The News That's Fit to Print? by Judy Lash Balint
August 30, 2002
Most American Jews I know boycott the New York Times. They reached the end of their tether with the venerable paper sometime over the course of the past year, after enduring more than a year of skewed coverage of the war against the Jews. For a visiting Israeli, however, there's a kind of perverse pleasure in picking up the Times at a newstand and settling down for a morning read and grumble.
Today's paper provided plenty of grist for my perversity. For the second day running, the Times chose to give space to the story of four Palestinians killed by the IDF outside Netzarim in the Gaza Strip. Veteran Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg leads off his lengthy piece with a couple of paragraphs where relatives of the dead recount how they were innocently sleeping amongst their grapevines when the IDF shells landed. The article is accompanied by a large photo of the funeral of the four victims. How often has the Times given two days coverage to Islamikaze bomb attacks with innocent Israeli victims?
As a sidebar to Greenberg's piece, the Times runs an item quoting the comments of notorious Palestinian sympathizer, UN Mid East special coordinator, Terje Roed-Larsen. With no accompanying reaction from Israeli sources, the Times trumpets Larsen's inane accusations that "draconian security measures...are producing a real humanitarian crisis, which fuels anger and supports terrorism." That's right Mr. Larsen, there's no ideological or religious motivation to Arab anger, no reason to think that Arabs who started violence against Jews have brought this on themselves, no--it's just those darn Israelis and their security measures. (This is the same Larsen who pronounced the death of 54 terrorists in Jenin last March a horrendous massacre.)
It's not just Times reporters and editors who are doing a number on Israel, it's Israeli academics too. Flipping to the op ed page, David Newman, chair of Ben Gurion University's politics and government department, sets forth his explanation of how Israel's peace movement has fallen apart. From his perch in Beersheva, Newman, an American immigrant and longtime Oslo supporter, tells the world how much Israel is in need of a revitalized, younger Peace Now movement. "... the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians remain totally unaware of one another's aspirations and dreams," the professor opines. Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis, points out that Israelis understand Palestinian aspirations only too well after two years of anti-Jewish violence--that's the real reason the so-called peace movement has disintegrated. Still, you'd be hard put to read those views in the Times. Occasionally, as prime minister, Arik Sharon gets his say on the op ed page, but it's too rare for regular Israeli nationalists like Yoram Hazony and Natan Sharansky to get much ink.
Speaking of Israeli nationalists, has anyone heard of Tel Aviv University professor Gideon Doron? A Times correspondent in Colorado Springs reports that Prof. Doron, a former campaign consultant to Yitzhak Rabin, has been chosen to go up against Hanan Ashrawi at a conference at Colorado College on the topic: September 11: One Year Later. The Times labels Ashrawi as " a leading figure in promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians," and call her views "moderate." The Times reporter fails to ask the obvious question: why an American college would think that a leading Palestinian propagandist is an appropriate speaker for a 9/11 commemorative event.
Meantime, the arrest of terror cell members continues to be a story--although now relegated to page 10, where the faces of another three Arabs appear, indicted for being part of a terrorist conspiracy. The latest suspects lived in Detroit. Despite the almost daily discovery of more Arab plotters living amongst them, many Americans persist in holding supreme their value of tolerance. The National Education Association issued a directive to teachers as they conduct lessons about 9/11. The educators are enjoined to teach that no one group was responsible for the attacks on America, and no ethnic group should be held responsible. Truth loses out to tolerance amongst the education set.
[Leaving from Sea-Tac airport yesterday, I was pulled aside for a "random security check" of my bags. (Every Israeli traveling on a ticket purchased in ISrael is subjected to this routine). Who performed the check? A short man with a distinct Arabic accent wearing the name tag: M. Husseini. At the Delta gate, one Saleh Abdi asked me to remove my shoes before allowing me onto the plane.]
The other striking feature of the Times this week is the pre-September 11 hoopla. There's a quarter page teaser ad today telling readers to look for the New York Times "guide to cultural events surrounding the week of 9/11." The theme: "Remember, reflect, renew." Around town there are a number of tired looking flags and remembrance notices adorning store windows and apartment doors, but the most noticeable 9/11 related presence are the hundreds of fresh-looking Police Academy recruits wandering around the lower midtown area. On a lunch break, the men and women, smartly attired in pressed grey short sleeved shirts and dark blue pants, look like a perfectly balanced ethnic representation of NY City. In these times, they're being trained to replace the fallen officers of 9/11 and provide a strengthened security presence for the city.
Wonder if we'll see a story about them in the Times tomorrow?