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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The "As-a-Jews" of the New York Times

Paul Krugman writes in his New York Times blog:
Something I’ve been meaning to do — and still don’t have the time to do properly — is say something about Peter Beinart’s brave book The Crisis of Zionism.

The truth is that like many liberal American Jews — and most American Jews are still liberal — I basically avoid thinking about where Israel is going. It seems obvious from here that the narrow-minded policies of the current government are basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide — and that’s bad for Jews everywhere, not to mention the world. But I have other battles to fight, and to say anything to that effect is to bring yourself under intense attack from organized groups that try to make any criticism of Israeli policies tantamount to anti-Semitism.

But it’s only right to say something on behalf of Beinart, who has predictably run into that buzzsaw. As I said, a brave man, and he deserves better.
Also from the New York Times today, an op-ed from Stephen Robert:
How can a people persecuted for so long act so brutally when finally attaining power? Will we continuously see the world as 1938, or can we use the strength of our new power to forgive, while never forgetting the lessons of our past?
I guess he is "brave" too.

Last month, according to the monthly tally from Soccer Dad, the NYT printed 8 more "brave" anti-Israel op-eds, as opposed to 3 that were pro-Israel. Including one from that "brave" man, Peter Beinart.

In the last six months of 2011, the tally was even more lopsided: 39 anti-Israel op-eds, and 8 pro-Israel.

Any way you look at it, the New York Times doesn't seem to have any compunctions about publishing criticisms of Israel. But not only is the Times blatant about its anti-Israel bias, but its writers seem to feel that they are being remarkably bold by parroting the same arguments that have been published there scores of times in the past year.

Criticizing a tiny state surrounded by enemies hell-bent on its long-term destruction might not play in Peoria, but it plays very well in the salons of the Upper East Side. It is a false bravado, one where the people pushing their agendas know quite well that they have a large support group from the most influential ivory tower newspaper in the United States. Seriously, how have any of these critics been hurt by what they have written? They have been criticized to be sure, but they have also been praised. They are getting huge amounts of publicity and selling lots of books, giving lectures across the nation and having their faces plastered all over every Jewish periodical. Is that what NYT liberals consider "bravery" nowadays?

In fact, today's NYT op-ed is utterly boring. Stephen Robert rehashes the exact same arguments we have heard ad nauseum as he demands that Israel somehow overlook the fact that Palestinian Arabs keep demanding that it be destroyed demographically and politically. He is not an expert on Israel - a previous piece that he wrote for The Nation shows that he has gullibly believed outright lies from his Palestinian Arab friends. He has no real credentials, unless you believe heading a major mutual fund group makes one an expert on the Middle East.

So why did the New York Times choose to publish yet another op-ed bashing Israel when it breaks no new ground, makes no new arguments, and is quite tendentious to boot?

Because, like Krugman, the author is another "As-a-Jew." He says he grew up as a Zionist, coming from a family of committed Zionists, complete with experience with pogroms and fundraising for the UJA. He is pretending to be yet another recovering Zionist, someone who knows what is best for Israel far better than the people who live there and actually vote in elections. The only thing that makes his point of view interesting, to the NYT opinion editor, is that Robert is being "brave" by speaking out, as a Jew, just like the scores of other ignorant Jews who have been reading the New York Times' anti-Israel pieces over the years and believe them as the Jewish equivalent of gospel.

This is not bravery.

Bravery is to be an Arab and to criticize the PLO. Bravery is to be a Muslim woman and criticize how Muslims treat women. Bravery is to publicly protest in Syria. Bravery is to risk your life for your opinions.

It is not bravery to risk receiving some angry emails. And as awful as the Likud seems to be when you read these "brave" articles criticizing it, the authors aren't quite scared that the Mossad will come and take them out.

When someone like Krugman calls someone like Peter Beinart "brave" it illustrates how out of touch liberal New York Times "As-a-Jews" are. Their worldview is so skewed that they believe that Netanyahu - a man who accepts a two-state solution, who has all but said that he would throw tens of thousands of Jews out of their homes to make peace  - is somehow a warmonger. Meanwhile, they believe that Mahmoud Abbas, a man who honors the most notorious terrorists and anti-semites, who arrests journalists who criticize him,  and who would rather partner with Hamas terrorists than Israeli Jews, is perfectly reasonable and moderate.

How can such a complete reversal of reality even cross the mind of a sane person?

Well, it can easily happen, if your idea of reality comes from the op-ed pages of the New York Times.

(h/t Daniel)

UPDATE: To Beinart's credit, he doesn't consider himself brave. (h/t Martin Kramer)