Monday, May 21, 2012

60 Minutes' Bob Simon's Latest Factual Errors About Israel

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.
Karl Vick, Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace, Time Magazine, September 2, 2010

It seems that over at 60 Minutes, they decided to send Bob Simon to put on video what Karl Vick put to paper, put out the meme that Israel does not care about peace, in his latest piece on Israel: From fear to fortune: Tel Aviv's new attitude

Unfortunately, Bob Simon has no clue as to what he is talking about--and passes on that ignorance to his viewers.
Against the backdrop of what life is supposed to be in Tel Aviv--the bars, the beach, the gay culture and the economic success, Bob Simon presents Gideon Levy--without mentioning the paper he works for or Levy's left-leaning views, let alone the controversy surrounding Gideon Levy:
Levy has been characterized as a "heroic journalist" by some, by others as a "propagandist for the Hamas".
So once again, Simon presents us information without context when he presents Gideon Levy:
Gideon Levy: There's no political debate in Israel. There's no debate almost about anything.

Gideon Levy is a columnist with one of Israel's leading newspapers.

Gideon Levy: It's all about the next vacation, the next Jeep, the next restaurant. And the good life in Tel Aviv enables you to ignore the real questions.

Bob Simon: Is it bad taste to bring up politics at a dinner party?

Gideon Levy: Absolutely. Why to spoil the party? Why to spoil the party with politics? Who needs it when life is so beautiful, when life is so short, when women are so pretty and food is so tasty?
Keep in mind that Gideon Levy is here referring to Israel, not just to Tel Aviv alone, when he says that there is no political debate. Levy does single out Tel Aviv when he claims that they don't care about what is going on:
Gideon Levy says that for Tel Avivians the West Bank could be on another planet.

Gideon Levy: They have no idea what's going on there. This is their dark backyard to which they will never go, to which they have no interest, about which they know so little.

Bob Simon: And Tel Avivians don't really care.

Gideon Levy: Not only they don't care. They don't want to care. They really want to close their eyes.

And Levy says they've succeeded. He is one of the very few Israeli civilians who has any contact with Palestinians. He covers the West Bank for an Israeli newspaper. And every day, when he gets back to Tel Aviv from the occupied territories...that's when he's reminded that he lives in a bubble.

Gideon Levy: Because this is what a bubble is about: the illusion of the moment, the life for the present, and for the very, very short-run future. It can work for a while, until it will blow in our faces. And it will blow in our faces.
And Bob Simon claims that Tel Aviv is in a bubble?
He is the one who is in a bubble--Bob Simon just can't get his facts straight:
So we have all those thousands of Palestinian Arabs treated by Israeli doctors and nurses, driven by Israeli taxi and bus drivers, and shopping in Israeli supermarkets. And let's not forget that Gideon Levy is not the only reporter to talk to Palestinian Arabs: there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other such journalists.

For Bob Simon to have the temerity to say that Gideon Levy is one of few Israel's with any contact with Palestinian Arabs (with the implied isolation) is not only ludicrous--it is clearly dishonest.

Pity the person who has to rely on Bob Simon for an idea of what life is like in Israel.

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