The Benefits and Drawbacks of Even-Handedness: Eric Alterman’s Meditations on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Eric Alterman has an interesting meditation on the Arab-Israeli conflict and how difficult it is to discuss it. It’s remarkably “even-handed” which, coming in a journal like The Nation is already an immense step forward. But the very evidence it presents makes it clear that this conflict as fearful a-symmetries. How to move forward? Good question for which Alterman offers at least one suggestion.

the liberal media | posted May 17, 2007 (June 4, 2007 issue)
‘Can We Talk?’

Eric Alterman

The difficulty of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stems from more sources than one can comfortably count, but surely one of the most significant is our inability even to discuss it. The emotional intensity of so many people’s investment in their own self-justifying story line censors the effects of any potentially upsetting fact.

For instance, I thought it a pretty significant problem for Israel’s unquestioning defenders when Peace Now revealed that nearly a third of the land currently occupied by Israeli settlements was actually listed as private Palestinian land. In other words, these so-called “facts on the ground” rest on exactly the pattern of illegal seizure that critics have long alleged and successions of Israeli governments have sought to cover up. But I’ve yet to read a word from those dedicated to defending any and every action by Israel explaining how this new information affects their arguments.

I don’t know what Alterman reads, but the responses were immediate, and underline a serious problem with the game of even-handedness that he’s playering here. Indeed, Peace Now had to retract their claims, if grudgingly, by quietly revising their figures for the settlement Ma’ale Adumim (near Jerusalem), from 84% built on Palestinian privately owned land to 0.54%. Notes NGO Monitor:

In short, we are dealing a classic example of the credulity of Western sources for Palestinian claims. And even when they admit the mistake, they fall back on the rhetorical values of the grotesque exaggerations. Shades of Gitmo=Gulag. This is one of the most dangerous “advocacy” trends in “self-critical” Western discussion of the conflict, contributing considerably to the unfathomable Palestinian sense of grievance.

Similarly, the apparently never-ending deadly violence between Hamas fighters and the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in Gaza–to say nothing of the murderous hatred both sides openly profess toward all Jews–ought to provide considerable cause for pause among those who demand an immediate end to the Israeli occupation, security concerns be damned. And yet from those who hold that position, one hears precious little about Israel’s entirely understandable worries about the prospects of being asked to live alongside a failed, fanatical and heavily armed Islamic state.

Absolutely. Note the lack of symmetry in this supposedly even-handed presentation. The mutual killing of Palestinians is something amply documented despite the mutually reinforcing tendency of Palestinian sources to downplay it, and the Western press to follow their lead. The accusation against the Israelis comes from advocacy journalists within the framework of an Israeli culture that permits — and critiques — any accusation against them.

Personally, I deal with this problem by refusing to discuss the conflict with anyone, anywhere, assuming that the likely result of any face-to-face dispute is almost always personal fury rather than intellectual enlightenment.

I don’t think this is the right approach. The important thing is to explore what are the verbal “land mines” that set off anger, and how can we at once defuse them all the while permitting important information and opinion to be discussed?

    In polite discourse, one does not say certain things lest there be violence. In civic discourse, one can say what is necessary and there won’t be violence.

It’s terribly important to talk these things out, not shout down opponents as recently at UCLA.

As it happens, though, I accidentally undertook a controlled experiment on the topic. On May 2, I attended a fascinating discussion at the New York-based Center for Jewish History in celebration of the recent publication by Schocken Books of Hannah Arendt’s The Jewish Writings. At one point the book’s co-editor, Jerome Kohn, made what struck me as a shocking contention that the only people who found fault with Arendt’s political judgment are those whose personal or material interests she opposed. My admiration for Arendt’s life and work is nearly boundless, but I can’t help thinking she made some serious mistakes of political judgment.

Through the combined magic of BlackBerry, Google and Wikipedia, I was able to come up with exactly the text I needed to make my case. In the May 1948 issue of Commentary (!), Arendt stuck to her rhetorical guns on behalf of a binational alternative to the Zionist proposal for an independent Israel. “The independence of Palestine can be achieved only on a solid basis of Jewish-Arab cooperation,” she argued. “The real goal of the Jews in Palestine is the building up of a Jewish homeland. This goal must never be sacrificed to the pseudo-sovereignty of a Jewish state.” Whatever one thinks of the morality of this contention, it cannot sensibly be said to rest on any notion of pragmatic political relevance. When these words were published, the 1948 war was already under way. The idea that Arab inhabitants of Palestine and the surrounding nations were going to invite the Jews to “build up” their homeland cooperatively without the protection of a Jewish state–and that state’s army–was about as likely as the Jews there deciding to convert en masse to Islam. That Arendt was still pining for this hopelessly utopian vision this late in the process demonstrated, I argued, her lack of political judgment.

Nice point, one which describes the continued foolishness of the radical left ever since.

Neither Kohn nor his fellow panelist, the New School University’s Richard Bernstein, sought to address my point. Instead, both preferred to speak of Israeli mistreatment of the Palestinians and the disjunction between the kind of state the Zionists hoped to build and the one that exists today. The question of Arendt’s judgment was ignored. What was important was how one felt about Israel.

Precisely. This is about feelings. They determine the paradigm… then comes the evidence, like Peace Now’s claims of robbing Palestinian land.

Three days later, I took my customary Saturday morning constitutional across Central Park to Temple Israel on Seventy-fifth Street and Park Avenue, where I’ve lately been going to Torah study class with my learned and eloquent friend, the recently installed Rabbi David Gelfand. This week, however, we were treated to a lecture on the year 1948 by Stephen Berk, professor of Holocaust and Jewish studies at Union College. Berk offered up a reasonably balanced lecture that, for instance, did not skirt the issue of Israeli expulsion of the Palestinians and massacres committed by the right-wing Revisionist Stern Gang (though he was a bit freer with the word “terrorist” when it applied to Arab massacres of Jews than vice versa).

This being a Reform shul, I felt no compunction in retrieving the BlackBerry and reading the same text from Arendt’s 1948 Commentary essay. I posed the same question to Professor Berk that I had asked three days earlier. Berk took the opportunity to lecture the audience about the evils of Hamas. While I agreed with him about Hamas, I failed to see its relevance to my strictly historical inquiry about Hannah Arendt and 1948. Berk replied to my question about this by saying he was certain that the audience’s “next question” would be about Hamas, the PLO and the like. (A congregation member also piped up that this had been “clearly implied” by my question.) Given my assumption of goodwill coupled with the scholarly bona fides of the speakers at both places–to say nothing of the fact that we are all Jews–I left the temple confirmed in my belief that mere discussion of the topic remains impossible.

Let me fill in here. Hamas’ radical refusal to accept any Israeli state represents a current expression of an overwhelmingly popular attitude in 1947-8 before the Naqba, when the Arabs thought they could wipe Israel out. It has been and continues to be the fundamental problem.

As it happens two professors, Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University and Dan Bar-On of Ben-Gurion University, are trying to address exactly this problem under the aegis of the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East. Called “Learning Each Other’s Historical Narrative,” their project aims to develop parallel histories of the Israelis and Palestinians, translate them into Hebrew and Arabic and train teams of teachers and historians to teach in the classroom. If we are ever to have any real hope of solving the Israel/Palestine crisis, then surely this is the place to begin.

I certainly look forward to the results of this effort. But if it’s based on the necessity of even-handedness — the Israelis must be at least as guilty as the Arabs — then it will have only limited success. Actually, come to think of it, if these strivers for peace were able to get Palestinians to accept even half of the responsibility for the mess, then it would represent a major step forward.

UPDATE At the Nation website, among their bletters (mine apparently did not make it), we find the following:

Alterman’s article is a second unfortunate example in as many weeks of a an exemplary Nation writer gone horribly wrong when straying from their field of expertise (the other is Alexander Cockburn writing about global warming)… [snip].

The “horrible” I refer to is mostly contained in these two sentences:

    …the apparently never-ending deadly violence between Hamas fighters and the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in Gaza–to say nothing of the murderous hatred both sides openly profess toward all Jews–ought to provide considerable cause for pause among those who demand an immediate end to the Israeli occupation, security concerns be damned. And yet from those who hold that position, one hears precious little about Israel’s entirely understandable worries about the prospects of being asked to live alongside a failed, fanatical and heavily armed Islamic state.”

“Murderous hatred” professed “toward all Jews”??? I suddenly felt I was reading an ADL or AIPAC pamphlet instead of The Nation. Is this what happens when one goes back to schul? At a time when radical imams and mosques are being singled out for condemnation, perhaps it is time to address what is being disseminated in synagogues, even the reformed variety that Eric attends. I have read too much and talked to too many Palestinians not to recognise the disinformation and paranoia in that statement.

And apparently spent no time at PMW or MEMRI. The Palestinians this commenter has spoken to may or may not be honest with him about their feelings — my guess is he wouldn’t know — but the two groups that Alterman identifies here — Hamas and al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade both express poisonous attitudes towards Israelis and Jews.

The only Jews that are acceptable to Palestinian zealots are the ones willing to be Dhimmi. Your easy dismissal of the terribly serious problem of Palestinian hatred — immensely intensified by their control of media — and your ready willingness to turn the self-critical eye back on any suggestion that this is a problem — as if what Reform schuls are saying is in any way similar to the genocidal vitriol that appears daily in mosques throughout the world — make you a welcome “Jew” to those Palestinians still trying to cover the deep shame of how their culture has been taken hostage to a death cult.

You do the Palestinians, whom you undoubtedly wish to help, by encouraging this “face-saving” denial of a fundamental problem.

22 Responses to The Benefits and Drawbacks of Even-Handedness: Eric Alterman’s Meditations on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

  1. Sara says:

    Nice post. The conflict is nothing new. This has been going on for so long and most of the world does not understand the root of the problem. The root lies in belief… what people are willing to live and die for.

    http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/IsraelPalestineTruth.htm

  2. fp says:

    given that the facts serve the paradigm and not the other way around, such efforts are unlikely to succeed.

    the faulty palestinian narrative has been instilled in the current generations and they genuinely believe it due to indoctrination. this is thoroughly suffused with religious racism (pigs, monkeys, etc). those who question it are marginalized, mistreated, even killed.

    on the israeli side there is no such indoctrination and criticism is permitted. many on the left — see below — believe the palestinian paradigm and even falsify facts to support it (the karsh on the “new historians”). and except for some settlers, which are not representative, religion is not mixed in.

    the palestinians are also adept at grievance theatre (da’wa, takiyya), israel is not.

    now couple this with a liberal/left press in the west. they are ignorant of the details of history, lazy to educate themselves, and even when they do, grievances register better with them. that’s because the left always seeks a cause — an oppressed and an oppressor. since one side screams murder all the time (their actually committing murder notwithstanding), they fit better within the left framework.

    this explains how the left has been suckered into an alliance with what is a total anathema to what left is all about — islamism.

  3. fp says:

    sara,

    well, there is belief and belief.

    religious belief: this land is allah’s and jihad is an obligation

    existential belief: this is the land i and my family live on and i will defend it with my life.

    and since the claim that the land was stolen is false,
    there is an important difference between the two.

  4. I agree with Sara: “there is belief and belief.” And it will take a much enlarged understanding by “believers” in Abraham’s God to avoid the prophesied “future” that I entitle:

    “Utter Destruction”: a “Do-it-Yourself” Project

    Through the Hebrew Scriptures, the “Lord of hosts” (Isa. 9:6) tells us that someday: “…I shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers; Lest I come and smite the land with utter destruction” (Mal. 3:24/4:6). The “fathers” of monotheism are the Hebrews; the “children” are the Christians and Muslims — along with all of “God’s children,” regardless of their beliefs.

    The “fathers,” through the Hebrew Scriptures, were the first to speak of the promised Messiah, who will serve as the “…ruler in Israel…” and he shall be “…great unto the ends of the earth” (Mic. 5:3). Under the Messiah’s rule, the Israelites, who had become “a curse” among the nations, will then become “a name and a praise,” and there will be “…peace without end…The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall accomplish this” (Isa. 9:6/7).

    In other words, Judaism identifies the Messiah by his deeds, which he will successfully execute through “the zeal of the Lord of hosts.” Obviously, when Jesus lived in Israel, he did not perform the prescribed deeds, since there is no “peace without end,” and the Jews are still cursed the world over. Therefore, regardless of the “children’s” beliefs, the “fathers” have stood firm in their denial of “the Messiah, Jesus,” as Muhammad identified Jesus (Women 4:171). In daily life, it has been that denial that has kept the Jews “a curse and a reproach” (Jer. 44:12)

    For 2,000 years, “the children” have cursed and killed “the fathers” whenever they’ve felt “inspired” to cleanse their neighborhood, city, or nation of Jews. These days, however, all nations have become so accessible and modern weaponry so powerful, some Muslims have become convinced they can finally make “God’s religion reign supreme” (The Cow 2:193). To supplant Judaism and Christianity with the “ultimate truth” expressed through Islam, those Muslims believe they could righteously use the weapons of mass destruction that would annihilate “God’s enemies” (including “the great Satan,” as they speak of the United States).

    It’s tempting for outsiders to think of those Muslims as only “a fringe group of fanatics,” over which the world will surely gain control before they do any “real damage.” But, in the populous Muslim community, the persons who believe it their sacred duty to “drive Israel into the sea” constitute a sizable “fringe group.” To be sure, all Muslim nations do not openly clamor for Israel’s demise. Still, the rest of the world has no reason to expect Muslims to war against Muslims, merely to prevent a biological or chemical attack against “the Zionists,” their most immediate and mutual enemy. That attack, alone, would launch a nuclear war.

    If we truly seek to avoid that war, Jews, Christians, Muslims — and all of God’s children — urgently need to enlarge our understanding of the God revealed by all the Prophets, from Abraham through Muhammad. Only through our improved understanding can we begin to turn our hearts to each other — and distance ourselves from the “utter destruction” we now know how to create as a “do-it-yourself” project!

  5. fp says:

    you got it exactly backwards.

    it is the good delusion that is at the root of worst evil and as long as it persists, we will continue to self-destruct.

    religion means suspension of judgment. once you do that all bets are off and the ensuing gullibility will be exploited.

  6. Fat Man says:

    Jane: call me when the Arabs start teaching their children Kum-Bye-Yah.

  7. fp says:

    i meant the god delusion.

    here’s what belief can produce

  8. Fat Man says:

    My reader had just popped up the video linked by FP above. I don’t think it proves what FP thinks it proves. It does show that PCP has no understanding of Palestinian society, which can only be understood through the HJP.

    PCP: “His vision of the future includes the “de-Zionization” of Israel, intermarriage between Jews and Palestinians, and a fading of nationalism. It’s a picture of a comfortable, gentrified Middle East.”
    [From Gershom Gorenberg’s review of a book about Jaffa, describing the perspective of the author, Adam LeBor — note rl]

    The only cogent response is get real

    While I am posting this I need to add that Eric Alterman is a completely disingenuous $#;+. In 2003, he wrote a book titled “What Liberal Media?” (ISBN-13: 978-0465001774) to refute the idea that there is a left-wing bias in the MSM. Of course that circle cannot be squared with this:

    The Trial of John Kerry by William Rivers Pitt in truthout | Perspective on Wednesday 10 December 2003

    There are but a few weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Time has grown short. In an effort to galvanize the message Kerry wants to deliver in the time remaining, he convened a powerful roster of journalists and columnists in the New York City apartment of Al Franken last Thursday. … The crowd I joined in Franken’s living room was comprised of:

    Al Franken and his wife Franni;
    Rick Hertzberg, senior editor for the New Yorker;
    David Remnick, editor for the New Yorker;
    Jim Kelly, managing editor for Time Magazine;
    Howard Fineman, chief political correspondent for Newsweek;
    Jeff Greenfield, senior correspondent and analyst for CNN;
    Frank Rich, columnist for the New York Times;
    Eric Alterman, author and columnist for MSNBC and the Nation;
    Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist/author of ‘Maus’;
    Richard Cohen, columnist for the Washington Post;
    Fred Kaplan, columnist for Slate;
    Jacob Weisberg, editor of Slate and author;
    Jonathan Alter, senior editor and columnist for Newsweek;
    Philip Gourevitch, columnist for the New Yorker;
    Calvin Trillin, freelance writer and author;
    Edward Jay Epstein, investigative reporter and author;
    Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., who needs no introduction.

    … “Senator,” said Alterman, “I think you may be the most qualified candidate in the race, and perhaps also the one who best represents my own values. … On Thursday, seated before the sharpest knives in the journalistic drawer and facing the unconcealed outrage of Alterman, the Senator from Massachusetts explained why he did what he did. …

    Alterman, for one, was sold. In his MSNBC blog report on the meeting, he wrote, “It was all on the record and yet, it was remarkably open, honest and unscripted. Let’s be blunt. Kerry was terrific. Once again, he demonstrated a thoughtfulness, knowledge base and value system that gives him everything, in my not-so-humble-opinion, he could need to be not just a good, but a great president.”

  9. Sophia says:

    The question of interlacing narratives is very important: the contrast between the Israeli/Jewish and the Arab/Palestinian/Muslim point of view, and the attempt to bridge gaps by listening to both perspectives.

    I’ve read some of these. Some are valuable and provide human and historical insight.

    But – there are other cases where it isn’t that there are different perspectives, different points of view: it’s that all too often there seem to be completely different SETS OF FACTS.

    That’s a real problem. How do we confront that?

    Look at Nadia Abu el Haj, for example, and others who accuse Jews of inventing our history in the Land of Israel. I have seen people on Ha’aretz feedback threads actually claiming that al Aksa was created at the time of Adam. Arafat declared that St. Peter was the first Palestinian. Abraham of course is regarded as the first Muslim. There are West Bank Christian groups who say that G*d’s covenant with the Jews has been replaced by one with the Palestinians, and of course there is Massad – who can play word games until the sky turns upside down.

    On the question of Israeli history, the Jewish narrative is hardly heard by the other side, if at all. Israel is regarded (as we saw in the JeffB threads) as merely a colonialist/imperialist project of the West. Askenazim are supposedly “Khazar Turks”, so of course they have no genetic rights to the land.

    I don’t see how people are going to talk to each other if there is no reality at all. This is postmodernism gone mad. It was one thing for Durrell and the Cubists to toy with aspects of point-of-view as an artistic mechanism and it’s valid historically to see the same fact from different angles, whether on the macro or the micro level. For example most of us have seen Germans only as enemies but hearing their WWII stories as human beings can be both historically revealing and redemptive: talk to the fighter pilot who was shot down and captured on the Eastern front, whose brother was killed in combat; hear the woman was caught up in the rapine entrance of Russian troops into Germany.

    But that’s not the same thing as inventing whole new sets of facts and I think that’s the real problem here.

    For every assertion, for example, the writings of Mark Twain about the desolation of Ottoman Palestine, somebody comes up with a counterargument: it was actually heavily populated, prosperous, and the fields sparkled with waves of green.

    Where does this end?

  10. fp says:

    sophia,

    you got it.

    the core of the problem is the educational system. there is barely one in arab states and none in the territories. instead, there is indoctrination with the quran and the false narrative of the conflict. if you do it to children, you get the reality of today.

    i remember an interview by barbara walters of several professional in saudia (doctors, lawyers) educated in the west. they talked about the blood of nonjewish children used during passover.

    the hatred is reinforced by the western press channeling the falsehood.

    so you see, what we have is a logical conclusion. it would be surprising if in these circumstances the conflict would be resolved.

  11. fp says:

    and here’s another example from the “even-handed” left in israel.

    they just don’t want to get it, and i understand why. it’s hard to accept.

  12. fp says:

    and here’s the contribution of the net media — our friends at google, who found the chinese govt compatible with their business plan.

  13. Bruce Kodish says:

    “Impartiality is not neutrality – it is partiality for justice.
    — Stanislaw Jerzy Lec (Unkempt Thoughts)

  14. Eliyahu says:

    Sophia, as a matter fact, yasser arafat called Jesus a “palestinian.” Now, Jesus is mentioned in the Qur’an as `Isa but his meaning is much different for Muslims than it is for Christians. But yasser knew very well the symbolic meaning of Jesus for Christians throughout the world, and that’s one reason why he used to show up at Xmas eve services in Bethlehem. Yasser and the “palestinian” Arab spokespersons [Hanan Ashrawi, S Erikat, Leila Shahid, Michael Tarazi, etc] were and are experts at propaganda and psychological warfare. Many people understand that. However, what is less known and less understood is that “palestinian” Arabs have been given training in propaganda/psy war/public relations by PASSIA, an Arab outfit operating in Jerusalem and funded by USAID, that is, USGovt money. So is it any wonder that the VOA and PBS and NPR are so vociferously pro-Arab, given that their funding comes from the same source as PASSIA’s funds?? See link below:
    http://israelbehindthenews.com/Archives/Jan-12-03.htm

    Now, somebody at the Dayan Center in Tel Aviv did a study of PLO/PA radio broadcasts and press articles showing just how they distort history. But the problem is not just that the Arabs lie and invent, but that the West allows them to get away with it.

    The use of the Jesus motif is especially important, in my view, in the general Arab and pro-Arab psy war campaign. This motif requires the notion of a distinct “palestinian people” separate from Arabs, although we know that this is fraudulent. The PP notion allows arafat and so many others to assert that Jesus was a “palestinian” although in the time of Jesus the country was called Judea [IVDAEA] by the Romans, whereas the Jews called it the Land of Israel. Both of these two names appear in the New Testament, where the name “palestine” does not appear in the NT at all. Yet, in order to appropriate Jesus to their cause, to use the Jesus motif most effectively, to deJudaize Jesus, the notion of “palestine” is required. Westerners too have called the palestinian Arabs a kind of Jesus people, a collective Jesus. Consider Georges Montaudon in the French review Temoignage Chretien way back in 1967, who depicted the “palestinian” Arabs as a collective Jesus being crucified by… Guess whom. Anyhow, all of this shows that it’s time to stop thinking of the Arabs as the sole enemy, or the “palestinians” as the sole enemy, whereas there is a very wide-ranging psy war campaign going on against Jews which comprises distortions not only of recent history but of ancient history as well. In this effort, the perpetrators contradict the Qur’an and traditional Arab historiography. Yet, nowadays, in both the West and the Arab world, there is an attempt to write the Jews out of history altogether, except perhaps as a negative demiurge, which has no rightful earthly abode. I feel contempt for those who want to produce a “joint narrative” without knowing that the current Arab or “palestinian” narrative contradicts Arab and Muslim traditional history.

    Anyhow, what’s going on is much bigger –in regard to the Jews– than just a struggle over the Land of Israel.

  15. Sophia says:

    I think you’re right that it’s more than “just” Israel.

    What scares me the most is that Israel and the Palestinian cause are being used as hooks for resurgent antisemitism and some of the worst abusers are (in name at least) Jews.

    Roger Cohen just wrote a hit piece in the NY Times/IHT:

    http://select.nytimes.com:80/iht/2007/05/27/opinion/28cohen.html?th&emc=th

    It’s a “Select” piece but generally they become available in a day or two.

    In any case he essentially accuses Israel of being a bunch of hedonists who want to take fancy vacations and get rich from their dot coms – power mad and blind about what’s over on the West Bank, as if they could forget.

    He does manage to force himself to quote Itamar Rabinovitch, “Palestine is a failed pre-state.” And he squeaks out an acknowledgement that this is the Palestinians fault – but then proceeds to lambast Israel for the security arrangements that save lives on both sides and says that if this is the price of Israeli security it isn’t worth it.

    Hello?

    What exactly does he suggest? How many dead Israelis would make it “worth it”?

    He then lauds Dubya for granting Israel the “concession” that the Green Line doesn’t need to be followed “exactly” in the process of creating a “contiguous Palestinian state” – as if Israel can or will drag her citizens out of the homes and businesses again, or abandon them, or leave East Jerusalem out of reach –

    What is this man thinking? In the wake of Gaza, in the wake of Lebanon, in the wake of all the rocket attacks, bombings, shootings, stabbings, the genocidal rhetoric – what is he thinking?

    And why is he thinking it out loud in the New York Times?

    I’ve now fisked this piece. thanks for pointing it out. – rl

  16. Eliyahu says:

    Sophia, most of us here trying to clean up the media stables are aware that it takes no courage whatsoever to write what Roger Cohen did [as you quote it] or what that that other slick crook, Richard Cohen, writes at the WashPo. For many years, that kind of writing used to be described as bold, iconoclastic, dissident, etc. In fact, it has long since become a convention, a conventional lie or set of lies, to quote Max Nordau. The two Cohens are well paid to write precisely that sort of agitprop. Now, you point out that it isn’t 100% false. Roger does quote Rabinovich. But I wonder how many Israelis he knows to justify his description of them. Anyhow, this kind of harangue reminds me of the Commies that I used to hear back in the sixties [yes, I'm that old]. This pseudo-prophetic self-righteousness is only directed at our side. If Roger really wanted to attack hedonists, he might consider the billions spent by on luxury goods and homes, entertainment, and traditional Arab sports by such as the oil princelings of the Persian Gulf emirates. You probably know that Gucci & Pucci & Dolce Gabbana & Armani & Louis Vuitton have a very big market in those places, not to mention the billionaires shopping mall in Dubai or Abu Dhabi [a grander version of the Via Condotti], or the big dough spent on camel racing and falcon hunts [i.e., using falcons to hunt] in that region. Bear in mind that the camel jockeys are not Arabs but boy slaves brought in from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan etc., and kept on a small diet to keep them small. Now, if someone wanted to wax self-righteous and prophetic about hedonism and big money wasted on luxuries, then the Persian Gulf would seem the first place to look at. But it seems that Roger Hypocrite is just serving his masters’ Judeophobia. I don’t know about you, Sophia, but I find the IHT repuslive.

    AS to the Green Line as a “legitimate border,” it was never a border, only an armistice line. Legally, the whole country was and is the Jewish National Home. See this post on my blog and links to Melanie Phillips and others.
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/05/melanie-phillips-understands-that-judea.html

  17. Cynic says:

    Eliyahu said:
    that “palestinian” Arabs have been given training in propaganda/psy war/public relations by PASSIA, an Arab outfit operating in Jerusalem and funded by USAID, that is, USGovt money.

    There is also the MSM involvement in this and that is disclosed in a Frontpage article by David Bedein:
    “Your Taxes for PLO Propaganda”
    http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=10535

    When it comes to media manipulation, PASSIA’S job was made easy for them. As the booklet continues into chapter 6, a “discussion” is recounted. The participants are moderators Dr. Khatib and Rami Khouri of Jordanian television, Tudor Lomas and two Western journalists: Eric Weiner, of National Public Radio (NPR) – another U.S. taxpayer funded enterprise – and Lyse Doucete of the BBC.
    Readers are first told by Weiner that, “being balanced, according to their mandate, can be frustrating” and urges the audience/reader “to present your stories on a human level and not rely on the facts.” Present tear-jerkers in which Israelis “have to justify their existence, which makes it easier to get through to us.”

    And now that epitome of honorable and balanced “news anchors”:
    Ms. Doucete, who refers to homicide bombers as “honor” killers, believes “her job is to translate” rather than simply report the news, because “Israel is led by a Prime Minister who believes that it is not Israel’s policy that is wrong, just that they have to explain it better.” And so she admonishes the Palestinians, “if you want to beat the Israelis, you have to beat them at their own game.” Thereupon follows eight pages of clear instruction on how the Palestinians can manipulate the press to their own advantage.

    This was published in 2003 and I think that by now Americans should have responded to the following:
    This past week, the Registrar for Non-Profit Organizations reported once again to a query from the U.S. House International Relations Committee in which he indicated that PASSIA has not recorded U.S. AID funds on its books. So much for U.S. requirements for rigorous standards of financial responsibility.
    The House of Representatives cannot get an accurate accounting of PASSIA’s USAID funds, but it is the U.S. taxpayer who deserves an explanation:

  18. fp says:

    heck, we even pay for the US govt to broadcast jihadi propaganda directly, because we have an arabic TV where the management does not speak arabic.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/05/us_government_g.html

  19. Eliyahu says:

    The Muslim-Arab journalist Magdi Allam, an Egyptian by origin who now writes for Italy’s Corriere della Sera, did a good job exposing the head of PASSIA as a phoney.
    I have translated parts of Allam’s depiction of this fellow into English. See:
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/07/plopalestinian-authority-spokesman.html

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