Dead Jews are not newsworthy

Israel is shortly going to make headlines again. Every front page of every newspaper, and every talk-show host will before long be discussing Israel’s disproportionate response, her aggression and her downright wickedness.

For soon, very soon the Israeli people and the Israeli government will have had enough. Very soon, the Israeli people will demand of their government protection. For Israelis too are people. Like people all over the world, they want to be able to walk their streets, wait for buses, drive their cars, and shop in their supermarkets in safety. They want their children to go to school and return home safely and they want to kiss their spouses goodbye knowing that they will see each other in the evening.

You see, there are two types of Jews: dead Jews and living Jews. Dead Jews are bad Jews — invisible in the world of the media. They don’t sell newspapers, they don’t make headlines and they certainly don’t evoke the ire of talk show hosts. So the world and our South African media has been silent about the occurrences in Israel this past ten days. No front pages, no centre page analyses, not even 2-line reports. Just silence. A deafening silence.

And all this time children, Jewish children, have been dying. They have been orphaned, forced to watch their parents murdered before their eyes. Young men have been stabbed waiting for the bus. Young women have been ridden over while walking on the street. A live-blog of a day in Israel today reads something like a horror movie, with terrorist attacks occurring hourly and sometimes even more frequently. Nowhere are Israelis safe. On Friday, during his sermon, Sheikh Muhammed Sallah, a Rafah based cleric, called on his people to take knives and kill Jews. “We don’t want just a single stabber. Oh young men of the West Bank: Attack in threes and fours. Some should restrain the victim, while others attack him with axes and butcher knives,” he is quoted as having said. (The Times of Israel and MEMRI). Yet even this blood-curdling call has been met with silence.

But soon, very soon the living Jews will become good. They will do what is required of them to become visible again. For the Israeli government will have to respond, her citizens will demand it of her. So the Israelis will once more be doing things that make juicy stories. They will become the oppressors again, those guys who use disproportionate force against mere knife wielding, hard-done-by, long-suffering Arabs. And the news will be full of it. There will even be street banners announcing how evil these visible Jews are. The UN will call on the Israeli government to cease her violence. And as for our government, well the calls will be many and furious. But no-one, no no-one will put Israel’s response into any context. It will be as though it appeared from nowhere, just another bout from those war-mongering Jews. Déjà vu.

How sad, how iniquitous, how grossly unfair. I hope that I am proved wrong but……………….

About the Author
Monessa Shapiro is a member of Media Team Israel, a South African based Israel advocacy group.