Despite media narrative, Palestinians are far from ‘woke’

Here’s the headline accompanying a Dec. 25th Independent article about Palestinian reaction to upcoming Israeli elections, written by their Mid-East correspondent Bel Trew.

At first glance, the headline likely wouldn’t seem controversial.  However, if you reflect upon the assumption of the text, you can see an illustration of a larger pattern of media bias in their coverage the region.  The headline is culled from a paragraph in which a Palestinian Christian named Sami laments the prospects for peace and a two-state solution if another Likud government is formed – a government the Indy reporter described as “the most right-wing” in Israeli history.

Leaving aside the question of whether the current government is indeed “the most right-wing in history”, this framing, which permeates the article, sets up a dichotomy between putatively ‘far-right’ Israelis – in the context of a media which normally uses the word “right” as a pejorative – and, presumably, the more ‘progressive’ Palestinians who “fear” Israel’s dangerous rightward lurch.

Though this political contrast is the subtext of the article, Trew never explicitly assigns an ideology to the Palestinians, which is consistent with the manner in which reporters refrain from analysing the ideology of Palestinians and their leaders – an omission nurtured by the tendency to view Palestinians as victims only, devoid of agency.  The media frame the conflict almost exclusively in terms of what Israel does or doesn’t do, which denies news consumers a fuller understanding of the conflict.

If journalists were to take Palestinian views and decisions seriously, their readers would see that Palestinians and their leaders are far more ‘right-wing’ than Israelis and their leaders on matters ranging from the treatment of women, support for violence and attitudes towards minorities. Polls from Pew Global and Anti-Defamation League (in 2013 and 2014) reveal the following:

  • 40% of Palestinians think suicide bombing is sometimes justified.
  • 89% of Palestinians think homosexuality is immoral.
  • 89% of Palestinians think women must always “obey” their husband.
  • 89% of Palestinians favor the imposition of sharia law into their society.
  • 45% of Palestinians think honour killings are sometimes justifiable.
  • 93% of Palestinians hold antisemitic views.

Palestinians, it seems, are not quite the peace and social justice warriors of media lore. They are arguably ‘far-right’, and certainly far from ‘woke’.

Whatever the outcome of the upcoming Israeli elections, we suggest taking with a grain of salt ideological characterisations of the new coalition, and treating with even a greater degree of skepticism idealised depictions of Palestinians that serve to reinforce the desired media narrative, yet have little if any relationship to reality.

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24 replies »

  1. Nothing about how Palestinians fare under their own ‘right wing’ government need be reported in the Independent. It’s just a never-ending stream of war propaganda agains the Jewish State. The only question left is which party is the others’ useful tool in this arrangement.

  2. Since their people have been oppressed by ‘The Jewish state’ for the last 70 years it’s perhaps not surprising that 93% of Palestinians don’t distinguish too well between Israel and the Jews.

    • Since Jews have been oppressed by Arabs for 2,000 years, one would think that they couldn’t distinguish among Arabs, but they do so with success. Of course, sencar doesn’t ascribe that amount of intelligence equally.

      • The problem with your childish twist on my words, Michael, is that it’s simply not true. Until Zionism reared its ugly head the few Jews in the region lived peacefully with their Arab neighbors. Moreover most of them opposed the Zionists when they came.

    • Since 99%+ of the people terrorizing (hijacking, shooting, stabbing, poisoning, ramming cars/trucks, threatening, raping) for the last 200 years (President Thomas Jefferson v Barbary pirates) it’s perhaps not surprising that most people don’t distinguish too well between Islam, Muslims and Terrorists.

    • 70 years ago the ‘west bank’ was in the hands Jordan and Gaza was occupied by Egypt. Where was Israel oppressing these ‘palestinians’?

      Your argument about the peacefulness reminds me of the arguments made by American southerners extolling the days of Jim Crow.

      • Your historical knowledge is poor, Jeff. Three quarters of Palestinians were expelled in 1947/8. Hundreds more were murdered trying to return to their land. Those remaining in the new Israel spent decades under military rule and have been second class citizens ever since.
        Jews and Arabs lived peacefully under Ottoman rule; there is no evidence of ‘Jim Crow’ laws. The British Mandate favoured Jews from the start. Palestinians only resisted when it became apparent that Jewish immigration was a threat to their homeland. Obviously Gaza and the West Bank became a significant issue only post ‘67 although Israel conducted frequent cross border raids in earlier years.

        • sencar,
          Your historical knowledge is dismal. Three quarters of “Palestinians” (as they did not at that time refer to themselves) were not expelled. That is simply a lie. It is false history and shouldn’t even have to be refuted. The Arabs who did remain became Israeli Arab citizens, and yes for a time they were under military rule, but certainly not so Israel could just discriminate for the fun of it. To think that is the case says more about you and your antisemitic European history than anything. Speaking of expelled, there were NO Jews left in the areas conquered by the Arabs in the 1948 war which the Arabs themselves launched in breach and contravention of the UN Charter.

          “Those remaining in the new Israel spent decades under military rule and have been second class citizens ever since.” Second class? Second class in that there are no restrictions on them? Second class in their equal rights? Their right to vote, free speech? Their right to all public areas? Their right to go to the same universities as Jews, the same beaches, the same everything?

          “Jews and Arabs lived peacefully under Ottoman rule; there is no evidence of ‘Jim Crow’ laws.” You have got to be kidding.
          Jews were spat upon. Yes, things were very peaceful, except when they weren’t. Guess who got the bad end of it. You have to be truly ignorant or in complete denial of ME history.

          ” Palestinians only resisted when it became apparent that Jewish immigration was a threat to their homeland. ”
          They didn’t call themselves “Palestinians,” the border of what they now call “historic Palestine” were borders drawn for the first time in history by your government, and not for the “Palestinian people” as they are now known after hijacking the name. They insisted that their homeland was called Syria, and certainly more than once Arab spokespeople insisted there was no such country and that Palestine was a “Zionist scheme.” There was no homeland and no so such nation, ethnic group, state, or collective known as “Palestinians.” But the “threat” of Jewish immigration is something that I’m sure rings bells in the heart of Europeans such as you. Only this time the Jews were not immigrants arriving in some foreign land, but returning to their native homeland. The Jews returned.

          But again, you try to make it out as if the Jews had done something illegal, when in fact Israel’s establishment was the fulfillment of international law. There existed no mandate for an Arab State west of the Jordan River. It is Israel that wants as many rights for Palestinian Arabs as they can afford to give them without being attacked and blown up, overrun and massacred. It is Israel which even though it has the better legal claim to all of former Mandate Palestine would like a peaceful Arab State or entity next door. It has no wish at all to rule over any other people (and BTW, for the most part doesn’t!), but it is the duty of the state to protect its people, whereas the ‘palestinians’ have a poor record according Israelis their right to life as well as sovereignty in their own country. Not getting blown up is a bigger deal in human rights law than the inconvenience of checkpoints (which didn’t even exist before Oslo when the PLO took over. People were free to go anywhere. Only after massacring Israeli Jews were restrictive measures on movement put in place, and quite rightfully so). Israeli Jews have human rights too! And they have a right to their homeland in Israel under international law and not get murdered by some angry Arabs who are taught from early childhood to kill the Jews. The Palestinian Arabs have had 25 years under the Oslo Accords to teach their people to live in peace with Israel, and they have done the exact opposite! They refuse to live in peace with Israel. You should have known that by the fact that they turned down each and every offer of statehood. You should have realized that by reading the Hamas charter, and the propaganda they feed their own people. You should know that because they teach their kids the glory of being a martyr for killing Jews. It’s all pretty out in the open, and you, like many people just refuse to look at the reality. And your awful media doesn’t want to touch it.

          • You seem preoccupied by whether the indigenous population of Palestine called themselves ‘Palestinians’, Jeff. Colonisation is colonisation whatever the native people call themselves. Native Americans didn’t call themselves Indians or native Australians, aborigines, but their ethnic cleansing was as real as that of the Palestinians by the Zionists.

            • sencar,

              In baseball the pitch you just thew is known as a “hanger.”

              The indigenous people of “Palestine” did call themselves Palestinians from the beginning of, and right up until the end of the Mandate. After that, they became known as Israelis.
              “Native Americans didn’t call themselves Indians or native Australians, aborigines, but their ethnic cleansing was as real as that of the Palestinians by the Zionists.”
              No, native Americans called themselves “Comanches”, “Iroquois”, “Cherokee”, etc. Jews call themselves Jews, and their homeland “Israel.” These are all examples of native, indigenous names stemming from particular groups’ native languages, folklores and foundational myths. The English call themselves “English” and their homeland “England.” So far, so good.

              But where does “Palestine” and “Palestinian” come from, Palestinians? No. They do not even have an indigenous name for themselves! They are Arabs. Arabs colonized Palestine. Hello! And lived there under the protection of an empire.
              I’ll give you a research project. Go and find out what “Nablus” means in “classical Palestinian.” Or, just sit around playing with pencils. Either project ought to keep you occupied enough to not show up here again anytime soon.

            • You seem to have a very peculiar way of defining “indigenous,” sencar. Exactly when, according to your standards, does a population that arrives from elsewhere become “indigenous?” It certainly couldn’t be the Palestinians as their own representative to the UN had admitted as much to Abba Eban.

              • Ultimately, Michael, we all came out of Africa, so no people has been ‘indigenous’ anywhere else forever. However the Arab population occupying Palestine at the time of the first Aliyah had been there for generations and were certainly more indigenous than the colonialist Zionists from Eastern Europe.

                • sencar,
                  That is a ridiculous answer, and a lousy excuse for your untenable position. You obviously don’t know when to stop.

                  The border of “historic Palestine” had not even been invented at the time of the first Aliyah. Jews were living there at the time, because Jews had been living there throughout Jewish history – a history your friends are mightily trying to erase and replace with an anti-historical narrative of ancient “Palestinians”.
                  And no, ancestors of all people claiming today to be ‘palestinian’ were not already there, and even at that time many were recent migrants.
                  At least you admit they were Arabs. Arabs control almost all the land in the mideast. Why would anyone support them taking a tiny sliver of land away from the Jews? They know and have known forever that Israel is the land of the Jews. Their program is to throw the Jews into the sea and erase Jewish independence on any millimeter of land. What kind of people would want to do that sort of thing? The answer to that question is obvious.

                • Cherry picking must be your favorite pastime sencar. You blatantly overlook the fact that there has been continuous Jewish habitation of the entire land of Israel since the time before there were any Arabs whatsoever which makes them more indigenous than the Arabs later from places like Egypt and Iraq. And since you reference the first Aliya which was well over a hundred years ago, there have been several generations of Jews have lived there since their ancestors arrived.

                • I have to give you credit, Sencar: you’ve come back stupider than ever but you manage to keep your ego Olympic-sized.

          • Your historical knowledge is non-existent. Over 50% of the Islamofascist colonists left in 1947 BEFORE there was a state. The number of people expelled by Israel was less than 1%, but those are mere facts and morons like you don’t do facts.

            What about the 1 million Jews expelled by the Islamofascists?

            The laws under Ottoman rule were far worse than any Jim Crow laws – you are a liar. The British Mandate was entire FOR the re-establishment of the Jewish State. The Islamofascists got over 99% of the land and the Jews 0.07%

    • The Palestinians had three credible state offers in the 2000s and rejected every single one of them for sake of blowing up soft targets. And need I remind you how back in 1948, the new Arab tried to eliminate the new Israeli state in war of annihilation?

      It’s not that the Palestinians– who didn’t begin identifying as such until 1960s– have been oppressed by Israelis this whole time (Jordan and Egypt, after all, occupied WB and Gaza until ’67). It’s that you’ve been a complete Nazi loving, Jew hating, worthless tool your entire existence.

      Who do we blame for that? Your mother? God?