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Censorship and Solidarity

According to our media monitoring service, Ornico, which is far from a 100% reliable, not a single newspaper (with one possible exception – The Witness) has published the shortened form of my earlier letter. I am posting the shortened form below so you can see what I am talking about.  Now don’t get me wrong: letters defending Israel have been published, along with a host of stuff attacking it, but not my letter. So what does that mean?

One obvious explanation is that my letter doesn’t measure up. It’s true that it is more emotional and less factual than my usual commentary, but I don’t believe that is the main motivation for a host of reasons. What I suspect is that my letter is more direct and aggressive than the largely defensive letters supporting Israel. The upshot is that the media is framing Israel as the defensive party while keeping the spotlight firmly OFF the reality of Islamist – Arab violence as the core dynamic in the Middle East.

That amounts to censorship. There is no doubt about media bias and only exceptionally fair newspapers are prepared to exercise genuine journalistic judgement and discretion. There is a large silent majority(?) in this country which either outrightly supports Israel or is neutral or uncertain. You would never know it from our media. Needless to say a smallish band of relatively prominent Jews have used this occasion to vent their anti-Israel animus, and, naturally, they are being given 5-star exposure.

I would also like to thank the many people who have provided me with feedback, encouragement and useful information and commentary. You make an enormous difference and I want to record some important names: Geoff Boner (Israel), Charles Smith (Israel), Raphael Melmed (Israel), Victor Gordon, Deon Pinchus and Bev Goldman (South Africa). Others have also written and all are appreciated. You add to the cohesion of Diaspora Jewry so vital when the chips are down. And, of course, members of the Zionist Federation and Board of Deputies are hard at work.

Breaking news! Politicsweb has just published my original letter. More importantly, Israel has gone in with ground troops to destroy/degrade the Hamas tunnels and underground facilities. I can only pray they are successful with a minimum of casualties and civilian deaths. But the job must be done and one lives in hope it ushers in a new realism in the Middle East.One big uncertainty is the USA under Obama. I am not a reflex Obama-hater but his ambiguous behaviour does not provide the sort of international support Israel requires under the onslaught of manipulated public opinion.

Factual correction: I was a sloppy in my use of “Chemical Ali” as a metaphor for psychotic denial. It is “Comical Ali” – though, as pointed out, he and the system he supported were far from comical. But “Chemical Ali”, a different person entirely,  was responsible for the use of gas against Kurdish rebels and was deemed a genuine war criminal and executed.

Shortened letter:

There are times when disgust is the only possible response. Because Israel is effective at protecting its own citizens, venomous anti-Semitism born of envy and futility has emerged loud and clear in our public discourse.

From Rene Smit and others openly praising Hitler, to the crude lies and exaggerations of South African Islamist zealots, to an ignorant and brainwashed media, to an amoral ANC eager to advance its faltering fortunes, the anti-Semites have come crawling out of the woodwork

Over 300 000 civilians have died and 13 million Arab Muslim refugees generated by what is laughably called the “Arab Spring”, causing barely a ripple in our public space. Not a peep about Hamas terrorising its population into serving as human shields or the hundreds of rockets aimed at Israeli civilians, while other violent  Islamist movements destroy large tracts of the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Israel is the current prime target of these totalitarian nihilists: it is small, Jewish mainly, democratic and, worst of all, successful. Israel’s benevolence only attracts more vitriol, and survival is the most basic human imperative. If Hamas insists that its own population is expendable in its genocidal war against Jews, then Israel must take it at its word.

Then, at least, the howls of anguish will be real.

Mike Berger





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