Archive for category Photography
The above photo was released by the Spokesperson’s office at the Israeli Defence Forces to promote its role in the upcoming gay pride parade in Tel Aviv. The photo has come under flack because one of the men depicted was not actually gay. I will note first that I use the word “gaffe” ironically, click here to see why.
Regular Karnage interlocutor Liam was one of the people giving the photo flack:
Advocates for Israel have every right to point to positive elements of the country’s socio-political makeup, regardless of other parts of the equation that are less than flattering. That doesn’t mean it excuses the negative parts though, which is where the main problem develops. It becomes an issue when hasbaraniks come to believe their own propaganda, when they start, in their mind, to dismiss the occupation, the lack of gay marriage, the lack of full civic equality for Palestinian-Israelis and think that it’s okay because gays can serve openly in the military. It’s not okay.
The IDF was downright stupid manufacturing this photo. They could have found an openly gay couple, surely. But instead they went the half-assed route and got sprung. That is pinkwashing — they’re making stuff up to get the good news story. That’s unacceptable and works against people trying very hard to stand up for Israel where it’s needed most.
A long email chain ensued. Below is an edited sample of my responses, Liam may publish his at his own prerogative.
My gut reaction was similar to Liam’s, but having thought about it:
So the photo was staged… does anyone looking at that photo really think that they were walking around Tel Aviv and happened to snap a pic of two male soldiers holding hands?
Clearly it’s a staged photo, which happened at a photoshoot. That is how promotional photos are taken. Generally, the people in promotional photos are not really what they look like — for example, this woman does not really play for Liverpool:
The IDF picture is a promotional photograph. It was attached to a press release from an official military outlet and not a news-reporting service. It is openly a piece of propaganda and does not make any pretences about that. It is not claiming to be an accurate depiction of any real events, it is only supposed to be representative of the IDF.
While you’re getting all indignant about the fact that the soldiers in the photo weren’t actually gay, there are people who are genuinely angry about the photo because they think that the IDF should not be so outwardly gay-friendly.
So instead of praising the IDF for doing something that is actually quite remarkable and completely unprecedented (an ARMY marketing itself as gay-friendly. An ARMY, that is OFFICIALLY participating in a gay pride parade — that is totally unheard of anywhere else in the world, whatever the motivations), you are castigating them for a minor detail that no one would even know had some journalist not done a little digging and that is really of no consequence to anything.
The sexual preference of the guys in the photo is really immaterial, it has no bearing on whether or not the IDF is gay-friendly. In fact, as one gay blog noted, it may even be better that one of them is not gay:
Before anyone cries “Foul!”, this is actually better. A gay man and a straight man holding hands couldn’t be a more comforting sign of acceptance, friendship, alliance and unity between gay and straight soldiers. The army isn’t about finding romance. It’s not about gay soldiers hooking up. It’s about fighting for your citizens while standing by your fellow countryman, regardless of his or her sexual orientation. Gay and straight holding hands together in joint cause is the greatest symbol of equality we can think of. We’d love to see a similar gesture from two American soldiers, wouldn’t you?
I got kinda angry after I saw the article below. There is still a fight to fight here, the IDF has not always been as accepting as it is and there are still senior figures in the IDF who do not exactly agree with this stance, as well as people who are pressuring the IDF to stop being so open to gay people. These “pinkwashing” accusations attack the people who are doing the right thing and empower those who would sooner see the IDF regressing to a less tolerant place.
By attacking the photo, you’re playing into the hands of dickheads like this:
Less than a year ago, religious cadets were kicked out of officers’ course because they had trouble listening to female singing. The IDF sacrificed them on the altar of political correctness, and this is precisely what it does now with the photo of the two gay soldiers in uniform.
This photo makes no contribution to the original IDF mission; it merely offers blatant flattery in line with the taste of shapers of public opinion.
Then you obviously haven’t seen this:
Via The Dish.
I made a comment in a Facebook conversation that this Rudd saga is the political equivalent of Charlie Sheen being fired from Two and a Half Men. That inspired this picture.
So not only was he Using Zionist methods of communication, he was watching some porn action. Talk about “do as I say, not as I do”!
WASHINGTON — The enormous cache of computer files taken from Osama bin Laden’s compound contained a considerable quantity of pornographic videos, American officials said on Friday, adding a discordant note to the public image of the Islamist militant who long denounced the West for its lax sexual mores.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity about classified material, would not say whether there was evidence that Bin Laden or the other men living in the house had acquired or viewed the material.
Now that the celebrations are dying down (and it’s not often that a death is such cause for celebration), we need to be a little more grounded about the implications of this assassination. There have been a lot of claims thrown-around recently – verging from a little naive to downright stupid. Let’s set a few of the facts straight here:
(Note: I’m not going to bother proving that Bin Laden was behind 9/11. If you believe this to be false, please seek help).
1) al-Qaeda is not finished
This is the unfortunate reality that we have to face. Bin Laden was the co-founder and leader of Al Qaeda, but he was not directly behind every terror attack in the world.
Unfortunately, the damage has been done already. Bin Laden’s “contribution” to the Islamic world was the idea of distinguishing between the “enemy nearby” and the “enemy far away”. To summarise a very complex history, Nazi propaganda attributing all of the world’s ills to the Jews was translated into Arabic and given Koranic justifications by the Grand Mufti of Palestine in the 1930s and 40s as part of his alliance with Hitler. This formed what is now Islamic Antisemitism – previously in the Islamic world, Jews had been viewed as weak and cowardly, but combined with Nazi ideology, there was now a European-esque notion of a global conspiracy to destroy Islam being orchestrated by a malicious cabal of Jews (for more on this, see The Flight of The Intellectuals by Paul Berman.)
These ideas then permeated the early Islamist ideology and gestated to the point where half a century later, Bin Laden used them to boost his ailing organisation by declaring a Jihad on the West (see al Qaeda In Its Own Words by Gilles Kepel and Jean-Pierre Milelli). He imagined a “Zio-Crusader alliance” controlling the (as he saw them) “infidel” regimes in charge of the Muslim states. He spread the idea that to truly re-establish the Caliphate (Islamic superstate), Muslims must strike not at their immediate enemies, but those allegedly pulling the strings – the US and their allies.
Al Qaeda has been decimated as an organisation since 9/11 and for many years has not been a centralised structure, but rather a “franchise” with offshoots in various regions (for a discussion of this, see How al-Qaeda Works by Leah Farrell for Foreign Affairs). The reality is that Bin Laden can be quickly replaced by his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Al Qaeda can continue to inspire and fund various partner organisations around the world.
So while this is a great symbolic triumph and may have some long term impact, we can’t start packing-away the metal detectors and arranging flights out of Kandahar just yet. In fact, in the short term, this assassination could well spark a series of reprisals around the world. We need to be weary.
2) Pakistan is dangerous
As Bruce Loudon observes in The Australian.
But after years of the ISI double-dealing with terrorists and now the revelation that bin Laden was living in the heart of a garrison town virtually next door to the nation’s military academy and only a couple of hours’ drive north of the capital, Islamabad, Pakistani authorities cannot expect to escape the sort of questions that are now being asked.
There are conflicting opinions over whether or not Pakistan was actively harbouring Bin Laden, but I am pretty convinced that this is the case. Again from The Australian‘s excellent analysis, Greg Sheridan observes that:
Obama naturally praised Pakistan for its co-operation in the operation against Osama. Frankly, what else could he do? The Pakistanis have perhaps a hundred nuclear weapons. No US president can afford to alienate them altogether.
…It is utterly implausible that any international figure of note could hide in a mansion near Islamabad without the knowledge of the Pakistani intelligence services. Completely impossible.
If the Pakistani government did not know, it is the most incompetent government in the world. If it did know, then it was intentionally sheltering the most dangerous and infamous terrorist of our time.
The double-game being played by Pakistan is a major problem in the world today – it may even be the biggest threat to global security, given that Iran has not yet developed a nuclear weapon and America has not quite lost its dominant position. Pakistan is a nuclear power, so must be dealt with very carefully – but it seems to be slipping further and further into Islamism. If the Pakistani Taliban get hold of a nuclear weapon, the consequences don’t bear thinking about.
Bin Laden’s assassination had many benefits – it was a strong warning to all terrorists that the US can get them anywhere at any time. It was a symbolic victory for the West in general and the US in particular and will raise morale in dark times and vindicate our efforts to rid the world of the ideological plague that Bin Laden spread. Most importantly, justice has been served. That said, we can’t lose sight of the dangers still facing us and must continue to fight Bin Laden’s ideology of hatred and violence wherever it may be found.
(Photos: Foreign Policy)
Heh, the Marrickville Greens supplied these photos to the SMH along with unfounded claims of the involement of certain groups in putting them up. They also claimed that it was “unauthorised election material.
Thing is, it wasn’t election material – it was against the Greens, but not for a particular candidate. There is no law preventing private citizens from putting-up posters.
What did come of it was that the second-highest circulating newspaper in NSW just gave someone’s anti-Greens material much more airtime than it had in Marrickville. Good work Marrickville Greens!
Just a little one (more serious post later today): Is it just me, or does the poster for the new Little Red Riding Hood movie make her look a little…Islamic?
As one colleague pointed out to me, Wolf is a Jewish surname. Maybe there’s more to this fairytale than we think…