‘The Times’ lets everyone off the hook on Goldstone


The New York Times is covering the Goldstone Report. Where is it covering it? Well: the furor over the report among Palestinians. We’re pretty sure this is a good story. Neil MacFarquhar is on it. But it’s really not The Story, it’s just an angle of a hugely-important international story, and the only angle the Times is covering.

Here’s what the Times refuses to cover:

–the furor over the Goldstone report on the part of the Israel lobby in the U.S., and the pressure it’s put on the Obama administration, number one. Even J Street has been quiet about the Goldstone report, while it puts out a statement applauding an Israeli Nobelist.

–and what about the political jockeying over the report, the decision by the Obama administration to bury it and make the Palestinian Authority do the dirty work? Important story. Nothing. Mike Hanna of the Century Foundation said two weeks ago that the report’s troubling findings were going to be very "tricky" diplomatically for the Obama administration. He was right. He knows what’s gone down. Why isn’t the Times calling him for comment?

–the incredible discomfort that Goldstone, a Jewish judge who denounced apartheid, has created among liberal American Jews who know that Gaza was a horror but are afraid to face these facts. Nine dead Israelis, 1400 dead Palestinians: of whom the majority were civiilans. The Israelis destroyed the only remaining flour mill, destroyed chicken farms with bulldozers, and dropped white phosphorus on children. American Jews were never silent about napalm in Vietnam. Here they are tonguetied and helpless, and the Times is helping them to avoid this important question by suppressing the news.

–Nothing in the Times about the many Jews here who have supported Goldstone, including Jews Say No!

–No editorial yet in the Times.

This is about discourse suppression. It is related to the fact that the New Yorker, the leading cranial IV for the Establishment, has said nothing at all about Gaza in 10 months. No: Gaza and the persecution of the Palestinians there is an untidy embarrassment to  the liberal Establishment.

The New Republic has actually been more responsible than the Times and the New Yorker here. By publishing raving maniacs like Michael Oren and Yossi Klein Halevi, it has at least informed its readers where it hurts, that this is ideologically disputed territory. The Times has told its readers, Only Palestinians care about this. More mush from the wimp.

One other point. Mainstream liberals are quick to call for people to speak out on Third World countries and once upon a time in Eastern Europe when human rights are suppressed. It’s easy to condemn the Soviet Writers Union or ministries in Africa for not speaking out against genocide. What’s hard is to report and speak out on issues that cause your own readers to squirm. The true measure of intellectual courage is, you go ahead and do it anyway. The Washington Post, the Times, the New Yorker and others have failed this test.

12 Responses

  1. slowereastside
    October 8, 2009, 10:36 am

    The funny thing is that if our favorite eccentric autocrat didn’t get the Oct. 14 meeting, I doubt the NYT would have touched the story.

  2. Donald
    October 8, 2009, 11:56 am

    Exactly right.

    The thought experiment I suggest is this–suppose Hamas had managed to kill over 1000 Israelis in the Gaza War, with 300 of them being children. As for Palestinian casualties, imagine two different scenarios–

    A) Very few Palestinian deaths, all or nearly all Hamas fighters
    B) The same number of Palestinian deaths with the same distribution as actually happened

    In scenario A, there would have been wall to wall coverage in the NYT, and editorials thundering about the atrocities and demands for war crimes trials and certainly military intervention by the US. And the Goldstone report (which would be 99.9 percent about Hamas war crimes) would be universally acclaimed as fair and just. The New Yorker would be the same. They’d have a long article about the Israeli deaths and something in the front section about the barbarous nature of the Palestinian terror groups.

    In scenario B, there’d be no call for military intervention if Israel clearly won, but there would be shocked outrage over Hamas atrocities, some token criticism of Israel’s understandable overreaction, and people would find some way to make Hamas’s actions far worse than Israel’s. The alleged difference in “intentions” would probably be where the emphasis would be placed.

    In reality, given the casualty statistics, there is as little coverage as the newspaper of record can get away with, and the New Yorker, which is not obligated to cover any particular issue, studiously ignores the whole thing, which is also what the NYT does on its editorial page.

    • US_Objector
      October 8, 2009, 12:25 pm

      Donald, astoundingly good analogy. While the U.S. is doped up on what a drugged-out Kanye West may have done to poor Taylor Swift at the MTV Awards, Palestine is systematically being wiped off the map. With our tax dollars.

      Question: is there any publication or news outlet in the U.S. that is doing a credible job of covering the I/P conflagration? Tim McGurk was doing some fine work at Time, but he seems to be silenced; the Christian Science Monitor also appears to be courageous in its coverage. Anybody else? Any one?

    • MRW
      October 9, 2009, 12:52 am

      I agree with US_Objector, Donald.

  3. kylebisme
    October 8, 2009, 6:21 pm

    I’ve decided to start a movement of referring to the NYT as “the newspaper of dubious record”. Who is with me on this?

  4. VR
    October 8, 2009, 10:02 pm

    They will not cover what was in the Goldstone report, because the MSM is like a concert, each of them has a part to play but they are all playing the same song. I really have to say, there is no surprise in this, especially if you have followed these publications and other “major” media sources.

    This is because the truth is too damning, so in a sense you have to put alternate media and the main sources of information like the report and the human rights information together. What you come up with is that the massacre (and there is a reason I call it a massacre) was meant to be, because they targeted specifically the people of Gaza indiscriminately. It was meant to kill the innocent, the weak, the children, women, old people, and if they could the “militants.” When you read everything, this is what you come away with.

    The one issue which no one seems to be able to decipher when you read the testimonies, like those produced by Breaking The Silence is the refrain from the Israeli soldiers of “where was the enemy?” There were no battles. So where was this seething violent Hamas, you know, the picture that is painted? I know where they were, they were directing the people – trying to rush them to places of hiding where there was no place to hide. This is because they knew that the forces were not coming after them, they were coming for all of the people who are over 50% children, and any thing that meant a normal life (infrastructure, water facilities, chicken farms, flour mill, homes of residents, schools, hospitals, etc.), to destroy. That is because Hamas is not the target, the Palestinians are the target, they were the target before there was even any Hamas. The goal is to drive them away or to exterminate them.

    The soldiers kept saying “where is the enemy (in the Break The Silence testimonies),” and they began to wonder in the “field” – why is this horrific bombing going on, shelling, strafing, release of phosphorous weapons right over populations (not as cover for operations because there were enemies there, they were not there, but to burn the tender flesh off of the bodies of human beings). The only restraint that there was occurred because there was a watching world (as much as it could watch with the banning of all media sources), which merely becomes more of a condemnation because it shows that the activity was coldly calculated and not an act of passion or rage.

    • MRW
      October 9, 2009, 1:00 am

      Israelis and American Jews are fools if they think that the non-Jews in this country aren’t noticing this. Many feel they can’t speak out without being branded anti-semites; however, that enforced silence builds up. It festers. There will be a consequence to this, even if belated.

      And as I posted in an OT comment on “Rebranding Jews,” here is what Friday’s Haaretz is reporting: ‘U.S. furious over Israeli incitement against Obama’

      The U.S. administration is furious over Israeli incitement against President Barack Obama, Democratic congressmen close to Obama told an Israeli source who returned from a visit to Washington this week.

      The congressmen even hinted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been personally involved.

      The source, who met in Washington with administration officials and members of Congress, told Haaretz he was stunned by the level of anger there over attempts to portray Obama to the American public as an enemy of Israel because of his efforts to restart peace talks and freeze settlement construction.

      “There are people here who are playing with fire by damaging our relationship with the U.S.,” the source said. […]

      The rest: link to haaretz.com

    • MRW
      October 9, 2009, 1:02 am

      I meant to add, v…, that this was very good post of yours, as most are.

  5. potsherd
    October 8, 2009, 10:53 pm

    Of the Israeli soldiers killed in the operation, almost half were victims of Israeli fire. (4 out of 9 iirc) Which speaks not only to the utter lack of armed resistance on the part of the Palestinians, but the wanton ferocity of the Israeli assault.

  6. jim
    October 9, 2009, 8:41 am

    No one has mentioned the demonizing of Judge Goldstone by certain elements within Israel. Some have even called him a “self-hating Jew”…and an “anti-Semitic Jew”. It seems to me that such insults to Goldstone ought to be of concern to the U.S. administration and yet no one has spoken out.


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