Jewish Voice for Peace sent the following concerning the way that the media and political leaders have treated news about Palestine and Palestinians in a completely different way to Israel and Israelis.
David Cromwell works with a British organization called Media Lens.
What is Media Lens? – Here is part of their self description. http://www.medialens.org
“Media Lens is a response based on our conviction that mainstream newspapers and broadcasters provide a profoundly distorted picture of our world. We are convinced that the increasingly centralised, corporate nature of the media means that it acts as a de facto propaganda system for corporate and other establishment interests. The costs incurred as a result of this propaganda, in terms of human suffering and environmental degradation, are incalculable.”
Media Lens “recommend(s) Herman and Chomsky’s “propaganda model of media control” as a basis for understanding the manner in which truth is filtered from, rather than consciously obstructed by, the modern media system.
They quote historian Howard Zinn, who has written::
“Society has varying and conflicting interests; what is called objectivity is the disguise of one of these interests – that of neutrality. But neutrality is a fiction in an unneutral world. There are victims, there are executioners, and there are bystanders… and the ‘objectivity’ of the bystander calls for inaction while other heads fall.”
In the essay below, Cromwell contrasts English media attitude towards Palestinian victims of Israeli violence, with its attitude towards Israeli victims of Palestinian violence. Just like in the US, Israelis fair much better, both in newspapers coverage, and in BBC broadcasts.
David Cromwell: Israeli Deaths Matter More
March 12, 2008
The horrific shooting of eight young people at a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem last Thursday was followed by saturation media coverage. International statesmen lined up with condemnations of the attack and condolences for the victims and their families.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced: “This is clearly an attempt to strike a blow at the very heart of the peace process.” (Jon Smith, Press Association, ‘Brown: massacre “strikes at heart of peace”‘, March 7, 2008)
Foreign Secretary David Miliband described the slaughter as “an arrow aimed at the heart of the peace process so recently revived.” (Donald Macintyre and Eric Silver, ‘Massacre in the heart of Jerusalem’, The Independent, March 7, 2008)
The Guardian’s front page declared: “the descent into violence in the Middle East accelerated last night” in a “dramatic escalation”. (Rory McCarthy, ‘Eight dead as gunman hits Jerusalem religious school’, The Guardian, March 7, 2008). A Daily Mirror headline read: ‘Kids Murdered In The Library’ (Allison Martin, March 7, 2008). The Telegraph asserted that the attack “is likely to be remembered as the moment the Middle East peace process died.” (Tim Butcher, ‘Hopes of peace in the Middle East are blown away in a hail of bullets’, Daily Telegraph, March 7, 2008)
The contrast to reactions to the killing of over 120 Palestinians, including many women and children, in occupied Gaza the previous week could hardly be more striking. On one day alone, 60 people died in a hail of Israeli firepower using F-16 planes, Apache helicopter gunships, tanks, armoured bulldozers and ground troops.
No Western leader was heard condemning the Israeli assault on Gaza as “an attempt to strike a blow at the very heart of the peace process.” To our knowledge, no reporter suggested that “the peace process” had now “died”. No headlines screamed of Palestinian babies “murdered” in their beds. In short, news reports from the Gazan bloodbath typically lacked the anguished details and tone that suffused the reporting from Jerusalem less than a week later.
Nor was there the same heightened pitch and intensity of news coverage following Israel’s deadly ‘incursion’ into Gaza in mid-January. 17 Palestinians were killed in one day, and around 50 injured, while President Bush was visiting the region. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said:
“Al-Jazeera, ‘Abbas: Israeli raid “a massacre” ‘, January 15, 2008; “Our people cannot keep silent over these massacres. These massacres cannot bring peace.”
But for the Western media the massacres that really matter, the ones which “strike a blow at the very heart of the peace process”, are those inflicted on Israelis.