Israel Spins Fogel Family Tragedy into Self-Serving PR

Let’s make this clear–whatever feelings one might have about Israeli policy in the West Bank, the murder of the Fogel family in Itamar, three children (including a baby) and their parents, sleeping in their home, was a monstrous act. It wasn’t an act of resistance or rebellion, it was an act of butchery, and a reminder that, whatever crimes Israel may have committed, there are some pretty despicable individuals and organizations on the other side, who really do want to murder Jews (Jewdar thinks that the murder of a four-year old and three-month old in their beds is suitably divorced from the realm of geopolitics to ascribe more base motives to the killer).

That said, we would like to take this time to criticize Israel’s government for taking a moment which should be either a time of mourning or, if one wishes to be cynical, a time of exploiting mourning for world sympathy, and turning it into another typical PR disaster. A day after the murders, the Israeli government exploited them to call for four hundred more units of housing to be built in the West Bank.

From the perspective of the Israeli Right, this is wonderful stuff. it gives them a pretext to do what they wanted to do anyway. And it converts any sympathy the world might have had into anger at Israel. Which, of course, allows the Israeli Right to continue nursing their martyr complex and their feeling that everybody’s an antisemite and therefore, Israel never needs to modify its policies since that won’t change anything.

As for Jewdar, we hope that the survivors of the Fogel family should be comforted with the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.   And while we recognize and respect the fact that some of them have a perfectly reasonable personal desire for revenge and to make use of this for their larger political goals, still, we would like to give the last word to Udi Fogel’s brother, Motti.

“All of the slogans we hear are trying to efface the simple fact that you’re dead, and nothing can efface that. This funeral has to be a private affair,” Fogel said, adding: “A man dies to himself, to his children. Udi, you are no a national event. You’re horrible death mustn’t make your life into a tool.”

“Udi, my young brother, you made me wake up today at 6:15 in the morning, and you know how hard that is for me. Everything I could say would be a cliché. If I could, I’d chase out everyone who came here and whisper to you, ‘Udi, let’s go play soccer.’

What do you think?

About The Author


The Tel Aviv-born, Milwaukee-bred Jewdar has a bachelors' from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters from NYU, and an Honorable Discharge from the US Army, where he spent two years as an infantryman in the 101st Airborne Division. He's the co-author of "The Big Book of Jewish Conspiracies", the Humor Editor of Heeb Magazine, and a watcher of TV. Smarter than most funny people, funnier than most smart people, he lives on the Lower East Side with his wife and two sons.

5 Responses

  1. Trent

    Jewdar, do you really believe “the Israeli Right” finds this tragedy “wonderful stuff” ? I think most humans beings are shocked and horrified, and people I know who are Jewish and politically conservative are more likely to have relatives or friends in places like Itamar. I notice you don’t quote anyone or provide any other evidence for your claims. Are you using this to feed your own prejudices ? Do you perhaps need to focus your anger not on your own brothers and sisters ?

  2. jewdar

    In retrospect, I would have worded things a little differently, for which I apologize–I didn’t mean that they thought the murders were “wonderful stuff;” rather, the spin that results from the housing announcement is wonderful stuff, because it feeds a sense of victimization, allowing them to claim that the world doesn’t care about us, everybody hates us, etc. To which I would say that you can’t have it both ways–you can’t use a brutal murder like this to pursue your own political agenda (building housing), and then complain when the world doesn’t focus on the murder, but on your agenda.
    As for who I should quote, I don’t know what shul you belong to, but come to mine and you should have no trouble finding the attitude expressed.

  3. Trent

    i would love to come to your shul kiddush club! everyone i know is horrified by this terrible tragedy on a human level and hopes it never happens again to anyone. happy purim to you and may all the news be good going forward.


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