Israel and Palestine: a War of Narrative in the United States.
“Americans get it, they know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are” is what Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister stated during a US press conference. The Occupation of the American Mind, a documentary narrated by Roger Waters, sheds light on Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States: the other side of the story that the American media has been twisting for decades.
Throughout the documentary, we can clearly notice the five filters of the propaganda model as explained by Herman, E. S., & Chomsky, N. (1988).
The most prominent filter is ownership. The media coverage in the US differs from the European coverage for instance because of the partnership between the US and Israel. Most media in the US is either owned by Israeli Zionists or by people who have favor in supporting Israel.
The second filter is advertisement, most specifically in this case advertisers. The documentary mentions the conference that happened two years after the Lebanese invasion in 1982. During that time, Israel was facing a problem of public image: people were starting to perceive Israel as the bully. Therefore, the aim of this conference, attended by powerful advertisers, was to shape the American public opinion in favor of Israel with the excuse that “propaganda is not a dirty word”
The third filter is the establishment. Those in power tell self-serving lies. The channels rely on one side’s information alone, without balancing with other sources. Roger Waters (2019) discusses the power of a narrative. US media frames the Palestinian actions as terrorism and portrays the Israeli as self-defense. This narrative is so strong in the US and repeated by everyone in power that Americans have believed without asking any questions.
The fourth filter is the flak. Every time an opposing voice appears, it is always shut down and accused of defending terrorism or being anti-sematic.
The fifth and final filter is a common enemy. To fuel the propaganda even more, the US media has made Palestinians a common enemy for both Israelis and Americans by portraying them as terrorists.
Moreover, in Four Habits of News Reporting Moeller (1999) further explains the practices of media channels when covering international news.
Of most significance, the analogies, and metaphors can be translated in many ambiguous ways. For example, the comparisons of Palestinian tragedies with Israeli ones, stripping the context, and the death trolls.
· Alper, L. and Earp, J. (2016). The Occupation of the American Mind. The Media Education Foundation.
Moeller, S. (1999). Four Habits of International News Reporting. In Compassion fatigue. London: Routledge. https://frameworksinstitute.org/assets/files/PDF_GII/four_habits_of_news_reporting.pdf
Herman, E. S., & Chomsky, N. (1988). A Propaganda Model Retrieved from Manufacturing consent: The political economy of the mass media (1st ed.). New York, N.Y: Pantheon Books. Retrieved from: https://chomsky.info/consent01/