Western Media: An Accessory in Israeli War Crimes

Palestinians walk through the Erez crossing on October 7. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Jamal Kanj

The willingness of the US media to partake in the Israeli disinformation Big Lie is unprecedented in Western democracies.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

This quote was attributed to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi chief propagandist. Today, Goebbels would envy the Israeli disinformation prowess of employing Western media to willingly market Israeli Big Lies.

Claims of “decapitated Israeli children” persistently echoed across CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and other Western media outlets, perpetuating the Big Lie that eventually became a believable story. The U.S. President even went as far as claiming to have seen (non-existing) images of decapitated Israeli children. Additionally, Western media propagated other Israeli falsehoods, including allegations of women being raped during the Hamas raid.

Curiously, not a single woman came forward to support these claims. In reality, one woman who did speak on Israeli TV described respectful treatment by Hamas fighters. Her accounts, however, went unnoticed by Western media since it contradicted the Big Lie gambit.

NBC and MSNBC joined the Big Lie when they flaunted a supposed NBC exclusive of a “Top Secret” document ostensibly detailing Hamas plans to target elementary schools and youth centers. Note the connotation, elementary schools, implying of course targeting children. The Arabic language document was given to NBC by the Israeli army.

It is perplexing how NBC missed the glaring inconsistencies in the Big Lie before disseminating it across all MSNBC news shows. One obvious oversight was that the attack, on the posts guarding the largest open-air prison, occurred on a Saturday when schools were not in session. Even if schools weren’t on holiday, the attack started at dawn when schools and youth centers would typically be closed.

The “exclusive news” and the “top secret” Big Lie were repeated by all MSNBC news shows and picked up by a carousal of American and European news outlets. This could explain why MSNBC show hosts personalities such as Ayman and Mehdi Hassan, the most knowledgeable of the region, and who could challenge false information, were absent from their weekend shows and replaced by tabloid news performers.

Sadly, American cable news networks abandoned their ethical journalistic responsibility when they became an arm of the Israeli Hasbara and an extension to Israel’s Sayanim network.

It is undeniable Israeli civilians lost their lives as they were caught in the middle of the fight. This is mainly because Israel uses its population as human shield by encouraging civilians, through tax breaks and other financial incentives, to live in areas known as war zones. Furthermore, each of the Jewish only settlements that came under attack was located next to a known military base placing them within the immediate combat area.

Regarding the music festival, the event was held next to Re’im Israeli military base on the Gaza border. Re’im military camp and its nearby settlement, by the same name, was another post guarding the siege on Gaza. Following Hamas’ successful raid on the fortified military base, Israeli soldiers abandoned their positions, guns and uniforms and fled half naked to hide among festival goers and into the nearby Re’im settlement.

It’s very likely that fighters were not aware of a music event in a war theater, and likewise it was plausible as they chased Israeli soldiers, they could have reasonably suspected the large gathering of young men and women (military recruit age) as military conscripts and associated their presence with the business of the military base. In other words, they were caught in fire, like the civilians in the nearby settlements who were used as human shields by the fleeing Israeli soldiers.

Meanwhile, much have been said and written that the success of Hamas military operation was the result of an Israeli intelligence failure. Media security pundits, however, failed to connect the raid within the broader context of the Palestine conflict, not only when an Israeli is killed.

Hamas success was not solely an Israeli intelligence failure, as suggested by the media pundits. Rather, it can be attributed to the long-standing suffering of 2.3 million people in Gaza, who for 18 years yearned for the day they could break free from their confinement. This determination and ingenuity took the world by surprise, even baffling the best military planners.

Another factor is Israeli arrogance. Empowered by international impunity, Benjamin Netanyahu belongs to the Zionist school of thought believing that the more Palestinians are suppressed, the less there is a need to talk about peace. Despite some of the obvious signs, the prime minister didn’t believe that the people, who he came to believe are less than his chosen race, would be capable of breaking the jail and overcoming the jailer’s posts.

Having stated that, Israeli officials are united in dehumanizing the Palestinians to justify their inhumanity. Throughout human history, dehumanization was always a prerequisite to carrying out genocidal wars and oppression. We saw that during slavery, stealing the land of the Aboriginals, and most recently in Nazi Germany.

In this case, and to prepare for the onslaught on Gaza, Israeli defense minister announced several inhumane punitive measures against the Palestinians such as cutting off water, food and fuel. To justify the Israeli savagery, he declared “We are fighting human animals and we act accordingly.”

Alas, it’s very unlikely the international community would have tolerated the slaughtering of animals as they have allowed Israel to blow Palestinian children to smithereens.

Meanwhile, the so called “moderate” Israeli president dismissed a question form a journalist regarding the death of civilians in Gaza,  where he suggested that  civilians in Gaza are legitimate military targets, saying, “It is an entire nation out there that is responsible.”

As far as the Israeli prime minister, extending the inhumane war offers Netanyahu a political lifeline moored to the charred bodies of Palestinian children. His war on Gaza guarantees the delay in discussing his abject failure in securing the Israelis under his “tough” racist coalition. Also, it ensures he remains in power and pause the investigation into his corruption charges.

Netanyahu’s military response was both to avenge his incompetency, and save himself politically by killing as many Palestinians as fast as possible. In the latest count over 3,500, including more than 1,000 children, were murdered and 12,000 injured. The Israeli prime minister exhibits a diabolical character where the ends justify the means.

In this case, every home, every school, every bank, every tower, every structure was the price Gazans must pay to save Netanyahu’s political future.

Therefore, it is not enough for Western officials to merely urge Israel to abide by the rules of war while they supply Israel with the means to murder Palestinian children. This hypocrisy is further underscored by the international impunity Israel enjoys, even as it deliberately cuts off water and food to a population of 2.3 million people, and the fuel required to keep hospitals operational and care for the wounded.

The willingness of the US media to partake in the Israeli disinformation Big Lie is unprecedented in Western democracies. The brainwashing by the “free” media is even more pernicious than government-controlled media with its semblance of objectivity as it normalizes Israeli genocide. In short, Western media and professional political pundits falling in line with the state managed Big Lie would make the old “Pravda,” proud.

– Jamal Kanj is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America, and other books. He writes frequently on Arab world issues for various national and international commentaries. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out