George Orwell wrote “History is written by the winners” and while this has been the case in many places, it has certainly not held true for Israel. After the war of independence established the state of Israel, it has continued to fight for legitimacy as a state.
Media has been central to framing this discussion. They have rightly outed human rights abuses as they’ve occurred, but often given heavy-handed and biased coverage that not only sours the debate, but encourages the promulgation of hate speech as the discussion norm. Most recently, this has been exemplified by an upcoming film by Benny Brunner, The Great Book Robbery.
Information is a powerful tool in framing a discussion, and in the past documentary films were an even-handed look at a specific topic that allowed viewers to have a more thoughtful and informed discussion afterwards. Unfortunately, they have regressed back into being propaganda pieces, brutally shirking the facts to better arm activists with bullet points to argue a side. To learn about Walmart I must now watch one movie that is pro and one that is against to find “the truth” somewhere in the middle. Who has the time or energy for that?
In the case of Israel, media can often go beyond rational but biased and directly into irrational and hate-filled. Cartoons and textbooks still portray racist caricatures of bloodythirsty Jews. For instance, these cartoons by Hamas as shown by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show. This fear-mongering stifles debate, instead replacing it with hatred, thus making it harder to return to normalcy.
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Originally published on Huffington Post