The message could not have been made any more graphic if Ivanka had been pictured digging her designer stiletto heel into a wounded child, her finishing-school bromides vainly competing with the sound of gunfire and the stench of human slaughter.
This pictorial juxtaposition is quite a new, sympathetic development in the media's portrayal of the prisoners of Gaza and American war in general. For purposes of critiquing Trump, the Palestinians have been granted an unprecedented modicum of humanity by the media-political complex. For the first time in a long time, the "other side" of the story is being told.
When the White House discounted the massacre, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Israel and the removal of the official capital to Jerusalem as Hamas "propaganda," and when Jared Kushner's words blaming Palestinian protesters for own deaths were censored from the official government transcript of the event, the Fourth Estate took notice and spoke out. With Trump and his neocon enablers bellowing out their xenophobia in decibels guaranteed to make even the most jaded ears bleed, the media has had no choice. When the minister tapped to deliver a speech at the dedication of the new US embassy gave his personal blessing to Jared and Ivanka, his racist past - he once called black people "monkeys" -- had even some of the most valiant supporters of the apartheid state of Israel cringing in discomfort.
This speaking of truth to power is almost entirely new, given that the media and both establishment political parties have never exactly been critics of the Gaza concentration camp and the historical atrocities unleashed by Israel against the inmates behind the barbed wire. For the first time in a long time, American audiences are not being granted the customary sanitized "safe distance" between the violence directed against the powerless by the powerful. Either the media have finally undergone an ethical epiphany, or their almost universal hatred of the Trump regime has made truth-telling suddenly and politically convenient. You decide.
Previous corporate media accounts have, for example, usually cast the child victims of Israeli overkill as "human shields" used by their terrorist parents. This is a propaganda ploy, used for the sole purpose of rendering even the tiniest Palestinians in Gaza as less than human creatures.
As philosopher Judith Butler lays out in Frames of War, the lives of civilians targeted in American wars have traditionally been cast by the corporate US media as "ungrievable."
Ungrievable lives are those that cannot be lost, and cannot be destroyed, because they already inhabit a lost and destroyed zone.... To destroy them actively might even seem like a kind of redundancy, or a way of simply ratifying a prior truth.That's how we can understand Jared Kushner's cold portrayal of the slaughtered Palestinian protesters as nothing but propaganda puppets. If they were already effectively dead to him anyway, how could they possibly be murdered again?
This mindset is nothing new in Imperial America, of course. The late Barbara Bush infamously opined that Hurricane Katrina victims were doing just fine packed in the Houston Astrodome because they had been "underprivileged to begin with." American authorities have never bothered counting or naming the "collateral damage" of their drone assassinations in Yemen and Pakistan, because as denizens of "tribal areas" they are not only not considered human, they are demonized as "militants." As apologists for US hegemony have rationalized it, why count victims if their lives never really counted in the first place? This is further rationalized by pleading that the counting of the dead would entail endangering more precious - and grievable - American troop-lives.
The massacres of Middle Eastern children are simply not as "grievable" as the massacres of American children in their classrooms. Similarly, the shooting deaths of black and brown people in The Homeland are not grieved (covered) in the media and by politicians as much as the shooting deaths of white people, especially white celebrities. As Butler describes it, it's all a matter of the media "framing."
Framing is contrived by "norms" defining who and who is not a person, and whose status of living is open to apprehension. A picture is framed, but so too is a criminal suspect (by the police) or an innocent person (by someone nefarious, often the police) so that to be framed is to be set up, or have evidence planted against one that ultimately "proves" one's guilt. The frame of a picture serves as a limiting editorialized embellishment of the image, if not a self-commentary on the history of the frame itself. It is also possible to frame the frame or the framer and expose the ruse.As far as the Trumps In Jerusalem story is concerned, the framing has been effectively stretched far beyond the heretofore artificially narrow canvas, exposing the grotesque surrealism of the painting for the whole audience to see. The New York Daily News correctly called Ivanka "Daddy's Little Ghoul" as she primly applauded while real human beings were being murdered just 50 miles away from her latest insipid Project Runway public relations event.
So we might just be making progress against American war propaganda in spite of ourselves. Neither norms nor frames are meant to last forever, so the sooner that the four rigid corners of acceptable media war discourse can be broken, the better.
The Trump framers have been framed, and the whole neocon ruse is being exposed.