Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Jerusalem's twisted "Gruesome Post" disses BBC hostage

Not everyone is cheering the release of hostage Alan Johnston (left). Today, the Jerusalem Post was in typical strident anti-BBC fettle. Feral Beast received a link from one of its regular readers to "this extraordinarily petty and illogical bit of crap" : Why I'm not joining the party. The one good thing to have come out of the Alan Johnston kidnapping is that we now know, definitively, that BBC claims to fairness are false.
The author? British Professor Geoffrey Alderman. His spiteful piece dissects the words which hostage Alan Johnston was made to speak under duress on a kidnap video distributed by the Army of Islam, who held him captive inside Gaza for 114 days. He finds Johnston cowardly when compared with the "integrity" of ex-NY Times reporter Judith Miller, who went to jail rather than reveal a confidential source!
Alderman writes:
EVEN IF Johnston had been threatened that he would forfeit his life unless he launched into a public condemnation of Israel and Britain as the joint authors of all the misfortunes that have befallen the Muslim world, I have to say that I would have expected him, as a professional, to have defended that professional integrity, whatever the risk. But Johnston, sadly, did not rise to the occasion. And the most charitable explanation I can come up with for this extraordinary conduct is that he must actually believe what his captors asked him to say.

If I am wrong, Johnston will no doubt lose no further time in publicly apologizing both to Israel and to Britain for what he said on camera to the Army of Islam video. But will such an apology ever be made?

As to the manner of his release, Johnston allowed himself (and he was clearly enjoying it) to be used as the centerpiece in what we have to recognize was a brilliant piece of Hamas propaganda, showing a humane face in order to mask its true terrorist identity.

Truth, honor and professionalism seem to me to have been sacrificed so that one man may go free. In this I personally see nothing whatever to celebrate, and that is why I am not joining in the celebrations.

When Johnston was freed last week, he did not take time to repudiate the words his abductors forced him to say and that, coupled with his father calling Alan a "friend of the Palestinians" has infuriated Israelis and Jews who rate the BBC and the UN to be pro-terrorist organizations because they criticise Israeli policy. Some of their ilk suggest that Johnston staged his own kidnap in order for Hamas to be seen as able negotiators.
The conspiratorial and hysterical tone of this article better suits a flamer on some wing-nut conservative blog and is unfit for a serious newspaper. This paper is published daily (except on the Sabbath) and much of the copy, particularly on the op-ed page, is such jingoistic dross that it gets dismissed by logical or inquiring Israelis. Columnist Caroline Glick's rants are particularly heavy-handed and lacking in nuance. The Post's former editor-in-chief was the preternaturally young Bret Stephens, now on the editorial board at the Wall Street Journal. Earlier, Stephens took the BBC to task for placing Johnston at jeopardy in Gaza and assuming they had won him political immunity through their pro-Fatah slant. Stephens neglected to see the irony for the newspaper of the beheaded hostage Daniel Pearl to blame a kidnap on the boss's complacence. It is about time that the immature tone of the Jerusalem Post gets more dignified. We can all drink to that!

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