Several years ago, while staying at Jerusalem’s fabled American Colony Hotel, I got to indulge my love of journalism in a new setting.
In the hotel’s cave-like bar, one can chat with all manner of foreign journalists, many of whom work for CNN and the BBC. One gets the feeling in this ancient city that if all the reporters left at once, a huge whoosh of air would follow them.
At the Colony, I talked with various journalists who were convinced that Israel is an apartheid state. It seemed lost on them that while it’s perfectly permissible to have those views – wrong as they are – it should preclude one from practicing journalism, except perhaps as a community news editor in, say, Bugtussle, Okla. Any assignment beyond that is dangerous and a disservice to wide readership.
Everyone is biased, and yet that obvious fact is seemingly unknown to most in this age of Clintonspeak. Actually, it is a fact purposely overlooked by the left, who love to accuse conservatives of bias. The statement itself is bias!
As apologetics teacher Ken Ham superbly points out (usually in the context of his exchanges with Bible critics), liberals love to tout openness and a tolerant atmosphere … until they can’t tolerate the views of a Bible-believing Christian!
Whether it’s foreign correspondents or U.N. personnel tooling around town in their white vehicles, Jerusalem attracts a disproportionate number of folks who – I’m convinced – are waiting around only for a story that bashes the Jewish state.
It is incorrect to say that Israel provided them with a big one this week, after commandos boarded a “humanitarian aid” ship bound for Gaza. The so-called humanitarian flotilla was the fevered brainchild of numerous nations, among them Turkey and – I’m not making this up – Ireland.
With Hamas spokesmen raging and threatening ahead of the flotilla, it didn’t take a sophisticated education to conclude that this thing might end badly.
After nine “activists” died, the predictable, rabid hatred of Israel surfaced.
To publish is a privilege and a sacred task; sadly, many thousands of journalists write and publish their own bias masquerading as independently gathered fact in news stories.
A reporter covering this story is perfectly within his rights to report that Israeli commandos intercepted a ship bound for Gaza, and a violent skirmish ensued.
Said reporter does not have the right to then project that some of the aid might not reach suffering Gazan children, and then profile a case or two, thus making the story very personal for an international audience already foaming at the mouth over Israel’s actions. Yet that is what passes for journalism in 2010.
It reminds me of the story a few years ago of a diplomat at a London dinner party who referred to Israel as “that s—-y little country.” That’s all you need to know about whether the world is even-handed when it comes to the Arab-Israeli crisis. One can see that for the most part today, journalists and diplomats share the same worldview.
That is deadly for the rest of us.
Amazingly, there are two schools of thought in Israeli media concerning the flotilla fiasco. An editorial writer in the Jerusalem Post opined that, “The premeditated refusal of those aboard one of the ships to act peacefully when confronted by IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) troops was the trigger for the violence at sea.”
Alternately, a writer for another large Israeli paper, Haaretz, painted a different picture: one of a “well-armed, well-trained army” going to war against a “Freedom Flotilla,” and then concludes that Israel just can’t seem to learn from its errors.
Now, while I might consider the Haaretz view as treasonous, coming as it does in these dark days when Israel is openly threatened on all sides, it is still astonishing that people fail to see that Israel is a free and open society, where a multitude of views can be expressed.
Not so in the Arab world. Whether it’s a rag in Dubai, or the official Turkish press, or a locally produced Palestinian paper in east Jerusalem, you just know what the story is and will remain: The Jews are the sons of monkeys and pigs, and let them drink seawater (as Yasser Arafat used to growl).
During that trip to Israel in 2002, in the middle of the “Second Intifada” (read: Palestinian excuse for violence), I sat with a Palestinian journalist in the shadow of Hamas posters celebrating the martyrdom of the shaheeds. We were discussing over evening coffee the morning homicidal bus bombing that claimed the lives of 11 Israeli schoolchildren.
I asked this fellow what he personally thought of the bombing and he shrugged, sloshed the thick coffee in his glass and said, “I am a journalist. It doesn’t matter what my personal views are. If the Israelis choose to make war against us and we defend ourselves, that is something for the politicians to sort out.”
He then smiled, pleased with himself, and smugly slammed the glass on the table. I watched him stroll away, as the Eden-like American Colony courtyard buzzed with other conversations.
Our world is a dangerous place, threatened by psychotic ideologues that want to dominate everyone else. What a tragic disservice is done to all of us when international journalists take the short-term easy route by writing what the enemy wants them to write.
It should seem obvious that a few million Jews stand to lose by inflaming a billion Muslims. So why board a “humanitarian” ship? Because they know there is the real possibility that weapons are aboard.
For people who relied on the international community to save them 70 years ago, I don’t blame the Jewish state one bit for boarding the ship. I like seeing Jews with guns.
That’s my bias.