People try to ignore this rabbit hole to hell but it keeps surfacing all over our small planet as countries war against each other. Tribe Journal takes a closer look at the economics and psychology of the media that is interwoven into the fabric of warfare today. In Part 3 of an ongoing series about Nachalat Shimon aka Sheikh Jarrah, we get more first hand information about what is happening on the ground and how the media war may be fueling violence, death and destruction.
The Camera. Some people sport for the camera. Others thrill for the camera. Most try to smile for the camera. But what happens when nations at war fight for the camera? In this episode of TRIBE Journal we will look at the role of the camera in a small Jerusalem neighborhood, Nachalat Shimon aka Sheikh Jarrah.
As I was looking for some of the Arab residents who I had become friendly with while producing a previous episode of Tribe Journal, I noticed that the flare ups which happened several times each hour would start by a few guys in their twenties and some children would approach the Jews slowly until eventually the Jews would engage in some sort of verbal argument. I’d imagine that it happened the other way too at times but it became clear that these were kids. When I listened to what they were actually bickering at each other it resembled more of a game on the school playground between boys, mother insults and all.
It is kind of weird yet strangely reassuring to see the boys arguing in this way and poking fun almost playfully knowing the bloody and sometimes fatal alternative. But then I noticed the cameras which seemed to almost be dying of thirst for more conflict. Everyone knows that adrenaline, war and fighting is part of the addictive technology of social media. I’m sure for some journalists, blood and guts is their bread and butter. So, it wasn’t surprising to see the cameras almost disappointed while waiting for something to happen. There’s no doubt that many cameras have seen their share of violence and tragedy.
What child doesn’t want to be on television? I wondered if the children would be starting up so often if the cameras weren’t there? And where were their parents or the adults in the community? Why didn’t the adults on both sides tell the kids to stop or go home. Or was this just part of being a kid in Jerusalem? I would love to see a story on the six o’clock news featuring name calling and insulting each other’s mothers instead of the bloody alternative. This type of conflict was clearly far more numerous than actual physical violence but as we all know far too well it only becomes news once things escalate. The police were there to protect one of the residents, a Jewish family, who recently survived an attempted murder. The anti-Israel strategy seems to leverage the threats of war from Hamas, the terror regime ruling Gaza, to deter Jerusalem evictions that were legally ordered by the Israeli courts.
Mouhmad Haj, a local arab resident, pointed out that Hamas was threatening to start another war. However, Chaim Silberstein from Keep Jerusalem - Im Eshkachayk explained that Hamas and the PA are trying to create a false equivalence between legally evicting those who don’t pay rent and starting a war against a country. Chaim explained that the strategy of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is not to make this a real estate dispute but a battle for sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem.
Where does the footage go? Social media of course. But there are also marketplaces where this footage is bought and sold. For example, a multi-billion dollar global media company whipped up an entire story using video footage from youtube and these online journalist marketplaces which are cited in the lower left corner of the screen. They framed this hit piece on Israel as “Palestinian forces fired rockets at Israel on May 10. Israel responded with an 11-day air assault on Gaza.” Vice misled the audience by not clearly stating the fact that Hamas suicidally attacked Israeli civilians nonstop with more than 4,000 rockets for 11 days straight drawing the wrath of the Israeli Defense Force for all 11 days by not stopping the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. The viewer is misled. The images are horrific and can not be unseen.
It almost seems like the tragic videos of death and destruction have become the intended fodder from their suicidal objective in launching more than 4,000 rockets at Israel for 11 consecutive days. After the 11 day battle, countries have pledged more than $1 billion in financial aid. Yet Reuters reported on Aug. 9, 2021 that losses are estimated by the World Bank at up to $380 million and the government in Gaza said Rebuilding those dwellings and wider Gaza infrastructure will cost some $500 million. And so the cycle continues. More war leads to more death and destruction leads to more videos leads to more public support and more military spending.
In a digital age most things have gotten easier and more convenient. Media companies have an easier time than they ever have curating footage and publishing stories. However, some things like good old fashion journalism require time, effort and sometimes mortal danger to get the story right. Although the camera can see what is happening on the ground from as far as outer space, at least for now, it still requires a human being to see the full picture, analyze the facts correctly and articulate the objective reality as close to the truth as humanly possible, assuming that truth is even a priority.
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