Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Two Sides, or Not Two Sides, That is the Question

I've been upset since yesterday by the disgraceful episode described in this link. As a radical moderate I always want to understand both sides of a story, but I haven't seen any coverage of this event that even tries to explain why the wedding guests acted this way. Were they simply boorish, racist, violent thugs? I keep thinking there must be some more background to the story. How could so many people display such horrible behavior, not only creating a tremendous chillul hashem but ruining the simcha of a wedding - and a very publicized one at that. I just don't get it. (I won't even get into the earlier events described in this article - they're just too sickening to think about.)

On the other hand, there are stories where the two sides are both well-articulated and supported, yet utterly at odds with one another. I find the current allegations of Arab olive tree destruction by Israeli settlers to be an example. I really want to fully believe the story presented by Arutz-7 and other nationalistic sources, but if their evidence and arguments are so airtight, why has the government taken the Arab side so completely, without even expressing the slightest doubt that there could be another version of events? Wouldn't it be to the government's own benefit to present the Jewish side of the story, if the proofs for such a version are truly supportable?

Though it pains me to say so, my innate skepticism forces me to think that the elusive "truth" is somewhere in-between here - i.e., there may have been some cases of actual vandalism, and also some attempts to falsely take advantage of it. I sincerely hope I'm wrong on the first count.


At 1/15/06, 12:47 AM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

The government does have a stake in making Jewish resident of Yehuda and Shomron look bad. When it decides to organize another withdrawal it will help to think that the people they are removing from their homes are not worthy. I've written why I'm skeptical of the claims (because of a past incident where the claim was so clearly improbable) and haven't yet heard anything convincing otherwise. (The closest would be the testimony of the head of the Shin Bet Yuval Diskin. But his testimony was that he had evidence that the tree cutting was to take place. Interestingly - you may think I'm reaching here - he didn't identify the suspected culprits.)

At 1/15/06, 3:00 AM, Blogger westbankmama said...

You have just touched on one of my greatest frustrations. Those who don't live in Israel and listen to the Americans who have made aliyah complain about the media/government corruption, etc., etc. just don't believe us, BECAUSE IT SOUNDS TOO CRAZY TO BE TRUE. We MUST be exaggerating, it CAN'T be that bad, and that we must all be conspiracy theorists.

It is that bad, and no, we are not all conspiracy theorists. Read Carolyn Glick, Evelyn Gordon in the Jerusalem Post. Read Makor Rishon in Hebrew. And yes, read Arutz 7. Their viewpoint is right wing, but they don't lie.

At 1/15/06, 4:53 AM, Blogger Joe Settler said...

I was at the Amar wedding.

The brawlers were not wedding guests. They were uninvited wedding crashers.

They came to the wedding looking for "action".
Yes, they were "simply boorish, racist, violent thugs"; Shababnikim - is the common term for them.

It was the Amar family that called the police.

There is usually more to a story than what is reported in the media.

Mrs. JoeSettler

At 1/15/06, 5:51 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Elie: I asked the JoeSettler family to comment, since I knew they were at the wedding.

Your posting really hurt -- since I see this happen all the time. I've personally been at newsworthy events and was shocked by the media's distortion of what happened. You would think they were reporting from a different planet instead of what actually happened.

As a rule, I am always "dan l'kaf zechut" whenever I see news like this -- even if it goes against the grain of logical thinking. When you read about a chilul Hashem, specifically from a settler or religious Jews, it pays to be dan l'k'af zechut, since many times the story evaporates without any facts anchoring it to the ground.

All too often, the media retraction buried on page 23 in the lower right hand corner never makes the same waves as the sensationalist headline and initial story.

At 1/15/06, 9:54 AM, Blogger Elie said...

David, WBM, Joe, Jameel:

Thanks so much for the detailed responses.

David, your point has logic to it, though it's hard to believe that the government would be more interested in besmirching the settlers reputations, than protecting that of the country as a whole. It's sad and shortsighted of them to them not to realize that stories like this reflect badly on all of Israel in the world's eyes. Israel does a terrible job with Hasbara (PR).

WBM: You hit on my exact problem. I am deeply skeptical of conspiracy theories in general and when the conventional story is so widely reported, I have trouble believing that there is absolutely no truth to it, that the media coverage is that biased.

Joe: That's the exact information I was hoping to hear. Thanks!

Jameel: Sorry if what I wrote hurt you. This will sound terribly cliched, but it hurt more to write than to read, I can promise you. I am genuinely struggling to understand the truth of this and similar stories, and always keep hoping that what my heart wants to believe is right, despite what my cynical head keeps telling me.

Question for all: Are there any unimpeachably "centrist" news sources in Israel, ones that cannot be claimed to have an agenda for either the left or right? The Jerusalem Post seemed like it qualified a few years ago but lately it's almost indistinguishable from Haaretz.

At 1/15/06, 10:12 AM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

The sad thing is that it's happened before.
I'm not going to buy everything Barry Chamish has to sell. However the way the Labor party used that murder (and was abetted by the media) was disgraceful. (There had to have been members of the government who knew that Eyal was Raviv - a GSS agent - and said nothing.)
When it comes to "peace," peace becomes the supreme value, trampling over many other values. Freedom being one of them.
The world of course sees nothing wrong with Israel trampling on the rights of Israeli citizens in a way that it would condemn Israel for doing to Arabs.

At 1/16/06, 7:46 AM, Blogger SS said...

Elie, I'm so sorry, but the government just does not like the "sttlers". They are too worried about what America and the American President will say to actually stand up and admit that we (Israel) might actually be right, or have a right to... well, anything. They're more interested in being liberal (pro-Arab) than "extreme" (nationalistic/Zionistic).

As to your question of a centrist news source. Well, probably not. Not in print, anyway. That's the ocuntry I live in - eeryone is tilted one way or the other.


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