Faces of the IDF, faces of stereotypes: Countering the Guardian’s crude caricature of Israelis

My friend Judy Lash Balint, who blogs at Jerusalem Diaries, published an essay recently at Times of Israel.  Balint wrote:

The so-called Global March on Jerusalem [GMJ] and the annual Land Day ritual that took place last Friday fizzled to a predictable end. But the non-event did produce yet another series of images that reinforce the world’s perception of Israel as a place of conflict and violence.

I’m an occasional stringer for a photo news site based in the U.K–here’s what the assignment editor sent out to his Israeli contacts on Friday:

Like almost every other news editor, he isn’t interested in seeing Israelis in all their complexity and color, it’s just so much simpler to portray us as tear-gas firing, helmet-wearing, faceless aggressors.

Clearly, the Guardian got the memo. Their photo story on GMJ protests, Israeli police and Palestinians clash during Land Day protests, included this:

The propaganda value of this photo is priceless, and represents quintessentially Guardian caricatures of cruel, sadistic Israelis juxtaposed with innocent Palestinians – devoid of any trace of context.

There were hundreds of Palestinians rioting on Friday, many throwing rocks and firebombs at uniformed Israelis, and the IDF, as they always do, employed non-lethal riot dispersal means to quell the violence in a manner most likely to minimize injury.  This was no small challenge in the context of a broader GMJ movement which clearly wanted to provoke violent confrontations to achieve propaganda victories.

Balint concluded:

So, for the record, here are some faces of Israel and her security forces that may shed a little light on just who we are as we approach Passover 2012.

Here are the photos she took and posted at Times of Israel:

Police on patrol at Jaffa Gate

Posing in Akko…

Consulting with the locals at Qasr al Yahud in the Jordan Valley

Naval cadets in Jerusalem

Border patrol in Jerusalem

Visiting Herodian

Local coordination at Wadi Kelt

IDF Entertainment Group welcoming new olim at Ben Gurion Airport

IDF conquers the Old City

Border patrol on break at Kikar Safra, Jerusalem

14 replies »

  1. That picture of the protester was front page on the Washington Post (of course).

    The list of pictures requested tells it all, really, and is an impressive example of the way the news against Israel is tilted when, in advance of any violence, it is made clear to the photographers that their next paycheck depends on pictures that can be used against Israel.

  2. If Adam Levick or his friend Judy were professionnal journalists, they would know that a photo of 18-year-old Israeli girls wearing tight military shirts in a touristic site during their holiday has absolutely no interest for world daily news, while a photo of Israeli soldiers assaulting Palestinian protesters in the Palestinian territory (West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza) has. The Guardian or The Washington Post are prestigious media outlets read the world over, not touristic brochures. This is why they do not publish Judy’s photos of her friends and relatives.

    • This is why they do not publish Judy’s photos of her friends and relatives.

      Could be correct. Then maybe you should tell the reason why they do not publish the medieval style preachers’ actions in “free” Egypt (freely available on the net), the Holocaust denial of Mahmoud Abbas, the weekly Quassam/Grad barrages on Israel’s South etc.

    • Benyamin
      Guardian , prestigious paper ? April Fools was last week . Admit you screen saved the pic of the Israeli girl soldiers in tight shirts !

    • I’m so sorry, Benyamin, if our attempt to humanize Israeli Jews offended you and evidently runs afoul of Western journalistic standards, and the prevailing ethos of immutable Palestinian victimhood and Israeli racism.

      “Assaulting Palestinian protesters”….yeah, using pepper spray to deal with rioters who throw firebombs is SO…what’s the word you folks like to use…oh yeah “disproportionate”!

      As an aside, Palestinian Authority police arrested a man in Hebron for the crime of selling property to a Jew (a crime often punishable by death in the PA), and actually arrested his entire family, too.

      They also recently arrested a woman who merely criticized Abbas on Facebook.

      Yet, interestingly, the MSM never manages to find photos depicting Pal security personnel engaging in such grossly illiberal and undemocratic behavior. Do you ever wonder why that is?

      Anyway, Pesach is approaching, so I’ll say goodbye for now, from the only truly liberal and democratic nation in the region.

      Jerusalem, Israel

      • Adam, as you know, Hebron is located in the Palestinian territory. Every Palestinian who sells his property to a settler in violation of international law is liable to prosecution, nothing surprising there. It was the same when France was occupied by the Germans during the Second World War – French people who sold property to German nationals were prosecuted after the country was liberated.

        Jews have an absolute right to pray in Hebron’s Machpela Cave, a Jewish Holy Site. This does not give the right to a handful of settlers to steal land from the Palestinians and to live in settlements built in violation of international law in Hebron’s Old City, which is completely separated from Machpela Cave. Jews want to pray in peace, not in the shadow of heavily armed settlers known all over the world for the way in which they harass the Palestinian civilian population but also… Israeli soldiers posted in Hebron.

        • Benyamin, you’re just wrong. Jews who live in Hebron (the oldest Jewish community in the world) are there based on the agreement between Israel and the PA in what’s known as Oslo 2. On what moral or historical basis can you describe the city as Palestinian?

  3. I have a feeling that this Benyamin his friends and relatives read this so called prestigious Guardian that is read the world over…….

    I almost burst a gut laughing when I read his post…………

    Benyamin the Guardian is a nasty racist rag that caters to bottom feeder.

    It could only be prestigious to the likes of you…..

    • I think it’s more the Guardian’s journalists who have a good laugh when reading CIF, which does not seem willing to disclose the number of its readers – 10? 20?

  4. “… Israeli girls wearing tight military shirts…” None of those military shirts is at all tight. Now if you want tight, and Duvidl together with many other men certainly wants tight, here is Israeli soldier supermodel Esti Ginzburg in tight military fatigues talking on Israeli TV on youtube. To see her in even tighter clothes, have a look at her Sports Illustrated swimwear sequence of photos. Now Sports Ilustrated is undoubtedly an extremely prestigious world media outlet, with a huge readership the world over.

  5. Esti is a beautiful girl but she’s not a supermodel. Supermodels do not waste three years of their youth serving in the military, they’re too busy working and establishing their careers all around the world’s capital. Bar Refaeli is a supermodel, which is why she skipped the military service, moved to the USA and dated a movie star. If Esti were a supermodel, she would live in Manhattan and her agent would never have let her move back to Israel for three years without working at an age when you establish your career in fashion. She’s modelling in Israel and trying to build her life there, a very honourable choice, but she can never ba a supermodel because once she finishes her service she will be too old to establish her caree internationally.

    • Esti is a soldier, a model and Duvidl, together with all the men in the world who read Sports Illustrated, thinks Esti is super. That’s what Duvidl means when he says “soldier supermodel.” Esti is yet another face of the tremendous magnificent IDF which is unlikely to be seen in the Guardian, more’s the pity.

      Incidentally, the most telling photo above for Duvidl is of those marvellous (formerly Ethiopian) Beta Yisrael tsanchanim (paratroopers). This one simple photo well and truly puts the lie to the Guardian, which features writers who maliciously try to call Israel an aparteid state.

  6. I’m confused about one item on the assignment editor’s list–firing rubber pullets. Is delivering unappetizing poultry yet another evil Israeli plot? (Or did they just play Chicken with the demonstrators?)