Thursday, December 11, 2014

NY Times inveighs in Israeli identity dispute - Leo Rennert



by Leo Rennert


Rudoren starts off with a blatant error about what’s going on: “Israelis and Jews abroad are roiled by debate over whether Israel can continue to be both a Jewish homeland and the lone democracy in a region torn apart by ethnic and religious strife.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has triggered a hearty debate over legislative proposals to enshrine Israel as both Jewish and democratic in Israeli law. The debate has reached American shores, where Jews also have weighed in on both sides of the question.

Does the legislation represent a threat to Israel’s democracy by giving primacy to its Jewish character? Can democracy and Jewishness thrive side by side? Also, is such legislation even necessary? No surprise that this issue has drawn a plethora of views among disputatious Jews.

But enter the New York Times with a front-page article by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren that offers readers its own dark-hued, cataclysmic version of the story.  Somehow, Rudoren manages to expand the question of Israel’s Jewish and democratic character into an all-out existential crisis for the Jewish state (“ISRAEL STRUGGLES WITH ITS IDENTITY – Divisive Bill on Status as a Jewish State –Israel Struggles With Identity Crisis as Bill Sets Off Debate” Dec. 9, front page and page A5).

Rudoren starts off with a blatant error about what’s going on: “Israelis and Jews abroad are roiled by debate over whether Israel can continue to be both a Jewish homeland and the lone democracy in a region torn apart by ethnic and religious strife.”  It’s either one or the other – a Jewish homeland or an Israeli democracy.  Wrong.  This is not an either-or proposition at all.  Rather, the question is whether one or the other ends up dominant.

Rudoren herself eventually realizes this when she writes that some Israelis fear that the legislation “would elevate the state’s Jewishness above its democratic character.”  What she fails to tell Times readers is that Netanyahu has been quite emphatic that a final draft of the legislation will provide equal weight to both the Jewish character and the democratic character of Israel.

If you’re going to spread all kinds of alarms, the least you’re obliged to do professionally is to quote the bill’s main sponsor about his ultimate objective.  Bibi’s views, however, are not on Rudoren’s agenda.

Instead, Rudoren is more interested in turning the debate into a mighty blow against Israel.  “Israel, still an adolescent nation, is going through something of an identity crisis,” she writes.

How condescending to depict Israel as “still an adolescent.”  Never mind that Jewish sovereignty in the land dates back some 3,000 years.  And even after the Roman exile, there was a continuing Jewish presence in the Holy Land for some two millennia.  That hardly jibes with Israel as an “adolescent.”

At bottom, in Rudoren’s portrayal of Israel, the dark side prevails.

Note for example how she depicts Israel’s Arab minority.  Arabs, she acknowledges, are exempt from military service.  You’d think it would be a big plus for Arabs to be exempt from life-and-death situations in the military.  Not the way Rudoren sees it – “They are disadvantaged by programs favoring veterans for housing, jobs, bank loans and scholarships,” she writes.  Always stretch to the dark side.  And no mention, of course, that Arabs enjoy greater freedoms and democratic rights than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East.

This, after all, wouldn’t accord with the Times’ and Rudoren’s anti-Israel bias.


Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/12/times_inveighs_israel_dispute.html

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

No comments:

Post a Comment