Sunday, June 24, 2012

The HuffPo Wrings Blood From A Stone

When the Huffington Post finds a good anti-Israel story, it acts like a bulldog: sinks in its teeth and never lets go. We saw that with James Zogby and the e-mails searches, we all saw it with the omnipresent Haredi problem, and now we are saying it with the migrant workers situation there. This time around they have called up Kumera Genet, a "youth employment professional," to rake Israel over the coals yet again.

As is the case with many Huffington Post articles, Mr. Genet starts with a legitimate point of view but then goes too far. In this case he talks about the anti-migrant worker riot in Tel Aviv and the "xenophobia" that the Israeli public in general express towards them. Obviously the only reason the Israelis could possibly feel this way is because of racism, and not because of the many reasons other reasons that countries don't want immigrants, including the USA. And of course nothing is included about how Israel as a sovereign state can decide perfectly well who can and cannot live there.

Mr. Genet is also confusing about his terms. He uses "refugee" and "migrant" interchangeably, ostensibly because Israel's government classifies refugees and migrants when they shouldn't (even though he has no solid proof that this is true). According to every news article I've read only migrant workers are being deported, not refugees, with a cash incentive as well, though none of this makes it into the article. Again, this isn't to defend the decision of Israel's government, because Mr. Genet can disagree with it if he wants to.

The trouble is that very soon into the article he makes it clear that this isn't about treatment of Sudanese migrant workers/refugees, it's about Jewish people:
"I question how informed the majority of Jewish Americans are about the treatment of African refugees in Israel. I cynically wonder if South Tel Aviv is included in the itinerary for the increasingly popular Birthright Israel tours. Israel's current plan to secure the southern border with Egypt is to build a fence through the Sinai Desert to deter migrants from entering. I assume that this sounds eerily familiar to my Jewish American compatriots, and that more Jewish organizations that spoke out against Arizona SB 1070 will have the courage and empathy do the same against the Israeli government."
Funny how it's never enough to just criticize the policies, you have to bring Jews and Nazi comparisons into it. Admittedly this time around it's more subtle than usual, but it's still very much there. And I wonder if Mr. Genet is aware that hey! America has an illegal immigrant problem too and hey! America is building a fence too! Why doesn't that sound "eerily familiar?" Oh right because it's a foreign country and not our own.

After this Mr. Genet backtracks, explaining that not all Israelis hate black people and that immigration (and opposition to it) is a world wide problem. If only he had written an article saying that last bit on the whole, and not singled Israel out, it would have made more sense. But then, it probably wouldn't have been published on the Huffington Post.

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