August 26, 2014

Western Anti-Semitism is led by ‘mainstream’ media [Darleen Click]

The hostile obsession with Jews.

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.

While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility—in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession—my profession—here in Israel.

In this essay I will try to provide a few tools to make sense of the news from Israel. I acquired these tools as an insider: Between 2006 and the end of 2011 I was a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, one of the world’s two biggest news providers. I have lived in Israel since 1995 and have been reporting on it since 1997.

This essay is not an exhaustive survey of the sins of the international media, a conservative polemic, or a defense of Israeli policies. (I am a believer in the importance of the “mainstream” media, a liberal, and a critic of many of my country’s policies.) It necessarily involves some generalizations. I will first outline the central tropes of the international media’s Israel story—a story on which there is surprisingly little variation among mainstream outlets, and one which is, as the word “story” suggests, a narrative construct that is largely fiction. I will then note the broader historical context of the way Israel has come to be discussed and explain why I believe it to be a matter of concern not only for people preoccupied with Jewish affairs.

For those who have actually paid attention, this essay comes as little surprise. Any foray into social media means meeting people who routinely (and voraciously) blame Israel for everything wrong in the Middle East. Even the initiation of violence by Hamas is Israel’s fault and, of course, when Jews aren’t dieing in “proportional” numbers, that too, is the fault of Jews Israel.

When the people responsible for explaining the world to the world, journalists, cover the Jews’ war as more worthy of attention than any other, when they portray the Jews of Israel as the party obviously in the wrong, when they omit all possible justifications for the Jews’ actions and obscure the true face of their enemies, what they are saying to their readers—whether they intend to or not—is that Jews are the worst people on earth. The Jews are a symbol of the evils that civilized people are taught from an early age to abhor. International press coverage has become a morality play starring a familiar villain.

Some readers might remember that Britain participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the fallout from which has now killed more than three times the number of people ever killed in the Israel-Arab conflict; yet in Britain, protesters furiously condemn Jewish militarism. White people in London and Paris whose parents not long ago had themselves fanned by dark people in the sitting rooms of Rangoon or Algiers condemn Jewish “colonialism.” Americans who live in places called “Manhattan” or “Seattle” condemn Jews for displacing the native people of Palestine. Russian reporters condemn Israel’s brutal military tactics. Belgian reporters condemn Israel’s treatment of Africans. When Israel opened a transportation service for Palestinian workers in the occupied West Bank a few years ago, American news consumers could read about Israel “segregating buses.” And there are a lot of people in Europe, and not just in Germany, who enjoy hearing the Jews accused of genocide.

You don’t need to be a history professor, or a psychiatrist, to understand what’s going on. Having rehabilitated themselves against considerable odds in a minute corner of the earth, the descendants of powerless people who were pushed out of Europe and the Islamic Middle East have become what their grandparents were—the pool into which the world spits. The Jews of Israel are the screen onto which it has become socially acceptable to project the things you hate about yourself and your own country. The tool through which this psychological projection is executed is the international press.


h/t William Jacobson

Posted by Darleen @ 8:11am

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Comments (17)

  1. Andrew Klavan writes today at Pajamas about the Ferguson story, using an apt (or so it seems to me) metaphor — “the poison of lies” — to describe the goings on there and in the US generally. This metaphor applies very well to the accounts of Israel’s struggle with those seeking to eliminate her.

    The strange bit about this metaphor, or these lies, is the addictive quality they seem to hold for those who are directly ruined by them — these imbibers of lies behave as though the lies are sugar and as though they cannot get enough of them, wanting more, always more of the same.

    If only a tiny handful of people were to behave this way, I suppose no one would bother to notice or find any particular call to concern. But when vast numbers? Then we quail at the terrors sure to follow.

  2. Insty links David Bernstein [WaPo: Leftists, Hamas and Nazis], who in turn links Ron Rosenbaum [Slate: The Real #GenocideinGaza], as well as the Matti Friedman article Darleen links above, so I link these here as they bear on the subject.

  3. Point out to any of these anti-Israel people that IDF sends text messages and drops leaflets to warn civilians in advance of an attack, whereas our Dear Leader initiates drone strikes without warning collateral damage be damned. It’s amusing to watch them gurgle with rage, because they have no retort.

  4. Re: sdferr @ 9:51am

    We are seeing the public coming out party of another left identity group. CAIR has done their ground work well.

  5. Time is on the Hamas side.

    Early Sunday morning it was found that Time magazine had included in one of its video reports the lie that Israeli soldiers were selling the organs of dead Palestinians on the black market. To its credit, by that afternoon the magazine had apologized and edited out the classic blood libel claim.

  6. Point out to any of these anti-Israel people that IDF sends text messages and drops leaflets to warn civilians in advance of an attack

    Hey, the Hamas operative in charge of the missile crew yells “Fore” (or is it “Fire”? I dunno, transcribing Arabic is hard), so how can it be his fault that the targets a few miles away can’t hear him?


    Seriously, though, how bad-assed is that? “We’re going to be attacking here in a little while, and there’s not a damned thing you can do to stop us.”

  7. as cowardly fascist freedom-hating America leads more and more from behind what happens is Israel becomes more and more a proxy for America I think

  8. Prox you.

  9. no Mr. guins it just makes sense

    especially now that failshit America is led by a certified Nobel Peace Prize winning whore like Obama – it really limits the extent to which mainstream media will criticize America just now

    so they have to pour all the contempt for America they keep bottled up onto Israel, which is of course conjoined with the contempt they already have for Israel

    it’s on purpose, how neo-fascist America is leaving Israel to twist in the wind and encouraging the press to shit all over Israel Israel Israel Israel

    and it makes for an extremely toxic stew of anti-semitisms

  10. Body of work, slewfoot.

  11. Or maybe even busybody of work.

  12. The headline says “US welcomes Palestinian-Israel Ceasefire”, but what the US is actually celebrating in its White House and State Department precincts are the headlines declaring the quick drop-off in Netanyahu’s approval with the Israeli people, on account of they disagree about how to deal with Hamas. The idiots at the White House and State don’t realize what moderation they’ve got in Netanyahu, or else they want an Israeli leadership they’ll like even less — which, how sick would that be, if it’s true?

  13. Man o man, the White House PRflack team is having one hell of a historically bad month:

    PRflack1: Hey, I’ve got an idea! Let’s send our cartoon out for a relaxing round of golf after he bemoans the beheading of an American murdered by savages!


    PRflack2: Hey, I’ve got a better idea! Let’s send our cartoon out to speak to the American Legion Convention to make up for sending him out to golf!


    sdferr: Hey! PRflacks! Here’s an idea for ya: Use a commode. Flush it.

  14. body of work!

  15. Geez sdferr, that speech to the ALC was the epitome of someone who just doesn’t give a rat’s ass. Well tanned from a long vacation, you’d expect some energy, but he just mails it in. Of course, what can you expect from someone who doesn’t believe his own lies.
    If that dude worked for me, I’d fire his disinterested lazy ass.
    Oh, wait…

  16. So I see that the White House PRFlacks didn’t take my advice to use the toilet and pull the handle, but instead sent their CartoonPresident IVotePresentAndWonPenPhone out to the White House Press Room podium to declare what god only knows no one else knew: “We don’t have a strategy for dealing with ISIS”!

    Brilliant bit of PR there PRFlacks!: put your CartoonPresident out in his best possible light in the kiddy-pool to show all the other kiddies how to wade in the ankle deep thinking on wars.

  17. Before we pass it by altogether, it’s worth linking (and reading) this article from the JPost of a couple of days ago, where Martin Indyk is shown to reveal the depth of hatred issuing from the White House and StateDept for the nation of Israel: Gaza sees that violence works, Indyk says

    The title of this article has changed since it was first published, and I think it has been re-written as well. But read it. Read it all.

    *** “It’s very hard to make the argument that America now has a strategic interest in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said. But “if Israel becomes a partisan issue in American politics, the US-Israel relationship will then be weaker as a result.” ***