“Catch the Jew!”

I finally read the popular book “Catch the Jew!” by Tuvia Tennenbom.  He was born in Israel and brought up in an ultra-Orthodox family, yet left that culture and moved to Germany where he studied and became a journalist.  He decided to make a trip back to Israel, but in order to be able to travel feely around the West Bank (forbidden to Israelis) he passed himself off as a German journalist, speaking flent German and also knowing Hebrew and some Arabic.  The situations that he finds there are so ludicrous that his book can only be regarded as a humorous account, full of irony and strange anecdotes.

There was a previous book in which an author trveled around Israel and the territories and related anecdotes, that was “In the Land of Israel” by Amos Oz published in 1983.  However, the difference between these two accounts is not only the periods in which they were written, but the totally different attitudes of the authors and their perspectives.  Oz is a well-known serious writer and leftist intellectual.  To say that his book is a solemn and humorless account is an understatement, it is indeed politically correct and biased.  His chief intention was to expose the “settlers” for what they are (or were), right-wing extremists.  In this he appears to have succeeded.

By contrast, Tuvia, or Toby the German, is all tongue-in-cheek and very politically incorrect. He exposes so much hypocrisy and manipulation of facts and media, by pretending not to be a Jew, that it is a revelation to anyone who is interested in this situation.  In fact, he questions why so many Germans and other Europeans are so interested in the Israel-Palestinian situation that they are pouring money into the Palestinian areas (not into Israel).  There are several answers, but none that admits the underlying anti-Semitism in the motivation.

There are many blatant examples of media manipulation that he exposes, such as the French representative Marion Fesneau-Castaing, who was said in media reports to have been beaten by IDF soldiers, supported by photos.  According to Tuvia’s investigation what actually happened is that when the IDF stopped a van carrying goods and ordered the driver out, she jumped into the driver’s seat, but then suddenly threw herself on the ground and when an IDF soldier went to her aid, she punched him in the face.  For this they arrested her and then released her.  Photos of the soldiers forcibly removing her from the driver’s seat were missing (did not occur) and the photos of her hitting the soldier was placed after he went to (help) her.  Media manipulation is rife and deliberate, the media themselves are complicit in the routine falsification.  The objective of EU diplomats (!) and media reporters is to portray Israel as a colonialist occupying force and they will go to any lengths to falsely portray this image.

This is an amusing and valuable book, particularly for those who do not know the true situation here, that the Palestinians are not that “poor”, that millions of EU and US funds are being poured into the West Bank, that media falsification is endemic (so don’t believe anything put out about “Palestine”) and that the EU and other diplomats are totally biased against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians, whatever they do.  Tuvia Tennenbom exposes these travesties for all to see.

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