The recurring elements in the manipulation of public opinion and discourse in wartime also appeared during ‘Protective Edge.’ Shaked Spier brings you the Ten Truths, Ten Commandments and Ten Lies of war.
By Shaked Spier
Several truths dominated the hegemonic discourse in Israel during and since “Protective Edge”:
1. Israel doesn’t want war, we only defend ourselves
2. Hamas was solely responsible for this war
3. The Hamas leadership is evil and looks evil
4. Israel is defending a noble cause, not special interests
5. Hamas carries out intentional atrocities; we only make mistakes (“collateral damage”)
6. Hamas uses unlawful weapons
7. Israel suffers few losses, the Palestinians in Gaza suffer many losses
8. Intellectuals and artists support our cause
9. Our cause is sacred
10. Those who doubt our cause and official statements are traitors
Many of these truths accompany us in times of cease-fire as well. However, as the past few months have shown, the public demand to “fall into line” in times of violent escalations strengthens the information and knowledge elite’s control over what is allowed to be said; and consequently – what is allowed to be thought. Such argumentative alignments (at least concerning some of the above-mentioned points) can be observed in places usually considered strongholds of criticism, but which actually constitute part of the Israeli mainstream discourse and media, such as the Haaretz newspaper, and the left-wing Labor and Meretz political parties.
Due to language barriers, my ability to follow and analyze the mainstream discourse and official reporting within the Palestinian society is quite limited. Interviews and reporting in the international press, combined with testimonies of Arabic-speaking friends and activists, allow me to assume similar argumentative lines can be observed among the leadership and institutional press in Gaza (while truth number 7 constitutes an exception, as explained below).Read More