Tearing off a strip

It seems the Economist is – so far as the topic of Israel is concerned – treading the same path as the Guardian and the BBC. The latest not so subtle clue is in the current edition, which features a review of Louisa Waugh’s Meet Me in Gaza: Uncommon Stories of the Life Inside the Strip. (Available here, though behind a paywall.)

The author is no friend of Israel, and the book doesn’t appear to veer from that perspective in presenting the people living inside the Gaza Strip. Fair enough.

However, that’s no excuse for the Economist’s article; it’s not so much a review by the Economist, more a puff piece. It’s like an advert for intellectuals, albeit intellectuals who are lazy enough to read without stopping to challenge the veracity of the world view being presented. In a nutshell, it’s all Israel’s fault. Words like “siege”, “shell”, and “devastating three-week assault” are followed by the inevitable mention of the casualties. But accuracy no longer seems to be important, because Egypt gets a free pass, and there’s sod all by way of context. Rockets? What rockets? See those people in the bomb shelter over there, economist person? Did you forget them? It seems that only the residents of the Gaza Strip are entitled to peace and quiet.

Hamas does get a mention, but only at the end as a kind of afterthought:

“…though increasingly under the sombre shadow of Hamas, the Islamist party that governs the strip.”

That’s a lot like doing a piece about the people of Syria and talking about “the sombre shadow of Bashar Assad, whose Baathist party governs the country.”

Part of my university education firmed up the importance of being a critical reader. Material like this gives me plenty of practice.