FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Crying Wolf: Israel’s Great March of Return Atrocities in the New York Times

When you want to kill unarmed protesters you don’t like, cry wolf.

At least that’s how Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, Binyamin Netanyahu and the Israeli military operate. And who parrots this excuse to mow down Gazans inside their prison? Most of the mainstream media, and the touchy-feelie liberal New York Times.

On Nakba Day, the day after the Israeli war crime machine ended the lives of over 60 Gazans, the Times begins an extensive article “Uneasy Calm Falls Over Israel After Kills Scores at Protests” with the story of an eight-month old Palestinian child killed at the Great March of Return protest. Like the heart-wrenching images of the Syrian refugee child Alan Kurdi washed up on a beach, the Times writes, this has fueled anger at Israel’s response. However, the Times later notes, the Palestinian infant already had underlying heart conditions before she was exposed to the IDF’s tear gas at the Israeli-Gaza border.

The message is clear, albeit subtle: when we see emotion-laden photographs, do not always fall for it. As a general point, fair enough. However, beginning a long article on a massacre of protesters by isolating one story that attempts to perforate holes into the integrity of the unarmed protesters, who posed no imminent threat to the lives of IDF soldiers, the goal is clear enough: Solidarity with Bibi, Trump, Nikki Haley and all the Democrats and Republican who support the Israeli war crime machine.

As Palestinians do not qualify as people to most of the mainstream media, the New York Times follows suit. Not only do they fail to mention the name of the protest, the Great March of Return, but fail to recognize the personhood and agency of Palestinians. So, when Hamas leaders showed support for the protest and called for demonstrations at the border, then we should believe that Palestinians suddenly leapt to their feet and protested at Hamas’s beck and call. Hamas, the ‘terrorist’ group and internal prison warden of Gaza prison, supposedly has absolute control over Gazans’ actions; and the March of Return is merely another tactic of Hamas in its conflict with Israel. While not overtly saying that Hamas is to blame for Palestinian protester deaths, in writing that “Hamas has led the protests in Gaza,” the Times cries wolf and thereby implicitly justifies Israeli atrocities.

To be fair to the Times, it’s far easier to go along with the American and Israeli narrative that Hamas has been the orchestrator of the Great March of Return. But that is not real journalism.

Israeli +972 Magazine interviewed one of the 20 organizers of the March of Return in March. The magazine contrasted the official Israeli narrative of ‘Hamas-led protests’ with Gazan leftist organizer Hasan al-Kurd, who verifies Human Rights Watch’s perspective that the Great March is a grassroots-organized protest. Out of the 20 organizers, al-Kurd maintains, only two are affiliated with Hamas. No doubt that later on, as the protests gained momentum, Hamas supported them for both ideological and political reasons, including to boost their own popularity. But Hamas certainly did not direct them.

The Times does write thateconomic misery plays a role in the Gaza protests; yet, a densely packed unlivable prison under Israeli blockade (assisted by Egypt), in which half the population has access to water eight hours, every four days and only 4-6 hours of electricity, followed by 14-16 hour blackouts – the qualifier of misery, economic, is unnecessary. Gaza is unlivable, period; economic factors are only part of the equation. If Gaza were an ordinary prison, its manager would be condemned by any responsible government.

In a brief five-minute Times video titled “What Life is Like on Gaza’s Side of the Fence” from May 14, 2018, the day of the largest Gaza protester massacre, the first 48 seconds show a joyous high school graduation. High school graduates from Gaza’s American School are showed wearing graduation gowns, smiling and having a dance party. For approximately 20-25 seconds, the video then goesvery lightly into the conditions of Gaza. It then moves to the protests and how they were putatively coopted by Hamas, and the protests’ supposed strategy of gaining a high body count to persuade the international community to pressure Israel to end the Gaza siege. A half a minute or so is spent depicting the ‘festival-like’ atmosphere near the border protests, described as a “distant cousin to Burning Man,” where “actors ham it up, playing cruel Israeli soldiers.” The narrator’s cynical, if not snide, emphasis on ‘cruel’ is telling: Gazans think of Israeli soldiers as cruel, but really, are they? Whether IDF soldiers are cruel or not is beside the point; they have acted inhumanly towards Palestinians and enforce Israel’s cruel occupation.

All in all, a significant portion of the video, willfully or unconsciously, focuses on the joy in Gaza, which starkly contrasts with human rights organizations and the UN’s reports on Gaza’s unlivable nature. Of course, there is joy in Gaza sometimes; but focusing on it a day after Israel’s killing over 60 unarmed protesters is a bit peculiar.

When the Times video does not portray Gazan ‘joy’ or Hamas coopting the protests, it focuses on aspects of the protest that attempt to call into question its unarmed nature, including Israel’s claims that grenades and Molotov cocktails were thrown by protesters, kites set on fire, cutting barbed wire and tires burnt to put up a smokescreen to sniper fire. Sorely missing were the children, journalists and unarmed civilian protesters killed by the IDF’s live-fire. And, instead of focusing on the burning tire smokescreen, why not focus, just a little bit, on the fact there was intense sniper fire, despite the lack of imminent threat to the IDF soldiers’ lives.

The goal – unmeaningful or not – is simple: Israel’s atrocities towards Gazan protesters is indubitably justified. The protesters are not simply chanting, instead they’re involved in active, almost exclusively, nonviolent resistance. They should be chanting like anti-Trump pussy-hatters in America and then go home to their prison cells. Hamas, the ‘terrorist’ group, brainwashed them into protesting and trying to breach the Israeli-Gaza border. It wasn’t that they were locked inside an unlivable, dense strip of land, or that they believed in UN Resolution 194’s granting Palestinians their right to resettle on what was once their land in Palestine, now present-day Israel. They were brainwashed, pure and simple. Furthermore, implies the Times, the unlivable nature of Gaza is not really all that bad – hardly worse than poverty-stricken areas of the U.S. or Europe. So, deal with it or else wear a pussy-hat, purchasable at a low price on Amazon.

The New York Times and other media have supported the US-Israeli government narrative that the wolf, Hamas, has fomented the Great March of Return and the IDF has acted with all due restraint. Luckily, many young Americans and American Jews aren’t buying this story anymore. Nathalie Portman’s refusal to attend Genesis Prize ceremony in Israel was just the tip of the iceberg. A few days ago, Shakira cancelled her summer performance in Israel. As Israel continues to have one of the most brutal regimes in the world, according to Israel journalist Gideon Levy, it will become further isolated. Eventually, it will be forced – much like apartheid South Africa – to end its Gaza blockade and occupation of Palestine. Or at least one can hope.

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: USA Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
Stephen Cooper
“Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)
Daniel Warner
Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle
Brian Cloughley
Trump Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail