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Imperialist Governments Lie to Defend Genocide

Israel and the U.S. continue to manipulate public perception to justify a genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people.

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The ongoing siege of Gaza is devastating. As of this writing, Israeli airstrikes have killed  more than 5,000 Palestinians and wounded at least 16,000. Both the U.S. and Israeli states have worked together to manufacture various lies to advance the ongoing genocide of Palestinians. The U.S. continues to support Israel’s colonial project at all costs because as an imperial power it wants a reliable state outpost in the Middle East in order to impose its interests on the region

From Hospital Bombings to Unproven Beheadings of Children

As the siege on Gaza continues, one of the most horrifying missile strikes yet came on Wednesday when Gaza’s Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital was bombed by Israeli forces, killing hundreds, many of whom were at the hospital seeking shelter and refuge. As Democracy Now explained, this same hospital had been hit in a smaller attack just days prior. Doctors gave a chilling press conference following the bombing, where they could be seen surrounded by bodies killed in the attack. But, of course, Israel denied the rocket was theirs.

After the blast, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) confirmed that the attack came from Israel. Initial posts by Israeli officials, which were later deleted, took credit for the bombing. However, then Israel backtracked with a number of falsifications, first stating Hamas was operating under the hospital, then stating Hamas was using patients as “human shields,” then saying it was a Hamas rocket, and finally solidifying their current explanation stating it was a rocket from the militant group Islamic Jihad.. They tried to support their claims by posting a video which was later determined to be video timestamped forty minutes after the attack actually happened leading to a retraction of the video from X. Israel then attempted to present an audio that was intercepted which allegedly included Hamas militants discussing a “failed rocket launch.” However, several audio experts have argued that the recording was fake. . Recently, an Al Jazeera investigation “found no grounds for the Israeli army’s claim that the strike on the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza was caused by a failed rocket launch.”

Ironically, the state that claims to be the “beacon of democracy” in the Middle East continually gets caught in its own convoluted labyrinth of lies and manipulation. To help maintain the narrative and minimize dissent for its war on Gaza, Israeli state leadership are now suspending members of the Knesset for even criticizing the current bombing campaign. As resistance to the campaign grows, the state has arrested  over 100 Israeli citizens for social media posts criticizing the bombing campaign and over 70 university students face suspension for protesting. The state has created an “atmosphere of fear” with “Jewish and Arab Israelis detained, fired from jobs, and even attacked for expressing sentiments interpreted as pro-Hamas. Even expressions as mild as holding signs saying “Jews and Arabs, we’ll get through this together” are deemed out of bounds. Democracy, you say? Israel is now even set to ban Al Jazeera from Gaza, one of the only international outlets reporting from ground, in order to help control the narrative around its own lies—how “Democratic.”

Biden traveled to Israel on Wednesday to share his unwavering support for the Zionist state and to pledge more U.S. tax dollars to Israel’s genocidal campaign against Gaza. In a public conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden supported Israel’s claims about the Al-Ahli Hospital saying “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you.” However, U.S. officials had stated earlier they were still gathering information, and it was not clear from Biden’s comments whether American intelligence agencies had yet independently validated Israel’s claim. This wouldn’t be the first time Biden blatantly lied to bolster Israel’s crimes. Just a week before,  Biden claimed that he personally saw photos of infants who had been beheaded by Hamas. These lies were used as part of a broader  propaganda campaign to stir up sympathy and support for Israel. The White House later quietly backtracked on these statements, but the damage had already been done as  corporate media seized  on these tropes of “child beheadings” to drum up support for Israel’s crimes.

The actions by the U.S. and Israeli governments are prime examples of how capitalist states lie to pursue genocidal policies and protect imperialist projects. And while the examples above represent the most recent lies in Israel’s current escalation of their genocidal project against the Palestinian people, we know that they consistently lie when it serves their purposes. 

Israel’s Lies of Recent Past

Israel has a rich history in creating lie after lie to manipulate public opinion and gain local and international support for its actions. During the Great March of Return protest in 2018, Israel falsely claimed that it was not targeting civilians, and argued that Palestinians were killed or injured because Hamas was using them as “human shields.” Over 150 civilians were killed and over 10,000 were injured in that conflict. Razan al-Najjar, a 21 year old medic, was shot and killed while treating civilians; he was clearly identified as a medic. Israel released footage to support their killing and claimed al-Najjar was a willing “human shield” for Hamas. Later, it was found that the IDF edited a previous interview of Razan’s to erroneously convince the public. Israel independent investigations found Israel committed war crimes again and again during the protest. 

In 2022, Shireen Abu Akleh, a prominent Palestinian-American journalist was murdered by Israeli forces. After the killing, Israel came up with lie after lie. They first said she was killed by a Palestinian gunman, then said evidence was inconclusive. It took over a year with pressure and investigations from multiple news outlets until the IDF admitted they “likely” killed her, but maintained it was not intentional (despite a long history of directly and intentionally targeting civilians, healthcare workers, journalists, etc). This was eventually disproven through forensic evidence showing she was indeed killed by an Israeli sniper. 

Israel Has Lied About Palestine Since Its Inception

Israel has perpetuated a number of ongoing lies since its inception. Mythology holds that Israel took over a barren land and “made the desert bloom.” However, the origins of Israel as a country were based on a colonial project that was predicated upon the forced removal of the peoples living in historic Palestine. Prior to the Nakba in 1948, there were thriving villages in which Muslims, Christians, and Jews had lived peacefully for centuries. As Ralph Schoenman notes in The Hidden History of Zionism, there was a “strongly felt distinction between the Jews who lived amongst them and would-be colonists,” even back until the 1820s, “20,000 Jews of Jerusalem were wholly integrated and accepted in Palestinian society.” As Nathaniel Flakin notes in his article, “A Brief History of Anti-Zionist Jews, “It was only in the age of imperialism, and especially with the beginning of Zionist colonization in the late 1800s, that this so-called ‘eternal’ conflict began.”

This solidarity between Jews and Arabs made early colonization efforts difficult. As Schoenman notes:

“It was precisely the social cohesiveness and stability of Palestinian society which led Lord Palmerston, in 1840, when Britain had established a consulate in Jerusalem, to propose, presciently, the founding of a European Jewish settler colony to ‘preserve the larger interests of the British Empire’.”

Working with Zionists would suit Britain’s imperial interests well. As discussed in “The Trotskyist Position in Palestine: Against the Stream”:

“Keeping order” in Palestine costs England over 35 million pounds a year, an amount which exceeds the profit she can extort from this country. Partition will release her from her financial obligations, enable her to employ her soldiers in the productive process while her source of income will remain intact. – But this is not all. By partition a wedge is driven between the Arab and Jewish worker. The Zionist state with its provocative lines of demarcation will bring about the blossoming forth of irredentist (revenge) movements on either side, there will be fighting for an “Arab Palestine” and for a “Jewish state within the historic frontiers of Eretz Israel (Israel’s Land).” As a result, the chauvinistic atmosphere created thus will poison the Arab world in the Middle East and throttle the anti-imperialist fight of the masses, while Zionists and Arab feudalists will vie for imperialist favors.

This reasoning led the British to issue the Balfour Declaration in 1917, announcing its support for a “national home for the Jewish people.” But Zionists ended up working with the same ruling class interests that helped cultivate anti-Semistism and enable the persecution of Jewish people in the first place. To quote Schoenman at length on the topic:

This sordid history is rooted in the demoralization of the founders of Zionism, who rejected the possibility of overcoming anti-Semitism through popular struggle and social revolution. [Leaders] chose the wrong side of the barricades – that of state power, class domination and exploitative rule. They propounded a putative disjunction between emancipation from persecution and the necessity of social change. They fully understood that the cultivation of anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews were the work of the very ruling class from whom they curried favor.

Ultimately because of the solidarity of those living in the region, it was necessary for a more reactionary response to drive people from the land. In 1940, Joseph Weitz, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Colonization Department, which was responsible for the actual organization of settlements in Palestine, wrote, 

Between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples together in this country. We shall not achieve our goal if the Arabs are in this small country. There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries – all of them. Not one village, not one tribe should be left.

The Koenig Report (a confidential and internal Israeli state document written in 1976) stated this policy bluntly, “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.” 

This is what continues today even in the most recent bombing campaign. There is really no shortage of evidence of what the true goals of the Israeli state have always been. History shows us that if Israel is the “beacon” of anything in the Middle East, it’s always been the beacon of a colonialist project able to commit genocide on another people.

Conflating Anti-zionism with Anti-Semitism

The Zionist state works hard to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. They do this to deliberately spread the lie that those that are against their violent colonialist policies hate jewish people, so they can continue their  genocidal policies with less resistance. There are threats to Jewish people today — particularly from the  Far Right (which also  attacks individuals fighting for control over their bodily autonomy, BLM activists, etc.)  — but fighting against Israel’s policies are not against jewish people. This is where the ongoing cry “Judaism, yes! Zionism, no!” originates.

In reality, prior to Israel’s creation, zionism was an ideology that Jews largely rejected because its nationalist aspirations contained very deep and conservative perspectives. Working class Jews in Eastern Europe sang songs mocking zionism “Oy, Ir Narishe Tsionistn” (“You Foolish Little Zionists”). Zionism only came to be accepted as a result of the major defeats of revolutionary movements in the 1930’s and the Holocaust. It turned more reactionary as it grew ever more dependent on, and a useful tool for, British imperialism after the Balfour Declaration

Israel’s Current Campaign: Part of Ongoing Colonial Project

The plans of the colonial project continue up to today. As Palestinian writer, Muhammad Shehada, discussed recently on Democracy Now, Israeli leadership discusses this openly. Simcha Rothman, Israeli lawyer, politician, and right-wing activist, who is one of the top lawmakers in the current ruling coalition (chair of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee) and key architect of judicial changes currently occurring in Israel, has stated openly that “the goal is that a Jewish Israeli kid can walk in and out freely, if there would be a Gaza at all.”

Considering Israel’s stated desire to completely placate or eliminate Gaza, it’s no wonder that they are indiscriminately bombing hospitals, churches (Israel just bombed the 3rd oldest church in the world serving as a place of refuge for civilians), schools, bakeries, and healthcare workers and ambulances. Killing healthcare workers and destroying healthcare facilities meant to take care of the sick help increase the likelihood that those injured from bombing cannot receive the care they need and die. The state really has no mercy and is attempting to destroy everything Palestinians need for even basic survival. One senior Israeli lawmaker in the  ruling coalition, Limor Son Har-Melech, openly says on X, “There are no innocents in Gaza. Flatten Gaza.” This is the mindset of a genocidal regime bent on defending the apartheid, ethno-nationalist state of Israel at all costs. . Israel claims they have called an evacuation in order to attack Hamas positions in the North,  but in reality, Israel wants to drive people out of the area so they can take control of the territory in the same way that they have in much of the West Bank, driving Palestinians from their homes to make way for checkpoints and settlers. This is why people don’t want to leave despite the bombing and why healthcare workers are refusing to leave their patients’ sides.

Blood on Biden’s Hands 

The Biden administration continues to perpetuate the lie that it is concerned about  the crisis unfolding in Gaza.Biden tells the world not to fret since Israel and Egypt reached a deal to allow aid through the Rafah border, but 2 million people are in need of aid and there are only expected to be 20 trucks which is nothing more than a drop in the bucket when it comes to feeding, clothing, and sheltering the millions of Gazans who have been facing this siege for nearly two weeks. Meanwhile, the U.S. vetoed UN security council ruling for even humanitarian pauses. So even in light of Biden’s recent pledge of money for humanitarian assistance this means nothing. 

The U.S. and our tax dollars support Israel’s project to the tune of $3 billion a year. As The Guardian explains “Biden said he would send an urgent funding request to Congress, which is expected to be roughly $100bn over the next year. The proposal…includes money for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, humanitarian aid and border management.” This funding to Israel in the proposed package would make Israel the “largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II.”

You cannot continue to fund and support a genocidal bombing campaign in Gaza, while cutting off fuel and water to millions, and then pretend you care about Palestinians. You cannot continue to fund a genocidal regime and pretend you are a humanitarian actor. The U.S. continues to support Israel in order to maintain its hold on the region so as to impose its interests. The blood of Palestinian children is truly on Biden’s hands.

The examples today, and of the past, show that colonizing and imperialist powers will lie again and again to gain public support and sympathy for their projects. They will do whatever possible to wage a propaganda war and control the narrative. As every lie is exposed, the government in Israel and the U.S., along with their media mouthpieces adjust to help maintain the legitimacy of leaders — a mass gaslighting in service of colonialism and genocide.

This makes it even more crucial to stand with the oppressed against such forces. Protests and resistance are growing in the U.S. and around the world, proof positive that people everywhere are beginning to question the official narrative. We must use this moment to build a global mass movement to end Israel’s brutal occupation and to fight for a single, socialist Palestine, where Jews, Arabs and all other races and ethnicities can live together in peace. 

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Mike Pappas

Mike is an activist and medical doctor working in New York City.

Allison Noel

Allison Noel is a nursing student in New York City.


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