When it comes to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, media warps cause and effect through misrepresentation and decontextualization.
Anti-Israel bias is rife in the media and international organizations like the United Nations; this has been the case since the founding of the Jewish State in 1948. This truth was humorously depicted by the Israeli statesman Abba Eban, who said “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.” This prejudice is especially prevalent with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where media and anti-Israel actors paint Israel as the aggressor when it is far more often the respondent. The false presentation of the conflict is not only in the realm of history, but current events as well. Through decontextualization, differential treatment, and outright prejudice, a false picture of this thorny issue is painted. This has been clearly displayed in the past week, as violence – blamed on Israel, but stoked by Palestinians – has flared during the Ramadan and Passover holidays.
To put these recent tensions into their proper context – which the media is loath to do – Israel has been dealing with a wave of terror attacks over the past year, including stabbings, car attacks, and rocket assaults from Hamas in Gaza. This has boiled over in the past few days, sparked by an incident that has been blatantly mischaracterized by most coverage. On Wednesday April 5, Israeli police entered the Temple Mount compound – the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam – to disperse an illicit gathering and remove fireworks and other stockpiled non-traditional weaponry from the al Aqsa Mosque. This was described by almost all media coverage as a violent Israeli “raid” that was unprovoked and brutally targeted peaceful worshippers. This could not be further from the truth, and ignores critical context that puts the Israeli reaction into perspective.Read More »