Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Middle East Media Sampler 8/22/2012: Articles Answering Israel's Critics

From DG
1) Efraim squared

There are a couple of articles by two different Efraims worth noting. Efraim Karsh wrote The War against the Jews, which begins:
The sustained anti-Israel de-legitimization campaign is a corollary of the millenarian obsession with the Jews in the Christian and the Muslim worlds. Since Israel is the world's only Jewish state, and since Zionism is the Jewish people's national liberation movement, anti-Zionism—as opposed to criticism of specific Israeli policies or actions—means denial of the Jewish right to national self-determination. Such a discriminatory denial of this basic right to only one nation (and one of the few that can trace their corporate identity and territorial attachment to antiquity) while allowing it to all other groups and communities, however new and tenuous their claim to nationhood, is pure and unadulterated anti-Jewish racism, or anti-Semitism as it is commonly known. 
By any conceivable standard, Israel has been an extraordinary success story: national rebirth in the ancestral homeland after millennia of exile and dispersion; resuscitation of a dormant biblical language; the creation of a modern, highly educated, technologically advanced, and culturally and economically thriving society, as well as a vibrant liberal democracy in one of the world's least democratic areas. It is a world leader in agricultural, medical, military, and solar energy technologies, among others; a high-tech superpower attracting more venture capital investment per capita than the United States and Europe; home to one of the world's best health systems and philharmonic orchestras, as well as to ten Nobel Prize laureates. And so on and so forth. 
Why then is Israel the only state in the world whose right to exist is constantly debated and challenged while far less successful countries, including numerous "failed states," are considered legitimate and incontestable members of the international community? 
The answer offered by this article is that this pervasive prejudice against Israel, the only Jewish state to exist since biblical times, is a corollary of the millenarian obsession with the Jews in the Christian and the Muslim worlds.
The article is an extensive list of the hypocrisies evident in the arguments of Israel critics - or perhaps they should be called condemners.

A complementary article written by Shmuel Sandler and Efraim Inbar is The fading Left and Israel's flourishing democracy. The article is summarized:
Many of Israel's detractors on the left argue that Israel's democracy is in a state of decline. A closer look shows that Israeli democracy is thriving. A gradual decentralization of power since Likud's rise to the top in 1977 has given more political groups a chance to share power. The judicial system is strong and independent, and fearless in its prosecution of senior politicians. 
The end of party-affiliated journalism has allowed greater criticism of the government by the Israeli media. Minority groups enjoy greater rights than ever before. The army has become more professional and plays a smaller role in decision-making than before. When taking these factors into consideration, it is clear that Israeli democracy is doing quite well, despite the assertions of the fading left. 
The frustrated Israeli left that failed to garner support in recent elections has adopted a new strategy. Already before shrinking in the 2009 elections to only 16 Knesset members (represented by Labor and Meretz), several leftist figures decided to turn to external forces "to save Israel from itself" rather than struggle for the hearts and minds of the Israeli people. They argued that Israel's democracy is in danger and tried to mobilize European and American public opinion to pressure Israel in their desired direction. A recent example of this strategy is an opinion piece in The New York Times titled "Israel's Fading Democracy."

2) Mackey squared

In his entry about the attack of Arab teenagers by Israeli teenagers, Robert Mackey of the New York Times wrote:
Mairav Zonszein, an Israeli-American writer and translator, included a translation of the witness account in a post on the Israeli news blog +972.
Anyone familiar with +972 knows that it isn't a "news" site, but rather an anti-Israel site. By the way the term "anti-Israel" does not exist in Mackey's vocabulary.

Since then he's written about Pamela Geller's provocative ads on San Francisco's public transportation. He has no problem calling those ads "anti-Islam," though more accurately they should be called "anti-Islamic terror." Mackey also took pleasure in observing:
This week, some of the San Francisco ads were edited by Ms. Geller’s opponents to invert their message. An image posted on Facebook on Sunday by an Oakland blogger showed that text was added to the side of one bus so that the ad now reads: “In any war between the colonizer and the colonized, support the oppressed. Support the Palestinian right of return. Defeat racism.”
The irony of that sentiment escapes Mackey. Supporting the Palestinian right of return means supporting the destruction of Israel, which makes it anti-Israel, if not racist. Mackey left the implication unsaid, suggesting that he too supports the right of return.

Worse, later on he refers to the dishonest Metro North ads.
After that ad appeared in stations, a local CBS news reporter spoke to the man who paid it and to the editor of a Jewish newspaper in New York, The Algemeiner. The newspaper editor, Dovid Efune told CBS that the ad was anti-Semitic because “it paints Jews as aggressors, as imperialists — people that are stealing or taking land from others.”
Of course, what Mackey doesn't write is that the ads were knowingly deceptive.

Robert Mackey continues to pass off his work at the New York Times as news reporting though, when dealing with Israel, it is just crude anti-Israel propagandizing.
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