WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Living in the crossfire

A Palestinian graduate of Georgetown University in the United States has found deep biases in favour of Israel in the US media reporting of the Middle East conflict.

Raphaela Fischer’s father was killed while giving medical attention to police in the Palestinian town of Beit Jala during the second Intifada in 2000. After graduating from Bethlehem University, she vowed to undertake postgraduate journalism studies at Georgetown University to probe the reasons for a perceived bias in reporting of the conflict which took her father’s life.

‘I hated journalists then. Because, had Dad not been German, he would probably not have had any media coverage and just faded into history as a mere, nameless, faceless statistic in the mounting death toll of the Palestinians that was barely covered. This fact infuriated me. My privacy was a price I was willing to pay for the people needed to read about it. The world was entitled to the truth about what was happening on Palestinian grounds.’

According to studies examining the first year of news coverage of the uprising conducted by If Americans Knew, there was a significant disparity in the likelihood of a death being reported based on the ethnicity of the person killed—which appeared almost always in favor of the Israelis.

FAIR has also expressed concern about this “deeply disturbing bias and misinformation about the conflict”, especially the news reported or broadcast to the American public. In one of their six-month studies of the National Public Radio (NPR), FAIR found that the network reported 81 percent of the Israeli conflict-related deaths, but only 34 percent of Palestinians deaths, for instance.

Patrick O’Connor, an activist with the International Solidarity Movement and Palestine Media Watch, said that the editorial page of major news organizations is far worse.

Less strikingly is the habit of leaving out important facts while covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As Alison Weir pointed out, the crucial fact is that while the Palestinians are starving, the US financial aid to Israel is flowing in daily.

“We give Israel at least $7 to 8 million per day of our tax money,” she stated. “It is off the charts of our foreign expenditures.”
 
Estimations of the aid for Israel rise to a staggering $100 billion in the form of loans that are not expected to be repaid and donations which can be used unconditionally to buy weapons, and tanks and manufacture more nuclear heads. Other reports have shown that over the years, Congress has pledged an annual $3 billion in US economic and military aid to Israel.

For Raphaela’s full paper, click here.