To properly analyze Palestine’s recent UN bid for statehood, historical context cannot be ignored. Unfortunately, this is exactly what is happening in most Western news media – for many reasons, not the least of which involves our own history of supporting Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Historical documentation abounds of consistent and overt action by the U.S. to block the UN from enforcing international law critical of Israel.
In fact, as documented by Stephen Zunes, international relations scholar specializing in Middle Eastern politics, U.S. foreign policy, and strategic nonviolent action, “U.S. opposition to Palestine has run so strong that the U.S. has withdrawn or has threatened to withdraw badly needed financial support from UN agencies that have supported Palestinian rights.”
As well, United Nations documentation on issues involving Palestinian rights shows the United States and Israel consistently voting against otherwise unanimous resolutions in the UN General Assembly. Moreover, between 1972 and 2007, the U.S. used its veto power in excess of 40 times to block resolutions critical of Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories which it occupies. These 40+ U.S. vetoes – used solely to shield Israel from punishment – constitute more than all other countries who have used their veto powers on all other issues combined.
Documented facts are hard to escape. Even so, reporting without context abounds in Western news media, presenting slanted images which generally lean toward dominant Western ideology. And its allies.
Our media has no problem reporting extensively on Palestine’s deadly rocket launches into Israel. As well it should: such violence and endangerment of innocent Israeli lives should make headlines. However, our media appears to have major problems reporting as diligently on Israel’s illegal occupation of and deadly actions upon Palestinians within these occupied territories.
I don’t have a stake in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Citizens in each of these countries deserve lives free from terrorism. They deserve to live freely, happily and respectfully. I have made friends in both of these countries, and I pray for them every single day. They, all of them – Israelis and Palestinians – deserve peace. I pray they work out their differences somehow, with as many lives spared as possible.
But though I don’t have a stake in their conflict, I do have a stake in honest media representations of their conflict. Each side, in any conflict, deserves fair representation in a democratic media which touts objectivity as its foremost tenet.
Here is a sample of prevalent context-free, ideology-laced terminology Western media reports on Palestine’s UN bid for statehood:
“US and European diplomats are scrambling to stave off a Palestinian quest for statehood at the United Nations on the eve of the world body’s annual General Assembly.” (WHY?)
“ If the Palestinians seek a vote in the Security Council as they have promised to, the US has vowed to veto the resolution. ” (WHY?)
*NOTE: the overwhelming majority of Western news media choose to interview the Israeli Prime Minister over Palestinian leader Abbas.
Terminology relating to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas:
“Is the Middle East about to take another violent turn?”
“After a combative speech to the UN demanding recognition of Palestinian statehood…,”
“Abbas…rejecting a blueprint for peace put forth by international mediators.”
(DETAILS OF BLUEPRINT?
PEACE FOR WHOM?
WHICH “INTERNATIONAL MEDIATORS” – THE U.S. and ISRAEL?)
Terminology relating to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
“Violence? I hope not.”
“No peace process...because of them.”
“Let’s just sit down and talk peace,”
“The only way we’re going to get peace is to negotiate it between the parties.”
What are your thoughts on this issue?