The Media Doesn’t Defend Israel, But I Do

by / 27 Comments / 456 View / August 8, 2014

When I tell people that I support and stand with Israel, the most common response I get is: “Well yeah, but that’s because you’re Jewish.” True. I am Jewish, but my religion is not the reason for my stance. I stand with Israel because I believe in the ideals of democracy and freedom; because I believe in rights for all members of the region, regardless of religion; because it is the most advanced, forward thinking and productive country in the Middle East. I stand with Israel because this tiny country in the desert has contributed more to this world in less than 70 years than some countries have or will, ever.

Right now the Israel-Palestine conflict is no doubt filling your news feed, complete with YouTube videos, official statements, hundreds of articles from “legitimate” news sources, and your friends very biased status updates on their position. This article is of course no different, and in the spirit of good journalism I encourage you to disagree with my opinions and voice your concerns below. However, in this same sense, the media as a whole is currently doing a very bad job portraying what is actually going on, and in many ways has misrepresented and defamed Israel. While it cannot be denied that this is a humanitarian crisis on all fronts, and that in war there are, unfortunately, casualties, there are a number of crucial facts that have been left out.

One of these notions is that in many cases the images being shared from Gaza are exaggerated, or at times fabricated and untrue. The only battle that Hamas is attempting to win is in the court of public opinion. To do this, they continue to use their own civilians as human shields, utilize schools and hospitals as rocket storage and launching sites, and demands citizens stay in their homes even after IDF warnings to evacuate. The bottom line is that Hamas puts its civilians into a direct line of fire. Why? Simple:

Hamas is helped when residents in Gaza die.

The media does a great job of playing an endless loop of injured and dead women and children, and the videos circulating of purported IDF aggression only makes Israel look bad. The only thing that the terrorist organization has going for itself right now is the heartstrings of those who believe that these pictures tell the entire story. Hamas is exploiting the deaths of civilians and all the while pushing the mentality of martyrdom over safety. But there is a flipside of this question that must also be explored:

Why would Israel want to kill innocent people?

Anytime a civilian dies, Israel looks bad in the eyes of the world. But to seek out and attack strictly civilian targets would not only be illegal according to the rules of international warfare, but would go against any ideals of morality, and is certainly not a practice Israel has or will ever engage in. As the most humane army in the world, the IDF seeks to prevent such catastrophes, not only for civil reasons, but knowing the backlash they receive whenever there is collateral damage. This is the exact reason Israel continues to bring Palestinians in Gaza over their border into field hospitals where they can receive adequate medical attention; it is why supplies and humanitarian aid are still sent in whenever a short cease-fire is ordained (even though the Palestinian Authority often rejects these supplies to continue to display Israel in a negative light). As The Inquisitr wrote on July 28th, 2014: “It seems Israel is the first army in history to simultaneously offer assistance to the civilians and combatants in a territory where it is fighting by attempting to send medical supplies for the injured. At the same time, it is obliged to maintain a strong air and ground offensive in an effort to prevent the terror rockets being fired on its own civilians.”

And it is this idea that leads directly to another preposterous one in that Israel is simply out to destroy all Palestinians and cause as much damage as possible. With the weapons and arsenal that Israel has, it could destroy Gaza relatively easily with little risk to its own soldiers. Instead, Israel is engaging in a ground invasion that is much more expensive and has cost the lives of its own. While Israel is certainly the more powerful nation, it has not overextended its force in the hopes that a peace agreement can be reached. Of course that would be contingent on Hamas upholding a cease-fire, but Hamas’s track record clearly suggests otherwise and is a topic for another debate. Just yesterday another cease-fire agreement was broken, with Palestinian militants being found in the tunnels Israel has made clear they will continue to destroy. And these facts remain true nonetheless: a suicide bomber killed two Israeli soldiers, wounded others, and in the process a soldier was kidnapped. With the IDF’s promise to protect all soldiers, and its history of doing everything in its power to bring back Israelis, is it not clear that such an act would only increase tensions and lead to greater conflict? Israel will defend this missing soldier, just as it will all its citizens, through no fault of its own.

On a CNN Newsroom interview on August 1, 2014, Executive Director of The Palestine Center, Yousef Munayyer was asked the following question: “Doesn’t Hamas also have the responsibility to protect its people?” To this he answered: “Legally under international law, the Israelis are the sole responsible party for the protection of the civilian population.” This underscores the clear message that Hamas is trying to send in that they are not at all responsible for its citizens’ lives, and places complete blame on Israel for this supposed “massacre.” This also leads many to wonder about the disproportionate number of deaths between the two sides.

Fewer Israelis die not because Hamas fires less rockets, but because Israel is better equipped it protect its citizens. The Iron Dome is able to destroy Hamas’s missiles, sirens ring throughout the country constantly, and there are bomb shelters designed to protect the population. Israel is attacked as an aggressor for having the tools, weaponry, and training necessary to prevent causalities on its end. Siren. 15 seconds. Run for your life. But that time is precious when on the other end civilians are told to remain in their homes and die for the cause.   I also question why so much attention has suddenly been paid to this conflict, leaving many of the other tragedies involving Muslims and Arabs uncovered. Few people are speaking of al-Assad in Syria, ISIS in Iraq, the Taliban, or Sudan, all locations and groups that have had and/or committed atrocities and genocide towards Muslims. The death toll in these instances totals over 200,000 lives lost. To date, less than 1% of this number of people have died in the current Israel-Palestine conflict. So this begs the question: “is this only a big deal because Israel is involved?” If this were truly and solely a social, political, and humanitarian (and not religious) issue, then wouldn’t these other crimes against humanity towards the same groups of people take precedence? Or is it simply about wiping Jews off this planet? In perhaps the most obvious and disgusting display of such hatred against Israel is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay’s comments on the Iron Dome. She claims that “There is a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes…[because of] Israel’s refusal to share its Iron Dome ballistic missile defense shield with the “governing authority” of Gaza.” No matter that this system was originally designed to protect innocent Israeli citizens from Hamas’s rocket fire, or that Israel would not be firing rockets if they were not forced to defend itself, but rather find a reason to demean Israel’s credibility.

And what is the solution? Is there one? The last attempt at one, when Israel last pulled out completely in 2005 (against the wishes of many Israelis who were forced out of their homes), the tools were left in place for the region to continue to thrive under Palestinian’s rule. However, Hamas did not turn to improving their territory, but rather focused resources and money that should have been used to benefit civilians to build tunnels to store rockets and to increase their arsenal and propaganda of anti-Israel sentiment, with rockets pointed at Israeli citizens instead.   And so we must still consider the thought posed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more ‎violence. If the Jews put ‎down their weapons ‎today, there would be no ‎more Israel’‎”

I do not fault those who support Palestine or who are pushing the hashtag #standwithhumanity. But I do urge them to get the real facts. And those aren’t found on CNN or Fox, but rather by reading reports coming directly out of the Middle East, by listening to and reading the interviews of leaders from both sides of the conflict, and by ensuring that only credible information is ingested. And with that I can proudly say I stand with Israel.

In fact, I was supposed to be in Israel on my birthright trip last week. And if dates had worked out I would still have gone. Hamas does not scare me. I know a government and military with all citizens’ interests in mind will protect me. And when I finally do get the chance to visit, I will take in and cherish every moment, knowing that there are so many people that would destroy the country and me in an instant if they could. But they won’t. Jews have always been a resilient people; in the last 100 years alone we survived the holocaust and have fought anti-Semitism and oppression. We continue to overcome. And here we are – stronger, braver, and prouder than ever before.

  • Stop Just Stop

    What’s so lacking in this piece of emotional propaganda is this notion that Israel had to take action. The iron dome fucking worked – atrocity doesnt justify more atrocities. fuck hamas but fuck killing innocents. Israel had the god damn defense, and for once, would it get its head into the reality that the flags of nations are nothing to dead children

    • JPri

      You criticize the article as being “emotional propaganda” then resort to swearing. Even if the Iron Dome was an absolute defense against missiles(it’s not), most countries would take issue with missiles being launched at them from a distance of four kilometers.

      • Really just really

        What’s wrong with swearing? Have arguments resorted now to mere linguistic censorship. Anti-swearing is just another form of racism that is often emulated by those that don’t understand things like the AAVE

        • Brett Curtis

          No, swearing is reserved for those who can’t formulate their opinions on topics with proper language, and believe that such verbiage will elicit an emotional response when they lack any factual credibility.

          • Really just really

            Do some reading on the AAVE for instance and realize the pervasive racism society is ingrained in regarding linguistic elitism

          • The World Is Horrible

            Yes. Absolutely yes.

          • The World Is Horrible

            “who can’t formulate their opinions on topics with proper language”

            wow, how elitist. You criticize oppression/Anti-semitism and then engage in the same dialogue. A good read: http://ugtimes.com/2014/07/lifestyle/the-dangers-of-linguistic-elitism/

          • Brett Curtis

            You’re kidding right? Criticizing someone for swearing has nothing to do with oppression or Anti-semitism. Using curse words (“fucking…fuck….fuck…” as you so aptly used in your wonderful response) is just a pathetic way of speaking and engaging in conversation and is rude. Nothing more or less.

          • zoe

            there is no such thing as proper language.

    • I won’t stop when it’s right

      You can’t call this “propaganda” when there are at least sources and research to back up his claims. You are correct – THE IRON DOME WORKS! But it wouldn’t be in existence if rockets weren’t being fired at Israel. This is simply protection — are they not allowed to fire back at the sites that fire rockets at their civilians?

      • Really just really

        Not with 40x the force.

  • Yeah Right

    If the Arabs put down their arms, Israel would actual swallow Gaza whole. Israel was founded by throwing Arab peasants off their land, and it continues to grow by building illegal settlements. Someone from Palestine doesn’t have your privelege of visiting because Israel might just kill them. You claim to be unbiased. What about all the ‘credible reports’ on the economic blockade Israel has imposed on Gaza for years? What about the uneven death toll in every single Israel-Palestine conflict? You choose to see only the facts that support you.

    • Yeah, Right!

      If the Arabs put down their arms, THERE WOULD BE PEACE! If Israel wanted to destroy Gaza or “swallow it” they could and would have already done so! And the uneven death toll exists because Israel is able to better protect its citizens.

      • Really just really

        It exists because Netanyahu wants a good approval rating on his way out and only is concentrated on the short term while providing long term disastrous causes. This strategy only will inspire more radicalism like it did in Iraw with ISIS

  • Aws

    This post completely ignores the reason for the existence of Hamas and the reason for the war. Israel and Palestine were not living in peace and then suddenly Palestine attacked. Israel, with the aid of the U.S. and other Western nations was given huge military and economic aid in subduing the region, creating the Iron Dome, and asserting dominance. Laws that can only be likened to Apartheid and the Jim Crow Laws were then instituted against the Palestinians in what was once their land.

    This conflict is not a matter of two long-standing nations who were previously at peace until a terrorist organization (Hamas) incited conflict. It is a long-standing issue of 80 years of the gradual destruction and conquering of Palestinian land and property and converting it to Israeli land and property.

    Thanks to aid from the U.S. Israel was able to rapidly grow and overcome Palestine and Palestine’s built up anger and oppression has now manifested in Hamas. Are their actions justified? No, but they are understandable.

    Honestly this entire conflict reminds me of the Native American-European conflict. Displacing enormous groups of less technologically advanced people and attempting to fence them in ever shrinking zones (Gaza & the West Bank) but somehow not expecting them to not retaliate and die in great numbers from such retaliation. Yes, the Jewish people needed a home after the persecution of the early 20th century through WWII, but Palestine was not an unoccupied region, and when two ideologically opposed groups are forced upon each other, conflict arises..

    • JPri

      Actually, 90% of Gazans want Hamas gone in favor of a more moderate government, so Hamas is hardly the built up anger of the Gazan people. Hamas was radically unpopular prior to Protective Edge because of water shortages and infrastructure collapses in Gaza that were caused by poor governance and the diversion of construction materials. Hamas’s continuing aggression is probably a ploy to regain the support of the Gazan people ahead of the October elections.

      • Really just really

        So if 90% of Gazans want Hamas gone why is Israel murdering Palestinian civilians on the account of Hamas?

        • JPri

          Because most Gazans are peaceful people who want to use the democratic process to oust a political party that they don’t like. Israel doesn’t have the luxury of voting Hamas out of power, and certainly doesn’t want to wait until October. Actually, Hamas was planning a fairly large attack on Israeli villages through its tunnels to coincide with Rosh Hashanah(which is in late September) – so waiting rather than taking a preemptive response with the tunnels would have been disastrous.

          • The World Is Horrible

            Hamas is an asshole

  • Iamthewalrus

    This article is just frustrating. You’ve managed to twist and contort the ongoing slaughter perpetuated by the Israeli forces as an act of strength for it’s people. Although Hamas may be an extremist group, if Hamas didn’t stand to support Palestine and Gaza, Israel would have LEVELED both states, due to the fact that both obviously don’t have the military capabilities. Additionally, you claim that you don’t stand with Israel because you are Jewish, but then proudly claim that the Israeli people are overcoming “anti-semitism.” This isn’t a holy war in the least. Being Israeli in no way automatically correlates to being Jewish, a falsehood many uninformed miscreants take to heart.

    For someone who is so proud to have overcome the holocaust, look at what Israel is doing to the people of Gaza. Their strangling them — cutting off means of trade, support, and escape. It’s going to be a slow and incredibly unjustified death for the people of Gaza, because people like yourself are blinded by decades of propaganda.

    It’s sickening how you can justify what Israel is doing. It’s terrifying that you can celebrate it.

    • Historywillprevail

      If you want to talk about propaganda, look at what Palestinian children are taught from the day they are born — do you not recognize that they are trained to hate Israel and Jews instantly? This is, without a doubt, a religious “war” that is solely tied to Israel’s existence as a state and the Jewish people as a whole. And, I am particularly disgusted that you believe it is Israel’s intention to wipe Gaza off the map when that is in fact the complete opposite of the truth! If they wanted to destroy this small area they would and could have done so already. As you point out they have superior strength and the means to do so, yet the have instead engaged in a costly and damaging ground invasion.

      Jews and Israel have since survived the Holocaust but this “war” is just a continuation of the same anti-Semitism that has existed for years. I do NOT celebrate innocent deaths, I am whole heartedly against that. But you do realize that Hamas would just as quickly be spilling the same blood of Jewish and Israeli citizens if the Iron Dome was not as effective, right?

      This is justifiable. It is called self defense. What is not justifiable is ignorance.

      • Really just really

        They are taught that cause they are poor and can’t access education and poverty leads to terrorism.

        And why are they poor? Potentially the fact that Gaza is being suffocated to death by Israel’s blockade. You really think you can calm down a radicalized group if you literally are blocking it off?

      • Iamthewalrus

        Wouldn’t you hate someone that took your land, family, and essentially all hope of free life away from you? I would — it’s human nature.

        Also, let’s recap your mind-blowing analysis justifying why this is a religious war… “tied to Israel’s existence as a state and the Jewish people as a whole.” You, and many others, are under the misconception that everyone in Israel must be Jewish, when that’s completely false. In the 1948 war, a vast amount of other cultures (in fact a lot of Africans) were brought into the newly formed Israeli state. This war isn’t religious, it dates back to a geographical conflict.

        Let’s get something straight, the Palestinian state is not Anti-Semitic. Their anger is fundamentally predicated on the fact that Israel has been gradually reducing the size of their state for over 60 years! On top of that, there are some Israeli’s who REFUSE to acknowledge the existence of Palestine at all.

        Please at least acknowledge the fact that an Israeli official literally just called for the establishment of CONCENTRATION CAMPS for the conquest of the entire Gaza strip and annihilation of all freedom fighters. Wow. How Humane Right!?? They have waited THIS long to completely obliterate all resistance to their land-taking forces. You’re delusional.

  • Really just really

    Assuming that there is anti-Semitic forces behind of the cause of this is only partially too. It isn’t right to paint this as a religious war – it’s a political conflict between two stubborn as fuck men.

  • In Response

    There is no way to justify the killing of civilians as self defense. If a man fires his gun at me, I am allowed to shoot back at him, but if I killed not only him but his entire family, that would not be self defense by any stretch of the imagination. We must understand the distinction between a Palestinian civilian living in Gaza and Hamas. Hamas is wrong to fire rockets into Israel, Hamas is wrong not to provide enough support for those in Gaza, but this does not justify the Israeli government in the slaughter of civilians. If the government of Israel supports a one state solution, then they should be willing to protect the civilians of Gaza whom they would have as their citizens. The absence of this willingness would suggest that the Israel government sees a one state solution that doesn’t include the Palestinian people. The attacks of Hamas have created a paranoia in which Palestinian civilians and Hamas are seen as a single entity and the slaughter of thousands of civilians is justifiable if some of the bombs also get the militant wing of Hamas.

    I would also like to discuss the words of Navi Pillay. Here is a link to her speech concerning Israel/Gaza conflict: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14921&LangID=E
    Again, I see a problem with the convolution of Hamas and the citizens of Gaza. While Israel occupies Gaza, it has a responsibility to protect the civilians of Gaza. The civilians of Israel are protected from Hamas rockets by the Iron Dome. What is protecting the civilians of Gaza from the bombs of Israel? Nothing. The suggestion that the government of Israel should use the Iron Dome to protect its occupied citizens in Gaza does not amount to support of Hamas. She has stated very clearly that she does not condone the actions of Hamas; however, she has stated equally as clearly that the actions of Hamas do not absolve Israel of guilt for its failure to either stop firing bombs at the civilians of Gaza or use the Iron Dome to protect them.

    Finally, I would like to address your question concerning ISIS and al-Assad. The focus of the western media on the Gaza conflict is explained, at least in part, by the incongruous reaction of the United States and the rest of the international community to this conflict when compared to their reaction to ISIS or al-Assad. Here is a BBC article on the US’ latest actions concerning ISIS: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28699832
    As you can see, the US clearly condemns ISIS and has acted equally as critical of al-Assad. However, the US comments on Israel’s actions have not been nearly as critical. Certainly, the US has not armed ISIS and Assad in the same way it has armed Israel. The western media wasn’t very critical of Israel until the conflict had progressed. As the civilian casualties began to increase and it became clear that the US administration was not going to be critical of Israel, the media became critical of Israel. I think grievances with the western media for sensationalism when reporting such tragedies are completely understandable, but I don’t believe that being critical of Israel bombing densely populated civilian areas is the same as defaming Israel.

    You started the article by saying your reason for supporting Israel was because of how great and productive it was compared to other countries, especially in the Middle East. This is reminiscent of American Exceptionalism and invites similar questions. Does Israel’s greatness exempt it from criticism. In what ways is Israel’s greatness subjective? Is it Israel’s duty to impart its greatness on the rest of the Middle East, or should the peoples of the area be allowed to find their own definition of greatness?

  • Brett Curtis

    Please remember that this is an opinion article, however I wholeheartedly believe and stand behind my comments and what I wrote. A few points: The entire region and many Gazans are poor because their leaders and Hamas chose to allocate their resources toward weaponry and tunnel building as opposed to the defense of their citizens (read: guns vs. butter). They also clearly do not care about the lives of their civilians as they encourage them to act as human shields. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri plainly admitted on Gazan national TV that the human shield strategy has proven “very effective.” Most of you also ignored the part of the article where I speak of the falsified images and the lack of anyone speaking of what is going on elsewhere where hundreds of thousands of people have died. I, of course, do not condone any deaths, but I find it disgusting that other atrocities elsewhere are ignored on social media when the opportunity to lambast Israel and the IDF presents itself. Likewise, the IDF, by most people’s moral standards, should be considered the most humane army in the world. No other army encourages civilians to vacate before attacking through leaflets and personalized phone calls. On another note, while Israel invested its resources into building a defense system for its citizens and ensuring that they become a developed and integral nation, Hamas destroyed greenhouses and focused on obtaining weapons. Do consider that when Israel did remove itself from Gaza in 2005, the tools necessary for this region to become contributing members of society were in place including greenhouses given to them by Israel. Continuing, this is without a doubt at least partially a religious war and stems from continued anti-semitism and hatred towards Jews.

    I encourage everyone to read this Huffington Post article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-a-rizvi/picking-a-side-in-israel-palestine_b_5602701.html which was passed on to me today. Maybe if you read the facts from another source you will be less biased in your own opinions (not saying that my “facts” aren’t of course biased) but realize that your own beliefs are not necessarily true. I also recognize that there are two sides of this story, and I again am AGAINST the innocent loss of life. But it is of my opinion and standing that this conflict is continued self-defense on Israel’s part, and that her actions are justified.

  • Yes!

    This is beautifully written! There is so much negative publicity towards Israel, and very few American publications or news sources stand by their ally because instead they prefer sensationalism and showcasing pictures that don’t show the entire story. It’s great to see young minds take a stance for what they believe in! Bravo!