Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Middle East Media Sampler 7/22/2012: New York Times Blind Hate Of Israel

From DG:
1) It's 12:30 AM do you know where your opinions are?

Nearly 30 years ago, Anthony Lewis wrote a column for the New York Times about a study performed by former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Meron Benvenisti. The title of the column, taken from Benvensti, was Five Minutes to Midnight.
The Begin Government aims to have 100,000 settlers in the West Bank as soon as possible. That figure would be, it says, a ''critical mass'' - so large a number that no Israeli government thereafter could agree to withdraw from the territory. 
That is why the facts brought out by the study are so urgent. For the United States, they point to the early end of what has long been the premise of American diplomacy there: an exchange of territory for true peace. For Israel, they point toward an annexation that will change the very nature of the Jewish state, incorporating within it a large, subservient and resentful Arab population. 
But it is the Arab leaders who need most of all to understand the meaning of the Benvenisti study. They have maneuvered for years, avoiding negotiation. But unless they move now - unless they accept the fact of Israel and talk about ways to secure the rights of Palestinians in accommodation with that fact - there will be nothing left to negotiate.
In late 1995 the Los Angeles Times reported:
In the last seven weeks Israel has handed over six West Bank towns and more than 400 villages to the Palestinian Authority. The authority now controls about 90% of the West Bank's more than 1 million Arabs, and about one-third of the land in the Delaware-size territory.
Despite Israelis living in Judea and Samaria apparently reaching "critical mass," Israel ceded enough territory to give the Palestinians the opportunity to govern themselves nearly twenty years ago. Did Lewis foresee that Israel would end up complying with what he claimed was necessary and still not have peace or the acceptance of the Arab world?

If 1982, was five minutes to midnight, what time is it now? In today's editorial, Israel's embattled democracy, the editors of the New York Times charge:
Mr. Netanyahu’s past dependence on hard-line parties has manifested itself in aggressive settlement building and resistance to serious peace talks with the Palestinians — who themselves have not shown enough commitment to a solution. Without Kadima’s moderating force, these trends will continue.
It's as if the years from 1993 to 2000 never existed. "Aggressive settlement building?" Even when Netanyahu stopped building two years ago Abbas didn't come to the table! And the Palestinians have shown NO commitment to a solution. A few weeks ago, Abbas refused to negotiate without Netanyahu because Netanyahu wouldn't release enough terrorists from jail! The editors of the New York Times couldn't have gotten this much wrong in their editorial unless they were trying. They are not ignorant. They hate Israel.

This blind hatred of Israel manifest by lamenting Israel's declining democracy and insufficient commitment to peace despite all the evidence to the contrary is par for the course at the New York Times. I'd write more but Israel Matzav has ably refuted the editorial point by point.

2) Alexander Cockburn

In the 1980's one of the most vicious anti-Israel columnists was Alexander Cockburn. Cockburn recently died and in its obituary of him, the New York Times related a scandal that forced Cockburn from the Village Voice:
At The Voice, Mr. Cockburn (pronounced COE-burn) wrote, with James Ridgeway, a political column and another, called Press Clips, in which he critiqued the news media, and often mocked what he saw as the ethical failings of journalists. 
But Mr. Cockburn, an often-fierce critic in the columns of Israeli policies in the Middle East, was dismissed from The Voice in 1984 after The Boston Phoenix reported that he had accepted a $10,000 grant from a group that its critics called pro-Arab — David Schneiderman, The Voice editor at the time, suggested that the grant created a conflict of interest. 
Mr. Cockburn said he had taken the money for a book project and had planned to return it.
Note that "critics" called the organization "pro-Arab." Google has preserved the Boston Phoenix article. The organization was called the Institute for Arab Studies. The principals of the apparently now defunct organization, who were found by the reporter, seemed to be pro-Palestinian if not more generally pro-Arab. The proper way to describe the Institute for Arab Studies is "a self-described pro-Arab" organization.

Michael Kinsley took his own look at the scandal - having been called out by Cockburn for a similar incident. Kinsley isn't so sure that in Cockburn's case it was a firing offense (he noted, for example, how Christopher Hitchens once got around a similar restriction at the Nation.) Kinsley had a brilliant summary of the scandal that's worth recalling:
Any would be corrupter of journalistic morals who spends $10,000 trying to bias Alexander Cockburn against Israel ought to be drummed out of the profession for rank incompetence. Why buy a cow when the milk is free?
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