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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Ax Grinding Masquerading As Balanced Reporting

One of the better kept secrets here in the Middle East is that Israel has long been the sanctuary of choice for gays and lesbians who are forced to flee for their lives from pretty much all of the surrounding Muslim countries.  

By all rights this should be an open secret (or no secret at all!), except for a convenient alignment of the interests of the western media (which would rather close their doors than publish anything positive about Israel) and the countless future and current LGBT refugees who have not yet escaped the intolerant Muslim societies where they live in mortal fear (since a nearly certain formal or extra-judicial death penalties awaits any non-heterosexual who is discovered living in Muslim lands) or who still have vulnerable family living in peril back home.

So it was with considerable surprise that I saw that the New York Times was running a front page story this morning about a gay Iranian poet who had escaped from Iran and was seeking formal asylum while living comfortably in Tel Aviv.

I shouldn't have been surprised.

The New York Times does not publish anything about Israel that can be construed as even marginally positive, without also offering equal or greater negative commentary in the name of 'even-handedness'.  

So as I read the article, the other shoe wasn't terribly long in dropping.

Read for yourselves what the editors at the New York Times felt was an acceptable bit of background information to this otherwise heart-warming article that should have painted Israel (and Israeli society) in a very flattering light:

"Israel has sometimes been accused of “pinkwashing,” or portraying itself as a progressive hub of tolerance, particularly toward gays, to detract attention from the government’s policies toward Palestinians. At Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's annual meeting with the international press this year, there was a performance by the Israeli transgender pop singer Dana International, who appealed to reporters to go easy on Israel."

Impressive, no?

Not only does the Times fail to give any clue as to who, exactly, has accused Israel of "Pinkwashing" (and whether that accusation is accurate), but it shamelessly tries to use the performance of Dana International, a very popular, and openly transgender, Israeli singer (who took first place at the Eurovision Song Festival as Israel's representative as far back as 1998), at a Netanyahu press event to suggest that it was a nefarious plot by Israel... as if Bibi had trotted out a token drag queen in order to bolster Israel's progressive cred and distract the world from our cruel policies towards the Palestinians.

And then, as if they hadn't dispensed enough even-handedness to banish any memory of the positive subject of the article, they went on to mention the tragic fatal stabbing of a teenager at last year's Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem, as if gays (and their supporters) being attacked in the US and Europe is a thing of the distant past.  Heck, the NY Times hasn't seen fit to give any coverage of the dozens of stabbings that the Palestinians have carried out in the past few moths, yet they were able to effortlessly summon a single stabbing that was carried out by a Jew last year in order to bolster their case against Israel.  

For comparison's sake, in a New York Times article two days ago about a senior Hamas terrorist (of course the Times referred to him as a 'commander' and 'militant', not a terrorist), who was executed by his own organization, allegedly for being gay, they felt no such compunction to introduce even-handedness.

Not only did the Times fail to mention the glaringly obvious irony of an allegedly gay terrorist spendng his entire career launching deadly terror attacks against the only country in the middle east that has a vibrant and inclusive policy towards the LGBT community, being executed for his sexual orientation by his own people... but they spent the entire article describing him and his background in exclusively positive terms. 

In the article, he is referred to as "Hamas royalty" from a "storied family"... who had tragically left behind not one, but two wives.  They even ran a photo of his mother and one of his sisters crying next to a poster of him!

And the Times took pains to portray him as a wronged Palestinian patriot for having been executed despite bravely sheltering Mohammed Deif at considerable personal risk.  At no time did the Times feel the need to offer contextual information, such as the fact that Deif was in hiding because he was/is being targeted by Israel for master-minding suicide attacks and bus bombings that have killed more than 50 innocent Israelis.  

It is absolutely infuriating to see the lengths to which the Times will go to ensure that Israel is continually vilified, facts be damned.

The New York Times makes no secret of its editorial line regarding Israel's policies towards the Palestinians.  I'm okay with that.

But the Times also has a huge number of writers, photographers, cameramen, technicians, stringers, fixers and visiting bureau chiefs stationed/living here in Israel who are perfectly aware of Israel's extremely progressive policies and welcoming stance towards the LGBT community.  

So it boggles the mind that one should be used to negate, or assign sinister motives, to the other!

Posted by David Bogner on March 3, 2016 | Permalink

Comments

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I've posted before on my FB page that anyone who pays that broadsheet good money to read its propaganda is an aider and abettor to its editorial policy against Israel. If someone else posts it, I will sometimes read it. Usually not. I will NOT pay money to the New York Slimes or its TA counterpart Haaretz (esp since Amira Hate just pimped the Protocols)....we can comment, we can write to the ombudsman, we can protest--it's all useless....it's like arguing with Der Sturmer. Nothing will change, and the staff just gets more defensive and writes even more outrageous garbage.

Posted by: Sarah | Mar 3, 2016 3:16:17 PM

I looked at the headline and that was enough.

Posted by: Rich | Mar 4, 2016 3:50:12 AM

David, David, David,

Why are you reading the New York Times? I stopped reading that rag decades ago. Every page is an editorial. If they have no story, they make one up. Any relation they have with the truth is tangential and fleeting.

Posted by: antares | Mar 4, 2016 4:35:43 PM

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