Hate Signaling: How the Media Spreads Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism
I have a love-hate relationship with the New York Review of Books. I love the range of articles and reviews on literature and culture. But I hate the political biases of many of its writers. The Review might have some valid points, but the relentless, one-sided, politically correct pursuit of its agenda leads it to lie and betray the very ideals it purports to maintain, namely free and objective speech.
The Review often injects antisemitism and anti-Zionism into many of its articles, even using the slightest of pretexts to do so.
Here is a small but typical example of the sort of bias I mean. In April 2021, the outlet published a harrowing piece called, “Me Too in Egypt & Morocco” by Ursula Lindsey. The article is about sexual abuse and rape, which are commonplace within the male-dominated Muslim world.
Lindsey describes the recurring pattern of police reluctance to investigate, let alone charge, men for sex crimes. The authorities invariably do not believe the women. The male will claim it was consensual. The women will be accused of sexual impropriety and be subjected to a medical examination to prove they were not virgins (as if that should make any difference in a fair society). The victim will be blamed and ostracized. Her family will often accuse her of heaping shame onto them by going public. In many cases, she will be forced to marry her rapist.
In the article, Lindsey tells the story of a campaign initiated by Nadeen Ashraf, a student at the American University of Cairo. On July 1, 2020, she posted a warning on a Facebook page that another student, Ahmed Bassam Zaki — from a rich and powerful family — had a long record of sexually abusing, harassing, and blackmailing young women. The list of complaints was immediately taken down by the authorities. She then set up a website called Assault Police that went viral. As a result, over 150 complaints against Zaki surfaced. Nadeen was credited with starting the MeToo movement in Egypt. Eventually, and after a humiliating struggle, thanks to her persistence, Zaki was charged and sentenced to eight years in prison for sexual assault. Nadeen left Egypt.
The problem is a huge one. In Egypt, female reporters and photographers have been sexually assaulted by mobs during protests. And witnesses who have been willing to go public have themselves been charged and jailed.
In Morocco, a similar pattern of behavior and government cover-ups and blaming of victims prevails. Lindsey gives examples of journalists who try to take up a cause, such as Omar Radi, and are persecuted, falsely charged, and imprisoned. When charges of rape are brought against wealthy and influential men, they are dropped.
The article is a horrific expose of the injustices prevalent in societies that claim to respect women, but refuse to protect them from rampant abuse.
Here, however, is the troubling part.
Read this quote from Lindsey’s article: “In June 2020 newspapers around the world published the results of an Amnesty International investigation showing that Radi and others had been targets of hijacking by the Moroccan Government which used spyware from an Israeli company.”
Yes, of course, I am hyper-sensitive. But we have every reason to be.
Why on earth is it at all relevant where the technology comes from? Why mention that the surveillance equipment comes from Israel? Would she have cited China, Russia, or the US? What does the origin of a weapon have to do with the person who commits a crime with it? It is only because the left believes that Israel is guilty of original sin.
Like its inverse — “virtue signaling” — “hate signaling “is a way of telling everyone what you hate. And it doesn’t matter what you call it: anti-Zionism, antisemitism, etc.
Israel is far from perfect. It has many flaws. But it does prosecute sexual abuse with the full force of the law. It allows and protects sexual freedom and does not throw homosexuals off rooftops. Yet the blindness of world opinion is so pervasive that will find a way to demonize the Jewish state whenever possible.
Americans used to be surprised to see police and security outside European synagogues. Now it is happening here. Some think it is too late to turn the tide, and that the battle has been lost. But we must not withdraw from the public arena. We have to stand proud and make sure we protect ourselves, our culture, and our values, with whatever it takes, even responding to as small an example like this one.
The author is a writer and rabbi, currently living in New York.