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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Arab columnist calls Israeli offer to help Syrians "blackmail"

On Monday I reported about an Israeli organization that is sneaking into Jordan to help Syrian refugees, and linked to an Israeli Channel 2 news report on the topic.

I admit I wasn't thrilled with the made-for-TV portions where they (presumably the TV producer) tell the Syrians that they are Israeli and the astonished reactions are filmed. The TV station was staging things for drama, as they are wont to do. But here we see an Arab TV journalist, Diana Mukkaled, who really thinks that this entire endavor is simply blackmail on the part of Israelis!

Syrian regime loyalists received a gift from Israeli TV when the latter screened a short film about people labeled “activists” who risk their lives by entering “hostile territory” in order to support Syrian refugees. “Assad is slaying Syrians while the world is standing still, but some people are taking action … Israelis,” is how the film starts.

This is more than enough for “patriots” who are out to protect Arab rights to take advantage of the plight of Syrian refugees inside and outside Syria in order to promote the conspiracy theory that attributes the Syrian revolution to a Zionist/Western scheme.

The film shows how a group of Israelis, disguised as Bedouins, enter areas sheltering Syrian refugees in Jordan (though the country is not named in the film) and start befriending them and providing them with supplies. They tell them they are Israelis and use cameras to zoom in on their faces that display a mixture of astonishment and confusion.

There is a woman whose husband was attacked by Syrian regime thugs and needs an urgent surgery or else would lose his eyesight. When she knows that those offering her help are Israelis she starts crying for she would rather have her husband lose his eyesight than resort to this kind of help.

The film ends with a question posed by one of the Israelis in the group about the nature of the animosity between Syrians/Arabs and Israelis. He wonders if Israelis extending a helping hand to Syrian refugees now would be latter attacked by those same refugees in the future.

Is there a cheaper form of blackmail than offering to save a refugee’s eyesight provided that it is done in Israel?

This film will not make a difference for Syrian refugees nor would it change the stance of Israeli authorities who are from the beginning of the Syrian revolution siding with the Syrian regime because it provides with border stability. It will also have no impact whatsoever on the Arab-Israeli conflict that is much more complicated that a few scenes screened for a film and which are not even plausible.

However, the way Israeli TV hurried to make use of the tragedy of Syrian refugees reveals the shallowness with which it understands the future relationship between the Arab Spring and the conflict with Israel. It also reveals absolute insensitivity.

Portraying the “moral superiority” of Israeli activists through putting Syrian refugees to tests related to their stance on Israel is a cheap attempt that would ultimately fail in undermining the Syrian revolution or making its aims any less noble.
Yes, she says that Israelis helping Syrians is "insensitive."

Yes, she says that Isrselis offering to help save a Syrian's eyes in Israel is "blackmail."

Yes, she says that the people doing this are really trying to shore up the Syrian regime.

Yes, she says that Israel TV is trying to undermine the Syrian revolution.

The clown who hands out candy to make the homeless Syrian kids laugh? He is an Assad supporter!

Israel Derangement Syndrome - the seething hatred that twists everything any Israeli does to make it into an insidious, anti-Arab plot - seems to be an incurable disease, even among educated, presumably liberal Arabs.