Did Ha’aretz purposely twist and selectively use Eli Yishai’s words to make him sound racist, or did they leave out a very important sentence from his talk by accident?
The sub-headline in an English language article in Ha’aretz on June 3rd says:
Interior Minister says migrants do not recognize that Israel ‘belongs to the white man.’
This statement is expanded and the message reinforced at the end of the article in what is supposedly Yishai’s entire quote:
Meanwhile on Sunday, Israeli daily Maariv published an interview with Interior Minister Eli Yishai, in which he stated that most of the “Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man.” “I will continue the struggle until the end of my term, with no compramises,” Yishai continued, stating that he would use “all the tools to expel the foreigners, until not one infiltrator remains.”
This isn’t the entire quote. One very important sentence has been excised from the middle of Yishai’s speech.
The original Hebrew in Maariv says:
רוב האנשים שבאים הנה הם מוסלמים שחושבים שהארץ בכלל לא שייכת לנו, לאדם הלבן. כמה מהם דיברו על כך בגלוי בטלוויזיה. אני הולך להמשיך את המאבק שלי עד סוף הקדנציה, בלי פשרות. אפעיל את כל הכלים לגירוש זרים. שלא יהיה כאן אף מסתנן
The first sentence is better translated as:
“Most of the people coming here are Moslems who think the land doesn’t belong to us at all, to the white man.”
With the more accurate translation above, it is clear that Yishai is not expressing his perspective, but those of the infiltrators.
The subsequent sentence, which Ha’aretz excised, leaves no doubt about whose views he was expressing:
“A number of them have said that openly on television.”
Eli Yishai is not saying Israel belongs to the ‘white man’. Eli Yishai is quoting the infiltrators, and it is the infiltrators who have said that Israel doesn’t belong to the “white man.”
Ha’aretz left out one little sentence. But that sentence dictates whether Yishai was promoting racism. The real question then, is whether Ha’aretz omitted it purposefully or by mistake? Unfortunately, its past record suggests the former over the latter.
In a related note, last week Ha’aretz originally referred to the tent city being built to hold the infiltrators as a “Concentration Camp“, until the description was taken down an hour later.