The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel, and the Media (book review)

Palestinians scuffle with Israeli occupation forces at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on Dec 8, 2017. (photo: AFP)

Greg Shupak’s new book documents — and corrects — the warped media narrative on the Palestine-Israel conflict.

By Belen Fernandez | Middle East Eye | Feb 22, 2018

Shupak ably illustrates Israel’s usefulness in complementing US bellicosity and furthering imperial designs in not only the Middle East but also the wider world, describing Israel as a “garrison for US-led imperialist capitalism” as well as a convenient venue “for the US to subsidize America’s military industry” via gargantuan military aid and weapons deals.

In 1988, his final year of service as New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief before being appointed diplomatic correspondent in Washington, Thomas Friedman gave an interview to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, in which he proposed some symbolic concessions to the Palestinians in order to keep them in line.

The Palestinians must be given “something to lose,” argued Friedman, because “I believe that as soon as Ahmed has a seat in the bus, he will limit his demands.”

Writing shortly thereafter, Noam Chomsky wondered whether a prominent journalist might also be promoted to the post of chief diplomatic correspondent by “urg[ing] South Africans to ‘give Sambo a seat in the bus,’ or propos[ing] that Jews be granted something to lose, because ‘if you give Hymie a seat in the bus, he may limit his demands.’”

Now, three decades later, Friedman remains regrettably institutionalized at the Times, despite having told the nation of Iraq to “suck on this.” But even without his assistance, the US newspaper of record has exhibited enthusiastic dedication to traditions of Orientalist contemptuousness and other forms of bias.

In a new book titled The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel, and the Media, Greg Shupak, a professor of media studies at the University of Guelph in Toronto, undertakes to document — and correct — the warped media narrative on Palestine-Israel.

Shupak focuses particularly on the New York Times’ editorial coverage of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s summer 2014 assault on the Gaza Strip that, according to United Nations statistics, killed 2,251 Palestinians — the vast majority of them civilians and more than 550 of them children. Israel lost a handful of civilians, in addition to over 60 soldiers.

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