The Ariel Sharon cult at the New York Times gets more delirious with every new act of Israeli repression against the Palestinians. Almost four hundred dead Palestinians have yet to evoke even a sigh of sympathy from the Jewish “liberals” on 43rd Street. Sulzberger’s minions are as belligerent as ever. Given their virulently anti-Palestinian content since the start of the uprising, it is safe to assume that they are consumed by old ethnic hatreds that seem to come with the turf in that big rotten Apple by the Hudson. They refuse to break away from the ghetto mentality. It is their intellectual inheritance and it glares at you from every dispatch by Deborah Sontag and every editorial assault against Palestinian freedom by Thomas Friedman.
Regrettably, the publishers of the New York Times, continue to be indifferent to the escalating Israeli siege of the Palestinian villages and towns in the West Bank and Gaza, which include the sniper killing of almost 400 Palestinians, many of them children. Every punitive murderous act by the zealous Israeli Army is duly rationalized as being retaliatory when in fact it is meant to bleed the Palestinians till they succumb to the whims of a well-documented war criminal, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Thomas Friedman had his fingers all over their most recent editorial favor for the Likud. (Arab League Belligerence, NYT, 3/29/2001). A day after the bombardment of Palestinian towns, they write that “Israel’s reaction has been restrained”. Apparently the Likudniks at the Times fancy a more lethal level of violence. Israel’s colonies are a sacred thing at the New York Times, the Daily Ruse.
A few days earlier, these self-styled New York “liberals” had castigated the xenophobic Haider for making a joke about Ariel’s dirty hands. They were referring to another Ariel, an Austrian real-estate mogul. They don’t like Ariel Sharon to be seen with dirty hands, not around Manhattan. Sabra and Shatila and Qibya are crimes the New York Times has already laundered for the Israelis. It is worth mentioning that in the very same week they had voiced alarm about the right wing in Japan. Count on Sulzbrger’s crew to monitor anti-Semitism, imagined or real. It is a valuable political currency that comes in handy during policy debates. You think the Palestinians are suffering? Do you know what the Nazis did to Jews? It is certainly a useful weapon in the well-orchestrated campaign to defame the Palestinians, to assure that their Israeli cousins in Tel Aviv can get away with murder.
In another insanely ethno-centric editorial, Thomas Friedman, makes like a Hassid doing his job as a Jew, writing yet another of his worthless memos impersonating a President. (Bush’s First Memo, NYT 3/27/2001). That boy has serious problems with fantasies about power. The thing about hyphenated Americans is some are honest about it and others are confused. The ethnics at the New York Times want to speak for all America, especially all American Jews, and that means silencing other hyphenated Americans; on the subject of the Palestinian struggle for independence; and on the subject of Jewish power in America. Sometimes, it seems that they have even convinced themselves that they are not writing with a distinctly Jewish accent.
They can write in Yiddish, for all I care. What I mind is their arrogant attempt to make the rest of America worship the State of Israel. Among the rituals of this decidedly peculiar New York cult is the ritual sanitation of any Israeli war criminal who happens to be top dog in Tel Aviv. If that doesn’t work, demonizing Arabs will suffice. What I also mind is their vile masquerade against political corruption in America from a bully pulpit that they continue to use as a blunt instrument against any politician who stands up to the Jewish Lobby. If an Italian or Arab or Chinese or Mexican lobby had that kind of influence, you can be certain it would not go unscrutinized.
It is almost surreal to read a Bob Herbert column about the casino industry lobbying for the state of Nevada while the state of Israel has the largest lobby in the land (You can bet on it, NYT, 3/27/2001). Want a mind warp? Try William Safire’s on the “the ADL and the RICH”. Safire makes a show of going after Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League whose “organization has received $250,000 over the years from Mark Rich”.
Just a little background for this scene right our of a Yiddish theater act. In this scene, Safire wants to make a show of nailing Foxman, while absolving the ADL, Israel and the Jewish Lobby. But Foxman wants to convince Safire that he can get a free ride too. He gets on the phone with Safire to defend his actions.
“You never made a mistake in your life? What about when you worked for that anti-Semite Nixon?”. These questions are the opening lines of the Safire’s article which goes on to praise Foxman as “This good man, with a record of 36 years fighting for civil rights and against bigotry“. Really? What about those ADL ads defaming Palestinians as people who send their kids to die for a handful of coins? Foxman is hardly a freedom lover. The only freedom he wants is more elbow room for Israel to bash the Palestinians.
The Safire indictment against Abraham Foxman: “Thirteen Months ago, according to Foxman, he met in Paris with a former Mossad agent now on the Rich Foundation payroll who had the month before pledged $100,000 to A.D.L. Foxman came up with the idea of asking Denise Richéto intercede with Clinton for a pardon.” Safire goes on: “Would we have known about the ADL advice to Rich and intercession on his behalf if Congress had not begun an investigation?” Unlikely; though he reported fully to some 40 members of the A.D.L. national executive committee on Feb 3, for six weeks after the pardon firestorm Foxman said nothing publicly.”
Safire concludes with “The time is ripe for the A.D.L. _ and other do-good and advocacy groups, too é to take a hard look at the ulterior motives of their money sources. It’s time to set out written policies to resist manipulation by rich sleazebags“. When Safire resorts to the class struggle, watch out.
The last paragraph is all about access and real power. “Abe dropped by my office a few minutes ago to take back that unfair telephone crack and answer questions about who sucked him into this mess, which takes some zip out of my conclusion. We wished each other a happy Passover.” Safire doesn’t just let anybody drop by for a white wash bull session.
Moving on. Want “all the news that’s fit to print”? Well, a Tuesday US veto of the UN resolution doesn’t make the cut until Thursday and is at the bottom of page ten. If you must know, it was a resolution to provide an observer force to protect the Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation. Such a force would only interfere with Deborah Sontag’s coverage.
Deborah Sontag is the semi-official liason to the IDF. She is famous for writing one word obituaries for Palestinians. As one of the project leader for sanitizing Sharon’s image in America, she has a signature that is unmistakable. A Sontag article will quote as many Israeli officials as she can get her hands on. If an Israeli gets killed, Deborah makes sure we know his name and what he was doing before his demise. She is right there at the hospital to interview a wounded Israeli student. An Israeli is never identified as a settler. Hebron is not a city under belligerent military occupation. In Sontag’s book it is a “divided city”. Really? Two hundred native Palestinians to one illegal Jewish settler. A city of over 100,000 is held hostage to the intrusive and alien presence of Israeli thugs who feel free to attack the Palestinians at will and with the assistance of the IDF.
The headline is always a clue to a Sontag article, a most convenient platform for Israeli press releases. “Sharon Orders His First Raid After Bombing.” So, it is not that Sharon is back to his bloody ways, he had an excuse. Sontag has taken a few bounces on Arik’s knees and she will vouch for his “restraint”.
Although the veracity of a New York Times article is always questionable, on the subject of the Palestinians it verges on being an advocate of an international hate crime. What the Israelis have inflicted against the Palestinians will not be erased from the history books. The archives of the Times, already a serious indictment against this publishing firm, continue to be polluted with work that can only come from the pen of a cult of racist bigots. Although, to their discredit, many Americans continue to bite this racist bait, those who market it are infinitely more responsible for its consequences.
Memo to Safire, Sontag, Sulzberger, Foxman and Friedman: Give it up, already. Move on. You have done enough damage to the honor of this profession; the profession of being a Jew. Condoning the continual repression of an innocent people who have been victimized for over five decades will catch up with you. Your grandchildren will come to know of your criminal participation in covering up for war criminals and for excusing every act of Israeli belligerence. Let your Israeli cousins know that true peace will come when men like Sharon are sharing a cell in the Hague with Milosovic, Pinochet and Sadam. Let them know that reconciliation will require that Israelis come to terms with their abominable history in the modern Middle East. As a powerful ethnic American community, you have misused your power, and people would talk about it in the public arena, except they know that is your turf. But they talk about it. Not because they are anti-Semites but because they don’t disdain Arabs the way you do. Most Americans know that you have the Media in a lock-box. An increasing number in noticing that many of you are very comfortable with a guy like Sharon. Those who are even paying casual notice, understand the implications of the Marc Rich case and the campaign finance shenanigans. They know your inestimable contributions to the corruption of our political process in the service of a nasty and brutal foreign occupation led by a thug who would be too disgraced to run for mayor in most countries. Certainly not in Vienna.
When the day comes and the Palestinians are a free people; they will certainly remember your lack of kindness. Arab-Americans will do you the same favor. I certainly intend to remind you and leave a record for your kids. Just another ethnic, doing you a favor. Letting you know the score, in the hope that it will move you to stop your belligerence and set my people free.
Mr. Ahmed Amr is Editor of NileMedia.com in Seattle and a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN)