Soli Foger

The Topsy-turvy World of US Media

Images assembled from PR News and Adobe stock

I recently made the decision to stop writing my column. The world is spinning too fast and, regardless of the favorable responses to my previous op-ed pieces, by the time they’re published, they are outdated or overshadowed by the next crisis.

Yet, following the October 7th barbaric attack by Hamas, and the incomprehensible public response to what should have been a clear-cut ‘good guys defending their land against bad guys’, I’ve become mad as hell about the shocking anti-Israel climate rising in the US and throughout the world.

Ironically, we Jews comprise only 2% of the total US population and yet are the target of a majority of religious-based hate crimes (over 55%). In 2022, the ADL recorded a 36% increase in incidents compared to 2021. This trend has been increasing consistently since the mid-2010s, following the spread of radicalism and conspiracy theories on social media.

The rise in antisemitism started prior to the event of October 7th. Hamas’ brutal attack, unmatched in its barbarity, and Israel’s subsequent response, initiated a sequence of events that have left Jewish people around the world feeling justifiably threatened. Following the attack, worldwide sympathy with Israel didn’t last long. Israel’s attempt to defend itself and get the hostages released, has generated broad condemnation from across the globe.

There have always been antisemites and Israel haters, thus I will focus on understanding the reason for the dramatic rise and spread of recent anti-Israel attacks.

According to recent polls, majority of Americans support Israel’s war against Hamas. This support continuous even when incursion into Rafah is considered (over 60% support). Yet, according to the media, one would believe that Israel’s war in response to its enemy’s unprovoked attack is no different than Russia’s barbaric war against Ukraine. In a barrage of daily articles across various networks, Israel is vilified for causing unreasonable casualties (always “women and children”), for starving the Palestinian population, for blocking aid and many other horrific events.

Surprisingly, the facts on which the media outlets base their reports come directly from the Health Ministry, which is part of the Hamas-run government in Gaza. Such ‘reports’ are unquestioned, despite Hamas’ history of blatantly fabricated reporting. The accounts of Israel’s ‘indiscriminate’ attacks ignore the historic efforts Israel makes to warn the civilian population of impending attacks. And media broadcasts of food shortages ignore the fact that almost 50% of the aid entering Gaza is stolen by Hamas. Additionally, journalists dismiss local reports of looting and selling of humanitarian aid in the marketplace. The media’s ‘facts’ originate either from Palestinian sources or affiliated parties who are often connected directly or indirectly to Hamas (including UN personnel, who have been implicated in supporting Hamas).

Regarding the numbers game, Hamas has cited 30,000 deaths in Gaza, while the IDF has calculated that it has killed about 15,000 Hamas’ fighters (which the media ignores). That means that even if we accept Hamas’s number, the ratio of civilians to combatants killed is 1:1. One civilian in Gaza is killed for every combatant. That is an astonishing achievement. In all the wars since 1945, the UN calculated an average civilian-to-combatant casualty ratio of 9:1. In Afghanistan, Americans they managed to reduce the ratio to 4:1. In Iraq the Americans did even better lowering it to a 3:1 ratio. But Israel has exceeded all records, with the number of civilians and combatants killed being roughly equal. This impressively low ratio is one of the reasons Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, the retired commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, has described the IDF as: “…the most moral army in the history of modern warfare.”

John W. Spencer, Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point, noted on Twitter that: “Israel has implemented more measures to prevent civilian casualties in urban warfare than any other military in the history of war. This includes many measures no military in the world has ever taken.” Nevertheless, the media keeps touting its mantra like a broken record: “Israel is responsible for genocide… starvation… raids against civilians… etc…”

Why does the media ignore objective facts and continue to be complicit in spreading fabricated and biased reports?

Israelis love peace, yet they are eager to go to war to preserve their country and Jewish identity. Those who demonize Israel and treat its self-defense as illegitimate include groups that have trafficked in blood libels against Jews for the last decade. For all of the media’s attempts to hype the carnage in the Gaza Strip as historic-level barbarity, it is miniscule when compared to the death toll and displacement caused in Syria, not to mention the Chinese government’s genocidal campaign against Muslim Uyghurs. Yet we don’t see the same obsessive reporting about these tragedies as we see in the daily barrage of  articles about Israel.

The worldwide concern for the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza can be attributed to the fact that the Jews can be held responsible, even if the casualties are resulting from a defensive war in response to the murder, rape, torture and kidnapping by the people who now claim to be victims. But none of this will alter the attitudes of left-wing politicians or the media.

Recently, European Jewish leaders accused the United Nations and the European Union, of exhibiting anti-Israel bias and promoting anti-Israel canards that are fueling antisemitism against Jews in Europe.

Regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza, media sources need to stop making “incendiary statements with little basis in fact which unjustly single out Israel.” Dr. Ariel Muzicant, European Jewish Congress interim President, said “The constant flow of Israel-bashing by senior leaders in the EU and the UN with little to no criticism of Hamas terror is clearly the main contributory factor to huge growth in antisemitism recorded by all European Jewish communities since October 7.” He added that: “We should not have to remind democratic states in Europe, nor senior officials of the European Union or the UN, that Israel is the victim, not the perpetrator of the current conflict instigated by Hamas, a group which the European Union itself categorizes as a terror organization… Israel has placed no limits on the aid allowed into Gaza despite it being involved in a military conflict with the very organization that controls almost all distribution channels in the Strip and is itself deliberately preventing much of that aid reaching those who most need it.”

Yet biased and corrupt politicians alone cannot disseminate the current antisemitic wave, which points to the media’s responsibility for the current anti-Israel climate comes into play.

What happened to the journalists who always used to verify their reports using double or triple sources? Unfortunately, much of today’s reporting employs what is known as emotion-driven journalism, using sensation to attract audiences. Instead of focusing on facts, for example investigating the source of rockets that landed on a Gaza hospital and verifying the casualties caused by the bombing, journalists are quick to repeat unsubstantiated stories by reporters within Gaza, some of whom are influenced (if not guided) by Hamas. Suddenly every reporter becomes a Middle East expert, and rushes to criticize Israel in an effort to appeal to their left-leaning audience. Repeating each other’s reports and publishing unverified ‘news’, they incite and spread anti-Israel sentiments daily to uninformed bystanders.  Therefore, it is not hyperbole to suggest that the response of the media post-October 7th is not unlike the effect of someone who falsely screams “Fire!” in a crowded theater, inflaming the public’s anxiety of a troubled world coming to haunt them. In the process, we have a generation that has lost trust in traditional news media and as result have drifted to biased sources on social media, often influenced by malicious actors.

Generally, reporters are reluctant to use compromised sources and rarely use one who’s been proven to lie, but when it comes to Israel’s struggle with Palestinian terror, the rules are different.

In his excellent article, The Dystopian Strategy Behind Hamas’ Media Machine, Nachum Kaplan outlines Hamas’ effective PR campaign, which has turned mainstream media, policymakers, and corrupt United Nations officials into inadvertent spokespeople and campaigners for an Islamist terror agenda.

He writes:

  1. They’ve built their campaign on the dormant antisemitism sentiments in the West, a monster they’ve awaken using the media’s fixation on Israel.
  2. With more than a billion Muslims globally, Hamas knew it had a huge virtual army it could activate on social media to reach a global audience. And with the 48 Muslim states, it has given them weight in forums such as the United Nations and its various committees and bodies, creating a suited army of bureaucrats with credible titles to tell lies to the international press.
  3. Exploiting the inability of most media to report from Gaza directly, Hamas controlled the information flow by using local Gazan “journalists” to feed lies, distort images, and fabricate data to the credulous international media.
  4. Hamas has understood that as long as it keeps manufacturing outrages, the 24-hour news cycle will move on quickly, and they will never be held to account.
  5. They understood  that people’s tribal loyalty is more important to them than truth, or even reality. They poisoned the West’s intellectual well, using simple slogans which  make for good visuals, and have strong memetic qualities.
  6. Lastly, they jumped on the wagon in using extremist tactics at rallies and demonstrations.

The fact that sophisticated journalists dismiss these blatant strategies, demonstrate the media’s willingness to be duped, which points to the true nature of their agenda towards Israel.

Domestically, the media has given the bullhorn to radical left-leaning groups who use violence to disrupt civil lives on campuses and throughout major cities. Their daily biased reporting, has created a false sense of mass movement when, in-fact these are the same small groups who’ve been part of every major civil disruption in the past decade. This has created turmoil, whereby in an election year, the president must act, against his will, to stop Israel from completing its eradication of the Hamas disease.

Absurdly, the media has become the tail that wags the dog by shaping America’s response to a war wherein its closest ally is defending itself against a genocidal suicidal terror organization, a proxy of Iran, the world’s most dangerous enemy, who is willing to sacrifice the last Gazan in trying to eradicate Israel.

Most American’s respect and support Israel’s war against Hamas and we remind the misguided media to return to serving the public rather than create their own drama.

About the Author
Soli now lives in the US, but he was born in Romania and later lived in Israeli boarding school Hadasim, as part of the Aliyat Hanoar. He served in the Israeli Air Force, and graduated with a degree in architecture from the Technion. After settling in Jaffa, he moved to the US and had several businesses. He has been married for 40 years, and is the father of 4 and grandfather of 7.
Related Topics
Related Posts