Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
Thousands of Jews wave Israeli flags as they celebrate Jerusalem Day by dancing at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, during Jerusalem Day, May 29, 2022. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90

This op-ed was originally submitted to the Jerusalem Post in response to the JPost’s Editor-in-Chief referencing me in his column. The JPost never replied and didn’t publish it, so I resubmitted it to JewishPress.com, which was also referenced in that same JPost column.

Jews are being attacked all over the world by supporters of “Palestine”. Even though the Jews being attacked have no connection to Israel or to Israeli government policies, supporters of “Palestine” around the world feel totally justified to use verbal, and even sometimes physical violence, against innocent Jews. This is because “Palestine” is the new modern Jew-hating antisemitism spreading around the world at a scary pace, making life more and more dangerous for Jews everywhere.

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Recently, the editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post published a front page opinion piece on how Israel has a racism problem.

However, the opinion piece, as with much of the news reporting under the JPost editorial line, had no context. So, of course, many people without a thorough understanding of our daily reality in Israel would have read that article and believed, falsely, that Israel has a racism problem.

But Israel does not have a racism problem, we have a blindness problem. Much of our established media and authorities choose to be blind and refrain from providing the proper context when reporting the daily news.

When media outlets report upon what is going on in Israel without proper context, this leads people to believe the daily lies that the Jews of Israel are an evil occupying force. This then leads many people around the world to feel justified in hating Jews and expressing that hatred against Jews on college campuses, on the streets or outside various Jewish events. Hence, an uptick in Jew-hating antisemitic incidents against Jews around the world.

Jewish/Israel oriented media outlets should be more careful than all other outlets to always provide the correct context of the daily news, otherwise, their reporting becomes part of the problem.

Let me provide some of the context necessary for readers around the world to understand our complex reality that hardly gets portrayed in the media, even by our Jewish/Israel media outlets.

Last week a Jewish educator in the Israeli city of Lod was arrested in his home by the police at 3:30am after his class of high school students was attacked by local Arabs. The police did not immediately pursue the Arab attackers, instead they arrested the peaceful Jewish educator. Why did the Arabs of Lod attack the Jewish students? Because they do not want Jewish groups to be educated about the pogroms that the neighboring Arab Muslims in Lod did to their Jewish neighbors. Yet, the police arrested the Jewish educator who led the group, not the local Arab Muslims who harassed the students.

Here is some more context.

The week before that, an Israeli Jew tried to prevent violence at a Hadera beach between Arabs and Jews as the Arabs were harassing the Jews. The police came and arrested the Jew who was trying his best to help stop any violence. As if that is not bad enough, the arresting policeman was an Israeli Arab policeman and he told the Jew that he would do everything to liberate “his land”. This absurd, and very troubling, incident was just discussed at a special Knesset committee hearing.

All this in addition to more and more Arab Muslim Israelis screaming chants at University protests supporting the killing of Jews and the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel, all while Jewish students were told that they can’t fly Israeli flags, on Israeli University campuses.

These are just a few of many cases leading many Israelis to understand that the authorities and media ignore the growing violence and intolerance of Israeli Arab Muslims against fellow Jewish Israeli citizens. This is in addition to the growing anger and despair, after the multiple terror attacks throughout Israel that recently left 19 innocent Israelis dead.

Understand, Israelis do not have a problem with all Arab Muslims, and definitely not with all Arab Muslim Israeli citizens, but when the media and the authorities ignore the growing violence and intolerance by Arab Muslim Israeli citizens, across the State of Israel, it leads many Israelis to feel defenseless with no authorities to trust. This in turn leads some on the extreme to make racist statements and chants, as the editor of the Jerusalem Post wrote about in his opinion piece on the Jerusalem Day parade.

The biggest victims of all this, besides the Jews, are the Arab Muslim Israeli citizens who know how blessed they are to live as Israeli citizens. When the media and the authorities do not call out or properly punish the Arab Muslim Israeli citizens who publicly incite and use violence, it leads many to wrongly generalize against the whole Arab Muslim Israeli publicly. However, the authorities and the media are part of the problem for not nipping the issue in the bud. Still today, most of the Israeli Arab Muslims who took part in the May 2021 pogroms throughout Israel were never arrested for the violence and destruction they did.

The reason some of the marchers screamed anti-Arab chants at the Jerusalem Day march is because more and more Israelis are waking up and realizing that our conflict has nothing to do with an “occupation” or with “settlements” in our ancestral homeland, but with an agenda called “Palestine” that legitimizes killing Jews and destroying the State of Israel.

With the authorities and media ignoring the issue, and leaving Israelis defenseless, the anger of people on the extreme leaves them to make generalizations and chant about them.

While I abhor those chants, a reporter, and especially an editor, can not report upon them, and delegitimize the whole Israeli public, without giving the context of why a small minority of people at a massive march were chanting them.

Israelis have shown time and again that we are interested in peace, even when it entails having to pay a heavy price of destroying Jewish communities and giving away our land, won in defensive wars.

However, after close to 30 failed years of peace talks since the Oslo peace process had Israel hand over guns to a terrorist entity, that still publicly supports terrorism today, more and more Israelis are realizing that not only is peace impossible with the Arab Muslim culture in Judea, Samaria and Gaza that educates their youth to kill Jews and destroy the Jewish state of Israel, but that many Arab Muslim Israeli citizens are also part of the problem. Not all Arab Muslim Israeli citizens, but enough for it to be a major problem that leaves Israelis across Israel feel unsafe without proper protection from the authorities.

(For anyone interested in seeing the daily materials of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas used to educates their youth to kill Jews and destroy the Jewish state of Israel, all one has to do is follow the translated Arabic programming tracked by Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI.)

Instead of reporting the context of our harsh reality living in the Middle East, the editorial line of the JPost reports as if we live in Kansas or Switzerland, detached from the context of our daily reality in the Middle East.

Hence, after seeing the JPost opinion piece libeling Israeli society as racist, I then called upon my followers to stop reading the Jerusalem Post.

The opinion piece about the Jerusalem day parade was blatant lashon hara against the Jewish people on their front page. As the editor of a distinguished paper that is supposed to provide fair and balanced reporting of what we in Israel are experiencing, the paper instead decided to further exhibit blindness, reporting without the proper context.

Another example of the editorial line missing context, is the following from that same opinion article libeling Israelis as racists.

Katz wrote: “When consecutive Israeli governments consistently delegitimize Arab politicians and the Palestinian Authority, why should any of these people think something different? Why would they not turn to the far-right?”

Once again, context is king and Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz refrains from reporting the context.

Israel has a basic law which stipulates the disqualification of political parties or politicians who reject “the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.”

A number of Arab members of Knesset openly support the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel, yet, illegally, serve in Israel’s parliament thanks to a Supreme Court that consistently rules against Israel’s own basic law. One can argue the legality of the Supreme Court’s rulings, but one can not argue against the fact that various Arab members of Knesset openly support the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel. Hence, Israeli governments have done nothing to “delegitimize Arab politicians,” those Arab Israeli politicians have delegitimized themselves with years of anti-Israel actions and statements.

Ironically, the people who suffer the most from this absurd and illegal situation are peace-loving Arab Muslim Israeli citizens who want to enjoy living life as Israeli citizens yet their representatives in Israel’s Knesset are always more focused on destroying Israel than helping their own constituents.

Regarding “delegitimizing the Palestinian Authority,” again where is the context from the editor of the Jerusalem Post? Isn’t it clear that the Palestinian Authority has delegitimized itself as a sincere “peace partner”? The PA financially supports terrorists and their families. He does know about the PA’s reward for terrorists called “pay-to-slay”, correct? The PA educational programs taught in schools and its television programing outright brainwashes their kids to kill Jews and destroy Israel.

Again, it is quite clear that the Palestinian Authority has delegitimized itself, leading many Israelis to feel anger and frustration towards journalists, media outlets and politicians who ignore this.

Where is the proper context from the editor of the Jerusalem Post?

In response to my Facebook call to stop reading the JPost, the editor of JPost referenced me as “a well-known right-wing social media activist who took to Facebook and called on his followers to stop reading The Jerusalem Post.” in an additional opinion piece titled “We must learn to consider narratives opposed to our world view.” (Katz also dismissively referred to the JewishPress.com newspaper and some other sites as “far-right websites” in the same post.)

But, Katz totally doesn’t get it. I do not have a problem with other opinions. One of the best journalists at the JPost is Khaled Abu Tomeh, a very different opinion than myself.

I called Katz out, and I called out the editorial line of the JPost, because of the refusal to provide the proper context for the daily news reporting, not because I’m against other opinions.

Again, without proper context, they are spreading fake news, doing a massive disservice to Israel and to all the readers of the JPost.

The Jewish people deserve balanced journalism that gives the correct context of everything we experience in Israel on a daily basis, understanding that we are in the 75th year of the war of Independence against an enemy that has not stopped trying to destroy us.

The Jewish people does not need another English newspaper, that happens to be based in Israel with the iconic name Jerusalem Post, that very much mimics the editorial lines of other Western papers, doubting our right to our own ancestral homeland, and ignoring the religious aspect of this 100+ year old conflict that has nothing to do with Jewish settlements or a false narrative “occupation”.

Katz is correct, we should all be open to hearing and printing other opinions. However, publications and editors should be careful to distinguish between “opinions” and outright misinformation when given without context.

Context is king.

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Avi Abelow is a social media activist for Israel and the Jewish people, Editor of IsraelUnwired.com and the PulseofIsrael.com.
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