The Ideological Roots of Media Bias Against Israel

(Fathom-BICOM) Matti Friedman - In early 2009, two AP reporters obtained details of a peace offer made by the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to the Palestinians several months before, and deemed by the Palestinians to be insufficient. This should have been one of the year's biggest stories. But the bureau chief ordered both reporters to ignore the Olmert offer. A peace proposal from the Israeli prime minister to the Palestinian president was not to be reported at all. Jewish hatred of Arabs is a story. Arab hatred of Jews is not. 100 houses in a West Bank settlement are a story. 100 rockets smuggled into Gaza are not. The Hamas military build-up amid and under the civilian population of Gaza is not a story. Hamas' responsibility for the deaths of civilians as a result is not a story. In my time in the press corps I saw, from the inside, how Israel's flaws were dissected and magnified, while the flaws of its enemies were purposely erased. I saw how the threats facing Israel were disregarded or even mocked as figments of the Israeli imagination, even as these threats repeatedly materialized. I saw how a fictional image of Israel and of its enemies was manufactured, polished, and propagated to devastating effect. Observers of the Middle East in 2015 understand that an end to the occupation of the West Bank will create a power vacuum that will be filled not by the forces of democracy and modernity but by the extremists. This is what happened in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt, and before that in Gaza and southern Lebanon. Creating a new playground for these forces will bring the black-masked soldiers of radical Islam within yards of Israeli homes with mortars, rockets, and tunneling implements. Many thousands will die. This threatens to render much of Israel unlivable, ending the only safe progressive space in the Middle East, the only secure minority refuge in the Middle East, and the only Jewish country on earth. No international guarantees or Western-trained military will be able to keep that from happening, as we have just seen in Iraq. Several years ago I might have dismissed this as an apocalyptic scenario. It isn't. It is the most likely scenario. The only group of people subject to a systematic boycott at present in the Western world are Jews, appearing now under the convenient euphemism "Israelis." The only country that has its own "apartheid week" on campuses is the Jewish country. The time has come for everyone to admit that the fashionable disgust for Israel among many in the West is selective, disproportionate, and discriminatory. The writer was a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press between 2006 and 2011.

2015-01-30 00:00:00

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