Film takes aim at media coverage of 2014 Gaza attacks – By Nora Barrows-Friedman

A short new film on the historical, political and humanitarian situation in Palestine takes aim at the corporate news media’s coverage of Israel’s July-August 2014 assault on Gaza.

Israel killed 2,251 Palestinians during the attacks, including 551 children. Approximately 75,000 people remain displaced two years later.

“Despite overwhelming evidence of the disparity of power between Israel and all Palestinians and the aggressiveness of Israel’s exercise of its power, including excessive and brutal violence and collective punishment in Gaza in the form of occupation, siege, and frequent military assaults against dense and captive civilian populations,” the film’s producers assert, “mainstream media and educational materials continue to frame Israel as the victim.”

Gaza in Context, they add, is an attempt to situate the attacks in 2014 – and attacks of the past and future – within Israel’s broader settler-colonial aspirations in Palestine.

The film explains Israel’s historical treatment of Palestinians in Gaza, but does so “without committing the common error of treating Gaza in isolation from the rest of Palestine,” according to Raja Shehadeh, co-founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq.

Gaza in Context is a clear, concise primer for media workers, educators and audiences new to the Palestine issue, with news footage and graphics that highlight Israel’s aggressions and colonial projects over the last seven decades.

A project of the Forum on Arab and Muslim Affairs at the Arab Studies Institute, Gaza in Context offers a comprehensive teaching guide for use in classrooms and by activist groups.

“Understanding these systematic offensives means understanding where Gaza fits in the larger question of Palestine,” narrates Noura Erakat, an activist, human rights attorney and assistant professor at George Mason University, who co-directed and co-wrote the 20-minute film.

Shifting the framework

Erakat told The Electronic Intifada that during the 2014 attacks, advocates for Palestinian rights “waged a defensive front in the mainstream news media, but we never managed to shift the framework.”

“The world watched and followed these horrors for 51 days and we never took advantage of transforming this tragic moment into a learning moment,” Erakat said.

“Our efforts poured into Gaza In Context attempt to do that now.”