Recently, the legendary Helen Thomas, 89 years old, was forced to retire after making private statements caught on video regarding Israel. Shortly thereafter, Thomas issued an apology on her website, stating that she deeply regretted her comments, and that they did not reflect her “heartfelt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance.”
Nevertheless, her apology for a private comment made about her personal opinion on the Israeli occupation was not enough. Pro-occupation talking heads, such as Ari Fleisher, the Bush Administration’s former spokesman, demanded that Thomas be fired. Not long after the video surfaced, Thomas announced her retirement, thus casting a shadow over her otherwise exemplary career as one of the first and most respected female journalists the world has ever known.
But there is a moral abyss when it comes to discussing Israel’s brutal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and this week, that double-standard reared its ugly head yet again.
The Israeli government’s press office last week sent out an offensive spoof entitled “We Con the World,” a parody of the Michael Jackson classic “We are the World” video. The spoof has since gone viral. Featured in the video was Caroline Glick, one of the video’s producers. Glick is an American-Israeli and the deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post. She is also a friend of some of the looniest conservative characters around today. When the company she keeps is the likes of right-wing nuts Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, it’s no surprise that Glick makes an appearance in the video sporting a Palestinian hata (a black and white checkered scarf) and wielding a knife while she awkwardly jams to the bigoted song. It is also no surprise that Glick has not apologized for her part in the spoof, given the racist mind-frame that has consumed her and her cohorts.
Never mind the fact that Glick and her crew look idiotic in their painful attempt at comedy, the message of the video adds insult to injury just two weeks after Israeli Defense Forces boarded a civilian ship and killed at least nine people on board, injuring several others. Six civilians who were thrown overboard by IDF soldiers are still missing. Now the question that begs answering is, if an 89-year-old icon of journalism can be forced into retirement for privately making a comment opposed to the Israeli occupation, what’s to come of the editor of a major international newspaper who publicly participates in an overtly racist video that condones the death of innocent civilians? Maybe we should ask Ari Fleisher.
The masterfully-composed lyrics (yes, I’m being sarcastic here) state that there are “no people dying,” but that somehow the world was being conned to believe that they are. One wonders whether this is a reference to “no people dying” in Gaza or on the Flotilla itself. However, whether we’re discussing the over 1,000 Palestinians that were killed in Israel’s barbaric attack on Gaza in January of 2009, or the nine international human rights activists that were killed on the Freedom Flotilla just last week, it is rather insulting that the government would then sponsor a claim that there are “no people dying.” Perhaps, if as Glick and the Israeli government do, you don’t count Palestinians and human rights activists as real people, that statement would not offend. However, for those of us in the world that value human life regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion, the statement that there are “no people dying” is morally repugnant.
The fact that the deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post single-handedly manages to make a mockery of her profession (and her professionalism), and by extension that of her newspaper, through her dreadful contribution to this video calls for swift response from the Jerusalem Post. Caroline Glick should be fired. But don’t hold your breath waiting to hear that message from the people who called for Helen’s head. The double standard could not be any more apparent.