Is there no end to the revelations of Israeli inhumanity and cruelty the Guardian bravely publishes day after day? Tuesday’s story, by Harriet Sherwood, is truly shocking. Prisoners, huge numbers of them, kept in tiny cages in Israel, barely able move, and forced to seek out their food through the wire mesh they’re caged behind. As usual, it’s a small anonymous NGO that’s brought the story to the attention of The Guardian. They’ve had a smuggled in secret camera filming a group of three of the prisoners. The story is so shocking that it’s on the front of The Guardian’s web page as a World News story, taking precedence over carnage in the Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechniya and other world trouble spots.
Oh, so it’s all about battery hens, not people? Well, yes, but this is Israel! That makes it a major world news story in the eyes of The Guardian. And one which can be used to evoke all those stock phrases of Israel-as-occupier cruelly persecuting and removing from their land defenceless Palestinians who have only activists with hidden cameras to defend them, whilst themselves being hunted down by the ruthless and previously totally secret hen prisoners security branch of Mossad.
There is of course the nightmarish image of rows of caged chickens in these Israeli Gitmos of the poultry world, stretching relentlessly into the distance, reduced to squatting helplessly in their iron hell as a bored guard brings the rations round.
Hang on! Isn’t there something not quite right about that picture? Yes, battery hens..clearly taken in…oh, Beijing, China. So that’s how the Guardian illustrates its shock horror story…about Israel.
So is there also a shock horror story about the plight of battery hens in China, because after all, here’s David Cameron,currently in China that very day, being criticised for not doing enough to raise the question of a Nobel Prize Winner who’s been imprisoned by the Chinese?
Well, no. Not at all. In fact that home page of Tuesday’s web Guardian has not so much as a single link to the Cameron and Chinese prisoners and human rights story, whereas it was thetop story on the web site of its ideological soulmate, the BBC News site. The imprisoned Nobel prize winner was the top story on the web site of its other ideological soulmate in the campaign to delegitimize Israel, the Independent.
OK, then. We know that there are political prisoners everywhere. So how could a trivial non event like the plight of an imprisoned Nobel prize winner in China begin to compare with the horrors of Israel’s caged battery hens, surely unique in the world?
After all, how many caged battery prisoner hens are around anywhere today?
Ooops! Seems there are a socking 390,000,000 egg laying hens in the European Union, always so ready to tell Israel howto be more humanitarian, of which over two thirds are kept in battery cages. So that’s way over 200,000,000 EU battery hens. Of which at least 16,000,000 are imprisoned in Britain today. And not a single Guardian editorial tear being shed for any of them. Tuesday or any other day recently. But the plight of Israeli battery hens? Shocking headline news. Caged prisoners. Guardian front page story.
Still, I’m sure that Alan Rusbridger and all his colleagues on The Guardian only ever eat free range eggs. You know, those ones produced far from cages, and, unlike their caged colleagues, where the dear little chickens can run free through eternally sunlit fields,stopping only to be petted by members of the English aristocracy in a dreamland of pastoral English wish-fulfilment, and…. peck and bully andcannibalise each other.