During Operation Pillar of Defense, many media watch-dog groups and social media sites reported that the international media routinely printed Palestinian misinformation and distortions. For example, Honest Reporting asserted that CNN, Agence France Press and Reuters referred to a Palestinian child killed by a Hamas rocket that exploded within Gaza as a Palestinian killed by Israel. But as if that were not bad enough, photos supplied by the Palestinians and picked up on by the international press transformed pictures of dead Syrians and even scenes of terror in Israel into displays of Israeli wanton aggression against Palestinians.
All of these examples of media deception fall neatly into Hamas’ media strategy. As Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren stated, Hamas’ “purpose is to portray Israel’s unparalleled efforts to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza as indiscriminate firing at women and children, to pervert Israel’s rightful acts of self-defense into war crimes. Its goals are to isolate Israel internationally, to tie its hands from striking back at those trying to kill our citizens and to delegitimize the Jewish State. Hamas knows that it cannot destroy us militarily but believes that it might do so through the media.”
Noah Beck, author of “The Last Israelis,” wrote an article titled “Five Media Myths that Empower Hamas” where he proved the flaws associated with such media coverage. The first media myth Beck reported is that the weaker party is always right. Yet history is full of examples where underdogs committed many atrocious atrocities, such as the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which was overthrown by the stronger NATO forces; Idi Amin, who perpetrated a genocidal program against rival Ugandan tribes, and who was in the end overthrown by the militarily more powerful Tanzania; etc.
The second media myth mentioned by Beck is that Israel uses disproportionate force. However, the reality is that Hamas fired about 1,500 rockets while Israel responded with around 1,500 sorties. The reason why more Palestinians were killed is because while Israel invests heavily in bomb shelters and the Iron Dome to protect her civilians, Hamas only provides shelter for Hamas leaders and fighters, a fact that the mainstream media doesn’t really report on. Yet even despite this,compared to NATO’s campaign in the Balkans and other military campaigns initiated by western countries, Israel killed a lesser percentage of civilians, another under-reported fact.
Rocket attack on civilian area in Be’ersheva (Source: Maoz Israel)
The third media myth Beck noted is that the parties in this cycle of violence are morally indistinguishable, despite the fact that Hamas callously targets civilians in violation of international humanitarian law while Israel goes out of her way to avoid civilian causalities. Nevertheless, as Joshua Muravchik of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy claimed, “Journalists seem to follow a canon that says when two sides are fighting, it is their obligation to report equally and with equal credence to what is said by each. But the quality of information provided by the two sides in this conflict is highly asymmetrical.” Indeed, one side is democratic and beholden to the truth, while the other side is a dictatorship that promotes misinformation.
The fourth media myth Beck spoke about is that if Israel just gave up more land, the conflict would go away. This false narrative persists despite the fact that both Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and from Southern Lebanon demonstrated that further concessions to terrorist organizations does nothing but whet their appetite to continue to work towards the destruction of Israel. As Winston Churchill once said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” To give more land to the Palestinians under the present circumstances despite the Gaza precedent would be suicidal; just as giving the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany brought destruction upon the free world.
Lastly, the fifth media myth in Beck’s article is that Israel can make peace with Hamas. The media persists in insisting upon this despite the fact that history is full of examples of how it is impossible to make peace with people who hold totalitarian and fundamentalist ideologies. As Ambassador Oren rightly pointed out, “Hamas is a flagrantly anti-democratic, anti-semetic, anti-Christian, anti-feminist, and anti-gay movement dedicated to genocide.” Indeed, Hamas leaders recently reaffirmed their commitment to Israel’s demise. Hamas spokesmen and media also frequently call upon Palestinians to slaughter the Jews. Can one make peace with genocide-supporters?
Indeed, Beck demonstrated how these flaws in media coverage do nothing short of encouraging Hamas terrorism. According to Beck, these forces must be stopped before the Armageddon described in his novel (“The Last Israelis”) leaves the realm of fiction.
via How the Press Utilizes Hamas Media Strategies | United with Israel.