In the most recent findings of the Media Group at Glasgow University, it was concluded that British television news audiences were greatly confused about international issues. Interestingly, the only international issue mentioned was that of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Britons, like many Americans, believe that it is the Palestinians who occupy Israeli territory, and not the other way around. Unless the entire British population is descendent from Lord Balfour himself, then it appears as though something is slightly awry.
Before we take a closer look at what this means for both the television news media and the Palestinian issue, I would like to share with you the kicker in the findings. Brace yourselves, for: The Brits believe that Palestinians are refugees from Afghanistan, who managed to make their way (some on their donkeys while others preferred the more normal Arab means of transportation: the flying magic carpet) across Iran, Iraq and then Jordan before they decided to settle in Israel (but only because they didn’t want to drown in the Mediterranean, for their actual destination was…the North Pole to meet Santa Clause).
I kid you not, ladies and gentlemen: Britons believe that Palestinians are refugees from Afghanistan. Mind you, in a day and age where all Arabs are so brutally stereotyped as savages and terrorists, it is no surprise that Palestinians are Afghanis are Iraqis are Saudis ad infinitum.
Worse still is that these ‘misunderstandings’ are precisely what the Zionist factions would have the world believe. One of the most haunting Zionist quotes comes from the Anglo-Jewish writer Israel Zangwill who was quite often published in British press: “After all, they have all Arabia with its million square miles …. There is no particular reason for the Arabs to cling to these few kilometers.” In more contemporary arguments, we hear: “Why doesn’t the rest of the Arab world just absorb the Palestinians and leave the Israelis alone? Why don’t the Palestinians just go to Jordan? They’re all Arab.” This sort of logic would land the Britons in Ireland, their apologists asking “Why don’t the Irish just go to Scotland? They’re all English.”
But I digress. Returning to the problems with television news coverage, it is rather easy –” although entirely unfortunate — to understand why the Britons would be so misled. Primarily, it is because television news coverage is rooted in the sexy sound-byte which can not exceed the average attention span of 27 seconds. In order for the 27 seconds to be appealing to the audience, an eye-catching image has to be presented, and that image must be one of violence and terror. We live in an age where terror reigns and horror movies prevail; desensitization has become an all-too real part of who we are and so the more violent the image, the more likely we will pay attention.
In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there are hundreds of thousands of images of dead Palestinians that would shred your hearts. But those pictures are of no interest to individuals who perceive Palestinians as a threatening enemy. Current media bodies the world over are merely a reflection of the deeper societal alliances of their own ‘Nation’, their own ‘Patriotic’ likeness. The Britons, like the Americans, view themselves as pioneers, as a light unto other nations, as a civilization worthy of leading the uncivilized to the light.
The Zionist movement continues to be based on this imperialist, colonialist attitude of supremacy, spinning themselves as pioneers who would harvest an arid land, teach the uncivilized civility, and shed light on the darkness of the savage Arab. Naturally, an audience will immediately and subconsciously align themselves with those to whom they can relate. In the instance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the particular alliance is not with the uncivilized, inherently violent Arab, but with the civilized Israeli nation fighting terrorism in all its evil Arab incantations.
In recognizing the deeper roots for the misunderstanding of the Palestinian issue, it is critical that we not alleviate the duty incumbent upon the news journalist. Although circumstance and environment have bred and continue to allow individuals (such as the Britons and the Americans) to reflect their own misunderstandings on the images presented within the 27 second sound-byte, the journalist is greatly accountable for proliferating the false narrative.
This narrative, irregardless of current date, has a history which serves to contextualize the image it purports to represent. In this specific instance, the history and narrative to which I refer without hesitation is the Palestinian narrative. I use the turn of phrase “without hesitation” because accusations of ‘Truth’ vs. ‘truth’ will creep up, and we must understand that Palestinian violence, serving as the focal point from which television news coverage addresses the Palestinian issue, is not spontaneous. This violence is a reaction to the oppression and daily humiliation of Palestinian people, and the illegal occupation and theft of Palestinian land.
To shun the historical narrative, to ignore the starting point of the conflict allows individuals to flex their imaginations at will, leading themselves to false conclusions such as: violence is a genetic inclination of the Palestinian Arab. What else can one conclude if they are constantly bombarded with images of Palestinians blowing themselves up for ‘no apparent reason’, which is just another way of saying ‘without context of history’?
Television news agencies refusal to contextualize has worked to facilitate the demonization of this righteous cause. Unfortunately, any attempt to represent the situation fairly has found that “Journalists…are nervous of raising these kinds of arguments, because they get so much abuse…They get hate mail, they get all kinds of people attacking them for being Nazis or anti-Semitic or whatever else."
This is a very real and severe level of intimidation. All one can hope for is that some of these journalists will find the courage to tell the truth…and soon.