Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. said on CNN, “We have thousands of rockets raining down on our citizens.” In fact, we hear over and over again, “rockets are raining” down on Israel. It makes a strong impression.
Advertisers will tell you that the essence of propaganda is repetition. So, we hear on FOX News, repeated reports of “rockets raining” down on Israel. It is such an important image that Israel will do anything to keep it alive, even when rockets stop. In the summer of 2008, Palestinian sources reported 8 rockets in June, 12 in July, 11 in August, 4 in September and 2 in October. An Israeli Intelligence Report issued by the Israeli government to international journalists states, “Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire.” There were no deaths by rockets because there were no rockets.
Not the image of “rockets raining” that Israel wants. An average of four drops per month hardly qualifies as a rain. When I look out on my front drive and see four drops, I hardly expect to read in the paper that we had a rainy day. If there are not enough drops to wet the street or water my hedges, I don’t expect my neighbor to say, “Wow! What a rainy day.”
Back in 2008, Israel had a dilemma. How to maintain the victim image of rockets raining down on innocent women and children when there are no rockets? After six month of rocket absence, on November 4th Israel invaded Gaza and killed six Palestinians. Did you get that date? November 4th was election night in the US when Barack Obama was elected president. Israel planned its invasion precisely at a time when it was almost guaranteed no one in America was watching news from Israel. We were all saturated in the counting of votes so significant to our own lives. When Gaza responded by firing rockets, Israel screamed of being attacked and was defending itself.
Israel bombarded Gaza with 600 tons of rockets, killing over 1400 Palestinians. Americans expressed shock. Israeli spokespersons simply asked, what would you do if rockets were raining down on your family?
So, what would you do? Maybe ask what made Palestinians with no power, so desperate that they fired a few weak, unguided missiles into Israel. Could it be that it’s the only way to remind the world that they are still suffering oppression under a brutal occupation?
May 10, 2016