NYT Tries to Get Israel in Dutch
What could be a better tale upon which to hang a story painting Israel as a nation of murdering racists than the one told on Friday’s New York Times?
Reporter Anne Barnard, who was called in weeks ago to assist the Rudoren team in creating a barrage of lineage slanted to make Israel look callous and engender pity and sympathy for the Palestinians of Gaza, takes a byline, along with some (presumably Dutch) writer for the article headlined “Resisting Nazis, He Saw Need for Israel. Now He Is Its Critic.”
It seems that a man from Holland whose family saved a young Jewish boy from the Nazis and later received a medal honoring him as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” sent it back to the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands. He accompanied this with a bitter letter, the proximate cause of this action being the death of several relatives by marriage who were in a house in Gaza “flattened” by “an Israeli airstrike.” No explanation is given or suggested of how and why that particular house was in the IDF crosshairs.
Mr. Zenoli, the man who gave back his medal, is quoted as saying that “it is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by the State of Israel.”
The Times’ comment immediately following this quote is that “[h]is act crystallizes the moral debate over Israel’s military air and ground assault in the Gaza Strip, in which about 2,000 people, a majority of them civilians, have been killed. Israel says the strikes are aimed at Hamas militants who fire rockets at Israeli cities and have dug a secret network of tunnels into Israel.”
To the Times, there’s “a moral debate” – the implication being that perhaps Hamas is right and Israel wrong. And Israel “says” they’re after a terrorist group who fire rockets at Israeli cities and have dug a secret network of tunnels into Israel. Israel only says so – no indication from this bastion of objectivity that the rocketing and tunneling are facts.
The article goes on to describe how many Europeans used to sympathize with the Zionists because of the Holocaust but now are reversing their thinking due to Israel’s bad behavior since 1967. Zenoli is portrayed as part of that movement, from sympathizer to anti-Zionist.
Zenoli and one of his relatives, for good measure, are quoted extensively damning Israel, but not one word is printed in its defense, or to contradict some of the lies, such as the statement by a Zenoli in-law that “it’s something painful that the people you defended and struggled for turn into aggressors.” Then there is the unchallenged (by the Times) statement that during its war for independence, Israel practiced “ethnic cleansing,” or that Zionism had “a racist element in it in aspiring to build a state exclusively for Jews.” The lie is repeated, unchallenged again, in another quote claiming that Israel is “exclusively Jewish.”
From start to finish, another hatchet job on Israel by the Gray Lady, which devotes plenty of lines to this unfortunate story, and places it beginning prominently on the front page. Editors make choices of what to cover, how much coverage to give, where to place a piece, and whether an objective view should be provided rather than a one-sided one. Obviously the Times’ editors made all the choices that work to paint Israel in a bad light.
Just above the continuation section of the Zenoli piece appears a six-column “News Analysis” by former Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Erlanger. In his discussion of the problems with a situation in which the original (changed on the web) headline reads, “Israel Is Trapped in a War That Never Ended as Instability Persists at Home,” Erlanger is fairly evenhanded, although the headline writer who accuses Israel of being unstable is certainly not.
However, this opinion piece ends with the following:
Shlomo Avineri, an Israeli political scientist, is struck, like Mr. Sisi, by the effectiveness of small, religiously inspired groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, which believe in martyrdom through battle. “Arab state and military structures are not so good, but these small, highly motivated religious groups have resilience and are ready to sacrifice themselves and their own people,” Mr. Avineri said.
There is a lesson in that for Israel, Mr. Avineri said. And there is another lesson, from the Bible, about the power of religiously motivated self-sacrifice.
After all, it was in Gaza that Samson, calling on God, pulled down a temple on his Philistine enemies, making him an early kind of suicide bomber.
It’s not made clear whether the italicized wording is an indirect quote from Avineri or an Erlanger comment. Same ambiguity with the following paragraph.
So we can’t tell whether Avineri or Erlanger is suggesting that Israel commit national suicide, presumably by a change in its policies toward the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. But at least we know that Erlanger chose to print this idea.