It was with dismay and disappointment, and some frustration, that I read the JInsider column entitled “March Meshuga 2010.”
Yes, I know it was tongue in cheek, and meant to be a humor column, and a take-off on the college basketball tournament. Mark Pearlman attempted to “parse all of Judaism 2010 into one Elite 8 bracket.” However, one of the “brackets” was “E. Jerusalem Settlements,” and it was described as follows: “Israel has taken yet more land in the face of international opposition.”
Even as a joke, I do not expect to see the recent international incident over a municipal building permit referenced that way — not in a Jewish newspaper. Jokes like this promote vicious lies, disinformation, and misleading falsehoods that hurt the State of Israel and promote anti-Semitism.
The facts are that Jerusalem is not a settlement: it is the capital of Israel. No land was taken, a building permit was issued, one of many granted to Palestinians and Israelis alike. This building permit was in a completely Jewish neighborhood, in an area in north Jerusalem, that is going to remain part of Jewish Jerusalem, no matter what happens in future negotiations.
Sure, it was a just a joke, but Jews have come to learn from bitter experience that we should never participate in insulting and demeaning ourselves, nor should we allow sloppy language that can ultimately cause great damage. There are plenty of others who will be glad to do just that.