web analytics
July 29, 2015 / 13 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Roger Cohen Digs Himself Deeper


Media-Monitor-logo

A few weeks back (Feb. 27) the Monitor characterized a Feb. 23 piece by New York Times columnist Roger Cohen on Iranian Jews as reminiscent of  “the naïve and insidious reporting by such legendary Times dupes as Walter Duranty and Herbert Matthews, whose whitewashing, respectively, of the Soviet Union in the 1920s and ‘30s and Fidel Castro in the 1950s will stand forever as monuments to the argument that the self-described ‘paper of record’ is often anything but.”

Cohen’s column sparked a wave of anger and criticism, and he returned to the topic a few days later with a defense of his earlier piece – a defense that only confirmed to many readers that Cohen wasn’t so much interested in the real state of Iran’s Jewish community, which he maintains is secure, content, and even resentful of Israeli bellicosity toward Iran, as he is in using Iranian Jewry as a cudgel to attack Israel.

Last week Cohen traveled to Los Angeles and spoke at Sinai Temple, a conservative synagogue with a large contingent of Iranian congregants, just about all of whom were, as might be expected, quite upset with the columnist.

In a March 15 column about the Sinai Temple event, Cohen seemed to backtrack a bit on his earlier insistence that all is well and good with the Jews of Iran but at the same time he once again revealed what really drives him – his fear that acknowledging the true nature of the Iranian regime would play into the hands of those who urge a more hawkish approach to Iran. Here’s what he wrote:

Just how repressive life is for Iran’s Jews is impossible to know. Iran is an un-free society. But this much is clear: the hawks’ case against Iran depends on a vision of an apocalyptic regime – with no sense of its limitations – so frenziedly anti-Semitic that it would accept inevitable nuclear annihilation if it could destroy Israel first.

Little wonder that Sinai Temple’s Rabbi David Wolpe, who spent considerable time with Cohen during the latter’s visit, echoed the Monitor’s view when he wrote afterward that “increasingly I came to believe that Iran was not Cohen’s sole concern; he wanted it as a stick with which to beat Israel over Gaza, whose incursion he wrote left him ashamed.”

To understand just what a Lilliputian figure we’re confronted with in Roger Cohen, take a gander at this exchange he had with Rabbi Wolpe at the Sinai Temple confab:

Rabbi Wolpe: I grant you that this is not a perfect analogy to Iran and Israel, but…you say that Israel is much more powerful than Hizbullah, much more powerful than Hamas. Let’s say tomorrow, it were reversed. Let’s say Hizbullah had the firepower of Israel and Israel had the firepower of Hizbullah. Let’s say Hamas had the firepower of Israel and Israel had rockets –

Cohen: We can say, we can say –

Wolpe: Wait, wait, wait, wait –

Cohen: We can –

Wolpe: Let me finish my question. You don’t know what to respond to until I’ve finished my question. What do you think would happen to Israel were the balance of power reversed? And the reason I’m asking that is because Iran is pursuing means by which they could actually in the end be more powerful than Israel so it’s not just hypothetical. If Iran gets several nuclear bombs, they have much more territory and they could be more powerful than Israel. What would happen if Hamas and Hizbullah – which are Iran’s proxies – had that power tomorrow?

Cohen: I don’t know what would happen.

Wolpe: I do.

Cohen: I don’t know what would happen and it doesn’t matter I don’t know what would happen because it’s not going to happen tomorrow, or within a year, or two years, or three years. It is somewhere into the future. What is important, I think, is to try and reach an agreement with Iran which prevents them from going to a nuclear bomb. And I think that’s possible. What is important is to begin to think differently about the Middle East in ways that could actually advance the cause of peace and the two-state solution rather than dreaming up scenarios from hell, rather than dreaming up the ultimate nightmare, rather than dwelling on nuclear Armageddon. Let’s try and build something better in the Middle East.

As veteran journalist and Middle East watcher Jeffrey Goldberg archly put in on his blog: “Roger Cohen doesn’t know what would happen if the situation were reversed and Hamas and Hizbullah had military superiority over Israel. The mind reels.”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Roger Cohen Digs Himself Deeper”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
An F-16 fighter jet takes off from Ramat David air force base.
Israeli Air Strike Allegedly Kills 5 in Syrian Golan Heights
Latest Indepth Stories
Dr. Phyllis Chesler

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

Obama on Iran Deal

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

Open Tent

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through} Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. […]

Hamas on the Temple Mount - Jul 3, 2015

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

J Street is the vanguard (Jewish face)in support of Obama’s Vienna Accords Nuclear Deal with Iran

“I hold the woman’s place over that of men in every fundamental aspect of public and private life.”

The US-UNRWA accord is another example of this White House, hostile to Israel, disregarding truth.

On the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, Tisha B’av, a reflection on the dangerous deal with Iran

The Kotel gained significance around 1550. Previously, many Jews prayed on the Temple Mount itself.

All Jews MUST stand together to oppose boycotts against Israel. So why does NIF & JCF support BDS?

This year it is hard to concentrate on anything but Iran building nuclear weapons to destroy Israel

Bibi failed the moment he transferred Israel’s Iran problem to the international arena.

I was entranced by Kaddish, a song of sorrow of the whole of Israel for the 1000s of years of exile

Like the Avos, we are invested with the mission to inspire humanity to become nobler and greater

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Assemblymember Bichotte speaking in the New York State Assembly.

The bills I’m proud to have sponsored are less controversial, more responsive to yeshiva and parochial school parents, and were gaining traction in the Assembly until the negative campaign began…

Zechariah Schwarzberg, z”l

Though intimately acquainted with mankind’s darkest side, he never lost his faith&love in God or man

Some of the president’s defenders took to arguing that the overwhelming majority of German military personnel interred in Bitburg were regular Wehrmacht soldiers who died on the battlefield and likely were not involved in atrocities against civilians.

Note also the response to the speech by the top Democrats in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both of whom have been outspoken in their criticism of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/roger-cohen-digs-himself-deeper/2009/03/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: