Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 11/19/21 Season’s Greetings. This weekend sort of unofficially kicks off the movie holiday season. From a faith and inspiration perspective, there’s actually a quite a bit to choose from. Here are some options. tick, tick…BOOM! (in theaters and on Netflix now) Pulitzer Prize and […]
Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 06/02/21
Stocks may fluctuate but the unfortunate trend toward overt anti-Semitism in the media and elsewhere steadily rises. Charles Mizrahi is known as the editor of Alpha Investor Report, an online financial newsletter with more than 200,000 subscribers seeking his investment advice. Separately, he also hosts The Charles Mizrahi Show, a new weekly podcast that literally allows him to voice his opinion about whatever is on this mind while interviewing thoughtful guests. As a grandchild of Jewish immigrants, what’s top of mind for him these days is the alarming rise in anti-Semitic violence on the streets of America – particularly since the recent exchange of missile fire between Israel and Hamas. While, as of this writing a tenuous ceasefire exists, the events of the past month have laid bare how anti-Semitism always lays in wait of an excuse to rise from just beneath society’s surface. The following conversation was edited lightly for clarity.
JWK: What are your starting-point thoughts on the recent events – both in the Middle East and here in the U.S.?
Charles Mizrahi: For so long we’ve been hearing that anti-Zionism does not equate with anti-Semitism – which means I can be against the Jewish state but it doesn’t mean I’m against Jews or I hate Jews. Every time there is some type of flare-up in the Middle East…we see a rise in anti-Semitism. So, sorry, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. You can’t be against the State of Israel and still be for Jews because we see it doesn’t work. On the streets of New York, Los Angeles, London, France, Brussels and Germany the cry is “Death to the Jews!” I’m not an Israeli. I live in America. Why do you people hate me? Why are pointing (to) Jews and equating (them) with the State of Israel?
JWK: How much of a role do you think the news media plays in this?
CM: A huge amount. The news media is distorting, lying, showing just one facet, one side (and) whetting the appetite of Jew haters and Israel haters by not focusing on the reason Israel is defending itself…against 4000 rockets (sent) by a terrorist organization funded by Iran from a location, Gaza, which was given back to (their attackers) to be run independently by the Palestinians in 2005 by Ariel Sharon. The Palestinians voted in a terrorist organization. Israel (doesn’t just) have a right to defend themselves. They have a moral obligation to defend themselves.
JWK: It’s been said that politics is downstream of culture. What part do you think Hollywood in promoting anti-Semitism through, for example, the support so many of its stars give to the BDS movement? Yet a lot of people still seem to contend that the Jews control Hollywood.
CM: Jews only control Hollywood? I thought Jews controlled the world? That’s (basically) what the Pakistani ambassador said a few weeks ago on TV – that Jewish power controls the banks, controls Hollywood (and) controls the media. Why just limit it to Hollywood? It’s the media we control, right? We’re doing a terrible job if that’s the case…And Hollywood? Forget about Hollywood. Actors and actresses who know absolutely zero about the matter are just chiming in.
JWK: Mark Ruffalo of The Avengers just apologized for comparing Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks to “genocide,” tweeting in the aftermath of the recent anti-Semitic attacks that “It’s not accurate, it’s inflammatory, disrespectful & is being used to justify anti-Semitism here & abroad. Now is the time to avoid hyperbole.” I think he deserves credit for that but it doesn’t quite compare actor John Cena’s groveling video apologizing to the Chinese government for actually referring to Taiwan as a country while promoting his new movie. Why is there such a disparity between human rights standards Israel is held to as opposed to China where there actually horrendous human rights violation reported to be occurring? What’s fueling this?
CM: 2000 years of Jew hatred. There’s no other logical answer. Why is it that half of UN resolutions deal with the condemnation of Israel?…I saw the other day Queers for Palestine. Do homosexuals know what happens in Muslim countries to homosexuals?…Israel is the most openly accepting country of homosexuals. In fact, Tel Aviv I think was ranked as one of the top (cities) in terms of gay pride…Why is (Israel) called an “apartheid state” when it’s definitely not. Palestinians can’t hold (many) jobs in Jordan or Lebanon…The penalty for selling land to a Jew in the Palestinian Territory is death. And Israel’s an apartheid state? It has justices who are Israeli-Arab. My daughter, when she gave birth, one of her doctors was an Israeli-Arab. Apartheid state? Israel’s parliament (includes) an Arab party…Where is the Progressive Left when it comes to not only anti-Semitism but where are they when it comes to 4300 rockets being shot at innocent civilians? Where was their outcry? Did you see it? – because I certainly missed it.
JWK: Of course, there’s not much of an outcry against the Uyghur situation in China either.
CM: Millions of Uyghurs are in concentration camps. I haven’t seen much on that. Where are the Progressives crying (out) about that? 85 school girls killed in Kabul, Afghanistan last month. Where is the outcry over that? Boko Haram in Nigeria? I don’t hear much about that either. There are over 40 territorial conflicts throughout the world. I ask why do all these people focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? The Palestinian people have been offered a state more than twenty times since 1937 and have rejected each (offer).
JWK: Recent polling suggests that about 40% of Democrats blame Israel for the recent exchange of missiles. That’s significantly higher than the general population. In your view, why is that?
CM: Just look at the last 20 or so years. The Democratic Party is not the Democratic Party of my mother or grandmother who would rather eat pork than vote Republican. The Democratic Party was the party for the working class, the party for the underclass. What happened? I guess the Democratic Party sees everything the way they look at culture. There’s the white supremacist and there’s the person of color who’s afflicted. And Israel (is seen as) colonialist which is not even true…and Hamas and the Palestinians have to be the ones who are being taken advantage of. It goes (beyond) that. It goes to pure, unadulterated, visceral anti-Semitism that never goes away but basically stays on the back burner, waits for a flashpoint and then rears its ugly head.
JWK: So, if the Democratic Party is hostile to Israel, why do so many Jewish Americans continue to vote for it?
CM: First of all, Jews are their own worst enemy. Bernie Sanders – born a Jew – was the one championing trying to cut aid to Israel. Number Two…Why have Jews always affiliated with the Democratic Party? Why do blacks vote for Democrats? It was the Party of Lincoln – the Republican Party – that was formed specifically to free slaves. It was the Democratic Party throughout the South that kept Jim Crow going. Why do they vote for Democrats?…It’s just an absolutely staggering thing – blacks voting for Democrats and Jews voting for Democrats. (In both cases the party is) working to undermine their advancement.
JWK: You’re a grandchild of Jewish immigrants so the issue of rising anti-Semitism is personal to you. Why should all Americans care?
CM: Why? Wow! First off, they should care about what’s happening in Israel. Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East (and) is a staunch American ally. On 9/11 the Palestinians…were cheering the devastation that happened in the United States…Israel is the staunchest, most dependable ally that the United States has – bar none.
Number Two, they are the only Democracy in the Middle East that has such diversity and such freedom. The place that Arabs have the most freedom (in the Middle East) is in Israel, not the other 20 some odd Arab countries.
Number Three, how does backing Hamas – a terrorist organization backed by Iran – make any sense in the world we live in? They call for the destruction of the United States.
And Number Four, anti-Semitism never stops with the Jews. The Jews are the canary in the coal mine. When there is hatred (and) racism, it starts with the Jew but ends up (directed at) other people as well.
JWK: Do you see the rise in anti-Semitism as intertwined with a rise in anti-Americanism and America shaming?
CM: Possibly. We’re seeing that the chants of “Death to the Jews” are (not just) coming from a lot of Arab groups in the United States (but also) a lot of college campuses, Progressives (and) Leftists. To say that it (involves) hatred of the United States, well, perhaps. But anti-Semitism is its own sickness that is unique in world events. It can’t be excused because it makes zero sense at all. Jews are hated both by the extreme right and the extreme left. To couch it in the sense of trying to explain it or understand (is fruitless). It’ll continue and will always be an enigma.
JWK: You have cited a Jewish proverb that says “He who is compassionate to the cruel will ultimately become cruel to the compassionate.” Would you care to explain that?
CM: Yeah. Look at what we’re seeing now. We’re cruel to the compassionate – to Israel which is a nation with freedoms and liberties, a high GDP and that helps the world….Anywhere in the world where there’s a tragedy, there is an Israeli group that goes to these countries in a heartbeat with doctors. They set up camps and they search for people. They did it in Haiti. They do it in every country where there’s devastation. Why is that? Why is a small, little country caring so much about that? Here they are – a compassionate, caring people who have the most moral army in the world. This is not said by me but a British colonel with twenty years of experience in Afghanistan…Before attacking an enemy terrorist in Gaza, they send cell phone messages and tell people to evacuate a building. They send leaflets. They send knock-knock bombs which are bombs that cause no damage (and) tell people to get out. Israel puts its soldiers in harm’s way in order to protect human life.
And here are certain members in our society (and) throughout the world protesting against this compassionate country. At the same time, these cruel people – Hamas and (other) terrorists – are bent on total and utter destruction. In fact, the other day on Sky News the co-founder of Hamas didn’t mince words. Mahmoud al-Zahar basically said that Israel has no right to exist…and the terror group’s strategy was to target Israeli population centers. And here you are being compassionate to these cruel people. It’ll only come (back) to hurt you in the long run. You cannot be compassionate towards people who are evil.
JWK: Isn’t it a war crime to launch an attack from a populated area – in effect using innocent people as shields against retaliation?
CM: It is. It is a war crime to shoot missiles into civilian populations and it is a war crime to use human shields, especially children, in order to protect your missiles. Has the UN brought that up in a resolution? No? Has the Progressive Left? Has the Squad mentioned this at all? Zero.
Remember, Israel has an Iron Dome to prevent missiles from hitting its citizens. Prime Minister Netanyahu a few years ago – in 2014, I believe – said “Israel uses its missiles to protect its children. Hamas uses its children to protect its missiles.” Isn’t that a war crime?…Where is Gaza’s Iron Dome? Their Iron Dome is peace. Don’t send rockets (aimed at) Israeli citizens. One of (Hamas’ own) rockets landed in an Arab town, killing their own. I saw a study (that says) 25% of missiles sent from Gaza fall in Gaza. You can fact check all this information.* Where is the outcry? Why isn’t anyone talking about this? How could they not be talking about this?
(*Note: While I was able to find support for most of the information presented in this interview I could not find anything backing up this particular claim. – JWK)
JWK: How can the media do a better job of reporting the facts fairly and reducing anti-Semitism?
CM: (By) stopping the big lies (and) calling out big lies when they happen. Don’t let them fester. Don’t let the Progressives or the media call it a “cycle of violence.” There is no “cycle of violence.” “Cycle of violence” means both are equally responsible. Israel didn’t send missiles into Gaza to kill innocents. It was Hamas who was doing that. Israel has no beef (with the Palestinians). The Jew wants to live in peace. We’re only 14-million people in the world. We’re not even a rounding error…yet how is it that there’s such world attention almost daily on what (Jews do to defend themselves)?…What can the media do? Don’t cover up the lies. Don’t perpetuate the lies. Call them out when they see them. (Referring to) the question you just asked, it shouldn’t be a question of “Isn’t it a war crime?” Of course, it’s a war crime. Why aren’t we (charging) Hamas with war crimes? Why isn’t the world furious that for eleven days they shot 4300 with the intent of trying to overwhelm the Iron Dome by sending hundreds at a time?
JWK: I do speak to people on the other side of this issue and they will tell me that the Palestinians are basically walled into a small territory where they have little freedom of movement and are subjected to severe institutionalized discrimination. What’s your response to that?
CM: In Gaza?
CM: Israel doesn’t control Gaza. Hamas does. Israel – in 2005 under Ariel Sharon – ripped up Gush Katif from Israeli citizens – dragged Israeli citizens out of their homes in order to turn Gaza over to the Palestinians to create their own state. Why is there a blockade there? Because instead of taking international money and building an infrastructure, what did they do? They built tunnels and missiles in order to kill Israeli civilians.
Of course there’s a blockade – which is also run by Egypt, as well – in order for Hamas not to get weapons of destruction to kill innocents. Israel provides tens of thousands of pounds every day of food and basic necessary materials (to the Palestinians) even now. Which country in the world does that? In fact, when Hamas was shooting (missiles) and knocking down their (own) electrical grid system, Israeli electricians were fixing (it) so the population could have electricity. Tell me, why isn’t that even talked about?
Of course they’re being blockaded! They’re being blockaded so they don’t bring in weapons from Iran – which they are doing! (If they don’t want to be blockaded) don’t build hundreds of kilometers of tunnels in order to infiltrate Israel and capture and kidnap soldiers. So, what’s the other side of the equation? They’re blocked in (with) no human rights? Israel doesn’t control Gaza! Hamas does! Hamas is killing any Palestinian who steps out of line.
JWK: Final Question. What do you think of the Biden Administration moving to reopen nuclear negotiations with Iran and reinstituting American financial support for the Palestinians?
CM: Yeah, look at that. 200-plus million dollars that Biden sent started landing back in Israel (as) missiles. So, that’s working well.
Iran, boy oh boy. Only countries making nuclear bombs enrich their uranium to 60% or more. That’s what Iran is doing – and they do not keep what they want to do a secret. Israel is they only country in the world that a member nation of the United Nations is calling for (its) complete and utter destruction, yet they share no border. Iran is building nuclear weapons in order to destroy the State of Israel. Tehran (recently) announced it is enriching uranium at a purity level of 60%. This was interesting because Rafael Grossi – the UN nuclear watchdog head – sounded the alarm on Iran. It was in the Financial Times…He basically said they’re building weapons-grade bombs…because commercial-enriched uranium only goes to two to three percent. Iran is over 60%. And the Biden government is signaling their intent to rejoin the Iranian agreement? So, they want Iran to have nuclear bombs (while) basically saying (they) are going to use them on Israel? Where’s the morality there?
JWK: Anything you’d like to add as we finish up?
CM: The Jews have survived for 2000 years. Israel has survived the past 73 years – and not only has survived but has thrived. It has built an economy, has absorbed over 800,000 immigrants forcibly thrown out of their countries in 1948 (by) Arab nations when Israel declared itself a state. The message is Israel will defend itself and the Jews will never again face the Holocaust – when there was no one who came to their aid when they were without a country. Menachem Begin said there are 200 nations or so in the world – 50 Arab countries, many Christian countries – yet the world can’t tolerate one Jewish state. That’s something to ponder. Why?
Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11