The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
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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On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor
After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel to on peace process
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NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.
Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?
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Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo
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The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
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U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
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.
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