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May 18, 2010
NYT Correspondent Turns Into Cheerleader For Rabid Anti-Israel Propagandists
In a May 18 dispatch by Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner, the New York Times reports on a "fierce debate" in Israel over a decision to bar Noam Chomsky from entering the West Bank to speak at a Palestinian university ("Israel Bars Noam Chomsky From West Bank, Setting Off a Debate on Free Speech" page A4")
I have no problem with the Times reporting that Chomsky was turned back when he sought admission to the West Bank from Jordan at the Allenby Bridge, nor about the pros and cons in Israel about whether or not he should have been allowed to gain entry.
Where I do have a big problem with the Times is in the lengths to which Bronner goes to hide from readers Chomsky's long record of delegitimizing the Jewish state, defaming the memory of the Holocaust, and likening Israel to the horrors of Nazi Germany.
In his lead, Bronner describes Chomsky as a "linguist, an icon of the American left." In the next paragraph, Chomsky is further described as an "81-year-old professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."
The third paragraph provides a few more details: "Chomsky is Jewish and spent time living on a kibbutz in Israel in the 1950s -- an outspoken critic of both American and Israeli policy" (Bronner doesn't say what "policy."). Also, Chomsky "has objected to Israel's foundation as a Jewish state, but he has supported a two -state solution and has not condemned Israel's existence in the terms of the country's sharpest critics" (Bronner doesn't elaborate about the invectives of these "sharpest" critics or explain why Chomsky's attacks on Israel are somehow more benign.)
What Bronner fails to tell Times readers is that Chomsky consistently has attacked Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state and has accused Israel of "consciously manipulating" the Holocaust to "oppress" Arabs. In Chomsky's view, Palestinians are the real "indigenous" population, while Israelis are latter-day "immigrants from Europe and other parts of the Middle East" -- recent vintage "settlers." No big secret then about whose claims trump the other's.
In the 1970s, Chomsky actively propagandized about replacing Israel with a "binational state."
In the 1980s, he called Israel a "terrorist state with points of similarity to Nazi Germany."
While he grudgingly has come around to a two-state solution, Chomsky simply has been unable to digest the notion that Jews have sovereign and political rights to a Jewish state in the Holy Land that date back 3,000 years -- that they, in fact, have far greater "indigenous" claims than anyone else.
Chomsky also has come to the defense of Holocaust deniers, writing that there are "no anti-Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers" or in the claim that the "Holocaust is being exploited viciously by apologists for Israeli repression and violence."
Reading Bronner's profile of Chomsky, Times readers would never guess the full depth and fierce animus of Chomsky"s hostile sentiments about Israel. Just the opposite. In Bronner's perfumed version, Chomsky comes across as a perfectly fine academic Jew, who just happens to be a critic of Israel and the U.S. With regard to the latter, Times readers would have no inkling from Bronner's writing that in Chomsky's view ,"anti-Arab racism is rampant in the U.S." America the Big Satan, Israel the Little Satan.
While presenting a falsely benign image of Chomsky, Bronner does a similar sanitizing job in behalf of Richard Falk and Norman Finkelstein, two other anti-Israel propagandists who have spewed vicious slanders about the Jewish state, and who also have been barred from entry by Israel.
Falk, according to Bronner, is an "American who is a United Nations investigator of human rights in the Palestinian areas." Why was he kept out? The authorities merely said he was "hostile to Israel."
That doesn't begin to do justice to Falk, who has accused Israel of "slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust" -- a country with "genocidal tendencies" that "criminalizes the Nazi record of selective atrocity."
As far as Finkelstein is concerned, in Bronner's eyes, he's merely a "scholar who is a critic of Israel and its policies," barred from entering Israel after spending time in Lebanon conversing with Hezbollah officials, who refused to describe the nature of these talks."
No mention by Bronner that the Anti-Defamation League has described Finkelstein as a Holocaust denier, or that he has described Elie Wiesel as a "resident clown of the Holocaust circus." No mention either that this "scholar" was denied tenure by De Paul University because he lacked sufficient academic credentials and output, since he was too busy spreading vicious slanders about Israel, embracing Hezbollah, and defending Holocaust deniers.
The New Republic wrote that "he's poison, a disgusting self-hating Jew, something you find under a rock."
Again, I have no problem with defending the right of these reprehensible individuals to air their views, but I do have a problem -- and so should the New York Times -- with Bronner acting as their cheerleader and hiding their real resumes.