Very CiF, Very Guardian

Over at CiF today, we see a usual one-sided account entitled Fifteen Minutes of Hate by Meron Rapoport which recounts a walkabout with intent in east Jerusalem. Firstly, Rapoport sets the scene for his story. One can almost feel the breeze in east Jerusalem. So far, so good.

Until he states his aim: not, as one might think, to tour the streets of east Jerusalem to interview all sorts of people to give us a wide perspective of what might be going on there – no, Meron Rapoport has a bias and he quickly makes it clear. It is well known that if one wants to find something one usually finds it, viz,

“…. We’re making a film on the blatant institutional discrimination against the residents of this Palestinian east-Jerusalem neighbourhood; authorities favour the Jewish settlers who are not hiding their desire to Judaise the neighbourhood, to void it of its Palestinian character…”

And of course the language is commensurate with the bias – the “vicious” anti-Arab sentiments, the aim to “Judaise the area”, as if Meron Rapoport is talking of a different people than his own. That last phrase alone speaks volumes.

He tells us that orthodox Jewish girls approach him and his crew (strange this, since orthodox Jewish women and, occasionally men, are usually camera-shy) and, wonder of wonders, they tell him exactly what he wants to hear for the thrust of his story – that “Jerusalem belongs to us Jews” etc, etc, indeed everything you would expect to keep a readership of CiF Israel/Jew haters happy and well-fed. (Note, however, that he doesn’t record the conversation verbatim, nor does he tell us how many groups of young girls approached him, if indeed they approached him at all. No, we are meant to take his word for what occurred. Very CiF, very Guardian).

He does, however, tell us of their meeting with another couple of girls, (again he says they approached him) later on. This time these are non-orthodox, and (quelle surprise) he says that they tell them they want the Arabs dead. Again there is no way of proving that they actually said this and used those words – again there is no verbatim transcript (although he was quick enough to tell us verbatim of his encounter with the security guard); no, all we have is his word, but it’s strange, isn’t it, that he’s found two groups of young women each of which has told him exactly what he wants to hear? Is anyone else smelling the rat of the sort of one-sided report so beloved of CiF?

And further down the road we have representatives of a third Jewish group, this time ultra-Orthodox, approaching this crew but, yes, you guessed it, have the same outlook.

Strange that he has not interviewed the same number of Arabs.

By this time our chums appear to be getting disheartened, or so Rapoport would have us believe when he inserts a literary device to tug at the heartstrings: he wistfully declares to his poor, disillusioned buddies that one day perhaps they will run into someone who says something kind about human beings. However, look at this author’s bio on CiF and it’s plain from the final sentence of his article what he thinks will happen and the chances are he will blame Israel for that. It’s also evident that he’s forgotten that kindness and humanity is a two-way street.

Of course the crew would almost certainly have met such people had they looked beyond the remit of their story or had set out with open minds rather than with their eyes wide shut. I have worked with journalists and TV cameramen. I know that sometimes they need to “seed” the set to get the message across, but ethical journalists are careful to limit that to choosing a particularly apposite location, or putting out books and flowers and so on indoors. For an ethical journalist it would not be so deliberate as to give a biased picture.

And note the last paragraph of this lovely story.

“Silwan. Remember that name. Its violence will soon overshadow that of Hebron.”

Does this author remember his history about the riots of Hebron in 1929 when Jews were massacred by Arabs? Is he forecasting the same in Silwan, and, from his narrow, biased outlook, will he blame Israeli Jews for their own demise if it does, rather than the perpetrators of such an episode?

I would not be in the least surprised if he did and was offered column inches on CiF for so doing. As I said above, all this is very CiF, very Guardian.

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