Israel’s American, English and Australian cheerleaders

Have you ever wondered why Western, especially American, journalists find it so much easier to converse with Israeli officials than they do with their Palestinian counterparts?

“The reason is obvious,” says Amer Zahr, a Palestinian-American comedian, writer and speaker.

In a post published on his blog, the Civil Arab, he says the reason for the natural bonding between between American journalists and Israeli officials is that all of Israel’s official mouthpieces speak perfect unaccented English – because they are not from Israel!

Zahr provides us with useful profiles highlighting the American, British and Australian roots of the top six characters acting as Israel’s cheerleaders to Western publics.

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Peter Lerner is the foreign press spokesperson for the Israel Defencee Forces. He was born in London in 1973. He immigrated to Israel in 1985. Hebrew… is his second language. You might have wondered why Peter Lerner sounds more like a spokesperson for the Queen than he does for Israel. Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel.

Dore Gold is a diplomat who has served in many Israeli governments. He was once Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. He is currently the president of an Israeli think tank in Jerusalem. He was born in Connecticut, attended high school in Massachusetts, and earned a BA, MA and PhD from Columbia University in New York City. He has appeared on television numerous times during Israel’s latest offensive, defending and explaining the policies of the Netanyahu government. As you might expect, his English is perfect. Mr Gold lives in Jerusalem. He might even live in a house that once belonged to Palestinians. Of course, I don’t know that for sure, but trust me, in Jerusalem it’s a safe bet. You might have wondered why Dore Gold sounds like a Yankees fan. Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel.

Mark Regev is the official spokesman of the Netanyahu government. In 1960, he was born in Australia [as Mark Freiberg], where he grew up and finished college. He immigrated to Israel at the age of 22, when he began his graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has remained in his adopted homeland ever since. Hebrew is also his second language. You might have wondered why the official Israeli spokesman sounds like Crocodile Dundee. Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel.

Michael Oren was most recently Israel’s ambassador to the United States. He was born in upstate New York. He earned his MA and PhD from Princeton University in New Jersey. He immigrated to Israel in his mid-twenties. He has lectured at dozens of American campuses. He articulately defends Israeli policies on American televisions across our great country. Well, he is usually articulate, if you don’t count his recent interview on MSNBC when he suddenly (and quite conveniently) couldn’t hear Andrea Mitchell when she asked him about reports that Israel had eavesdropped on John Kerry last year. But even when he flusters and fumbles, he speaks eloquent East Coast English. You might have wondered why Michael Oren sounds like an American university professor. Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel.

Micky Rosenfeld is the Israeli police spokesperson to the foreign press. He speaks English flawlessly. That’s because he is English. Yup, he was born in England and grew up there. He is blond and blue-eyed. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. He grew up with Duran Duran, the English Premiere League and bland food. The garlicky cuisine of his new homeland must have come as a bit of a shock to him. You might have wondered why Micky Rosenfeld sounds like Piers Morgan. Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel.

Ron Dermer is Israel’s current ambassador to the United States of America. He has been all over CNN in recent weeks. He attended the University of Pennsylvania before moving to Israel is his twenties. He was born in 1971 in Miami Beach, where both his father and brother were once the mayor there. He is one of Netanyahu’s closest advisers, writing many of his speeches, in English I assume. He is highly educated, yet for some reason he still sounds obnoxious and rude during just about every interview. You might have wondered why Ron Dermer sounds like a whiny kid from Florida. Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel…

Amer Zahr finishes by reminding us of what these American, English and Australian cheerleaders for Israel are actually guilty of: “Justifying racial supremacy, ethnic cleansing and indiscriminate bombing campaigns,” all of which “definitely sounds better when it’s done in an accent we can all relate to”.

He concludes: “But I’m sure every American listening to them still wonders why all these Israelis sound like the next door neighbour. Why wouldn’t they? They are, after all, foreigners in the land of Israel. Foreign colonist settlers.”

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