Earlier this week, the world was treated to yet another scurrilous attempt to
besmirch the Jewish state’s image and slander an entire nation.
time, the perpetrators of the outrage were neither Palestinian propagandists nor
European socialists, but several of our very own.
The tumult began after
the publication of some appalling photos from former IDF soldier Eden Abergil’s
In the shots, Abergil is seen posing alongside blindfolded
and bound Palestinian prisoners, gazing at the lens as if oblivious to how such
scenes can and might be construed. Sure enough, the young soldier’s bad
taste and unsound moral judgment, as captured by the camera, quickly took on a
life of their own.
The Israeli and international press seized upon the
material and trumpeted it far and wide, as though they had uncovered the secret
formula used to make Vanilla Coke.
Here, after all, was “proof” of the
dastardly side of the Israelis, or so they would like us to
Indeed, in one particularly outrageous dispatch, the Associated
Press went so far as to suggest that the photos “were a reminder of snapshots
taken in 2003 by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq that showed
Iraqi detainees naked, humiliated and terrified.”
Frankly, the AP’s own
reporting is a “reminder” of the kind of propaganda regularly issued by dubious
NGOs rather than intelligent and evenhanded journalism.
IN THEIR mad rush
to share this story with a global audience, few journalists took the time to ask
themselves a simple yet highly relevant question: so what if one foolish young
girl took some outrageous photos? It may speak volumes about Abergil herself,
but it says nothing about the organization to which she belonged any more than
it does when one professor or lawyer – or for that matter a journalist – acts in
a degenerate or depraved manner.
Simply put, to elevate this story to
international prominence is to blow it wildly and entirely out of
Sadly, however, the lopsided reaction by much of the
mainstream media comes as no surprise. For years, Israel has been subjected to
such treatment, with little regard for fairness or accuracy.
But what is
especially galling about this episode are the reactions that came in its wake
from various quarters on Israel’s Left, some of whom saw this furor as a ripe
opportunity to bash their own country.
Take, for example, the group
“Breaking the Silence”. In a statement released on Tuesday, this merry
band of Israeli peaceniks declared almost gleefully that Abergil’s photos
represent “a widespread phenomenon”.
Asserting that they embody more than
the “ugly behavior of just one person,” the group insisted that Abergil’s deeds
were “the norm” in the Israel Defense Forces! “The norm”? Are these people
smoking something? Not to be outdone, another Israeli outfit calling itself the
Public Committee Against Torture was also quick to respond.
organization’s director, Yishai Menuchin, proclaimed that, “The horrible
pictures demonstrate a norm” – there’s that word again – “of treating
Palestinians like objects instead of human beings – treatment that disregards
their feelings as humans and their right to privacy.”
And so, in one fell
swoop, Menuchin and his ilk paint the entire Israeli army, and by extension all
of Israeli society, with the brush of extremism and cruelty. All because of the
actions of one person! Someone should perhaps inform Menuchin and his comrades
that issuing such outlandish statements maligning Israel’s image are no less a
form of mistreatment and abuse.
They paint a false and even libelous
picture of the state of affairs in Israel’s military, which upholds the highest
standards of morality of any armed force on the planet.
And they feed
anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism the world over.
ISRAEL’S NUMEROUS foes
naturally seize upon these kinds of reckless and irresponsible statements with
glee, pointing to them as evidence that the Jewish state is worthy of
condemnation and censure.
If self-styled Israeli human rights groups are
saying such things, they argue, then it must be true that the Jewish state is
unsavory and ruthless.
Moreover, the left-wingers give added steam to the
story, enabling journalists to keep it alive for a few more news cycles by
feeding them with some succulent anti-Israel rancor they are only too happy to
print. And that serves only to fan the flames of hatred still
Hence, in the wake of this incident, it is in fact Israel’s Left
which needs to do some serious soul-searching.
They should look
themselves in the mirror and ask what it is that motivates them time and again
to undermine and weaken the country they claim to love. And just what they hope
to gain by washing Israel’s dirty laundry in public for all the world to
Sure, there are plenty of things about this country that need to be
aired in public forums. All too often, that is the only way to bring about
But there is no excuse for the manner in which voices on the Left
have chosen to vilify and smear the entire nation because of Eden Abergil’s
rashness and indiscretion.
That’s not mature whistle-blowing – it is
childish name-calling, pure and simple.
And in a world that is
increasingly hostile to the Jewish state and its very existence, it is a highly
dangerous game that none of us can afford to be playing.