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On Holocaust Remembrance Day, NPR promotes Israeli army but Obama takes a pass

on 26 Comments

If you want to understand the sad state of American media on Israel, then go no further than Emily Harris’s report for National Public Radio yesterday on teaching little Israeli children about the Holocaust on Holocaust Remembrance day. It was, to use a scientific term, pap. Titled, “In Israeli Kindergartens, An Early Lesson In The Holocaust,” it contained an advertisement for the Israeli army:

Then [teacher Nava Ron] asks the children what they know about [the Holocaust]. One child says Israeli soldiers protect them now. Another pipes up and says at that time, the whole world was at war.

Ron agrees. She directs the conversation toward democracy, tolerance and other ways to solve conflicts.

What’s so shocking about this piece is that Israeli media, and even the president of the United States, are doing a much better job of problematizing this narrative than NPR is capable of doing.

The same day NPR told its listeners that the Israeli army is protecting little Jews from Jew-haters, the BBC aired a piece by Jeremy Bowen quoting Yehuda Shaul on how 50 years of policing an occupation has corrupted Israel and corrupted its army.

And Haaretz published a story on some elite Israeli high schools ending the program of sending students off to Auschwitz, in which it addressed the “fascization” of Israeli society.

Citing the dangerous rise of nationalism in Israel, principal Zeev Degani announced that as of next year, Gymnasia Herzliya would no longer be sending delegations to Poland. Instead, it would find ways to educate its students at home about the Holocaust…

“As I see it, this is our antidote – and pardon the expression – to the process of fascisization that is taking over politics in this country,” he told Haaretz.

And meantime, Israeli media have been all over a similar warning about Israeli political culture issued by Yair Golan, the deputy chief of staff for the Israeli army:

“If there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance, it’s the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then — 70, 80 and 90 years ago — and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016.”

This is the Israel that NPR can’t bring itself to see.

And why do I mention President Obama. Here is President Obama’s statement two days ago on Holocaust Remembrance Day. In yet another signal that he has had it up to here with the one and only Jewish state, the statement doesn’t reference Israel.

2013: Obama mentions Israel twice.

2014: Obama mentions Israel once.

2015: He doesn’t mention Israel.

And look back at 2009. Israel was all over it, from start to finish:

in the final analysis, I believe history gives us cause for hope rather than despair — the hope of a chosen people who have overcome oppression since the days of Exodus; of the nation of Israel rising from the destruction of the Holocaust; of the strong and enduring bonds between our nations.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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26 Responses

  1. sulai on May 6, 2016, 2:57 pm

    Wondering why no one is picking up the State Department’s assurance to Senator Leahy about investigating Israeli human right violations

    “The Obama administration, locked in tough negotiations with Israel over a new U.S. defense aid package, has assured concerned lawmakers that it is closely tracking allegations of Israeli human rights violations and will restrict security assistance if the claims prove true.”

    • Kay24 on May 6, 2016, 5:40 pm

      Thank you for that link. Don’t be surprised that the US media is not picking up on these very important updates, and bringing this situation to the attention of Americans. There are very good reasons why they are referred to as the zionist media. The US sends that parasitic nation the MOST aid, and we are in the process of increasing it to billions more, which I think should be front page news, but when it comes to Israel, its crimes, and the amount of aid we keep giving them (weapons too), it is always downplayed. It is all in the coverage. Right now, they have given Trump all the attention, and made him into the nominee. Even Obama blamed them for that.
      The media helped Bush/Cheney sell the Iraq war to the people, ignoring the truth about faulty intelligence, and not challenging the lies.

      Sen. Leahy is a brave man for bringing the President’s attention to Israel human rights violation, and questioning whether or no we should be feeding their hunger for American dollars, but unfortunately he is outnumbered by the servants bought by Israeli lobbies, and his efforts will be overridden.

      • Kay24 on May 6, 2016, 5:49 pm

        “The assurances come in a response from the State Department to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and 10 House members who asked the administration earlier this year to investigate whether Israel and Egypt were violating human rights and should be penalized under the Leahy Law. That law conditions U.S. military aid to foreign countries on their human rights records.”

        I would say that the President and Congress will be breaking our own laws, so that the zionists will be given aid, and the weapons to keep their campaign of human rights violations against the occupied people of Palestine.

      • hoya saxa on May 6, 2016, 9:41 pm

        zionist media? Sure kay…pass on some more classic antisemitic tropes. I guess ariana huffington is now jewish? Or a zionist? And Rupert Murdoch? Bezos? Funny…as long as you have a pathetic argument in favor of your terrorists right? Even if that means violating the US dept of state definition of antisemite.

      • Kay24 on May 7, 2016, 2:03 pm

        Hasbara Tactics

        By controlling information one can control people and the social networks. Hasbara volunteers help to police social networks for Israel. The big media are dealt with through BICOM and AIPAC, whilst the social media are policed unofficially by the Hasbara troll brigade. Priority is to stop influencers being compromised by anti-Israel sentiment.

        Hasbara Troll attributes

        Supreme point of view
        The Hasbara troll knows best
        Condescending & Patronising
        Socialist (Smart and ‘caring’)
        Do not have to be Jewish but Pro-Israel
        Internet experts
        Like to ask the questions, not answer questions
        Control freaks
        Inflamed by anyone being critical of Israel
        ‘Moral’ Guardians
        Classic insults: Anti-semite, Neo- Nazi, White Supremacist, Holocaust denier
        Adept with social networks well trained on IT

      • annie on May 7, 2016, 3:20 pm

        zionist media? Sure kay…pass on some more classic antisemitic tropes. I guess ariana huffington is now jewish?

        kay, the troll thinks zionist means jew. leave israel alone!!!

        i remember when andrew sullivan asked if there were ANY non zionist journos w/regular column hired by the msm in the US. nobody could think of even one.

      • Kay24 on May 7, 2016, 5:01 pm

        We all know by now how the zio US media covers the P/I issue, and the naivety shown in troll comments are amusing. There is a huge difference in the media coverage in other nations.
        I see it every time I travel. They must be recruiting from Middle School by now.

      • Mooser on May 7, 2016, 6:06 pm

        “zionist media? Sure kay…pass on some more classic antisemitic tropes.”

        “hoya” don’t worry, I am here, and if anybody says anything worse about Jews or Zionists which is worse than what we say about them or, for that matter, each other, (That one really took the bottom out) I’ll be the first one to kvetch.
        I’d like to get upset about “Zionist media”, but there’s been way too much “Pallywood”. Sorry.

      • DaBakr on May 8, 2016, 1:07 am


        Still trying to draw a distinct line between zionists and jews where one barely exists. the % of jews who identify as zionists (while possibly growing as per MW articles) are is still in the single digits.. just as the number of pro-israel/pro-zionist arab, palestinian,. druze, christian, and bedouin Israelis are growing but their numbers are in the single digits as well. But the mw commenters come up with all sorts of ludicrous excuses to refute theWe parallels.

      • annie on May 8, 2016, 2:52 am

        dabkr, you think christian zios and non jewish zionists are in the single digits? that’s amusing.

        what’s your definition of zionism lately? you think hclinton and biden are zionists or not? there are way more non jewish zionists in the US than jewish zionists.

      • Marnie on May 8, 2016, 8:13 am

        Kay24 – your list is absolute and excellent. I’d add something that is a new development here at MW, that being hasbara trolls without their comments on file. What’s up with that, besides the obvious? I’d have thought they would want their hasbarabytes to live forever in infamy. May I also add to “the list” – mind-numbingly boring and irritating like nails across a chalkboard or having a root canal.

      • Mooser on May 8, 2016, 1:01 pm

        I am convinced that our Hasbaratchniks have a basic misunderstanding of the web.
        They are sure, somebody, somewhere is reading (and decrypting as necessary) their comments closely, and scoring Mondo’s web-stats on the basis of “positive hits” and “negative hits”.

      • MRW on May 9, 2016, 3:10 am

        @hoya saxa,

        pass on some more classic antisemitic tropes. […] Even if that means violating the US dept of state definition of antisemite.

        Violating the US dept of state definition of antisemite?” What violation?

        This is the United States of America, bub. We have a First Amendment. People are free to dislike who they want and express it. People can hate Jews, Japs, and Jains here all they want as long as they aren’t inciting violence. Enshrined in a 1977 US Supreme Court case known as the Skokie case. Allowed the Nazis to assemble and parade around in their Hitler gear with swastikas upsetting the six Holocaust survivors who lived in the town. Even the ACLU took up their right to do it. It’s the law of the land.

        I don’t know what country you’re from, but in this country, the State Dept does not write the laws of the land. The State Dept could declare only Christian thought is allowed inside embassies, and everyone here would tell them to pound sand. So get off your prissy stool and put your wag-wag-wagging finger down by your side.

        You’re a newbie here at Mondoweiss. Start showing some respect. Many of us have been around here for over 10 years.

    • MHughes976 on May 7, 2016, 3:05 pm

      That’s very perceptive, Kay. Can we add boring and insufferably repetitive?

      • Kay24 on May 7, 2016, 5:09 pm

        You sure can. I think they are repetitive because all they can spew is what they have been brainwashed into saying, when faced with facts and the truth, I think their little minds find it difficult to grasp. Their lecturer tells them “if you cannot convince them, confuse them”
        hence the repetition, deflecting, and gobbledygook.

  2. brent on May 6, 2016, 4:41 pm

    Public Broadcasting is fundamental to why the Question of Palestine remains unresolved.

    At NPR Linda Gradstein had tenure year after year as a propagandist for the Israeli narrative….. ending the majority of stories with a quote from the IDF’s spokesperson. No one stays on the payroll if they do not carry water.

    The Newshour is a problem too. There is a longstanding pattern of not covering news that would enable viewers to understand dynamics in foreign policy in general and the holy land in particular. The practice is to wait and put “inconvenient” news into “context” some time later and to restate questionable facts. I have yet to see a Washington Week in Review do a respectable overview when it comes to I/P.

    So many Americans, voters, depend on PBS to be informed. The editing out of relevant information and reinforcing the accepted narrative leaves the public essentially misinformed and politicians in line.

    This is a serious oversight by activists. PBS depends on public contributions and therefore subject to publicity. Public Broadcasting was created 25 years ago to bring forth voices and ideas being marginalized by commercial media. Demanding a return to that mandate would make a big difference.

    Simply bringing Democracy Now! to more stations would amount to a big step forward.

  3. JWalters on May 6, 2016, 6:43 pm

    Why is there no Nakba Remembrance Day in any American media? Perhaps because the Nakba is still ongoing? Why, in the thousands of TV and radio discussions about Israel’s wars, is there NEVER even a MENTION of the Nakba? How could such a blanket, 100% omission occur, in thousands of discussions? This cannot be due to chance. This can only be due to iron control. The state of America’s media is way beyond “sad”. Such control is rightfully called “tyranny”.

  4. YoniFalic on May 6, 2016, 7:38 pm

    I wonder whether Phil Weiss knows Modern Israeli Hebrew?

    The correct translation of יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה is Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Day.

    Militarism has always been part of this day.

    • jon s on May 9, 2016, 4:37 am

      “Heroism” , in the context of the Holocaust, could mean a variety of actions, not only armed resistance. It could also mean escaping, and hiding, and smuggling food and helping one another, or simply trying to survive in extreme conditions. All of which constitutes “heroism”, along with armed resistance such as in the Warsaw Ghetto, or among the Partisans.

      • eljay on May 9, 2016, 7:29 am

        || jon s: “Heroism” , in the context of the Holocaust, could mean a variety of actions, not only armed resistance. It could also mean escaping, and hiding, and smuggling food and helping one another, or simply trying to survive in extreme conditions. All of which constitutes “heroism” … ||

        Thank you for confirming that the Palestinian struggle against the countless past and on-going acts of injustice and immorality committed by Zio-supremacists and the “Jewish State” is heroic.

      • Mooser on May 9, 2016, 11:54 am

        “Heroism” , in the context of the Holocaust”

        When were you born? Where? What the f–k do you know about the Holocaust?

        My God, playing King-of-the-hill on a mountain of Jewish corpses.

        Hey “Jon s” did “heroism” during the Holocaust consist of coming from the US to steal the property of Jews who were deported?

      • Mooser on May 9, 2016, 12:48 pm

        “Heroism” , in the context of the Holocaust”

        Consists of whatever the Zionists did during that time.

  5. dx on May 7, 2016, 3:48 am

    To JWalters, I don’t think most Americans know about the Nakba. I certainly didn’t. I read about it here and looked up more stuff about it on my own. I am neither Jewish nor of Middle Eastern descent, and most of this history was unknown to me. I have a non-Jewish Zionist friend whom I told about the Nabka and current conditions in the occupied territories, and he refuses to believe it. But I keep working on it. (I’ll tell you what’s getting his attention. It’s the “most moral army in the world” claim. He’s a veteran of the US Army, and he knows full well that no army can stand there and honestly make that statement.)

    Anyway, the Nakba really has to be talked about in America. Maybe a PBS documentary–? Probably couldn’t get made or aired. Or just a documentary movie?

    It would be very tough to do. I can already hear the cries of anti-semitism. Probably difficult to get a distributor. Just put it online, I guess. And publicize the hell out of it. Get a celebrity spokesman.

    But yeah, your point is well taken. I really think the reality is that average Americans just don’t know about the past or current conditions in this part of the world. And years of news reports that focus on suicide bombings for instance or just violence in general and not what leads to the violence is the problem. But that takes time to explain. This coupled with failed peace talks time and again–well, it all just feels like a broken record.

    I think most people I know either support Israel for religious reasons or because of the holocaust and the news reports. Or they don’t care all that much because, “Those people have been fighting for years and years. It’s never going to stop.”

    I believe most people just don’t know. A straight up series of “here’s why they are fighting” stories would help. Here’s what the laws are. Here’s what the conditions are like. Explain only certain people can marry, only certain people can use this road, only certain people can live here or go to this school–show them the segregation, and that alone will get people’s attention. It’s our great democratic ally–and it’s Un-American.

  6. hophmi on May 7, 2016, 9:30 am

    The President’s statement talks about Jewish communities abroad and refusing anti-Semitism. Interesting that you didn’t mention that.

    • annie on May 7, 2016, 12:55 pm

      “Jewish communities abroad” is plural, it means all of the Jewish communities abroad. it doesn’t reference or prioritize any state — which i think was phil’s point.

  7. Misterioso on May 7, 2016, 1:23 pm

    Speaking of Holocausts, I wish the mainstream media would occasionally remind us of what was the worst mass slaughter of humans in modern history. I am referring to the systematic murder of about 10 – 12 million Congolese by Belgian colonists during the latter part of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries when King Leopold II ruled Belgium. He was the founder and owner of what was then known as the Congo Free State.

    The unspeakable horrors Belgium inflicted on the natives of the Congo, which included amputations of arms below the elbow, was prompted by pure greed and chronic racism, i.e., to force them to work like slaves in order to harvest natural rubber on rubber tree plantations, which prior to the invention of synthetic rubber, was in huge demand in Europe and America to manufacture tires for the burgeoning automobile industry.

    BTW, one of the first people of note to refer to this holocaust was Samuel Clemens, aka, Mark Twain.

    Written by Adam Hochschild and published in 1998, “King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa,” provides an excellent source to learn about King Leopold II and his atrocious crimes against humanity.

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