Sunday, 2 May 2010

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Distorting Israel

Distorting Israel

One of the many ways our radical left uses to slander their country for the amusement of its enemies is by telling quarter-truths in a way that makes us look outlandish, while refraining from telling the three-quarters of the story (or the 95% of it) that would honestly explain what's going on. In the past I've mentioned their claims that we're passing all sorts of laws meant to shut them down and stifle free speech, end democracy and generally destroy the Zionist dream. The Guardian dutifully and gleefully runs with the story, of course.

Here's what I mean about dishonest lack of context. Yossie Verter, the top political correspondent at Haaretz, pokes serious fun at Netanyahu for blocking a law that's just beginning its meandering through the legislature. The sense of the fun is that everyone - even the legislators trying to push the law through - knows fully well that from here to there, from inception to law, the road is so long and twisted that the current stage is hardly more than grandstanding. Maybe it's a fine law, maybe it's foolish, but in any case, why in the world is the prime minster getting all worked up about it? He wants it stymied? Fine. Pull a string and have it die in committee. Or re-word it so it says the opposite of what it was intended to say. Or use any one of 3002 other tricks, all standard procedure, so that it never becomes law. Why squander political capital on making such a fuss?

That's the fist part of the article. The second says the same, from the opposite side. This time Netanyahu's bugbear isn't a talented lefty-MK, but rather a talented right-wing demagogue with almost no political base, whom Netanyahu just propped up by taking him extremely seriously, with no particular justification.

Now, take Verter's comments about Netanyahu and cut and past them so that it's the radical left, not the prime minister, and the acting out is happening in the foreign press, not in our internal discussion in Hebrew. Is there an occasional act of political grandstanding aimed against them? Yes. Is it likely to transform Israeli democracy into something not-recognizably democratic? Of course not. Do 100% of the participants in the grandstanding, from all sides, recognize this state of the matter? Yes. Is this the message being broadcast to the rest of the world? No. Rather the opposite. Is there any rational justification for spreading stories abroad which are palpably dishonest, in such a way as to besmirch your country? Not that I can see.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Distorting Israel

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