The deception of “both sides”

Here’s a screen grab from CNN tonight. It uses the familiar term “both sides” to describe the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza.

But are both sides really “firing rockets at each other” as the graphic above indicates?

Israel, one of the world’s most powerful armies, is firing sophisticated multi-ton, multimillion dollar missiles and bombs (not rockets) from a multi-billion dollar arsenal of ships, tanks and the world’s most sophisticated aircraft.

By comparison, Hamas is firing largely short-range rockets (a fraction of the size of Israel’s missiles) that have been smuggled into Gaza and must be hastily mounted on the ground.

Hamas has no aircraft, no ships, no tanks and no access to an airport or sea ports–the type Israel uses to import thousands of tons of weapons from the US every year.  

The term “both sides” implies two opponents delivering relatively comparable blows to one another in a murky conflict or a mere ‘controversy’ as CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla described the bloodbath tonight.

But by stripping the violence down to “both sides firing rockets” viewers are robbed of the context and the very skewed power dynamics on the ground.

Militarily, there is no comparison between Israel and Hamas.

Israel is a nuclear power which boasts one of the world’s most advanced weapons industries, fueled– to the tune of billions of dollars per year– by free (US taxpayer) money.

Next to Israel, Hamas is a relatively minuscule guerrilla force with small amounts of light arms. No F16s, no Tomahawk missiles, no Apache attack helicopters, no Abrams/Merkava tanks.    

This week, when Israeli leaders plead to the world that they are ‘under attack’ viewers should know that Israel can counter Hamas rockets with a billion-dollar US-supplied missile defense system and that most of its citizens well be well protected in reinforced concrete bomb shelters.

Gazans have no systems to ward off Israeli’s bunker-busting, building imploding bombs. And most Gazans have no bomb shelters with no where to run, no where to hide.

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This is not the first time the media offers “false parallels in Gaza” the title of a post I wrote on this blog during the 2009 attacks.

With so much misleading reporting over the decades, it is not hard to believe that Americans are continuously led to believe that Israel needs more weapons every year, and it needs US taxpayers to pay for them.