Friday, June 18, 2010

Media, Academia Destroying Themselves Over Israel

June 15, 2010 - by Barry Rubin

It is no accident that there are so many sayings warning against the dangers when perceived wisdom becomes nonsense. And they all agree that this mistake leads to the destruction of those who refuse to see reality accurately.
Sophocles, the ancient Greek playwright, noted: “Evil sometimes seems good to a man whose mind a god leads to destruction.”
The Jewish Bible warns: “For the waywardness of the thoughtless shall slay them, and the confidence of fools shall destroy them.”
And what form does that madness take? The German Socialist leader, August Bebel, explained it: “Anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools.” But, claim those who purvey its most modern form, we are against anti-Semitism.
Such arguments are merely propaganda for Israel. What is happening at most, however, is that all the traditional anti-Semitic themes are being introduced with merely the change of one word: “Jew” becomes “Israeli.” The implications often leak into “Jew” anyway.
Rather than teaching democracy to the Arab or Muslim-majority world, the “teaching” has been in the opposite direction.
The leading Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports that in the city of Anne Frank, those who appear to be Jews are spat on and harassed in the streets. In one neighborhood a secret synagogue exists, since if the mostly Muslim population found out it would come under violent attack.
When a single Palestinian, who was not even known to reporters, claimed that there had been an Israeli massacre in Jenin, the world media trumpeted that fact, despite the lack of any evidence whatsoever.
It is not merely that Israel is presumed guilty until proven innocent. The problem is that many institutions are making it impossible for Israel to be proven innocent, and will ignore that verdict if at all possible. How else can one explain how a planned violent assault on soldiers by a radical jihadist group — that included their kidnapping (bragged about by the participants) — for the purpose of making the world hate Israel, did in fact lead to worldwide condemnation of Israel?
Even when the truth was documented on video?
“Can the whole world be wrong?” asked Kofi Annan in April 2002, talking about Israel. Annan has no idea that a century earlier the Jewish essayist and Zionist Ahad ha-Am asked that question in precisely the same words. Yes, answered Ahad Ha-Am, the whole world can be wrong, because we know that we don’t use the blood of little Christian children to make matzos.
Only when the “best and brightest,” including many Jews among them, recognize that they are perpetrating the modern version of such historical arguments and reclaim their own professional ethics and Enlightenment methods of reasoning will there be hope for them to do better.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition, Viking-Penguin), the paperback edition of The Truth about Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan), and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).


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