Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chris Matthews in Context

I am never surprised by what I hear on Fox News.  I was not even surprised when Diane Sawyer lamented the suffering of the Israelis while showing pictures of Palestinians being bombed.  She later apologized, not for her one sided report, but simply for showing the wrong pictures.  However, I was surprised when Chris Matthews on MSNBC took such a Zionist position on Hardball. (July 15th)

He begins by grabbing your attention with a “Now hear this.”

It’s about how Israel and its Palestinian neighbors are dealing with the tragedy of four young people killed …

         Israel went out and found the killers of the Palestinian boy. They found them, arrested them, charged them. They clearly went about the business of punishing the guilty.

         What about the Palestinians?  How did they go about rendering justice? Matthews quoted Chuck Schumer, “They cheered. They called the kidnappers heroes. The mother of one of the suspected kidnappers said, ‘If he (my son) truly did it, I’ll be proud of him till my final day’”.

Matthews goes on to say:

I have thought for a while about when will we have true peace between Israel and its neighbors?  It’s when Arabs are ready to punish another Arab for killing a Jew. That will be the day when Israel will be ready to trust their neighbors, when they show the most primitive respect for the Jewish people, respect for their right to their homeland, even more, respect for their right to life.”

It’s hard to know where to start. I excuse Chuck Schumer.  His political life depends upon Jewish money and votes.  Matthews however is a different case.

Israel blew up the homes of the families of the Palestinian suspects. No trial. No evidence of guilt. Just suspects.  I can’t help but point out that Israel has not blown up the Israeli homes of those arrested.

As I read, “They called the kidnappers heroes,” I reflect on the murder of 29 Palestinians in prayer at the mosque in Hebron by Baruch Goldstein.  He was killed while pulling off his massacre . But drive through Hebron today and you will see an Israeli memorial in his honor as a hero of Israel. What’s the difference?

Matthews talks about respect for Jews, while teenaged girls walk around Tel Aviv carrying a placard reading, “ HATING AN ARAB IS NOT RACIST, IT’S HAVING VALUES.”  Scribbled on the walls at check points through which Palestinians are forced to line up are anti-Arab slogans such as, ARABS TO THR GAS CHAMBERS,” and DEATH TO THE ARABS.

Matthews talks about respect for Israel’s right to a homeland, which of course was taken from Palestine by driving off or killing 750,000 Palestinians, many who are still living in refugee camps in Gaza to be bombed yet again, for the third time in seven years. Nevertheless, the Palestinian leadership has offered peace and recognition for Israel to have 78 percent of what used to be their homeland and over and over, Israel has rejected the offer in favor of building more settlements on the 22 percent left for Palestinians to live on.

Most offensive of all, Matthews calls for Palestinians to learn to respect life. At the time of his broadcast, 222 Palestinians had been bombed to death by Israel, mostly civilians including many, many children, while one, I repeat, ONE, Israeli militant died of shrapnel injuries from a Palestinian rocket.  Back in 2008-2009, 1430 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli bombardment of Gaza as compared to 13 Israeli soldiers, with 4 having died by friendly fire.  In 2012, Israel again bombed Gaza killing 133 Palestinians, mostly civilians, while two Israeli soldiers lost their lives.  So, I ask Chris Matthews, who needs to “show the most primitive respect for life?

I am certain that what Chris Matthews said is all true.  I believe the grieving mother did say that she was proud of her son and I have no doubt that Israel arrested those responsible for the murder of a Palestinian kid.  However, that is such a tiny sliver of the total picture until he distorts the truth. All speakers know that, “text without context is pretext.”  Look at the numbers. The context, as Matthews spoke, was:

214 killed, including 44 children, 1,585 injured, including 435 children, 22,600 people displaced, 23 health facilities, 81 schools, and 2, 360 homes damaged, 900,000 people without access to water.[1]

Think for a moment. What happens to people who do not have water? They fight, get sick or die.

 I am puzzled that a seasoned journalist such as Matthews would present such a warped analysis of the massacre taking place in Gaza.  Perhaps he was influenced by the AIPAC junkets he took to Israel. At any rate, I have lost a bit of confidence in MSNBC and I will never trust Chris Matthews again.

                                                                                                 Thomas Are
                                                                                                 July 17, 2014

[1] Source:  UN OCHA, updated July 16 at 3pm local time, does not include 4 children killed this afternoon on the beach or several other incidents. 

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