27 March '17..
When actor Richard Gere came to Israel recently for the premiere of his film "Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer," he took the opportunity to go on a tour of Hebron led by left-wing group Breaking the Silence. During the tour, Gere said the situation in Hebron's city center "is exactly like what the Old South was in America."
As far as Gere is concerned, the tough security measures Israel takes on Martyrs Street (which should really be called Killers Street, as it is named for those who are responsible for the deaths of many Jews), are all one needs to know about the city and the conflict. Gere seems to believe Israel has its own version of apartheid because of one street where there are restrictions on the movement of Palestinians. Let's hope he was just being naive and was convinced by what Breaking the Silence wanted him to hear and see.
Gere was not given the proper context, nor did he receive a briefing on the killing of the city's Jews throughout history. He saw a manufactured reality, a fake reality. Nine hundred years ago, Jews were accused of using the blood of Christian children for religious worship. Such libels have been used throughout history to incite the masses against the Jews and justify pogroms and systematic killings.
Today the Palestinians use the same tactics, spreading similar falsehoods.
One of their most successful propaganda victories involves Martyrs Street. They have somehow created the narrative that the decision to prevent Palestinians from accessing the street was made after Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein massacred Muslims in the Cave of Patriarchs in 1994. But in fact the strict security measures were introduced during the Second Intifada (Palestinian uprising), when Palestinian terrorists perpetrated a spate of attacks against Jews in the city, including one that killed 12 soldiers.
Despite the complex situation on that street, Hebron has remained a vibrant Palestinian city, with a bustling trade scene. And, by the way, the real people who have been denied the right to visit the city of their forefathers and foremothers are the Jews. In 1929, the Jews in the city -- the most ancient Jewish city -- were massacred by their Arab neighbors, and the rest had to flee, until the 1967 Six-Day War. It was not their rights to freedom of movement or freedom of worship that were infringed upon; it was their right to life.
"The Palestinians are lying; so what?" I hear people say. That is the wrong response. Spreading this false narrative, as Breaking the Silence does, should not be dismissed as insignificant.
"Do you really think Gere was right when he compared Hebron to the Old South? Is that the right analogy?" a Channel 2 News reporter asked Nadav Weiman, the Breaking of the Silence guide who showed Gere around. Weiman's response was more or less along the lines of: "Whatever helps end the occupation."
Regardless of politics, this is a false depiction of reality. This is a blood libel against Israel.
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