Another Look at Israel’s Reality

Now they’re reporting the story objectively. By they, I mean the mainstream media. Yesterday — in what has become an almost daily event over the last few months, there was another stabbing in Israel by a Palestinian. This time the victim was an American. A non-Jewish veteran by the name of Taylor Force. From the Forward:

Taylor Force, a 29-year-old student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, was stabbed by a Palestinian as he strolled around Jaffa …

Taylor was a graduate of West Point who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was in Israel studying its successful high tech industry.

The description in the media of this heinous murder did not follow the usual pattern. Which went something like this: Palestinian shot and killed by the Israeli police. He was alleged by  the Israeli police to be have been attacking some Jews at the time of the shooting.

But now the media is reporting a virtual identical scenario this way: American fatally stabbed in Israel terror attack that wounds 10 others The attacker was shot and killed as he was fleeing stabbing people in cars while on the run.

Nice to see a bit of honest reporting for a change. It’s just too bad that it took an American being brutally stabbed to death in order to get it. But I suspect that it will be business as usual the next time an Israeli is attacked by a knife wielding Palestinian.

When are Israel’s critics going to realize that Israel is not the villain here? No matter how much Israel is attacked, whether it is from Hamas in Gaza, or Hezbollah in Lebanon; or internally by random violence from individual Palestinians, it is always somehow Israel’s fault. The mainstream media first portrays Israel as killing a Palestinians first… and then almost as an afterthought, they might  report Israeli version of things. This makes Israeli law enforcement sound like trigger happy cops that are all about killing innocent Palestinian civilians at the slightest pretext.

There are a variety of factors that contribute to this approach. Let us examine one of them.

Last night, I heard what New York Times foreign affairs columnist, Thomas Freidman had to say about Israel in a PBS interview Friedman is not stupid. Nor is he ignorant of the facts on the ground in Israel.

He acknowledged last night that Israel is basically a miracle of high achievement in a Middle East neighborhood surrounded by enemies. He admitted that Israel lives in a very dangerous neighborhood (using the same phrase Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uses). He said he ‘gets it’.

He pointed to the fact that almost every country bordering Israel is in flames trying to determine what it’s future will be – none of which has a favorable attitude to Israel no matter what faction will prevail. He acknowledged the terror Israelis have to live under daily from enemies within and without its borders. He admitted that Israel has a right to fear giving up the West Bank based on what happened after they gave up Gaza.

He even called out the Palestinian Authority for firing Salam Fayad, the one Prime Minister that advocated building up a Palestinian State the same way Zionists built up Israel. Had they done that instead of attacking Israel all the time; fomenting terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis; and fueling boycotts against them, a Palestinian State would already be in existence and declaring it one would just be a formality. If the Palestinians stopped killing us and turned their intentions inward, settlements would stop being an issue.
And yet after acknowledging all those truths about Israel he still blames settlements as a major impediment. Even if I granted that this is,it is not the primary one. It is tiny in comparison to the real problem. Which is their pure hatred of Jews – a hatred instilled in them as children and reinforced constantly by their clerics and political leaders. A hatred that perpetuates their ‘struggle’ against us.

Until Palestinians start focusing on helping themselves instead of hurting us, nothing will change. But even as Friedman basically acknowledged all these truths he still feels the need to lay at least equal blame on Israel for their problems. Where is his sense of proportion? He practically articulates word for word what Netanyahu has been saying and yet still blames him and his settlements policy equally with the Palestinians for the lack of progress in the Middle  East.

This is the problem with the liberal mindset. It comes from a sense that if there is blame to go around, it must go around equally. Otherwise it isn’t fair to the poor Palestinian underdogs. I believe that is the motivation behind the biased mainstream media coverage. It’s not that they are anti Israel – or pro Palestinian. It’s that are pro underdog and therefore do their level best to assign at least a moral equivalency to the failings of both sides – so as not to disadvantage the underdog.

I remain convinced that peace would prevail in Israel if  Palestinians would  eradicate their Jew hatred and focus on building a nation – just like the Zionists did. Israel has no interest in maintain its harsh measures in the West Bank despite what it’s detractors insist is the case. The measures Israel takes are done to protect its own citizens. Measure that perhaps should be tightened in light of the almost daily bloody attacks by Palestinians ever since October.

Israel would much prefer to live side by side with Palestinians and have the same kind of relationship with them as the US has with Canada. Settlement issues could be settled relatively quickly ala Ehud Barak’s offer to the Palestinians during the Clinton era. But as long as the conditions described by Thomas Friedman continue, talking about settlements is almost irrelevant – a phony excuse to continue attacking us. ‘Settlements’ is the Palestinians mantra for public consumption. The real issue is that they hate the Jews and resent us being there. That has always been true and nothing has changed. Until it does, things will unfortunately remain status quo.

About the Author
My worldview is based on the philosophy of my teacher, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik , and the writings of Rabbis Joseph B. Soloveitcihk , Norman Lamm, and Dr. Eliezer Berkovits from whom I developed an appreciation for philosophy. I attended Telshe Yeshiva and the Hebrew Theological College where I was ordained. I also attended Roosevelt University where I received my degree in Psychology.