Dear cj,  below is a ZNet analysis by Norman Solomon, author of "The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media.". Besides presenting his own perspective on the Mideast, he analyzes the U.S. media spin and suggests some of the mechanisms that keep the party line on course. Himself an American Jew, he has harsh words for those who cry 'anti semitism' at every criticism of Israeli state policy. I try to limit the number of ZNet postings I share with the list, as requested by ZNet. If you find these useful, as I do, you might consider becoming a sustainer. If there are other sustainers on the list, please let me know, as that might help justify continuing to share ZNet material. ---  below is an MER posting entitled "I am ashamed", allegedly from a 'Yakov' - a Russian emigree Jew living in Tel Aviv,. cj subscribers sometimes complain that MER is one sided, which it is, especially in contrast to the one-sided U.S. coverage. I think it makes sense at times like these to hear to all sides, if only to understand how different people feel about what's going on. --- One of Norman Solomon's most important points is scattered throughout the article. Here it is gathered together: "In the world according to news media, the U.S. government is situated on high moral ground -- in contrast to some of the intractable adversaries. ...Rarely do American journalists explore the ample reasons to believe that the United States is part of the oft-decried cycle of violence. ... The silence is usually deafening, even among journalists who write opinion columns on a regular basis. The U.S. government's economic and military assistance to Israel adds up to a few billion dollars per year." Israel receives a large chunk (20%+ I believe) of the total US military and economic aid budget, an astonishining amount for a nation of only a few million people. In fact the U.S. has made Israel into a major world power, with hundreds of nuclear weapons,and a military entirely out of scale with the rest of the region. Israel is clearly a client state of the U.S., and Israeli policy can only be undertood as an extension of U.S. policy. There is no way Washington can be considered a 'fair broker' among the parties in the Mideast (or East Timor, or India-Pakistan, or Yugoslavia, or anywhere else for that matter). But, some of you might be asking, isn't Washington forced by public opinion to support Israel, and doesn't Israel thumb its nose at U.S. pressure to moderate its policies? Isn't Israeli policy therefore beyond U.S. control? Such a question does make some sense, despite the fact that it reflects what the media tells us. But nowhere else does Washington allow public opinion to determine strategic policy - everywhere else the policy comes first, and the supporting propaganda is designed to support it. I see no reason to believe that Israel is an exception to this rule. Even with strong public pressure and effective pro-Israel lobbying, Washington could easily have exercised a more moderating influence over past years if such was its intent - and public support for more fair-handed policies would not have been difficult to muster. In fact the creation and management of conflict is America's favorite means of global control. As long as conflict can be maintained in a region, then the U.S. has a handy excuse for intervening militarily whenever it wants - all that is required is a bit of atrocity coverage justifying whatever military action U.S. planners have have in mind, for or against either side. In the Mideast the tension between Israel and the Arab states, and among the Arab states, has been very convenient for U.S. policy in the area - which is centered around controlling the quantity, price, and distribution of oil. A public bias against Muslims in general, aided by pro-Israel sympathy, is especially desirable from a policy-options perspective, to facilitate interventions at the source of the oil whenever necessary, whether to safeguard supplies, or to take them off the market, as in Iraq. Thus it has served "U.S.interests" (a euphamism in this case for the interests of the seven-sister oil majors) to be 'forced' by pro-Israel public sentiment to bring things to the state they are now in. But there seems to be a shift coming in U.S. Mideast policy. We can see this from a recent report of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which I'm posting simulataneously as cj#1138.2. rkm ============================================================================  Delivered-To: •••@••.••• From: "Michael Albert" <•••@••.•••> To: <•••@••.•••> Subject: ZNet Commentary / Norman Solomon / Media Spin and Israel / Oct 14 Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 21:43:40 +0100 Commentaries are a premium sent to Sustainer Donors of Z/ZNet. To learn more about the project and join folks can consult ZNet at http://www.zmag.org or the ZNet Sustainer Pages at http://www.zmag.org/Commentaries/donorform.htm ==== MEDIA SPIN REMAINS IN SYNC WITH ISRAELI OCCUPATION By Norman Solomon The formula for American media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is simple: Report on the latest developments in the fragile "peace process." Depict U.S. officials as honest brokers in the negotiations. Emphasize the need for restraint and compromise instead of instability and bloodshed. In the world according to news media, the U.S. government is situated on high moral ground -- in contrast to some of the intractable adversaries. "The conflict that had been so elaborately dressed in the civilizing cloak of a peace effort has been stripped to its barest essence: Jew against Arab, Arab against Jew," a New York Times dispatch from Jerusalem declared as fierce clashes in occupied territory neared the end of their second week. Soon afterwards, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright proclaimed: "The cycle of violence has to be stopped." Such pronouncements from Washington get a lot of respectful media play in our country. Rarely do American journalists explore the ample reasons to believe that the United States is part of the oft-decried cycle of violence. Nor, in the past couple of weeks, has there been much media analysis of the fact that the violence was overwhelmingly inflicted on Palestinian people. Within days, several dozen Palestinians were killed by heavily armed men in uniform -- often described by CNN and other news outlets as "Israeli security forces." Under the circumstances, it's a notably benign-sounding term for an army that shoots down protesters. As for the rock-throwing Palestinians, I have never seen or heard a single American news account describing them as "pro-democracy demonstrators." Yet that would be an appropriate way to refer to people who -- after more than three decades of living under occupation -- are in the streets to demand self-determination. While Israeli soldiers and police, with their vastly superior firepower, do most of the killing, Israel's public-relations engines keep whirling like well-oiled tops. Days ago, tilted by the usual spin, American news stories highlighted the specious ultimatums issued by Prime Minister Ehud Barak as he demanded that Palestinians end the violence -- while uniformed Israelis under his authority continued to kill them. Beneath the Israeli "peace process" rhetoric echoed by American media, an implicit message isn't hard to discern: If only Palestinians would stop resisting the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, it would no longer be necessary for Israeli forces to shoot them. "Israel Extends Time For Peace," said the lead headline on the Oct. 10 front page of USA Today. "Israel early today extended a deadline for Palestinians to end rioting," the article began. At this rate, we may someday see a headline that reads: "Israel Demands Palestinians Stop Attacking Bullets With Their Bodies." Of course, amid all the nifty Orwellian touches, the proper behavior of people whose homeland remains under occupation has never quite been spelled out. But U.S. media coverage has reflexively mimicked the themes coming out of the White House and State Department. It all makes sense -- as long as we set aside basic concepts of human rights -- as long as we refuse to acknowledge that without justice there can be no real peace. For American journalists on mainstream career ladders, it's prudent to avoid making a big deal about Israel's human rights violations, which persist without letup in tandem with Israel's occupation of land it captured in the 1967 war. Many pundits are fond of cloaking the occupiers in mantles of righteousness. And we hear few questions raised about the fact that the occupiers enjoy the powerful backing of the United States. The silence is usually deafening, even among journalists who write opinion columns on a regular basis. The U.S. government's economic and military assistance to Israel adds up to a few billion dollars per year. Among media professionals, that aid is widely seen as an untouchable "third rail." To challenge U.S. support for Israel is to invite a torrent of denunciations -- first and foremost, the accusation of "anti-Semitism." Occasionally, I've written columns criticizing U.S. media for strong pro-Israel bias in news reporting and spectrums of commentary. Every time, I can count on a flurry of angry letters that accuse me of being anti-Semitic. It's a timeworn, knee-jerk tactic: Whenever someone makes a coherent critique of Israel's policies, immediately go on the attack with charges of anti-Jewish bigotry. Numerous American supporters of Israel resort to this tactic. Perhaps the difficulties of defending the Israeli occupation on its merits have encouraged substitution of the "anti-Semitic" epithet for reasoned debate. Like quite a few other Jewish Americans, I'm appalled by what Israel is doing with U.S. tax dollars. Meanwhile, as journalists go along to get along, they diminish the humanity of us all. "Ask not for whom the bell tolls." Norman Solomon is a syndicated columnist. His latest book is "The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media." ============================================================================  From: MER <•••@••.•••> To: "MER" <•••@••.•••> Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000 09:33:51 +0000 Subject: "I AM ASHAMED..." - Yacov in Tel Aviv _______ ____ ______ / |/ / /___/ / /_ // M I D - E A S T R E A L I T I E S / /|_/ / /_/_ / /\ Making Sense of the Middle East /_/ /_/ /___/ /_/ \10/15 http://www.MiddleEast.Org News, Information, & Analysis That Governments, Interest Groups, and the Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know! * * * * * * * IF YOU DON'T GET MER, YOU JUST DON'T GET IT! To receive MER regularly email to •••@••.••• "I AM ASHAMED..." Yacov in Tel Aviv "My years in Tel Aviv as a Russian Jew have been for the wrong reason. I came seeking a homeland, as the Russians wouldn't let me feel welcome in theirs. I quickly realised that the Palestinians are treated in the same way that we, Jews, were and are treated throughout the rest of the world. "I have heard the propaganda that my country pollutes the masses with. I have seen the atrocities that go unmentioned. I have known Palestinian prisoners and their families who have been tortured into confessing crimes they did not commit, all so that I can live "peacefully" with an Uzi slung across my shoulder. "I am ashamed to say that my people raped the Palestinians in '47 and stole their land in '48, relentlessly, with the support of the US and the UK. The Palestinians, in fact, are willing to tolerate our presence, despite all this, but the more they allow, the further my greedy government pushes. It is no wonder their frustration has turned to an 'at any cost' protest. "To my country I say this: You have done so well to convince me and the world that this is our land, a Jewish land. You failed to admit your violation of international law in doing so. We have overlooked international law, but we must now answer to moral law." Yacov - Tel Aviv, Israel Quoted on BBC, 13 Oct MiD-EasT RealitieS - www.MiddleEast.Org Phone: 202 362-5266 Fax: 815 366-0800 Email: •••@••.••• To subscriibe email to •••@••.••• with subject SUBSCRIBE ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Ireland Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• CDR website & list archives: http://cyberjournal.org content-searchable archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/ featured article: http://cyberjournal.org/cj/rkm/Whole_Earth_Review/Escaping_the_Matrix.shtml A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. -- Frantz Fanon Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. ============================================================================ .