It’s About`Time” For An Apology To Israel
09/07/2010 - 19:37
Gary Rosenblatt

I have long been a defender of the general media to pro-Israel supporters who believe the press – from the New York Times to the television networks – is biased against Israel. But I’m having a harder time of it these days.

I have tried, over the years, to suggest that our community tends to be less than objective in our assessment of Mideast coverage, that we engage too much in conspiracy theories about media motives when it comes to Israel, and that critics should consider that most Americans consistently favor Israel – even though they get their foreign policy news from the same media said to be anti-Jerusalem.

But a report in the New York Times last week on the terrorist raid that killed four Israeli civilians was disturbing in that its lead paragraph framed the attack as proof of the contentiousness of the Jewish settlements for the renewed peace talks. What about the murderous acts of Palestinian terrorists as an obstacle to peace?

And, far worse, this week’s cover, and cover story, in Time magazine were simply indefensible.

The Time cover depicts a Jewish star made of flowers, with the headline: “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.”

The story, by correspondent Karl Vick, has a narrow focus, concentrating mostly on satisfied Tel Aviv residents who are living well and enjoying life despite the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. The story tells us that polls show Israelis, asked to name the country’s “most urgent problem,” list education, crime, national security and poverty ahead of the matzav, or situation, Israelis’ shorthand for the Palestinian issue.

Little explanation is given as to why Israelis have come to believe after more than six decades of hostility from the Arab world, and 15 years of failed negotiations with the Palestinians, that the current talks may not lead to nirvana.

While depicted as money-obsessed and cavalier about their neighbors, Israelis in fact have displayed remarkable resilience, pragmatism and faith in themselves.

Attacked by suicide bombers on an almost daily basis a decade ago, they didn’t flee. They didn’t panic. And they didn’t teach their children to hate, or to martyr themselves. Instead they took security precautions (namely, building a separation fence/wall, which has proved successful) and went about their business as best they could under horrific circumstances.

For this, and for carving out productive lives in the face of so many who would destroy them, they are portrayed as uncaring.

Time’s story does not address the attitudes of Palestinians toward Israel, or Jews, though Palestinian clerics, educators and politicians demonize Zionists and Jews everywhere so regularly that it is not considered newsworthy.

Nor does the story note that even if Bibi Netanyahu made peace with Mahmoud Abbas tomorrow, Hamas still controls Gaza and 1.5 million Palestinians. And the terror group is committed to Israel’s destruction and has designs on the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority.

Israel cares very much about peace, and it takes risks every day to prove it. Netanyahu, not Abbas, has been calling for direct negotiations and expressing willingness to compromise. But in the man-bites-dog definition of news, Time devotes its cover to a warped take on reality.

Fortunately, most Americans know, whether they read the story or not, that it is misleading at best, and perhaps intentionally so.

Comments

Sorry Mr. Rosenblatt, but while this piece expresses a good point I don't think The Jewish Week is the one to make the criticism. The paper's own piece on the cold-blooded murders of those four innocent civilians didn't reflect the individual and national pain. Instead, it was only about the effect the incident may have on the outcomes of the peace talks. And even that was relegated to the back of your paper! How can four innocent Jews shot at point-blank range on the way home from work not make front page in a Jewish paper? Why should secular media be more sympathetic then The Jewish Week?
Why shouldn't the average Israeli be complacent? The Palestinians have no military and the rest of the Arab world doesn't really care about their problems. A few thugs shooting primitive rockets or blowing themselves up is hardly cause for concern for most. Israelis say that when visiting Israel, one is safer than on the streets of NY. So why should they worry? Why is Time inaccurate?
I suppose if there was competence to be had on either side of the table you wouldn't care what the US body politic thinks, because you'd have been at peace with Palestine for 20 years by now. But it seems to me that if competence is not the question that maybe willingness is, in looking at the history books, Every President from Nixon forward is generally regarded as at best being a "weak supporter" of Israel - such as Reagan or a Hitlerian anti-semite - George Bush Sr, or Barak Obama. Since no US president can apparently be sufficiently supportive of Israeli efforts, I would ask again - why should Israelis be at all inclined to care what the US thinks , so long as the US congress remains in abject terror of being labeled antisemetic , the Palestinians can writhe on a stick for all it seems anyone cares. And so it shall probably remain, until someone in the Israeli body politic sprouts a conscience or some small portion of the US body politic sprouts a spine. Another question is why upset the applecart , Billions of US taxpayer largess flow into Israeli coffers every year, I can see absolutely no reason, why anyone on the Israeli side would be motivated to upset the current state of affairs to any significant extent. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I doubt I ever will be.
Isnt it time for your nations to start crying and get back to makeing some progress in trying to achive peace? Ive never seen such pathetic human beings in my whole life, im not takeing any sides, Israel has its faults and so does the Palestinian side, but come on. The 2 nations are like infants, they are not capable of achiveing anything. There should be NO appology to anyone else than the familys of the killed people in this conflict. Grow up and rise above your own differences, we are all humans and we have 1 planet to get along on. So start paying attention to the things you share instead of paying attention on what devides you.
I totally agree and it doesn’t mater to me as to the rest of Israel Wen did any one love us and do we rely want to be loved I rather be respected and if that is not possible fear becks you cane fall in and out of love but you never Fall out of fear
I totally agree and it doesn’t mater to me as to the rest of Israel Wen did any one love us and do we rely want to be loved I rather be respected and if that is not possible feard becks you cane fall in and out of love but you never Fall out of fear
So far, it seems, all the critical comments about the TIME article have come from Jews in the US who tend to see Israel and Israelis through rose colored glasses. It will be of more value to see what Israelis themselves have to say about the article than anything said here thus far. Of course, there we can expect to read a wide variety opinions, something rarely found in the letters or comments sections of the American Jewish press, as this thread exemplifies.
Gary Rosenblatt catalogs all of the ways the recent Time magazine cover story on Israel is hopelessly wrong and deeply offensive to Israel and Israelis. We, too, were disturbed by the Time cover and story, and we wrote to the editors noting many of the same things. Our letter to Time is available on our Web site at http://www.adl.org. To Gary's list we added that the insidious subtext of Israeli Jews being obsessed with money echoes the age-old anti-Semitic falsehood that Jews care about money above any other interest, in this case achieving peace with the Palestinians. Time’s editors should apologize to all their readers for appearing to promote this anti-Jewish myth. -- The Anti-Defamation League
Time also claims that America is homophobic even though the FBI's most recent hate crime statistics demonstrate that only 7% of hate crimes were against Muslims while 65% were against Jews. But, of course, Time does not care about anti-Semitism -- other than to promote it.
Great commentary!! On point.

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