Israel is so constantly subject to obscene double standards by the media that it reminds me of a touching scene from the movie Defiance, about Jewish partisans during the Holocaust, where the prayer leader begs of G-d, “Please, choose another people! We’ve run out of blood, so please choose another people.”
When incidents that portray the truth about Israel as the victim, they are often ignored by the media. This past week, two incidents that occurred in Jerusalem received zero mainstream media coverage, outside of the Israel/Jewish-related media. If the shoe had been on the other foot, there would have been wall-to-wall media coverage, United Nations condemnations and who knows what else.
At the holiest Jewish site in the world, Jews dared to sing Hanukkah songs and pray—and for this they were attacked by Muslim worshippers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Sunday. In Israel, which is often falsely condemned for “oppressing” Arabs, Jews were banned from praying at the site after the Muslims attacked them. There was no media coverage surrounding any of this—no calls from world leaders about this Palestinian Arab action creating a crisis for peace talks or being an obstacle to peace. Imagine what would have happened if Jews attacked Arabs while they were praying.
A 2-year-old toddler, Avigail Ben-Zion, sustained serious head injuries as a result of Arab terrorists throwing a three-pound rock through the window of the car her mother was driving in Jerusalem Thursday night. For that, there was a complete black wall of silence.
Both of these incidents occurred in Jerusalem—and there was literally not one foreign or international news organization that covered either of these stories. Imagine what would happen if Jewish teenagers threw rocks at Arab toddlers.
Jews pray, and Jews drive cars; they are attacked, and the media ignores it. Media ignoring these incidents is simply insane.
Bob Dylan wrote a song in 1983 called “Neighborhood Bully,” which is a perfect description of today. Here are some lyrics: “He’s criticized and condemned for being alive. We are supposed to turn a blind eye while millions of Israeli citizens are in danger. He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin, he’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in. The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land—he’s wandered the earth an exiled man. Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn. He’s always on trial for just being born. He’s the neighborhood bully.”
Everything in Israel attracts undue media attention—except when Jews are harmed. A Zionist leader, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, had the answer when he wrote “Instead of Excessive Apology” in 1911: “We constantly and very loudly apologize. ... Instead of turning our backs to the accusers, as there is nothing to apologize for, and nobody to apologize to, we swear again and again that it is not our fault. ... Isn’t it long overdue to respond to all these and all future accusations, reproaches, suspicions, slanders and denunciations by simply folding our arms and loudly, clearly and calmly answer with the only argument that is understandable and accessible to this public: ‘Go to Hell’?”
Israel needs to act in its best interest always and regularly—and sometimes forget about negative publicity.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent public relations agency.