Netanyahu just said Israel will permanently occupy the land ‘from the river to the sea.’ The U.S. media is covering it up

The other day Benjamin Netanyahu produced his most memorable statement since October 7. He said that his ultimate aim is that Israel will permanently occupy all the territory “from the river to the sea.” There is video of him saying it in Hebrew.

He was double-crossing decades of official U.S. policy, which is supposed to favor a two-state solution, with an independent Palestine alongside Israel. His statement, after America continues to pay for Israel’s mass killing of civilians in Gaza, is a scandal.

But, so far, you won’t see it in the Washington Post. National Public Radio used a single sentence to tone down the provocative statement and make it sound as boring as possible: “Netanyahu said he informed the United States that he opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of any postwar scenario.” 

The New York Times approached the statement with cunning. The paper provided a literal translation — “Israel must have security control over all the territory west of the Jordan” — and then diverted into vagueness. Most readers would have to pull out an atlas to try and figure out what Netanyahu actually meant.

Meanwhile, the online world was reacting vigorously, pointing out that pro-Palestinian advocates who simply called for justice “from the river to the sea” have been vilified as antisemites, fired from their jobs, doxxed, and blacklisted. Rep. Rashida Tlaib was actually censured by her Congressional colleagues, in part for the same statement. Back on November 9, the Times found space for a long analysis, headlined: “In Congress and on Campuses, ‘From the River to the Sea’ Inflames Debate.”

But, so far, no new analysis in the Times or elsewhere in the mainstream about this latest obvious and blatant hypocrisy.

With one surprising partial exception. Over at CNN, Jake Tapper may finally be growing a spine. First, Tapper actually showed the video of Netanyahu’s “river to the sea” statement, with an accurate translation. Then he interviewed Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli diplomat and outspoken (moderate) critic of Netanyahu, who said the Israeli prime minister was acting like an “ingrate” toward Joe Biden, and that the river to sea statement was for Netanyahu’s own selfish political reasons.

The mainstream U.S. media also continues to cover up or downplay the two powerful right-wing Jewish supremacist members of Netanyahu’s cabinet. The Washington Post has not even mentioned either Itamar Ben-Gvir or Bezalel Smotrich since October 7. The Times tried to clean them up and hide them: on January 16, the paper said only that Ben-Gvir wants Israel to continue to “reoccupy Gaza indefinitely,” when what he really wants is to expel 2 million Palestinians from the territory. On January 12, he and Smotrich were said to favor Jewish “resettlement” of Gaza, which is actually another euphemism for massive ethnic cleansing.  

There was one positive on-air report at NPR, by Lauren Frayer, who actually got to the occupied West Bank, (instead of staying inside pre-1967 Israel, as so many U.S. journalists do). She reported in some detail about Israel’s campaign over many decades to expel Palestinians, and she quoted both Ben-Gvir and Smotrich truthfully.

What’s vital to remember is that the two Jewish supremacists are not isolated oddballs but indispensable members of Netanyahu’s ruling coalition. If they turn against him, he has to call an immediate election, which he will lose, and his corruption trial(s) will then resume, which could very likely send him to prison.

Jake Tapper’s brief foray into truth-telling aside, the U.S. mainstream is also inexplicably refusing to even hint just how much Netanyahu is hated in Israel right now. It is certainly true that a majority of Jewish Israelis support the onslaught against Gaza, (although that support could be weakening as they understand more clearly that Netanyahu is sacrificing the hostages to keep the war going). 

But the U.S. media mostly continues to treat Netanyahu as the respected leader of an allied state. Would your average American want to keep giving Netanyahu’s Israel a blank check if they knew what many Israelis actually think of him? Or what he actually thinks of the U.S.?


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