Western Propaganda Gets More Desperate as World Majority Sides with China and Russia Against the US over Gaza
The New York Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Telegraph have all recently run pieces attempting to paint Russia and China as anti semitic and/or anti Israel. The propaganda comes as the US tries to discredit any attempts by Moscow and Beijing to lead more international involvement in the Palestine-Israel peace process.
Let’s start with The New York Times, which has run at least two articles in recent days in which the argument basically boils down to the following: some people in Russia and China say bad things about Jews on the Internet; therefore the governments are anti-Israel.
Here’s the New York Times in an Oct. 28 piece, “As China Looks to Broker Gaza Peace, Antisemitism Surges Online”:
But even as China seeks to turn down the temperature diplomatically, a surge of antisemitism and anti-Israeli sentiment is proliferating across the Chinese internet and state media, undermining Beijing’s efforts to convey impartiality. China has already come under pressure from the United States and Israel for its refusal to condemn Hamas for its Oct. 7 attack that started the war.
On China’s heavily censored internet, inflammatory speech critical of Israel is rampant, with commenters seemingly emboldened by that refusal. And China’s state-run media is seizing on the conflict to accuse the United States of turning a blind eye to Israeli aggression, while perpetuating tropes of Jewish control of American politics.
China Daily, a state-run newspaper, ran an editorial on Monday declaring that the United States was on the “wrong side of history in Gaza.” It said Washington was exacerbating the conflict by “blindly backing Israel.”
The piece goes on to mention other cases of private citizens making statements the Times deems questionable, such as an influencer with millions of followers who decided to call Hamas a “resistance organization” rather than a “terrorist organization.” The Times concludes:
It is hard to say whether the anti-Israeli positions in state media and antisemitism on the Chinese internet are part of a coordinated campaign. But China’s state media rarely veers from the official position of the country’s Communist Party, and its hair-trigger internet censors are keenly attuned to the wishes of its leaders, quick to remove any content that sways public sentiment in an unwanted direction, especially on matters of such geopolitical importance.
First off, I remember when news media outlets in the First Amendment-loving US used to criticize China for its lack of press freedom; but the New York Times is now accusing Beijing of not cracking down enough on its news media and online discourse in order to silence criticism of Israel and the US. Good luck with that.
Inherent in this complaint from the Times is a belief that China should not try to take a balanced approach to the conflict, it must “condemn Hamas” and it cannot criticize the US approach to the conflict, nor the US’ decades-long failure to broker a peace agreement.
What’s more is that the Times is in effect concluding that the comments of random private citizens (and the government’s inability or unwillingness to censor them) in a country of 1.4 billion people is therefore the official position of the Chinese government. If we apply that same standard to the US, how easy is it to go on Twitter, Facebook, etc. and find crazy comments by Americans? Is it fair to conclude that those rantings represent US policy? In many cases, they’re not far removed from Washington’s increasingly unhinged actions throughout the world, but that still doesn’t make them the official position of the state.
A Nov. 3 piece, “In a Worldwide War of Words, Russia, China and Iran Back Hamas” goes a step further and lumps China, Russia and Iran together as backers of Hamas. The headline itself is false, and it only gets worse from there. The nut:
Iran, Russia and, to a lesser degree, China have used state media and the world’s major social networking platforms to support Hamas and undercut Israel, while denigrating Israel’s principal ally, the United States….
The campaigns do not appear to be coordinated, American and other government officials and experts said, though they did not rule out cooperation.
What does the Times cite as evidence for these claims?
The Spanish arm of RT, the global Russian television network, for example, recently reposted a statement by the Iranian president calling the explosion at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza on Oct. 17 an Israeli war crime, even though Western intelligence agencies and independent analysts have since said a missile misfired from Gaza was a more likely cause of the blast.
Well, non-Western analysts do not agree with the West’s version of events. And it would appear that the Times is arguing that RT (and other media outlets) should censor any statements by world leaders that do not have the stamp of approval from Western intelligence agencies.
A profile on X that bore the characteristics of an inauthentic account — @RebelTaha — posted 616 times in the first two days of the conflict, though it had previously featured content mostly about cricket, they said. One post featured a cartoon claiming a double standard in how Palestinian resistance toward Israel was cast as terrorism while Ukraine’s fight against Russia was self-defense.
The Times does not mention that @RebelTaha has a whopping total of 18 followers (as of Nov. 5).
The Times goes on to list “false or unverified content” across a range of social media platforms. Who exactly is supposed to “verify” all this content? The Times doesn’t say, although one would be forgiven for thinking they want Western intelligence agencies to play a role given their criticism of RT en Espanol for running information that didn’t agree with “Western intelligence agencies and independent analysts.” Who is the Times’ source for all this unverified, anti-Israel, anti-US content?
It is Rafi Mendelsohn, vice president at Cyabra, a social media intelligence company based in Tel Aviv, and the Times says that the company has tracked down at least 40,000 bots or “inauthentic accounts” in the past month. The Times does not mention that two of Cyabra’s founders served in information warfare units in the Israel Defense Forces.
The Times concludes with this gem:
The war has heightened concerns in Washington and other Western capitals that an alliance of authoritarian governments has succeeded in fomenting illiberal, antidemocratic sentiment, especially in Africa, South America and other parts of the world where accusations of American or Western colonialism or dominance find fertile soil.
Russia and China, which have grown increasingly close in recent years, appear intent to exploit the conflict to undermine the United States as much as Israel. The State Department’s Global Engagement Center, which combats state propaganda and disinformation, has in recent weeks detailed extensive campaigns by Russia and China to shape the global information environment to their advantage.
This is getting closer to what’s at the heart of the matter. Aside from the Times’ yearning for mass censorship run out of Langley, its allegations that China and Russia harbor anti semitic and anti-Israel positions are part of an effort to discredit any of their efforts to become more involved in the peace process.
China and Russia have been entirely consistent in their positions and statements on the issue. They support a two-state solution, and they believe the decades-long US peace process has obviously failed. Even if you accept that the US has been operating in good faith in its efforts to find a solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict, the very fact that the current conflict is where the situation stands after 60 years would seem to support Russia and China’s claims.
The US, however, does not want other powers muscling in on its monopoly over the never ending Palestine-Israel peace process.
Currently, China and Russia are onboard with the vast majority of the rest of the world calling for a humanitarian truce in Gaza and the US is increasingly isolated at the UN. Longer term, Moscow and Beijing are also trying to internationalize the Palestine-Israel peace process. Here’s what the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Oct. 8 – a position it has maintained throughout the current fighting:
The recurrence of the conflict shows once again that the protracted standstill of the peace process cannot go on. The fundamental way out of the conflict lies in implementing the two-state solution and establishing an independent State of Palestine. The international community needs to act with greater urgency, step up input into the Palestinian question, facilitate the early resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel, and find a way to bring about enduring peace. China will continue to work relentlessly with the international community towards that end.
On the long-term answer, Beijing shares ssentially the same position of the US: a two-state solution, (which the US at least says it supports although in practice it helps Israel make that reality increasingly difficult). The US wants to maintain a monopoly on this process that only ever grows more elusive under US guidance. China wants more involvement from the international community at the UN. The US, in turn, is stonewalling those efforts at the UN.
The New York-based China Project tries to paint Beijing’s efforts in the same light as The Times, but I think inadvertently shows how rational China’s position is:
China wants to portray itself as “a great power on the one hand but a different kind of great power from the U.S. that has this kind of kinship with the Global South,” said John Calabrese, an assistant professor at American University’s School of International Service and a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute. “They’re trying to maneuver and shape their conduct in a way that can capitalize on that dual identity.”
This response is consistent with China’s decades-long diplomatic support for Palestine and calls for a two-state solution, even as China and Israel have developed a close economic relationship since establishing diplomatic ties in 1992. Beijing’s posture also aligns China with its partners in the Middle East and will serve its regional interests there.
Of course, the US insists neutrality is not an option for China – just like the conflict in Ukraine – as Washington prefers to paint political disagreements in terms of good and evil with the US naturally on the side of the angels. Western governments and media are apparently no longer capable of enough critical thought to realize geopolitics are more complicated than this and that viewing international relations in this light guarantees endless conflict.
But that is where we are. And the US, rather than voluntarily cede its almost complete control over the Palestine-Israel peace process, is attempting to discredit China and Russia with the charges of being anti-Israel and/or anti semitic. For example, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized China for not showing enough sympathy or support for Israel.
“I urge you and the Chinese people to stand with the Israeli people and condemn these cowardly and vicious attacks,” said Schumer.
Of course, even Schumer must realize that if China were to “condemn” Hamas and “stand with” Israel, its neutral position in any future peace negotiations would evaporate and it would harm China’s position elsewhere in the Middle East.
Elsewhere in the propaganda war to discredit China we have the Wall Street Journal running an Oct. 31piece about Baidu and Alibaba maps of the Middle East:
Internet users in China are expressing bewilderment that the name Israel doesn’t appear on leading online digital maps from Baidu and Alibaba, an ambiguity that matches Beijing’s vague diplomacy in the region and contrasts with its attentiveness to maps generally.
Baidu’s Chinese language online maps demarcate the internationally recognized borders of Israel, as well as the Palestinian territories, plus key cities, but don’t clearly identify the country by name. The same is true with online maps produced by Alibaba’s Amap, where even small nations like Luxembourg are clearly marked. Neither company responded to questions on Monday. It is unclear whether the development is new, though it has been discussed by Chinese internet users since war broke out.
China’s government has over the years cried foul and levied fines over maps published elsewhere online, such as on hotel websites, for failing to strictly adhere to Beijing’s territorial claims, like leaving off a nine-dotted line stretching around the South China Sea that isn’t internationally recognized.
The UK’s Telegraph ran a similar story, declaring it a “major provocation from China,” and more and more outlets picked up the story. Soon, it was “Chinese companies remove ‘Israel’ from digital maps as Xi backs Palestine.” Pekingnology, which is a project of former Xinhua reporter Zichen Wang, pointed out a problem with the Journal’s claims and another with its conclusion, writing that:
- It’s not a recent development with some questioning the labels as far back as 2021.
- China’s official map service shows both the names of Israel and Palenstine.
The Financial Times ran sloppy propaganda about an anti-Semitic riot at Makhachkala airport in Dagestan, Russia. Gilbert Doctorow has been all over that and you can read his insightful observations here and here.
Essentially a US and Ukrainian PsyOp helped instigate the chaos that was quickly brought under control by Russian police. It was, however, embarrassing for Moscow and not just the Financial Times, but also the US State Department pounced to make claims about pogroms in Russia. From RT:
Speaking during a press briefing in Washington DC on Monday, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said: “I saw the video, as I’m sure all of you did. It looked like a pogrom to me.”
His assessment was echoed the same day by John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council in the White House.
“Some people have compared it to the pogroms of the late 19th and early 20th century, and I think that’s probably an apt description,” he stated.
Kirby went on to allege, falsely, that the Kremlin had failed to condemn the Makhachkala riot.
Other news outlets like RFE/RL are now running pieces about Jews living in fear in Russia. Why? Much like with China, it was apparently Moscow’s failure to condemn Hamas and show enough support for Israel.
Of course, Russia, while maintaining a position on Palestine-Israel similar to China, has been much more outspoken in its criticism of the US, blaming Washington for not only failing to achieve peace between Palestinians and Israel but also claiming that its entire peace process has been a charade. While acknowledging that the Hamas terror attack started this current phase of violence, Russian President Vladimir Putin added the following at an Oct. 30 meeting with the Russian security council:
I will repeat again: the ruling elites of the United States and its satellites are behind the tragedy of the Palestinians, the massacre in the Middle East in general, the conflict in Ukraine, and many other conflicts in the world – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and so on. This has become obvious to everyone. It is they who install their military bases everywhere, who use military force on every pretext and without any pretext, who send weapons to conflict areas. They are also channelling financial resources, including to Ukraine and the Middle East, and fuelling hatred in Ukraine and the Middle East.
They are not achieving results on the battlefield, so they want to split us from within, as far as Russia is concerned, to weaken us and sow confusion. They do not want Russia to participate in solving any international or regional problems, including in the Middle East settlement. They are not satisfied at all when someone does not act or speak exactly as they are instructed. They believe only in their own exclusivity, in being allowed to do anything.
They do not need durable peace in the Holy Land; they need constant chaos in the Middle East. Consequently, they are trying hard to discredit countries that are insisting on an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, on ending the bloodshed, and that are ready to make a real contribution to resolving the crisis, rather than parasitising on it. They are even attacking, ostracising and trying to discredit the UN and the clear position of the global community.
I would like to note that, unlike the West, our approaches towards the situation in the Middle East have always lacked mercenary interests, intrigues and double standards. We have stated and continue to openly state our position, which does not change every year. The key to resolving the conflict lies in establishing a sovereign and independent Palestinian state, a full-fledged Palestinian state. We have repeatedly said this openly and honestly during our contacts with the Palestinian and Israeli leaders.
So what to make of the recent reporting from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and The Telegraph?
I think it can be argued that the quality and effectiveness of Western propaganda are slipping, for one. But it also makes sense, from a US perspective, to paint Moscow and Beijing in this light as Washington does not want China and Russia to play a role in any Palestine-Israel peace process – one that the US has monopolized for decades. The global majority is ready for a new, more even handed approach – as evidenced by the increasingly lopsided UN votes that sees the US evermore isolated.
So the US can try to weaponize charges of antisemitism against Russia, China and the majority of the world that opposes apartheid and ethnic cleansing, but it will only be forestalling the inevitable. As the relative power of the US declines, Israel will eventually have to take into account the position of the world majority.
Now there has been speculation that the neocons in Washington feel their time running out with the pliable Biden and so want to go big before going home by attacking Iran and others in the Middle East. Likewise, Israel might be trying to maximize all its territorial gains before Biden exits.
The sad irony in all this for the neocons and the Zionists is that their efforts to preserve their systems only result in more self harm, worsening their longterm position. And reasonably so because the systems they have constructed – whether apartheid or a global empire – were never sustainable.
Both are overextended, facing internal crises, believe all political problems can be solved with force, and both are in a perpetual panic about all their enemies – real or imagined. The good news is their actions are hastening their demise; the bad is there is no real limit to the amount of destruction they can cause.