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.

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