It’s a bit hard to say this was “unintentional,” given the deep and consistent animosity that much of the Western media displays toward Israel.
It is all part of an insidious and shockingly pervasive media campaign to deligitimize Israel by casting them as the 21st century Nazis – the evil force that must be eliminated.
Remember in 2009 when Sweden’s largest newspaper, Aftonbladet, published a malicious conspiracy theory charging that Israeli soldiers were abducting Palestinians in order to steal their organs for black market sale. From there it was a small step to columnist George Galloway writing in Scotland’s best-selling newspaper, under the headline, “Dark Echoes of Holocaust,” invoking Dr. Josef Mengele – Auschwitz’s infamous “Angel of Death” – by describing Israel as “playing mini-Mengele” on Palestinians.
Beyond this, code-words like “genocide” (London’s Evening Standard) and “ethnic cleansing” (Bob Simon on CBS’s 60 Minutes) are getting plenty of play in the mainstream media. Speaking on CNN, Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of “genocide” and claimed that “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were killed” by Israel. (CNN’s Fareed Zakaria did not challenge the lie.)
Of course, nobody bothers to consider that the Arab population of the territories has soared from under one million in 1967 to four million today. Is this what The Times of London meant in referring to ‘the Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people’? If Israel is committing genocide, then it’s the least efficient genocide in history – so much so that it’s moving backwards!
Despite all logic, this slander continues to gain currency in the “civilized” world. Portuguese Nobel Prize-winning writer Jose Saramago declared, “What is happening in Palestine is a crime which we can put on the same plane as what happened at Auschwitz.” Richard Falk, the U.N. Human Rights Council official assigned to monitor Israel, compared Israel to the Nazis in his article, “Slouching Toward a Palestinian Holocaust.” And Mairead Corrigan Maguire, the Irish winner of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize, likened Israeli weapons to Auschwitz, calling them “gas chambers perfected.” Even television star Roseanne Barr got into the act, declaring flatly on her blog that “Israel is a Nazi state.”
It’s a simple equation: The same techniques that the Nazis practiced against the Jews, Israelis are now using against Palestinians. The result is an absolute inversion of reality, what UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks calls the “great mutation of anti-Semitism.” The Jews – who taught the world the ideals of “love your neighbor as yourself,” “might does not make right” and “all people are created equal” – are now cast as the planet’s worst barbarians.
How can news consumers be expected to believe otherwise, given the barrage of images demonizing Israel? Bruce Beattie, one of America’s leading editorial cartoonists, published a cartoon entitled “Which Nukes are You Most Afraid Of?” It depicted a short list of despotic terror regimes: North Korea, Iran, al-Qaeda, and – you guessed it – Israel. Time magazine reprinted the cartoon – not to condemn it as a perverse distortion – but to honor it as “Cartoon of the Week.”
There’s a lot more to say on this topic, and my book David & Goliath lays out a theory for why the media portrays Israel in this perverse Zionazi way.
In short, if it can be shown that he who was victimized is now turning around and victimizing others, that completely erases a sense of accountability and guilt for the original sin. Thus if Israelis are behaving like Nazis, that effectively wipes away humanity’s collective guilt over the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, countless expulsions, blood libels, pogroms and the systematic murder of 6 million. No more bad memories, no more Jews having the right to complain. We’re all even now, what writer Jonah Goldberg called “a sick mixture of Holocaust envy and Holocaust denial.”
Pilar Rahola, the well-known Spanish-Catalan journalist, explained that Europe’s “deviant way of dealing with” centuries of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust “is to attack Israel, of all countries. Because the worse Israel is, the less guilty we are. The attacks against Israel are our way of clearing our conscience.”
So now we understand why both Reuters and Associated Press issued the same pose of Bibi Netanyahu , standing at the podium of the United Nations, delivering a Nazi salute.
In doing so, the media propagates a malicious lie, and abuses the solemn responsibility that goes along with freedom of the press.