Imagine two sitting Republican congresspeople planned a trip to a foreign country in conjunction with a nongovernmental organization. Imagine that particular NGO had a long history of Jew hatred: It had run a piece on its website quoting anti-Semitic myths about Jews imbibing Christian blood, republished a neo-Nazi article decrying the "Jew-controlled entertainment media" and suggested that "honor" was the proper response to a terrorist who murdered 38 Israelis, including 13 children.
Imagine that these two congresspeople tweeted a cartoon from a cartoonist so anti-Semitic he won second prize at Iran's Holocaust denial cartoon contest. Imagine that these congresspeople had themselves engaged in anti-Semitic slurs, ranging from a suggestion that Israel supporters in America suffer from dual loyalty, to the accusation that Israel "hypnotized the world," to the suggestion that Jewish money lies behind America's support for Israel ("it's all about the Benjamins"). Imagine that these congresspeople had expressed support for terrorist Rasmea Odeh. Imagine also that both congresspeople had a long history of associations with open anti-Semites.
Advertisement - story continues below
Finally, imagine that both members were supporters of the anti-Semitic boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement directed against Israel – a movement so obviously anti-Semitic that a bipartisan coterie ranging from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had declared it so.
Now imagine that these two Republican congresspeople were barred from entering Israel under Israel's law that prevents propagandizing designed to destroy the state of Israel. Would the media report on Israel's reaction or on the Republican congresspeople's associations, actions and statements? Would the narrative surround Israel's supposed free speech crackdown, or would it center on the obvious Jew hatred of the Republican congresspeople?
Simply switch out the word "Republican" for "Democrat" and the media coverage shifts 180 degrees. Suddenly, the congresspeople become put-upon heroes, victimized by the evils of the nefarious Jewish state. Suddenly, a media blackout arises with regard to the NGO sponsoring the visit; the Washington Post calls the organization "a nonprofit organization headed by Palestinian lawmaker and longtime peace negotiator Hanan Ashrawi"; the New York Times praises the group for raising "global awareness and knowledge of Palestinian realities." The statements of the congresspeople become mere conversation starters; the New York Times praises one for starting a vital conversation about Israel. The BDS position becomes worthy of debate, rather than a symptom of anti-Semitism.
Our major media are driven by narrative, not by fact. And the narrative depends on the players. Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., aren't hiding their anti-Semitism. They revel in it. And why not? The media celebrate them as "The Squad." Pelosi cowers before them. And their anti-Semitic propaganda receives kid-glove treatment.
Advertisement - story continues below
And Omar and Tlaib aren't new. Media coverage of Israel has long been skewed in favor of Israel's enemies. How much coverage, for example, has the mainstream media given to the Palestinian Authority's announcement – this week – that an LGBTQ group would be banned in its territories, since the PA's values are in conflict with those of the group? The answer: virtually none. As of this writing, hardly any pieces have appeared in a non-Jewish or non-conservative publication.
Jews simply aren't part of the intersectional narrative, unless they are targeted by those perceived as higher on the scale of privilege. It's that simple and that despicable. It's the reason Rev. Al Sharpton has a show on MSNBC, the reason Democratic politicians continue to play footsie with Louis Farrakhan, the reason the New York Times ignores hate crimes in its own city, the reason Omar and Tlaib are treated as victims rather than pariahs. All of which underscores just why Israel seeks to protect itself so strongly from those who seek to destroy her: There are plenty of people out there who want to, and our media watchdogs are too busy drooling over them to remember that their job is to report the news.