By Tyler Swartz
During winter break, I had the opportunity to attend Birthright, a program sponsored by Israeli American companies that provides a free of charge trip to all Jewish adults aged 18 through 32 years old. I went in open-minded and came back with a realization — Israel is unfairly represented by the American media.
American media identifies Israel as the enemy, distorting the country’s intended purpose.
Israel represents — as some have dubbed it — a “safe haven” for Jews all around the world. To put it candidly, Israel has done well in that role. In 1984, when Ethiopia intended to “cleanse” its Jewish population, Israel immediately stepped in. After a series of covert operations, Israelis successfully airlifted over 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel and secured their safety, according to BBC.
Not only is Israel an important part of my own ancestral history, but its importance spans so far and wide that it reaches every Jewish person on our planet. Israel is the only nation on Earth to recognize Judaism as its official religion. However, it is important to remember many Israelis maintain a secular identity.
Since Israel’s establishment in 1948, it has witnessed a constant conflict along the Gaza Strip against its primary opposition force, Palestine. I’m not here to defend Israel or Palestine— each is with its own offenses. However, American media has, for years now, relayed the story with greater credence to the Palestinian viewpoint. There has never been (and there will likely never be) a neutral observer, possibly producing an “anti-Israel” attitude in America.
This isn’t to say that American media has purposefully discredited Israel. In fact, it very well may be the opposite. It is clear that American media lacks any “neutral observer,” and for years it has widely advertised a linear viewpoint on the Israel-Gaza crisis, which has inherently harmed the country’s international recognition. Quite frankly, nobody seems to recall Israel’s purpose and what the nation represents. Israel stands to serve as the homeland and safe space for the Jewish population. It is important that Americans, especially Jewish-Americans, remember that.
Because American media has chosen to defend only one side in a very complex situation, support for Israel in America has dwindled. Modern America has openly presented a blurred perspective on Israel, and, as a result, children and adults alike no longer remember what Israel represents.
The status quo must be amended. First and foremost, the most effective remedy would be for American media companies to determine an impartial, unbiased stance. Only then can they fairly report on the Israel-Gaza conflict. This objective reporting would make it easier for viewers to craft their own position without the direct influence of a news company.
America should be educated on Israel’s intended purpose and why the nation stands to exist in our current world. Once that information is lost, history will be doomed to repeat itself.