Before starting, it is worth stating for the record that I am truly neutral in this conflict as I have mentioned many times on my shows and that the only true position is to defend your own people and not the causes of outgroups. I have told people not to get emotionally invested and I offer the following in my usual detached value-free mode.
When the appalling scenes of the Hamas attack on 7th October broke in the news, Israel for a moment had the world’s sympathy. It has been extraordinary to witness the fallout since then and especially to watch the way pro-Israeli voices in the media have jettisoned that initial sympathy and somehow managed to turn a surefire PR win into something approaching a disaster. Initially, I had thought this was going to be a wonderful demonstration of my long-standing claim that ‘the woke will be put away’ thereby, in one stroke, winning my bet with Auron MacIntyre. In fact, the reverse is taking place. Woke is ‘putting the Zionism away’. To be pro-Palestine has become high-status while hardcore Zionism has become low status. Now as we watch the Israel-Hamas war unfurl, the fact that woke is pro-Palestine is lending it a real moral legitimacy while the pro-Israel position is being delegitimised in real time. There are three components to this which I will outline in this article: cultural capital, TV news performances, and propaganda pertaining to events in the war itself.
The first component is cultural capital. Recently Greta Thunberg, a regime-puppet, who has been built-up as a spokesperson for her generation, held up a pro-Palestine sign with some friends. The fallout was that pro-Israeli voices denounced her for antisemitism on the grounds that she had a blue octopus in view.
Contrary to some takes doing the rounds, this doesn’t discredit Thunberg, it gives her greater credibility and makes the ones making the claim look ridiculous. I have no idea if this screenshot of Jordan Peterson telling her to ‘go to hell’ is real or not, but it illustrates the point well. Peterson comes across as a deranged boomer and Greta for once in her entire life seems edgy and cool speaking truth to power. It’s a stone-cold L for the Zionists and a massive W for the pro-Palestinian cause.
This was made cast iron when IDF spokesman Ayre Sharuz Shalicur said, ‘Whoever identifies with Greta in any way in the future, in my view, is a terrorist supporter’. This to most Western audiences and probably most in the East also, just sounds unhinged. I saw a similar though much less visible instance of this when the YouTuber, Jeff Taylor, a pro-Brexit right-winger published a video called ‘Actors and luvvies against Israel!’. Unfortunately, Jeff in this video sounds low-status, ‘Gammon-y’, and, well, like a boomer.
The second component is TV news performances. These have been uniformly awful from the pro-Israeli side. The Ben Shapiro and Mark Levin meltdowns have been well publicized, but the recent performance by Lukid’s Amir Weitmann on Russia Today has to take the biscuit for the most absurd histrionics we have seen to date. The man just comes across like a deranged lunatic and when he vows to destroy Russia at the end, surely almost no one watching can think that Israel is sending its best to these interviews. The hysterical rhetoric – which has seen Ben Shapiro and friends claim that the 7th October Hamas attacks are ‘on par with the Holocaust’ in one breath and then in the next claiming that anyone who says that Israel is in the process of ethnically cleansing Gaza is diminishing the Holocaust – has been losing even Fox News hosts. In the British media, the emotional hectoring of Israeli spokesmen has caused newscasters to become hostile such as the deranged performance of former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sky News and the disarmingly curt and openly aggressive ‘did you do it?’ from Anna Botting also on Sky News. This is in contrast to the performances of pro-Palestinian voices which have come across well, especially this performance by the comedian Bassem Yousef who used disarming humour to make Piers Morgan look like a chump. More than 10 million people watched that interview on YouTube alone, many more on Twitter. The television news PR campaign has been a success for Palestine and an unmitigated disaster for Israel.
Finally, there is the question of the war itself. Thus far, we know Israel have dropped over 6,000 bombs on Gaza, while Hamas have claimed they hit a hospital and a church. However, it was the news and images coming from the claim that Israel struck a hospital that grabbed headlines worldwide, since this is an accusation of a serious war crime. Israel was fairly quick to deny the claim; they countered with evidence which appeared to show that it was a failed rocket attack by Hamas, who had then tried to turn it around and blame Israel. This was the one sphere in which Israel, I thought was doing quite well. Most media carried the counter-claim and even if the rabid Islamic hordes in the Middle East and further East would not believe Israel no matter what, this was playing well with Western audiences. Certainly, I believed them on this. But then, Channel 4 News – a British outlet – did the unthinkable, for the first time in many years they actually did some journalism and dropped this bombshell report which appears to show conclusively, at the very least, that Israel has lied about an audio recording, but potentially – and much worse – suggests that Israel did strike the hospital. Naturally, all this is fog-of-war stuff, but the point is that on balance, Israel has now even started to lose in this part of the PR campaign. If we’re keeping score, Palestine is 3-0 up in terms of how this is playing out in international media.
Now naturally a lot can change, but as things are standing, the pro-Palestinian voices are refusing to be cancelled and as things go on are gaining moral legitimacy while the Israeli voices sound shrill, hysterical and as things go on are losing moral legitimacy. The Senate still voted 97-0 to send aid to Israel. Politicians across the West are still standing 100% with Israel, but to quote Bob Dylan, ‘Something’s happening but you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?’ It may well cost me a cigar in the long-run, but his has not at all played out as one might have thought. It has shown the extent to which pro-Palestinian voices are now deeply entrenched in the corridors of regime power and it has exposed the idea of Zionist power as something of a paper tiger. For the disinterested third party such as myself, it has been some amazing television also; I am off to get some more popcorn.