I’m not in the habit of sitting around and quoting Joseph Goebbels, but… “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.”
As a child, I learned that people have said some seriously messed up stuff about Jews. My parents taught me about the pernicious lies of the “Protocols.” I studied the history of anti-Semitism in religious school. I learned that Jewish people were accused of manipulating various aspects of daily life — think puppet master with peyot and you get the idea.
But I figured that after the Holocaust no one would be dumb enough to believe that crap. After all, if we were pulling the strings, ya think we might’ve been able to save ourselves, right?
Ha. Ha. Ha.
And then I went to U.C. Berkeley. Yes, good times at Berkeley, that bastion of enlightened academia. And along with learning the difference between indica and sativa, along with learning that the book of Genesis makes for some seriously raunchy reading material late at night when you’re hard up, and along with learning that I’m really not as smart as I thought I was, I also learned that rabid anti-Semitism is alive and kicking, and actually doing quite well, thankyouverymuch.
By the time I stumbled into my final semester — a sixth-year Superduper Senior no worse for wear — I was already used to seeing the signs on Sproul Plaza calling for divestment. I was already used to the giant poster of the American flag with 50 Jewish stars in place of the five pointed ones. And I was even used to seeing those signs with images regurgitated from the bowels of the “Protocols” depicting the “Zionist” (read: Jewish) entity smothering the world.
But since everyone I knew would just roll their eyes, it really didn’t phase me. What-evah. After all, only a damn fool would actually believe that there was a mysterious cabal of Jews massaging their tentacles into global institutions.
Again: Ha. Ha. Ha.
Because then, on the first day of my last semester, I understood that I was living in Fantasy Land. Because people actually believed this shit.
I was sitting in the middle of lecture when a professor said, “You know, I’m surprised that a Palestinian movie won a Golden Globe since we all know that the Zionists control the media.”
I laughed out loud.
Except, it wasn’t funny. Because everyone around me was nodding their heads in agreement.
“Oh, hell no. He did not just say that,” I said in my not-so-sotto voce.
“Shh,” the blonde girl with the dreads hissed at me.
It kinda turned into a thing. I filed a complaint with the department, there was a hearing, and I wrote my senior thesis on the Legend of the Jewish Conspiracy.
I thought about grad school or working for the Anti-Defamation League, but I got knocked up instead. Two years and two babies later, I moved to Israel, where I began to realize just how freaking ridiculous this stereotype is. Because if Zionists control the media, believe you me, we are doing a seriously piss-poor job of it, and our PR person should get fired. I’m just saying.
Let me break it down for you.
Over the last 24 hours, our cousins in Gaza have hurtled 70 — 70! — rockets at us.
(Now, lucky for us, their aim sucks and we have Iron Dome, but that isn’t the point.)
Here’s the point.
No one is talking about it in the mainstream global media. No one.
So, help me understand. When an Israeli soldier so much as sneezes on a Palestinian it’s worth a special report on the BBC.
When Israel — FINALLY! — retaliates after getting smacked upside the head by missile after missile, it’s splashed across CNN.com.
Zionists control the media, my ass.
Meanwhile, families are ripped from their homes in Ashdod, fleeing under heavy rainfall to shelters, knowing that the whoop whoop whoop of the missile siren will terrorize their children for years. And no one outside of Israel is talking about it.
Meanwhile, schools are closed all over the South because no one wants their kids to come home in a body bag. And no one outside of Israel is talking about it.
But there’s good news.
We may not control the media, but we’ve got social media.
And I swear to YODA, if I see one more viral video on Facebook about cats, I am going to lose my shit.
So let’s bring it. Let’s tell the world the truth about Israel. The good things. The bad things. The complicated, nuanced, glorious things that create a country where everyone lives THIS CLOSE to the edge — where, while there is very real danger, the view makes it worth it.
(Most of the time.)
Because the stories we tell and the pictures we share through social media about the reality on the ground in this incredibly dynamic country are sooo important.
Actually, it’s more than important. It’s essential.
Our friends are listening. Our families are listening. And not to get too melodramatic on you, but, seriously, the world is listening.
So, I am asking you — hell, I’m begging you — please tell people what’s really happening in Israel. The sweet stories and the sad stories. The funny things and the scary things.The moments of quiet coexistence between people from all backgrounds and walks of life, and the days when rockets are hurtling through the skies.
Post a picture. Write a status message. Share an article.
Help create a new framework for a new discussion. Because speaking truth to power can change the world.