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Sunday, January 16, 2011

My New York Times prophecy

On Friday, I tweeted:
Death toll in Tunisia riots tops 60. Must be Israel's fault.
My sarcastic point, which I had made Monday in a similar post, is that Arabs will blame Israel for every problem in the Arab world - and credulous Westerners will happily believe it.

At least I thought I was being sarcastic. But mainstream Middle East reporting has a way of outdoing even the most outrageous satire.

From the New York Times on Saturday:

Tunisia’s uprising electrified the region.... Yet the street protests erupted when Arabs seemed more frustrated than ever, whether over rising prices and joblessness or resentment of their leaders’ support for American policies or ambivalence about Israeli campaigns in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2009.

...That the events in Tunisia took place far beyond the region’s traditional centers of power did little to diminish the enthusiasm they seemed to generate. In fact, the very spectacle of crowds surging into the streets and overwhelming decades of accumulated power in the hands of a highly centralized, American-backed government seemed an antidote to the despair of past years — carnage in Iraq, divisions among Palestinians and Israeli intransigence and the yawning divide between ruler and ruled on almost every question of foreign policy.
Note the NYT's belief that Israel is the intransigent party in the conflict. It doesn't say "alleged" or "belief of" - the NYT is saying that the fact of Israeli intransigence riles up the Arab world, despite the fact that the Palestinian Arabs have not made a single real concession since 1988.

Only in paragraphs 18-20 does this writer, Anthony Shadid, mention the actual reason for the protests - well after he talks about his absurd guesses:

Tunisians’ grievances were as specific as universal: rising food prices, corruption, unemployment and the repression of a state that viewed almost all dissent as subversion.

Smaller protests, many of them over rising prices, have already taken place in countries like Morocco, Egypt, Algeria and Jordan. Egypt, in particular, seems to bear at least a passing resemblance to Tunisia — a heavy-handed security state with diminishing popular support and growing demands from an educated, yet frustrated, population.

In Jordan, hundreds protested the cost of food in several cities, even after the government hastily announced measures to bring the prices down. Libya abolished taxes and customs duties on food products, and Morocco tried to offset a surge in grain prices.
Ordinary Arabs have long ago stopped caring about their Palestinian brethren, and ordinary Arabs are the ones who are doing the rioting. But idiotic - or perhaps malicious - reporters like Shadid, and their NYT editors, will not bother to actually ask members of the Arab street what they think. They will uncritically parrot the lies of the leaders - the very leaders the people are protesting against!

(h/t Challah Hu Akbar)

UPDATE: The American Thinker has more on this article.