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September 21, 2012

Context Breaks Out Over anti-Israel Forces

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Context occasionally peaks through often superficial Middle East news coverage. It did so in an Associated Press dispatch headlined “Syrian rebels win control of key crossing on border with Turkey” published by The Washington Post (September 20 print edition).

AP correspondent Nebi Qena reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “told Iran’s visiting foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi that the fight against his government ‘targets resistance as a whole, not only Syria,’ an apparent reference to countries and groups opposed to Israel’s existence. The ‘axis of resistance’ includes Syria and Iran, along with the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group in Lebanon and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.”

Regardless of the failure to describe Hezbollah and Hamas accurately as terrorist organizations, the wire service’s explanation of what “resistance” or “the resistance” means to those who so describe themselves is crucial. News media including The Post sometimes suspend journalistic scrutiny and echo Hezbollah, Hamas, Syrian or Iranian claims of “resistance” or that they are “resisting the occupation,”

Implied is that “resistance” is aimed at Israeli control of the West Bank, or of “Shebaa Farms,” or the Gaza Strip. Usually left unsaid is that the Palestinian Authority administers more than 90 percent of the Arab population of the West Bank; that “Shebaa Farms” is a small part of Syria’s Golan Heights, held by Israel but claimed by Hezbollah as Lebanese and used as a pretext by the group to retain its weapons in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701; or that Israelis withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip—now run by Hamas—in 2005.

“Resistance” had an honorable pedigree once, epitomized by various anti-Nazi movements in countries occupied by Germany during World War II. No doubt this contributed to its propagandistic confiscation by groups and countries quite Nazi-like in their ideologies and actions toward Jews and the Jewish state. AP clarifies in one two-sentence paragraph that “resistance” in this context means “opposition to Israel’s existence.”

If only this small paragraph in a short article were to start a journalistic trend ….

Posted by ER at September 21, 2012 01:22 PM

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