I hear no silence

An op-ed in the New York Times (by Mairav Zonszein) claimed that the Left in Israel had been silenced by intimidation. It was a strike against one of the core values of democracy. Or, a form of delegitimization. Surprisingly, as Israel Matzav points out, an op-ed in Haaretz confirms the allegation is nonsense:

But we haven’t been silenced. We’ve just failed to make our case. For a dozen years, we have failed to win a majority in the Knesset. We have failed to convince other Israelis that the cost of holding onto the occupied territories is greater than the dangers of relinquishing them. In Zonszein’s analysis, this is because a right-wing cabal has shut us up, and there’s little we can do about it.

The truth is, we’ve failed because we’ve failed, and there is a lot we can do about it. Rather than whine in the New York Times about how we’ve been silenced, we need to figure out how to speak to other Israelis so that they will listen. The answer is not to convince readers of the New York Times that Israel is no longer a democracy. The answer is to accept that Israel is a democracy, and that democracy demands that we speak to our fellow citizens and listen to them, that we persuade them rather than dismiss them. Zonszein argues that democratic politics in Israel are hopeless. The fact is, it is in Israeli democracy that our greatest hope lies.

Read Israel Matzav’s analysis in full, here.

Where I might differ in that analysis is that I believe there are ideas that the Left in Israel could get backing for, but to do so they would need to jettison some articles of faith. And I think they know that, but are reluctant to do so. For example, blaming the ‘settlements’ and construction there for every so called setback in peace negotiations, just does not work. When you get down to the details, and the possibilities attainable through negotiation, you see it’s a handy excuse, but it doesn’t stand up to examination. It’s a complex situation, beyond the scope of this post, but for now it’s enough to note that I will be keeping my eye out for new developments from that sector. After all, they are free to speak up any time they want.

A primer on media bias

This primer is a practical exercise. There are two parts to complete.

The first part is this piece from the New York Times: Is This Where the Third Intifada Will Start?

I bet you are thinking warm, cuddly thoughts about these peacemakers in Nabi Saleh.

Ok. Time to move on.

The second part is this piece from the Malki Foundation: A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns.

I bet you are no longer thinking those same warm, cuddly thoughts. Now, how do you feel about the situation? And what do you think about Ben Ehrenreich and the New York Times?

If you want more detail, look here for the follow up letters the New York Times decided to print about that article. Then read the Malki Foundation follow up, here.

My heart bleeds for the Roth family. I am not prepared to share my thoughts about Ehrenreich and the New York Times.

[Thanks to Michael for the tip.]

Never mind the headline…

This is the headline from a New York Times piece on the clashes that took place at Rachel’s Tomb, outside Bethlehem:


The headline suggests Israeli troops fired on protesting demonstrators. No context and no explanation up front. It’s a way of reinforcing the nonsense about disproportionate use of force.

And the article starts by reinforcing that nonsense:

“Two Palestinian teenagers were seriously injured Monday when Israeli soldiers used live ammunition to disperse a demonstration at a holy site outside Bethlehem, as clashes in the West Bank continued for a fifth day and thousands attended the burial of a 30-year-old Palestinian who died in an Israeli jail over the weekend.”

It appears the NYT shares much of the Guardian and BBC’s practices. If you read all the way down the article – to paragraph 11 out of 13 – you finally get the context and explanation:


So the hints about disproportionate use of force were bollocks. The “protesters” were throwing “improvised grenades” at “worshipers”. To put it another way, they were trying to kill Jews who were praying at a holy site.

So, the NYT headline could have been:

Palestinian rioters shot while trying to kill worshipers

But no such headline appeared. Instead, more slander and bias. Only belatedly, when most readers have long since moved on, is there any attempt at balance. And a half hearted one at that.

This story is a fine example of why you should rarely believe a Mainstream media headline. In fact, let me rephrase that: this story is a fine example of why you should rarely believe the Mainstream media.

[A tip of the hat to Love of the Land.]