January 27, 2010
Maybe I’m over-reacting. But that’s what this Letter is all about. It’s a matter of personal priorities. It’s natural.
While writing this, I’m watching the Australian Open (tennis…). We get the British Eurosport here in Israel. So it should not be a surprise that we are told that Laura Robson’s quarter-final ladies double match will be shown on British Eurosport later. Who’s Laura Robson, you may well ask. Who cares? Well, she’s a young British tennis hope. Doesn’t matter. The point is that ‘we British’ are the only ones who really care.
Back to my point.
The World has recently witnessed the horror of the earthquake in Haiti. It is natural for each country’s press a) to list their own casualties and b) to have pride in their own country’s aid. Personal priorities.
It so happens that Israel’s immediate response has caught the eyes of many. Israel’s search & rescue squad pulled out many, and their field hospital saved many. Much of the international press did praise the size, quality and efficiency of the team. Even the land on which the hospital was established, the size of a football field, was made available by a local Haitian Jewish businessman.
Praise of such heroics is one thing; criticism is another. Iran’s press raised suspicion that body organs were being ‘traded’ through the hospital. Well, that’s Iran. (I watch smatterings of the international media, and have seen little or no news of support from Arab and/or Moslem countries. I do hope that’s untrue).
But what really got me are the accusation of Israeli double-standards. How can Israel be so good to the Haitians and at the same time so bad to the Gazans. And I shall concentrate my ‘anger’ at the UK newspaper, the Guardian. Used to be my favourite. I enjoyed the views of many of their journalists.
They were quick to adjust to making an international edition easily available – one with few or no adverts. I was willing to pay for that. But for years now, the Guardian has led the attacks on Israel. Just as the UN has an emphatic bias against Israel in the Resolutions, so too, the Guardian goes nuts in its efforts to to support the extremist Islamic view.
Whatever is happening in and around Gaza, how can the plight of the suffering Haitians be compared to a situation for which, like it or not, the Gazans have voted? Perhaps the only fair explanation is to describe Islamic extremism as an earthquake, a disaster.
A PS to this is to note the sad fact that Israel, perhaps more than any other ‘developed’ or ‘western’ country, has had such a turbulent relationship with its neighbours, that it is perhaps unsurprising that we have such services so immediately available. They sadly include the Zakar unit, the religious team that has the sad task of literally picking up the pieces after disasters, whether man-made or natural.
A PPS is that 2 of 3 well-known Jerusalem Post columnists also brought up this ‘double-standard’; subject. That puts them into the ‘political left-wing’ category’ in a traditionally right of centre newspaper. That’s democracy for you. There was enough criticism of the 2 here. My ‘job’ is to criticise the Guardians of this world.
And finally, I’ve got a new word: terrignorance.
There’s no question that much of today’s terror is aimed at the innocent. And the innocent are just that: ignorant of just what is going on. The indignation shown by many travellers at the format of security nowadays is an indication of this.
Now we have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous: on a recent short domestic US flight, a young Jewish teenager donned his teffilim, pictured below, and, standing next to his sister, started praying. Tefillim consist of lengthy strips of black leather, tied around and along one bare arm, and around the head, each with a little square black box as part of the paraphernalia.
The ‘ignorant’ stewardess asked the boy what he was doing. He said he was praying, and continued to stand, swaying forwards and backwards. The stewardess did not know how to handle this. She tipped off the pilot that a man was ‘back there’, with wires attached to his body and boxes that could be bombs.
The flight was anyway about to land at La Guardia. The police were summoned, they met the plane and escorted the young couple, now more scared than anyone around them, away for questioning. After a few minutes, the couple were released.
Perhaps a law needs to be passed that all airlines list the strange customs of all religions, cults etc., in order to avoid being terrorised.
In the meantime, we appear to be suffering from terrignorance.