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The hypocrisy of an irresponsible media now defending Jews

    On the wall of my office is a Life magazine cover dated July 10 1967 showing a smiling IDF soldier cooling off in the Suez Canal under the heading: "The Astounding War and its Aftermath." It is a constant remainder of the way global media used to cover Israel. It has been downhill ever since, the turning-point coming with the first Intifada two decades later which saw Israel cast as occupier.

    That was the beginning of a narrative that painted Israel as an all-powerful military force crushing the lives of its Palestinian neighbours in the disputed territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

    The campaign of abuse and delegitimisation of Israel has been relentless through successive military campaigns in response to terror and rocket attacks. It reached a crescendo during the seven-week Operation Protective Edge operation in the summer of last year

    What I find troubling is that the same media outlets, that have reinforced perception of Israel as a pariah state crushing Palestinians, are now laudably publishing articles decrying the rise of antisemitism in Britain and anti-Jewish violence and death in France. What they singularly fail to do is join up the dots and recognise they have contributed to abuse and violence against Jews as anti-Zionism has transmogrified into antisemitic acts.

    During Protective Edge, Israel, in a nod to openness, allowed media into the Gaza war zone. The result was nightly images of death and destruction - which could only serve to demonise Israel. Terrible things happened, including the accidental killings of four boys on a Gaza beach. But what the world saw largely were controlled images or stories reported under intimidating supervision of Hamas minders.

    The consequence of this largely one-sided, disturbing narrative (millions of Israelis sheltering from Hamas rockets were invisible) was to reinforce the story-line of Israel as brutalist, waging war against a defenceless Muslim population, inflaming liberal and extremist opinion in Britain and Europe.

    The heavy presence of foreign correspondents in Jerusalem serves to magnify events. Of course the IDF makes mistakes in the fog of war. But relentless negative reporting especially by the BBC, Guardian (with the exception of Jonathan Freedland) and Independent, supported by hostile columnists, have contributed to antisemitism.

    It is not the old tropes of "Jews chasing money" that led to the tragic violence in Paris. Nor did they cause the surge in antisemitic incidents in the UK that made it impossible for Jews in Pinner to go to shul without being subjected to abuse. It was deeply biased reporting from the Middle East that turned Palestinians into permanent victims and Jews into oppressors. What is really objectionable is that the very same media that for decades has jabbed its finger at Israel, demonising the Jewish state, is now rushing to the barriers as the defenders of Jews against antisemitism.

    The truth, however, emerged in the well-publicised incident when BBC correspondent Tim Willcox glibly told the daughter of a French Holocaust survivor: "Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well". He subsequently apologised. But in that one remark he exposed the prejudice that has given enemies of Judaism their casus belli.

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