The ‘Western’ media has a hallowed, Liberal Zionist tradition of excusing Israel’s violence against Palestinians by claiming that the occupier, which has kept up a brutal military occupation for 51 years, is only ‘reacting’ to supposed violence by the Palestinians.
For the ‘Western’ media to be ready to acknowledge Israeli violence and to mildly criticize it, the ultimate blame must be projected onto its victims. All Israeli violence against Palestinians must be traced to violence by Palestinians – and the violence by the occupied against the occupation and its representatives must be portrayed as the fount of all violence; it can’t be portrayed as a response or revenge.
The guilt for political violence in ‘Western’ journalism must ultimate lay with those who experience most of it; if the slave wouldn’t rebel and try to harm the kindly slave master, but would be a happy and obedient slave living in a bantustan, the colonist occupier wouldn’t attack them. This is the fable Liberal Zionist press offers to their audiences.
This is how The Guardian, representative of that liberal ‘far middle’ in the British press which, operating in that Liberal Zionist tradition, excuses greatly increased violence against Palestinians by illegal Israeli settlers, claiming that illegal Israeli settler attacks would come in the aftermath of Palestinian attacks against ‘Israelis’.
The killing of Aisha al-Rabi(47), a mother of eight children, by illegal Israeli settler stone-throwers on Friday October 12th is portrayed as ‘a revenge attack’ by The Guardian’s Oliver Holmes in his article “‘It was terror’: Palestinians decry rise in attacks by Israeli settlers” on December 30th.
The killing of two illegal Israeli settlers’ in an illegal colony on October October 7th is used by Holmes as a starting point, the cause for a spiral of violence, because in Liberal Zionist narrative Israel and its illegal settlers can’t be the ultimate cause of violence. Even when for each killed illegal Israeli settler and occupation soldier Israel has killed this year 22 Palestinians.
In this The Guardian tries to put the old ‘Israel is just defending itself’ cliché in use for the defence of the illegal Israeli settlers’ violence and their murder of a woman before the eyes of her young daughter. These armed extremists kill and wound people, destroy property and steal land and homes, poison and shoot domestic animals but to Liberal Zionists in the corridors of journalism the guilt must lie with the victims: If only they wouldn’t oppose the occupation, then the good, cuddly colonizers wouldn’t have to stone their cars, burn their houses, uproot their orchards and poison their wells from the safety of armed Israeli occupation forces’ escort.
The comparison to slavery above is not made flippantly, as the Palestinians live in a state of oppression from generation to generation which is slavery in all but name: Unfree people used as a cheap labour pool and killed whenever the enslaver wishes. The way this state of enslavement is represented by media has very old roots, just the garb the excuses wear have been modernized.
The white-washing and ‘justifying’ of violence by oppressors and the expectation, spelled out directly or not, that oppressors are ‘defending themselves’ and a justified order and society – in this case Apartheid Israel and its colonial empire over East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank (and the Golan Heights) – is as old as the liberal press. To Edmund Burke(1729-1797) slave-owners were the greatest lovers of freedom, and by oppressing the slaves they were fighting for liberty. This language that turns concepts upside down and whch we would connect with works of modern authors like George Orwell(1903-1950) is much older and runs in the figurative veins of the ‘Western’ press.
Because of this, the capability of illegal Israeli settlers to instigate violence is passed quickly, when it is a very deliberate tactic to make lives unbearable and force Palestinians leave their occupied land – which Holmes is forced to admit. Spiral of violence is not followed to its real traceable beginning, but cut whenever it fits the Liberal Zionist narrative of an armed colonizer in an illegal colony outpost as the victim who reacts to the threat made manifest by the blood shed by the Caliban-like violent native.
The truth can’t be faced by Liberal Zionist press where Israel holds, in the words of US journalist Thomas Friedman, ‘the moral high ground’ no matter what it does. When the moral high ground is clearly nowhere to be seen, it is the job of the Liberal Zionist journalist and publisher to built one, no matter the facts. (Conservative press, catering to its own audience, is more open in its celebration of Israeli war crimes and dismissive of any rights Palestinians could have to life, land or property. ‘Might is right’, and the moral high ground can be left unbuilt.)
Truth is replaced by a lie that is fed to the audience to give them a distorted view so that they wouldn’t turn against the occupier and support effective action for peace. To make sure of this, a feeling of apathy and impotence is used by the Liberal Zionist press to sing consciences to sleep, in the style of ‘the poor will always be with us’, in this case presenting the Israeli occupation and its crimes something beyond mere human capability to affect.
This tactic, so often used by The Guardian as we have previously noted in the work of their staff members like Jonathan Freedland, is for those who don’t buy the excuses and tends to come at the end of articles, where it can be read as ‘So you feel bad, but guess what? Neither you nor anyone else can do anything about it, this is just how it is.’ Holmes, as expected from a journalist of The Guardian, uses this tactic.
So the occupation goes on, with the help of the ‘Western’ media and Palestinian blood keeps flowing while illegal Israeli settler attacks and theft of Palestinian land and property increase – just because for ideological reasons blame can’t be truly put to where it belongs, the Israeli regime and its representatives which have kept up brutal occupation and committed ethnic cleansing and illegal colonization since 1948.
PHOTO: The funeral of Aisha al-Rabi held on October 13th by Ayman Nobani via Xinhua.