Hardly a day passes when Jews and the Jewish State are not featured in the media…writes Michael Kuttner.
Occasionally featuring positive, but more often than not highlighting negative and one-sided reports, one can guarantee that newspapers, news broadcasts and websites somewhere in the world will be publishing and posting stories about us. This unnatural and obsessive fetish inevitably leads to millions of readers and viewers gaining a distorted and warped perception of what Jews and Israel are up to.
Why should a group of people so miniscule in the overall scheme of the world’s population and a country so small that it can hardly be seen on a map of the world be the constant target for the global media? Why for example did CNN feel compelled to display a banner headline from a far right group proclaiming “Jews are not people?” They have since apologised but of course the damage has already been done. This is just one example of how the media operates when it comes to reporting about Israel and Jews.
The selective distortion of facts and often the deliberate omission of balanced facts is an endemic epidemic these days. Watching news presentations on various channels is a mind numbing torture especially when one knows that what is being presented to an ignorant audience is false and devoid of any balance whatsoever.
This past week has once again seen a bumper crop of noxious news. How has the media in your part of the globe handled it? Did they ignore it altogether and if not, how distorted was its presentation?
Trump’s unexpected victory in the US elections continues to provide plenty of ammunition for reporters, pundits, cartoonists and critics alike. The antics of loony groups on the extreme right quite correctly attracted attention and condemnation. It has demonstrated that the long running virus of Jew hatred is alive and well in American society. However amazingly the mainstream media has ignored loony left groups whose own conspiracy theories and unhealthy obsessions with Jews and Israel continue to dominate and threaten to take over the Democratic Party. The favored person to take over the chairmanship of the party is a well known past supporter of the Nation of Islam whose viscous Judeophobia is on full display for all to see. The so-called and misnamed progressive wing of the Democratic Party is no less poisonous and a threat to Jews and Israel than those who spout and advocate unacceptable rubbish on the right. However the difference in how these two groups are portrayed in the media and the blindness displayed by large swathes of the US Jewish community never ceases to amaze.
Thursday (24 November) was US Thanksgiving Day when the nation and expatriate Americans abroad celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers and the settlement of the country. How many, enjoying their stuffed turkeys with cranberry sauce, will actually dwell on the fact that this celebration marked the beginning of settlement which expelled and decimated the indigenous inhabitants? Not many I bet. Even fewer in the media and hardly anyone in the White House and State Department will acknowledge the illegal occupation of land and the tragedies accompanying that enterprise. If anyone had made an effort to reflect on the day’s significance they would surely have realized that the screeds written, the pontifications pronounced and condemnations made against Israel are so much hypocrisy. At least we resurrected and settled a country which has thousands of years of Jewish history whereas the Pilgrim Fathers and settlers arrived to a land with which they had no connection. The media of course will remain silent and the masses will be none the wiser.
Talking of hypocrisy and selective reporting here is a gem which may have escaped your notice. The European Union funds and organizes the building of illegal structures in Judea and Samaria. Not having received building permission from the relevant Israeli authorities the EU nevertheless facilitates Palestinian Arabs to erect these buildings in defiance of the law. When Israel after due judicial process demolishes them, all hell breaks loose and the UN, EU and the media have a field day. The latest display of such blind fury occurred recently when the EU announced it intended to sue Israel for having the chutzpah to enforce its laws. Obviously the EU is immune and sees itself as justified in encouraging the Palestinian Arabs to willfully flout anything Israel legislates. This classic example of international duplicity is not an isolated occurrence but is par for the course on a daily basis.
A few more examples of “Jews is news” items should serve to show how fascinated the rest of the world is with us.
Iran, emboldened by the free hand given it by the Obama administration has been busy issuing more threats against Israel and at the same time fomenting chaos and terror in the region. Does anyone other than Israel care? It does not seem so.
Canada’s new Government has reversed the previous policy and reinstated funding to UNRWA. This means that millions of Canadian taxpayers’ money will once again be poured into the coffers of an organization which not only perpetuates Arab refugees’ plight but also funds Hamas and its terror hate education in UNRWA schools.
Meanwhile over in Switzerland, that squeaky clean land of cuckoo clocks, the Government has released a review of anti Jewish activities and arrived at the amazing conclusion that protecting Swiss Jewish communities is no concern of theirs. They have flatly refused to fund security for communal buildings insisting that Swiss Jews need to pay for protection themselves. Obviously safeguarding Swiss citizens from terror does not extend to Jews, their schools and Synagogues. No surprises there from a country which turned back Jews fleeing from Nazi persecution in the 1930’s and has for many years banned Shechitah (processing of Kosher meat)
Some straws in the wind:
Many French Jews have already decided that there is no future for their families in France and are moving to Israel as well as other countries. Some are still thinking about it while others prefer to pretend that the future is bright. Next year’s elections promise a radical shake up and for those attuned to which way the wind is blowing it does not bode well. The choice is likely to be between the radical right which currently is preoccupied in dealing with rising Islamic radicalization and the moderate right whose leading contender has just accused French Jews of not wanting to respect French law before they successfully assimilated. It’s not hard to see that at some stage the French will once again target its Jewish minority for special attention. After all they have plenty of experience at this ranging from Dreyfus to Vichy.
Islamic preachers in many countries continue to demonize Jews, Israel and Judaism. Abusing freedom of speech and displaying intolerance is nothing new. The scandal is that it has been allowed to exist for so long without any consequences. In most cases these religious leaders continue to be employed by their Mosques and in the name of “freedom of religion” are allowed to spew their venomous poison. This clip from MEMRI is just one example of what is going on and which the mainstream media basically ignores. We do so at our peril.
Instead of Jewish religious and lay leaders pulling the plug and refusing to have anything to do with groups tolerating such hate they prefer to pretend that kumbaya get togethers will somehow silence the haters. By all means encourage those few moderate Moslems who are brave enough to denounce extremism in their midst but we should have nothing to do with those who turn a blind eye. The fear of not appearing to be politically correct it seems overrides common sense.
Jews will always be news. Our challenge is to act forcefully in good time and not to be over worried about what the rest of a hypocritical media and society may think. The age when Jews were delegitimised and remained silent has long since passed.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.