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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Since you asked...

Don't you hate it when discussions in the blogosphere deteriorate into petty squabbles?  Yeah, me too.  So you have my permission (actually, my hearty encouragement!) to click away immediately so as to avoid being subject to yet more petty squabbling.

First a little background:

A few days ago I was one of several bloggers who chimed in with an opinion about the three Israeli journalists who had been questioned by police in connection to their alleged unauthorized visit to enemy countries.  Please note an important word in that last sentence; 'opinion'.

While my post was nominally about all three journalists and the reason why I felt it was colossally unwise for them to have made their unauthorized trips to Lebanon and Syria respectively, the bulk of the post concentrated on one of them.  The reasons for this disproportionate attention to only one of the three were:

a)   I have known of her for several years via the Jblogosphere, and have met her personally on a couple of occasions.

b)  This blogger/journalist had left a comment on one of my previous posts that was, in my opinion, cogent to the discussion.

The main points of my post were as follows:

1.  Travel to unauthorized areas is not only illegal, but potentially dangerous... not only to the person doing the traveling, but also to those who might have to rescue them, as well as the government who might have to negotiate for their return if kidnapped. 

2.  The comment left by this blogger/journalist on my blog tried to downplay the danger of traveling to such areas.  In light of this person now being investigated for having traveled to such an area without authorization, I felt it was worth mentioning.  I'm no journalist but it seemed relevant to the story.

3.  The report that this journalist/blogger filed from Lebanon did not seem (to me) to provide anything substantial or particularly newsworthy... and certainly nothing that warranted breaking Israeli law. 

4.  I took exception to a portion of her comment where she had suggested quite directly that a Jew wandering into Nablus and an Arab wandering into a religious neighborhood of Jerusalem would be in equal peril.

5.  I reiterated my objection to illegal/unauthorized travel by anyone (including journalists) since of the potential danger to them, a rescue force and the he government, the travelers are only responsible to themselves... leaving the other two parties to deal with any potential consequences of their actions.

6.  While it was likely unpleasant for this blogger/journalist to read my criticism of her actions and comments, at no time did I attack her personally.  The closest I came was in characterizing her (and her colleagues') actions as arrogant and of having made the trips with an eye towards self-promotion.  Mind you, self-promotion is not necessarily a bad thing, and one can certainly understand a print or TV journalist wanting to make a name for themselves.  But again, the price being paid for that name is being potentially shared by parties that did not have a say in whether or not to make the initial investment.

One of my regular reads is the very well written Israel Matzav blog.  The author, Carl from Jerusalem, offered his own well reasoned opinion about the three journalists story, and in the course of his observations, linked and quoted several other bloggers whose opinion differed from his. 

In reference to my post, Carl wrote:

"The law was enacted to prevent Israelis from trying to conduct foreign policy 'for' us on a free-lance basis, and to prevent those Israelis who are privy to state secrets from spilling those secrets to our enemies. To my knowledge, Lisa is guilty of neither of the above."

I don't comment very frequently on other people's sites, but since Carl had opened the door, I walked through it with the following reply:

"Carl... You said "The law was enacted to prevent Israelis from trying to conduct foreign policy 'for' us on a free-lance basis, and to prevent those Israelis who are privy to state secrets from spilling those secrets to our enemies." How do you know this? And since when did knowledge of how/why a law came into being somehow convey the authority to break it? It's like saying, "I know the reason there is a stop light there, but since I know the local traffic patterns better than the guys who programmed the lights, I can disregard it."

As far as Israel 'just saying no', you yourself pointed out that those days are a distant memory. these days we seem to be giving prisoners away for free. But I digress. The law doesn't make distinctions for whether an Israeli citizen holds a foreign passport. The bottom line is that few other countries are willing to stick out their neck to rescue/negotiate for citizens held hostage. And we have seen from countless hijackings and kidnappings in the past, that even when Israel has no 'pure' (meaning not holding secondary citizenship elsewhere) citizens in a hostage situation (such as during the 1970 Black September hijackings), those countries that do have citizens involved put tremendous pressure on Israel to make concessions in order to win the hostages release.

I was not thinking specifically of the Tannenbaum case since there are plenty of other situations where Israel has offered to trade ten, or even a hundred, times the number of prisoners for a single Israeli hostage (or part, thereof)."

To which Carl responded:

"David,

I'm not arguing that Lisa didn't violate the law. She did.

I'm arguing that not every violation of the law is or has to be prosecuted. I would let this one go."

  To which I responded one more time:

Carl... "not every violation of the law is or has to be prosecuted" is a very slippery slope. Obviously not everyone who speeds gets a ticket. In fact it is common knowledge that most cops give a little wiggle room over the actual speed limit to adjust to the realities on the road. But traveling to an enemy state is a bright line. In an interview I read, Lisa claimed to have been unaware of the law and I have no reason to doubt this. But ignornace of the law has never been a shield from it... and as a journalist she should have known better than to trot out such a valueless excuse.

This discussion was carried out politely and intelligently... and was simply an exchange between fellow bloggers with the full understanding that we were discussing the issues, not each other.  With that, Carl and I had pretty much exhausted the topic and had moved on with what seemed to be a tacit agreement to disagree. 

Enter the blogger/journalist whose actions we were discussing with a comment of her own:

"David -

Does Zehava know about your obsession with me?

First you write a whole blog post about me; and now you're rushing around the blogosphere to comment about me, too.

I'm touched, really - especially by your insistence that I must be punished! - but trust me, we're all wrong for each other.

Farewell,

Lisa"

Huh?!

Where did that come from?  Yes I had written a post about her and her colleagues... but so had about a dozen other bloggers.  I didn't see her accusing anyone else of being obsessed with her.  And as I've already pointed out, Carl's was the only place I commented about her actions... and then only in direct response to his having linked to my post.  And lastly, not once did I advocate punishing her!

In retrospect, I should not have been surprised as this wasn't the first ad hominem attack Lisa has made against someone who disagreed with her.  But that one on Carl's post was really beyond the pale. 

So naturally I turned to my wife, who was doing her crossword puzzle next to me in bed, and read her Lisa's comment.  I figured, if Zahava is going to hear that I'm obsessed with another woman, it should probably come from me!

Anyway, we had a laugh over Lisa's comment and I figured that was the end of that.

Wrong!

A friend sent me an email to point out that Lisa had put up a post on her site making a several very personal and uncomplimentary remarks about me (although without mentioning me by name). 

Here's what she wrote:

"For me, the most hilarious aspect of this whole story is that it has united a virulently anti-Israel blogger and a virulently anti-Arab blogger - although I don’t think they know about one another’s existence. They would probably say that they are vastly different people, but in fact they have a lot in common:

1. They both really, really hate me - one because I am a right-wing Zionist lick spittle, and the other because I am a dangerous, seditious leftist who panders to the Arabs and endangers the security of the state;

2. They both think that my Channel 10 report from Lebanon was “fluff” and that I was motivated by “self promotion”.

3. They both focused on a statement I made to Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post, in which I explain that I was unaware of the law forbidding Israelis from entering enemy countries on foreign passports. One thinks that I should have stood up and said I was damned proud of breaking the law, and damn the consequences - let the police come and get me! The other thinks I was being disingenuous and I should have bloody well known that I was breaking the law.

4. Both have serious anger management issues, bullying personalities, a strong sense of self righteousness and a gaping hole where their senses of humour should be.

5. Both are convinced that I understand absolutely nothing about the Middle East, whereas they understand everything: Israel is always wrong; or the Arabs are always wrong.

6. They are both American Jews. One lives in the States; and the other immigrated a few years ago, settling in the Gush Etzion area beyond the Green Line.

Funny, huh? Maybe not so much in the ha-ha sense, but more in the weird sense.

Ach, those extremists: they’re all the same."

Wow!  This was like the mother of all personal, ad hominem attacks! 

Let's deconstruct it, shall we:

"virulently anti-Arab blogger"  - OK, while I admit that I have not been particularly charitable towards Arabs in recent months, I have also posted frequently that most of our Arab/Muslim neighbors (including the Palestinians) are fairly non-political and simply want to be left alone to live their lives.  But my point has always been that this silent, moderate majority have no power over the radicals and militants who are openly advocating the destruction of Israel, and working actively towards that end.

[David] really hate[s] me ...because I am a dangerous, seditious leftist who panders to the Arabs and endangers the security of the state - Hate is such a strong word.  Actually, if I spent much time thinking about Lisa (which I haven't) I would probably feel rather angry at the way she consistently offers fallacious arguments to detractors rather than honestly defending her positions.  But hate?  No.

[David] think[s] that my Channel 10 report from Lebanon was “fluff” and that I was motivated by “self promotion”. - True.  This was my honest appraisal of the content (or more correctly, lack of content) of her report.  In fact the trip itself, meaning the presence of an Israeli in Beirut, seemed to be the sum total of the story.  This is why I categorized the piece as 'fluff'.  According to Miriam Webster, 'fluff' is defined in this context as 'inconsequential'... which is exactly how I intended it.  The argument bandied about by many journalists is that visiting Syria and Lebanon is somehow in the national interest' .  This doesn't hold water if the report being filed by a journalist turns out to be inconsequential fluff.  And yes, simply getting on camera and saying "This is Lisa Goldman reporting from Beirut" and then saying nothing else of any import strongly suggests self-promotion.

[David] thinks I was being disingenuous and I should have bloody well known that I was breaking the law. - This is actually quite a shocking lapse in journalistic integrity on Lisa's part since I clearly wrote: "Lisa claimed to have been unaware of the law and I have no reason to doubt this. But ignornace of the law has never been a shield from it... and as a journalist she should have known better than to trot out such a valueless excuse."  Feel the dissonance?

[David and this other blogger both have] serious anger management issues, bullying personalities, a strong sense of self righteousness and a gaping hole where their senses of humour should be. - Um, even if any part of that statement were true, what on earth does it have to do with what we wrote... or with defending her position, for that matter.  The answer is 'nothing whatsoever'.  This is actually the very definition of an ad hominem attack that is designed to insult/discredit the speaker instead of addressing what the speaker has actually said.

They are both American Jews. One lives in the States; and the other immigrated a few years ago, settling in the Gush Etzion area beyond the Green Line. - I'm wondering what Lisa would say if I built the cornerstone of my criticism of her politics, actions or writing by saying "It's interesting to note that Lisa is a Canadian Jew who lives in the heart of Tel Aviv."  I imagine she would be indignant... and justifiably so.  Again, trying to pigeon-hole someone for an audience rather than simply criticizing something he/she has said on its own merits is a disingenuous / fallacious way of scoring undeserved points in a debate.

I will be the first to admit when I go over the top and allow reason/logic to be subverted by emotion.  I think the number of retractions and public apologies on this site says a great deal about my personal integrity and intellectual honesty. 

I'm wondering if Lisa will be big enough to admit that in this case she has ignored the issues and allowed her emotions to dictate how she related to a fellow blogger, Israeli and human being.

Posted by David Bogner on December 13, 2007 | Permalink

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"Ach, those extremists: they're all the same."

Actually, Trep, I think you're much funnier than most extremists.

Posted by: dfb1968 | Dec 13, 2007 2:46:44 PM

dfb1968... Hah! Thanks, I needed a laugh. Reminds me of the old joke about the teen-aged boy who was being prodded by his mother to dance with his maiden aunt at a holiday party.

As he was pushed towards the 'Rubenesque' spinster his mother hissed "and don't forget to pay her a compliment while you're dancing!"

While the two moved stiffly around the dance floor the young man's mind was a panicked blank... completely unable to come up with a compliment.

Finally, just as the song was ending he blurted out, "Aunt Sally, you sweat less than any fat lady I've ever met!"

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 13, 2007 2:53:19 PM

"I'm wondering if Lisa will be big enough to admit that in this case she has ignored the issues and allowed her emotions to dictate how she related to a fellow blogger, Israeli and human being."

If you don a keffiyah, I'm sure she'll be more than happy to admit this. Maybe she'll even dare to cross the green line and file a report from Efrat to mark the occasion!

Posted by: Abbi | Dec 13, 2007 3:22:10 PM

Because the way my feed reader is, I saw Lisa's post first. I was totally unaware that she wrote about you until she gave the coordinates of where you live. I've been reading you on and off for at least a year now, the person she's talking about just can't be you... *sigh*

Posted by: Hettie | Dec 13, 2007 3:43:55 PM

Abbi... Now now, that is exactly the kind of statement I am trying to get her to own up to. A little help, huh?

Hettie... Sadly it is. I'm really a very bad person and I've been hiding it from you all this time. I feel terrible. :-) Seriously, thanks for being such a long-time reader. It means a lot.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 13, 2007 4:41:36 PM

Some people really behave like the typical oleh from North-America. Naive and always struggling with the harsh middle eastern realities. Anyway, I really liked Lisa's work for exactly this reason. But I think as a journalist she really belongs to glitzy Tel-Aviv and not in potential dangerous places.

Posted by: David | Dec 13, 2007 4:51:38 PM

> I'm really a very bad person ...

Perhaps you, like Lisa, must be punished? Maybe you could come to some arrangement (if that's OK with Zahava)?

:-)

Posted by: Andy Levy-Stevenson | Dec 13, 2007 6:23:52 PM

From the occasional references to Lisa here over the years, and throw-away remarks like "when this journalist and I were still on speaking terms", there's obviously some history here that we readers don't know, and it's clear that neither of you is reacting only on the issues. It may be foolish to stick my head up in the middle, but maybe a reader of both your blogs with views somewhere in the middle and who respects both of you can inject a little proportion.

Characterising Lisa's comments as "ad hominem" seems misplaced to me, since they weren't in the context of a debate about the issues. At least in that part of the post she wasn't discussing the issues at all, but just bringing some anecdotal comment on the reactions to the case. So mentioning that you are an American Jew resident in Gush Etzion is not the cornerstone of her criticism of your writing, because she isn't criticising your writing! Anyway, you are the first to admit that your views are the views of an American Jew resident in Gush Etzion -- wasn't your very last post all about that?

Reading between the lines I get a strong impression that each of you has some unfinished business with the other which you are working out indirectly through the blogosphere. Maybe you should just talk it over?

Posted by: Simon | Dec 13, 2007 7:21:03 PM

David, I read many blogs from the M.East, and they are folk from different political / ethnic backgrounds. You are perhaps the most balanced, sympathetic and honest I have read. All this interaction posted today sadly makes me even more cynical about journalists than I already am. I have stopped watching TV news, as I think most journalists under 40 have forgotten many of the principles of good journalism - checking their sources and not offering how they "feel" about situations being but two. Keep up the great work on the blog. I hit your page every day.

Posted by: Noa | Dec 13, 2007 7:21:36 PM

Simon,
the thing is, it's not just an argument between David Bogner here and Lisa there. Lisa now also has unfinished business with the International and Serious Crimes Unit of the Israel Police.

Even if I don't agree with some of her views I hope she will get out of this without sanctions. Could be that I am a bit biased: I used to work as a journalist for couple of years and I am still member of some major press associations that help in these cases with legal assistance.

Posted by: David | Dec 13, 2007 8:31:01 PM

Ah, yes - another graduate of the "I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I?" school of debating. Seems to be more the rule than the exception these days. Actually, I'd better get used to it - there's a presidential election coming up here. :)

Posted by: psachya | Dec 13, 2007 9:22:02 PM

Distortion of facts by a journalist to advance a particular political agenda?!

Using others' ostensibly right-wing political affiliation to discredit?!

How very unusual among today's journalists, the same paragons of integrity and objectivity that cast Israel as the cruel aggressor and the Islamists as harmless ethnics!

What the hell'd you expect from a journalist, the lowest of the low in today's climate of 'culture war'?

As another quality blog is fond of saying, "Journalist. Tree. Rope. Some Assembly Required."

Posted by: David H | Dec 13, 2007 9:27:05 PM

David H,
what a stupid remark.

If western lifestyle, freedom of press doesn't suit you why don't you move to one of those islamist states or to Putin's Russia. They seem to share a great deal of your views.

Posted by: David | Dec 13, 2007 10:55:50 PM

David... Tel Aviv Glitzy? That's a first. :-)

Andy Levy-Stevenson... I've been a very baaaaad boy. ;-)

Simon... Thanks for the advice but I think you're reading too much into my 'when we were speaking' comment. Truth be told Lisa and I used to talk once in a while and we did coffee in Tel Aviv once when I was in town for a conference. But most of our contact was online and my impression was that we read each other regularly. But then I made the mistake of being critical of things she and her friend Rinat had written... nothing personal, just pointed out something I thought was very unbalanced... and poof, I was suddenly no longer on Lisa's blogroll. It seemed a tad Jr. HS, but you never know what will set someone off. No contact now for well over a year. So no, this wasn't about me settling scores. It was me writing a balanced, issue-driven post about Lisa's statements and actions... not Lisa. She, on the other hand, has done nothing but relate to me on an intensely personal level, while making no reference to the issues I've raised. I'm sorry but there just isn't enough blame to share around on this one, Simon.

Noa... Thanks Noa, but I'm far from balanced. I'm one person living in a part of the country that can't help but color my perceptions. That is why I read a lot of blogs that I don't necessarily agree with all the time. Somewhere between me and them lies balance. I just think it lies closer to me. :-)

David... It is not an argument between Lisa and myself. It is my making an observation about Lisa's very public actions and statements, and Lisa making some very personal and petty observations about me.

Psachya... More like the 'I don't have to defend my position to people I don't like' school of thought. Which begs the question, how tough are the questions being asked by people who you like... and would you like them less as the questions get harder?

David H... That might be a little strong, no? What about we just say that this generation of Journalists might not produce the next Edward R. Murrow. The next Walter Winchell maybe... :-)

David... Whoa cowboy, slow down. We're just talkin' here, right? :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 13, 2007 11:12:02 PM

Simon: the way I see it, Lisa made it sound as if David belonged to the extremists. I think she also referred to this blog as virulently anti-Arab. In fact, I think the bit about the two bloggers were just for some "weird" fun and unnecessary. I also noticed that there are no links to either of the blogs.

David (B.): I just like your stories, that's all :)

Posted by: Hettie | Dec 13, 2007 11:24:38 PM

Too many Davids around here, but to the David that responded to my post, I despise those journalists that are working diligently to undermine the very "western lifestyle" and free press you rightly praise, namely, by leaking intelligence that damages U.S. national security, whitewashing the evils of America's and Israel's enemies and magnifying the alleged misdeeds of western nations, portraying western nations as imperialist aggressors and non-western despots as brave revolutionaries or harmless braggadoccios, distorting the historical record by suggesting that Israel nurtures conflict in the Middle East and beyond, failing to report viciously racist, anti-woman, anti-gay, and anti-Jewish cultural norms in non-western adversaries, creating a moral equivalence between the hateful aggression of Islamists and responsive military operations by the U.S. and Israel, and the like.

Today's "journalists" either overlook or actively participate in so much distortion while reporting that they have become active partners in spreading falsehood, which can claim no rightful protection under the "free press" ethic of the U.S. Constitution or comparable standards in Israel or elsewhere.

Lying journalists deserve our harshest opprobrium, since they pervert an essential component of any free nation.
That is, they do exactly what Putin's Russia and the Islamic states would have them do.

Posted by: David H | Dec 14, 2007 12:01:40 AM

Wow. Free advertising.

Dude, if I didn't read your blog before (a totally hypothetical if, of course), I would definitely read it now. Imagine, a blogger having a bitch-fight with a psychotic female - oh man, it just doesn't get better than that!

And "American Jew"? Errrrrm, I know you're Jewish.... but you live in Israel, so, American is no longer your status. You were an American Jew (Jewish American) when you were still an American living in America. Now you're a Jew who writes a blog in English.
Jews are Ashkenazim, Sfardim, Italkim, Mizrahi... this category 'Amerikanim' (American Jew) is a spurious and very European construct utilized to delegitimize and depreciate Jews (mostly of European Jewish, and hence primarily Ashkenazic background) who escaped the pan-European love-fest - in some cases by several generations. The term American Jew as applied to a resident of Israel shows not only a somewhat lefty anti-Semitism (the term being a loaded one), but also a profoundly Euro-centric antipathy towards Americans.

As a Goyishe American I find the term American Jew as it is often used repulsive. It would infuriate me if I were described by someone who disagreed with me as "an American Goy". I doubt that it would be the 'Goy' part that would exite their sneer - but adding the two terms together magnifies the intended insult. Your psychopathic reporter does not, probably, have any major problem someone being a Jew. But the term "American Jew" suggests that she is disgusted by any Americanness, despises you, and therefore regards you by reason of that presumed Americanness as less than an equal, irrespective of wether you're Jewish or Gentile - in either case, you're not a proper Jew or Gentile in her eyes.

She probably loves Euries, though. Especially if they're waspish.

Posted by: Back of the Hill | Dec 14, 2007 12:50:52 AM

As far as not knowing that she was breaking the law...aren't there always stories in the news of MKs traveling to Syria and how this is illegal? These stories always make a point of the illegality of the trips. I'm not accusing her of lying, but how is it that I knew it was against the law and she didn't?

Just askin'.

Posted by: RR | Dec 14, 2007 1:27:08 PM

If the cops didn't sink some sense into her then someone you just did.

Posted by: Rami | Dec 15, 2007 11:57:27 AM

Despite your being what Lisa calls a hate-filled, right-wing, American Jew, you do have your charms (not that I obsess about you, understand).

One can't help but notice that your response to Lisa's assertion:
[David] "really hate[s] me ... because I am a dangerous, seditious leftist who panders to the Arabs and endangers the security of the state
falls just the tiniest bit short of a denial that Lisa is "a dangerous, seditious leftist who panders to the Arabs and endangers the security of the state." Therein lies the crux of the matter. How one "feels" about Lisa (the admitted "dangerous, seditious leftist who panders to the Arabs and endangers the security of the state") is hardly an issue -- now is it?

I wouldn't quit loving my son if he committed murder. But in a court of law my love is no more exculpatory than is victim's family's hatred condemnatory. As Joe Friday would say to Lisa: "Just the facts, ma'am."

Posted by: Bob | Dec 16, 2007 12:59:28 AM

Well, as maybe the only commenter to have actually met you both, I think this is a big (and overblown) shame, regardless of the issues involved.

It's even more of a shame when I think about how I used to paint the blogosphere (when I took a more active role, at least) as a genuine and relatively pain-free place to engage in meaningful debate with all kinds of "others"- I used to love the full spectrum of commenters from Joe Settler to Blogging Bethlehem: Ah well. But just from the point of view of the fact that you're both very nice people, I think this is really sad.

Posted by: PP | Dec 16, 2007 9:52:38 AM

Hettie... You make an excellent point. In Lisa's post she claimed to be sharing the mainstream and blogosphere reactions to her having been questioned. However she cherry picked only stories she was comfortable with, leaving out a link to mine and this otehr blogger in the US. Again, this calls into question her integrity since she has proven that she is quite comfortable with omitting sources that don't support her position. Also, you are correct in saying that Simon has ignored the complaints I made about Lisa's personal attacks and instead simply lamented the fact that there is discord in the blogosphere. Discord usually has a source, whether one wants to name it or not.

David H... I doubt you'll have much success getting Lisa or any of her colleagues to agree with your assessment. :-)

Back of the Hill... I hate to say it, since it amounts to doing what I've accused Lisa of doing, but you nailed her. Spot on.

RR... Excellent question, but don't hold your breath waiting for Lisa to respond. Silence in the face of hard questions is her way of 'answering'. Quite simply, those who take exception to things she says or does are not entitled to an explanation.

Rami... First of all, I doubt anyone is going to sink sense in to anyone at this point. And no, Lisa has never learned a single thing from the likes of me.

Bob... It isn't my job to refute Lisa's self description of her self. And you are correct. I challenge anyone (Simon) who suggests that my post was a personal attack motivated by personal history to find anything in my post that suggests this. I may not like Lisa very much (I don't, at present), but what I wrote did not sink to the level of a personal attack (which hers did!).

PP... You have essentially done what Simon did in trying to be 'even handed'. Just as even-handedness is a failure as a policy in middle east politics, so too is it problematic in this situation. I wrote an objective opinion piece about Lisa's - and her colleague's - actions as they were portrayed in the press. I was one of almost a dozen bloggers who did so. I did not get personal and made no effort to bring Lisa's personal life or our past friendship into my discussion of the facts. Yet she ONLY offered personal attacks and tried to make it seem that I was somehow obsessed with her because I wrote a post on this very discussion-worthy topic. Why is it that the best you can do is regret the lack of 'meaningful debate' when it is only one of us who refused to engage in such???

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 16, 2007 12:01:02 PM

At the end of the day, the leftist will always let slip their racist tactic of labeling those they disagree with as outside the box of tolerance based on a made-up set of criteria. For you it is your residence in Judea and your mistake of not being so greatful for being on the blogroll that you suspend all critical thought.

Once the leftist has placed you in their 'extremist' box, they can truly do with you as they please - waterboard you, slander you, try to ruin your marriage - it is all fair game because we all know the ultimate goal in this world is to rid the world of extremists on both sides.

Yuck.

One interesting note: Usually, the leftist assumes that by removing you from the blogroll and alerting all her open-minded colleagues that you are indeed an 'extremist,' you cease to exist. In this case, however, you and Lisa share a huge number of readers, many of whom remain sympathetic to her cause, her visit to Lebanon and her - personally - but really are alarmed by her clawing at your face as though tolerance and mutual respect only extend to those who wish to incinerate her people and not residents of Gush Etzion. In short, Lisa, your readers (at least this one)await your response to David.

Posted by: E | Dec 16, 2007 1:01:00 PM

David- It wasn't meant as a criticism of either of you or of the situation. It is simply my prevailing response from reading everything... and I never claimed to be even handed either. Shavua Tov.

Posted by: PP | Dec 16, 2007 1:03:58 PM

E: Not to downplay the supportive nature of your comment, but if you really wanna hear Lisa's response, posting here is a sure-fire way she never knows you await her response. Seems only comments of personal support or outrage over the situation are expressed at her place.... I'm just sayin'....

PP: Since I have met you, I know comments were not meant as either criticism or an attempt to be even-handed. I also understand the feeling of being frustrated when two people you know hit a wall -- especially when it seems that it is unnecessary.

However....and I KNOW I am ever so slightly biased here, I happen to think that Lisa's response to David crossed a very red line. It was mean-spirited, petty, unrelated to the topics, and above all personal. All things a professional journalist is supposed to be avoid.

What is even sadder than the fact that this post is necessary, is the fact that last I checked, no one other than a commenter named Ruth over at Israel Matzav has (anywhere other than here -- the least likely place on the planet that Lisa is likely to see) expressed their distaste for the way Lisa has conducted herself. People may see her as a good reporter, and some as a good friend. But her conduct was grossly unbecoming her profession, and the standards to which she claims to hold herself. Why is no one willing to tell her to her face?

Posted by: zahava | Dec 16, 2007 1:38:43 PM

Zahava, in truth I thought the original report was grossly irresponsible, so clearly I share many of the views posted re travelling to Lebanon or enemy states by Israelis - and I posted as much with my name at Haaretz when I read a recent article on the subject. But perhaps the reason you haven't seen much response is because this whole thing stinks to high hell with self-importance when frankly it is not important in any shape or form beyond Lisa's personal situation & proffesional life, which interetst the avg. person very little & is where it should have remained as opposed to being re-dredged up by media & blogs.

There are frankly much more weighty issues facing us in Israel right now to be concerned about. But what do I know, I'm just an extremist Arab hater, I guess because I live in reality and don't believe in submitting myself to the Jihad, or pandering to the Arab world that seeks my annihilation - Let's all sing Kumbaya and Hezbollah & CO. will all go away so we can focus on Lisa's personal lapses in judgement.

While we are at it, I found Carl's opinions on the matter equally absurd, where if this young woman had been tragically captured by Hezbollah or befallen some other bad fate it would not be Israel's problem - but Canada's. Which strikes me almost as naive as Lisa's initial trip because I'd like to think we don't outsource our problems to others when it comes to our citizens well being! But do whatever it takes to at least safeguard them - my objection to travelling to Arab states in the 1st place because I oppose dealing with these thugs & monsters on any level.. So I guess I hate leftists & rightists, plus all the Arabas, heck why not throw in religious Jews too for good measure. No cookies for any of you lol.

Posted by: saus | Dec 16, 2007 8:36:33 PM

saus: I couldn't agree more with your contention that Israel faces weightier matters. That doesn't preclude an honest discussion regarding the law or its intention/ability to restrict journalists access to information in enemy states. There has been a great deal of discussion over the number of times the law has been violated. What I am curious about is whether or not any journalists have attempted to receive the proper permits, and if so what percentage have been accorded and what percentage denied. Perhaps not the most urgent item on the national agenda, but still worthy of discussion, IMHO.

While I don't necessarily agree with Carl's that not every infraction of the law needs to be prosecuted -- as this actually underscores the seemingly unequal application of the law which has Lisa squawking so loudly -- I do think that he raised some very interesting and very valid points. It hadn't occurred to me that the State was attempting to be even handed in its treatment of non-Jewish and Jewish Israelis who break this particular law.

And rather ironic, don't ya think?! With all the hand-wringing done on the Israeli Left at how much discrimination the State purportedly heaps upon her Arab citizens, you'd think that a little equal treatment is something they'd applaud! :-)

I also think Carl has since raised some very important points regarding Channel 10's role in all of this. Lisa's second trip, at least, was not an entirely independent undertaking.

Regarding Lisa and her role in the media's handling of the situation... she seems to think "there's no such thing as bad publicity." In this case, it may back-fire. As you yourself pointed out over at the Haaretz talk-back: many people are having trouble swallowing her righteous indignation.

Posted by: zahava | Dec 17, 2007 9:29:12 AM

Well, well, well. I remember my husband being blocked from commenting on Lisa's blog because of some of his arguments - which is why he warned you once about her. I see that she has shown her true colors again.

Posted by: westbankmama | Dec 17, 2007 5:59:13 PM

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