As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
I’ve been reading The New York Times pretty much every single day since I was ten years old. That’s more than a half-century by now.
Along the way, I’ve been informed, inspired, and occasionally infuriated.
Last week, there were several causes for infuriation.
The first came on Monday, in the form of four photographs that appeared on the first page of the International section.
The largest of the four, 6 x 9 inches, was at the top of the page and immediately caught the reader’s attention. It was a poignant picture of a little girl leaning against a largely empty wall and staring upward, as the caption explained, to a small picture of her grandfather.
Walid Aqel, 48, was to be among those Palestinian prisoners released in the exchange for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas in 2006.
The paper failed to mention, in the caption or elsewhere, that Aqel was a founder of Hamas’s military wing, had much Israeli blood on his hands, and was sentenced by Israel to life imprisonment.
Instead, the overriding impression conveyed was that Aqel was, above all, a grandfather, whose adorable granddaughter was pining for his return from his Israeli captors.
Then, just below the photo was the article itself – “Israel Names 477 to Go Free in Trade for Hamas-Held Soldier.” And beneath the article were three small photos, each measuring 2 x 3 inches, which conveyed images of the human havoc wreaked in Israel by some of those Palestinians to be released in the deal.
Because of their diminutive size and busy images, those photos didn’t draw the eye easily, though they should have been the heart of the story. After all, they conveyed the nature of the terrorists to be freed, helping readers understand how gut-wrenching the decision must have been for Israel.
Yet those photos, together totaling 18 square inches, were submerged, while the single, stark photo at the top, 54 square inches, dominated.
Then came a Times editorial, “Gilad Shalit’s Release,” on Wednesday. It was among the most upsetting I’ve ever read.
The day after Shalit was returned to Israel, with 477 Palestinian prisoners sent to Gaza, the West Bank, and elsewhere, and a second group to be freed soon, the paper chose to go after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yet again.
He’s been a favorite whipping boy for the editorial writers since he assumed office in 2009.
They give him little credit for what he’s done to advance prospects for peace and Palestinian development – the ten-month settlement freeze, the lifting of blockades and checkpoints on the West Bank, oft-expressed support for a two-state outcome, and help for the rising Palestinian economy. And they spare no criticism for his alleged misdeeds.
But this editorial took the cake, darkly suggesting the Shalit deal was really a Machiavellian plot to further weaken chances for peace — and the blame, predictably, was laid at Netanyahu’s doorstep.
Of course, the editorial could have gone in other directions.
It might have dwelled on the extraordinary importance Israel attaches to human life, in this case the life of one soldier. It could have focused on the nature of Israeli democracy, where Gilad Shalit’s parents never stopped mobilizing on behalf of their son, and created a national movement to liberate him, irrespective of the cost.
It might have reminded the world of the contrast between Shalit’s captivity – more than five years without a single visit by the International Committee of the Red Cross, much less his family – and that of the Palestinian prisoners, none of whom surely would have wished to trade their diet, access to the outside world and, indeed, to sunlight, or opportunities for education with what Shalit endured.
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The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.
Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general
Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.
In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.
Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address
Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.
I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.
The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.
UN inspectors were flabbergasted when Iran allowed them full unfettered access to All nuclear sites
Obama’s real problem is that he knows Netanyahu has more credibility on the Iran issue than he does.
Kristof’s op-ed “The Human Stain” was flawed and wrong; more than anti-Israel, it was anti-Semitic.
Gov. Mitt Romney has made some outrageous comments and taken some extreme positions in this presidential campaign. But few, if any, are more baffling than his latest statement on his plans for the U.S.-Israel relationship. Asked what he would do to strengthen America’s alliance with Israel, he said, “by and large, you can just look at the things the president has done and do the opposite.”
This election season in the United States was not a great one for the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Republicans and the tainted Emergency Committee for Israel launched mendacious ads and campaigns against pro-Israel Democrats across the country threatening the historic bipartisan support for Israel that has existed in Washington. The lies in these campaigns have been called out by an array of independent journalists from The New York Times to Salon, and politicizing support for Israel in this way has been condemned by key figures such as Israel’s U.S. ambassador, Michael Oren.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/skewing-the-shalit-deal-new-york-times-style/2011/10/26/
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