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CBS News is Blessed
Last uploaded : Thursday 7th Aug 2003 at 01:30
Contributed by : The Editor


CBS News is Blessed

On this Tisha B?Av, the skies above London are crystal clear and the heat is unlike anything I have experienced except perhaps in Tel Aviv in the summertime. There is no breeze and the temperature in my flat is close to 95 Fahrenheit. (Old Europe is not renowned for the proliferation of luxuries like air conditioners.)In the southern sky the brightest object in the heavens shines down at me, the same object -- Mars -- at which I had gazed so often when I had spent many months in Israel. Gazing up at Mars I think of my late parents and forebears, looking down on earth and hoping I am making some small contribution to its improvement.

Earlier this evening I attended an inspiring Erev Tisha B?Av shiur and service in St John?s Wood led by Rabbi David J Goldberg. We discussed the various interpretations of the story of Nebuchadnezzar, as well as the story of the destruction of the Temple, including the narrative by Josephus. In his version, the Jews were a rampant mob of blood-curdling barbarians. In the Hebrew texts we studied, (Second Kings 25and Jeremiah 39 ) the Jews are constantly under siege by rampant mobs of blood-curdling barbarians?..

When I came home I watched BBC Newsnight. As usual there was the obligatory story about Israel?s misbehaviour. A whining voice dripping with sarcasm narrated a series of images of bad boy Israelis, enumerating the ill-begotten woes that poor President Bush has to deal with at the hands of bully Sharon. There were the usual lists of billion-dollar loan guarantees and arms deals that these same bullied Americans were giving Israel; the usual clap-trap about the terrible settlers and the oh-so-familiar image of Bush Senior sitting with a cross-looking Yitzhak Shamir (who was bullying whom, one may ask?)

The BBC and UK media are obsessed with the settlers. Tonight we were told of the evils of settler expansion despite the Road Map. With typical BBC relentlessness (as in Goebbels? ?Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth?) the audience was told that Jewish settlers were still encroaching on Palestinian lands and not being turfed out. Never once did the grovelling narrator mention that there are a million Arabs living inside Greater Israel.

However, the bit that infuriated me was the final line in the BBC narrative. The assertion was made that George Bush Junior would not be able to put much pressure on Israel with an election looming! This mantra, used over and over again by the British media, is downright absurd. The ?Jewish vote? is not going to influence any candidate and never has. ?Jewish and Zionist money? is not going to worry the Bush machine. The entrenched old money of the Protestant oil and industrial barons is so vast that even a donation from Soros (not that he would) will not enhance Bush?s chances. What the European and British media have never understood is that the ?Jewish lobby,? if there is one, consists of overwhelmingly Democrat-voting citizens who belong to the Progressive movement and are not necessarily blindly supportive of Israel whatever it does. American Jews, like African-Americans, have always staunchly supported the Democratic Party. This time I did not ring the BBC: they probably have me down as an obsessed ?repeater.? They can read this article instead.

Later this evening I watched ?The CBS Evening News.? There was a courageous report form inside the West Bank about the hordes and hordes of young Palestinians taking advantage of the ?hudna? (temporary suspension of terror attacks) by training in large camps for war against Israel. The brave CBS reporter interviewed top leaders of the Fatah fighters? brigade and showed extensive footage of men training to launch rockets and kill, kill, kill. Long lines of young men were shown practicing knifing prone victims in the neck and going on violent, somewhat crazed assault courses.

I just love this idea of a ?temporary suspension of terror attacks.? In cities all over the globe young Jews have a temporary suspension of hard work and family devotion to go to shul; to visit graves of loved ones and to play the odd game of tennis. All over the world Jews stop to raise money for charities; go to the theatre or visit art galleries. The world accepts the idea of a ?hudna? as if it is perfectly normal for a group of people to stop killing other people for awhile in order to train to kill them with even more carnage when the hudna ends. What incenses me is the fact that when I was spending extensive time in Israel at the height of Oslo under Rabin and Peres, the army had left many areas and young Palestinian men were still hanging around with machine guns and knives, out for trouble and with nothing to do. Was this Israel?s fault? When Jews have left ghettoes they have promptly gone on to lead productive and often outstanding lives.

Thankfully, however, CBS News showed in its entirety this remarkable film from the West Bank and needed little narrative to illustrate to the world that Israel faces endless terror unless Palestinian leadership offers the inspiration to its people that a Gandhi, Mandela or Ben Gurion offered to theirs. One feels deep chagrin when the BBC tells the story of the imperialist, brutal ?power? Israel (all wee few kilometres of it) trying to wipe out the Palestinians? very existence. In contrast, however, is the CBS report. How sad and how worrying that British audiences never see chilling scenes like these of teenagers screaming ?Death to Israel! Death to America!? Then again, having been at the receiving end of visceral anger at dinner parties in London, I reckon many audiences might feel at home with the CBS report. European networks might even show it as a confection to reassure Israel-bashers -- including the ones who complain about how few Jews have died in the al Aqsa Intifadah -- that the hudna will be over and more Jews will get it in the neck very soon.

CBS News should be congratulated for filming and airing this rare glimpse behind the scenes in the West Bank. What is notable is the apparent affluence and vitality of these young Palestinians. Where is the money coming from? They are well-dressed, fit and well-equipped. Poor Israel. It stands alone trying to fight the scourge of terror in its backyard whilst the rest of the world condemns its every move. Young Jewish men all over the world train every day for careers. In our darkest hours we studied Torah and ran businesses. It is time for the Arab world and the Palestinian leadership to stop the perpetual fervour for terror and war ( there were countless bombs during Oslo) and model their lands on Israel. The idea that hysterical Iraqi clerics are warning their flocks up and down the country that ?Jews? are trying to buy land and buildings is laughable. If the Arab world would welcome Jewish enterprise and expertise their own people would at last experience the joy of achievement and prosperity. Imagine the BBC reporting THAT?..

To know more about 'terror training' camps that threaten Israel go to:


On the planet Mars (it is at its closest to Earth this year in some 75,000 years.):



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