Thursday, June 21, 2007

The New York Times Rewrites Middle East History

A page one story in the New York Times today, discussing how Tony Blair may become a special Middle East envoy, contains the following passage:

While Mr. Olmert cautioned against moving too fast on “final status” issues, he said he planned to look for ways to empower Mr. Abbas, administration officials said, including releasing tax revenues that Israel had been keeping from the Palestinians.

But the lack of a link between the tracks — final status versus Palestinian institution-building — is the crux of why previous attempts at peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians have been unsuccessful.

Excuse me? Are you saying that the relentless Palestinian suicide bombing campaign hasn't had anything to do with it?

Or the double-dealing and refusal to accept Israel's existence?

Or Yasser Arafat refusing to ink a deal with Clinton and Barak?

Or any of the thousand and one other reasons lying solely and exclusively in the Palestinian victim mindset?

It is this subtle propaganada, tossed in to Times stories without even a second thought (or intervention from editors) that lies at the very heart of the Times's systematic bias against Israel.

You saw even more of that yesterday, when the Times allowed its op-ed page to become a forum for the lies of a Hamas terrorist.

Don't expect the Times's new Empty Suit "public editor" to give a damn about any of this, any more than his useless predecessor Barney Calame.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Welcome, Conservative Voice Readers

Am honored that my item on the New York Times a few days ago has been reprinted on your fine website.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Times Laments "America in Decline"

The New York Times today has a front page article on the last episode of the HBO series The Sopranos. But, this being the Times, it was more than just a review--it was an attack on America.

The decline and fall of the Sopranos — Tony; his wife, Carmela; and the rest — served as a parable of America in decline, yet week to week the series was also just a gangsters’ tale, with lots of graphic sex, gruesome violence and most of all a sense of humor.

Note the totally unnecessary reference to "America in decline." That may be Alessandra Stanley's personal opinion (she is a Times reporter, so what do you expect?), but it has no place in a TV review unless you are Counterpunch, the Daily Worker, or the New York Times.

This is not the first time the Times has allowed the political radicalism of its arts critics to creep into their articles.

Two years ago, I pointed out that architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff did the same thing in an article on Ground Zero. He used that platform to attack America as "a society that has turned its back on any notion of cultural openness" and "an empire enthralled with its own power."

If you have a problem with this, don't bother to complain to the newly appointed Empty Suit, "public editor" Clark Hoyt. His inaugural column, on Sunday, follows the Barney Calame tradition of serving as a public relations conduit for Times editors.

The subject of his column was the Times' failure to put the JFK terror plot on page one. Hoyt tackled the subject in Calamesque fashion by interviewing the editors and swallowing their excuses.

Don't worry, Clark. Just two more years before you can go back to your divan.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Media Mourns Six Day War Anniversary

The media commemorated the 40th anniversary of Israel's smashing victory in the Six Day War much as you would expect: by bemoaning that it ever happened. The alternative, Israel's destruction, is given hardly a shrug.

Typical was the New York Times, which ignored the anniversary completely in its news pages and ran an op-ed piece by left-wing Israel historian Tom Segev. In an exercise of ridiculous Monday morning quarterbacking, Segev suggests that Israel admits that Jordan attacked West Jerusalem. But Israel, he argues, should have responded by simply "struck back at the Jordanian army" and then daintily withdrew.

Using the same retroactive reasoning, Segev says that somehow this would have spared the West Bank of its subsequent Islamic fanaticism--as if a show of weakness ever quelled Arab public opinion.

The French AFP news agency highlighted, of course, a protest by the microscopic Israeli antiwar movement. A typical line:" Several hundred hardline settlers currently live in the city [of Hebron] under army protection, often clashing with their 170,000 Palestinian neighbours." "Clashing with" is media-speak for "being attacked by."

Another AFP story quoted PA president Abbas as saying that a Palestinian state would reverse the '67 war defeat, which is certainly true as it would mean the end of Israel.

"Despite all the difficulties, however, our revolt was equal to this defeat, the memory of which we hope will be erased by ending the occupation of Arab and Palestinian territory and by establishing our independent state," the "moderate" Abbas was quoted as saying.

The BBC sounded the same note from the first paragraph: "Israeli and Palestinian peace activists have been holding protests to mark 40 years since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war."

Amid all the hand-wringing came the Jerusalem Post, quoting historian Michael Oren on new evidence showing that the Arab armies intended to destroy Israel.

In an interview on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the outbreak of war on June 5, 1967, Oren said his research of documents in Arab countries had revealed clearly that the Arabs had planned to destroy Israel.

Although this seems obvious to Israel sympathizers who hold to the traditional story of the Arabs' responsibility for the outbreak of war, the intervening decades have seen the promulgation of a myth that Israel was not really in danger.

"The biggest myth going is that somehow there was not a real and immediate Arab threat, that somehow Israel could have negotiated itself outside the crisis of 1967, and that it wasn't facing an existential threat, or facing any threat at all," said Oren, who is a senior fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at Jerusalem's Shalem Center and author of Six Days of War: June 1967. He noted that this was the premise of Tom Segev's book, 1967: Israel, the War and the Year That Transformed the Middle East. "What's remarkable is that all the people alleging this - not one of them is working from Arabic sources. It's quite extraordinary when you think about it. It's almost as if Israel were living in a universe by itself. It's a deeply solipsistic approach to Middle East history."

Be sure to go to the Jerusalem Post website and read this. You can bet the mainstream media won't pick up on it.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Why the Democrats Can't Be Trusted on Israel

A Financial Times article the other day shows why the Democratic Party cannot be trusted on Israel. No American newspaper has touched this.

Superficially, the Democrats seem to show no daylight between them and the Bush administration. The FT points out that "As recently as 1999 and 2000, it was acceptable for Bill Clinton, a Democratic president, to talk about “Israel’s occupation of the West Bank” as an obstacle to peace. Mr Clinton frequently referred to Israeli settlements in the occupied territories in the same vein. That is no longer mainstream."

But here's the payoff:

“The plain fact is there is no upside for candidates to challenge the prevailing assumptions about Israel,” said one of their advisers, who asked not to be named. “The best strategy is to win the White House and then change the debate.”
In other words, the best strategy for friends of Israel is to be sure the Democrats don't win the White House.