This was Yedioth Ahronoth’s main headline Monday: “‘The Devil in Gambia’ and the prosecutor in The Hague.” The banner of Israel Hayom the next day: “Secrets of The Hague revealed: How B’Tselem helped the prosecutor.” The Israeli media is enthusiastically enlisting in service of the narrative, moving from obscuring and concealing to incitement, from misleading to mudslinging.
The Hague already won. If the country’s two largest newspapers are flinging insults, then the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, hit the right nerve. The wilder the incitement, the clearer it is that Israel has totally lost its way. Look at its newspapers. There’s no response to The Hague, nor will there be. There’s nothing left but to incite.
Yedioth Ahronoth is known for its great interest in world news, particularly from West Africa. Not a day goes by without fascinating reports and analysis from there. On Monday we reached Gambia, where Bensouda had been justice minister when the country was led by a dictator. Bensouda had been considered friendly to Israel, the report said, but now that she has concluded that Israel should be investigated for alleged war crimes, she must be reminded of her past.
The gates of hell of “the country’s newspaper,” which always knew what was expected of it, have opened. Yedioth will yet cause make Bensouda rue the day she dared open her mouth; Richard Goldstone can tell her what Israeli propaganda can do to its victims. So we’ll remind Bensouda of her former employer, a dictator who even had a kill unit — unheard of in Israel. The report ends with these words: “Many others, including human rights activists, give her credit for doing a lot for women and human rights, even under the dictatorial regime. According to many reports, the fact that she sought justice and worked for human rights greatly angered the dictator, who eventually fired her.” These, then, are “Bensouda’s dark secrets.”
The “secrets of The Hague” were exposed by Israel Hayom: B’Tselem and other human rights organization fulfilled their obligations and published reports on the role played by the Israeli judicial system in facilitating the crimes of the occupation. This is called “a delegitimization campaign,” by the newspaper that’s famous for its utmost concern for the status of the High Court of Justice.
The propaganda office run by Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan is presumably pleased. The newspapers are in its pocket. When it comes to critics of the state, the media and propagandists march together, hand in hand. Newspapers that barely mentioned the massacre of nine members of the al-Sawarka family in Gaza last month will happily take aim at The Hague in order to serve the propagandists.
The newspapers that declared Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar “responsible for the murder of Rina Shnerb,” when her indictment does not even hint at this, know what their readers want.
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Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite and Bensouda is counsel to Satan. The government, the army, the journalists and the readers all want this blood – Bensouda’s blood, the ICC’s blood, B’Tselem’s blood, the blood of all those who dare criticize Israel. Erdan can close his ministry; there are enough Israeli media outlets that will do the work for him.
This is the “leftist” media. If the so-called left-wing media hadn’t been derelict in its duty, the occupation might have ended long ago. For years it has been concealing the occupation and its war crimes, not wanting to upset readers and viewers when they’re trying to relax.
Now, when these crimes are liable to be revealed by the institution with the greatest authority to address them, the media is enlisting in the effort to impugn anyone who might have a hand in this. The government isn’t pressuring these media outlets to do this, nor is the army or the security services. They are doing it of their own free will, simply to please their audiences – in other words, to make money. The devil in Gambia? We have a problem with Rishon Letzion, where Yedioth Ahronoth has its offices.