Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Israeli Media and their Herzog agenda - Dr. Haim Shine



by Dr. Haim Shine

The public will make the political conclusions from the film it needs to, and express them in the next election. But it is nevertheless vital to Israeli democracy that the media take a look at itself and atone for its sins -- the sins of arrogance, deception and exploiting freedom of speech.

Yesterday I watched the film on Channel 10 about Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog and his party's election campaign. It was exciting to get a backstage look at what took place in the party that the media made herculean efforts to put in power. Watching the movie, I had mixed feelings of pride and frustration. Proud that a very large sector of Israel wasn't enthralled by media and demagogy and didn't buy for a second the pretty package of Herzog and Tzipi Livni. It was a package that political marketing experts tried to sell the public, which preferred real content over an empty wrapping. Frustrated by those same reporters and analysts who knew and saw what was happening behind the scenes but kept it out of the public eye: journalists who saw Herzog's audience-less election conferences in Beit Shean and Beersheba but still tried to convince us that Herzog was our salvation and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the agitator. 

The film had great similarity to the story of Balaam, whose plan was foiled; he intended to curse, but wound up giving a blessing. It was obvious that the filmmakers had intended to document the second historic political upset in Israeli history -- to make a film that would earn its creators the most prestigious prizes in Israel and throughout the world. But instead of a revolution, the public decided that the Herzog-Livni duo were incapable -- together or separately -- of leading the country. 

Anyone who watched the film could be filled with pity for Herzog. He's a nice person, the son of a former president and the grandson of a leading chief rabbi. How difficult it was to see the embarrassment at the memorial in Gush Etzion, when a chiaroscuro of sun and shade played on the candidate's face. The well-meaning Herzog tried to convince an intelligent public that he deserved to be prime minister, a very tough task for someone who could not demonstrate he could lead an election campaign that constantly went wrong. Herzog has true modesty, but anyone who asks that people don't applaud him apparently knows in his heart that he's not worthy of applause. 

Herzog realized that artist Yair Garbuz's miserable speech [at a left-wing rally in Tel Aviv shortly before the election] was a political bomb. He knew that he should write a post in which he said that he, too, kissed mezuzot, but trapped by strategists, he forwent his own correct opinion and did what they said. How could anyone think for a minute that a party head like that could stand up to the president of the United States and not fold? How could he stand brave and steadfast against the Iranians, Hezbollah and the Palestinians? I have no doubt that many homes in Israel breathed a sigh of relief after the documentary was over. To be prime minister, a person needs to be more than a skilled wheeler-dealer. 

The public will make the political conclusions from the film it needs to, and express them in the next election. But it is nevertheless vital to Israeli democracy that the media take a look at itself and atone for its sins -- the sins of arrogance, deception and exploiting freedom of speech. 

The media has an important role in Israel, but the negligent media ignores existential issues and seeks to undermine democracy. Sadly, the media has not yet realized its failures and continues to incite tirelessly against the elected government. The Israeli public has disengaged from the media that serves outside interests, the media that lacks a spine or values and fails to fulfill its role. We're dealing with the soul of democracy, after all.


Dr. Haim Shine

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=12639

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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