Picking and Choosing What to Report in Israel
by Alexander Kogan
“The way you present the news in the paper, the way you describe and place it, changes reality. You have the power to make a major sewage dumping into the Kinneret look like a special service for fishermen, and to depict a 3-year old infant urinating into the lake as a global ecological catastrophe of epic dimensions”.
That’s what my journalism professor told me 12 years ago, recalling his experience working for Soviet newspapers. Both of us were newcomers in Israel and frankly we had no idea how things would turn out later. How simple words which have specific meanings would be used to describe absolutely dissimilar things.
You can’t call the usage of a swearword a “murder attempt”. You can’t call punching somebody a “decapitation” if the head stays attached and the punched person stays alive. You just can’t call a street brawl a “lynching”. You just can’t, because lynching is an “extrajudicial execution carried out by a mob, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting”.
But who actually cares about the true meaning of the words? The editors of the ill-remembered Soviet “Pravda” could have died today of poisonous envy if they had seen how certain appalling events in Israel just disappear, being totally ignored by the media for the sake of ideology, while other puny incidents are being blown out of any proportions, reaching Biblical scale.
Yes, I am talking about the Second coming. A Muslim one this time. A 17-year old Arab lad was lynched by Jewish bar-mitzvah boys and then, apparently, was resurrected. Then, he was released from a hospital within a few days (thanks to Israeli medicine, which can bring back the dead), while the US State Department branded the brawl, in which the resurrected was involved, an act of terrorism.
Strangely enough, another event of minor, non-Biblical proportions, but involving a number of wounded Christians, escaped the discerning eye of the local media, both Hebrew and in English. And of the State Department, of course.
On August 20 at 8:00 p.m. a gang of at least 50 young Muslim lads with clubs entered a residential complex housing 79 Christian families in Jerusalem. During the pogrom (you can look up this term in Wikipedia), which lasted for almost 4 hours, locals were beaten and wounded, windows were shattered by stones, cars were smashed with clubs and bricks. Several locals were hospitalized.
“They do so because they know that we will not respond with violence!”, said David Josef, a father of five children, who lives in the neighborhood, to the Vatican Radio. He emphasized: “This is the third time this happened to us in two years …” No media outlet in Israel published a word about that.
The locals also did not go to the police. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem just asked the leaders of the Muslim villages around to tell the youth that it is wrong to come and beat up Christians. Well, he is damn right! It is not Egypt yet! It is not even Palestinian Authority territory, right?
A Christian friend of mine, a former Soviet Jew, who lives in one of the northern “multicultural” cities in Israel, told me about this pogrom several days ago. He thought that I was kidding, asking him why there were no complaints filed to the police by the beaten people of Bethphage . “Who cares about Christians? Our police prefer seeking ‘Jewish terrorists’ totally ignoring any attacks by the Muslims. Can you imagine an attempt to arrest 50 young Muslim rioters in their homes? You will need an armored brigade for support”, he said, claiming that assaults and harassment of Christians by Muslims are much more frequent than reported. “You know what happened to the Christians in Bethlehem? We fear that it is going to happen here”, he noted.
As for the media, “you have to be a Sudanese illegal alien to get their attention”, he said, “and preferably beaten by Jews.”
George Orwell once wrote that freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
Well, George, it has become much more complicated since your times. The things we don’t want to hear today are the twisted lies.
Do we have any choice?