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Israelis ought to know better - Opinion

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Yudi Sherman


Yudi Sherman

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Shining a spotlight on media and government disinformation.

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Thu, Jun 23, 2022


00:36 AM

One would think that Israelis would spot a media smokescreen from a mile away

Israelis ought to know better - Opinion

On September 30, 2000, the New York Times published an Associated Press photo of a screaming Israeli policeman brandishing a club and standing over a bloodied youth. The caption read, “An Israeli Policeman and a Palestinian on the Temple Mount.” 

A few days later, it was revealed that the “Palestinian” was really Tuvia Grossman, a Jewish yeshiva student who had been dragged from a taxi by a Muslim mob of around 40 men. The mob beat Grossman, stabbed him and stoned him nearly to death before he was able to escape to a nearby gas station. Some of the mob followed Grossman in an effort to finish the job but were stopped by the policeman who threatened them with his club. 

By the time the Times issued its correction on October 4th the photo had already fanned the flames of the bloody intifada that claimed the lives of thousands of Israeli men, women and children. 

In February 2016 three Muslims were shot while trying to stab Israeli policemen. The CBS headline read: “3 Palestinians Killed as Daily Violence Grinds On.” 

When two Muslims entered a synagogue in November 2014 and hacked to death four Jews during morning prayers, CNN reported “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians dead in Jerusalem.” 

In August 2016 the AFP and the Daily Mail both wrote a story with the headline "Jordan slams Israel after radical Jews visit Islamic holy site," referring to the Temple Mount. 

In 2021 the Washington Post complained that Israel was defending itself with the Iron Dome anti-missile system, which is purely defensive: “Israel’s Iron Dome defense system protects Israeli lives. It also perpetuates the Israel-Gaza conflict.” 

In May 2021 Newsweek ran the headline, “Israeli Driver Rams Into Palestinian Protesters As Jerusalem Clashes Escalate.” Only further into the article does Newsweek reveal that the driver had lost control over the car after being stoned by “Palestinians”. Nevertheless, BBC captioned the video, “An Israeli settler ramming a Palestinian man near the Lions Gate.” 

In his bestselling book Catch the Jew, Tuvia Tenenbom records a conversation between a British journalist and a resident of the Druze village Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights. The two were discussing the likelihood of war between Israel and Syria and the possibility of dirty bombs being deployed. 

J: Do you have gas masks? 

 D: No. 

 J: Did the Israeli authorities supply you with gas masks? 

 D: No. 

 J: But in general, Israeli authorities supply Israeli citizens with gas masks, right? 

 D: Yes, I think so. 

 J: They give masks to their citizens but not to you. Right? 

 D: I think that they do. 

 J: The Jews get it but you don’t. Interesting. 

 D: I don’t know. 

 J: They didn’t offer you any mask, did they? 

 D: No. I think they distribute masks only in the big cities, like Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. 

 J: But do they or don’t they distribute them to the locals here, the other people, the Jews? 

 D: Maybe. I don’t know. 

 J: It is possible that they distribute masks to “them” but not to you. 

 D: Could be. 

 J: So they offer the masks to Jews but not to the Druze. Really interesting! 

 At this point the villager is totally confused, lights up a cigarette, and talks to another villager sitting by him. 

The mainstream media have in recent years cast off all pretense of neutrality in their coverage of Israel, which became particularly evident in their talent pool. 

In May 2021 CNN was forced to fire a contributor who tweeted, “The world today needs a Hitler.” 

The same month the Associated Press fired a reporter who was posting anti-Israel propaganda on social media. 

The next month, it was revealed that BBC had hired a reporter who tweeted that “Hitler was right.” 

Books have been written on the media's bias against Israel, including David Bar-Ilan's Eye On the Media, which discusses the media's historical anti-Israel prejudice since 1967. Even Left-leaning Israeli show Eretz Nehederet ran a skit mocking the BBC for its pathologically lopsided coverage: 

Autoplay ON OFF

One would think, then, that Israelis would spot a media smokescreen from a mile away. 

But one would be wrong. 

In 2020 just after Israel’s mainstream media reported that masks were ineffective, they chastised Israelis for not wearing masks enough. 

“Israelis ditch masks, even as massive study says they cut infection risk by 85%,” said Times of Israel in June 2020. Israeli media quoted from international mainstream media – the same media who intentionally skew coverage on Israel – to frame compliance as virtuous: 

“Mariam, 35, told AFP that she was wearing a mask because she has an elderly mother. ‘Just in case,’ said Mariam, who was also sporting latex gloves,” said Times of Israel in the article.  

Then latex gloves were abandoned in favor of nationwide mask mandates, including outdoors, despite lack of data. The Israeli press began waging war against those who did not comply with the mandates. 

“Passengers flout mask order on public transport despite spread of virus,” gasped YNet News. 

“Anger, frustration as coronavirus rules neglected at Jerusalem school,” cried the Jerusalem Post

"Is It Ethical to Scold People for Not Wearing a Mask on the Street?” wondered aloud Ha’aretz. 

When the Pfizer vaccine was rolled out in December 2020, Israeli media immediately went to work dividing Israelis between vaccinated and unvaccinated. 

“Israeli employers grapple with dilemma of unvaccinated workers,” wrote Times of Israel. 

“Israeli vaccine refuseniks fear exclusion as economy reopens,” reported Ynet News

Even formerly avant-garde and freethinking news outlet Israel National News ran op-eds in favor of forced vaccinations and reportedly refused to run articles critical of the vaccine. 

When data did not support their “Unvaccinated Villain” narrative, the media simply made them up saying that only the unvaccinated were sick and dying. 

The Israeli news media became the very beast of bias they had come to revile; they sold the same bill of goods they spent decades rejecting and the Israeli public bought it all. 

According to an October 2021 survey by the Israel Democracy Institute, 40% of Israelis felt that the government’s restrictions were not severe enough. A whopping 60.5% of Israelis were in favor of banning the unvaccinated from public places, 61% supported forcing the unvaccinated to pay out-of-pocket for medical treatment, 54% would deny unemployment benefits to unvaccinated people who didn’t get tested, and 30.5% would deny connection to a life-saving ECMO machine for an unvaccinated person infected with COVID-19. 

The same survey found that Israelis want the government to focus more on COVID-19 than stopping Iran’s nuclear program. 

COVID-19 certainly upset the world order humanity had settled into. Even geographical darlings like Australia and Canada stunned the civilized world with their uncivilized approach. 

But Israelis ought to know better. 

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