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Did ya hear about the massive protests in Israel?

August 8, 2011

Nope?  Neither did I.

It appears that Western media have pulled an almost complete news blackout of largescale anti-government protests in Israel.  The protests – apparently supported by 87% of Israelis – have been going on for weeks and are on par with similar events in other parts of the Middle East in the past 12 months.  But, we haven’t been told squat about it by our media.  Whisky Tango Foxtrot?!

I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on Israel or the Middle East, but I do try to keep up as best I can.  And, it seems that the Rightwing western media don’t want to upset the hugely unpopular extremist government of Netanyahu, for fear of causing offence to America’s ally/mate/colony/puppet in this oil-rich part of the world.   Perhaps it’s also to protect other irresponsible Rightwing Governments in the West from their own people; afterall Israel isn’t the only country in the world zealously embracing extreme-Right policies at the expense of their own citizens.  One doesn’t have to travel beyond New Zealand, Britain or the United States to see the effects of rampant commercialisation, free market madness, and corporate fascism.  Do our alarmingly pro-Right media think we might get a few ideas about people power if we hear about these protests?

After hearing a few comments about this from particularly clued up people, I did some research and found this from the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/07/israelis-march-protesters-social-justice?INTCMP=SRCH and this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/07/israelis-march-lower-living-costs?INTCMP=SRCH but a search on stuff.co.nz or the New Zealand Herald’s site draws a complete blank.

Likewise, coverage in the United States is virtually non-existent – here’s a well-written and detailed piece from Stephen Lendman, a columnist for the US’s Veterans Today journal, outlining his concerns about the unprecedented lack of coverage of a major world event: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/08/06/israel-street-protests-suppressed-by-us-media/#.Tj7dZ16Xr5A.facebook

Like I said, I’m no expert, so I’m just gonna hand it over to Lendman:

“America’s Media: Ignoring Israeli Street Protests

Despite weeks of unprecedented social justice protests, America’s media hardly noticed. Russia Today (RT.com), however, did in several reports, including on August 2 saying:

“Tens of thousands of people, fed up with deteriorating living standards, are staging demonstrations calling for (Netanyahu) to stand down.”

Western “mainstream media are being accused of burying their heads in the sand over coverage of the biggest anti-government protests the country has seen in decades….And how did ABC, NBC and CBS cover it? They didn’t….while the editors of France 24, BBC, and Sky coughed up just a few meager seconds.”

According to Israeli journalist Amir Mizroch:

“There is a box that the international media has put Israel in and that is the Israel/Palestinian conflict. Also the Israeli/Lebanese and Syrian conflicts, and anything” outside these get scant or no coverage, especially if critical of Israel. In the West, especially America, doing so is verboten.

Tent protester Hanna Rais said:

“It makes no sense that when” Egyptians protested, “the media (were) all over there. I haven’t seen anyone from CNN or from Fox News or from” other Western channels showing up. “We also deserve a chance to be heard out.”

A separate RT report said:

“Israel has become the latest Middle East country to see nationwide protests with tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets….Police have arrested protesters calling for (Netanyahu) to quit….At least 150,000 people (protested) in Tel Aviv, chanting “we demand social justice.”

“A lot of criticism is being leveled at (Netanyahu). In fact, every time his name is mentioned, he’s being booed.”

One protester asked why he was there said:

“I’m here because it’s becoming impossible to live in this country…..We have to change this. It’s our only hope.”

Arab protesters inspired Israelis, another demonstrator saying:

“People understand they have the power, that they can organize by themselves. They don’t need anymore of the government telling them what to do. They can start telling the government what they want. They can start deciding for themselves and take the power back to their hands.”

Revolutionary spirit fills Israeli streets. One song heard says, “This is the new Middle East. We created the storm. The future is up to us.”

A third RT report explained Israel’s Tahrir. “The protest is mobilizing all Israeli society” against intolerable social conditions. “People are chanting “revolution. (They) demand social justice….Protests are also mobilized online” through social networking sites like Facebook, much like in Egypt.

As a result, Netanyahu’s popularity “plummeted 19 points in two weeks.” Activist/lawyer Yaniv Moyal worried that:

“The government (may send) people here to make provocations in order to find a reason to take these demonstrations to a violent situation….We’re not going to let them do that. The protests will continue. That’s for sure.”

“It took 60 years for people to get out of the couch and demonstrate for social issues. They haven’t done it before. Now what we have here is historic. This (time) will be remembered because Israelis used to be apathetic.” That’s changed. “If the government won’t listen to the people, (it) will fall. That’s basically it. We can take the government and send them home.”

Once ignited, mass public anger can assume a life of its own. Collectively, people know they’re united against intolerable social injustice. Israeli society demands change, yet Western media hardly notice.

As protester Hanna Rais said, CNN and Fox weren’t there. Nor other major US media. No CBS, NBC, ABC, or others. The New York Times ran a couple of stories way short of explaining what’s too hot button to discuss:

  • – touching the political third rail.
  • – daring to criticize Israel, or
  • – explaining that Israeli Jews endure serious social injustice, let alone how Israeli Arabs and Occupied Palestinians are mistreated.

On July 31, New York Times writer Ethan Bonner headlined, “Israelis Feel Tug of Protests, Reviving the Left’s Spirits,” saying:

“For years Israelis….suppress(ed) major domestic difficulties to deal first with their existential challenge. Security needs required collective sacrifice.”

In fact, since 1973, Israel faced no security threat, what no US media sources explain. Instead, they distort, mischaracterize and lie, covering for Israel by vilifying oppressed Palestinians, especially when they dare react defensively against regular Israeli terror attacks and other forms of abuse.

According to Bonner, however:

“The real threats (Israelis face come from) Iran, radical Islam and Palestinian violence.”

This represents mainstream US journalism, including from New York Times writers, distorting reality, twisting the truth, lying overtly and through silence.

Bonner’s article also said many thousands of Israelis “took to the streets across the country demanding ‘social justice’….reminiscent of recent protests not only in Egypt but also in Spain.”

However, he didn’t mention similar uprisings across Europe, others in a dozen or more Arab countries, some in central Asia, and brutal crackdowns by US client regimes, as well as Washington’s imperial wars.

Its latest, of course, terrorizes Libya, massacring civilians and destroying essential infrastructure to colonize another country and plunder it. The campaign so far is failing, but don’t expect Times writers to explain, or possible activist stirrings in America.

In addition, Bonner barely touched on why visceral anger grips Israel. In other words, he, other Times writers, and all US major media journalists don’t do their job. At best, they go so far but no further, not wanting to offend Washington’s main regional ally or the powerful Israeli Lobby, besides misreporting on all other vital issues as well as ignoring some altogether.

A Final Comment

What’s been paralyzing Israel since mid-July is major breaking news, but you’d never know it from US major media sources, turning a blind eye for the most part.

They also ignore extreme social injustice in America, about to worsen from greater forced austerity. It’s another story begging to be told, but won’t be by major media scoundrels, prostituting themselves for America’s aristocracy wanting things their way.

As a result, print and broadcast journalists salute and go along, despite enormous harm to millions. It’s why “America the beautiful” exists only for the privileged few, no one else, and the worst is yet to come.”

Alarming stuff indeed people!

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