Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestine Center Annual Conference Educates and Updates Attendees

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestine Center Annual Conference Educates and Updates Attendees

Article excerpt

On Oct. 23, the Palestine Center held its annual conference in Washington, DC. The all-day event included panels on the media, Palestine activism in America and internationally, and Gaza following the 2014 Israeli war.

The Mainstream Media and Palestine

The first panel, "Covering Palestine: The U.S. Media, the Israel Lobby, and Public Opinion," included journalists Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada, Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss, and Said Arikat of Al-Quds Newspaper.

Abunimah began by speaking about the recent outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine. "Israel has gone from the pretense of a state with formal processes to a literal lynch mob incited by its top leaders," he said. "The results of that are being seen: extrajudicial killings, summary assassinations in the streets. We're seeing this on a day-to-day basis."

He pointed out that all of these Israeli responses have been fully embraced by the Obama administration. The "law and order" language used by President Barack Obama to describe Israel's response, Abunimah said, is the same so-called "racist" language used in American cities where "police brutality" is also described as "law and order."

While at the establishment level the response to Israeli violence has not changed, Abunimah argued that there are significant shifts, particularly along partisan lines, in how the issue of Israel is seen among Americans.

"The theme here is consistent," Abunimah said after citing data from recent American public opinion polls. "The younger you are, and if you come from a non-white background, the less likely you are to buy Israeli propaganda. This is reflected in the partisan split, because you see that Israel is becoming more and more aligned with other far-right so-called conservative causes."

Weiss discussed the shifts taking place within the American Jewish community. The Israel lobby's recent attempt to kill the nuclear agreement with Iran irritated many American Jews, he said, and caused many within the community to rethink their support for Israel. …

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