Protesting the media
And a Knesset Emergency Call
If the media doesn’t come to us, we will come to them; Neve Ilan – demonstrating in front of 12TV; Takeaway from speeches at Neve Ilan; An emergency call to the Knesset – Oops, democracy has just died; From the depths of her pain; Closing the evening; Have we made a difference? Appendix: Netanyahu inciting from the balcony, 1995;
Neve Ilan - If the Media Doesn't Come to Us, We Will Come to Them
This demonstration was a different ball game than the big shows at Balfour, or the marches in Tel Aviv and Haifa. Small, but goal-directed. Small can be beautiful. It can, in some cases, even be influential.
We demand better media
Overtime some people have realized that it was not enough to demonstrate against Bibi at Balfour in Jerusalem or Habima Square in Tel Aviv. It is not sufficient to advertise the protests on Facebook groups. The message has to get out to the wider public. That is why the voice of mainstream media must be clear and honest.
Lamentably, though, it isn’t. The media often seems to be controlled and censored, more at the service of the “accused”, as some protesters call our prime minister, than of Truth. I was vaguely aware of that before the coronavirus crisis, perhaps because I generally don’t watch much Israeli TV. Too annoying.
The protest movements have finally decided to target the mainstream media for their deplorable coverage of the demonstrations. In their words:
“If the media doesn’t come to us, we will come to them”.
Two demonstrations were scheduled for October 21st at the two main commercial media hubs: Neve Ilan near Jerusalem (TV12) and Keshet and Reshet studios at Ramat HaChayal (TV13).
My personal triggers
It is one thing to read about current events on the newspapers. It is entirely another to witness them with one’s own eyes and ears.
Lessons I did not wish to learn about police
That was especially true with regard to police:
Until you see the stupidity, unnecessary brutality and cruelty manifesting in front of your eyes, you don’t quite grasp that the police is indeed mobilized to serve a ruler, not the citizens. At that moment you realize that we no longer live in a democracy.
Lessons I did not wish to learn about the media
The media was yet another arena the ruler attacks, bribes and tries to control to serve his personal and political needs.
I had a eureka moment the evening after the big submarine flotilla event. It was an exhilirating show of excellence, which unfolded throughout the country, north-to-south. The spectacle was flamboyant, magnificently organized and produced, highly creative and innovative and executed to the last detail. Driving on Israeli highways it was impossible to miss. Multiple rallies took place along the routes, in which notable figures from the military and the political world gave speeches. Tens of thousands participated, watched and supported the picturesque convoys.
Once it was over, I looked at the news apps, still exhilirated from the day’s events – nothing! I came home and turned on the TV only to find minimal mention of the event on one single channel toward the end of the news…
We heard that the media intended to cover the event properly, do it justice. After all it was a highly photogenic event, but at the last minute “instructions came from above” to belittle, diminish or completely ignore it.
That’s why when I saw an ad for a demonstration against the TV studios, I marked it on my calendar as a must go.
I wasn’t the only one enraged by the scanty or missing coverage. The protest movements generally were furious:
The submarine spectacle last week was one of the largest and most invested protest events we have seen in Israel”, wrote the organizers, “yet the TV channels had their own spectacle – of lameness. They chose to almost ignore the event and gave less than a minute for its coverage. And this is despite the fact we sent them filmed materials editted to the highest levels. The media silences the protest movements, diminished it and supports the corrupt regime in its silence. (my translation)
Additionally, for months the media had the habit of saying “thousands attended a demonstration” even if numbers were closer to 30 or 40 thousand. It was always thousands, never tens of thousands or actual numbers… Not a lie, just a common little trick to mislead the public.
Neve Ilan - Demonstrating in front of 12TV
How shall I say this without being poltically incorret? OK, I don’t really care. There were very good, high quality people in this protest, people who cared deeply about the difference between truth and lies, reporting and propaganda. Many came from around the area, which is mostly rural – Kibbutzim and Moshavim. The population of these settlements is known for its patriotism and proactivity, in the past as well as today. Some people made extra efforts to arrive from further afield. One speaker came from a Kibbutz in the Negev.
For me it was about a half an hour drive from Jerusalem.[As a side I will mention that Bibi’s son, Yair Netanyahu, did not shy away from using the term “Nazis” to defame and humiliate the Kibbutz movement that features high in the resistance to his father. The kibbutzim, of course, still put food on his table and die for the country in numbers disproportiaonal to their size].
A paralel event was taking place in Tel Aviv in front of 13TV at the same time.
We were standing behind rails that the police put on the other side of the street, facing the compound with our signs and chants of the revolution. The police, to their credit, was friendly and cooperative with the protesters. I felt they actually cared for our safety, maybe even sympathized with our cause!
At a certain point, one of the activists came around and asked us to leave this protest and rush to the Knesset for an emergency rally (see below).
I chose to stay put for the time being, and left only at around 7, heading for the Knesset to see if there was anything still going on there.
Some people used their megaphones to “talk to the media” (see below)
Submarines in Judean mountains
At one point a submarine towed behind a truck came to display itself at the demonstration. These submarines always bring a great boost of energy to the scene and coalesce the protesters around them.
Time to go home, buddies
At around 5:30, workers started emerging from the compound after their day’s shift. If they even looked in our direction, that was much. The noise we succeeded to generate made no impact. For the most part, they took the left turn and drove away oblivious to our presence.
Nobody stopped to film, record, document, or simply to talk to us.
Two people sounded the ubiquituous, almost official “beep of the revolution” (ta tata tata, ta, ta), but I was told there were other companies housed in that compound…
Takeaways From Speeches to 12TV at Neve Ilan
More videos of the speeches carried out at Neve Ilan can be found on my YouTube channel, “Wave of Demonstrations, Israel”
Here are some of the points raised:
- Peace with Abu Dabi does not interest us when we don’t have peace among ourselves, and as long as our government is corrupt.
- Interviewers should point out the lies MKs and policemen tell during interviews.
- We ask the media to come in person to the protests and give them proper coverage.
- We ask Nussbaum, a senior 12TV reporter for police and internal affairs, to do “real journalism” .
- We will bring the media to account in the future.
- We blame the media for cooperating with the tycoons who support them and indirectly with Bibi.
- What will you tell your grandchildren about your contribution to the country in this crucial period of Israeli history?
- The prime minister hasn’t said a word of truth in 10 years, but your reporters don’t correct him or tell us the truth
- Bibi keeps inciting and dividing as he did back then from the infamous balcony in Zion Square prior to Rabin’s murder
- Bibi divides and rules. We, the people, talk about love and unity.
An Emergency Call to the Knesset - Oops, Democracy Has Just died...
As mentioned above, about an hour into our rally at Neve Ilan, activists rushed over urging us to drive immediately to the Knesset:
– What happened?
– Knesset Chairman Yariv Levin overruled a majority decision to establish an investigation committee for the submarine affair. It is the end of democracy.
Nonetheless, I decided to stay where I was for about another hour. I thought the current protest was important for its own sake and abandoning it en masse would send the wrong message.
But notwithstanding, when the rally started to disperse, I went to the Knesset to see whether the protest was still on.
When I got there, it was already dark. Small numbers of people carrying flags walked to, but mostly away from the Knesset famous circle where the rally was taking place.
Curiously, demonstrations by the Knesset seem to be more problematic in terms of police behavior than other places. That shouldn’t be the case, of course, because, in principle, this is where our elected representatives, people who are there to care for our interests, convene to discuss what is good for us, citizens, as a whole. This is where our voices and our grievances, not just our votes, should be heard and taken into account on an ongoing basis.
Oops, Democracy is Over
So this is what happened: The Knesset voted to establish an investigation committee into the subamarine affair, a proposal of the opposition. The Knesset chairman overruled it.
JUST LIKE THAT!!!
From the Depth of Her Pain - Calling on the Knesset
Here we were
It was getting dark; there were very few people by the pretty flower beds around the square, but they were highly dedicated. Some activists talked on megaphones; cars circled around the plaza, beeping occasionally. Unlike us, it is common for police to trash flower beds with their cars or their feet.
When prompted, we chanted “Go” and “The country belongs to us, not to Netanyahu”, and “Money, Power, Mafia” (rhymes nicely in Hebrew).
I have been to the Knesset before to a demonstration which was meant to be very large, but supporters from the coastal heart of the country were deterred from arriving. Police and army (which is not supposed to be politicized, a golden prinicple of the Israeli social contract) stopped cars on the roads leading to the capital. People were given fines and reports, or were simply sent back on their heels. Some drove around in loops.
We ended up being just the hard-core Jerusalem cadre. Our city is predominantly right-wing, religious and far from liberal. It is largely Bibi-inclined, so there weren’t that many people. The police at that event was brutal, and this was the first time I witnessed their paranoic and undemocratic behavior from up close. I also noted their cluelessness, arbitrariness and dumbness. Again, not apologizing for my lack of political correctness.
(See my upcoming post about the Knesset demonstration which took place September 29th .
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This was our desperate call
Here I am paraphrasing this activist’s words, straight from the bottom of her heart:
Our fault…accepting the unacceptable
- We are all at fault. There is no unity. It is time for civil disobediance. A self-respecting nation would have turned over this Knesset. The government is a criminal organization.
Calls: Submarines, Submarines…
Where does our money go?
- This is the most expensive country in European terms. We pay the highest taxes, have the highest prices and nobody bothers to inform us what is actually done with our money.
- The Attorney General minimizes all of Netanyhau’s indictments, and those of his wife, Sarah. He shoves the submarine case under the rug. Milikovsky (Bibi’s cousin, involved in deep corruption in the submarine affair) turned the country into a money-generating milk factory for himself.
- Criminals all of them, and still playing politics, one against the other. No elected officials actually care for their constituents. Had they cared, they would have resigned already.
- The country is ours; it does not belong to Bibi, the Likkud or to AG Avichai Mandelblit.
- Bibi, you are a small man. You keep inciting and dividing us as you did that day from that infamous balcony prior to Rabin’s murder. You talk divide and rule; we talk union and love.
Chants: The country is ours, and not Netanyahu’s
And the media – yet again
The activist called:
WHERE IS THE MEDIA? SHAME ON THE MEDIA!!!
And, indeed, there was zero official media presence to document our grief and anger. It wasn’t surprising – we had already gotten used to that. Apparently, it was easier for us to mobilize at the last minute, heed the emergency call and come here, than for the journalists… Perhaps it simply wasn’t important enough for them to document that some people bothered to decry the death of Israeli democracy…
And that closes the cycle on the topic of this article:
The mainstream Israeli media keeps defaulting on the people and on its mission.
It must be noted that journalists, like doctors, make a vow when they take office – in their case it is to adhere to truth and make all reasonable efforts to uncover it in their investigations, and then to cover it in their reports. For doctors, it is to treat everybody regardless of affiliation. Thank goodness, at least the doctors in this country do do their jobs.
To summarize: both protests were a miserable show of failure on the part of the Israeli media.
More videos from the Knesset protest can be seen on my YouTube Channel, Wave of Demonstrations Israel.
Closing the Evening
I walked back to my car, parked as usual at the Israel Museum parking lot.
On the way, two sweet girls were heading on towards what remained of the protest. We exchanged photos, and I went home.
Have We Made a Difference???
Perhaps it is not necessarily the big protests, or so I’d like to believe or make-believe. A small event at the right place at the right time might have an effect. And, of course, “other things” like CNN’s new policy of fact-checking Trump in real time. Hopefully this will become the new model for action here as well…
Sample examples from the past
The new model:
This is the new look of a Netanyhau speech broadcast on Channel 13. The box on the top describes what he said; the one at the bottom is the fact-checking.
Even channel 12, which tends to be more Bibi-positive, started posting fact-checking boxes. Here, the box enumerates countries Netanyahu “forgot” to mention in his boastful comparisons about how “great” Israel fared internationally with regard to the coronavirus. They are: Greece, Serbia, Slovakia, Denmark and Lebanon.
Appendix - Netnayhu Inciting From the Balcony, 1995
I haven’t been to the country that terrible time in 1995, so I did not get a close enough look at the course of events. That was still the stone age of technologies…
This video was recently released again, and watching it I got all appalled and outraged. How could we allow that man to rule us for that long?
The same hateful incitement can now be seen on Israeli streets: leftists are tagged as “traitors” and everybody Bibi doesn’t like is tagged as “leftist”, even if he or she are far to his right politically. Again, images from Germany’s infamous past are used to incite and divide. Absolutely shameful.
For more videos from this event and from other protests and demonstrations around Israel see my You Tube playlist: Wave of Demonstrations Israel
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