web analytics
December 26, 2014 / 4 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

When The Media Turned


Media-Monitor-logo

As Israeli officials continue to warn of the unacceptability of a nuclear-armed Iran, the 28th anniversary of Israel’s June 7, 1981 attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor approaches. The world of course was outraged at Israel’s effrontery, with the usual suspects – European leaders and the liberal media – leading the way.

“We don’t think [Israel’s] action serves the cause of peace in the area,” said French Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson, whose country had supplied Saddam Hussein with the ill-fated reactor.

“Armed attack in such circumstances cannot be justified; it represents a grave breach of international law,” said British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

“Israel’s sneak attack … was an act of inexcusable and shortsighted aggression,” said a New York Times editorial written by editorial page editor Max Frankel.

“[The attack] did severe damage to the hope in which Israel’s true security must lie: the hope of realistic relations with all its neighbors,” wrote New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis.

“[Israel has] vastly compounded the difficulties of procuring a peaceful settlement of the confrontations in the Middle East,” wrote Time magazine.

How to account for the negative reaction on the part of individuals and publications usually given to shrill warnings about the dangers posed by totalitarian despots and the dire implications of nuclear proliferation?

The answer, it should be fairly obvious, is that the source of the attack was Israel. More specifically, the Israel of Menachem Begin.

For years after its establishment, Israel enjoyed the support of the Western world’s opinion-making elites. Guilt over the Holocaust was very much a factor, but so was admiration for Israel. The democracies, stuck in what appeared to be a no-win cold war with the Soviet Union, envied Israel’s fighting spirit, while socialist governments in non-Communist Europe felt a kinship with Israel’s ruling Labor party.

This widespread affinity for Israel crested with the 1967 Six-Day War. The media in the U.S. and Europe virtually celebrated Israel’s lightning victory, huge demonstrations on behalf of Israel were held in every Western capital and major city, and public figures from mayors to movie stars rushed to leap aboard the pro-Israel bandwagon.

But Israel’s decisive victory came at an expensive price. The media portrayal of Israel, so positive in the years leading up to the Six-Day War, became increasingly negative thereafter. To many journalists, Israel was no longer an underdog deserving of support but rather a neighborhood bully out to make life miserable for the weaker states in the area.

America’s prestige media had, by the late 1960s, joined other elements of the nation’s liberal establishment in appropriating a good deal of the language and attitudes of the countercultural New Left. As they grew increasingly opposed to America’s role in Vietnam, liberals were fast losing faith in all the old certainties. Any nation or movement claiming victimization at the hands of the U.S. or the West – and Israel was very much considered part of the West – was guaranteed to win a place in liberal hearts.

It was hardly surprising, then, that by the mid-1970s the media’s stock descriptions of Israel were “militaristic” and “intransigent.” The “plight of the Palestinians” (another stock phrase of the era) was in; Israel was definitely out. The frequent terrorist operations mounted by the PLO and its offshoots did little to win back media support for Israel, as the atrocities were invariably blamed on Israel’s treatment of the poor, suffering Palestinians.

Even with all that as backdrop, however, it was the election in May 1977 of Menachem Begin as prime minister that set off media shockwaves that continue to reverberate more than three decades later.

The quintessential outsider in Israeli politics since his days as head of the underground Irgun in the 1940s, Begin was a man reviled by the Labor-friendly Israeli media. (And it wasn’t just Begin’s right-wing ideology that had made him a pariah in Israel’s “proper” circles; his formal dress and courtly demeanor set him apart from the brash and informal image cultivated by other Israeli leaders of his generation.) If the Israeli media were merely stunned by Begin’s ascension, the reaction of the American and European media was one of initial disbelief followed by unremitting hostility.

Not even the 1979 peace treaty signed by Israel and Egypt bought better press for Begin, who throughout the negotiations was derided as the intransigent (that word again) stumbling block in the way of Anwar Sadat’s noble quest for peace.

Begin left office in 1983, but the media template of Israel as an oppressive colossus was by then set in stone and has remained so ever since.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


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 “When The Media Turned”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ayala Shapira, 11, is fighting for her life after suffering burn wounds when an Arab terrorist threw a Molotov cocktail at the car in which she was riding.
‘Slight Improvement’ in Life-threatening Condition of Firebomb Victim
Latest Indepth Stories
Bill Cosby

It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.

Knesset Logo

The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.

Cohen-122614

The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.

Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.

A revolution is taking place between good and evil; light and darkness. Make the light activism!

Obama’s comments calling Israeli settlements “unhelpful”are harsher than prior US administrations’

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Comptroller DiNapoli celebrates Sukkot with Crown Heights Jewish community leaders at the sukkah of Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

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.

Front-Page-102414

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.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/when-the-media-turned/2009/05/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: