Allow me to refer to an article, “Why we can’t dump Gaza,” written in the Jerusalem Post, almost a quarter century ago-by one, Martin Sherman
I think I’m getting ready to leave Ha’aretz … [its] cartoonish anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism can be grating. I find the @TimesofIsrael to be very reliable. Ha’aretz has some good reporters. Jpost is nuts.- Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic, on Twitter, August 1 & 2.
We have supported a territorial compromise in the framework of a peace deal with the Palestinians…The Jerusalem Post editorial board backed the disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005 … -Yaakov Katz, editor of Jerusalem Post, in a rebuttal of Goldberg’s slur, Jerusalem Post August 2.
[H]ow can you claim to be objective if the Jerusalem Post editorial board backed the disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005?…Perhaps Goldberg has a point – David Sidman in a Facebook response to Katz’s rebuttal, August 2.
Last week, cyberspace was all atwitter, following several rather disparaging tweets from The Atlantic’s scribe, Jeffrey Goldberg, casting grave aspersions on much of the English language press in Israel.
Two major papers bore the brunt of Goldberg’s barbs—Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post. To the surprise of many, the normally decidedly left-leaning Goldberg took Haaretz to task for its “cartoonish anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism,” which he somewhat charitably designated as “grating.”
Not nearly as unhinged as Haaretz
Apparently the dollops of vitriol that the radical rag has been serving up lately to its readers against the Jewish state were too much even for him—and he announced that he was considering giving up reading it. Of course it, remains to be seen how resolute Goldberg will be in adhering to his intended abstinence—but at least he deserves some interim credit for taking—and articulating—umbrage at the blatant and baseless bile spewed out in pieces like Gideon Levy’s recent “Stop Living in Denial, Israel is an Evil State” (July 31)
The attack on the Jpost—and his denigration of it as “nuts”—was a little more puzzling. To be sure, it is nowhere near as “unhinged” as Haaretz , and is certainly a lot less monolithic and doctrinaire in the range of views it presents.
Unsurprisingly, the newly appointed editor, Yaakov Katz, leapt to his paper’s defense, hotly contesting Goldberg’s diagnosis of its journalistic sanity. Katz pointed out—not without justification—that the JPost’s reporting is generally objective and that a wide range of views are represented in its Op-Ed section. This is largely true, and although I have my disagreements with the JPost—which are likely to become dramatically more acrimonious, and public, in the not-too-distant future—the paper does have a solid line-up of competent opinion writers, with the few veritable “nutters” being the exception, rather than the rule.
Distinctly discordant defense
However, one element of Katz’s defense hit a distinctly discordant note—and as it is symptomatic of a far wider malaise that extends beyond the Goldberg-JPost–Haaretz brouhaha, I should like to dwell on it for a while.
As alleged proof of the JPost’s collective soundness of mind, Katz proudly announced that the paper had endorsed both the “land-for-peace” formula vis-à-vis the Palestinians, and the unilateral evacuation of Gaza.
To be fair to Katz, the allusion to this matter in the introductory excerpts has been somewhat truncated. His full reference to these matters, which included some reservations, omitted in the foregoing excerpts, was as follows: “We have supported a territorial compromise in the framework of a peace deal with the Palestinians, but only if it is a genuine and lasting peace with a real and complete end to violence and incitement…The Jerusalem Post editorial board backed the disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005 but fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself with force against attacks from Gaza or the West Bank.[a.k.a. Judea & Samaria-MS]”
This, of course, immediately raises a perverse—but unavoidable—question: In the political discourse in Israel, just how misguided do you have to admit you are to prove, somehow, that…well, you are not??
After all, both the belief in territorial compromise and the unilateral evacuation of Gaza have proven colossal failures—wreaking tragedy and trauma on Jew and Arab alike.
Both have precipitated all the dangers their opponents warned of, and none of the benefits their proponents promised. Sadly, the tragic loss of life and limb was neither unpredictable nor unpredicted.
But all those who warned of the dire consequences of both these ill-conceived measures, were shunned, marginalized, spurned, belittled, disparaged—and deemed “nuts”.
Yet today, with all the foreseen, and foreseeable, death and devastation that these ideas have brought, past support for them is still—inconceivably—considered a proof of…sanity?? How insane is that??
Indeed, one might well ask: Isn’t it nuts to flaunt failure?
The reservations stipulated in Katz’s quote constitute no mitigating factor. After all, support for territorial compromise as a framework for peace with the Palestinians “only if it is a genuine and lasting peace with a real and complete end to violence and incitement,” presupposes that such an amiable outcome was in some way plausible.
But of course it never was. There was no need for advance degrees in rocket science to comprehend this. All that was required was to set aside one’s feverish dovish prejudices and listen to what the Palestinians—even the allegedly “moderate” ones were saying—and doing—to grasp that “genuine and lasting peace with a real and complete end to violence and incitement” was nothing but a perilous pipe dream. Just like the illusionary visions of a “New Middle East” and the empty promise of a new mirage-like El Dorado arising in the desert sands.
With chances of success so manifestly slim and the cost of failure so predictably grim, surely there is good cause to deem the pursuit of such a policy tantamount to “depraved indifference”—i.e. conduct, so wanton so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others…as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime.
Surely, anyone wishing to debunk efforts to label them “nuts” should assiduously avoid parading their past support for a clearly disastrously defective (indeed, the less charitable might suggest, “depraved”) policy?
Yet for some reason, it would seem that the JPost’s endorsement of precisely such a policy—albeit under manifestly implausible reservations—is somehow considered by Katz as proof of… good judgement?!
Of course much the same—perhaps more so—could be said of “the Jerusalem Post editorial board’s back[ing] the disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005”.
It is totally beyond my comprehension why anyone would wish to recall their backing of such a manifestly myopic, moronic, and malevolent measure as the “disengagement”—and as credentials of their sober-mindedness, mind you!
Why would anyone want to remind the public that they supported the egregious eviction of thousands of hardworking, devoted citizens, from thriving productive communities, providing gainful employment to the neighboring Arab residents—turning them into traumatized and homeless refugees? Why would they want to dredge up from depths of the past, their endorsement of a policy that converted Gaza into an Islamist terror enclave; a fearsome arsenal bristling with long range weapons capable of hitting nearly every urban center in the country; with its borders honeycombed with deadly attack tunnels, potentially menacing every kindergarten in the adjacent Jewish communities; with on-going interaction with the radical Jihadi gangs roaming Sinai, pressing up against Israel’s long Southern border stretching to the approaches of Eilat ??
Dr. Martin Sherman