I’m not afraid to speak out. But I am speaking out because I am afraid. I am afraid of the scenes of anti-Semitism that are openly expressed online and in the streets of Australia by supporters of a terrorist organisation.
People Love Dead Jews
A confronting book by Dara Horn was published two years ago called “People Love Dead Jews”. The premise of the book is that the psyche generated by 2000 years of exile provides plenty of empathy regarding the historic persecution and demonisation of Jews. However, the concept of the Jewish people acting in self-defence, and asserting their identity and self-determination with power and pride is an anathema. This is exactly what we have seen over the past few weeks. Plenty of expressions of outrage over the massacres of Hamas, but the moment Israel moves to existentially defend its people, the phenomenon kicks in. The defenceless and murdered Jew commands the sympathy of the historical narrative but the empowered military of the Israel Defence Force does not, and therefore needs to be restrained.
It is said that in any war the first casualty is the truth. In this war the first casualty was human morality, but nonetheless, followed fairly quickly by the truth.
The amount of media bias and obfuscation that continues to compound in our daily news is simply terrifying, albeit that it is nothing new. It further fuels the amount of virulent anti-Semitism that has exploded in Australia over the past two weeks.
On the surface it appears as media coverage that strives for balance. In reality our news is saturated with reports that give credence to the lies of a terrorist entity. The international news agencies appear to be no more than a megaphone for Hamas and its sympathisers.
I stood in solidarity at a rally for Israel in Forrest Chase plaza. Hundreds of supporters of Israel came to peacefully protest. We were grateful for a heavy police presence. As I stood at the side of the rally, a bystander of middle eastern descent walked past and audibly muttered Allah Akbar. The police saw and heard. He immediately turned and briskly walked in another direction. Within seconds police at the opposite end of the enclave had been alerted. They carefully watched as he left the area, but he was not pursued or even spoken to.
But it was a Palestinian rally in Perth last week, described by the media as “peaceful” that shows what we are up against. This intimidating anti-Israel vitriol is tolerated by the community around us. Our television news broadcast images with protestors holding banners saying “from the river to the sea”. The slogan and chant is calling for the obliteration of Israel. The phrase originated from article 20 of the Hamas Charter and references all territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. In other words, there is no place for Israel to exist.
Hamas is a prescribed terrorist organisation in Australia and the displaying of placards with this phrase constitutes hate speech, support of terrorism and gross anti-Semitism. But thank you Rick Ardon of Seven News for innocuously smiling at the camera and saying that Palestinians in Perth calling for genocide were “staging a peaceful rally” in front of a picture that clearly displayed banners that suggested otherwise.
Our newspapers too give prominence to demonstrations against Israel. Whilst mostly condemning the actions of those people who have set off flares, called out obscenities against Jewish people and celebrated acts of terrorism, these same reports still present the national aspirations of Palestinian statehood under a frame of delegitimising Israel. With no regard to the rejected offers of peace of the continued rejection of Israel’s existence by the Palestinian Authority.
At the time of writing Israel’s imminent ground invasion of Hamas has not yet occurred, but the allegations of “collective punishment” and “an intolerable humanitarian crisis”, and the calls for “restraint” are substantially dominating news coverage. The same coverage pays lip service to the situation in Israel, where people are still mourning the dead and bombs are still being indiscriminately fired towards civilians in their dozens. The media is not displaying the plight of the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have been displaced as they have evacuated their homes and headed north. There is little mention of the many efforts made by Israel to provide notification and warnings of strikes against Hamas targets in their campaign to destroy their murderous infrastructure. Israel has warned them to get out. Hamas gave no such warning.
Casting doubts over the nature of the atrocities has become the media equivalent to Holocaust denial, only in real time. There are editors writing media scripts that are sanitising the terrorism of Hamas and trying to show both sides of the conflict with a narrative undertone of “Israel brought this upon itself”, and “it’s Israel’s fault that peace has not been achieved”.
It should be obvious that Hamas are despicable liars, and that many of the civilian deaths inside Gaza have been caused by their own failed rocket launches. But that is sadly not portrayed as a truth, only an “Israeli claim” that has “yet to be substantiated” and “rejected by the Gaza Health Authority” (which happens to also be controlled by Hamas).
We have a media that can clearly see the evil of Hamas and still not accept Israel’s response. Israel is like the media’s victim of domestic violence: assaulted, gaslighted and told she deserves it. They seek justification and excuses and blame the Israeli’s for being their own victims.
It is a confused media that are now concerned that Gaza might be about to be occupied by Israel, despite claiming for years that Gaza was “controlled” by Israel.
It is a media that is a self-appointed bastion of “both sides” that puts the credibility of a bunch of terrorists on par with the leading forensic military analysts of Israel and the USA. This alongside an obsession for appeasement and restraint.
British writer and former Wall Street Journalist editor Gerard Baker writes “As Israel begins its campaign of righteous retaliation and starts trying to eliminate the terrorist threat once and for all, the regular crowd of left-wing politicians and their acolytes in the media will demand “restraint” (some were already doing so even as the slaughter of Israelis was unfolding) and denounce a response they will deem “disproportionate.”
What we urgently need in Australia is some honest reporting. Our media reliance on syndicated news agencies delivers far from objective coverage. To paraphrase a meme that is currently circulating; “Journalism 101: If someone says its raining outside and another person says its dry, it is not your job to quote both of them. It’s your job to look out the window and find out which is true.”
I have not shared the images of terror or personal testimonies of the massacres, of which there are many. They are too confronting and disturbing and do not need to be further promulgated.
My friend and gifted academic Alon Shalev (a former Torah MiTzion Shaliach to Perth) writes as follows:
In the age of social networks and digital media, each of us is a combatant on the psychological battlefield. We are all spokespersons, we are all orators, we all give addresses to the nation. It is within our power to contribute to boosting morale, strengthening solidarity, and fortifying the courage and generosity of the home front. It is however also in our power to do the ruinous opposite. In this war, we are all armed: every smartphone is a rifle, every computer a tank, every media outlet a gunship.
There is no greater tragedy in war than friendly fire. We must abstain from fearmongering, enflaming internal conflicts, or spreading panic. We must not share images of horror, and we must not distribute them to those who do not need to see them—that is, to anyone who does not need such images to be convinced to fight the evil that is Hamas—that is, to any of us. These are all war crimes of the home front. We are all digital soldiers, and it is our duty to maintain the purity of posts.