By Caitlin Johnstone
May 12, 2021 "Information
Clearing House" - -“Twenty-four people, including nine children,
were killed in Gaza overnight, most of them in
Israeli strikes,” reads a
new report from AP.
Nine children, killed with
the help of United States funding to the tune of
$3.8 billion a year.
the US loves Muslims and just wants to protect
their human rights.
The Monday night airstrikes were in response to
rocket attacks by Gaza resistance groups which had
reportedly injured six Israelis, and those rocket
attacks were in turn were a response to a deluge of
Israeli police brutality footage in Jerusalem in
Electronic Intifada reports:
This came at the end of a day of violence
that began in occupied East Jerusalem, where
Israeli forces assaulted worshippers at the al-Aqsa
mosque compound, injuring hundreds.
Scenes of brutality in Jerusalem generated
outrage and solidarity among Palestinians and
around the world.
The military wing of the Palestinian
resistance organization Hamas issued an
ultimatum giving Israel an hour – until 6 pm
local time – to withdraw its forces from al-Aqsa
and the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of
Sheikh Jarrah, and free detainees.
When the deadline passed, resistance groups
in Gaza fired volleys of rockets towards
Jerusalem for the first time since the summer
2014 war, prompting celebrations from some
The mass media are
working furiously to
spin this in a way that rivals my
satire piece from the other day. The New
York Times has been
cartoonishly re-writing its own reporting in a
desperate attempt to make Israel look like an
innocent victim of unprovoked attacks instead of the
obvious aggressor against people protesting a brutal
apartheid regime backed by an entire empire.
The New York Post falsely
reported that the deaths on Monday were caused
by “Airstrikes from Hamas militants” (when did Hamas
get an air force?) when sharing an article
which falsely implied that those fatalities were
inflicted by both sides. DW News framed
its headline in a way that suggested the nine
children killed had been involved in “fighting”
against Israeli forces, and the word “clashes” is
thrown about willy nilly to describe a very
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But it isn’t working.
Social media is
teeming with viral
video footage of
police assaulting peaceful worshippers in the Al-Aqsa
Mosque compound, of Israelis
chanting “Yimach shemam (may their names be erased)”
at the sight of a fire near the mosque, of Israeli
arresting Palestinian protesters using the
knee-on-neck maneuver made famous by the murder
of George Floyd, many of which have millions of
Mainstream politicians on
both sides of the Atlantic are putting out
statements explicitly condemning Israel as the
aggressor in these attacks, and the White House is
actual adversarial journalism for once regarding
its refusal to denounce the killing of Palestinian
children and its absurd position that Palestinians
have no right to defend themselves.
This is the most mainstream that criticism of
Israeli apartheid oppression has ever been in my
lifetime, and as
more mainstream human rights groups begin
acknowledging the reality of that oppression it’s
only getting more so.
Whenever I say something critical of Israel I
always get readers saying “Oh man, you’re going to
get attacked so bad for this, dissent on Israel is
not tolerated,” but quite honestly that hasn’t been
my experience at all and I think it’s an outdated
perception. In the few years I’ve been at this
commentary gig I’ve found I get far more
aggressive pushback when I criticize establishment
narratives regarding Russia or China, or even Syria
and Venezuela, than I do when I criticize Israel.
The pushback is there of course, but it’s not nearly
as virulent as what I’m used to.
There are a lot of factors contributing to the
growing awareness of Israel’s brutality, but I think
the main reason is very simple: there are only so
many viral videos of unconscionable acts that can be
dismissed with “Actually this is way more
complicated than it looks.” It is not more
complicated than it looks. Clearly. It looks bad
because it is bad.
recent video appearance for
the International Festival of Whistleblowing,
Dissent and Accountability, Israel-based journalist
Jonathan Cook described the changes he’s seen as
smartphones and internet access made Palestinians
less dependent on the work of sympathetic activists
and gave them the ability to directly share footage
of their own abuse. Cook says the following:
Sadly most corporate journalists paid little
attention to the work of these activists. In any
case, their role was quickly snuffed out. That
was partly because Israel learnt that shooting a
few of them served as a very effective
deterrent, warning others to keep away.
But it was also because as technology became
cheaper and more accessible – eventually ending
up in mobile phones that everyone was expected
to have – Palestinians could record their own
suffering more immediately and without
Israel’s dismissal of the early, grainy
images of the abuse of Palestinians by soldiers
and settlers – as “Pallywood” (Palestinian
Hollywood) – became ever less plausible, even to
its own supporters. Soon Palestinians were
recording their mistreatment in high definition
and posting it directly to YouTube.
Seeing is believing, and a video is difficult to
narrative manage. The dominant narrative is no
longer solely in the hands of propaganda outlets
like The New York Times which can spin
everything that happens with a pro-Israel slant,
it’s being spread all over the internet in a medium
that is far more objective than print.
This is so effective because, unlike so many
other ugly aspects of the US-centralized power
alliance, Israeli apartheid is not some covert
government operation being run by highly trained
agents and manipulators. Those responsible for
carrying out its day-to-day abuses are just ordinary
civilians, police and soldiers who have not been
trained on the sinister craft of perception
management. Who aren’t acutely aware that it’s bad
tell a Palestinian family on camera that if you
don’t steal their house then someone else will. Who
don’t have bad PR at the forefront of their
attention when they’re
cheering as they shoot Palestinian protesters.
Who just react to the racist nationalist propaganda
they’ve been ingesting all their lives instead of
considering how difficult it will be to narrative
manage a video of them cheering and chanting “may
their names be erased” at the sight of flames.
Awareness is spreading of Israeli apartheid
brutality for the same reason awareness is spreading
of US police brutality: the internet combined with
smartphone cameras. Seeing is believing. Seeing
This is why the powerful are working so hard to
censor the internet. If they can’t control what
our dominant narratives are going to be, they will
not be able to rule us.
Will they succeed? Jonathan Cook’s aforementioned
speech concludes with some words of hope and
The establishment are being forced into a
game of whack-a-mole with us. Each time they
bully or dismantle a platform we use, another
one – like Substack – springs up to replace it.
That is because there will always be journalists
determined to find a way to peek behind the
curtain to tell us what they found there. And
there will always be audiences who want to learn
what is behind the curtain. Supply and demand
are on our side.
The constant acts of intimidation and
violence by political and media elites to crush
media pluralism in the name of “democratic
values” will serve only to further expose the
hypocrisy and bad faith of the corporate media
and its hired hands.
We must keep struggling because the struggle
itself is a form of victory.
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