Is the American Media Finally Waking Up to the Truth about Israel's Assault on Gaza?
A Palestinian youth carries a bicycle from the wreckage of a building which was hit in an Israeli strike on the southern Gaza town of Rafah, on August 2, 2014
Photo Credit: AFP
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There are more signs that what the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-2009 did for the left, the latest assault is doing for the mainstream: solidifying a perception that Israeli leadership has lost its moorings, opening the floodgates of criticism.
The Israeli attack on the UN school on Wednesday followed later by the attack on civilians in Shuja’iyyah market during an announced ceasefire had an effect on public officials. The school attack at last gained a rebuke from the Obama administration, though it didn’t pin blame on Israel. At the State Department briefing, reporters expressed distress that the U.S. is not saying more.
[Update: The U.S. government has now concluded that Israeli shells hit the school. The White House has called the attack "indefensible." Reporters in the State Department this afternoon asked again and again why the U.S. is supplying arms to Israel given massive civilian casualties. Why is this different from when we cut off arms to Egypt after it fired on its citizens? two reporters have asked.]
And some of our leading MSM voices are letting their outrage show: Ayman Mohyeldin of NBC and Erin Burnett of CNN have shown humanity and courage. Burnett has tee’d up the obvious question: Why are Americans funding Israeli carnage?
The US has finally condemned Israel implicitly, by condemning the shelling of the UN school. AP on twitter:
It’s the sharpest criticism the U.S. has leveled at Israel over the more than three weeks of fighting
The White House did call for “a full, prompt and thorough investigation.” Here’s the White House’s equivocal statement, from Eric Schultz to the press:
the United States does condemn the shelling of a U.N. school in Gaza which reportedly killed and injured innocent Palestinians, including children and U.N. humanitarian workers….We also condemn those responsible for hiding weapons in the United Nations facilities in Gaza. All of these actions violate the international understanding of the U.N.’s neutrality.
As you know, we first and foremost believe in Israel’s government — in the Israeli government’s right to and obligation to defend their citizens. They’ve chosen to take military action to provide for that protection. But as you also note, we’ve been very clear that Israel needs to do more to live up to its own standards to limit the civilian casualties.
At the State Department briefing, Matt Lee of the Associated Press dared to wonder about “consequences” if the U.S. ever were to determine that Israel hit the U.N. school, and another reporter asked about U.S. munitions involved in these assaults on civilians. Throughout the briefing, reporters asked about the overwhelming nature of the Israeli assault; and State condemned the school attack again and again, without blaming Israel, and expressed “concern” about the number of civilian casualties.
Excerpts of the reporters’ questions, along with Marie Harf’s occasional response:
Question: According to UNRWA, this is the sixth time that one of their schools has been hit. Israel has, in the past, said that it regrets any civilian casualties, says that it’s doing its best not to – or to mitigate collateral damage. You have said in the past that you think Israel needs to do more to live up to its own very high standards. This keeps happening, though, and I’m wondering, these mistakes or these – I don’t know if you – I don’t know if “mistakes” is the right word, but this seems to happen over and over again. Are you concerned that Israel is not attempting to live up to its own very high standards, or do you believe that they are trying to but are falling short in these cases?