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Thursday, December 26, 2013

The violence here is many things... but not cyclical

Anyone who happened to be surfing the New York Times Middle East page yesterday morning was greeted with the following little gem:


Impressive, yes?

Aside from trotting out the well worn (and demonstrably false) 'cycle of violence' cannard, the author managed, in surprisingly few words, to suggest a moral equivalency between the deliberate murder of an Israeli civilian worker by a Palestinian terrorist, and the unfortunate collateral death of a young Palestinian child when a rocket launcher that Hamas (or one of the other terror groups in Gaza), had cynically installed next to her home, was destroyed in an air strike by the Air Force of the sovereign State of Israel. 

When US drones kill terrorists in Yemen, Pakistan or Afghanistan, the Times doesn't talk about a 'cycle of violence'.  There are terrorists and there are those who attempt to kill them before (or after) they kill innocent people. The process is linear, not cyclical. 

There is, however, a lot of discussion in the Times about collateral deaths and damage in many of these extra-judicial killings (we might as well call them what they are, right?).  And that's as it should be. Before and after any such action there needs to be a serious cost/benefit analysis to ensure the costs of such strikes do not dwarf the benefits. 

But in their reporting, the Times doesn't write that the US and Al Qeada are engaged in a cycle of violence.  The Times doesn't report that the US and the Taliban are engaged in a cycle of violence.  

There is certainly violence... but as I stated earlier, it is not a cycle.

So why is Israel's legitimate (according to the United State's Government's own statements), targeting of Hamas' and Islamic Jihad' (both of which are formally recognized as terror organizations by the US and European Union), personnel and infrastructure consistently reported by the Times as if the Bloods and the Crips are going at each other in South Central LA instead of a legitimate military operation carried out by a sovereign nation in defense of its citizens?

The answer is simple:  

The Times would like its readers to reach the conclusion that the State of Israel is on the same level as the illegitimate terror groups that continuously attack its citizens.  'Forget that the government of a sovereign nation's primary responsibility is to protect its citizens'.  'Pay no attention to the fact that only one side feels in any way bound by international law and the conventions of modern warfare'.  'It's the middle east... why can't those savages just stop killing one another?!', right?!

But the Times' mendacious reporting doesn't stop there.

To the uninformed reader (which, according to the rules of journalism is assumed to be 100% of those reading any given article), the news snippet above provides the following simple narrative:  

'An Israeli laborer was killed, so Israel retaliated by killing a Palestinian toddler'.   

Just the chance to juxtapose the deaths of an Israeli laborer (presumably an adult) and a Palestinian toddler in so deliberate a fashion must have given some Times copy editor a case of the vapors!

I have a little fantasy:

I would like to handcuff the right hands of the entire New York Times Middle East Desk to the chain link fence separating Israel and the Gaza strip...  the very fence, in fact, that the Israeli civilian laborer was repairing when he was murdered by the Palestinian sniper.

Oh, don't worry... I'd outfit each of them with bullet proof vests; albeit ones that only had ballistic armor on one side; the back.  

I'd leave them there, chained to that fence by one hand, until the inevitable orientation of their bodies provided an admission that the bullets that could rip their vital organs to shreds at any moment, could only arrive from one direction... their fear and certainty turning them to face towards Israel, and in so doing, forcing them to finally look our tired, blameless citizens in the face while admitting that the violence here is many things... but it isn't cyclical.

Posted by David Bogner on December 26, 2013 | Permalink


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Excellent. I'm forwarding this one to Honest Reporting and the WSJ.

Posted by: Moshe Eliovson | Dec 26, 2013 9:54:55 AM


Masterfully put David.

Posted by: Moshe Eliovson | Dec 26, 2013 9:57:18 AM


Posted by: Alissa | Dec 26, 2013 2:17:44 PM

Spot on!

Posted by: Diana | Dec 26, 2013 2:34:40 PM

“If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.” ― Mark Twain

'[T]he New York Times, a newspaper whose contact with factual accuracy is only tangential and fleeting.'

You and I subscribe to the obsolete ideal that news reporting is about the objective presentation of facts: 1) What happened? 2) Where? 3) When? 4) Who did it? 5) To whom? 6) How? and 7) Why? Only the last question gives rise to speculation and opinion.

The 'modern' notion -- pfft, pfft -- is that news reporting is about presenting the best argument. Note that this assumes the reporter takes a position and presents everything from that perspective. There is no search for truth. All is editorial.

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." -- Mark Twain

Samuel Clemens noted that this was the case in his day. There is nothing new under the sun.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Had you not, I would not have known about it. I do not read the NYT. For your own peace, I recommend you do not. Surely there are fifth columnists enough in Israel who distort the news that you do not need to import distortions from the US.

Posted by: antares | Dec 27, 2013 1:15:50 AM

Agree. The moral equivalence is fairly disgusting. What also irks me is the notion of "retaliation." Newspapers claim that Israeli responses to terrorism are retaliatory in nature, which suggests vengeful, spiteful acts of aggression that serve little practical purpose. No, when Israel responds militarily, it's a targeted effort to keep Israeli civilians safe from enemy fire. I have seen and heard the word "retaliation" used by Israeli spokespeople themselves, and I cringe every time.

Posted by: Ari | Jan 2, 2014 3:05:12 PM

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