In the light of Stephen Harper's announcement of an upcoming visit to Israel, it might be worth taking a closer look at the country he will be visiting. Coverage of Israel's apartheid-like policies isn't readily available via Canadian mainstream media outlets. Instead we get stories such as the report in today's Toronto Star about Netanyahu's spending and liking for scented candles and flower arrangements.
Due to the pro-Israel bias in much mainstream media in Canada, MSM is not a reliable source when it comes to the hard facts on the ground, especially as they pertain to the ugly underside of Israeli society - its racism and increasing ultra-nationalist extremism.
Canadians deserve the unvarnished truth about an Israel under Netanyahu that receives what can only be described as gung-ho support by Harper and his conservatives.
In an earlier post I discussed Goliath, the new book on Israel by Max Blumenthal. While he was in Israel Blumenthal shot a number of videos that capture disturbing images and commentary - some of it coming from high placed officials. As the above video bears out, attacks on African asylum seekers have been blatantly racist and hate driven - unapologetically so. This is the type of stuff that would result in resignations and disgrace in Canada, but aren't given hard focus in Canadian MSM coverage.
As the truth of what is transpiring in Israel gets out the Israeli government has redoubled its efforts to stem criticism. It has a well funded hasbara (propaganda) campaign underway in an effort to counteract criticism.
In an article that appeared in The Nation, Max Blumenthal points out that there is now a special Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs that has taken on hasbara dessemination.
This passage from the Blumenthal article describes the effort that is underway:
Edelstein’s ministry boasts an advanced “situation room,” a paid media team, and coordination of a volunteer force that claims to include thousands of bloggers, tweeters and Facebook commenters who are fed the latest talking points and then flood social media with hasbara in five languages. The exploits of the propaganda soldiers conscripted into Israel’s online army have helped give rise to the phenomenon of the “hasbara troll,” an often faceless, shrill and relentless nuisance deployed on Twitter and Facebook to harass public figures who express skepticism about official Israeli policy or sympathy for the Palestinians. These efforts have been complemented by the office of the prime minister, the IDF spokesperson’s unit, and the ministry of tourism and culture, each of which hosts newly created hasbara units. Even the Jewish Agency, a state-funded para-governmental organization primarily engaged in absorbing and settling new Jewish immigrants, employs a full-time social media operative named Avi Mayer, who spends his days on Twitter attacking Palestine solidarity activists with usually baseless claims of anti-Semitism and deception.
Link to The Nation article in full - here.