The biggest story in news this summer was the conflict between Israel and Gaza.
It was everywhere: whenever we turned on the television or opened a newspaper, we were greeted with images of rubbled buildings and reports of the rising death toll. Often, we heard Israel was unjustly invading Palestine and killing civilians indiscriminately. International leaders and laymen alike were outraged at these stories, loudly voicing their condemnation of Israel’s actions.
However, these stories were just that – stories.
I do not mean to deny that a war happened between July 8 and Au- gust 26, because it did. Nor do I deny that many people were killed, because they were – both Israeli and Palestinian. What I mean to say is that the mainstream media’s selective reporting of Operation Protective Edge itself was a story, which intentionally shaped people’s opinions in opposition to Israel.
The narrative cut and sold by major outlets like the Associated Press (AP) cast Israel as the aggressive, evil regime bent on the annihilation of the defenseless Palestinians. However, this conflict wasn’t about embarking on an imperialist endgame – it was about deterring
Hamas from terrorizing the State of Israel.
Yes, Hamas, the terrorist organization that came to power in Gaza following Israeli withdrawal in 2005, has since then barraged Israel off-and-on with rockets aimed at civilians.
Where the truth patently steers away from the narrative is over the question of Israel’s role in the deaths of civilians. The narrative proclaims that Israel maliciously creates carnage for carnage’s sake; in reality, most civilian deaths in Gaza are due to Hamas’s human shield strategy, using human shields by deliberately using schools, hospitals and mosques as launching sites for its rocket arsenal, according to IDF.
Sreenivasan Jain, a reporter for New Delhi Television (NDTV), con- firmed this by posting a detailed ex- pose of Hamas terrorists assembling and firing a rocket from a residential area (Phillips and Korn 2014). Later, the IDF discovered a Hamas manual titled “Urban Warfare,” which states that the terrorists benefit from civilian death and destruction because it “increases the hatred of the citizens toward the Israelis” (Jerusalem Post 2014).
Alan Dershowitz points out in a J-Post op-ed, there are many places in Gaza that are not heavily populated. “If Hamas were to fire its rockets from these open areas,” he writes, “there would be few civilian casual- ties.”
Addressing the West’s contempt for Israel, Dershowitz says, “it is unseemly and hypocritical for the western world to castigate Israel
for doing what it would do and has done when faced with comparable or even less serious threats.”
Israel has the same right as any other country to defend itself against such threats as daily rocket- fire and terror tunnels. Yet our news sources revel in libeling Israel as a violent aggressor, willfully blinded to such tedious byproducts as facts. But why?
Matti Friedman, former correspondant for AP, cynically informs us that the truth about Israel simply doesn’t sell. AP directs its Israel correspondents to write within the framework of the common narrative. “Israeli actions are analyzed and criticized,” Friedman writes, “and every flaw in Israeli society is aggressively reported.”
Yet this same high standard of journalistic antagonism is never used in discussing Palestine. “If you follow mainstream coverage,” ac- cording to Friedman, “you will find …no analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government.”
Thus we find that one of the most reputable sources of news in the world forgoes fair reporting in favor of adding to the growing body of work that portrays Israel as the great bogeyman of the 21st century.
I find it appalling that the people we entrust to bring us an honest ac- count of the world’s goings-on deliberately skew the facts in order to play on western heartstrings. Today, the best story is what sells, regardless of its misrepresentations.