Illustrations by Megan Le Brocq
Israeli air strikes have started once again hitting the Gaza Strip. More violence is set to ensue. While citizens have no weapons, the Israeli forces, I repeat, have used air strikes. This was ignited by an attack by the Israeli police at the Al-Asqa Mosque on the last Friday of Ramadan. But as devastating as this is to hear, we are only given the briefest of framed glimpses into the situation. There is a disturbingly large amount of censorship regarding the occupation of Palestine in our media. Some of it is just word play. Many articles and news reports imply an equal balance of the damage and deaths on both sides of the conflict. Boris Johnson himself has stated: “I am urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint”; this sentence implies that “both sides” are equally responsible. Again, I’d like to repeat that the Israeli forces have used air strikes, while the Palestinians are unarmed.
But the censorship runs even deeper than that. Recently, YouTube censored a video that shows the daily life of occupied Palestine. YouTube originally claimed the video went against their guidelines, but subsequently reversed that decision when questioned. Following this, YouTube then allowed the video to be shown, though with repeated warnings regarding its content. I have seen the video myself, and I can confirm that the scenes they show are not dissimilar to what is visible on TV already. While I cannot send a link to the video here, it is called ‘Daily Life in Occupied Palestine’.
Facebook and Instagram have also been accused of censoring pro-Palestinian content. Through my own experience, I can again corroborate this: a friend of mine recently tried to upload a video to Instagram showing the destruction faced by Palestinians, but had difficulties uploading it; however all her other videos were uploaded without issue. Interestingly, I could not find any British news media reporting on this – make of that what you will. My friends censored clips were of the evictions at Sheikh Jarrah, where Israeli authorities are turning out Palestinians from their homes. Such a move massively violates international law, but it is situations like this, however, that you wonder how effective international law really is.
And it is here that we must note the strong US-Israel relationship which has remained throughout. The US gives over $3 billion per year to Israel in economic and military aid, and has steadily upped its support ever since the 1967 invasion of Palestinian Territories. The US is unlikely to discontinue its support, not least because Israel is a key strategic position in the Middle East and has aided US forces in other military operations. Ultimately, Israel is one of the US’ best investments for its continued imperialism. American social media companies have seemingly complied with this relationship by acting in the best benefit of Israel, and censoring content that is damaging to its image. As ever, if you ever want to know why the West is silent and refuses to condemn the violence, the most cynical answer is almost always the correct one.