When Goose-Stepping and Israel-Bashing Go Together
The thin line dividing criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism just got a little thinner.
BBC journalist Chris Rogers this week was revealed to have amused himself by giving the Nazi salute and strutting about in a Hitler-style goose-step while filming a documentary–on, of all things, anti-Semitic soccer fans in eastern Europe. The British Daily Mail newspaper first reported on Rogers’ vile actions on their website on May 19.
Rogers’ “defense” was that his behavior was “intended as a joke.” Humor can be very revealing.
Is it just a coincidence that when he is not saluting Hitler, Rogers keeps busy by bashing Israel? In 2007, he and fellow-British journalist Deborah Turness produced a short documentary called Too Young to Die: Children of the Frontline. Its theme was that Israel is mistreating Palestinian Arab children by arresting them when they commit terrorist acts. Evidently Rogers and Turness believe that if you are below a certain age, you have the right to murder and maim with impunity. Well, murder and maim Israelis, at least.
If challenged, Rogers and Turness would no doubt point to the fact that an Israeli spokesperson appeared in Too Young to Die as proof that the film was evenhanded. In fact, the Israeli appeared on screen for exactly 14 seconds.
Nobody should be surprised to learn that Rogers and Turness were given an award by Amnesty International for Too Young to Die. Amnesty has a long and well-documented record of hostility to Israel. No wonder Amnesty’s leaders are so fond of Rogers and Turness. Birds of a feather do flock together.
What makes all of this especially troubling is that Ms. Turness is now in a position to do serious harm to Israel’s good name: last year, Turness was named president of NBC News. Her “credentials” for the job included years of anti-Israel programming as the news director for British Independent Television’s ITV News.
Among other notable broadcasts was ITV’s 2002 screening of the documentary Palestine is Still the Issue, by veteran Israel-basher John Pilger. It portrayed Israel as an evil terrorist state that brutally persecutes Palestinians. Pilger is so extreme that he has claimed the 9/11 attacks were a response to America supposedly “rejecting outright the hope of a Palestinian state.”
Pilger, incidentally, has compared Israel’s anti-terror policies to “Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland,” and likened Israeli and American leaders to Adolf Hitler. Perhaps Ms. Turness should introduce him to her good friend, the goose-stepping Chris Rogers.
Not all critics of Israel are anti-Semites. But some are. Some move all too easily and comfortably from calling Israelis “Nazis” to “jokingly” making Nazi salutes. And when they manage to secure influential positions in the major news media – watch out.
Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn are members of the Board of the Religious Zionists of America.