Thursday, June 14, 2012

You can't escape it. Not anywhere.

As anyone who is raising teenage sons would know, you have to find things of common interest in order to try and persuade them that you weren’t born on another planet. (I was however born in another country which may as well be the same thing as far as they are concerned).
My boys, despite claiming that they are 100% culturally Israeli, nevertheless are fanatic supporters of Arsenal (pronounced “Arsnol”) Football Club, following the game results you could say, almost religiously. My eldest son even submitted his English Bagrut project on the subject of the English FA, dedicating a whole page to his beloved Arsenal and their historic rivalry with the other “Jewish” football team up the road, Tottenham (pronounced “Totnum”) Hotspurs, better known by their nickname, “Spurs”.
In order to keep up to date and have some kind of opinion on the latest Arsenal related matter whenever my sons are home from yeshiva, I am a regular reader of Arseblog, one of the most popular Arsenal FC blogs.
It amuses me that just as a religious Jew might write a particular Avoda Zara (idol worship) by missing out some letters and replacing them with asterisks, so Arseblog refers to their arch rivals at Tottenham as “Sp*rs”. Anyone thinking of going to the site should be warned that it contains the usual football fan related swearwords.
I found this blog rather refreshing and a change from my usual Internet haunts and enjoyed a bit of escapism, following the insignificant discussions over which player was best and how much money the manager ought to spend to keep Van Persie.

From left to right: Benayoun, Walcott and Van Persie

Only once in the past have I made a contribution by adding to a discussion about one of Israel’s best players who was on loan to Arsenal for the season, Yossi Benayoun. They were wondering about the level of his English. In fact, Yossi probably has a better grasp of the language than many contributors to the blog. One guy said matter-of-factly that his mother tongue was of course Yiddish. Obviously I could not resist putting them straight and pointing out that Benayoun comes from a Sefardi family and was hardly likely to know more than a few words in Yiddish. I explained to them that his mother tongue was in fact Hebrew which is the national language of Israel. They were most amused!
Then, last week, I was forced to submit another post.  My escapism fantasy world was shattered as I read an article where the author commented that the subject he was writing about was similar to the fact that the Palestinian and Israeli sides were just as bad as each other. I would have let his comment go had it not been for posters who taking their cue from the article, waded in with Anti-Israel comments. One of them I could not ignore:

To which I replied (yes I called myself Shlomo):

It just goes to show. You can’t escape it can you.

It's been two days since I posted this comment. So far, no one has replied. Let's hope it stays that way. Are we missing the point?

I pop by the website of every now and again to check out the latest article on media bias. A few years ago I would have considered this essential reading but today I question if article after article of outrage at Israel hatred and Jew hatred is simply missing the point.

There is no doubt that there are many anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic reporters and journalists in the British press. They are not on the fringes of British media or given a forum simply for counter opinion sake. They are mainstream writers in mainstream media outlets.

There can be no doubt by any objective criteria that The Guardian as well as other British media outlets have crossed the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and Jew hatred (and I don’t mean a small incursion over the line but a full blown invasion).

One has to ask oneself, why have the so called politically and racially sensitive media watchdogs been either silent or totally dismissive of complaints of Anti-Semitism and allowed these hate publications to continue with impunity?

Why don’t other mainstream media outlets openly condemn these articles and treat them with the disgust they deserve? Silence in the face of hatred amounts to complicity in the crime.

I believe Honest Reporting is doing a fine job in exposing these hate articles but haven’t we got to the stage where there are simply too many of them? In fact, it is rare to find a balanced, let alone pro-Israel article in the British press today and when there is one then the writer is considered at the fringes of acceptable opinion.

At the heart of this issue is the inescapable conclusion that it is not simply one or two British media outlets which express these opinions but indeed the majority. This is a nation which views these hate filled articles as perfectly acceptable and sees nothing wrong with it. In fact, many in Britain would say that it is their moral obligation to spread Israel and Jew hatred wherever possible.

There have always been Jew haters but Britain today is a country which allows them to flourish in mainstream media. One can only conclude that Britain is a morally corrupt and evil society.

Please, someone, anyone, convince me that I am wrong or at least cast doubt on my conclusions.