Weekend long read

1) The ITIC reports on a recent Hizballah military exercise held in a supposedly UNIFIL monitored location in southern Lebanon.

“On May 21, 2023, Hezbollah held a military exercise in south Lebanon using live fire, which was well-covered by the media. The organization displayed its capabilities, reiterated its intention to obliterate the State of Israel and promoted the “unity of the arenas” narrative. Scores of media personnel were invited, including foreign correspondents, to watch while Hezbollah operatives simulated breaking through Israel’s border, taking control of an Israeli post or community and abducting soldiers. Weapons such as multiple-barrel rocket launchers mounted on armored vehicles, quadcopters and machine guns were displayed, but no missiles or UAVs.”

2) At WINEP, Matthew Levitt and Aurora Ortega analyse ‘Hizbullah and Russia’s Nascent Alliance’.

“Over the last few years, Russia has quietly extended its reach into Lebanon, seeking to cultivate cultural, economic and military ties in Beirut as part of a strategy to expand Russian influence in the Middle East, while side-lining the US and elevating Moscow’s role as a peacemaker. However, Russia’s encroachment into Lebanon has been overshadowed by the conflict in Ukraine, and its growing alliance with Hizbullah has likewise received scant attention.”

3) UN Watch reports on the annual WHO meeting’s singling out of Israel.

“The annual meeting of the UN’s World Health Organization, which wrapped up yesterday, singled out Israel for condemnation, while electing North Korea to a leadership role.

Deviating from its focus on public health emergencies, the 76th World Health Assembly held a special debate on May 24th to single out Israel, which was condemned by Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela and Cuba, for allegedly violating the health rights of Palestinians and the Druze population in the Golan Heights.”

4) At the Fathom journal, Richard Landes discusses ‘The Disorientations of Lethal Journalism: On Western Media and the Arab-Israeli Conflict’.

“Today we have two loud camps each justifiably accusing the other of substituting post-truth advocacy for descriptions based on hard evidence. In the process, a ‘great divorce’ has occurred between Western information professionals and the realities it is their vocation to understand. The following study examines one aspect of this problem – the conflict between Israel and her neighbours – for the following reasons: a) it was an early harbinger of things to come, b) because the misinformation comes to us from a legacy media that claims to observe professional standards, c) because this misinformation reflects the biases of people who, even as they embarked on this great divorce with reality, were convinced that they were indeed, the reality-based community, and d) because ‘getting it wrong’ on this particular topic has so many grave real-world consequences not just for Palestinians and Israelis, but for democracies the world over.”

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