Friday, January 9, 2009


Capitalist power relations and ability of Western institutions to manipulate the media in order to affirm the status quo is compellingly illustrated by mainstream media coverage of the Israeli bombardment and invasion of Gaza. Israel claims it was forced to slaughter Palestinian men, women and children, because the militant group Hamas, which opposes Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, refused to stop firing rockets into Israeli territory. Accordingly, journalists constructed Israel as the 'true' victim of its latest assault on Palestinians. Israeli aggression was portrayed in the media as a response to provocation by Hamas, or the story of violence by parties who were equally to blame. Finally, today, the truth was revealed.

Responding to this biased media coverage, ex-US President Jimmy Carter publicly stated on CNN that his group approached the Israelis and informed them that Hamas had agreed to stop firing rockets into Israel, if
Israel would stop blocking aid to the starving population of Gaza. Israel refused this offer. It was afraid that allowing United Nations aid to the people of Gaza might affirm the legitimacy of Hamas. President Carter notes that by simply allowing aid to Gaza, Israel could have avoided killing almost 800 Palestinians. This death toll continues to rise as Israel continues its assault on the people of Gaza.

These are not the actions of a rational state. Israel's attack on the citizens of Gaza would never be supported by the West were the culprit to be other than Israel. Remember the chorus of condemnation from the West when Russia invaded Georgia in response to Georgian aggression? Many Jews fled to the US after the Holocaust and the US was a major player in the forceful setting up of the state of Israel against the wishes of the indigenous population. (The US also has an appalling history of violence against its own indigenous people.) Ever since, Western imperial powers have felt unable to criticize Israel's human rights transgressions, thereby emboldening Israel to perpetrate more war crimes in the Middle East.

Many Christians believe the Book of Revelations in the Bible prophesizes that Israel will be the last stand of Christians. All people of the world, including non-Christians will know the Second Coming of Christ is nigh when loyal and faithful lovers of God gather in Israel to make a last stand against His enemies. This latest appalling attack by Israel on the people of Palestine should reinforce for all reasonable, peace-loving people that propaganda, from whatever source, and no matter how powerful its supporters, is no substitute for historical and social reality.

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