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October 25, 2010
NY Times beats drums for stripping Israel of its Jewish essence
The headline atop the Oct. 25 New York Times dispatch by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner tells it all: "Some Question Insistence On Israel as Jewish State."
It's an old journalistic dodge that when a reporter wants to inject his/her opinion in a presumed "news" article, such opinion is attributed to an unidentified entity wrapped up in a single word -- "Some" say; "some" believe, "some" argue, etc. "Some" is merely a camouflaged stand-in for the reporter.
In this case, "some" is a convenient synonym for Isabel Kershner, who uses it to dispense her particular liberal, secular agenda for Israel and her own wisdom that Israel would be better off if it stopped insisting on its Jewish essence, as Prime Minister Netanyahu does in demanding Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state in any final peace deal.
The problem for Kershner is that, while she tries to pump up the prevalence of her own opinion among senior Israeli officials, she can find only one who echoes her point of view -- Defense Secretary Ehud Barak, who recently expressed concern that insistence on Israel's Jewish character might become an insuperable obstacle in peace negotiations -- whenever they eventually might take place.
But Barak's lone voice among top Israeli officials doesn't deter Keshner from suggesting that he's not alone -- without being able to identify a single other senior Israeli figure who shares his views.
So she reports that "another senior Israeli minister who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to appear in conflict with the prime minister" as agreeing with Barak.
Thin gruel indeed, if that's all the evidence Kershner can bring to bear to justify the headline that "Some Question Insistence On Israel as Jewish State."
However, Kershner won't let go and beefs up her piece with another "some" -- "Given the opposition to this demand by the Palestinians and many of Israel's own Arab citizens, some are questioning how vital it is (to seek recognition of Israel as a Jewish state."
And when "some" won't do, there's always the usual reliance on Haaretz, a far-left Israeli newspaper known for demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish state. So Kershner, for want of stronger evidence, cites a Haaretz cartoon that depicts Netanyahu eating breakfast at a "Jewish"-labeled table with "Jewish" jam and cheese and a "Jewish" kettle.
That really cinches it, as far as Kershner is concerned.
What she conveniently fails to point out is that even the Obama administration views Israel as a "Jewish state" -- as summed up as recently as Oct. 12 by Phillip J. Crowley, the State Department spokesman, who told reporters, "we recognize that Israel is a Jewish state, yet." Crowley also declared that Israel "is a state for the Jews" -- and termed this a "core demand" by Israel "which we support."
Shouldn't the U.S. position as principal mediator for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians perhaps count a bit more than Kershner's anonymous "some" phantoms"?
Nor does she point out that, while the Palestinians oppose recognition of Israel's Jewishness, they have no compunction in declaring that Islam will be the "official religion" of Palestine when it becomes a state.
This somehow doesn't bother Kershner and the New York Times, which gleefully dispense their hard-edged anti-Zionism under the guise of "news that's fit to print."
Update: Ezra Ben-Shalom on the same NYT article.