How ironic that the legendary British Broadcasting Corporation, reviled by many pro-Israel supporters for being so decidedly un-pro-Israel in its coverage, is being pilloried at home for refusing to air a three-minute appeal for young victims of the Gaza conflict.
Thousands of demonstrators rallied in London, and more than 11,000 complaints were filed with the publicly financed BBC after it explained the decision not to show the appeal, based on its goal of maintaining impartiality in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Few can watch the footage of Palestinian suffering in Gaza these days without feeling great sadness and empathy. But while some of us blame the cynicism and brutality of Hamas for purposely putting civilians in harm’s way as part of its strategy, appealing to the world to stop Israel in its tracks, others blame Israel without considering the context – or worse yet, are convinced that Israel is the aggressor here, not an independent state fighting terrorist thugs whose sole purpose is to destroy it, and Jews everywhere.
I’ve long defended the New York Times against critics who insist the paper has an inherent bias in its coverage of the Middle East and the Jewish community. But an item in today’s City Room column in the New York section made me a bit queasy.
Much has been made among the rabbis over the centuries as to why Sukkot takes place at this time of year. And the lesson is a particularly timely one now, in the face of an international economic crisis that has made each of us feel more vulnerable.
The first question posed Monday by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of a Congressional hearing on the bank failures, to Richard Fuld, the Lehman Brothers’ chairman who made $480 million over the last eight years at the failed company, was “is this fair?”
It started, of course, with Mideast coverage, which was upsetting enough. But now The New York Times bias in its reporting has gone too far. For those who have not yet participated in protests and boycotts, this is the time to act, before it spreads even further.
The frightening fact is that subjective words and phrases have now reached the most widely read spot of the world’s most famous newspaper: yes, the Weather Report in the top right-hand corner of Page 1, every day of the year.
After feasting for two days on festive Rosh Hashanah meals, there no doubt are many of us who have sworn off food today. But there are others who are doing thesame for religious rather than dietary reasons.
That’s because the day after Rosh Hashanah on the Jewish calendar is Tzom Gedaliah, the Fast of Gedaliah, a little-known minor fast (meaning it is “only” from dawn to dark, unlike Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av, which start the night before).