Stereotypes

Posted on February 17th, 2009

The following is a lead of a CNN story today.

“NEW YORK (CNN) — The founder of an Islamic television station in upstate New York aimed at countering Muslim stereotypes has confessed to beheading his wife, authorities said.”

Yes, you got that. A guy who is upset that people consider Muslims to be a violent people just lopped his wife’s head off. Sort of reminds me of the Muhammad cartoon episode a few years back. Remember where angry Muslim rioters threatened to burn down the embassy of any country publishing cartoons that insinuated that Muslims are prone to violence?

But of course, it is always the Israelis who are the international pariahs. Doing research for an article on BBC coverage of the Gaza War, I had to take a break and contemplate the sheer insanity of it. It seems, at least according to the BBC, that people around the globe are in complete shock that civilians were killed during the conflict.

Wait, let me clarify that remark because it’s not completely true. People are shocked that PALESTINIAN civilians were killed. The rallies and anguish and tears were oddly missing when ISRAELI civilians were killed by Palestinian rockets. The BBC even spoke with educated Jordanians who frequently travel on business to Israel who now say they “can’t even look their Israeli colleagues in the eyes.” Yes, we Israelis really had a great deal of chutzpah by not agreeing to have our kids killed by rockets. Don’t look me in the eyes fellas, wouldn’t want to compromise your sense of morality.

Of course now the biggest worry of the world seems to be that Israel’s next government will be “right wing.” They fear the evil Netanyahu because he has made the crazy threat that the world would be a better place if the terrorist organization Hamas was destroyed. Or perhaps people are terrified of Avigdor Lieberman’s strange notion that Israel should not extend all sorts of state benefits to people actively engaged in trying to destroy the State?

Then there is the greatest fear – that religious political parties (you know, the ones described as “ultra-orthodox, extreme right-wing, fundamentalist, anti-democratic, etc.”) will be some part of the ruling coalition. As if laws mandating kosher chicken will affect the prospect of world peace.

Yet the crazy truth is that not a single Israeli political party is as extreme as the most “moderate” Arabs. That’s because there really is no truly “moderate” Arab leadership.

Where are the left-wing Arab leaders? Isn’t there a single Arab country anywhere on Earth where they hold rallies demanding an end to rocket fire on Israel? Can someone show me an Arab organization that is lobbying the world for the release of Gilad Shalit? What non-profit organization in the Arab world raises money to help Israeli children traumatized by daily rocket fire?

Not a day goes by when some Jewish charity here or abroad doesn’t send out an appeal to help Palestinian children. Even during the war we kept sending in truckloads of food and medicine for Palestinians while they sent out rockets and mortars. Yet somehow this strange overriding compassion for those who want to kill us never changes the stereotype of the evil war-loving Israeli.

This week, the United Arab Emirates – according to many in the media, the “Moderate United Arab Emirates” – is holding a world class professional tennis tournament. Israel’s Shahar Peer is one of the best tennis players in the world and was scheduled to compete. Yet this MODERATE Arab state has decided that she can’t come. You see she has a “disability.” She is Israeli.

Could you imagine what the media would say if even the hated and feared extreme Likud party were to announce that Arabs could not come to Israel to compete in a sporting match?

Because I live out here in the “West Bank,” I am stereotyped by the world as some kind of deranged, extremist settler. Yet the truth of the matter is that while I may be a bit fanatical about riding a bike, I really have no desire to hurt anyone who doesn’t want to hurt me. I don’t want to burn down embassies or ban people from playing tennis.

And I have never even contemplated cutting off someone’s head.

Shabbat Shalom from our blessed nation.


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