Why does the Guardian describe Israel’s actions in Gaza as bloodletting?
IN war, words matter. The BBC knows it. The Guardian knows it. In a piece entitled “It’s Palestinians who have the right to defend themselves” Seumas Milne writes that Israel started it. He’s opinion fits with his paper’s view. So much the usual.
Not all news organs agree with one another. As the Times Giles Coren tweeted on the Guardian’s Steve Bell cartoon:
“That Nazi c*** Bell wants nailing to a f****** windmill.”
Bell responded to the criticism:
“The coverage of Operation Pillar of Defence has been so skewed in favour of the Israeli side, particularly I regret to say on the BBC, that I do personally feel quite a strong need to make the counter argument”.
He sees BBC bias in favour of Israel. Who knew?
Back to Milne, who writes
Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, had plenty of motivation to unleash a new round of bloodletting.
The Science Museum describes bloodletting thus:
…in earlier historical periods losing blood was considered to be beneficial to health. This practice was called bloodletting and was the most common procedure performed by surgeons for almost two thousand years…bloodletting was believed to return the patient to general good health…Leeches were also used for bloodletting. Applied to the skin, this type of worm can suck several times its original body weight in blood.
The Guardian has used the term to describe military action in other nations: once in reference to Sierra Leons and once in reference to Iraq. The paper produced a letter some MPs wrote decrying Israeli agression:
We are horrified by the bloodletting and destruction in Gaza, but we cannot ignore that it was Hamas that called an end to the ceasefire last week and escalated its rockets, mortars and missiles launched at Israeli civilians.
The Guardian also used it here in reference to Israel.
Photo: Blood Libel illustration in the Nazi Newspaper Westdeutchen Beobachter of Cologne, published by Robert Ley – the most popular newspaper in Western Germany in the early years of Nazism.