August 08, 2014

Message to Jon Snow - Channel 4

I don’t watch Channel 4 so I have no idea what you’ve actually been saying lately about Gaza, Israel, or the Jews … my people.

Judging by the number of angry emails I’ve seen about you – far in excess of anything about the BBC, Guardian and the other usual suspects – and from past experience of your reporting on Israel, I don’t feel the need to upset myself with actually viewing the latest clips to convince me that you must be an anti-Semite.

It's just my personal view, and you may think that’s unfair. But that is to fail to understand my people.  You see, they know this kind of thing when they see it. 

Lord Janner’s father used to say: “You can’t always see anti-Semitism, but you can always smell it.”

And just as you, as a journalist with perhaps 40 years in the profession, can smell a good story – we as a people with 2,000 years’ experience of ‘the longest hatred’ can usually smell an anti-Semite.

A wise man said:  “Bigotry works like the pupil of an eye. The more light you shine on it, the tighter it closes up.”  Oh how well this applies to you and the other media people who’ve given Hamas encouragement by your excoriation of the Jewish state.

I’ve asked media people where they have been for the last three years of Syria’s civil war and its toll of 170,000 deaths. And why we didn’t hear from them in such inflammatory terms over the genocide in Rwanda and Darfur. Or the Palestinians’ ethnic-cleaning of Christians in Bethlehem. But I think it would be a waste of time asking you such questions.

I don’t think even those 30,000 imperiled Yazidis, today facing imminent slaughter in the hills of Iraq, would elicit the same kind of outrage as you’ve shown over the 1,000 or so non-combatants who died in Gaza. 

Notwithstanding the lie that Gaza is the most densely populated place on earth (even Tel Aviv beats that!) it’s quite remarkable that, in three weeks of heavy conflict with deliberate use of human shields by Hamas, the collateral deaths have actually been so few. Maybe that had to do with our brave soldiers paying house calls instead of carpet-bombing.

Man - there is so much light that I could shine on your eyes. That we painfully uprooted 8,000 of our people to give Arabs a chance of peace in Gaza and they turned it into an underground terror base. That Israel has been under almost constant rocket fire for all the 9 years since that unilateral withdrawal. That we held back going into Gaza this time for two weeks. That we gave up the element of surprise by giving warnings of attacks by thousands of leaflets, phone calls and text messages. That we continued to provide Gaza with electricity from power stations whilst still under their own rocket fire. That we continued daily shipments of essential goods and medicines through the Kerem Shalom crossing – again under fire. That we opened a field hospital which Hamas blocked injured Gazans from using. That we offered all the ceasefire opportunities which Hamas broke. Or that even this morning Hamas couldn’t wait till the 8 a.m. deadline before launching new rocket barrages indiscriminately towards Israeli cities. And that we waited hours before finally firing back.

But I think such facts are totally wasted on you. It just makes your eyes shut tighter. 

You who are so quick to pack a helmet and press vest every time the Jews are forced to defend themselves. And you who openly fretted that the downing of the Malaysian airliner might upstage your Gaza grandstanding.

The pupil analogy is actually far more important than you think, and I’ll tell you why.

This time the bigotry towards our people and its tiny home state is actually blinding everyone to the stark reality around them. The reality that this is a deadly struggle between good and evil. Between the region’s only democracy where you journalists feel safest, and the rest of a Middle East which is infected with a murderous radicalism that seeks to overthrow western civilisation and is perilously close to the nuclear means to do so.

Perhaps better than most, you know that nothing fires-up people more than stuff about the Jews. We count for less than one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population and our only Jewish state looks just as miniscule among the nations of the world. And yet we are rarely out of the headlines.

Is it what we do or just who we are?

But here’s an idea for you … for when Gaza goes quiet again.

Why not start a Channel 4 campaign to end starvation in Africa?

Lots of people have tried and failed … just not enough political will and public interest.
But you  ….?
You could make it all about the Jews.

Now, what a success that could be!

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