Israel’s Dirty Little Secret: The Threat of American Public Opinion

by Anthony DiMaggio

It’s easy enough to read in the American press about Hamas’ commitment to destroying Israel, or about the endless threats Israelis suffer under the onslaught of Palestinian suicide attacks and Hezbollah’s aggression. American progressives, and anyone else who honestly looks at American media and political commentary, have long known that racist caricatures of Arabs and Muslims are the order of the day in the United States. Whether it’s racist stereotypes promulgated in films such as Disney’s Aladdin or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s True Lies, or vitriolic commentary and op-eds within elite newspapers and television, American media-political culture has long prided itself in demonizing Arabs and Muslims. Typically there is little effort to even make a distinguishment between the two. Popular images portray Arabs and Muslims as hell-bent on violence, religious fanatacism, and the destruction of the U.S. and its allies (Israel most specifically).

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Anthony DiMaggio has taught Middle East Politics and American Government at Illinois State University. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Mass Media, Mass Propaganda: Examining American News in the “War on Terror” (forthcoming December 2007). He can be reached at adimag2@uic.edu

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