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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Moral Equivalence No Answer To Terror

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Now that the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers have been found, we can expect the usual chorus of pro forma condemnations of terrorism and sympathy for the victims to be voiced by many world leaders.

But the willingness of so many of the same people to treat deliberate attempts to target civilians by the Palestinians as morally equivalent to the fate of those Arabs killed while conducting violence against Israelis gives the lie to their pose of objectivity.

The discovery of the bodies of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frankel brings an unhappy ending to the effort that transfixed Israelis and Jews around the world but aroused relatively little interest outside of the Jewish community.

The Hamas terror group that is believed to be behind the crime will feel the consequences of what appears to be the cold-blooded murders of these three boys shortly after their abduction.

Hamas’s partners in the Palestinian Authority will also be put to the test as the Israelis will now see whether PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s helpful rhetoric condemning the kidnapping will be matched by actions that disassociate his government from terrorists.

But once condolences have been given, the atrocity will probably be shoved down the global memory hole as Palestinians and their cheerleaders contend that the terror attack on the teens must be seen as either an understandable reaction to the “occupation” or morally equivalent to the fate of those Palestinians who die while attacking Israeli forces.

The New York Times provided a prime example of such thinking the morning of Monday, June 30, in an article published only hours before the bodies were found.

In the piece, by Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, the paper contrasted the grief felt by Naftali Frankel’s mother Rachel and that of another mother, Aida Dudeen, whose son Muhammad was killed while confronting Israeli soldiers searching for the boys.

The loss of any life is a tragedy and the sadness of both mothers is genuine. But other than those bare facts, there is no real basis of comparison between these two families. In one case, you have a boy who was targeted by terrorists because he was a Jew and vulnerable and then murdered. In the other, another boy actively chooses to join the ranks of those attempting to obstruct the forces attempting to find the kidnapping victims and attacks them with rocks, seeking to provoke the Israelis into firing to protect their own lives.

The words of the two mothers also belie any moral equivalence. While Rachel Frankel expressed sympathy for any Palestinians who have been hurt, Aida Dudeen proclaimed her boy to be a “martyr” who “died for his homeland.”

Dudeen, who said she tried to prevent her son from joining in the violence, also regards the Jewish presence in the land to be a matter of “colonialism.” Like the Palestinian social media campaign mocking the kidnapped boys, there is a clear sense on the part of the Arabs that any Jew who suffers in the conflict had it coming.

Reduced to the personal human element of mothers and sons, one can argue that one is no different from the other. But so long as the Palestinians cling to the notion that the country can be “liberated,” as Dudeen suggests, from the Jews, nothing will change.

Despite the clichés about a cycle of violence in which both sides are stuck, the events that led to the deaths of Naftali Frankel and Muhammad Dudeen were not involuntary. They involved the decision on the part of Hamas terrorists to kill Israeli kids and the subsequent decisions of other Palestinians to pour into the streets in an effort to either impede Israeli searchers or to seek out confrontations in which the ranks of Palestinian “martyrs” would be replenished.

Downplaying the Holocaust, A TEDx Talk

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

If only more members of this generation were like Anna Blech: a poised, factual and no-holds-barred truth teller.

Blech attended Hunter College High School in New York. For her 11th grade history paper, Blech chose to explore the media’s coverage of the Holocaust, while it was happening.

She chose this topic because three of her four grandparents escaped from Germany and Austria before the outbreak of World War II. They spent the war years in New York City.

Her grandparents explained to Blech that they really had no idea of the extent of the destruction of European Jewry until after the concentration and labor camps were liberated. This led her to wonder what news was available in the American media.

“The works of historians David Wyman, Deborah Lipstadt, and, especially, Laurel Leff, helped me understand how the knowledge of the Holocaust did not enter the public psyche despite the fact that the Holocaust was covered extensively in the New York Times,” Blech told The Jewish Press.

After her paper won the New York City History Day prize, Blech was invited by her school principal to give a TEDx Talk for the high school’s TEDx event.

 

When asked by The Jewish Press how her grandparents responded to the information she had garnered and presented at the TEDx Talk, Blech said they were very proud of her.

“They found the information true and painful,” Blech explained. “My grandmother said that she knew of people who almost made it out of Europe and who might have been able to, if the situation had been better publicized.”

Blech has since graduated from high school, and will be spending part of the summer in China for the Student Leaders Exchange of the National Council on U.S.-China Relations.

During this coming academic year, Blech will be on a special program called kivunim which is based in Jerusalem, but which takes participants to many different countries to explore the history of their Jewish communities and also explore all aspects of Israel.

Once finished with her year of travel with kivunim, Blech will become a freshman at Yale University in the fall of 2015.

NY Times Censors Terror Debate

Monday, June 9th, 2014

The New York Times, the vanguard of liberal America, has “become complicit in a stealth jihad against free speech in the United States undertaken by Islamists and their sympathizers who masquerade as “civil rights” groups,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

In a long article on the organization website, IPT founder Steven Emerson says the group recently bought a full-page advocacy ad in the print edition of the Times calling for for awareness of the Islamist connection to a majority of terror attacks and criticising the United States government for ignoring the threat posed by radical Muslims.

At the last minute, however, the Times ordered IPT to insert the word “radical” before the term “Islamist groups,” so that it read, “Stop the radical Islamist groups from undermining America’s security, liberty and free speech.”

“An ‘Islamist’ is not simply an individual who privately observes Islam as his faith. An Islamist is an individual who blurs the ideological lines between personal religion and the nation state — a boundary upheld as one of America’s founding principles and sustained in the First Amendment — to foster a governmental system that relies upon the supremacy of Islam.

“Islamic,” on the other hand, is an adjective that describes an idea or element derived from or inspired by Islam. Islamists promote an Islamic agenda, though some do it more subtly than others,” Emerson wrote.

Emerson accused groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of using the catch-all epithet “Islamophobe” as a smokescreen for “civil rights,” when in fact the umbrella organization serves the interests of Hamas, Hezbollah and fine, upstanding citizens of the world such as Yousef Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

To discern whether or not Qaradawi is a terrorist, it is best to let him speak for himself.

“Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers,” Qaradawi told al-Jazeera TV in 2010.

Emerson and others continually stress that they do not view Islam as a problem, but rather radical Islam. As Daniel Pipes says, “I have great respect for the Islam that provides solace and spiritual meaning for a billion people around the world. But radical Islam is a murderous, terrorst entity that threatens the very foundations of our society. We must fight radical Islam at all costs.”

Emerson stressed that America is not at war with Muslims or with Islam,but he warned about attempts to censor discussion of the connection between radical Islam and terrorism.

“The censorship of free speech by Islamist groups and their media apologists continues to prevent America from addressing the core threat of radical Islam.

“Recognizing reality is not an attack on Islam or Muslims. Those who say otherwise are the ones of whom we — and, particularly, those in the media such as the NYT — should be wary,” Emerson wrote.

How to Lose a War

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

For some years now the swiftest path to a Pulitzer Prize has been well-known. Notwithstanding at least one distinguished recent winner, it remains that there is only one sure-fire way to get to the attention of the Pulitzer judging committee – and that is to severely and irreparably damage American national security.

Best of all, of course, is to endanger the lives of U.S. combat personnel while they are in the field of battle. This is the arena in which the New York Times has appeared to aim for Pulitzer predominance during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But in recent weeks, the Gray Lady has outdone even herself. After all, the American and global publics may have got used to the Times helping to lose wars abroad. But how to excuse her for apparently seeking to lose a war at home in America?

A recent front page of the Times led with an article “revealing” how the New York Police Department [NYPD] had done something truly terrible. What was the outrage that demanded front-page treatment? It was, in the words of the Times‘ own headline writers, that “New York Police Recruit Muslims as Informants on Terrorism“. The paper reported that the NYPD sought informants from within American Muslim communities and that some of those questioned by police had found the exercise “coercive.” The police were reported to have kept notes of which mosque a particular suspect had attended and whether or not he had performed the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Among the bizarre aspects of the New York Times story was that it relied for its sources on Muslims who had been questioned while held in jail. There was also no querying over whether such sources could be relied upon, nor even a question if people arrested and imprisoned for breaking the law should be deemed entirely reliable witnesses.

As terrorism expert Steven Emerson put it:

“As part of the paranoid Times narrative, the reporter portrayed as unethical and racist the tried and proven law-enforcement technique of recruiting informants among different ethnic population pools. The same tactic is applied in the fight against illegal gangs, druggies, and criminal organizations: street gangs, Mexican drug cartels, Japanese yakuza gangs, Italian mafia, etc. Recruiting members of different ethnic and racial groups to infiltrate gangs and criminals has been a successful, legal and proven technique of collecting vital intelligence by law-enforcement officials across the country.”

But although the Times would presumably be content with the NYPD infiltration of drug cartels, law enforcement’s recruitment of members of the American Muslim community is called “racist” and such a breach of accepted protocol that it deserved full front-page treatment. And here we run headlong into the deeper denial.

It is true that only 3,000 people were killed by Islamic extremists on September 11th 2001. And it is also true that only 3 people were killed and an estimated 260 or so others wounded a year ago at the Boston Marathon just over a year ago. It was only one Islamic extremist who planted a car-bomb in Times Square in 2010 and an Islamic extremist US Army Major who gunned down 13 U.S. service personnel at Fort Hood a year earlier. And it is true that successive U.S. governments have – by an admittedly curious variety of names – described the Islamist threat as the primary domestic security threat facing American. But why, in the eyes of the New York Times, would this mean that the NYPD would even think of speaking to people the Times describes as “Muslims”? How could the NYPD have gone so far off-piste that it required specific targeting of Muslims as informers? At the heart of that question, its ludicrousness and its obviousness, lies one of the great fallacies of our age.

NYT Sacks Editor Abramson

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The New York Times, is unexpectedly leaving her post.

Abramson, the first woman but hardly the first Jew to hold the top editorial position at the paper, lasted less than three years. The Times did not explain the reason for her departure. She will be replaced by Dean Baquet, the  managing editor.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the Times’ publisher and chairman of its parent company, announced the change in the Times newsroom on Wednesday afternoon. Sulzberger said Abramson’s departure was related to “an issue with management in the newsroom” and did not have to do with the quality of journalism during her tenure. Abramson was not present for the announcement.

Abramson, 60, had worked at The Wall Street Journal for about a decade before joining the Times in 1997. She worked as an investigative reporter and Washington bureau chief before being named executive editor in May 2011.

During her tenure as editor, revenue from readers and subscribers surpassed advertising for the first time. The Times had 760,000 digital subscribers at the end of 2013
 

NY Times Comes Out against Freeing Pollard for Peace Talks

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

The New York Times’ editorial on Wednesday called the idea of using Jonathan Pollard as a bargaining chip for peace talks “a lamentable sign of America’s desperation to keep both sides talking.”

The newspaper does not dictate to Obama, but it more often than not reflects his thinking, or the other way around.

In this case, it is questionable if Obama was thinking, and the Times was unusually harsh in its criticism of him and his administration.

It stated that the proposal came from Washington, although it is not known whether the White House or Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu initiated the idea. It may be a moot issue because the general reaction in the United States has been negative, and the Palestinian Authority apparently shot it down.

Mahmoud Abbas and his aides reportedly were furious after hearing about the idea because there is no way they will let Israel get Pollard while arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti remains in an Israeli prison cell.

The emergence of the convicted spy Jonathan Pollard as a bargaining chip in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations is a lamentable sign of America’s desperation to keep both sides talking. Peace between Israelis and Palestinians can be achieved only if they want it for themselves, something that is very much in doubt right now.

The editorial called the proposals a “bad idea [that] would do nothing to advance progress on the core issues of a peace deal.”

NY Times Feature on Anti-Zionism a Reminder of the Sulzberger Legacy

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

The New York Times raised some eyebrows in the Jewish community earlier this month with a lengthy feature about four self-described religious Jews who oppose Israel. In an apparent attempt to legitimize Jewish anti-Zionism, the article stressed that Zionism “was not always the norm among American Jews” and that it was only “the persecution of European Jews [which] turned many American Jews into Zionists.”

Interestingly, one of the most famous “religious Jews” who opposed Zionism did not change his mind even after the Holocaust. That was the Times’s own publisher from 1935 to 1961, Arthur Hays Sulzberger.

Sulzberger was a devout adherent of classical Reform Judaism. In his view, Jewish identity should consist only of religious beliefs, not any sense of peoplehood, nationalism, or ethnic affiliation. He even rejected the existence of Jewish war veterans organizations on the grounds that they were examples of “Ghetto living.”

As Prof. Laurel Leff explains in her critically acclaimed book Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, Sulzberger instructed Times editors to bury news of the Nazi genocide on the back pages, and to tone down or eliminate references to the fact that the victims were Jews.

Sulzberger worried that if the Times reported what was happening to the Jews in Europe, someone might accuse it of being a “Jewish newspaper.”

As news of the Nazi atrocities moved many formerly anti-Zionist Reform rabbis and leaders to recognize the need for a Jewish state, Sulzberger pushed back. He was one of the earliest and most enthusiastic supporters of the American Council for Judaism, a group created by a handful of Reform rabbis in 1942 to oppose Zionism. The Times gave frequent and generous coverage to the activities of the tiny Council.

Even a visit to former Nazi concentration camps in 1945 did not alter Sulzberger’s anti-Zionist convictions. In a speech the following year, Sulzberger said that while he felt sorry for the Jewish survivors living in Displaced Persons camps in Europe, they were “but a minor percentage of the total of displaced persons” and therefore should not be receiving so much attention.

The Times publisher even went so far as to claim Zionism was to blame for some of the Jewish deaths in the Holocaust. He alleged, in that 1946 speech, that the refugee crisis during the war had been “a manageable, social and economic problem” until “the clamor for statehood introduced an insoluable political element” into the issue. “It is my judgment that thousands dead might now be alive” if “the Zionists” had put “less emphasis on statehood,” Sulzberger asserted.

One of the Jewish anti-Zionists profiled in the Feb. 14 New York Times article described himself as a fan of the late Judah Magnes, who advocated a binational Arab-Jewish Palestine instead of a Jewish state. Sulzberger, too, thought highly of Magnes. In June 1946, Sulzberger tried to organize a dinner at Manhattan’s Hotel Pierre to raise funds for Magnes’s work. The Times publisher invited 23 of his associates. Only three accepted. The dinner was canceled.

The increasingly isolated Sulzberger grew more and more frustrated. A pro-Zionist statement by the formerly anti-Zionist president of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in early 1947 prompted Sulzberger to write to a friend, “Apparently if you are a Jew you have to contribute Jewishly, eat Jewishly, think Jewishly, part your hair Jewishly…. Gosh I’m sick!”

On another occasion, Sulzberger was horrified to see the AJC and other Jewish groups listed as affiliates of the United Jewish Appeal in an advertisement in the Times. “The only thing I miss is the Jewish Chiropractors’ Society,” he complained. “In other words, J E W is to be the common denominator for everything we do. God help us!”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/ny-times-feature-on-anti-zionism-a-reminder-of-the-sulzberger-legacy/2014/02/27/

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