During the recent “March for Israel” in Washington, Al Jazeera interviewed a confident young man from Connecticut about the war in Gaza. Wrapped in an Israeli flag, Charlie seemed ready to answer any question.
He made it clear from the very beginning that the ongoing war was not “Hamas vs. Israel”, but “Hamas vs. the whole world”. He said he regretted the deaths of the children and prayed for the deaths of innocent people. However, he had no doubt who was responsible for the deaths of civilians in Gaza. He said that while Israel does everything to avoid civilian casualties, Iranian-backed Palestinian terrorists bomb their own hospitals, use civilians as human shields and even place children next to rocket launchers. He added that Iran and its proxies are the source of all evil in Palestine and the region.
Charlie clearly did his homework. He studied the Israel Project’s “Global Language Dictionary.” [PDF]”, he memorized his lines and repeated them verbatim without missing a beat. The guide was created in 2009, after Israel’s first war in the besieged Gaza Strip, to help supporters of Israel best talk to the media about the conflict. Inspired by the work of leading Israeli spin doctors such as Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu, it is aimed at young activists, as well as politicians, experts, journalists and more. He tells readers what to say and what not to say, warning them about words that should be used and others that should not be used.
One of my favorite tidbits in the textbook, as I wrote in 2014, is this: “Avoid talking about borders in a pre- or post-1967 context, as this only serves to remind Americans of Israel’s military history. It’s especially damaging on the left side.” And as civilian casualties mount in the Gaza war, the manual recommends an empathetic conversation along the lines of, “Every human life is precious,” but emphasizing that “it is a tragedy that Iran-backed Hamas is firing rockets at our civilians while hiding in their own” and that it “results in tragic deaths on both sides.”
Like Charlie, I also studied the spin guide, albeit for different reasons. The guide helps me more easily detect changes in writings, speeches and interviews.
Take the interview that Republican US presidential candidate Chris Christie gave to CNN the day after the March for Israel. He repeated the same audio fragments that Charlie had recalled the day before, although with less tact. Having forgotten to mention “bad Iran” in his answers, he clumsily rushed to add it before the end of the interview, as if he was being tested.
Like Charlie and Chris, Joe also loves textbooks. President Biden and his minions in the U.S. administration readily accepted his recommendation to emphasize Israel’s “right and even obligation to defend itself” against attacks by a “terrorist” organization at every opportunity. Since October 7, the president of the United States has regularly rejected criticism of US complicity in the murder of thousands of Palestinian children, accusing Hamas of, as you might guess, “using civilians as human shields,” and even repeating false Israeli claims about Hamas “beheading children” and ” burning women and children alive.”
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken went further, insisting that U.S. officials support Israel’s claims that Hamas uses civilian facilities such as al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza as “command centers” and added that “It is common knowledge that Hamas “embeds itself in civilian infrastructure – in and under apartment buildings, in and under hospitals, in and under schools – and uses people as human shields,” thus incriminating tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, teachers and others with war crimes . All this has so far turned out to be nothing more than propaganda used by Israel to justify the bombing of hospitals and schools.
On Saturday, in an opinion piece on the US vision for the post-conflict Gaza Strip published in the Washington Post, Biden referred to the spirit and text of the manual. The president has omitted any mention of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the siege of Gaza, or any single part of Palestine’s torturous history in favor of increasingly empty, old rhetoric about a “common future” and “two states” that obscures the realities on the ground and serves to justify an unraveling collective punishment and genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.
Please note that the manual actively encourages its readers to advocate for a “two-state solution” and repeat the “two homes for two nations” mantra because “given America’s overwhelming support for a two-state solution, you will make that support will become much easier and faster if you set the tone for all discussions by expressing Israel’s shared vision of the ultimate goal of two nations living side by side in lasting and secure peace.” But then again, here comes the punchline: “In the interest of gaining credibility for why you can later say that ‘a two-state solution cannot be achieved overnight,’ you should start with the language [that signals] how your goals align with those of everyone.”
President Biden is not the only world leader who appears to be sticking to the 2009 Israel playbook. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also been very careful not to stray far from the guidelines issued by Israeli spin doctors. Asked by an opposition MP whether he would urge Israel to stop its “collective punishment” of civilians in Gaza, Sunak he replied: :
“I actually think we should support Israel’s right to defend itself and prosecute Hamas, and recognizing that [Israel] to face a fierce enemy who is planting himself behind civilians.”
For his part, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres did not stick to the line as blindly as the US president and British prime minister, and was sharply criticized for it. Having condemned Hamas’ October 7 attack on southern Israel, he dared to do so to remind The UN Security Council states that “It is also important to recognize that the Hamas attacks did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have endured 56 years of suffocating occupation.”
Oh! Nerve and boldness! How dare the UNSG state the obvious; “what world” does he live in? He must “resign,” Israeli diplomats replied, according to the Israeli handbook, which clearly states that “the main goal of Palestinian public relations is to show that the so-called ‘hopelessness of the oppressed Palestinians’ is the reason for them to go out and kill children.” This must be challenged immediately, forcefully and directly.”
In today’s political maelstrom, there is no room for history when it comes to the Palestinians. Their tortured past – and present – is an inconvenience for spinners that should be avoided at all costs.
President Biden Doubles Down on His Previous Dangerous Theology in His Warmongering Washington Post Opinion statement about the “pure, unadulterated evil” of Hamas, which can only be explained by its very nature. The fact that Hamas is a product of the Israeli occupation, established in response to decades of Israeli repression and conduct, must be ignored and disregarded, regardless of the circumstances.
In short, Israel has the right and even the obligation to defend itself and its racist occupation; according to cynics and spinsters the right to defend their military occupation and racist apartheid, but Palestinians have no such right to defend themselves, let alone oppose their occupiers in any way, even the most peaceful ones, such as boycotts and divestment.
Fortunately, the lies finally caught up with the liars, as more and more Western journalists, experts and officials began to doubt this nonsense and question Israeli businessmen, even ridiculing them for their poor performances, falsified evidence and vulgar lies. They will soon begin to question the spinners’ general deception about the war, its course and its root causes.