Don’t choke on your cornflakes

To get the best out of this post, I invite you to read the following article from the BBC:

Arab singer in Israeli spotlight after talent show win

Done that? Then we’ll continue.

It depends on your perspective, but after I read the article, the words buzzing around my head were words like “cheap shot” and “bias” and “garbage”.  (And that’s those words that are fit to print in a responsible blog. The rest I will leave to your imagination.)

However, Lyn Julius nearly choked on her cornflakes. Fortunately, there appears to be no serious harm done, and she recovered well enough to write a comprehensive takedown (at Harry’s Place and The Times of Israel) from which I offer the following extract:

For an “expert” view, the BBC journalist consults the oracle on Mizrahi affairs: Rachel Shabi, a far-left anti-Zionist who has built an impressive Israel-bashing career on the strength of her Iraqi-Jewish parentage and book “Not the enemy.”

“Mizrahi Jews”, Shabi argues, “are cultural victims of the ‘European’ establishment in Israel, despite a majority population which is Middle Eastern.”

This charge is a brazen lie: In Israel today, Mizrahi music is all the rage, with the grandchildren of Mizrahim rediscovering their roots — while popular European-Jewish culture, cuisine and music struggle to compete.

Discrimination was a real issue in the 1950s, but Shabi’s thesis is nowadays looking increasingly bedraggled. Barriers between ethnic groups are fast disappearing, and intermarriage between Ashkenazim and Sephardim is running at 25 percent. The average Israeli no longer remembers whether he is Ashkenazi or Mizrahi. Today the ethnic card is usually played by people who have failed to make it in Israeli society.

Shabi’s political agenda is to misrepresent both Mizrahi Jews and Palestinian Arabs as victims of Zionism — an agenda as representative of the great majority of Mizrahi opinion as a snowball in hell. “If you look at Israel, how it presents itself is European, despite a majority population which is Middle Eastern, if you combine the Palestinian Israelis and Jews of Arab or Muslim lands,” she claims.

But to unite the two populations is to mix apples and pears: even “Arabized” Jews are not Arabs. They do not suffer an identity problem, as the article snidely suggests; they simply refuse to have their identity defined for them by Arabs and anti-Zionists. Even the BBC journalist grudgingly concedes that “despite several areas of common ground, there is no real closeness.”

To read this article you would never guess why hordes of Mizrahim would willingly choose to put themselves through the mill of cultural oppression that is Israel. But the truth is that such obstacles as they encountered were a walk in the park compared to the persecutions and pogroms they had endured in their countries of birth. There, discrimination was enshrined in law. But you will never learn such inconvenient truths from the BBC or from the lips of Rachel Shabi, whose goals are to whitewash Arab anti-Semitism in order to attack Israel’s “Ashkenazi” elite as European colonialists. They maintain that the Mizrahim simply “arrived” in Israel from countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq, Yemen and Iran in the years following its establishment — like aliens from the planet Zog.

Lyn is spot on in her analysis:

If there is one news medium that can manage to politicize an innocuous story and spin it into a series of misleading tropes about Arabs and Mizrahi Jews, it is the Beeb.

And:

Only the BBC can twist into an Israel-bashing exercise a feel-good story about how Israeli Arabs are being given the chance to contribute to Israeli society.

It’s as if the BBC has a pattern to which all – and the emphasis is on “all” – coverage of Israel must conform. Surprise, surprise, the pattern is not a complimentary one. Instead, the pattern holds dear the trendy buzzwords which amount to delegitimization of the Jewish State.

Read her article here. More importantly, the next time you read something in the mainstream Western media – especially the BBC – bear in mind where they are coming from. And bear in mind where they want us to go.

I wish I could claim back the money I paid by way of the TV licence fee over all those years in the UK.