By Ray Hanania
Israel’s government has always enjoyed preferential treatment in the US, despite its many war crimes, its violence and even its killings of American citizens.
The Israeli lobby has managed to dominate the US Congress through decades of pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into congressional election campaigns and targeting any voice that not only challenges Israel’s propaganda lies, but also those that try to look at Palestinians and Israelis in a balanced way. It has spent millions funding elaborate trips to Israel for politicians and journalists alike.
The Tel Aviv government’s propaganda machine is relentless in squashing anyone who challenges its biased, one-sided and exaggerated portrayal of the Israel-Palestine conflict, in which it is always the innocent victim while anyone who criticizes Israel is a terrorist.
People who criticize Israel’s government policies are often declared to be antisemitic. Israel has weaponized this term to only narrowly refer to a pernicious hatred of Jews, even though Arabs are Semites themselves. Antisemitism against Arabs is even more frequent in America than it is against Jews but the mainstream news media, which has an affinity-driven bias for Israel, marginalizes antisemitism against Arabs.
The antisemitism weapon has been institutionalized in the US, as it is embedded in laws adopted in nearly 30 states that brand anyone who criticizes Israel as an antisemite and punish them by imposing harsh consequences.
In many states, such as Arkansas, anybody invited to address students on the Israel-Palestine conflict is required to sign a letter pledging that they do not support a “boycott” of Israel. If they refuse to sign because such a demand is a clear violation of the US Constitution’s First Amendment, which prohibits the passing of any law that abridges the fundamental right of every American to free speech, they are not paid for speaking or reimbursed for their travel or accommodation.
The anti-boycott pledge is one way in which pro-Israel activists ensure that the average American, who has experienced decades of brainwashing and one-sided propaganda, never sees the truth.
What is the truth? That Israel has killed 10 times more civilians during this war than Hamas has. That Israel has killed 400 times more children and babies than Hamas is alleged to have killed on Oct. 7. I say alleged because no independent third-party investigative agency has been allowed to challenge the Israeli government’s assertions.
Israel puts out its “facts” and they are then reported without challenge by the mainstream American news media. When Palestinians issue statements, the media couches them with the caveat that the “claims cannot be verified.”
The Israel-Gaza conflict is not a war. It is a war crime similar to those committed by the US during the Vietnam war, when America’s government lied about the threats it faced in order to justify its conduct, including carpet-bombing the Southeast Asian country.
The fact we are less than a year away from presidential and congressional elections has increased the volume of the anti-Arab lies from candidates who hope to win the support of brainwashed American voters. For example, Nikki Haley, who aims to win the Republican nomination for president, openly called on Israel to continue the carnage and to “finish Hamas.” “Hamas” frequently appears to be used to describe all Palestinians in Gaza. Haley’s rival Ron DeSantis said that not all Palestinians in Gaza are Hamas, but they are “all antisemitic.”
Other presidential contenders have urged that the US give Israel “whatever it needs” during the war in Gaza — meaning a blank check. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives even voted to give Israel an additional $14.3 billion on top of the nearly $4 billion in funding it gets from the US annually.
The Republicans see Gaza as President Joe Biden’s political Achilles’ heel. Biden’s policy on Gaza and the civilian carnage has been muddled by politics and morality. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is Jewish and whose stepfather was a Holocaust survivor, has acted more like Israel’s secretary of state rather than America’s.
Arab Americans who championed Biden over the anti-Muslim policies of former President Donald Trump are fleeing Biden’s reelection bid. Losing Arab Americans’ support would have the most impact in states where their vote helped defeat Trump, such as Michigan, where the Arab American community has now openly denounced Biden and vowed not to vote for him.
But while Israeli activists dominate the halls of Congress, they are slowly losing the public relations war. Despite all their expensive strategies, lobbying, campaign donations and name-calling, they cannot stop videos and images of their carnage, of dead civilians, from reaching the American public.
Such videos also expose the lies of Israeli military spokespeople, such as when they tried to convince Americans that a calendar written in Arabic and posted on a hospital wall was a schedule for terrorists overseeing the handling of Israeli hostages. And the images of Palestinian children and babies killed or severely injured have shocked the public. While the mainstream American news media only shows videos of Israelis being killed and counters with images of Palestinian buildings being destroyed, social media platforms like TikTok are inundated with more graphic images of Israeli brutality.
Pro-Israel activists have reverted to calling TikTok antisemitic. They have used the same weapon to pressure Elon Musk to censor pro-Palestinian posts on his X platform. TikTok is owned by a Chinese company and, despite calls to shut it down by pro-Israel members of Congress, the platform continues to grow in popularity.
Those TikTok videos seem to be having an impact. Recent polling shows that, while Americans support Israel over the Palestinians, which is natural considering the last 75 years of pro-Israel propaganda, they are also becoming increasingly disgusted by the humanitarian crisis Israel’s assault is causing for civilians.