Demonization of IDF

Op-ed: Time and time again, foreign media outlets fall into anti-Israeli web of lies

The part the media have in our lives is not something to underestimate. Each and every one of us relies on one of the various media forms to receive information on recent events.


The papers not only decide for us what we will talk about, but also what to think of the matter. This is called Media Framing. The exact same story will be presented in different ways in different news media. While appearing completely objective and neutral, the articles read or viewed always have an opinion hidden behind them. Even if it is not explicit or intentional, it can be quite noticeable. We must only ask ourselves several questions before reading: What is being presented? Which side is being presented first? Which last? What words does the editor use in the headline? “Pro-Palestinians" and "human rights activists" are descriptions used in papers for the same group of people. What words are being used in relation to the different quotes ("claims"/"says")? On what aspects of the story does the news source focus? What does NOT appear?


When it comes to foreign news reports about the IDF, the message that is being framed is clear: The Israeli Defense Forces are a killing machine. News reports should be impartial, and that is how it is being perceived by some of the public, even when it is often nothing but biased anti-Israeli propaganda. Time and time again, foreign media outlets fall into the anti-Israeli web of lies, and instead of being messengers of truth, the guardians of democracy, they disguise opinions and biased points of view as solid facts.


Reports about IDF only show parts of the truth, conveniently matching the message they want to pass along. They present Israel as a vicious ruler, whose army takes illegal and inhumane action in the name of democracy. It is all an attempt to demonize the IDF, its soldiers, and the country it represents and for whom it fights. For example, last Friday, Reuters reported that IDF soldiers "threw sound grenades at a group of diplomats, aid workers and locals in the occupied West Bank, and yanked a French diplomat out of the truck before driving away with its contents." The Diplomat, Marion Castaing, was quoted saying: "They dragged me out of the truck and forced me to the ground with no regard for my diplomatic immunity. This is how international law is being respected here."


The truth is that the foreign diplomats' attempt to erect tents in the area was an illegal act, as the Supreme Court ruled building there was illegal. When people are disregarding a Supreme Court rule in a democratic state, any state, what should the state do? It must stop the illegal act. It doesn't matter if the Supreme Court's ruling was moral, or perceived to be right or wrong, it must be respected. Israel is not different from any other democratic state. Therefore, IDF soldiers arrived, but the activists teased them, violently objecting while throwing stones and striking the soldiers. Accordingly, the security personnel contained the violence with riot dispersal means, and that was enough to feed the foreign media's need for targeting the IDF.


Pictures of the French diplomat lying on the ground with soldiers surrounding her, aiming a gun at her forehead, were published, and the public was fed a story of a strong army preventing humanitarian aid from reaching innocent Palestinians.


Reuters assumed that no one would ask any questions. They assumed that no one will care that the gun in the picture is not really aimed at the diplomat, or that she and her fellow foreign diplomats abused their diplomatic privileges, or that the IDF soldiers are 18 and 19 year old teenagers who are trained to defend and protect, not to offend.


As readers, we tend to accept news reports as solid, impartial truth, but we must remember that news is created by people with certain opinions. When it comes to Israel, the media enjoys feeding us lies or partial truths, and sells us the story of an aggressor and a victim. It is a story readers find easy to swallow, instead of the very complicated truth.


The IDF exists to protect us, the citizens of Israel, from the enemies surrounding us, who wish that there will be no Israel. Time and time again, they have publicly called for our death. Our high school graduates sacrifice three years of their lives for the army to prevent it from happening. IDF soldiers are trained to protect and defend, and to keep us safe, not to abuse innocents. If and when a soldier forgets his role in the IDF, he is being punished accordingly, for the IDF has zero tolerance for such actions.


What we need to do is always remember to ask the right questions, and reveal the real story behind the headlines. But we mustn't stop there! We have to share the truth with others, so that those who haven't asked themselves the right questions will know the whole truth.


Noga Gur Arieh is the writer of the blog israelife



פרסום ראשון: 10.01.13, 10:19
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