Sunday, July 08, 2007

Israel, 'Colonialism,' and 'Reality' in the Times

The New York Times Magazine has a cover article today on Tzipi Livni, Israel's foreign minister, and it is an outstanding example of the newspaper's anti-Israel bias. It was a perfect companion piece for the full-page Times editorial today. calling for unconditional withdrawal surrendering the country to al Qaeda and Iran.

The author is Roger Cohen, a former Times foreign desk bureaucrat now exiled to the International Herald Tribune, noted for his anti-Israel bias and he lived up to that reputation in the article. His bias colors the entire article.

Thus Hezbollah and Hamas, the former being the "A Team" of terrorism and the latter being the originator of dozens of suicide bombings, are not terrorists at all but merely have been "branded" as such.

Thus Resolution 242 demands "total withdrawal" to the pre-'67 lines (which it does not, as CAMERA pointed out today).

Even though Cohen acknowledges that "a Palestinian return en masse would condemn the Jewish state" (to extinction, though he doesn't use the word), and even though he acknowledges that "Livni is only stating the obvious," he asserts that "Whether such bluntness is helpful is another question. Palestinians are not about to trade one of their biggest chips up front."

In another words, the problem is not that the Palestinians are making an unreasonable, ridiculous demand that they should drop, but that it is Israel that is being unreasonable and ridiculous by refusing to negotiate its own descruction. He reinforces that nonsensical point with a quote from a Palestinian propagandist that "Livni wants us to do is give up before we start negotiations.”

Obviously the Palestinians are living in a dreamworld and cut off from any semblance of reality. Any fair-minded journalist would have pointed that out. But we are not dealing with a fair-minded journalist here. We are dealing with the New York Times. "

"But Livni can be relentless," Cohen says immediately after the Palestinian quote, using the Yiddish expression "nudnik" or nudge. He clearly means that it is Israelis like Livni, and not the Palestinians, who are being unreasonable and stubborn for forcing the Palestinians to "give up before we start negotiations" by dropping an insane demand.

He then uses vague innuendo to lambaste Livni and Condoleezza Rice, saying each "sometimes appears to lack the subtlety of wisdom." So now it "lacks wisdom" to negiate your own destruction.

Then, concluding his disapproving discussion of rejection of this cherished but admittedly impossible demand, comes the coup de grace:

I believed in Livni’s good faith, her energy, her honesty, her determination. What I was not sure about after our first meeting was her grasp on reality.
Isn't this amazing? Remember that what he is talking about here is not Livni's insistence on a Palestinian state--a Utopian goal if ever there was one--but her insistence on stuff like Israel not insisting on self-destruction. "The fact is, Israelis and Palestinians have parted company. I could see little evidence that Livni, for all her lucidity, was any exception to this," says Cohen, driving home the point.

As is commonplace in the Times, Cohen equates Palestinian obstinate rejection of Israel's existence with Israeli obstinate insistence on its existence. To the Times, both are just two coequal forms of "being obstinate," making no distinction between the two. It is not only amoral and hopelessly biased, it is simple-minded and plain stupid.

But you have to remember that this is calculated, malicious stupidity. The malice finally bursts open in a crucial paragraph on the poor poor Palestinians of the West Bank, in which Cohen tearfully describes "checkpoints where Palestinians see themselves reflected in the stylish shades of Russian-immigrant Israeli soldiers. If you are looking for a primer on colonialism, this is not a bad place to start."

This didn't just sneak past the copy desk, mind you. The editor of the magazine proudly took out the "primer on colonialism" quote and used it as a "pull quote" in boldface in the print edition of the magazine, to be sure that we did not overlook that vile display of bias.

Though ending with a quote from unreasonable, reality-starved Livni, the real stars of this article, as usual, are the poor poor Palestinians and their reasonable, "moderate" leaders. This is a splendid example of how the Times skews its coverage of the Middle East, with a bias and a contempt for Israel that is always simmering just below the surface.

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