There is not even one tiny thing funny about the human devastation and woeful violation of international law that was the Israeli military this week firing with live ammunition on unarmed Palestinians along the Gaza border—killing at least 60 people and wounding over a thousand others—but the searing satire of headline writers at The Onion over the last two days have perhaps done more than most mainstream journalism to expose just how wantonly cruel the actions of the IDF have become and how ludicrous and vile the arguments of its defenders remain.
While media critics have blasted U.S. media for using their reporting to whitewash and otherwise sanitize by deflection and word choice what human rights groups say are Israeli war crimes, The Onion's approach goes to the heart of the issue by obliterating the logic that unarmed protesters demanding an end to their own subjugation should be met with deadly force or somehow deserve to be killed.
There's a grotesqueness in these satirical Onion stories. But it is a grotesqueness that accurately reflects the grotesqueness of the reality on the ground.— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) May 15, 2018
And it shows how quickly Netanyahu is losing support in parts of America...#GAZA
"The Israeli occupation forces' policy and practice of willfully killing Palestinian civilians, who have been peacefully protesting, before the world's eyes, is further proof of Israel's commission of war crimes due to the full immunity granted to it by the U.S.," declared Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, in a statement from Gaza on Tuesday. "This is also a testament to the Palestinian people's courage in their struggle against the occupation."
Amnesty International and other U.S.-based rights groups have said this week that the the IDF's attack on unarmed protesters should be investigated as war crimes and on Tuesday an international coalition of rights groups called on the U.S. State Department to end all military aid and assistance to the Israeli government.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. media so much coverage remained focused on the political implications of Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, mealy-mouthed condemnations of Israeli suppression and violence, or a tired "both-sides" account of the situation in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
"Just because U.S. government figures are apologists for Israel, does not mean the media must be too," lamented Joe Lauria, editor of Consortium News, on Tuesday. "But that would require the U.S. having an independent mainstream media."
Editors and writers at The Onion, however, decided not to toe any lines or pull any punches. But as with all great journalism and commentary, and recognizing the satirical nature of the approach, the headlines and accompanying stories speak for themselves.
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And last reminder: It's not funny because it's true. There's nothing funny about any of it. The reality is horrifying. Sixty or more people—including children and babies—are dead and hundreds upon hundreds were injured for the alleged crime of demanding freedom and an end to occupation. But these invented headlines, in fact, say something very crucial about how detached so many have become from the horror of it all.
As Shiladitya Pandit, senior correspondent at the Times of India, put it in a tweet on Wednesday morning, "[The] Onion, a literal satire page, has better news about the Gaza mess than media stalwarts."