Here’s Prime Minister’s spokesman Mark Regev responding to an aggressive CNN reporter’s questions (HT/Carl in Jerusalem):
Although overall I’d say this is a good set of responses, there are several aspects of the encounter that deserve further comment.
1) CNN is the one who has fallen into the trap of politicizing this, which, as Regev points out, is precisely why the family didn’t move out: to create street theater, and that’s just what CNN obliged them with. When Isha Sesay asks if these images of the eviction are conducive to peace, Regev could have said, “Don’t you think that CNN’s making a huge story out of a legal dispute between private citizens and turning it into a media circus is what’s not conducive to peace? Your images inflame anger and hatred in a situation that’s completely inappropriate. Don’t you care how you affect public opinion?”
2) When Sesay said, “Isn’t this a policy to kick out Arabs and move in Israelis?” Regev could have answered, “If this is what you believe, if you think that the Israeli Supreme court system is an extension of what you imagine is an evil Israeli government’s policies, whether legal or not, then no wonder you do the kind of stories you do.”
In both cases, such answers alert the viewers to the ways their perceptions are being manipulated by journalists with agendas. The logic behind Sesay’s aggressive questioning and CNN’s inflammatory coverage is: The way to peace is to force Israel to make concessions at any cost, including inciting hatred of her in both the Arab world — what are the Palestinians supposed to do when these images circulate internationally, say, “oh well, it was a court decision” — and in the West.
But once again it is the extreme malice of the British reaction which takes the breath away. The British consulate says it is ‘unacceptable’ that Israel should act in accordance with the law as laid down by its own Supreme Court. The British thus ignore law and justice, history and truth to support instead illegal Arab actions which deny the Jewish ownership of the land in question. And what in heaven’s name has this property dispute between Israel and the Arabs in Jerusalem got to do with the British anyway? As I remarked here the other day, they appear to think they are still administering the Palestine Mandate – where they exhibited similar partisanship in the interests of injustice, illegality and the Arab cause against Jewish rights.
As a mild example of the vituperation this story elicited, take Vlad Len’s comment in response to the Times of London piece:
I heard a long time ago about this case and couldn’t bring myself to believe that a supposedly democratic and free society would commit such an outright crime as this. My heart breaks to think of what the families in Sheikh Jarrah must be going through. 19 new homeless palestinian children – over 50 homeless palestinians…and the Israelis *wonder* why they don’t have peace – Israel sows the seeds of terrorism and nurtures them.
Through the wilful blindness, historical amnesia, double standards, moral inversion and rank injustice of the reaction to these evictions, Sheikh Jarrah stands as an emblem of the British, American and European truth-denying attitude to the Arab war against Israel – the real cause of the whole Middle East impasse.
This kind of misguided advocacy journalism is not the way to peace; it’s not good or professional journalism. It’s folly.