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Reader Post: Foreign Journalists and Their Hand in Israeli Siege Mentality

Arielle Calvo largeAri is a Sephardic Jew from Seattle who made aliyah in 2012. She has a Bachelors Degree in Political Communications, a Masters Degree in Middle Eastern Studies and a penchant for sarcasm.

Siege Mentality.

The last few weeks have been absolutely gut-wrenching for Israelis. Not just because of the daily routine of checking the news every hour to see what’s happened (and almost always, something has), but also the way the foreign media is covering it.

With headlines that imply innocent Palestinians were harmed by Israeli soldiers or police (which is then being manipulated and furthered by supposed “pro-Palestinian” groups), and then only mentioning in the third or fourth paragraph that the harmed Palestinian had actually stabbed an innocent Jew, this approach has become commonplace.

Many outlets are also referring to all of the Israeli victims Media Integrityas “settlers.” Much of what has been happening has been in the Old City or in busy areas of Jerusalem. Why – because they are clearly religious Jews, they are settlers? These journalists can’t even be bothered to report the age or names of the victims half the time, but we’re led to believe they bothered to ask which side of the Green Line they live on?

Real journalism is dead. We’ve known this for some time. With wire services like Reuters and AP, most major papers are just using regurgitations of the same crap the person “on the ground” claimed (by that I mean what they heard from their swanky hotels). There’s an over-usage of anonymous witnesses and a striking similarity in the opinions so clearly shoved down the throats of the readers.

No one is exempt from biases – we all have them in one way or another. But making yours clear is absolutely not the job of a journalist. Many of them are indeed hostile to Israel, and this is reflected in their reading – as we have seen all too frequently from comments they make on twitter and Facebook when they think the rest of us are too stupid to catch them.

One a-hole Jew attacked numerous Arabs and his act was widely condemned throughout Israel as not helping, making things worse, and being outright against Judaism. Yet this attack has been mentioned in almost every article on the current wave of violence. In contrast, only a stabbing or two of Jews is mentioned, despite the fact as of today, we have had 21 separate palestinian stabbing attacks in 6 days against Jews. Meanwhile, every day there is a running count of how many Palestinians have been harmed in riots they chose to participate in.

I get that these journalists don’t like the current status quo. I don’t either. But no one seems to be writing about the harm to Palestinians these murderers are doing. While I was in the Old City on Monday, I entered from Jaffa Gate and took that route straight through to the Western Wall. It was the least I have ever been hassled in the Old City. The Arab shopkeepers looked listless and sad. While they usually try to bring me into their stores, joke around with me and promise their trinkets are way better than the exact same trinkets that are at the guy next door’s shop, they were almost silent.

We weren’t there to shop anyway; we simply wanted to pray at the Western Wall and then had plans outside of the Old City, but it was still hard to watch and my heart felt for them.

Two of the Palestinian attackers have been ones with work permits working construction and used that as an opportunity to attack numerous people. Who does this really affect? Other Palestinians who are reliant on their work permits and those who are applying for such permits and now will have a harder time doing so.

By ignoring these realities, the journalists think they can have an effect on the status quo. But they won’t. They’re ignoring the plight of Palestinians that is being increased by their own and their increasing the siege mentality of Israelis.

We are already being attacked by our neighbors. To feel attacked by the foreign press as well makes us want to tell everyone to eff off and let us handle our business – until you deal with what we’re dealing with, you don’t know what you’re talking about. It adds to our defensiveness and mistrust. If anything, it worsens the situation.

Then you have asshats like John Kerry, who out of nowhere blames it on “settlements.” No anger with Abbas for claiming every drop of spilled Jewish blood is precious, still claiming Israelis want to destroy Al Aqsa (when that couldn’t be less true), the incitement running on his state-run TV channels aimed at children, etc. etc. etc. Nope nope, can’t be his fault at all, it must be the settlements that, hey, by the way, aren’t actually growing.

John Kerry seems to think if he simply ignores Abbas and his party’s role in the current wave of terrorism, he’ll be able to calm things down. You know who else thought incitement and terror could be ignored in order to get the Palestinians to agree to a state? All parties included in both sets of Oslo Accords in 1993 and 1995. Israel, the US, and the EU were all in agreement not only then, but also in 2000, not to push Arafat on his role in terror, falsely believing if they pushed him he wouldn’t negotiate. Well guess what, he still didn’t negotiate in good faith and 20 years later the situation is basically the  same as it was. It is time to hold Palestinian leaders accountable.

Until the US State Department, John Kerry in particular, and the foreign media, start to look at reality and report accurately, they will become more embedded in the problem of the conflict itself. If you can’t write an unbiased article because you have too strong of an opinion, start yourself a blog and step away from the newspaper. John Kerry, you should just keep your mouth shut permanently.

None of you are helping either side, you are only building your own egos while making lives worse for everyone who actually live on the ground on both sides of the Green Line.

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