Israelis, Social Justice And Moshe Siman

I had not heard of Moshe Siman until I read Mystical Politics’ account of his protest.

When reading that what struck me was, how little we hear of the real Israelis’ struggles in the Western media.

Contrast that with the excellent coverage of Greece, the Banks, the economy and more importantly the people, their lives, the daily effort of Greeks to exist and the dire poverty that many suffer, after almost a year without pay.

Whilst Greeks receive subtle and sympathetic coverage, there is barely a word on Moshe Siman’s self immolation and what real Israelis think and do. It is simply not heard in the West.

True enough, if there’s a bombing, shooting or knife attack in Israel there will be a video clip or mention in the news, but not the rest of people’s lives there.

It is a hard life for Israelis, faced with a Right-wing government and pressures on their existence every day. Whatever the reason behind Moshe Siman’s decision to set fire to himself this story should have been covered better in the West.

On Google news there are three stories, but they are Israeli based so you would expect that.

There is nothing on the BBC, but its news site does have a piece on the nonsense about “Yasser Arafat poisoning claims to be investigated”. Paranoid balderdash, as ably demonstrated by Hussein Ibish.

The Indy and Guardian have relegated it to their specialist Middle East sections and it can’t be found via the search function.

I am sure if this terrible event had taken place in any other country in the Middle East then it would have received widespread and proportional coverage.

However, for that to happen the Western media would have to humanises Israelis, understand them, deeply, and treat them as they do everyone else in all other countries.

I doubt that will occur in the Western media any time soon.

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6 comments

  1. I’m actually less cynical about this than you are. I think that the problem is that the editors of western newspapers/news media, who don’t know much about Israeli society (certainly less than their reporters on the ground here), commission stories that have to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because a) that’s what they know, b) that’s what their readers know, and c) if it bleeds it leads. It takes a lot of work to understand the inner workings of Israeli society (actually, any society) and they think they’ve already done that work by knowing something about the conflict. I think this applies regardless of their sympathies, whether pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian.

    Thanks for the linking!

    Rebecca

  2. Well, Rebecca, I see your arguments, that the media tends to played to the read his prejudices,etc

    However, the BBC is often excellent at uncovering the gritty of real-life people around the globe. Its correspondents detail their feelings and findings in programmes like, from our own correspondent. They have covered nation after nation, from Asia to Africa and beyond.

    Yet you won’t find any meaningful analysis of Israelis lives, how they live under the Netanyahu government, what basic day-to-day issues they face.

    That’s a shocking omission.

    I suspect it simply doesn’t register more as part of an underlying Christian consciousness, particularly when it comes to reporting anything connected with Jews.

    The BBC can make an effort in all areas, all nations and all races, but when Jews come into the picture something changes.

    I can’t put that down to direct prejudice (too simple an answer), but it seems to me to be an unconscious attitude which is prevalent amongst the British intelligentsia, a disdain for Jews and in turn Israelis. A blindness, a lack of insight into lingering culturally Christian prejudices. That’s my partial explanation.

  3. I think there is also a (comparative) lack of interest in racism in other countries in the region, whereas the BBC pounced on a story about an Arab Israeli winning a TV talent show to talk about such problems in Israel. So it was good to see this story on Hope not Hate I thought.

    https://www.hopenothate.org.uk/international/article/361/rights-group-vows-to-fight-racism-in-lebanon

    Speaking of Hussein Ibish – an unwholesome urge led me to peek at Robert Spenser’s tweets today, and I noted he described Ibish as a ‘vile racist Jew-hater.’

  4. Robert Spencer is an ally of that unspeakable Pam Geller.
    Hussein Ibish, who I disagree with on many issues, is in NO way an antisemite.

    Ibish is very critical of Israel and I believe supports a boycott of settlement goods, but show NO animus towards Jews or Israelis. I have read a mass of his Tweets and you find none of the hatred or bitterness which you might see in many others.

    Ibish is critical of nearly *all* governments of region, including Israel, etc. He’s probably one of the best analysts on the ME.

    If memory serves didn’t Spencer endorse the EDL sometime back?

  5. I’m pretty sure he did, yes. He’s pretty awful, if not so obviously awful as Geller. I believe it was on your recommendation that I began to follow Hussein Ibish on Twitter – he’s someone I’d been vaguely aware of – I’d certainly read some of his articles I realized – but he hadn’t come fully into focus for me, and I’ve very glad he has now. I’ve been in email touch with him about doing a little interview with him for the website of a charity I’m involved with. Yes, his criticisms of Israel certainly need to be looked at within the whole context of his criticisms of all others in the region – contrast Ben White who never seems to talk about anything other than Israel – and his acknowledgement that it’s not just Israel that causes problems for the Palestinians, but Jordan, Syria etc too. If he favours a boycott of settlement goods, then I suppose he does so because he hopes it might bring about a two state solution – not like those in the UK for whom it is so often just the thin end of a wedge leading to a total boycott of everything Israeli in an attempt to delegitimise the country completely.

  6. Indeed, Ibish is rare amongst commenters on the ME, there is no side to him (as far as I can see)
    As you remarked, I can think of half a dozen or more commenters on the ME who *do* show an unhealthy bias when Israelis are discussed, many based in the US or UK., Stephen Sizer is, but, one example.

    I know that when I pass by his blog there will, always, be a sneer or negative post on Israelis from the good Rev.

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