Jonathan Cook: the Blog from Nazareth -

Al-Monitor’s money wasted on Zionist myths

I’m not the first and I won’t be the last person to observe that wealthy Palestinians and Arabs in the West have made no effort to organise or marshall their resources to influence Western opinion equivalent to that done by Jewish elites.

So when we have a rare example of an Arab investing in such a project, one might have assumed he or she would consider very carefully how to use their money to best effect. Not so, it seems.

Jamal Daniel, a Syrian businessman based in the US, has invested part of his vast wealth in creating a website called al-Monitor. Since its inception, I’ve struggled to understand the point of the publication, especially in its Israel-Palestine sections.

Regarding Israel, al-Monitor did little more than poach a group of mainstream Israeli journalists from their Israeli publications, where many of them were already being translated into English. What new perspective on Israel did we get from this move?

Even worse, al-Monior reproduced the most misleading aspects of the existing mainstream coverage on Israel-Palestine by creating two entirely separate sections – the so-called Israel and Palestine Pulses. Senior Israeli journalists get yet another platform to promote the kind of journalism we already have a wealth of, while – in a rather more welcome move – Palestinians in the occupied territories get to write, mostly in translation, about the occupation.

But this clumsy structuring means that an important part of the Israeli-Palestinian story is overlooked: that of Israel’s large Palestinian minority. Their voices go almost completely unheard in Al-Monitor, as do their issues – some of them vital for understanding developments in the conflict.

Strangely, one rare exception was an article about Acre, a “mixed” Jewish-Palestinian city in Israel (disclosure: the report concerned a march I participated in). But even then it was written by a Palestinian living in the West Bank.

This was such an exceptional event, it seems, that it required a very prominent, long and outraged response from Ben Caspit, a veteran Israeli reporter. Caspit’s reply illustrates in detail what is wrong with al-Monitor. It regurgitates a mythical Israeli narrative of victimhood that was discredited by historians more than 20 years ago. No one who has seriously studied the conflict believes this stuff anymore.

There are far too many falsehoods to expend the energy on rebutting them here (that has been done many times before on my website and elsewhere). But one of Caspit’s arguments stands out – not because it is factually incorrect (though it is), but because any person holding this thought in their head should be considered certifiably stupid, were they clearly not suffering from a delusion called Zionism:

One day after Israel declared its independence, seven regular Arab armies invaded the land where some 600,000 practically defenseless Jews were living. The military force of the fledgling Israel was negligible. It had neither weapons nor soldiers. It didn’t have world powers to provide assistance. But Israel nevertheless was able to vanquish its enemies and even expand the areas under its control.

So how did this miracle take place, Ben? Was it because God intervened on your behalf, defeating those seven armies even though you had no arms to defend yourselves?

This sort of puerile “Chosen people” nonsense familiar from the 1950s and 1960s shouldn’t be being peddled in the Israeli media any longer, let alone paid for by a wealthy American Arab. Daniel, please get a grip and put your money to better use than recycling worn-out Zionist myths that got us into the Middle East mess in the first place.

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