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July 19, 2021 12:01 pm
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Teen Vogue’s Israel Problem

avatar by Austin Pellizzer

Opinion

Israeli firefighters work around burnt bus and car, after they were hit by a rocket fired by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas from Gaza towards Israel amid the escalating flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

With the recent armed clashes between Israel and Hamas coming to an end, the pro-Israel world has been at the forefront in battling misinformation, baseless claims, and lies that have been leveled against the Jewish state. While there seems to be relative calm for now, it is essential to point out the wave of false accusations which have plagued Israel for the last two months — and for years before that.

One of the most blatant examples of this anti-Israel slander being spread online is the Teen Vogue article, The Violence in Jerusalem Over the Pending Evictions of Palestinians Horrifies Me by Blair Nodelman.

Nodelman’s article, which is rife with inaccuracies, inflammatory statements, and convenient omissions of fact, is a regular occurrence that supporters of Israel have to confront daily.

While many think that Teen Vogue is a place for young people to get the most up-to-date information on fashion and social trends, its shift towards being a source of news worldwide on complex social issues like the Israel-Palestinian conflict is problematic. Sadly, its authors do not have the ability to discuss complex issues in any terms besides simple “black and white” narratives.

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First, let’s discuss how Nodelmen conveniently leaves out that the “militant group that controls Gaza” is none other than Hamas, a US Department of State designated terror group that many other countries have also recognized as a terrorist organization, such as Canada, the European Union, and Japan.

This failure to call out Hamas for what it truly is — a genocidal organization bent on the destruction of not just the Jewish State but the elimination of Jews as a whole — severely downplays the threat that Israel faces at the hands of this group. The author also ignores Palestinian terror attacks, incitement, and hate education, where children are taught from the earliest ages to murder Jews.

Second, the author attempts to highlight how “Israel advertises itself, especially to American Jews, as a beacon of diasporic safety and pride” at the expense of Palestinian suffering. This trope — used time and time again by Israel’s enemies — downplays the truth about the minorities, human rights, and freedoms that the author seems to care so much about.

Israel is one of the only places in the Middle East where minority rights are protected under the constitution based on sex, race, and religion. Furthermore, Israel is also the only country in the Middle East that has comprehensive protections for the LGBTQ community. While shouts of “pinkwashing” will be used to try and combat this point, no other place in the region is as safe and accessible for LGBTQ members or other minorities as Israel. Compare that, for example, to 85% of Lebanese, who say that homosexuality should not be accepted.

Lastly, Nodelman uses the famous claim that Israel is an apartheid state. This is a blatant lie. One only needs to look at how Israeli-Arabs participate in the day-to-day life of Israel, and how many hold prominent roles in the nation’s political and social settings. With about 21% of its population being Arab and 85% of these citizens being of the Muslim faith, one can see that it’s simply impossible for Israel to practice “apartheid.”

It is perfectly acceptable to debate Israeli policies or the conduct of the recent Israel-Hamas war. But what’s not up for debate is the willful omission, distortion of the truth, and lack of nuance to the discussion, which paints one side as the sole victim, and the other as the belligerent aggressor.

Nodelman’s shallow take on this issue is detrimental to creating authentic and everlasting peace for both peoples in the region. She is also misleading uninformed readers, and destroying the reputation of fact-based journalism.

Austin Pellizzer is a senior at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He is majoring in European and Russian studies, has a long history of pro-Israel activism, and is a CAMERA Fellow.

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