Sunday, Jun. 16, 2019

Peace Propaganda And The Promised Land: U.S. Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Peace Propaganda And The Promised Land: U.S. Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

This is one of the best documentaries on the Israel/Palestine conflict. Though it was produced in 2004, it is unfortunately still important/relevant viewing, especially this week.

When you have an hour of TV time maybe swop it for this. It’s a lot more informative!!

Write-up from Amazon:

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites–oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others–work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported. Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land carefully analyzes and explains how–through the use of language, framing and context–the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied terrorities appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one. The documentary also explores the ways that U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel’s PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics. Interviewees include Seth Ackerman, Mjr. Stav Adivi, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Hanan Ashrawi, Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Neve Gordon, Toufic Haddad, Sam Husseini, Hussein Ibish, Robert Jensen, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Karen Pfeifer, Alisa Solomon, and Gila Svirsky.

And, for me, the issue of false accusations of anti-semitism to justify Israel’s illegal occupation and other crimes is crucial. This issue is addressed brilliantly in the documentary by two insightful and brave men. I thought it might be useful to transcribe their “pull-quotes” on the subject here in the video description:

Journalism professor Robert Jensen:

“The fact that anti-semitism is alive and well in the world today makes it all the more important to differentiate between real anti-semitism that needs to be condemned and opposed in its own right, and its misuse as a public relations strategy. Trying to scare people into silence by conflating any criticism of Israeli policies with anti-semitism in fact detracts from the very real threat that anti-semitism does pose…”

Journalist Robert Fisk following up on that thought:

“…because there are anti-semites in the world, there are racists. And if the continued campaign of abuse against decent people, trying to shut them up by falsely accusing them of anti-semitism continues, the word anti-semitism will begin to become respectable. And that is a great danger. And then the really bad guys – and they’re around – there are people who want to burn synagogues just like there are people who want to burn mosques, they’ll start coming into their own”

And Jensen again:

“The Israeli public relations machine knows that if the views and voices of Jews who disagree with its policies were to become public it would be impossible to maintain the lie that any criticism of Israel is by definition anti-semitic. In fact the accusation of anti-semitism has been Israel’s most effective strategy in silencing dissent. And American journalists in particular have been targets of this tactic.”

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