Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Watchdogs Go Mad

The New York Times supports the narrative that Israeli democracy is under siege. True, there's enough professional journalism in the item to pretend the journalist is merely reporting, not sharing the opinion, but just barely.

The evidence? One case in which the prime minister criticized an organization he felt was lying; one case of wrong arrest which was rectified the next day by a court; a single tax investigation which was then called off; the Im Tirzu campaign against the NIF (and note that Im Tirzu is now blandly described as "an ultra-Zionist nongovernmental organization", whatever that might mean); and worst of all, a parliamentary bill currently stuck and immobile which calls for transparency about foreign governments' support for political players in Israel (the horror!)

Here's a counter explanation. The people who staff the so-called "human rights organizations" at the far left of Israel's political spectrum - and they're political actors, there can be no doubt about it in spite of their endless protestations - are mostly thin-skinned partisans. They are deeply and profoundly convinced that their view of the world is the truth, the only truth and nothing but the truth, and that anyone who refuses to see the world as they do is either unintelligent, benighted, evil, or all of the above. Once you accept this rather strange axiom, you'll have no problem with identifying any counter claim or adverse position with the forces of evil, out to destroy the embattled and besieged voices of rationality justice and peace.

This explains how when they dish out endless fabrications, distortions, nasty allegations and radical positions, it's democracy at its finest; but whenever they're confronted it's a fundamental undermining of democracy, freedom, justice and all that is beautiful.

It's a frame of mind, not an intellectual exercise.


Anonymous said...

I hope that behind this is that at least part of the fisking of the Goldstone report was successful and so they must up the ante and go livid all around

- how else can they keep the donations flowing?

And Isabel Kershner writes what brings the most clicks for the NYT and consequently helps acquiring ads - once money gets tight almost everybody's principles are for sale

I've always found Kershners pieces highly vacillating, so no surprise there.


Barry Meislin said...

The NYT has been lying for so long now, it no longer has any conception of what the truth might look like.

Ditto for the rest of the media (mostly).

And having created a distorted reality that now informs the global narrative, they must find ways to feed that monster.

I believe there was a post here several weeks ago that compared the reporting on Israel to the media (and other) campaign to persuade everyone of the truth of global warming.

The comparison is extraodrinarily apt; though long after the global warming issue dies it much-deserved death, Israel will continue to be pummeled---until the goal, its destruction, is realized.

4infidels said...


You must be aware that the strength of Israel's democracy can be measured by how closely the Israeli electorate supports candidates favored by the NY Times, or in this case, how willing the elected government of Israel is to acquiescing to the demands of the current occupant of the White House.

If memory serves me correctly, it was in the Shamir years of the late '80s and early '90 when books and newspaper stories were all the rage about the failure of Zionism and "the Zionist dream abandoned" and the threats to Israeli democracy from the religious right-wing settler types, etc.

Now again, Israel has a government, though one that actually had been quite moderate, that stands in the way of the "peace process," according to the NY Times, and thus threatens not the schemes of the American President, but Israeli democracy.

Reminds me of how since Obama was elected, the NY Times blog stopped updating American casualties in Iraq.

4infidels said...

You might think that a media concerned about the erosion of democracy would be more interested in developments in Turkey.

Turkey is a NATO member, wants entry into the European Union and has been the Muslim nation most aligned with the West.

The NY Times doesn't seem to be very concerned that a religious fundamentalist government has taken power and is in the process of undoing the entire secular legacy of Attaturk, which doesn't portend well for women and religious and ethnic minorities. Turkey has clearly moved from an alliance with the West to one with Iran and Syria. Surely the NY Times must have noticed the PM's threat to expel 100,000 Armenian and the phony charges being brought against secular members of the Turkish military, an institution responsible for maintaining Turkish secularism.

Because Obama's policy is to avoid noticing any of this, to continue supporting Turkish entry into the EU and continue reaching out to Turkey as part of his larger plan to court the Muslim world, there is no problem to be found in Turkey.

Kind of sad for those Turks with a secular, progressive, democratic outlook who are going to lose their country, but what business is that of the NY Times, when it has a partisan agenda to advance.

infidels said...

Foreign meddling in the affairs of an African or Asian nation, by the United States or Western European countries, is imperialism that undermines the will of the local population from being expressed, and instead promotes the interests of the imperialist powers with their capitalist and racist agenda.

Foreign meddling in the affairs of Israel, despite its location in Asia, is tough love from allies who have vested interests in a "peace process" that would benefit everyone, including and especially Israelis.

White European nations thinking they know what is best for African and Asian peoples is the result of a colonialist, imperialist mindset. White European nations, despite their own long history of hostility, racism and mass murder of Jews, know better than do the Jews what policies the Israeli government should enact and thus have every right to use money and political influence to tilt things in Israel in their preferred direction,

Makes sense, doesn't it?

4infidels said...

The West believes it should tread lightly in Africa and Asia due to a sense of guilt over colonialism. The West blames it self for many of the problems that African and Asian societies are currently confronting.

The West, on the other hand, doesn't let any guilt over the misfortunes of the Jews at the hands of the West cause them to tread lightly when it comes to Israel (with the exception, to some extent, of Germany).

Perhaps it is particularly hard to feel such guilt when the country in question, Israel, turned out to be a success anyway. I mean it is easier to pity the developing nations than it is to acknowledge that Europeans tried to destroy the Jews, and not only did the Jewish state move from a developing nation to a first world country, but it created a society that is far more vibrant, innovative, entrepreneurial and capable of self-defense than the Jews former tormentors in old Europe.

Sylvia said...

Yaacov - Did you happen to catch a news item on Reshet Bet minutes before Passover involving 2 human rights activists arrested in Jerusalem? If you did, then you should know it goes well beyond mere ideology and protests. In this case, what those two have tried to do by their action is unleash bloodshed and violence of untold proportions.
I imagine all the parties - and specially their lawyers, moved quickly to request a gag order because I haven't seen or heard anymore about it.

Anonymous said...

a German journalist Henryk M. Broder makes a very astute point again and again:
... that we, as a society, are top class when dealing with the memory of dead Jews but when it comes to solidarity with the living ones we are top class at all kinds of "deep" thoughts and recognizing "realities" which somehow never happen to be the reality of the inhabitants of Sderot.

PS: who is infidels?

4infidels said...

Infidels is 4infidels' pen name.

AKUS said...

The NYT published the same video you referenced earlier today or yesterday about the killing of the Reuters staff in Baghdad. No soon did my mouse hover over the wrong area on the web page, than up popped the article you just referenced.

How on earth can they set the two matters side by side, even if they both took place in the Middle East?

Its time Israel booted these "activists" out if they are not Israelis, and started cutting their lifeline - foreign funding - if they are.
Like the Guardian, they are obsessed with Israel no matter what else is going on in the world. Now they also have the Anat Kamm story on the front page, as if this is another major story of world importance.

Its a sickness.

Anonymous said...

Commentary has a review by Daniel Pipes on Jeffrey Herf's book "Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World" aka the "sickness" - it reads like a scary déjà-vu

and here is a 21:45 interview with Jeffrey Herf



Gavin said...

I have to disagree with you on this one Yaacov. I read that as reasonably well balanced. Sure there's the odd snide remark targeted at the right and one questions why a US 'paper would even print the article, but it does at least offer both sides of the story without too much distortion.


Sergio said...

Europe now seems to be a capitulating continent, embracing unconditional pacifism, moral relativism, masochistic self-righteous moral hectoring and with that typical condescending view of the "oppressed" (always pardoned no matter how evil their acts or intentions).

This self-destructive path has many psychological gains: one takes the high-moral ground, gets rid of past guilt through cynical 'shadenfreude' and mask the real contempt for the so-called oppressed peoples (while practicing the patronizing racism of low expectations).

Continuing in this trend, Europe will become a Museum run by the caliphate.