A Behind the Curtain Look at America: Israel’s Forever Friend

By Raya El-Hajjar, 16 and Editor Jingsia Hathorne

Can’t be colonized. Original art by Aida El-Hajjar

On October 7, 2023, Hamas fighters broke through the Israeli siege on Gaza. The attack resulted in the largest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust. Since then, the Israeli government has responded by carpet-bombing the Gaza Strip with the equivalent infrastructure destruction of two nuclear bombs. Conveying these events to the public, the U.S. mainstream media has adopted a deliberate approach. Conor Powell, a former Fox News Middle East correspondent, points out that “[American and Israeli] officials only want to discuss violence in the Holy Land when Israelis are killed or injured. 

America has maintained a high level of support for Israel since its founding, including more than $130 billion in military grants. Axios reported that Israel receives 80% of its weapon imports from the US. Israel does its best to reciprocate this support. According to Open Secrets, an independent political money tracker, many political figures receive significant paychecks from Pro-Israel lobbies. The highest paid leaders from 1990-2024 are President Biden and Senator Menendez, having accepted more than $4 million and $2 million respectively. Pro-Israel lobbying has a wide reach: 67% of the House of Representatives have also received money. 

Bipartisan political support for Israel leads to overwhelming support in US media. This coalesces in an effort to defend the state of Israel by downplaying Israel’s violence in Gaza to ensure public complacency for unconditional support of Israel. 

A New York Times article titled “At Least 24 Killed in Strike on Gaza School Run by the U.N.” leaves out the identity of the perpetrator. Israel’s actions are similarly omitted in articles by CNN, the New York Times and Fox, subtly detaching Israel from the war crimes they commit in Gaza. 

Powell underscores how government opinions can bleed into the media. “There is an over-reliance on what the White House and the Pentagon say to us,” he said. “If a White House spokesman makes a claim, many Washington journalists are reluctant to publicly push back on that.” 

During significant world events like the siege on Gaza, the media landscape becomes divided, with major cable networks such as CNN and Fox witnessing declines in recent quarters. MSNBC, in particular, has observed a notable decrease in viewership since October 9th, registering an 18% drop in total-day viewership, as reported by Forbes. The recent fluctuations in viewership may be a contributing factor to the unfortunate mass atrocities unfolding in Gaza

Ultimately, the media plays an important role when it comes to shaping public perception and the dynamics that impact international support. As more events take place in Gaza, it becomes crucial to be critical of media narratives and foster comprehensive understanding of conflicts to contribute to a just and lasting resolution for territories like Gaza. 

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