Anyone who has ever watched television’s successful The Oprah Show knows that its host is no ordinary celebrity. “The most powerful woman in the world” is the way her web site describes her.
When Oprah Winfrey says she has read and liked a book, it rockets to the top of the best-seller lists. When Oprah vents about her childhood sexual abuse, 22 million Americans reach for the tissues. When Oprah urges other victims to proudly speak out, they rush to share their story on her show.
The June 2005 issue of ‘O’, Oprah's magazine with 2.7 million readers - features a sympathetic article about an imprisoned 18 year-old Palestinian woman, convicted of conspiring to perform a suicide bombing. The journalist's sentiments will undoubtedly move that impressive multi-racial, multi-religious following.
So here I am at my keyboard.
Immediately after the Beslan massacre, Oprah chatted on her show with several of its victims and declared: "The Beslan terror attack has been a watershed event. The terrorists showed the world that there are no holds barred. Even children are fair game."
Her words bowled me over. My daughter, Malki, and fourteen other innocents including eight children were murdered in a pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem two years before Beslan. By time of the September 2003 Beslan massacre, tens of Israeli children had already perished at the hands of Palestinian terrorists. Had they never blipped on Oprah's radar screen?
In Oprah’s world, not all murdered children were created equal. There are those who do not merit a mention provided their murderers “define their situation as hopeless”, as ‘O’ magazine’s Palestinian terrorist defined hers. There are those who do not warrant any tears or tissues since their murderers “feel that they have no way to respond against what they see as Israeli military aggression" to quote Oprah's magazine.
When it comes to child molesters, Oprah tosses the psycho-drivel out the window and gets very direct. She holds those criminals accountable for their acts period. But not my daughter's murderers.
Oprah may not be a political figure yet, but TIME magazine named her one of its 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2005 the third year it has done so. Her name has been seriously bandied about as a future candidate for some high office. And if Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood and Arnold Schwartzeneger could pull it off, why shouldn’t she?
Hannah Laszlo, Israel’s icon of the hour, aped Oprah last Saturday in her acceptance speech for the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. She too felt obliged to dabble in politics and offend murdered Israelis. "I want to share this prize with my Mum, who is a Holocaust survivor and also with the victims on the Arab and Palestinian side. It's time we sit and try to solve the problem."
The above version of Laszlo’s remarks, carried by Reuters and such major papers as the Toronto Globe & Mail, was egregiously offensive to Israel’s forgotten victims. An only slight-milder version, still stinging to Israeli sensibilities, was heard by Jerusalem Post and New York Times reporters. They quoted Laszlo saying: "I dedicate this award to my mother, a Holocaust survivor, and "the victims of both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict", lumping the victims together with their murderers.
I wonder how Laszlo would react if someone leveled the World War Two playing field and memorialized her mother's murdered family in the same breath as "all the casualties from both sides" of that war?
At the close of the ‘O’ piece on the female terrorist, Oprah’s readers are urged to help "prevent Palestinian children from becoming suicide bombers by donating money to Oprah's Angel Network or to UNICEF". Oprah should be told about my fifteen year old Malki's murderer. He was the son of a well-to-do restaurateur and lacked for nothing. Many other terrorists enjoyed lives of comfort. My advice to Oprah’s followers: Save your dollars. No amount of hand-outs will convince them to spare the lives of the innocents they intend to kill.
Oprah should be informed of the machine guns the Palestinians distribute to their children like roller-blades, only costing a lot more. She should know about my precious child a true angel who devoted herself to helping disabled children and who was a gifted flutist, a caring sister and a loving daughter.
Once enlightened, Oprah will surely realize that evil can lurk not only in the hearts of sexual molesters but even in those of teen-age girls like the one profiled in her magazine. Because there just is no “explanation” for murdering angelic children like my Malki -- ever.