It’s a horrible time to be a civilian in Gaza, as ABC, NBC and CBS never tire of telling audiences. But it’s not a good time to be Jewish in Europe, either – maybe not even in America. In the month since the fighting in Gaza began, anti-Semitism has been surging across Europe, as protests against the IDF offensive drop any pretense of being about Israel and turn into orgies of anti-Semitic hate. The response from the U.S. broadcast networks: silence.
In Athens, Greece, a Holocaust memorial was vandalized, as was one in Sevastopol, Crimea. There have been at least nine attacks on French synagogues since the fighting began, and a Jewish-owned shop was burned in Paris. The cars of Jewish families have been vandalized in Amsterdam. Scores of anti-Semitic incidents have occurred in Italy, Britain and Germany. A synagogue was vandalized in Miami, and #HitlerWasRight trended worldwide on Twitter. Oh, and just the other day a Hamas official trotted out the old blood libel that Jews used to kill Christians and use their blood to bake matzos.
None of this has made the networks’ morning or evening news. In the last month, there’s been just one mention of rising anti-Semitism, from NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. On the July 31, “Today,” the co-host teased that “some worldwide protests against Israeltake an anti-Semiticturn.”
Guthrie then said to Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer,“We`ve seen some anti-war, anti-Israeli protests around the world, but some of them have taken a disturbing turn and become anti-Semiticin nature.” (Even then Guthrie managed to place the burden on Israel, asking “How concerned are you about that and – and do you ask yourselves, OK, we may be winning militarily, but are we losing the larger battle, the PR war, and perhaps as – as one headline put it yesterday, minting the next generation of – of terrorists?”)
Had “Today” been interested, it could easily have picked up a report from its Miami affiliate about cars in a Miami neighborhood vandalized with “Jew” and “Hamas” written on them. And NBC might have noticed a related report of swastikas painted on Miami synagogues.
By contrast, in a CNN report on August 2, national correspondent Deborah Feyerick noted that at many of the 200 rallies across America since the fighting intensified, “Pro-Palestinian demonstrators with signs and slogans show images of Hitler, the holocaust and apartheid, images that confuse historical facts and fan the flames of religious intolerance.” Some American Jews, she said “fear that the growing anti-Semiticrhetoric and hate speech could reach levels not seen in generations.”
On July 22, The Times of London interviewed a Jewish Parisian in the aftermath of a violent anti-Jewish riot:
“‘They were shouting: ‘Death to Jews,’ and ‘Slit Jews’ throats’,” said David, a Jewish sound engineer who has lived in the multicultural Parisian suburb of Sarcelles for 49 years. ‘It took us back to 1938.’”
There are literally scores of incidents recorded – far too many to be noted here. The Washington Post, and dozens of other outlets have done decent reporting on them. But not the big three networks. They have their narrative – Israeli overreaction and Palestinian victims – and they’re not interested in complicating it.