Media continues its one-sided and distorted ‘coverage’ of Mideast

Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School.  He is the author of  ‘Dawn to Destiny,’  an analytic overview of Jewish history from Creation through the era of the Talmud.

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson

Last Thursday, the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to take a large step toward Palestinian statehood, 65 years to the day after the same body recognized the state of Israel. Evidently, the world community believes that the same right to self-determination that created the Jewish homeland should apply equally to the Arabs who share the same real estate.

Then again, the world community has been very creative in its ability to find equivalence where none exists.  As Golda Meir once said:


“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

In his remarks from the pulpit this last Sabbath, Rabbi Menachem Greenblatt of Agudas Israel invoked these words from one of Israel’s most admired leaders to make a critical point notably absent in the mainstream media — namely, that aversion to taking another human life is so deeply rooted in Jewish culture that Israeli Jews can scarcely bring themselves to celebrate their own military triumphs.

This explains why the Israelis endured three years of missile fire from neighboring Gaza – which increased after Israel handed over the contested territory from 281 strikes in 2004 to 1,777 in 2006.  Only when Hamas rocket fire reached an average of 80 missiles each day did Israel launch Operation Cast Lead in 2008.  It also explains why Israeli planes drop leaflets alerting apartment building residents used by Hamas terrorists as human shields to the time and place of Israeli retaliatory strikes.  And it explains why the Israeli government has eschewed the decisive victory that can only be achieved by a ground war because of the massive casualties such an attack would inflict upon a civilian Arab population.

Indeed, it explains why Yitzhak Rabin, in the aftermath of the Six Day War, lamented,

“[A]mong the soldiers themselves a curious phenomenon is to be observed increasingly. They cannot rejoice wholeheartedly. Their triumph is marred by grief and shock, and there are some who cannot rejoice at all… I know that the terrible price the enemy paid has also profoundly affected many of our men. Perhaps the education and the experience of the Jewish people has never brought it to feel the joy of the conqueror and the victor, and therefore the matter is accepted with mixed feelings.”

What would happen if all of Israel’s hostile neighbors were disarmed?  The entire region would live in peace.  What would happen if Israel were disarmed?  Another six million Jews would be brutally murdered and their nation would cease to exist.

I ask the New York Times:  Why does the paper give equal placement to the photo of Jews mourning Mrs. Mira Scharf and the photo of Muslims mourning Ahmed al-Jabari, the terrorist mastermind largely responsible for Mrs. Scharf’s murder? I ask the anchors of NPR, why does virtually every story covering violence in the Mideast begin with Israeli fire and Arab causalities, mimicking the sardonic Israeli joke that Western reporting typically begins:  Israel incites violence by retaliating?

And I ask the editors, writers, and news anchors of CNN, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the BBC and major news outlets around the globe, why do you continue to ignore the facts and the history that prove only one irrefutable equation – that Israel’s neighbors are as disinterested in peace as Israel is in war?

Why do you ignore the simple reality that the 1948 borders of Israel constituted a mere 13 percent of the original Palestinian Mandate, with the other 87 percent going to indigenous Arabs? Why do you ignore the 860,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands settled by Israel, 140,000 more than the highest estimate of Arab refugees never settled by their own people?  Why do you refuse to report that Arabs living in Israel have a higher standard of living, a longer life expectancy, and a higher literacy rate than Arabs in any neighboring country?

In short, why do you make yourselves complicit in countless deaths and interminable suffering by empowering terrorist organizations like Hamas through your disingenuous bleating about the “cycle of violence” and your demands for ceasefires that do nothing but allow the terrorists to rearm?

There could have been peace two generations ago had the world community had the integrity to stand up for justice and truth. Their refusal to do so, together with the refusal of the media to present the story accurately, has left many dead, has left little hope for peace, and has left legions of politicians and journalists with the blood of innocents on their hands.