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Is truth manipulative?

Israel’s new media strategy characterized as a “thorny enterprise”

Press roundup from France, November 6, 2023

By Judith Bat Or

What’s being said

Le Parisian focuses on humanitarian issues affecting Palestinians in Gaza, such as aid supplied from Jordan and the fact that citizens from the northern part of Gaza are being told by Israel to move to the south. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quoted as saying that no steps toward a ceasefire would be made so long as hostages remained in captivity.

Libération reports that the "Gaza Strip is cut in two and cut off from the world" by the Israeli army. The paper also reports on the arrest in Israel of Nabi Saleh (Ahed) Tamimi for "incitement to hatred" following her post on X in which she wrote: "We are waiting for you in every town on the West Bank, from Hebron to Jenin. We will slit your throat and tell you that what Hitler did to you was a joke. We will drink your blood and eat your skulls." (In various other media accounts, the actual wording of the post does not appear.) In profiles of Tamimi appearing in French newspapers, she is described as a "Palestinian resistance fighter" who dared to slap an Israeli soldier several years ago. RFI, the state-owned international radio network, headlines its story: "Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian icon who embarrasses Israel.”

Israel's new media strategy also receives attention. In Marianne magazine, Israel's new approach of showing raw footage of the massacres of October 7 is described as a "thorny communication enterprise" that targets emotions in an attempt to manipulate journalists.

Libération’s update comments as well on the new media strategy. One video of the massacre is described in the following way: "Bodycam of a Hamas attacker in Be'eri: A black dog comes up to a Hamas man. He shoots and kills it.”

What’s not being said

The French press does not mention the massive rocket attacks on Israeli towns by Hamas from the south and by Hezbollah from the north, or the missiles directed toward Eilat by the Houthis in Yemen, and offers no explanation as to why Israeli military authorities are instructing Gazan civilians to relocate to the southern portion of the region, which is not currently the target of Israeli attacks.

There is also no mention of the Hamas strategy of using civilians as human shields. Reports of the mounting death toll in Gaza speak of "civilian victims" but do not give equal space to Israeli claims that Hamas military installations are deliberately located close to, or even inside, homes, schools, and hospitals.

What we think

French journalists appear to be guarding against Israeli "manipulation" while giving unquestioning credence to Hamas claims, in particular with regard to the number of civilian casualties.

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