Looking the media coverage surrounding Israel’s recent attack on an unarmed flotilla of boats trying to bring aid to Gaza, I wasn’t surprised by the pro-Israel bias. Also, the shaping of the incident around Israel’s PR image is interesting as well as the reaction from Western governments.
Of the media reports I’ve seen coming from mainstream sources, there is of course a large proportion of space given over the Israel to defend itself and muddy the waters in what should be a clear-cut breach of international law and what really amounts to piracy. News presenters and journalists have given numerous quotes to Israeli officials throwing around conflicting excuses and stories surrounding the attack.
Some say they did it because either al-Qaeda or Hamas were connected to the boats, others say it was an act of self-defence with a few conflicting lies as to how this happened from the activists having weapons to activists stealing a gun from an Israeli soldier.
The fact that an attacking raid on unarmed activists can be portrayed as an act of self-defence and the idea of the activists defending themselves is never explored is deeply contradictory. But it is not out-of-character for the media to give space to these ideas given Israel and the media’s collusion to shape to events of 2009 as Israel, armed to the teeth with US military aid, as the victim, and the Palestinians, with a few rockets and rocks, as the aggressor.
I have not seen one person from the side of the flotilla interviewed. I haven’t seen every media report so I’m open to someone telling me that have. But I haven’t even seen a pro-Palestinian source.
This isn’t a surprise to me. The bias in the media around many questions, not just Israel-Palestine, has been evident for a long time. But it’s worth pointing out. They’re trying to find anything to defend the apartheid state no matter how obvious it is to every rational person that nothing can defend these actions.
The media seem to try to frame it around how it affects Israel’s PR image – not around how it affects the lives of Palestinians or the activists involved. They think it looks bad for them to be taking rash actions and it would be better for Israel if they weren’t so obviously murderous and just did it in quiet.
Similarly, Western leaders have feigned concern and condemnation but behind the façade, they still support the state’s right to exist and the rationale for their crimes. They are condemning Israel’s actions because of this obsession with image. The US in particular are trying to look like there’s some bullshit peace process going on and Israel’s actions bring this into question and make the US’s credibility as some neutral mediator look like a joke.
They’re also forced to condemn the actions or at least consider being concerned for both sides because of the mounting opposition to Israel and its crimes. This is a victory and the thousands of ordinary people out on the streets around the world since Gaza 2009 and as I write this today brought up this shift where Israel’s image is on the back foot.
But we must not stay complacent. We must keep fighting.
Photos from the action at 4.30 in Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne are to come tonight.