Saturday, November 10, 2007


This week, the ABC AM programme carried a report on claims by Palestinian drug workers that a major reason for the increase in use by Palestinians is that Israeli authorities are turning a blind eye to the trafficking of drugs. They claim it's part of an effort to destroy the fabric of Palestinian life. Read the transcript here - PALESTINIANS STRUGGLE WITH SURGE IN DRUG USE.

The outrageous claims are made without substantiation. The ABC report gives considerable status to the claims made but provides no facts to support the claims or the contention that Jews are creating addiction in order to steal houses and oppress the Palestinians. The report provides no balance or scope for the Israeli authorities to counter the claims and exhibit a paucity of research on the part of ABC staff that put together this blood libel against Israel and the Jews.

The claims made by the Palestinian interviewees in the programme follow the tradition of outrageous libels against the Jewish State over the past decade such as the Mohammed Dura affair, the faked funeral after the fake "Jenin massacre", the lies of the Gaza Beach shelling and the doctored photography scandals of the Second Lebanon War. Arab propaganda attacks against the Israelis have taken on industry-like dimensions and this week the Melbourne Age announced that Hamas has plans for a Hollywood in the Gaza Strip (amazingly, one of the few stories that the Fairfax media was able to muster up from the region during the week and a rare instance of the Age making mention of another Hamas production - the Mickey Mouse lookalike called Farfour preached Islamic domination to children). The new addition to Pallywood is likely to generate lots of phoney footage for use in bedazzling the gullible types in the western media who love telling noxious fables to revise history and to feed their unquenchable thirst for Jew baiting.

But let us get back to the drug claims aired against Israel on our publicly funded ABC. A complaint made by a medical professional to the ABC cites the following blatant errors from the report: -

"Not so long ago illicit drugs were virtually unheard of in Palestinian life. Now they're freely available." However, this item from Caritas International (which is harshly critical of Israel) quotes 40 year old Talal Abu-Ahmad, a recovered addict who works at the Caritas Counselling Centre in East Jerusalem as follows: -

"When I was a boy, just 13 years old, I used to watch people taking drugs in my neighbourhood. I lived in the Old City, and there were a lot of drugs around. I was the kind of kid that was curious about everything, so I tried hashish."

Here's a reference to a 1997 conference - "PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI PEOPLE AGAINST SUBSTANCE ABUSE" So much for the spurious claim that drug taking among Palestinians is a recent phenomenon.

"DAVID HARDAKER: Hosni Shahin is in charge of the Palestinian effort to stop the spread of drugs, but the figures are defying him." Shahin's qualifications are not stated and he does not appear to be a recognised academic or representative to the UN on illicit drug use. A search through the National Library of Medicine shows no published studies by this author.

"HOSNI SHAHIN: Some of them try to sell their houses to the Jews in their own city..

AVID HARDAKER: To get money for drugs?.

OSNI SHAHIN: To get money for drugs. If he is ready to destroy himself, you think that he is caring to destroy his family, or his brother, or his son?"

The claim is made that "Jews" are intentionally addicting Palestinians to steal their homes (after a nifty leading question from the interviewer) but apart from Shahin's say so, there is not a single fact produced to support the claim and naturally, there is no independent evidence of the sales of property taking place. Incidentally, under Palestinian law, an Arab who sells land to Israelis is punishable by death. The interviewer was either unaware of this law or simply turned his head away from pursuing the sticky little matter of racist Palestinian legislation. A pity because it might have been of interest to some of his listeners.

"DAVID HARDAKER: The drug dealers are nearly always Israelis, sometimes working with Palestinians. The Palestinian drug workers allege that while Israeli border security is generally ferocious, when it comes to drugs it is uncharacteristically lax." But is there any evidence produced that the drug dealers are "nearly always Israelis" or that Israeli border security is relaxed for the drug dealers? Hell no!

"Head of the research, Doctor Luay Shabaneh.

LUAY SHABANEH: There is something has to be worked out with the Israeli side, at the checkpoints and at the border points, to minimise the transfer of the drugs."
You would expect someone described as "head of the research" to have published some papers but there's no evidence of this at all - see U.S. NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE AND THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH. Then again Doctor Luay Shabaneh could be head of the propaganda rather than of research

"HOSNI SHAHIN: For all occupations, all over the world, the most dangerous thing for them - the youth people. So the occupation, if he can keeps the youth calming down all the time, the occupation will be, avoid a lot of problems, they will avoid it."
The occupation blamed again but not a skerrick of evidence for the proposition. The complaint to the ABC does however, cite the many academic papers jointly published by Israeli and Palestinian researchers and the many credible joint initiatives between Palestinian and Israeli authorities authorities to treat and study these problems including the following:-.



The shoddy research and the eagerness to present one view without allowing the other side to be heard is what one would expect from a partisan Palestinian news outlet or a dedicated Israel basher like Antony Loewenstein's blog but from our own ABC it represents eight cents worth of national shame!


Anonymous said...

I hope you're not holding your breath waiting for an apology or retraction from the ABC.

Ron Finkel said...

This is truly fantastic. An effective modern variation on the christian blood libel only this iteration doesn't suggest a Jewish tradition of draining young boys blood to make unleavened bread but rather a Jewish plot to drain the "life blood" of the Palestinian people to achieve Jewish national objectives. The great tragedy of this appalling piece of pseudo journalism is the impramateur our ABC gives to this outrageous piece of propaganda.

Anonymous said...

The reason for the lack of research and the lack of interest in hearing the other side of the story might be found in inane writing like this -

Anonymous said...

This is the same David Hardaker who produced this piece on "The art of Middle Eastern conspiracy theories" and started off by stating that "the reporter's job is to get the facts."

Given that he wrote only 2 months ago about the difficulties of getting the real truth of a story from this region I find it truly extraordinary that this man put his name to the ABC story on Palestinian druggies.

It goes to show how quickly some people can learn to appreciate that "fiction is far more powerful than truth."