Op-Ed: An Open Letter to Mr. Nahum Barnea
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He has just prblished a book about the Vatican and Israel titled "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.
Mr. Barnea, you are a much respected writer and one of the most widely known Israeli columnists, a kind of emblem of the Israeli media mainstream and its commentators. That is why I address you about the recent column you wrote for Yedioth Ahronoth.
I stand ashamed because you morally and politically equated Palestinian Arab racism to the Israeli society and people.
Who is verbally inciting, Mr. Barnea? The Arab hatred, which has spread like a plague to all the Arab countries and has reached a peak surpassed only by Goebbels' propaganda of hate against the Jews, or the "settlers", who are defending with their bodies the front lines of the state?
No, Mr. Barnea. Israeli families are not paid rewards by their government when their relatives are killed in terror activities.
No, Mr. Barnea, the Israeli soldiers do not use Jewish or Arab children as shields when they initiate a firefight with terrorists.
No, Mr. Barnea, Israeli schools and summer camps don’t brainwash Jewish pupils to undertake violence against Arab civilians.
No, Mr. Barnea, Israeli religious figures do not laud Jewih children who engage in terror operations.
Mr. Barnea, why do you hide the fact that Palestinian children are taught Jews are "dogs" or "sub-humans" and that they do not or should not exist?
Mr. Barnea, you ask: "Who is a bigger racist, the mufti of Jerusalem or Rabbi Dov Lior; what is more violent, the sermons in mosques in Hevron or the leaflets handed out in Jerusalem's synagogues; who is more dangerous, stone throwers in Hawara or price tag youth in Yitzhar?".
I felt personally offended by those lines, since you compared an honest and brave rabbi such as Rabbi Dov Lior to the proto-Nazi cowardly Arab religious figures, such as the PA's mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikremah Sabri, and the Palestinian chief Islamic judge, Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, who issued religious decrees authorizing the killing of Arabs who sell property to Jews and forbidding Muslims from burying them in Islamic cemeteries.
But worse, Mr. Barnea, you equated the beheaders of Jewish children from Hawara to their victims in Yitzhar, where many innocent Jews have been buried because of Arab-Islamic racism.
Mr. Barnea, I feel sad. Because if even you, a journalist who lost a son in a suicide terror attack, erased the moral issue in the Israeli-Arab conflict, the difference between those who perpetrated the Maalot carnage and those who built the Schneider hospital for children, it means that the mainstream of Israeli society is sick.
Two years ago, a Jewish father and son, the Palmers, were killed by a Palestinian Arab stone hurled at their car near Hevron, where Rav Lior also lived. But the media and establishment, to which you, Mr. Barnea belong, the following day ignored the Palmers and focused on the “hilltop youth” assault on the IDF’s Ephraim regional division.
Is it possible, Mr. Barnea, that the media to which you belong downplayed those killings, since their members are motivated by disdain for “the settlers”? Is it possible that nobody reminded you, Mr. Barnea, that army’s most important mission in Judea and Samaria today is not to fight Jews, but the terrorists?
No, Mr. Barnea, painting a slogan on an Arab house, the so called "price tag", while reprehensible, is not the same as butchering Jewish children in their bedroom in Itamar.