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‘New York Times’ normalizes the blockade of Gaza

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Donald Johnson writes:

Today the New York Times has a big article on the first page of its world news section, “Hamas Turns Back 37 Gaza War Orphans From a Bridge-Building Trip to Israel.”

Thirty-seven young war orphans from Gaza set out on Sunday for a rare visit to Israel. They got as far as the Erez border crossing at the northern end of the Palestinian coastal enclave. There the Hamas authorities turned them back, barring the visit at the last minute.

The Israeli organizer explicitly says that the purpose of the trip was to give the 37 Gazans a positive view of Israelis because they will some day be leaders.

“In 20 or 30 years, these children will be the leaders in Gaza,” Mr. [Yoel] Marshak [of the Kibbutz movement] said. “The idea was to give them a positive experience in Israel…”

The unspoken assumption in both his statement and in the article itself is that the conflict is caused because Palestinians have hostile feelings towards Israelis, and this has nothing to do with anything that Israel does, and so the solution is to let a few of them out of this open-air prison for a brief time when they are children so that they will like Israelis. Apparently everyone on both sides favors this wonderful idea, except the stupid Hamas bureaucrats (and actually, I don’t doubt that Hamas bureaucrats are as stupid as any other), and so Hamas is solely responsible for the hatred that Gazans will feel for Israelis.

Fuel the MomentumA summary of the Gazan war is given, which gives the Israeli view and doesn’t mention the fact that Gazans are united in their loathing of the prison sentence that Israel and Egypt have forced on them.

I used to favor the form of activism where children on both sides get together, and I still don’t oppose it, but it’s clear that its main function is to make liberal Zionists feel better about themselves. Unless Israel changes its behavior it won’t accomplish anything except that main function.

Marshak, from the Kibbutz movement

Marshak, from the Kibbutz movement

And while I’m sure everyone at the NYT would deny it, including the public editor, the NYT is acting like an organization doing everything in its power to protect the liberal Zionist brand and put the blame back on the Zionist right and the Palestinians for the conflict.

James North adds:

They’re giving big prominence to this story in the New York Times, but when activists from Europe and America are turned away at Ben Gurion airport by Israeli authorities and bundled on to planes to fly home, there’s no story.

Marshak is characterized as a leftist. He is a member of the Kibbutz movement and a Labor supporter. I’d question his leftist bona fides. No kibbutz ever accepted Palestinian members, as leftists Jeff Halper and Tzvia Thier have said on this site.

In the fifth paragraph, the article says, “Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and is sworn to its destruction.” Technically this is true– though, what is destruction? Moreover, as Jerry Slater has meticulously documented, there is plenty of information suggesting that this Hamas position has shifted in a practical direction. No one should cover up for Hamas, but any story that includes the line about Hamas’s stated position ought also to say: “However, independent observers say that Hamas is willing to have a longtime truce that de facto recognizes Israel as part of a peace agreement.”

 

About Donald Johnson and James North

Donald Johnson and James North are independent NY writers

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26 Responses

  1. italian ex-pat
    December 29, 2014, 2:31 pm

    Let me see if I get this right. These 37 war-orphans from Gaza (and I have to assume their parents were killed by the IDF) were to be “treated” to a sightseeing trip to the very country responsible for making them orphans . And the purpose was to give them a “positive” view of the Israelis??
    With all respect, this is like inviting some jewish children out of a concentration camp in Nazi Germany for a tour of some nearby towns to show them how great the German people are.

    Is this someone’s idea of a sick joke, or am I missing something here?

    • eGuard
      December 29, 2014, 4:14 pm

      The meeting. The meeting where they decided: “37”.

      • a blah chick
        December 29, 2014, 10:59 pm

        Probably sat around the same table they used to calculate how many calories Gazans’ need so they could figure out how much food to let in.

        It’s just plain evil.

    • amigo
      December 29, 2014, 6:13 pm

      “With all respect, this is like inviting some jewish children out of a concentration camp in Nazi Germany for a tour of some nearby towns to show them how great the German people are.” italian ex pat.

      Now wait for the usual apologists to remind us that the IDF did not kill all the Palestinian children.That is the sick logic we are dealing with.

      • Kay24
        December 29, 2014, 9:31 pm

        They cannot deny that fact. The entire world saw kids being blown up during the Gaza massacre a few months ago.

        This is simply yet another freebee brainwashing trip. Our Congress goes through this, our College kids go through this, members of the media go through this, and it seems they all come back totally dedicated, and loyal to, Israel. This must be another “brilliant” zionist plan, and it is devious as usual.

  2. Annie Robbins
    December 29, 2014, 4:28 pm

    either way this went it was exploiting palestinian child victims of the war for hasbara purposes. it would have been a big story whether the kids went or didn’t. me, i wouldn’t let my child out of my site for a trip to the other side that just bombed and killed my mate (all of the kids lost at least parent in the last slaughter). if israel was interested it showing a good side they could send their own innocent children to gaza.

    • a blah chick
      December 29, 2014, 5:11 pm

      How about Israel lift the blockade, that would help these kids more than a day at the petting zoo.

      So I’m to believe that the same vile creatures who are indifferent to dead babies in ice cream coolers are suddenly full of humanity about giving little Palestinian children a day out of jail for a photo op.

      This story has pushed all my buttons, words fail me.

    • ritzl
      December 29, 2014, 8:06 pm

      Exactly. If this was even remotely sincere, it would have been an exchange.

  3. talknic
    December 29, 2014, 4:51 pm

    Say ….. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.634140
    The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday closed the Erez border crossing indefinitely

  4. eGuard
    December 29, 2014, 4:57 pm

    Some mind twisters in the cheerleading NYT.

    Among the Israeli casualties was a 4-year-old boy killed by a mortar shell in a kibbutz along the border with Gaza. Why mention? That does not count as an orphan. Is NYT saying: you know, that one will not become a leader?

    Why tour the West Bank? To threaten Palestinians: look what we’ll do to your children? Like hostages standing for a window, at gunpoint?

    the safari park in nearby Ramat Gan. What safari? Wild Palestinians in a cage? Or for treatment in the animal hospital? Stroll the Jarisha remainings?

    Mr. Abbas’s Fatah party and Hamas signed a reconciliation pact in April (…) That pact appears to have changed little so far in Gaza. Eh, nothing changed in Gaza since? It was bombed to rubble because of this agreement. Ask the orphans.

    Jerusalem is not in the itinerary. That would be spoiling.

    “Marshak said Tuesday evening that the humanitarian effort was meant to ease the orphans’ suffering and not aid terrorists. “The Kibbutz Movement educates its sons to be the first on the battlefield and kill the enemy before being killed, but …” (btw, he said this in 2009. And the number of children was 48, not 11. Did they survive 2012 and 2014?) http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3663039,00.html

    • ritzl
      December 29, 2014, 8:56 pm

      “Did they (any of the 48) survive?”

      That is an f’ing brilliant question eGuard.

      And thanks for your comment on this at EI. It added supreme amplifying context for that article. This is a pattern of double cruelty to these children, not just some recent “light bulb” event.

  5. Giles
    December 29, 2014, 5:14 pm

    Saw this dishonest accounting all over the mainstream media.

    This was nothing but propaganda by Israel. They are really sick; nothing is ever done out of the goodness of their hearts. All is done to advance their agenda.

    Less vicious but a good example of this is when they rushed a team of doctors to Haiti following the earthquake a few years back and pulled them out after a week and then spent months bragging about how Israel was the first nation to provide medical help for Haiti (leaving out the part about how short a period of time the medial team was there).

    • amigo
      December 29, 2014, 5:58 pm

      “Less vicious but a good example of this is when they rushed a team of doctors to Haiti following the earthquake a few years back ” Giles.

      Was that the time Jodi Rudoren went along to report on how the Israel Doctors were helping the Haitians.Not a word about the Doctors from her own country.

      • Giles
        December 30, 2014, 8:15 am

        Jodi Rudoren and every other news outlet.

  6. amigo
    December 29, 2014, 5:55 pm

    “The Israeli organizer explicitly says that the purpose of the trip was to give the 37 Gazans a positive view of Israelis because they will some day be leaders. ”

    So Israel is picking the leaders of the future State of Palestine.One for each Bantustan .
    And how do they know who the Palestinians will pick as “Their ” leaders.

    I thought the book on end of chutzpah had already been written.

    • SQ Debris
      December 29, 2014, 8:45 pm

      If those kids Are going to be Palestine’s future leaders then hide them in the deepest bunker you’ve got. Palestinian leaders have a funny habit of dying at the hands of Israelis.

      • CigarGod
        December 30, 2014, 9:11 am

        Exactly right.

    • ritzl
      December 29, 2014, 8:46 pm

      It works in the US. Sadly.

      “One for each…” college campus/student government (labor union/police force/congressional district/white house).

  7. ahadhaadam
    December 29, 2014, 7:35 pm

    We killed your grandfather and took his house
    We sent the rest of the family packing as refugees, never allowed to be returned
    We locked you up in an open air prison with walls and fences surrounded by machine guns
    We massacre a thousand or two of you every couple of years
    We killed your father
    We will continue to lock you in your ghetto
    We will continue to colonize whatever is left of your land
    We will never give you basic civil rights

    But we will let you come visit your old land – so you can see how great Israelis are!

  8. ritzl
    December 29, 2014, 8:38 pm

    And the cruelest bit is that after their little visit (after their usefulness for Israeli propaganda has ended), these orphaned kids would be packed back off to Gaza to live the rest of their lives digging through rubble looking for toys and/or ultimately a place to live.

    Yes, I exaggerate, a [very] little, but using these kids in this way is sick beyond imagination.

    Note eGuard’s comment to the EI article. These SAME people did this SAME thing after the Cast Lead 2009 slaughter. The sickness is entrenched and accepted as normal in Israel.

    I wonder if William Goldman is a Zionist, because the Inigo Montoya lines from “The Princess Bride” apply here with stark anti-Zionist implication:

    IM: My name is Inigo Montoya [I am a Gaza orphan.]. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

    Count Rugen: What do you want? I will give you anything you ask [How ’bout a nice trip to the zoo?].

    IM: I want my father back, you sonofabitch! (Kills Rugen)

    Is THAT the lifelong leadership vision the organizers of this effort seek to foster? Seems like it.

  9. CigarGod
    December 30, 2014, 8:44 am

    “Future leaders”?
    I hope so…but who sorted these orphans out from all the other orphans? Is there a leadership potential test the idf administers to the survivors of their bombings?

  10. eljay
    December 30, 2014, 9:30 am

    The Israeli organizer explicitly says that the purpose of the trip was to give the 37 Gazans a positive view of Israelis …

    To give all Gazans – and not just 37 children – a positive view of Israelis, Israel could:
    – halt its 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder;
    – withdraw to within its / Partition borders;
    – honour its obligations under international law; and
    – enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

    But that would require a commitment to justice, accountability and equality and, well, bribing 37 kids is easier and cheaper, and it allows Zio-supremacists to continue being hateful and immoral.

  11. kma
    December 30, 2014, 1:30 pm

    The NYT (and all the others) deserve a huge propaganda award for being able to do a focus story on this without even mentioning the context of the siege. The snipers, fences, blown-up tunnels, lost fishing boats, Mavi Marmaras, and why these children aren’t free to visit the West Bank in the first place… or why their parents had to die instead of escape during the slaughter… all these years, every minute of every day Israel blockades people and goods, and one time that Gaza stops someone at the border, it’s “news”!

    This article should be saved for teaching journalism classes. Do they get more classic?

  12. JustJessetr
    December 30, 2014, 9:01 pm

    “The unspoken assumption in both his statement and in the article itself is that the conflict is caused because Palestinians have hostile feelings towards Israelis, and this has nothing to do with anything that Israel does, and so the solution is to let a few of them out of this open-air prison for a brief time when they are children so that they will like Israelis.”

    That’s quite an assumption for something that was unspoken. You, and everyone who rode on your assumptions in the comments. Perhaps someone a bit idealistic was into the whole bridge-building thing. You never know, and that’s why unspoken assumptions are never wise to air.

    As for Hamas “technically” still desiring to destroy Israel (and I’ll take the word “destroy” at face value, not wrap it a ridiculous euphemistic what-does-destroy-really-mean-ha-ha-wink-wink), that’s the part that Israel is rightly concerned about. And it’s not just the rocks and trees calling out to Hamas that there is a Jew hiding behind them, that’s the only the most explicit part of the charter which Hamas still haven’t disavowed. Practical steps away from this stance are great, practical steps towards it are not.

  13. Henry Norr
    December 31, 2014, 12:01 am

    The Electronic Intifada’s story on this has some interesting details, particularly about the previous political activities of Yoel Marshak, the self-styled “leftist” who organized this stunt – including his role in campaigns to prevent family visits to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and to encourage Israeli soldiers to move to settlements int he Jordan Valley when they get out of the IDF.

    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/revealed-gaza-orphans-israel-trip-was-government-backed-pr-stunt

  14. Vera Gottlieb
    January 2, 2015, 2:26 pm

    Why should murderers be made to feel better? Hang ’em!

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