Thursday, April 2, 2009

Israel achieves statehood

On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was established after the British mandate had expired. The state was established by the Jewish people whose goal it had been to set up a homeland in the Palestinian territories. Due to increasing violence between the Arabs who already occupied the land and the Jewish who wished to, the United Nations took over the matter. The UN set up a vote, which would become Resolution 181, to divide the land between the two peoples. Majority of the Jewish people accepted while a majority of the Arab inhabitants rejected the plan. 
On November 29, 1947 the plan was put to vote and was passed 33 to 13. The Arab countries which opposed wished to go to the International Court of Justice in order to stop the divide of Palestine on the grounds of it was going against the wishes of a majority of its inhabitants. They were denied.
In a New York Times article from May 25, 1948, titled, "Israel Statehood Held 'Legitimate' President Truman acknowledges and subsequently backs the newly formed Israel. I noticed in this article an air of authority which was prominent when the US was declaring war on Iraq in 2003 and claiming the discovery of WMDs which helped spur a baseless war. 
In 'Discovering the News,' there is the issue of the decline of 'facts' after WW1 with the rise of public relations. This NYT article reflects that sentiment. 
President Truman is quoted as saying that Israel has 'legitimate claim to statehood' and that, " the issue is not the Jews or the Arabs it is the validity and the effectiveness of our machinery for peace." Truman fails to state that the people of Palestine are being evicted from their land for the sake of a religious crusade. 
In a May 15, 1948, article published in The Washington Post titled, "New Israel's Declaration of Independence," the same glossing over of the facts and bias is present. The article reads like a narrative, describing the cultural and national identity the Jewish people feel with Palestine and how getting back into Palestine is their right. This article, like the NYT article, is giving off what seems to be  a public relations campaign for the newly formed Israeli state. The Washington Post is using this narrative style to articulate how important and righteous this establishment is. 
A few guiding principles in journalism in the Society of Professional Journalist code of ethics is to minimize harm and to be accountable. Both articles are enhancing harm by giving one sided arguments, using authority figures for validity and not taking into account the Palestinian people as actual stake holders. All of the reasons just stated are also why they are not being held accountable.
The NYT article has an air of what Lippman would have disseminated to the masses. No where does it mention the Palestinian people or the subsequent war that will follow to evict the people. Only a decision from above and its one sided opinion that it believes is fact. We have all seen how the Israeli-Palestinian has progressed over these years and now wonder what could have been different.

1 comment:

  1. "President Truman is quoted as saying that Israel has 'legitimate claim to statehood'"
    I am curious what exactly is this "legitimate claim" that Israel has to this territory? I have never heard a good argument in Israel's defense. As far as I can tell, they wanted the land, they felt they had a God-given right to it, and the U.S. sided with them because they are allies. Am I misunderstanding the issue? How is it acceptable to evict people from their homes and land because someone else wants to live there?