Yair Lapid
Photo: Yoni Hamenachem

Jews are different

Swedish journalist Bostrom doesn't hate Jews; he merely thinks we're different

Part 1 of article


I'm supposed to interview Donald Bostrom at the upcoming Dimona media convention. But maybe I'm supposed to take the stage and punch him in the face?


Bostrom is the Swedish journalist who published the infamous article accusing IDF troops of harvesting organs from Palestinian bodies. We are dealing, of course, with a blood libel of the worst kind. However, Bostrom, who never saw such body and was unable to bring any proof for his story aside from a bunch of wild Palestinian rumors, still argues that the matter must be probed.


The moment such story emerges, he says, the press' job is to publish it. And now I've been tasked with the unpleasant duty of explaining to Bostrom that he doesn't understand how the press works during war.


According to Bostrom, freedom of expression means that if someone lies, the journalist isn't supposed to verify the truth – but rather, publish the lie in a "balanced manner" (that is, next to a weak denial that convinces nobody.) Journalists like Bostrom never lie; they merely report the truth about what they were told by liars.


The story published by Bostrom, if you try for a moment to cool off and read it objectively, stems from lack of understanding: Israel, by law, sends anyone hurt by IDF fire to a post-mortem examination. Absurdly, this is part of our attempt to seek the truth. When the Bostroms of the world call, we want to give them accurate answers: Who killed him? Under what circumstances? When?


However, the Palestinians saw the bodies with the stitching marks on them and didn't get it. Why is there a need to perform a post-mortem? They asked themselves. He was hit by a bullet and died. So then they started to circulate wild rumors, and Hamas' PR department sold the story to the global media, and Bostrom bought into it.


Because from Goldstone to Bostrom, the State of Israel gets slammed time and again in the same way: The Palestinians lie. They realized, much before we did, that the war takes place not only on the streets of Gaza, but also on millions of TV screens. In their view, if we are allowed to use phosphorous bombs, they are allowed to use lies. This is the classic weapon of the weak: Cheap, effective, risk-free, and let's admit it: Painful.


So is Bostrom an anti-Semite? Of course he is. Does he know he's an anti-Semite? That's a different story. I tend to believe that if we connect him to a polygraph and ask him whether he hates Jews, the needles will not shake. He doesn’t hate us; he just thinks we're different.


It's hard to blame him. This notion, that we're different, came from us after all. If for 2,000 years you dress up differently, believe in a different God, celebrate different holidays, and on top of it insist on telling everyone that you're completely different than them, ultimately they'll believe you.


The problem is that this is a double-edged sword. When we say we're different, we in fact mean to say that we're better. It's very nice, but human nature doesn't work that way.


People always tend to prefer people who are similar to them; and what's worse, they are always willing to believe about others things they would believe about themselves. They are different, these Jews, and everything is possible with them. They may be so smart that thye figured out the mystery of the ribosome, and they may be so cold-hearted that they created a hedge fund and stole $50 billion, and they may be so cruel as to harvest organs. You can never know; after all you can't know what goes through their mind.


And the most painful part is that they placed us in the same category with the liars.


Part 2 of article to appear Sunday evening


פרסום ראשון: 10.25.09, 09:17
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