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October 17, 2016

"The Occupation of the American Mind" by Zionists

Reuel S. Amdur

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It is not just the West Bank and Gaza that are occupied by Israel. The occupation is felt as well in North America. That is the thesis of the documentary "The Occupation of the American Mind." After the film was shown at Ottawa's First Unitarian Congregation, Diana Ralph, a leading figure in Jewish Independent Voices, commented that the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs plays a role in Canada similar to that of AIPAC in the United States.

The film sets the stage with a collage of scenes from Hollywood, depicting Arab villainy, but it moves then to the political.  Are Israel’s military actions against the Palestinians justified?  In 2015, a survey in the U.S. found 57% of respondents saying yes.

American politicians and media types are delicate in dealing with Israeli and domestic spokesmen for Israel.  Deviations from this are dealt with harshly. 

The New York Times reporter who witnessed the killing by Israeli naval forces of children playing on the Gaza shore received harsh criticism.  The Times apologized for his supposed one-sidedness.

The film points to a key meeting in the development of the Israeli propaganda campaign, following the Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982.  Israel permitted a Christian militia to enter the Lebanon refugee camps and carry out a slaughter.  As a result, Israel got some bad publicity.  What to do?

Israel brought together a meeting of largely American advertising virtuosi to develop a strategy, and their approach was a winner. 

Avoid questions of territory and occupation.  Always shift the topic to terrorism and extremism.  Terrorism, not territory.  Of course from an analytical perspective, deprivation of territory and destruction of homes are factors leading to terrorism.  And terrorism applies only to Palestinians, not to Israelis who attack children going to school and burn olive trees and other crops.

The film has a shot of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declaring that Israel is prepared to make many concessions for peace, but never at the expense of security—in line with the chosen propaganda theme.  Focus on the threat. 

However, he has made abundantly clear that he never intends to agree to a Palestinian state.  Zionist propaganda makes much of the Hamas manifesto calling for the destruction of Israel and the expulsion of the Jews.  It is a theme that has successfully resonated in the media and in American political circles.  But who knows of the Likud manifesto rejecting Palestinian statehood?  That’s Netanyahu’s party.

The propaganda game often takes the form of an appeal to empathy.  In the face of this kind of terrorism, what would you do?  Israel, so the argument goes, is reacting to unprecedented violence.  That is why Israel’s 2008-9 Operation Cast Lead against Gaza was carried out—at a time when there was a lull of several months in rocket attacks. 

AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) exerts extreme influence on both parties in Congress, though it did fail in its efforts to defeat Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.  Many politicians, including Hilary Clinton, repeat the mantra that “Israel has a right to defend itself.”  They do not add that Palestinians, facing home demolitions, theft of land, attacks by radical settlers, and constant humiliation, also have such a right.

Political donations have an impact on politicians.  AIPAC is able to direct millions to favored candidates and collects from them in return their loyalty to Israel.

Another angle used by the Zionist propaganda machine is the cry of anti-Semitism and the symbolism of the Holocaust.  In opposing the idea of a return to the 1967 boundary between Israel and the West Bank, they refer to it as the Auschwitz border.  President Obama is among those who call for a return to that border, with agreed-upon swaps of territory. 

There are “truth” organizations monitoring media to expose reporting seen as detrimental to Israel.  The reporters and publications identified as critical find themselves subject to vicious attacks, personal as well as political. 

In contrast with the American pro-Israel propaganda monopoly in politics and media, the film looks at Britain.  It shows a clip of an Israeli diplomat on the hot seat, grilled by an interviewer who refuses to be side-tracked by the effort to change the topic from territory to terror.

The documentary has implications for those interested in the Palestinian cause.  Buy the Israeli tactic.  Focus on Israeli terrorism.  The assaults on school children.  The destruction of crops.  The gravesite of mass murderer Baruch Goldstein turned into a shrine. 

“They burn our crops.  They beat up our children.  They are allowed to carry guns but we can’t.  What would you do in my shoes?” 

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