by Iqbal Jassat
For media outlets to reduce Israel's bloody atrocities against Palestinians as mere "violence between Israel/Palestine" is to detract from the truth of the ugly reality of the zionist Frankenstein.
As South Africans who were repeatedly warned by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to not be fence-sitters and "neutral" in the struggle against apartheid, it is a great pity that some of our media houses have forgotten his bravery and sage advice.
Tutu's courage to speak truth to white supremacist power in his iconic awesome way is sorely lacking today in public discourse on Israel's self-declared Jewish supremacy.
This is particularly glaring in the media especially in what can be described as "tip-toeing" in compilation and broadcast of news, suggesting "neutrality" - exactly what the Arch (Archbishop Tutu) had rebelled against.
To make sense of what's happening in Israel given US envoy Anthony Blinken's visit, and to deconstruct a multitude of falsehoods the Netanyahu regime's propaganda units feed the world, South African academic Professor Usuf Chikte summarises it succinctly:
"The United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken's Middle East trip can only be described as a fool's errand as the Israeli regime bombs Iran; expands and fortifies illegal settlements; commits war crimes with impunity through its cruel practices of collective punishments, house demolitions, population transfers and ethnic cleansing; as it arms settler militias, who are illegally occupying Palestinian land, masquerading as 'civilians' as they are incited, which they hardly need, to exterminate and expel Palestinians from their lands. The two-state solution was born dead. Nobody wants this corpse. It was a fraud then and has become a farce now."
This single paragraph not only encapsulates daily horrors Palestinians are confronted with, it also spells out cold hard facts corroborated by both international as well Israeli-based human rights organisations.
Fact-based evidence of gross violations by the Tel Aviv regime of civilised values ought to allow media practitioners the ability to call out Israeli crimes, instead of shying away from what generally is perceived to be fear of being slandered as "antisemites".
Lack of biting critique allows racist right-wing perpetrators of murder, mayhem and massacres to normalise inhumane policies of the type South Africa's freedom struggle fought against.
It cannot be more stark than this, yet it appears that some of South Africa's media platforms who boast of reporting "without fear or favour", have difficulty doing so.
Media transformation post-Apartheid required drastic changes in addition to monopoly of ownership and diversity in news rooms.
One such need was to breakout of the shackles of censorship imposed and enforced back then by the white regime.
Constitutional rights related to media freedom and free speech empower journalists to fearlessly articulate views and opinions.
It is thus encouraging that criticizing South Africa's head of state, the ANC, state institutions, business and multinational conglomerates etc is a robust and regular practice.
Yet as far as Israel and war crimes committed by it are concerned, there seems to be what can only be described as "tip-toeing".
Selected language choices form an important component of Israeli propaganda that behoves media to be mindful of.
Zionist lexicon wants media to construct reports on their biased terms.
According to them:
*Armed Resistance is "terrorism".
*Palestinians are "aliens".
*Palestine is "Land of Israel".
*Jerusalem is "Capital of Israel".
*Apartheid is "democracy".
*Armed settlers are "civilians".
*Settlements are "legal".
*Occupation is a "myth".
Are they civilians...? Of course not!
Armed settler-thugs from all over Europe, America and from South Africa's posh northern suburbs, engaged in ethnic-cleansing, home demolitions, land theft, enforcement of apartheid and more crucially as part of the regime's armed forces, cannot claim immunity as "civilians".
As the zionist juggernaut repeatedly unleashes wrath and rage against millions of Palestinians across the illegally Occupied Territories, historic '48 areas and Gaza, it is necessary to jolt media to speak truth to power.
Indeed, it is equally crucial to remind President Cyril Ramaphosa and the South African Government of the need to prosecute South African citizens serving in Israel's army, police and security agencies.
Laws on the statute that prohibit such transgression are clear.
Unless provisions of the Foreign Military Assistance Act (FMAA) are invoked and charges follow, it is reasonable to argue that the ANC-led government may find it extremely difficult to dismiss allegations of being complicit in the free-flow of South African mercenaries engaged in the slaughter of Palestinians.
We at Media Review Network-South Africa, along with fellow Palestine solidarity movements and activists have laid formal complaints to SA's National Prosecuting Authorities as well as the SA Police, in respect of these grave violations.
The most recent being the #ZionistTerrorismCorridorProbe via our legal team headed by human rights lawyer Ziyaad Patel, awaits decisive action.
In the wake of the gruesome #JeninMassacre and Israel's ongoing impunity as it continues policies of terrorism, we remind President Ramaphosa of the obligation to honour SA's solidarity with real action:
* Prosecute violators of the FMAA
* Lift Visa restrictions on Palestinians
* Shut down Israeli embassy
* Lead global initiative to isolate Israel
* Abandon mirage of Two-state
* Acknowledge that Abu Mazen's term has expired
* Provide all forms of aid to #Resistance
Will South African media and the ANC government live up to their commitment to Archbishop Tutu's legacy of confronting apartheid Israel's injustices?
Iqbal Jassat is Executive Member at the Media Review Network in Johannesburg, South Africa