The New York Times recognized that its correspondent in Jerusalem, Jodi Rudoren, had gone too far this time in blithely vilifying Jews who live and breathe beyond the so-called Green Line.
Rudoren ascribed a position to the United States government about Israeli policy which was flat out wrong. That was the only part of the otherwise slanted and deceptive article which merited a slap on the wrist. Rudoren wrote that the position of the U.S. is that Israeli towns and cities beyond the Green Line are illegal, when in fact this government has taken no position on the legality of Israeli Jewish towns in that region. The actual correction appears at the end of this article.
Before we get to the begrudging but still humiliating factual correction, take a stroll through the rest of her article.
In this article headlined, “Israeli Decree on West Bank Settlements Will Harm Peace Talks, Palestinians Say,” Rudoren not only originally falsely stated that the United States believes the “settlements” are illegal. Her language throughout the piece makes clear her hostility to Jews daring to live beyond what the esteemed Israeli statesman Abba Eban had termed the “Auschwitz borders,” the lines drawn in 1949 at the end of the war against the newly-reborn Israel, when surrounding Arab states attacked it rather than permit a Jewish State in their midst.
For one thing, she described the early stage approval of subsidies to homeowners in various places including in “Jewish settlements in the West Bank territory that Israel seized in the 1967 war.” You’d never know that in 1967 Israel (again) fought a defensive war and gained the land in a battle for its existence. The verb Rudoren chose, “seized,” suggests an aggressive action by the belligerent in military hostilities.
Given that the New York Times is treated like Torah from Sinai by most American Jews, no wonder they and the organizations those Jews tend to support believe that Israel should give away that territory to people who never possessed it, and never – until Israel legally acquired the land – expressed any interest in owning or governing it themselves.
And it was not until the sixth paragraph of a 10 paragraph story that Israel is even permitted a voice to counter what Rudoren already set up as a move by the Israeli government to expand “settlements” which upset the Arab Palestinians and may now torpedo the “fragile peace talks.”
In the sixth paragraph the reader – if he is still reading – learns that all that happened is the Israeli government has made a completely routine and preliminary decision to provide assistance to homeowners in authorized towns and villages for things like “education, housing, infrastructure projects, cultural programs and sports, along with better mortgage rates and loans for new homeowners.” Isn’t that what governments are supposed to do? Take care of their citizens?
Rudoren distances her readers from identifying with Israelis who might otherwise be considered normal homeowners. She points out that, “Among the newcomers to the list are three formerly illegal outposts — Bruchin, Rachelim and Sansana — that obtained government recognition last year.” Rudoren chose not to more concisely and correctly refer to those three towns as “legal and legitimate villages.”
But before Israel was permitted to offer a different point of view, Rudoren first ran condemnations of the move by the infamous Hanan Ashrawi, whose latest evidence of Jew and Israel hatred was the promotion on the website of an NGO she founded which claimed that Jews drink Christian blood on Passover.
In the space of three sentences, Rudoren paints a clear picture with Ashrawi’s words. Ashrawi describes Israel’s move as a “confidence-destruction measure,” “attempts to grab more Palestinian land,” “provide settlers with preferential treatment” and the announcement that “the decision would have ‘a destructive impact’” on the current Israeli-Arab Palestinian talks.
Of course, Mark Regev was given a cameo appearance in the sixth paragraph. But not to worry, because in the concluding three paragraphs of the article there is plenty to ensure that the lasting impression is one of an intransigent Israeli government filled with “many right-wing settlement supporters” which “refused to formally freeze settlement construction” in order to induce the oh-so-compliant, peace-supporting Arab Palestinians to even sit at the table with the Israelis.
Nowhere in Rudoren’s article is there any mention of the horrific sacrifice Israel was forced to make just for the pleasure of “negotiating” with the Arab Palestinians – the agreement to release 104 convicted murderers of Israeli children, women and men, despite the promises made to the families of victims through the years by every Israeli prime minister that those prisoners would never ever be released. That measure didn’t merit a single word.
No, Rudoren continued to harp to the very end about the failure of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to institute a “settlement freeze.” That failure, combined with the steps he has taken, such as the one around which this whole article was constructed, “have raised questions among Palestinians, Americans, and left-leaning Israelis over his seriousness about negotiations.”
His seriousness is what is at issue, and no one who reads her articles could think anything else. Really. Increasing funding for education, infrastructure, cultural programs and sports is what will deliver the death knell to any forward movement in the elusive quest for peace in the Middle East. You can read that in the modern progressives’ official Torah from Sinai. Believe it – they do.
As it happens, it turns out that Tuesday, July 7 was not a particularly good day for New York Times reporters who write about Israel. See Adam Kredo’s Washington Free Beacon report which explains that columnist of long-standing Thomas Friedman, in an effort to reinforce his personal brand of vilification of Israelis who live and breathe beyond a mythical Green Line, made this statement in a column: “One should never forget just how crazy some of Israel’s Jewish settlers are. They assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin when he tried to cede part of the West Bank for peace.”
But Rabin’s assassin lived in Herzliya, which has been a recognized part of Israel since 1948. Oops.
The New York Times is not the only mainstream media organ that exposed itself on August 7. Many people believe the Wall Street Journal to be centrist leaning towards right wing. But in what can only be considered a gallant effort to support his comrade-at-arms in the mainstream media plum post of Jerusalem, the Journal’s Charles Levinson gave us the Full Monty.
Levinson tweeted a defense of Maid Rudoren against another article critical of Rudoren’s errors in the Washington Free Beacon. But you can just hear Rudoren putting her hands over her ears and saying, “please, with more help like that who needs right wing critics?”
This is what Levinson tweeted: “NYT’s
@rudoren has done great work here. This attempted takedown alleges bias, but reads like written by @camera: http://bit.ly/1cv0sy2” Got that? Levinson thinks it’s a witty insult to compare a newspaper article to something written by CAMERA.
Newsflash: CAMERA corrects factual errors. There is nothing embarrassing about being compared to CAMERA. Far more embarrassing to be caught writing factually incorrect news articles. Or even tweets.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Three days after the article was first published and two days after the article ran in the print version, The New York Times placed the following comment beneath its online version:
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: August 7, 2013
An earlier version of this article misstated the United States’ view of the West Bank settlements seized by Israel in the 1967 war. While much of the rest of the world considers them illegal, for several decades the United States has not taken a position on the settlements’ legality; In a statement on Tuesday, the State Department said, “We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.”
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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