I watch and listen to public broadcasting, and in recent days, commenters on those media have repeatedly mystified Israel coverage with statements they have to know are inaccurate. These pundits and reporters are all but lying to a largely privileged American audience about apartheid, Jewish nationalism, and the role of the Israel lobby.

On National Public Radio this week, Eleanor Beardsley did a feel-good piece on a Jewish/Palestinian coexistence party running a Palestinian candidate Amir Badran for mayor of Tel Aviv.

 “Badran says Arab-Jewish unity is more important than ever,” Beardsley said. “Badran has proof it can work.”

She then quoted Badran saying the two peoples need “to understand each other’s narrative and to accept each other” and quoted Jewish leader Dov Khenin saying, “Jewish-Arab partnership is the only way for Israel’s future.”

Myself, I support coexistence initiatives, but note there were also coexistence initiatives in South Africa and Algeria and the Jim Crow south. That’s the important context Beardsley left out: Israel is not a democracy. Every human rights group of stature says that Israel is an apartheid state. Israel grants Jews greater political rights than Palestinians and denies the great majority of Palestinians the right to vote for the government that determines their lives.

Again and again our media save Israel from parallels to historical supremacist regimes.

On the PBS News Hour last week, pundit Jonathan Capehart did Israel that favor when he was denouncing religious nationalism. The news hook was the speech of a Christian nationalist at the rightwing CPAC conference outside Washington who said that he wanted to replace democracy with a cross. Capehart:

I have been around Washington long enough to remember that that is the same crowd that was railing against, oh, my God, Sharia law is coming to the United States. You know, it’s a religious theocracy taking over the American government. But it’s OK if it’s Christian nationalism. Or let’s just be more blunt about it, white Christian nationalism.

It’s fine, and wholly acceptable, that Capehart is against Christian nationalism and Islamic nationalism. But what about Jewish nationalism? “This same crowd” has actually been very consistent in its approval of religious nationalism in Israel. Right-wing nationalists applaud the fact that Israel is a Jewish state that encodes many Jewish rights in its basic laws and gives lesser rights to non-Jews. For instance, the right of self-determination is exclusively that of Jews, a basic law says, and Hebrew is the official language, Arabic lesser.

No wonder white nationalist Richard Spencer has said that he wants Zionism for white people here. No wonder that the fascistic Brazilian leader Bolsanaro waved an Israeli flag at a rally the other day.

Capehart surely knows about these right-wing affinities. But he leaves Israel out of his critique.  

Also on PBS, and even more glaring, was the pure fiction that NPR political reporter Tamara Keith offered on Biden’s motivation for supporting Israel. Keith addressed the abandonment of Biden by progressives who disapprove of our country paying for the slaughter of civilians.

The White House and the Biden campaign acknowledge that there’s a group of voters, a significant group of voters that is really upset.

And the president is in a difficult position because he has made a calculation based on global alliances and history and his experience and all of these other things related to Israel…

Literally, I watched him hug [Netanyahu] on the tarmac in Tel Aviv right after October 7. And that worked very well for President Biden with Jewish voters, who are also a very important constituency.

Well, President Biden really badly wants a cease-fire or — they won’t use that term, but a significant pause.

Let’s count the misstatements. Biden doesn’t really badly want a ceasefire. If he did, he could demand it.

And Biden has not based his support for Israel on “global alliances and history and his experience.” In fact, the U.S. is isolated from the G20 and just about everyone else in the world due to its stiffnecked support for Israeli bombing (as reporters made clear at this Blinken briefing in Brazil on February 22 ).

Biden is doing what he’s doing because he needs Haim Saban and the other big funders of the Israel lobby. Days before Keith spoke, Biden had a fundraiser led by Saban and a vice-chair of the ADL. Ticket prices as high as $250,000. Biden embraces Netanyahu because the American Jewish Zionist community demands that he does.

The irony is that as soon as PBS’s “Politics Monday” moved on to the Republican race for president, host Geoff Bennett said that Nikki Haley “lost the financial backing of that super PAC that’s backed by the Koch brothers, that powerful donor network.”

Why not mention Biden’s powerful donor network?

One last item. On NPR, Moscow correspondent Charles Maynes slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin for claiming inaccurate historic claims to Ukraine. The celebration of Russian “Defender of the Fatherland Day” was yet another opportunity for Putin to “draw full circle these false historical parallels between the war against fascist Germany and his invasion of Ukraine,” Maynes said.

But when Israeli politicians make biblical claims to the entire land of Israel – based on mythologies of their own – American media never say these are false claims. They grant a dignity to ancient biblical statements they’d never grant to such statements in the U.S. or Europe.

I am not even getting into the charges of settler colonialism, genocide, and proto-fascism– charges that many on the left level against Israel, and that PBS and NPR almost always leave out. And I haven’t even mentioned “On the Media,” the left/liberal press-criticism show that has steered all but clear of Gaza. Massacres underwritten by the U.S. are just too hard to talk about…