‘The New York Insular Times’ publishes a tome on Shalit

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The New York Times Magazine this weekend features a huge article (11 internet pages; how do I count the words?) on the deal to free Gilad Shalit, titled, “Gilad Shalit and the Rising Price of an Israeli Life.” The piece is by Ronen Bergman, a political and military analyst for the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Its editor is also named: Joel Lovell. Helena Cobban sent out the following note to friends by email and gave us permission to post it.

And when will the NYT magazine be running a piece of comparable length about the plight of any one of the thousands of Palestinian families whose sons (and, until recently, daughters) were torn from them by their Israeli captors… and the anguished decisions that Palestinian leaders have to make regarding them, etc etc?

I can understand Ronen Bergman, an Israeli, being completely self-regarding in the purview of his piece. What is far less comprehensible to me is that the editors of the NYT mag, an American publication that is supposed to provide news and commentary for all its (mainly American, mainly NYC) readers, still thinking today that publishing only these long, incredibly self-regarding and insular accounts of Israelis talking to themselves is a good way to present the “whole” story.

Actually, the moral dilemmas that Palestinians at all levels have to deal with are far harsher and more wrenching, and far more deeply freighted with matters of universal, existential relevance than any faced by Israel’s pampered and multiply privileged Jewish citizens. How can a Palestinian in the OPTs, whether a community leader or just a regular person, live a life that is both as normal as possible and as ethical as possible? But even without going into these dilemmas too deeply, just the plain human stories of the travails that these families– especially the families of the prisoners– face makes for compelling reading and listening…

But no, the NYT isn’t listening.  It prefers to stay locked inside the Israeli-side-only bubble.

About Helena Cobban

Helena Cobban is the owner of Just World Books. She’s been blogging since 2003 at JustWorldNews.org. Her 1984 book The Palestinian Liberation Organisation: People, Power, and Politics, was published by Cambridge University Press and is still in print. Her early-1990 study “The PLO and the Intifada” was published in The Middle East Journal (Spring 1990).

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