Propaganda vs. truth: Israeli propaganda and Palestinian demonisation

Tamara Tamimi*, Daniela Suárez Vargas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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Abstract

Since the latest escalation from ‘normal’ levels of violence in Palestine/Israel on October 7, 2023, Palestinian public and political figures have found their airtime on Western mainstream media significantly increased. While important, Palestinian, and pro-Palestinian speakers were often immediately forced into self-defence. One particularly familiar face is the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, Husam Zumlot, who was persistently and relentlessly required by presenters and anchors in mainstream media, such as CNN, BBC, Sky News, and Sky News Australia/Talk TV, to condemn the Hamas attack on Israel and even to apologise for it. In doing this, the mainstream media decontextualised the events by framing the parameters of the conversation to commence on October 7th. As will be demonstrated below, this decontextualisation, combined with the language used to describe Palestinians and the atrocities they have been subjected to, resulted in the dehumanisation and demonisation of Palestinians.

This is how the ‘narrative battle’ is being waged against Palestinians, and how propaganda has been instrumentalised as a weapon of war. This piece analyses how the vilification, dehumanisation, and demonisation of the enemy, particularly through the use of language, and the politicisation of victimhood, have been used as two mutually reinforcing components of Israeli propaganda. As a weapon of war, Israeli propaganda has been used to construct international public opinion on Palestine/Israel, both historically and within the latest events, to enable creeping Israeli settler colonialism, and legitimate the perpetration of mass atrocities, including but not limited to genocide, (as demonstrated by Center for Constitutional Rights, Raz Segal, Yoav Litvin, Craig Mokhiber, and nearly 900 scholars).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Specialist publicationE-International Relations
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • War Narratives
  • Palestine
  • International Law
  • International Relations
  • Media
  • Politics of Victimhood
  • Demonization

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