By Arlene Bridges Samuels
True to form, much of mainstream media downplayed the IDF’s outstanding accomplishment in its recent Operation Home and Garden in the terrorist stronghold of Jenin. During this 48-hour operation in Israel’s biblical heartland, no Palestinian Arab civilians were killed—only terrorists. In a crowded urban setting where terrorist cowards habitually hide behind civilians, IDF’s success is close to a miracle.
However, it also reflects one of the guiding principles of Israel’s military: to avoid civilian casualties at all costs.
If this is the first time you have heard that truth, you will doubtless agree that the mainstream media has once again reported its own version of Middle East warfare: anti-Israel propaganda. The intense level of decades-long media bias against the Jewish state has built skyscrapers of shop-worn lies repeatedly used instead of reliable research. In fact, to hear much of the mainstream media describe this operation, it was the Israeli Defense Forces who attacked innocent civilians.
Israel’s latest operation to root out terrorists was launched six months after 25 Israeli civilians were murdered there. The Palestinian city, Jenin, is now an Iran-bankrolled terror base. Among their discoveries, IDF soldiers found basement tunnels in mosques packed with sophisticated weapons. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht expressed another of Israel’s exemplary principles, declaring, “Places of worship should never be used as a front for terrorist activity.”
One of the most glaring examples of slander occurred on July 4, when a BBC news anchor interviewed former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. She made this contemptible accusation: “Israeli forces are happy to kill children.” The BBC, considered the top tier of journalism for western media, was forced into a lackluster apology. Her seven words, like so many other lies, could have lingered in a stack of daily fictional accusations against the IDF and Israel. Thankfully, the BBC’s apology—which admitted “the language used in this line of questioning was not phrased well and was inappropriate”—was reported by other mainstream media outlets.
The good news is that not all media outlets are so quick to demonstrate bias against Israel. Instead, we are hearing voices of reason—admitting the Jenin raid was a counter-terrorism response on the part of beleaguered Israel, acknowledging how Palestinian terrorists routinely hide behind civilians and utilize tunnels to target Israeli civilians and soldiers, and that many Palestinians are now blaming the PA for its role.
Here are some excellent examples of what responsible journalism looks like:
A Newsweek contributor, writing about how close Jenin is to Jerusalem, said: “Israel’s surgical strike was totally justified. … Americans would never abide terrorist mega-centers in New Haven, Connecticut, 70 miles from New York, or in Richmond, Virginia, 90 miles from Washington, D.C.
From Reuters: “The Jenin camp has long been a hotbed of militants with an array of light weapons and a growing arsenal of explosive devices.”
An article in The Washington Post included this powerful promise by Netanyahu: “If Jenin will return to terrorism, then we will return to Jenin!”
Propaganda is one of many weapons Israel is fighting. Tragically, Israel-haters and most media outlets may not necessarily realize or even care that they are reenacting Hitler’s strategies. Revisiting Nazi era history is an informative and important backdrop when you are consuming most media. By definition, propaganda is “information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, or nation.” Before and since Israel’s modern establishment in 1948, Germany’s Joseph Goebbels was prominent in Hitler’s detailed propaganda plan. In the early 1930s, Goebbels made sure poisonous lies began crawling into German society little by little until the devastation of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, burst into global awareness.
Historian and Holocaust survivor Professor Zvi Bacharach describes Kristallnacht, which took place when he was 10 years old. He describes some of the final grim results of November 9–10, 1933. “Ninety-one Jews were murdered, more than 1,400 synagogues across Austria and Germany were torched, and Jewish-owned shops and businesses were plundered and destroyed.” Professor Bacharach also explained that Nazis arrested 30,000 Jews and then sent them to concentration camps. The one-night rampage, book burnings, yellow stars, arrests in the thousands, and prolific media propaganda surged into the public domain with a vengeance.
During Hitler and Goebbels’ rollout, many German citizens were star-struck by glamorous parties, massive rallies, and cultural events under Hitler’s hypnotic hold. Some prominent churches welcomed Nazis and hung Nazi flags in their sanctuaries—naively misunderstanding, denying, or choosing cowardice amid the lurking evil. Apathy embedded itself in the church with too few brave “Righteous Gentiles,” while the Third Reich regime’s industrialized scale of murder took place in concentration camps.
Goebbels, “Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany,” earned another title after coming under Hitler’s demonic spell. The 5-foot, 5-inch Nazi was nicknamed the “Poison Dwarf.” His evil brilliance to take over Germany’s newspapers, radio, magazines, and films also incorporated media control of conquered countries. Today, we live in a world regulated by a leftist media complicit in lies and slander that trap the United Nations, social media, International Criminal Court, governments and some mainline churches that blame Israel for “oppressing Palestinians.” Goebbels’ strategies alert us now to inform ourselves then act to spread truth and facts.
Goebbels mimicked Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, which propagated the “big lie.” He described his lies as “so colossal” that no one would even credit as true the “impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” For success, propaganda must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Compare Hitler’s strategies to the outrageous dishonesty/distortion and repetition of anti-Israel propaganda today.
In 1942, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services commissioned psychoanalyst Walter C. Langer to develop a secret psychological analysis of Hitler. That information, now declassified, appears in Langer’s 1972 book, The Mind of Adolph Hitler. In it, he reveals: “His [Hitler’s] primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong.”
Honest and accurate news must include context. In the 48-hour IDF operation, 12 Palestinian terrorists were killed. Even the Gaza terror group Hamas bragged that the 12 Palestinians were all terrorists. Yet, in the midst of unrelenting terror threats and attacks, thousands of Palestinians are able to go to work in Israel from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. The truth is that Israelis want peace above all, whereas Palestinian leaders and Iran-backed terrorists thrive on hate, not peace. When terrorists use cars, sophisticated weapons, and knives in unabated violence against Jewish civilians, the IDF must defend their citizens and homeland.
How are we in the pro-Israel evangelical community to respond? Follow fact-based media such as CBN Israel, Honest Reporting, and Palestinian Media Watch. Join others who pass on important facts. Write congratulatory letters to the editor when they get coverage of Israel right, to encourage responsible journalism.
Refusing to imitate the German church’s apathy, we must set aside the ineffective tools of anger and emotion. Instead, we must grasp the facts, then pass them on through social media, email, letters to Congress, and other means of spreading the truth. Our small actions, banded together, will honor God and His Son born into the Jewish lineage in the land God calls His own.
Please join CBN Israel this week to pray for the IDF and Israel, pondering Psalm 59:1-2: “Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me. Deliver me from evildoers and save me from those who are after my blood.”
- Pray for Christians to stay educated and join up as truth-tellers about Israel.
- Pray for all branches of the IDF that must remain alert to terror 24/7.
- Pray with thanks for media broadcasting facts and good news about Israel.
- Pray for PM Netanyahu and his coalition for wise decisions about security.
Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her part-time as Outreach Director for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel, guest columnist at All Israel News, and has frequently traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is a board member for Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene attends Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook.