Calling out atrocity propaganda to end Palestinian genocide

This is a message to media outlets spewing misinformation and twisted reporting of the Gaza-Israel war

BY SHAYKH ALI HAMMUDA
A Palestinian man grieves while carrying the body of 3-year-old Amir Qanan, after an Israeli airstrike on 10 October 2023. 

Events are unfolding rapidly in the Gaza Strip of Palestine. And each phase has its hallmarks and distinctive features that require addressing and doing. Where we are now, however, is back to that old familiar stage of propaganda ramp-up before a major offensive.

Of course, this song and dance is nothing new, but it’s getting real loud lately, so let’s address a few key points before the next chapter of this difficult period for the Muslims.

The mainstream media is using the word “hostages” to describe Israelis that Palestinian militants have captured and taken into Gaza — this is a good way to introduce how the mainstream media, as argued by James North, is intentionally distorting this latest crisis. [1]

Note that some of the captured Israelis are soldiers, and last time I checked, that makes them prisoners of war, especially as Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has actually declared war on Gaza.

This didn’t begin in October 2023

This conflict didn’t start at 6:30 AM on 7 October, when militants from Gaza went into Israel.

Israel has occupied both the West Bank of Palestine and Gaza for nearly 60 years, and over that time has arrested and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, often without any trials.

Nathan Thrall, in his impressive just-published book, explains that during the First Intifada (1967-1993), the Israeli occupiers jailed some 700,000 Palestinian men and boys from the West Bank — roughly 40 per cent of the entire male population.

So why are they never described as hostages?

Ignoring a century of history

The double standard perfectly illustrates the media’s playbook on how to distort this crisis.

First, you twist your actual reports, with one-sided language and biased framing. But second — and arguably even more important — you ignore any of the history in Israel-Palestine, so that the attack from Gaza looks like an inexplicable, unprovoked spasm of violence and hatred against Jews.

And that’s all we’ve seen on the headlines of the major news outlets that have long lost any semblance of credibility with the masses! [1]

Language matters

There is more subtle linguistic bias.

American academic Jeff Sharlet notes on X that CNN routinely calls Israelis “people”, but refers to Palestinians mainly as “Palestinians”, which is “the kind of unwitting language that shapes narratives.” [2]

As the coverage of the events in Palestine continued through into the second day, the bias became even more blatant: the media almost exclusively interviewed Israeli victims, and almost entirely ignored the Palestinian side.

Lack of evidence-based reporting

Zooming into the last couple of hours, the latest news we find ourselves dealing with is the alleged mass rape, alleged targeting of the elderly, alleged killings of 260 Israelis at a desert rave, and the alleged beheading of babies.

But the question which no-one wants to ask when emotions are heightened…

“Where’s the evidence?”

There is no evidence of the beheading of a single baby, let alone 40, and Israel’s walls are plastered with cameras!

There was no massacre of 260 people at a rave, no mass rape, and no targeting of the elderly.

The kick in the teeth is that there is zero evidence, not a shred of proof, and yet we’re supposed to believe that it all slipped under the radar.

Do you really want the truth?

The latest development is that the White House confirmed last night that President Joe Biden’s claim to have seen photos of Israeli children beheaded by Hamas fighters is false.

Previously, he said,

“I’ve been doing this a long time. I never really thought that I would see, have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children.” [3]

The Washington Post reported,

“A White House spokesperson later clarified that US officials and the president have not seen pictures or confirmed such reports independently…” [3]

And that,

“The president based his comments about the alleged atrocities on the claims from Netanyahu’s spokesman and media reports from Israel, according to the White House.” [3]

So, you got lied to!

What we do know is this: Oren Ziv, an Israeli news journalist and photographer, said on X,

“I’m getting a lot of questions about the reports of ‘Hamas beheaded babies’ that were published after the media tour in the village.

“During the tour, we didn’t see any evidence of this, and the army spokesperson or commanders also didn’t mention any such incidents.” [4]

Let us be clear, speaking for or against any group on the ground is not the intention of this message; the intention is to uncover lies and lay bare what is true.

And let me tell you what this disinformation is all about:

  1. A desperate move by Israel to claw back a reputation that has been demolished for years, and which is only getting worse.
  2. A deeply sinister attempt to justify what they intend to do, if and when they invade the Gaza Strip; a justification to themselves and to others as to what they wish to inflict.
  3. A smoke screen for whatever might be coming next for Gaza, and Western media has fallen for it once more.

Atrocity propaganda

For those of you who have never come across the term “atrocity propaganda”, don’t worry, because you’re witnessing it in real time.

How it works is that an atrocity tale is designed and fabricated, to shock a mass audience by showing a violation of a fundamental cultural value and to evoke rage. This then gives legitimacy to use brute force to stop the “perpetrator”.

It has to start with the dehumanisation of people, to make them seen as an inhuman savage enemy and to justify their killing. Throughout history, this technique has been used abundantly and it almost always includes a story involving babies.

An example from the 17th century

One of the earliest examples of atrocity propaganda was during the Irish rebellion of 1641.

Reports of rebel-led massacres of the innocent were sent to England, and were later used to justify Cromwell’s slaughter of the same captured Irish rebels.

These reports especially incited the English public against the Irish.

From WWI to the Gulf War

During World War One, the British media reported stories of the Germans bayoneting Belgian babies and cutting off their hands.

During the Gulf War, President Bush justified his invasion of Iraq because Iraqi soldiers allegedly took out Kuwaiti babies from incubators and left them to die.

He used the testimony of the daughter of the ambassador to Kuwait — whose testimony was part of a campaign created by an American PR firm hired by the Kuwaiti government. Bush repeatedly cited her claims to justify the necessity of war.

This is the meaning of atrocity propaganda. And what I find amazing is that some journalists, like Piers Morgan, will cite these alleged crimes of the resistance fighters at the beginning of their show, and in the same breath admit that they are yet to be verified, yet that story forms the core of their show or interview!

These are the facts

Let’s speak about what we do know.

What we know is that the whole of the Gaza Strip — all 2.2 million of its citizens — have been held hostage since around 2007. They are hostages within their own land, blocked by land, sea, and air.

What we know is that water, food, and electricity have been cut from the entire area, and they have now run out of resources.

What we know is that there are hundreds of families beneath the rubble of their demolished homes who are dying as we speak, and whose voices can be heard screaming for help, as the Palestinians have only their hands. Their voices are diminishing.

What we know is that Israel has threatened to bomb any food supplies that come into Gaza from Egypt. What we know is that — as was mentioned by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip — 60 per cent of the fatalities have been of women and children.

What we know is that around half a million Israeli troops have gathered outside of its borders — a number that’s twice as large as the entire population of Gaza.

And this is where what we know comes to a grinding halt and we place our trust in Allah.

Allah is sufficient for us!

At this stage we are, as a worldwide Ummah, to collectively repeat the following:

حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ

“Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best disposer of affairs.” [5]

This is what Prophet Ibrahim (alayhi al-Salām) said when he was launched into a smothering fire. And this is what the Muslims of Madinah said when they were besieged and the propaganda machine was saying,

إِنَّ ٱلنَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوا۟ لَكُمْ فَٱخْشَوْهُمْ

“Your enemies have mobilised their forces against you, so fear them.” [5]

The event increased them in īmān and they recited the above verse.

Action points

  • Bullet 1Challenge the biased media and raise awareness while engaging in critical media literacy.
  • Bullet 2Promote the truth within your networks and encourage evidence-based responsible reporting.
  • Bullet 3Support Gazans by highlighting the long-standing blockade and recent escalations, and donate to charitable causes.

Source: Islam21c

Notes

[1] https://mondoweiss.net/2023/10/hostages-how-the-u-s-media-is-distorting-the-news-from-palestine/

[2] https://twitter.com/JeffSharlet/status/1710748352508244069

[3] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/12/white-house-walks-back-bidens-claim-he-saw-children-beheaded-by-hamas

[4] https://twitter.com/OrenZiv_/status/1712038436910055925

[5] al-Qur’ān, 3:173

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