Israeli Patriotism Rankles New York Times.
The New York Times is unhappy with a rightward drift in Israeli society, especially with a surge of patriotism during the Gaza war.
In a memo from Jerusalem, bureau chief Jodi Rudoren recounts telltale signs of how Israelis rallied around their soldiers, leaving only a tiny leftist fringe to deplore Israel’s use of military power to repel Hamas aggression. Rudoren, you should know, belongs to that ultra-leftist slice of the Jewish state.
Her unhappiness with Israeli behavior during Israel’s nearly month-long counterterrorism offensive knows no bounds. She finds opinions of ultra-doves few and far between, and quickly rebuked. Israel, she tells readers, became engulfed by McCarthyism. (“Some Israelis Count Open Discourse and Dissent Among Gaza War casualties” August 6, page A9)
As evidence, Rudoren cites a Reform synagogue where she occasionally attends services. A leader of the congregation, she recounts, stood up and declared that he longer felt comfortable reciting a prayer that includes a wish for “shalom, peace for all who dwell on earth.” Why? Because the congregant said, “There really are bad people out there who I don’t wish shalom.”
For the Reform rabbi, Rudoren reports, “it was a devastating moment.” Which, of course, also invokes her own sympathy.
Can you imagine an Israeli congregant unable to pray for peace for blood-soaked Hamas terrorists. What is Israeli society coming to? Rudoren clearly is chagrined.
And there are other ominous signs. Like a peacenik who deplores Israeli leaders’ invective toward Hamas and “Israeli news outlets that cover every soldier’s funeral” but more rarely show the plight of Gazans.
And to top it off, Rudoren adds, things have gotten so bad that the rabbi’s wife “has taken watching Al Jazeera.”
“The signs are everywhere,” Rudoren sighs. The Israeli Broadcasting Authority blocked B’Tselem, a far-left group masquerading as a human rights organization, from running a paid radio ad reading the names and ages of Palestinian childen killed in Gaza.”
Or Bar-Ilan University, which rebuked a professor who expresses empathy for all the war’s victims. Which in turn prompts Rudoren’s favorite newspaper, ultra-left Haaretz, to warn that “McCarthyism is spreading in Israel.”
To Rudoren, who wishes for a more fractious Israeli society during wartime, this is all anathema. “When sons and brothers are on the front line, the thinking goes, unity is more important than robust debate,” she opines. Rudoren, of course, finds this unacceptable.
What makes all this both pathetic and hilarious is that Rudoren and the Times show no concern about real suppression of open discourse and dissent under Hamas rule in Gaza. So anti-Israel is Times coverage thanks to the likes of Rudoren that real Hamas totalitarianism gets no mention at all.
In Israel, a few hotheads may yell “Death to Arabs.” But such epithets pale in comparison with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement in mosques, media and schools throughout Palestinian society -- in the West Bank under Mahmoud Abbas as well as in Gaza under Hamas. Where is Rudoren on that angle?
Or what about the Times’ failure to report widespread intimidation of journalists under Hamas in Gaza to prevent them from reporting and broadcasting not so palatable Hamas doings.
The real Hamas is not on the Times radar. What you can find there instead is the Times perennial target – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose popularity also contributes to Rudoren’s chagrin.
“Several polls”, she reports, “find that as many as nine out of 10 Israeli Jews back the prosecution of the war by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
All in all, a terrible day for Rudoren and the Times.