Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Google Earth hosting Palestinian propaganda

I came across this item in the Jerusalem Post this morning and was only mildly surprised to learn that Google Earth carries Palestinian propaganda on the portions of its maps that display Israel.
Anti-Israel activity on the Google Earth application has been stepped up this week, with the message "Nakba - The Palestinian Catastrophe" now appearing when users scroll over the orange dots that speckle locations across the entire map of Israel.

Google spokesperson Jessica Powell said on Tuesday that Google has no plans to restrict the application's content, despite claims that Israel is being uniquely and malevolently targeted.

[ ... ]

Some posts on the map of Israel incorrectly state that various cities are Palestinian towns destroyed during the 1948 War of Independence, Oboler said. He added that after searching through Google's world map, he had not found a similar situation in any other country.

Jenin resident Thameen Darby is posting these notes on the application, as well as links to a Palestinian propaganda site, Palestine Remembered, which offers more layers of misinformation for the map of Israel, Oboler said.

When Google Earth is first downloaded, the application's core system allows for various layers to be available to users. The content found within the core includes overlays, created by both organizations and individuals, allowing more detailed perspectives on certain areas.

The orange dots posted by Darby can be immediately found on the map, while other pro-Israel and corrected postings have to be downloaded separately, according to Oboler. A user has to actively seek for another perspective on the map, he said.

"The core layer is what people get when they download and install Google Earth," Oboler said. "It is there by default. The problem we have here is that the core layer is being used to promote propaganda, and this is being done openly and without penalty. If we treat Google Earth as the primary geographic information tool in the world, having such propaganda included becomes a problem."
The propaganda doesn't end there, though. I downloaded and ran Google Earth myself, and came across this particular "orange dot" (bottom third of the screen shot):

Hovering the mouse over the dot brings up the text "The photographs that changed the world - Muhammad al-Durrah". Clicking on the dot brings up a sequence of the photos with the caption:
Originally recorded on video, the three-panel sequence shows Muhammad al-Durrah, a 12-year-old Palestinian child being protected by his father, Jamal al-Durrah during a gun fight in the Gaza Strip on September 30, 2000. Jamal survived, while Muhammed did not.
The al-Durrah photographs, of course, are stills from a video purporting to show Jamal al-Durrah protecting his son Muhammad from Israeli gunfire. The video was shot by a Palestinian camerman for France 2 network, and the initial release (of 59 seconds out of a 27 minute video) reported that Muhammad, age 12, had died from gunshot wounds. The video provoked worldwide outrage against Israel, but the veracity of France 2's report was later called into question, and there were even allegations that the whole sequence had been staged. But, naturally, there were no follow-up reports sent around the world...the damage to Israel's reputation was already done. See the Wikipedia entry for more.

And, of course, here's one of the "Nakba" sites mentioned in the JPost article:

1 comment:

darkpixel said...

Sort of makes me want to start a Google Earth project in which ever village from Morocco to Pakistan gets flagged as a flagrant producer of terrorists and sheep fuckers.