Accuracy in Media

Anti-Israel rhetoric turns up in the darndest places these days.

In a piece for the New York Times, Max Fisher compared China’s efforts to corral North Korea and keep peace on the peninsula to the United States’ efforts to force Israel to change its policies toward the Palestinians.

Jeffrey Lewis, who directs an East Asia program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, is quoted in Fisher’s story saying Americans “might see parallels in their country’s own troubled alliances, particularly in the Middle East.”

He did not state which countries in the Middle East threaten others with nuclear annihilation and conduct provocative missile tests. Rather, Lewis drew the parallel “if only in the mechanics of alliance politics” with Israel.

“For decades, Washington has tried to persuade, induce or coerce Israel into altering its policies toward the Palestinians. Israeli leaders accepted American aid, ignored American demands and, in shows of calibrated defiance, often announced new settlement construction on the eve of American visits.

“To the outside world, American unwillingness to impose greater pressure looks like a lack of will. When American diplomats warn that more pressure would only deepen Israel’s calculus and sacrifice American influence, they are blamed for perpetuating the conflict.”

As Ira Stoll said in a piece for the Algemeiner, it’s hard to know where to start.

Israel has not “ignored American demands” to change its policy toward the Palestinians. It has turned over a lot of the West Bank and all the Gaza Strip to Palestinians, released prisoners and, periodically frozen or slowed new settlement construction.

Going back further, it has offered dramatic land-for-peace deals on at least three other occasions, all of which were scoffed at by the Palestinians because they require the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish state, which the Palestinians and almost all Arab countries refuse to do.

Also, settlement announcements were not made on the eve of American visits as “shows of calibrated defiance.” Israel is growing rapidly – its population increased 2 percent last year and is expected to grow from 8.6 million now to 20 million in less than 50 years. As such, settlements are always under construction and reaching approval stage. Given this and the regular procession of American political leaders to Israel, it would be nearly impossible to coordinate such a thing, even if the Israelis were interested in doing so.

Stoll pointed out the Times slipped into passive voice to “inject” its view.

“When American diplomats warn that more pressure would only deepen Israel’s calculus and sacrifice American influence, they are blamed for perpetuating the conflict.” Unsaid is who is doing this blaming.

And are we demanding or coercing better treatment from Israel of the Palestinians? Or are we still landing “frantic and fanatical support [to] Israel,” as the Times stated in another story last Sunday?

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  • Eduardo

    The etymology of the word Palestine comes from Greece. If that is so, are we to ask are Palestinians Greeks, or Arabs?

  • silent majority

    Good! Israel deserves harsh criticism for war crimes (for starters)against America (USS Liberty) after we had just saved them from Hitler and now they practice (and have been) harsh and cruel war crimes against humanity towards the Palestinian people!!!!

  • AndRebecca

    Palestine according to my encyclopedia: Palestine is a historic region on the east coast of the Mediterranean, also known as the Holy Land, was the site of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah and comprises areas of the modern states of Israel and Jordan. In the 20th century, Arab and Jewish nationalists have made conflicting claims to the region…Palestine comes from the word Philistine. Philistines (ancient Palestinians) came from the sea and the Jews came from the desert about the same time between the 14th and 12th centuries B.C. The Arabs conquered the area in 641 A.D…. This part the world became a piece of land no one cared about or really wanted until in the late 1800s when Zionism came about. Then everyone thought it was a big deal to take sides over this land and the Marxists who started it all have been instigating much of the conflict ever since. Nothing a Marxist does is what it appears to be. Today we see Marxists demonstrating against Zionism, their movement.