by Zafar Bangash (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 41, No. 10, Muharram, 1434)
Zionist Israel can always count on its drumbeaters ensconced in western governments and the media to project it as ‘victim’ even when it kills Palestinian civilians with unrelenting ferocity.
No matter what the outcome of the shooting war, there is one war that Zionist Israel never loses: the propaganda war. Thanks to an army of Israel-firsters in the media as well as a long line of people — men and women — in important positions in Western governments, Israel will always be shielded from any criticism for its horrendous crimes against the Palestinian people. Let us consider just one example. On November 14, Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi asked his UN ambassador to call a meeting of the Security Council to condemn Israel’s assassination of Hamas security chief Ahmed al-Ja‘bari.
The meeting was convened late at night but after several hours of discussion that was frustrated every step of the way by the American ambassador Susan Rice (an African-American woman, for the record), the council could only issue a statement that bordered on the scandalous. The statement simply said, the Security Council had met. There was no mention of what it was convened for or what was discussed. The Russian ambassador revealed after the meeting that the Americans had sabotaged it.
The US has consistently shielded the Zionist State from criticism. There are more than 70 Security Council resolutions that the US has vetoed to protect Israel. In General Assembly votes, often, the US, Israel and Micronesia or another unknown tiny island in the South Pacific, are on one side and the rest of the world on the other. But the General Assembly vote carries no enforcement power so the resolution remains merely on paper.
There is, however, another level at which Israel not only gets a pass but its supporters go to absurd lengths to distort truth. The North American media is notorious for this although other media outlets, such as those in Britain and elsewhere in Europe are little better. In the latest Zionist onslaught that had started long before the November 14 assassination of al-Ja‘bari — some independent commentators have called the assassination a war crime — the disproportionate casualty figures show the kill capacity of each side. In the eight-day period, 161 Palestinian civilians were murdered by Israel (not “died” as the BBC and others are so fond of saying, as if the Palestinians died of some natural cause). Only five Israelis died, of whom one was a soldier. Thus 32 times more Palestinians were killed by Israel than Israelis killed by Hamas.
Was this disproportional kill rate reflected in media reports? Here is what Richard Cohen wrote in his opinion piece titled, “The callousness of Hamas”, in the Washington Post on November 19, “Of all the points of disagreement between Israel and Hamas, maybe the most profound is this one: Israel cares more about sparing innocent lives — including those of Palestinians — than does Hamas” (emphasis added). While Cohen continues to peddle the fiction about Israel’s extreme care “to avoid civilian casualties,” he blames Hamas for the casualties. How? “For Hamas, civilian casualties are an asset.” Only a person completely blinded by hatred of Muslims, infected as he is by the racism of Zionism/Israelism, can make such a preposterous statement. He becomes even more ludicrous when he writes, “Increasingly, many people now see Israel as the aggressor, as Gaza’s occupying power (never mind the 2005 pullout), and they overlook such trifles as the Hamas charter, which is repellently anti-Semitic…”
Cohen almost seems to be frothing at his mouth about people seeing Israel as the “aggressor.” How dare anyone knock Israel off its pedestal of permanent victimhood? As for Israel’s “2005 pullout of Gaza,” Cohen conveniently glosses over the fact that all of Gaza’s borders are controlled by Israel except the Rafah Crossing into Egypt but that too remains closed for extended periods. Tiny Gaza is under a tight Israeli siege; a large swath of the border is declared “security zone” by Israel, taking additional land away from the Palestinians. Its air space is also completely controlled and Israel has imposed a three-mile limit on Gaza fishermen. Even within this three-mile limit, Israeli ships routinely attack fishermen’s boats. At least 35 have been damaged since 2007.
Not everyone is impressed by Cohen’s argument. Amira Hass of the Israeli daily, Haaretz, is one of them. She is Jewish and lives in Israel. In her piece on November 19 — the same day Cohen’s pro-Israeli propaganda diatribe appeared in the Post — Hass wrote, “One of Israel’s tremendous propaganda victories is that it has been accepted as a victim of the Palestinians, both in the view of the Israeli public and that of Western leaders who hasten to speak of Israel’s right to defend itself. The propaganda is so effective that only the Palestinian rockets at the south of Israel, and now at Tel Aviv, are counted in the round of hostilities. The rockets, or damage to the holiest of holies — a military jeep — are always seen as a starting point, and together with the terrifying siren, as if taken from a World War II movie, build the meta-narrative of the victim entitled to defend itself.”
Even while living in Israel and, therefore, much more exposed to the “danger” from Hamas rockets, Hass shows far greater understanding of the Palestinians’ plight than does Cohen in Washington. Hass writes, “…Resistance to the injustice inherent in Israeli domination is an inseparable part of life for each and every Palestinian.” For Cohen, this is heresy.
Charles Krauthammer, another general in the Zionist media army firing his heavy artillery on the pages of the Washington Post takes issue with Hass’ designation of Israeli occupation. In his weekly column in the Post, he starts with a question, “Why was there an Israel-Gaza war in the first place? Resistance to the occupation, say Hamas and many in the international media.” He does not name the “international media” but one can speculate. Some editorialists, the Financial Times of London, for instance, made reference to Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian lands that is stoking resistance. But Krauthammer is not convinced. “What occupation? Seven years ago, in front of the world, Israel pulled out of Gaza. It dismantled every settlement, withdrew every soldier, evacuated every Jew, leaving nothing and no one behind. Except for the greenhouses in which the settlers had grown fruit and flowers for export.” (Washington Post, November 22). How touching, except that Krauthammer forgot to tell his readers the systematic strangulation of Gaza. Israel allows only about 100 trucks of food and other essential items per day when the daily requirement for the 1.7 million inhabitants is 1,200 trucks. The UN agency, UNRWA, has said 80% of Gaza’s population is food deficient yet Israel’s general in Washington insists, “Israel wanted nothing more than to live in peace with this independent Palestinian entity.” Perhaps, Krauthammer should trade places with a Palestinian in Gaza City for a day to find out how great life is in the Israeli besieged enclave.
Zionist drumbeaters are not confined to the US. There are many in Canada as well, not exactly a world superpower but one that is trying to punch above its weight and in the last decade has become rabidly pro-Israel. In addition to several rightwing fascist media outlets that are so completely pro-Israel that many Canadians recoil in horror, there are other more mainstream outlets that also provide a platform for these racists and bigots.
One of them is Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. The Zionists have showered their pet dog (we will refrain from using the appropriate gender term) with many awards over the years for trying to justify every Israeli crime. She was not going to miss out on the latest Zionist onslaught on Gaza and had to tell readers that they should not be swayed by the disproportionate casualties suffered by the Palestinians. “It gets downright absurd to weigh the mutual impact of casualties as a yardstick for measuring the misery these two sides have inflicted on one another. Yet, for the moment at least, that’s precisely what administrations in world capitals are doing as they monitor Israel’s military response to rocket provocations from the restless Gaza Strip, ruled by a government that is formally designated a terrorist organization since seizing control of a cesspool territory Israel abandoned in 2005,” DiManno wrote on November 19. Which “world capitals” have questioned Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza that has caused so many Palestinian casualties? Her designation of Israeli aggression as “response to rocket provocations” is of the same order of absurdity as assertions by a string of western officials parroting the line that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”
With such an impressive army of drumbeaters in the Western media, Israel need not worry about losing the propaganda war any time soon. Social media, however, is a different field. Gradually, people worldwide are beginning to see through Zionist propaganda and are turning to social media sites to get a more accurate picture of the reality on the ground in Gaza and Palestine. And they are beginning to see the ugly, brutal face of Zionism.