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Still Writing: The world isn’t silent

Published: April 1, 2011
Section: Opinions


In the last couple of weeks, numerous friends of mine have been flooding my Facebook news feed with statuses relating to Israel. Some posts are coherent, such as my cousin’s post: “In the last three days over 70 missiles were fired into Israel.

A bomb was strapped to a phone booth at a Jerusalem bus station, killing one and seriously injuring 31 others. Last week a Palestinian terrorist walked into the house of the Fogel family and murdered Rabbi Fogel, his wife and three of his six children with a kitchen knife. None of this has been given media coverage.”

Others, unfortunately, are not.

One example of a status that was bothersome was nearly identical to the above status except it replaced all of the Israeli cities with U.S. cities, using the comparison to complain that events in Israel do not receive sufficient coverage in the U.S. media.

I support the former status because it directs attention to grave events in Israel. The latter makes a criticism that shouldn’t come as a surprise. News has always focused on domestic affairs with some information on the high-profile international news. Israel is, to an extent, just like any other country. Why should media coverage differ?

I care more about the affairs of Israel than I do about most countries in the world, but we have to remember that, as Jews, we constitute less than .05 percent of the world’s population.

While we (Jews) already have a disproportionate amount of Nobel Prizes and prominence on the world stage, we should not expect the rest of the world always to devote such attention to such a small group of people.

Furthermore, considering Israel has been in a state of conflict almost continuously since its creation, while it may be deplorable, the fact is that conflict in the Middle East is neither interesting nor alarming; it’s merely business as usual.

When something unusual occurs, such as the recent upheavals, people pay attention to the Middle East and Israel because there is a change from the status quo. It’s like Iran or North Korea: unless something changes, there isn’t really anything to report on.

What bothers me is that it appears to be the case that many of us are more concerned with troubles across the Atlantic when there are plenty of problems and concerns to deal with domestically.

Any person should, even if they are a critic of their government, be concerned with the matters of their own country first and foremost before being concerned with others, because ultimately the condition of the country one lives in will have a greater impact on one’s life than a symbolically important one.

It is certainly fine to be concerned with the troubles of one’s friends and neighbors, and Israel has long been a friend to the United States and certainly holds a special value in many peoples’ hearts, but one should not put the affairs of a friend over those happening to people a few miles or a few streets away.

Remember: These events, especially the murder of the Fogel family, are not going unreported. The murder of the Fogel family, as well as the Jerusalem bombing, did manage prominent placement in the news.

Sure I may not have heard about what happened last Wednesday until I received e-mails from the Brandeis Orthodox Organization and the Brandeis University Conservative Organization, but that was simply because I worked very hard that day to avoid CNN.com while taking notes in my classes.