Monday, September 06, 2010

Time Magazine Just Doesn't Care

What can one say about Time Magazine, the magazine that told you how to pronounce Menachem Begin's last name by telling you that it rhymed with Fagin, now tells you that Israel doesn't care about peace:

And why doesn't Israel care about peace--well, a picture is worth a thousand words:



But Karl Vick is more than happy to spell it out for you, first quoting Israeli real estate agents on how well business is going--even with Kassams falling. And if that is still too nuanced for you:
In the week that three Presidents, a King and their own Prime Minister gather at the White House to begin a fresh round of talks on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They're otherwise engaged; they're making money; they're enjoying the rays of late summer. A watching world may still define their country by the blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land and whether that conflict can be negotiated away, but Israelis say they have moved on.
But this is not some Arab newspaper--this is Time magazine. But all things considered, I suppose we should be thankful Vick and Time magazine did not drive the point home with something like this on their cover:


Here is a guy who, while with the Washington Post, was based in Nairobi, Istanbul, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iran and Iraq, where he ran the Baghdad bureau and the the best he can do to size up the Israel-Palestine conflict is "blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land," a conflict to be "negotiated away."

At least Vick is not going to try to pull one over on us by claiming some kind of objectivity. He continues:
Now observing 2½ years without a single suicide bombing on their territory, with the economy robust and with souls a trifle weary of having to handle big elemental thoughts, the Israeli public prefers to explore such satisfactions as might be available from the private sphere, in a land first imagined as a utopia. "Listen to me," says Eli Bengozi, born in Soviet Georgia and for 40 years an Israeli. "Peace? Forget about it. They'll never have peace. Remember Clinton gave 99% to Arafat, and instead of them fighting for 1%, what? Intifadeh."
After all, while there may not have been suicide bombings for 2½ years, it's not as if there is any need to mention that the Kassams being fired by Hamas at Israeli civilians are still being fired, or Hamas has developed rockets with a range of 50 miles that can reach Kfar Saba, northeast of Tel Aviv.

And of course, there's more:
But wait. Deep down (you can almost hear the outside world ask), don't Israelis know that finding peace with the Palestinians is the only way to guarantee their happiness and prosperity? Well, not exactly. Asked in a March poll to name the "most urgent problem" facing Israel, just 8% of Israeli Jews cited the conflict with Palestinians, putting it fifth behind education, crime, national security and poverty. Israeli Arabs placed peace first, but among Jews here, the issue that President Obama calls "critical for the world" just doesn't seem — critical.
Amazing. One might think that to prove one's point you would have to actually name the poll--you know, to give the results some authenticity, maybe even allow for the reader to see the poll for themselves. But not Karl Vick and not Time magazine. So we don't know how who sponsored the poll, we don't know who conducted it, and we don't know how the questions were phrased. We don't even know how "the conflict with the Palestinian" differs from "national security."

Sloppy.

And because Vick won't tell us who sponsored the poll or where to find it, we don't know why Israelis answered the way they did--is it because they don't care or because they are tired of the terrorist attacks that continue despite Oslo, the rockets being fired from Gaza despite the Disengagement and Israelis evicting Israelis from their homes and simply don't trust Abbas, whose term as president ended nearly 2 years ago and whose own people have not given him a mandate to talk to Netanyahu.

We don't know what the reason is, because Vick and Time are sloppy.

The abridged version concludes:
Another whack for the desk. "The people," Heli says, "don't believe." Eli searches for a word. "People in Israel are indifferent," he decides. "They don't care if there's going to be war. They don't care if there's going to be peace. They don't care. They live in the day."
There go those fun-loving Israelis--not giving a damn about peace.

If you had to rely on Vick to get a picture of Israelis, you would never know, as Bret Stephens points out in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal:
Nearly every Israeli has a child, sibling, boyfriend or parent in the army. Nearly every Israeli has been to the funeral of a fallen soldier, or a friend killed in a terrorist attack. Most Israeli homes and businesses come equipped with safe rooms or bomb shelters; every Israeli owns a gas mask. The whole country exists under the encroaching shadows of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, and the prospect of a nuclear Iran. How many Americans, to say nothing of Europeans, can say the same about their own lives?
Karl Vick and Time magazine haven't got a clue.

In the print version, Vick concludes:
For all the surf breaks, the palms and the coffee, the conflict is never truly done, never far away.
Is that a throwaway line for what in Vick's writing counts for balance--while undercutting everything else he wrote?
A throwaway line in a throwaway magazine that thinks that delegitimizing Israel will sell more copies.

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