Israel and the US: Two Different Media Realities

Israel and the US: Two Different Media Realities

Israel and the US: Two Different Media Realities

In recent weeks, many of us, especially those of us with family, friends, and colleagues in Israel, have been sensing an uneasy disconnect. In the days after October 7th’s horrors, North American progressives who care about Israel and its future understood the necessity, even justification, of a major Israeli military operation in Gaza. In recent weeks, however, many of us have become increasingly dismayed by the level of civilian loss in Gaza and the humanitarian catastrophe there. At the same time, we’ve found that many of our connections in Israel remain very much committed to the war’s prosecution and continue to reject the diplomatic moves necessary to end it – in a way that benefits both sides.One of the apparent reasons for this disconnect is that we and they are being shown very different coverage of the war. In the U.S. and Canada, we are exposed on a daily basis to the ravages being inflicted on Palestinians in Gaza. But, as Moran Sharir wrote in Haaretz Hebrew last month, “the average Israeli citizen relying on Channel 12 news,” the country’s leading news broadcast, “isn’t aware [of] the humanitarian crisis” in Gaza. “Mainstream channels conceal this reality.”

On his Facebook page, leftwing Israeli activist Yoav Peck echoed this sentiment. Just as some American leftists are denying the true pain and suffering that Israelis are enduring, Israelis are going through a “parallel process of denial,” he said. “Here it is Israelis’ unwillingness to confront the Palestinian reality.” Peck writes that he has to switch off Israeli media and “force myself to open the [Qatar-based] Al Jazeera website, to witness the unbearable reality of life in Gaza.”

Last week, on WNYC public radio’s “On the Media” program, Oren Persico, a staff writer at The Seventh Eye, an independent investigative magazine focused on media and freedom of speech in Israel, discussed the Israeli media landscape since October 7. Persico said Israelis are living in a “bubble”, “unaware of what’s going on in Gaza and how [it’s] seen in the entire world”. “Your Israeli friend or relative,” he said, is therefore “in a parallel universe” and “does not see what you see.” You can find a longer half-hour version of the interview with Persico here, while a shorter 15-minute version is here.

We welcome comments and questions on our webpage, where these thoughts have been published.



  1. John Bibby January 18, 2024 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    Agreed. Al Jazeera should be compulsory viewing.

  2. Corinne Markov January 18, 2024 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    I think this is not a true reflection of Israel society. Israelis are very very tech savvy and will look at news all over the world. To think they are unaware is nieve bordering on ridiculous. Perhaps, more truthfully, you can’t be committed to war while empathising with the enemy simultaneously. It’s impossible. Most Israelis I know (including myself) recognise the humanitarian crisis- but also recognise most Palestinians not only support Hamas butt are proud of their martyred children. Rockets keep coming. Soldiers in Gaza see the destruction – but are focused on the end result. It reminds me of the notice on planes- first give yourself air- then your children. Israel must give itself a long term of breathing space to recover. The war will continue. Of course, the whole country holds grave fear for the lives of the hostages. But Hamas are liars and manipulators. They may all have been murdered. Even if there’s a ceasefire they may all be murdered. There is little support to stop fighting without Hamas’ removal.

  3. Ellen Levine January 25, 2024 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    I agree, fully, with Corinne above. I think that the American news media is very poor in showing and marking the utter devastation, the trauma of Oct 7 attacks, and the impossible situation that Israel is in. The trauma, the displaced people in Israel,is also happening – to have any lasting peace, Hamas has to be severely weakened. That would then help not only the Israelis but the Palestinians themselves. I was reading just today, that some Palestinians in middle Gaza were demonstrating, angry with Hamas, and calling for Hamas to release the hostages (if they’re even still alive) and allow the fighting to stop. I think they’re right to be angry with Hamas – getting Hamas out is the only way forward for peace.

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