Pro-Israel Media Fueling Division With Biased Reporting – OpEd


I listened and watched as Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, held up photos of Syrian children killed by chemical weapons deployed by Syria’s dictator Bashar Assad. “Only a monster targets civilians and then ensures that there are no ambulances to transfer the wounded, no hospitals to save their lives, no doctors or medicine to ease their pain,” Haley declared with self-righteous indignation during a meeting of the UN Security Council in April.

At the same time, Israel was also killing children at the border of the Gaza Strip, where nearly two million Palestinian civilians suffer under an oppressive embargo enforced by the heavily armed Israeli military. Israelis have repeatedly refused to permit the Palestinian civilians they have seriously injured to pass through checkpoints to get hospital care.

Since the anniversary of Land Day on March 30, Palestinians have protested along the Gaza border while Israeli snipers used high-powered, telescopic automatic weapons to kill more than 50 civilians. But Haley’s indignation and moral outrage changed last week, when addressing Palestinian protests against the Israelis. Instead of denouncing the killing of the Palestinians, Haley accused the protesters of “using Palestinian children as cannon fodder.”

While no Israelis have been wounded or killed during the “violent Palestinian protests,” dozens of Palestinians including several journalists have died as a direct result of Israeli military sniper fire. Nearly 6,800 Palestinians have been injured in the Israeli violence and 24 have had limbs amputated.

Clearly for Haley, it’s all about politics. Haley can only get away with this hypocrisy because she has the backing of the biased mainstream American and Israeli news media, which highlight stories of Syria’s chemical attacks while minimizing Israel’s actions against Palestinians.

The US and Israeli media bias against Palestinians is consistent across the board, at every level. It was evident last week, when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas convened a rare meeting of the Palestinian National Council. Abbas hoped he could energize the divisive body to help augment opposition to President Donald Trump’s plans to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In what some described as a rambling 90-minute speech, Abbas urged PNC members to wake from their slumber and come together as a strong voice of moral indignation. The American and Israeli news media ignored the issues Abbas tried to raise, but jumped on his brief comments that steered off the message of Palestinian unity and criticized the failings of Jewish leaders.

Abbas’ 90 seconds of comments on Jews deserved to be criticized. He asserted Jews were victims not because of their religious beliefs, but because of the economic power they wielded behind the scenes in the countries where they lived. Why even go there? It is no different than the Americans and Israelis who take the actions of a few Muslims and demonize the entire Islamic world.

It was bewildering and symptomatic of Abbas’ failings as a leader. But it was also symptomatic of the pro-Israeli media’s bias. No US or Israeli media paid any attention to Abbas or the PNC until he said something they could use to undermine him or portray Palestinians in a negative light. They even exaggerated Abbas’ comments, asserting he denied the Holocaust, which is not true. But truth does not matter to these biased media outlets when it comes to demonizing Palestinians or defending Israel.

Abbas has repeatedly denounced Holocaust denial, describing the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, as “the most heinous crime in history.”

He rightly offered an apology, saying: “If people were offended by my statement in front of the PNC, especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize to them.”

Despite his failings, Abbas showed he has more character than Haley, whose outrageous lies about the Palestinians are incomparable. You will never hear Israelis or American officials like Haley apologize for their immoral rhetoric. You will never see the mainstream US or Israeli news media apologize or correct their unprofessional and biased reporting on Palestine.

They should, but will never, acknowledge that Israel’s misconduct borders on being a war crime. The killing of innocent civilians in Palestine is no less inhumane, immoral and heinous than the killings in Syria. But don’t expect Haley, Israel or the mainstream news media to get that right.

Ray Hanania

*Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian-American former journalist and political columnist. Email him at [email protected]

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