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Is Ethan Bronner whitewashing rape by a former Israeli President?

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In this New York Times piece about former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, set to begin a jail sentence today for rape, Ethan Bronner devotes this article to whitewashing his deeds by portraying Katsav as a respectable family man.  See him with his grandchildren… 

(Photo: The New York Times/Rina Castelnuovo)
Later, it seems like Bronner wants us to feel sorry for Katsav because he is Iranian:
 

But Mr. Katsav’s defenders, especially in this south-central town where he once was Israel’s youngest mayor, believe that he was the victim of ethnic and class prejudice. Born in Iran and brought here as a child, Mr. Katsav and his family lived first in a tent and then in a wooden hut. After studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he rose quickly, especially once the Likud Party came to power in the late 1970s.

“The fact is that I am from a Muslim country and from a development town,” he said, using the term for the poorer urban areas in the country’s periphery. Israel’s traditional elite has European roots and lives in urban centers like Tel Aviv.

And of course Bronner doesn’t really bring the victim up much at all, but, hey character witnesses galore for the rapist:

 

A neighbor, Sammy Vaknin, stopped by on Tuesday. He said that for him, Mr. Katsav represented the state in the same way the national anthem and the flag did. To send Mr. Katsav to prison, he said — “even if he did something wrong” — was like throwing the flag in the garbage.

“We might as well hand the country over to the Palestinians,” Mr. Vaknin said.

Today in Palestine

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21 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka on December 7, 2011, 8:50 am

    What a disgusting bigot this Vaknin is. So giving the native inhabitants of Palestine a fair shake and their human rights is like throwing something in the garbage??? What a foul nest of vipers has been generated in that place. Such a shame for the Palestinians who have to deal with these scummy people every day. (As well as any good-hearted Israelis who might exist.)

  2. DanMazella on December 7, 2011, 8:53 am

    Katsav has no support in Israel.
    He deserves to go to jail.
    Why dont you report about Egypt how not one single Muslim has ever served a day in a jail for killing a coptic christian.

    • Woody Tanaka on December 7, 2011, 9:01 am

      “Why dont you report about Egypt how not one single Muslim has ever served a day in a jail for killing a coptic christian.”

      The article isn’t about Egypt, but about Bronner. If you want to talk about Egypt, why don’t YOU write the article and submit it for publication. Or is all you can do is sit on the sideline and bitch and moan?

    • ehrens on December 7, 2011, 9:16 am

      Not that Egypt doesn’t treat Copts badly, but this would be an impossible story to report:
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/02/egypt-arrest-17-coptic-attack-alexandria

    • Mndwss on December 7, 2011, 10:17 am

      #1 We rock! We punish the evil Iranian. (eee probably decided that the rapist was not Jewish).

      Followed by #2…..

      Look. Evil Muslims over there —>

      Mozzarella knows the script!

      If Mr. Cheese is made of meat is he then kosher?

      I made two invitations for #3. It would probably come anyway, so i just wasted insults…

      When the Mazellas of the world constantly use #2 to demonize muslims, is it a horrible sin to insult a Mazella?

      Am i now a bad person?

      An Anti-Mazellait?

      Or maybe just not very good at making insults…

    • Potsherd2 on December 7, 2011, 12:12 pm

      That’s the entire point, Mazella. Katsav has no support in Israel and most Israelis think he deserves to go to jail. So what’s with Bronner?

    • Shingo on December 7, 2011, 3:07 pm

      Why dont you report about Egypt how not one single Muslim has ever served a day in a jail for killing a coptic christian.

      Why don’t you comment about the fact that the greatest killers of Coptic Christians are part fo Mubarak’s old regime – you know, the same Mubarak that Israel regards as a close ally?

      And how many IDF leaders have served a day in a jail for killing a Palestinian?

      • Citizen on December 7, 2011, 8:52 pm

        Also, I haven’t heard any American politicians telling us Americans incessantly that there’s no sky or space between America and Egypt.

  3. hophmi on December 7, 2011, 9:59 am

    Wow, I would have thought you’d play up the angle that Katsav faces discrimination in Israel as a Israeli Jew of Iranian descent. Because, I mean, when a public figure is convicted of crime, he is NEVER interviewed and given a platform, right? Like when Rod Blogojevich was accused, it’s not like he was given interview after interview to defend himself or anything.

    For Bronner to be a good journalist, he should lead with the graphic details of the evidence elicited in court, right? Otherwise he’s “whitewashing.”

    I mean, after all, it’s completely common for Middle Eastern countries to investigate their leaders and put them in jail without the criminal case being preceded by a revolt of some kind.

    • eGuard on December 7, 2011, 11:11 am

      hophmi, save your anger. Soon another ex-president of Israel will face court. Interview platform options and other distractions you mention will be governed by that court, the ICC, in The Hague.

  4. Mooser on December 7, 2011, 11:28 am

    “Like when Rod Blogojevich was accused, it’s not like he was given interview after interview to defend himself or anything. “

    You are supposed to be some kind of lawyer? What a revealing picture of legal ignorance you present.
    I guess if Blogojevich was a better interview subject, or had a better haircut, he wouldn’t need to go to trial at all?
    Yup, that’s the way it works here, Hophmi. The accused makes a public defense through interviews, and if the mail and phone calls run favorably, the don’t need to go to trial at all.

    • Chu on December 7, 2011, 12:38 pm

      Blagojevich has a better cut than Donald Trump. Yesterday some described Trump’s hair to a sunken apricot souffle. Ouch…
      And I cannot wait for the Republican debate on the 27th with The Donald as moderator.

  5. Mooser on December 7, 2011, 11:30 am

    “A neighbor, Sammy Vaknin, stopped by on Tuesday. He said that for him, Mr. Katsav represented the state in the same way the national anthem and the flag did. To send Mr. Katsav to prison, he said — “even if he did something wrong” — was like throwing the flag in the garbage.

    “We might as well hand the country over to the Palestinians,” Mr. Vaknin said.”

    Now I understand why all those Jews sold all their property waited on the rooftops.

    • Mooser on December 7, 2011, 11:32 am

      BTW, I’m pretty sure the object on the right is a Yamaha or Panasonic spinet with the cover closed. I mean, c’mon, what more do you need to know?

      • Citizen on December 7, 2011, 8:57 pm

        A Yamaha. Keeping the keys clean?

  6. Les on December 7, 2011, 11:50 am

    We know that Bronner’s new boss is soft on Zionism. This might be a test of her support for feminism.

  7. MHughes976 on December 7, 2011, 12:23 pm

    We seem to be hearing a lot of the ‘tu quoque’ argument recently. ‘You and your friends are as bad as I am’. This is a really feeble and deceptive argument.
    If I say that there is a moral prohibition on certain types of action (taking milk from cats, say) and that X has just committed an action of that type, what if X replies ‘Y has done just the same forbidden thing. Why don’t you mention that’?
    But the important point is not, absolutely not, whether the point about Y has been mentioned but whether it is in fact true. Has Y done wrong? If Y has done wrong then the condemnation of X, who has done the same, is not lessened, only illustrated more vividly.
    If Y has not in fact done wrong then there must be some special consideration deflecting blame. Either there is something special of this kind to which X can appeal, in which case let’s hear it – merely mentioning Y doesn’t help us here. Or there isn’t, in which case Y’s case is irrelevant and X should stop going on about it.

  8. Chu on December 7, 2011, 12:34 pm

    Hey, come on. It wasn’t rape, rape.
    Whoopi Goldberg could help out Bronner here.

  9. marc b. on December 7, 2011, 12:55 pm

    i don’t know about whitewashing. some dark matter is seeping from the core of bronner’s being, that’s for sure.

    Mr. Katsav seems to speak from the core of his being when he claims to be innocent of all charges. Tears flowed on occasion as he sat at his dining room table recounting the details of his case in a two-hour interview. He had come to doubt, he said, the system to which he had devoted his life. . . .

    Some of Mr. Katsav’s defenders have quietly noted that both the original three-judge panel that convicted him and the three-judge panel that rejected his appeal were composed of two women and an Israeli Arab.

    Mr. Katsav said he would not comment on that.

    i guess that’s bronner’s inverted attempt at shooting and crying, the weepy rapist allowing bronner the honor of assassinating the judges’ character. (christ on a crutch. women and arab judges! oh, the unfairness of it all.) back to the chicken ranch with you ethan. katsav has had his fill.

  10. DICKERSON3870 on December 7, 2011, 2:08 pm

    RE: “…Vaknin…said that for him, Mr. Katsav represented the state in the same way the national anthem and the flag did. To send Mr. Katsav to prison, he said — ‘even if he did something wrong’ — was like throwing the flag in the garbage.” ~ Bronner article

    MY REBUTTAL: Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis elaborated in Olmstead v. United States (1928):

    “In a government of law, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

  11. Brewer on December 8, 2011, 12:55 pm

    ” Mr. Katsav represented the state in the same way the national anthem and the flag did.”

    Yup. Sure did.
    Ask a Palestinian.

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