Why Israel Blows Up Media Offices & Targets Journalists

Rather than reduce the cruelty, the Israeli government keeps trying to reduce accurate news coverage, writes Norman Solomon.

Palestinian solidarity demonstration in New York City on May 11. (Andrew Ratto, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Norman Solomon

Israel’s missile attack on media offices in Gaza City last weekend was successful. A gratifying response came quickly from the head of The Associated Press, which had a bureau in the building for 15 years: “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”

For people who care about truth, that’s outrageous. For the Israeli government, that’s terrific.

The AP president, Gary Pruitt, said “we are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza.”

There’s ample reason to be horrified. But not shocked.

Israel’s military began threatening and targeting journalists several decades ago, in tandem with its longstanding cruel treatment of Palestinians. Rather than reduce the cruelty, the Israeli government keeps trying to reduce accurate news coverage.

The approach is a mix of deception and brutality. Blow up the cameras so the world won’t see as many pictures of the atrocities.

Of course, there’s no need to interfere with journalists documenting the also awful — while relatively few — deaths of Israelis due to rockets fired by Hamas. In recent days the Israeli government has spotlighted such visuals, some of them grimly authentic, others fake.

The suffering in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is tragically real on both sides, while vastly asymmetrical. During the last 10 days, as reportedby the BBC, 219 people have been killed in Gaza. In Israel, the number was 10. In Gaza, at least 63 of the dead were children. In Israel, two.

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In the midst of all this, shamefully, President Joe Biden is pushing ahead to sell $735 million worth of weapons to Israel, a move akin to selling more whips and thumbscrews to torturers while they’re hard at work tormenting their victims.

On Wednesday, a few members of Congress introduced a bill that seeks to do what the Israeli targeting of media seeks to prevent — the galvanizing of well-informed outrage. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Mark Pocan introduced a resolution opposing the sale of those weapons.

“For decades, the U.S. has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights. In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions,” Ocasio-Cortez pointed out.

Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, said: “The harsh truth is that these weapons are being sold by the United States to Israel with the clear understanding that the vast majority of them will be used to bomb Gaza. Approving this sale now, while failing to even try to use it as leverage for a ceasefire, sends a clear message to the world — the U.S. is not interested in peace, and does not care about the human rights and lives of Palestinians.”

As usual, Israel’s latest killing spree can avail itself of deep pockets provided by U.S. taxpayers, currently $3.8 billion a year in military assistance. An article published last week by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace makes a strong case that the massive subsidy is legally dubious and morally indefensible.

Not many members of Congress can be heard calling for an end to doling out huge sums to the Israeli government. But some progress is evident.

A bill introduced last month by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, H.R.2590, now has 21 co-sponsors and some activist momentum. Its official purpose flies in the face of routine congressional evasion: “To promote and protect the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and to ensure that United States taxpayer funds are not used by the Government of Israel to support the military detention of Palestinian children, the unlawful seizure, appropriation, and destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the West Bank, or further annexation of Palestinian land in violation of international law.”

Right now, the government of Israel is exerting deadly force on a large scale to underscore an assertion of impunity — in effect, wielding power to subjugate Palestinian people with methodical disregard for their basic human rights. The process involves reducing as much as possible the eyewitness news coverage of that subjugation.

Israeli leaders know that truth about the human consequences of their policies is horrific when illuminated. That’s why they’re so eager to keep us in the dark.

Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and the author of many books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

This article is from NormanSolomon.com.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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7 comments for “Why Israel Blows Up Media Offices & Targets Journalists

  1. Vera Gottlieb
    May 22, 2021 at 14:47

    So many inconvenient truths that must be obliterated. And israel keeps coming up with them…

  2. Will
    May 22, 2021 at 02:29

    Sanders is a fraud. Useless. A diversion. An intellectual disgrace.

    1940 W. H. Auden from

    Earth, receive an honoured guest:
    William Yeats is laid to rest.
    Let the Irish vessel lie
    Emptied of its poetry.

    In the nightmare of the dark
    All the dogs of Europe bark,
    And the living nations wait,
    Each sequestered in its hate;

    Intellectual disgrace
    Stares from every human face,
    And the seas of pity lie
    Locked and frozen in each eye.

    Follow, poet, follow right
    To the bottom of the night,
    With your unconstraining voice
    Still persuade us to rejoice;

    With the farming of a verse
    Make a vineyard of the curse,
    Sing of human unsuccess
    In a rapture of distress;

    In the deserts of the heart
    Let the healing fountain start,
    In the prison of his days
    Teach the free man how to praise.

    In Memory of W. B. Yeats

    And in the words of Yeats

    “The best lack all conviction
    While the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

    And what about that ‘rough beast’ that continues to slaughter the Innocent of Palestine.

  3. Eric
    May 21, 2021 at 19:44

    Don’t expect the Associated Press to wake up after this Israeli crime against it.
    AP just fired a Jewish reporter for criticizing media ‘objectivity’ on Palestine:

  4. rosemerry
    May 21, 2021 at 15:18

    How can the US public, even with their corporate controlled MSM, accept this behavior in an allegedly democratic nation? There a big demonstrations, but the “elected Reps” are beholden to AIPAC pressure to support Israel even in these extreme criminal acts.

  5. mgr
    May 21, 2021 at 12:15

    Thinking about the pending 700+ million dollar arms sale from the US to Israel and the circumstances of the Israeli bombing of the Palestinian civilian population of Gaza, it certainly seems like a deja vu of situation in Yemen with Saudi Arabia. That wretchedness was under the Trump administration. The ongoing Israeli appeasement is under the Biden administration. The status quo is the status quo, only the names change.

    It saddens me that America seems always to be at the banal heart of such events.

    In any case, there are many oppressed people in the world and many of them are struggling to implement a change to democracy and self-determination. For a long time, the world looked to America with hope and expectation for some support, in particular, some moral support, for these endeavors. I suggest that this last incident with Israel and the Palestinians have burst that myth forever. America is no friend to democracy except its own, “democracy by oligarchy”, of, by and for itself. And the loss of that hope will likely increase the desperation and violence of these movements around the world even more.

    First Obama and now Biden seem to share the same kind of “pragmatic self-interest” which is often touted by their boosters as being wise and practical. In fact, it’s simply a lack of the moral courage to uphold principles over self-interest. And sadly, this is all that American culture has been producing for decades. Now, in hard times, all that self-destructive worshiping of banality is catching up in a rush.

    Better to implement a new paradigm while there is still some little time left because the current one, that most of the world’s leaders are desperately trying to hold in place, is not up to the task. Time to drop “zero/sum” for “win/win”.

  6. Tennegon
    May 21, 2021 at 10:57

    I can’t help but think of the U.S.S. Liberty incident (June 8, 1967) in reading this article.

    The pattern of behavior, based on intention, remains consistently malicious.

  7. Drew Hunkins
    May 20, 2021 at 17:20

    The first thing the violent armed robber does when he enters the 7-Eleven just before sticking up the clerk is destroy or somehow disenable the store’s video camera.

Comments are closed.