Humanitarians and journalists need Israel
There is a certain gathering place in downtown Arab East Jerusalem known for attracting foreigners-- photo- and TV-journalists, the occasional Western diplomat, Humanitarian employees and other assorted workers of good will. One may not hear much about the price of liquor or the quality of the food in this favoured spot; victuals and drink don’t seem to be the attraction. What attracts these foreigners to this non-Jewish section of Jerusalem is the after-hours chatter—and the camaraderie one seems always to find among like-minded people who do the dusty and sometimes dangerous work commonly associated with Humanitarians and journalists who ply their trades in difficult, far-away lands.There is something bracing about sitting among educated, articulate and highly-motivated professionals whose names are known and whose faces are sometimes famous. It’s even more bracing to listen in on their conversations, to hear how they made the day’s stories. If you’re lucky, you might even overhear how tomorrow’s news will be shaped.
These professionals know how to enjoy an end-of-the-day drink among friends. Their friendship seems especially warm because it is fuelled by a shared ideology. They are united in their contempt for Israel; and, because Israel is a free country, these foreigners know they can drink as much as they want and be as contemptuous as they want.
Israel protects them.
When these friends talk, they talk openly about hate. They hate when Arabs are killed. They hate when Arabs are arrested. They hate when Jews stop Arabs at security check-points.
But they love Israel. They really do. Like nowhere else in the Middle East, they can work here safely. They can accuse Israel of anything they want. The Israelis won’t arrest them or torture them. They can manufacture news. They can misrepresent facts. They can distort sources. Truly, they can concentrate on their main professional goal: who accused Israel of a Humanitarian crime today?
In the 64 years since modern Israel was established, Israel has been at war against Arab enemies who vow repeatedly to destroy the Jewish State. During those 64 years, perhaps 75,000 Arabs have been killed by Israel (the number of Arabs killed depends upon whom you talk to). Humanitarians demonize Israel for defending itself. Journalists write that every Arab killed by Israel is an innocent victim.
The world of the Humanist and the journalist is clear-cut: the Arab can do no wrong. Israel can do no right.
Of course, most of the Arabs who have died in their unending war against Israel did so as the result of attacks initiated by the Arabs themselves. But that doesn’t matter. The truth is irrelevant. It’s all Israel’s fault. Israel is a murderer. Israel is guilty.
Humanitarians and journalists love their work. It’s easy. The salaries are good; and the Israelis give you above-average protection against harassment. Better yet, Israel is the perfect foil for promoting anger against injustice. Israel is perfect because, generally speaking, when you call Israel immoral and unjust, the world cheers.
Israelis, meanwhile, won’t get mad at you. They’re afraid you might get insulted if they accuse you of lying.
Where else in the Middle East can you work against a government like that? In the Middle East, Israel is a Humanitarian and journalistic Garden of Eden. Speak or write against the ruling powers in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza or Iran, and you could end up ‘disappeared’; and if you are a Humanitarian or journalist, you have no illusions about what that means. In the Arab Middle East, you keep your mouth shut, or else.
But Israel is different. There seem to be no restrictions. You can accuse Israel in the morning and then go happily in the evening to your favourite Arab East Jerusalem watering hole.
Israelis won’t touch you.
Without Israel, a Humanitarian would have to risk his life in the Middle East. Without Israel, a journalist could be murdered.
Syria is a good example of this risk. During a time when less than 400 Arabs have been killed in their war against Israel (2011-2013) as many as 90,000 Arabs (or more) have been killed by Arabs in Syria. Why should Humanitarians or journalists write about such slaughter when they can write about the evil israelis?
Syria is dangerous. Syrians aren’t Israelis. They kill each other—and they’ll kill Humanitarians and journalists. In an orgy of internecine hate compounded by bloodcurdling inhumanity, Syria is pounding itself back to the Stone Age. Daily, Arabs killing each other violate every international Human Rights code known to man--and commit horrific war crimes. What’s a Humanitarian or a journalist to do about that?
Risk his life?
Instead, they can work for truth and justice in Israel without risking anything more serious than a parking ticket. Do you really expect Humanitarians and journalists to risk everything by going to Syria-- or Egypt or Libya or Lebanon or Iraq or Tunisia or Sudan or Iran or Saudi Arabia or Gaza?