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Posts Tagged ‘journalists’

Treat News Manipulators As Journalists?

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Should Israel treat pro-Palestinian news manipulators as if they were serious journalists? Should they be given privileges because they belong to supposedly reputable media outlets? Why accommodate the allies of your enemies?

Such questions arise anew after a recent study of anti-Israel bias on the part of Reuters by Henry Silverman of Chicago’s Roosevelt University.

Professor Silverman investigated fifty news-oriented articles by Reuters on the Middle East. His findings about this “objective” news agency were damning. Silverman concluded that coverage of the Middle East conflict “is systematically tainted by propaganda and influences readers to side with the Palestinian and Arab states against the Israelis.”

Silverman analyzed these articles for reporting and ethical failures, such as propaganda devices and logical fallacies. As Reuters has a handbook of rules its reporters are supposed to follow, he also checked the articles against its requirements. Silverman found more than 1,100 instances of reporting failures in these articles. On the average, this amounts to 22 failures per (relatively short) article. Silverman then submitted the articles to students who were neutral about the Middle East conflict. After they had read the biased articles, their views shifted to pro-Palestinian.

Trevor Asserson, a British litigation lawyer now living in Israel, applied a somewhat different methodology to the BBC several years ago. This media outlet is heavily subsidized by the British government and enjoys an important monopoly position. It operates under a government charter which defines 15 legal obligations including fairness, respect for truth, due accuracy, attachment to fundamental democratic principles, not broadcasting opinions on current affairs or public policy, insuring that opposing views are not misrepresented and not letting the audience gauge the reporter’s personal views.

Asserson checked various BBC TV programs on the Middle East against its commitments under the charter. He analyzed all documentaries on the Middle East shown on BBC 1 and 2 from late June 2002 to 2004. Afterward, Asserson said the BBC was conducting “what amounts to something equivalent to a campaign to vilify Israel, broadcasting a documentary critical of Israel every two to three months…. 88% of documentaries on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict paint either a negative impression of Israel or (in two cases) a positive image of Palestinians.” He also found that “there is a systemic problem with the BBC complaints system.”

Asserson concluded: “BBC’s news reports concerning Israel are distorted by omission, by inclusion, by only giving partial facts, by who is interviewed, and by the background information provided, or lack of it. The only way to establish this factually was to do a proper forensic analysis. I prepared my reports in the way in which a judge would expect the evidence to be presented in a court of law.”

Another form of news manipulation is selective publishing of biased op-eds. Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “respectfully declined” to write an op-ed for The New York Times. His senior adviser Ron Dermer wrote a reply to the newspaper in which he quoted the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan’s admonition that “everyone is entitled to [his] own opinion, but no one is entitled to [his] own facts.”

Dermer pointed out that the Times had published an article by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas containing false historical “facts,” which it could and should have verified quite easily. Dermer also checked op-eds about Israel published within the last three months in The New York Times and in the (Times-owned) International Herald Tribune. Nineteen out of those twenty op-ed pieces were negative.

If such manipulation or propaganda is practiced by three media outlets counted among the profession’s elite, what can one possibly expect from others? To get an idea of how low some have stooped – and not related to Israel – one should follow the inquiry in the United Kingdom carried out by Lord Justice Leveson about the multiple infringements of privacy by the tabloid press.

The now defunct News of the World hacked the voice mails of many individuals. It hired detectives to place people under surveillance and planted a Trojan virus to hack into one target’s computer. It also employed a convicted criminal because of his good relationship with the police.

Other tabloids fabricated stories about people. A particularly disturbing case was that of the Daily Express, which invented defamatory information about the parents of the McCann family whose daughter had disappeared. A former reporter at the Daily Mirror testified that phone hacking was rampant at the paper in the late ‘90s.

There is a pressing need for a major study on the extremely doubtful ethics of present-day journalism. Using Israel as a test case would be a helpful way to accomplish this.

In the meantime, Israel must act. It is time to form a Knesset caucus on media that should tackle this complex issue and hold the government accountable when it accommodates manipulators among the journalists. Freedom of the press is one thing. Being assisted by the government to help the enemy is something radically different. Ministers should be asked why certain journalists (read: Palestinian and Arab propagandists) enjoy privileges. Let them fend for themselves without the rights and privileges press cards offer.

A Time To Cancel

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

This year, one of America’s leading newsmagazines decided to send a memorable Rosh Hashanah greeting to Jews all over the world.

On the cover of its latest issue, Time magazine placed a large Star of David made of white Gerbera daisies, in the middle of which was superimposed large black text triumphantly declaring: “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.”

So even as Jews everywhere were gathering in synagogues for the start of the High Holidays to plead with the Almighty for a year of peace, the editors at Time were busy depicting the Jewish state as a rogue, war-mongering entity.

Ironically enough, the issue in question is dated September 13, 2010, which is precisely 17 years to the day since Israel signed the Oslo accords with the Palestinians on the White House Lawn.

Nonetheless, despite nearly two decades of Palestinian terror, violence and rejectionism, it is Israel – and Israel alone! – that is singled out for blame by Time.

But the irony doesn’t end there. Just days before the magazine came out, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had succeeded in getting Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table in Washington.

It was of course Netanyahu – not Abbas – who pushed for these talks to take place, and the Palestinian leader was practically hauled yelling and screaming by the Obama administration into this process.

So it is simply astonishing how the learned journalists at Time would choose to lambaste the Jewish state precisely when it is making a monumental effort to achieve peace with a Palestinian “partner” who could not possibly care less.

Indeed, the PLO propaganda department couldn’t have asked for more.

It would be easy, of course, to dismiss this as just another example of the mainstream media’s callous and methodical bias toward Israel. After all, hardly a week seems to go by without someone blasting Israel for having the nerve to continue to exist.

But this is different – both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Think about it. In every train station and airport, every newsstand and corner store where Time is sold, millions of passersby who glance at the cover will quickly take in the nefarious message that Israel is the obstacle to peace.

They don’t even need to open the magazine to come away with the idea that those pesky Jews are at it again, blocking any hope of reconciliation in the Middle East.

But that is just what’s on the cover. If you bother to read the article inside – and I strongly suggest that you don’t – it will leave your bottom jaw swaying in the wind like a cartoon character gripped in a state of shock. For Time has managed to publish perhaps the most insidious and anti-Semitic cover story to grace a major publication in recent memory.

I’ll spare you the details, since it will only serve to raise your blood pressure, but suffice it to say that the primary thrust of the article is quite simply that Israeli Jews care more about money than about peace.

The article, by Karl Vick, states: “the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money.”

Yes, that’s right: it is all about Jews and money in Time’s distorted take on the world. The only thing missing was a caricature of a hooked-nose Shylock demanding an ounce of Arab flesh.

Quite frankly, you don’t need to be a scholar of Medieval Jewish history to realize that accusing Jews of caring more about cash than calm is a throwback to some of the darkest and cruelest of anti-Semitic libels.

Yet the editors at Time either didn’t know or care whom they were offending.

If you are like me, you probably stopped reading magazines such as Time many moons ago.

In the age of the Internet and cable news, a weekly newsmagazine has come to resemble a stale croissant. It may look enticing, but it offers little in the way of meaningful taste or experience.

But we cannot and should not underestimate the damage that the Time story can cause to Israel and its image.

It sends a clear signal to journalists everywhere that they can feel free to cross the already nebulous line between being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic with little to fear.

It is therefore imperative that a strong and compelling reaction be sent to those behind this outrageous and offensive assault on Israel and the Jewish people.

If Time’s editors think that all we Jews care about is money, then I say let’s hit them where it will hurt them the most – in their pocketbook.

If you are a subscriber to Time, cancel your subscription. Don’t visit the magazine’s website, don’t follow links to Time’s articles, and shower Time’s editor with letters of outrage. And let your friends and neighbors know they should not purchase this magazine.

Let the publisher and editors of Time learn the most basic lesson of a consumer economy: if you insult us, not only won’t we buy your magazine, we will do our darndest to make sure no one else does either.

Michael Freund is founder of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that helps “lost Jews” return to Zion. His Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the third week of each month.

A Time To Cancel

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

   This year, one of America’s leading newsmagazines decided to send a memorable Rosh Hashanah greeting to Jews all over the world.
 
   On the cover of its latest issue, Time magazine placed a large Star of David made of white Gerbera daisies, in the middle of which was superimposed large black text triumphantly declaring: “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.”
 
   So even as Jews everywhere were gathering in synagogues for the start of the High Holidays to plead with the Almighty for a year of peace, the editors at Time were busy depicting the Jewish state as a rogue, war-mongering entity.
 
   Ironically enough, the issue in question is dated September 13, 2010, which is precisely 17 years to the day since Israel signed the Oslo accords with the Palestinians on the White House Lawn.
 
   Nonetheless, despite nearly two decades of Palestinian terror, violence and rejectionism, it is Israel – and Israel alone! – that is singled out for blame by Time.
 
   But the irony doesn’t end there. Just days before the magazine came out, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had succeeded in getting Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table in Washington.
 
   It was of course Netanyahu – not Abbas – who pushed for these talks to take place, and the Palestinian leader was practically hauled yelling and screaming by the Obama administration into this process.
 
   So it is simply astonishing how the learned journalists at Time would choose to lambaste the Jewish state precisely when it is making a monumental effort to achieve peace with a Palestinian “partner” who could not possibly care less.
 
   Indeed, the PLO propaganda department couldn’t have asked for more.
 
   It would be easy, of course, to dismiss this as just another example of the mainstream media’s callous and methodical bias toward Israel. After all, hardly a week seems to go by without someone blasting Israel for having the nerve to continue to exist.
 
   But this is different – both quantitatively and qualitatively.
 
   Think about it. In every train station and airport, every newsstand and corner store where Time is sold, millions of passersby who glance at the cover will quickly take in the nefarious message that Israel is the obstacle to peace.
 
   They don’t even need to open the magazine to come away with the idea that those pesky Jews are at it again, blocking any hope of reconciliation in the Middle East.
 
   But that is just what’s on the cover. If you bother to read the article inside – and I strongly suggest that you don’t – it will leave your bottom jaw swaying in the wind like a cartoon character gripped in a state of shock. For Time has managed to publish perhaps the most insidious and anti-Semitic cover story to grace a major publication in recent memory.
 
   I’ll spare you the details, since it will only serve to raise your blood pressure, but suffice it to say that the primary thrust of the article is quite simply that Israeli Jews care more about money than about peace.
 
   The article, by Karl Vick, states: “the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money.”
 
   Yes, that’s right: it is all about Jews and money in Time’s distorted take on the world. The only thing missing was a caricature of a hooked-nose Shylock demanding an ounce of Arab flesh.
 
   Quite frankly, you don’t need to be a scholar of Medieval Jewish history to realize that accusing Jews of caring more about cash than calm is a throwback to some of the darkest and cruelest of anti-Semitic libels.
 
   Yet the editors at Time either didn’t know or care whom they were offending.
 
   If you are like me, you probably stopped reading magazines such as Time many moons ago.
 

   In the age of the Internet and cable news, a weekly newsmagazine has come to resemble a stale croissant. It may look enticing, but it offers little in the way of meaningful taste or experience.

   But we cannot and should not underestimate the damage that the Time story can cause to Israel and its image.
 
   It sends a clear signal to journalists everywhere that they can feel free to cross the already nebulous line between being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic with little to fear.
 
   It is therefore imperative that a strong and compelling reaction be sent to those behind this outrageous and offensive assault on Israel and the Jewish people.
 
   If Time’s editors think that all we Jews care about is money, then I say let’s hit them where it will hurt them the most – in their pocketbook.
 
   If you are a subscriber to Time, cancel your subscription. Don’t visit the magazine’s website, don’t follow links to Time’s articles, and shower Time’s editor with letters of outrage. And let your friends and neighbors know they should not purchase this magazine.
 

   Let the publisher and editors of Time learn the most basic lesson of a consumer economy: if you insult us, not only won’t we buy your magazine, we will do our darndest to make sure no one else does either.

 

 

   Michael Freund is founder of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that helps “lost Jews” return to Zion. His Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the third week of each month.

Let’s Make Another List

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Last week the Monitor invited readers to send in the names of journalists who exhibit an unmistakable anti-Israel bias in their writing or on-air reporting. The results will appear in an upcoming Media Enemies List along the lines of something the Monitor did several years ago.

This week the Monitor is reviving another old favorite, the Media Friends List. Readers can e-mail the names of their favorite pro-Israel media types along with or separate from their nominations for the Media Enemies List. Back in 2002 the Media Friends List was limited to full-time journalists, which precluded the inclusion of academics, retired military personnel and think-tank staffers who write extensively on the Middle East from a pro-Israel perspective (Fouad Ajami, Frank Gaffney, Victor Davis Hanson, Daniel Pipes, Ralph Peters, etc.). That rule won’t apply this time around.

On successive weeks in late August and early September 2002, the Monitor listed first the top 25 vote getters, in alphabetical order, and then the top 10 in terms of votes received.

Some of the more prominent media types who just missed the top 25 were columnist Don Feder; columnist Fred Barnes; radio host Michael Medved; Brent Bozell of the Media Research Institute; Rich Lowry and Jay Nordlinger of National Review; R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. of The American Spectator; Martin Peretz of The New Republic; and David Horowitz of FrontPageMag.com.

The top 25 vote getters, in alphabetical order, were:

Zev Chafets – columnist Mona Charen – columnist Linda Chavez – columnist Joseph Farah – editor and CEO, WorldNetDaily.com Eric Fettmann – columnist Jonah Goldberg – columnist, editor Bob Grant – radio host Sean Hannity – radio host, co-host “Hannity and Colmes” (Fox News) Jeff Jacoby – columnist, Boston Globe Michael Kelly [deceased] – columnist, editor Alan Keyes – commentator, perennial political candidate Charles Krauthammer – columnist G. Gordon Liddy – radio host Rush Limbaugh – radio host Bill Maher – comedian Steve Malzberg – radio host John Podhoretz – columnist, editor Dennis Prager – radio host A.M. Rosenthal [deceased] – columnist, editor William Safire – columnist Michael Savage – radio host Curtis Sliwa – radio host Cal Thomas – columnist Jonathan Tobin – columnist, editor George Will – columnist

The top 10 vote getters:

1. George Will
2. Rush Limbaugh
3. Cal Thomas
4. William Safire
5. Sean Hannity
6. Joseph Farah
7. John Podhoretz
8. A.M. Rosenthal
9. Michael Kelly
10. Charles Krauthammer
An observation: The near-total absence of liberals from the list serves as one more indication that vigorous defense of Israel resides, in the media at least, almost exclusively in the precincts of the right.

Revisiting The Monitor’s ‘Enemies List’

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Back in 1999 the Monitor, inspired by the political humorist P.J. O’Rourke, published an “Enemies List” of anti-Israel journalists. The column struck such a responsive chord, with readers nominating dozens of their own choices, that several follow-ups to the original list eventually appeared over the next couple of years.

The time is ripe for a new list of Media Enemies, but this one will consist entirely of readers’ selections. Names (and brief explanations for their inclusion) should be e-mailed to the address at the bottom of this column. Results will be published in an upcoming column.

Meanwhile, looking back on the “honorees” from 1999-2001 – most of whom are still active – there are few real surprises. The top vote-getter was the late ABC anchorman Peter Jennings, with former New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Deborah Sontag close behind. Among the others listed were the following worthies:

Anthony Lewis: A relic of Liberalism Past, this former Times columnist insisted on viewing the world from a Palestinian perspective.

William A. Orme: Deborah Sontag’s husband and partner in propaganda for the Times.

Mike Wallace: The former Myron Wallace rates a prime exhibit in the anti-Israel hall of shame.

Robert Novak: The Jewish-born columnist keeps going as one of the nation’s most relentlessly hostile pundits.

Leonard Fein: Despite half-hearted mea culpa for having trusted too much in Arafat, the Forward columnist remains a devotee of Israeli concessions and creation of a Palestinian state.

Thomas Friedman: Somewhat more restrained these past several years in his criticism of Israel – he seemed genuinely shocked and disillusioned by the Second Palestinian Intifada and 9/11 – but can’t say anything negative about the Palestinians without throwing in a nasty comment about Israel for balance.

Taki: Veteran political and lifestyles writer whose Israel bashing often crosses the line into outright Jew baiting, he now runs a paleoconservative website.

Joseph Sobran: Got himself fired from National Review years ago because of his anti-Israel, anti-Jewish invective; he’s still very much at it as an online columnist.

Michael Lerner: Not a media person in the usual sense, this so-called “New Age rabbi” publishes the radical magazine Tikkun and is quoted often by sympathetic journalists.

Bob Simon: Veteran CBS newsman who apparently never met an Israeli government official he trusted.

Reader comment generated by the 199-2001 listings included a number of nominations from R. Feinstein of Brooklyn: the longtime leftist pro-Palestinian columnist Alexander Cockburn; talk show host Charlie Rose (“when he interviews Edward Said or Hosni Mubarak he’s deferential…when he interviews Israelis he’s contentious”); and Prof. Noam Chomsky, who, though “not a journalist, is something of a media creation – and one who certainly belongs on any list of anti-Israel personalities.”

Sylvia Black’s e-mailed list of villains included Don Hewitt (“as the creator and driving force of ‘60 Minutes,’ he’s ultimately responsible for that program’s decades of Israel-bashing”); and syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer (“who writes of Arabs as though they were dashing figures on horseback while reserving an icy tone for anything Israeli”).

Only a few readers took note of the British press, which was and still is considerably more hostile to Israel than what most of us in the U.S. are accustomed to. Dr. L.B. Sokolic wrote from London that “virtually every journalist operating in the UK is anti-Israel, if not worse.”

“Virtually everyone connected with BBC TV news is anti,” he noted, “with John Simpson (who also writes for the Sunday Telegraph) the worst.”

Among newspapers, wrote Sokolic, the Guardian has a history of employing journalists steeped in anti-Israel bias, including the notoriously vicious David Hirst, whose book The Gun and the Olive Branch is a classic example of distorted history. Sokolic described Suzanne Goldberg, the Guardian’s Israel correspondent at the time of his letter, as “bad but mostly stupid.”

As for the Mideast writers on The Independent, Phil Reeves and Robert Fisk, they “should be on anyone’s list of enemies,” said Sokolic, who noted hat one of the original moneymen behind the paper was the ardently Zionist Lord Sieff, of Marks and Spencer fame.

A Confederacy Of Hypocrites

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Don Imus should have been fired years ago. He was a radio host whose sheer inarticulateness may have been even more shocking than his purposeful crudity; an alleged humorist who had said nothing memorable or funny since the dawn of the Clinton era if not earlier.

Anything on his show that was even remotely amusing invariably came from his guests or sidekicks; by the end of his run, Imus had become a pathetic echo chamber for those sitting next to him in the studio or checking in by phone. (Ironically, the very episode that caused his downfall began with a racial crack about the Rutgers women’s basketball team by one of his longtime stooges, with the unoriginal Imus merely repeating the offending phrase and adding a couple of words of his own to help seal his own demise.)

That said, his firing at this time and for this reason served only to further elevate the image and reputation of two men who in a saner, more judicious media environment would be shunned as a couple of pernicious race hustlers. Unlike Imus, neither Al Sharpton nor Jesse Jackson can be fired, their precise means of livelihood one of life’s more perplexing mysteries. But their influence would be a shell of what it is if the media hadn’t been so accommodating of them throughout their public careers.

The latest example of that accommodation occurred, rather fortuitously, at the same time the Imus saga was playing itself out. The North Carolina attorney general dropped all charges against the white Duke lacrosse players whose names had been dragged through the mud for a year after they’d been accused of rape by a young black woman. Sharpton, and even more so Jackson, had made statements that were strongly supportive of the accuser and that appeared to presume guilt on the part of the accused.

There’s not a journalist alive who believes Jackson or Sharpton would have evinced even a whit of interest in the case if the accuser and the accused had been of the same race, or that they would have lent moral support to the accuser had she been a white woman making a similar accusation against a group of black students. But mainstream journalists, with a couple of exceptions, once again gave the pair a free pass.

And how about a hand for the most craven performance by a network executive in recent memory? Leslie Moonves, come on down!

After waiting several days to ascertain which way the political and advertising winds were blowing, Moonves, president and CEO of CBS (Imus’s program was carried nationally by CBS Radio) announced a two-week suspension for Imus – but within 48 hours, as more advertisers cut their ties with Imus and MSNBC canceled its simulcast of his show, decided to fire him outright.

Imus, Moonves righteously intoned, “has flourished in a culture that permits a certain level of objectionable expression that hurts and demeans a wide range of people. In taking him off the air, I believe we take an important and necessary step not just in solving a unique problem, but in changing that culture, which extends far beyond the walls of our Company.”

Left unsaid was the five-year contract Imus had recently signed – Moonves’s concern about “changing that culture” was apparently non-existent before advertisers began fleeing Imus en masse – as well as the not insignificant role played by CBS and parent company Viacom in the spread of the very culture Moonves would now have us believe he laments.

Getting back to Jackson, it seems the only concession the media ever make to his long history of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks is a seemingly obligatory mention of his 1984 “Hymietown” statement. Highlighting “Hymietown” and ignoring Jackson’s other, considerably more incendiary words about Jews is yet one more way journalists treat Jackson with kid gloves.

Incendiary words such as “I am sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust”; “Zionism is a poisonous weed that is choking Judaism”; “One who does not think that Arafat is a true hero does not read the situation correctly”; “When it came to the division of power we did not get from the Jews the slice of cake we deserved … the Jews do not share with us control of wealth, broadcasting stations and other centers of power”; Democrats who support Israel do so because of “the Jewish element in the party…[it’s] a kind of glorified form of bribery.”

There’s more, of course, but one can understand why reporters fearful of appearing too harsh on Jackson content themselves with a quick reference to the relatively innocuous “Hymietown” statement before beating a hasty retreat.

Random Notes On An Interrupted War

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Continued from last week, some random observations of what others have been saying about the warfare in Lebanon, beginning with a series of fiercely anti-Olmert columns by Ari Shavit in Haaretz, Israel’s preeminent left-wing daily.

Olmert, Shavit wrote on Aug. 8, “is a prime minister whom journalists invented, journalists protected, and whose rule journalists preserved…. If Olmert runs away now from the war he initiated, he will not be able to remain prime minister for even one more day….You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power. You cannot bury 120 Israelis in cemeteries, keep a million Israelis in shelters for a month, wear down deterrent power, bring the next war very close, and then say – oops, I made a mistake. That was not the intention. Pass me a cigar, please.”

In his column of Aug. 8, Shavit reeled off the number of ways Hizbullah had surprised Israel: “They surprised us with Katyushas and they surprised us with the Al-Fajr rockets and they surprised us with the anti-tank squads. They surprised us with the bunkers and the camouflage…. They surprised us with strategy, fighting ability and a fighting spirit….”

Even worse, Shavit continued, “they surprised us this summer with our own weakness…. They surprised us with the low level of national leadership. They surprised us with scandalous strategic bumbling. They surprised us with the lack of vision, lack of creativity and lack of determination on the part of the senior military command…. They surprised us with the fact that the Israeli war machine is not what it once was. While we were celebrating it became rusty.”

Here in the U.S., writing in The Weekly Standard on President Bush and the Jews, David Gelernter declared: “For years I have watched the Palestinians do absurdly self-destructive things, and have never understood them until now. But watching the Bush administration stoutly defend Israel…against the background of an American Jewish population that vocally (often sneeringly) dislikes him and his administration, and constantly votes by massive majorities for his Democratic opponents, I start to understand the Palestinians just a little.”

While conceding that American Jews “are not Palestinians and have not sunk to the level of supporting terrorist murderers,” Gelernter nevertheless suggested “their behavior is a lesson in self-destructive nihilism that could teach even the Palestinians a thing or two…. One thing is certain: Palestinians and left-wing American Jews would understand each other beautifully if they ever got together for a conference on refusing to face reality.”

In a New York Sun op-ed titled “Transforming the Jewish Psyche,” Warren Kozak related how at a Manhattan dinner party a woman exclaimed “Israel is a terrorist nation” and then added, “I can say that because I am Jewish.” The woman’s statement, Kozak wrote, comes back to him “when I read Richard Cohen in the Washington Post calling the creation of Israel a mistake. I am reminded when I see the letters to the editor in The New York Times where people with Jewish names say all of this is Israel’s fault….I see it over and over again in the pages of the New York Review of Books, The Nation, The Progressive, publications that are inordinately heavy with Jewish names and Jewish donors.”

“Find a protest against the state of Israel,” Kozak added, “and you will always see sign that says something like ‘Jews Against Occupation.’ Listen to the most rabid anti-Israel professors on campus and if they aren’t Arabs, they’re Jews.”

Donna Berman is the kind of Jew Kozak laments. Here is some of what Ms. Berman, a Connecticut Reform rabbi, told her fellow demonstrators at a rally protesting Israel’s military actions in Gaza:

“My neighbors, my Palestinian brothers and sisters, are bleeding and I feel it is my Jewish obligation to take action, to raise my voice, to say publicly that what Israel is doing in Gaza in retaliation for the abduction of [an Israeli soldier] is simply wrong – that collective punishment for the action of a few is unethical, is a violation of Jewish law, is ultimately destructive of life and liberty and everything that the dream of Israel entails.”

Ever notice how Reform rabbis seem to evince concern for the sanctity of Jewish law only on those occasions when they can use it as a rhetorical device to give a religious trapping to their left-wing politics?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/random-notes-on-an-interrupted-war/2006/08/16/

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