The Listening Post

Distract, deflect, disinform: Israeli politics in spin cycle

How Israeli politicians are demonising Palestinians and using Gaza to score points. Plus, Algeria’s viral stars.

On this episode of The Listening Post: Caught in a political tangle, Israeli politicians are demonising Palestinians and using Gaza to score points. Plus, Algeria’s viral stars.

Israel: War as a political weapon

In Israel, war, usually waged on Gaza, can be a means of distraction; a political weapon. And that context is often missing in the news coverage.

Last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched air raids on the Gaza Strip, what his government called “a targeted killing” of an Islamic Jihad commander.

However, in political terms, those missiles weren’t even aimed at Islamic Jihad.

The real target was Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s political rival.

Netanyahu is fighting for more than his job. He’s just become the first sitting Israeli prime minister charged with a crime: indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

So Netanyahu could use the distraction and he knows that conflict with Palestinians – military and political – can pay off.

He can also count on those in the media, who tend to shorthand the political context – and go long on the dominant narrative – that Palestinians somehow pose an “existential threat” to Israel.

Lead contributors:
Yara Hawari – Palestine policy fellow, Al Shabaka
Anat Balint – Media scholar
Tareq Baconi – Analyst, International Crisis Group
Edo Konrad – Editor-in-chief, +972 Magazine

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Meenakshi Ravi about the internet shut-down in Iran; and election tactics in the UK.

Algeria: The revolution will be YouTubed

For months now, Algerians have been hitting the streets demanding political change.

Back in April they succeeded in toppling the country’s long-time president – Abdelaziz Bouteflika – but they aren’t done. They have rejected the government’s proposed presidential elections in December, persisting with their demand that – “They must all go”.

And long before this year’s demonstrations began, a generation of YouTubers – people like Raja Meziane and Anes Tina emerged as unofficial spokespeople for Algeria‘s youth.

We spoke with the two of them about the grievances they articulate, the political and social change they advocate in the videos they’ve produced – videos that have become part of the soundtrack of the Algerian revolution.

Feature contributors:
Anes Tina – Comedian
Raja Meziane – Musician