As Tuesday’s grisly murder of five Israelis in a Jerusalem synagogue by two Palestinian assailants continues to dominate headlines, major media outlets are actively erasing the Israeli violence that preceded the attack and the surging anti-Palestinian assaultsthat have followed.
The Washington Post went even further, using the synagogue attack as an opportunity to erase Israeli violence against Palestinians both past and present.
Noting that the attack site is located in what used to be Deir Yassin — a Palestinian village destroyed in 1948 after Zionist militias deliberately executed more than one hundred of its inhabitants, including children — the Post rendered the massacre an unproven accusation against Israel.
Following an uproar on social media, the Post quietly removed the reference to Deir Yassin from the piece without issuing an explanation or correction.
These same media outlets are gleefully painting Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip as heartless monsters based on a marginal celebration that took place in Gaza City.
“Residents of the Gaza Strip paraded in the streets singing victory songs, giving out candy, waving flags,” declared The New York Times, eliciting images of widespread jubilation.
An earlier New York Times piece claimed that in Gaza City, “praise for God and the attackers poured from mosque loudspeakers.” That paragraph appears to have been quietly scrubbed without explanation, but not before Zionist ideologues had a chance to exploit it.
Speaking from Gaza where he is currently stationed, journalist and Mondoweisscontributor Dan Cohen told The Electronic Intifada that there was indeed a celebratory rally organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Gaza City but the celebrations were far from widespread.
“A small minority celebrated. That’s what being besieged and bombed does to people,” said Cohen, adding that it was hardly representative of the sentiment in Gaza, where residents are desperately preoccupied with escaping what he calls the “catastrophic” deterioration of conditions in the rubble-cluttered enclave.
Cohen also rejected The New York Times’ claim that celebratory praise for the synagogue attack rang out from mosque loudspeakers. There were a couple of cars driving around with megaphones that could be heard expressing joy for the attack, said Cohen, but that’s all. Gaza resident Mohammed Suliman and journalist Jehad Saftawi, who were with Cohen when we spoke, concurred.
While fringe celebrations among Palestinians have been widely reported, the more commonplace right-wing Israeli demonstrations agitating for greater violence and “death to Arabs” have been conspicuously absent from establishment media coverage, even though mainstream reporters are clearly aware of these rallies.
This follows a longstanding pattern that was most apparent during Israel’s recent assault on Gaza, which killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including more than five hundred children.
As Israel mercilessly targeted civilians in the densely populated coastal enclave, western media outlets published scandalous justifications for the mounting atrocities, frequently blaming Palestinians for their own slaughter.
Under this convoluted paradigm, racist Israeli mobs joyfully singing “In Gaza there’s no studying, No children are left there” were virtually ignored in the mainstream press, as was the rampant genocidal incitement in Israeli social media and from high-level Israeli lawmakers.
Amid a rising tide of Israeli fascism, the mainstream media narrative of an Israel under constant and unrelenting attack from wildly violent and murder-celebrating Palestinians is more than just dishonest. It is dangerous propaganda that shields Israel’s unchecked extremism from scrutiny, guaranteeing and inciting further atrocities against the defenseless and disenfranchised Palestinian population, some of whom will respond with violence.
Profiles of the Jewish victims killed in the synagogue attack have appeared in one media outlet after another, interspersed with quotes from heartbroken loved ones. The same cannot be said of the countless Palestinians attacked, maimed and killed by Israeli violence, whose names and photos rarely make it into mainstream news accounts.
Here are some of their harrowing stories from the last two weeks alone, stories that will be replicated thanks in no small part to a mainstream media that sees them as unworthy victims.