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‘Let’s talk about art’– NPR promotes Israeli claims about Gaza massacre and leaves out medic’s killing

Media Analysis
on 13 Comments

We have written before about the Netflix series “Fauda,” which glamorizes undercover Israeli security forces in the occupation. The show has gotten a red carpet from the New Yorker and other Israel supporters in the media.

Well on Saturday morning, NPR highlighted “Fauda” as “a fan favorite in 190 countries around the world.” Host Scott Simon interviewed co-creator/star Lior Raz. “He brings personal experience as an IDF undercover agent to the table,” Simon said.

The NPR host did have the moral/professional strength to ask Raz about the killings in Gaza. And Raz lied and told him to move on. Here’s the exchange:

SIMON: I have to ask you, as a citizen, even more than a producer or actor, if you have any reaction to recent events in which scores of Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in what was called the March of Return along the Gaza border.

RAZ: First of all, as a citizen, every person who died there – it doesn’t matter. Israeli or Palestinian – it’s heartbreaking. But from the other side, just imagine you have to protect yourself. And I think Israel protected herself.

SIMON: Weren’t there are a lot of innocent people, though, and children certainly unarmed?

RAZ: I don’t know. I know that 60 people – or something like that – got killed. And it’s heartbreaking. But 50 of them were terror members of the Hamas. This is what the Hamas said. But let’s talk about art.

SIMON: All right. What do you hope Americans will learn watching “Fauda”?

Note that a top NPR host allowed a former Israeli undercover officer to lie about the numbers killed in Gaza — not 60; it was 123 as of Saturday, among thousands injured by live fire. And to spout propaganda about the massacred being Hamas terrorists. When their affiliation does not matter if they were going unarmed to the fence.

And the two men were speaking a day after Razan al-Najjar, 21, a paramedic in a white coat, was killed…

“But let’s talk about art.”

“All right.”

Imagine if Simon had responded, “I don’t want to talk about art. Yesterday an Israeli sniper killed a 21-year-old Palestinian medic as she tended to wounded. Isn’t this how the world now sees Israel?”

BTW Simon and Raz also spoke about filming the show in Kfar Qasim, in 2014 during the Gaza onslaught. Again one must ask: Why didn’t Simon mention that Kfar Qasim was the site of an Israeli massacre in 1956, carried out by the predecessors of the security force in Fauda– 49 killed over a violation of curfew. Why do his producers and editors know that Fauda was filmed there but not that a massacre happened there? That’s negligence.

Simon: I gather you filmed in Arab-Israeli village Kafr Qasim. What was that like?…

Raz: Listen, let’s talk about coexistence. And immediately, like that night or day after, we came for month and a half or two months. And we actually was there from morning till dawn till night working in Kafr Qasim in, like a bubble of creativity and love, of Arabs and Israelis work together, because the missiles … don’t know if you are Jewish or Arab — they are just falling.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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13 Responses

  1. edwardm on June 4, 2018, 11:20 am

    yet another reason why NPR is no longer supported by “listeners like me”

  2. Donald on June 4, 2018, 11:27 am

    I wonder if “ terror members of Likud” will ever become part of the lexicon?

    • Boomer on June 4, 2018, 7:20 pm

      re: “I wonder if “ terror members of Likud” will ever become part of the lexicon?”

      We can hope.

  3. Boomer on June 4, 2018, 11:51 am

    Thanks for this report. I didn’t hear it. It’s disturbing, but not surprising. Simon is pretty consistent. And not only him. It seems to me that NPR’s bias–always present–has actually gotten worse over the years. But that perception may well be due to the fact that, thanks to the WWW, I know more about the reality than I used to.

  4. chocopie on June 4, 2018, 11:59 am

    Switched off NPR long ago. I can always tell who is PEP, because they all love NPR. Switched over to the local fine arts music channel and driving has become so much more pleasant.

  5. John O on June 4, 2018, 1:23 pm

    “Let’s talk about art.”

    “OK. What do you think of Picasso’s ‘Guernica’?”

    • Boomer on June 4, 2018, 7:18 pm

      re: What do you think of Picasso’s ‘Guernica’?

      A good question. I imagine that Raz (and Simon) would think it a great commentary on 20th Century Fascism in Europe, while seeing no connection to Israel.

    • Edward Q on June 4, 2018, 9:50 pm

      Or: “What do you think of Triumph of the Will?”

      • Boomer on June 5, 2018, 7:54 am

        re: “Or: “What do you think of Triumph of the Will?”

        I’m going off on a bit of a tangent, I know, by responding directly to that question, but I think there is an important warning there for us in the U.S. When I first saw the videos of Trump descending the escalator in his Tower to announce to the adoring (paid) crowd below that he would run for President, I thought of the famous scene in which Hitler’s plane descends from the clouds.

        Part of her genius was the use of the new technology to enhance the impact of PR on the masses. We may not fully appreciate what she did, because we have become so accustomed to those techniques being deployed a thousand times a day to manipulate our emotions, to sell soap and cars and politicians.

        Today the new technology involves the internet, social media, cable “news” networks, etc. When Trump descended to save us, we didn’t fully understand how these technolgies were being deployed. Even now, we see that only dimly.

        Another parallel is the open use of the big lie technique. Fake news, alternative facts, nothing matters.

        I am not predicting the U.S. will end up in anything like what happened in Germany, but there are many ways to go to hell, or at least to decline.

      • Edward Q on June 5, 2018, 9:49 pm

        I think Trump’s propaganda is lame and asinine. Obama and Clinton were better liars. I do think there are new propaganda methods being used on social media. The coup in Egypt was engineered using such techniques and there have also been the color revolutions. I think the public will gradually become aware of and develop countermeasures to these new techniques. Will this happen quickly enough?

  6. Citizen on June 5, 2018, 1:21 am

    Or: “Maybe if Chagall was living he’d do a magical painting called “The Gaza Fence.”

  7. LeeMort1 on June 6, 2018, 1:24 pm

    I was taken aback by this Scott Simon interview but recall over 30 years ago, an interview he did with Ariel Sharon. It was before Sharon became prime minister, and even the Israeli government had given him a wrist slap for his complicity in the Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon. I recall Simon didn’t even bring that up in the interview. I wrote him a letter criticizing the fact that he’d given Sharon a pass. Simon subsequently read two responses to his interview. One praised the interview and the other complained he was too hard on Sharon.

  8. JWalters on June 7, 2018, 5:04 am

    And that’s why Scott Simon still has a job with this gang.

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