teleSUR journalist Abby Martin recently became the target of a smear campaign by Israeli organizations after an appearance on the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.
On the program, which is one of the biggest and most popular podcasts in the United States, host Joe Rogan has a discussion with Martin about her experiences in Palestine while she was there for her show The Empire Files in 2016.
Video of Martin’s appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience—where she recounted her eyewitness account of human rights violations—went viral on social media. The interview garnered over 1.5 Million views on Facebook alone.
This negative press for the Israeli state on such a high-profile platform quickly caught the attention of public relations organizations.
A small YouTube channel called the Israel Advocacy Movement released a 19-minute video response claiming to debunk everything Martin said on the podcast, using baseless accusations of anti-semitism and attempting to refute the well-known fact that Palestinian territories are under Israeli military control.
While the UK-based Israel Advocacy Movement has a meager viewer base of only 3,500 subscribers, the video was then promoted on social media by the well-known organization “StandWithUs,” which exists to cultivate pro-Israel propaganda on social media.
Posting the video, StandWithUs called Martin a “notorious anti-semite” and that “she spewed ridiculous lie after lie in her attempt to smear Israel … Enough is enough.” They engaged Martin in other online attacks.
A campaign was also launched against The Joe Rogan Experience podcast and Rogan himself, including a coordinated email harassment demanding he renounce the interview and host a pro-Israel guest as penance. Such pressure against celebrities and journalists who host views sympathetic to Palestinians is typical, and often fierce.
StandWithUs, which operates on a $9 million annual budget, receives a large amount of funding and direct instructions from the Israeli government itself. In their official funding contract with the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, StandWithUs is employed to manage “interactive media war rooms” to run government messaging.
In an exclusive interview with teleSUR, Martin said “I was getting so many accusations of misrepresenting Israeli society and distorting the treatment of Palestinians, I wanted to let Israelis speak for themselves.”
This shocking episode features a range of people in Jerusalem’s so-called “Tolerance Square.” Each interview shows with striking clarity how much racist, supremacist and even genocidal views are prevalent in Israeli society.
When asked how to deal with the Palestinian population, one man responded “I would carpet bomb them. That’s the only way … I think we have the right to hate them.”
Another says “I think we should give the Arabs a country. Then it can be a war between countries … we can just drop one big one and, ‘pop!’, done!”
A young woman declares plainly “we need to kill Arabs” while she and her friend giggle uncontrollably.
A more merciful man says “Israelis have to take over. We have to kick [Palestinians] away,” then ponders, “it would be better not to kill them, but to send them away to Arab countries.”
These interviews reveal how mainstream the desire for mass killing and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians are among Israelis, contradicting the manufactured image of as a liberal, democratic and peace-loving nation. This is reflected in polls across the region, showing that over 70 percent oppose Palestinian statehood or ending the occupation, and 50 percent want to ethnically cleanse the 1.5 million Palestinians living inside Israel as citizens.
Martin told teleSUR how the interviewees were picked from passer-bys in the bustling shopping and restaurant area of Jerusalem, “we did not cherry-pick people in any way. I strived to get a diverse range of opinions, finding people from all ages and backgrounds; religious and secular, self-described leftists and conservatives, Israeli-born and immigrants from abroad. All the interviews I conducted you see in this episode.”
“I asked very vague questions, like ‘what is it like to live here’ and ‘what do you think about the situation?’ Many were quick to share their extreme racism and even calls for mass murder, as if they were totally normal and acceptable views. Keep in mind, they said these things knowing they were speaking on-camera to U.S. media.”
Addressing the accusation that Palestinians share the same attitudes towards Jewish Israelis, Martin explained “I spent nearly a month in the West Bank, asking countless Palestinians the same questions. Never once did I hear a Palestinian express desire to kill Jewish people or to ‘kick them all out.’ But what you see in our new episode is what I found during just three hours in Jerusalem. It was truly shocking.”
Today, most of the remaining Palestinian territory remains under brutal military occupation, and is shrinking from rapidly-expanding illegal settlements. While the Netanyahu government plans big moves with greater freedom from the Trump Administration, this colonial project survives on lavish US funding, a carefully-crafted public image campaign, and threats against public figures who question Israel’s moral supremacy.
While the Israeli state and it’s propaganda arms like StandWithUs wield a massive apparatus to depict itself as a peace-seeking victim, Martin’s new Empire Files offers an irrefutable look behind that curtain.
This is a different version of this item – the previously published piece did not accurately reflect the interview. We regret the error.
Watch Abby Martin’s new episode of The Empire Files and additional reports from Martin’s on-the-ground investigations in Palestine at YouTube.com/TeleSUR English.