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Posts Tagged ‘Yasir Arafat’

Open Letter To Neturei Karta

Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

Neturei Karta is a small sect of ultra-Orthodox “Jewish” extremists, best known for marching arm in arm with Yasir Arafat and endorsing every anti-Israel terrorist and anti-Semite on the planet as part of its jihad against Israel.

Neturei Karta (“Guardians of the City” in Aramaic) was created in 1938, mainly by Hungarian Jews, as a breakaway group from the more mainstream Agudath Israel movement.

The organization openly calls for Israel to be destroyed and openly supports the worst genocidal anti-Semites on the planet.

Recently, in response to one of my columns, I received a series of e-mails from someone associated with the Neturei Karta movement. He and I carried on a correspondence of sorts for quite a while. Below I have taken the essence of the notes I sent him and compiled them into an “open letter.”

Dear Sir,

In the Amida prayer, which Jews recite three times every day, there is a section in which the minim are denounced. The minim were small groups of treasonous Jews who collaborated with the Roman enemies of the Jewish people, and the prayer explicitly mentions that these minim were tattlers, snitches, people who served the anti-Semites of their day as agents, and worked against Jewish existence and survival. Since then, of course, the segment in the
daily prayer has been understood to be a curse in general upon anti-Semites, and especially Jewish anti-Semites working against their own people.

I mention all this because I can think of no more apt illustration of a cult of minim than Neturei Karta. Your cult is nothing more than a pseudo-Jewish pagan group working against Judaism and in collaboration with the worst enemies of the Jews. You would have no problems serving the Romans or Assyrians if they were still around.

You claim that you are simply opposed to Israel because it is full of people who trample upon Jewish observance. Well, let me tell you something. The most secularist pork-eater on any kibbutz in Israel is halachically more Jewish than the “rabbis” in the Neturei Karta cult. Why do I say this? Because, as you know, there is a clear halachic rule that says that living in the Land of Israel is equivalent to observing all 613 religious commandments or mitzvot. All of them – even the ones reserved for priests and even the ones that may only be performed in the Temple (and so may not be performed today).

No, I am not suggesting that living in Eretz Yisrael should be regarded as a blanket exemption from the observance of all other Jewish religious precepts. I am simply saying that even someone who observes nothing at all, but who lives in Israel, is on a very real level more Jewish than the “rabbis” of your minim cult.

When you march in anti-Israel demonstrations alongside anti-Semites, when you endorse Arafat and his stormtroopers and serve as their public relations agents, when you support terrorists and excuse mass murders of Jews, you are acting as followers of the evil Bil’am, not as sons of Jacob or disciples of Abraham.

You say you want Israel destroyed because it was not set up properly, because the Messiah has not yet come. Do you really think that Israel can be destroyed without there also transpiring a second Holocaust? Do you not realize this is the unavoidable consequence of what you are proposing, and what the people you are supporting seek?

A ketuba, or marriage contract, that is signed on the Sabbath is still a valid one and must be respected, even though signing it on the Sabbath is a violation of the day. A kohen who marries a divorcee has sinned, because such a marriage is prohibited by the Torah, but the marriage must be acknowledged and even accepted and honored. It stands.

Whether or not Israel was created properly or at the correct time, the fact that it exists changes how Jews must behave and requires a certain amount of responsibility and arvut ze l’ze, or mutual support and defense, even from the most smug, self-righteous pretenders at ultra-religiosity.

Whatever you think about the establishment of Israel, you have no right to endorse those who seek to destroy it and its Jewish population through violence. And if you do endorse such people and march with them, you are collaborators with Haman. You are worse than Dotan and Aviram.

Had you lived in Shushan in Persia in the days of Queen Esther and her Uncle Mordecai, you would have been marching arm in arm with Haman. After all, among those Persian Jews were no doubt many who violated the Sabbath and other religious principles. Neturei Karta would have supported Haman as a way to “punish” them.

In Elijah’s generation, all but a handful of Jews were acting as pagans. Strange, but I do not recall Elijah justifying anti-Semites murdering them. Indeed, Elijah enthusiastically endorsed the very worst pagan of all, King Ahab, when the king went on the warpath to kill the enemies of Israel.

The Neturei Karta “rabbis” are not recognized as Torah authorities by real Torah authorities outside the cult – not by Sephardic rabbis, not by Ashkenazic rabbis, not by misnagdim, not by chassidim. In essence, virtually all Jews see Neturei Karta as a pathetic minim cult. Can you name a single rabbi outside Neturei Karta who endorses the view of your own “rabbis”? Of
course you can’t.

So you think collaborating with the worst anti-Semites on the planet, people who openly endorse genocide of Jews, is better than collaborating with misguided Israeli secularists, people who perhaps need to be pulled back to the traditions of Israel? You believe that when a Jew sins, he ceases to be a Jew and should be murdered? I wonder what books you are reading as replacements for the Torah.

You insist the Zionists are the Devil, not the Palestinian terrorists. And of course, if the Palestinian terrorists are not the Devil, why should anyone think the German Nazis were? Since you defend the Palestinians? right to murder my family – and, as it happens, my family does not eat pork – then what is wrong with the Germans murdering my grandparents?

In the interest of consistency, why not march around in your pro-PLO parades wearing swastikas? Why not put one on your website?

The Neturei Karta cultists are inverted Bil’ams. Bil’am was ordered to curse Israel, yet ended up blessing the Tents of Jacob. You are the reverse. You are ordered by the Torah to bless Israel, but you curse the Jewish people. You have no concept of Jewish solidarity because you are, at best, a pseudo-Jewish minim cult.

Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be reached at steven_plaut@yahoo.com.

Palestinian Terrorism Now Takes Barbarism To New Lows

Wednesday, November 26th, 2003
On Rosh Hashana eve, at around 9:00 p.m. on September 26, a very heroic Palestinian “freedom fighter” knocked on the door of a trailer home in Negahot, where 30 religious families live quietly on two barren hilltops, and jubilantly murdered a seven-month-old girl. Planned precisely for the start of the Jewish New Year, this deliberate attack on a Jewish infant with an M-16 assault rifle was subsequently described by both Hamas and Islamic Jihad as a “successful military operation against the criminal Zionist occupation.” Not surprisingly, Palestinian terrorism is now unchallenged as this long-bloodied planet’s purest form of organized human cruelty.

Israelis have endured nearly one terror attack every hour of every day for 31 consecutive months. These attacks, with knives, guns, hatchets, acid bottles and bombs filled with razor blades dipped in rat poison, have had absolutely nothing to do with Palestinian “self-determination.” Rather, they have expressed barbarism as an end in itself, targeting always the most vulnerable Israelis, often on Jewish holidays when pious families sit down to eat and pray together. Most notable in this regard was the Palestinian suicide bombing of the Park Hotel in Netanya on March 27, 2002, an orgy of annihilation which killed 29 people and maimed many others as they took part in the ritual Passover celebration of Jewish freedom.

Palestinian propaganda, funded heavily from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Europe, still seeks to suggest equivalence between Arab terror and Israeli counterterror, but there is an obvious and meaningful difference between premeditated murder and the unintended casualties of essential self- defense. What is perhaps most striking about Palestinian terrorism is that it is gratuitously cruel, employing violence against the innocent that is not only legally and morally inexcusable but that is also self-evidently counterproductive. If it is a recognizable national state that the Palestinians allegedly seek, do their leaders really believe that burning and dismembering Jewish children will best incline Israel toward an agreement? And what sort of state could expectedly be built by the Arab perpetrators of such exceptional defilement?

The State of Israel is less than half the size of San Bernardino County in California. It would fit more than two times into Lake Michigan. Yet, the world still begrudges this tiny place for the Jews. First the terribly civilized British, in undisguised defiance of their own explicit policy declarations and commitments, penned up surviving remnants of the Nazi death camps in Cyprus to prevent immigration to the ancient Jewish homeland; now most of the rest of the terribly civilized world abhors even an encircled microstate for the Jews, determining self-righteously that even Israeli self-defense against Yasir Arafat must be condemned. For this terribly civilized world, a world which pressures Israel to release Palestinian terrorists as a sign of “good faith,” the blood of Yasir Arafat is evidently much redder than the blood of Jewish children. The Negahot murderer of Rosh Hashana eve had recently been released by Israel in compliance with “requests” from Washington.

Little, it seems, has changed since 1945.

For the civilized global community, the post- Holocaust world’s most ardent terrorist – one who remains unashamedly genocidal in his verbal and cartographic depictions of “Palestine” - has been transformed into the embodiment of “national liberation.” This perverse view of Yasir Arafat often finds special favor in the universities, even in this country, where learned professors routinely teach their students that Palestinian terrorism is much like the 1960s civil rights struggle in America’s segregated south. Yet it takes quite an intellectual stretch to equate Arafat, the Arab murderer of Jewish children, with the gentle, Gandhian pacifist Martin Luther King. Dr. King, it might also be recalled, was himself always a strong backer of Israel in its early struggle against Palestinian terror.

At best, our American universities are unmindful of what is happening in Israel. The industrious scholars are generally busy with more weighty matters, especially those that do not pertain to real life in any way. In academe, a truly fashionable concern is now for converting the structure of higher education into a profitable corporation. In the new corporate calculus of American Higher Education there is no time for terror victims’ agony, anguish and suffering, especially where the victims are merely Jews.

Who is to blame for barbarous forms of Arab terror? If the Palestinians are to be blamed at all, we hear from almost all educated quarters, responsibility belongs only to Hamas, or to Islamic Jihad, or perhaps to Nobel laureate Arafat’s Fatah. But surely it does not belong to the broader Palestinian community. Surely only the Arab “extremists” and “militants” are blameworthy. Yet, as we learn from all reliable survey research, an enormously   disproportionate share of Palestinians fully supports the bombings, the burnings, the lynchings, and the shootings of Jewish noncombatants. Enjoying the now open support of Al Qaeda - support which is often accepted gratefully and without embarrassment - Palestinians in Israel as well as in Judea, Samaria and Gaza revel proudly in shedding the blood of Jewish children. And why not? Most nations argue that this “occupied” people may wage their particular armed struggle “by any means necessary.” Even better, Palestinian terrorists believe that the killing of Jews always buys them and their families a secure place in Paradise.

Recent “martyr” Samy Rahim’s words speak volumes about the true origins of Palestinian terrorism: “Every day on which the sun rises and no Jew is killed, nor any martyr has died, will be a day for which we will be punished by Allah.” This punishment will be inflicted because both obligatory aspects of sacrificial terror will have been neglected, the sacrifice of the Jew and the sacrifice of the “martyr.” The two-sided nature of terrorism/sacrifice is codified at the Charter of Hamas, which states:

“…the Palestinian problem is a religious one, to be dealt with on this premise … I swear by he who holds in His Hands the Soul of Muhammad. I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill.”

In the prevailing Arab/Islamic view, victory for the Palestinians will come only when both the despised Jews and the beloved Arab “martyrs” suffer death. But while death for the Jews will be final and despicable, a confirmation of presumed Jewish unworthiness, death for the Palestinians will be only a temporary inconvenience on the sacred Islamic path to immortality.

Significantly, and this is a point insufficiently understood by those who still urge endless Israeli compromise and surrender to barbarism, it is solely by killing Jews and being killed by them that true Palestinian freedom from death can ever be achieved.

The barbarism of the Palestinian terrorist is unparalleled in the history of insurgent warfare; it may even be altogether unique. Although there is no shortage of examples of revolutionary fighters who disregard humanitarian boundaries in battle, the record of fighters who deliberately and consistently seek utterly innocent and fragile targets is actually very small. Several months ago, when a Palestinian terrorist machine gunned two Jewish infants still sucking on pacifiers (the mother had been stabbed earlier), the image of the murdered children became a source of feverish exaltation throughout the Palestinian communities in Jenin, Ramallah and Gaza. When, a year earlier, a newborn Jewish child was shot deliberately by a sniper, Palestinian celebrants hailed the murder as “yet another military victory against the Zionist occupation.” When, several years ago, two Russian-Jewish Israelis who had not yet learned to speak Hebrew took a wrong turn into Ramallah, they were torn apart - literally – by howling mobs of frenzied Palestinians. When, after blinding and disemboweling the two Israelis, several young men in a Palestinian “police station” held up the still-dripping eyes and internal organs for all to see, thousands of ordinary Palestinians began to dance and chant wildly.

What kinds of people are these? What boundless levels of cowardice are they willing to undertake and sustain? What manner of fear can occasion such an utter lack of human regard for life? What vision of “Jihad” can transform schools, nurseries and buses into exploding altars of human sacrifice? Are there no limits, no limits at all, to Palestinian terrorism?

I don’t know the complete answers to these questions. I do know, however, that it is not despair. There are many, many other peoples on this planet whose conditions of daily life are much, much worse – indescribably worse – and these people never resort to pure barbarism. I know, also, that Palestinian schools and mosques systematically demonize “The Jew” and emphasize his or her alleged subhumanity. It is far easier to kill “the sons of pigs and monkeys” than it is to kill a fellow human being. Yasir Arafat’s appointed clergy, preaching last month on the Temple Mount, spoke as follows: “Palestinians spearhead Allah’s war against the Jews. The dead shall not rise until the Palestinians shall kill all the Jews.” This plea for a Final Solution to the “Zionist Problem” stems from highest Islamic authority, and reaffirms the promise of absolute freedom from death: “Do not consider those who are slain in the cause of Allah as dead,” says the Koran. “They are living by their Lord.”

Copyright The Jewish Press 2003. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is the author of many books and articles dealing with Arab/Islamic terror. He is Strategic and Military Affairs Analyst for The Jewish Press.

There Is Linkage

Friday, May 2nd, 2003

As it turns out, there really is linkage between what is going on in Iraq and the Intifada. Not the kind of linkage Yasir Arafat, Tony Blair and the European Union are suggesting - that the
necessary next step after “regime change” in Iraq is setting an arbitrary timeline for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Rather, the dispatch of Palestinian suicide bombers by Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Fatah to Iraq to confront American and British troops, the widespread demonstrations across the West Bank and in Gaza, and leadership declarations of support for Saddam Hussein’s regime document what we have been saying for months: Muslim terrorists share, money, personnel,
intelligence and training facilities and are part of one interconnected enterprise.

Consider what that crowd is saying. Islamic Jihad’s “Jerusalem Brigade” the other day claimed responsibility for the recent suicide bombing in Netanya, calling it “a gift” to the Iraqi people.

Islamic Jihad also distributed leaflets which “congratulated the suicide pioneers who have arrived in Baghdad to fight in the ranks of Arab fighters and to perform their holy duty. We
emphasize the connection between the unity of goals for Palestine and Baghdad to stand up to the American-Zionist war meant to harm the entire Arab nation and Islam.”

Ramadan Shelah, secretary general of Islamic Jihad, said the Netanya attack, is the response to the call for performing holy duties. The jihad is a commandment and now a new gate of jihad has been opened for the entire Islamic nation and, within that framework, the resistance forces in Palestine will work. If the sons of Islamic Jihad and its supporters succeed, they
will reach the battlefield in Baghdad to participate in this war.

Plainly, the Palestinians claim the inalienable right to kill Israelis in order to destroy the Jewish state and end the “occupation.” They now also claim the same right in order to drive the infidel United States and England from Iraqi soil, regardless of the reason for their being there.

We hope that President Bush keeps this firmly in mind when he hears from some of his advisers and allies that this Palestinian mindset will miraculously change in the short term
simply because they have gone through the motions of appointing a prime minister.

The Jewish List Of The World's Shortest Books

Friday, April 11th, 2003

I suppose everyone has seen lists of the ?World's Shortest Books.? Since I think we Jews
could use our own special list, I have, as a public service and in the spirit of Purim, prepared the
first annual Official Jewish List of the World's Shortest Books.

1. “The Laws of the Torah We Follow and Practice,” by the leaders of the Reform
Movement?s Religious Action Center.

2. “Reform Rabbis I Have Admired,” by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

3. “Illegal Narcotics Progressive Jews Should Avoid,” by the editors of Tikkun
magazine.
4. “Koshers Foods I Enjoy,” by Shulamit Aloni.
5. “My Beauty Secrets,” by Yael Dayan.

6. “Books I Have Read,” by David Levy.

7. “My System for Losing Weight” by Tommy Lapid.

8. ?How Likud Differs from Labor,” by Benjamin Netanyahu.

9. “Ideas for Conflict Resolution Through Meditation,” by Osama bin Laden.

10. “Arab Terrorists I Have Condemned,” by Israeli Marxist lawyers Avigdor Feldman and
Shamai Leibovitz and the Betselem Human Rights Group.

11. “Why Ehud Barak Can be Taken at His Word,” by the Southern Lebanese Army.

12. “My Understanding of Free Speech and Democracy,” by Israeli Attorney General
Eliakim Rubinstein.

13. “Romantic Moments From My Marriage,” by Senator Hillary Clinton.

14. “Violations by the Arabs on the Temple Mount that Would Get Us Upset,” by the
Likud Party.

15. ?Non-Leftists Who Work for Us,” by the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

16. “Things I Did to Deserve a Nobel Prize,” by Jimmy Carter.

17. ?Things I Did to Make America More Secure,” by Jimmy Carter

18. “Thoughts I Have Had,” by the Reverend Al Sharpton.

19. “The Essence of Patriotism,” by Yossi Sarid.

20. “Israeli Vital Interests That Need to be Guarded,” by Sandy Berger and Madeline
Albright.

21. “My Cozy Home Life With the Chairman,” by Suha Arafat

22. “Liberal Causes I Have Opposed,” by Leonard Fein

23.”Jews I Admire,” by Patrick Buchanan

24. ?Pro-Israel Columns We?ve Run Over the Years,” by the editors of the Los Angeles
Times.

25. ?Pro-Israel Columns We?ve Run Over the Years,” by the editors of Haaretz.

26. “Lessons in Palestinian Democracy,” by Yasir Arafat.

27. “Documented Facts in My Autobiography,” by Edward Said.

28. “Noam Chomsky, Jewish Hero” by Edward Said

29. “Communist Atrocities I Have Condemned,” by Noam Chomsky.

30. “Things I Like About the United States,” by Noam Chomsky.

31. “Tips From My Dental Hygienist,” by Yasir Arafat.

32. “Things I Remember About My Lobotomy,” by Shimon Peres.

33. ?Israeli Universities Not Dominated by Leftists,” by Steven Plaut.

34. “My Plans for Commemorating Israel's Next Jubilee Year,” by Hosni Mubarak.

35. “My Memories of Rabbinic Seminary,” by Tikkun editor Michael Lerner.

36. “Favorite Stir-Fried Recipes for Preparing Tasty Animals,” by Arthur Waskow and the
Eco-Judaism movement.

Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book ?The Scout? (Gefen

Publishing) is available through Amazon.

Mike Wallace, Loathsome Again

Wednesday, July 10th, 2002

Readers will recall that a few months back the Monitor had words of uncharacteristic praise for Mike Wallace, who had just conducted an interview with Yasir Arafat that was far more skeptical than the fawning media treatment usually accorded the Palestinian leader.

Alas, the Monitor must report that the “60 Minutes” mainstay has reverted to his familiar pro-Palestinian stance with alarming alacrity. As if to make up for that momentary lapse with Arafat in Ramallah, Wallace has been doing the PLO proud on a recent round of radio talk-show appearances and, most strikingly, during a media forum at Washington’s Brookings Institution.

It was at the latter event that Wallace’s animosity toward Israel was made transparently clear, and more than once. First, the forum’s co-moderator, Stephen Hess of Brookings, brought up an interview Wallace had done with the late Menachem Begin. (Co-moderator Marvin Kalb of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center at least offered a theoretical defense of Begin, though he was quick to point out that he himself did not necessarily agree with it.)

Hess: You asked [Begin] whether he, thirty years ago, was not the Yasir Arafat of today.

Wallace: That’s correct.

Hess: And what did he say?

Wallace: ….He was stunned and angry at me. But the fact of the matter is that Menachem Begin and the people of the Stern Gang were terrorists back then in their efforts to find themselves a free Israel. It infuriated him to be compared with Yasir Arafat, but if you look into the history of what Menachem Begin did, it is not, to some degree, dissimilar.

Kalb: Let me pick that up. It’s kind of interesting you raise the point. Begin took action … against the people who were governing the land he wanted. Arafat took action by hijacking airplanes … filled with people who had nothing to do with the land that he wanted for a Palestine. So it seems to me that one could argue – I wouldn’t, but one could argue ? that the question is totally unfair and ahistorical.

Wallace: He made his point and let’s move ahead. [Laughter]

Having airily dismissed Kalb’s observations without even a perfunctory rebuttal, Wallace settled in for some relatively innocuous chit-chat. And then came a question from an audience member about how, in the wake of Sept. 11, American journalists were coping with the pressure of balancing patriotism with objectivity. Though the questioner mentioned neither Israel nor the Palestinians, here’s how Wallace chose to respond (Marvin Kalb, to his credit, again attempted to interject some balance):

Wallace: I will say, for instance, would it be unpatriotic if I were to do a story about the Palestinians, let’s say, and say about the Palestinians, hey, you know something?….these people who are blowing themselves up have spent the last 30 years…living in refugee camps, living in abominable conditions. Even some of the, and there’s fear of this in Israel now, some of the Palestinians who live inside Israel itself are treated as second or third class citizens. Whether it’s schools, tours, roads, etc. This is well known….When you go to, I was in Ramallah to talk to Arafat two months ago. When you realize that they cannot go from one Arab place to another in the West Bank ?

Kalb: They can go.

Wallace: They can go? They can go, Marvin, but they cannot go the way you that even you and I might be able to go. They are stopped, they are searched, they are regarded as guilty until proved innocent. It is impossible – it is impossible – I know that this is absolutely true. The Israelis have seen to it that there is no real body of Palestine, so to speak, there is not sufficient ability to go from one, from Jenin to Bethlehem to Ramallah to whatever.

All I’m suggesting is that a suicide bomber is giving up his or her life to a certain degree because of brain wash – to a certain degree because – And if you – We tried to tell those stories, we tried to tell that story…. I do not believe, I don’t think that we fully understand here in America, and particularly in the Palestinian/ Israeli business, we don’t understand the situation over there sufficiently.

(Continued Next Week)

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Israel Acts – The Media Howl (Part III)

Wednesday, June 12th, 2002

The Monitor is still trying to catch up with some of the more striking examples of media bias in the coverage of Israel’s recent anti-terrorist operations in the Palestinian areas. Topping this week’s list is the insufferable Ted Koppel and his separate interviews with Ariel Sharon and Yasir Arafat, both of which aired on the May 1 edition of ABC’s “Nightline.”

Koppel, whose swelled head has to be the secret behind his gravity-defying hairdo, maintained a confrontational stance throughout his session with Sharon, peppering the Israeli prime minister with sharp questions and interrupting him with harsh rebukes.

“You’re a very tough man,” Koppel remarked at one point to Sharon. “It’s very difficult to get a straight answer out of you. I mean, if I ask you, are you going to pull Israeli troops out of the West Bank and out of Gaza, I mean no disrespect, sir, but I haven’t heard an answer.”

In his sit-down with Arafat, by contrast, Koppel sounded as though he’d just matriculated from the Barbara Walters School of Sensitive Journalism, lamely tossing out one softball after another.

“Tell me,” Koppel earnestly asked Arafat midway through the interview, “what has been the most difficult part for you about these last 35 days?”

The highlight, though, came when Arafat, offended at a rather innocuous question from Koppel, berated the newsman in an indignant tone: “You are speaking with Yasir Arafat. You are attacking me….You are speaking to General Arafat.”

To which Koppel, the gruff lion with Sharon, became the gentlest of lambs and responded meekly, “I understand. I understand.”

Turning from the sanctimonious to the shameless, Geraldo Rivera was in fine form on Fox News Channel the night of Saturday, May 4. Rivera was interviewing Arafat when he lapsed into near total incoherence as he begged him to denounce suicide bombing:

“You know, but Mr. President you know, you know how I feel about you,” Geraldo sputtered. “You know how I feel about you and the Palestinian people…. I walk the streets with you today and I know the Palestinian people love you. Now, even more than, even before when they still love you then, now they, now you can take control of all of this. Now you can keep the peace on this side. If you keep the peace on this side then let the other side be the aggressor….”

Arafat was proving himself impervious to such blubbery importuning, so Geraldo, still very much on bended knee, offered up this bit of inspired wisdom: “I have a new slogan, I don’t want to take too much time, ‘Palestine is not Israel and Israel is not Palestine.’ Would you agree to that? Two separate states with the guarantee…. Just say, just say it for me. No more, no more, even if you love Palestine don’t do this, don’t do this suicide bombing, don’t do this terrorism. Say that now, say that now!….”

Arafat then began complaining about all the hellish deeds allegedly committed by Israel, which prompted Geraldo to move closer, affectionately pat the Palestinian Authority chairman on the shoulder and coo, “Mr. President, you know I understand. You know I understand. I understand the crime, I saw it with my eyes. But I saw it with my eyes. Now say it to the children, say, now say it to the children, say it for our children.”

Rounding out this week’s column is the Prince of Palestine himself, Peter Jennings, about whom the Monitor could easily fill an entire column week after week. On Monday, April 15, the ABC anchor, in contrast to his counterparts at NBC and CBS, completely ignored that day’s huge Washington rally in support of Israel, which by any standard was the largest pro-Israel event ever held in the United States.

And if you’re inclined to think that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t possible on a busy news day to squeeze in any mention of the rally in a 30-minute newscast (22 minutes not counting commercials), be advised that Jennings did find time to report on another gathering thousands of miles away.

“In Lebanon today,” he intoned, “thousands of people demonstrated against Israel’s campaign against the Palestinians. And also against U.S. support of Israel.”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com  

Israel Acts – And The Media Howl (Part II)

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2002

Further observations on the generally poor performance of the American media in covering Israel’s military actions in Palestinian areas:

The only solace to be taken from The New York Times’s coverage of the Israeli operation is that Deborah Sontag is no longer on the ground in Jerusalem filing her daily devotionals to Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian cause. Can a sensitive reader even bear to contemplate the thought of Sontag twisting the truth and shilling for the Palestinian Authority at the Church of the Nativity or in Jenin?

Sontag’s absence aside, the Times has not exactly acquitted itself well in terms of balance and objectivity, though at times one can – if one makes a superhuman effort – almost sense some semblance of fairness straining to emerge in the reporting of James Bennet. The same cannot, however, be even playfully said for Times reporters Serge Schmemann, C.J. Chivers and, worst of all, Joel Greenberg, a junior varsity Deborah Sontag whose personal history and political leanings were exposed earlier this year by the veteran Israeli journalist Uri Dan.

Greenberg’s unreliability – others would call it dishonesty, but the Monitor is a gentle soul - was thrown into particular relief in his April 3 dispatch on the gaggle of Palestinian sympathizers who had barricaded themselves in Arafat’s besieged offices. Not once in his piece did Greenberg mention the hard-left ideological inclination of Arafat’s defenders, preferring instead to refer to them, collectively and individually, by such innocuous appellations as “foreign activists”; foreigners”; “peace advocate”; and “activist.”

Greenberg’s fascination with the “peace advocates” was again on display in an April 18 piece on Adam Shapiro. His short-lived celebrity has mercifully faded, but you remember Shapiro, the pathetic specimen who achieved his 15 minutes – or, in this case, 15 days – of fame as the political equivalent of a circus geek or carnival freak: Ladies and gents, step right up and marvel at the gen-u-i-ne Brooklyn-born Jew who holed up overnight with Yasir Arafat, enjoyed the breakfast of a lifetime with the Palestinian Authority chairman, and announced to the world that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians reminded him of Kristallnacht and other Nazi atrocities. Limited time only, five bucks a view, over in the purple tent.

In Greenberg’s hands, of course, this aberration called Shapiro becomes a thoughtful young humanist, a suffering servant of the oppressed who, along with his Palestinian fiancee, unblinkingly puts his life on the line for his fellow man. “Since leaving Mr. Arafat’s compound,” Greenberg writes admiringly, “Mr. Shapiro and Ms. Arraf have been busy challenging the Israeli curfew, defying Israeli snipers by walking the streets and delivering food and medicine.”

As in Greenberg’s earlier piece on the “activists” in Arafat’s compound, the words “left,” “leftist” or “left-wing” are nowhere to be found – but Greenberg did take care to characterize Shapiro’s critics as “right-wing Jewish groups who labeled him a traitor.”

On now to Andy Rooney, and didja ever wonder how he’s able to convince otherwise sober CBS executives that he’s worth the king’s ransom they pay him for a few minutes’ worth of absolutely inane chatter once a week on “60 Minutes”?

It’s bad enough that Rooney is terminally unfunny, but whenever he veers from his usual contemplation of cereal boxtops or the contents of his desk drawers he reveals his utter lack of depth. Here’s the alleged funnyman’s take on the Israeli prime minister (Rooney had already gently dismissed Yasir Arafat as “a toothless tiger who no longer has the power to stop terrorism if he wanted to”), delivered on April 14:

“Ariel Sharon doesn’t want peace. He loves this war. The Israelis are our friends and the Palestinians are strangers. But Sharon is not our friend and President Bush should stop pussyfooting around and say so….If Sharon and the Palestinian terrorists persist with their arrogance, we have the power to save Israel and Palestine from themselves by cutting off both the money and the weapons with which this war is being fought.”

(Continued Next Week)

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/media-monitor-41/2002/05/22/

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