Pro-Palestinian Protests, Propaganda Reach Japan
Some 500 people on Monday staged a silent protest in Tokyo against the bloodshed in Gaza, the biggest such gathering in the Japanese capital since the violence began early this month, organizers told AFP.
As night fell demonstrators holding candles formed huge letters spelling "Gaza" in a city park, and offered a one-minute prayer for victims of the violence in the Palestinian territory.
Some waved Palestinian flags while others carried signs reading: "Stop the killing in Gaza. Japan cares."
"We want people in Gaza to know that they are not isolated from the world," said Sonoko Kawakami, one of the organizers. "Gaza is far from Japan, but we are going to continue to do whatever we can do here."
Leading members of the Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and Jewish faiths delivered brief messages calling for an end to the violence.
Pro-Palestinian protests - often violent and anti-Semitic - have erupted worldwide, as the international media presents a sympathetic face to the more than 500 Palestinian Arabs killed, claiming they are innocent civilians.
Hamas has openly boasted about the "success" of its strategy of using civilians as human shields during Operation Protective Edge, which is now ending its tenth day, and the IDF has published extensive evidence of the practice.
Hamas has in the past urged Gazans to ignore warnings from the IDF about upcoming strikes, in remarks caught both on Hamas-sponsored television and on the radar of international media outlets. Hamas's "Public Security Ministry" in Gaza even made official statements Thursday encouraging more civilians to refuse to heed IDF warnings ahead of a possible ground offensive.
In addition, several of the rockets fired from Gaza have never made it on to Israeli soil, and may be partially responsible for Palestinian Arab deaths from within Gaza itself.
By contrast, the IDF has dropped leaflets, sent phone messages, and issued general warnings to all civilians within range of upcoming airstrikes to prevent further harm.
While many in the international media have embraced the Gazan civilian casualty count as proof of Israeli "war crimes," CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, claimed Monday that many of those reported dead are likely Hamas terrorists.
In a study analyzing Al-Jazeera's list of Gazan casualties, it said, a close look at the data "shows that, as in past hostilities, the fatalities are disproportionately [compared to the overall population] among young males, which corresponds with the characteristics of combatants. Males over 40 years old are also disproportionately represented. Some of the fatalities in those over 40 years of age likely represent senior members of terrorist organizations."
However, the evidence has not prevented a significant upswing in anti-Semitic violence, with protests in Paris resulting in clashes with police and vandalism in synagogues.