‘Telegenically Dead’: Israel’s crumbling media war

Israel/Palestine
on 83 Comments

cnn

Israeli propaganda has hit a new low. While the world was still trying to come to terms with the mass deaths in Shuja’iyeh, Benjamin Netanyahu went on CNN to state that Hamas uses the “telegenically dead” to further “their cause.” He added that for Hamas: “The more the dead, the better.” Even while Netanyahu followed the propaganda script, which is to first show sympathy and express remorse, by reducing dead Palestinians to a photo-op he showed how his own mind works.

There is a standard script for how to deal with Palestinian casualties. After Israel killed four boys on the Gaza beach on July 16th, the US establishment media fell in line behind Israel’s PR framework: acknowledge the tragedy but blame Hamas.  This is exactly what Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev said on Channel 4 News when grilled by the anchor Jon Snow. It is also how the US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki responded using the same word-for-word talking points.

This framework, developed in 2009, can be found in The Israel Project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary. The Orwellian manual provides a detailed outline on how to “communicate effectively in support of Israel.”

One of its first instructions is that pro-Israeli propagandists need to show empathy. The manual insists that they should “show empathy for BOTH sides” (caps in original) as a way of gaining credibility and trust. To make sure that the point is understood, the manual repeats again (in bold and underlined this time) the instruction “use Empathy”—the suggestion being that empathy is an important tool to be used in the propaganda war.

When innocent Palestinian children and women are killed, the first response should be to show empathy; the next is to reframe the issue stating that Israel is not to blame and that it is only defending itself and further that it only wants peace. Even when it is raining death and destruction on Palestinians, the manual is clear: “Remind people—again and again—that Israel wants peace.”

Developed after the 2008 Gaza war, when Americans began to show greater sympathy for Palestinians, this propaganda manual tries to address some of the shortcomings during Operation Cast Lead. Among the various shifts it suggests, the manual notes that it is important to distinguish between the Palestinian people and Hamas. Ayman Moyheldin, one of the few international reporters who covered Cast Lead, noted that Israel sought to “portray everyone in Gaza as a Hamas sympathizer, as a terrorist sympathizer” as a way to justify its indiscriminate killing.

The 2009 manual counters this strategy stating that while American’s “get” that “Hamas is a terrorist organization. . .if it sounds like you are attacking the Palestinian people. . .you will lose support.” It carefully emphasizes again: “Right now, many Americans sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians, and that sympathy will increase if you fail to differentiate between the people from their leaders.”

In other words, in order to decrease sympathy for the Palestinian people new tactics were needed to augment older ones.

Israeli propaganda has a long history. In 1982 the Israeli invasion of Lebanon was met with international condemnation. In particular, the massacre of Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila damaged its public image. Israel then instituted a permanent PR establishment that would work to cultivate good media coverage in the US. The Hasbara project involved training Israeli diplomats and press officers on how to speak in ways that ensured favorable media coverage. The media watchdog group, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) was formed to monitor and respond to “unfair” media coverage of Israel.

But pro-Israeli coverage isn’t simply the product of good talking points rather it stems from the “special relationship” between the US and Israel and their mutual interests in the Middle East. It is not a coincidence that Jen Psaki would use the same language as Mark Regev. Or that John Kerry would echo Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US political elite, the elite in Israel, and the owners of the corporate media share a set of common economic and political interests that ensures that pro-Israeli propaganda dominates in the establishment media. Should journalists and media organizations break from the script, various pro-Israeli groups, such as CAMERA, generate flak and bring enough pressure to bear on editors and reporters that they are brought back into line.

As Glenn Greenwald noted recently, media figures and executives are more “petrified” of covering Israel than any other issue. Jon Stewart comically made the same point in his segment “We Need to Talk about Israel.”

The end result is that news coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict follows predictable pro-Israeli patterns that are outlined in an educational video produced by media scholar Sut Jhally called Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land: US Media and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Cracks in the Propaganda Machine

But something new has been happening in the establishment media, particularly since the July 16th tragedy. Ayman Moyheldin now working for NBC witnessed and covered Israel’s cold blooded murder of four young Palestinian boys playing soccer on the beach. Moyheldin’s coverage was gut wrenching but it was carried by NBC nevertheless.

However, NBC immediately recalled Moyheldin, giving no explanation for why its best journalist on this topic (Moyheldin has covered Gaza before, speaks Arabic, and has a good understanding of Middle East politics) might be pulled out of Gaza.

This is standard establishment media protocol. But what happened next is anything but standard.

Following Glenn Greenwald’s article on this at the Intercept, large numbers of people, primarily through social media, held NBC’s feet to the fire. In contrast to standard patterns where the only pressure comes from well-funded pro-Israeli groups, this time ordinary people who are reeling from the Palestinian death toll organized their dissent.

The result was that Moyheldin was reinstated. He tweeted:

Similar outrage at ABC’s Diane Sawyer who misidentified the devastation and suffering of Palestinians as Israeli, prompted a rare apology from the slavishly pro-Israel corporate media.

The dynamic at work is as follows: First, independent media have played a crucial role in countering Israeli propaganda and offering alternative accounts. Second, social media have provided a forum from which independent journalism, as well as first hand reports from Palestinian people in Gaza, are circulated. Third, in these spaces Israel is losing the propaganda war, despite its vast resources of trolls and misinformation experts. Fourth, grassroots activists using social media have been able to bring pressure to bear on the establishment media. Fifth, this climate has enabled establishment journalists on the ground to be more forthcoming about the horrors of what is happening in Gaza.

Thus, Tyler Hicks, a photojournalist for the New York Times, who also witnessed the Israeli attack on the beach was allowed to contribute a story in the Times about his experience. Calling the lie to Israel’s claim that it only bombs Hamas targets, he wrote: “A small metal shack with no electricity or running water on a jetty in the blazing seaside sun does not seem like the kind of place frequented by Hamas militants, the Israel Defense Forces’ intended targets. Children, maybe four feet tall, dressed in summer clothes, running from an explosion, don’t fit the description of Hamas fighters, either.”

At the beach when this tragedy occurred, Hicks asked: “If children are being killed, what is there to protect me, or anyone else?”

Ben Wedeman, CNN’s veteran foreign correspondent, found out first hand that nothing can protect journalists. He was hit in the head by an Israeli rubber bullet. Following this, he filed a report of a family in Gaza who were evacuating their neighborhood in anticipation of an Israeli attack. The scream of horror and panic of a little girl hearing a missile strike close to her location filled the screens of CNN viewers.

For the first time, perhaps, Americans are witnessing the suffering of Palestinian people in the establishment press. Even while the framework of “Blame Hamas” dominates mainstream media coverage, the humanity of Palestinian people is cracking through the decades long, well established façade of pro-Israeli propaganda.

And how can it not? When the actual experience of journalists contradicts the propaganda narrative, if they have a heart or a brain, they cannot help but see Zionist propaganda for what it is. This is possibly why Israel kept out foreign journalists during the 2008 Cast Lead operation.

Another journalist, CNN’s Diana Magnay, hearing the cheers of Israeli’s as Palestinians were being bombarded, and somewhat horrified by it said spontaneously on the air—“it is really astonishing, macabre and an awful thing really to watch this display of fire in the air.” As a trained journalist, she seems to have self-censored and substituted the words “fire in the air” for what she actually thought about the people cheering on: “scum,” the word she would later tweet.

18-diana-magnay-tweet.w560.h375.2x

Despite the serious intimidation faced by journalists, in this case to bomb Magnay’s car if she got even “a word wrong,” such pressure seems to be working less and less. While Magnay was called away from Gaza by CNN, a vigilant social media sphere combined with mass protests around the world has created a climate where if media institutions are to retain their credibility they have to at least appear to be balanced.

This is the opening that Palestinian rights activists and supporters need to harness in order to reframe the debate. While our side lacks lobby groups, media watchdog outfits, paid trolls, disinformation experts, and the vast financial resources of the Israeli side, we do have one thing going for us—the truth.

About Deepa Kumar

Deepa Kumar is an associate professor of Media Studies and Middle East Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of "Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire" and "Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike". You can follow her work at her website Deepakumar.net and on twitter @ProfessorKumar.

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83 Responses

  1. nettee
    July 22, 2014, 1:16 pm

    Will be relegated to the dustbin of history.
    This utterance will follow him forever.
    What a legacy to leave behind.
    Awful man

  2. Elliot
    July 22, 2014, 1:28 pm

    Thank you for covering this.
    I think there is a deeper, darker truthiness to Netanyahu’s talk.
    From his perspective, ISRAELI fatalities are a propaganda boon. It allows him to play the “balance” card. “Look we have casualties too!” It rallies the country. And it plays into the Israeli narrative of “sh’khol” – the grief at the dead of young men. This is a powerful force in Israeli psyche. It ties this military campaign back to Israel’s wars going back to Yosef Trumpeldor and beyond. In every generation they try to kill us, so we kill them first and sacrifice some of our young men.
    It’s a delicate balance for him. Too many dead would not be good. No dead was working against him.
    He really is that cavalier with the lives of his own young people.

    • lysias
      July 22, 2014, 2:26 pm

      The 156 Israeli dead in the 2006 Lebanon war discredited the leadership of Olmert and General Halutz.

      • Elliot
        July 22, 2014, 2:38 pm

        Yes. That was way too many for the stability of the government.
        Netanyahu won’t let this get to that point.
        I’m not saying that Netanyahu prefers some Israeli deaths, only that Mr. Hasbara welcomes the PR spin he can put to work here. When he analyzes Hamas for their supposed use of the “telegenic dead”, he knows of what he speaks.

    • Marnie
      July 22, 2014, 2:42 pm

      When you don’t have a red heifer you have to settle for your sons and daughters (in reference to “sacrifice” in the story). The way he talked about Hamas wanting dead civilians I couldn’t help but think he’s just saying what’s on his own mind (we need dead soldiers to get sympathy). This is nothing but evil, pure, unadulturated evil.

      I met another american some years back working with new arrivals (idiots like myself) and she told me that she did a lot of writing, “I write positive stories about Israel”. I didn’t understand how difficult a job that was then, but imagine it is ‘pert near impossible now, if she still attempts it.

      Good night all and God bless and protect the Palestinian people.

  3. Greta
    July 22, 2014, 1:41 pm

    When the Free Gaza movement sent the first two boats into Gaza in August 2003, almost six years ago, we insisted that it would be civil society that would change the dynamics of the 6 decade Palestine/Israeli conflict. There was very little social media available when we left that hot August morning, as Israel blocked our satellite phones, our electronic equipment and our open channels. It was the Al Jazeera journalist on board the Free Gaza who kept his phone off (Israel immediately blocks any sat phone that is turned on) until the next morning, after a sleepless night for everyone on board and everyone worried about us. Many thought we were dead, since we disappeared for many hours. When he connected to his office in Gaza, they began to scroll “They are Alive… They are Alive” across the bottom of the screens.

    For us, watching social media grow over these past six years, that was one of the huge changes in reporting. No one pays much attention any longer to MSM and their talking heads when we can get a direct report from someone’s SMART phone.

    Israel has lost this battle. And they will never be able to regain the upper hand, not just because we have truth on our side, but because we activists for Palestine, have learned how to use social media to the advantage of an occupied and brutalized people.

  4. mascraig
    July 22, 2014, 1:44 pm

    As Greenwald recently wrote, this comment is reminiscent of Goebbels’ accusation that Jews send out their ‘pitiable’ to gain sympathy. More and more, the duck sounds and walks like a duck.

  5. seafoid
    July 22, 2014, 2:04 pm

    “Third, in these spaces Israel is losing the propaganda war, despite its vast resources of trolls and misinformation experts.”

    There just aren’t enough trained bots to turn social media on message.
    As Brzezinski said “The notion that one can control a region from a very strong and motivated country, but of only six million people, is simply a wild dream.” And social media proves that, at least in terms of hasbara.

    Lots of ‘neutral’ people are interested in Gaza and most in Europe at least are sickened by Israel’s murderousness. And the hasbara is hopeless. It doesn’t help at all.

  6. Taxi
    July 22, 2014, 2:10 pm

    Thank you for writing this article, Deepa Kumar. Thank you too for your impeccable research. Thank you for presenting us with the naked Goebbels-esque machination and dominance of isreali propaganda in USA media.

    Thank you too for illustrating clearly how Social Media, ie PEOPLE POWER, is in fact a force to be reckoned with in the face of the elite-chosen attempting absolute domination through misinformation and mass brainwashing.

    Worth repeating here:
    One of its first instructions is that pro-Israeli propagandists need to show empathy. The manual insists that they should “show empathy for BOTH sides” (caps in original) as a way of gaining credibility and trust. To make sure that the point is understood, the manual repeats again (in bold and underlined this time) the instruction “use Empathy”—the suggestion being that empathy is an important tool to be used in the propaganda war.

    When innocent Palestinian children and women are killed, the first response should be to show empathy; the next is to reframe the issue stating that Israel is not to blame and that it is only defending itself and further that it only wants peace. Even when it is raining death and destruction on Palestinians, the manual is clear: “Remind people—again and again—that Israel wants peace.”.

    Yes, they’re putting pink lipstick on Goebbels and stuffing a tear-drenched handkerchief in his hand and hoping no one notices. But people ARE noticing. All thanks to the Internet; all thanks to the smarts in people and the goodness in their hearts. Thanks to Social Media, people are now realizing that they have more than just the pitiful power of a single vote every four years. When united through Social Media, citizens now have the daily power to change events in history and ultimately shape the destiny of mankind.

    Soon enough in the near future, Gus and Mac will be discussing the Goebbels-esque points of your article over a six-pack in Mac’s backyard.

  7. James Canning
    July 22, 2014, 2:16 pm

    Israel’s renewed slaughtering of civilians in Gazaa is a indirect outgrowth of the insane Israeli programme of illegally colonising the West Bank.

  8. joer
    July 22, 2014, 2:22 pm

    There is a subtext to this whole story that the wanton slaughter is overshadowing. It is born out by this graphic:
    link to twitter.com

    When you don’t count the civilians, the actual number of dead soldiers is a lot closer on both sides: 86 to 25. And that is with a virtually unarmed population fighting the fourth largest military on the planet. It may explain why Israel is increasing the body count-to make it seem like more of a victory when they finally are forced to retreat. This incompetence speaks to the fact that Israel has concentrated its efforts on fighting unarmed civilians, and is really unable to fight an organized force.

    • Inanna
      July 22, 2014, 11:02 pm

      Al-Qassam Brigades were claiming 52 Israeli soldiers dead last time I checked a few hours back. I think the Israeli govt is slow in releasing info on the dead partly to stem the pushback against such a high number.

      • MahaneYehude1
        July 23, 2014, 12:27 pm

        @Inanna:

        Al-Qassam Brigades were claiming 52 Israeli soldiers dead last time I checked a few hours back.

        …and Al-Qassam Brigades were not claiming its dead fighters nor release photos of them.

        I think the Israeli govt is slow in releasing info on the dead partly to stem the pushback against such a high number.

        …and this high number shows us that the Israelis are willing to die in order to defend their homeland no less than the Palestinians.

      • Shingo
        July 24, 2014, 3:39 am

        …and this high number shows us that the Israelis are willing to die in order to defend their homeland no less than the Palestinians.

        No. It suggests that Netenayhu is prepared so sacrifice them for his own political ambitions. Israel is not defending it’s homeland. They have no clear goals or strategy, but are fumbling their way through this with zero success.

      • MahaneYehude1
        July 24, 2014, 4:43 am

        @Shing:

        No. It suggests that Netenayhu is prepared so sacrifice them for his own political ambitions. Israel is not defending it’s homeland. They have no clear goals or strategy, but are fumbling their way through this with zero success.

        Are these solid facts or just your assumptions? If you present yourself as one who knows everything going on the battlefield, I wonder if you can tell us about the goals and successes of Hamas.

      • Shingo
        July 24, 2014, 9:17 am

        Are these solid facts or just your assumptions?

        Your comment was an assumption and so was mine.

        If you present yourself as one who knows everything going on the battlefield, I wonder if you can tell us about the goals and successes of Hamas.

        Goals.

        1. To end the blockade of Gaza
        2. End the attacks by Israel
        3. End the occupation

  9. John O
    July 22, 2014, 2:25 pm

    Empathy – the propaganda equivalent of the faked orgasm.

    • Mooser
      July 22, 2014, 6:03 pm

      “Empathy – the propaganda equivalent of the faked orgasm.”

      Oh, I’ve seen them here, and they try to make with the empathy, except when bigots try to fake empathy the best they can do is obvious condescension.
      It’s a pretty sad spectacle, and they get called on it every time, but it never changes, since they have nowhere else to go.

    • MahaneYehude1
      July 24, 2014, 11:22 am

      @Shingo:

      (Hamas) Goals.
      1. To end the blockade of Gaza
      2. End the attacks by Israel
      3. End the occupation

      All three goals were already achieved on August 15, 2005, when Israel withdrew from Gaza strip, 8,600 Israeli citizens were evacuated and 21 Israeli villages were destroyed. By doing so, Israel ended the occupation. Israel didn’t impose any blockade on Gaza strip, only after the Palestinians started to create home-made missiles, smuggled missiles and launched them on Israeli cities and towns. So, now they are fighting, as you say, for goals that they already had without fighting.

      • James Canning
        July 24, 2014, 12:47 pm

        Israel continues to occupy the West Bank. And to expand illegal settlements.

  10. Penfold
    July 22, 2014, 2:27 pm

    This seemed to fit here…

    “MSNBC Correspondent: I Was Canceled Because I Criticized Network’s Pro-Israel Coverage
    Rula Jebreal says that her appearances have been canceled since she took the news network to task over its coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

    “July 22, 2014 |
    A Palestinian journalist who criticized MSNBC for biased coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict is saying that she’s “been canceled” by the news network.

    Rula Jebreal, who appeared on “Ronan Farrow Daily” yesterday and accused Western media outlets, including MSNBC of a pro-Israel bias, took to Twitter to announce that her forthcoming appearances on the cable network has been canceled and asked Daily Beast national security correspondent Eli Lake if his appearances had been canceled as well. Lake appeared in the same segment as Jebreal and countered her contention that coverage of the conflict was biased toward Israel. ”

    link to alternet.org

    link to youtube.com

  11. gracie fr
    July 22, 2014, 2:52 pm

    Israeli government spokespersons almost always talk to points that are limited to the “immediate”. Rhetoric and accusations are abundant. “Self-defense” claims aim to deflect from the IDF F16s that drop bombs on people. “Hamas are using Human Shields” is thrown about to justify the heavy and obvious civilian casualty deaths resulting from Israel’s “self-defense”. But more importantly, this is done to demean and degrade Palestinians. By reducing the conversation to the immediate, Israeli spokespersons hope to restrict the narrative. A trap is set where the cycle of heavy Israeli airstrikes against Hamas rocket fire, reduces the discussion to a blame game. Who fired first?. Who must stop firing first? Any meaningful exploration of the events and circumstances that lead to this situation in the first place, falls at the wayside. Those points aside, perhaps the most important effect of reducing the discussion to the “immediate” is that it simplifies the discourse for an already news barraged public: the daily bloodshed that is spilled in Syria and Iraq; the brutal government crackdowns in Egypt; Hamas rocket fire. All of that is skillfully lumped together. The public is tired. They’ve heard so much about sectarian and state sanctioned violence in the region. By claiming “self-defense” and dehumanizing the Palestinians, Israeli spokespersons are hoping to feed into one of the cruelest and most racist meta-narratives of our era. “These Arabs and Muslims in general are all backwards and uncivilized” and we are surrounded by them.
    link to medium.com

  12. ckg
    July 22, 2014, 3:10 pm

    The hounds are after Magnay. Now on Mediaite this headline:

    CNN Reporter Removed over ‘Scum’ Tweet Asks Whether U.S.’s MH17 Evidence Is ‘Credible’

    • Shingo
      July 22, 2014, 6:27 pm

      CNN Reporter Removed over ‘Scum’ Tweet Asks Whether U.S.’s MH17 Evidence Is ‘Credible’

      And who can blame her after the latest State Department press briefing when the spokesperson was asked if the public could see the evidence, and was told to check out social media.

      When pressed again as to why they won’t show it given the Russia are refuting the US version of events , the spokes person got incensed that anyone would give equal credibility to Russia.

      • lysias
        July 22, 2014, 6:52 pm

        the spokes person got incensed that anyone would give equal credibility to Russia.

        They think we’ll give any credence to the NSA?

      • RoHa
        July 22, 2014, 7:31 pm

        Russia is certainly denying the US version of the events, but I haven’t seen them refute it yet. Their arguments so far do not add up to proof, and that is what is required for refutation.

  13. ckg
    July 22, 2014, 3:17 pm

    And media figures are strictly forbidden from raising the issue of the right of Palestinians to defend themselves. Witness this exchange at yesterday’s press briefing between Said Arikat, State Dept. correspondent for Al-Quds, and State Dept. Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf:

    QUESTION: And should the Palestinians be given the same kind of courtesy to defend themselves?

    MS. HARF: At the same time, the President – first of all, nothing that Hamas is doing has any justification at all, period. Even bringing it up in that context is offensive.

    • seafoid
      July 22, 2014, 3:57 pm

      Marie Barf
      That is really appalling

    • Shingo
      July 22, 2014, 6:30 pm

      Marie Harf was having a rough day at the office, with the press room questioning why the US won’t show the public it’s “evidence” that the rebels were the ones who shot down the plane.

      • lysias
        July 22, 2014, 6:48 pm

        Same as they’ve never shown the evidence bin Laden was behind 9/11.

    • ckg
      July 22, 2014, 8:00 pm

      I should have added Said Arikat’s reply to Ms. Harf:

      QUESTION: Okay.

      That’s why We need more reporters like the AP’s Matt Lee. Like it!

  14. a blah chick
    July 22, 2014, 3:32 pm

    ” …nothing that Hamas is doing has any justification at all, period.”

    I guess that includes returning hostile fire.

    • tree
      July 22, 2014, 4:35 pm

      Note that the question was about Palestinians right to defend themselves, and the answer diverted to “Hamas” with a lot of holy indignation. Couldn’t answer the simple question.

  15. seafoid
    July 22, 2014, 4:02 pm

    link to theguardian.com

    “France’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that the 600 person death toll in Gaza was not acceptable and that Israel had to immediately stop “the massacres and attacks”, Reuters reports:

    “It was not acceptable that a country was threatened by missiles and that missiles landed on it, but the response must be proportionate,” Laurent Fabius told TF1 television.

    “When we are talking about 600 dead, it is obviously something that we can’t accept. The massacres and attacks must stop immediately.” “

    • Taxi
      July 23, 2014, 12:22 am

      “When we are talking about 600 dead, it is obviously something that we can’t accept. The massacres and attacks must stop immediately.” “

      STFU France you nasty war whore!

      We haven’t forgotten what you zio-colonialism did to Libya’s women and children! We haven’t forgotten what you tried to do to Syria and her children!

      Is 600 dead where you ‘civility’ begins?! 599 dead just don’t quite tickle your oohlala ‘western’ sensibility you colonialist skank!

      NEVER trust the French!!! (Government, that is)

  16. straightline
    July 22, 2014, 4:03 pm

    The only US newspaper I have an ounce (and no more) of respect for is McClatchy.
    I’ve given up on NYT and WP.

    link to mcclatchydc.com

    Look at the headline! The article is trying hard to be pro-Israeli but having a hard time of it. The tide is indeed turning.

  17. tree
    July 22, 2014, 4:44 pm

    More great PR for Israel. From David Sheen:

    Israeli city council hangs banner: “Israeli soldiers, we are with you! F*ck their mom & come home safely to your mom”

    link to twitter.com

    This isn’t some idiot on the internet mouthing this crap. This is the city council of Or Yehuda, in the Tel Aviv district of Israel, on a banner for all to see, no less! Or Yehuda is 100% Jewish, of course.

    • just
      July 22, 2014, 5:09 pm

      by their words and deeds we get to know them better and better.

      it’s not ‘pretty’ or worth ‘partnering’ with at all. (not that it really ever was)

  18. seafoid
    July 22, 2014, 5:14 pm

    Mark Regev vs Jon Snow 2014

    link to youtube.com

    • Sumud
      July 22, 2014, 5:39 pm

      Jon Snow has just arrived on the ground in Gaza, so expect more!

      I think Snow kind of relishes pummelling Regev, and I won’t begrudge him that.

      • Bumblebye
        July 22, 2014, 8:12 pm

        link to channel4.com

        Todays top stories are all from the region:

        Interview with Gen Yaakov Amidror
        Interview with Hamas spox Ihab al Ghosein
        Interview with Dr Medhat Abbas, Al- Aqsa Hospital

        Links to Jonathan Miller’s blog

        And to a ‘most watched’ video of Israeli military claiming Hamas have built an underground town. (I’m just off to watch that one!)

      • kalithea
        July 22, 2014, 8:22 pm

        I can’t blame him either; after all, Regev has I’m a lying pompous ass written all over his face. It’s just too tempting to expose him exactly for what he is!

  19. ritzl
    July 22, 2014, 5:18 pm

    600 dead in Gaza is the equivalent of 90,000 dead in the US (600*150). In TWO F’N WEEKS. 5,000 wounded is like 750,000 here.

    The impact on people, infrastructure, resources, and society in Gaza is unfathomable.

    Further, if they were simply left alone to recover they would be lucky to the point of being blessed. But they’re going to be hounded and hindered at every step of their healing. That too is incomprehensible in its depravity.

    On the Israeli side, 60 dead in two weeks is like 2,400 dead here. That’s a hell of a price to pay for a cynical exercise in political opportunism.

    Just to be clear, drawing equivalences is not an attempt to inflate the already tragic death toll. A single death is a tragedy, anywhere. It does underscore impact a help uninvolved people understand ‘this’ and begin to ask themselves the contextualized question, “What if ‘this’ happened to me and mine?”

    • MahaneYehude1
      July 22, 2014, 5:28 pm

      @Ritzl:

      600 dead in Gaza is the equivalent of 90,000 dead in the US (600*150).

      1450 missiles launched from Gaza is the equivalent of 217,500 missiles launched from Cuba to USA (1450*150).

      • Shingo
        July 22, 2014, 10:11 pm

        1450 missiles launched from Gaza is the equivalent of 217,500 missiles launched from Cuba to USA (1450*150).

        3000 bombs and shells fired by Israel into Gaza all with a power 100 times that of a rocket x 150 = 450,000 ordinance.

    • tree
      July 22, 2014, 6:03 pm

      I don’t particularly like those kind of numbers exercises either, but just in case the random “What about Syria?” diversion comes up there’s this: There was a headline the other day that the largest 2 day death toll in Syria just happened-700 Syrians killed in 2 days, assuming the figures are accurate. Doing the math with 22 million Syrians and 1.8 million Gazans, that would be equivalent to 58 Gazans dying in 2 days. Has there ever been 2 day period in Gaza since the start of the Israeli assault that didn’t exceed that number?

      • ritzl
        July 22, 2014, 6:35 pm

        Spot on, tree. As eljay always points out they deflect by comparing Israel to the worst of the worst, obviously with the intent of a favorable comparison.

        You show that Israel is actually worse than the worst of the worst, relatively speaking.

        Another way to look at it is that Israel doesn’t kill as many people as Assad or the rebels for lack of trying. It’s because there just aren’t enough people to kill.

      • Donald
        July 22, 2014, 7:17 pm

        “It’s because there just aren’t enough people to kill.”

        More to the point, to my mind at least, for all the screeching about rocket fire, Hamas simply doesn’t pose the threat to Israel that the jihadists do to Syria. Assad is a war criminal and there’s no justification for how his forces fight their war, but the jihadis really do pose a serious threat. If Gazans could come anywhere near posing the same danger to Israel, the Israelis would turn Gaza into a parking lot.

        And oh yes, the US politicians would support them as they did so. There wouldn’t be a single word of criticism for any measure they took.

    • kalithea
      July 22, 2014, 8:52 pm

      Just to be clear, drawing equivalences is not an attempt to inflate the already tragic death toll.

      It’s ESSENTIAL to put this issue in perspective for the uninformed American masses.

      Just imagine one of the best American hospitals, fully equipped with the best medical services and equipment, receiving dozens and dozens of serious trauma patients every day for two weeks non-stop and how harrowing, exhausting and impossible that experience would be for the emergency staff; and then imagine a hospital in Gaza, a Zionist concentration camp, deprived by a humanitarian blockade for over a decade of medical equipment and medicine and low on essentials everyone takes for granted, like gauze! as related by a doctor from Doctors without Borders when interviewed by Anderson Cooper.

      Of course these comparisons must be made! And its unfortunate that people in the U.S. STILL don’t get the depth of this tragedy and the media is a shamless enabler of their ignorance!

      If it weren’t for MSF, Doctors without Borders, this tragedy would be even greater, if that’s even possible. But Israeli forces have targeted paramedics, killing two, emergency rescuers also two dead and even MSF firing close to an MSF clearly-marked vehicle! It’s unconscionable what Israel is doing to Gaza and not just with this latest massacre on its people! This is a crime of massive proportions; a war crimes tribunal needs to be set up – yesterday. Justice is long overdue for Gaza.

      More regarding MSF’s work in Gaza:

      link to doctorswithoutborders.org

  20. just
    July 22, 2014, 5:19 pm

    Regev is looking rattled. Neck veins standing out

    (cnn with buddy wolf)

  21. seafoid
    July 22, 2014, 5:23 pm

    There is of course the religious angle to the butchery

    link to youtube.com

    It had to be Fox, didn’t it ?

    link to biblegateway.com

    “O God, do not remain silent;
    do not turn a deaf ear,
    do not stand aloof, O God.
    2
    See how your enemies growl,
    how your foes rear their heads.

    3
    With cunning they conspire against your people;
    they plot against those you cherish.

    4
    “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
    so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”

    5
    With one mind they plot together;
    they form an alliance against you—

    6
    the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
    of Moab and the Hagrites,

    7
    Byblos, Ammon and Amalek,
    Philistia, with the people of Tyre.

    8
    Even Assyria has joined them
    to reinforce Lot’s descendants.[b]

    9
    Do to them as you did to Midian,
    as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,

    10
    who perished at Endor
    and became like dung on the ground.

    11
    Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
    all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,

    12
    who said, “Let us take possession
    of the pasturelands of God.”

    13
    Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
    like chaff before the wind.

    14
    As fire consumes the forest
    or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
    so pursue them with your tempest
    and terrify them with your storm.
    Cover their faces with shame, Lord,
    so that they will seek your name.

    17
    May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
    may they perish in disgrace.

    18
    Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord—
    that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.”

    Footnotes:
    a.Psalm 83:1 In Hebrew texts 83:1-18 is numbered 83:2-19.
    b.Psalm 83:8 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.

    • michelle
      July 23, 2014, 8:21 am

      .
      if Israel honestly thought themselves
      to be G-ds righteous it would show
      .
      i looked to the land called Israel
      expecting to find G-ds Chosen
      i had to look elsewhere
      .
      among the Jews are G-ds Chosen
      .
      what if this is the wrong time for G-ds Israel
      .
      G-d Bless
      .

  22. just
    July 22, 2014, 5:41 pm

    Watching Netanyahu alongside with Ban Ki- Moon in a clip of the newser was surreal.

    Netanyahu compared Hamas to a litany of ‘terrorist’ organizations and Moon looked on nearly agape as he did so……….

  23. justicewillprevail
    July 22, 2014, 5:58 pm

    Steve Bell has a rather fabulous cartoon on the subject:

    link to theguardian.com

    As we know, cartoons are now the favoured IDF way of telling the ‘truth’.

  24. kalithea
    July 22, 2014, 7:53 pm

    First of all: kudos to Selena Gomez and Mia Farrow! Don’t be bullied into taking back your compassion for Palestinians’ suffering in Gaza.

    Third, in these spaces Israel is losing the propaganda war, despite its vast resources of trolls and misinformation experts.

    Oh yes, there are quite a few of those prowling around here: hop, yehude, dim, and more. And their script is standard deceptive Zionist hasbara issue.

    And ending on a brilliant note, may I say:

    While our side lacks lobby groups, media watchdog outfits, paid trolls, disinformation experts, and the vast financial resources of the Israeli side, we do have one thing going for us—the truth.

    You know the other side is backing deception when they require so much heavy, expensive machinery to make it appear truthful. The truth is powerful on its own; it doesn’t need a how-to manual. All it needs is you, me and everyone with a conscience and a heart to set it free!

    The truth is truly a blessed thing. By speaking the truth, the journalists who witnessed the murder of those four boys have achieved the following: they ensured those boys didn’t die in vain; although their young lives cut down by pure hate and vengeance is senseless and barbaric; and they tore an opening for the truth to emerge on this issue in the mainstream coverage. Unfortunately right now the media is using the airline tragedy as cover and excuse to ignore the deaths in Gaza, except of course for the occasional political and hasbara bullshet regarding Israel’s invasion that is passing for news on the Gaza tragedy.

    • traintosiberia
      July 22, 2014, 10:12 pm

      Great .but could you please post the links if you have now on Gomez and Mia Farrow
      Thanks

      • Sumud
        July 23, 2014, 6:29 am

        On Mia Farrow and some other celebrities tweeting out comments on the situation in Gaza:

        link to storify.com

      • MHughes976
        July 23, 2014, 9:33 am

        Farrow says that we can condemn passionately what is going on in Gaza without descending into the abyss of anti-Semitism. This is very true, but still offers a way to change the subject to the moral security of Farrow’s right to speak and therefore away from the passion with which she speaks. If you’re so mindful of the possibility that the subject may quickly change your mind is not full of passion but slightly defensive.

  25. Citizen
    July 22, 2014, 8:03 pm

    Alert: On Chris Hayes All In show now, 8pm EST: segment on US media bias in reporting Gaza situation. (Also, US connects Ukraine separatists to plane shot down, but cannot connect that dot to Russia).

  26. kalithea
    July 22, 2014, 8:15 pm

    In my other post I wrote: The truth is powerful on its own; it doesn’t need a how-to manual.

    I should have written: The truth is powerful on its own; it doesn’t need a how-to- make-it-appear-genuine manual.

  27. Citizen
    July 22, 2014, 8:40 pm

    Hayes says he thinks “we’re doing a good job covering the [Gaza] crisis.” He shows a clip of Jon Stewart’s last satiric Daily Show with Jon looking befuddled in middle of bickering sides, ending with him being accused of being a “Zionist Pig.” Hayes says that segment is “Pretty on point.”

    After a commercial, Hayes brings on Rula Jebreal saying “We are disgustingly biased, there’s never even one Palestinian on any show.” Shows Rula tweet she’s been cut from future TV appearances. Hayes says Rula’s point is largely true, generally, but the time around there are lots of pics of dead Palestinians and much discussion of the bias. Rula goes into the statistical disproportionate representation. “We are doing this but also our media is not covering the context, the reality of the occupation.

    Hayes says its hard to get a HAMAS official to come on our TV news.

    Rula: “Our media is undermining American interest in the region by its bias.

    Hayes: We only cover the violence. That’s a structural issue. Air time is a bad metric, there are interviews and there are interviews, we can’t get a Palestinian on.

    Rula: America is suppose to be about freedom of speech. That’s being undermined.

    Hayes: I think things are changing.

    Rula: The polls show a high support for Israel; this means Americans are still not getting objective news and context regarding the I-P conflict.

    • seafoid
      July 22, 2014, 11:52 pm

      Lucy Aharish is a Palestinian TV anchor on Israeli TV
      link to haaretz.com

      “The previous day, Benzi Gopstein – a merry Israeli trouper from Kiryat Arba in the West Bank – was a guest on the current-affairs program she hosts on Channel 2 (“Sihat Hayom” – “Talk of the Day”). Gopstein expounded his doctrine about Arabs’ place in Israeli society (according to him, they have none) and argued with the members of the panel, with the elephant standing right there in the room – in this case, the program host, an Arab woman, who sat there, doing a slow burn until she reached boiling point.

      On Monday, Aharish began her program with a calm, well-considered monologue. When reality-show refugee Dan Manu tried to defend Gopstein’s appearance, Aharish pulled out all the stops, releasing the feelings she had kept inside for so long.

      “Do you know what it’s like to be a minority in this country? I hope you never find out what it’s like to be a minority,” she told him, and shared some of the experiences of a person living between two societies and feeling like a hated stranger in each of them. ”

      link to youtube.com

      Go female Palestinian journos!

  28. dbroncos
    July 22, 2014, 8:41 pm

    Palestinian journalist Rula Jibreal reading Chris Hays the riot act about media bias toward Israel. Wow! She’s a little frantic but that’s understandable. Hays can’t get a word in but he seems sympathetic.

    • Donald
      July 22, 2014, 11:17 pm

      I appreciate that he let her talk–I respect him for having her on, but he was offbase in some of his comments.

      • MHughes976
        July 23, 2014, 5:27 am

        I’m glad to hear about Lucy Aharish – the voice, hitherto highly muted, of Palestinian citizens of Israel would be able, if only it would grow a bit louder, to make a very positive contribution. Likewise with the large, but also hitherto muted, voice of Palestinians in the West. I presume that the appearance of Rula J with Chris H was her second relevant one, after the first that cost her several cancelled appearances? That too suggests a slight break in the ice.
        I suppose that there are some inhibiting internal tensions among Palestinians in Israel and abroad?

      • Donald
        July 23, 2014, 7:13 am

        Chris Hayes has always been one of the best people on TV with respect to this issue and many others, so for him this isn’t new. He used to have a 2 hour morning show on Saturday and Sunday where several people of varying viewpoints would discuss issues and actually let each other finish a thought. They’d spend an hour, say, on the US drone assassination policy. Then he got “promoted” to a 1 hour show on weeknights and it’s nowhere near as good. But Chris is still Chris, with much more integrity than you usually find in an American cable news host. The same network has people like Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough and the overrated Rachel Maddow. Matthews and Scarborough are clowns. Maddow can be smart if she chooses, but usually talks down to her audience and is a coward on the I/P issue.

      • seafoid
        July 23, 2014, 9:57 am

        link to haaretz.com

        “Lod Mayor Yair Revivo fired an Arab municipal worker Tuesday for expressing joy over the death of 13 Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip, making her the fourth Israeli Arab in recent days to be disciplined at the workplace for posting comments on Facebook against Israel and its operation in Gaza. Some of the online commenters were accused of being traitors to their country.
        Unlike the others, Isra Gara, a psychological counselor employed by the municipality, expressly relished the deaths of Israeli soldiers.
        “13 [killed]. May they multiply. Amen,” Gara wrote on her Facebook page, resulting in her swift dismissal.
        After firing Gara, a resident of the Haifa-area town of Jatt, Revivo, a member of the ruling Likud party, wrote on his Facebook page that she was dismissed because of “disloyalty to the state.” But the Lod municipality said in a statement that she was fired for “a disciplinary offense bordering on the criminal and behavior unbecoming a public servant.”
        “I hope something happened in this country yesterday,” Revivo wrote on Facebook. “We’ve ended the era in which one hand milks and receives a respectable pay slip bearing the symbol of the state or the municipality or a public company, and the other hand betrays and hopes for the state’s defeat. When an Israeli citizen is happy over the deaths of our martyred soldiers, who gave their lives in defense of the homeland so that missiles, which fly at Jews and Arabs alike, will no longer be fired here, we can’t accept this.”
        He added that he hopes other public agencies will follow suit and fire “the traitors who live among us.”
        Municipal officials said Gara admitted her offense at a pre-dismissal hearing with the city manager, the city legal advisor and the head of the municipal education department.
        She could not be reached for comment.
        Three other Israeli Arabs ¬¬— a doctor and nurse at two different hospitals and an employee of the Safed municipality — have been suspended for comments on social media over the past two days.
        An Arab nurse was suspended from the state-owned Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer on Tuesday for writing on his Facebook page that IDF soldiers are war criminals. ”

        I bet they didn’t post at work but were still fired

  29. traintosiberia
    July 22, 2014, 9:45 pm

    “AIPAC Is the Only Explanation for America’s Morally Bankrupt Israel Policy”
    Stephen M Walt

    link to huffingtonpost.com

    • traintosiberia
      July 22, 2014, 9:53 pm

      AIPAC does not support Israeli policies blindly but supports the most ultra nationalistic ,anti peace elements of the Israeli establishment . It in US obviously aligns self with the same folks who don’t support the Oslo ,or land for peace or two state solution.

      link to nybooks.com

      From same source “In late 2000, when the intifada began, the former Clinton adviser told me, there were cases in which Israel used what seemed to many to be excessive force, such as breaking the bones of young Palestinians, and exacerbated the conflict in doing so. But if administration officials had said anything “that smacked of ‘moral equivalency,’” he observed, “it would have gotten us attacks from Congress, the media, and interest groups.” After a while, he continued, officials begin to shy away from saying anything that might become controversial domestically, leading to
      self censorship in speech and action….”

    • Donald
      July 23, 2014, 7:28 am

      I don’t think AIPAC is the only explanation for US policy. They are obviously a huge factor, but if there weren’t a built-in racist bias in many ordinary Americans their success wouldn’t be anywhere near as great. When it came to pushing for more war in Syria, the American people said no, and not because Americans care that much about either side in Syria, but because they’re sick of spending money and losing American lives in pointless and unnecessary wars. Key phrase there–“American lives”. But supporting Israel doesn’t cost us in a direct obvious way and it appeals to the authoritarian mentality–you’ve got a hard core of people who supported going into Iraq and using torture because they hate Arabs and/or Muslims, and then amongst some “liberals” there are many who would never acknowledge their bias in a forthright way, even to themselves, but clearly think that the Israelis are civilized folk just like them and so when they kill hundreds of civilians it is all Hamas’s fault for every last death.

      • Shingo
        July 23, 2014, 7:39 am

        They are obviously a huge factor, but if there weren’t a built-in racist bias in many ordinary Americans their success wouldn’t be anywhere near as great.

        That’s very true, but it’s not just racism, it’s tribal nationalism.

        Steven Walt wrote an interesting article about how a Tweet he posted, blaming the US as much Russia/Ukraine for the MH17 accident led to a barrage of invective unlike anything he has experienced. Some of it was because his comments were perceived as insensitive to the victims, but clearly, most would have been incensed by his suggestion that this is not all entirely Putin/the shirtless Stalin’s fault.

        I haven’t seen this kind of hysteria in the public and media since the lead up to the Iraq war, where anyone who opposed the war was shouted down as a Saddam or Al Qaeda lover.

      • Citizen
        July 23, 2014, 11:15 am

        Not to mention the propaganda war: link to democracynow.org

      • James Canning
        July 23, 2014, 1:24 pm

        Is Egypt acting in a “racist” manner, when it closes its border crossing to Gaza? I don’t see the “racial” angle in US policy toward Israel during its rampage in Gaza.

      • James Canning
        July 23, 2014, 2:11 pm

        The neocons at the heart of the conspiracy to set up the invasion of Iraq thought this was a great way to advance the interests of Israel. Full stop. “Protecting” Israel by manipulating the levers of American power is the name of their game.

    • James Canning
      July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm

      Aipac is the primary reason the US is not able to act in its own best interests, in matters involving Israel.

  30. traintosiberia
    July 22, 2014, 11:23 pm

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/palestinian-boy-clings-to-paramedic–story-behind-the-viral-photo-20140721-zv5n1.html#ixzz385LsQ3Lc

    A boy won’t let go the paramedic who is trying to lay him on hospital bed . He is poked with injury marks all over his tiny 2 feet body . He is saying ” I want my father. Bring my father to me”
    Yes the photogenic death Palestninans are seeking and showing! A pathetic animal like Netanhu can only come up with this portrayal of the victim. Only he can.

  31. traintosiberia
    July 23, 2014, 4:45 am

    link to timesofisrael.com
    Israeli envoy says Israel is showing restraint,killing less and getting killed to let Palestinian live and should get a noble prize.
    The pathetic has not been asked yet to leave US soil for glorifying Israeli tendency of mass casualty of civilians . People have been silenced for calling Hamas a resistance movement.

    He has earlier dismissed openly any 2 state solution. http://www.antiwar.com

    link to news.antiwar.com

  32. seafoid
    July 23, 2014, 9:04 am

    link to theguardian.com

    The Israeli Broadcasting Authority has refused to air adverts by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem (see video below), listing the names and ages of some of the children killed in Gaza, according to Elizabeth Tsurkov, project director at the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants Israel

    link to youtube.com

    • just
      July 23, 2014, 9:48 am

      It’s simply too much for the Israeli public to handle, you know. Listening to names of the dead– no pictures, no stories– and it’s still too much!

      Sounds about right for a fascist state to outlaw this kind of advert.

  33. amigo
    July 23, 2014, 11:00 am

    Not all crooks return to the scene of the crime.

    Israel is a nation of cowards and bullies.I wonder just how brave they would be , one on one.

    Without big daddy hovering in the background ready to save their valueless posteriors.

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