The photo at the left was taken in 2006 by Associated Press photographer Adel Hana and is of a little girl in Hamas-occupied Gaza, Egypt who was fatally injured in a playground accident. This information comes from Associated Press and Reuters, neither of which are known for a pro-Israel stance, as cited in the leftist blog Little Green Footballs. As such, it represents a personal tragedy unrelated to the warfare being waged by Hamas and Islamic Jihad against Israel. And as such, it would likely never have seen the light of day in the international media.
That is, if we lived in an honest world. Which we don’t.
When I got to work yesterday, one of the first things I saw was a short article in israel today magazine which exposed an ongoing lie that the photo was less than two days old and was of a victim of Israeli military action.
The lie was being spread via Twitter, reaching a wide audience, but was caught and refuted by Avi Mayer. When confronted with the facts, one of the pro-Arab activists who had helped spread it at first maintained the untruth, but then began to backpedal under continued pressure from Mayer. By the time I waded into the fray she had acknowledged and apologized for the falsehood. I think she deserves credit for that, but we have not seen a similar acquiescence from the other primary prevaricator on this point. And considering that this other person is listed as an Information and Media Coordinator for an agency of the United Nations, shouldn’t we be looking for some sort of disclaimer from that august body?
Lest we think this whole affair was some sort of huge out-of-the-ordinary mistake, the very same day the very same sort of falsehood was being presented to the world using the same technique—by mislabeling and republishing a photograph taken at a different time of a different event. Avi Mayer deserves credit for catching this one also.
And the list goes on, of course—such as another recent caught-ya, a photo of a 2009 event staged in Bahrain which was claimed to be of an IDF soldier abusing an Arab girl. But to explain my title for this post–if you’re reading this and you are already on the same side of the viewing fence as I am, then I’m just ‘preaching to the choir,’ as the saying goes. Or if you’re like Diana, then you’re likely to think I’m the one that’s blowing smoke. The Roman Procurator Pontius Pilate famously asked, “What is truth?” and then walked out without waiting for an answer. And a close friend of mine got a poor grade on a college exam once by having an answer to that question knowing full well that the instructor’s intent had been to prove there was no such thing.
So why then are people like Diana, or her defender Haris so offended when they are accused of lying, even while casting the same stone at others? The answer is because there surely is such a thing as truth, or the truth, both on an eternal plane and in the plain sense of objectively verifiable observed data. And also because the knowledge of that is built into human nature. Ok, but so why am I pursuing this? The choir hardly needs preaching too, and the anti-choir will not be persuaded, so who am I trying to reach here?
My answer is simply that there are many, many good honest people ‘out there’ who do not have the information needed to distinguish the truth, and that if just one person can be helped by blogs like mine, well then, it’s certainly worth all these electrons I’m shooting out over the internet, isn’t it?
And also among the Dianas and even the Khuloods of this world there are honest people who just need to discover the truth. I’ll end this with a first person account of an Israel hater who went to Israel to fortify her hate but came face to face with the undeniable truth instead, and became an Israel lover: Nicky Larkin: Israel is a refuge, but a refuge under siege.
Am Israel chai – the people of Israel live.