You''ve heard that Jews control the media. An exaggeration. Influence, maybe. Jews are out of proportion in positions of management and as media personalities. But there are different kinds of Jews. International conspiracy linked to Zionism? Not with J-Street, Peace Now, AIPAC, the settlers, and who knows how many other organizations competing for attention and contributions.
It is more certain that Israel gets disproportionate media attention in relation to its size, population, or GNP.
So it may portend a significant moment when Israel is not in the headlines.
The Economist''s internet section on the Middle East is featuring:
- The resurgence of Qaddafi''s forces in the Libyan civil war
- Unrest in the Arab world: "Once the protests are over, institutions need building up—often from scratch"
- Price spikes in the oil market linked to Arab turmoil
- "Revolution in Egypt and Tunisia; It''s not over yet; The countries that started the wave of Arab change both have a long way to go"
- The British Prime Minister''s trip to help things along: "Britain''s new foreign policy strategy: keep calm, keep it bilateral, and cross your fingers"
Before the earthquake in Japan seized the space, the New York Times web site was also headlining various points of uncertainty in the Arab countries of Middle East. While The Economist featured its prime minister''s travels in the region, the American paper gave prime space to the ambivalence of the White House: "President Obama has adopted a policy of restraint in the Middle East crisis, recognizing a stark reality that U.S. security interests weigh as heavily as idealistic impulses."
Not a word about Zionist shenanigans.
The Economist does have an item about Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), with a picture of its most sizable pilotless craft that may be capable of reaching Iran. That story is more laudatory than critical, and must be entered on the plus side of any reckoning about The Economist''s imbalance.
Major international media are not featuring the story that Israeli security forces kidnapped a Gazan from a train in the Ukraine. Ha''aretz reported allegations by Palestinians and a United Nations official in Gaza, and treated it as a "may have been."
The man is said to be a senior engineer attached to a Gaza power station, a Hamas supporter, associated with the production of missiles fired at Israel, married to an Ukranian woman and said to be in the Ukraine seeking its citizenship. There is a mild buzzing in the part of my brain attuned to conspiracies, due to this week''s efforts by the movement to free Gilad Shalit to emphasize that he is approaching the fifth anniversary of his kidnapping. The buzzing is at low volume. If the engineer was kidnapped, he seems to be too small a catch to influence the people traders of Hamas. What we have heard to date suggests that he would not be worth the efforts and risks associated with a Mossad operation. Disinformation being what it is, however, we will have to wait for more.
Israel''s security forces have a long arm, and have acted with a mixed record far from home. They had considerable success against the people who planned and executed the attack against Israeli athletes in Munich, except for the mishap in Lillehammer Norway that cost the life of a Moroccan waiter. Still getting attention is last year''s killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai, where operatives left telltale signs of using forged passports from countries friendly to Israel.
The world and the media are dynamic. A strong earthquake in Japan will provide material for some time. Friday is a day for Muslims to gather in their mosques and to hear exciting talks. Opponents of the Saudi regime called for a day of rage, but officials said they would allow no demonstrations. Early reports are that the Saudis listened to the threats. Japan''s earthquake has the spotlight. If another Palestinian is in Israeli hands, he will have to wait his turn for serious attention.