The Subtlety of the Anti-Israel Narrative

The JPF is usually pretty good at spotting anti-Israel biases in the media. Hell, it isn’t really that hard nowadays is it? But today we noticed an anti-Israel phrase that has become so common that we didn’t even realize its implications until now.

The Associated Press reported that after six months of stalling, Indonesia has finally agreed to grant a visa for Israeli Badminton player MIsha Zilberman. Why was this an issue in the first place? They tell us:

Israel does not have formal diplomatic relations with Indonesia and many other Muslim-majority countries,

How many times have you seen this exact sentence repeated in a story relating to Israel and its Muslim neighbors? Countless. This is the standard way in which reporters discuss the non-relations between the world’s many Muslim states and its one Jewish state.

Is this statement technically true? Yes.

Does it tell the true story? No.

The fact of the matter is that Israel would love to have formal diplomatic relations with the world’s many Arab and Muslim countries. The lack of relations isn’t an oversight or a lack of resources. It is a direct consequence of the refusal by the vast majority of those countries to come to terms with Israel’s existence.

Yet the Associated Press, its affiliates and others in the media continue to discuss a mere “lack of relations” as though it were a naturally occurring event with no cause and no solution.

Not only is this a distortion of the facts, but it removes any pressure on these countries to moderate their behavior and recognize reality. When discussing US-Cuban relations, reporters didn’t say there was a “lack of relations” but rather an American embargo in response to threats during the Cold War and Cuba’s horrendous human rights record. Reporting the rupture in relations this way ultimately played a role in forcing both sides to reconsider their actions resulting this year in America beginning to end the embargo (though, sadly, without any reciprocal action by the Cuban government in regards to human rights).

However, since the media merely reports on a “lack of relations” rather than an Arab and Muslim refusal, there is no reason why those states should rethink their policy of rejectionism. But since this rejection has been going on so long it has gained legitimacy as though it were normal.

Until the media changes its tune and tells the world the truth about this aberration of international relations, nothing will change and Israel will continue pay the price.