Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Trumps in Jerusalem: Smashing the Frames of War

Were it not for the corporate media's disdain for the Trump administration and the oafish damage this oligarchic crime family does every day to the reputation of the permanent ruling class, I doubt that American audiences would ever have been treated by CNN to the grotesque, side-by-side images of a simpering Jared and Ivanka and scores of Palestinians getting mowed down in cold blood by Israeli snipers. 

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.


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

photos of palestinians being shot appeared on the front pages of the financial times AND the wall street journal today

i was a but surprised when i learned from wikipedia this morning that the originator of the slogan "a land without a people for a people without a land" was a Christian Restorationist (the movement is now called Christian Zionism - the theology gets a bit complicated)

as the saying goes, stuff happens - deal with it

as another saying goes - THIS is the future - you got to LIVE it, live WITH it, and eventually get out of the way

Jay–Ottawa said...

Compare and contrast, compare and contrast. Back to the fundamentals of the old professor who gave us written exams instead of the easy peasy multiple choice.

Next, CNN, try working on the other disparities, like a family of four living out of a car beside a MacMansion or, better yet, the former house of the homeless family now up for rent by the bank that repossessed it fraudulently and the involved banker's condo, say, in Trump Towers. Or, the wage spread in a big US corporation. Or the cutbacks in SNAP food stamps for the many so the rich few can really splurge at the Four Seasons. But that last example might come too close to Luke 16:19–31 and thus be dismissed as holy card nonsense.

Karl Kolchak said...

I see something more cynical in the coverage--namely an attempt to blame Trump personally for the slaughter. Trump certainly bears responsibility for moving the embassy, but those are not HIS soldiers out there slaughtering Palestinians, and those are not HIS supporters out there cheering on the IDF atrocities. Then you have the inconvenient fact that none other than Chuck Schumer of "The Resistance" had been criticizing Trump for not moving fast enough on moving the embassy before the official announcement was made.

Just like the media has been trying to get people to believe that Trump is an aberration and that every will be fine again once he leaves office, they are trying to absolve the poor innocent Israelis who have no choice but to defend themselves against Trump's reckless and destructive foreign policy.

Uncle Ho said...

Please read The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, Public Law 104-45 Nov. 8, 1995, and understand the untoward Israeli influence on the government of the United States.

An Act "To provide for the relocation of the United States Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,
and for other purposes."




From Wikipedia:

"The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995[1] is a public law of the United States passed by the post-Republican Revolution 104th Congress on October 23, 1995. The proposed law was adopted by the Senate (93–5),[2] and the House (374–37).[3] The Act became law without a presidential signature on November 8, 1995."

"The Act recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city. Its purpose was to set aside funds for the relocation of the Embassy of the United States in Israel from its location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, by May 31, 1999. For this purpose it withheld 50% of the funds appropriated to the State Department specifically for "Acquisition and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad" as allocated in fiscal year 1999 until the United States Embassy in Jerusalem had officially opened.[4] Israel's declared capital is Jerusalem, but this is not internationally recognized, pending final status talks in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict."

"Despite passage, the law allowed the President to invoke a six-month waiver of the application of the law, and reissue the waiver every six months on "national security" grounds. The waiver was repeatedly invoked by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama.[5] President Donald Trump signed a waiver in June 2017. On June 5, 2017, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of reunification of Jerusalem by 90-0. The resolution reaffirmed the Jerusalem Embassy Act and called upon the President and all United States officials to abide by its provisions.[6] On December 6, 2017, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital,[7] and ordered the planning of the relocation of the embassy.[8][9] However, following the announcement, Trump signed an embassy waiver again, delaying the move, as mandated by the Act, by at least six months.[10][11] Legally, however, the U.S. embassy can be moved at any time without reliance on the Act."

"On February 23, 2018, President Trump announced that the US Embassy in Israel would reopen at the Arnona consular services site of the then US Consulate-General in Jerusalem. The United States Embassy officially relocated to Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence.[12][13]"



Uncle Ho said...

What does President Trump, or Jared Kushner, have to say about the USS Liberty incident?

"After the capture of the entire city and the adjacent West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War, the United States again reaffirmed the desirability of establishing an international regime for the city of Jerusalem.[29]"

During the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel a attacked the USS Liberty, an American Navy Ship in international waters, killing 34 crew members, and wounding 171 crew members. Israel allegedly hoped to create a false-flag attack to blame one of its adversaries and bring the Americans into the war on the side of Israel. 2008 Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader discussed Israel's Bombing of the USS Liberty. "The Day Liberty Died" is one of the best short documentaries on the Liberty I have watched. Israel’s alleged false-flag attack failed because Liberty’s survivors were able to get an S.O.S. message out to the American fleet in the Mediterranean before Israel could sink the ship.

USS Liberty incident, Wikipedia

2008 Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader discusses
McCain and Israel's Bombing of the U.S.S. Liberty

The Day Liberty Died

Jay–Ottawa said...

This morning the NY Times set about to repair those old frames with two articles in their op-ed frame shop.

Gaza’s Miseries Have Palestinian Authors
Why is nothing expected of Palestinians, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of Israelis, and nothing forgiven?

Falling for Hamas’s Split-Screen Fallacy
The terrorist organization understands that death captured on camera is a potent weapon of war.

Uncle Ho said...

"Congress to Consider Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights"
"New measure recognizes Israel's control of Syrian territory"

"Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced on Thursday a resolution that could lead to an historic recognition by the United States that the contested area fully belongs to Israel, according to a copy of the amendment obtained by the Washington Free Beacon."


I propose an addendum to the DeSantis resolution, to reinstate the draft of the United States, so Trump’s kids who are under age 40, including son-in-law Jared Kushner, can be conscripted to fight for the marionette foreign policy of Trump’s USA, and its puppet master Israel.