Manipulation Politics: Israeli Gaslighting in the United States

Although the pro-Israel camp and their allies continue to dominate and influence Congress and the executive branch, they have slowly begun to lose control of the narrative.

Renegade Editor’s Note: This article comes from a left-wing perspective, so you will see talk of “apartheid” and “racist” depictions of Arabs, but it’s a good overview regardless.

By Dr. M. Reza Behnam
reposted from the Palestine Chronicle, April 25,2024

Although the pro-Israel camp and their allies continue to dominate and influence Congress and the executive branch, they have slowly begun to lose control of the narrative.

The Middle East will not be the same in the wake of October 7, 2023. More was breached on that day than the prison wall that Palestinian fighters burst through. The fantasy Israel has staged-managed, and the United States has parroted, for over seven decades has finally seen the light of day. The global community can no longer be gaslit.

Merriam-Webster defines gaslighting as “the act of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage.” The term has resonance for what Israel and the United States have successfully done over a number of generations—creating a benign identity for Israel that has never corresponded with its ruthless settler-colonial reality.

The awful truth is that it has taken the death of over 34,000 Palestinians for many in the United States and the world to say “Free Palestine.” The mainstreamed Israeli “good guy” narrative that has colonized the US body politic for so long is being whittled away by the horrific images of daily genocide and ecocide from Gaza.

A country does not become cruel overnight. It takes intent, years of practice and strategies to effectively hide the cruelty. Since it declared itself a state in 1948, the occupied territories known as Israel has relied on an elaborate state-run public relations industry to convince Western audiences, particularly Americans, of its bravery and noble intentions.

For over six months, Israel’s brutality has been brought into the living rooms of America. Until then, Israel had made certain that its foundational myths and beacon of democracy tale dominated American politics and government, religion, journalism, academia, cinema and television.

Those who have been successfully gaslit, whether consciously or unconsciously, and who wish to maintain existing power structures continue to deny the genocide being live-streamed before their eyes, and have galvanized to crush those opposed to Israel’s war on Palestinians.

American Politics and Government

For decades, Israel has manipulated US politicians emotionally and financially to advance its expansionist ambitions. Israeli lobby groups, like the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), have poured billions into the coffers of receptive politicians.

Pro-Israel spending has fueled Congress’s overwhelming support for the apartheid regime. Rarely, if ever, do they question why aid is being given to the fourteenth richest (per capita) country in the world. From 1990 to 2024, for example, the “I am a Zionist,” president, Joe Biden has received $5,736,701 from pro-Israel lobbies.

In 2024, AIPAC plans to spend $100 million in an effort to unseat progressive members of Congress (eight in number) who have been critical of Israeli policy and who have called for a ceasefire in Gaza.

In January 2024, The Guardian newspaper published its analysis of campaign data. It found that congressional members supportive of the war received the most money from Israel lobby groups.It also revealed that 82 percent of its members support Israel; 9 percent are supportive of Palestine; and 8 percent were equally supportive of both.


Israel’s leaders have also capitalized on the powerful force of religion to whitewash their settler-colonial project. They have exploited the ideology of biblical chosenness and divinely sanctioned land ownership to legitimize land theft, to dispossess the Palestinians and to sell its genocidal war on Gaza.

An Israeli Democracy Index, 2013 survey revealed that two-thirds (64.3 percent) of Israeli Jews consider Jews to be the “chosen people.” The prominence of this belief has resulted in attitudes and government policies of exclusion, entitlement and ethnic chauvinism.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war rhetoric has been suffused with violent biblical references. He has cynically ascribed the term Amalek—the staunch enemy of biblical Israelites—to Palestinians. The far-right in Israel has, for a long while, used such references to justify killing Palestinians.

The Evangelical right has stood solidly with Israel; even more so during its war on Gaza. The Israel, Zionist lobby and Christian Zionist (religious right) alliance have had enormous influence over US Middle East policy. For every one Jewish Zionist, there are 30 Christian Zionists. Netanyahu has courted Evangelicals cognizant of the power they exert within Congress.

Christian Zionism demands of its followers absolute support for Israel, believing that the Rapture and Second Coming of Christ require the gathering of all Jews in Israel, and that supporting Israel will bring God’s blessing on them and on their nation.



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