top of page


Caitlin Johnstone

7 февр. 2024 г.

It sure is an interesting coincidence how all this mass media demonizing and dehumanizing of Muslim populations is happening at the exact same time the western empire is raining military explosives upon nations full of Muslims.

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley)

Mass media outlets like The Guardian, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have been allowing the publication of some amazingly racist pieces these last few days. All are directed at middle easterners and those of middle eastern descent, just as the western empire drops more and more bombs on more and more countries in the middle east.

On Monday The Guardian published a political cartoon which would be indistinguishable from Nazi propaganda of the 1930s, except that it happens to depict a Muslim instead of a Jew. The cartoon features Iranian leader Ali Khamenei holding puppet strings to so-called Iranian proxy groups in the middle east like the Houthis, Hezbollah and Hamas, in exactly the same way Nazis used to depict Jews as malignant puppet masters manipulating world affairs.

Compare this:

to Nazi propaganda about Jews puppeting world leaders during the lead-up to the Holocaust:

To this day it’s understood by the mainstream press that it’s unacceptable to depict anyone of the Jewish faith as any kind of puppet-master figure in any context at all. Fox News, the Dutch paper De Volkskrant, the Indian Bharatiya Janata Party and right wing political cartoonist Ben Garrison have all come under fire in recent years for depicting Jewish people in that way, so it’s safe to say that if The Guardian had published a similar cartoon about Israeli influence featuring an Israeli leader it would have been a massive scandal subject to international outcry.

In fact the bar is quite a bit lower for what qualifies as an outrageous racist trope when it comes to criticism of Israel. Mainstream platforms like The Guardian, The New York Times and the Sunday Times have been pressured to remove cartoons critical of Israel which are far less clearly anti-semitic than cartoons about sinister puppet masters. In 2014 the Sydney Morning Herald was pressured to remove and apologize for a cartoon which was labeled anti-semitic because it featured “a grotesque stereotype of a Jew using a remote-control device to blow up houses and people in Gaza,” something that for the last four months has been a daily occurance and an objective fact of life.

There is zero chance that The Guardian’s editors would have even for a second entertained the idea of publishing such a cartoon about Israeli leaders in the year 2024, but apparently publishing the exact same sort of rehashed Nazi propaganda about Iranian leaders is perfectly fine.

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, who has never met a middle eastern war that didn’t physically arouse him, was somehow permitted to publish an article titled “Understanding the Middle East Through the Animal Kingdom” which compares middle easterners to insects and parasites. 

There is of course no meaningful analysis in Friedman’s piece; he’s literally just comparing countries he likes to cool animals and countries he doesn’t like to yucky bugs. Hamas is a spider. Iran is a “parasitoid wasp”, and Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq are the caterpillars it lays its eggs in. Netanyahu is a lemur, hopping side to side based on the political demands of the moment, and the United States? You guys, get this: the United States is a lion. Rooooar!

Again, there is no mainstream western outlet in existence who would permit a columnist to compare Israelis to insects or parasites, and rightly so — it’s exactly the type of dehumanizing language was used by the Nazis to pave the way to the Holocaust. But comparing Muslim populations is a-okay in the eyes of the western press.

“We have no counterstrategy that safely and efficiently kills the wasp without setting fire to the whole jungle,” Friedman writes, as though this is a perfectly sane and normal thing to print in the most influential newspaper in the western world.

“Sometimes I contemplate the Middle East by watching CNN. Other times, I prefer Animal Planet,” Friedman concludes, apparently never having been told that contemplating the middle east by watching either is an embarrassing admission.

And that’s it. That’s the extent of the analysis here from mister Thomas L Friedman, who has won no fewer than three Pulitzers for this kind of baby-brained schtick. And if that isn’t an indictment of the state of western journalism, nothing is.

Not to be outdone, The Wall Street Journal has published an article by Steven Stalinsky titled “Welcome to Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital” about the Michigan city which is home to the largest per capita Muslim population in the United States.

In recent decades Dearborn saw a wave of immigration from Palestine and from Muslim-majority nations that the US is currently bombing like Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and apparently Mr Stalinsky finds it outrageous and scandalous that such a population would be opposing Israel’s actions in Gaza at this time. He frets over a Palestinian American Islamist cleric calling President Biden a “senile pharoah”, which I think we can all agree is hilarious.

Stalinsky runs a think tank called the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which was literally founded by a former Israeli intelligence officer. Pro-Palestine activist and academic Norman Finkelstein has accused MEMRI of using “the same sort of propaganda techniques as the Nazis,” and even brazenly unprincipled empire propagandist Brian Whitaker has written that MEMRI “poses as a research institute when it’s basically a propaganda operation.” 

In the last few days The Wall Street Journal has also published editorial board pieces with demented headlines like “Chicago Votes for Hamas” after the Chicago City Council voted to support a ceasefire in Gaza, and “The U.N.’s War on Israel” about the since-discredited narrative that some UNRWA staff are known to have participated in the October 7 attack.

And I must say it sure is an interesting coincidence how all this mass media demonizing and dehumanizing of Muslim populations is happening at the exact same time the western empire is raining military explosives upon nations full of Muslims. It’s almost like the western press are trying to manufacture consent for the military aggressions of western governments. It’s almost like they always have.

bottom of page