‘NYT’ fails to disclose that Op-Ed author arguing Israel’s case against BDS is husband of ‘NYT’ reporter in Israel/Palestine

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
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Hirsh Goodman speaks at the State Zionist Council of Victoria in Australia. (Photo: ZCV.org/au)

Hirsh Goodman speaks at the State Zionist Council of Victoria in Australia. (Photo: ZCV.org/au)

The New York Times Sunday Review this week reflects the growing consensus that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is the main game in town.  Two columns on BDS are published: one by Omar Barghouti, a leading advocate for BDS, and the other by Hirsh Goodman, an Israeli-South African analyst who is also the husband of Isabel Kershner–a New York Times reporter based in Jerusalem.

The column by Goodman is noteworthy for two reasons.  The first reasons is that the Times doesn’t see fit to disclose that they’re partners.  This is a pattern for the “paper of record” when it comes to Goodman and Kershner.  In 2012, I authored a piece in Fairness and Accuracy and Reporting’s magazine pointing out that Kershner had repeatedly cited the Institute for National Security Studies as a source, without disclosing to readers that her husband, Goodman, worked as a senior research fellow for the leading Israeli think tank.  Goodman’s job there–I’ve since been told he has left–was to help shape Israel’s image in the media.

Now we have Goodman writing in the Times.  At the very least, the paper should disclose their relationship, a relationship that reflects how deeply embedded in Israeli society Kershner and other Times correspondents are.  It’s also relevant because Kershner reports on the very same issue that Goodman is writing on–the boycott movement.  The Times’ ethics code states:

Staff members must be sensitive that perfectly proper political activity by their spouses, family or companions may nevertheless create conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflict…

Staff members must be sensitive to these possibilities. Any staff member who sees a potential for conflict or a threat to the paper’s reputation in the activities of spouse, friends or relatives must discuss the situation with his or her supervising editor and the standards editor or the deputy editorial page editor. In some cases, disclosure is enough. But if The Times considers the problem serious, the staff member may have to withdraw from certain coverage

The second, and more important reason, that Goodman’s column is noteworthy is that it reflects growing liberal Israeli panic about BDS.  He argues that Israel is losing the narrative in the West, and that the only way to stave off more boycotts is a two-state solution brokered by John Kerry.  This argument has been aired in recent days by Tzipi Livni, Israel’s representative in the peace talks.

Goodman is spot-on when he writes that Israel’s addiction to West Bank settlements and anti-democratic measures in the Knesset are at the root of Israel’s problems with the world. But he won’t admit that BDS is growing because it reflects a fundamental truth about Israel as a state addicted to settlement expansion, all at the expense of the human rights of Palestinians. Here’s Goodman on why Israel is not South Africa:

In apartheid South Africa, people disappeared in the night without the protection of any legal process and were never heard from again. There was no freedom of speech or expression and more “judicial” hangings were reportedly carried out there than any place on earth. There was no free press and, until January 1976, no public television. Masses of black people were forcibly moved from tribal lands to arid Bantustans in the middle of nowhere. A “pass system” stipulated where blacks could live and work, splitting families and breaking down social structures, to provide cheap labor for the mines and white-owned businesses, and a plentiful pool of domestic servants for the white minority. Those found in violation were arrested, usually lashed, and sentenced to stints of hard labor for a few shillings per prisoner per day, payable to the prison service.

None of this even remotely exists in Israel, or the occupied territories. But, increasingly, in the mind of the world it does.

So the world is deluded. Except that it’s not.

In occupied Palestine, children are awoken by gun-toting teenage soldiers for allegedly throwing stones, and taken to prison where they’re tortured and interrogated, all without a lawyer or due process. In occupied Palestine, Israeli military law prohibits protests and gatherings of more than 10 people without a permit.  In occupied Palestine–and Israel proper–Palestinians are forced off their lands; some of them go on to work in the same settlements that confiscated their family’s land.  In occupied Palestine, a permit system regulates and infringes on Palestinian freedom of movement.

And in a bout of liberal Zionist schizophrenia, Goodman concedes those points a few paragraphs later:

The “apartheid wall,” “apartheid roads,” colonization, administrative arrests, travel restrictions, land confiscations and house demolitions are the clay apartheid comparisons are made of, and can be neither hidden nor denied, for as long as Israel continues with the status quo. Military occupation comes with checkpoints, antiterrorist barriers, military courts, armed soldiers and tanks. That’s the reality, no matter what your politics, and just the ammunition the Palestinians and their supporters need in their new war.

But Goodman is again spot-on in his peace process discussion.  He’s right that “Israel cannot win unless it makes peace.”  That may be the most compelling reason why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would agree to a framework agreement with the Palestinians. 

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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46 Responses

  1. ckg
    January 31, 2014, 1:46 pm

    Alex–Do you plan on sharing this with NY Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan?

    • Giles
      January 31, 2014, 2:48 pm

      You know how it goes. One set of rules for all — except no rules for the Zionists, who imagine the world is out to get them for no good reason, and has been for thousands of years. Producing an anything goes mentality, which, I guess ironically, causes them to behave towards others in a manner that ensures they will always be creating lots of enemies. Which they then attribute to some worldwide disease called anti-Semitism. A vicious and unending cycle due to their delusion.

    • pabelmont
      January 31, 2014, 3:05 pm

      Beautiful article Alex. Sounds like a (too long) letter to the editor at NYT. I sent one praising Barghouti’s op-ed — at JVP’s suggestion as I recall. Perhaps the short form of your article (the “letter” form) would say

      Goodman has some good things to recommend that Israel do, but his explanation of the increasingly energetic reception of BDS these days, especially in the EU, is flawed by his inability — or refusal — to speak frankly about Israel’s illegal and immoral behavior, especially vis-a-vis Palestinians.

      Israelis and their friends in the USA are done no favors by his pretense that Israel’s brand of apartheid will not be seen as the poison that it is because — as he tendentiously claims — it’s kinder and gentler than South Africa’s brand of apartheid was.

      In point of fact, Israel’s apartheid is not kind (kids arrested at night, tortured, etc.) and is neither rendered anodyne nor invisible by such a silly comparison.

      If American Zionists want to understand the reception of BDS, they need to acknowledge the facts of the occupation, not hide behind the increasingly threadbare propaganda screen that Israel uses to try to cover up its illegal and immoral actions.

      Indeed, the fact that Mr. Goodman as sometimes worked as a purveyor of Israeli propaganda (as when he worked for Institution for Israel;’s National Security Studies) is consistent with his attempt, in this op-ed, to protect Israel from criticism rather than to expose its misdeeds for which it is rightly the target of the BDS program.

  2. Les
    January 31, 2014, 1:46 pm

    Nevertheless, this week the Financial Times had not one but two stories about how the Johansson Soda Stream story puts more focus on BDS.

    • James Canning
      January 31, 2014, 2:47 pm

      @Les – - And Gideon Rachman commented on BDS, online and in the FT today. And he notcd the “daydream” of illegal settlers in the West Bank, that Israel would be able to annex the entire WB.

    • seafoid
      January 31, 2014, 3:34 pm

      Thanks Les

      This is very interesting. Gideon Rachman is no Jonathan Freedland and look at what he is saying NOW. What he was saying 6 weeks ago is below.

      link to blogs.ft.com?

      “Israel has enjoyed a quiet few years. No wars, no intifada, no increase in the international pressure on the Israeli state – and a strong economy. With the rest of the Middle East in flames, it has been hard to make the traditional argument that the Israeli-Palestinian question is the key to solving all other issues – or to argue that the plight of the Palestinians is the most urgent human-rights priority in the region.

      But Israel’s quiet times may be about to end. The Scarlett Johansson controversy is just one part of it – the less important part, in fact. The other really significant element is that John Kerry seems to be about to launch his peace plan. When Kerry does that it will put Israel on the spot and may split its government. And if and when the talks fail (as I’m afraid, they surely will), Israel is likely to get a lot of the blame. The country will be back in the spotlight – and not in a good way.

      The Johansson-SodaStream controversy is significant because it highlights the fact that the movement to impose economic sanctions on the Israeli state is gradually gathering momentum. The specific disagreement between the actress and Oxfam was about a Sodastream factory that is based in an Israeli settlement on the West Bank. A sanctions movement targeted at businesses with links to the West Bank would be quite threatening in itself since, for example, all the major Israeli banks have branches in the occupied territories. But the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) has an animus against Israel that goes well beyond the question of settlements in the occupied territories. For example, one of the three main objections to Israel that BDS cites on its website is the denial of the right of return to all Palestinian refugees, displaced in 1948.

      The Johansson affair is a boost for the sanctions drive simply because it is great publicity for a movement that has been struggling to make headlines. It may also be significant that it involves a charity that has its roots in Britain – since the BDS movement is particularly strong here.

      However, the sanctions problem – while threatening to Israel in the long-term – may soon be put into the shade by the dilemma that will be presented by the unveiling of a Kerry plan for a two-state solution. Whatever his private feelings, Benjamin Netanyahu (the Israeli prime minister, in case you forgot) will probably feel compelled to back the Kerry plan – at least, in general. But many of his own Likud party are openly opposed to a two-state solution. If Likud splits and other pro-settler parties leave the governing coalition, the Israeli government would surely collapse.

      And if, despite all that, the peace process struggled onward, the Israelis would be faced with the situation they most dread – a full-on confrontation with the settler movement, as well as the final abandonment of the day-dream of incorporation of the West Bank into Israel proper. Perhaps I lack imagination or am being unfair, but I cannot see any Israeli government being willing to go down that road. However, if the two-state solution is unambiguously rejected by Israel, we will be in a new diplomatic world. Then you really would see a sanctions movement.”

      Just 6 weeks ago he wrote this

      link to ft.com
      In recent years, Benjamin Netanyahu has specialised in playing the role of prophet-in-the-wilderness. While much of the world cheered last month’s interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme, the Israeli prime minister denounced it as a “very bad deal”. In a recent speech, Mr Netanyahu warned again that the Iranian government remained a “regime committed to our destruction” and had a “genocidal policy” towards Israel.
      These dark public statements present an image of an Israel that is embattled, paranoid and isolated. But the private face of Israel’s political and business leadership is a lot more relaxed, self-confident and even arrogant – or so it seemed to me on a trip to the country last week. Looking around the world, Israelis see many economic, strategic and diplomatic developments that are positive for the Jewish state.
      If rocket fire from Gaza can be suppressed, the security threat to Israel from the Palestinians will be at its lowest ebb for many years. The wall that Israel built around the West Bank has restored a sense of security to most of the country and helped Israel to enjoy a decade of rapid economic growth, fired by the country’s highly successful technology sector.
      The Obama administration and Israeli liberals bemoan this security-based approach to the Palestinians as short-sighted – arguing that the misery and humiliation of the Palestinians will eventually prove disastrous for Israel as well. John Kerry, US secretary of state, recently warned of a “third intifada” by the Palestinians – and the EU is moving to sanction goods that are produced in the Israeli-occupied territories.
      Mr Netanyahu claims that he understands all these dangers – and has publicly endorsed the two-state solution pushed so hard by Mr Kerry. It seems entirely likely, however, that the Israeli prime minister is simply humouring his enthusiastic American visitor – and assuming that the Kerry peace effort will run into the sand, as so many have done before.
      A collapse in the peace process could lead to an intensification of the sanctions drive in Europe. But the Israelis have been buoyed by the discovery that rising economic powers seem relatively unmoved by the plight of the Palestinians. One Israeli official notes, with pleasure, that in six hours of talks with the Chinese leadership, “they spent roughly 10 seconds on the Palestinians”, while revealing “an unquenchable thirst for Israeli technology”. The Israelis say that Latin Americans also tend to be more interested in economics and technology than the political issues that preoccupy the Europeans and Americans.
      The re-emergence of Russia as a player in Middle Eastern diplomacy is also now a welcome development in Jerusalem since, on a recent trip to Moscow, Mr Netanyahu got on famously with President Vladimir Putin.
      These converging technological, diplomatic and strategic trends have created a certain cigar-puffing confidence in the halls of power in Jerusalem. I travelled to Israel expecting to find a country that was excessively paranoid. I left wondering whether the problem might, in fact, be excessive complacency. “

      • ritzl
        January 31, 2014, 8:37 pm

        Wow. Quite a shift.

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2014, 10:57 pm

        I really dig it when the elites at FT level look under Israel’s bonnet . They are the kind of people who aren’t fazed by IDF sunglasses or the attitude of ignorant conscripts at checkpoints. They don’t look at hasbara. Ben Gurion security wave them through.

        It’s very basic stuff. Cashflow, how are you going to tell your shareholders, what is the damage, what are you going to do about it. Jews who work in Wall St know this routine very well. Accountability


        “Everyone of you should feel confident and proud. We will learn from this. We have done it before. We will do it again. ”
        Fuld was Jewish, as were the Lehman Brothers.

        Accountability is the complete opposite of Ariel Sharon.
        link to nybooks.com

        Israel is supposed to be a Sonderfall, a special case. But there’s so much money involved that it can never be.

        I must read up on Achilles.

    • Les
      February 1, 2014, 11:04 am

      Here’s an update, this third story appears in the weekend edition.

      High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email [email protected] to buy additional rights. link to ft.com

      Scarlett Johansson, star whose charity work fizzled as her ad went pop

      By Peter Aspden and John Reed
      The actress has lifted her sponsor’s fame – and its critics’, say Peter Aspden and John Reed

      In a scene from Sofia Coppola’s 2003 movie Lost in Translation, Charlotte, the character played by the 17-year-old Scarlett Johansson, lies next to Bill Murray’s jaded, middle-aged actor Bob Harris in a Tokyo hotel room, both of them floundering in a torpid haze of jet-lag and existential unrest.

      “I’m stuck,” she tells her newfound friend of her fledgling life as a grown-up. “Does it get easier?”

      Well, yes and no. Since that Bafta-winning turn, Ms Johansson’s rise to Hollywood “A” list status has been smooth and highly lucrative. She has shown herself to be an intuitive and versatile actress, as comfortable in minor-key Woody Allen films as in superhero blockbusters. Her alluring screen presence has led to a dream portfolio of endorsement contracts: Calvin Klein, Moët & Chandon, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton. No company, it seems, can resist linking itself with Ms Johansson’s plentiful charms, a potent blend of girl-next-door and voluptuous seductress.

      But when she decided to join forces with SodaStream as a brand ambassador for the Israeli maker of home fizzy drink dispensers, the 29-year-old star found herself moving into waters that were distinctly choppy, rather than bubbly.

      When an advertisement for the brand due to air during Sunday’s Super Bowl premiered online, she found herself ambushed on multiple fronts. First were the grammar purists, offended by the slogan “less sugar, less bottles”. Then it was broadcaster Fox, which pulled the line “Sorry Coke and Pepsi” from the ad for fear of offending a pair of mighty corporate supporters.

      But those skirmishes proved to be of infinitesimal consequence once the ad was brought to the attention of activists in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a broad coalition of activists committed to isolating Israel’s economy until it withdraws from the Palestinian lands it occupied in 1967.

      Whatever SodaStream’s purported environmental benefits, the company makes some of its soda makers, CO2 cylinders and carbonation bottles at a factory in Mishor Adumim, an industrial estate near Jerusalem on one of Israel’s settlements, viewed internationally – even by Israel’s close ally, the US – as illegitimate.

      The BDS focused on Ms Johansson’s relationship with Oxfam, for whom she has been a global ambassador since 2005, and began to exert pressure on the charity to drop her from the role. Following a pointed exchange of statements between Oxfam and Ms Johansson, the actress said she would remain SodaStream’s ambassador but was dropping her Oxfam role. A spokesman said she was parting ways because of a “fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement” with Oxfam. The charity released a relieved-sounding statement of its own saying that her relationship was “incompatible with her role as an Oxfam global ambassador”.

      With a Danish-born father and a mother who worked as a producer, Ms Johansson was brought up in New York, where she attended the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan, making her screen debut at the age of nine in the 1994 comedy North. A cameo in Home Alone 3 and a widely praised performance in Robert Redford’s 1998 The Horse Whisperer followed.

      She has shown little taste for geopolitics. Appearing on the David Letterman show in January, she even bridled when her host made a joke about her partying during a recent visit to “Commie” Shanghai. “You’re not allowed to say that!” she responded, before shutting the door on him with a mild look of panic on her face: “I don’t want to participate in this conversation!”

      Did Ms Johansson know what she was getting herself into? Thus far her statements have been measured and confident, lauding SodaStream’s commitment to “building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine”. Ms Johansson’s maternal family is of Ashkenazi Jewish roots. Still, she may well have been unaware of the potentially incendiary effects of her actions.

      The Hollywood stars of today are advised and generally cosseted by a phalanx of PR consultants. Their views on contentious topics are airbrushed as surely as their physical blemishes. But this is the age of social media, in which reputations can be trashed within minutes. The anti-Johansson lobby gleefully pounced on a line from the SodaStream ad – “If only I could make this message go viral!” says the actress huskily – and has duly granted her wish with a plethora of doctored images and online slogans (“Set the bubbles free, not the Palestinians!”).

      Perhaps the biggest disappointment for fans of Ms Johansson’s acting talents is the sheer banality of the ad. The star’s stiff and cliched turn is strangely reminiscent of Bill Murray’s performance-within-a-performance in her breakthrough film of 11 years ago. The cool indie beauty of that time has turned disappointingly corporate. Something appears to have been lost in translation all right.

      As for the anti-Israeli lobby, it is discovering to its pleasant surprise that a sprinkle of stardust can grant instant worldwide access to a long-fought and infernally complicated campaign. The ruckus comes at a delicate time for Israel, which is immersed in its latest round of peace talks with the Palestinians on the creation of an independent state. The future of the settlements is on the table, and threatening the stability of Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightwing and centrist coalition. Members of Mr Netanyahu’s cabinet, led by finance minister Yair Lapid, have voiced worries that Israel could be subjected to a broader economic boycott if the peace talks fail.

      It is hard to believe that such portentous issues should suddenly become the focus of the world’s attention thanks to a glitzy blonde pushing a fizzy drink. But this is a multi-layered world. Celebrities on the make think twice – that brand “ambassadorship” you are after may turn out to be a more complicated job than you have ever imagined.

      The writers are respectively the FT’s arts and Jerusalem correspondents

    • Les
      February 1, 2014, 11:51 am

      And this editorial in the same Financial Times weekend edition.

      January 31, 2014 7:29 pm
      A star stumbles in the settlements
      Scarlett Johansson’s defence of her sponsor is naive

      The decision by actress Scarlett Johansson to stop being an ambassador for Oxfam, the social justice charity, and continue as brand ambassador to SodaStream, an Israeli company that makes home-carbonated drink dispensers at a plant in the occupied West Bank, might be dismissed as a storm in a fizzy cup. It should not be.

      The Lost in Translation star has accidentally turned a searchlight on an important issue – whether it is right or lawful to do business with companies that operate in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land – as well as inadvertently sprinkling stardust on the campaign to boycott Israel until it withdraws from the occupied West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem – a separate issue, at least so far.

      SodaStream makes some dispensers in Maale Adumim, the biggest of Israel’s West Bank settlements, illegal under international law. It employs about 500 Palestinians and claims to promote jobs and peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Jews. Ms Johansson says the company is “building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine”. That is naive, as is her conflation of this controversy with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement advocating the isolation of Israel.

      The status of the settlements is clear in international law even if Israel chooses to ignore this and expand its colonisation of Palestinian land, while ostensibly negotiating on the creation of a Palestinian state. Last year the EU adopted rules prohibiting grants to entities operating in illegal settlements. Yet the EU still let Israel into Horizon 2020 – the only non-member state in this €80bn research and development programme – making Israeli tech high flyers eligible for European public money provided it is not spent in the settlements.

      That is not a boycott. It is the application of the law. Yet if Israel maintains its occupation, and spurns the peace terms being negotiated by US secretary of state John Kerry, such distinctions will erode. European pension funds are already starting to pull their investments in Israeli banks with branches in the settlements.

      Israeli leaders, from former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert to Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, justice and finance ministers in the present rightwing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, have warned that Israel faces ostracism unless it makes a deal on Palestine. Now it is the settlements that are being targeted. But that could easily morph into a general boycott.

      It is disingenuous to romanticise settlement enterprises. The occupation imprisons thousands of the Palestinians’ young men, gives their land and water to settlers, demolishes their houses and partitions the remaining territory with scores of checkpoints and segregated roads. There are almost no basic foundations for an economy. The way to create Palestinian jobs is to end the occupation and let Palestinians build those foundations – not to build “bridges to peace” on other people’s land without their permission.

  3. Citizen
    January 31, 2014, 1:59 pm

    Informative article, thanks Alex K!

  4. unverified__5ilf90kd
    January 31, 2014, 2:17 pm

    You point out that Goodman and Kershner are partners and that Goodman has worked on PR strategies for Israel. This is of course part of the conflict of interest that many Israel partisans suffer from. But my gripe is that you do not say that they are Jews. it may be obvious to you and to some educated people but I live in the Southern USA and our folks have no idea about this. They do not realize that so many in the media are Jewish and because of this they fail to grasp the possible conflict of interest that has poisoned our political system.

    • pabelmont
      January 31, 2014, 5:26 pm

      Unverified:

      The point is not that Goodman and Kershner are Jews.

      You miss something. Please explain it to others in the southern states:

      The point is not that Goodman and Kershner are Jews (so am I, so are Adam and Phil).

      The point is that they are Zionists and, either actually or in effect — whether through Zionist ideology or the loyalty of marriage or the loyalty of citizenship — aparatchiks of the state of Israel. Their job is to make propaganda (hasbara) FOR Israel. And for NYT — whether it knows it or not and almost certainly it knows it. How could it not?

      Their reporting is therefore deliberately misleading. any reporter can get things wrong, but these folks are paid to get them wrong.

      So, no, the point is not that they are Jews.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 31, 2014, 6:15 pm

        “The point is not that Goodman and Kershner are Jews… The point is that they are Zionists.”

        That’s exactly right. In fact, one of the biggest issues in getting reasonable justice for the Palestinians lies with the Christians in American and elsewhere who support zionism rather than supporting justice and human rights.

      • Sumud
        January 31, 2014, 7:19 pm

        +1 pablemont.

      • kevin
        January 31, 2014, 9:13 pm

        Pabelmont I usually agree with your posts but on this one you’re wrong. The person you are responding to and I have the same right to question Jewish over-representation in the media as an African American in the 1960′s had the same right to question white male over-representation and cultural bias at the anchor desk.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 31, 2014, 11:03 pm

        personally, it does bother me most people who get a platform in the media, when discussing israel, are jewish. not that we don’t get some non jews on occasion discussing israel but they are generally instruments of the lobby like mark kirk or lindsay graham. but op eds and columnists and journos reporting on the area, it’s almost always jewish people (and many of them quite good) and the occasional palestinian thrown in for good measure. other than that it’s rare. very rare and too rare. where are all the voices of the other people. why are we so on the back seat? the lion’s share of americans are rarely heard on this issue and i believe that is by design, of course. but this constant thing with the media, whether it is in the papers or on tv, using jewish reporters and pundits to discuss israel is weird. in my opinion anyway.

        but i don’t advocate fixing that by every jewish journo announcing their ethnicity as qualifiers to discuss the topic. like, ‘i’m jewish and i think this about israel’. well.. ‘i’m jewish too and i feel like that about israel.’

        it shouldn’t matter what ethnicity you are when you discuss the topic, but after years it’s not hard to figure out we don’t matter or we’re being silenced.

        and that’s not always the case, there are exceptions. a few.

      • kevin
        January 31, 2014, 11:46 pm

        Jews are 2% of the U.S. population. That’s roughly the percentage of input they should have in the media discussion of U.S. Middle East Policy.

        No?

      • American
        February 1, 2014, 1:08 am

        pabelmont says:
        January 31, 2014 at 5:26 pm
        Unverified:

        The point is not that Goodman and Kershner are Jews.>>>>

        Well yes it is actually.
        Because whether they are Zionist Jews or anti Zionist Jews the fact remains they are Jews and the Jewish ethno/religo group who is only .o15% of the American population takes up 90% of the discussion and puts out 90% of the opinions in the press and media on Israel and I/P.

        There are 5.5 million Jews in the US and 325 million non Jews.
        And it doesnt even need saying that the Jewish Zionist network in the media deliberately excludes and tries to silence expert and FP non Jewish opinions.
        Because of this we dont see a Walt or a Chas Freeman as a regular commenter or guest on news programs. We see Israeli spokesmen for the most part.
        They think the Israel issue belongs only to Jews because Israel is the Jewish state.
        Its like a celebration on here when some non Jew like Chris Hayes even alludes to the I Lobby.
        However, try as they might they havent been able to control the internet.

      • unverified__5ilf90kd
        February 1, 2014, 1:17 am

        Thank you for your response Pabelmont. Unfortunately many people in the South think Zionism is some obscure sect like Zoroastrianism. Seriously. I do get your points.

        However, I think the point that Zionists are Jews is of great significance. Let me explain. There are huge numbers of Jews who are financially and morally supporting the activities of these Zionists and their many organizational structures. I simply see Zionists as a major subset of Jews. I was trained as a scientist and this is how I think logically. Not all Jews are Zionists as you point out although most of the Jews I have had discussions with (hundreds) turn out to be Zionists when I question them. But basically all Zionists are Jews. I think it is important to use the words Jew or Jewish more openly because this forces Jews to personally face the irrationality of their major sub-set called Zionists and to face their own responsibilities in potentially providing support for these Zionists who are in the process of aiding the self-destruction of Israel and causing chaos for the rest of us. Some would imply that I should not refer to Zionists as Jews because you and some fellow travelers are not Zionists. This is not rational. Perhaps some Jews do not want Zionists to give Jews a bad reputation, therefore they suppress the use of the word Jew in association with the word Zionist (or rightwing Israeli). Or Jews could potentially conceal their personal support for Zionist arguments by ensuring that Zionists are not called Jews in the US media but are always called Zionists or rightwing Israelis. Just as the Zionists are suppressing most criticism and some discussion of Israel by calling us all anti-Semites etc if we dare to contradict them. They even call Kerry an anti-Semite. I think that the important point is that they are Jews and the Jews educated them to be Zionists and thus seeded and developed their irrationality. The Jews are responsible for these irrational thoughts and irrational behavior of the Zionists. Unfortunately, in the USA if you make the statement that someone is Jew, it actually has emotional baggage. Lots of emotional baggage. You can almost hear the Nazis saying “He is a Jew”. So, let’s face it – just saying the word Jew makes a lot of people cringe (both Jews and Gentiles). It is as though I was about to start into an anti-semitic rant or that I really mean to imply that this Jew exhibits some stereotypes that anti-Semites might traditionally expound. So when I say “Zionists are Jews” it actually has the same cringeworthy effect, whether I like it or not. Saying the word Jew is therefore potentially suppressed and rather than being used as a cultural, religious or historical designation it tends to be avoided by non-Jews. Similarly many whites in the South are reluctant to use the word “black” in reference to African-American. The paranoia and fear concerning the use of the word Jew has been heightened by the dramatic use of the word anti-Semite towards Gentiles who are critical of anything remotely Jewish or Israeli.

        I was reared in Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles and eventually moved to the USA. Everyone in Northern Ireland was like a Zionist – he thought that the entire country belonged to him and his group. There were Protestant Zionists and Catholic Zionists. The Protestants had a lot in common with the Israelis and the Catholics were like Palestinian terrorists. There is a lot that Jews and Israelis can learn from the Northern Ireland problem. The Catholics were blamed for creating the IRA and supporting the IRA. No one is offended by this. Similarly the Jews are responsible for Zionists and the horrors of occupation and subjugation in Palestine. It is a fact. Most Protestants and Catholics had been indoctrinated by their mothers and families to hate the other side and distrust them. Each side believed in the concept that the other side was bound and determined to undermine their political system and annihilate them personally. This was indeed irrational but this has changed significantly over the last two generations and now we have a real peace. Clinton, Blair and George Mitchell played a very significant role in this metamorphosis and many in Northern Ireland decided that despite their irrational beliefs they would do what it took to make the terrorists put down their arms. The Protestants like me accepted two IRA terrorists into the government as Ministers of Health and Education and signed on to a power sharing agreement. If we could do it, Israel and Palestine can do it. I myself changed completely, abandoned my youthful irrational thoughts and signed on for the peace process as proposed by George Mitchell. Just like this, if I had been a rabid rightwing Israeli I would have converted and signed on with John Kerry.

        I detect that a lot of US Jews are thinking about Israel like citizens of Northern Ireland thought about the land of Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s. When I read the refreshing Mondoweiss I realize that the transition is starting in the USA and you will eventually pass into a state of Nirvana like we have already achieved in Northern Ireland. When I lived in Northern Ireland during those times I started to say similar rational truths about Protestants and Catholics comparable to what Pablemont just wrote about Zionists in response to my testy use of the word Jews. I was lucky to get out of Northern Ireland without being maimed. But after that, when I was a Professor at US medical schools, if I had said what Pabelmont just said about Zionists etc. I would have also been blackballed but not directly harmed physically. But the punishing effects would have been the same. No kidding. Now that I am retired I can say what I feel for the first time. It is a refreshing state of mind. I am in awe when I read the remarkable statements made by Pablemont, Adam, Phil and others in Mondoweiss. When I first realized the immensity of the effects of these Zionist distortions on intellectual life and free thought in the USA, I was stunned but inhibited and afraid to comment. Following the brave example of these others and also Alan Finkelstein, Max Blumenthal and MJ Rosenberg to name but a few (all remarkable Jews) I have lost my former inhibitions. There is also a potential conflict of interest in that when a Jew criticizes Israel, he receives a more muted response from the jewish community than that directed at a critical Gentile. He is just a self-loathing Jew.

        To summarize my main arguments, I see Zionism as a conflict of interest for anyone who writes about Israel (beware) but I see being Jewish as a “potential” conflict of interest (be cautious). That is it in a nutshell.

      • American
        February 1, 2014, 12:34 pm

        unverified__5ilf90kd says:
        February 1, 2014 at 1:17 am

        Excellent analysis.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        February 1, 2014, 8:01 pm

        Zionists are not just a subset of Jews. Non-Jewish Zionism goes back at least as far as Jewish Zionism. Napoleon was a non-Jewish Zionist, for instance. Regina Sharif has written an excellent book on the subject (“Non-Jewish Zionism: Its Roots in Western History”).

        Please consider the fact that the Balfour Declaration was supported by all members of the British Cabinet but one. The lone minister who opposed Zionism was also the only Jew in the Cabinet. All its non-Jewish members were Zionists.

        Collective responsibility is a slippery concept. It is an easy transition from collective responsibility to collective guilt, with all the injustices that entails. I would sooner say that each individual is individually responsible for his or her actions — or inaction. And responsibility is proportional to what each individual is in a position to do. Whether you are Jewish or not, you are culpable not only if you support Zionism but even if you remain silent and fail to oppose it. But if you do what you can to oppose Zionism, why should you be held responsible for it?

      • Talkback
        February 2, 2014, 9:20 am

        unverified: Unfortunately many people in the South think Zionism is some obscure sect like Zoroastrianism.

        Perhaps Zionism is an obscure sect OF Zoroastrianism considering the similiarities of the later developed obscure sects of Abrahamic monotheism, eschatology and demonology, etc.

        Damn those Persian manipulative bazaaris who, again, seem to be much longer in the game, LOL.

        But basically all Zionists are Jews.

        What? The majority of them are “Christians” by far. We are talking about a couple of 100 of millions.

    • Marco
      January 31, 2014, 7:38 pm

      I agree with unverified.

      It does matter, frankly. We want to draw parallels with apartheid South Africa, but seem unwilling to go all the way.

      Well: if there was a substantial Afrikaner community in the U.S. and it was dominated by a pro-Apartheid majority (while at the same time having a vibrant anti-Apartheid minority), it would be reasonable to observe how many Afrikaners were in the media and how they seemed to monopolize coverage of South Africa.

      That observation wouldn’t be anti-Afrikaner anymore than unverified’s comment is prejudiced.

      • unverified__5ilf90kd
        February 1, 2014, 1:27 am

        Marco, you have hit the nail on the head. You have made a brilliant analogy that may help the irrational to detect their irrationality. Unfortunately the irrational usually tell you that the analogy is not relevant and Israel is a different situation that only they understand or you don’t understand it because your not intelligent like them. Or something irrational or irrelevant like that. But each succeeding generation will be different and will change more. There is hope. Well done and thanks.

  5. adele
    January 31, 2014, 2:27 pm

    So basically, Hirsh and his ilk of Liberal Zionists were fine with the apartheid conditions in Palestine and the myriad human rights abuses meted out by the State of Israel, but now that the world is no longer intimated and is putting pressure on them, they are conceding that “perhaps” Israel went a little too far? Disgraceful. But I do love the fact that the more they try to improve Israel’s image, the more they and Israel are exposed for what they are. Ain’t no digging themselves out of the hole they themselves made.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    January 31, 2014, 3:01 pm

    RE: “In apartheid South Africa, people disappeared in the night without the protection of any legal process and were never heard from again. There was no freedom of speech or expression and more ‘judicial’ hangings were reportedly carried out there than any place on earth.” ~ Goodman

    MY SNARK: Wait just a doggone minute! The despicable apartheid South Africa Goodman describes can’t possibly be the same apartheid South Africa that Israel supported right up until the bitter end (including Israel’s trying the help said apartheid South Africa acquire and/or develop nuclear weopons*).
    Can it be?
    Say it ain’t so!

    * SEE – “Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons”, by Chris McGreal in Washington, theguardian.com, 5/23/10
    Exclusive: Secret apartheid-era papers give first official evidence of Israeli nuclear weapons

    [EXCERPTS] Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.
    The “top secret” minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa’s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them “in three sizes”.
    The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that “the very existence of this agreement” was to remain secret. . .
    . . . The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa’s post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky’s request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week’s nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.
    They will also undermine Israel’s attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a “responsible” power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.
    A spokeswoman for Peres today said the report was baseless and there were “never any negotiations” between the two countries. She did not comment on the authenticity of the documents. . .
    . . . The documents show both sides met on 31 March 1975. Polakow-Suransky writes in his book published in the US this week, “The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s secret alliance with apartheid South Africa”. At the talks Israeli officials “formally offered to sell South Africa some of the nuclear-capable Jericho missiles in its arsenal”.
    Among those attending the meeting was the South African military chief of staff, Lieutenant General RF Armstrong. He immediately drew up a memo in which he laid out the benefits of South Africa obtaining the Jericho missiles but only if they were fitted with nuclear weapons.
    The memo, marked “top secret” and dated the same day as the meeting with the Israelis, has previously been revealed but its context was not fully understood because it was not known to be directly linked to the Israeli offer on the same day and that it was the basis for a direct request to Israel. In it, Armstrong writes: “In considering the merits of a weapon system such as the one being offered, certain assumptions have been made: a) That the missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads manufactured in RSA (Republic of South Africa) or acquired elsewhere.”
    But South Africa was years from being able to build atomic weapons. A little more than two months later, on 4 June, Peres and Botha met in Zurich. By then the Jericho project had the codename Chalet.
    The top secret minutes of the meeting record that: “Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload being available.” The document then records: “Minister Peres said the correct payload was available in three sizes. Minister Botha expressed his appreciation and said that he would ask for advice.” The “three sizes” are believed to refer to the conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.
    The use of a euphemism, the “correct payload”, reflects Israeli sensitivity over the nuclear issue and would not have been used had it been referring to conventional weapons. It can also only have meant nuclear warheads as Armstrong’s memorandum makes clear South Africa was interested in the Jericho missiles solely as a means of delivering nuclear weapons.

    In addition, the only payload the South Africans would have needed to obtain from Israel was nuclear. The South Africans were capable of putting together other warheads.
    Botha did not go ahead with the deal in part because of the cost. In addition, any deal would have to have had final approval by Israel’s prime minister and it is uncertain it would have been forthcoming.
    South Africa eventually built its own nuclear bombs, albeit possibly with Israeli assistance. But the collaboration on military technology only grew over the following years. South Africa also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its weapons.
    The documents confirm accounts by a former South African naval commander, Dieter Gerhardt – jailed in 1983 for spying for the Soviet Union. After his release with the collapse of apartheid, Gerhardt said there was an agreement between Israel and South Africa called Chalet which involved an offer by the Jewish state to arm eight Jericho missiles with “special warheads”. Gerhardt said these were atomic bombs. But until now there has been no documentary evidence of the offer. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to theguardian.com

  7. ssalbe
    January 31, 2014, 3:20 pm

    Goodman is a South African Israeli and not the other way around. Why do you keep reversing the order? This is not the first time. Can someone provide an answer, please? [And the New York Times also so does it, would probably not be a good answer.]

    • Annie Robbins
      January 31, 2014, 11:26 pm

      OT, hi ssalbe. do you happen to be the same person who wrote that nice thing about my article on FB? thank you so much. i would have chimed in but i am not a member.

      sorry for the OT. couple things, if you are the same person that graphic came straight from oxfam. and the reference to the song that person thought was racist…well, it just meant we couldn’t have asked for more. like the lyrics to the song say, mother nature got the angels to rearrange the sky, change the winds, there’s a storm coming, the heavens opened up and delivered us a miracle. that’s all i meant. just thought i’d clear that up. and, it’s a very popular song. link to independent.co.uk

      and if you are not that person, please ignore this. everyone else too.

  8. Ecru
    January 31, 2014, 3:21 pm

    Ethics and Zionism. Go together like….well things that never ever go together. Like black holes and ballet dancing hippopotami.

  9. marc b.
    January 31, 2014, 3:32 pm

    a bout of liberal Zionist schizophrenia

    that sums it up. and it’s just so natural. no Jekyll and Hyde potion necessary.

    Military occupation comes with checkpoints, antiterrorist barriers, military courts, armed soldiers and tanks. That’s the reality, no matter what your politics, and just the ammunition the Palestinians and their supporters need in their new war.

    except that ‘ammunition’ and ‘war’ in the context of BDS are metaphors, whereas ‘house demolitions’ and ‘tanks’ are not.

  10. seafoid
    January 31, 2014, 3:35 pm

    Some great stuff over at the FT
    link to blogs.ft.com
    David Seaton | January 30 7:08pm | Permalink

    “The all time best remark on Israel, was Henry Kissinger’s, when he said he wished that the Bible had been written in Uganda. That about sums it up. I think that the Israelis have painted themselves into a terrible corner.
    The west portrays “human rights” as their signature ideology. How to square that with unwavering support for Israeli policies?
    Someone mentioned the Jews who lived in Baghdad… We might remark that they had lived there for 4,000 years (FOUR THOUSAND YEARS) till 1948, without being persecuted. ”

    Christianity, not Islam has a history of antisemitism… The Muslims are not fighting Jews as Jews, they are fighting a colonial-apartheid occupation.

    • yonah fredman
      January 31, 2014, 3:39 pm

      One word seafoid: farhud. “Without being persecuted” is the form of generalization and exaggeration that some people might call a lie.

      • Cliff
        January 31, 2014, 3:45 pm

        Thank you brave Wondering Jew.

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2014, 4:24 pm

        Yonah

        Go back to your handlers and tell them we need fresh hasbara .
        You are fighting a great rearguard action but the enemy is winning. Justice is moving forward.

        Goodman or Hersh- it hardly matters at this stage.
        They have nothing to counter the charge than Zionism is fundamentally unjust .

        Not even the chief wizard bibi can deliver.

        Fresh memes now !

        I’ll be back tomorrow and the day after and after that hatta al intifada.

      • gamal
        January 31, 2014, 6:26 pm

        A really excellent paper from young Ari, and yes he deals with the Farhud, its not the central interest of this paper, which is all context, for those who are hampered by a lack of information, I have seen papers which concentrate on the odd maneuvers of the British Army that day and the toppling of the anti-British government etc, but if you are interested Mr Alexander does a great job.

        The Jews of Baghdad and Zionism: 1920-1948
        Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Masters of Philosophy in Modern Middle Eastern Studies
        Faculty of Oriental Studies University of Oxford
        Ari Alexander
        Magdalen College Trinity Term
        link to users.ox.ac.uk

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2014, 7:23 pm

        Gamal

        To paraphrase Galbraith, hasbara is a feeble reed on which to lean.
        Even if you have lots of money.

        Shukran gazeelan ya bash mohandis.

      • Giles
        February 1, 2014, 10:00 am

        Always the victim. Always the only victim

  11. Annie Robbins
    January 31, 2014, 3:39 pm

    top notch/great article alex

  12. MHughes976
    January 31, 2014, 6:14 pm

    Perhaps Goodman might have said ‘My view of the situation in Israel corresponds with the reportage of this newspaper, and I should admit that I may be more influenced to believe that reportage by the fact that much of it is written by my wife’ but I think his not doing so is at worst a peccadillo. The ethical principle is more about the reporter’s disclosing contact with the opinionator, if that’s a word, rather than the other way around.
    But he doesn’t convince me that the brutality of checkpoints where documents – documents needed at checkpoints are always, in a sense, passes – are inspected or the severity of the prison system or the underlying intention to maintain power in the hands of a group set apart by a criterion of ancestry are a world away from each other in the two cases.
    Again, it is interesting that this is part of the propaganda battle surrounding the Kerry Proposal and an illustration of how momentous that proposal could be. If Kerry and Obama do have the determination to go ahead it will be very difficult to stop them. Politicians in Israel threatening to break coalitions and politicians in America threatening to pass warmongering legislation are not in the end, if they are really challenged, going to be stronger than the evidently massive weight of public opinion in the United States and worldwide. The only shame is that public opinion is not guided by moral sentiments but by impatience with the whole business and fear of oil price rises.

  13. seafoid
    January 31, 2014, 7:56 pm

    Avishai Margalit on Sharon

    link to nybooks.com

  14. ToivoS
    January 31, 2014, 8:33 pm

    This quote from Goodman is revealing: as long as Israel continues with the status quo. Military occupation comes with checkpoints, antiterrorist barriers, military courts, armed soldiers and tanks. That’s the reality, no matter what your politics, and just the ammunition the Palestinians and their supporters need in their new war.

    Do note. He is not criticizing Israel directly for all of this suppression of the Palestinians, it is that is gives ” the ammunition the Palestinians and their supporters need in their new war.”

    That is just too much. Oppression of the Palestinians is OK but not if it gives the Palestinians ammunition to criticize Israel. This is the husband of the NYT correspondent in Israel? There is something really sick inside the NYT if they cannot see that there is something wrong here.

    Let us rework this quote: as long as Alabama continues with the status quo. Segregation comes with black only, white only public facilities, KKK enforced separations, white controlled courts, and armed police. That’s the reality, no matter what your politics, and just the ammunition the black people and their supporters need in their new war.

  15. John Douglas
    January 31, 2014, 9:03 pm

    Hirsh Goodman writes that Israel must work with Kerry and accept a two-state situation to escape further boycotts. I hope I’m wrong but I fear that the last and greatest gift from the U.S. to Israel will be Palestine as a Potemkin village of a state having been forced upon the Palestinian leadership, undercutting BDS while the settlers remain and Hamas and Gaza are out in the cold.

  16. Henry Norr
    February 1, 2014, 2:22 pm

    In the very small, light-grey notes just under the Barghouti and Goodman op-eds, it says they appear in the National edition of the Times. Under most NYT stories – not just local NY news, but also basic national and international news, the official editorials, the regular columnists, etc. – the note says “appears in the New York edition.” I’m not sure what to make of the distinction, but could it mean that they are not printing this debate in the print paper distributed in the NY metro area? If any of you who live in NYC have already received the Sunday Times, can you confirm whether or not these pieces – Barghouti’s in particular – were actually printed?

  17. iResistDe4iAm
    February 3, 2014, 2:00 am

    “In apartheid South Africa, people disappeared in the night without the protection of any legal process and were never heard from again. There was no freedom of speech or expression and more “judicial” hangings were reportedly carried out there than any place on earth. There was no free press and, until January 1976, no public television. Masses of black people were forcibly moved from tribal lands to arid Bantustans in the middle of nowhere. A “pass system” stipulated where blacks could live and work, splitting families and breaking down social structures, to provide cheap labor for the mines and white-owned businesses, and a plentiful pool of domestic servants for the white minority.” ~ Hirsh Goodman

    In apartheid Israel, people still disappear in the night including children (some as young as 9) who are routinely tortured until they sign confessions they cannot read, or detained until acquitted by a military “legal process”.
    A “legal process” so barbaric that children who are forced to “confess” usually spend less time imprisoned than children who are acquitted[1].
    A “legal process” so corrupt that it results in a near perfect conviction rate of 99.74% for Palestinian adults[2], an even higher conviction rate of 99.88% for Palestinian children[3], and a 98.77% approval for administrative detention requests[2] (imprisonment without charge or trial).

    More summary executions without trial (primarily by warplanes in residential areas) are carried out there than any place on earth.

    Masses of Palestinian people are forcibly moved from tribal lands after having their homes demolished, their crops uprooted/burnt, and their lands confiscated.

    A “pass system” of 101 different types of permits[4], a maze of checkpoints & roadblocks, besieged enclaves, and an illegal wall encroaching on Palestinian land, stipulate where Palestinians could live and work, splitting families and breaking down social structures, to provide cheap labor for the colonial industrial parks and Israeli-owned businesses.

    [1] link to btselem.org
    [2] link to haaretz.com
    [3] link to haaretz.com
    [4] link to haaretz.com

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