision by the war-supporters, who automatically assumed that any critique of the US forces was enemy propaganda, and must be false. Shterzer has rightly defended the integrity of both Scemama and the news services carrying the story.

It will be interesting to see what the effect of this is on Israeli perceptions on the war. Scemama is a familiar face on Israeli television, and I assume is widely regarded as a reliable figure. He certain does not come over as an extremist or propagandist, and is sufficiently well known not to need to resort to gimicks to raise his profile.

Like most Israelis, he probably served in the armed forces and has experience of both combat and of the Middle East. He knows what it's like to be a soldier, and knows what unpleasant things happen when soldiers come into contact with civilians, even journalists. So his accusations of American brutality and media manipulation are bound to be taken seriously here, and will join an increasing number of voices who are beginning to express doubts about how well-thought-out the American policy has been. Certainly, the over-reliance upon heavy fire power with insufficient intelligence backup has been questioned.

I hope to post more on the Israeli reactions to the crisis in the coming days. To recent newcomers to the Frog, I welcome you and hope you find the site interesting. To veteran readers, I thank you for your interest and support over the months. Ribbity.

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