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Publicising settler-colonialism in US mainstream media

Advertisements in USA Today and the New York Times have endorsed Israel's settler-colonial state by reproducing its Declaration of Independence. The propaganda was financed by the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which aims to "improve lives" through a contradictory spectrum encompassing "health and medical research, human services, education conservation and the security and development of Israel".

A report in the Times of Israel highlights the reasons for such publicity. According to a quoted statement by Helmsley trustee Sandor Frankel, "By publishing Israel's founding document in two of the most widely read newspapers across the country, we will reach many Americans who often don't have the chance to learn about the deep similarities between our countries due to media coverage that focuses primarily on conflict." The statement goes on to assert Israel's alleged commitment to peace and various forms of freedom, which "resonates with America's deepest values."

US President Barack Obama echoed a similar sentiment, stating that America's relationship with Israel is "based on shared democratic values and our unwavering commitment to Israel's security, has never been stronger." The similarities alluded to in both statements include experience in settler-colonisation, the constant perfection of oppression and the mutual disposition to collaborate in maintaining varying forms of aggression against populations unwilling to succumb to imperialist violence.

Since 2010 the Helmsley Trust has awarded Israel over $68 million for various projects, which include "strengthening Israel's leadership in scientific, technological and medical research" as well as "strengthening Israel's standing in the world". The latter is presumably an orchestrated effort in line with the settler-colonial state's constant lament of being misinterpreted within the media that in any case capitulates to its abhorrent cause so willingly, namely support for the constant violations aimed at displacing and eliminating Palestinians in order to complete its colonisation of Palestine.

Following the advertisements in the US media, the dissemination of oblivion for the Palestinians as another aim would enhance the Trust's profile with its recipients of financial support. As with other institutions and organisations attempting to bolster Israel's image, the enforced absence of Palestinians in their own land remains a necessity. Hence the perseverance in attempting to project an altruistic image divorced from the historical reality of ethnic cleansing that commenced with the Nakba of 1948. While the indigenous population is forced to live on the periphery of the illegal settler-colonial state, or in distant countries as refugees, the Helmsley Trust endorses Israel's perpetual violence within a socially accepted veneer related to the promotion of humanitarian values.

The charity, in collaboration with the US mainstream media that conveniently fails to articulate the difference between settler-colonialism and conflict, has proved itself capable of manipulating the essence of humanitarian values. Juxtaposing issues such as education alongside support for the Zionist state indicates a strategy that goes beyond the provision of financial grants. Publicising Israel's state sanctioned oblivion for Palestinians is another contemptible approach, attempting to obliterate manifestations of the ongoing violence against Palestinians which should not be isolated from the origins of the Nakba. Resorting to imperialist-controlled media in order to disseminate the hegemonic narrative renders the latest publicity into a contemptible farce that proves Israel's constant preoccupation with alleged ownership of land and the burden of reinventing its narrative.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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