Cardiff council’s cancellation of a photography exhibition showing coexistence in Israel through football less than a day after it opened has recently been making news – although not, at the time of writing, on the BBC News website’s Wales or south-east Wales pages.
“The exhibition – called Jewish-Arab football: diversity and co-existence through lower-league football – was due to run for a week in Cardiff’s Central Library, but was shut down on council orders after complaints from undisclosed sources were received. […]
[Israeli] Embassy spokesman Yiftah Curiel said: “It is outrageous that the council has capitulated to people who hate Israel. The purpose of the exhibition is to celebrate racial and inter-faith harmony in Israel – something that is in stark contrast to what is happening elsewhere in the Middle East.
“Removing an exhibition showing how football promotes friendship between people of different backgrounds in Israel turns a celebration of coexistence into an ugly politics of division.”
Coexistence and cooperation between different religious and ethnic communities in Israel is of course evident in many other spheres besides football. Our colleagues at CAMERA recently reported on a meeting of Israeli Christian, Druze and Bedouin leaders in Nazareth, documented in this video.
“As Ayoob Karra, the former Deputy Minister of Development for the Negev and Galilee pointed out: “If you look around in Syria, in Lebanon, in Egypt, you can find that it is not the human rights for Christians in all these states. Only in Israel they have power to say everything loudly.””
The article notes a growing new trend:
“The number of Christian Israelis in national and military service increased to 30% of all Christian high school graduates last year.
This surge in Christian enlistment in defense of Israel supplements the involvement of the Druze and Bedouin. Since 1957, at the request of their community leaders, IDF service has been mandatory for Druze men. It is not mandatory for Bedouins, but as in the case of Christians, the number of Bedouins volunteering for the army continues to increase steadily.”
Unfortunately, the daily coexistence of different religious and ethnic communities in Israel is not a subject with which BBC audiences in the UK or elsewhere are familiar because it gets next to no coverage from Britain’s leading news provider.
Were the BBC to portray Israel’s multi-cultural society as it really is rather than ignoring anything which does not fit in with its chosen narrative, perhaps those Cardiff councillors would have been better equipped to deal with politically motivated complaints from people apparently unable to stomach the sight of Jews and Arabs playing football together.