Monday, November 12, 2012

NBC romanticizes "resistance" in report from Taybeh

On the surface, this seems to be another feel-good story about how Palestinian Christians brew beer. But there is propaganda here.

The first problem, of course, is saying that Taybeh is "home to the only brewery in Palestine." Since there is no Palestine, and the US is careful to refer to the "Palestinian territories," this is essentially NBC's recognition of a state that doesn't exist. (And if you claim that Palestine has existed for a long time and that they are not referring to PA-ruled areas but to the area of British Mandate Palestine, well, there are breweries in Israel.)

But the quote from Khoury that brewing beer is a "peaceful resistance to the occupation" - which NBC incorporated into its headline, "'Resistance' by the pint: Palestinian brewery thrives" - is far more problematic.    

Before the intifada Khoury had said that "Beer has nothing to do with politics" and even allowed a rabbi to certify it as kosher. As I noted earlier this year, Taybeh Brewing is marketing a non-alcoholic version to Hamas and has a slogan, in Arabic, "Drink Palestinian — Taste the Revolution." (In English, they say "Drink to Peace.")

There is zero indication that Israel has done anything to discourage the brewery from operating; on the contrary, Israel has invested in a strategy to make the economy thrive in the territories. When the owner of the brewery says that his job is a form of resistance, he is pretending that he is somehow bravely staring down the evil Israelis - when in fact he works closely with them to help his export business.

 He's not a resistor - he is a collaborator!

 Beyond that, there has been a history of real oppression against the Christians of Taybeh - from their Muslim neighbors.

NBC is pushing a completely false anti-Israel narrative, subliminally, in the context of a human interest story. In many ways, that is worse than the explicitly anti-Israel bias we are so used to seeing, because this comes without you thinking about it. The idea of "resistance" to Israel - which, in Arab parlance, includes violence as well - should not be romanticized.

(h/t Anne)