The purported logic behind the #ISISMediablackout hashtag trending on Twitter is that we should deprive a media-whore like ISIS of attention. But the refusal to publish the obviously very disturbing imagery of Foley’s beheading belies an even more disturbing consequence, which is the sanitization and normalization of Israeli genocidal violence and terrorism. It is nothing less than an attempt to aestheticize Israeli terrorism as high culture violence to be contradisintguished from low culture violence.
The mainstream media’s depiction of ISIS violence as “grisly”, “gruesome” and “barbaric” against the backdrop of Israel’s daily terrorism against women and children, euphemistically labelled “killing” and “collateral damage” is intellectually and morally indefensible. One only need compare media coverage of Israel’s assassination of Hamas commander Mohammad al Deif’s wife and 7 month old child with headlines on Foley’s execution. It isn’t merely racist in so far as single white victims clearly elicit more international sympathy and their corpses greater revulsion than the mass deaths of poor darker skinned people whose greying corpses and frozen expressions of terror are met with desensitization on the part of media consumers. More than this, the logic of boycotting ISIS’ terror signals that killing is acceptable so long as it is conducted in a “civilized”, high tech manner as in targeted killings, drone strikes and precision-guided bombs. Axes and machetes NO, but OK to munitions. This completely distorts the definition of terrorism, which while far from universal, has customarily centered on the targets of the violence, rather than the specific means of violence employed. Terrorism is the deliberate [politically motivated] killing of civilians, irrespective of how squemish it makes us feel. And while I denounce the execution of journalists or anyone for that matter, I am not going to get worse nighmares than i do from recalling those fleeing Palestinian children on that Gaza beach playground. Please spare us your white liberal moral imperialism. Both your governments which arm Israel and ISIS are our enemies, whether they use machetes or F16s.