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Monday, October 15, 2007

Anti-semitic act at the UN? Reporters stay mum.

Steven Edwards in the National Post writes an opinion piece saying that sometimes it is best to ignore racist and bigoted acts because publicizing them plays into the hands of the haters. The example that he brings, of a Jewish/Israeli colleague brushing off such an incident, seems to imply that someone at the UN made a threat against a Jew there:
A Jewish colleague recently returned to his desk at the United Nations to discover someone had anonymously dropped off a full-colour map showing Nazi-controlled Europe in 1942.

An Israeli, he had days earlier been among journalists Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the anti-Israel Iranian President, had approached after giving a press conference.

Ahmadinejad had no idea who any of the journalists were as he sought to charm them with a handshake, and quickly withdrew his hand when my colleague announced he was a "proud Zionist."

The colleague could have made all sorts of fuss about the appearance of the Nazi map, suggesting there had been a connection between that occurrence and the handshake with Ahmadinejad, or even other anti-Israel sentiment at the UN, of which there is much.

To my surprise, he did not dwell on the incident, saying only he wouldn't mind knowing who exactly left the map and why.

It seems likely the map depositor was trying to make some sort of negative -- even threatening -- point. My colleague's reaction disempowered that person.

With all due respect to Mr. Edwards and his friend, an explicit anti-semitic act at the United Nations should be exposed. This is not the same as a random swastika in a public place, which is bad enough, but this implies that an employee or associate of the organization that is supposed to be a major upholder of peace is guilty not only of misoziony but also of naked Jew-hatred. That is, by definition, newsworthy.

It is arguable whether the Jewish victim disempowered his attacker by ignoring him, or it is entirely possible that his ignoring it could empower that person to do something worse later, but what cannot be denied is that this event is something that should have been exposed.

For that matter, so should the handshake incident between this Israeli and Ahmadinejad. I could find no record of this, from any of the hundreds of journalists that covered the Iranian thug's visit, just as they ignored Karnit Goldwasser's encounter with Ahmadinejad - witnessed by dozens of reporters and academics.

What the hell is wrong with journalists when they argue that they should be reporting less, or when they accept invitations from a dictator for dinner and refuse to report it, as Brian Williams and Christiane Amanpour evidently did?

Journalistic bias should be towards more news, not less, especially in an era of unlimited Internet bandwidth. Imagine the outcry from journalists if a politician would argue that they shouldn't have covered the Columbia bias cases last week.

These stories not being reported seem to indicate that the mainstream media is an old-boys club as opposed to a group of people dedicated to exposing real news.