A different point of view regarding the Israeli occupation of Gaza

January 14, 2009 | By | 15 Replies More

Do you think that you’re getting a neutral perspective of the Israeli occupation of Gaza when you rely on the U.S. media?  Think again.  Ask yourself this simple question: Where can you get a carefully-documented viewpoint that you would have if you were a resident of Gaza?

The Media Education Foundation is making its 2003 film Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land: U.S. Media and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict available online for free. MEF is making its work freely available to demonstrate how the U.S. news media are covering the crisis.  I contacted MEF and learned that it is now in the process of updating this 2003 video to include current events.  In the meantime, you can view the 2003 video, which is excellent and still highly relevant. To view this excellent video, go here.

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land documents that Israel is waging two simultaneous battles.  One of them involves bullets and bombs.  The second involves a usurpation of the U.S. Media, through the use of a phalanx of PR firms, such as AIPAC (the most powerful foreign lobby in Washington), designed to dominate the U.S. with news from the Israeli perspective.  This Israeli propaganda machine is stunningly effective, convincing Americans and their Leaders that there is nothing wrong with the decades-long foreign (and according to the U.N., illegal) occupation of Gaza.

What’s being kept from Americans is that the conflict arises from an illegal occupation.  There is almost no media recognition that this violence is taking place in occupied territory.  IN fact, only 4% of American news reports indicate that the Gaza territory is occupied territory. Consider how much difference would it make to your understanding to be informed that the Israeli occupation amounts to a foreign military dictatorship of Gaza?

Wouldn’t it also make a difference to Americans to learn that the Israeli-promoted “settlements” in the occupied territories are for the purpose of permanently annexing (= taking without permission) occupied land?  Would it matter to hear that the Israelis have demolished more than 1,000 Palestinian homes to make way for Israeli “settlements”?  The American media has whole-heartedly bought into the Israeli view that the illegal colonies in Gaza are merely “neighborhoods.”  The legality of these “settlements” is rarely questioned by the U.S. media.

If this information provided by Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land were freely available, U.S. support for Israel’s Gaza’s policies would plummet.   In Gaza, as everywhere, sunshine is a strong disinfectant.

This MEF video covers these issues and offers a perspective you won’t often see if you get your information only from the U.S. media.  Again, to view this excellent video, go here.

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Category: American Culture, Good and Evil, History, Media, Politics, The Middle East, Videos

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (15)

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  1. P Smith says:

    They aren't "settlers", they're squatters, and it's not "occupied territory", it's the Sudetenland.

    Why be surprised that the US media is utterly incapable of telling the truth? Most media is corporate owned as a first investment rather than the fourth estate. So-called "journalists" today are graduates of "journalism schools" rather than educated people who learn by doing as reporters once were. They're not journalists, they're stenographers who only know how to edit "talking points" into sound bites. If Israel were building ovens and buying zyklon-B, the US media would be calling it "health care and housing for the Palestinians".

    And in case you haven't heard, Israel Primate Minister Ehud Olmert has been openly boasting that George Bush came when Olmert called for him, cutting short a press conference. Judging by the way Bush left cut short the press conference, I'd believe that to be true.

  2. Christine says:

    This is covered at length in John Mearsheimer's book "The Israel Lobby". Great read, and very revealing. There's an article he wrote that's basically a summary of his book… I'd provide a link but I'm having a hard time tracking down a copy. It's definitely worth a look.

  3. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    I've been aware of this for several years. My wife and most of her relatives had to leave Bethlehem for political asylum abroad because her cousin is a well respected Christian Palestinian journalist who often speaks out against the Israeli occupation. Instead of attacking high profile Palestinians, which would make them martyrs to their people, the Israeli Defense Force sends them a "message" by going after their families. My wife's uncle and a cousin were both killed by IDF soldiers. neither were armed, and the cousin, who was 13 years old at the time, was shot in the back as he ran for safety when Israeli soldiers opened fire on a group of children that had thrown rocks at them.

    My wife was was brutally pistol-whipped by an IDF soldier, receiving broken bones as a result, because she was sitting on her porch, smoking a cigarette, and wasn't quick enough to get in the house when the soldier ordered her off the street.

    And yet, American media still portrays Israel as the victims. You will also notice, that in spite of the fact that the country was called Palestine for centuries before the state of Israel was formed, The Gaza strip and the West Bank are never referred to as Palestine in the American media.

    Since 9/11 Arab immigrants have been the target of many hate crimes, in ths country, but it is still better than being marked for death becasue of who your ancestors were.

  4. Rabel Fibal says:

    First, I would like to thank the Americans who fought and died for our "freedom of speech"; something, other Middle Eastern countries do not allow. Anyway, I would like to make a few talking points about the Israeli and Palestinian issue.

    Over time, "false terms" are often used for a purpose, and then believed to be true.

    The term "occupied" is a journalistic and political bend for the Palestinian ideology. England divided and made nation states that make up the Middle East, like Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syria. Before this, they were areas controlled by tribal families under British rule.

    In 1948, the U.N. voted to recognize Israel as a nation, not Palestine.

    So, most Arab countries, and Iran (which are not Arab) support Hezbollah and Hamas, do not recognize Israeli sovereignty. Those groups lose credibility.

    My point is that if an Arizona city was being rocketed by a Mexican group, it is the duty of the local, state and federal government to protect it's people, it's sovereignty!

    For all of you were against the policy to free Iraq of Saddam Hussein and free Afganistan of Tailban rule, then WHY DO YOU CARE SO MUCH ABOUT ISRAEL TAKING CARE OF IT'S OWN PROBLEMS?

    You live in America, and America and the rest of the world needs to stay out of the way.

    Israel finally hit the right target, a UN compound. The Palestinians, who are considered the smartest of Arabs, voted for Hamas leadership! They reap what they sow. War is not perfect and don't expect Israel to be perfect.

    "How dare the Jews for not getting on the trains!" Not this time, the Jews need not apologize for surviving!!!!!

    Rabel.

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    Rabel: You are missing the point. Where have I suggested that Israel doesn't have a right to exist or a right to defend itself. These points are front and center in the U.S. media. They are legitimate points (though, to be clear, I don't think that Israel's current actions in Gaza are an efficient way, in the long-run, of accomplishing Israel's long-term goals).

    My point is that the U.S. media is failing to present a distinct legitimate perspective, a perspective from the viewpoint of the residents of Gaza. It is this Gaza-resident viewpoint that is the subject of the MEF documentary. BTW, wews covering this viewpoint of many who live in Gaza IS being aired by international media, but barely so in the U.S.

    Are you suggesting that we should never see those images, hear those stories, see the grieving families in Gaza or understand the frustration of how their must endure the police-state that Israel has imposed on those residents? What would you think if ANY police force did to you what Israel is doing to the residents of Gaza? What if they were doing it for decades?

    You seem to be suggesting that everyone in any country should "reap" what the majority of the citizens "sow"? Even the many children of Gaza who have died, Rabel? What about the many people in Gaza who are just trying to get by, trying to eke out a living and feed their families? Are you suggesting that we should hide their stories, their viewpoint, because their fellow-citizens are not "smart" enough to vote for leadership of which YOU approve? Not every person living in Gaza is violent, not all of them are trying to do harm to Israel. Many of them are trapped in Gaza for economic reasons. You seem to be suggesting "Screw them, because 'they' put Hamas into power. Screw all of them. Even the children."

    I would put my money on this bet: You are not a resident of Gaza. If you were, you'd want YOUR viewpoint aired to the same extent that the official Israeli viewpoint is being aired. You would trust that the world community would do the right thing, but only if the full story was being told.

    It's clear that you don't like this MEF video. It gives a much longer view of history and it strongly suggests that Israel's occupation of Gaza is illegal. Are you suggesting that no one should watch this video or hear these arguments? Are you suggesting that we should all just listen ONLY to the Israeli government to inform us?

    This is a freedom of speech post, Rabel. It's about the right of all of us to get news that represents a wide variety of perspectives before coming to conclusions. Do you really believe in freedom of speech, or would you rather just celebrate the idea that people with guns sometimes defend it?

    There don't seem to be any easy solutions to the Gaza violence. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't consider side of the story from Gaza residents before attempting solutions. This amounts to cowboy foreign policy.

    When the "solution" is blowing up babies, I'm certain that there has to be a better solution.

  6. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Rabel.

    Rabel, The West bank and the Gaza strip are occupied. This is a fact. You may wish to call it a "journalistic and political bend", but to call it anything other than a foreign occupation is an extreme distortion. The Israeli military is enforcing martial law over a territory that is not theirs and in direct violation of the Geneva convention has illegally places scores of Jewish only settlements on illegally confiscated Palestinian land.

    "Laws and Customs of War on Land" (Hague IV); October 18, 1907: "Section III Military Authority over the territory of the hostile State." states in articles 42 and 43

    :

    Art. 42.

    Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.

    The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.

    Art. 43.

    The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.

    So according to article 42 of the Hague conventions, The West bank and Gaza Strip are under occupation by Israel. The fact that Israel prevents the formation of Palestinian self rule attests to their intentions as a belligerent occupying force. In addition, Israel has repeatedly violated article 43 by specifically targeting police stations in the occupied territories.

    England, the US and France actually were involved in the creation of most of the nation-states in the middle-east. This was done by working out treaties with the leaders of the indigenous population. Israel is an exception in that it's creation violated a agreement signed in 1916 and exercised in the British mandate beginning in 1920. The Balfour Declaration in 1917 was the basis for the formation of the State of Israel in 1948 by the UN. The partitioning and demarcation of the borders of Israel and it's recognition by the UN completely the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement that promised the establishment of a secular state of Palestine for the indigenous population which included people of Muslim, Jewish, Christian and many other faiths, in favor if a Jewish state to provide a homeland for the survivors of the holocaust (the attempted ethnic purge of Jewish people by the German Nazi party) Please note that Palestine had already been recognized prior to the formation of the UN.

    Because the Sykes-Picot Agreement preceded to Balfour Declaration by almost a year, Many Muslim states that see the systematic extermination of Palestinians and subsequent annexation of Palestinian land refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel to exist and be recognized as a nation,

    So, if Arizona were attacked by militants from the province of Chihuahua, Mexico, International law would NOT give the US or Arizona the right to move settlers onto Mexican land with the obvious intention of annexing it into the US.However, IF Chihuahua declared its independence from Mexico, and asked for the protection of the US, That would be different. In either case however, dispossession of Chihuahua land and creation of American only settlements would be illegal, and if the "Sons of Santiago used terrorist tactics in an attempt to retake Texas for Mexico, That would still not be an excuse for dispossessing Mexican land and annexing it to Texas.

    The actions of the Israeli occupation forces are not protecting their people. They are endangering them. by moving them to land appropriated from the indigenous population, they are encouraging aggression between their own people and the Palestinians. The increases the hatred between to two peoples foments violence, which is then used as an excuse for the extermination of the Palestinians. Hitler used similar tactics to legitimize the extermination of the Jewish people.

    "You live in America, and America and the rest of the world needs to stay out of the way."

    Of course if we had done that in WWII you must realize that the Israeli leaders who are mostly former terrorists (against the British mandate (1920-1948) would not be advocating the same policies that the Nazi's advocated against them in Europe What a flaming hypocrite you are!!!

    "Israel finally hit the right target, a UN compound."

    Interesting how you back the UN decision to recognize Israel, but hate them for building a University on Palestinian soil. – "Ha Ha… Charade you are"

    "The Palestinians, who are considered the smartest of Arabs, voted for Hamas leadership!"

    Unlike the other parties, the Hamas Party campaigned on a platform of restoring civil service and public safety the other candidates did not state a platform but campaigned with "vote for Munir" or "Habib for President" The original governing body of the US comprised many members of the "Boston tea part" which was considered a terrorist act by the British Imperial forces, The original members of the Australian government were convicted criminals, and the original lineup of the Knesset included many Jewish terrorists" A Hamas leader stated after the election that "there is a time for guns and fighting and there is a time for peace and governing"(approximate translation)

    BTW interesting handle

    Is Rabel a reference to the German town or to the extremely disgusting and depraved sexual violation defined by the urban dictionary, Fibel on the other hand, is just plain lame.

    "You're nearly a laugh but you're really a cry!" -Lyric from "Pigs, Three Different Ones" by Roger Waters

  7. Rabel says:

    Quoting songs of Pink Floyd just shows how out of touch you are to reality. Name calling is always the demise of a proper channeling of ideas. If you have a problem with my name, then take it up with my parents…I can't help that.

    Nikalaus, do you believe in the Protocols of Zion? If you have, then you are guilty of being anti-semtic and lose credibilty. I only used the U.N. because I know people like yourselves think the U.N. are a legitamite entity that should dictate world law. Also, using the Hague (European) articles is laughable because it was Europe made the Jews successful. For example, in France, Jews for the majority, could never own land. Placing Jews in ghettos goes way back before the Russian pogroms. Forced into ghettos let Jews fine tune their skills and became great at all types of occupations.

    Also, and most important, this ancient of people kept the Torah(2-3,000years?), which shows you how to live.

    The truth is that Arabs don't really care for the Palestinians…only for an excuse to hate and kill Jews.

    Which way did Saddams Scuds go when the first gulf war started…don't make me say it, you know!

    Rabel.

  8. Erich Vieth says:

    Almost all the Western media initially repeated the official Israeli propaganda line. They almost entirely ignored the Palestinian side of the story, not to mention the daily demonstrations of the Israeli peace camp. The rationale of the Israeli government (“The state must defend its citizens against the Qassam rockets”) has been accepted as the whole truth. The view from the other side, that the Qassams are a retaliation for the siege that starves the one and a half million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, was not mentioned at all.

    Only when the horrible scenes from Gaza started to appear on Western TV screens, did world public opinion gradually begin to change.

    http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/3609-a-mon

    What are those photos that are changing minds? Here is a link . Warning: these images are extremely gruesome. As this site suggests, you'll see American weapons and tax dollars at work. This is disgraceful.

  9. Rabel says:

    Erich,

    I have already seen so many pictures from CNN, MSNBC, MSN and other internet -media outlets that one could not avoid the Palestinian side of Gaza. It is propanda that uses the old, bleeding child in the arms of parents with family members crying out in the most dramatic tone. You guys buy that bullcrap as reason to side with the Palestinians. That is the oldest tactic used against the Israel and or America.

    FACT: Remember, that the Six Day War, the Palestinian population was told by Syrian, Egyptian forces and of course Muslim leaders to leave Israel because they were going to push the Jews into the sea. They left, and fought against the Jews and that is what the Arabs got…a loss of Gaza, Golan, West Bank and lest not forget the whole Sinia Penisula!

    Israel, has bent over backwards to make peace but the Muslim world does not want peace with Jews. So, why do you defend Muslims who want to do what the Nazi machine almost did in Europe. Lesson:

    WWI prepared the land, and WWII prepared the people for Israel.

    Question. Which religious groups laws would you rather live and commune under? You get 3 choices

    1. Shari Alah- western women really like this one, and so do other secular second class people, like homosexuals.

    2. Torah observant- The Laws which cover everything to live.

    3. Judaic-Christian- brought on the Magna Carta which we live freely under. Women, gays, pedifiles, flag burners, Jew haters, capitalists, druggies like this one the most.

    BTW, Fact: the first Christians and successful evangilists were JEWS(i.e.Paul). The Christians we know today are rooted from European, Sunday-keeping, Pagan traditionalists w/antisemtic ferver who do not or have forgotten that the Torah binds the New Testament beliefs.

    You see without the Jews keeping the Torah, there would be no law and order. The world is blessed because of Jews.

    I think I have figured out why the world hates jews. When you have the mark of "God's People" or the "apple of God's eyes", it is lonely on top, and everyone is insanely jealous and wants that same title. The Jews are the stumbling block for the world, and if people would recognize blessings with inventions, science, music, movies, psychology, medicine, agriculture, jewelry…should I go on?

    Israel has been attacked more than any other country in the 20th century and I keep counting. (1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1990-1, on an on…)

    Jews have lived in ghettos all their lives and still do in old Eastern Bloc countries and the elderly-jews suffer in Russia today!!

    I'm done, Go Isael!

    Rabel.

  10. Erich Vieth says:

    Notice Rabel's "final" post, where he again assumes that anyone who wants to get all perspectives on the table is "anti-Israel." This is the same thing that happened in the U.S. re Iraq.

    I agree that there are picture of the Palestinian people's suffering. What's usually lacking is the historical context of that suffering. Why is it that they are launching those rockets and throwing those rocks?

  11. Erich Vieth says:

    “Confusion about the origins of the conflict all too often has obscured Americans’ understanding of its true dimension. It began as a conflict resulting from immigrants struggling to displace the local majority population. All else is derivative from this basic reality.”

    – Donald Neff, former Senior Editor, Time Magazine, Fallen Pillars: U.S. Policy towards Palestine and Israel since 1945

    See the map at the bottom of this site, the source of the above quote. http://ifamericansknew.org/history/ref-nakba.html

  12. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Here is a pertinent point of view from a Palestinian Christian Journalist
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daoud-kuttab/select

  13. Erich Vieth says:

    However, one thing is not hyperbole and that is a dramatic increase in public hatred of Arabs. It used to be Jews were seemingly embarrassed to vocalize such sentiments and would usually do so only after 6 or 8 glasses of wine. Now at campaign rallies, at shul and just about everywhere you hear cries of death to the Arabs, move'em out etc. It's frankly very ugly.

    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/j

  14. Rachel Pine says:

    WAR CRIMES – OPEN LETTER TO AN IDF SOLDIER

    Sir

    I have no proof that 420 Arab children were killed in Gaza, but I have relied on the figures quoted by the world’s media. Whether they are authentic or not, I just don’t know.

    If the figure was not 420, maybe it was 320, or 220, or just 120. Perhaps even only twenty. And, I have no evidence of how old these children were. Some were undoubtedly babies or infants – as I have seen photographs of the bodies, but others could well have been eight, or ten – perhaps even teenagers.

    What I do know and what I am very clear about is that the killing of even twenty children – whether infants or not, was a crime as they could have posed no threat to your powerful tanks, planes and helicopter gunships.

    I also know that my religion – I am Jewish – expressly forbids such killings. So does international law. So does the United Nations. And so does Christianity.

    The Geneva Conventions on Human Rights prohibits such unlawful behaviour and anyone alleged guilty of such a war crime must, by international law, be brought before the International Criminal Court to answer such charges.

    That is the law and that is democracy and that is how our society, and your society, works. Otherwise, there is no democracy, no justice and no law and we could all just kill those we wanted out of the way or who were just inconvenient.

    If there were war crimes committed in Gaza, by either side, then those responsible, must be brought to justice. Can you help?

  15. Erich Vieth says:

    According to DemocracyNow:

    Amnesty International has revealed that the United States has sent a massive new shipment of arms to Israel despite evidence that US weapons were misused against civilians in the Gaza attacks. Amnesty said a German cargo ship carrying about 14,000 tons of arms docked in late March at the Israeli port of Ashdod, about twenty-five miles north of Gaza. The ship left for Israel on December 20, a week before the start of Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

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