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Media Watch: Time Says, ‘Israel Doesn’t Want Peace’

Media Watch: Time Says, ‘Israel Doesn’t Want Peace’

Associate Editor

Never has a Jewish star looked more like the crosshairs of a target than it did on Time’s cover (Jan. 13), with the headline, “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.”

It’s the latest in Time’s skepticism about Israel, going back to its cover, “Why Israel Can’t Win” (Jan. 19, 2009) — depicting a Jewish star behind barbed wire, and all the way back to 1977, when Israel’s newly elected prime minister was the “dangerous” Menachem Begin. That’s “Begin as in Fagin,” Time advised, evoking the greedy Jewish pickpocket from “Oliver Twist.”

In The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 7), Brett Stephens was among several for whom the new cover evoked “Begin as in Fagin.” Maybe, wondered Stephens, “there’s something in the magazine’s DNA.”

He adds that the new Time cover story does nothing less than join the “the chorus of those attempting to delegitimize the Jewish state.”
Newsweek beat Time to the jump this year, with a headline (Jan. 2) about Israelis not wanting peace. “Instead of pining for peace, they’re now asking: who needs it?” The economy is good, said Newsweek. Meanwhile, ignored are “Israel’s own provocations and abuses, including the continued expropriation of Palestinian land, the dramatic growth of Jewish settlements…”

According to this week’s Time, Israelis in real estate are doing nicely, and “with the economy robust,” Israelis “don’t care if there’s going to be peace.” This can’t last, Newsweek and Time warn Israel. Israel better make peace instead of making money like some Fagin.

To read Time’s blogs is to increasingly suspect that those in the media who fear Israel’s demise are perhaps more fearful of Israel’s success, with all that means theologically and politically.

Tony Karon, Time’s senior editor, showed his cards in a Time blog where he admits to being a Jewish-born atheist who believes that Israel can survive but not as it is now, a “rotted” state, rotted because of Jews.

The “Zionist ideology that spurred [Israel’s] creation and shaped its identity and sense of national purpose has collapsed,” blogged Karon, “not under pressure from without, but having rotted from within. It is Jews, not Jihadists, that have consigned Zionism to the dustbin of history.”

Time’s managing editor, Richard Stengel, in his weekly spot on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (Sep. 2), noted how “sad” it was that the security fence built by Israel to stop terrorists coming from the West Bank was working.

The fence, of course, was built after the Palestinians responded to a presidential peace parlay, in which Israel offered of 98 percent of the West Bank, with an intifada that killed more than 2,000 Israelis by bombs and exploding buses.

But according to Stengel, “the sad truth, really, is that the wall with the West Bank has actually worked.” Most Israelis “don’t come into contact with any Palestinians at all…. And the Gaza strip is so small and so isolated they feel that those folks, the Hamas folks are not that big of a threat…”

The “sad truth”?

Does anyone outside the far left actually believe that “the Hamas folks are not that big of a threat”?

As in the Sherlock Holmes story in which the clue was the dog that didn’t bark, the Time story ignores the absence of the Palestinian anti-Israeli barking, leaving a reader to conclude that the absence of peace is Israel’s moral failing alone.

Strange, then, to peruse Karon’s blog and see that he certainly knows that a cover story could easily have been shaped about the Palestinians not wanting peace. On Aug. 2, Karon quotes an op-ed by Ephraim Karsh in The New York Times, in which Karsh writes, “A staggering 71 percent of the Arabic respondents” in a poll by Al-Arabiya say they “have no interest in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.” Says Karon, “Uh, Ephraim, buddy — you may not know this, but the percentage of Palestinians that have no interest in those peace talks is probably higher.”

In fact, a second poll, conducted earlier this summer by Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, showed that nearly two out of three Palestinians — 62 percent — oppose Jewish control over Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall, even after a peace agreement allowing the capital of a Palestinian state in Jerusalem, as well.

The Jerusalem Post reports (Sep. 7) that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says that he won’t allow “even one Palestinian concession.”
A Jerusalem Post editorial (Sep. 5) stated, Abbas “has failed to stem the tide of anti-Israel incitement, and he, too, continues to preside over Fatah gatherings where unchanging opposition to the very fact of Israel’s existence is the central theme.”

And yet it is only Israel, according to Time, that doesn’t care about peace.

There is a trend in almost all pro-peace articles: While establishing that Israelis don’t want peace, find slight proof that the Palestinians want peace and nonviolence. In Time’s case, the writer goes on for several complimentary paragraphs about videos produced by the pro-peace Israeli group Geneva Initiative in which the Palestinian leaders speak “straight to the core doubt” of the Israelis who are dubious of Palestinian intentions, reassuring the Israelis, “Shalom to you in Israel.”

After the Time story, Ma’an, the Palestinian news service reported, “Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have reportedly asked an Israeli peace campaign [the Geneva Initiative] to remove their pictures from a series of advertisements…”
So much for that.
National Review posted an item by Victor Davis Hanson (Sept. 6) about Time’s preoccupation with Jews “making money,” (as Time’s Karl Vick reported). According to Hanson, the Vick piece “is probably the most anti-Semitic essay I have ever read in a mainstream publication.” All that “near-suicidal, clueless Jewish preoccupation with money-grubbing has got Vick pretty upset,” observed Hanson.

This past week was the 70th anniversary (Sept. 7, 1940) of the Nazi bombings of Britain, a time that has since been celebrated for Churchill’s defiance, his rejection of peace overtures by Germany and the remarkable resilience of the British people who before and after the bombings continued to go to work, to school and, yes, even the beach. Time in 1940 would never have headlined, even during the quiet of the “phony war,” prior to the bombings, “Why England Doesn’t Care About Peace,” even if prominent American peace activists at the time, such as Charles Lindbergh, were urging England to engage in yet another peace agreement with Germany.

Instead, England was glorified in the American media for its resilience.

Honest Reporting, a pro-Israel site, said that Time, with its photos of Israelis at the beach and stories of Israelis continuing to go to work, “distorts Israeli resilience in the face of a decade of rocket attacks and terrorism into an image of decadence.”

A lot of Jews were bothered by Time, but Time and Newsweek are the ones on thin economic ice, even if Israel isn’t. An old-timer might remember Look magazine’s 1964 feature on “The Vanishing American Jew,” only to have Look itself vanish by 1971, while you, dear reader, are reading The Jewish Week about Israel’s dreams, defiance and resilience at the dawn of 5771.

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