The fire burned the buses, but the flames – fueled by latent and actual anti-Semitism – burned so much more.
As reported yesterday in The Jewish Press, this week Israel instituted two new bus lines to provide bus service from Arab towns in the territories into different parts of Israel.
The new bus service started yesterday, March 4. It also may have ended yesterday.
There were riots Monday morning at the Eyal Crossing because there weren’t enough buses – which Transportation Minister Israel Katz said would be rectified. But too late, because Monday night someone set fire to two Afikim buses which were parked in the Arab town of Kfar Qassem. The bus company has now removed all their buses from the area because of the violence and destruction.
So thanks to the media hysteria and the quick-on-the-draw haters, there are no Israeli public buses to serve the Arab towns in the territories. Proud of yourself yet?
Maybe it was Arabs who set the fire, whipped into a frenzy at the nerve of the Jewish State to provide bus service into Israel from Arab towns. Or perhaps Jews set the fire, enraged by the response of Jewish State-haters who criticize Israel whether it does something positive or negative for Arabs. Or maybe either one of them did it, but driven by some other combination of hatred and irrationality. At bottom, though, the fault lies with all those who were so eager to hoist the racism card high enough in the air that no one could see any anything else.
The list of media outlets that stated or implied in their headlines that Israel was instituting a form of racial segregation reached from as far right on the spectrum as The Jerusalem Post and Fox News, to the centrist Washington Post, USA Today and YNet, to The Times of Israel, to the predictable haters on the far left, like Huffington Post and beyond, like The Daily Kos. None of them seemed to care about the full story, because none of them reported it. And the comments from readers then reinforced the fires of hatred.
A “Palestinian only” bus line, or an Israeli public bus company serving Arab towns – two ways to look at it, one sounds evil, the other at least plausibly helpful. But virtually none of the many dozens of articles written on the topic provided more than the sinister side of the story with any plausibility. And of course the fires will continue to burn.
An informed source who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Jewish Press that Arab Israelis are most likely the ones who set the fire. But why? “Just to keep the issue in the headlines.”
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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