History class takes a holiday at The Washington Post
In "'Farha' film on Netflix brings Palestinian lens to a broad audience" (1/23/23), Washington Post reporter Claire Healy can't hide her determination to report news from the Palestinian point of view. The article is about a movie based on a Palestinian story by director Darin Sallam. Sallam admits that "the movie is based in part on a story related by a Palestinian girl" (emphasis added) to Sallam's mother...who obviously relayed it to Sallam. Not exactly the criteria historians would use to instill confidence in its accuracy.
Not only does Healy report the Palestinian hearsay as fact, but she does so from a uniquely Palestinian perspective. In particular, when Healy states that a war began after Israel declared Independence, she conveniently neglects to mention that the war was started by local Arabs (who now call themselves Palestinians) and five neighboring Arab armies with the expressly genocidal goal of destroying the nascent Israeli state and exterminating its Jewish inhabitants. In that war, Jews and Arabs were both displaced, and many of the Arabs fled to clear a path for what they thought (and were told) was a conquering Arab army. Yes, there were Palestinians as well as Jews who lost their homes. But the Washington Post falsely claimed that 750,000 local Arabs were part of a "forced exodus." The Palestinians are entitled to their bias, but a news reporter is expected to meet a higher standard.
The overriding tragedy omitted from the Post article is the fact that if the Palestinians hadn't started the war, no one would have been displaced. Yes, the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) "story" is "rarely included in mainstream media in the United States," as the Post article states, but they neglect the reason: it is false! Arab aggression started the war, and had the Arabs won, the Jewish people would have been subjected to a second Holocaust.
Is it a catastrophe for the military aggressor in a war to lose? Does it make sense for the attacker to cry foul when its bloodthirsty plan backfires? That's what happened — not a pretty picture. So what are they to do? In this case, the losing side stooped to the level of struggling to rewrite history with a propaganda film. And the Post gladly came along for the ride.
The Post article is littered with even more omissions. Israel didn't "seize" the West Bank and Gaza. It took it from Jordan — not the Palestinians — while defending against a Jordanian attack.
The director said the movie "represents the Palestinians who had to move on and live with all the pain and losses." But they didn't have had to "move on." They could have opted for peace instead of war.
The true Nakba (catastrophe) is that the few surviving Palestinian refugees and millions of their descendants are presently held (virtually imprisoned) in camps by their Arab brethren in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan in addition to the West Bank. In the neighboring countries, many are restricted in that they are not allowed to purchase homes, hold many occupations, or live a normal life. In the West Bank, Palestinians are crowded into areas, deprived of international aid meant for them but siphoned away by Palestinian leaders who use the largess to build opulent mansions for themselves and live like kings.
How about a movie that exposes the Arab mistreatment of fellow Arabs — which has gone on for 75 years? Bring that to the mainstream media, spark outrage, and help cure their self-inflicted malady. That would genuinely help the Palestinians "move on" instead of supporting their habit of grinding an axe against Israel.
Dr. Michael Berenhaus is a freelance watchdog activist who works tirelessly to combat anti-Israel bias in the media. He has been widely published in news sources such as The Economist, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
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