For the most part, the anti-Israel bias of media outlets like CNN and the BBC are infuriating, but sometimes that bias becomes so extreme it falls over into comedy. Take, for example, this item (our thanks to Yisrael Medad for bringing it to our attention), from CNN's web site. Here is the lead: "Hours after Israelis began implementing the first part of a U.S.-brokered truce, a Palestinian and Israeli were killed Thursday in a roadside shootout." It sounds like a gun fight at the O.K. Corral. The two foes line up on opposite sides of the road and shoot it out. You have to read to the seventh paragraph(!) to find out the "shootout's" specifics. "A Palestinian gunman got out of a car at a roadblock he had constructed on the outskirts of Jerusalem on the Tunnel Road leading to Bethlehem and fired on two members of the Israeli security services, Israeli radio said. The wounded Israeli then shot and killed the Palestinian."
Another murder of an Israeli, unusual primarily in that the murdered man managed to bring down his assailant before he died, is transmuted into a familiar CNN moral equivalency. If CNN had a shred of journalistic decency, the piece would have begun: "Hours after Arafat promised to halt all violence against Israelis, a Palestinian gunman ambushed two members of the Israeli security forces, killing one of them."
It pains us to criticize Seth Lipsky, a journalist we admire. Lipsky founded the English language Forward, made it easily the highest quality Jewish newspaper in the country, and was rewarded for his efforts by being booted out by the Forward's relentlessly leftist board.
But for the sake of the historical record, we must take public exception to a column Lipsky wrote in the Wall Street Journal's on-line opinion section of June 13. The article focusses on the change of heart of his "outspoken friend" Rabbi Eric Yoffie, an enthusiastic proponent of Oslo who now, says Lipsky, recognizes having been overly sanguine about Arafat's intentions. After quoting the "new" Yoffie at length, Lipsky notes that Yoffie has failed to take the next logical step: "This would be to offer a salute to those who have been right in their assessment of the Palestinian leadership. This would mean snapping a salute to Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, who has spent most of the past eight years warning American Jewry that any realistic reading of Mr. Arafat's record made the idea of dealing with him seem insane."
This is slipshod journalism. Over the past eight years, Morton Klein never publicly said that dealing with Arafat was insane, indeed adamantly refused to condemn the Oslo accords. This is not to ignore Klein's achievements over these past years. He resuscitated a moribund ZOA at great personal sacrifice and hammered away on the issue of compliance, which should have been Oslo's Achilles heel. Going forward with Oslo, Klein insisted time and again, had to depend on Arafat abiding by his previous undertakings.
There was, of course, one organization that did say from the outset that Arafat's record showed that dealing with him was insane--that organization, as Lipsky well knows (but chose to ignore), is Americans For a Safe Israel.
Lipsky's article is problematic in another way. Quoting at length a recent speech by Rabbi Yoffie on the Middle East, Lipsky portrays him as an extraordinary person who, in confessing his mistakes, has done something "rare in the political and religious world." Lipsky thus endorses the notion, widespread in the Jewish establishment, that those Jewish leaders who admit to errors in judgment on Oslo should not be condemned for leading their rank and file into catastrophic error, but rather praised for their largeness of spirit. Note that typical of these people, Yoffie does not say simply "I was wrong; I'm sorry." Instead he orates: "We have been wrong not so much in what we have said, but rather in what we have not said." What on earth is that supposed to mean? (Maybe Lipsky can figure it out; he describes Yoffie as being eloquent.)
The subtext of these half-hearted mea culpas is a noxious moral preening: I, Eric Yoffie (or insert the name of a host of Jewish leaders) am so noble-spirited
(Continued on p. 12)
is published by
Americans for A Safe Israel
Herbert Zweibon, Chairman
Helen Freedman, Executive Director
1623 Third Ave. (at 92nd St..) -Suite 205
New York, NY 10128
tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
e-mail: email@example.com * web site: http://www.afsi.org
Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King
Outpost is distributed free to
members of Americans For a Safe Israel.
Annual membership: $50.
Outpost - 2 - June-July 2001