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.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 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?
Gideon Levy says that for Tel Avivians the West Bank could be on another planet.And Bob Simon claims that Tel Aviv is in a bubble?
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.
He is the one who is in a bubble--Bob Simon just can't get his facts straight:
- Bob Simon claims that Tel Aviv is Israel's largest city--but the fact is that Jerusalem is Israel's largest city.
- Bob Simon claims that everyone in Israel serves in the army--neglecting the fact that Orthodox Jew are not required to.
- Bob Simon claims that Gideon Levy is "one of the very few Israeli civilians who has any contact with Palestinians."
The reality is very different--
According to the Palestinian National Authority Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2010, 13.5% of Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank worked either within the Green Line inside Israel or outside the Green Line while Haaretz reported there were 35,000 Palestinians working for Israelis living over the Green Line in “settlements.” In that same year 180,000 Palestinian Arabs were treated in Israeli hospitals.
Remember that for Simon to even consider such a statement, he must be considering that those Arabs living in Israel--including East Jerusalem--whether they hold Israeli citizenship or not, are not considered Palestinian. This is something the Palestinians would dispute and is another indication of just how out of touch Bob Simon is with life in Israel.
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.
Technorati Tag: Israel and 60 Minutes and Bob Simon.
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