Palestinians are ‘trapped’ in Gaza in ‘lopsided conflict’, Brian Williams says

Israel/Palestine
on 24 Comments

The latest Israeli assault on Gaza is being covered in a new way in the United States mainstream. Slowly but surely, an alternative voice is trickling into the stream. Not much but a trickle, changing the picture of Palestinians in the American discourse.

Exhibit A, Ayman Mohyeldin. The NBC reporter is in Gaza and had the first report on the Nightly News last night. Brian Williams introduced him by saying that Palestinians are “trapped” in Gaza in a “lopsided” conflict, and don’t have a warning or defense system like the one that the U.S. helped buy for the Israelis. Williams:

While what we are watching in the Middle East is not an all out war, at least not yet, it is so far a rather lopsided conflict. While hundred of rockets fired by Hamas continue to rain down on Israel, causing a huge number of Israelis to take cover every single day, their air forces and defenses are far superior, from their warning sirens to their jets and bombs and helicopters and drones. And the rocket shield they call Iron Dome, paid for in part by close to $1 billion US dollars. The Palestinians are more or less trapped in Gaza, with no sirens to warn civilians of an incoming strike– as the Israelis continue to hit back when stuck. The Palestinian death toll in Gaza stands at 90, mostly civilians.

Mohyeldin’s sympathies are clear: He regards the people of Gaza as…. people. The great thing about his report is that it wasn’t about civilians being torn limb from limb by bombs, as they are being torn. It was about an ordinary individual whose dreams were destroyed by the bombs: a young woman who wants a baby and who has undergone years of expensive fertility treatment, and was at last pregnant. She miscarried after her house was destroyed by bombs.

More trickles. ProPublica has a report up from Uri Blau about how an Israeli extremist organization gets a tax subsidy from the US government for contributions:

A controversial Israeli organization that’s representing the six men recently arrested in the recent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager is receiving thousands of dollars in tax-deductible support from Americans. The group, called Honenu (which roughly translates to “pardon”), supports Israelis charged with or convicted of violence against Palestinians.

Honenu’s work goes well goes beyond legal aid.

The group says it also provides “spiritual” and “financial” assistance to prisoners and their families. Among those Honenu has helped: Yigal Amir, assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin; an Israeli convicted of murdering seven Palestinians at a bus stop…

The New York Times also mentions Honenu in a front-page story on extremists in Israeli society: “Killing of Palestinian Youth Puts an Israeli Focus on Extremism.” Steven Erlanger quotes a lot of Jews shaking their heads over the crazy nutbags in our religion and in Israeli society. Here’s the message:

“[Deborah Weissman, a Jewish educator] said that though the killers appeared to represent ‘a very marginal phenomenon,’ their very existence demanded that Jewish Israelis reflect on their identity and history.”

The piece overlooks the Israeli government’s role in this extremism; it says nothing about Benjamin Netanyahu’s talk of “vengeance” and “human animals” that preceded the Jewish terrorist murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, let alone his incitement before the murder of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. But it’s a step forward for the Times to be talking about Jewish extremism on the front page, a year after Max Blumenthal published Goliath, a landmark book on the subject that the NYT has studiously ignored.

Another trickle. Adam Bronfman, son of the late Israel lobbyist Edgar Bronfman, writes in the Times of Israel that the occupation is to blame for endless “vitriol,” including the latest round of violence. He calls it “the settlements,” but he means occupation.

the settlements are the greatest impediment to enduring peace in Israel, and the deaths of four innocent children last week [three Israeli teens and Mohammed Abu Khdeir] should cause us to examine our own beliefs and actions….

In the last few days, the forces of battle have once again unleashed over Israel and the Palestinian territories as missiles rain down on major Israeli population centers and the Israeli air force strikes in Gaza. The violence escalates and more families will be ripped apart and more children will die. Inevitably, the chasm between Jew and Arab widens. As a father of four, my heart breaks for the families who lost their young sons and I fear for the families in harm’s way. As a Jew and a supporter of Israel, I feel compelled to speak. I strongly believe that we can trace the trail of missed opportunities and increased vitriol directly from the first self-righteous construction of settlements. We must call for an end to settlements now and begin to heal from the destruction and suffering they have brought with them. 

There’s also American Jewish reaction to report. A day after Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer attacked the New York Times in Buzzfeed for a moderate editorial on the conflict– “5 Reasons Why New York Times Editorial Today Is An Embarrassment To Journalism–”
The New Republic ran a remarkably similar attack that offered three reasons the NYT editorial was so bad, by Yishai Schwartz. I seem to hear an echo:

Dermer:

1. The New York Times writes that “after days of near silence,” Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the murder of a Palestinian teenager on Sunday.

Schwartz:

1. The editorial chides Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his “days of near silence” after the brutal murder of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir…

The New Republic piece doesn’t plagiarize him, it parrots the Israeli ambassador. “Taking a foreign government’s propaganda as a template and publishing it as an independent view just slightly adjusted– that’s pure propaganda, not journalism,” observes a shrewd friend.

More reaction. Will Saletan at Slate says that Israel is bending over backwards to avoid killing civilians. “Israel, unlike Hamas, isn’t trying to kill civilians. It’s taking pains to spare them.” I think this counts as supreme indifference to Palestinian suffering:

As of Wednesday afternoon, the death count ranged from 30 to 50 or more, depending on where you mark the onset of the conflict. Every death is tragic, and the longer the assault goes on, the higher the toll will go. Still, given that Israel has launched more than 500 airstrikes, you’d have to conclude that either Israel is failing miserably to kill people or, more plausibly, it’s largely trying not to kill them.

“Largely” covers a multitude of sins, or civilians.

More propaganda. Fox News has a horrifying report up, an interview of the conservative columnist Ben Shapiro in which he describes the Obama administration as “borderline Jew-hating.” Media Matters has publicized the matter: Host Megyn Kelly primes the pump, faulting Obama for failing to call Benjamin Netanyahu till after other world leaders had called him, then Shapiro slams Obama for undermining Israel’s ability to target “its enemies” by pressuring Netanyahu– “asking a state that is under the constant threat of rocket attack aimed at civilian centers to ratchet down its targeting of those rockets.”

Shapiro says that the Obama is “creating daylight between the United States and really its only ally in the Middle East.”

This is an anti-Israel administration. It’s the first administration in American history that is obviously anti-Israel. It’s a borderline Jew-hating administration… The daylight that has been created between Israel and the United States has emboldened Israel’s enemies and enemies of the United States.

Shapiro may be right about the daylight; Obama is said to dislike Netanyahu, and who can blame him. The media are finally giving him a little bit of room. Even as Obama is giving a green light to Israeli violence, White House aide Philip Gordon gives a speech saying that the occupation “is not only wrong but a recipe for resentment and recurring instability” that emboldens “extremists on both sides.” Also, note this piece at Foreign Policy in which Michael A. Cohen says that the Democrats are “finally turning against Israel. And it’s high time they did.” The piece offers no real evidence of such a trend; but its publication is itself evidence of a shift.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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24 Responses

  1. Kay24
    July 11, 2014, 12:44 pm

    Ayman Mohyledin has been a great reporter, who gives attention to the Palestinian people, and much deserved consideration, for their suffering. It is indeed a lopsided war, almost one sided, when one considers who is wielding the power and the deadly weapons, inflicting most casualties, and having the megaphone to convince the world that they are simply “defending” itself. Reality is, the Palestinian people are like sitting ducks, with no place for safety, unlike Bibi’s precious people, and as this article says, no warning system, and no billion dollar iron dome gifted by the generous tax payers of the US. This is basically an unfair and brutal massacre by human animals.
    Bibi has already declared that no world pressure can stop his ground war (he must be salivating at that opportunity). What chutzpah!

    Here is some standup comedy by Bibi:

    “They sanctify death, we sanctify life
    They sanctify cruelty and we mercy and compassion
    that is the secret of our strength”

    Right now those who sanctify only their lives, who are merciful and compassionate, are unmercifully pounding Gaza and killing women and children, and injuring hundreds. Compassionate? Bullsheet.

    Delusional, denial, and insanity.

  2. James Canning
    July 11, 2014, 1:42 pm

    Adam Bronfmn is right to focus attention on the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

  3. Boomer
    July 11, 2014, 1:43 pm

    Yes, by the standards of the commercial networks in the U.S., the NBC report was a good one. My heart went out to the poor woman who lost her unborn child, as well as her house. I wish I could help her, and her neighbors, at least in some small way. The humanitarian crisis there is obviously huge, and (alas) created in part by American support to Israel. Does anyone know how an American can make a small contribution to some reputable agency that is helping in Gaza? Usually, when disaster strikes anywhere in the world, we see information about relief agencies that are working in the area: Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, etc. But in this case, I don’t know.

    • adele
      July 11, 2014, 3:21 pm

      Boomer,
      here are some organizations that you may want to contact and donate to:

      link to anera.org
      link to mecaforpeace.org

      • Boomer
        July 12, 2014, 6:32 am

        adele, thank you for those links. They look like excellent charities.

        Last night, after I posted my question here, I heard a report on PRI’s The World that included a brief interview with Arwa Mhanna, a Gazan employee of Oxfam. link to pri.org I guess Oxfam may be another possibility.

        In a part of the interview not included in the transcript, she indicates that food is now available, but could soon become a concern. She says that most of the tunnels to Egypt have been destroyed. I infer that the only aid that can reach Gaza is what Israel permits. Israel can just starve them into submission.

        Even so, I feel like making a contribution to show which side I’m on. As an American, I feel responsible, even though I don’t agree with my leaders’ policy of supporting the oppression of Palestine.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      July 11, 2014, 5:45 pm

      Try link to map-uk.org

      They are a very reputable organisation which does wonderful work for Palesinians both in Palestine, and in refugee camps outside the country. I have donated to them several times. MAP is a UK charity, but I see no reason why an American couldn’t make a donation.

      • Boomer
        July 12, 2014, 6:38 am

        Maximus,

        Thank you for the link. That looks like an excellent charity. I appreciate the link.

        As I told adele, who also responded to my question, after I posted my question here, I heard a report on PRI’s The World that included a brief interview with Arwa Mhanna, a Gazan employee of Oxfam. link to pri.org Oxfam may be another possibility. I’ve contributed to it in the past, but didn’t know they did work in Gaza.

        In a part of the interview not included in the transcript, Arwa indicates that food is now available in Gaza, but could soon become a concern. She says that most of the tunnels to Egypt have been destroyed. I infer that the only aid that can reach Gaza is what Israel permits.

        Nevertheless, as I told adele, I feel like making a contribution to show which side I’m on. As an American, I feel responsible, even though I don’t agree with my leaders’ policy of supporting the oppression of Palestine.

    • Pat Nguyen
      July 11, 2014, 7:23 pm

      @Boomer
      You could also advise them to promote 2 states for 2 people.
      With this responsibility of having a state comes the end of hostilities and a refugee solution that will end with nearly all of,today’s Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens remaining that way.
      If enough Gazans feel that way, perhaps they will next select reasonable leadership

      • a blah chick
        July 11, 2014, 10:39 pm

        Did you not hear the Israeli PM today? He’s not withdrawing form the West Bank, ever.

        He’s the one you need to talk to.

  4. James Canning
    July 11, 2014, 1:44 pm

    I don’t think the Democrats “are turning against Israel”, and to me it is obvious the Democrats will do Israel a service if they make clear getting out of the West Bank is the way forward.

  5. Jackdaw
    July 11, 2014, 1:48 pm

    I would remind Brian Williams and the people of Gaza that, ‘He who lives in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones’.

    • talknic
      July 11, 2014, 8:29 pm

      I would remind Jackdaw and the people of Israel and its blind supporters that :

      The Zionist Movement‘s State of Israel has been occupying territory “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine” for 66 years , illegally acquiring territory thru illegal facts on the ground instead of protecting it on behalf of the Occupied, illegally annexing, illegally selling land in non-Israeli territory to its brainwashed illegal settlers and as such is very deserving of the wrath, hatred of the occupied and the unfortunate collateral their rightful violent responses might visit upon the people of “Israel, the Occupying Power”

      The sensible and rightful thing to do would be for Israel to adhere to the law, UN Charter and get out of ALL non-Israeli territories for once. Something it has never tried and has steadfastly refused to do, preferring illegality instead!

      Meanwhile the Palestinians claim their LEGAL RIGHTS according to the binding UN Charter and binding International Law and conventions reaffirmed and emphasized in hundreds of UNSC resolutions. Israeli demands actually have no legal basis what so ever.

      • Pat Nguyen
        July 12, 2014, 2:57 am

        @talk
        The armistice agreements signed by Arab nations trump the partition plan.

      • talknic
        July 12, 2014, 5:37 am

        @ Pat Nguyen “The armistice agreements signed by Arab nations trump the partition plan”

        Uh huh… the Armistice AGREEMENTS signed by Israel “Art V
        2. The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of either Party to the Armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine question.”
        link to pages.citebite.com

        AND

        “Art V
        4. Rules and regulations of the armed forces of the Parties, which prohibit civilians from crossing the fighting lines or entering the area between the lines, shall remain in effect after the signing of this Agreement with application to the Armistice Demarcation Line defined in Article VI”

        So apart from wading around in ziopoop and then putting your feet in your gaping great wailgob, did you have a point?

      • Pat Nguyen
        July 12, 2014, 4:54 pm

        Yes. The armistice agreements were the last ones to be signed. So they stand until a treaty

  6. Citizen
    July 11, 2014, 1:48 pm

    The US public taxpayers fund all of this. I don’t know who is more responsible for it happening than them or the US main media who gives them lies. US congress folks are equally guilty as they also support Israel’s war crimes & have the tools to counter the US main stream media on this issue. It seems to boil down to the fact that money rules and Zionists have a lot of money. Can anybody boil it down more?

    • Kay24
      July 11, 2014, 7:46 pm

      We send the military occupiers billions in aid and weapons, in turn they buy the loyalty of the US congress by donating to their campaigns, and after they win their elections they are eternally in the debt of AIPAC.

  7. NoMoreIsrael
    July 11, 2014, 1:50 pm

    The Germans had a 12 year history of racist genocide and also produced the most incredible advances in physics, logic, mathematics, MUSIC, philosophy, poetry and literature.

    The Israelis have a 66 year history of racist genocide and have given the world nothing but suffering and destruction.

    As it happens, there IS a lawn in need of mowing.

    It’s called israel.

  8. ritzl
    July 11, 2014, 2:07 pm

    Not only are Gazans trapped, but Israel’s self-righteous claim (that would be a “talking point” Jake Tapper) that they “warn” people who are about to be bombed is wholly contingent on a working phone/cell system and the assumption that EVERYONE in Gaza is [still] connected.

    Gosh, isn’t a phone system the first thing to go in bombing/slaughter campaign? Does Gaza even have electricity to power its phone/cell system?

    I noticed that Netanyahu ruled out cutting power to Gaza as a non-starter after one of his cabinet meetings. My guess is only to maintain the slightest shred of media plausibility for this “talking point.”

  9. German Lefty
    July 11, 2014, 5:38 pm

    Andrea Mitchell Reports 07/11/14
    Death toll rises in Middle East conflict
    link to msnbc.com

    The Daily Rundown 07/11/14
    US intervention may no longer work in Israel
    (with Yousef Munayyer)
    link to msnbc.com

    Morning Joe 07/11/14
    Brzezinski: Gaza attack won’t help moderation
    http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/brzezinski–gaza-attack-wont-help-moderation-302117443899

  10. a blah chick
    July 11, 2014, 10:49 pm

    If Israel is not trying to kill people and Hamas is why has Israel killed over a hundred and Hamas hasn’t killed anyone?

    So confoosed.

  11. chris o
    July 13, 2014, 12:44 am

    Ron Susskind made some excellent comments about Israel on Real Time last night, thoroughly critizing its posture. Bill Maher responded with some extremely pro-Israel statements.

    • Citizen
      July 13, 2014, 9:38 am

      Maher loves Israel as much he hates Catholics. If he was logical he’d hate both of them for good reasons.

  12. Boomer
    July 13, 2014, 6:12 am

    Congrats to Philip on making the MSM. I just heard him on On the Media . . . the first time I’ve heard him. Good job.

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