Wednesday, September 05, 2007

HOLY LAND FOUNDATION TRIAL: A study in propaganda

“The Israeli media of the 1990s were more diverse than
those of the 1950s, more inquisitive, more suspicious of
the political and military establishment, but they did not
really act as representatives of the citizens vis-à-vis the
apparatus of government. ‘More than the media represent
society vis-à-vis the state; they serve the state vis-à-vis
the citizens.’ [Gad Barzilai. ‘State, society and national security,
mass media and wars,’ in Moshe Lissak and Baruch Keni-Paz [eds],
Israel Facing the year 2000. Jerusalem: 1996].

Since their establishment, the Israeli media have served
the Zionist ideology, continue to disseminate the national
narrative, [Daniel Dor. Intifada Hits the Headlines: How the Israeli Press
Misreported the Second Palestinian Uprising. Bloomington, IN: University
of Indiana Press, 2004]
and serve as a socialization agent of the military-political
elite. At bottom, the [Israeli] media, like institutions
of education and other socialization agents, cause their
clients to internalize the centrality of the military and of war,
accepting them as inevitable and justified, as a natural
part of life, and in this way they construct Israeli militarism.
[Haggit Gur [ed], The Militarization of Education. Tel-Aviv, 2005, 9–14.]

—Peri, Yoram. “Intractable Conflict and the Media.” Israel Studies
, Spring2007, Vol. 12 Issue 1, 79-102. (Note: the bracketed sources are footnotes in Peri's article.)

The government in the Holy Land Foundation trial has continually reverted to its contentions that a) the “charitable wing” of HAMAS exists solely for the purpose of winning over the hearts and minds of the unsuspecting Palestinian people to support “terrorism;” and b) that The Holy Land Foundation knew (or should have known) this to be what HAMAS was doing.

The government has woven a tale of subversion and support for terrorism by relying on three kinds of sources. First are recordings of conversations of HLF officers taken out of context and sifted through to find damaging statements made outside the timeframe of the accusations or without reference to the total meaning of the conversations. Second are records of the HLF itself, meticulous records kept for tax purposes and in order to document every transaction the HLF made. Third are documents presented by the Israeli government through its two “anonymous” witnesses, both members of the Israeli Defense [sic] Force's secret security branches.

The absurdity of the government’s use of the third type of evidence was made clear yesterday in the testimony of Edward Abington, retired U.S. consul general in Jerusalem. This absurdity was first made obvious in the testimony of Israeli Phantom Number 1, who testified that he could not say where or when the documents (posters, key-chains, pamplets and other mass-produced items) his soldiers collected were found. The Israeli archives of materials that supposedly demonstrate a given group's support of HAMAS (and thus, of terrorism) come from undocumented raids on various zakat committees and NGO offices with no attempt made to catalogue them.

As Jason Strahan wrote in the Dallas Morning News, “Mr. Abington said that the Israeli roundup that included the suspicious posters, key chains and financial documents, which are key to the Justice Department's case, were considered by the State Department to be ‘a propaganda exercise by the Israelis to undermine the Palestinian Authority.’ The Israelis ‘seized tens of thousands of pages,’ he testified. ‘You don't know where they came from, how they are related to each other. If you are an American analyst, you can't rely on those documents as showing a true picture.’”

The fact is, the entire “security” apparatus overseen by the two Israeli Phantom Witnesses is a part of the Israeli propaganda machine designed to mislead and misinform not only the Israeli people, but the entire world (especially the American media). The misinformation—the constant barrage of “misspeak,” of which the term “Israeli Defense Force” is the primary example (“defense” forces do not attack the police stations and government buildings of their neighbors)—has but one purpose: to convince the world that the Israeli government’s subjugation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people is justified by something other than the Israeli (Zionist) project to create Eretz-Israel.