Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mistaken for a Jew. Again.

The BBC have an interesting article by Tim Franks, until now their Middle Eastern correspondent - and a Jew. Franks describes the clashing expectations people had of him, from Jews who hoped he would put forward "our side of the story" to a friend concerned with the difficulty in balancing Judaism and journalism.

And there are many who believe that, as a journalist, I am also guilty before I have broadcast a word: guilty of being in hock to the all-powerful Jewish lobby, guilty of being in thrall to the Palestinian culture of victimhood, guilty of stirring over-heated controversy out of every spit and whistle in this corner of western Asia.

Franks says he never covered a news story differently because of his Jewish origin, yet many presumed it coloured his views.

This presumption, that Jewishness must alter an individual's journalistic output, was applied to me recently too. Odd, since I'm not Jewish, have never been to Israel, have no Jewish ancestry whatsoever and am not even particularly interested in the region. What I do have is an Anglicised Irish surname - Leavy - that sounds vaguely Jewish.

A friend on Facebook had posted an article about Palestine and I responded by pointing out again that the Israel/Palestine conflict is very small compared with other, underreported conflicts. A mate of my Facebook friend was appalled with this, calling me a "racist zionist". I tried to explain that much outrage over Palestine was selective, since worse oppression elsewhere was often ignored. His response:

Levi fucck off. people like you have no idea.

Levi! I laughed, partly at the absurdity of it but also because "Levi" was a nickname in college, a joke on the similarity of my name to that of Jewish Italian author Primo Levi. So I was "Levi" once again, but this time without humour.

I'm not sure what he meant by "people like you". Was this an anti-Jewish statement? Did he mean that I, as a supposed Jew, could not understand the true situation in Palestine? To be fair this is unclear, he may have meant only people with my opinions. But it makes me wonder if this mix-up with my surname could happen again, and if it could affect how people read some of my work. How frustrating: to be considered part of a great Jewish conspiracy to control global media without getting to benefit from any of their apparent omnipotence!

2 comments:

  1. Hahaha! Be careful. There are people in the world who sees Jews, Illuminati, Free Masonry, Templar Knights everywhere. Something like 23 issue. I was called many times as Mason by an Islamist just because I made youth exchange at Rotary. Setting aside the fact that it's very ridiculous to equate these two, I would like to see his face when he sees how modestly do I live. I could use some coins from King Solomon's lost treasure. :)

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  2. Hehe exactly man. And if I was Jewish I'd probably tan instead of getting sunburnt as so many of us Irish are prone to do. It's a lose-lose situation here :P

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