[Published 5 September 2014]
The incessant media focus on Israel - compounded by misleading and factually incorrect reporting - has materially contributed to inciting the growth of Jew-hatred world-wide.
Organisations such as HonestReporting and CAMERA expose inaccurate reports appearing daily in the most widely read and supposedly reputable international newspapers, television stations, radio networks and on-line publications.
Corrections eventually made usually come too late to remedy the initial sensationalist reporting.
Matti Friedman sums up this phenomenon:
“Is there anything left to say about Israel and Gaza? Newspapers this summer have been full of little else. Television viewers see heaps of rubble and plumes of smoke in their sleep. A representative article from a recent issue of The New Yorker described the summer’s events by dedicating one sentence each to the horrors in Nigeria and Ukraine, four sentences to the crazed genocidaires of ISIS, and the rest of the article — 30 sentences—to Israel and Gaza.”
This pre-occupation with Israel at the expense of covering far more serious conflicts in the region prompted one concerned person to ask Professor Richard Falk - the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967” — the following questions:
“Nowhere on the face of the earth will you find a country that has been unremittingly attacked in the language used to attack Israel, or at all — not truly genocidal nations like Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria, Serbia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Turkey; not the world’s worst violators of human rights like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Somalia, Russia, China, North Korea and Cuba; not seizers and occupiers of land like Russia, Armenia, Turkey (Northern Cyprus), Morocco and Azerbaizhan. Where are the BDS movements, Prof. Falk? Where are the blogs? Where are the armies of blog crawlers? Where are the videos? Where are the links? What do you think it is that draws all these “critics” to Israel and nowhere else?”
Falk’s reply - designating Israel as a “special case” - is very disturbing.
“Israel is a special case for at least three reasons:
— its legitimacy was established by UN and League initiatives without any effort to take into account the views of the population physically present in the country;
— the US as the world’s self-appointed global leader has singled out Israel for the most massive financial assistance over a period of many years, and has lent controversial support to Israel to shield it from censure by the UN;
— Israel itself claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East and otherwise posits itself as a shining example even extending to the boast that the IDF is the most moral army in the world.
These three reasons explain and justify the attention given to Israel’s alleged wrongdoing. Beyond this, the fact that worse offenders are not scrutinized to the same extent as Israel is more an argument for according more attention to such offenders. It is not excuse for Israel’s behavior. Whether we like it or not the Israel-Palestine conflict has become the litmus test of international morality ever since the collapse of apartheid in South Africa.”
Falk’s reasons for assigning only Israel and none of the other nominated states “special case” status are outrageous and can be dismissed on the following grounds:
1. The “League initiatives” to which Falk refers is the Mandate for Palestine unanimously endorsed by the League of Nations in 1922. Syria, Lebanon and Iraq - products of the same Mandates system - are currently humanitarian and politically dysfunctional disaster areas. Yet Falk does not regard them as “special cases”.
2. The views of “the population physically present” were taken into account - being both politically and violently expressed from the moment Britain assumed its role as Mandatory. Arab riots in 1920, 1929 and between 1936-1939 expressed opposition to the Jewish National Home. The 1922 decision on Transjordan, the 1937 Peel Commission, the 1939 White Paper restricting Jewish emigration to Palestine, and the 1947 United Nations Special Committee on Palestine all recommended changes to the Mandate’s stated policy to the detriment of the Jewish people.
3. Israel’s legitimacy was not established by the United Nations — but by the League of Nations, seven decades of State building and defeating six invading Arab armies in 1948.
4. Since when did financial aid received from another country qualify the recipient to be classed as a “special case” because other countries received lesser aid or no aid from the same donor country?
5. America has not always vetoed resolutions against Israel in the Security Council. America has also vetoed resolutions affecting countries including Panama, Nicaragua, Namibia and South Africa — but never have they been regarded as “special cases”
6. Israel is indeed the only democracy in the Middle East and its army is certainly one of the most moral armies in the world — yet Falk has long advocated support for the PLO and Hamas whose stated objectives are to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
Falk’s discredited assertion that Israel is a “special case” setting it apart from the world community for special treatment encourages
1. the media to keep focusing disproportionately on Israel
2. Arab and Islamic countries justifying their continuing non-recognition of Israel
3. Jew-haters and self-hating Jews world-wide maintaining their campaigns denigrating and delegitimising Israel.
“Jews are always good for news” needs an urgent media rethink and policy overhaul — if increasing Jew-hatred world-wide is to be effectively silenced.