Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Staying Focused: Israeli Rape By Deception Case Ctd.

The usually thoughtful Ron Kampeas of JTA has chosen to wade into the Israeli rape by deception case. Mr. Kampeas appears to have spent about as much time learning about the issue as did Andrew Sullivan, whose now infamous, off-the-cuff defamation proclamation was made famous in my initial post:
But it’s the visceral emotional core of this that is so offensive. It’s about racism, religion and the risk of miscegenation. It’s about the deep disgust of some Israeli Jews toward Arabs, upheld by the courts. It’s a variant of the racial sexual panics of the Jim Crow South.
Parroting Sullivan, Ron insists that:
...a judge and a prosecutor conspired to make miscegenation an acceptable crime.
Conspired? Miscegenation? Where do these unwarranted bludgeons for words come from? Surely not from the evidence of the case, which has now been revealed to the public as a simple pleading down of forced rape charges due to the prosecution's concerns over the raped woman's mental health and credibility. What does it mean when highly intelligent people, whose job it is to remain informed on such issues, continue to distort the public record and insinuate a sinister, state-sponsored racial tinge to this case, where none exists?

Ron, you may push and peddle this in any direction you like. You may feel comfortable asking us to, "Listen to the victim. Take her in and care for her. Not an inappropriate Elul message." If so, you've missed the point entirely. This is not a story about a rape, just as the original story, reported in dozens of international media outlets wasn't about the obscure details of a rape in a remote corner of the world.

I feel for the suffering of the victim, and the public record must be set straight for her sake alone, but her well-being and obtaining the justice that she so deserves are the responsibility of the State of Israel, not American bloggers. What's driving me and so many others to push this matter back into the public eye is a desire to end the pattern of vilification and ugly obsession that so many in the global media have for the Jewish state, which leads them to publish poorly sourced, ideologically driven stories with relish and impunity. As I've written in the past:
This story became global news because of what was read into the verdict handed down to an Arab man in an Israeli court, what the truth of state-sanctioned racism would have meant for Israel's Jewry, for the notion of Jewish statehood, for the Jewish soul itself.
This is about confronting a pattern of behavior inconsistent with journalistic credibility and professional integrity.
Without that element, that "visceral emotional core" that allowed Andrew to believe that a Jewish state and its people were predisposed to systematic racist prejudice, it would have been just another unfortunate, messy case of "he said - she said" rape between two less-than-upstanding citizens that every criminal system in the world must tackle on a daily basis. How many women were raped on the same day, in ways more and less brutal, all around the world? Why did THIS story break international headlines when none other did? What does that say about the state of the news media, in Israel and abroad, in the way they have conditioned themselves to accept the most vile insinuations about Israel and Israeli Jews without the minimum critical thought demanded by journalistic standards? Why, even after the truth has been made known, have retractions and apologies not been published?
It's not the State of Israel that is victimized by this assault on journalistic integrity, but the readership these news outlets claim to serve. I won't ask that you retract your wanting analysis of this story, Ron, merely that you step aside and allow Andrew Sullivan to regain some credibility by retracting his.

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