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Photo: Tal Givony
Lina Makhoul in 'The Voice'
Photo: Tal Givony
Ben-Dror Yemini
Western media's double-standard on Israeli 'racism'
Op-ed: So-called prestigious newspapers the Guardian and New York Times give a platform to every nonsensical item about Israel while conveniently ignoring the reality in other countries.

Two newspapers, the New York Times and the Guardian, recently published articles describing Israel as racist. Another story and another article, and the brainwashing continues. The lie is coming out on top; there's no quality, only quantity.

 

 

One journalist, Rula Jebreal, wrote in The New York Times about an ordeal she allegedly suffered at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Her daughter determined, "This place nurtures hatred," and burst into tears of course. She subsequently saw some graffiti that read "Death to the Arabs." Her readers, in all likelihood, were left teary eyed by the description of her journey of misery through the realms of racism. She also wrote of her efforts to renew her daughter's passport, but an Interior Ministry official said to her, "She's not Jewish."

 

Racism? Really? It's sad and unfortunate, but Muslims are treated with suspicion at almost every airport in the West. British travelers, for example, refused to board a flight from Malaga to Manchester only because there were two Arabic speakers on the aircraft; and another incident in Minneapolis saw six imams removed from a flight. In Boston, it was a Hindu suspected of being a Muslim who was forced to undergo a painful ordeal. And in Washington, DC, nine Muslims, three of them children, were removed from a flight. The New York Times reported the incident; but it didn't publish an article that brands the United States as racist.

 

The story that her daughter was denied service at the Interior Ministry because "she's not Jewish" is false too. There is no discrimination between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens when it comes to extending the validity of a passport. The only difference lies in the Law of Return, the likes of which exist in other nation states too. But why check? When it comes to Israel, the mechanism of checking facts, which is supposed to characterize serious journalism, vanishes into thin air.

 

The writer also complained about the inscription, "Death to the Arabs." Such graffiti does indeed appear here and there. Some Israelis are racist – but not more so, and probably much less so, when compared with similar phenomena in civilized countries; and far less so than the official Palestinian broadcasts, not only on the Hamas channel, in which one hears repeated calls for the slaughter of Jews, but also on the Palestinian Authority channel, which turns the murderers of Jews into heroes.

 

In the real Israel, hundreds of thousands voted an Arab contestant, Lina Makhoul, into first place in the singing contest The Voice. This is far more significant than an isolated "Death to the Arabs" piece of graffiti. But let's not confuse the newspaper for enlightened American folk with facts.

 

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In the same vein, Shlomo Sand wrote to the British people in an article in the Guardian that Israel is "one of the most racist societies in the Western world." He also declared his desire to cease to consider himself a Jew. Interesting. The man has already declared that there is no such thing as a Jewish nation. So how exactly does he want to leave a nation that doesn't exist?

 

But logic aside. Sand is an academic. He is supposed to present facts – not manipulations and not feelings and not assessments. To put Israel at the top of the pile of racist states, one needs to present data of some sort. And what Sand has to offer is something in the style of: "Racism is taught in schools and colleges, spread in the media." Where? Which college? Who preaches racism there?

 

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Israel, as is the case in any Western country, sometimes experiences an increase in incidents of racism. This happened, for example, after the murder of three teenagers. Does this put Israel at the summit of racism? Well, it's worth taking a look at what is happening in civilized countries. In the Netherlands, Theo van Gogh was murdered by an Islamist. He wasn't murdered by all Muslims. It was the work of a single man. The Muslims in the Netherlands were quick to condemn and protest against the act. In Israel, on the other hand, some members of the Arab leadership have specialized in offering understanding for murderers. The condemnation by the Muslims in the Netherlands didn't help.

 

The Netherlands was considered one of the most tolerant countries in the world. All it took for ugly teeth to be bared was one murder, just one. A total of 117 mosques were torched or damaged between 2005 and 2010 (compared with 42 in the United States during the same period). The offenders in 99 of the 117 incidents weren't caught. Perhaps this reminds us of something.

 

In Britain, the English Defence League (EDL) is growing, with thousands of its members accused of involvement in incidents of racist violence, the harassment of Muslims, attacks on mosques and more. Some of the EDL activists are in the habit of wearing hoods to completely cover their heads. The movement is sending thousands of Brits out into the streets, and it earned a huge boost in 2013, following the barbaric murder of Lee Rigby by two Islamists.

 

And on it goes. Europe has witnessed the growth of the radical right in recent years, and a neo-Nazi representative from Germany was elected to the European Parliament. France has imposed a ban on the wearing of niqabs and burqas. Switzerland has banned construction of minarets. And polls in France, Britain and Germany show that more than 70 percent of their populations view Islam in a negative light.

 

In other words, even without a conflict that has lasted for decades, even without rockets, even without Hamas and its declarations of destruction, the incidents of racism, violence and hostility in Europe far outnumber those in Israel, even in relative terms. But the facts won't throw Professor Sand, or The Guardian, or The New York Times, which offer a platform to every falsehood and piece of nonsense.

 

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