It’s been nearly one month since the onset of Israel’s aggressions against Gaza, and in the last three weeks, Israeli forces have killed over 3,195 children in Gaza – a death toll surpassing the number of children killed across all conflict zones since 2019.
This is just one of the many crimes Israel has committed since the start of its aggressions against Gaza nearly one month ago. Other crimes include the deliberate targetting and killing of journalists – an internationally recognized war crime.
A video investigation by Reporters Without Borders showed that Israeli forces explicitly targeted journalists’ vehicles in southern Lebanon in the strike that killed journalist Issam Abdallah. Despite the copious video evidence from that day, many remained skeptical around the validity of this claim. Reuters, the media outlet Abdallah was working for at the time, even hesitated to claim that Israel had killed their very own journalist.
This is one of the many faces of Israel’s propaganda campaign across media outlets. Despite compelling video and photo evidence of Israel’s violations and crimes, pro-Israeli propaganda by Israeli forces and by mainstream Western media has remained steadfastly strong.
In the past three weeks, pro-Israel advocates have openly raised doubts on the validity of the evidence surrounding information on Israeli violations. As a result, pro-Israel supporters have been mindlessly sharing hearsay by Israeli sources, contributing to the spread of misinformation and largely encouraging the ongoing genocide in Gaza.
A Network of Interests
In 1986, US President Joe Biden was filmed saying that “if it were not for Israel, the U.S. would have to invent an Israel to protect its interests in the Middle East.” Biden went on to explain that Israel was the best investment the United States has ever made.
A closer look into mainstream Western media outlets and influencers provides insights into why his words still hold weight today, as a large portion of media organizations are funded, or founded, by pro-Zionist and pro-Israeli individuals and initiatives.
In coverage of ongoing events, various media outlets across the globe have largely framed Israel as the victim of Al-Aqsa Flood operation, omitting crucial context which would give readers insight as to why Al-Aqsa Flood was not an isolated incident, rather a reaction to years of settler violence by a colonial entity.
In particular, various media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) have been careful in their framing of events related to Gaza, oftentimes using misleading language or omitting vital information.
WSJ is part of a group of media companies belonging to the media conglomerate News Corp, a company owned by American businessman Keith Rupert Murdoch. Other media companies owned by News Corp include the UK’s The Sun and The Times, Australia’s The Daily Telegraph, and the US’s The New York post.
Murdoch himself was awarded the International Leadership Award by the Anti-Defamation League for his staunch support of Israel. When the owner of a media company is pro-Israeli himself, it is only natural that the media companies promote pro-Israeli sentiments.
Furthermore, influencers such as Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson have also shown support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Upon further inspection, we notice that Peterson recently signed a deal with media company The Daily Wire, where the chief operating officer is John Lewis. Lewis is a former intelligence analyst in the US Marine Corps, whose founder Jeremy Boreing played an essential role in the establishment of Prager University – a Youtube channel founded by Dennis Prager, a staunch Israeli lobbyist.
The channel is headed by Marissa Streit, an ex-agent of the Israeli military intelligence unit 8200. Another American columnist and pro-Israel advocate, Ben Shapiro, is a Shillman fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which receives direct funding from someone on the board of the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Robert Shillman also funds the Zionist Organization of America, and other settlement building organizations.
These are only a few of the many networks of interests behind pro-Israeli propaganda benefitting political, business and media actors.
Social Media Platforms, Shaming and False Information
Israeli government propaganda strategies have included the establishment of social media accounts for different entities and governmental figures on X, Instagram and other platforms, all of which seek to discredit any criticism of Israeli forces as “anti-semitism” and shame those voicing for Palestinian rights.
Similarly to the propagation of the lie that Hamas beheaded 40 children on October 7, many pro-Israeli platforms have continued posting fake images of bloodied roomies claiming that Hamas attacked children.
They have even used AI-generated images of fake pro-Israeli protests, which have been notably absent across the world.
Celebrities who have been voicing support for Palestinian people’s rights, calling for an end to occupation and a ceasefire have also been subject to harassment, violence and legal action by Western governments and mainstream media. Model Gigi Hadid has been one such victim, despite the fact that Hadid is a Palestinian, whose father was ethnically cleansed from Palestine during the 1948 Nakba.
Football player Karim Benzema has also fallen victim to these online bullying camapigns, after a French Senator called for his nationality to be revoked because he showed support for Gazan residents.
More recently, the Israeli government has augmented its strategies to pay celebrities and increase the number of birthright trips. Birthright is a free ten-day heritage trip launched by the Israeli occupation to promote “tourism” across occupied Palestine, and it includes places such as Jerusalem (a city located in the occupied West Bank) and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights for young adults of Jewish heritage between the ages of 18 and 26.
The trips are eligible for anyone of Jewish heritage, even if they have never been or have no current relation to the state of Israel.
One recent celebrity to go on a birthright trip was Stranger Things actor Noah Schnapp. Since October 7, Schnapp has taken a pro-Israel stance on Israel’s aggression against Gaza.
Ironically, many of the claims by Western media and Israeli sources against Hamas are reiterations of heinous crimes committed by Israel in the past. During the first few days of this round of fighting, singer Justin Bieber had posted a picture of destroyed Gaza streets while expressing solidarity with Zionism. He has since taken it down.
The Ministry of Health Disproves Biden
United States President Joe Biden has cast doubt over the figures that the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza has been releasing regarding the death toll, claiming that he has “no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”
It is important to note that citizens of Gaza have been sharing various photos and videos of the wreckage in Gaza, including images of dismembered children, beheaded bodies, and more.
On Thursday, October 26th, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza released the list of those killed by Israeli attacks which included the names of more than 7,000 Palestinians, around 3,000 of whom are children. Biden has not spoken of the matter since.
It was the latest in a media war that saw documented information by Palestinians in written, audio, image and video fashions being intentionally called into doubt and hearsay by pro-Israelis. This comes with no regard for journalistic accuracy – a quintessential example of mainstream Western media’s silencing of Palestinian voices and their promotion of pro-Israeli narratives.
Western mainstream media has played a direct role in the ongoing genocide against Palestinians. Just days before Israeli forces targeted the Al-Ahli hospital and killed over 500 individuals taking shelter there, the British Broadcasting Corporation raised the question on whether Hamas uses hospitals and schools to build underground tunnels.
So far, hospitals, schools, journalists, United Nations structures and civilian structures have been repeatedly targeted. Out of the 50 journalists in Gaza, 25 have been killed by Israeli forces. Israeli ministers have openly said that they are always aware of the targets they are hitting.
Despite the attempted silencing of pro-Palestinian voices which have reached unprecedented levels of violence, public awareness of Israeli violations has also been at an all-time high, with protests all over the world calling for Palestinian people’s rights.
In London, half a million individuals took to the streets on October 28 to stand in solidarity with Palestinians. In Shenstone, Palestine Action occupied the roof of the Elbit weapons factory, which directly supplies military equipment to Israel.
Activists online continue to share content daily about the events in Gaza, calling out Israel for its war crimes – an open opposition against the traditional media structure, which has only served to silence Palestinian voices. The narrative is shifting, and the scales are finally tilting.