Jenny and Jon

An old friend of mine, let’s call her ‘Jenny’, recently shared Jon Snow’s very emotive piece about his visit to Gaza, on facebook. She is a thoroughly good person, an educated person who cares about humanity and who only shared the video for that reason. Nobody can deny the helplessness felt by many people of Gaza. I contacted her privately, to explain how in my opinion Jon Snow has effectively disguised a politically motivated monologue as a universal humanitarian appeal.

She has now voluntarily removed the video, admitting “I don’t know enough about this conflict to share content about it. I didn’t realise there was such a background to a video which, on the face of it, looks simply to be about the humanitarian crisis and how we must look at ways we can help those affected. I hadn’t heard the viewpoints you put forward before, I think more people need to. I – and probably many others – didn’t realise the extent to which the situation is affecting those hundreds of miles away from the Gaza strip. After your message I looked into some of the anti-Jew attacks across Europe and was shocked by what I read.”

For anyone interested, here’s what I wrote…

Hi Jenny,

I absolutely know 100% that you haven’t posted anything to be anti-Israel, anti-Jew or even to be political. I know that, it is not in doubt. I suppose being honest with you, I see a massive problem with even trying to connect on a humanitarian level, which as a human being I am desperate to do. It is beyond tragic that children are suffering in the way that they are, and decent people like you are doing their bit to raise awareness.

The problem comes in when people like Jon Snow push out a video which is as much political as it is humanitarian, and then it is widely shared by people whose only interest is in the humanitarian side. This is not a natural disaster where nothing is at fault apart from the meteorological patterns of the world in which we live.

Even in the video you shared, which I’ve watched many times, Jon Snow points a massive finger of blame on a political and military level whilst conveniently skipping over so many elements that are contributing to Palestinian suffering.

“If you throw missiles, shells and the rest then undoubtedly you will kill children, and that is what they’re doing.” He didn’t mention that over 100 rockets fired from Gaza this past month have landed in… Gaza. He didn’t mention that Hamas encourage and often force civilians to stay in the most dangerous areas where they know will be targeted, in order to maximise civilian death to demonise Israel. This is all publicly available knowledge, admitted by Hamas.

“Israel, courtesy of American finance, has invented the most brilliant shield, which is keeping absolutely everything out.” He doesn’t mention that with the billions of dollars of aid Hamas have been given, they’ve not built a single bomb shelter but have instead built tunnels to attack Israel and bought rockets to store in them. He doesn’t mention that Hamas (courtesy of Iranian and Qatari finance by the way) have hidden their ammunitions inside the Shifa Hospital where he visited, and inside UN schools. He makes not one mention of the phone calls, leaflet drops, text messages and broadcasts Israel have made to alert Palestinians to exactly where their targets are. He simply paid lip-service to journalistic balance by saying that of course Hamas are firing rockets, but none touch Israel… which by the way is not true.

Any video of Gaza will either very subtly point a finger of blame at Israel for this entire situation, or do it in an extremely obvious way. Jenny, you may not be political, but Jon Snow is. This is one of the many levels of tragedy of this whole situation: here I am, an educated and balanced person, a father, someone who truly cares about the region and who believes in the creation of a Palestinian State, sending a message to you to effectively discredit something you’ve shared with the best will in the world. It’s tragic, I can see that. I suppose all I ask is that you understand this.

I’ve only taken the time to write this as it is personally important to me for you to hear my thoughts. There is a tidal wave of subtle and obvious anti-Israel rhetoric and sentiment taking over the world right now, and it isn’t going to help Palestinians in the long term. Again, I hope you don’t mind me sharing my thoughts. I’m not looking for debate, or argument. I just wanted to explain from a viewpoint that you may or may not have heard before.

About the Author
Blake Ezra is a writer on Middle Eastern Politics and the Jewish World, breaking down the complexities of difficult subjects to make them more accessible for any reader. Blake Ezra holds a BA (Hons) in Middle Eastern Politics from Manchester University and is a Graduate of the Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad in Jerusalem.
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