Widening the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Yellow Journalism Stoking Potential War on Iran

You Write What Youre Told

https://i0.wp.com/covertactionmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/word-image-61150-1.jpeg?resize=640%2C438&ssl=1[Source: timetoast.com]

The Wall Street Journal Blames Iran For Helping to Plot Tribe of Nova Massacre When This is Uncorroborated

During the late 1800s, the Hearst yellow press ran stories falsely accusing Spain of sinking the U.S.S. Maine in order to help mobilize public opinion in support of the Spanish-American War that resulted in the U.S. colonization of Cuba and the Philippines.

In the 100+ years since, the same formula has been followed time and again. The latest target appears to be Iran, whose Islamist government neoconservatives in Washington and Tel Aviv have long dreamed of overthrowing.

On October 8, The Wall Street Journal accused Iran of helping to plan the Tribe of Nova massacre; a Hamas terrorist attack on an Israeli music festival that has triggered renewed outbreak of war in the Middle East.

The Wall Street Journal’s article entitled “Iran Helped Plot Attack on Israel Over Several Weeks” was written by Summer Said, Benoit Faucon and Stephen Kalin, with assistance by by Michael Gordon, a former New York Times reporter who was the lead author of a September 2002 piece hyping the idea that Iraq was trying to procure special aluminum tubes for its nuclear weapons program.

In 2007, Gordon—an advocate for bombing Iraq—also wrote articles relying heavily on anonymous U.S. sources alleging that the Iranian government was sending weapons into Iraq.

Michael Gordon

[Source: fair.org]

The Wall Street Journal piece was also based on anonymous sources, specifically un-named senior members of Hamas, Hezbollah and officer’s of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard.[1]

They claimed that the Tribe of Nova massacre—in which Hamas militants attacked an all night concert in a field near a kibbutz on the Israeli-Gaza border and killed hundreds of Jewish concert goers—was planned in meetings in Beirut attended by Iranian officials who allegedly gave the green light for the attacks.

Louk being paraded on flatbed truckHamas gunman parading Israeli female hostage after Tribe of Nova massacre. [Source: nypost.com]

Mahmoud Mirdani, a senior Hamas official was quoted in the piece, however, stating that Hamas planned the attacks on its own, which makes the articles’ headline misleading

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken furthermore told CNN that “we have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack, but there is certainly a long relationship.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2023.Antony Blinken [Source: cnn.com]

Blinken’s comments undercut The Wall Street Journal’s headline, though subtly insinuate that Iran was or could have been behind the attacks and that evidence would emerge about this.

In 2003, the neoconservatives thought that Iraq would be a cakewalk and that the U.S. could quickly move on to overthrow Iran’s Islamic regime, which in 1979 had overthrown the Shah, a close U.S. and Israeli ally who had been installed in a CIA coup.

popular saying among members of the Bush administration during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq was: “Forget Baghdad, real men go to Tehran.”

https://i0.wp.com/covertactionmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Cv4PGoPVIAAl7hI.jpeg?resize=500%2C525&ssl=1Tehran not Baghdad was the ultimate prize for the neocons. [Source: impiousdigest.com]

The October 9th Wall Street Journal article suggested that since April, when China brokered a diplomatic alliance between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Iranian regime had begun training, arming, and financing militias antagonistic to Israel, including Hezbollah and Hamas.

A primary concern was that Israel’s improved relations with Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf Arab states would create a chain of U.S. allies linking three key choke points of global trade—the Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandeb connecting the Red Sea to the Arabian Sea.

A map of the world with red dots

Description automatically generated[Source: ajot.com]

Ismael Qaani, the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and commander of its Quds force, a division responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations, allegedly began attending biweekly meetings in Beirut where the Tribe of Nova massacre was planned along with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Islamic jihad leader Ziyad al Nakhalah, and Saleh Arouri, Hamas’ military chief.


Ismael Qaani [Source: wikipedia.org]

According to the Wall Street Journal, Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdollahian attended at least two of the meetings also.

A person standing in front of a flag

Description automatically generatedIran’s Foreign Minister who allegedly attended planning meetings for the Tribe Nova massacre in Beirut. [Source: english.almayadeen.net]

Lina Khatib, director of the University of London’s Middle East Institite was quoted in the Wall Street Journal article stating that “an attack of such scope [Tribe of Nova massacre] could only have happened after months of planning and would not have happened without coordination with Iran.”[2]

https://i0.wp.com/covertactionmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/word-image-61150-9.png?resize=696%2C391&ssl=1Lina Khatib [Source: channel4.com]

Blaming Biden For Enriching Iran and Enabling Attacks

The Wall Street Journal’s pattern of yellow journalism continued when it published an editorial on October 10 blaming the Biden administration for the Tribe of Nova massacre by failing to enforce oil sanctions on Iran, thus helping Iran to finance Hamas.

Entitled “How Biden’s Policy Enriched Iran,” the editorial suggested that the previous day’s report that Iran had “signed off on the Hamas assault on Israel should jolt President Biden from his failed Iran strategy”—which was one of appeasement.[3]

While technically true that the $6 billion the Biden administration unfroze in exchange for the release of five American prisoners wasn’t used to attack Israel, there was no question that “the U.S. decision to ease enforcement of oil sanctions against Iran aided Israel’s enemies (ie. Hizbollah and Hamas).”

According to The Journal, Iran may not have directly spent any money from the unfrozen $6 billion account but would have anticipated the increase cash flow, and so could plot the attacks.

TOPSHOT - US citizens Siamak Namazi (R-back), Emad Sharqi (L) and Morad Tahbaz (C) disembark from a Qatari jet upon their arrival at the Doha International Airport in Doha on September 18, 2023. Five US detainees, three previously identified as Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz and Emad Sharqi and two who wish to remain anonymous, released by Iran landed in Doha in a prisoner swap on September 18 after $6 billion in frozen funds were transferred to Iranian accounts in Qatar. (Photo by Karim JAAFAR / AFP) (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)Freed U.S. hostages [Source: cnn.com]

The problem with this logic is that there is no proof of any direct use of U.S. funds nor that Iran was actually involved in the planning. The Journal’s editors furthermore never question whether there was any legitimate and legal reason in the first place for the U.S. to have applied oil sanctions on Iran or to have frozen its assets.

For years, The Wall Street Journal has provided a platform for neoconservative war hawks who have accused Iran of all kinds of crimes, including developing a nuclear program that allegedly serves as an existential threat the U.S. and Israel, though this program does not actually exist.[4]

A building with a sign on it

Description automatically generatedProviding a platform for neoconservative war hawks. [Source: headquartersof.com]

Avoidance of Critical Questions

The brazenness of the Tribe of Nova massacre has many people questioning the source of the Israeli intelligence failure.

Robert Morningstar asked on Substack how it was possible that the “presumably omniscient all-seing eye spies of Mossad missed the massing of weapons and people to mount this assault? And why didn’t their super high-tech seismic ground detectors (listening 24/7 for terrorists digging tunnels into Israel) hear the crunch or swooshing sounds of long convoys of trucks hauling 5,000 rockets into position?”[5]

A screenshot of a phone

Description automatically generatedHow did he go undetected? [Source: richardgage911/substack.com]

The answer is not clear.

The massacre comes at a convenient time for the Netanyahu government, which had triggered mass protests against its attempt to destroy the independence of Israel’s judiciary. (Netanyahu is also facing corruption charges)

And convenient for the U.S. too in the creation of a crisis that could turn public attention away from the unfolding debacle in Ukraine and growing domestic ills.

Better ultimately to blame Iran to deflect critical questioning and avoid scrutinizing Israeli policies over the last decades which have fueled Gazans desire for revenge.

  1. Summer Said, Benoit Faucon and Stephen Kalin, with assistance from Anas Baba and Michael Gordon, “Israel and Hamas Battle, Death Toll Rises: Iran Security Officials Helped Plan Assault at Meeting Last Week, Militant Group Says,” The Wall Street Journal, October 9, 2023, A1. 
  2. Said et al. “Israel and Hamas Battle, Death Toll Rises: Iran Security Officials Helped Plan Assault at Meeting Last Week, Militant Group Says,” A1. 
  3. “How Biden’s Policy Enriched Iran,” The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2023, A14. 
  4. See Gareth Porter, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (Just World Books, 2014). 
  5. Another blogger wrote: “how did the Iron Dome fail in Israel and allow these rockets through? How did so many Hamas soldiers get past the most militarized and protected border in the world to slaughter innocent civilians? Israel is incredibly advanced with some of the best military and surveillance technologies in the world. Is there any chance this is like Operation Northwoods and the attack was orchestrated or allowed to justify an escalation of war? Could forces above both the U.S., Israel and Palestine be manipulating them both for an agenda ahead of the elections?” Another question is as to why Hamas, which in the past has been funded by Israel in an attempt to undercut secular Palestinian opposition to Israeli occupation, would initiate the massacre of unarmed Israelis if they knew it would invite the destruction of their own society.