Another week brings more ugly Palestine headlines: illegal settlements, attempted murders and restricted access to holy sites in the name of "security".

It is difficult to defend Israel – as a Jew, as a liberal or as a human being - without being stigmatised as apologist, NeoCon warmonger or someone with scant regard for innocent suffering. I embrace Max Hastings' line that "I've always loved Israel but this brutality breaks my heart".

Dome of the Rock Jerusalem
'Jose Maria Aznar called for greater empathy with Israel to counter the jihadist threat to the civilised world'AFP

Yet nothing should deny Israel the right to better explanation and defence - needed more now than ever.

The over-simplified banality of a global media feeding off an easy story - with scant balanced reporting – must be challenged. So should the soundbite ignorance of politicians making political capital out of the shattered lives of others.

Too many commentators live only in the present. With weak historical perspective, they fail to understand the nuances of the modern conflict. They rarely question the rogue states that fund global terror.

Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has called for greater empathy with Israel to counter the jihadist threat to the civilised world, now growing at an exponential rate, its perpetrators possibly encouraged by those who speak as though the Isis charge represents little more than a return to a romantic 19th-century caliphate.

They somehow see Hamas' call for the destruction of the state of Israel as a legitimate political position, worthy of United Nations recognition, rather than a criminal conspiracy.

Tit-for-tat valuations of Israeli and Palestinian lives

Our world hits a low-point when the the commentary descends into tit-for-tat valuations of Israeli lives versus Palestinian ones, while marginalising news about Yazidi massacres in northern Iraq because there are no Kurdish votes to be won in western constituencies.

Palestine remains sexy news in a way that the Ukraine or Nigeria does not. "It sells papers," as one senior editor said recently, "we just follow the news cycle."

Palestinians take part in a protest against what they say are recent visits by Jewish activists to al-Aqsa mosque, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip November 3, 2014
'Palestine remains sexy news in a way that the Ukraine or Nigeria does not'REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

One of my childhood memories was of my parents and their friends clustered around a radio during the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

They worried acutely for Israel's future. Like many Anglo-Jewish families then, it was a case of "Israel, right or wrong".

They felt it their duty to defend a state that, less than 30 years after the Death Camps, they might one day need to call home.

I shed that sense of duty, as Oslo failed and as successive Israeli governments adopted non-sustainable, unsupportable policies that clearly discriminated against the Palestinian people.

The mythical Israel of my childhood (a socialist and communitarian idyll, encapsulated by the pioneering spirit of the kibbutzniks) is now just that: myth. I abhor Benjamin Netanyahu's politics and his calamitous rhetorical descent towards an apartheid state.

But I believe in balance and perspective.

Important stories beneath the rubble that need to be heard

Buried in the oceans of recent coverage are important tales. The Guardian interviewed a Hamas fighter who vowed to continue the battle until Israel's destruction. The war needed to be conducted underground, he said, with no hint as to the dangers that exposed to civilians above: human ground cover, in a very literal sense.

In other reports, a UN official admitted Hamas had been using UN schools, hospitals and refugee centres as weapon stores. "We were shocked", he said, not connecting this with Israeli attacks on other UN compounds, "to find out what had been going on". Where were Ban Ki Moon's objections then?

Palestinians from Gaza pray in front of the Dome of the Rock during their visit at the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City October 5, 2014
'I do not see "Israel – right or wrong", nor do I see it in terms of faith'REUTERS/Ammar Awad

There is the story of Aishi Zidan, a reporter for Finland's Helsingin Sanomat, who admitted that rockets had been fired from the backyard of a Gaza hospital.

A few days later, when this story was re-told, Zidan railed against being used as "a weapon of Israeli propaganda". The Wall Street Journal and Washington Times also recounted how Hamas used hospitals and schools as de facto campaign headquarters.

Correspondents from France 24 and Al-Jazeera were broadcasting live while rockets were fired right next to them. A number of journalists were threatened with being shot if they did not toe the Hamas line.

The Jerusalem Post reported Hamas threats to journalists from Spain and France. Russia Today's correspondent Harry Fear was reportedly asked to leave Gaza after tweeting that Al-Waifa was "the hospital with human shields".

Yet, during the conflict, did anyone hear a British journalist admit they were reporting under conditions imposed by Hamas – surely a standard protocol and a simple step in ensuring balanced coverage? I do not recall.

Pictures told the terrible tales of Gaza

The images of Gaza with which we were presented remain binary and stark. Israel is a land of soldiers and tanks, gunships and missiles. Gaza is nearly always one of civilians and casualties, victims and children.

Of course, pictures never lie. And it is on these pictures – their domestic constituencies nagging – that politicians like Baroness Warsi, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband took to their posturing stages.

I do not see "Israel – right or wrong". But in Israel I can at least see a democracy where dissent is permitted and publicly aired. In Hamas, I see not freedom fighters but terrorists – now prosecuting a much more effective propaganda war.

I hesitate to share my opinions - one brief foray into Twitter provoked replies that swung from the dumb to the threatening – and others have counselled against me saying in public what I believe in private. As a Jew, even a liberal one, I would say that, wouldn't I?

But the alternative is to be bullied into silence, to appease and to ultimately acquiesce. The lessons of history demonstrate this is a dangerous path. Never again.

I resigned my membership of the UK Labour Party as an objection to Miliband's cynical use of the Gaza tragedy for political gain. Earlier this year, l resigned my synagogue membership, admitting I lost my faith. I am left, in many regards, as a stereotypical wandering Jew - but one still determined to seek fairness and balance, where fairness and balance are properly required.

Robert Phillips is the co-founder of Jericho Chambers, a Visiting Professor at Cass Business School and the author of Trust Me, PR Is Dead. You can follow Robert on Twitter @citizenrobert.