Jonathan Mark’s column, “After The Flotilla, Cracks On The Right?” (Media Roundup, June 11), suggests that there has been some significant departure from the right’s maximal support of Israel. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
In the several weeks during which the Gaza flotilla and Helen Thomas incidents played out, the homepage of the right’s flagship website, National Review, looked like a more enthusiastic version of AIPAC’s site. The universe of major conservative media outlets is actually quite small. Peruse National Review and The Weekly Standard magazines, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, Fox News and talk radio and you’ve nearly got it all. And if one examined them during the stretch of these recent weeks regarding all things Israel, you’d have thought you were in a Young Israel.
Mark brings two examples of conservative critiques of Israel to support his thesis. He mentions Wall Street Journal articles critical of Israel, while admitting its editorial page remained steadfast. The problem with this example is that it is common knowledge that only the Journal’s editorial page is seen as conservative, not the paper’s regular news coverage (of non-business related areas).
Secondly, Mark cites a Ross Douthat column in the Times. The column is critical of Israel, and Douthat is considered conservative, but moderately so — hardly a true believer. So we are left with one weak example of defection amidst a sea of full-throated support for Israel. And we are left with a misleading characterization of some true friends of Israel when her friends are in exceedingly short supply.
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