When Israel = ISIS

In an irresponsible move by the mainstream media, all conflicts in the Middle East have been lumped into one “Middle East Conflict”. This is particularly worrisome at a time when this section of the world is fighting numerous wars. Although it is true that there are similarities between the conflicts raging in the region, the unfortunate reality is that the media is willfully conflating the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) with Israel, which is completely erroneous. If one were to equate a combatant in the Gaza war with the gruesome Islamic State (IS) the correct similarity would be with Hamas, a radical Islamic group willing to destroy Western civilizations in order to promote a Sharia society. Nevertheless, in the farce of reporting taking place, audience members, who have little knowledge of the Middle East are relying on the media to grasp what is going on in that part of the world. Unfortunately, rather than gain an understanding of what is happening, they are led to believe that the great evil in the “conflict”, which includes according to the media: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, is the Israeli Defense Forces and that if Israel were to dismantle their military and lay down its arms there would be no more war in the Middle East. This is blatantly untrue. Another implicit fabrication is that Israel and IS are similar in nature and promote the same moral standards or lack thereof in this case.

Let us be clear IS according to western society is an amoral terrorist organization that supports genocide of every male who does not believe in their interpretation of Wahhabi Islam. Women and children, although not murdered in cold blood, are taken as slaves to be used and abused: physically, sexually and emotionally. One could argue that their fate is honestly worse than death. The group has proudly documented their brutality on the internet, even posting videos of the mass murder of the Christian community of Mosul. If IS succeeds in their goal they will become the supreme leader of the Muslim world through a caliphate that would encompass territory in the Levant region which would include Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus, and parts of southern Turkey. Their goals are unabashedly expansionist and would bring about a society completely counter to the ideals of the west.

Israel on the other hand is fighting a war of survival. Israel has no desire to expand outside of her territory and when she has in the past it was during wars of defense where her neighbors were attempting to eradicate the small country off the face of the earth. If Israel’s enemy, Hamas were to succeed they would commit a genocide of the people of Israel completely, as they believe not one Jew, not just Israeli, but Jew should be allowed in the land of “Palestine”. Israel through a horrible set of circumstances has been forced to protect her citizens in a war where Palestinian children and women are used as human shields and propaganda to present the Israelis as barbaric and horrible. Rather than revel in the deaths of these innocents Israel is consumed with feelings of horror and sadness, wishing that she could protect the innocent civilians in both Gaza and Israel. Israel is fighting not to force her way of life on others but to protect her way of life and more importantly the lives of her citizens.

By implying that Israel and IS are of the same ilk or that Israel is potentially even worse than IS is to defame an entire nation and her people. In addition it creates a third party population that with incorrect knowledge inflames the conflicts raging in the Middle East and deter the Western countries from supporting their allies and condemning their enemies. With the way “news” is being disseminated it is not a surprise that Israel has become the big bad in the Middle East. The media should produce news rather than entertainment but in an industry more interested in the easy way to get good ratings it is no wonder that they are employing false comparisons in the one country in which they are safe to report news. After all going into IS territory would be dangerous if not deadly for reporters. Nevertheless, in doing so the news media has substituted a false “reality” in which a terrorist organization is a legitimate humanitarian organization, a defending army is a terror state, and another terrorist organization that is so deadly that even Al-Qaeda kicked them out, is gentler than the democracy being defamed.

About the Author
Yael Weinstein joined the Colorado Agency for Jewish Education as a faculty member in 2009. Yael earned her M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, focusing on the topics of Anti-Semitism and Jewish Identity. At Brandeis, Yael worked as a teaching assistant for Dennis Ross, former U.S. Ambassador. Yael also works with the curriculum development team at the international Melton office at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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