“I have been informed that I am being replaced as the Editor in Chief of @eLife for retweeting a @TheOnion piece that calls out indifference to the lives of Palestinian civilians.” Michael B. Eisen
Michael B. Eisen is just the latest victim of unrelenting pro-Israel war propaganda spread by the state and by its friends in corporate media. The scorched earth policy is operating in the United States and in its allied nations such as Canada, where physician Dr. Ben Thomson was suspended from his job after posting on the X platform,
No babies were beheaded, there have been no confirmed reports of rapes. You repeat this nonsense out of racism. In the meantime, Palestinians are experiencing genocide and war crimes and you are silent. History will judge you very badly.
Everything Thomson said is true. The beheaded baby trope was made up out of whole cloth and Palestinians are the group being subjected to war crimes. War crimes are very clearly defined in international law. Geneva Conventions IV, Article 33 explains,
No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
Israel’s rationale for indiscriminate bombing in Gaza is collective punishment by its own admission. Regardless of what acts were committed by Hamas forces on October 7, killing entire Palestinian families in retaliation is indefensible under international law. Yet this clearly documented doctrine that is ordinarily upheld as an international norm no longer applies because the U.S. finds doing so to be a great inconvenience.
Foreign policy under the Biden administration has reached its nadir as fantasies about breaking up Russia or containing China are unchecked by a president who truly believes that U.S. power is unlimited and can accomplish anything he wants it to. When asked on the program 60 Minutes if the U.S. will have difficulty carrying on proxy wars in Ukraine and Israel simultaneously, Biden’s reply exposed his simple minded and dangerous belief about U.S. power.
No. We’re the United States of America for God’s sake, the most powerful nation in the history— not in the world, in the history of the world. The history of the world. We can take care of both of these and still maintain our overall international defense.
Biden thinks that U.S. power can create any outcome that he may dream up, that Russia will allow Ukraine to be used as a point of attack or that the rest of the world will stand by passively and silently as the U.S. gives Israel carte blanche to kill thousands of people. Joe Biden’s recent trip to Israel was an unmitigated disaster because of his arrogance and stupidity. He was originally scheduled to meet King Abdullah of Jordan and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt along with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But the bombing of the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza was an affront to every Arab country, even those like Egypt and Jordan who maintain friendly ties with the U.S.
Biden’s incompetence and his ill-considered decision to go to Israel at all and to publicly agree with the Israeli claim that a misfired Hamas rocket hit the hospital and not the Israeli air force, made the king and the president look bad in the eyes of their people. It is one thing to be perceived as a U.S. puppet, it is quite another to be seen with a U.S. president who sides with Israel as atrocities are being committed.
The foreign policy debacle was not described as such in U.S. corporate media. His failure to engage Arab leaders was swept under the rug and disappeared into a black hole. The president’s televised address was replete with trite platitudes and was devoid of anything other than unquestioned support of Israel with an odd swipe at Vladimir Putin thrown in for good measure. Actually the Putin reference was not so odd. The point of the speech was to announce a request to congress to allocate $61 billion to Ukraine and $14 billion to Israel and $7 billion to Taiwan. Why Taiwan? Biden’s calculus is to antagonize China in the process of creating more bloodshed in Gaza and Ukraine. Apparently the most powerful country in the history of the world believes that the more risks to world peace the better.
This full court press of a pro-Zionist narrative that connects the white house to the television networks and national newspapers has also given a green light to Israel’s supporters to practice their own form of collective punishment. A social media post can end a job or as Harvard and Columbia University law students discovered, even the prospect of a job offer.
The 1950s McCarthy era is remembered for the blacklists which effectively deprived anyone of a public life if they were said to be a communist or a leftist of any stripe. Now 70 years later the same imperative to silence those who stray from official doctrine is being whipped up again. The U.S. and Canada are not alone as European allies France and Germany banned any pro-Palestine protests from taking place. A French official said,
Pro-Palestinian demonstrations must be prohibited because they are likely to generate disturbances to the public order.
He was correct in one sense. Public denunciations of imperialist policies do disturb the public order and that is a good thing for anyone who believes in democratic rights. But democracy is the last thing that the U.S. and its friends want. It is difficult to support Israeli government carnage if people don’t fear being beat down. Intimidation is the whole point of the exercise and anyone who dares to show even a little empathy with Palestine is quickly used to make an example.
Writer Viet Thanh Nguyen had the temerity to sign a letter which expressed sympathy for Israeli and Palestinian deaths but which added, “But the unprecedented and indiscriminate violence that is still escalating against the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, with the financial and political support of Western powers, can and must be brought to an end.” That sentiment was enough for his speech at the 92nd Street Y in New York City to be canceled.
The censorship begins at the very top. The State Department told employees that they were not to use phrases containing the words “de-escalation/ceasefire,” “end to violence/bloodshed” and “restoring calm” in any press materials. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre labeled congressional calls for de-escalation as “repugnant” and added for good measure,
There are not two sides here. There are not two sides.
From the president on down, people in this country have been told that there is only one side, the side of Israel, and that anyone who says otherwise is to be ignored or shouted down. Of course big law firms and hospitals can fire people who dare to break the spell of American exceptionalism when a presidential administration gives even tacit permission to punish those who speak up.
Yet people are speaking up. The corporate media may give little attention to or smear the thousands of people who protest Israel’s war crimes all over the country. They have done so in the thousands despite the threats lodged against them. Biden and his team of amateurs may think that the U.S. cannot suffer any setbacks, but history shows that power is not unlimited. Billions of dollars and press collusion notwithstanding, U.S. policy of supporting Israel threatens that region and the whole house of cards of bad U.S. foreign policy decisions from Ukraine to Taiwan. Perhaps they know that and realize that they must enforce conformity. But history shows that can’t last forever either.