jewin' the fat

Top Ten: The Zionist Conspiracy

In honour of the biggest Zionist day in the calendar year this week, here’s a tribute to the ten or so biggest Zionist-stereotypes, all of whom claiming to hold the key to what a ‘true’ Zionist really is. The reality is, at the end of the day, that Zionism is not a political theory, power conspiracy nor a policy of a government (as detractors/hacks/ignoramuses may assume), it is an ideology which is inherently personal, and interpreted by the individual to facilitate self-determination as a member of the Jewish people.

As it turns out, a bunch of those Jew-Individuals got together a couple hundred years ago and, determined to do more than argue with each other on the value of a state for Jews or a Jewish state, actually set about creating it.

It is neither the plot of the 8th Harry Potter novel, 'Harry Potter and the Zionist Conspiracy to take over the world with superior money-handling skills and uber-developed business acumen mu-ha-ha-ha-hacking-cough-ha-ha!" (HT @ : he's a Zionist - he knows!)

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Marketing Magic or Mischief?
January 18, 2010, 4:02 PM
Filed under: Comment, media | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sometimes the media can surprise you. Not the usual sort of surprise – the kind that can incense the masses, cause mass-letter writing and clog the 1800-complaint services servers.

No, I’m talking about the kind of surprise demands a sharp inhalation of anxiety, and then, in an unusual turn, dissipates, only to cause the expelling of  calm and quandary. What on earth was – Did I just witness that ? Could it be that our darling media, with their infinite faults and foibles, are … somehow … with it?

See for yourself.  

As the abstract explains “Sky TV takes embedded journalism one step further with “West Bank”, a television commercial working with the concept, “Let the news speak for itself”. We’re taken to a Palestinian protest against Israel’s latest offensive, where the participants in the conflict give us their perspective on what’s happening …

Grab from Sky TV's advertisement

Created by a New Zealand company, DDB Auckland, it is quite simply, a stunning success in television News advertising – which has always placed more emphasis on the medium over the message – take for example the example Joris Lyundjek provides in ‘Fit to Print’, reprinted for ABC Unleashed here, where he recounts the impossibility of reporting the facts without the images – “After all, you tell the story with images — so it’s quite logical that if you don’t have an image, you don’t have a story.”

According to Sally Young from the University of Melbourne, this kind of advertising is a means to reverse the trend of young people searching for news content away from traditional media forms (Broadsheet, TV, Radio) – essentially making the argument that Sky News (The most watched cable TV News channel in Australia) has just as much to offer, if not more than online. And considering 48 per cent of Sky News viewers are over Fifty, it needed to make a compelling point. Which this advert does.
From a purely Marketing perspective, it is a fantastic strategy, especially considering a 30-sec spot in the middle-to-end of the news bulletin is not the most informative or effective tool of disseminating information. But TV is where a large proportion of people retrieve their understanding of their world, and in this case, the Israel-Palestinian conflict – 1 in 2 people in Australia own a TV.
So ‘moral flexibility’ aside, the real question is how effective will this campaign be in creating new viewers, or holding on to ratings for the channel? Created by a Kiwi company, it clearly has a local insight and a strong grasp of the needs and opinions of New Zealanders (would this kind of campaign work in the US or UK I wonder?), but it does raise some interesting points about TV news in general – or at least what has lacked in TV news.

Old men in Khaki reporting from Hotel bedrooms and cocktail lounges no longer suffice, when you have Chinese students blogging about human rights atrocities in Beijing, Burmese feeding up-to-the-minute reports on riots to traditional news media or Iranians tweeting photos of Basji attacks.

The ongoing division and revision of media is what this particular advert  is about. Media. Not Israel and Palestine – but the use of the conflict to market a media product. The point isn’t that Sky may or may not change it’s modus operandi – it’s about selling the promise that it doesn’t need to. It may not be smart journalism, and it is generally accepted that  TV isn’t exactly the place for smart journalists any more – but it is clever advertising, and that’s what counts.

Actions speak louder than words
July 16, 2009, 3:46 PM
Filed under: Comment, Israel, media | Tags: , , , , ,

 “Well, it’s Groundhog Day… again… and that must mean that we’re up here at Gobbler’s Knob waiting for the forecast from the world’s most famous groundhog weatherman, Punxsutawney Phil, who’s just about to tell us how much more winter we can expect.” 
* * *
Fool me once ... The Conduct of IDF soldiers is once again being called into question
Fool me once … The Conduct of IDF soldiers is once again being called into question

‘Breaking the Silence’, a human rights group came out yesterday with a report into the Israeli Defence Forces conduct in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead. Using the anonymous testimony of a group of  soldiers, the report condemns the IDF as indiscriminately brutal, and refutes the high morals of the IDF, referring to a systematic “shoot to kill” policy that testimonies describe as enforced across the board.

But haven’t we heard this all before?

* * *

“You want a prediction about the weather … I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.”

* * *

That’s right, not even two months ago, the IDF Rabin Pre-Military Academy was embroiled in a similar scandal that shot around the world. The IDF investigated the claims internally, and found the testimony quoted in an internal document, leaked to the media, was a mixture of heresay and rumour, and the author of the document, and head of the academy Danny Zamir made a public statement saying, “From an internal discussion … the international media turned the IDF into war criminals.”

Why is the international media prepared to fight tooth and nail to validate sources, and thus ensure the credibility of a story, but when it comes to a report, based on the unattributed, unsubstantiated testimony of unknown IDF ‘soldiers’, they are more than willing to drop all journalistic standards of inquiry and investigation?

As IDF spokesperson Avital Leibovich says, none of the accounts can be proven or investigated because of their anonymous nature. “I don’t know who they are. I have no idea in which way they were questioned. When you have a report with no fact whatsoever, we cannot do anything with it,” she said.

In fact, the media have done nothing more than print heresay and conjecture of a report whose authors have a very clear agenda, and the willingness of the international press to run the story without proper proof of the claims is slanderous and unethical.

The IDF has released a statement calling on ‘Breaking the Silence’ to “urge those who made these claims to really ‘break their silence,’ and to present specific complaints to the IDF, and not hide behind general and anonymous statements.”

The report was not even presented to the IDF for verification, as the Rabin Academy accusations were. Instead, intrepid reporters from the English daily The Jerusalem Post, who received the report from ‘Breaking the Silence’ decided to verify it for themselves, as Amir Mizroch reports.

It was as they suspected. Most of the testimonies were anonymous and lacked in any identifying details that would allow the IDF to investigate, confirm, or refute them. Whether the organisation really intends for a credible and thorough investigation regarding the claims to be carried out, as is the norm after accusations of war crimes, is doubtful.

But then again, is the purpose of such reports ever really that black and white? The report’s intention is to punish the IDF by smear ing the reputation of the entire Defence Forces, rather than actually have the offenders brought to account. As Michael Dickson of StandWithUs comments “There is no silence to break. Israel is an open and democratic society that regularly criticizes its own actions but this one-sided and shoddy report fails to stress the context of the war … But this vital context is missing from their account.” Metaphors of bad apples are clearly not applicable (so they say), because this is the second such report to come out.

It would appear the media have forgotten that old adage: Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me.

Israel is stuck again in a twisted Groundhog Day. Nothing they say or do will stop the onslaught of people and organisations prepared to take a tar brush to Israel’s institutions with anonymous and highly defamatory reports, while people like Col. Richard Kemp, has the honour of his name behind his statements to the contrary. Meanwhile, when it comes to the ridiculous and the despairing, all we hear are crickets.

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” 

And just as Ralph answers Phil, That about sums it up for me.