The Israel Narrative Is Crumbling Because Of Phone Cameras And The Internet

The Israel Narrative Is Crumbling Because Of Phone Cameras And The Internet

Written by Caitlin Johnstone

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/05/11/the-israel-narrative-is-crumbling-because-of-phone-cameras-and-the-internet/?fbclid=IwAR3hpQYuEacSs1Q5hbpONy5tZgvC2kZPGRz7Hcd0XOGnBXm8Wi_EEildqR4

“Twenty-four people, including nine children, were killed in Gaza overnight, most of them in Israeli strikes,” reads a new report from AP.

Nine children, killed with the help of United States funding to the tune of $3.8 billion a year.

Remember kids, the US loves Muslims and just wants to protect their human rights.

The Monday night airstrikes were in response to rocket attacks by Gaza resistance groups which had reportedly injured six Israelis, and those rocket attacks were in turn were a response to a deluge of Israeli police brutality footage in Jerusalem in preceding days. Electronic Intifada reports:

This came at the end of a day of violence that began in occupied East Jerusalem, where Israeli forces assaulted worshippers at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, injuring hundreds.

 

Scenes of brutality in Jerusalem generated outrage and solidarity among Palestinians and around the world.

 

The military wing of the Palestinian resistance organization Hamas issued an ultimatum giving Israel an hour – until 6 pm local time – to withdraw its forces from al-Aqsa and the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, and free detainees.

 

When the deadline passed, resistance groups in Gaza fired volleys of rockets towards Jerusalem for the first time since the summer 2014 war, prompting celebrations from some Palestinians.

Jennine | Save Sheikh Jarrah From Evictions

@jennineak

This is a Twitter bot that tracks changes and edits to stories in the New York Times. Take a look at this and tell me there isn’t systemic anti-Palestinian bias in media.

Before: The police entered the compound and fired rubber-tipped bullets. Anger was already building in response to the looming expulsion of several Palestinian families from their homes in the city.
After: Gaza militants fired rockets toward Jerusalem and the Israeli police fought with Palestinian protesters in an escalation of violence after a week of increasing tensions.

 

The mass media are working furiously to spin this in a way that rivals my satire piece from the other day. The New York Times has been cartoonishly re-writing its own reporting in a desperate attempt to make Israel look like an innocent victim of unprovoked attacks instead of the obvious aggressor against people protesting a brutal apartheid regime backed by an entire empire. The New York Post falsely reported that the deaths on Monday were caused by “Airstrikes from Hamas militants” (when did Hamas get an air force?) when sharing an article which falsely implied that those fatalities were inflicted by both sides. DW News framed its headline in a way that suggested the nine children killed had been involved in “fighting” against Israeli forces, and the word “clashes” is being thrown about willy nilly to describe a very one-sided assault.

But it isn’t working.

Social media is teeming with viral video footage of police assaulting peaceful worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, of Israelis cheering and chanting “Yimach shemam (may their names be erased)” at the sight of a fire near the mosque, of Israeli soldiers arresting Palestinian protesters using the signature knee-on-neck maneuver made famous by the murder of George Floyd, many of which have millions of views. Mainstream politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are putting out statements explicitly condemning Israel as the aggressor in these attacks, and the White House is facing some actual adversarial journalism for once regarding its refusal to denounce the killing of Palestinian children and its absurd position that Palestinians have no right to defend themselves.

Embedded video

 

This is the most mainstream that criticism of Israeli apartheid oppression has ever been in my lifetime, and as more and more mainstream human rights groups begin acknowledging the reality of that oppression it’s only getting more so.

Whenever I say something critical of Israel I always get readers saying “Oh man, you’re going to get attacked so bad for this, dissent on Israel is not tolerated,” but quite honestly that hasn’t been my experience at all and I think it’s an outdated perception. In the few years I’ve been at this commentary gig I’ve found I get far more aggressive pushback when I criticize establishment narratives regarding Russia or China, or even Syria and Venezuela, than I do when I criticize Israel. The pushback is there of course, but it’s not nearly as virulent as what I’m used to.

There are a lot of factors contributing to the growing awareness of Israel’s brutality, but I think the main reason is very simple: there are only so many viral videos of unconscionable acts that can be dismissed with “Actually this is way more complicated than it looks.” It is not more complicated than it looks. Clearly. It looks bad because it is bad.

At a recent video appearance for the International Festival of Whistleblowing, Dissent and Accountability, Israel-based journalist Jonathan Cook described the changes he’s seen as smartphones and internet access made Palestinians less dependent on the work of sympathetic activists and gave them the ability to directly share footage of their own abuse. Cook says the following:

Sadly most corporate journalists paid little attention to the work of these activists. In any case, their role was quickly snuffed out. That was partly because Israel learnt that shooting a few of them served as a very effective deterrent, warning others to keep away.

 

But it was also because as technology became cheaper and more accessible – eventually ending up in mobile phones that everyone was expected to have – Palestinians could record their own suffering more immediately and without mediation.

 

Israel’s dismissal of the early, grainy images of the abuse of Palestinians by soldiers and settlers – as “Pallywood” (Palestinian Hollywood) – became ever less plausible, even to its own supporters. Soon Palestinians were recording their mistreatment in high definition and posting it directly to YouTube.

Seeing is believing, and a video is difficult to narrative manage. The dominant narrative is no longer solely in the hands of propaganda outlets like The New York Times which can spin everything that happens with a pro-Israel slant, it’s being spread all over the internet in a medium that is far more objective than print.

This is so effective because, unlike so many other ugly aspects of the US-centralized power alliance, Israeli apartheid is not some covert government operation being run by highly trained agents and manipulators. Those responsible for carrying out its day-to-day abuses are just ordinary civilians, police and soldiers who have not been trained on the sinister craft of perception management. Who aren’t acutely aware that it’s bad optics to tell a Palestinian family on camera that if you don’t steal their house then someone else will. Who don’t have bad PR at the forefront of their attention when they’re cheering as they shoot Palestinian protesters. Who just react to the racist nationalist propaganda they’ve been ingesting all their lives instead of considering how difficult it will be to narrative manage a video of them cheering and chanting “may their names be erased” at the sight of flames.

Awareness is spreading of Israeli apartheid brutality for the same reason awareness is spreading of US police brutality: the internet combined with smartphone cameras. Seeing is believing. Seeing brings change.

This is why the powerful are working so hard to censor the internet. If they can’t control what our dominant narratives are going to be, they will not be able to rule us.

Will they succeed? Jonathan Cook’s aforementioned speech concludes with some words of hope and encouragement:

The establishment are being forced into a game of whack-a-mole with us. Each time they bully or dismantle a platform we use, another one – like Substack – springs up to replace it. That is because there will always be journalists determined to find a way to peek behind the curtain to tell us what they found there. And there will always be audiences who want to learn what is behind the curtain. Supply and demand are on our side.

 

The constant acts of intimidation and violence by political and media elites to crush media pluralism in the name of “democratic values” will serve only to further expose the hypocrisy and bad faith of the corporate media and its hired hands.

 

We must keep struggling because the struggle itself is a form of victory.

 

FYI Trump’s Latest Yemen Move Is Far Worse Than The Capitol Riot

FYI Trump’s Latest Yemen Move Is Far Worse Than The Capitol Riot

Written by Caitlin Johnstone, Jan 12, 2021 caitlinjohnstone.com

While the Capitol riot is being hysterically compared to Pearl Harbor and Kristallnacht by the political/media class, the Trump administration has done something far, far worse that is receiving far, far less attention.

The US State Department has officially announced its intention to designate Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group, as many had previously warned. Humanitarian organizations have been condemning the move as it will make it more difficult to provide aid to a population that is already being brutalized by the worst mass atrocity in the entire world, a Saudi-led atrocity which could not occur without the help of the western power alliance.

We are already seeing some effects of this designation.

Yemen Solidarity Council@YSCouncil

We are ceasing all operations in the United States for the time being, as well as putting a temporary halt to our intended plans for humanitarian fundraising.

Let it be known that the Trump Administration just criminalized foreign humanitarian aid to .

View image on Twitter

Antiwar‘s Dave DeCamp reports the following:

The terror designation will hamper the efforts of international charities that deliver food to Houthi-controlled areas, where 70 percent of Yemen’s population lives and malnutrition is the most widespread.

Aid agencies fear their work in north Yemen will now be criminalized since the Houthis are the authority they have to deal with and make transactions with. US terror designations open up sanctions on any individuals or entities that do business with those Washington brands as terrorists.

Pompeo said exemptions would be made for humanitarian goods. But any additional roadblocks for aid agencies will cause more suffering in Yemen since the situation is so dire. “Even with exemptions, the operation will be compromised,” said Janti Soeripto, the president of Save the Children, according to AP News.

The United Nations conservatively estimates that some 233,000 Yemenis have been killed in the war between the Houthis and the US-backed Saudi-led coalition, mostly from what it calls “indirect causes”. Those indirect causes would be disease and starvation resulting from what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls “the worst famine the world has seen for decades”.

When people hear the word “famine” they usually think of mass hunger caused by droughts or other naturally occurring phenomena, but in reality the starvation deaths we are seeing in Yemen (a huge percentage of which are children under the age of five) are caused by something that is no more natural than the starvation deaths you’d see in a medieval siege. They are the result of the Saudi coalition’s use of blockades and its deliberate targeting of farms, fishing boats, marketplaces, food storage sites, and cholera treatment centers with airstrikes aimed at making the Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen so weak and miserable that they break.

In other words, the US and its allies have been helping Saudi Arabia deliberately kill children and other civilians on mass scale in order to achieve a political goal. Which would of course be a perfect example of any standard definition of terrorism. The unfathomably savage and bloodthirsty US empire designating the Houthis as a terrorist organization is the least funny joke that has ever been told

The Trump administration has just designated Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist organization while facilitating the worst mass atrocity on this planet in the Saudi-led assault on Yemen. Here’s an article I wrote about this depraved move last month:https://caityjohnstone.medium.com/we-are-the-terrorists-e86c1c4483fb 

We Are The Terrorists

The Trump administration is reportedly close to moving the Houthi rebels in Yemen onto its official list of designated terrorist…

caityjohnstone.medium.com

This move is quantifiably far, far worse than anything Trump could possibly have done to incite the Capitol riot, as it will kill far, far more people, yet the mass media fixate on one news story while virtually ignoring the other. This is because the Capitol riot story feeds into partisan narratives and manufactures consent for authoritarian domestic terrorism laws, while the Yemen story highlights the depravity of US imperialism. The plutocrat-owned media does not exist to give you a truthful representation of the world, it exists to keep the wheels of the empire rolling along.

There’s a weird taboo against saying some things are worse than other things, especially when it involves things the mass media tell us are of cataclysmic significance. People shriek “Why are you minimizing the Capitol raid??” and “Why are you comparing them! It’s not a pissing contest!” This is stupid. All things are not equal to other things, and figuring out the ways in which news coverage is disproportionate and not reflective of reality is a very important part of making sense of the world.

So now Americans are being fed a steady diet of narratives about the threat Trump’s radicalized base poses to people of color, while ignoring the fact that Trump is currently implementing policies which facilitate the butchery of people of color. Only difference is the latter is hidden behind geographical remoteness, and is far more egregious.

Americans Only Care About America. Their Rulers Only Care About World Domination.

“The story of Kanye and Kim’s divorce is going to generate more news media views than the entirety of the Yemen war since it began.”https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/americans-only-care-about-america 

Americans Only Care About America. Their Rulers Only Care About World Domination.

It matters that the mass media do not cover news stories with an accurate degree of proportion. It matters that they keep the public’s gaze diverted from the horrors of empire while radically distorting their sense of reality. This isn’t some idle “contrarian take”. This matters.

In the last couple of centuries we’ve progressed all the way from expecting our leaders to murder brown-skinned people while saying racist things to expecting our leaders to murder brown-skinned people while condemning racism. The murder hasn’t changed, and the racism hasn’t really changed either. All that’s changed is the norms of how it is put into practice.

This matters.