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Indonesia: Bloggers Vs mainstream media on Israel-Palestine issue

The Indonesian mainstream media, especially some Islamic-leaning newspapers and TV stations, react harshly to the current war between Israel and Palestine. Through the media, we can see that some hard-liner groups have conducted ‘military training’ as a preparations for some people to go to Palestine for ‘jihad’ (holy war). The media also reported that the groups have raided some Jewish synagogues and blamed the Jewish in Indonesia to be ‘responsible’ to what's happening in the Gaza strip.

In some mosques, the Friday services also talk about it. Some even see that the conflict is a war between Islam and ‘the enemy of Islam’. Israel represents the Jewish, while the United States which usually in favor for Israel represents ‘the West’ and ‘the Christians’. In a nutshell, they seem to say that in Gaza strip ‘the enemy of Islam’ is currently destroying ‘us’.

Nevertheless, to my surprise, Indonesian bloggers seem to see the conflict differently. They have a much more mature way to see the conflict than most of the Indonesian mainstream media. Take for example a blog called ‘different is not war‘ who has a sound knowledge of the historical background of the conflict.

Bahkan lembaga Internasional sekalipun (dibaca: PBB) tak dapat menghentikan tragedi kemanusiaan di kawasan Timur Tengah khususnya dalam konflik Israel-Palestina. Kedua entitas politik ini telah “bertarung” di kawasan Timur Tengah semenjak berdirinya negara Israel pada tahun 1948.

Even the international institutions (the UN) cannot stop the human tragedy in the Middle East, particularly the Israel-Palestine conflict. These two political entities have been conflicting in the Middle East since the Israeli state established in 1948

Furthermore, he does not see all Israelis are ‘zionists’ who generaly agree with the use of violence against the Palestine.

Anindito Baskoro “Joe” Satrianto, who is a student at the Faculty of Islamic Religion Science, Indonesia Islamic University, also clearly states that the conflict between Israel and Palestine has nothing to do with religions.

Sampai saat ini aku masih nggak bisa nerima kalo besok diramalin bakal beneran ada perang besar antara Muslim dan Yahudi, sekalipun yang bilang gitu itu Nabiku sendiri… Maka seperti kata Hugo Chavez yang berani memulangkan dubes Israel dari negaranya, Israel-Palestina ini bukan konflik agama. Ini konflik kemanusiaan!

Until this moment, I still cannot accept the prophecy that there will be a great war between the Moslems and the Jews, even if my Prophet said so… Thus, like Hugo Chavez, who bravely kicked the Israeli ambassador out of Venezuela, the issue about Israel-Palestine is not a religious conflct. It is a conflict of humanity!

Gantyo Koespradono
also writes about the societies in Palestine and Israel. He mentions that there are Muslims and Christians in Palestine, who both are fighting for their country's freedom.

Berdasarkan sejarah Palestina, generasi demi generasi, mayoritas warga Palestina Muslim dan penduduk Palestina Kristen hidup berdampingan secara damai. Mereka mencintai tanah air yang sama, mereka memiliki cita-cita nasional yang sama pula. Keduanya sama-sama memimpikan kehidupan yang aman dan damai sebagai bangsa yang majemuk…, mereka sama-sama berjuang demi tanah air Palestina yang merdeka, yang adil dan makmur…

Based on the history of Palestine, the majority of the Palestinian Moslems and Christians, over generations, have lived together in peace. They love their common motherland, have the same national goals. Together, both of them dream about life full of peace and security as a plural nation…, they all fight for a free, just and prosperous Palestine…

He further mentions a lot of Christian Palestinian famous figures in history, such as Emil Habibi, George Habash, Azmi Bishara, and Hanan Ashrawi, who have played important roles in the Palestinian politics. Raymonda Tawil, a Christian Palestinian political activist, is also the late Yasser Arafat's mother in law.

In conclusion, the struggle of Palestinians is a fight for freedom and the war is not a religious conflict. Indonesian bloggers seem to be more informed and mature than most of the Indonesian media.


  • Martin,

    Very interesting posting! One question: How big (influential) is the blog you cite?

    Are there often breaks like this between Indonesia’s mainstream media and blogs?


  • denis saputra

    Semua orang akan punya pandangan berbeda mengenai konflik Israel-Palestina. Kalo dibilang konflik ini hanya masalah politik dan bukan masalah agama, ini jelas ada benarnya. Kalo memang semua orang muslim di dunia memandang ini sebagai konflik agama, tentu saja sudah terjadi perang besar. Kan nyatanya tidak, karena bisa dilihat sendiri, negara-negara muslim di Timteng seperti Saudi, Mesir, Jordania, Kuwait dll memilih ‘diam’ utk tidak ikut-ikutan terseret terlalu jauh dalam konflik ini. Jadi pendapat orang muslim di dunia ini pun beragam dalam melihat konflik ini.

    Di pihak lain jika ada sebagian masyarakat di dunia muslim yg mengatakan ini sebagai konflik religius, masih ada benarnya juga dalam tingkatan tertentu. Dalam arti tatanan dunia saat ini dipandang oleh sebagian muslim memang ‘tidak adil’, double standard, dan cenderung ‘memusuhi” dunia islam, termasuk dalm konflik ini.

    Mari kita lihat, kalau 1,2 atau 11 orang Israel yang tewas krn kena roket Hamas atau Hizbollah atau apapun yg berbau islam, …ataupun Amerika, orang barat, atau bahkan ornag indonesia (yg non mulsim), tewas oleh orang muslim, …maka berita dunia, mulai dari CNN, BBC dll akan memberitakan besar-besaran, bahkan cenderung melebih2kan, plus ada kesan nyawa mereka seolah-olah lebih berharga dari 1000 orang muslim yg tewas di belahan dunia lain.

    Saya memang kurang sependapat jika perang ini merupakan 100% ‘perang agama’. Tetapi memang ada unsur sentimen religius yg terlibat didalamnya.

    Media massa / Press kita mungkin terlalu ‘sengle minded’ dalam peliputannya mengenai konflik ini, tetapi jangan dikira di dunia barat yg terkenal demokratis, independen dll itu juga adil dlm pemberitaannya. Mereka sama saja kok, sudah ada ‘mindset’ dalam memandang & meliput hal2 yang berbau islam. Bahkan bukan orang muslim atau media negara muslim saja yang memandang konflik ini sarat dgn muatan agama. Mainstream Orang barat/media barat pun begitu, dalam gambaran mereka orang palestina itu ya orang muslim, berjenggot dan..teroris, org israel adalah (always) the good guys.

    Mereka juga sama nggak ‘mature’-nya mas..atau memang dipolitisir…you tell me! Dan bukan hanya media massa, tatanan dunia ini juga tidak mature..

    Yang bisa saya katakan adalah bahwa, siapapun itu(apakah itu Israel, Amerika, Iran, bahkan Indonesia, atau orang muslim, kristen, yahudi, budha, hindu)..dan apapun alasannya (apakah itu utk jihad, pembalasan serangan roket hamas, perang melawan teror, dll) tidak berhak untuk melalukan pembunuhan seperti yg terjadi dalam konflik ini.

    Sudah lebih 800 org tewas sejauh ini. Maka ini sudah merupakan masalah kemanusiaan, tanpa memandang agama mereka. Dan masih banyak lagi konflik di belahan dunia lain yang memakan banyak korban..

    Yang lebih memprihatinkan adalah dunia tidak bisa menghentikannya. Konflik ini adalah salah satu contoh, di mana tatanan dunia yang sudah modern ini tidak bisa menghentikan dan ‘membiarkan’ lebih banyak orang tewas.

    Mungkin krn yang jadi korban adalah orang palestina, yang menurut kebanyakan orang barat/media barat adalah muslim, berjenggot, dan ..teroris? ..mungkin…

  • Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your comment. Your first question is exactly the problem in Indonesia’s distorted mass communication. Blogs are growing, but they are relatively not influential in the public discourse. One of the main causes is the (still) very low number of internet users in Indonesia.

    How often? Well, I think it’s very often. The mainstream media generally ‘follow the market’. They present what people want to hear/see. The problem becomes worst when we talk about TV Stations. That’s why the quality of TV programmes, as have been said by many communications experts, are very low and lack of educational materials.

  • denis saputra

    Comparing to Indonesia’s media, do you think western media is mature enough? Don’t be naive. Western media is also biased when they are covering islam.

  • @Denis: Yes, the western media is often biased, too. The article was intended to focus on the Indonesian media, as I am an Indonesian GV author. Perhaps, you can read the opinions about western media from other GV authors.

  • Martin,

    If there are frequently divergent views, that means there will be a very interesting day of reckoning when the Internet user numbers in Indonesia increases enough to be a significant public force.

    You have now made me curious to know more more about Indonesia’s digital space!


  • @Tom: Good to know that the article has ‘provoked’ you to know more about Indonesia and it’s digital space. Perhaps, you should join us next year in our annual Blogger Fiesta!

  • would love to. please put me on the email list!

  • Unknown

    Majority of media is all corruption and lies may allah get rid of these dirty lieing machines and help us know the truth as watever allah wills is done

  • NY Yankee

    To Unknown,
    Get a life instead of taking one!

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