Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The daily tribulations of a Jewish French journalist in Paris

By Even Sabbagh

Translated from the French by Llewellyn Brown

It is difficult to be a Jewish journalist in the French media today... If your name is not Charles Enderlin, Edgar Morin, Dominique Vidal, Sylvain Cypel or even C‚cilia Gabizon, you have little chance of dealing with events in the Middle East without immediately being taxed as "partisan" by your entire editorial board.

Under these conditions, to be correctly informed, I advise you to turn to the Israeli press and the French-speaking press coming from this very small country, which is already considered to be responsible for driving the whole world to the brink of catastrophe...

But what an obstacle race you have to run, in a Parisian newspaper office, if you are Jewish and you affirm it without shame or chutzpah! And it is not enough to quote word for word in your comments the latest remarks of president Chirac at the G8 summit, though he does not hesitate sometimes to join his peers and point an accusing finger towards Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, the Iranian army's proxy that is guilty of asphyxiating the small paradise that once was Lebanon. That is because, in French news offices, they consider that the president is wrong and on the verge of senility when he errs in such a manner : Israel is guilty of wanting to destroy Lebanon, guilty of killing thousands of innocent civilians. Moreover, Nasrallah is a good guy, and Olmert, like his boss Sharon, is a butcher...

We already knew that Israel irritates but today, a Jew in a newspaper office is automatically a spokesman for the Israeli government : "You people, aren't you ashamed of pushing thousands of innocent people into exile ? Aren't you ashamed of violating Lebanese territory under false pretexts : all that for two kidnapped soldiers? By your actions you are manufacturing thousands of potential terrorists, who are turning bad because of you !" That is what I hear, day in day out; and I leave aside some of the spiciest remarks, regarding the vocabulary my colleagues use.

A Jewish journalist is always taken to task by his colleagues and his chiefs, being suspect of maintaining doubtful bonds with Israel. He is probably an agent of the Mossad, a traitor anyway... not a loyal French person!

It is absolutely out of the question to discuss Sarkozy [a right-wing candidate for the French presidency. Translator's note] who, as guest of the 8 o'clock News program, legitimized the Israeli action. And then... Sarko is the candidate of the Jews, right?

Any innocent comment written by a Jewish journalist is read, re-read and analyzed by the editorial person in charge, to detect if the culprit did not surreptitiously slip in subversive information. And even if they detect nothing, they try all the same to find a subject that will counterbalance the one prepared by "the Jew". Everything counts : words, images, the tone...

If the Jewish journalist is sharp and somewhat intrepid, he will manage to slip in some truthful information, picked up here and there, that even the dispatches of AFP are obliged to report... He will be able to play on translations and give meaning to the images. It amounts to perilous gymnastics, so true is it that in the French media (and it is absolutely necessary for Mena readers to know this) even a dead Jew no longer makes copy: after all, they are the aggressors, and their reactions are always "disproportionate"... Here in France they love the weak - or the dead - Jew, while the Jew who is alive and well is quite simply someone to eliminate, at least media-wise.

To be Jewish in a big national media, to say so, to assert it, is to voluntarily don the suspect's attire. It means, a priori, you are not sufficiently objective to deal with the Middle East. The editorial board will always prefer to choose a journalist of Algerian, Moroccan or Kabyl origin for these tasks, because such a person is "necessarily more objective" with regard to their view of this part of the world, and, of course, he toes the leading editorial line of these media outlets.

They will call at you in the corridor, sympathetically and extremely pointedly : "You are painful, you people, always bringing up the Shoah [the Holocaust. Translator's note]; as a journalist, I do not feel guilty for what happened to you" and then, in any event, what is Israel doing to `the poor Palestinians'!? "You are a cancer in that part of world, constantly seeking to humiliate and destroy; you are the aggressors : didn't you steal their land?"

To be Jewish in the French media means having to put up with this constant racist segregation... It means having to bite one's lip ten times a day in order to continue to do one's work.

Of course, there is Charles [Enderlin, France 2 television channel's permanent Jerusalem correspondent. Translator's note], the moral conscience; Charles, who stands for "since even a Jew and an Israeli says so"; Charles, the patent forger of the Al-Dura Case ; but the victim, what am I saying, the hero of all my colleagues! Yes but even Charles can slip sometimes. He can stumble and relapse into Jewish deviancy. The propensity to mistreat and humiliate is innate, right? [allusion to a newspaper article, published by Edgar Morin et al. in Le Monde (3 June 2002) accusing Jews of this propensity. Translator's Note]. This propensity constantly tends to resurface, which gives us the following result, at the newspaper office where I work (and I give you my word that I have invented nothing): "How did he [Enderlin. Translator's note] dare to show such drawn-out shots of Jewish blood on the ground? When the poor Lebanese civilians fall under the bombs, their bloody corpses are not shown; and now, because 8 Jews died [victims of a rocket that fell on a train depot. Translator's note] they make a big deal of it!!! But whom are they kidding? Everything is disproportionate, Lebanon is of no stature to fight against Israeli hegemony."

To be Jewish, in great red-white-blue media amounts to a constant fight, minute after minute; some of us pest-ridden journalists lie low; others forget that they are Jewish - or make serious efforts to do so, for example by appearing even more anti-Israeli and anti-American than our Nasrallo-Binladenist colleagues, until the day when, in spite of all their efforts, a non-compassionate soul will inevitably remind them where they come from.

As long as Jewish journalist does not express a desire to deal with Middle East issues, everything goes relatively well for him, but the moment he indicates to his editors that he wishes to tackle this subject, beware of the consequences! This subject is hot and he, he is... dangerous. After all, hasn't he pledged allegiance to this country? Does he not approve of these "murders" that always involve innocent victims - and to think that nobody in France has yet wondered why the Israeli army never kills those who launch Qassams on Sderot or Katiushas on Haifa, but only civilians! The Jews are thus not only monstrous by birth but also completely idiotic! - whether they be in Gaza or Beirut. The traditional answer he receives will be much like : "Come on, be reasonable, you people cannot kill all of them; these people have the right to live too, so why want to destroy them when you have already taken everything away from them...". You clearly have no scruples, everyone knows that you dream of extending your dominion ever further... stealing the lands of others, but just how far will you go?

You have put Bush in your pocket, but we warn you, you will not put Europe in your pocket : Christian-Democratic Europe, the Europe that feels for the oppressed, and at the same time - and too bad for a few collateral contradictions to the French exception - post- and para-Marxist Europe. And you imagine, that along with your American allies and bosses, you can give us lessons in democracy? Stop thinking we are imbeciles... we are not so easily deceived."

You will stop sooner or later, willingly or by force. "You speak about Jerusalem as your capital, but it does not belong to you; Jerusalem is Christian, Arab, but not Jewish. You conquered it 1967, but it will be never your capital; we could perhaps accept Tel-Aviv, until Villepin's parenthesis [the idea that the existence of the state of Israel is a temporary parenthesis of history. Translator's note] - in which almost the totality of my French colleagues believe fervently - closes again over your heads... You had it coming, so don't complain!"

So there you have it, good people, you who are so naive, and unaware of the degree of omnipresent and proud anti-Semitism that reigns here, this is what happens in a large French media office... with microscopic exceptions. So stop claiming to be astonished if the information they distil there is outrageously pro-Arab, and often even more extremist that in the Middle-Eastern media. The Arabs are victims, the Jews are vile persecutors. The latest example? Lebanon had hardly started to rise from its ashes and you are already hastening to destroy it... Vampires! Jews