Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Year-End Flurry of Times Israel-Bashing

Weekend readers of the New York Times are getting a special treat: Two examples of the persistent anti-Israel bias that has turned the New York Times into a daily edition of Counterpunch.

That's no exaggeration, folks. The Times is ringing in the new year by abandoning all pretense of objectivity and resorting to the kind of rhetoric rarely found outside the Cockburn website or The Nation.

The front page of the Sunday Arts & Leisure section, not online at this writing but distributed to New York readers today, is devoted to a lengthy attack on the West Bank security barrier. Times critic Nicolai Ouroussoff heaps abuse on the fence, using overheated rhetoric such as "formula for ghettoization and a symbol of colonialism."

Ouroussoff, who had previously inserted an anti-American rant into a column on Ground Zero (a "society that has turned its back on any notion of cultural openness" and "an empire enthralled with its own power"), again uses an "architecture column" to engage in far-left polemics.

In the time-honored practice of Israel-bashers, he quotes two Israelis to support his view --and lo and behold, both just happen to share his view that the security barrier is a lousy idea. Ouroussoff concludes by climbing up on the soapbox and spouting the following idiocy:


The consequences extend beyond the ghettoization of Palestinians and Israelis. The wall destroys the space for those who once occupied the middle ground: those who refuse to divide the world into good and bad, civilization and barbarity. It threatens to sever the threads, already fragile, that might one day be woven into a more tolerant image of coexistence.
Of course, it also saves lives -- but such trivia doesn't matter to Counterpunch or its daily edition.

The second example of Times Israel-bashing this weekend is a story by Steven Erlanger entitled, "No Buses Roll From Gaza to West Bank, Despite Deal."

This story is faithful to Times editorial policy -- to underplay Palestinian violence and Road Map violations, while overplaying Israeli responses. In this instance, Israelis were understandably reluctant to blithely bus Gazans to the West Bank, at the same time Palestinian officials do nothing about a constant barrage of missiles from Gaza.

Note this phrasing:
The convoy issue is an example of the complicated American-Israeli-Palestinian triangle - the personal involvement required from high-level American officials to achieve even minor agreements, the lack of leverage of the Palestinians, and the way in which Israeli domestic politics and the issue of security causes promises made under American pressure to be delayed and even derailed.

"Issue of security" is Times-speak for "Palestinians trying at every opportunity to murder civilians by lobbing inaccurate missiles."

A pretty good end-of-the year package -- news and arts pages, all united in their purpose of demonizing Israel.

As has been my usual practice, I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, Times spokesman (alias "public editor") Barney Calame. Barney hasn't said a single word about the Times's anti-Israel bias since he came on board seven months ago. Hey, they don't call him a parody of a public editor for nothing!
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