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Media Cover Up Israeli Calls To Drive Palestinians Into Permanent Exile

Above photo: New York Times Headquarters.

The mainstream U.S. media is almost totally ignoring incendiary statements by powerful Israeli officials who say openly they want to push Palestinians out of Gaza forever.

Stephanie Nolen, now at the New York Times, is a veteran and excellent overseas reporter. She’s spent many years working in South Asia, Latin America and Africa. Her book 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa is a superb look at how that pandemic devastated large swaths of the continent.

So when you see that the Times is running not one but two of her articles on “looming starvation in Gaza,” you have hopes that some important truths are about to be revealed.

But you would be largely disappointed. Nolen does explain that Palestinians in Gaza are going hungry, and one of her reports goes into painful detail about the actual physical impact of severe malnutrition: she notes, for instance, that “children often fail first.”

But nowhere does she report clearly that plenty of people, both in Israel and elsewhere, charge that Israel’s policy is part of a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing, designed to force many of the 2 million Gazans to actually leave their homeland permanently, just as Palestinians were displaced in 1948 and 1967. Nolen’s failure is actually characteristic of the mainstream U.S. media, which is almost totally ignoring incendiary statements by powerful Israeli officials who say openly they want to push Palestinians out of Gaza forever.

(If you read between the lines in one of Nolen’s reports, you can guess what happened behind the scenes at the New York Times. She briefly outlines the “possible starvation,” but then lets an Israeli military spokesman jump in, right at paragraph 7, to “vigorously deny allegations that it is responsible for the shortage of food in Gaza.” He gets six paragraphs to lie and obfuscate, even claiming that “there is a sufficient amount of food in Gaza,” before she can even get back to the real story. There’s no proof, but you can bet that anxious editors butted in and made her add that long section.)

Mainstream media failure extends beyond Stephanie Nolen. This site has long explained that the Times, and other mainstream media, protect Israel by covering up the far-right Jewish supremacists who have been gaining even more power there in recent years. The whitewash should be even harder to maintain now, because Benjamin Netanyahu depends on the extremists, who are now actually in his government, to stay in power, and they certainly don’t keep quiet about their true views.

Here’s a recent, astonishing example of how the Times tried to hide the Jewish supremacists in the attic. The January 5 headline was: “As Pressure Mounts, Israeli Minister Proposes Plan for Postwar Gaza.” You think you are finally going to see a long report on the calls for ethnic cleaning from Itamar Ben-Gvir, the national security minister, and Bezalel Smotrich, the finance minister.

No such luck. The “Israeli Minister” in the Times headline is actually Yoav Gallant, who has the defense portfolio, and his “plan” is marginally less inhumane: it makes no mention of ethnic cleansing and calls for a “multinational task force” to eventually oversee Gaza. You have to read down to paragraph 6 to find the super extremists quoted. (In a cunning twist, the paper says Ben-Gvir’s views came in a “Facebook post,” insinuating that his opinions are offhand, and actually have little weight.) The Times article successfully diluted Ben-Gvir and Smotrich by sticking them in below Gallant. In fact, the defense minister has no political following; by contrast, Ben-Gvir and Smotrich are key elements of the ruling coalition. Without them, Netanyahu’s government will fall; he will lose a new election; and he will probably go on trial.

One of the paper’s opinion columnists, the excellent Michelle Goldberg, did partly salvage its reputation with a strong article on January 5. Her first sentence got straight to the point:

Two far-right members of Israel’s cabinet — the national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and the finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich — caused an international uproar this week with their calls to depopulate Gaza.

Goldberg, who is based in New York, found her way to the truth better than Times reporters who are prowling around on the ground in Israel/Palestine. She heard the “international uproar” that her colleagues somehow missed.

Other mainstream outlets are even worse than the Times. So far, the Washington Post hasn’t mentioned Ben-Gvir and Smotrich at all. National Public Radio has named the two in passing but never quoted their calls to push Gazans out of Gaza permanently.

The two have never appeared on CNN either. This comprehensive failure by the mainstream is actually astonishing. Ben-Gvir and Smotrich love the limelight and would certainly sing like canaries on TV. They are Israeli versions of Matt Goetz or Marjorie Taylor Greene — except that they are not outside gadflies anymore, but two of the most powerful figures inside the government.

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