Look at the opening paragraph:
“Gone are the days when history was written solely by the victors. In today’s democratised climate of instantly disseminated words and images, those on either side of a battlefield have the potential to feed facts and figures to media outlets around the world, or to pass on video footage and photographs that their opponents might prefer never saw the light of day.”
What’s this? “democratised climate???” On ‘Comment is Free’??? And “facts and figures”withal! I particularly like the bit above about video footage and photographs that their opponents might prefer never saw the light of day. (Freedman has obviously forgotten “Green Helmet’s” cynically manipulative play acting and lies about the injured of Qana in the last Lebanon war and the deliberately doctored camera footage on Reuters at that time. No, this naïf actually believes that the camera never ever lies!)
And then he refers to a new document by B’Tselem and yes, we are again playing the numbers game about the dead in the Gaza war. Of course Freedman clings to B’Tselem like a drowning man to a life raft – this is ‘Comment is Free ‘after all – and says that B’Tselem is completely open and has nothing to hide, unlike the IDF. And he gets at least one thing right – people will probably criticise the report (and rightly so because B’Tselem is hardly neutral is it?).
Our Freedman, however, is not fond of any sort of criticism and so, true to form, he rubbishes the rejoinders to B’Tselem’s report:
“….In the political cauldron of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the question of “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” has been turned into a cottage industry, with layer upon layer of self-styled watchmen declaring themselves – and only themselves – to be in possession of the pure, unadulterated truth….”
Oh, really? Doesn’t that apply equally to his articles on ‘Comment is Free’ and to this one about B’Tselem? For those readers who don’t have Latin, see below. For myself, I think Freedman lifted this from some “quotable quotes” website or other in an attempt to lend his work more gravitas.
And the column goes downhill from there. We then get Freedman quoting from another of his own Comment is Free articles to shore up equally tendentious arguments in a circular fashion (ie Freedman says this is true because Freedman said so before). However, he does try to redeem himself in the current one by informing us that B’Tselem says that Hamas’ shelling of Israeli civilians is a war crime.
So what are we to make of all this? What are we to make of the reworking of the same old “Israel is bad” theme from another of ‘Comment is Free’s ‘house Jews? It is well known that if one goes out as a reporter expecting to find wrongdoing one will find it, whereas to go out with an open mind brings one closer to what Freedman refers to as the unadulterated truth.
We know that B’Tselem has biases but Freedman gives us no indication that he knows this as well, or perhaps he is selective in the “truth” he himself writes about. He is merely reverting to type – he criticises the NGOs who he knows will criticise B’Tselem’s report in almost the same way as comments critical of his views are swiftly deleted from his articles on ‘Comment is Free’. He quotes Latin at us about the “cottage industry” of those who are self-styled keepers of the pure unadulterated truth, and yet he is apparently oblivious of the fact that he writes regularly for a blog which silences anyone who disagrees with his or its “truth” about his adopted country.
Oh yes, the Latin: quis custodiet ipsos custodes means “Who guards the guardians?” In this instance, in the sense that Freedman means it and particularly in the case of Comment is Free, he might have more honestly written (as one self-styled guardian of “the truth”) quis custodiet ipsum Custodem – “Who guards The Guardian?”