For English, see below.

Mediernes – både de traditionelle og de nye sociale mediers dækning af krig og konflikt har stor betydning for vores opfattelse og forståelse af verden. Ifølge nu afdøde Hans Rosling, er der generelt statistisk en stor chance for, at vi har en helt forkert opfattelse af, hvad vi tror, vi ved.

I en artikel fra 2014 kunne Hanne Jørndrup, en dansk medieforsker konkludere, at danske journalister er mere tilbøjelige til at acceptere en udlægning fra det israelske forsvarsministerium, fordi vi i Danmark har for vane at tænke, at “de er de troværdige.” Det skulle nemlig ligge i vores kulturelle dna, at det er synd for Israel. Årsagen til dette er selvfølgelig det tyske traume fra Anden Verdenskrig, som stadig er med til at forme vores, tyskernes, og mange andre vestlige landes syn på Israel og dermed også på konflikten med palæstinenserne.

Det er imidlertid essentielt, at vi er fuldt og præcist informeret – fordi det ultimative ansvar for en demokratisk nations handlinger i sidste ende hviler på os borgere. Mange mennesker er dog heldigvis i de senere år blevet mere og mere opmærksomme på, hvor stor en udfordring falske nyheder udgør for vores demokratiske samfund.

Ifølge If Americans Knew, et amerikansk uafhængigt forsknings- og informationsformidlingsinstitut, der fokuserer på den israelsk-palæstinensiske konflikt, amerikansk udenrigspolitik i Mellemøsten og nyhedsdækningen heraf, bliver Israel beskyttet, nyhederne om palæstinensere i særdeleshed og arabere generelt bliver fordrejet og den amerikanske offentlighed bliver manipuleret. Instituttets mission er derfor at informere og uddanne den amerikanske offentlighed om spørgsmål af stor betydning, der er urapporteret, underrapporteret eller fejlagtigt rapporteret i de amerikanske medier.

Det bliver dog stadigt sværere at rapportere fra hjertet af konflikten. I 30 år har Human Rights Watch dokumenteret den institutionelle diskrimination, undertrykkelse og systematisk misbrug af rettigheder, der er karakteristisk for Israels halvtredsårige besættelse af Vestbredden og Gazastriben. Den 7. maj 2018 tilbagekaldte de israelske myndigheder arbejdstilladelsen for Omar Shakir, direktøren for Human Rights Watch i Israel og Palæstina og beordrede, at han skulle forlade Israel indenfor 14 dage. Ifølge Shakir, viser dette træk “Israels voksende intolerance over for dem, der kritiserer dens rettigheds-historik.”

I juni i år begyndte Israels parlament desuden at behandle et lovforslag, der vil straffe folk, der optager og offentliggør film af israelske soldater med op til 10 års fængsel, hvis intentionen er at skade nationens sikkerhed. Ifølge organisationen Palestinian Prisoners Club sidder 18 journalister for øjeblikket bag tremmer.

Ifølge CIVICUS’ oversigt over civilsamfundets råderum i Israel, gør en svækket og tvetydig lovgivning det muligt for staten at begrænse borgernes frihed til at organisere sig, forsamles og gøre brug af deres ytringsfrihed: “Sikkerhedsorienterede statslige politikker styrker militærets magt og underminerer beskyttelsen af menneskerettighederne”. Det er eksempelvis blevet vanskeligere for civilsamfundsorganisationer at modtage udenlandsk finansiering.

Det er dog desværre et globalt fænomen, at civilsamfundet er under pres. Ifølge Peter Christiansen skal dette ses i lyset af, at civilsamfundsaktører er gået fra at være ”charity providers” til at blive mere politiske “og derfor ser vi et naturligt ‘push back’ fra de forskellige regeringer og magthavere”. En anden forklaring er, at det folkelige engagement og ekspansionen af NGOer er vokset massivt de sidste 20-30 år. “Regeringerne verden over, er klar over dette og ønsker at få de folkelige kræfter ind i folden igen […] De har lært, at de folkelige kræfter kan bringe deres regering til fald eller grundlæggende sætte spørgsmålstegn ved deres legitimitet.”

Mens sociale medier har gjort det muligt for flere mennesker at ytre sig og dermed deltage i den offentlige debat, er der dog grund til at være kritisk overfor disse nye platforme. Facebook er siden 2014  begyndt at intensivere indgreb over for palæstinensiske aktivister og pro-palæstinensiske grupper. Flere sider og personlige konti er blevet blokeret, nogle slettet, mens andre er blevet genaktiveret.

Samtidig har israelere næsten frihed til at poste, hvad som helst om palæstinensere – selv opfordringer til drab og tortur. Ifølge en artikel bragt i New York Times sidste år, overvåger Israels sikkerhedsagenturer Facebook og anmelder de indlæg, som de anser som “tilskyndelse til vold”. Facebook skulle have reageret ved at fjerne de fleste af dem. Som Glenn Greenwald, journalist, forfatningsadvokat og forfatter af fire New York Times bestsellers om politik og jura påpeger: “Opfordringer til statscensur kan ofte være hensigtsmæssigt – et ønske om at beskytte marginaliserede grupper mod skadelige hadefulde ytringer – men forudsigeligt bliver de langt mere brugt mod marginaliserede grupper: til at censurere dem snarere end at beskytte dem.”

Det er desuden for nyligt kommet frem, at den israelske lobby bruger Facebook til at brande Israel ved hjælp af en række grupper, der fokuserer på bl.a. historie, klimaet og feminisme – emner, der tilsyneladende ikke har nogen forbindelse til Israel, men som bruges til at sprede pro-israelsk propaganda. Ifølge Ali Abunimah, der interviewes i en Al Jazeera-dokumentarfilm, som desværre er blevet censureret af Qatar efter pres fra den israelske lobby, så kan man ikke sælge Israel direkte: “Du skal have andre hippe ting, der er meget uskyldige, sjove og så vil du fra tid til anden kunne lade noget om Israel slippe igennem”.

Men det stopper ikke her – selv i filmbranchen kan vi risikere at få et forskruet billede af konflikten serveret. Det israelske tv-drama “Fauda”, hvis anden sæson blev lanceret sidste år, synes at være et godt eksempel på dette. Problemet med serien, som er blevet opkøbt af Netflix, er, at den foregiver at sige noget autentisk og ærligt om den israelsk-palæstinensiske konflikt – men i stedet tilsløres den barske sandhed om Israels kontrol og regeren over Vestbredden. 

Hvis man dog tyer til kilder som lokale og internationale menneskerettighedsorganisationer samt uafhængige nyhedsmedier, vil man opleve en noget anden og formentlig mere retvisende udlægning af situationen i Mellemøsten. Det er i høj grad sådanne kilder, vi i denne kampagne tyer til. Vi anbefaler desuden Maan News Agency (MNA), der betragtes som den vigtigste kilde til uafhængige nyheder fra Palæstina.

Kilde(r):

  1. “How not to be ignorant of the world”, af Hans and Ola Rosling, TEDSalon Berlin 2014, tilgængelig her.
  2. “Forsker: Danske medier støtter ubevidst Israel”, af Lotte Thorsen, Politiken, 7. august 2014, tilgængelig her.
  3. “Mission Statement”, If Americans Knew – Official website, tilgængelig her.
  4. “Israel Orders Human Rights Watch Official Deported”, Human Rights Watch, 16. maj 2018, tilgængelig her.
  5. “Plads til civilsamfundet – hvis vi kæmper for det!”, af Peter Christiansen, Globalnyt, 6. november 2016, tilgængelig her.
  6. “Israel targets rights groups with bill to outlaw filming of soldiers”, Reuters, 17. juni 2018, tilgængelig her.
  7. “Palestinian dancer from Belgium jailed by Israel”, af Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 22. august 2018, tilgængelig her.
  8. “‘Feels like censorship’: Facebook removes pro-Palestinian Occupy London page”, RT News, 17. august 2018, tilgængelig her.
  9. “Israeli Arab Poet Dareen Tatour Gets Five-month Sentence for Incitement on Social Media”, af Noa Shpigel, Haaretz, 31. juli 2018, tilgængelig her.
  10. “Censored film reveals The Israel Project’s secret Facebook campaign”, The Electronic Intifada, 13. september 2018, tilgængelig her.
  11. “Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments”, The Intercept, 30. december 2017, available here.
  12. “The Occupation as Entertainment”, af Sayed Kashua, foreignpolicy.com, 16. juli 2018, tilgængelig her.

 

 

Even as they portray me as a terrorist in the media

 

The media – both the traditional as well as the social media’s coverage of war and conflict has a major impact on the way we perceive and understand the world. According to Hans Rosling, it is however highly likely that we have a completely wrong sense of what we think we know.

In 2014 a Danish media researcher concluded that Danish journalists were more inclined to accept news from the Israeli Ministry of Defense because Danes are used to thinking that “they are trustworthy”. According to the researcher, it is allegedly part of the cultural DNA to be of the view that we ought to side with Israel. The reason for this is the German trauma from Second World War, which continues to shape Denmark’s, Germany’s and many other Western countries’ view on Israel – and this naturally has an impact on how we perceive the conflict with the Palestinians.

In a democracy, the ultimate responsibility for a nation’s actions rests with its citizens. For this reason, it is essential that we are fully and accurately informed. Many people have in recent years, however, become increasingly aware how big a challenge fake news pose to our democratic societies.

According to If Americans Knew, an independent research, and information-dissemination institute, which focuses particularly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. foreign policy regarding the Middle East, and media coverage of this issue, Israel is being protected, the news about Palestinians in particular and Arabs, in general, is being distorted, and the American public is being manipulated. The mission of the institute is, therefore, to inform and educate the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported, underreported, or misreported in the American media.

The situation on the ground is, however, getting ever more difficult. For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has documented the institutional discrimination, repression and systematic rights abuse characteristic of Israel’s half-century occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On May 7, 2018, the Israeli authorities revoked the work permit for Omar Shakir, the director of Human Rights Watch in Israel and Palestine, and ordered him to leave Israel within 14 days. According to Shakir, “It shows Israel’s growing intolerance to those who criticise its rights record”.

In June this year, the Israeli Parliament began treating a bill that will punish people who record and publish videos of Israeli soldiers with up to 10 years of imprisonment if the intention is to harm the nation’s security. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, 18 Palestinian journalists are currently behind bars.

According to the overview of the state of civil society in Israel provided by CIVICUS, a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists, weakened and ambiguous legislative protection for civic freedoms allows the state to impose its authority on individuals and restrict their ability to organize, assemble and speak out: “Security-oriented state policies enhance the power of the army and undermine human rights protections”. As an example, it has become more difficult for CSOs to receive foreign funding.

The fact that civic freedoms and civil society is under pressure is, however, a global phenomenon. The pushback from different governments should be viewed in light of civil society actors transforming from mere “charity providers” to becoming more political. Another factor that can explain this response is the fact that popular commitment and expansion of NGOs have grown massively over the last 20-30 years. According to a representative from Danish civil society, Peter Christiansen: “The governments around the world are aware of this and want to bring the popular forces back into the fold again […] They have learned that popular forces can bring down governments or fundamentally question their legitimacy.”

Whereas social media have made it possible for more people to speak out and participate in the public debate – there is reason to be critical towards these new platforms. Facebook has since 2014 begun to intensify interventions against Palestinian activists and pro-Palestinian groups: a number of pages and personal accounts were filtered and blocked, some deleted. According to an article published in the New York Times last year, Israel’s security agencies monitor Facebook and report posts, which is considered to be incitement. Facebook should have reacted by removing most of them.

Simultaneously, Israelis have virtually free rein to post whatever they want about Palestinians – even incitements to kill and torture Palestinians. As Glenn Greenwald, a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law points out: “Calls for state censorship may often be well-intentioned — a desire to protect marginalized groups from damaging “hate speech” — yet, predictably, they are far more often used against marginalized groups: to censor them rather than protect them.”

But it does not stop here – even in the film industry, we may risk getting a wrecked depiction of the conflict. The Israeli television drama “Fauda”, second season of which was launched last year, appears to be a good example of this. The problem with the series, which was bought by Netflix, is that it purports to say something authentic and honest about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – but instead, it obscures the dark realities of Israeli rule in the West Bank.

However, if you resort to sources such as local and international human rights organizations as well as independent news media, you will experience a somewhat different and probably more accurate representation of the situation in the Middle East. It is, therefore, sources like these we will bring into focus in this campaign. We, for instance, recommend Maan News Agency (MNA), which is considered one of the most important sources of independent news reporting from Palestine. Through MNA you can expect to get a somewhat different idea about what is taking place on the ground in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Sources:

  1. “How not to be ignorant of the world”, by Hans and Ola Rosling, TEDSalon Berlin 2014, available here.
  2. “Forsker: Danske medier støtter ubevidst Israel”, by Lotte Thorsen, Politiken, 7. august 2014, available here (only available in Danish).
  3. “Mission Statement”, If Americans Knew – Official website, available here.
  4. “Israel Orders Human Rights Watch Official Deported”, Human Rights Watch, published on youtube 16 May 2018, available here.
  5. “Plads til civilsamfundet – hvis vi kæmper for det!”, by Peter Christiansen, Globalnyt, 6 November 2016, available here.
  6. “Israel targets rights groups with bill to outlaw filming of soldiers”, Reuters, 17. juni 2018, available here.
  7. “Palestinian dancer from Belgium jailed by Israel”, by Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 22. august 2018, available here.
  8. “Israel – overview”, Monitor Tracking Civic Space, CIVICUS, available here.
  9. “‘Feels like censorship’: Facebook removes pro-Palestinian Occupy London page”, RT News, 17 August 2018, available here.
  10. “Israeli Arab Poet Dareen Tatour Gets Five-month Sentence for Incitement on Social Media”, by Noa Shpigel, Haaretz, 31 July 2018, available here.
  11. “Censored film reveals The Israel Project’s secret Facebook campaign”, by Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 13 September 2018, available here.