I like Linus Van Pelt from the Peanuts gang. He's an intelligent, articulate kid, but he has three problems: his sister Lucy, his addiction to his security blanket and his sincere conviction on the existence of the Great Pumpkin.

I never had a sister but I sure remember having a security blanket. As it was left in tatters I was left with just a piece of it, but it's the essence that counts, not the quantity of fabric. My mother always claimed that one day she told me to throw it away – and I did. That's a memory I've definitely repressed.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


But where did the Great Pumpkin come from? Did Linus read or hear a story and believed it to be true, not realizing that it's just a fantasy. He's so convinced it's true that he can convince others to believe in the Great Pumpkin!


Similarly, driving once through Wisconsin to our summer camp, we stopped for gas, noticing a local yokel staring at us, especially at our heads. My counselor smiled, encouraging the guy to speak.

Yokel: "Say you're Jew, right?"

Counselor: "Yup".

Yokel, touching his head, stammers out his real question: "Ah, then where's your… ah, you know…"

Realization dawns on counselor: "My horns? You mean where are my horns?"

Yokel nods.

Counselor: "Under our skullcaps!"

How did that yokel come to believe that Jews have horns? Why was he inclined to believe such derogatory nonsense about Jews? Does he believe in the Great Pumpkin, too?

Reminding me of all that was a TV show, a fictional story about an alien invasion. In popular fiction alien invasions can take one of three forms: a) aliens come out shooting; b) aliens come out initially friendly, making things better, and only later do the evil stuff; c) aliens come and ask to use the phone to call home.

This show is about a type (b) invasion. As an example of making things better, the TV show has the aliens stopping wars and conflicts. What's the first conflict the TV show has the aliens stopping? Here it is: a reporter emotionally states:

"The wall that separates Israel from the Gaza strip, all 400 miles of it, is gone."

Huh what?? Hey – all of Israel, from Eilat at the southern tip all the way north to Mt. Hermon is only 315 miles! The border between Gaza and Israel is 36.66 miles long. Would a TV show, even a fictional show, just throw out that the Washington Monument is a mile high?

Secondly – there is no wall. There's a fence. Many countries have fences on their borders. That's why Steve McQueen couldn't drive his motorcycle right into Switzerland, in "The Great Escape".

Thirdly –and this is the worse – other conflicts mentioned in the show as solved are in the Congo, Sudan and Korea. The wars in the Congo since 1998 have caused between 2.5 and 5.4 million deaths. In the Sudan civil wars there are approximately 1.9 million deaths. North Korea has had a death total in wars, persecutions and man-induced famines of about 3 million.

In contrast, in the Arab-Israeli wars, the uprisings, terror, and campaigns in Gaza – altogether, by the highest estimates (which are probably exaggerated) there were about 130,000 deaths in about 150 years of conflict. Each death is tragic – but it's a far cry from millions. What about the Syrian civil war, also an on-going conflict, with over 250,000 victims? Couldn't the aliens take care of that??

So how does a 36.6 mile fence morph into a 400 mile wall? Why does the Arab-Israeli conflict, in objective terms a relatively small conflict, not only get mentioned but gets top billing, even before conflicts that have claimed millions of victims? It's like saying: Hitler, Stalin and your mother-in-law have caused problems in the world.

Where does the distortion come from? Why are there people inclined to believe the worst about Israel, regardless of how false and detached from reality? Media distortion? Ignorance? Malevolence? How many "experts" are there, talking nonsense, and how many people, ignorant of the realities and facts, absorb the nonsense of the "experts" concerning Israel? Even if it's just a TV show, fiction, still it represents what people are willing to believe and there are people who will accept these distortions as fact.

At least believing in the Great Pumpkin can't cause harm to real people.
 
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

Think others should know about this? Please share