Press lies about what’s happening between Israel and Gaza

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To hear most of the western media tell it, war’s afoot in the Middle East, fueled once again by Israel’s unquenchable belligerence.

“Israel struck the Gaza Strip again Monday,” began the Washington Post’s report, and readers leafing through The New York Times would have similarly learned that “Israeli warplanes began another round of attacks.”

The BBC, showing that famous British reserve, merely informed its readers that “Israel’s military operation against Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza will continue,” while NBC added a bit of news analysis, boldly stating that “As Israel inflicts a lopsided death count on the Palestinians, it’s clear that U.S. funds merely polish the armor of a regional Goliath in its contests with David.”

Not often or ever mentioned were the following inconvenient facts: The Palestinians, not Israel, began the current round of violence, with rioting in Jerusalem quickly followed by a barrage of missiles from Gaza. As of Monday, Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups have hurled 3,313 rockets on Israel, with at least 460 of those landing inside Gaza itself and claiming Palestinian lives.

Protecting its citizens from Hamas’s deadly campaign — which, to date, has claimed the lives of 10 Israelis, including a five-year-old boy — Israel is nonetheless meticulous about minimizing civilian casualties and provides advanced warning before shelling any building where Hamas had, in violation of international law and human decency alike, hid its men and ammunition amid innocent women and children.

What we’re seeing right now is the deliberate, methodical, and cynical weaponizing of the press as a tool of political warfare. This isn’t skewed reporting; this is full-on propaganda, the goal of which is to deny Israel the right to defend itself against murderous attacks.

If you’ve been paying attention to the overall degradation of the Fourth Estate, none of this should come as any surprise. When the anchor of a major nightly news broadcast, accepting an award named after Edward R. Murrow, says blithely that “fairness is overrated,” and when a previously excellent newspaper like The Times abandons fact-finding for factional knife-fighting, it’s clear that our media are just another wing of the partisan-industrial complex.

If you don’t like Israel — and few in the elite circles that make up newsrooms these days do — you’re free to bash it, facts be damned.

You can ignore all this as merely some scuffle happening elsewhere to other people, but Americans reading the unconscionably mendacious coverage of the recent war should be afraid. The same reporters and editors are applying the same poisonous strategy to shape the conversation stateside about anything from COVID policies to policing practices.

To read the news out of Israel these days is to understand beyond any reasonable doubt that those who lie about Tel Aviv lie about Tampa, too.

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet.

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