NY Times hits new depth in Israel coverage

In its July 27 edition, the New York Times runs a lengthy article by Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner about Israeli women who smuggle Palestinian women from the West Bank past checkpoints into Israel for a day at the beach ("Where Politics Are Complex, Simple Joys at the Beach -- Israelis and Palestinians Dare to Swim Together") 

Bronner writes approvingly of such civil disobedience, portraying the Israeli women as heroic figures risking criminal prosecution for standing up against the Israeli "occupation."  The Times splashes his dispatch over the better part of the first page of the International News section -- with two huge photographs -- one showing the Israeli and Palestinian women at the beach in Tel Aviv and the other depicting them as happily dancing together.

To fathom the mindset of the Israeli women, Bronner quotes one of the organizers, Hanna Rubinstein: 

"What we are doing will not change the situation.  But it is one more activity to oppose the occupation.  One day in the future, people will ask, like they did of the Germans:  'Did you know?'  And I will be able to say, 'I knew and I acted.'' 

Her meaning is quite clear: Oppressive Israel akin to Nazi Germany -- with Israeli women in the heroic role of self-sacrificing Pastor Niemoeller.

Nowhere in the article does Bronner challenge the Nazi comparison or ask the Israeli women whether, in light of years of Palestinian terror attacks, one of these Palestinian women smuggled into Israel might one day wear an explosive belt and wreak havoc on a Tel Aviv beach.  A professional reporter, with a minimum of journalistic curiosity, would pop such a question.  But Bronner is not a reporter -- he's a pro-Palestinian propagandist. 

So never mind that Israel this year will be issuing 60,000 travel permits to West Bank Palestinians to enter Israel -- twice last year's number.  Bronner again avoids making the obvious point that these smuggled Palestinian women could just as easily apply for a permit -- provided of course, that they pass a simple security background check.  But that's just it.  With the smuggling operation, there is no security check to prevent a terrorist attack.

Such security concerns, however, are not on Bronner's agenda.  He dismisses the 60,000 Palestinians who will be allowed into Israel as a mere "token" of a West Bank Palestinian population of 2.5 million.  And he approvingly quotes one of the Palestinian women as characterizing the permits as the "paperwork of colonialist bureaucrats."  Apparently, if Bronner had his druthers, Israel would dismantle its security fence and allow any and all Palestinians in the West Bank automatic entry into any part of Israel. 

So who exactly are these charming Palestinian women that warrant breaking the law by their Israeli counterparts to get them to the beach?  Well, quite a few are relatives of Palestinians locked up in Israeli prisons.  One of them, for example, has five brothers in Israeli jails and another killed when he entered a settlement religious academy with a knife.  Might she harbor a suspicious agenda?  Bronner doesn't say.

Another one of the smuggled Palestinian women arrives in Tel Aviv and proclaims, "This is all ours."     Bronner reacts with great understanding.   He accepts that there was "unsurprising stridency" in the woman's claim to Palestinian ownership of Tel Aviv, but quickly reassures Times readers that, in the course of the day, her comments became "more textured or less certain." 

Wow!  What a relief!

To Bronner, the smuggling project is but Israel's version of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s civil rights crusade in the 1960s -- with Israel demonized as the oppressive Bull Connor.