If you're going to publish ominous warnings portending the killing of scores of civilians, shouldn't you verify the grounds and ask why? In an article published on the New York Times website today, Israel sells the author, Isabel Kershner, the pretense for its next war: its claims that Hezbollah has dramatically beefed up its military infrastructure along Israel's northern border. [tmwinpost] Those claims on their own don’t come as much of a surprise. It’s been widely acknowledged that Hezbollah has increased its capabilities in southern Lebanon. Nor is the overt battle cry the most ominous part of the piece. What's most concerning is Israel’s…Read More... | 37 Comments
New York Times
The best way to object to Netanyahu, his Congress speech and his policies, is to ignore him. Since the Netanyahu Congress speech episode began last month, the press, and specifically foreign press, has been flooded with items on the Israeli prime minister. Not a day has gone by without a headline about Netanyahu's lavish spending, incompetence regarding the housing crisis, his assault on media and academics, and of course his incitement against centrist political rivals. Netanyahu has redefined the phrase, "bad publicity is good publicity," since none of this appears to be hurting Netanyahu in the least at home. As Gershom…Read More... | 16 Comments
How a popular columnist fools readers into a false understanding of the situation in Israel/Palestine. Oh man, is he smooth. There is a reason Roger Cohen is a columnist in The Grey Lady: he is a fabulous writer. He is also extremely convincing, and his op-ed from yesterday, “Two Ideas of Israel-Palestine,” is no exception. It reads so well that I am sure he basically had most readers eating out of the palm of his hand. And if that’s the case, boy, did they fall for it. Because what Roger Cohen did yesterday is spoon-feed his readers one of the…Read More... | 51 Comments
Bureau chief Jodi Rudoren’s new article doesn’t even rise to the level of false moral equivalence. I don’t like to pile on in the left-wing criticism of the New York Times’ coverage of Israel/Palestine; as a rule I find it irritatingly “even-handed,” equating the violence of the subjugator with that of the subjugated, but this, after all, is a big step up compared to the coverage by so many other American media, which simply see the Palestinians as the aggressors and Israel as fighting back in self-defense. But yesterday’s article by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren about the violence in…Read More... | 11 Comments
Now that 'The Death of Klinghoffer' has opened and people are learning what the opera is actually about, the outraged claims made against it are being exposed as hot air. Until Monday night, when the “The Death of Klinghoffer” opened at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, people knew it was being attacked by many Jews for supposedly being anti-Semitic and for defending terrorists, and they didn’t know if the accusations were true or false. But now that the opera has opened, and it’s been widely reviewed, and audience members have been interviewed, it’s becoming clear to the mainstream public…Read More... | 23 Comments
Regarding the controversy over Mairav Zonszein's 'New York Times' op-ed: An ongoing climate of fear and suspicion is not conducive to ‘vibrant democracy.’ It is unfriendly to left-wing protest over security matters. Since my colleague Mairav Zonszein published her ballbuster op-ed “How Israel Silences Dissent” in the New York Times several days ago, there’s been – what a surprise – a backlash. There was one substantive counterpoint to the article, though, by self-described leftist Noah Efron in Haaretz, who wrote that the instances mentioned by Zonszein of threats, sanctions and violence against opponents of the Gaza war also disturbed…Read More... | 29 Comments
Silencing dissent doesn't only mean directly quashing free speech. Silencing, or a chilling effect, also take place when certain forces in society dominate and monopolize the narrative, deciding what is acceptable, what is fringe and what is mainstream. Judaism for me is a sensibility of collective self-questioning and uncomfortable truth-telling: the dafka-like quality of awkwardness and dissent for which we were once known. It is not enough to stand at a tangent to other peoples’ conventions; we should also be the most unforgiving critics of our own. I feel a debt of responsibility to this past. It is why I…Read More... | 38 Comments
How is this Gaza war different from all the others? Former New York Times correspondent to Gaza, Taghreed El-Khodary, speaks about her time covering the siege of the Strip, and why the international media is slowly coming around to the Palestinian story. By Moriel Rothman-Zecher “I don’t mind being interviewed. Let’s plan the timing,” wrote Taghreed El-Khodary, formerly the Gaza correspondent for the New York Times and currently an editor at fanack.com, ’’I just need to make sure my sister and her family managed to escape their building in Rimal area in Gaza City.” I had reached out to Taghreed…Read More... | 6 Comments
Reporters seize upon the list of Gaza's most recent victims, only to parse their death certificates for proof that they, too, did not deserve to die. "Journalism," wrote the Swedish war correspondent Stig Dagerman, "is the art of coming too late as early as possible." The dictum resounds in Gaza, where an eight-year Israeli siege – which has left this land all but unlivable – went woefully underreported well before Gaza was is in the throes of war. As Palestinian families again count their dead, that journalistic negligence, say human rights workers, leaves much of the reporting here dangerously devoid of context. One…Read More... | 11 Comments
[Completely off topic] The New York Times' Roger Cohen recently traveled to Paris and didn't like what he saw. His latest op-ed is titled "France Decapitated," and it predicts a dark future for The Republic. My favorite Francophile, former Haaretz Editor in Chief Dov Alfon, who now publishes a great Hebrew-language magazine called Alaxon, adds some figures from the NYT's archive (on his Facebook page): Year in which The New York Times first described France as "a state in decline": 1852 Number of times the "decline" of France was described in The New York Times since then: 35,400 Date of the…Read More... | 2 Comments
Embedded journalism is a controversial issue. Many claim that it replaces oversight and criticism with propaganda. I tend to agree. This admiring tone was evident in the pieces published by embedded Israeli reporters this week during the IDF's crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank. It must have also been part of the reason why Haaretz chose not to run such a report. The New York Times' Jodi Rudoren had no such concerns. Just like reporters from Israel Hayom and Yedioth Ahronoth, Rudoren was embedded within an army unit conducting searches for the missing teens. The report she filed is not a news item—it's…Read More... | 10 Comments
In a January 2014 New York Times op-ed that I somehow just noticed now, a South Africa-born Jew insists that Israel is not an apartheid state. Hirsh Goodman, a journalist and political commentator who immigrated to Israel in 1965, agrees that the occupation must end. Not because it's evil to deprive a whole nation of its basic civil rights, but because it looks bad. For Goodman, the problem is not the human rights abuses committed by Israel, but rather that anti-occupation activists, "some of whom have graduated from the best universities in the world," are waging a campaign to "delegitimize"…Read More...
Kerry apologizes for speculating that theoretically, in the distant future, Israel could do something bad
It took Secretary of State John Kerry exactly 24 hours after his “apartheid” comments were revealed by The Daily Beast to issue a comprehensive apology for the remarks. Despite demands from the American right, Kerry did not resign. The New York Times reports: In the statement that Mr. Kerry issued Monday, which bore the title “On Support for Israel,” he said that he had been a staunch supporter of Israel during his years as a senator and had spent many hours since working with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials. […] Mr. Kerry added that he did not believe…Read More... | 21 Comments
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