FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Violence, Crisis and Tragedy of Israeli Propaganda

by

In recent weeks the world is witnessing another round of violence in Israel/Palestine. Though we are accustomed to seeing the same tragic and violent scenario repeat itself, this time it is different. The current wave of resistance stems from a new generation of Palestinian activists who are not affiliated with a particular organization or faction. Protests include violent and nonviolent demonstrations as well as attacks on Israeli civilians in both the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and Israel.

The disorganized and sporadic nature of this resistance has caught Israel off guard: whereas the government is accustomed to respond by mobilizing its military and propaganda (aka “Hasbara”) outlets against predefined Palestinian targets such as Hamas, it currently lacks someone to hold directly accountable. As such, Israel has resorted to collective punishment of Palestinian society and inflammatory anti-Palestinian rhetoric. The latter has generated an environment whereby civilian/vigilante violence is currently surging in Israel.

Violence in various forms is necessary to maintain and expand the Israeli occupation in the OPT and for the domination of and discriminatory limitations placed on Palestinians who live as citizens within pre-’67 borders of Israel. For this purpose, the Israeli government enacts policies that have two goals: 1) segregation of Israelis and Palestinians and; 2) fragmentation of Palestinian society.

These are aimed at containing Palestinians within predefined territories on the one hand, while denying them the ability to assemble, organize and thus effectively mount protest on the other. Israel has promoted each of these aims individually but also conjointly; the construction of the separation wall effectively creates a barrier between Israeli and Palestinian societies, but also physically dissects Palestinian villages and separates farmers from their land (for example see here). To implement these policies the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and other branches of Israel’s security forces use violent tactics including curfews, house demolitions, checkpoints, nightly raids, arrests (often without charge) and other routine and often random violence.

Because humans are hard-wired to feel empathy, violence and discrimination need to be morally and ethically justified. For this purpose, Israeli propaganda focuses on two main points: 1) historically linking contested land to Jewish heritage and; 2) dehumanizing Palestinians and their leaders. While the former attempts to provide an inherent Jewish “right” to the land, the latter serves to instill fear and distrust of Palestinians and thus absolve Israelis of any responsibility for their own crimes and those committed in their name.

Quite predictably, because the current wave of resistance does not present the Hasbara with a clear target, it is in crisis. Unaware or indifferent to their underlying racism, Israeli officials have been endorsing vigilante violence and inciting the masses against Palestinians and their leadership of past and present. Some notable examples include the immediate labeling of protesters as suspect of “violence and terrorism”, incendiary remarks by Israeli officials about the current Palestinian leadership, exclusion of Arab-Israeli representatives from official briefings, a call for civilian armament at all times in order to combat “terrorists” and an outrageous claim by Prime Minister Netanyahu claiming that the Mufti of Jerusalem was the impetus behind the Nazi “final solution” for European Jewry.

Segregation and chronic fear lead to an inability to empathize with others’ suffering. When a lack of empathy is combined with incitement of fear and encouragement toward vigilante-style aggression, it produces a dangerous cocktail that leads to unbridled violence. During the past few weeks in Israel these sorts of events have become commonplace including several extra judicial killings of suspects (see here for sample) and a mob-crazed lynching (of a man who happened to be innocent).

If we are to judge by the rhetoric coming from Israeli officials, their inflammatory propaganda will only get worse, and with it more of these vicious and tragic acts of violence. It is clear that in addition to the daily violence of occupation, this escalation in anti-Palestinian rhetoric/propaganda will have tragic consequences not only for Palestinians, but also on Israeli society.

Yoav Litvin is a Doctor of Psychology/ Behavioral Neuroscience.  

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail