Being a Tomato Beats Being an Arab

Apparently, this is the state of affairs in Israel: A lynching of Arabs is called a skirmish, a demonstration staged by Arabs is termed a riot.

Correspondents who deal with tomatoes show more empathy for their subjects than do correspondents who cover Arab affairs. Channel 2's Roni Daniel, for example, so staunchly defends the subjects of his coverage, that it sometimes seems as though the IDF spokesperson is on the screen, not the network's military affairs correspondent. The Arab affairs correspondent for Ch. 10, Zvi Yehezkeli, depicts his subjects in as corrosively a negative light as he can possibly muster. The promotional advertisement for his documentary series on the rise of fundamentalist Islam in Europe, "Allah Islam," makes Arabs seem repulsive.

Religious fanaticism stirs deep concern, particularly among Muslims themselves; yet what tangible connection can exist between the name of the first broadcast in Yehezkeli's series, "Islamic conquest of Europe," and the figures presented on the program - hapless characters who fled from devastatingly indigent circumstances, bloody wars and truculent dictatorships (all conditions the West helped to create, by the way )? How can such isolated, withdrawn people possibly take over Europe? People who want to conquer become involved in society. They do not exclude themselves from it. I also failed to understand the connection between the program's content and the correspondent's costume dress, which he wore so that he could impersonate an Arab.

Apparently, this is the state of affairs in Israel: A lynching of Arabs is called a skirmish, a demonstration staged by Arabs is termed a riot. Yedioth Ahronoth reported a few days ago that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi caused a commotion at the conference of non-aligned nations in Tehran. Morsi actually attacked Bashar Assad's regime, which is allied with Iran, at the conference. But Yedioth ignored this fact, and published a picture of Morsi standing in a threatening pose with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, under a caption that read "The Embrace." The Yedioth report detailed the way Egypt's president listened to Iran's spiritual leaders excoriate "blood-thirsty Zionism."

Perusing this terrifying-looking front page, I was gripped by panic. To read the report, I headed for the safety of the nearest bomb shelter. Apparently, Yedioth has two version for each story, an objective report and a sensational one. If things get too confusing, the paper doesn't mind misleading the public. A case in point was a column written by Yair Lapid soon after the Gaza flotilla events in 2010. Lapid, who seeks the education minister portfolio, chose to write about hundreds of missiles "that we seized on the first gunships in the flotilla that tried to reach Gaza." Lapid wondered "why is the world against us." The answer is simple: Nobody in the world believes such hollow tricks. And it is Israel's citizens who are the victims of these tricks.

Let's return to Channel 10, which faces closure. It broadcast a report that featured an Arab father who chose to bury his children rather than see them starve. A bystander who was startled by this situation told the father to go work hard so that he can feed his children, even if the only available food is beans. Supposedly his children heard this and exclaimed, "beans - dad, keep digging." If such outlandish reporting is representative of Channel 10 journalism, perhaps Prime Minister Netanyahu ought to pull the plug on it. Or, perhaps, we have that backwards: If such scurrilous Arab-bashing represents Channel 10 at its best, maybe Netanyahu will decide to bail out the network and pay its debts.

While Arabs are depicted as hapless, woebegone characters by most Israeli media outlets, the Jews are actually the main victims of such coverage. If you say a thousand times that a sweet apple has a bitter taste, anyone who bought into the mendacity about bitterness will eventually settle a grudge with the powers that stopped him from enjoying the apple for so many years.