Are Palestinian Voices Being Represented in U.S. Media?
Palestinian voices

U.S. Media Coverage of Israel-Palestine Conflict Is Changing

In a recent article in The Washington Post in May 2021, Eva Najjar, a UX designer currently based in Haifa but from the Palestinian village of Rama, wrote about the attacks in Gaza that started on May 9th.

When Palestinians protested the expulsion of families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, they were repressed by Israeli forces. More than 700 Palestinians were arrested between May 9th and May 14th. Najjar described how detainees suffered “fractures and injuries throughout their bodies, including their faces and heads. Police shot a 17-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel named Muhammed Kiwan in the head on May 12. He died on May 19.”

The eleven days of fighting —that lasted until May 21st —between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip was the worst since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. In addition to Gazan civilians who were killed or injured, thousands more were displaced. Homes and buildings were destroyed and the supply of vital services and goods was cut off.

The difference between the 2014 attack and the one this past May does not lie in the intensity of the destruction or even the sorrow from the losses, but perhaps the U.S. media coverage that followed the events. The status quo in American media is changing when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict — even while changes in U.S. foreign policy remain somewhat stagnant.

U.S. Media Coverage of the Israel-Gaza Conflict

In 2014, media coverage of Operation Protective Edge differed depending on the media source. U.S. publications were often sympathetic to Israel and sometimes failed to acknowledge the Palestinian perspective. In a July 2014 piece examining U.S. media coverage of the Israel-Gaza conflict, The Times of Israel reported that British news sources, in contrast, were often more critical of Israel.

In May 2014, the events of Operation Protective Edge didn’t even make The New York Times; front page (which instead covered the ongoing central American children issue on the Mexican border), although it did receive some coverage in the international section. In contrast, in May 2021, The New York Times published a piece that covered the more gruesome details of the events in Gaza — mainly the 66 Palestinian children that were killed during the eleven days of fighting between Israel and Hamas — with the emphatic phrase, “This is Who They Were.” The article featured pictures of the children and even their ages.

This was the first time in U.S. media history where faces were literally put to the names of Palestinian civilians killed in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Putting Faces to Names

In light of the events in Gaza this past year, The New York Times published an exclusive podcast entitled “Nine Days in Gaza” in May 2021.

“You never get used to the sound of bombings,” Gazan Rahf Hallaq told The New York Times.

The publication of the 30-minute podcast — the transcript can be viewed here — is telling in the way that U.S. media coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict has changed since 2014.

Hallaq, who at the time who was a 21-year-old English student and resident of Gaza City, is the type of Palestinian voice that has not received representation by major publications until last year. What is perhaps most remarkable about the episode of the The New York Times’ The Daily podcast is that it was published while the attacks in Gaza were still occurring, making it seem like The New York Times — perhaps the most powerful media publication in the United States — was just as sympathetic to the Palestinian perspective and the fallout after the fighting as it was to the Israeli side.

The podcast goes on to discuss the casualties of the fighting between Hamas and Israel, including how Israeli airstrikes killed 200 civilians, dozens of them children. Podcasters also discussed with Hallaq her life, her dreams, and how she suffered during the first nine days of bombings. Podcasts like this (along with the previous piece in The New York Times on Palestinian children) cover events and detail the cost of war. They also put faces to names and give Palestinian voices an outlet for expression of their hurt.

To learn more about the Israel-Palestine conflict and how you can get involved,
visit The Promised Land Museum and consider
hosting an exhibit to promote peace.
Plus, check out these
top resources to learn more about Palestine.

Latest Posts

Seth Morrison: Being on the Side of Peace

Seth Morrison: Being on the Side of Peace

Retired marketer Seth Morrison used to support and fund Zionist organizations. Now, he is an activist who boycotts them in support of the Palestinian right to return. As a liberal Jew from Long Island who grew up with a desire to help fix the world’s problems,...

read more
Is the Israel Defense Forces a Moral Army?

Is the Israel Defense Forces a Moral Army?

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) website describes its official doctrine of ethics, “The Spirit of the IDF,” as the army’s moral compass, which includes their three core values: The defense of the state, its citizens, and residents;Patriotism and loyalty to the...

read more
What Happened to Shireen Abu Akleh?

What Happened to Shireen Abu Akleh?

The Tragic Killing of a Palestinian-American Journalist On the morning of May 11, 2022, American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh went to the occupied West Bank town of Jenin with other journalists to film an Israeli military raid. Without warning, Israeli forces shot her...

read more
Dispelling Lies about Palestine

Dispelling Lies about Palestine

John Minto’s 2020 David Wakim Memorial Lecture The David Wakim Memorial Lecture, a Pax Christi event, took place in September 2020. Pax Christi International is a Catholic peace movement with 120 member organizations worldwide. Its goals are to support peace,...

read more
A Voice of Reason in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

A Voice of Reason in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

U.S. Representative Marc Pocan Visits the West Bank During his time in Congress, U.S. representative Marc Pocan has been vocal about the Israel-Palestine conflict. In June 2017, he was the only congressional sponsor of a briefing on Capitol Hill about “life for...

read more
Dispelling Myths about Israel

Dispelling Myths about Israel

Ten Myths about Israel: A Book Review "Historical disinformation, even of the most recent past, can do tremendous harm," Israeli historian and University of Exeter professor Ilan Pappé writes in his latest book, Ten Myths About Israel, published by Verso Books in...

read more
Gabor Maté and Justifying Violence

Gabor Maté and Justifying Violence

In his book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, Dr.Gabor Maté writes that “no society can understand itself without looking at its shadow side.” Hungarian-Canadian physician Gabor Maté is a Holocaust survivor, addiction expert, speaker,...

read more
Movies

Movies

Documentary films serve as non-fictional motion-picture historical records intended to document reality in the way events truly happened. These films tell important and often unknown stories that bring a greater awareness to a wider audience. These films are some of...

read more
Artifacts

Artifacts

As we seek to understand the depth and breadth of a conflict, it’s important to look back to the cultural artifacts. Whether ancient or current, scholarly or commonplace, these items offer us an insight into past technological processes, economic development, and...

read more
Infographics & Maps

Infographics & Maps

From historical to present-day maps of Israel and Palestinian territories and infographics that show history in a visual way, these tools will help us visualize the conditions of occupation and how real people are affected daily with struggles and ongoing hardships....

read more
Photos

Photos

They say a picture says 1,000 words. We have searched through documents, research, historical artifacts, and more to find the photos that tell the story of the Israeli and Palestinian land and people. From pre-conflict days all the way to our current times, we...

read more
Jerusalem