This article, “About Poland and Israel”, appeared here: http://www.teologiapolityczna.pl/agnieszka-kolakowska-o-polsce-i-izraelu
Written in Polish in 2016 by Agnieszka Kołakowska (born in 1960) – Polish writer, essayist, translator. She writes in Poland and England and lives in Paris.
The translation contains the main section of the article describing the bias with which the media is showing the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Israel is attacked for everything it does, whatever it is. The vast majority of the world’s media has on this country so strongly negative preconceived prejudices that no facts, even repeated an infinite number of times, will not change these biases – says Agnieszka Kołakowska in the book “Plaga słowików.” (the book is available only in Polish).
. . .
“Thinking of cynicism, hypocrisy and idiocy, unjustified and hysterical campaign unleashed in the EU and the Western press against the “the right wing” government in Poland, I became suddenly aware of some similarities between the current situations of Poland on the international scene and the situation of Israel as depicted on the same. It is striking. Of course, this comparison has its limits; what I mean here is only about how both countries are presented abroad. What is important is not so much the similarity – from which little is concluded – but what is the source of this situation, that is, the cause of hysterical hate campaign conducted against both countries – against the state of Israel for a long time, and against the “right-wing” government in Poland since its winning in parliamentary elections. The cause is the same. The same morale of the times, escalating in recent decades, that condemns Israel and fights the ‘right-wing” governments, irrespective of the content of the policies of these governments and regardless of the facts.
Regardless of what facts? Facts like this, for example, that Law and Justice (PiS) party is right-wing, which is to more or less the same extent that I am a camel. It’s enough that it is perceived as being that. And it is perceived as such, among others reasons, by its commitment to certain values, among which concept of nation and sovereignty play a vital role. These values which are everywhere fought against as “fascist” by the politically correct left, and of course by the European Union (especially in the person of Mrs Wallström), play an important role in support of the hate campaign against Israel and now the current government in Poland. Except that in the case of Israel, these values are not so much a question of attachment, but as basic and indispensable in the struggle for survival.
. . .
I take this opportunity to remind about some facts of that “fascist dictatorship”, which Israel is.
Israel is – I repeat to be correct – the only democracy in the Middle East. It is also a state of ruled by the law. Arabs – and it is also worth repeated many times – enjoy equal rights; they sit as judges and in the Knesset (parliament); there are legal Arab parties in Israel. (I clarify that these parties are legal, in order to mention in this context about something quite significant, namely the illegal Kach party, which is Jewish, not Arab, and is illegal in Israel because it is promoting racist, anti-Arab attitudes.)
When Israel attacks Gaza, defending itself from thousands of missiles, which last year were fired from there, it is inevitably condemned for using “disproportionate force” – despite the fact, that more than any other normal country, it is trying to avoid civilian casualties. Palestinians, knowing about it very well cynically use it, storing bombs and weapons depots in hospitals, schools, kindergartens, mosques and private homes, even ambulances. About this, hardly anything is reported, to say the least.
When in the war Israel is forced to bomb a building in Gaza inhabited by civilians, because there are warehouses of weapons and firing rockets terrorists, it always warns people of Gaza before the attack, urging civilians to leave their homes that will be targeted. First it spreads information about the warnings; then calling to all mobile phones in the vicinity of the place; finally sends a warning rocket. No other country, conducting warfare, goes so far to care for the sake of civilians. But that is not being written about.
In Gaza, Hamas leadership does not evacuate buildings after such warnings. On the contrary, it is trying to have there as many civilians as possible, because it is in the interest of Hamas propaganda to have as many killed as possible. Similarly, it is trying to bring the maximum damage among Israeli civilians. Nothing is written about it.
And when, despite the efforts, the Palestinians are killed as a result of the Israeli attack and if there are in any doubts as to whether it was inevitable, the Israeli military prosecutor is initiating an investigation. During the last war on Gaza there were several such cases. Nothing is written about this either.
Hamas leadership in Gaza has built more than hundred tunnels that serve as shelters and weapons depots. However, these are only shelters for commanders of Hamas; normal people do not have access to them (even Iran lamented about it last year). No one is writing about it.
For the construction of these tunnels there were used children, of which 160 – according to Hamas – were killed during this work. It was already a few years ago; I do not know how many died in the construction of new and subsequent rebuilding of old ones, destroyed during the Israeli attacks. No one is writing about it either.
During every war and every Israeli retaliation the world’s media uncritically repeat and circulate statements from Hamas about the number of Palestinian casualties. But Hamas gives almost all the losses as civilian casualties. Last year a report was released investigating these numbers. If indeed it was mainly about civilian casualties, you would expect that there will be the same percentage of women, old people and children among them as in society in general; but it turns out that the young men predominate. About this too, of course, no one is writing.
The media always like to emphasize how small are Israeli casualties compared to the losses among the Palestinians; in the last war missiles fired by Hamas – there were many thousands – did not kill anyone. This is for the simple reason that Israel spends hundreds of millions of dollars to protect their citizens. The fact no one writes about.
Every day long convoys of trucks are entering Gaza from Israel, carrying not only food and construction materials (used by Hamas not to build houses for the civilians, but to build tunnels), but also luxury products. Mercedes cars, the latest washing machines and refrigerators, televisions. There are in Gaza Arabian horse studs, luxury villas with pools, luxury hotels, for Hamas leadership – and foreign guests. That, too, of course, no one is writing about. You have to keep the propaganda that a “humanitarian crisis” is prevailing in Gaza. That it is completely and intentionally created by the dictatorship that reigns there – this is not written about. The European Union every year spends hundreds of millions of euros to “support the Palestinians”. There is no lack of money. It just all goes to all the weapons and the Hamas leadership. Nothing is written about all this.
Israel is supplying Gaza and the West Bank with water, food and electricity. During last year’s war, Israeli engineers were repairing electrical cables destroyed during attacks by Hamas so that the population of Gaza had electricity. The engineers were doing that while being under a fire attack. These are things no one remembers.
If necessary, the Palestinians in Gaza, wounded or seriously ill, are regularly transported and treated in Israeli hospitals. That, too, no one writes about.
When a possessed ultraorthodox Israeli extremist man attacks any Palestinian, he is chased, prosecuted and punished like anyone else. Unlike the Palestinian custom of worshiping Palestinians who murder civilians, children and women, giving them remuneration for these acts and celebrating them as heroes and martyrs. Both Hamas as Fatah are doing that. No one is talking about it.
Both in Gaza, and the West Bank, the media and schoolbooks are trying to consolidate the conviction among Palestinians that Israel has no right to exist. Jews are portrayed as pigs, devils, the embodiment of evil. No one is writing about it.
None of our media shows young children with pistols and machine guns, which are taught in schools and on summer camps how murder Jews. Neither is it shown how the children on summer camps in Gaza are holding (along with the guns) posters with the names of Israeli cities – Haifa, Tel Aviv, Netanya, etc. – which are to take over. Palestinians have repeatedly rejected proposals for their own country, regardless of the proposed conditions. Hamas leadership in Gaza, like Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, are still guided by the goal of total seizure of Israel. They talk about it openly. But no one wants to remember.
Hamas recruits Palestinian children – from the age of 15 – to “liberation armies” in Gaza. About this too, no one writes. It’s likely that sometime some of these children will die in battle with Israel, which Hamas will be very on hand: then Israel will be condemned for killing children.
There is also no one who is writing about the murders carried out by Hamas on Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel – under which a part is of selling land to Israelis. Last year, a non-governmental organization, Israel Law Centre reported 38 such cases.
When Abbas spoke of filthy feet of stinking Jews, polluting the Al Aqsa mosque, little was reported about it. The fact that it is the Israeli government that does not allow Israelis to enter the territory of the mosque – nothing is written about it.
Israel is attacked for everything it does, whatever it is. The vast majority of the world’s media has so strongly negative preconceived prejudices on this country that no facts, even repeated an infinite number of times (for example in those three texts on this issue that are gathered here), will not change these biases. The world-famous images of Palestinian children allegedly killed by Israeli missiles, the Israeli soldiers bullying Palestinians, pictures that turn out to be posed or simply fraudulent – do not tend to be denied or are corrected by the press in tiny script on the 20th page of newspapers. In the same way is given out the Palestinian unverified information about the number of victims. Last year, in the Polish press under the portal ‘Politics you could read: “Israeli raid on a hospital and a park with playing children. At least 10 victims. See poignant images.” It quickly turned out that it was not the Israeli raid, but Hamas rocket that had fallen “too early” – on the hospital. But a few days after the misrepresentation, this information was still on the website. Then the following information appeared only in small print at the end of the text: “Israel says the attack was a Palestinian militants’ mistake.”
Hamas is Islamic terrorist group, part of the movement of Muslim Brotherhood, who’s aim is not only to completely capture Israel and murder the Israeli Jews, but the establishment of Islamic state – the press is not reminding about that. That Hamas attacks civilians and deliberately expose their civilians to attack, while Israel is doing everything possible to protect not only their people but also civilians in Gaza – this also is never written about. The suffering of the Palestinians is mentioned only if it can be said that this suffering is caused by Israel; silence is kept about atrocities against Palestinians in Syria and Iraq. Islamists are condemned when they cut the throat of the American journalist, but excused when they do the same thing to three boys in Israel – because it is “understandable” considering the Israeli “occupation.”
Let us repeat once again: Israel is a democracy that defends its citizens. There is no lack of Israeli critical voices and demonstrations. Governments of Hamas and Fatah are bloody dictatorship, tyranny, that, of course does not allow any dissenting voices, intentionally keeps its citizens in poverty, and instead of defending them, sets them on fire attack, doing everything possible to deepen their poverty and lead to the greatest possible loss of civilians so that the world will blame Israel and help them in the fight of the acquisition of the whole of Israel and murdering the Jews. They talk about it openly. But no one writes about it.
In the case of Israel, double standards prevail. Just as today in the case of Poland. The intimidation which broke out in the media on democratically elected governments in Poland, is in some respects very similar to the campaign against Israel. In both cases, the standards are applied and claims put forward that would be unthinkable in relation to any other Western democracy.
With this of course (rather important) difference is that in the case of Israel it is not about trying to overthrow this or that power, perceived as too “right-wing” – it is clear that every Israeli government, however leftist, will take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of the country and its citizens – but to question the raison d’être of the state itself and its right to defend against attacks. Israel is pelted with insults like “fascists” and “Nazis”, regardless of what it does and no matter what kind of government – right-wing, left-wing, centrist – is currently in power. When it comes to the Poland it seeks support in the European Union and the Western press, to overthrow the democratically elected government under the pretext that there is a fascist dictatorship, which will introduce censorship, destroy civil liberties and God knows what else. The current Polish government is just pelted with insults like “fascists” and “Nazis” regardless of what it does.
Also with this difference that in the case of Poland the witch-hunt is completely guided and fostered in Poland, by the Polish opposition. In Israel, there is no lack of opposition to the ruling power at the given time, but it does not seek support abroad or in the European Union, to overthrow the democratically elected government. Indeed, even within Israel itself there is a couple of (Jewish) anti-Israeli organizations seeking support outside the country and engaged in anti-Israel propaganda, wherever possible in the world, but they are not political parties, and the hunt – for example in the form of BDS – is mainly carried out abroad. It is most fierce in academia, especially in American universities.
In the Polish case, as in the case of Israel, no one deigns to look at the facts. On the contrary, as in the case of Israel, you need to run away from the facts, they must be silenced. Otherwise it would be clear that the allegations are unfounded. In the case of Poland no one among the protesters can demonstrate how in a concrete way the government breaks the law, scorns the constitution, despises civil rights etc. etc.. Also in the case of Israel the concrete facts do not justify the charges. The media, the EU and the leftist elite are set in advance that everything Israel does, and everything that PiS does in Poland, is be condemned. Such is the political correctness of our time.
I’m not saying that everything that PiS does nor anything that Israel is doing is commendable. PiS sometimes acts clumsily, often speaks ineptly, PR is pathetic. Israel has a PR almost as pathetic and policy for example towards Israeli Arabs, enjoying equality, but in practice often treated badly – leaves much to be desired. I will not go here into specifics, because we all know what is happening in Poland, and what is happening in the internal politics of Israel here is not important: it is just that, how the two countries are now seen on the international arena.”