A Nation So Racist that the Cinematic Depiction of Jews is Deemed a Security Risk

March 15, 2013 1:41 am 3 comments

The Guardian offices.

The most egregious example of bias against Israel demonstrated by the mainstream media is the dynamic by which they quickly frame events in the state in a manner consistent with the most unserious caricatures – narratives which impute the worst faith, the most malicious motivations, and are often devoid of relevant context.

In such a journalistic paradigm, a street fight between Jewish and Arab teens becomes fodder for an ‘examination‘ of institutional Israeli racism, some Jewish soccer hooligans expressing bigotry towards Muslims suggests the urgent need that Israelis engage in national ‘soul-searching‘, a question of whether Ethiopian immigrants to Israel were provided enough information on a contraceptive injection morphs into a systemic attempt to reduce the black population; and the introduction of new bus lines to serve Palestinians who work in Israel is framed as an insidious form of segregation.

In all these examples, the prejudiced actions of a few Israelis, or policies which may have the effect of being injurious to minority groups in the state, are exploited by Israel’s critics to suggest a ‘dangerous lurch right’, or to suggest that there is something fundamentally wrong – immutable and beyond repair – with the state or indeed with the idea of Zionism itself.

When pro-Israel bloggers and advocates attempt to refute such charges by demonstrating racial diversity in Israel, mainstream acceptance towards sexual minorities, and other examples of the state’s liberal advantages, it is often portrayed as propaganda – a cynical attempt to ‘wash over its fundamental moral flaws.

If such hyper criticism of Israel by activists and journalists reflected a commitment to truly universal values, in which all people – and certainly all governments in the Middle East – were held to the same standard, such scrutiny would of course be justifiable.  However, coverage of the region by the MSM and especially the Guardian newspaper shows that even the most outrageous displays of Arab racism are unreported, dramatically downplayed, and rarely contextualized as indicating a national or regional pathos.

So, while the Guardian provided saturation coverage of the bigoted reaction by some football hooligans to the introduction of two Muslim players to the Beitar Jerusalem team, an Egyptian football match in which fans hung banners explicitly calling for anther Holocaust against Jews went unreported.

When some rabbis in Safed encouraged Jews not to rent property to Arabs (an act universally condemned by Israeli leaders), ‘Comment is Free’ published a piece characterizing the event as nothing short of an example of a rising tide of fascism.  However, news that the President of Egypt had called Jews ‘sons of apes and pigs‘ and called on the country to nurture their children on antisemitic hate was only mentioned in passing in Guardian reports about other topics – and wasn’t the subject of righteous condemnation by contributors or editors.

The most recent example of the Guardian downplaying a story about institutional racism in Egyptian society involves the country’s decision to ban a film about Egypt’s Jews on ‘national security’ grounds. The film, ‘Jews of Egypt‘, according to the director, attempts to document the history of the Jewish community in Egypt, and “to understand the change in the identity of the Egyptian society that turned from a society full of tolerance and acceptance of one another…into a society that rejects the others”

poster

The ancient Jewish community of Egypt, which totaled nearly 80,000 citizens in 1948, is now practically extinct – the result of state sponsored ethnic cleansing in the late 40s and early 50s which included the seizure of Jews’ assets and property, the revocation of their citizenship, arbitrary imprisonment, torture and pogroms.

Whilst the question of how the mere cinematic depiction of Egypt’s Jewish community could possibly represent a security threat is a staggering one, and what the film’s censorship’s portends for other minorities in the country a serious subject, the first indication that the Guardian will not be taking the broader implications of the ban seriously is that news of the decision was covered, not by their Middle East editor, or another political analyst, but by their film critic Ben Child.

ben child

Child is out of his depth on the issue and the report fails to explore the most intuitive questions about what this official act of censorship implies about a nation evidently in complete denial about the fact that, due to state-sanctioned racist politics and official incitement over the course of little more than fifty years, they’ve eradicated a Jewish community which dated back to biblical times.

If Egyptians were held to the same moral standard as Israelis, critical, progressive minds would be demanding that Egyptians come to terms with their antisemitic history, that a national soul-searching is in order to account for racism so endemic that the President of the country can publicly lecture about the importance of passing down antisemitic values to the next generation of children and not the slightest national shame or outrage ensues.

As progressives won’t demand such a moral accounting of the ‘Egyptian soul’, nothing will change and nothing will be learned. The injurious effects of the hard bigotry of no expectations will continue to prevent a ‘Arab Spring’ worth its name from ever taking root.

3 Comments

  • I love Egypt always have

  • remember that refuting these lies is simple: just flip it back at them. they say israel is racist? look at arab countries…. can jews or xtians visit saudi arabia?
    if they say arabs in israel are discriminated against; say that they have the best living standards of any middle eastern country..medical, education, voting, representation etc. if they the jews moved in on the arabs; ask them how old is the “dome of the rock” mosque? and how long ago did 2 jewish temples stand there? our ancestors graves there go back almost 4,000 years.
    etc etc.. it’s always the opposite of what they say!!

  • remember that refuting these lies is simple: just flip it back at them. they say israel is racist? look at arab countries…. can jews or xtians visit saudi arabia?
    if they say arabs in israel are discriminated against; say that they have the best living standards of any middle eastern country..medical, education, voting, representation etc. if they the jews moved in on the arabs; ask them how old is the “dome of the rock” mosque? and how long ago did 2 jewish temples stand there? our ancestors graves there go back almost 4,000 years.
    etc etc

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Book Reviews The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    Romirowsky and Joffe’s book Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief is an important volume for those interested in truly understanding the origins of the Palestinian refugee issue. Utilizing a treasure trove of newly released documents, the authors link UNRWA’s (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine) origins to the Quakers/American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). For those readers who thought they knew most of the Middle East story, Romirowsky and Joffe’s version provides another twist. The authors meticulously [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    The Israel National soccer team could be facing a World Cup ban, and other soccer sanctions, unless it alleviates travel restrictions and increases field access for Palestinian players and coaches. The head of the Palestinian Football Association is pushing for international soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to issue a ban on Israel competing internationally, claiming Israel’s restrictive travel for Palestinians is equivalent to a form of oppression. “It’s not only the athletes,” Jibril Rajoub explains. [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    JNS.org – While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on past the recent March 31 sign-up deadline, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care,” Fuhrman says in an interview. “To make [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.