Since the year 1967, following the war between Israel and the countries of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, Israel militarily occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Israel was asked by the UN to withdraw from the occupied territories and has yet to comply till today.
Although by now a majority of world citizens have witnessed the inhumane attacks of the Israeli forces against the flotilla of humanitarian-aid-bearing ships in May, I am not surprised if there is a significant group of Americans who are continuing their lives with the deep-rooted notion that the Israeli "self-defense" act is a justified action. I have read a comment from a self-proclaimed good Christian American that everything is written in the Bible, that we should just let the bloodshed happen, that we should just turn our cheeks and let the Zionist have their way. First of all, a book of God would never attest or approve violence and injustice of any kind. Let alone letting a "God-chosen, supreme" race to kill innocents in order to secure themselves their so-called rightful land. It all started as a political agenda and had long been propagandized as legit. One main entity that made our fellow American friend blurt such a nonsensical comment would be the unique and seemingly harmless weapon, the American Media, which is usurping each and every unaware viewer’s mind every day and every second that he/she spends in front of the television. Its efficacy can be seen by how appallingly contorted has our friend’s flow of logic and thoughts been that it culminated to his/her ludicrous statement.
A significant number of Americans, who don't have the time or refuse to read and seek for the truth, are being misled everyday by the American media (we have to keep in mind though, that the number of Americans who have had their eyes opened by researching for unbiased sources is acceleratedly increasing). News released on TV (which is sadly the primary means of aforementioned group of Americans to having access to the Palestine-Israel conflict--the average American household watches 8 hours and 15 minutes of television in a 24-hour period (Nielsen Media Research)) are structurally organized and edited in such a way that a consistent stream of theme or idea are being incorporated into each piece of news broadcasted. The culprits realized this and it took them less than an eye blink to jump-start their sinister plot. The broadcasters are definitely not to blame, neither do the viewers, they are merely victims who are boxed-in, made to believe that the soil that they seek refuge in and the cause that they believe in are defended in the name of God and country, when it is actually serving for the benefits of the Zionists. The method being utilized is the B.F. Skinner operant conditioning method, using the relationship between stimulus and response to sow distrust towards the Palestinians, where images of keffiyeh-clad teenager are shown concurrently with words with negative connotations or vice versa, shaping their understanding about the conflict.
The viewers are gradually conditioned to regard the stone-throwing Palestinian teenagers as terrorists, when it was elicited, in the first place, by the occupation itself. You don't expect them to sit around and watch their houses, in which their family had lived all their lives, getting demolished by bulldozers, to sit and watch their little brothers/sisters or sons/daughters got gunned down by the Israeli forces when all they tried to do was to go school in peace, to sit and watch their beloved family members dying on the street while waiting for an approval at the whim of an Israeli soldier to get through the checkpoint to get to the hospital, to sit and watch their family farm, which was their primary source of income, being uprooted, for no valid reasons. We, as normal human beings, would lash out even at the first sight of a teenager stepping onto our nicely trimmed garden.
Back to the conditioning method, it is one of their strategies towards winning the conflict. As Alon Pinkas, former Consul General for Israel in NY, has been quoted to say:
"We are currently in a conflict with the Palestinians...engaging in a successful PR campaign is part of winning the conflict."
So they call it the PR campaign. Let us proceed by studying their modus operandi:
In 1983, they launched the Hasbara Project; the aim was to train the "information officers to present Israel's case to TV anchormen around the world". Confessions of an Israeli press officer:
"I had breakfast, lunch and dinner with journalists. A typical day began with calls to producers at news and talk shows about the content of the programs".
Every news is tilted to favoring the Israelis. Here's how:
Real events in the world are sieved through a series of institutional filters:
1) Owners of US Media Firms
2) Political elites
3) Israeli Government PR Campaign:
i) Some of the largest American PR firms (Ruder-Finn, NYPR, Leyden Communications, Rubenstein Associates, etc) are employed as image consultants to coordinate their political campaign
ii) 9 Israeli Consulates (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.) help implement this PR campaign.
iii) Private American Organizations (American Friends of Likud, Christian Coalition, Christian Broadcasting Network, American Jewish Congress, Christian Friends of Israel, American Israeli Friendship League, etc with AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) being the most crucial (deemed to be the strongest political lobby in the U.S)).
A significant number of organizations that oppose the occupation (American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Churches for Middle East Peace, Not in My Name, Tikkun Community, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Muslim Peace Forum, Jewish Friends of Palestine, Seeds of Peace, Jewish Peace Fellowship, Jews Against the Occupation etc.) would never make it through the filter.
4) The final stage is the watchdog groups that monitor news regarding Israeli policy that somehow manage to surface (Anti Defamation League, Palestinian Media Watch, Eye on The Post, Facts and Logic About the Middle East, Honest Reporting, with CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) being the most important). Their names themselves are gravely misleading they made me laugh.
The journalists are also monitored and blackmailed to ensure that they slant their stories to favor Israel. The American journalists have developed fears that they would not ask the correct questions to the correct person, that news are not worded aptly, that they would not question the portion of stories that are left out.
I realized during my 4-year experience in the States that the news shown on the tubes were definitely of a different tone than those delivered in Malaysia. I remember watching (I was in Malaysia) a slot on Prime News, on the subject of two American engineers or architects, I can't recall, who came down to Malaysia to disseminate a video CD containing an analysis their team did on the odd angle of the falling of World Trade Center during the September 11 attack. Let us not divulge into that matter yet, but yes, they would not see the light of day if they decided to release that video in the US.
I also remember the first question my lecturer voiced out when I sat in my Middle-East history class: "Has any one of you been to the Aljazeera website?" A minority raised their hands. Aljazeera, to majority of America dwellers is as infiltrative and dangerous as having a Hamas button man aiming an M-16 at them at point-blank range, when the fact is the Aljazeera website is just as normal as BBC, CNN, or Huffington Post's. The lecturer proceeded by urging them to give it a try and see how unbelievably normal the website was. That is the power of the Zionist propaganda. It is surprisingly simple but dangerously effective.
Our humble hope would be for the Americans to recognize and admit that the U.S media is just as occupied as the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The moment this happens , the current Israeli military power would accordingly be reduced by half and the Palestinian people might have the chance to witness the light at the end of the death tunnel. Let us all pray.
::The next installment will discuss the strategies the Zionists employ in their PR Campaign::
To read the original post by the cartoonist,click here.
Reference: Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: Media & the Israel-Palestine Conflict, a documentary by Media Education Foundation.
Taken verbatim from the FreeGaza website: For us to not just read but to reflect upon
In their own words: Survivor testimonies from Flotilla 31 May 2010
Written by Free Gaza Team | 07 June 2010
For three days as they were held in captivity and unable to speak on their own behalf, Israel presented the massacre against civilian passengers on the Mavi Marmara as self defense against a “lynching.” Now that the passengers are returning to their home nations, the global community is hearing a much different story, not just regarding the incident but also their treatment afterwards once in custody.
Aboard the Mavi Marmara
Brazilian Filmmaker (based in San Francisco)
"(The attack) was a surprise, because it happened in the middle of the night, in the darkness, in international waters, because we knew there would be a confrontation but not in international waters. Their first tactic was to cut all of our satellite communications and then they attacked. All I witnessed first hand was the shooting. They came on board and started shooting at people."
"We expected them to shoot people in the legs, to shoot in the air, just to scare people, but they were direct," "Some of them shot in the passengers' heads. Many people were murdered – it was unimaginable."
Retired German Parliamentarian and Professor
"We had not prepared in any way to fight. We didn't even consider it because we knew very well that we would have absolutely no chance against soldiers like this.”
"The Israeli government justifies the raid because they were attacked. This is absolutely not the case."
"We felt like we were in a war, like we were being kidnapped." "Nobody had a weapon."
“The Israeli claim that its commandos acted in self-defence was ‘ridiculous’".
"It was like war," "They had guns, Taser weapons, some type of teargas and other weaponry, compared to two-and-a-half wooden sticks we had between us. To talk of self-defence is ridiculous."
"The scandal is that we have to fight the Israeli images only with words.," The Israelis confiscated all the activists' cameras, computers, and mobile phones.
“The Israeli forces handcuffed members of the activists' medical team who were sent to help treat the injured. It was terrifying...If you talked they pointed a gun at you."
"We wrote a sign in Hebrew saying, 'SOS! Need medical assistance. People are dying. Urgent' Hanin Zoabi, who’s a Knesset member, an Israeli Knesset member, took that sign to the front—to the back of the boat, where the soldiers were pointing at her. They ordered her to go back."
Minister, Israeli Knesset
“The Israeli navy fired on the ships five minutes before commandos descended from ropes that dangled from helicopters. “
The Israeli-Arab legislator said Israeli forces ignored her when she said that they should treat two gravely injured people, who later bled to death.
Acclaimed Swedish Academic
“People were not allowed to go to the lavatories - they were made to soil their clothes.” Gardel was especially horrified by witnessing the experience of a badly wounded man in his late 50s, who the Israeli troops forced to remain on the open deck. "Suddenly, his right eye exploded in a gush of blood - and a blob of something fell out of it."
Journalist from Al Jazeera
"...as this attack started I was on the top deck and within just a few minutes there were live shots being fired from above the ship from above from where the helicopters were."
"The first shots that were fired were some sort of sound grenades. There was some tear gas that was fired as well as rubber coated steel bullets. They were fired initially and the live bullets came roughly about five minutes after that, after those initial shots were fired."
"There was definitely fire from the air because one of the people who was killed was clearly shot from above. He was...the bullet targeted him at the top of his head. There was also fire coming from the sea as well. Most of the fire initially from the sea was tear gas canisters and sound grenades. But then it became live fire."
"There is no doubt from what I saw that live ammunition was fired before any Israeli soldier was on deck."
(From the top deck,) “you could almost see the soldiers pointing their guns down through some sort of hole or compartment at the bottom side of the helicopter, firing almost indiscriminately without even looking where they were firing and those bullets were definitely live bullets."
“There was a Knesset member who approached the Israeli soldiers saying we have injured, she was saying they have injured people, please come and take them. Yet the Israelis refused. Three hours later all three of those people that were injured ended up dying on the spot because no one came to take them."
Aboard the Free Mediterranean
Michalis Grigoropoulos (Greek)
“Commandos were already using teargas and firing live ammunition as they hit the deck.”"We did not resist at all, we couldn't even if we had wanted to.” "They then used electroshock weapons on some activists,"
While in custody in Israel, "two Greek activists were beaten up."
Aboard the Challenger I
American, Free Gaza Chair
"They started beating people. My head was smashed against the ground and they stepped on my head. They later cuffed me and put a bag over my head. They did that to everybody."
On custody: “I asked them to at least give (my personal belongings) back to me, and they refused and forced me into a police van, literally, by pulling me up by my hair and my hands and feet and beating me in order to get me into the van. They drove me out of the port, stopped the car at some point—I’m not sure where because I was a little bit disoriented after being punched in the face and the jaw, and then they just opened the door and threw me out of the van.” “I think I must have passed out for a little bit, because the next thing I knew there was a medic taking me into an ambulance. I was taken to a hospital and checked and released just a few hours later.”
“We saw the helicopter come down and we heard the beginnings of the opening of live fire. I didn’t fully take in that they were using live fire. ..but it began to sink in that (that they were using) live fire.”
Referring to her boat "Two women were hooded, they had their eyes taped." The Israelis used rubber bullets, sound bombs and tasers against them."We stood and tried to obstruct the armed, masked men and maintained no other defence and still they used violence."
Fiachra O Luain
Dual American citizenship
I was “brutalized” while in custody in Ben Gurion airport and had bruises all around his body as a result.
“As soon as one of them grabbed me, about 15 or 20 jumped me, kicked me, punched me as soon as I hit the ground,” “They had my arm in stress positions, they tried to break my finger.” He said he feared for his life during his time in custody and at one stage asked to see a Rabbi. “I asked to see a Rabbi and they told me I would only see a Rabbi when they killed me .
“I saw what they did. I was on the bow of the Challenger 1 and there was live gunfire straight away from below and from the helicopters. One of the men was shot in the head. Another man was shot with a bullet right between his eyes at point blank range.”
Dr. Fintan Lane
“When they boarded our boat, we resisted entirely peacefully. I sat on the floor and tried to reason with them, but the Israeli commandos physically attacked us. Fiachra Ó Luain (see above) was dragged around the ground and I had a gun pointed in my face by a screaming commando. His mania was so intense that I genuinely feared for my life."
On treatment during custody: “I would not cooperate with my illegal detention (by handing over my passport) so I was then physically assaulted, my arms were painfully twisted behind my back for prolonged periods. Ken O’Keefe, the Irish-American passenger, suffered a severe beating at the hands of security officials at Tel Aviv airport before boarding, and his injuries were so bad that he had to be hospitalised in Tel Aviv.”
“Israelis had used stun guns, tasers, assaulted people with the butt ends of rifles, pushed people to the ground and stood on them.”
There was a screening system and electronic detectors onboard the largest boat in the flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, to check it passengers for weapons. “Any of the weapons I have seen demonstrated by the Israeli defence forces were typical equipment that you would have on a ship,”
“There was a knife for a galley. They also showed a sledgehammer, which would be on a merchant vessel for anchor cables etc. (Kate) Geraghty, an award-winning photographer, was set upon despite explaining she was an accredited member of the press."She was just doing her journalistic duties. She advised them she was a bona fide photographer. She was just attacked.”
Irish (living in Australia)
The Israeli attack was "pretty full on." ''It (the Taser attack) hurt and it made me feel sick.'
Geraghty had been trying to send out photographs before the boat she was on was taken over
Once the commandos boarded the vessel, one of their first acts was to seize all communication equipment, cameras and memory cards.
Aboard the Sfendoni
Retired Math Teacher (American, Jewish)
Regarding custody: "It was a long ordeal, very uncomfortable.” We “occasionally saw passengers beaten by the Israelis before they were put on the planes.”
Gene St. Onge
American Structural Engineer
“This was not peacefully. I was kicked in the head.... As the commandos jumped on the ship we attempted to protect the wheelhouse and the captain. We were able to crowd the inside of the captain’s quarters. I was unable to because I was trying to protect another part of the boat. By the time I got there I noticed that the captain was being pulled and hit. He sustained rather serious injuries although I guess he’s going to be alright. He had a punctured ear drum, a neck injury and a back injury. In the mean time, as I tried to get in I was thrown on the deck a couple times. One of my new friends, who I made many on this trip, Mehdi, a Libyan Arab living in Europe was hit with the butt end of a rifle, in his right eye. He fell to the deck. He was writhing in pain, trying to get away, but he was continually being kicked. When I saw that, I tried to get to him. I was screaming “Leaving him alone!” I kept getting pushed back. Finally I tried to get over to try to cover him. At that point I was hit with the rifle or something. I was bleeding. And I was restrained with handcuffs.”
Aboard the Sophia
Best-Selling Swedish Novelist
“We saw these black rubber boats coming with masked commando soldiers … they climbed aboard. They were very aggressive … there was an older man in the crew, he was perhaps a little slow and they shot him in the arm with an electric gun which is very, very painful … they shot another man with rubber bullets."
The soldiers checked the boat and one soon returned saying they had found weapons. "I have 24 witnesses to this, he showed me my razor, a one-time use razor, and a box cutter he'd found in the kitchen," “All my possessions were taken. They stole my camera, my telephone … even my socks."
“I think the Israeli military went out to commit murder.” “If they had wanted to stop us they could have attacked our rudder and propeller, instead they preferred to send masked commando soldiers to attack us. This was Israel’s choice to do this.”
Israeli-born Sweden Artist
Feiler said that he had tried to talk with the Israeli soldiers on board the ship but was beaten up.
Oh Gaza how i weep with thee
No longer I see your horizons shine
War machines by air, land & sea
Shower bombs upon this small strip of Palestine
Palestine how I hurt with thee
Your people pay the high price
Guilty only for wanting to be free
Innocent lambs on the altar of sacrifice!
Oh Palestine my heart bleeds with thee
Now scattered in the land dead stumbs remain
Where once flourished your beloved olive trees
Barren are the gardens of blossoms, fruit & grain
Oh Palestine, a beloved piece of so many hearts
Burried remain your sufferings in the history
By thousands your children were forced to depart
Torn from their homes to face an uncertain destiny
People of Gaza, now you grieve & pain
Do not despair for soon will come the day
Winds of change in the form of blessings & heaven´s rain
Once again will echo the call from the muezzin to pray
Raise high that flag...defend your rights oh Palestine
My heart & prayers are with you across the distance
To defend your homeland is no shame or crime
If you perish be it not on your knees
But stand up before the oppressor with courage, honor & resistance.
here, you get to test your vocab power, see if those SAT/GRE words are still there,lurking somewhere in your brain :) and for every word you get right, 10 grains of rice will be donated to an impoverished country huhu
Person 1: I come from a not so well to do family, my dad's a contractor, and up to now, he has not procured any projects that could help our family going.
Person 2:Oh really, me too. My dad's no longer working, he worked as a salesman. The money was never enough for all of us.
Person 1: My face's oily, look at the pores, they're far from inconspicuous. And I wonder when will the acne leave me in peace? You face is perfect!
Person 2: No, it's not! Mine is oilier than yours! See, I have gigantic pimples too, here, here, and yea, here! See?
Are humans prepped to be insecure about themselves and to shut their eyes to the sufferings of others? We must all vow to not belittle others' life stories and to treat everyone as an individual, a unique entity, rather than someone who belongs in certain social groups that we have gradually built up and stratified in our minds. These schemata that we have, though they have indisputably assisted us in creating accommodating first impressions, have also significantly contributed to the extensive amount of hatred harbored in this world.
When a person regards you as a confidante, remind him/her that he/she is special, that his/her situations, no matter how trivial they may be, are of significant meaning to you. And then only you tactfully slip these magic words, "You are far more fortunate than more than 60%(however much you want it to be, depending on severity level of the situation:)) of people in the world".
Do it with subtleties, and you will be surprised with the end results.
This post was composed solely and merely to remind myself to not morph into an ingrate, which I tend to become when I do not get what I wish for. It is also to remind me that my outward actions are not the only major sense of my self-identity. That it is so much more than just that.
I love my life, I hope you do too :)
Source: United Colors of Benetton adverts compilation.