Israel’s info wars

January 10, 2009 · 0 comments

Two prominant popular culture, politics and technologies magazines have been etching into the concrete-like blanket of one-sided reporting on Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza by corporate media the world over (with the exception of The Guardian which has been true to its form in presenting the facts of this asymmetrical aggression against Palestinian civilians). The two magazines are Adbusters from Canada and Wired from the US. The timing of this invasion is said to have been long-planned for the liminal moment when US presidents where in transition, when the Western media was in its festive-induced stupor (the invasion was launched on December 27th), and of course leading up to an election in Israel. As Dr. Finkelstein has repeatedly pointed out, despite the corporate media’s best efforts to convince us otherwise, the initial rockets fired by Hamas into Israel (killing one citizen) were retaliatory – the launching began after Israel forces broke a six month cease fire in November by clandestinely going into Gaza and killing six Hamas militants.

While this chain of events is obfuscated by corporate media in an effort to carefully tread lightly around sacred Israel, America’s darling state that can do no wrong and is always innocently defending itself, other misinterpretations permeate Western newspapers, television, radio, and of course the internet. For instance, the corporate media rarely follows up the reportage of Hamas rockets being fired into Israeli territory with how many casualties have resulted (two so far). If they did, readers and viewers might see clearly the disproportionate aggression of Israel, where for every Israeli killed one hundred Palestinians are killed – nearly half of whom are women and children, as reported by the United Nations and the Red Cross. You will also hear the corporate media refer to Hamas as “terrorists” or their tactics as those of “terrorizing” the Israeli population. But you will never here the same characterization of Israel and its tactics – bombing United Nations schools full of women, children and frightened citizens who have fled their bombed-out neighbourhoods and homes is not terrorism, it is military engagement.

And so, along with independent media and progressive bloggers, it has been interesting to see some counter-narratives emerge from Wired, a fairly mainstream magazine with its own share of corporate backing in the way of advertising, and Adbusters, a counterculture magazine that has a large global network of members reaching almost 100,000 in size.

What the two magazines have been reporting on is not so much Israel’s war against the Hamas and the 1.5 million citizens of Gaza, but on Israel’s info-war. Wired writes:

Israel, at first glance, seems to be dominating the information war over Gaza. The Israeli government has launched a campaign to dominate the blogosphere: Pro-Israel hackers are waging cyberwar against Hamas, and the Israeli military has kept the international press off the battlefield.

And so with the corporate press subdued, political pundits shrouded in self-censorship from fear of being labelled anti-Semitic, and an army of Pro-Israel propagandists taking to the blogosphere, those of us who support human rights and dignity for Palestinians and Isrealis, along with the United Nations 1967 border ruling for two states, are left scrambling for attention in a media dominated by half-truths, misrepresentations, ambiguities, and outright lies. Which is why I was so happy to see a recent intervention made by Jewish women in Toronto actually make some of the rounds in the mainstream press. It’s one of the only tools at our disposal: cause a ruckus and the cameras and reporters show up. So kudos to the women in Toronto, who are shown in the video posted in this post, and kudos to those all over the world staging protests and variuos interventions in this information war that can seem so entirely one-sided.

I’ll see some of you at the rally and march today in Montreal at Dorchester Square (12:30), where 10,000 are expected to show.

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