Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

A Little Bit of Fairness | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The developments in Iran have preoccupied the world, the world’s press and media, and the international political elites.

This is undoubtedly a justified preoccupation. The way things turn out in Iran may effect a change in the regional or even global map. But when drawing comparisons between Iran and other sensitive issues, there are things that must be reflected upon.

When looking at the variables in Iran it is easy for one’s perspective to become overwhelmed by fear of further deterioration and the threat to security which may [go on to] have an effect on Iran’s surroundings and beyond. What compounds this fear are the daily statements issued by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, particularly those related to his country’s nuclear capabilities, his regime’s support of resistance movements, his repeated denials of the Holocaust, and his threats to wipe out Israel. These statements serve to multiply the fears surrounding the ambitions of the Iranian regime, and its threats.

But this fact does not negate the chronic duplicity [of the media] towards the violations committed by Israel.

Whereas major Western media institutions in the US and Europe continue to focus on the internal movement in Iran, highlighting the Iranian regime’s persecution of the opposition, and following up on issues such as the alleged torture and rape of opposition members detained in Iranian prisons, a contradictory approach was taken with regards to the case of Swedish journalist Donald Bostrom who in an investigative report revealed that Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians and [illegally] traded in their organs.

The same press that is in hot pursuit of the violations committed by the Iranian regime (which is something that is necessary) rushed to accuse the Swedish journalist and his newspaper of anti-Semitism and inciting hatred against Jews, and demanded an apology.

The investigation conducted by Bostrom included more than 30 visits to Palestine, and using pictures and documents as authentication he announced in his report that an organized crime was being perpetrated against the Palestinians by Israeli soldiers. In fact the Swedish Attorney-General refused to prosecute the Swedish journalist on charges of racism, saying that what the journalist had done was “legal.” Here we must not forget the Brooklyn scandal which was revealed recently, when an entire network of black-market organ traders run by a group of Israeli rabbis was unearthed. However this scandal was not given much attention in the US media.

This is not a case of double standards, as is widespread in the Arab consciousness; rather the problem is that of single standards. Our endeavour to monitor the Iranian regime and unmask its violations makes it incumbent upon us to be unbiased in our monitoring of Israel. This applies to the Western media as well, since Israel is part of the Western community, which is an established fact both in the Israeli and the Western consciousness. In order for the Western media to be credible to us, we have to sense that it provides credible information about itself, and by this I mean about Israel.

Moreover, in the Israeli case, we have a better opportunity to document and specify violations, whereas with regards to Iran, such violations – despite the likelihood of their occurrence – remain in the realm of possibility and potentiality. If we have documented a violation on the part of Israel, then it would be our duty to reveal this, and carry on in our endeavour to be able to document the violations committed by the Iranian regime.