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January 21, 2009.
Dear Mr. Hoyt:
I have seen your articles agonizing over the ethical dilemmas faced by the newspaper. I have a more clear-cut and extensive ethical case to put before you. It is in the form of a critique of the 12/5/08 Bronner piece on Hebron, page A6. I intend sending it to readers of my weekday Internet commentary on jihad and the Arab-Israel conflict, after awaiting any comment from you.
The NY Times made the following main points on 12/5:
(1) "Israeli troops evicted about 200 hardline
(1) The term, "hardline," is pejorative, connoting obstinacy. The term is more name-calling than descriptive. It stereotypes. (The same goes for "extremist." Want to make your opponents seem unrespectable? Gratuitously attach the adjective, "extremist," to label them as unreasonable.) That's politics, not proper journalism. Let readers decide themselves how to rate groups!
Who really is hardline, purchasers wanting to keep their home, or a government ousting them by force rather than adjudicating the matter?
(2) The term, "settlers," has been turned into a pejorative, too, through a process of defamation. It is used inappropriately, too. How accurate is it to call people who buy a house in a city "settlers", as if outsiders come to tame a wilderness? How can Jews in Hebron, where Jews have dwelt for thousands of years, be considered settlers there? Why is the term not used for Arab migrants? Bias? Will the Times publicly acknowledge that three-fourths of the Arab families in Israel came in for jobs during the Zionist build-up?
(3) The rampage is peculiar. The government has assigned more police per person to Hebron and to Judea-Samaria as a whole, than to Israel. Hundreds of troops expelled the Jews, who were not criminals, from the contested house. If the article be the whole story as it purports, Jewish youths rampaged afterwards without being stopped by the troops and arrested for actual wrongdoing. That is suspicious. I ask whether the government knowingly condoned the rampage, so the Jews of the Territories would get adverse publicity.
The Times almost always treats the government of Israel and Arabs involved in jihad, as if they act in good faith. That is naïve or biased. Rabin's assassination brought out the fact that the government has agents provocateurs. Those agents don't just try to find out who plots subversion. They commit crimes. They also provoke young right-wingers into crimes that the government and the whole leftist Establishment then self-righteously cite in order to defame the entire Right. Is the Times unaware of this ploy? What a great story for the newspaper, to uncover some of the government agents provocateurs. Why haven't they done so?
(4) Muslims and Jews fought over the Cave of the Patriarchs for centuries? No, when the Muslims or the British controlled the Cave, Jews were expelled and unable to fight. Under Israeli control, both faiths have equal access. Thus the Muslims there are intolerant and the Jews are tolerant. Readers should be made aware of that. Instead, by inaccurately equating the two religions' policy on Hebron, the Times makes the Jews seem equally intolerant.
(5) Hundreds of thousands of Arabs in Hebron area? Just a few years ago, they were said to be about 80,000. Soon the usually stated figure rose to 120,000. Thousands have since then been leaving the area in the hope of finding a better and less disturbed life than under Palestinian Arab rule. Many, however, moved to Bethlehem, where they harass Christians. That would make another great story, especially since the Muslim Arabs falsely accuse Israel of being responsible for the Christian population flight. That flight is going on in Muslim countries bereft of Jewish influence. The apparent inflation of Muslim numbers in Hebron makes the Jewish presence seem more of an anomaly.
(6) Acknowledging that the Israeli government wants to deliver the area to the Arabs is fair. It also, inadvertently, provides a sordid motive for much of the government's actions, including the expulsions of Jews. That motive was not pointed out explicitly. Why not? Its inclusion would contradict the governmental claim of merely enforcing the law as a principle of government.
(7) Readers were helped to understand the situation by the acknowledgment that Hebron is almost as important to Jews as is Jerusalem. Thank you for including it, here. It renders more questionable the notion that Jews who want to keep their homes in Judaism's second holiest city are hardline? What is "moderate," surrender to jihad?
(8) The Arab who sold the house complained that he wouldn't have sold the house if he knew that Jews bought it. What a discriminatory reason he offers! Would the daily print an editorial condemning that kind of bigotry by Muslim Arabs? How often do they explain to readers that the P.A. imposes capital punishment upon Arabs who sell real estate to Jews? That is why the purchase was done in secret. That also would tend to uphold the purchaser's claim that now that the seller has been identified, he comes under P.A. pressure to deny the sale. Deny or be slain! This, too, puts a different light on who is "hardline." It also gives a different picture of conditions in the Territories from what the Times has offered. The Times emphasizes endless hardship imposed by Israel on the "poor Palestinians." Why hasn't the Times advised readers of P.A. oppression of fellow Arabs in Judea-Samaria?
Why didn't the article inform readers of the pertinent fact that the purchasers had offered the Court a tape in evidence of the seller having completed the sale and pocketed the proceeds? (Instead, the article just had purchasers' verbal affirmation of purchase, a much weaker point that the seller denied.) If the article had included all the facts, thoughtful readers might conclude, or allow, that the Jewish purchasers are entitled to their house, and that the courts may be biased in not simply confirming the purchase.
(9) According to my sources, IMRA@Netvision.Net.Il and Hebron@Hebron.Com (the spokesman for Hebron Jewry), the court ruling is misstated. The Court did not order the Jewish residents removed. It ruled that the government "may" remove them, else the matter may be resolved by a lower court. (How could the Court order the residents removed, when it did not examine the new, taped evidence but left it to a lower court to determine?)
The Israeli mass-media, whose ideology is one of Territorial withdrawal, keeps misstating the ruling as that the Court found that the government "should" remove those Jews, even after people sent corrections to the media, as I am doing now for the Times. Why does the Israeli media's deliberately misstate the ruling? It must be to justify harsher government action against nationalistic Jews. Again I ask, who really is hardline here, Jewish purchasers who present proof, a government that uses violence to rush a civil dispute awaiting a lower court ruling, or the Israeli media that lies about what the higher court ruled?
(10) Sounds nice, what candidate Barak said, that he was enforcing the law as a matter of principle. Based on the inadvertent statement of government policy of establishing another Palestinian Arab state there, we know that he was not doing so, but possibly committing an injustice and causing tension in an unnecessary use of force in behalf of his government's policy of removing "settlers." The Israeli government claims that it acts against Jews and their unauthorized outposts so people don't get away with breaking the law.
Is he kidding? When PM, Ehud Barak was guilty of election fraud, but was let go. When PM, Ariel Sharon committed election crimes and crimes of corruption, but was let go, his son serving a few months in a pretense of law enforcement. Many months of intense findings of multiple case of corruption by PM Olmert still have not brought indictment. Leftists and Arabs seldom are punished in Israel.
Speaking of illegal outposts, Arabs have stolen into the country by the thousand, they have usurped land belonging to the State or to private individuals or simply extorted it from Christians in the P.A. They built thousands of houses illegally. Why doesn't the Times refer to that, instead of continually calling for evacuation from "illegal" Jewish settlements? Nor are they all illegal. The Times is not accurate about that. Many were authorized to start and were going through the steps for final approval. There is no justification for indignation against them. They meet the requirements for approval, but officials fail to sign the application.)
When is Israel going to enforce the law against Arab squatters on Jews' property? Even after a Jewish property owner in Jerusalem spend years of time and thousands of dollars to get court orders of expulsion, the police refused to act. The Jews have proof of ownership, the Arabs have forged documents and changed and contradictory testimony, but the government keeps taking the Arabs' word against the Jews' proof. That is not a government of law.
In Jerusalem, a Jewish homeowner has spent years and thousands of dollars in legal costs against a family of Arab squatters. He has gotten court orders to the police to expel the squatters. Nevertheless, the police keep refusing to enforce the order.
The Arabs also riot and evade taxes wholesale. Very little enforcement against them. Contrary to what Barak and others say, Israel does not have a government of law but one of discretion. It exercises this discretion in favor of the Arabs and against Jews.
Every week, Israeli leftists physically attack Israeli soldiers constructing the security fence. Rarely do the soldiers arrest them. The self-righteous quote of Barak is hypocrisy.
(Actually, the government is one of the greatest violators of the law. The biggest unreported story is the government's brutality against protestors, whether legal or illegal, whether peaceful or violent. It beats up people and it arrests on false charges, like a fascist regime. This fascism is exercised against religious and right-wing Jews. Is that why it is not reported in the major foreign media? I just received this from my own, confidential source, present at Hebron: "Nadia Matar was beaten by our own police and soldiers, Beat her that left her paralyzed for a period of time. Beat her on the head, body, and back. After hours in the Trauma Unit and tests they said she will be ok. Now she is in pain with bad bruises on her body. Same for other friends that were there. Badly beaten.")
The newspaper can say it just quotes others. How much do reporters check the quotes for accuracy, and how much do they report facts rather than false propaganda? How much misstatement and misleading statement does the Times pass on to readers, without giving space to the other side's refutation? When does selective quotation become bias?
How unbiased are the stringers the Times reporters use? Are they alienated Jews, bigoted Muslims, or people who keep their Palestinian Authority permission to work in the P.A. by toeing the P.A. line? That must be a big ethical problem for any newspaper or broadcaster wanting to disseminate the truth.
I have written perhaps a hundred analytic articles like this one. I find a pattern to Times reporting. It is a pattern of bias. Many of my friends read the Times faithfully. I have pointed out to them that they don't know half the story about the Arab-Israel conflict and they have mistaken notions about the other half. Readers should ask themselves, why read a newspaper that steadily misinforms them.
I wonder whether you will correct the statement that the Supreme Court ordered the government to expel the Jews from that house. I lack faith that the newspaper will deal with the many other, basic issues I raised. Major media usually reply by ignoring specifics, except, perhaps, for a minor error somewhere in the big complaint. The media usually makes a general affirmation of dedication to accuracy, but by ignoring the specifics, the reply implies dedication to ideology and propaganda. (I think that partly accounts for loss of circulation.) Mr. Hoyt, I hope you do better.
PS: I might have missed it, but I saw no response. Mr. Hoyt has replied to other, simpler criticism, not to this detailed proof of systematic and endemic bias. His newspaper continues all the methods of bias I described. I think that the purpose of the ombudsman is to cajole readers into thinking that they have a representative or an outlet for objections to the paper. The paper is too arrogant and too gripped by its ideology and by its unethical practice of advocacy journalism to end its operation as attempting to mould public opinion against Israel, against modern nutrition, for liberalism, and who knows what else.
On the flight homeward from Israel, they distributed the International Herald Tribune, owned by the NY Times and sharing some of its commentators. Nicholas D. Kristoff sounded off against Israel.
Just as Times journalists are angry at Pres. Bush, who rid the world of one of the most murderous dictators, in Iraq, so, too, Mr. Kristoff is angry at Israel for defending itself stoutly against one of the most terrorist regimes, in Gaza. Shouldn't use much force. Not sporting? A pinprick would be acceptable but would not end terrorism.
Mr. Kristoff's theory is that fighting terrorists makes more of them. Evidence for his theory? None stated. Just assert, instead of making a case. That's good enough for the Times. What I don't understand is why its supposedly educated readers find it good enough.
There is evidence against his theory he didn't state. A number of times, Hamas and other Arab forces made an agreement with Israel, and Israel left them alone, both before and after Israel reacquired the Territories. The Arabs did not leave Israel alone. Terrorism grew. Terrorism grew in the absence of Israeli combat.
Suppose that Israel didn't fight back. Israel would become a punching bag for terrorists. Unhindered, terrorists would be able to extend the number, range, and explosive power of their rockets, until all resident Israelis and their gas storage tanks come within range. Or does Kristoff suppose that such Israeli restraint would persuade those hardened terrorists that Israel means well and the anger at the infidel state against which they have been indoctrinated in their favorite pastime of jihad would dissipate? Would those war criminals abandon jihad when they have a chance to win it? Betray the holy war? Ridiculous!
Now suppose that Israel really fought forcefully, and sought out and liquidated all 12,000 Hamas fighters and hundreds of its organizers. How would more Hamas fighters materialize? Wouldn't Israel be free of their ravages for some years, depending on how much it patrolled Gaza thereafter?
Suppose, again, that Israel also tried my policy. Reclaim the demolished Jewish communities in Gaza; annex them and surrounding vacant areas; stop sending money and supplies to Gaza; open the border to Gazans seeking to emigrate. Would and could terrorism increase? Not likely.
According to Kristoff, right wing, "hardline," Israeli politicians took "harsh" action against the P.A. people. All these undefined epithets and loaded terms pass for journalist at the Times. What is "harsh," in the context of self-defense against aggression with genocidal intent? Is it Israel's partial blockade of Gaza? Apparently he never heard of England's blockade of Napoleonic France, the US blockade of imperial Japan, and the boycott of S. Africa, normal in war. Again, no standard by the journalist. Just an emotional accusation.
Further name-calling and false equivalency comes in his phrase, "extremists on each side." What is an "extremist?" Certainly, the P.A. Arabs, being almost entirely pro-terrorist, are almost entirely extremist. What temerity he has in equating to them Israeli officials who wish to defend against terrorist attacks rather than have their people keep running into bomb shelters!
Is forceful self-defense against pirates extremist? How many Israeli homes must be blown up before Kristoff would acknowledge an Israeli right to try to put a stop to it? How many American homes would have to be blown up by known foreign organizations seeking to follow up daily, before Kristoff would acknowledge a US right to try to put a stop to it, even if that meant sending in ground forces? I think fewer. Somebody should ask him.
Yes, he objects to Israel's sending in ground forces. That's "excessive." Yet without it, Hamas keeps bombarding Israel. Would he welcome an Israeli artillery bombardment to silence Hamas? I think he'd find that harsher. What about more aerial bombs? The problem is, Israel's critics, super-ethical when it comes to Israel, and callous when it comes to the Muslim Arabs, seem to object to any serious Israeli defense. They seem to expect Israel to keep allowing its houses to be blown up, occasionally catching and destroying a rocket crew not as fast as Hamas trains new ones. Some solution that is! A proposal that does not solve the problem is not a solution. Kristoff's criticisms make no sense.
Halfway through, he more or less admits Israel's case. "Granted, Israel was profoundly provoked in this case. Israel sought an extension of its ceasefire with Hamas, but Hamas refused. When it was shelled by its neighbor, Israel had to do something." "But that doesn't justify an all-out ground invasion that has killed more than 600 people." What does it justify, to Kristoff?
"All-out?" Is he crazy? All out would mean devastating artillery and a hundred thousand troops going house-to-house in Gaza, rounding up all members of Hamas for execution and confiscating all firearms. Isn't killing 600 people [now 1,300), out of Hamas's 12,000 gunmen, to end one's bombardment justified, when many wars kill tens of thousands and even millions?
Most Gazans killed are terrorists, whom international law requires all states to pursue to justice. Why sympathize with them or with the human shields who voted for them? Why no sympathy for the entirely innocent Israelis whose houses were destroyed, whose children were traumatized, who were injured, and who wonder whether the next rocket will contain much more powerful explosives? Kristoff selective morality is suspicious.
Leave Hamas intact, to resume its war crimes? That's "moderate?" I think that is failure to perform the proper function of government. But that is what Kristoff proposes. He calls it a solution for Israel to end its partial siege and get a ceasefire. A ceasefire is what enabled Hamas to accumulate its weaponry in the first place. There already was a ceasefire when Hamas started firing rockets. How would a new ceasefire end the firing of rockets? Not logical. Not within the realm of human experience.
Going on, Kristoff mentions the war's effect on the ability to live together. Apparently he doesn't understand Hamas or Islam. They don't want to live together with an infidel state. Hence they keep starting wars. It is up to those warmongers to make peace. Let the journalists stop faulting Israel on this.
"We all know that the most plausible solution to the Middle East mess is a two-state solution..." We must "strengthen" Abbas, and the new US President should offer Israel "tough love."
Careless language, "the Middle East mess." Does he mean the Shiite-Sunni rivalry, the war in Iraq winding down and the war in Afghanistan winding up, Arab Muslim persecution of minorities including genocide in Sudan, Iranian take-over of Lebanon, terrorist threats against non-Islamist-affiliated rulers, boundary disputes, conflict in the Sahara, how to deal with modernism, and, oh yes, the Arab-Israel conflict?. Surely he doesn't mean that resolving the Arab-Israel conflict would solve all those other problems? Let him write about them! It seems that the Muslim Arabs have a general problem with intolerance and violence. The Arab-Israel conflict is a symptom of that. There must be a deeper solution, such as a Reformation of Islam.
We don't all know that giving the terrorists a state would resolve problems. The journalists and diplomats keep repeating that notion, but we should be used to the big lie technique, by now. The western Palestinian Arabs could have had a state, but kept rejecting it, because they really want to absorb Israel, too.
Since Abbas shares Hamas' goals of taking over Israel, and threatens war if negotiations don't meet his impossible demands, why strengthen him?
Considering that Israel is the victim of Arab Muslim aggression, why does Kristoff urge the US Pres. to be tough on Israel rather than on the P.A.? Did the US defeat Islamism in Iraq only to foster it in the Jewish homeland? How mixed up can a journalist be? Let the new US President devote himself to restoring the US economy without imposing excessive government management of our lives, and not distract himself with issues not his business. Hey, let's start with ending foreign aid to the Arabs and Israel!
Anti-Zionists turn false premises into a general smear, on the newsgroup: soc.culture.israel. The form may be intellectual, but not the substance.
First they turn the truth on its head, by asserting that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. They distort phrases from international law, quote international law out of context, and condemn Israel. They do not apply those criteria to Arab actions.
The evidence proves the opposite. Hamas perpetrated war crimes against Israel and its own people. Israel behaved in what an honest world would call an exemplary manner. Actually, Israel was excessively considerate of civilians. It refrained from numerous military objectives in order to spare civilians, something international law does not require. Ignorance, pandering to Arabs, or anti-Zionist bias prompted diplomats to claim Israel was harsh on civilians and to ignore how harsh Hamas was on civilians both Jewish and Arab. Hypocrisy.
Then the anti-Zionist bloggers accuse dissenting groups of supporting the alleged Israeli war crimes. Thus Stephen Zunes denounced the Democratic-led Congress as siding entirely with Israel in committing what he alleged, but obviously they do not believe, to be crimes. He called their policy "extreme." And what should one consider his own tolerance for jihad? Gauge Mr. Zunes' objectivity by his frequent use of the term, "US-supplied weaponry." He does not refer to Hamas' "Iranian-supplied weaponry." Iran's support for Hamas and Hizbullah made Hamas a growing menace that had to be stopped. The broad picture eludes anti-Zionists, who work against America's long-term security.
A typical propaganda technique is to cite other biased groups' assertions, to refute the Congressional resolution supporting Israeli self-defense. Thus Mr. Zunes cited Human Rights Watch, the UNO, and other "reputable humanitarian organizations," which condemned Israel. Those organizations have forfeited our trust. UNO Monitor has proved that they abuse the language of human rights in order to condemn Israel unfairly, while demonstrating a callous unconcern for human rights abused by terrorists.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) "meticulously researched" and found no Hamas use of human shields, Zunes advises. "Meticulously?" NGO Monitor showed readers that HRW doesn't name sources, ignores contrary ones, accepts the word of people on the street without verification, distorts international law, exaggerates casualty figures, and jumps to conclusions later disproved.
UNO reputable? It permits genocides, devotes half its operation to condemning Israel even before its inspectors report on it, and wastes large sums on futile aid by corrupt UNO administrators to corrupt regimes.
Whereas the Security Council condemned violence directed against civilians by both sides, Congress condemned violence only of Hamas, Zunes informs us. That statement is doubly misleading: (1) It equates the victims defending against terrorism with the terrorist aggressors; (2) Hamas channels most violence against civilians, while Israel directs no violence against civilians. Zunes insinuates defamation of Israel.
The Council called for an unconditional and full ceasefire and withdrawal, whereas Congress conditioned ceasefire and withdrawal on Hamas not being able to launch rockets against Israel. On the face of it, Congress is wiser. It seeks to avoid the status quo ante, which led to the assault. It wants the war to have squelched the means of aggression. It would solve much of the problem.
Digging deeper, however, Zunes points out that Hamas can manufacture rockets. Under the Congressional resolution, he warns, the IDF would have to stay in Gaza. I agree. Withdrawal would mean Israeli civilians having to endure more and worse rocketing. Zunes neglected to note that Iran recently began smuggling in longer-range Grad missiles. The IDF must not simply depart.
Israel's major mistake was its original evacuation from Gaza. Zunes' unconditional ceasefire means worse warfare later. The IDF must root out terrorists. I find the locals too supportive of holy war to be allowed autonomy.
Then there's the Intl. Committee of the Red Cross. It rebuked Israel for barring certain ambulances from wounded people. Why take its word for it? Any accusation against Israel seems to be good enough for Zunes. So now he monitors battles to second-guess the IDF about when it is safe to let ambulances through? Combat is not so clear cut. It is confused. Letting some people in under fire risks their lives or interferes with the battle, producing more casualties. Arabs' ambulances must be inspected, to prevent their abuse to ferry troops and weapons. The Palestinian Red Crescent admitted that Israel coordinated with it and that Hamas tried to hijack Gaza's ambulances.
If keeping ambulances distant were Israel's policy, I would disapprove. But that is not Israeli policy. Israel even sends its own ambulances in and treats enemy troops in its own hospitals. Ever hear of that, before? Zunes didn't.
Israel also sends food trucks in. Even that isn't simple, because the Arabs try to hide weapons in trucks. In addition, Hamas attacks trucks or the Israeli staff at the border, until Israel has to close the gates and suffer unfair condemnation as being inhumane. The inhumane ones are Hamas, which by attacking the gateway for humanitarian trucks, deprives their people of food that Hamas then turns around and denounces Israel for not sending. Maybe those food shipments would lower the profits that Hamas makes from smuggling food in via tunnels. Jordan sent 11 trucks bearing free food, but unidentified armed men stole them and sold the food. Where is the indignation over the many cruel and corrupt actions by the Arabs?
Citing the organizations that Zunes does is a self-indicting argument.
Zunes got further into details of war crimes and into erroneous assertions about them. He accused Israel of insufficient care for civilian safety. He cites "large-scale killing" of Arab civilians. Only a few hundred civilians were killed during the offensive. Large scale? Nonsense. War nowadays as conducted by the US and Israel feature casualty figures that pale in comparison to wars a few decades ago. We should be celebrating that accomplishment while deploring the backward ideologies that prompt aggression our planet no longer can take.
Zunes ignored the methods that the IDF used to minimize civilian deaths. Earlier I had mentioned sometimes not firing at enemy troops to spare civilians, though the IDF had the right to fire. Often the IDF telephoned the residents of buildings it wanted to bomb. Can you imagine Arabs doing that? The calls gave residents an opportunity to save their lives, before Israel destroyed the ammunition dumps in their building. He denied an Israeli right to fire on Hamas gunmen at their mosques and houses, because as militiamen, they live in civilian areas.
The denial would excuse terrorists for not separating from civilians. There is no excuse for that war crime. How they organize their troops is their responsibility.
The import of Zunes' argument is that terrorists may endanger civilians, and their enemy may not defend itself. This is a free pass for terrorism! It permits Islamist war crimes and treats defenders from them as war criminals. What could be more perverse? The so-called humanitarian organizations defend it. Don't tell me they are ethical and should be cited as authority!
Another limb Zunes climbs out on is prejudice. The problem with Congress, he claims, is anti-Arab prejudice. Now he has added insignificant prejudice to non-existent Israeli war crimes.
Based on this non-existent prejudice, Zunes accuses Congress of unconcern for the lives of Palestinian Arabs. Again, he sees the world upside down. He is not really concerned about those Arabs, he's just using a fake concern for them as an excuse for bashing Israel. After all, he didn't condemn the dictatorship, they chose, that oppresses them. He didn't deplore Hamas torture and murder of Fatah men. I have not heard that Human Rights Watch or the other usual critics of Israel do. Same for Arabs whom Abbas' forces execute for having sold land to Jews. Why don't supposed humanitarians denounce that real prejudice, instead of denouncing Jewish crimes that don't exist? Because so-called humanitarians are more prejudiced than humanitarian. More prejudiced than Congress.
Zunes excuses Hamas' use of human shields when it fortifies civilian areas, though that is specified in international law as a war crime. Hamas attacks from there, and then he expects Israel just to let its people get bombarded from there? What concern does that show for Jewish civilians?
Amnesty International (A.I.) is said to have declared that if Hamas did use human shields, Israel still would be obliged to avoid civilian casualties. My skepticism about such organizations started when the civilian casualties cited were almost always Arab, and those organizations did not oppose the Arab aggression. In this instance, A.I. describes international law misleadingly. The law requires that the opposing force not attack if there's no significant military objective, and when attacking, to try to spare civilians, if feasible. Israel met those conditions.
He omits the specific use of human shields, as when Hamas gunmen forcefully hold a child in front of themselves, as they run towards Israeli troops. Another example is when Hamas asks civilians to inhibit Israel by standing on the roofs of buildings used as storage dumps. Cynical, isn't Hamas? It counts on people like Zunes to support its risking its own people's lives. If Israel does bomb there, people like himself denounce Israel. He objects to Israel bombing storage dumps in apartment houses, but not to Hamas using those buildings instead of warehouses elsewhere. Hamas hijacks ambulances to conceal troops. By contrast, Israel perpetrates none of that treachery. Zunes plays into Hamas' cruel hands.
A further example is Hamas placement of artillery not in an open field, but alongside schools and hospitals. That is Hamas' deliberately criminal choice. Yet another instance is using a mosque as a firing platform. Hamas men fight from houses that they booby-trap. Their own explosives demolish those houses. Those are gratuitous war crimes that endanger civilians. Why no protest from Zunes? He argued that Hamas men naturally are in mosques, because they worship there. How misleading! They are bombed when fighting from mosques, not during mass-prayer services there.
Zunes refers to Israeli "militarism." Another fabrication intended to defame. Israel was too patient with Hamas. It didn't respond until after thousands of rockets were fired into Israeli towns. Its Army is largely reservist, the Jewish people yearn for peace, its schools teach for peace. It has made many pacts and truces with the Arabs, but the Arabs keep breaking truces and attacking it.
The Arabs are militarist. The whole Palestinian Authority society, under Fatah and under Hamas, devotes itself to holy war. Children's TV emphasizes war and the duty to seize Israel and to murder Jews. Summer camps train kids in combat preparation. What abuse of children! Mosques reinforce bigotry. Half the Arab governments are military dictatorships; none are democratic, tolerant, or humane. They define as aggression what is Israeli self-defense. They glorify war, and boast about it. Israeli soldiers are modest about it.
Any solution? (1) Reform Islam to end religious imperialism; and (2) De-Nazify and eradicate terrorism. Zunes' solution is negotiation. It is not a solution but either a baseless hope for one or an excuse for getting the US to wrest concessions from Israel for Arab aggressors. He blames violence on Israeli refusal to negotiate with Hamas. Evidence? I don't see any. Hamas always has been violent, doesn't he get it? Sometimes evil has to be overthrown.
Did he have a problem with the world's boycott of S. Africa, years ago? The western Palestinian Arabs are just as bigoted, apartheid, and fascistic and are genocidal. Israel is reluctant to negotiate with the Islamic terrorists and give them recognition. Nothing wrong with that. After all, what is there to negotiate with religious fanatics who want to take over your country and murder your people? There is no sweet solution, no way of making peace with them, just as there was no way of making peace with the Nazis. The West did negotiate with the Nazis. The Nazis used those negotiations to gain military advantage. I remember the Yalta and Potsdam negotiations with Stalin, same folly. Some people are too fanatical, too evil, to make peace. History demonstrates that. We had to have a major world war to learn that lesson. Alas, people have forgotten.
Mr. Zunes takes things out of sequence. Israel negotiated peace with Arafat. Israel accepted a ceasefire with Hamas, but Hamas broke it repeatedly. It fired at Israel for years. Israel warned Hamas. Hamas scoffed. Hamas broke the ceasefire again. Then it prepared a tunnel for kidnapping Israeli troops, which military intelligence believed was imminent. Israel pre-empted Hamas. Zunes takes that to mean Israel violated the ceasefire, too. His standard seems to be that on the day of Israel's attack, Hamas had not broken the ceasefire. This disregards all the other violations and the imminence of another attack. Israel, however, tries to be forbearing and avoid conflict. When it finally reacts, its critics have the nerve to claim it was not provoked.
Zunes ends with an extensive political section. He complains that terrorism results from the US policy of fighting against terrorism. That's another problem of sequence. First comes terrorism, then comes opposition. It is not logical to blame the reactions for causing a pre-existing problem.
He also complains about Congressional support for Israel. Why not support the victim of aggression instead of the aggressors? America always should stand for that. He calls for more opposition to Members of Congress by "progressive" groups. Apparently, today's "progressives" are no more decent than the pro-Communist "progressives" of my youth, who excused Stalin's terrorism.
The blogger, Stephen Zunes, chairs Middle Eastern Studies at the U. of San Francisco. America has a problem when people in key positions reflect such bias and violate the standards of Western academic integrity.
Jihad seeks to destroy our civilization, and are anti-American. Sympathy for their cause, evident in many Middle Eastern Studies, is distressing. Therefore, I have a request of Congress, too. Stop subsidizing Middle Eastern Studies programs. They are too ideological to be fair or accurate; they are subversive. They hire Islamists, who indoctrinate our youth. Let Congress stop subsidizing them!
Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several
web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear often on
Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target
overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him
The three parts were three separate essays submitted the week of
January 20th, 2009.
Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear often on Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The three parts were three separate essays submitted the week of January 20th, 2009.
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