Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hamas Cartoons: War Propaganda For Kids







A good way of taking the pulse of a country is to see what is taught in its schools and broadcast as entertainment. When the USSR and Nazi Germany had a non aggression pact, the Soviet Propaganda machine dutifully switched gears, no longer portraying Nazi Germany as a mortal enemy.



When we look at "banned cartoons on You Tube portraying the Japanese during World War Two, the racial stereotyping and demonisation seem unthinkable. In both cases, the government encouraged or ordered their entertainment and propaganda organs to prepare the people for war. Conversely, when a war ends, the propaganda apparatus shifts gears. A kinder gentler version of this phenomenon occurs during election campaigns.


Is the Palestine Authority preparing the people under its jurisdiction for peace? A good way to ascertain that is by watching Palestine Authority based broadcasters portray Jews on children's television. A recent broadcast sponsored by Hamas takes a swipe at both Jews and Al Fatah, which is their political rival in the Palestine Authority.


The Fatah police officer is portrayed as a bumbling lackey of Jews, who are portrayed as brutal murderers who are fond of literally drinking Muslim blood. The cartoon was clearly designed to inculcate hatred in young viewers. It stands in stark contrast to Israeli TV, which has a far more nuanced view of Arabs.

It is important to listen to what is said in Arabic on media intended for local consumption in assessing the readiness for peace of the various Arab factions in the Palestine Authority. The years that the Palestine Authority has existed should have been used for developing infrastructure for industry and commerce. Suicide attacks by well paid tractor operators, stabbings and sabotage necessitate security measures that are job killers. Someone who wants to build a factory in Gaza or the West Bank wants to come back home in one piece. Creating a climate of hatred discourages investment that could create wage earners and tax payers.

There are many Jews in Israel who also speak Arabic. Some of the older ones grew up in Arab countries until they were forced to flee to Israel and elsewhere. Those who live within reach of Hamas TV know what is being said about them. Israelis are being told to make peace with people who make no secret of their intent to wipe them off the map. For Jews from Arab countries who already have had to flee, it sounds a lot like the hatred they faced in Arab countries.

Those who wish to push Israel to make further concessions are inviting more bloodshed. This should be abundantly clear to anyone who does not enjoy being lied to.


For decades, China and Taiwan have officially considered each other to be illegitimate governments, not recognising each other. Despite this, they have conducted quiet trade and interaction, all the while maintaining their face saving mutual non recognition. Perhaps such a state of affairs in the Middle East would be an improvement. A cold shoulder is not so bad, especially when it's not behind a rifle. Maybe it's not peace. But maybe we should give it a chance.





video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brHZKM_Qs38

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