Each side in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict believes criticisms in the media are biased, but the Palestinians are the ones doing almost all the suffering and dying these days. Antony Loewenstein argues for reality-based coverage.
Israel’s highly decorated Chief of Staff, Mordechai Gur, once said, “we make no distinction between civilian and military targets.”
Ze’ev Schiff, once the country’s leading defence analyst, further explained Gur’s remarks: “the Israeli army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously…the army, he said, has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets…[but] purposely attacked civilian targets.”
The reason was clear then and now. According to this deluded theory, the Palestinian population will pressure its leaders to cease hostilities with the Jewish state and simply accept colonization and expansion.
Israel’s recent war against Gaza must be seen in this light.
These realities are largely ignored in the Western media. Israel is a religion that only the bravest dare challenge publicly in the United States.
Instead we have to listen to claims about the Israeli Defence Force being “unsurpassed in its moral traditions.” Now, with over 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza murdered and a handful of Israeli soldiers killed by the Israeli army, many may disagree.
How can we think rationally about this conflict, which consumes more column inches than virtually any other issue in the world? Laugh at the black humor of it all, the supreme irony of Israeli soldiers leaving graffiti in Gazan homes that reads, “We came to annihilate you.”
As a Jew, I wonder what my family’s Auschwitz ghosts would think about that.
Israel is the eternal victim, surrounded by enemy states and peoples and desperately in need of deadly weapons to kill them as easily as possible.
Or so its most energetic supporters would like the world to believe.
But who really does anymore?
Washington has been happy to provide freedom bombs for Israeli wars and reliably despotic Arab friends.
Hamas rockets threatened Israel’s nuclear facility at Dimona during the recent war, according to Rupert Murdoch’s Australian newspaper. The Iranian-backed militia are allegedly so crazy that they would risk destroying nuclear warheads and consequently spreading radiation across the occupied Palestinian territories and neighboring Arab states.
But then, Muslims are irrational and have a death wish.
The Zionist lobby regularly complains that the Western media is inherently biased against its noble mission of enforcing apartheid in the West Bank. During the Gaza onslaught, however, virtually all journalists were barred from entering the war zone. The result was unconvincing managed spin, pissed-off journalists and horrific pictures of Israeli devastation from local, Palestinian sources.
Just another win for the well-oiled, Israeli PR machine.
When Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that there was “no humanitarian crisis” in Gaza during days of ceaseless bombardment, this lie was all too evident. Bloggers, human rights workers, Arab journalists and civilians all told a vastly different tale.
I spent hours watching Al Jazeera English on its YouTube channel – Australia’s previous conservative government, like the Bush administration, opposed the network’s “alternative” perspectives and pressured satellite channel providers to restrict access – and often just laughed at the screen. War is peace. The Palestinians will thank us for destroying their homes. We are fighting a war against terror. You’re either with Hamas or us.
I know which side the civilized world has chosen.
Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based journalist, bestselling author and blogger. Visit his website: www.antonyloewenstein.com.