The world is developing a "television morality" – making judgments on conflicts based solely upon images seen on screen, a leading Israeli journalist has claimed.
Speaking before a presentation at Birmingham's Singers Hill Synagogue, Ben-Dror Yemini – columnist of Israeli newspaper Maariv – said there needed to be greater awareness of how television could distort conflicts.
He said: "We are suffering a new kind of morality in his world – people are affected by what they watch on television. You see Israeli tanks moving in on Palestinian kids. You see it because Israel is a democracy.
"There are other conflicts, such as in Dafur, where it would not be safe to film and therefore they receive less attention. As a result, we are building a morality not according to the facts, but by the images that are screened.
"It is a television morality."
Mr Yemini, who has written a number of articles analysing the representation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the global media, said distortion had contributed to the idea of an Israeli apartheid against Palestinians.
He expressed concern that Oxford and Cambridge universities, along with the School of African and Oriental Studies in London, were last week marking End Israeli Apartheid Week.
The week, which originated in the US, is campaigning for sanctions against Israel until provides full equality for Arab citizens of Israel, an end to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the implementation of the right of return and compensation for Palestinian refugees.
Mr Yemeni said such campaigns were prolonging the agony for both Palestinians and Israelis by suggesting that it was possible to create a "one-state" solution.
Mr Yemini said: "Do not get me wrong. There are many things that my government has done wrong and should be ashamed of.
"There are many things that I have protested against myself. I am against the Jewish settlements.
"But there is now an international obsession that Israel is implementing a genocide against Palestinian refugees.
"Comparing the situation in Israel with apartheid is like – as one Muslim cleric did – comparing the arrests of Muslims in Birmingham with the actions of a Nazi regime.
"Were the world to impose a "right of return" similar to that advocated for the Palestinians to other instances of population transfer, millions of Muslims would be permitted to return to India and millions of Hindus to Pakistan.
"Entire populations of the Balkan states would have to be reshuffled."
Mr Yemini has also written on what he believes to be the disproportionate attention paid to the Arab deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict compared to others that exist across the globe.
He said: "The total count reaches about 60,000 Arabs killed in the framework of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Among them only several thousand Palestinians. Every Arab and Muslim death is regrettable and it is okay to criticize Israel.
"But it is disproportionate to the relative silence of the killing of millions of others by Muslim and Arab regimes."
Mr Yemini added that the media had a responsibility to open up a dialogue with more moderate voices in conflicts and to counterbalance graphic scenes of violence with facts and figures that put a story into context.
He said: "When I watch the BBC or CNN and see this kind of terrible accident where 18 people were killed in Gaza by Israeli bombardment, I know it is terrible and it is a tragedy. But often the reports don't say that this bombardment took place after four days of rockets being fired into Israel from Palestine.
"I talk to international journalists about this and they say that they put the background details into footage but no one is interested.
"Editors only have 32 seconds for that information and they want the blood first. That outcome causes demonisation and obsession."