“History Is What the Mainstream Media Helps Readers Believe That It Is”

Historians like to say “History is what historians say that it is,” but in the real world history is what the mass of ordinary people believe that it is.  Let’s look at two facets of how the mainstream Western media, so far in 2017, has helped readers believe that the history of the Jewish homeland of Israel is less real and substantial than looking at history’s actual events would reveal to them.

The media’s incessant use of “West Bank” and hardly ever, on its own, “Judea and Samaria,” which it relegates to “biblical” names, packs a lot of punch in conveying to readers an absence of Jewish connection between biblical times and Israel’s “capture of the West Bank in 1967.”

And the media’s incessant drumbeat of “West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements [alongside Palestinian villages and neighborhoods] … Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories … 1967 borders [instead of historically correct ‘1949 military ceasefire lines’],” etc., etc., purveys Jews as alien outsiders and Arabs as the indigenous natives.

#1:  The Implications of “The West Bank” vs. “Judea-Samaria”

“West Bank” is not a synonym for “Judea and Samaria.” It’s an antonym, devised by the invader Jordan in 1950 for the same reason that the Romans eighteen hundred years earlier renamed Jerusalem as “Aelia Capitolina” and Judaea as “Palestine” – to disassociate the renamed places from the connection they had had to the Jews.

Indeed, the mainstream Western media goes Jordan one better.  When it quotes an Israeli saying “Judea and Samaria,” it appends its own gratuitous misleading explanation that the Israeli was using “the biblical name” for “the West Bank.”

***  The AP 2/6/17 (in, e.g., PhiladelphiaInquirer (Inq), A12) after quoting an Israeli cabinet minister saying “Judea and Samaria” appended that he was using “a biblical name for the West Bank.”

***  The AP 3/7/17 (Inq, A6) after quoting an Israeli official saying “Judea and Samaria” appended:  “Judea and Samaria is the biblical term for the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.”

Even without Bibi’s help, the average person can see a connection between “Judea”and “Jew.”  That “Judea” and “Samaria” are translations of Hebrew-origin biblical names is true, but what is also true is both that Jewish connection to the land of Israel, including Judea and Samaria, continued between the end of biblical times and twentieth centuryArab-Israeli wars, and that those biblical origin names, Judea and Samaria, not “the West Bank,” remained in use through all of that time, including by the United Nations in its partition resolution in 1947: “The boundary of the hill country of Samaria and Judea starts on the Jordan River ….”

What is suppressed in the media telling readers that “Judea and Samaria is the biblical term for the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war” is that when Israel declared its independence in 1948 it became the land’s next native state after Roman-destroyed Jewish Judaea, every ruler in between having been a foreign empire invader, and mostly non-Arab at that. That those Hebrew origin biblical names remained in use all through those long dark foreign rule centuries is itself evidence that no non-Jewish indigenous state arose in the land.

#2:  Media: Israeli Presence Beyond “the 1967 Borders” Constitutes Israeli “Settlements” on “Occupied Palestinian Land”

Day after day, the mainstream Western media pounds home into Western public perception that Arabs are “the West Bank’s” and “East” Jerusalem’s indigenous natives and Jews are outsider aliens.  But do not put all the blame on the media.  WE have to make the case that Judea,Samaria and historic Jerusalem is disputed, not “occupied” territory, and to do that credibly we have to make an effective affirmative case of the Jews’ historic and legal claim to it.

Here’s a sampling of the mainstream media, and, alas, some Jewish news sources, so far in 2017.   (emphasis added throughout):

*** BBC, 1/15/17:  “Palestinians fiercely object to Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem …”

*** AP, 1/23/17 (Inq, A4):  “[Netanyahu is]  “gearing up plans to expand settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem,” and further down that “Israeli hardline leaders make no secret they will push for aggressive action in the occupied West Bank.”

***  AP, 1/25/17 (Inq, A6), lede:  “Israel saidTuesday it approved 2,500 new settler homes in the West Bank ….”  The article referred to “the West Bank” and “East Jerusalem” as areas “captured by Israel in the 1967 war,” and to Israel as having just “approved nearly 600 settler homes in East Jerusalem.”

*** Times of Israel, 2/3/17:  This article directly quoted Yesha Council spokesperson Revivi’s statements that “Nothing is more natural and morally just than Jews building in Judea,” but not taking a cue from such lucidity, it went on in the next paragraph to state that “Netanyahu on Wednesday announced plans for the establishment of a new West Bank settlement” [which the paper at least noted as “the first new one to be built in some 25 years”], and a couple paragraphs after that added: “Settlements in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem are viewed by nearly all the international community as illegal under international law…”

***  Commentary magazine, 2/5/17, directly quoted President Bush’s celebrated (by us) statement to Sharon in 2004 that “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final-status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949,” but then disquietingly added: “This language was an acceptance of the reality that the most populous Israeli settlements beyond the pre-1967 borders would certainly remain in Israeli hands at the end of any successful peace negotiation with the Palestinians. [Personally, I don’t think we Jews should join in calling Palestine’s Arabs exclusively “The Palestinians,” given that the term used to mean mostly Palestine’s Jews, and that the U.N. in 1947 itself called Palestine’s Jews and its Arabs “the two Palestinian peoples,” but if we can just get us to stop referencing, e.g., “Israeli settlements beyond the pre-1967 borders” just after quoting President Bush saying “the armistice lines of 1949,” that would be something.]


***  AP, 2/7/17 (Inq, A5):  “The Palestinians claim the West Bank and East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as parts of a future state.”  This article characterized “the Trump administration” as being “perceived as sympathetic to Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.”  It also reported, as though referring to what’s uncontested fact, that during Netanyahu’s visit with British PM May at Downing Street, a “small group of protesters” there called for “an end to Israel’s 50-year occupation of Palestinian lands.”

***  Washington Post, 2/16/17 (Inq A1, 6):  This WP article correctly characterized the U.S.-promulgated “two-states” plan:  “For years, U.S. officials have endorsed ‘two states for two peoples, living side by side in peace and security’ as a matter of course.”  But it then directly quoted Saeb Erekat, “a top Palestinian official” and “veteran of seven sets of U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israel” railing against any wavering of commitment to the two-state solution:  “We believe undermining the two-state solution is not a joke,” but is “a disaster and a tragedy for Israelis and Palestinians.”  It indirectly quoted him saying that “the Palestinian Authority remains committed to the two-state idea.”  Now here was the very place for the MSM to append, which it did not, that the Palestinian Authority has never committed to the “two-state solution” in the U.S. sense of “two states for two peoples,” but has said repeatedly “we shall not recognize a Jewish state” and also:  “The story of ‘two states for two peoples’ means that there will be a Jewish people over there and a Palestinian people here.  We will never accept this.”

***  The New York Times, 2/14/17, ran a “settler’s” op-ed lamenting the ineffectiveness of Israelis’ response to all this:   “Whenever the claim that Israel stole Palestinian land is heard, Israel’s answers inevitably are: ‘We invented the cell phone ….’”  He wrote that “this inability to give a straight answer” has led to the world pressing Israel “to create a Palestinian state in the historic Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria, which the world calls the West Bank,” and “has worked to legitimize the idea that the territory of Judea and Samaria is Arab land and that Israelis an intractable occupier.”  The New York Times adorned this op-ed with a photo it captioned: “An Israeli settlement in front of an Arab village in Amona, West Bank.”


***  WashingtonPost, 2/16/17:  “Currently, Palestinians in the West Bank live under an almost 50-year military occupation.” And it reported:  “Republican and Democratic presidents have backed a future Palestinian state on West Bank land that is now mostly under Israeli military occupation.”

***  AP, 3/7/17 (Inq A6), following its direct quote of an Israeli saying “Judea and Samaria”:  “Judea and Samaria is the biblical term for the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.  The Palestinians seek the West Bank as the heartland of a future state, a position that has wide international backing.”  The article also referred to “the occupied West Bank” and “the 1967 borders.”

***  AP, 3/12/17 (Inq, A12):  The article characterized President Trump as having “adopted a more lenient approach to Israel’s building settlements in territory claimed by the Palestinians.”  And it said:  “… he’s considering moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek as the capital of their future state ….”  (Actually, he’s considering moving the Embassy to “west” Jerusalem, on the Israeli side of the sometimes sacrosanct “green line,” not where the Palestinian Arabs seek to put their capital, “east” Jerusalem, but then, “the Palestinians” never having ruled any part of Jerusalem for one day in history, why should the MSM limit their claim to just part of it?)