OPINION: Some questions are more equal than others
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

OPINION: Some questions are more equal than others

Arieh Miller
Arieh Miller

By Arieh Miller, Executive Director, Zionist Federation

Arieh Miller
Arieh Miller

“That’s not the question.” That’s the response I was given by the radio station researcher when I called in to speak about what I guess we are describing as ‘Mufti-gate.’

When Prime Minister Netanyahu took to the podium at the World Zionist Congress, no one could have foreseen that he would slip in a fairly controversial opinion about who was really the evil architect behind the Holocaust. But the ensuing Spanish Inquisition was one everyone could have predicted.

I was calling in to the radio station not to praise Bibi, or to bury him.  I wanted to discuss why it was that this single comment was leading a public discussion, with much of the world’s media (social and otherwise) making out that the head of the Jewish state was, amongst other things, a Holocaust Denier – when inflammatory statements and actions by Palestinian leaders are simply ignored.

I’m not talking about Saeb Erekat’s comically idiotic contribution, in which the PA’s chief negotiator stated that “Palestinian efforts against the Nazi regime are a deep-rooted part of our history.” In any serious universe he would be pilloried for such a statement, given the context of discussing how a historical Palestinian leader was an ideological bedfellow of the Fuhrer. Instead, it disappeared without trace.

I’m not even talking about the fact that amongst all the outrage over Netanyahu’s alleged attempts to pin the Holocaust on his political opponents, no one mentioned that Mahmoud Abbas wrote the book on this subject. (Literally – his PHd was on how the Zionists colluded with the Nazis to make the Holocaust happen.)

I’m talking instead about how Abbas – cuddly, grandfatherly Abbas – has whipped up weeks of violence by praising murder and making false accusations of religious blasphemy:

“The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours… and they [the Jews] have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.”

“We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every Martyr will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah.”

These words could easily have come from the latest YouTube missive from deepest, darkest ISIS country. But no. Instead it has come from the most senior, internationally recognised leader of the Palestinians, the moderate peace partner we are supposed to be pinning our hopes for Middle East peace on. I’d like to know why that wasn’t the question.

And it isn’t just words. It’s actions too. While we’re on the subject of provocations at religious sites, why the silence over the fact that Joseph’s Tomb has now been attacked twice? Why wasn’t the media leading with that desecration – not with feet, filthy or otherwise, but with firebombs.

Or the Palestinian resolution to the UN to have the whole of the Kotel, Western Wall and prayer plaza included, recognised as belonging solely to them. Let’s just take a second to think about that – a motion to have the global community recognise the most famous Jewish site in the world as an exclusively Muslim one.

Try and imagine this in another context. In a less volatile situation, it would have prompted widespread ridicule. ‘Tee hee,’ the headlines would have chortled. ‘The Mormons are claiming that the Vatican belongs to them!’ ‘Ho ho,’ the internet would have roared. ‘The Cornish Independence Movement are arguing they built the pyramids!’

And then try and imagine it in the Middle Eastern context. Imagine if the Israelis had tried to pass a resolution claiming the whole Temple Mount (including the Al Aqsa Mosque) as their own. Imagine if the Jews had tried to pass a resolution claiming sole ownership of Mecca. Imagine the outraged, baffled, and constant media coverage –  just before World War Three kicked off.

So I want to know why the words of Israeli leaders lead the headlines, and the words of Palestinian leaders disappear. And I want to know why Israeli actions are condemned, but Palestinian actions ignored.

I know that the answer to each of those would be: ‘That’s not the question.’ So I guess my real question is: why not?

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments