When I was a 14 year old girl becoming acquainted with modern Zionist history, I came across the epic letter of 1898 by Emile Zola, “J’accuse”, in which he condemned the institutional anti-Semitism in France that falsely convicted Alfred Dreyfus of espionage. This letter had an intense effect on me, and in the last few weeks all I could think about as I watched in frustration the world’s media assault on Israel, was the injustice that I felt as a young girl reading about the Dreyfus trial. Although admittedly I am no Zola, here goes my J’accuse:
I accuse the world media of arming Hamas with the weapon of the image that makes even intelligent people who rationally understand and defend Israel’s right to exist, talk in the next breath about disproportionality. I often wonder whether all it would take for everyone to feel a bit better is G-d forbid 1500 dead Israelis. Without the iron dome, this could well have been the scenario.
I accuse the world media of choosing -because let’s be clear here there is always a choice- to act in an outright dangerous and irresponsible way by being Hamas’s willing accomplices in using these images against Israel, and in so doing perpetuating the death and destruction Hamas is inflicting on their own people. If the media’s obsession with these images was not so intense, then pictures of dead children would not be an effective strategy for Hamas and there simply would have been fewer of these self-inflicted casualties.
I accuse the world media of drawing a moral equivalency between Israel, a democratic country governed by the highest standards of law, and a terrorist organization who only a few days ago announced the execution of 20 anti-war brave souls who saw the madness of their actions; the same organization that murders gays and lesbians, stifles women’s rights and freedom of speech and encourages institutional pedophilia. The world media has essentially become the mouthpiece of this tyrannical regime in Gaza while Israel is left fighting for its mere right to exist in the court of public opinion.
I accuse the world media of castigating the countries that provide freedom of the press and rewarding the ones that don’t. I accuse the world media of providing Hamas with the oxygen that only state sponsors of terrorism, Iran and Quatar, had given them when everyone else had abandoned their corrupt cause. I accuse the world media of standing by inert and not broadcasting outrage at Assad who has so far murdered 150,000 of his own people and counting, and caused a refugee problem the size of the population of Gaza.
I accuse the world media of not spreading the images of ISIS crucifying Christians and decapitating anyone with a different belief system, with the same zeal that they broadcast pictures from Gaza.
I accuse the world media of cherry picking their reports on ethnic cleansing perpetrated by radical Muslims every day around the world and not drawing the correct parallels. Do they see it and ignore it or is their blind spot merely with Israel?
I accuse the world media of fanning the flames of anti-Semitism in Europe with their one-sided coverage and those oh so powerful images that make people take to the streets and hate anything and everything Jewish. I accuse the world media of making every Jew in Europe vulnerable and scared to levels that we have not seen since before the Second World War.
And finally, I accuse the Israeli government past and present of not seeing the weapon of the image as a strategic threat, the way tunnels and rockets are, causing people to question the legitimacy of our existence. I accuse the Israeli government of not taking the best “generals” of hasbara for this mammoth yet not insurmountable task and instead using convenient political appointees and well-meaning nonprofits to do the job. I accuse them of a lack of vision for not laying the infrastructure of our own hasbara offensive strategy and for seeing it as a lost cause.
As a people we have the power, talent and resources to craft our own compelling narrative and deliver it to the world with pride and conviction. What are we waiting for?