On September 11, 2001, Muslim terrorists commited an atrocious act of mass murder in the United States. On September 12, the usual apologists began working away at the horror the civilized world felt. Their agenda was simple: convince everyone as quickly as possible that the U.S.A was really to blame for what happened because everyone realized that Islamofascism had declared a global war against Western civilization. Heck, by the first weekend after the tragedy, Canada's CBC network had a panel show in which speaker after speaker declared that America was solely to blame and had no right to complain about what happened since they had brought in upon themselves.
Apologists, you see, are seldom swayed by truth, the objective facts or the bigger picture. Having made up their minds as to what "reality" is, they need simply to justify to others what they already believe. And the really good apologists work by making you forget what those they are covering for have done.
Thus it has been with the recent Chareidi rioting in Israel. Never mind that for the better part of a week a mob of savage primitives brought parts of Yerushalayim to a standstill, filled its citizens with fear and its air with toxic fumes from burning garbage cans. Don't you all realize that it was justified? After all, should they just have sat back as a parking lot opened on Shabbos?
The theme of the apologists is all the same. The focus is always on the same thing: the Chareidim were provoked. No, don't mention what they went and did. They were provoked, I tell you. It's all the fault of those nassssty chilonim. If they hadn't done any provoking, there wouldn't have been any problems. What, it was guys in black suits and hats actually setting the garbage bins on fire? We were provoked!
Thus this article from Ynet:
Anyone looking for reinforcements to the claim that Israel is home to an anti-haredi campaign of persecution got what they were looking for, big time, with the story of the mother who allegedly starved her son.Anyone looking for reinforcements to the claim that Israel is home to an anti-haredi campaign of persecution got what they were looking for, big time, with the story of the mother who allegedly starved her son.
Once the story broke out, I was approached by many media outlets requesting a response, yet in the first few hours I found it difficult to elicit accurate information about the affair, even though I knew about the mother’s arrest since the beginning of the week. When the pressure grew from more and more media outlets, I found it difficult to defend the riots, but I was careful not to condemn them either. I felt that the shattered mother and her pained home are an interest that is no less important than the public relations of the entire Orthodox community.
Slowly I discovered a picture taken from dark worlds that raised incisive questions vis-à-vis most government authorities involved in the affair. In this framework I will not deal with the innocence of the miserable mother, but even if it is proven that she suffers from the Munchausen Syndrome, the question that emerges is why did media outlets choose to present a sick person as a criminal?
Those familiar with the syndrome stress that it is an obsessive desire to help someone under one’s care to the point of jeopardizing him, so that both the caretaker and person under care receive attention. Notably, in most cases we see the caretaker focus on one person, so that there is no risk to the other children, and the detained woman is indeed known as a model mother to her four other children. That is, we are not dealing with a ticking bomb or with a violent woman holding a submachine gun and firing in all directions.
In fact, we are dealing with someone who may be “dangerous” to a specific person, and therefore logic dictates that we remove the danger. It is therefore natural to limit the mother’s access to her son’s hospital bed. Here too we see a difficult question emerging – how did the Hadassah hospital allow such “danger
Note the subtle way the focus of blame is placed not on the criminals but on the victims. Whenever the poor child who was taken into custody is mentioned as being starved, the word "allegedly" precedes the word. Never mind the front page pictures of the child, skin and bones, 15 lb's at 3 years of ago for all the world to see. It's only "alleged". Uh huh.
Then there's the first line in the article which mentions that Israel is home to an anti-Chareidi campaign of persecution. The fact that this isn't true doesn't rate a mention. Rather the article takes it as given and takes the reader along for the ride with it.
Then there's the description of Munchausen's syndrome which is incorrect. To quote from The Merck Manual, 17th edition:
Repeated fabrication of physical illness - usually acute, dramatic, and convincing - by a person who wants from hospital to hospital for treatment.
This is all beside the point, mind you, because the woman in question isn't being diagnosed with Munchausen's syndrome but rather something different, Munchausen's syndrome by proxy:
A bizarre varient in which a child is used as a surrogate patient. The parent falsified history and may injury the child with drugs or add blood or bacterial contaminants to urine speciments to simulate disease. The parent seeks medical care for the child and always appears to be deeply concerned and protective. The child is often seriously ill, required frequent hospitalization and may die.
How different from the article's: an obsessive desire to help someone under one’s care to the point of jeopardizing him. It is, in fact, completely the opposite!
Then there's the attempts of the Yated Neeman crowd to get in on the cover act.
Let’s take a look at the demonstrations going on against the increased chillul Shabbos in Yerushalayim. Based on media reports, many of you are probably under the impression that mobs of fanatically religious Jews converged near City Hall to burn garbage pails and stone policemen. You’ve either read this fallacious reporting yourself in the media, or got it second or third hand from others who did.
This is not to deny or condone the actions of a handful of miscreants who carried out these reprehensible actions. But the fact is, they are lone exceptions, certainly not the rule. Their actions are being exploited by irresponsible editors who seek to tar the entire Chareidi community with one brush.
Students of history can cite dozens of hafganos which were called to stop autopsies, disturbing of ancient cemeteries, chillul Shabbos, giyus banos, yaldei teheran and the like. They can show you pictures of police beating religious Jews; of police shooting water cannons at women. They can give you the facts about the times choshuveh people such as Rav Yisroel Grossman were locked up in jail for participating in protests.
Rav Pinchas Lipschutz is still living in the Dark Ages himself. Once upon a time news wasn't easily accessed. Yes, if we wanted to know what was going on in Israel or elsewhere we had to rely on the newspapers and secular media. With the advent of the internet, this has all changed. No more can he dismiss the reports of Chareidim behaving badly as being blown out of proportion or excessive. We can all see, in live time, videos of these primitives running amok in the streets like vilde chayes. In fact, you know the situation is bad when other apologists being to turn:
Pinny Lipschutz’s job as apologist in Yated continues to get harder. He succeeds, as he usually does, in making a good case and offering valuable ideas to think about – even if you reject, as I do, much of the thrust of the piece and most of the conclusions. I am biased, of course, since he takes aim at those of us who called upon people to mitigate the chilul Hashem by writing into the Jerusalem Post. (The letters that I saw on the JP website were quite good, came from varied places, and I believe did create a counter-image of Torah Jews to what people were seeing on television and the internet.) Before you get angry at him, he does unequivocally condemn the violence. (Not quite enough for me. How many protests in which you cannot control the small number of crazies do you need before you do a cost-benefit analysis and realize that every peaceful protest you call inevitably leads to violence, stoned and destroyed cars, etc.? Also, comparing protest today to those he remembers of decades ago seems hopelessly wrong. Times – and the way people behave– change.
We have to face up to a simple fact: a not-so-tiny part of the Torah community, one that thinks that it is the holiest part of that community, has degenerated into a congregation of street thugs who differ from their non-religious counterparts only in how much Gemara they know. The sooner the rest of the Chareidi community realizes this and decides that it's more important to separate from them than to worry about how to look down at the rest of the Torah world, the better.