Israel’s Big Game Propaganda

Israel took advantage of 123 million TV viewers — the most since the 1969 Moon landing — to ply its propaganda during Sunday’s U.S. football championship match, writes Alan MacLeod.

Robert Kraft at the launch of Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ “Face Jewish Hate” campaign in Boston on May 15, 2023. (Office of Governor Maura Healey, Flickr, Joshua Qualls, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

By Alan MacLeod
MintPress News

Amid the fast-paced action that saw the Kansas City Chiefs win their third championship in five years, Americans tuning in to watch the Super Bowl were met with a barrage of unusual propaganda.

Nestled between the typical ads for cars and beer were two bizarre messages: one from the Foundation to Combat anti-Semitism (FCAS) and the other from the State of Israel itself. Both were intimately related to the ongoing slaughter in Gaza and trying to draw attention away from Israeli war crimes.

The FCAS commercial features Clarence B. Jones, the former advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr., who drafted his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The message is that there is a growing tidal wave of racist intolerance in America and that we must all come together to oppose anti-Semitism — the commercial ends by telling people to visit the website

Super Bowl ads do not come cheap, and its $7 million for 30-second air time price tag was footed by the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots N.F.L. franchise, Robert Kraft. Kraft (net worth: $11 billion) made his fortune in the paper and packaging business and has deep ties to the state of Israel, including donating hundreds of millions of dollars to pro-Israel groups and funding pro-Israel candidates in U.S. elections. He even enjoys a close relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kraft married his wife in Israel in 1962 and has reportedly made over 100 visits to the country, including leading dozens of PR missions there, bringing celebrities and sports stars with him. He also maintains a network of charities across Israel.

In December, he pledged a gigantic $100 million to the FCAS. This was, Forbes reported, to “educate the public about the rise in antisemitic incidents and further develop the relationship between the Black and Jewish communities.” Considering its content and invocation of Dr. King, it seems clear that the Super Bowl ad was part of Kraft’s plan to target the Black community.

Black Americans are far more progressive on Palestine than the rest of the population. Many Black leaders, as well as movements such as Black Lives Matter, have allied themselves with the Palestinian cause, seeing parallels and connections between the oppression of Palestinians abroad and the treatment of Black Americans at home.

Black-Palestinian solidarity mural depicting George Floyd, murdered by a U.S. police officer, Gaza City, 2020. (Kalboz, Wikimedia Commons, PDM-owner)

A December poll by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace found that 28 percent of the Black population favored an immediate ceasefire, as opposed to 20 percent of white Americans. Only 5 percent of African Americans wanted the U.S. government to show “unwavering support” to Israel, versus 23 percent of the white population.

Funding Anti-Anti-Semitism

In Kraft’s view, therefore, the Black population’s outlook is a problem. The billionaire sports owner founded the FCAS in 2019 amid growing domestic and international opposition to the state of Israel’s apartheid policies in Palestine. He announced the move at a lavish ceremony in Jerusalem, where he was presented with the Genesis Prize – an Israeli government-backed award given to individuals who most aid the Jewish state.

After the ceremony, he had lunch with his friend, Netanyahu. Kraft had previously supported Netanyahu by attending his speech to Congress in 2015. “Israel does not have a more loyal friend than Robert Kraft,” Netanyahu said.

Kraft was awarded the $1 million Genesis Prize for his efforts in philanthropy and “combating anti-Semitism.” Yet his views on what does and does not constitute anti-Semitism are contentious, to say the least.

In the wake of the historic wave of protests across the U.S. calling for a ceasefire in the Middle East, he appeared on MSNBC to denounce those taking part as supporters of terrorism. “It’s horrible to me that a group like Hamas can be respected and people in the United States of America can be carrying flags or supporting them,” he said, clearly equating supporting Palestinian rights with terrorism. “Hamas is preaching the eradication of all Jewish people from the Earth,” he added.

Thus, while the FCAS claims to be standing against lies and racism, its founder continues to spread his own disinformation in service of the Israeli project.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, he also opposes the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement — a grassroots campaign to peacefully bring economic pressure on the state of Israel to stop its oppression and occupation of its neighbors. Kraft sees BDS as a form of anti-Jewish racism, lumping it in with attacks on synagogues or the growing threat from the far-right.

Pro-Palestine demonstration in Oakland, California, August 2014. (Alex Chis, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 )

“My vision is to work to end the violence against Jewish communities. To counter the normalization of anti-Semitic narratives that question Israel’s right to exist, disguised as part of legitimate debate on campuses and in the media,” he said, thereby hinting that the FCAS will attempt to insert themselves into college campuses nationwide and pressure the media to take (even) more pro-Israel stances.

The Israel Lobby’s Financier

Kraft is one of the Israel lobby’s chief benefactors, donating millions of dollars to various groups throughout his life. In 2022, for example, he gave $1 million to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) super PAC. AIPAC works to push pro-Israel policies across the U.S. and insert pro-Israel language into as many pieces of legislation as possible.

He also funds the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces – a group that raises money to help Israeli soldiers, even as they carry out war crimes in Palestine, Syria and beyond. Other pro-Israel groups, he has given sizeable donations to include:

  • American Friends of the Israel Museum
  • American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center
  • The Anti-Defamation League
  • The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • The Jewish National Fund
  • StandWithUs
  • The Israel Project

Through his organization, Touchdown in Israel, Kraft regularly organizes propaganda trips to Israel for former N.F.L. players, no doubt hoping they will become advocates of the Jewish state.

Arguably the most influential way in which Kraft influences American public life, however, is his consistent funding of right-wing Democrats standing against progressives and advocates for justice in Palestine.

In 2021, for example, he donated $5,800 to Congresswoman Shontel Brown in her contentious face-off against progressive Nina Turner and another $2,900 to her reelection. Brown was a little-known but strongly pro-Israel candidate standing against a democratic socialist, national co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ 2020 election campaign, and an outspoken critic of Israel’s policies.

Brown greeting President Joe Biden at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport July 6, 2022. (White House, Adam Schultz)

Vast amounts of pro-Israel money flowed into Brown’s campaign, helping her to defeat Turner. In her acceptance speech, Brown praised Israel and later thanked the Jewish community for “help[ing] me get over the finish line.”

Kraft has also given money to pro-Israel Democrats, including David Cicilline; Juan Vargas; Ted Deutch; Jake Auchincloss and Ritchie Torres.

His actions, donations and public pronouncements have drawn condemnation from some who have followed them. Sports journalist Dave Zirin, for example, recently wrote that:

“He appears to think that any criticism of Israel is inherently antisemitic. For Kraft, it is Jews like myself, rabbis, and Holocaust survivors calling for a ceasefire and a free Palestine that are part of the problem. And Kraft seems to think that opposition to Israel, the IDF, and the AIPAC agenda is antisemitism.”

Israel on TV

Super Bowl viewers were subjected to another pro-Israel ad in between the action, this one directly funded by and representing the Israeli government.

“To all the dads,” the voiceover says, as images of wholesome fatherhood activities play on the screen,

“The funny ones, the silly ones, the strong ones, the adventurous ones. To all the dads held in captivity by Hamas for over 120 days, we vow to bring you home.”

On the surface of the ad, the Israeli government was sending a message to Israeli fathers still in Hamas custody. That message was that they were working to bring them home (by spending millions of dollars to air the message on American TV during the Super Bowl.)

The reality, however, is that this was an attempt to sway the American public into identifying with Israel, suggesting that this could happen to any of their fathers’ too.

Many viewers felt that what they saw amounted to little more than expensive disinformation. “I’m sorry, is Israel seriously airing a SOB STORY PROPAGANDA AD during the SUPER BOWL while SIMULTANEOUSLY BOMBING THE REFUGEES AT RAFAH???????” wrote one viewer on Twitter.

Nevertheless, the Super Bowl was the most-watched American telecast ever, reaching over 123 million viewers. Some say you cannot put a price on that sort of publicity, but apparently, you can, and that price is $7 million. Propaganda it might be, but in America, money talks. And both Robert Kraft and the government of Israel certainly have a lot of it to spend.

Alan MacLeodis is senior staff writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe Grayzone, Jacobin Magazine and Common Dreams.

This article is from, an award winning investigative newsroom.  Sign up for their newsletter.

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

26 comments for “Israel’s Big Game Propaganda

  1. February 16, 2024 at 16:48

    What a nightmare situation for the Palestinian non-combatants! Who plausibly is going to be able to stop the Israel Defence Forces and immorally opportunistic prime minister Netanyahoo, especially with their state-of-the-art mostly-American-taxpayer-supplied weaponry, including nuclear?

    There have been tens of thousands of innocent Palestinian non-combatants killed by Israeli assaults, largely the result of the decades-long Israeli occupation. This time, however, there not only were casualties in Israel but a significant number, even though they’re still far fewer than the Palestinian death toll.

    Normally, there are rockets fired from Palestinian territory, intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defenses, and Israel retaliates in their usual many-fold-measures way with smart bombs [etcetera] supplied by U.S. taxpayers, typically killing civilians or school children. The IDF’s frequent ‘defense’ is a claimed belief that their targets were using Palestinian non-combatants basically as human shields.

    It’s Israel’s, and too much of the West’s, business-as-usual perception thus inevitable non-intervention. Palestinians are considered disposable. Generally, Israel and Westerners, including our legacy news-media, have been getting accustomed to so many Palestinian deaths over many decades of struggle with Israel.

    For quite some time, maybe even decades, they have been perceived thus treated as not being of equal value to those within Israel. This may help explain the relative poverty, with Palestinian children picking through the mountains of Israeli waste basically dumped on territory annexed or on the way to being annexed.

    Therefor their great suffering and deaths are somehow less worthy of our actionable concern as otherwise relatively civilized nations. Atrociously, the worth of such life can/will be measured by the overabundance of protracted conditions under which it suffers.

  2. February 16, 2024 at 14:07

    The dumbing down of Americans so that genocide, ethnic cleansing and apartheid become positive attributes. Victims of the Holocaust should be deeply embarrassed by this, done in their name.

  3. Francis Lee
    February 16, 2024 at 13:26

    Words for our time. W.B.Yeats

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    • February 16, 2024 at 17:08

      Politics is ‘the art of compromise’
      politics at its moral peak
      though this moral peak
      indeed lies below a dead sea’s level,
      but the compromise of ethics
      and integrity is politics at
      its moral natural state
      —a state in which the media beast
      must be fed, will feast from
      the politicians’ tin can
      filled with naught but the spin man
      of the political animal.

  4. anaisanesse
    February 16, 2024 at 13:12

    “Hamas is preaching the eradication of all Jewish people from the Earth,” he added. While Israel of course, is actually doing the eradication of as many Palestinians as it can.

    I sincerely hope that everyone reading this article is also reading Caitlin Johnstone’s excellent contribution with a thoughtful inclusion from Alon Misrahi.

  5. Francis Lee
    February 16, 2024 at 13:12

    I think the man said it all.

  6. February 16, 2024 at 12:02

    Who says Clarence Jones wrote Dr King’s I Have a Dream speech? Jones may have suggested the promisory note part, but I believe the speech was largely improvised.

  7. Dfnslblty
    February 16, 2024 at 09:31

    >>“My vision is to work to end the violence against Jewish communities.”<<

    And he cannot see the extreme violence against Gaza !!!

    It’s not his eyes — it’s his cold heart that is blind !!!

    Protest Loudly !!!

  8. Eric
    February 15, 2024 at 22:48

    Assuming both ads presented in the article were the real thing,

    * The FCAS ad targets “Jewish hate”. This is an astounding blunder!
    What they mean is “hate of Jews” but it could be interpreted as “hate by Jews”.

    * The second has been corrected to highlight babies murdered by Israel.

    • Robert McCurdy
      February 16, 2024 at 11:22

      I read it the same way. I think it’s called a Freudian slip and it couldn’t be literally closer to the truth.

    • February 16, 2024 at 17:07

      One has to wonder whether the 10/7 ‘surprise’ attack was truly unexpected. Like the Cheney-Bush U.S. administration immediately post-9/11, this attack conveniently enables the Israeli Netanyahu government to justify extreme emergency war measures then force through his/its ‘democratic reforms’ and do who-knows-what-more to Palestine, including cleansing it of much of its long-time Palestinian residents. (Albeit, the attack may have been harder than the insiders had anticipated.)

      It seems a bit convenient for Israeli power interests; notably, western world governments and especially our mainstream news-media basically all fell into line. Also, not widely publicized is that there are considerable fossil fuel reserves beneath long-held Palestinian land that are a plausible motivator for war.

      Plus, Netanyahu’s military-officer brother was killed during an attack against Palestinian and German hostage-takers in 1976. He may want more blood for that.

  9. checkpoint
    February 15, 2024 at 18:42

    It’s obscene to witness Civil Rights laws twisted around extremist religious demands. This is a political issue about community rot at the hands of far-right religious fundamentalist price tagging our local tax base with their demands while destroying our democracy.

  10. Graeme
    February 15, 2024 at 18:21

    The compliance of western corporate media in propagating Israeli propaganda is not the only example of sanctioned lies.

    Martin Winiecki has written a piece telling of yet another ongoing persecution in the Middle east, and how, under the cover of the IDF attack on Gaza, Erdogan continues to lay assault and increase his attacks on Rojava.

    “Since October 2023, the Turkish military has bombed Rojava’s villages, cities and civil infrastructure on a daily basis — supported by arms supplies from the United States and other Western countries. Around 80 percent of electricity and water stations have been destroyed, leaving millions of people without heating, energy and sufficient water supplies. And while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemns the Israeli genocide against Palestinians, he’s hypocritically taking advantage of the world’s attention on Gaza to hide his own.”

    The writer also offers the condemnation that Erdogan’s “war on Rojava relies on a near-total media blackout.”
    The same culprits who currently finance and supply weapons to the IDF are backing Türkiye; the psychotic US admin are backing both sides, with Erdogan certainly benefiting the most.

    Winiecki’s assessment that “a radical alternative is under threat in the region” explains why the media silence is so prevalent.


    • michael888
      February 17, 2024 at 16:46

      Since Obama’s failed coup against Turkey and Erdogan in 2016, Turkey has behaved erratically, seemingly suspicious of all outside actors. Turkey was once NATO’s most loyal and powerful ally, with a feared secular army. Now they play the field and consider all alternatives for THEIR interests.

      Thanks Obama! Your stupid attempt at a coup in Turkey did more damage to US security than all other Arab Spring interventions (to help Israel?)

  11. colin786
    February 15, 2024 at 17:43

    Let them spend their millions of dollars on whatever they like. It will not help them attain the truth or prolong the life of their invented state. They do not understand.

  12. Jackie Lopez
    February 15, 2024 at 16:17

    I used to know people who worked in the Water Dept. They could tell when the Super Bowl had a commercials, from the drop in water pressure as everyone flushed. Both Israel and RKFJR paid a lot of money to be the background noise to the flushing of toilets and people shouting “while you’re up, can you get me …”

    • hetro
      February 16, 2024 at 07:58

      And they had plenty of time for flushing etc as the ads flowed up to 10 or 12 (I’m guessing) each break, and very silly/infantile with this factor getting worse, and which also gave time for people to get back to their phones and its games they play or whatever. Massive advertising inundation of this sort is not likely to get that much attention to political messages, I think. My own family has told me they know how to “block” these messages . . .

  13. Andrew Nichols
    February 15, 2024 at 16:11

    How do these champions of the 50s and 60s fight against racism wind up as champions of neoliberal grifters like Biden and coopted into Israeli racism?

  14. Richard Burrill
    February 15, 2024 at 16:03

    I’ve been a Patriots fan since their inception. But given what I just read about owner Robert Kraft, I might change my allegiance to another team.

    • Lois Gagnon
      February 15, 2024 at 21:17

      How about we just boycott the NFL?

      • Share
        February 15, 2024 at 22:21

        I was never much of a fan, but after learning about CTE, I despise everything about football.

  15. Arch Stanton
    February 15, 2024 at 15:44

    Every day I read more and more lies from the Zionists, its standard practice for them, it’s all they do, it’s all they got to try and justify their seven-decade long experiment in ethnic cleansing and slow genocide.

    Lies, lies and more damn lies, if only the masses could see through them.

  16. Drew Hunkins
    February 15, 2024 at 15:13

    Zionists and their hasbara operation run arguably the slickest, greatest propaganda apparatus in world history. With their high verbal IQs and domination of the airwaves, they’re almost, almost, insurmountable. They’re expert at running smear campaigns against any activist, scholar, or intellectual who gains any semblance of a platform to speak out against their aggressions, theft, and illegal land-grabbing.

    Once they succeed with their absolutely sickening and disgusting ethnic cleansing in Gaza — sending a million poor and disheveled Palestinians into refugee camps in the Sinai — they will then succeed in whitewashing the whole sordid affair in the history books. It will of course be mentioned in the historical record, but the sadistic and violent undertaking will be downplayed, and the Zionists will be made to look like the victims who valiantly stood up and fought back. It’s enough to make you want to puke in your soup.

    • Arch Stanton
      February 16, 2024 at 15:04

      Sure does make me want to puke.

      The sad thing is that I can’t see this monopoly they have ever ending – they have complete control of the world. Unless the Arab world unites some day, the status quo will continue indefinitely.

  17. firstpersoninfinite
    February 15, 2024 at 14:19 It sounds like it’s asking people to stand up to Jews for hating something just for themselves that no one else wants to hate. It turns out that even billionaire Zionists are more stupid than clever. I never understood the name BlackLivesMatter either, although I supported it. Shouldn’t it have been Black Lives Don’t Matter, a title which works strongly in favor of positive change occurring? Wasn’t that the point? Of course, we all know how quickly BLM was appropriated by others for other uses. Jews have plenty of reasons to hate lots of people, given their history. I’m sure the Amalekites were hopping mad about their utter destruction for the sake of family matters alone. As usual, God’s authority wasn’t much needed. But Zionism is not Judaism. Jews are quite often against Zionism, having suffered plenty already at the hands of supremacist authorities much like Zionism has become. But a Super Bowl ad? Why weren’t there ads from Iraq asking for a million of their citizens back? How about an ad remembering the tens of thousands of Iraqi wives escaping to neighboring countries to become prostitutes so they could survive? Shouldn’t they be remembered more than Bush Jr.’s or Hunter Biden’s paintings? How about ads from the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki asking for something beyond those irreducible shadows left by the victims of US atomic bombs? Shouldn’t the network carrying these Super Bowl ads now be made to register as a foreign agent residing in the US? The day will come when no one will be allowed to ask these questions. By then, of course, the Super Bowl will be held in Israel every year, and attendance will be mandatory.

  18. JonnyJames
    February 15, 2024 at 13:25

    I guess I’m one of the few in the US who did not watch one second of the spectacle, so I (happily) missed the propaganda piece and other garbage. Thanks for covering this, so I didn’t have to retch and vomit.

    $7 million is cheap for what Israel and Co. got for their money. How apt: a game that glorifies military conquest, violence and spectacle being used to promote mass murder and genocide. kill the indigenous population, and steal their land and natural resources while getting free handouts of billions in cash and high-tech weaponry from the US.

    The USA provides a strong financial INCENTIVE for genocide.

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