In textbook examples, both Time magazine and The New York Times have once again shown their hostility toward Israel. Bias comes in many shapes and forms. It can be through misleading headlines, location of a story within the publication, selective use of photos, facts omitted, sources sought and choice of words. A couple of glaring examples from this past week highlight such bias against Israel.
The same week that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Abbas came to Washington to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Time magazine came out with a cover story titled “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.”
To support this preposterous assertion, Time editor Richard Stengel made his regular appearance on Thursday’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC to reveal the new cover and cover story coming out last week in Time. The image on the cover of the September 13th issue is the Star of David made of gerbera daisies, which means cheerfulness. I discovered that by putting my cursor over the image of the cover, and it says so. So the message Time wanted to get out is that Israel is positively cheerful and doesn’t care about peace.
Stengel went on the show and actually said the cover article is “Why Israel Doesn’t Want Peace,” which is quite different from the notion of the actual title, “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.” Both titles are absurd constructions. If the editors at Time were attempting to more honestly characterize Israel’s position, they might have awkwardly titled it, “Why Israel is Opposed to the Current Formulation of the Two-state Solution.” That title would lead them to a more honest answer. There can be no two-state solution until Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) unite and decide that they no longer have the destruction of Israel, or the liberation of Palestine, as they prefer to say, as their goal. There can be no “right of return” as the Palestinians envision it, in which Jews in Israel would be outnumbered by people staking a false claim to property and residence within Israel’s borders. It would also become more plausible if Hamas and the PA ended their incitement against Israel, their attacks against Israeli civilians, and celebration of terrorists, such as those who planned the Munich massacre of 1972.
Stengel went on to say that “Most Israelis have basically decided, you know what, the Palestinians are not a threat, the real threat is Iran, ‘we’re having a good life, we don’t really care.’ That’s it, and in fact, what we’re seeing with Netanyahu—I mean Netanyahu is a little bit out ahead of a lot of his constituents, which I think is true, but in fact most Israelis just don’t even care about peace any more. Don’t even think it’s possible.”
Stengel said “they haven’t had a car bombing in two and a half years,” and added that “The sad truth really is that the wall with the West Bank has actually worked. Most Israelis in the course of their life don’t come into contact with any Palestinians at all. The wall is functioning.”
Yes, Stengel actually said that the success of the security fence is a “sad truth.”
The Time article itself, by Karl Vick, reads like a parody. Among photos of Israelis on the beach, or in clubs, or otherwise whiling away the time, Vick states, “The truth? As three Presidents, a King and their own Prime Minister gather at the White House to begin a fresh round of talks on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money; they’re enjoying the rays of late summer. A watching world may still define their country by the blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land and whether that conflict can be negotiated away, but Israelis say they have moved on.”
Victor Davis Hanson noted Vick’s tone and accusations in his National Review piece titled, “For the Jews in Israel, Money Trumps All?” “You see,” writes Hanson, “Vick has discovered that the rather worldly Israelis, after stealing their land from Arabs, don’t much care for the hard negotiations that the Obama administration is now engaged in (“big elemental thoughts”), not when it is a matter of—yes, making money: ‘With souls a trifle weary of having to handle big elemental thoughts, the Israeli public prefers to explore such satisfactions as might be available from the private sphere, in a land first imagined as a utopia.’”
You get the idea. After seeing Stengel on Morning Joe, it is unclear how much of this article is really the sentiments of Vick as opposed to those of Stengel the editor, who has openly defended Time’s shift to transparently becoming an opinion magazine, rather than obliquely being one. He has celebrated Time’s role as a promoter of Barack Obama and his agenda.
Time has had a long history of distorting stories about Israel, and CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, has done an excellent job documenting it over the years.
Of course Israel wants peace, but they don’t want a deal that looks like the deal being demanded by Abbas and Hamas, and being pushed by Obama. It is not sustainable and would likely lead to more war. But until that day of peace comes, Israelis hopefully will live with security, as enabled by a security fence, and first-rate intelligence that is not handcuffed by political correctness. They don’t want another phony Oslo process that is meant to deceive the world and gain advantage for the long term and oft stated goal of the complete “liberation of Palestine,” meaning the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
The highly regarded website Honest Reporting responded to Time this way: “Perhaps the real reason Israelis have become apathetic to the peace process (not peace itself, as the cover suggests), is because of the way the world quickly forgets Israel’s numerous peace moves—Ehud Barak’s offer of a state at Camp David, Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza, Binyamin Netanyahu’s settlement freeze. Yet the media blames Israel for years of stalemate.
“While there have been no parallel moves from the Palestinians to advance the peace process, only ever-increasing demands on Israel, Vick gives the impression that the Palestinians have been doing everything they can to make peace possible.”
Ironically, Stengel’s comment that there hadn’t been a car bombing in two and a half years came the same week that Hamas terrorists killed four Israelis. No, it wasn’t a car bomb. As described by the New York Post, in a front-page story, “Hamas terrorists yesterday murdered four innocent Israelis, one of them pregnant, in a twisted attempt to derail President Obama’s peace summit in Washington … the soulless thugs sprayed a car on the West Bank with dozens of bullets, leaving behind a gruesome scene on a blood-stained road.”
Compare that to how The New York Times covered the same story, on page 4: “The killing of four Israeli settlers, including a pregnant woman, in the West Bank on Tuesday evening rattled Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the eve of peace talks in Washington and underscored the disruptive role that the issue of Jewish settlements could play in the already fragile negotiations.”
The Times did one of its classic depictions of a terrorist act against Israel in terms of it being a setback for peace, with no mention of the victims, the brutality of the crime, and the only thing regrettable is that this will now set back the phony “peace process.”
Phyllis Chesler, author and professor, writing for Pajamas Media, did an excellent job in analyzing and parsing how the story was handled in the Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post. Chesler states that “My point here is simply this: If American journalists, professors, scholars, and teachers read and trust only the New York Times, they will continue to view ‘militant Israeli settlers’ as more blameworthy than Islamist Palestinian terrorists. This view is confirmed by articles, editorials, and op-eds which appear in their pages almost daily, often two or three in each issue. In edition after edition, this point is made over and over again.”
Another irony here is that the current sticking point in negotiations is about whether or not Israel is prepared to extend its self-imposed moratorium on expanding settlements in the West Bank. Ironic because until President Obama made a settlement freeze his earliest demand on Israel, it wasn’t really a sticking point at all. Israel was expanding on a natural growth basis in the existing settlements, and the Palestinians weren’t demanding otherwise as a condition for negotiations, choosing instead to focus on other issues.
Once again the media—in this case Time and the Times—are doing their best to prepare the world for a failed peace effort by preemptively blaming Israel for not caring enough about peace to bring a deal to fruition.
Roger Aronoff is a media analyst with Accuracy in Media, and is the writer/director of the award-winning documentary, “Confronting Iraq: Conflict and Hope.” He recently interviewed Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post about the current state of Middle East issues and U.S.-Israeli relations.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.