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Hiding Behind Bigotry and Lies

Hiding Behind Bigotry and Lies

21 May 2014

By Emily Gian

There has long been a tendency for some commentators to claim they are afraid to speak out about matters relating to Israel for fear that any negative comment might be construed as being anti-Semitic. Whilst it is true that this might sometimes happen and moreover, that some of the most strident critics of Israeli policies are Israelis or Jews themselves, the claim is now being used more and more often by propagandists as a shield against their bigotry when they spread hateful lies and half truths about Israel and the Jewish people.

An article that appeared in Adelaide’s Sunday Mail last week, entitled ‘The Shame of Israel’s Palestine Apartheid’ penned by broadcaster Peter Goers is a good example of this, and no doubt the author would be happy to be accused of anti-Semitism so that he could trot out the standard line, “I’m not anti-Semitic. I’m only anti-Zionist” as if that gave him immunity from being described a bigot.

A closer analysis of this piece proves that line of thinking to be totally false.

The writer views the conflict solely from the eyes of the Palestinians and weeps about the injustices done to them. Some of those are real and some are fabricated like the “apartheid” accusation, like his misrepresentation of John Kerry’s comments and those of author Amos Oz.

He brings no context to the situation. For example, there is not even the slightest attempt understand to why the Israelis found it necessary to construct a barrier – “not a wall”. Peter Goers weeps for the Palestinians, but cannot find a single tear for the Israeli men, women and children murdered by suicide bombers and shooters whose actions, by the way, have been dramatically curtailed as a result of the same barrier. There is no weeping from him about the loss of Israeli lives or injustices against Jews.

Perhaps the worst part is his generalisation about the Israelis and the Jews as if all or even a majority want to destroy the Dome of the Rock or condone the violence of a small proportion of people. That is what is racist about this nasty article. If Goers had been at all interested in actually meeting Israelis and not simply promoting his agenda, he would have been able to see this as clear as day.

Would a similar article ever see the light of day in a mainstream Australian newspaper if it accused all Palestinians as being terrorists and murderers of innocent women and children? Yet on officially sanctioned Palestinian Authority television that is the sort of incitement we see regularly while the Hamas government in Gaza allows children to talk of “killing the Jews”.

Do you know who I weep for Mr Goers? I weep for Palestinian children, who instead of learning to count to ten in Spanish from Dora the Explorer, are being brought up on an educational system which teaches them to hate. I weep, Mr Goers, because how can we expect to move forward when the younger generation is learning nothing new and when outsiders like you bring the same hateful message across the world to this country?

In fact, I weep a lot. I weep for most of the people you weep for but fortunately, I have enough empathy in my heart to weep for others as well. I weep for all of the innocent victims on both sides of this seemingly endless conflict.

I weep for the children of Sderot, who for over ten years have been brought up to the sound of the Code Red sirens, which given them less than 15 seconds to run for safety. I weep for the mothers and fathers, who had to bury their children in wars and in terror attacks well before their time.

I weep for victims of other conflicts too. Such as the more than a hundred thousand victims of the bloody Syrian civil war. I weep for them because you would not weep for them. They are not a part of your agenda, despite the growing number of dead in that conflict.

Actually, Mr Goers I weep for you and for your friend Senator Xenophon, who are so one-sided in your views that you cannot see that you are actually prolonging the pain and not reducing it. I weep that you can visit the territories and return thinking that the best way to solve this conflict is to delegitimise and demonise one side, or to present one version of a narrative at the expense of, and not alongside, the other narrative. Mr Goers and Senator Xenophon, the conflict will not be solved by people like you, pointing fingers and throwing around dangerous terms such as apartheid. The conflict, and the weeping, will only end, when well-meaning outsiders arrive and declare that they want to find ways to unite the two sides and not to divide them.

And Mr Goers, I am sorry to say but when you write such an article and characterise the Jews as evil there is nowhere for you to hide.