I hear this question often and even more so when we report news which displays the truth that Israel treats the Arabs, including those from neighboring nations, the Palestinians and those Arabs living amongst them as citizens of Israel, with the same kindness, concern, care, and equality in all things to how they treat Israeli Jews. The most recent query came in a comment over our article United States and Israel Charging in Opposite Directions Over Syria in which it was mentioned that Israel had given all of the necessary care including surgeries and anything else required to treat many dozens of Syrian refugees who had crossed the border including those cases where the injured person had initially been treated in Syria but as they were unable to provide the level of care necessary to save or treat their injuries so they were transferred to Israel often left with a note telling what had been performed and the diagnosis. The person’s comment was, “This is interesting. Thanks for it. I have no argument about it, but if the Israelis treat the Syrians in need of help so well, why do they treat their other neighbours, the Palestinians, so abysmally? Recently in my church, which is my city’s cathedral, there was even a photo exhibition depicting the plight of the Palestinians at the hands of Israel, in particular the West Bank settlers. I regularly receive posts on Facebook about Palestinians shot by the IDF, children among them.” So, let us take this opportunity to reflect on an answer for this query.
The obvious part of the answer is basic and simple; it is the nature of the news and reporting. Would anybody consider it to be informative or good reporting if an article read stating, “Nothing happened untoward today in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. There were no stones thrown, insults hurled or even something said in haste which was later regretted. Everybody got prompt and equal service at the eateries and there were no problems on any of the bus routes, even the ones through the Haredi neighborhoods. People even were smiling at each other and many went the extra step to help anybody even if their problem was of the most mundane nature. The feeling was as if a permanent state of shalom, peace, had settled over everyone and everything making life close to perfect.” Such a report would never get past the editor let alone be passed on to the copy editor, who would have put such aside believing that somebody sent such a piece as a joke and it was not seriously intended to be published. Yet, it is the absence of such articles and the plethora of articles that meet the “If it bleeds, it leads” mantra news sources are famous for following. On the other hand you can rest assured that every rock hurled, every terror act, every rough handling of provocateurs of who there is a near constant train of them coming from Europe into Israel with the singular intent of menacing IDF and police until they either are arrested or get sufficient film to splice a juicy story that fits their agenda to load onto Facebook and You-Tube. Whenever there are rockets shot from Gaza or Lebanon it makes the news if and often only if the Israelis reply with a military strike and then the article almost always leads with Israeli Defense Forces launched a strike using warplanes striking in the heavily populated Gaza City killing two and injuring four including one child. The Israeli strike was in response for rockets landing within Israel. With this as the leading pair of sentences, which action sticks in your mind? My bet is so what if rockets landed in Israel, what was the big deal? Well, if it was your house that just exploded which while not a daily occurrence, does happen and the targets of most Israeli strikes are on weapons warehouses or rocket firing squads who often take children with them when launching their rockets to prevent Israeli striking them and they do this because it works. Israel has often withdrawn their strike because of innocents being used as human shields and the Israelis take great pains to cause as few innocent victims as possible. Israel even takes out most of the explosive charges in the munitions they use to target terrorists as they drive their vehicles, even to the point that there have been cases where the terrorist leader in the back seat was killed while the driver in the front seat received minimal injuries.
Of course the only news sources that ever bother to cover such trivialities are the nationalistic and Zionist news sources within Israel. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the news sources from Israel which are readily accessible in the rest of the world are the leftist, anti-nationalists and post-Zionist far leftist sources which are just as critical and slanted against any actions Israel takes where either nationalist, Zionist, religious Jews or the settlers who live beyond the Green Line are concerned. These news sources also take the Palestinian side of every argument. These news outlets represent a minority of Israelis but make their profit on sales in Paris, London, Washington DC, New York and other liberal cities or anywhere they desire bashing anti-Israel news and especially Israeli news which they use to prove that anything they claim against Israel is repeated in these news sources and therefore must be true. Imagine you only read the New York Times and then had to judge whether Mitt Romney was a worthy Presidential candidate compared to President Obama. Despite the claims that the Palestinian Authority suffers from extreme poverty and lack of funds, they have more funding at their disposal than Israel. The Palestinian Authority receives million upon millions of aid money from the United Nations through UNRWA, from the European Union, the United States, every European government, numerous charities, a plethora of NGO’s, numerous foundations, and contributions from the oil rich countries of the Arabian Peninsula. On top of these funds there are the cash and weapons which are supplied to Hamas, Fatah, Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, PFLP, al-Qaeda in the Gaza Strip and other lesser known terrorist groups which amounts to more millions in aid which is almost exclusively utilized for attacking Israel using terrorism and for the more established terror groups such as Fatah, Hamas and Hezballah in Lebanon have their own newspapers, radio and television stations and school and camp systems which indoctrinate the next generation of terrorists. Israel cannot match these efforts and the international financial support they enjoy and even the attempts Israel exerts are mostly ignored by many news outlets which add to the apparent silence of the Israeli side.
So, this is the vast majority of the news presented to the world but there is much more to the slanting against Israel and why Israel seems inept in answering the charges which come from all quarters. Another problem is that the NGOs (non-governmental organizations) which are solely dedicated to slandering, defaming, denouncing and out-and-out lying about Israel number in the hundreds and are backed by virtually every European government, the European Union, George Soros, the Arab League, the Arab nations, Oil Monies, Leftist foundations, and extreme leftist political entities and the hundreds of millions of Euros, Dollars, and virtually any other coinage such that they have more money than they could ever even imagine spending. The Israeli government does not have the funding to even begin to fight this fight especially since the Israeli government spends a higher percentage of their funds on aid to other nations who have suffered a disaster than any other nation with the possible exception of the United States. Two excellent examples of the true heart of the Israelis can be documented by telling of their actions in response to two of the most recent disasters, the Haiti earthquake and the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plants disaster all at one time. In the Haiti earthquake the Israelis had some of the initial responders and had erected a fully functioning hospital complete with delivery rooms, surgical suits, and virtually any specialty one could require even including psychological counseling before the United States had set up their initial field treatment centers and a week before the United States hospital ship was on scene. Another miracle was the number of trained search and rescue teams many with trained K-9 units which were also among the first and were praised by other teams as performing miracles. The Israelis also provided generators and adopted and completely rebuilt a Haitian school and orphanage in the year following the earthquake. One of the other miracle stories resulting from the aid Israel provided was the story of dancer George Exantus who after being rescued had his leg amputated. He was taken to Israel where he was fitted with state-of-the-art prosthetic leg and given rehab and returned to his dream life as a dancer.
The triple disaster in Japan when the nuclear complex had several nuclear reactors threatening to radiate large areas in northern Japan after they were swamped due to the tsunami which was caused by a severe earthquake, was a disaster virtually unequalled in history. The Israelis were again amongst the first responders in Japan. The Israelis brought with them an entire prefab medical clinic along with all the necessary equipment and staff as well as an electrical generator to power the facility. When after spending months treating people for a variety of injuries including radiation exposure, the Israelis returned to Israel leaving behind the entire clinic, generator and leaving it fully equipped for the Japanese to continue to provide aid for their people who had suffered a terrible disaster. Israel has been one of the first on the scene of numerous natural disasters but there is one last effort which deserves mention. To read numerous stories about this revolutionary program just search for “Israeli Save a Child’s Heart” and bring some tissues. The program is called SACH which stands for “Save a Child’s Heart” and has two main visions for service. The first is to treat any child needful of heart surgery in Israel even arranging transport through a third country for the Arab children from nations who have such relations with Israel that the child and parents would be put to death should Israel be stamped as a destination on their Visa or Passport. The Israelis have treated numerous Palestinian children with this program as well and invest most of their efforts and charity in places where the children with heart defects or disease would have little if any possibility for survival. They bring the child, parents and even entire families in appropriate situation and provide free care and follow-up treatments giving the child a chance for a normal life. This program also assists in setting up children’s cardiac care centers in hospitals in countries where no such care exists and train physicians in the procedures used in treating cardiac problems and disease in children. All of this is done as charity under the Jewish concept of being a light unto the nations and setting an example of how man can act when doing his best free from hate or judgementalism.
The final front that maligns Israel comes from a surprising source, other religious institutions and religious denominations. There are many sources of anti-Zionist, anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic sources which are of a religious nature. Some come from a front one would expect, Islamic Mosques and countries provide a fertile religiously originated source of efforts maligning Israel. What many find surprising is the extent to which Christian religious sources also malign Israel. The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center is a Christian liberation theology organization based in Jerusalem that supports extreme anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, and anti-Israel propaganda and markets their poisonous viewpoint around the world to any Christian church which will grant them an open ear. The Presbyterian Church USA has debated joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement numerous times and many of its member congregations have divested their investments from anything connected in any manner to Israel. The same can be said of at least one synod of numerous Protestant Churches in the United States and worldwide. There are some sects of Catholic organizations which also disparage Israel under the calling of supporting the Palestinian cause. On this front the Israeli government and the majority of Jews refuse to even engage as to do such would actually be against Judaism’s tenet of not interfering in other religions. Judaism’s idea of a perfect world would surprise most people. In such a world the Jewish people would live in their beloved Israel spanning from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea living under the covenant contained in Torah attempting to live an exemplary life while the rest of the world went on living and attending their business. There is no mention in Judaism commanding proselytizing others and are only advised to tell those who ask and only those who ask. True to that concept this would be a great place to end.
Beyond the Cusp