The trouble with returning to the same subject time after time is the difficulty of finding a balance between providing sufficient context with originality and brevity as opposed to reiterating a cryptic soundbite, or omitting the background and hoping for the best.
Melanie Phillips has a virtuosic ability to encapsulate a backstory succinctly and eloquently, while, at the opposite end of the scale, the BBC will lazily append its articles with snappy but inaccurate phrases like “considered illegal under international law” or tag an out of context, smugly repetitive death toll statistic onto all reports relating directly or indirectly to Israel’s retaliatory incursions into Gaza.
The consequences of leaving out the background are many and widespread. I have encountered astonishing gaps in awareness in the most surprising places and amongst the most well-informed, educated and clever persons one could ever hope to meet.
The most alarming deficiency was utter ignorance about that wretched thing, incitement.
Anyone who has never Googled ‘Hamas Bunny’ or looked at MEMRI TV will hardly know a single thing about this phenomenon, yet it is the most germane, most central, most unyielding, biggest, most intractable obstacle to peace. More pertinent than a thousand Jewish settlements and ten thousand cancelled prisoner releases.
I am as guilty as the next keyboard warrior of assuming that ‘you’ will know what I’m talking about and will give me the benefit of the doubt if you don’t. But meeting new people over the last few days made me see how mistaken one can be.
You see, the Palestinians regard the person who “opened automatic gunfire on passing cars from a distance of several meters” as a hero.
“Israel is also angry at the killing of an off-duty Israeli policeman by a gunman in the West Bank on Monday, on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover. His wife and child were wounded in the attack outside Hebron.”
I see they describe the dead man as an ‘off-duty Israeli policeman’, which, to those with sensitive BBC bias-detecting antennae, almost sounds as though they’re hinting that he was asking for it.