If you want to understand the sad state of American media on Israel, then go no further than Emily Harris’s report for National Public Radio yesterday on teaching little Israeli children about the Holocaust on Holocaust Remembrance day. It was, to use a scientific term, pap. Titled, “In Israeli Kindergartens, An Early Lesson In The Holocaust,” it contained an advertisement for the Israeli army:
Then [teacher Nava Ron] asks the children what they know about [the Holocaust]. One child says Israeli soldiers protect them now. Another pipes up and says at that time, the whole world was at war.
Ron agrees. She directs the conversation toward democracy, tolerance and other ways to solve conflicts.
What’s so shocking about this piece is that Israeli media, and even the president of the United States, are doing a much better job of problematizing this narrative than NPR is capable of doing.
The same day NPR told its listeners that the Israeli army is protecting little Jews from Jew-haters, the BBC aired a piece by Jeremy Bowen quoting Yehuda Shaul on how 50 years of policing an occupation has corrupted Israel and corrupted its army.
And Haaretz published a story on some elite Israeli high schools ending the program of sending students off to Auschwitz, in which it addressed the “fascization” of Israeli society.
Citing the dangerous rise of nationalism in Israel, principal Zeev Degani announced that as of next year, Gymnasia Herzliya would no longer be sending delegations to Poland. Instead, it would find ways to educate its students at home about the Holocaust…
“As I see it, this is our antidote – and pardon the expression – to the process of fascisization that is taking over politics in this country,” he told Haaretz.
And meantime, Israeli media have been all over a similar warning about Israeli political culture issued by Yair Golan, the deputy chief of staff for the Israeli army:
“If there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance, it’s the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then — 70, 80 and 90 years ago — and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016.”
This is the Israel that NPR can’t bring itself to see.
And why do I mention President Obama. Here is President Obama’s statement two days ago on Holocaust Remembrance Day. In yet another signal that he has had it up to here with the one and only Jewish state, the statement doesn’t reference Israel.
2013: Obama mentions Israel twice.
2014: Obama mentions Israel once.
2015: He doesn’t mention Israel.
And look back at 2009. Israel was all over it, from start to finish:
in the final analysis, I believe history gives us cause for hope rather than despair — the hope of a chosen people who have overcome oppression since the days of Exodus; of the nation of Israel rising from the destruction of the Holocaust; of the strong and enduring bonds between our nations.