CAMERA Media Analysis
28 September '10
Celebrated poet and fiction writer Margaret Atwood, the recipient of the Dan David Prize at Tel Aviv University last May, should stick to the world of fiction. In a Sept. 17 piece in Ha'aretz entitled "Suffering of Palestinian children is something both sides can agree on," Atwood cites a 2009 report by Save the Children U.K. called "Life on the Edge," claiming that document finds that "the rate of malnutrition of the children in Area C [of the West Bank, under full Israeli control] is higher than even that in Gaza, and many kids are not only developmentally stunted, but are dying from related illnesses." But the 70-page document says nothing about child malnutrition or mortality, either caused by illnesses related to malnutrition, developmental stunting, or otherwise. This is pure invention on the part of Ms. Atwood, whose piece appeared in the Yom Kippur issue of the Israeli publication.
This gross falsehood serves as the test case in Ms. Atwood's challenge to what she calls the "entrenched" view of Israelis, and falsely epitomizes what she sees as Israel's responsibility for the conflict. In her words: "If you break it, you own it. Israel owns this problem, and Israel should fix it. Or does Israel really want an international campaign in which every doughnut shop in North America features a collection box, a sad-eyed child holding a dead sibling, and a stack of outrage-generating leaflets? Write your congressman: Tie aid to Israel to action on Area C child malnutrition and deaths? Give at church, save an Area C baby? Or how about: On the Day of Atonement, when considering wrongs to other human beings for which you bear some responsibility, start with the children of Area C?"
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