Jon Snow on Gaza – worthy compassion, but where’s the context?

By John Hilley (Zen Politics)

Jon Snow has made a compassionate statement on the terrible suffering in Gaza, based on what he’s just witnessed there.

In another moving blog piece, he also, on the plane back to London, reflects on his own degrading treatment when crossing the checkpoint back into Israel, and all he’d seen of Gaza’s pain, experiences unprecedented in his journalistic career, causing him to weep.

This is admirable, honest comment, and, as Gaza is being mercilessly bombed, welcome output for those doing all they can to highlight and support the Palestinian cause.

So it seems churlish to somehow rain on Snow’s parade, and all those approving him. But how much of this deeply sincere feeling is being matched by the essential effort to explain why that suffering is going on?

During his first appearance back doing Channel 4 News, Snow pondered the seeming despair at getting a ceasefire, and wondered whether the US is ‘any longer’ serving the role of ‘honest broker’.

Listening to that casual aside should have brought a real moment of clarity for viewers, a realisation that while Snow is saying worthy things about Israel’s gross humanitarian violations, he’s saying virtually nothing about how they’re managing to get away with it through continued US/Western support.

This is not just a ‘facet’ of the ‘conflict’. It’s central to understanding why the occupation, siege, settlements and overall misery for Palestinians goes relentlessly on. And yet, it’s forever politely circumvented.

Snow was also keen to point out the gross mis-match in each sides’ capabilities, noting that, while Gaza has nothing to resist Israel’s vast air power, Israel has the ‘brilliant’ Iron Dome defence system, financed by the US.

Again, having partially alluded to US military aid, it was a moment which could have been used to develop real contextual discussion of the US as Israel’s murderous patron in giving it $3 billion every year. Instead, Snow proceeded with the usual speculations on what Kerry’s diplomatic endeavours might achieve.

In his video piece, Snow speaks of a necessary ‘preparedness to listen, and watch and read’.

But surely journalists like Snow must also have a duty to read and watch and listen to what’s long been recorded about the true reasons for the murder of Gaza.

And if he did,  it wouldn’t, with dutiful moral heart, take much additional effort to amplify the truth that America is not an ‘honest broker’. It is financing and backing Israel to the hilt. Therefore, it’s the problem.

I’ve been watching good people across social media these past days, outraged over Israel’s killing, asking others to help make Snow’s video and blogs go viral. And why shouldn’t they/we show this war on children, in helping to shame Israel and bring maximum attention to Palestinian suffering?

But just imagine the impact of such output if it was accompanied by Snow probing US/UK political elites and developing critical exchange on this essential question:

Why has America been allowed to portray itself for so long now as an ‘honest broker’, when, in fact, it’s acting primarily in Israel’s expansionist military and political interests?

And here’s another for good measure:

Why have we, the media, permitted and contributed to this gross illusion of the US as ‘benign facilitator’ for so long?

Snow and Emily Maitlis on Newsnight are among the very few to have ‘taken-on’ Mark Regev recently. And that’s commendable. But we’re at a point of rising awareness now over Israel’s shameless criminality that locking horns with Regev is no longer the same ‘badge’ of brave interviewing.

Real bravery would be in taking-on the Obama/Kerry/Cameron ‘diplomatic’ circle and indicting them over their own centrally criminal roles in allowing the murder of Gaza and Palestine to continue.

Alas, neither the content of Snow’s blog or his video made it to the Channel 4 News programme. If even that kind of compassionate dispatch can’t slip past the commissioning editor, what chance, or willingness, of telling these real vital truths?

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