Sunday, October 26, 2008

The double standards of vandalization


What would the international reaction to this news be? Actually, we don't need to do much asking. We know that the story would be prominently carried by the world's major news outlets, such as this, this or this.

This defies all logic, since much more relevant human rights violations take place on a daily basis elsewhere in the world. Recently, for instance, Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army killed three adults who were guarding a school, and then proceeded to kidnap a classroomful of students. These children will be reeducated and turned into guerrilla fighters, as is the LRA's horrible practice. Yet we don't learn about this from the same sources that give detailed information on Jewish grave desecrations.

Of course, this is a disingenuous analysis. News agencies and newspapers are businesses and, as such, they tend to pay greater attention to events that are closely followed by their audiences. And, as the saying goes, Jews are news. They are --to put it crudely-- a much more "interesting" people than dark skinned ethnic groups in remote parts of the globe.

But what if the Jews were the ones desecrating graves? Would it be widely reported on? In principle, it would have to. Jews are news, both when they're victims and when they're victimizers.

But nope. You won't learn from an International Herald Tribune headline that today, in the West Bank town of Hebron, a group of Jews vandalized an Islamic cemetery. As the Jerusalem Post reports:

Some 100 settlers waited at the Federman Farm outpost on the outskirts of Kiryat Arba late Sunday night for the IDF soldiers they fear will evacuate the site for the second time in 24 hours.

Close to 1 a.m. on Sunday, soldiers, border policemen and police surprised the two families who lived at the outpost, located within the settlement's municipal boundaries, down a hillside from one of the main roads.

They quickly evacuated the families and destroyed the two homes; one belonged to the family of well-known far-right activist Noam Federman, and the other to the family of the singer Sinai Tor.

By evening, as soldiers and border policemen stood on the hill above, activists had built a small, white one-room structure at the site and set up a generator.

Sunday morning's evacuation sparked an immediate protest by activists, who slashed the tires of Palestinian cars and vandalized a Muslim cemetery in nearby Hebron.

Here's a picture of the vandalized graves:

Why won't we learn about how these members of a people who has had its own graves desecrated for the past 20 centuries are now vandalizing other people's cemeteries? It would be a most interesting story!

The answer seems to be that the Jewish people is given the benefit of the doubt to an extent that would be the envy of any other people. When French teens desecrate a grave, it is assumed something's wrong with the French nation. When Jewish teens desecrate a grave, it is somehow forbidden to think it has anything to do with their Jewishness, and it is assumed it's just a few loonies acting on their own.

Are they? The short answer is no. Although the Israeli state ostensibly condemns their actions, they're given green light to do most of their vandalism, much in the same way as Czarist Russia allowed the pogroms while prosecuting a few perpetrators once the brutality was over. Also, the Israeli state heavily subsidizes the Jewish grave desecrators, giving them cheap housing and providing them with services. In fact it was the State that encouraged them to settle in the West Bank in the first place.

Yet none of this is given the prominence it would deserve by the world press. Double standards anyone?

UPDATE: I was wrong in claiming that the IHT didn't publish this story. It did here, as one of our readers pointed out in a comment to this post.

The IHT is a thick newspaper, and I suspect the story was deeply buried in the inner pages, if printed at all. Unfortunately, the IHT doesn't give its virtual readers free access to the print version (or at least I haven't been able to access it; if someone knows how, please tell me); other, less glorious newspapers, like Buenos Aires' Clarín, do offer readers that possibility, and I was thus able to compare the prominence given in the cover to terrorist attacks against Jews and against others (see here). But in this case, I wasn't talking about prominence; I claimed that the event wasn't reported at all by the IHT, and the statement was flatly inaccurate. Making a point is important, but sticking to the truth is much more important still.


Yitzchak Goodman said...

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Oops. It looks like Hasbaristas are becoming ever more sophisticated, and now they're getting stories of Israeli wrongdoing published in the IHT (buried in page Z-256, of course), so that Hasbara busters won't be able to say that Zionist crimes are not reported.

Seriously speaking, I think that when one makes a blanket statement, be it "no Jew can be a citizen of Jordan" or "this story wasn't reported by the Western press", one must take responsibility for it, and acknowledge it if proved wrong, which I'll do on the post itself.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

when one makes a blanket statement, be it "no Jew can be a citizen of Jordan"

Another source for this seems to be Yaakov Meron. I'm just not convinced that this is, as you say, a canard.

Anonymous said...

What if a Jew can't be a citizen of Jordan? It would confirm my suspicion that the Simon Wiesenthal center only hands out crappy awards to petty tyrants because they done good work fer zionism. Like keeping so many refugees on that side of the river.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Another source for this seems to be Yaakov Meron. I'm just not convinced that this is, as you say, a canard.

It is.

Here's a primer on citizenship laws. In most countries, Jordan included, there are two ways of acquiring nationality: by origin or by naturalization.

Citizenship by origin means those people who are AUTOMATICALLY granted citizenship, for instance because they were born in the country, or because they are the children of citizens living abroad.

Citizenship by naturalization means those people who apply for citizenship and are granted it after satisfying certain conditions.

The only impediment in Jordanian law is for certain Jews to become citizens by origin. Those people who were citizens of Palestine and lived in Jordan prior to 1948 are considered Jordanian citizens, except if they are Jewish. This is symmetrical to the situation in Israel, where people who were citizens of Palestine and were living in Israel on 14 May 1948, but fled during the war, are granted citizenship except if they're not Jewish.

Now there's absolutely no --I repeat: NO-- restriction on Jews wishing to apply for nationality under any of the several naturalization mechanisms provided for by the law. Meron does not even address citizenship by naturalization.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Meron does not even address citizenship by naturalization.

What by Meron do you have in mind?

The online article ( ) is not all that he has written.

bongloboy said...

that is really shocking scenery, I have never expected to get them so low, this will never solve the problem ad it will create a Greenhouses effect, and increase the violence more.

Health Blog said...

Also, the Israeli state heavily subsidizes the Jewish grave desecrators, giving them cheap housing and providing them with services.