Faces of the IDF, faces of stereotypes: Countering the Guardian’s crude caricature of Israelis

My friend Judy Lash Balint, who blogs at Jerusalem Diaries, published an essay recently at Times of Israel.  Balint wrote:

The so-called Global March on Jerusalem [GMJ] and the annual Land Day ritual that took place last Friday fizzled to a predictable end. But the non-event did produce yet another series of images that reinforce the world’s perception of Israel as a place of conflict and violence.

I’m an occasional stringer for a photo news site based in the U.K–here’s what the assignment editor sent out to his Israeli contacts on Friday:

Like almost every other news editor, he isn’t interested in seeing Israelis in all their complexity and color, it’s just so much simpler to portray us as tear-gas firing, helmet-wearing, faceless aggressors.

Clearly, the Guardian got the memo. Their photo story on GMJ protests, Israeli police and Palestinians clash during Land Day protests, included this:

The propaganda value of this photo is priceless, and represents quintessentially Guardian caricatures of cruel, sadistic Israelis juxtaposed with innocent Palestinians – devoid of any trace of context.

There were hundreds of Palestinians rioting on Friday, many throwing rocks and firebombs at uniformed Israelis, and the IDF, as they always do, employed non-lethal riot dispersal means to quell the violence in a manner most likely to minimize injury.  This was no small challenge in the context of a broader GMJ movement which clearly wanted to provoke violent confrontations to achieve propaganda victories.

Balint concluded:

So, for the record, here are some faces of Israel and her security forces that may shed a little light on just who we are as we approach Passover 2012.

Here are the photos she took and posted at Times of Israel:

Police on patrol at Jaffa Gate
Posing in Akko…
Consulting with the locals at Qasr al Yahud in the Jordan Valley
Naval cadets in Jerusalem
Border patrol in Jerusalem
Visiting Herodian

Local coordination at Wadi Kelt
IDF Entertainment Group welcoming new olim at Ben Gurion Airport
IDF conquers the Old City
Border patrol on break at Kikar Safra, Jerusalem
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