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

on 18 Comments

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 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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18 Responses

  1. annie
    November 10, 2011, 9:31 am

    Israeli-side-only bubble.

    i think people get that about the nyt.

  2. Chaos4700
    November 10, 2011, 9:34 am

    Even putting aside the disparity with respect to reporting on Palestinians, has the NYT ever given anywhere near this level of attention to any US veteran of the recent conflicts.

    This is disgusting. People are not bothering to read the NYT anymore because, for all intents and purposes, it’s no longer a paper for Americans about Americans.

    • dahoit
      November 10, 2011, 10:14 am

      Damn strait;I see it every day,the propaganda by this allegedly American rag where they back every measure that diminishes our once great nation,from crummy trade deals,illegal immigration boosting,bankster protection and failure to treat the one candidate with a different message fairly.(Dr.Paul)
      A pox on them,the traitors.

  3. Dan Crowther
    November 10, 2011, 9:50 am

    “has the NYT ever given anywhere near this level of attention to any US veteran of the recent conflicts.”

    Great, important question – I think the answer, aside from the Pat Tillman’s and the Jessica Lynch’s is – no. The Times followed all the censorship rules dictated by the government, and I don’t think they have ever shown a dead US serviceman/woman not in a casket draped by the flag.

  4. Bumblebye
    November 10, 2011, 9:57 am

    How many column inches has the NYT expended on Bowe Bergdahl since his capture by the Taliban?
    I’ll bet it’s not even 1% of that on Shalit during his first two years of imprisonment.

    • Bumblebye
      November 10, 2011, 10:16 am

      It should be profoundly shocking that we all know Shalit’s name, that this foreign conscript of a foreign army automatically comes to mind, yet does the name Bowe Bergdahl come automatically to mind? Why not?

    • dahoit
      November 10, 2011, 10:17 am

      I guarantee the American people have no idea who he is or was.It’s like he never existed,this poor white dupe for greater Israel.

      • eee
        November 10, 2011, 10:33 am

        Why aren’t there movements in the US to demand the US government do something about Bergdahl? It should be a progressive cause. The US public just does not care that much about his predicament it seems.

      • justicewillprevail
        November 10, 2011, 10:58 am

        It rather depends what the US public is told by the morons who run their media, which is the point here.

      • James
        November 10, 2011, 11:31 am

        there are too many zionist bozos running newspapers and media outlets like the nyt in the usa eee.. this explains why gilat is a well known household name and bergdahl’s name is virtually unknown… this is why everyone is reminded of the holocaust regularly, but the present day plight of the palestinians is never discussed in the mainstream media… i am surprised you asked!!

      • eee
        November 10, 2011, 12:40 pm


        What you write is nonsense. The press covers what people are interested in. Where are the marches and vigils and tents for Bergdahl? If they had existed, the press would have covered them. The fact is, there is no movement to pressure the US government about Bergdahl like there was a movement in Israel to support Gilad Shalit. You should ask yourself why and not blame the press.

      • justicewillprevail
        November 10, 2011, 2:39 pm

        The press covers what people are interested in.

        Yeah, right. How disingenuous, but a nice cover story for your purposes.

      • Keith
        November 10, 2011, 7:27 pm

        EEE- “The press covers what people are interested in.”

        Rubbish! In a nominally democratic oligarchy such as the US, the media are a part of the doctrinal system which facilitates the control of society through the use of propaganda which serves elite interests. Media which don’t serve elite interests lose funding and go out of business.

  5. iamuglow
    November 10, 2011, 9:59 am

    I’m happy that Mondo keeps highlighting flawed the nyt ME coverage is….that awareness is seeping out there.

    Lately when I read the comments on their site on articles about Iran, Israel, etc…I’m surprised at how much better informed the readers are than the writers of the articles, and how skeptical they are the paper itself. The knowledge is getting out there, thanks to be in part because of sites like this.

    • James
      November 10, 2011, 11:33 am

      i agree! thanks mondoweiss for continuing to work towards keeping people informed…….

  6. Les
    November 10, 2011, 7:46 pm

    There was a time when with some regularity there was criticism in the US media by the failure of our media to report on the plight of the Jews under Hitler’s rule. How many years will it take before that same media to apologize for its failure to report on the plight of the Palestinians under Israel’s rule?

  7. Avi_G.
    November 10, 2011, 11:12 pm

    The New York Times almost declared bankruptcy in the last couple of years. So is it possible that the Lobby is effectively ‘buying’ advertizing (read: propaganda) space on the pages of the NYT?

    What’s keeping the paper afloat?

  8. Goran
    November 11, 2011, 4:10 am

    What is really surprising is that Bergman (who I usually enjoy reading) manages to write such a long article about this subject without mentioning the Hannabal Directive, the top secret rules of engagement in cases of abductions. Israeli soldiers are expected to shoot at the abductors to stop their escape, even at the price of killing their comrade. Israeli censorship usually is very strict on anything on this subject. Even more surprising is the fact that he actually interviews one of the authors of this order, Yaakov Amidror.

    For more on the Hannibal Directive, see:

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