Gideon Levy: More dangerous than Sinai
It’s not every day you get to expose someone for being a spiteful, manipulative bastard, even if you can clearly see that that is what he is. But there is no pleasure in pointing the finger at Gideon Levy this day, because today his hateful vitriol against the Israeli establishment may have cost lives. Today we get an idea of just how dangerous Gideon Levy can be.
On 12th September 2004, Gideon levy unleashed his usual irresponsible venom, in the warm, receptive pages of Haaretz. This time he was attacking the security forces’ call to stay clear of Sinai during the holidays.
Even if the defense establishment has solid information about Sinai, the timing of its warnings is problematic, after four years of warnings in which not a hair of the tens of thousands of Israelis who went to Sinai was harmed. After all, it's always easier to frighten people, even if it's not certain that it's necessary - what's known popularly as "covering your ass." No one pays for false warnings here, not for the scare campaign about Iraq's chemical and biological weapons, and nor for the warnings about Sinai.
On the 22nd September, Juliano Mer, local actor and Palestinian activist (he’s half Jewish and half Arab), called on Israelis (Hebrew link) to travel to Sinai, and launched a paranoid (and hallucinatory, in my view) attack on the fear and panic tactics of the Israeli establishment, aimed, according to Mer, at turning Israel into one big Jewish ghetto.
Among other things, he pointed out that the warnings were not even logical.
Juliano Mer is actually regarded as a bit of a nut. He’s been arrested a few times for beating people up, most notably, his leading lady, in a play in which he was starring, a few years ago, in Haifa.
Update: Alisa thinks I'm exaggerating the influence of Gideon Levy and the rest of the Media on Israelis. She's probably right in this case. No one would really have decided if to go to Sinai based on Levy's recommendation, certainly not bsed on that of the unstable Juliano Mer. But I believe there is a cumulative effect of the hateful, manipulative way that Gideon Levy and his ilk write what they write, that is poisonous and harmful, and it does have a detrimental effect on society in Israel, and on the ability of the people to think clearly about what we face. I think that is dangerous.