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June 28, 2006

Baltimore Sun Editorial Almost Hits Bull's-Eye

The Baltimore Sun has published a solid, informative editorial on the Middle East, “Meddlesome Iran,” (June 26). The commentary is noteworthy not only on its own, but because — as CAMERA has pointed out repeatedly during the past four years — Sun editorials on Arab-Israeli matters, in particular, have been not only frequent but also frequently superficial, self-contradictory, and erroneous.

“Meddlesome Iran” hits the target three times. It:

* Correctly highlights the recent report of Gen. George W. Casey Jr., America’s top military commander in Iraq, which stresses “Iran’s duplicitous dealings” including apparently stepped-up support for anti-U.S., anti-Iraqi government terrorists;

* Properly casts doubt on Iran’s nuclear research programs, which the mullahs claim is for domestic energy production but which, for some reason, they hid from international inspectors for 18 years while periodically declaring that Israel should be wiped off the map and that one nuclear bomb might be enough;

* Refers directly to Iran’s support of various terrorist groups. The observation is not clouded by referring to Hezbollah in Lebanon as a “militia,” or its members as “militants.”

Although “Meddlesome Iran” is far above many other Sun editorials on the region, in hitting the target it still missed the bull’s-eye. That’s because while it named Hezbollah as an Iranian-supported terrorist group, it never mentions Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Hamas, the groups responsible for suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks that have murdered hundreds of Israelis and wounded thousands more. Palestinian Islamic Jihad has been identified as a recipient of Iranian financial and other support for some time. More recently Hamas too reportedly has been getting cash and other aid from Tehran.

Perhaps when the target of Iranian “meddling” is Israel, not Iraq, The Sun loses focus. Seeing the Arab conflict with Israel primarily through the filter of Palestinian victimhood — without understanding that it’s largely self-imposed — may explain focus problems. In any case, “Meddlesome Iran” is a welcomed change, and should be recognized as such. It wouldn’t hurt to drop a line to Dianne Donovan, dianne.donovan@baltsun.com, editorial page editor, and Paul Moore, paul.moore@baltsun.com, reader’s editor.

--- Joshua Fishman, CAMERA Washington research intern; Eric Rozenman, Washington Director

Posted by ER at June 28, 2006 05:14 PM

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