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October 30, 2023 10:03 am

Vox Hit Job Whitewashes Terrorism & Misinforms on Israeli History

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avatar by Chaim Lax


An aerial view shows the bodies of victims of an attack following a mass infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip lying on the ground in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel, Oct. 10, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg

As the war between Israel and Hamas continues in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas terror attack, Vox has released a video purporting to serve as a guide to the history of the region.

However, instead of a thoughtful and nuanced piece, Vox’s “Gaza, explained” is steeped in anti-Israel rhetoric, devoid of any proper context, and lacking any intellectual rigor.

Three particular areas where this video’s bias is most evident are its whitewashing of Palestinian terrorism, its revisionist assessment of the region’s history, and its sole reliance on the commentary of anti-Israel voices.

Vox Turns Blind Eye to Hamas’ Brutality

Early in the video, Vox describes Hamas’ terrorist attack on October 7 as “Hamas launched rockets, killed over 1,400 civilians, and kidnapped close to 200 people.”

Missing from this description is the brutal manner in which Hamas murdered many of the Israeli civilians.

While the on-screen images show some of the raw footage from the attack, no context is given for what the viewer is seeing. No mention is made of the slaughter at the Nova music festival, of the methodical way in which Hamas terrorists went door-to-door in Israeli border communities to murder entire families in their homes, or of the wanton execution of Israelis driving through the area at the time of the attack.

From Vox’s description alone, one is led to believe that Israeli civilians were killed in impersonal rocket strikes and not the close-range massacres that came to symbolize the attack.

This false and sanitized impression of the October 7 terror attack is solidified near the end of the video, when Dana El Kurd portrays it as a natural result of the “status quo being unsustainable,” and Yousef Aljamal describes it simply as “escalations” that are the result of people in Gaza being unable to find any hope.

Alongside its whitewashing of the attack, Vox also minimizes Hamas’ terrorist identity, referring to it as a “militant” group and referring to its terrorist members as “fighters.”

At no point does the 15-minute video even make mention of the fact that Hamas is labeled a terrorist organization by among others, Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, and Australia.

Hamas is not the only Palestinian terror organization to have its terror credentials downplayed by Vox.

In the middle of the video, Vox refers to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a “liberation movement with an armed wing that fought for Palestinian rights for decades.”

This cavalier description completely ignores the PLO’s history of terrorism, including the Ma’alot massacre in 1974, the bombardment of northern Israeli towns in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, and a spate of plane hijackings in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

From 1948 to 2023: Vox’s Historical Revisionism

Throughout “Gaza, explained,” Vox attempts to provide its viewers with a concise history of Israel, the Palestinians, and Gaza.

However, this review is overflowing with context-free statements, misleading assertions, and outright falsehoods.

Some of the most egregious historical inaccuracies in this video include:

  • Vox refers to Gaza as being “occupied” by Israel to this day, even though Israel removed all its soldiers and civilians from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
  • In its description of Israel’s founding, Vox informs us that soon after the partition plan was adopted by the United Nations, “Zionist forces and militias began to forcibly expel hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land.” It then goes on to describe how Arab countries, “overwhelmed by [Palestinian] refugees,” invaded Israel “to support Palestinian Arabs.” This retelling of history dismisses the fact that many Palestinian refugees left of their own accord (either fleeing the violence or anticipating an Arab victory) and overlooks the fact that the local Arab population and the surrounding Arab countries initiated a war focused on decimating the Jewish population and extending their countries’ own borders.
  • Later on, Vox describes the background of the Six-Day War. Aside from its flippant downplaying of Palestinian fedayeen attacks, the closing of the Red Sea to Israeli shipping, and the massing of Egyptian forces in the Sinai Desert, it also claims that Israel “launched a full-scale attack on Jordan, Syria, and Egypt.” Any credible historian will tell you that Israel did not immediately attack Jordan, but only did so after Jordan started shelling Israeli positions.
  • Vox portrays Israel as having continued to build settlements between the signing of the Oslo Accords and the Second Intifada, with a graphic showing the exponential growth of settlements in Gaza. This is a misrepresentation of reality as only two settlements were built in Gaza post-Oslo ,and both (Kerem Atzmona and Shirat Hayam) were during the Second Intifada period, in late 2000/early 2001.
  • Vox pins the blame for the Second Intifada on Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount (incorrectly describing it as a visit to the “Al-Aqsa Mosque”), even though there’s ample evidence that the Palestinian leadership had been planning violence before Sharon’s visit.
  • When describing Israel’s blockade of Gaza, Vox never informs its audience that Egypt also has a blockade of Gaza, and only once mentions that Gaza even shares a border crossing with Egypt. Anyone unfamiliar with the region would be left with the impression that Israel is entirely responsible for the blockade.
  • In describing Gaza under the blockade, Vox never informs its audience that Israel provides Gaza with some of its water and electricity needs, that Hamas usurps vital humanitarian aid for its own terrorist infrastructure, or that Israel allows thousands of Gazans to work in Israel during times of reduced tensions.

Vox Solely Platforms Anti-Israel Voices

In “Gaza, explained,” Vox interviews three people, Dorgham Abusalim, Yousef Aljamal, and Dana El Kurd, all of whom are noted anti-Israel voices.

Dorgham Abusalim has written several articles for the virulently anti-Israel Mondoweiss news site, Yousef Aljamal has written for the anti-Israel site Electronic Intifada, and Dana El Kurd has written for publications that are highly critical of Israel, including +972 Magazine and Jewish Currents.

Throughout the video, Vox uncritically platforms their claims, allowing Dorgham Absualim to refer to the Israeli prime minister as “The prime minister of the Israeli occupation,” and legitimizing Yoursef Aljamal’s libelous assertion that Israel is carrying out “elements” of genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Along with these three voices, Vox provides extra sources and readings from a variety of NGOs and authors, all of whom are known for being highly critical of Israel or anti-Israel. These include the Israeli NGOs Gisha and B’Tselem, and professors Ilan Pappe and Rashid Khalidi.

Between its whitewashing of Palestinian terrorism, inaccurate portrayal of Israeli history, and reliance on anti-Israel voices for added commentary, it is clear that Vox never intended to provide its audience with a nuanced and objective look at Gaza’s history.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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