Lessons from the Bus Tragedy of February 16

Reporting from Israel: Yovav Kalifon

A bus collided with a truck on February 16 outside Jerusalem. It was packed with Palestinian children. It flipped on its side and caught fire.

According to some reports, 5 children perished. Others say 10 lost their lives.       Whatever the number may be, it was a tragedy.

In some Arab sources, it was said the truck was a “Zionist truck”. True, it was a licensed yellow-plate truck, but driven by an Israel-Arab…

Also, many publications in Arabic failed to mention that the most seriously injured children were rushed to Israeli hospitals.

Of course, first on the scene were Israeli fire-fighters, paramedics and security forces, but some say it was because Palestinian aid was delayed at check-points.

Still, the thing which really made headlines was an image of “talk-backs”, taken from the Walla Facebook news page, featuring a handful of racist remarks by Israelis, happy to know the casualties were Arab.

Truth be told, such remarks are a disgrace to Israel and to mankind, but that’s not what this post is about.

What really caught my attention was how the media and the public took that “evidence” to the extreme, trying to show how immoral Israeli society is, how prolonged occupation corrupts humanity in Israel, how the truth is finally out there…

Hang on one second please. Let’s count how many racist remarks were spotted. A handful? Now let’s count how many Israelis expressed pain and sympathy in their talk-backs. Let’s count how many Israeli bloggers and talk-backs condemned the racist remarks. And let’s recall Walla removed the racist remarks within minutes…

And also, let’s look again at Israeli institutions and representatives. The president of Israel, as well as the prime minister expressed their grief over the accident and offered their assistance to the PA. Israeli doctors are still fighting to save the lives of the injured.

The obvious conclusion is plain to see –

– A bunch of racist talk-backs do not represent Israeli society. The whole thing was a spin, spun out of proportion.

The more interesting conclusion might be this –

– Elements in the media tend to pick on Israel and take things out of proportion.

The ultimate effect might be this –

1) Israelis who feel the way I feel might tend to dismiss future accusations of belonging to a racist society, arguing (justly) that the media picks on Israel no matter what.

2) The media, becoming ever more inclined to bash Israel, will tend to dismiss other angles and stories that really are worth covering.



Post from: http://yovav-kalifon.tumblr.com

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