There are times, admittedly few and far between, when the Monitor is rendered speechless. Such a time came seven years ago this week, with the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada.
It’s been several months since the Monitor’s last listing of worthwhile websites and blogs, so here’s an updated version. Some of the sites that appeared on previous lists have been removed (either they went defunct, lapsed into relative inactivity, or simply failed to hold the Monitor’s interest) and a number of new ones have been added.
President Bush, writes Graydon Carter, paranoiac editor of Vanity Fair, the magazine that strives mightily to be taken seriously while championing celebrity narcissism and mindless titillation (“Nicole Kidman Bares All,” trills the cover of the current issue, thick as always with ads for perfume, lingerie and high-priced clothes and toys for high-income yuppies and those who aspire to be), “has taken away our civil liberties.”
In a virtuoso display of the pettiness that has come to define the New York Times editorial page under Andrew Rosenthal, the Sour Gray Lady sniped last weekend against the active participation of Rudy Giuliani in the city’s memorial event marking the sixth anniversary of 9/11.
The lengthy cover story in a weekly news magazine deftly sums up the profound unease afflicting U.S. Jewry. Titled “American Jews and Israel,” the piece paints a picture of a community enjoying unprecedented affluence and influence and at the same time worrying about the future of U.S.-Israel relations and the possible emergence of widespread anti-Semitism in America.
• Michael Beschloss, the historian whose new book, Presidential Courage, played such a prominent role in the Monitor’s last offering, apparently has become a victim of Bush Derangement Syndrome, so named by columnist Charles Krauthammer in 2003 as he sought to give a name to “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency – nay, the very existence – of George W. Bush.”
Forgive the Monitor a little self-indulgence this week. In its May 14 issue, Newsweek magazine published a chapter from historian Michael Beschloss’s new book, Presidential Courage (Simon & Schuster). The excerpt centered on Harry Truman’s role in the establishment of Israel, and Beschloss had no compunction about highlighting Truman’s nasty anti-Semitic streak or that after leaving office Truman admitted to the late television impresario David Susskind that his wife, Bess, had never allowed a Jew into their Independence, Missouri home.
About The New York Times it has been possible for a number of years now to declare, comfortably and without risk of contradiction, that relying on the once-formidable newspaper as one’s sole, or even primary, source of information can be hazardous to one’s intellectual health.
Tom Segev is one of Israel’s more distasteful post-Zionists, which is saying a lot, considering their generally unappetizing nature. His newest book, 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East, is as one-sided and tendentious a work as one would expect from Segev, a columnist for Haaretz whose stock-in-trade is books blaming Israel and Zionism for every conceivable ill in the Middle East.
Last year the Monitor proffered readers a list of books for summer reading that was, it must be said, several intellectual notches above the usual beach-and-bungalow fare. The theme of that list was U.S. presidents. This year’s theme, naturally, is especially close to the Monitor’s heart – the news media.
This summer marks the 25th anniversary of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. For those who labor under the mistaken assumption that media liberals and leftists turned against Israel because of its handling of the two Palestinian intifadas, or because of what they perceive to be the neoconservative hold on the Bush White House (particularly during Bush’s first term), or because they lay the blame squarely on Israel for the collapse of Oslo and the failure of the Clinton initiatives at Camp David and Taba, it might be instructive to take a brief look back at what liberals and leftists were saying about Israel a quarter-century ago.
Now that Hamas has taken over Gaza, further exposing Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah as ineffective and quite possibly inconsequential players, its leading lights might want to erect a statue of Condoleezza Rice somewhere in beautiful downtown Gaza City.
The death in August 2001 of Hillel Kook, better known as Peter Bergson during his rescue efforts on behalf of European Jewry in the 1940’s, received a fair amount of notice in American newspapers with sizeable Jewish readerships.
Trolling the Internet these past couple of weeks has served to quash any lingering, hopeful doubts that the post-Zionists have indeed won the battle over how Israel is perceived – by Jews as well as non-Jews, Israelis as well as non-Israelis.
Bill Clinton’s apologists continue to insist he was the most pro-Israel U.S. president – ever. Much of this is political theater, of course, as the Clinton Support Network cranks into high gear in its attempt to put Sen. Hillary Clinton into the office her husband occupied from 1993 to 2001.
The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who died this week at age 73, was one of those figures who constantly attract the media’s scorn. It comes with the territory when you’re either a biblical literalist, a political conservative, or someone not shy about taking a sword to liberalism’s sacred cows. Falwell fit all those categories, making him a three-time loser to journalists whose taste in religious leaders runs more along the lines of a Desmond Tutu or a William Sloane Coffin.
It wasn’t quite a Clark Clifford moment, but Hillary Clinton’s bizarre “deauthorization” proposal – namely, that Congress repeal its October 2002 resolution giving President Bush the authority to invade Iraq – is so breathtaking in its cynicism and opportunism that it calls to mind the transparent about-face executed by Clifford nearly four decades ago, more about which later.
In a recent article for FrontPageMag.com, Kenneth Levin (whose most recent contribution to The Jewish Press was the April 20 page-one essay “The Empty Rage of Jewish ‘Progressives’”) took off on Steven Erlanger, the putrid Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times. In the course of his critique, Levin recalled a particularly egregious example of biased reporting by a former Times Jerusalem correspondent named William Orme.
Last week the Monitor considered the matter of radio host Don Imus’s firing and the hypocrisy that infused the affair throughout its eight-day life. Ironically, Bernard Goldberg – the veteran television newsman who with his 2001 surprise bestseller Bias blew the whistle on how liberal journalists routinely slant their reportage – has a new book out, Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right, that includes an amusing, counterintuitive, anecdote about Imus.
Don Imus should have been fired years ago. He was a radio host whose sheer inarticulateness may have been even more shocking than his purposeful crudity; an alleged humorist who had said nothing memorable or funny since the dawn of the Clinton era if not earlier.