Body Hack’s body blow

Todd Sampson (centre) at the Gaza-Israel border protests. Photo: Network Ten


IF you had simply read the transcript of Body Hack this week, chances are you would take some comfort from some of Todd Sampson’s attempts to provide some balance to one of the world’s most intractable and bloody conflicts.

Attending one of the violent protests at the Israeli border, and after witnessing dozens of people being shot he notes that Palestinian kids were “running mindlessly towards the Israelis taunting them to fire”.

Talking with young Palestinian children, he was shocked when he asked if they would ever play with Israeli children.

“We’d kill them,” one youngster said. “Because they are Israeli. The enemy.”

When meeting with Islamic Jihad he learned that they are not interested in peace either. “There is no peace as long as the Israeli enemy is here,” a leader told him. “The peace will be his when the so-called state of Israel ends.”

Sampson himself notes, “It would be easy to blame Israel for everything, but that would be masking the truth.” He also contends, “You could argue the democratic election of Hamas has done more to hurt the people of Palestine than Israel.”

Credit where credit is due.

For the first time in many years, the views of indoctrinated Palestinian children and intransigent Palestinian leaders have been broadcast on free-to-air television in Australia.

But all of this was just words. The images on screen told a very different story. Apart from a brief montage of terror attacks against Israel and a cursory reference to rocket attacks from Gaza at the end of the episode, the program was overwhelmingly dominated by images of Palestinians under fire, Palestinians injured and Palestinians mourning.

No interviews with grieving or injured Israelis, no shots of children racing for their lives to rocket shelters, no mention of Palestinian protesters being encouraged to breach the border to murder or kidnap Israelis.

For all Sampson’s words, it is the images of Palestinian babies in hospital lacking medical supplies, people having their legs amputated and family members mourning a young father killed at a “peaceful protest” that will be the lasting memory for viewers.

Sampson said the show was not meant to be political but given its subject matter, inevitably it was. And inevitably, if you only show one side, if you only talk to one side, by definition your program is going to be one-sided.