April 29, 2010
Ethan Bronner Reveals the Deal on Journalism in the Middle East.
One of the biggest problems with coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the failure of journalists to acknowledge and correct for the fundamental differences between Israel and its adversaries. Israel is an open society with a free press and as a result, its actions are subject to much greater scrutiny than its adversaries.
Ethan Bronner, the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Times acknowledged this problem during a recent talk at the Brandeis University. Speaking at the school in Waltham, Mass., on February 2, 2010. During his talk, Bronner stated that covering Israel is “kind of a a piece of cake, to be honest.”
It’s pretty easy. You have enormous access to officials. You have pretty good access to the military and you have a very very open robust debate going on all the time.
And when you arrive for example in Israel as a reporter you go to the government press office they give you a list of the phone numbers of all the ministries and within about five minutes you can get the cell phone numbers of the various ministers and that is not true in Palestine or in the Arab world generally. You will get phone numbers for people, but there isn’t that same robust debate. There is very little investigative journalism, basically none, in Palestine and there are no columnists complaining about the situation the way they are in Israel.
And since we as foreign correspondents spend our time sort of creaming off the conversation that goes on inside a society, it means there’s a lot to cream on one side and very little to cream on on the other. This means that when you or others complain about unfair coverage of Israel, my advice would be “Don’t complain about our not writing positive things about Israel. Complain about our not writing enough negative things about their enemies” because I think therein lies the imbalance which is difficult and does need to be corrected. It’s hard to do because one society is more closed than the other and to remind you we rely on we live off controversy and tension. So Israel, you know, is all day long exposing itself with those questions.
The fact is that you could in the morning turn on the radio – you’d have to have two radios to do this exercise properly – for the army radio and then the Voice of Israel state radio. From six to about noon, there’s nothing but talk and each one is interviewing members of Knesset, members of the government, officials, ministers and experts and everyone’s yelling at each other all day long.
All you have to do is sit, take notes on it, go for a siesta, write your story. You don’t have to leave your bed. (Laugher)
I’ve never done that. I’m not telling you I’ve ever done that. I’m just telling you you could do it if you wanted to do it.
In the rest of the Arab world, it’s very difficult to get into a lot of countries, to Sudan, to Syria, to Saudi Arabia, to Iran.
The Times has had enormous difficulty to get into Iran since the election. And before the election there were two years that went by before we could get into Iran and so there is an imbalance there too, in terms of our coverage in the region.
And the other problem is that once you get inside once you do get your 10-day visa, it’s quite common for you to ask to see people and not get to see anybody significant and on the ninth day of your 10-day visa you’ll get a phone call telling you that the deputy agricultural minister will happy to be have tea with you on your way to the airport the next day, so it’s quite problematic in terms of getting real information from the rest of the region.
It’s not true in Jordan. It’s not true in Lebanon. It’s not true everywhere. It is true in much of the region and it’s a problem. And of course in those societies there isn’t a great deal of self-examination. It’s against the law in some places and so what you find in the press of the Arab world is a discussion of what’s going on in Israel.
If you go to buy The Jerusalem Post take a cab to the Allenby Bridge, go up to Amman, buy The Jordan Times – they’re mirror images of each other. Both want to know “Is there a future for Kadima?”
(No Ethan, it's not unbelievable -- at least not to people who know what's going on in the Middle East. It might, however, come as a surprise to people who rely solely on the New York Times for their information about the region.)
A Memory of Jews in Morocco
In yesterday's Jerusalem Post, a more somber and honest picture was sketched:
Only in later years did Dina come to appreciate the constant pressure her parents had endured before their departure. There were small things—insults and ceaseless intimidation. For example, her father, who owned a large and successful butcher shop, was at the mercy of local thieves, who sometimes simply walked into his business and demanded that he give them whatever they wanted – at no cost. “Not once and not twice,” Dina explains, “but whenever they wanted something. These were our good Muslim neighbors, you know?”
Avraham knew better than to argue. “If you said something they didn’t like, you were in danger,” Dina recalls. “Most of the time everybody got along. But when you are in a lower place in society, you don’t dare to stand up for yourself.”
There were bigger threats too, including mysterious disappearances. First her father’s best friend vanished. Then one of Dina’s cousins, a remarkably beautiful 14-year-old girl, also disappeared, never to be seen again. In the Moroccan Jewish community, such things weren’t exactly unusual. And they happened more and more frequently after 1948, when Israel declared itself an independent state. At that moment, the centuries-long, low-grade oppression Jews experienced in their role as dhimmis under Muslim rule was ignited into ugly confrontations, humiliation and random attacks. These episodes sometimes exploded into full-blown pogroms in which hundreds were killed or wounded.
An article in Commentary magazine published in September 1954 described the difficult circumstances of Morocco’s Jews during the early years of Dina Gabay Levin’s life. “In disputes with Muslims, or on civil commercial and criminal issues among themselves, Jews are almost entirely subject to Islamic courts... even under the best of circumstances [the courts] regard Jewish litigants as unclean, inferior beings.”
Read the rest here.
April 28, 2010
LA Times Wrong on JNF Land
In an interview yesterday with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, the Los Angeles Times' Edmund Sanders repeats a false canard about Jewish National Fund land in Israel:
But doesn't the Jewish National Fund control most of the land in Israel and doesn't it have restrictions against dealing with non-Jews?
In fact, 79.5 percent of Israel's land is owned by the government, 14 percent is privately owned by the JNF, and the rest, around 6.5 percent, is evenly divided between private Arab and Jewish owners. Thus, the Israel Land Administration, which administers both government-owned and JNF-owned land, administers 93.5% of the land in Israel (Government Press Office, Israel, 22 May 1997). That JNF owns only 14 percent of all of Israel's land is a fact acknowledged even by the virulently anti-Israel organization Adalah.
Unfortunately, Mayor Barkat failed to correct the reporter, responding incorrectly:
That's not true in the city of Jerusalem. It's different in other parts of the country. In Jerusalem, the vast majority of the land is privately owned. Ownership in the city is diverse.
A related error in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1997 resulted in the following correction:
Oct. 18, 2007: A letter on the Oct. 16 Editorial Page misleadingly stated the case regarding the right of Arab Israelis to own land in Israel. Arab Israelis may own land, but there is not much to own: Only about 6.5 percent of the land in Israel is privately owned (some by Arab Israelis). Of the rest, almost 80 percent is owned by the governmental agency called the Israel Land Administration. ILA land is not sold but leased; by law, it is available to be leased by all Israelis, whether Jewish, Arab or other. About 13 percent is owned by the Jewish National Fund. In September an Israeli high court ruled that the JNF must allow non-Jews to buy its land.
Will the Los Angeles Times likewise correct? Write to Readers Representative Deirdre Edgar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hamas: Gideon Levy, A Rare Voice of Courage, Bravery
Levy, among other statements such as calling Israeli soldiers "trigger happy," reveals his abhorrence of the Jewish state within any borders, not simply the post-1967 boundaries. He states:
The moderate Zionists are like the Zionist left in Israel, which I can't stand. Meretz and Peace Now, who are not ready, for example, to open the "1948 file" and to understand that until we solve this, nothing will be solved. Those are the moderate Zionists. In this case, I prefer the right-wingers.
The New Republic on HRW
The New Republic publishes an eye-opening investigative report on the internal division within Human Rights Watch about the organization's handling of Israel. Among the many significant quotes from HRW insiders is the following:
“I think we tend to go where there’s action and where we’re going to get reaction,” rues one board member. “We seek the limelight—that’s part of what we do. And so, Israel’s sort of like low-hanging fruit.”
April 25, 2010
LA Times and the New/Old Phenomenon of 'Moderate' Hamas
The Los Angeles Times reports what it believes to be a revelation:
Hamas, the Palestinian faction viewed by many in the West as a nest of terrorists and Islamic hard-liners, is battling a curious new epithet: moderate.
In fact, this epithet is hardly new in certain circles. Again and again over the years, journalists have ventured that perhaps now a new moderate Hamas is emerging and it is fending off the true Islamist extremists in the Gaza Strip.
Edmund Sanders' article is one more in this genre. He reports:
Palestinian hard-liners say that instead of attacking Israel, Hamas has been fighting its own people: Islamic extremists, including some disaffected Hamas members who pledge allegiance to the terrorist network Al Qaeda and accuse Hamas of selling out.
But while Hamas may be battling groups loyal to Al Qaeda, it does not do so in the name of secularism and human rights, but rather Hamas hegemony. For instance, as reported by AP (but not by the LA Times) Hamas is battling its own people -- not just Al Qaeda loyalists but also male hairdressers attending to female clients -- a big no-no in Hamas' "moderate" book.
April 23, 2010
Wikipedia Update: Blood Libel Removed
A couple of weeks ago, we drew attention to a Wikipedia article claiming that Israelis, who are known for sexual exploitation of children, harvested and sold Haitian organs.
The deletion follows a nearly unanimous vote by the Wikipedians — specifically, the handful of members who happened to be paying attention — in favor of pulling the article. Apparently the article was so far over the top that even Wikipedia's anti-Israel caucus didn't bother defending it.
April 22, 2010
AP Photographer Wins Award for Gaza Coverage
AP photographer Khalil Hamra has been awarded the The Robert Capa Gold Medal Award 2009 by the Overseas Press Club for his images of the winter 2008-09 war between Israel and Hamas. The OPC commended Hamra:
Khalil Hamra’s pictures of the Israeli military incursion into Gaza showed exceptional courage and enterprise by a committed local photographer during a sustained and dangerous conflict. His images are close up, powerful and direct and taken at considerable risk due to the nature of the conflict which had combatants mingling amongst the civilian population. Hamra’s personal circumstances are equally compelling: he covered the conflict in spite of concerns about the welfare of his wife, then pregnant with twins.
A Washington Post photo essay posted the two pictures above of the Palestinian combatants along with a picture of Palestinian wounded in a Gaza hospital. The picture was accompanied by this caption:
Palestinian children and a man wounded in Israeli missile strikes are seen in the emergency area at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes demolished dozens of Hamas security compounds across Gaza on Saturday in unprecedented waves of simultaneous air strikes. Gaza medics said at least 145 people were killed and more than 310 wounded in the single deadliest day in Gaza fighting in recent memory. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) (Khalil Hamra - AP)
The children appear healthy. Would the photographer and caption writer, Khalil Hamra, fake a picture?
And one more question comes to mind. Given that Hamas combatants mingled among the civilian population, as OPC points out, why wasn't Hamra willing or able to take photographs of the some 15,000 fighters? Indeed, AP carried virtually no photos of Hamas fighters during Cast Lead. Could it be because Hamas intimidated Hamra who was concerned about his and his wife's personal safety? Or is there a different explanation?
NGO Monitor: EU Promotes Arab Initiative Among Israeli Journalists
NGO Monitor reports:
1) An April 18, 2010 article on the News1 website (Hebrew) discusses a European Union project to promote the Arab Peace Initiative among Israeli journalists. As noted below, this is part of EU efforts to "Influence Institutions/ Decision makers, Public opinion and Media" outside of diplomatic channels, and under the guise of Israeli "civil society."
2) The project is entitled "Simulating the Arab Peace Initiative," and is part of the Partnerships for Peace (PfP) program (€298,422 in 2010-12). The official link on the EU website is: http://www.delisr.ec.europa.eu/english/content/cooperation_and_funding/3.asp
3) The recipients are Neve Shalom School and Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (CCRR). CCRR, a Palestinian NGO, calls for the boycott of Israeli academics or Israeli academic institutions that support the occupation ("for more than 50 years," i.e. Israel as a Jewish state), as well as those that do not take a position on it.
4) In contrast to the track record of CCRR, the PfP website claims: "The project aims to promote tolerance and better understanding between Israeli and Palestinian societies by engaging core representatives of the media in a process of reflection on the past treatment and historical background of the API and simulate the adoption of API and its potential consequences in the media; Moreover, the project will facilitate critical discussions on the journalist-editor relationship in uni-national settings, on the one hand, and establish open and sustained channels of communication between Israeli and Palestinian journalists and editors, on the other" (emphasis added).
5) The wider picture of EU manipulation to promote their version of the Arab Peace Initiative through targeting of journalists was a key element of the May 2009 EU PfP Call for Proposals: "Initiatives targeting 'veto' and 'blocking' groups (communities opposed to or sceptical about the peace process), will be particularly welcomed...Under this priority, also innovative projects targeting media to promote tolerance, better understanding, balanced reporting, and objectivity will be encouraged." "Influence Institutions/ Decision makers, Public opinion and Media...Initiatives that bring together representative participants from the different communities involved in the conflict to advance the progress of existing visions, including that of the Arab League, of a future peaceful relationship between Israel and its Arab neighbours...a particular priority will be given to actions based in neighbouring countries designed to foster understanding of and support for the Arab League Initiative." . . .
April 18, 2010
Yemini Takes Out Blau's Assassinations Article
In his 2008 article in Ha'aretz, Israeli journalist Uri Blau used illegally obtained military documents obtained by soldier Anat Kamm to accuse the army of committing war crimes and violating a High Court ruling by assassinating West Bank terrorists. As pointed out recently in Snapshots, a letter by former Attorney General Menachem Mazuz destroyed Blau's claims that the killings violated the court ruling.
Now Ben-Dror Yemini of Ma'ariv has thoroughly decimated Blau's allegations. In "Libel Manufactured by Ha'aretz," he writes:
The headline, at the time, was "The chief-of-staff and IDF leadership authorized killings of wanted and innocent men." The expression "innocent" appears almost 20 times in the article in which the documents were published. The impression is that the IDF has been committing war crimes. This is the impression "Haaretz" intentionally attempts to create. . . .
Well, we should rise to the challenge, and examine what exactly these documents show. The main argument, which the paper attempted to promote, was that the High Court of Justice ruled that targeted killings were illegal. There is indeed a ruling, but nowhere is there any ruling that forbids targeted killings. The High Court of Justice did not go down this path, and wisely so. It was no other than Aharon Barak who made the determination in 2006: that it is impossible to determine a priori that all targeted killings are forbidden by international law, just as it is impossible to determine a priori that all targeted killings are permissible according to international law. This is very clear statement that is somewhat at odds with the impression received when reading "Haaretz" back then, when the documents appeared in Uri Blau’s article, and certainly today, as the paper attempts to hide behind the guise of exposing the truth.
It is well worth reading Yemini's entire expose.
NY Times Corrects: Ramat Shlomo Not a Settlement
The New York Times has corrected a photo caption of a Reuters image that it ran Thursday, April 15. The error and correction follow:
Error (photo caption, 4/15/10): Ultra-Orthodox Jews last month in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)
Correction (4/16/10):A picture caption on Thursday with the continuation of a news analysis article about a shift in the Obama administration's Middle East policy referred incorrectly to Ramat Shlomo, the name of a Jewish housing development that Israel says it is expanding despite objections by the United States and the Palestinian Authority. It is a neighborhood in East Jerusalem, not a settlement in the West Bank.
April 14, 2010
Comedy Channeling C-SPAN
Open letter to Jon Stewart, host and executive producer of the Daily Show on Comedy Central (Monday through Thursday, 11:00 PM ET).
Dear Mr. Stewart:
Your popular Daily Show often tackles current news items with clever, caustic humor. In this vein, a March 31, 2010 Daily Show broadcast segment humorously and appropriately lampooned a C-SPAN host‘s feckless handling of a casually racist anti-black caller in a March 29 C-SPAN Washington Journal broadcast. However, this host merely typifies all (or nearly all) of the C-SPAN Journal hosts in their handling of a particular class of bigoted rants by sitting mutely, shuffling papers, and then thanking the callers for their input. These rants, contained in hundreds of calls aired by C-SPAN, are readily available to be mined for humorous fulmination. The documentation is concisely presented on CAMERA’s Website, camera.org, in the following articles (several of the calls documented include video clips): C-SPAN Watch, C-SPAN's Washington Journal a Platform for Anti-Semitism, C-SPAN's Washington Journal Caller Problem, and – C-SPAN President's CAMERA Shy Reaction (with video clip) in which a rare Israel related call not bashing Israel, is humorously mishandled by C-SPAN’s president, acting as Journal host, reacting tongue-tied and speechless to a caller’s news that the historical record shows that Arab anti-Jewish terrorism had preceded Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
These CAMERA articles describe hundreds of Journal calls containing virulent anti-Jewish, anti-Israel rants handled in a feckless or foolish way by the host and (often) the guest.
We trust that you will utilize the Journal broadcast material from CAMERA (or at least make use of the CAMERA material in searching C-SPAN archives) for use in the Daily Show since you aim (or should aim) to be an equal-opportunity satirist.
Mazuz Refutes Ha'aretz Claims that Assassinations Violated High Court Ruling
Former soldier Anat Kamm is under house arrest for allegedly passing some 2000 classified documents to Ha'aretz journalist Uri Blau. In 2008, Blau published an article based on the Kamm material alleging that the Israeli army violated a High Court ruling by assassinating terrorists, including a key Islamic Jihad leader. Kamm claimed that her motives were ideological, to alert the public to war crimes.
The Jerusalem Post reports that former Attorney General Menachem Mazuz had earlier weighed in, refuting Ha'aretz claims that the assassinations were in violation of the High Court decision:
On Monday, the Justice Ministry spokesman released a letter by former Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz. It was written 15 months ago in response to a demand by attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard to investigate allegations in the article that the IDF was continuing to carry out targeted assassinations in violation of conditions set down in a High Court of Justice ruling. Three cases were referred to, including the killing of key Islamic Jihad terrorist Ziad Malaisha.
The article, entitled “Secret IDF Documents: The Chief of Staff and the Top Echelon of the IDF Authorized Killing Fugitives and Innocent People,” was based on documents summarizing meetings of operational plans to strike at the Palestinian fugitives. Haaretz also displayed a photocopy of one of the summaries from a meeting held on March 28, 2007. The words “top secret” appeared at the top of the document. . .
The Justice Ministry spokesman’s office said Monday that several reporters had asked whether Mazuz had ordered an investigation into the allegations raised in the article after it was published.
This is what Feldman and Sfard had demanded of Mazuz 15 months earlier. The two attorneys had represented The Public Committee against Torture in Israel in its petition to the High Court against targeted assassinations. It was in its ruling on that petition that the court set down the conditions which, if met, could justify using this tactic. In their letter to Mazuz, the attorneys charged that Blau’s article indicated that the state had violated the ruling in connection with several killings of terrorists including Malaisha.
Mazuz wrote back on January 7, 2009, and turned down the attorneys’ request for an investigation.
Regarding the killing of Malaisha, Mazuz wrote, “The IDF operation met all the conditions laid down in the Bagatz ruling regarding ‘targeted assassinations.’ The attack took place after the possibility of arresting the fugitives was ruled out as being impossible to achieve under the circumstances and after it was made clear to the soldiers that arrest was the first preference.
“The attack was aimed at senior and extremely dangerous terrorists, who were involved in preparations to carry out dangerous terror attacks, and regarding whom the security system had reliable and precise information ... It was carried out in awareness of the duty to avoid harming innocents and reduce the danger to them, and after implementing the principle of proportionality.”
Mazuz added that “the legal aspects of the operation were examined at each one of the planning stages and there is no basis to the charge that the IDF ‘ignored’ the High Court’s instructions regarding targeted assassination operations. On the contrary, the operational officers in the general staff, who had close legal consultation, were aware of the High Court instructions and stressed and carried them out in all stages of the planning and the approval of the operation.”
Al Dura, A Fitting 'Catharsis' for Rivera, the Palestinian-ist
CAMERA has posted another analysis in which Fox's Geraldo Rivera cites his dubious Zionist credentials to launch an assault against Israel. Much has also been made about Rivera's March 13, 2002 declaration that "I'm also becoming a Palestinian-ist."
A visit to the Fox archives reveals a significant fact not realized eight years ago: Rivera attributes his self-declared transformation to the Al Dura affair. Consider the following exchange with Brit Hume:
Hume: It happens time and again. Western journalists, sympathetic to Israel and repelled by the terrorism practiced by the Palestinians, head off to cover the Middle East. After experiencing the place firsthand, especially when the fighting is intense, their views seem to change, and there emerges a certain sympathy for the Palestinians and their cause.
Fox News war correspondent, Geraldo Rivera, a longtime supporter of Israel, who is himself part Jewish, seems to have undergone just such an experience in his recent work in the region, and he joins me now live from Jerusalem. Geraldo, welcome.
GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brit. I think you characterized my evolution in thought quite accurately. The catharsis for me was that video -- I'm sure you remember -- of the Palestinian father huddled with the child.
Later in the broadcast, after a recovery from a satellite failure, Rivera repeats:
You remember that infamous video of some months ago, that showed a Palestinian father huddled with his 7- or 8- or 9-year-old son against the wall, caught in a crossfire between the Israelis and Palestinians who, at the time, were shooting back, were throwing rocks at the soldiers. By the time that video ended, that young boy was dead and the father severely injured.
Now, I have been, as you suggest, a Zionist my entire life. I would die for Israel. But watching the suffering of the Palestinian people, the real suffering of these people, I've also become a Palestinian-ist, in a sense.
Much about the Al Dura story has been exposed to be far from real, with a French judge pointing to the "contradictory answers" of journalists Charles Enderlin and Talal Abu Rahma and "the inexplicable inconsistencies of the viewable images."
The Al Dura story is as real as Rivera's boasts of his knowledge of the region and of Benjamin Netanyahu as well as his so-called Zionist credentials. How fitting that Rivera's "catharsis" was Al Dura.
April 12, 2010
NYT Public Editor on Newscasts and News Gaffes
New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt describes the pitfalls of fast-paced journalism in the age of social media and Web 2.0:
THE Times introduced a regular video newscast on its Web site late last month. “TimesCast” shows scenes from the morning meeting where planning starts for the next day’s paper, and it features editors and reporters discussing the top stories that are developing, often with compelling video and photography from world hot spots. . . .
But several stumbles in the past few weeks have demonstrated some of the risks for a print culture built on careful reporting, layers of editing and time for reflection as it moves onto platforms where speed is everything and attitude sometimes trumps values like accuracy and restraint.
On just the second day of “TimesCast,” Bill Keller, the executive editor, misspoke about a sensitive story involving Israel. . . .
Paul Iredale, a veteran Reuters reporter, said he watched “TimesCast” on its second day and was unhappy to see Keller say that Britain had expelled “the head of Mossad,” the Israeli intelligence service, “in retribution for the Israelis’ having assassinated a Hamas militant in Dubai.” The British had not accused Israel of the assassination. Nor had The Times established that the person sent home was the Mossad station chief.
April 09, 2010
Wikipedia: Israelis, Notorious for Sexual Exploitation of Children, Traffic Haitian Organs
CAMERA has on a number of occasions commented on the problems with Wikipedia when it comes to articles about the Arab-Israeli conflict. See, for example, "How and Why to Edit Wikipedia" and "The Wild West of Wikipedia."
But a picture is worth a thousand words. (Especially a picture with words.) So here's a screenshot from Wikipedia that captures all that's wrong with the encyclopedia:
According to the article's history page, it was created on April 4 by a Wikipedia account created that same day. Later that day, another Wikipedia user removed the reference to "israeli" perpetrators and added the word "alleged." But the creator of the article returned a couple of days later to undo those changes.
April 06, 2010
Resurrection Miracle in Gaza, Part II
For details about the earlier resurrection of Muhammad al-Harrani, see here.
April 02, 2010
BBC Blurs Israeli Motives In Gaza Strike
Readers often don't get past a headline -- or, at best, the first few lines of a news story. That's why journalism 101 calls for providing the essentials about an event -- who, what, where, when, why -- at the very beginning of an article. An April 2 BBC Web site posting flunked the test in a story about an Israeli strike on Gaza.
The Israeli air force attacked weapons and training facilities in the Gaza strip, in retaliation for the recent firing of Qassam rockets into Israel, as well as the killing of two IDF soldiers in Khan Younis last Friday.
However, readers of the BBC website will have a hard time fully understanding Israel’s motives and actions.
Before getting to the fact of rockets fired on Israel, the BBC explains the Palestinian position and even harkens back to operation Cast Lead (including a death toll figure), and includes an extended quote by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya calling "on the international community to intervene in the latest cycle of violence between Gaza and Israel in order to avoid a possible escalation."
Posted by NB
April 01, 2010
Critique of New York Times Anti-Israel Editorial
David Harris responds to a recent Times editorial that, like so many of that newspaper's editorials, excoriated Israel while virtually ignoring Palestinian responsibility for the situation in the Levant:
On March 27, The New York Times published a lead editorial entitled "Mr. Obama and Israel".
It was a bare-knuckled assault on Israel. That will bring joy to Israel's critics. But it did a disservice to the realities on the ground.
Of the editorial's twenty-six sentences, exactly one - "He [President Obama] must also press Palestinians and Arab leaders just as forcefully." - is devoted to Israel's neighbors.
That's the sum total given to other side of the peace-process equation. It reads like a throwaway line to cover that flank.
Of course, getting serious about peace, which is the editorial's nominal purpose, requires more attention to those who have rejected every serious overture - from the 1947 UN Partition Plan to the 2009 two-state proposal offered by Prime Minister Olmert.
And it necessitates a more thorough review of the past 14 months since President Obama took office - and of most of the Arab world's failure to respond to Washington's pleas for confidence-building measures.
Read the rest here.