To the editor:
(re: “You don’t have to be Jewish to celebrate Israel’s birthday,” April 26)
Journalistically speaking, I don’t usually see much wrong with the occasional puff piece in local newspapers. I suppose they do serve a certain “community function,” even in their innocuousness.
Regrettably, Simone Johnson’s story is not only not innocuous, but in its complete disregard for context, it is irresponsible. It is rife with both meaningless and misleading sentences such as “a Jewish country that thrives in the Middle East,” and “Israel is one of the most diverse countries.” Seriously?
But far worse is the complete omission of the elephant in the room (with my apologies to elephants): The fact that, at the very moment of this Israeli Day celebration, fenced-off Palestinians in Gaza — posing no physical threat — were being gunned down by Israeli soldiers. A total of 37 of them, including two journalists, were killed, and hundreds injured as of this writing.
In a piece about the celebration of the founding of a “Jewish homeland,” nowhere does Ms. Johnson even hint at the fact that more than 700,000 Palestinians were forcibly pushed out of their own homeland at Israel’s founding.
We expect the usual pandering nonsense from the mouths of politicians (“We reaffirm the unbreakable bonds that reaffirm a stronger democracy in Israel,” (Marricka Scott-McFadden) said. “It is a place that welcomes and loves.”)
Seriously, Ms. Scott-McFadden? Ask refugees from Ethiopia how welcoming Israel is.
But a story about Israel in which the existence of Palestinians is totally ignored is nothing short of irresponsible journalism.