In sports the “worth” of a player is discussed ad nauseam. A primary example of this is the upcoming announcement of the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player Award. Statistically Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers had the most impressive season. However, the Dodgers were a bad team that missed out on the playoffs. Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers had a marginally weaker season than Kemp but his team made the playoffs and he is an important cog in their offensive machine. Some will proclaim “what good is Kemp if he can’t lead his team to the playoffs” while others will counter that “the very fact that he performed so well without any protection in the lineup is what makes his season so remarkable”. Here, the discussion of a man’s worth is critical. However, if you take sports out of the equation, the comparison of one man’s worth to another is a dark and deplorable practice.

While the British newspaper, The Guardian, has never been a bastion of pro-Zionist sentiment, Deborah Orr’s most recent article on the Gilad Shalit exchange crosses the line from pro-Palestinian to anti-Semitic. She presents a different kind of MVP; More Valuable than Palestinians. Orr condemns Israel for making the deal because it proves “how inured the world has become to the obscene idea that Israeli lives are more important than Palestinian lives….there is something abject in their eagerness to accept a transfer that tacitly acknowledges what so many Zionists believe-that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate neighbors”. In this despicable article, Orr purports to know the thinking of Israel and all the other “many Zionists” without a shred of evidence (she later wrote an “apology” that reaffirms her anti-Semitic theory). She, not the Israeli government, not even Hamas, is the one who delved into the discussion of the worth of human lives.

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Forget the fact that her math is wrong. If Israel values Israeli lives more than Palestinian ones, would they really release thousands of terrorist who will potentially be taking an enumerable amount of Israeli lives in the future? Additionally, I can say with one hundred percent certainty that each and every Israeli in the nation would have been far more satisfied with a one for one exchange, no one more so than Prime Minister Netanyahu. What is far more appalling, to me, is the undertones of this blatant anti-Semite’s accusation and any rag that chooses to run her piece.

Ms. Orr watched as a humble and fractured nation agreed to insane and perilous demands to bring home one of its own. No matter what your opinion of the deal, each and every Israeli understood that they were witnessing an act of incredible integrity and heartbreaking humanitarianism. However, as Ms. Orr watched the very same event unfold all she could think of was the comparative worth of human beings. She overlooked the tremendous and unprecedented event and went directly to the dark and decrepit recesses of her mind. Perhaps some introspection is called for at The Guardian. Invoking the enshrined playground rule “he who perceived it, conceived it” Orr’s accusations only prove that it is SHE who sees human beings in terms of comparative worth. Israel wanted its son back, Hamas set the price, Israel paid it, end of discussion. There was no Goebbels-like meeting in a basement addressing the subversive anti-Palestinian message this deal would send to the world. This accusation would find comfort in the pages in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the pre-eminent piece of anti-Semitic literature.

If Matt Kemp wins the MVP some baseball purists may cry that it is in outrage. That would be an overstatement. If Deborah Orr is allowed to continue working as a journalist after unleashing her MVP theory, that most certainly would be an outrage. That is a gross understatement.

(Please send your letters of disgust to The Guardian at [email protected])
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