22 Jul. 2006

Protest reports

The coverage of today's protests against the Israeli depradations of Lebanon and Gaza has been deeply problematic.

On the one hand, we should be thankful that no one is trying to make capital out of (or perhaps they simply didn't notice) a couple of disgracefully anti-semitic signs at the Sydney rally. Certainly, no attention should be paid to a couple of isolated signs like that in a crowd which police recognise was over 10,000 strong.

However, there nevertheless seems to be real dissimulation about the content of the protests and their meaning. The protests are being reported as protests against the violence in Lebanon, as if they were non-partisan peace vigils. In reality these were protests very pointedly against the US and Israel. The chants and signs were predominantly against Israel and Bush. While I saw absolutely no overt support for Hizbollah, no one was protesting against Hizbollah, and rightly so, because the issue is not Hizbollah but Israel's wanton and murderously indiscriminate aggression against the people of Lebanon.

The AAP article at smh.com.au fails to mention Israel or America. It mentions that we marched to Martin Place but fails to mention that we did this only to protest outside the US consulate, since we correctly recognise the US as the real source of the bloodbath in the Middle East. The ABC are saying almost nothing. News.com.au is much the same as Fairfax, except that on their frontpage they make the absolutely misleading claim "Protestors march for ceasefire".

This is all of a piece with the contrived neutrality of the Western media, to say that there is a war going on in which both sides are to blame, rather than accurately reporting Israeli aggression. This protest is being reported as if it were an outpouring of emotion about some natural disaster, not a political, anti-imperilaist manifestation. If they were to tell their readers that there are 20,000 people in Sydney marching to stop US-Israeli Zionist aggression, they would have to explain why we thought there was such aggression, since they have been telling their readership otherwise. Of course, they could say we are crazy anti-Semitic fascists, and maybe they will do that yet, but it's a lot easier to pretend everyone in Australia is saddened and baffled by these 'senseless' events in Overseas.

Sunday: all mention of the protest(s) seems to be gone from the news websites. I woke up this morning cheered to hear ABC radio reporting protests as anti-Israeli, but these were the overseas protests, mainly London's '7,000' (see lenin), with no mention of Sydney own, ostensibly larger, protest.