NY Times Says US Has “Little Sway in Gaza:” A Little (Times) White Lie

Mark Landler in The New York Times today tells us that the United States is watching from the sidelines as Israel massacres civilians in Gaza. Our diplomacy has little effect, he says, and our top officials are at loggerheads with their Israeli counterparts.

It is almost as if the Times were following a script provided yesterday by Glenn Greenwald, who predicted just such a stance in a piece he wrote for the new online media outlet, The Intercept. In an article titled “Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack,” he refers to “the posture of helpless detachment typically adopted by Obama officials and their supporters” in regards to Israeli attacks and notes that “media figures” predictably assume the same pose:

“The U.S. government feeds Israel the weapons it uses and steadfastly defends its aggression both publicly and at the U.N.; the U.S. Congress unanimously enacts one resolution after the next to support and enable Israel; and then American media figures pretend that the Israeli attack has nothing to do with their country, that it’s just some sort of unfortunately intractable, distant conflict between two equally intransigent foreign parties in response to which all decent Americans helplessly throw up their hands as though they bear no responsibility.”

The Landler story today may be right about tensions between U.S. and Israeli officials, but it follows the usual line in failing to acknowledge the full complicity of the United States in the attacks on Gaza and in presenting the pose of helpless frustration that Greenwald describes.

In a heart-rending first person account in the Times opinion pages, “Gaza: A Wartime Diary,” by Atef Abu Saif, we read of one moment in his family’s ongoing ordeal: “an F-16 comes in close again, booming above us, terrifying us all over again.” Here is U.S. complicity on view. The F-16 is an American weapon, as are the Apache helicopters and other weapons that also terrorize the people of Gaza.

Landler’s story notes that the United States has continued to provide arms to Israel, but this is briefly mentioned. The Times is not eager to advertise the fact that the United States provides $8.5 million in military aid every day to Israel and precisely $0 to Palestinians. The paper reports that Congress recently voted to pay an additional $225 million to Israel for its Iron Dome defense system, but it makes no effort to point out that the U.S. pays nothing to protect the trapped residents of Gaza.

American military aid to Israel should be a major story, especially in times of budget cuts when U.S. citizens are deprived of much needed funds for education, health care, housing and infrastructure. But the Times shields the U.S. “special relationship” from a full accounting, even when it means the deaths of innocents in Gaza.

Barbara Erickson

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