Not too long ago, our Facebook timelines were blowing up in pseudo-moral-outrage in the defense of a young Muslim girl in Paris who had been sent home for wearing a skirt deemed ‘too long’. Disregarding the fact that details were unclear and that France is an explicitly secular state, it was viewed by the majority as a vicious attack on Islam; a symptom of ‘Islamophobia’; a perceived prejudice against Muslims in the West. Middle Eastern media outlets picked up on an isolated incident on another continent in order to impress upon naïve readers that their identity, their right to peacefully exist, was under attack. The whole incident was ‘covered’ to within an inch of its life.
That brings us to today’s soul-crushing spectacle of human bigotry and ignorance. Cairo-based online news source, DOTMSR, attempted to quantify ‘Anti-Semitism’ on the streets by sending out an Egyptian journalist, dressed rather unconvincingly as a Hasidic Jew trying to get directions to a Synagogue (complete with beard, skullcap, side-curls, and a note in Hebrew). The experiment went very much the way it was expected to go; the journalist was insulted, mobbed, asked to leave, shoved, with people fearing for his safety, etc.
The outcome can be attributed to ignorance, a lack of education, and dominant portrayals of ‘Zionists’ and ‘Jews’, amongst average Egyptians, as the embodiment of the Evil Oppressor. This is not my beef. My beef is the outrageous double standard employed by local and regional news sources. Posted on May 20th, the only news outlets that have covered this shameful and saddening incident at the time of writing were Times of Israel and the Jewish Post, along with a smattering of independent, international news sources.
What else was covered on that day? Here are some examples.
“Palestinians in the West Bank have been banned from riding home from work in the same buses as Israelis”
‘A smart way to fight Islamophobia: A high school student in the United States is asking women to wear the hijab (headscarf) for just one day’.
These are, without the shadow of a doubt, things worth covering, but not at the expense of social disasters at home. The lack of coverage furthers a narrative that indicates that the normalised hatred and racism towards Jews is somehow less of a stain on society than other forms of oppression – and this is simply not the case if we want to move forwards as a liberal, civilized society.
Next time you get on your high horse on Social Media about the mistreatment of Arabs or Muslims or Christians abroad, ask yourself: If this happened in Cairo, to a group you (for whatever reasons) do not necessarily like, would you display a fraction of the outrage?
By the Cairo Gossip Team