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Jerusalem Post op-ed calls New Yorker editor 'anti-Israel'

By publishing an op-ed whose sole purpose is to demonize the editor of The New Yorker, the Jerusalem Post is positioning itself in direct odds with liberal values – not to mention  journalistic integrity.

The Jerusalem Post ran an op-ed yesterday (Monday) by a writer and attorney from Washington, D.C. explaining why he is canceling his 50-year subscription to the New Yorker magazine. The poorly-argued and belligerent article directly implicates the magazine’s editor of 14 years, David Remnick, for being “unabashedly anti-Israel,” and personally attacks him as being unfit for the job and its salary since his “only previous editorial experience was at his high school newspaper.”

I guess the writer did not want to mention Remnick’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book on the fall of the Soviet Union when he was still a Washington Post correspondent, or his award for excellence in journalism, or his Editor of the Year award from 2000.

Instead he claims that Remnick went on a “diatribe” against Israel in his March 12 “Talk of the Town” article  because he merely pointed out what former Israeli prime ministers, American Jewish figures and the entire international community have already admitted: that Israel’s 45-year occupation is at odds with its democratic character, threatening it from within, and that if it does not change its policies it will become an apartheid state. According to the writer’s logic, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert must thus also be “anti-Israel” for pointing out that Israeli policies conflict with democratic behavior.

He also attacks a Hendrick Hertzberg column from almost a year ago (directly implicating Remnick, who hired him to write regularly for the magazine) for calling the prime minister “Netanyahoo.” However, the writer clearly did not actually read the short piece, since this was not Hertzberg’s term but rather a quote from Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who tweeted that he was “waiting for Netanyahoo” in the House Chamber to address Congress.  I guess that senator must be “anti-Israel” as well.

I could go on and on about the baselessness of the article, but suffice it to say, it is not fit to be printed in any self-respected newspaper. If you are interested, look yourself. Normally I wouldn’t bother to address an article of such poor caliber – but I believe it is worth noting since it perfectly illustrates the pathetic battle being waged by people and entities who relentlessly insist on being the authority over the definition of “pro-Israel,” but increasingly have little to no substance to their arguments – and instead attack others.

Figures like David Remnick, Peter Beinart and many other American Jews have been feeling a deep conflict between Israeli policies and their core liberal values, some for a long time. It is only in recent years that an increasing number of them have felt confident and frustrated enough to express it openly.

And no matter how many other countries commit human rights violations or struggle with their democratic record, it does not change the fact that Israel is continuing to act reprehensibly, or make it any less problematic. As long as Israel expects Jews to support it, and as long as the United States continues to unconditionally support Israel, no one should be surprised that the editor of the New Yorker chooses to allocate a few articles per year on the matter. In fact, if anything it shows disproportionate care for Israel and the future of the Jewish people, not an aversion to them.

I am not surprised that an American Jewish writer had the nerve to accuse David Remnick of a diatribe against Israel and to attack him for using “valuable New Yorker real estate” on such “trivial matters” as a grownup Orthodox man spitting on a schoolgirl. I am however appalled that the most widely-read English language Jewish newspaper in the world chooses to publish it – and by doing so positions itself squarely in the Israeli government propaganda machine, which is certainly not lacking hard working members.

This is not the first time the Jerusalem Post has aligned itself directly with a rightwing agenda or with belligerent acts aimed at silencing open dialogue about Israel, as was the case when one of its correspondents served as the mouthpiece for NGO Monitor’s attack on one of our donors, claiming we too are anti-Israel.

Especially considering a recent cartoon in the magazine showing Moses parting the Red Sea and some Israelites behind him commenting that they like him but just wish he could “be a little more pro-Israel,” I personally couldn’t be a happier subscriber.

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    1. Kate

      Israel remind me of high-school : wanting everyone to like you, being a bully, bullying everyone into “liking” you… Jeez.. If you want someone to like you, then be “likeable”. :S

      Reply to Comment
    2. Mikesailor

      Since when has JP been anything other than a Likud mouthpiece spouting hasbara at every opportunity? Ask Derfner about JP’s ‘editorial’ policies and even their slanted so-called ‘newsgathering’. Although I may disagree with the Wall Street Journal’s editorial policies, I can still respect their reporting. With JP I respect neither.

      Reply to Comment
    3. aristeides

      The day will eventually come when people will be abashed to be anything but anti-Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    4. caden

      So, what, the Jerusalem Post skews right, Haaretz skews left. Artuz 7 is way right, 972 is so far left its off the charts, what’s the big deal

      Reply to Comment
    5. Mareli

      I subscribe to the New Yorker and I was pleased to see this opinion expressed in its pages. The man who called the magazine anti-Israel is probably a neocon shill. He reminds me of doting/dotard parents who think their children can do no wrong despite evidence of their misbehavior.

      Reply to Comment
    6. the other joe

      @Caden – quite. why the bile in the JP? I you don’t like something, don’t read it. Enough with the tenuous and tedious name-calling…
      Sorry folks, I forgot who I was talking to there for a moment..

      Reply to Comment
    7. I think these polemics can only be understood as attempts to intervene in the US’s domestic politics. There are many US and Israeli Jews who try to frame the Likud as the loyal Israeli annex of the US Republican Party, and to offer their support to the GOP, under the impression that this will sway US Jews towards voting for it, and in return it will favour their Israeli politics if and when it comes to power in the US. Some at the JPost, such as C Glick, do this so consistently and blatantly that one is tempted to regard them as agents of influence of the GOP; recently on her blog C Glick went so far as to nominate ‘Bonkers’ Bolton as ‘Mitt’ Romney’s ideal Secretary of State. Conversely, there is a contingent of US (but perhaps not so many Israeli) Jews who attempt to frame their version of liberal zionism as an annex of the US Democrat Party. I reject the idea that Israeli politics are or should be merely extensions of US politics, but unfortunately I can’t impose “the negation of the diaspora” on those Israeli journalists (and politicians) who adopt it.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Rafael

      What if someone calls an article calling JPost’s editor anti-Palestinian?

      Reply to Comment
    9. aristeides

      He is proud of being anti-Palestinian. On the Israeli right, it’s “pro-Palestinian” that’s a dirty name.

      Reply to Comment
    10. annie

      i enjoyed the article very much Mairav but i have to agree with mikesailor. it never occurred to me anyone thought the jerusalem post was anything but conservative and rightwing. occasionally there might be an op ed that isn’t but for the most part it’s got glick’s branding all over it.

      Reply to Comment
    11. zayzafuna

      If were Remnick, I would be honored to be called anti-Israel

      Reply to Comment
    12. blu

      I’ll know it’s the One State Solution when Larry Derfner is editor of the JPOST

      Reply to Comment
    13. Piotr Berman

      I must confess that I did not grasp any ideological difference between Arutz Sheva and Jerusalem Post. For the lack of a better word I would call both outfits fascist (recall Mediterranean origin of Italian fascism and concepts like spazio vitale).

      Reply to Comment
    14. Piotr Berman

      “According to the writer’s logic, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert must thus also be “anti-Israel” for pointing out that Israeli policies conflict with democratic behavior.”

      Sometimes it is almost amusing to see how easily one can obtain a tag of traitor in Israel. For example, the current government decided at some point to move electricity production to the jurisdiction of the Rabbinate which would improve air quality in ultra-Haredi settlements were inhabitants were running diesel generators on Saturday to avoid non-kosher electricity from the public net. There were many thousands of letters written in the opposition to that idea and the plan was abandoned. A letter to Arutz Sheva summarized: once again the government betrayed the Jewish people.

      IMHO the plan was moronic because the ultras who want kosher electricity do not recognize the authority of the Rabbinate on Halacha.

      Reply to Comment
    15. If you look at today’s english haaretz online, you’ll see something equally obnoxious: “British Jews must speak out against Ken Livingstone,” by D D Guttenplan, who is the London correspondent of the US leftist magazine, ‘The Nation,’ and has just published a biography of I F Stone, thus presumably scoring further leftist kudos points. Various achingly moderate British Jewish ‘leaders’ have accused cantankerous Ken of, among other things, “seeking to align himself with the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime, turning a blind eye to Islamist antisemitism, misogynism and homophobia, demonisation of Zionism, the derogatory use of the word Zionist, and use of antisemitic memes.”

      Reply to Comment
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      Reply to Comment