Covering Supremacy in Western Media

2023-11-13    |   

Covering Supremacy in Western Media

When it comes to the Middle East and North Africa, the declared values of democracy and human rights that most Western governments are always keen to defend seem to melt into thin air.


For decades, these governments have been supporting dictatorships and coups across the region while turning a blind eye to horrendous human rights violations. Now, we are witnessing their staggering blow to freedom of expression, assembly, and association for anyone who dares to express sympathy for Palestinians under brutal Israeli attack.


The level of intolerance towards such expressions of sympathy is glaring. Consider the following quote: “Israel is organizing on the territories it has conquered, an occupation which will necessarily involve oppression, repression and expulsions. If they face any resistance, they will deem it terrorism.” It was made by the late French President Charles de Gaulle in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War. If made today, such a statement would only spark ire and outrage among Western governments, amid disapproval and condemnation. We are therefore witnessing a dangerous backslide towards an extreme form of McCarthyism. Meanwhile, Arab people have grown accustomed to Israeli’s repeated bloody aggression. 


Today, many are shocked by the full and unconditional Western support to Israel. This stupefying attitude of unconditional support is not limited to decision-making circles. Well-established international media outlets have failed to provide balanced coverage and even engaged in the spread of misinformation. They have downplayed statements released by human rights groups, like Amnesty International along with several UN relief agencies, that warn against the war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza. Media platforms and panels are inviting extremist pundits to voice their hate, sometimes without being challenged by their hosts. And it is always the ‘bad Palestinians’ who are stigmatized, with a strong tone of supremacism that could not be more execrable. There is no shortage of arguments that reflect this supremacist stance adopted by these outlets. Top among them is the claim, repeated over and again, that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”


But there is enough evidence to expose the falsity of this claim. Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu didn’t mince his words about dropping an atomic bomb on the Gaza strip as “one of the possibilities” not to be ruled out. Eliyahu believes that “Palestinians should go to Ireland or deserts” and that “anyone waving Palestinian or Hamas flags shouldn’t continue living on the face of the earth.” This perverse illustration of Palestinians’ dehumanization reached new heights when Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant described Palestinians as “human animals” – a statement fully embraced by French comedian Michel Boujenah, who said on Paris-based pro-Israel Radio J that Hamas was acting like “Nazis.”


As for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, labeled by most Western media as a secularist, he has embraced religious rhetoric. In a letter to his military forces, he invoked the story of ‘Amalek’, a nation in the Hebrew Bible, to justify the killing of the people of Gaza. “You must remember what Amalek did to you,” Netanyahu said. The quote Netanyahu was referring to is in the Book of Samuel, chapter 15 verse 3: “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey”. Previously, Netanyahu evoked images of lightness fighting darkness, adding: “We shall realize the prophecy of Isaiah.” The Israeli prime minister’s messianic discourse is echoed by US Senator Lindsey Graham who believes that “we’re in a religious war and I unapologetically stand with Israel.” 


Graham’s statement is a reminder that the war on Gaza is led by an international alliance. British warships, aircraft, and a force of Royal Marines have joined a US Navy carrier strike group in the Eastern Mediterranean to support Israel. Most political brokers have lost their credibility. It goes without saying that, despite the ongoing genocide in the strip, and until the writing of these words, a ceasefire has still not been called.


As history has taught us, any act of opposition to oppression and injustice is considered a form of resistance only when the cause is understood as just. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn broke a taboo when he wrote in The Gulag Archipelago about the Chechen people: “There was one nation which would not give in, would not acquire the mental habits of submission and not just individual rebels among them, but the whole nation to a man.” Solzhenitsyn himself stepped back in 1999, offering his support to Moscow to “combat terrorism.” However, we all know that it was, is, and will continue to be about freedom. The price of which is heavy, but not as heavy as the cost of war.

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