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Dina Kraft's article, encompassing most of page A3 in the International Section of the 03/21/2006 edition of the New York Times entitled "Politicians Court a Not-So-Silent Minority: Israeli Arabs", emphasizes the presumably second class citizen status of Arabs living in Israel and glosses over a mostly ignored powerful fact that such citizens are better off in the Jewish democracy than in any other Middle East nation. And Arabs must know this -- they continue to push their way into living in Israel legally and illegally.
One paragraph buried towards the end of the article, after much commentary concerning the plight of such Muslim citizens, does mention "Arabs in Israel have higher levels of education, medical care and standards of living than their counterparts elsewhere in the Middle East." However, that statement is forthwith neutralized by "But they compare their lives with those of Israeli Jews, who are generally better off."
Indeed Israel, a nation dwarfed 640 to 1 in area by its mostly hostile Muslim Middle East neighbors, is held to a double standard by the world, including this New York Times writer, who forgot to mention that Jews are not allowed to live in almost all Middle East nations -- so they would have no standard of living in Arab countries at all. They would not be allowed a say in any Islamic political process while Arabs are elected to the Israeli Knesset, so they have the right to bash Israel to their hearts content -- which they do without fear. (In several cases, bash is too mild a word; treason would be more accurate.)
This world-class newspaper, this media outlet, has an ethical responsibility to report without bias. But in subtle and not so subtle ways, it chronically maximizes any legitimacy there might be to Arab complaints concerning Israel, yet minimizes the legitimacy of any contrasting Israeli viewpoints.
Between the lines, this particular article chastises the Jewish democracy as if it is responsible for an Arab underclass. Kraft is just as reticent about pointing out that Israeli Arabs have a life-style superior to any that might be found elsewhere amongst their Arab brethren.
Author Kraft craftily injects the following quote by Ali Hader, co-executive director of the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, a group advocating equal status for Arabs and Jews,
"People live under continued and planned discrimination when it comes to the economy, education and jobs, and we do not see Israeli governments changing the situation."
This statement is true in that the Israel educational system is geared towards affirmative action for Arabs; and the Judiary is notorious for taking the side of an Arab against a Jew.
Taken out of geographic context, Hadar's statement unfairly tarnishes the image of a truly beleaguered State of Israel, blatantly ignoring the obvious fact that Israel's treatment of Arabs is amazingly magnanimous compared to the starkly intolerant repressive attitudes of surrounding Islamic states toward non-Muslims, especially Jews.
Judging Israel in a box promotes notions consistent with Times' editorial proclivities, which wishes to convey a less than honest conceptualization of Israel to a widely disseminated reading public.
Opinion pieces bereft of objective analysis and context ought to be defined as such if fair reporting matters. Implicitly expecting Israeli policies to be congruent with ideal Westernized democratic standards bizarrely expects more altruism from the Jewish State than all other presumably democratic states on this planet.
It is absolutely incredible that Israel remains at the vanguard of technological achievement, assures democratic rights to all ethnicities, and in fact survives at all in such a hostile environment; yet it does these things without an ort of credit from Westernized newspapers such as the New York Times that surely should know better.
No doubt, the Jewish democracy will persevere, with or without equitable treatment from journalists with agendas. What else can Israel do?
"A Lobby, Not a Conspiracy" is a lengthy prominently placed Op Ed piece in the 04/19/2006 edition of the New York Times, authored by Tony Judt, who tells us he grew up Jewish in 1950's Britain, implicitly suggesting his blatantly biased polite yet excoriating perspective of the "Jewish American lobby" is not at all anti-Semitic, but in fact reasonable and balanced. Hmmm! In fact, this self-flagellating (perhaps) Jew is anything but reasonable and balanced when creating links between American foreign policy, especially the Iraq war, and Israeli interests, no doubt setting up Israel as a scapegoat for any potential unfolding overseas debacle initiated by America.
He states "self-censorship is bad for the United States itself. Americans are denying themselves participation in a fast-moving international conversation," implying that "the Jewish lobby" puts the kabash on all potential public Israel bashing. If that is true, then why does the so-called "Jewish lobby" allow the American media to routinely use the terms "occupier" and "settler" with impunity, words conjuring up nasty undeserved images of trespassing Israelis guarded by abusive troops, when in reality such troops must be deployed to protect those Jewish citizens from hostile Arab neighbors while residing on land, justly secured by Israel, as a consequence of vanquishing erstwhile Arabs intent on annihilating the Jewish state in 1967. Perhaps such "Jewish lobbyists" never attended marketing 101 courses, or in fact stupidly concede ground to anti-Israeli lobbying efforts that tragically remain uncontested.
Judt opens his opinion piece exuding sympathy for two "distinguished American academics", Stephen Walt of Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, "hysterically" skewered by Israeli advocates such as Christopher Hitchens, for publishing "The Israel Lobby", a "mostly uncontentious" article with a "provocative" title that draws on a "wide variety of standard sources". This "mostly uncontentious" article, per Judt, does assert "that uncritical support for Israel across the decades has not served America's best interests", a viewpoint debatable on its merits, per Judt, but not as controversial (per Judt) as the claim "American foreign policy choices have for years been distorted by one domestic pressure group, the Israel Lobby."
Judt's presumably polite usage of the term "mostly uncontentious" must be called into question. What indeed might be uncontentious about two assertions that blatantly fuel the flames of anti-Semitic/anti-Israeli individuals who only wish to blame Jews and Israel for everything that is wrong with America and in fact the world?
It matters not what else is contained within the Walt and Mearsheimer manuscript if such accusations are promoted; Israeli advocates as well as other fair-minded folks have every right and indeed obligation to be infuriated.
The picture straddling this editorial depicts an imposing profile of perhaps an Israeli lobbyist, choked by an array of European flags, yet emitting the "Star of David" from his mouth, overshadowing a tiny portrayal of Uncle Sam emitting an empty bubble from his mouth, as if the European community stifles pro-Israeli rhetoric, yet the Jewish State rules the U.S. roost.
Whatever Israel wants from Uncle Sam, Israel gets, right! Is that why Zoning Commissioner Condi Rice virtually "ordered" Israel, in the recent past, to stop constructing housing units in Ma'ale Adumim that would consequently expand greater Jerusalem? Is that why the Bush Administration authored the "Road Map", in effect a series of land concessions to so-called Palestinians for a mere promise of peace? Is that why now former employees of the American Jewish lobby AIPAC were investigated by the FBI, and are consequently being prosecuted by the Bush Administration, for disclosing classified information concerning Iran's nuclear infrastructure to Israel, vital information that bizarrely was not given to a presumed friend and ally? Is that why, all things considered, Israel seems to be more of a U.S. "protectorate" consulted and appraised of strategic data on a "need to know" basis, rather than the "boss"?
The "Jewish" Mr. Judt, states, "The damage that is done by America's fear of anti-Semitism when discussing Israel is threefold. It is bad for Jews. Anti-Semitism is real enough (I know something about it, growing up Jewish in 1950's Britain) but for just that reason it should not be confused with political criticisms of Israel or its American supporters." He goes on to state it is also bad for Israel. Indeed, he slimes that guaranteeing Israel unconditional support will cause Israel to act "heedless of consequences". Furthermore, he asserts that the Israel Lobby harms Israel's true interests. If all this is not enough, later in this condescending lecture Judt shamelessly invokes a Holocaust allusion when spewing, "In the eyes of a watching world, the fact that an Israeli soldier's great grandmother died in Treblinka will not excuse his own behavior."
With Jewish writers like this, and publishers like the New York Times, other less articulate Jew/Israel bashers can relax. Let some guilt-ridden pompous ass abetted by a prominent media outlet attempt to sound reasonable while kicking the Jewish homeland in the teeth. Israel, no doubt, per Judt's rebuke, is soiling the reputation of a misguided America. In so many words, per Judt, all the world cannot understand why America is so beholding to Israel, thus it is imperative that this hoodwinked superpower wake up before its international standing is totally ruined. Might one ask why the author does not initially admit that he is a Jew that viscerally hates the Jewish State, thus objective readers would at least comprehend why he obsesses to feed that frenetic hatred by supporting his contentions with overtly biased in fact duplicitous statements?
I am not at all surprised that New York Times' popinjays pretending to be fair publishers would splash such rubbish over their editorial page, as they indeed have demonstrated in the past they mostly share Judt's viewpoint.
It might behoove the New York Times in an in-house editorial or two -- if the newspaper was so enlightened to be fair and balanced on this issue -- to expose the hypocrisy of any American newspaper solely denouncing Israel for its perceived mistreatment of Arabs, when in fact that superpower nation as well as most every other nation on this planet live in glass houses. How indeed did America acquire its entire Southwest from Mexico? How indeed did this nation of "manifest destiny", founded by Europeans, treat the original Americans born on American soil? Was not Manhattan, home of the "illustrious" New York Times, purchased for a string of beads from intelligent humans, born of a higher sense of ideals than those European buyers, having admiral intuition to know that land could only be stewarded not purchased? Are not the bulk of those truly native, less predatory Americans now residing by design within impoverished reservations? Do any Times publishers live in such digs? Might this newspaper of repute wish to craft perhaps even one editorial commending Israel's stewardship of a tiny parcel of desert, pointing out that in its short current existence, unlike virtually all of its Middle East Muslim neighbors, Israel, despite a lack of natural resources, thrives within a first-world economy, develops state-of-the-art technology, and offers all citizens inalienable democratic rights. That should count for something.
Additionally, why not acquaint a trusting readership with the fact that Israel's landmass is less than two tenths of one percent the size of its surrounding Muslim Middle Eastern nations. Jews are not at all welcome in most of those Muslim nations, yet despite this, Arab Muslims live in Israel and amazingly are ethnically represented within Israel's government? Perhaps there is much intrinsic worth within, in the words of the opining Judt, "one small, controversial Mediterranean client state", if only some editor would readjust his or her pro-Palestinian spectacles and notice.
This article was submitted March 22, 2006.
Lawrence Uniglicht is a career civil servant, working for the Social Security Administration. He advocates for the State of Israel with an American perspective. He writes, "Advocating for the disrespected underdog has been my passion, no doubt Israel falls into that category." Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was submitted March 22, 2006.
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