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I'm Switching From Fox News To Nickelodeon                                                                      

 

By Jeff Dunetz

                                                               

 

Jewsweek.com August 2002| Since losing my job last October I have become
something of a news junkie. I sit in my home office looking for work
via the PC and, at the same time, maneuver the satellite remote
between CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and when I can find it, even the BBC. I
have gotten so good at switching channels; I am able to see the same
news story on all the networks at the same time, just through some
agile thumb work.

But today, today I am turning over a new leaf, no more news.
Gilligan's Island reruns on TV Land, maybe, but news no. I can't
take it anymore. The more I watch, the more I upset I get. And the
worst part is mean things come across my mind. Nasty things about
governments and people, thoughts that can't be true.

Last month for example, I watched reports about the world's reaction
to the tragic accidental civilian deaths that accompanied the
Israel's justified killing of Salah Shehada, the Hamas leader
responsible for hundreds of Jewish civilian casualties. I saw
Israeli citizens chastise their government and mourn for the
Palestinian civilian losses. I viewed the reports of governments
criticizing Israel from all over the world.

And then a few days later when Palestinians ambushed civilians who
were driving to a friend's house for Shabbat dinner, I heard
nothing. And as I was thumbing my way across the all-news universe,
I thought to myself could it just be that so many of the world's
governments believe that Jewish lives are so cheap? When Israel
targets a Hamas killer and there are accidental civilian casualties,
there is mourning in the Israel and across the world. Yet when
Jewish civilians are targeted and killed, the only sounds you hear
around the world are Israelis mourning and Palestinians dancing.

I don't like when my mind wanders into this territory. It goes
against everything I was taught. Maybe I should watch the Crocodile
Hunter, because when I watch CNN, I get the feeling that the State
Department of the United States has a dirty little secret, one they
don't want the President to find out. They don't care about Jewish
lives. I shouldn't think such thoughts. But tell me why is it when
the U.S. kills 40 people at an Afghan wedding, it is a tragic
mistake, but when Israel makes a mistake just as wrong its rouses
condemnation? Why doesn't the state department admit the U.S. and
Palestinian Authority are almost a culpable in the tragic deaths in
Gaza, as Israel is? Consider this, Mr. Shehada was in an Israeli
prison until the Oslo accords, when the State Department pressured
Israel to release him. Mr. Arafat had him in prison also, but let
him out the back door. And how come the State Department had to be
pushed by the President and public opinion to put Hamas on its list
of terrorist organizations?

Maybe I should switch from MSNBC to the History Channel because it
is wrong for me to think so poorly of Israel's neighbors in the Arab
countries. It seems like once a week, I hear Egypt and Saudi Arabia
comparing Israeli actions to the Nazi's. Every time I view one of
those pieces on the news I keep thinking that the state-run news
organizations in many of those countries constantly run anti-Jewish
propaganda, like the Saudi newspaper that ran a blood libel Purim
piece. "For this holiday, the Jewish people must obtain human blood
so that their clerics can prepare the holiday pastries. In other
words, the practice cannot be carried out as required if human blood
is not spilled (Saudi newspaper Al-Riyadh, March 2002).

I keep thinking that if they did not support the Hamas terror, maybe
there would be peace. If they did not give Salah Shehada the money
to buy guns and bombs, maybe his wife and daughter along with the
other innocents would be alive today.

My parents taught me to be nice to people, so the switch is on.
Goodbye Fox News and hello Sponge Bob Square Pants. You see, when
the news reports a story like the President of France's refusal to
brand Hezbolla a terrorist organization, or Norway and other the EU
nations condemning Israel for trying to protect itself, those
naughty thoughts start again. "European governments must think that
Jewish blood is cheap."

Of course it's all in my head it can't be true! Just because many of
those governments are complacent about today's rise of anti Semitism
as they were 65 years ago it doesn't mean that they don't care about
Jewish lives. Just because European heads of state call Israel's
Prime Minister to condemn any Israeli acts of self-defense, but
never call to offer condolences after a homicide bombing, it doesn't
mean that they feel that Jewish blood is cheap. I have never lived
in Europe; I don't know their holidays. Maybe there is a European
holiday for news reporters. Isn't it possible that was the day the
EU protested all that aid to the Palestinians being used for terror.

I just can't watch the news anymore, because it makes me think so
poorly of Europe, the United Nations, the Arab nations and sometimes
even my own country. I keep thinking that they cared, but now I
wonder why they are comfortable drawing a moral equivalency between
targeting civilians as the PA has done during this intifada and
accidental civilian casualties that may be caused cause by the IDF
in a defense operation. Why don't they realize that almost 75% of
the casualties that Israel has suffered in this two-year war has
been civilian? Why don't they condemn the Palestinians for dancing
in the street when terrorists kill a little Israeli girl in her crib
still clutching her Mickey Mouse doll?

I know it can't be because they don't care about Jewish lives that
would be immoral. So I am just going to have to thumb over to a
different channel. I got it. Maybe I should watch Judge Judy -- she
usually has all the answers.

{ Jeff Dunetz, a frequent contributor to Jewsweek.com, is a 20-year
marketing veteran and a freelance writer. He is married and the
father of two kids who ask lots of questions about being Jewish that
he can't answer. Jeff has been active in Jewish organizations since
his USY days. Presently he is a Member of the Board of Trustees of
the Dix Hills Jewish Center. }


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