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Linda Gradstein: ‘I’m not an Israeli citizen, but that being said, I’m part of Israel.’

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
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Linda Gradstein from her website
Linda Gradstein, pic from her website

Last October, Pat Carmeli, an upstate N.Y. activist, attended a lecture by Linda Gradstein, a freelance writer who has covered the conflict for public radio and Slate. Gradstein served as a correspondent from Israel for National Public Radio for several years. Her work appeared there as recently as last fall. This talk was several months ago, but it seemed important to publish Carmeli’s report. –Ed.

Recently, I heard Linda Gradstein at Congregation Beth Sholom – Chevra Shas in Syracuse, New York. Her talk was titled, “What’s a nice Jewish girl doing in a place like this?”  I was not expecting to be blown away by her compassion towards suffering Palestinians, but I certainly was expecting a more professional presentation by this prominent journalist.

Ms. Gradstein’s opening remarks set the tone for the entire evening.  She began with a joke involving God, Ahmadinejad, Bin Laden, and Netanyahu in which Bin Laden took the brunt for having caused most of the problems in the Middle East. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, was characterized as having the best relationship with God.  

Following her opening attempt at humor, Gradstein gave a news update.  Over the weekend, she reported, there had been an upsurge in fighting across the border with Gaza, with dozens of Kassam rockets fired into Israel.  One Israeli was killed. Israel “retaliated” by killing ten Palestinians.  The rockets, Ms. Gradstein pointed out, were not coming from Hamas, but rather from the Islamic Jihad signifying “internal fighting” between the two factions.  (The choking stranglehold Israel continues to have on Gaza was not mentioned.)

Gradstein spoke anecdotally about her experience as a correspondent during the first Gulf War before she was a mother and how she had to be fitted for a gas mask. When the first reports of rockets landing in Tel Aviv broke, she was called upon to report on the developments. She said she was more afraid of reporting live than of the rockets.  Ms. Gradstein mentioned that her now 18-year-old daughter is about to begin her service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) (how time flies).  Then she related that to a trip she took to Baghdad with New York Times reporter Ethan Bronner who also had a child serving in the IDF.  (Small world isn’t it?)

The correspondent mentioned how many of the middle-aged and older Palestinians had once been faithful employees of Israelis.  “They were good workers and had become fluent in Hebrew and wanted to practice the language with me.  Their children didn’t know Hebrew except those who had spent time in Israeli prisons. The better the Hebrew, the longer they’d been in prison.”  That got some laughs. One particularly “funny” episode that Gradstein related was when she traveled to Gaza to interview one of the Palestinians responsible for holding Gilad Shalit, the captured Israeli soldier.  During the interview, the interviewee excused himself briefly to pray.  Then an Israeli drone flew overhead and Gradstein thought, “Oh my God, I hope they know I’m here!”  After surviving the drone attack, she feared the border might be closed and she would be stuck in Gaza during the Sabbath. Luckily that was not the case.  Ms. Gradstein commented, “In Israel you can cover the war and still be home for dinner.” (more laughter)

The talk continued with a story about a judicial proceeding which occurred the day before Gilad Shalit was released.  Some Jewish families of terrorist attack victims petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court in an attempt to stop a prisoner exchange fearing that the release of 550 Palestinians would unleash a wave of new attacks. Since it was the Sukkot holiday and there was no school the next day, Ms. Gradstein brought her six-year-old son to the proceedings so he could witness the “Israeli legal system in action.”  She interviewed a protester whose 16-year-old daughter had been killed 10 years earlier.  The father of Gilad Shalit was also there in solidarity, with their pain if not their cause.  When Gradstein awoke the next morning, she was surprised to see her son with a baseball bat in hand.  He had been “up all night ready to defend … [his] … family against an attack by one of those terrorists”–referring to the released Palestinian prisoners.

Linda Gradstein spoke about the negative psychological effects of the conflict with the Palestinians upon Jewish Israeli children.  “Would their fears cause ‘stranger anxiety?’”   She described the social solidarity Israelis share.  For instance, “one would think nothing of a six-year-old getting on a bus alone.”  It is not unusual for a woman with a baby to “hand off her child to a stranger in order to collapse a stroller.”  When her own son’s bicycle broke, a stranger put the bike in the back of his car and drove her child home.   “In a caring society like this, every Israeli mother considers Gilad [Shalit] to be her own son.  That is why the country was willing to pay such a high price for his return.”

On a flight to Abu Dhabi, traveling to attend a conference on U.S. policy and Israel, Gradstein sat next to a handlebar-mustached gentleman.  The man, who was also participating in the same conference, was reading, The Israel Lobby by John Meirsheimer and Stephen Walt.   Suddenly he turned to Gradstein to ask her if she was a cousin of the authors, meaning, “are you Jewish?” When she answered in the affirmative, the man said, “I have something for you” and reached into his carry-on bag.  Alarmed, the NPR reporter panicked and thought, “They don’t let them have guns in here, right?” Then her seat mate, to her great relief, gave Gradstein a gift of a bar of olive oil soap made from trees in Palestine. 

During the question and answer segment of her presentation, Linda Gradstein was asked why she decided to take the job as a Middle East reporter.  Gradstein answered that she “had kind of fallen into it” and that being a foreign correspondent in Israel “was a cool job.  Journalists are the first draft of history.”  Then she emphatically declared, “I’m not an Israeli citizen, but that being said, I’m part of Israel.”

When I rose to make a comment, I advised Gradstein that I have been a supporter of NPR since returning to the United States from Israel in 2004, and that I was disheartened by the bias expressed in the presentation and in much of her reporting.  I noted that while she was not supposed to give her opinions, they were very evident throughout her presentation that evening.  She spoke of Gilad Shalit but nothing of the 7,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons, many without being charged with any crime, many of them children.  She spoke about a piece of a Kassam rocket which she attempted to bring back to the U.S. as a souvenir, but did not attempt to bring back a piece of a white phosphorous shell bearing the “Made in the USA” stamp which burned babies to death in Gaza.  She mentioned Jewish victims of terrorist and suicide attacks, but spoke nothing of the far more numerous Palestinian victims of the Israeli Defense Forces and settler attacks.  She also, too frequently, used the term “terrorist” when referring to Palestinians. She gave an update of rockets being fired from Gaza, but not of the closure and imprisonment of the Gazan populace.  She had the audacity to speak of  the “stranger anxiety” afflicting Jewish Israeli children but nothing of the daily terrorizing, killing, maiming, and imprisonment of Palestinian children.  

Ironically in response to my query, Gradstein said that when I had used the term “biased” she assumed I was going to complain about her pro-Palestinian bias!  (The mere fact that NPR has been, at times, so-charged just demonstrates that any questioning of Israeli policy in the U.S. media is considered slanderous.)  Linda Gradstein then claimed that she “really tries to cover both sides fairly.” 

Despite speaking before a large Jewish audience, my comments did not appear to be too harshly received.  I think that even the mainstream Jewish community is looking for a more substantive conversation.  

Based on what I heard from Gradstein, I decided to cease my support of NPR until they hire a Palestinian reporter or one capable of reporting fairly.  

And on a humorous note, I noticed a police officer assigned to guard the guests as they emerged from the synagogue to head to their cars in the brightly lit parking lot. (The synagogue is located on a little side street in a pleasant residential suburb.)  I asked the officer if he provides security for churches or mosques and he replied that he might direct traffic after a “big football game at a Catholic school.”  This officer, it turned out, frequently works events at area synagogues.  I just wonder if the police presence at these events, serves as a constant reminder to the attendees of “Jews as victims,” and if in some small and indirect way it hinders the pursuit of a real peace based on fairness and justice for all.

Pat Carmeli
About Pat Carmeli

Pat Carmeli lived in Israel 12 years and is married to a sabra. She lives in Cazenovia, N.Y. and is very involved in conflict resolution and the movement for freedom for Palestinians. She is a founding member of CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel

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69 Responses

  1. marc b.
    marc b.
    January 2, 2012, 11:35 am

    During the question and answer segment of her presentation, Linda Gradstein was asked why she decided to take the job as a Middle East reporter. Gradstein answered that she “had kind of fallen into it” and that being a foreign correspondent in Israel “was a cool job. Journalists are the first draft of history.”

    really, how does one just ‘kind of fall into’ a job reporting on one of the most controversial political subjects, to include work for an internationally recognized news agency? people fall into pools or ditches or into the street, usually when they’re drunk, but i’ve never seen anyone ‘fall into a job’ of that consequence. (‘how did you become a brain surgeon, bob?’ ‘well, i had just been laid off from my position as a server at Pizza Hut, and a friend of mine hooked me up. fascinating stuff, the brain.’) maybe someone who takes their job and this issue more seriously would have been a better choice?

    • January 2, 2012, 12:00 pm

      I was thinking the same, when I ‘ve read this part.
      Many of her answers /statements are very ignorant and nonchalant.
      How did she “fall into” this “cool job” is a very interesting question, worth an honest answer (not from her, she is not cable of it).
      How does she manage to keep this “cool job”, where all she does is to produce her own , biased versions of “first drafts of history” ??

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        January 2, 2012, 12:19 pm

        yes, dumvita, she has that snarky, arrogant sensibility that is a common feature of the over-privileged, like dershowitz, for example, who has published multiple ‘books’ on israel (and by ‘books’ i mean that his writing is bound between covers, not in the sense that there is any knowledge contained in his work) when any doctoral candidate in ME studies is more informed and presumably a better writer than the dersh bag.

      • Kathleen
        January 3, 2012, 12:00 pm

        Why would NPR keep hiring such a biased so called reporter if they are trying to provide the public with accurate information about the I/P conflict, Iran etc. Because NPR is not trying to provide the public with accurate information about these critical issues

        Numerous NPR employees have pressed charges against NPR for “pervasive cronyism” when it comes to who is appointed to host of shows, reporters, upper level positions.
        Laid-off v.p. files latest NPR bias suit

        Originally published in Current, Oct. 6, 1997
        By Jacqueline Conciatore

        Rattley-LewisSandra Rattley-Lewis, onetime v.p. for cultural programming at NPR, has filed a suit alleging race discrimination and retaliation by the network. Her action brings to six the number of known discrimination suits filed against NPR in recent years.

        Bernabei & Katz, the plaintiff’s law firm in all but one of the six cases, says there are two more EEO complaints heading for litigation.

        As a former v.p., Rattley-Lewis is the highest-ranking employee known to have brought a discrimination suit against NPR. Her complaint, filed Sept. 26 in Superior Court for the District of Columbia, says NPR demoted her while advancing less qualified whites, and failed to give her the same promotions and support that it gave white managers. She also complained that NPR refused her a severance package equal to that given white managers

    • dahoit
      January 2, 2012, 12:24 pm

      How did Rachel Maddow fall into her NBC job?By landscaping Diane Sawyers hedges.From such humble beginnings,great minds leap to the forefront.Blech.

      • annie
        January 2, 2012, 1:25 pm

        rachel maddow is one smart cookie. i used to listen to her on air america. very sharp, rhodes scholar. maddow would have risen in any field succeeded she chose. i am not happy about what i see has her msm merge in terms of what she could be reporting but comparing gradstein to maddow..pleeeease.

      • Keith
        January 2, 2012, 4:01 pm

        ANNIE- “…rhodes scholar.”

        Do you think Cecil Rhodes would be pleased with her performance?

      • kapok
        January 2, 2012, 4:17 pm

        Rhodes scholar. IOW she knows what to leave out.

      • Kathleen
        January 3, 2012, 12:05 pm

        I watch and listen to the MSM closely at least four nights a week.

        Maddow is extremely biased about the I/P issue or just too chicken shit to report about it accurately if at all. During early and endless coverage of the Arab/Spring/Winter she and Richard Engel focused on Tunisia, Egypt, Libya (showing rebels randomly shooting guns off in the air etc) Not once did Maddow or Engel turn their words, cameras or attention to ongoing peaceful Palestinian protest. Never ever. Not once. But they did move their attention just to where their owners wanted during this coverage. Right to Iran. And Maddow has yet to have professionals like Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on about Iran.

        Rachel is a “smart cookie” on some issues. But totally sold out on some of the most critical issues that face our nation and the middle east. Sold out

  2. Les
    January 2, 2012, 11:36 am

    Because she always has been awful we expect her to continue to do what NPR approves of their god awful “reporters.” I wonder how she would report on Zionists in the 1930’s expelling Jewish settlers from Palestine back to Germany and Austria because of their ill health.

  3. Jim Holstun
    Jim Holstun
    January 2, 2012, 11:44 am

    Thanks for this piece, Pat–beautifully written and very important. As disgusting (and as expected) as NPR pandering is, it’s interesting to hear that you weren’t hissed for your question.


  4. January 2, 2012, 11:48 am

    “Ironically in response to my query, Gradstein said that when I had used the term “biased” she assumed I was going to complain about her pro-Palestinian bias!”
    “Linda Gradstein then claimed that she “really tries to cover both sides fairly.”

    Why is she playing dumb?? Why , after all educated and fairly known journalist, pretends like she is trying to be objective, fair, honest, non-biased etc. , while she IS obviously NOT.
    Whom is she trying to deceive?? Herself? Her audience??
    The Hannah Arendt’s quote comes to my mind again:
    ” The sad truth is that most evil is done by people , who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

    • john h
      john h
      January 2, 2012, 10:01 pm

      She is clearly not trying to deceive anyone. However, she is quite successful in deceiving herself. She was simply telling how she did think.

      Which I now see is what justicewillprevail says and explains very well below.

  5. flyod
    January 2, 2012, 11:53 am

    great report. the police presence was most likely your department of homeland security dollars at work. i try and not listen to npr especially chartocks. too biased, though sometimes subtly, on i/p, middle east issues.

  6. Gellian
    January 2, 2012, 11:54 am

    Interesting report. Thanks.

  7. justicewillprevail
    January 2, 2012, 11:57 am

    Her ignorant, self-serving, isolationist inhumane comments exemplify the Zionist State of Mind, which is not congruent with any state, but is akin to a cult which has adherents in almost all of the woeful US media. Her blithe attempts at humour are particularly pathetic. That she can’t see beyond her little selfish, narrow, segregated view of the world speaks volumes about the cult, which finds fertile soil in a US which has a particularly detached and uninformed knowledge of the world outside its borders. The media is supposed to inform its audience, instead with hopeless superficial examples such as her, they merely reinforce their ignorance and isolation. Desperate House Reporters go to war, write propaganda, then sit down for dinner. What a dereliction of your profession.

    • dahoit
      January 2, 2012, 12:26 pm

      Scared rabbits of invincibility.
      A strange conundrum found here also among our own citizenry.

  8. Donald
    January 2, 2012, 12:19 pm

    I don’t think I’d complain about the police officer–there really are such things as anti-semites in the US even if they are mostly just cranks. Still, cranks can be dangerous. A few years ago one of the local school districts near me had a problem with anti-semitic graffiti appearing. Nothing violent, but you wonder where that came from. So there’s still a little of that garbage floating around in our society.

    As for the main point, yeah. If someone like Linda Gradstein thinks she is unbiased after giving a talk like that and expected to be criticized as having a pro-Palestinian slant, it just shows who has been working the refs more effectively at NPR. They need to have a Palestinian/American reporter or at the very least (since I don’t really want ethnic quotas) someone with the sympathies of Robert Fisk or to his left to balance people with her biases. I don’t even like to put it that way, since I don’t think Fisk was biased on the I/P conflict. He was quite critical of the PLO, for instance, in his Lebanon book. But in the US context many people would go hysterical if someone like Fisk were reporting on the I/P conflict.

    • dahoit
      January 2, 2012, 12:34 pm

      Please document the number of Jewish Americans attacked in their house of worship.(Since 1776?)I have never read or heard of any.
      Scared rabid rabbits of invincibility indeed.
      And quite,quite influential in regards to the PTB.
      I do remember a lot of Christian churches being firebombed in the South a few years ago,what ever happened with that?Lost in translation?Buried as non important?

      • Donald
        January 2, 2012, 1:47 pm

        I’m not an expert on anti-semitic acts of violence in US history, dahoit, and don’t feel inclined to obey your order to become one. Synagogues do get vandalized sometimes–I know that much. A policeman outside a synagogue during an event doesn’t bother me. It wouldn’t help the cause if pro-Palestinian Americans made an issue of this and then some anti-semitic act occurs.

        I agreed with the main point of the post, which is about NPR bias and won’t say any more about the policeman issue, so it won’t become a big tangent.

      • MLE
        January 2, 2012, 10:02 pm

        It’s also possible for the synagogue to rent a police officer for the evening. My prom had a police car sitting outside and there were only about 70 of us.

  9. Chespirito
    January 2, 2012, 12:23 pm

    Thank you Pat Carmeli for this terrific piece of reportage and media analysis. I don’t know how I can still be shocked by the pervasive media bias against Palestinians, and against our own strategic interests, but hey, here I am, shocked again!

  10. Kris
    January 2, 2012, 1:19 pm

    Thank you, Pat Carmeli–great article!

  11. annie
    January 2, 2012, 1:26 pm

    i don’t listen to npr. wolf in sheeps clothing. just not interested.

    • Kathleen
      January 3, 2012, 2:10 pm

      I listen to NPR and watch Rachel Maddow and the rest of the MSMers four nights a week. You may think Maddow is something but she is either really biased or just a plain old chicken shit when it comes to the middle east. Just collecting that huge pay check or a racist.

      She is loosening up a bit. Had Carter on to say the things that she is too afraid or to biased to say. This was movement for Maddow

      She seems to be playing it a bit more accurate with Iran not so quickly repeating her owners to get bad bad bad Iran mantra as much. But she is still not willing to have Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on her program to discuss Iran.

      Not even Colonel Wilkerson on Maddow’s

      • Kathleen
        January 3, 2012, 2:25 pm

        Maddows full interview with Former President Jimmy Carter. This was movement by Maddow having Carter on to state facts about the I/P conflict..which Maddow will never go near. Still some movement

      • annie
        January 3, 2012, 2:33 pm

        You may think Maddow is something but she is either really biased or just a plain old chicken shit when it comes to the middle east. Just collecting that huge pay check or a racist.

        i doubt she holds the reigns wrt all the topics she’s allowed to explore. she’d be out of a job if she went after israel or the lobby, of course.

      • Kathleen
        January 3, 2012, 2:41 pm

        Her bleeding heart claim is so selective and racist. And clearly her commitment to money and position out weighs any commitment to real human rights and justice. There is a way for her to go about addressing this conflict without losing her job. Protect herself and her job by having Phil, Adam, ok no way she could have Norman Finkelstein on she would be blown off the air. I believe Hillary Mann Leverett is Jewish. Have her on. That is some protection. For decades non Jews and some Jews have been hammering on this issue. Now that more Jews are coming on justice for Palestinians and ultimately protecting Israel based on the 67 border board why not bring some attention to this shift

      • Kathleen
        January 3, 2012, 2:42 pm

        If all of the Palestinians were gay she would cover the issue no matter what

    • Kathleen
      January 3, 2012, 2:11 pm

      the only way to change what they are doing is to stay aware and hammer. Can make a difference

  12. seethelight
    January 2, 2012, 3:35 pm

    Can you imagine an American NPR reporter saying, “I’m not a Russian citizen (or Chinese or another ethnicity), but that being said, I’m part of Russia” and not being transferred to another beat? How can such a reporter’s objectivity ever be trusted?

    We can do something about this. Please write to the new president of NPR, Gary Knell and express your concerns. Send along Pat Carmeli’s report. NPR’s address is 635 Massachusetts Ave., NW ; Washington, D.C. 20001. Letters may not result in Gradstein being reassigned to another country or beat. However, because NPR is more sensitive than ever as to how it is being perceived by the listening public, Gradstein’s reports will be more closely scrutinized by editors to ensure objectivity in her reports. To do nothing, means there is no chance of change in her reporting on Israeli-Palestinian issues.

    • Chespirito
      January 2, 2012, 4:45 pm

      Good rhetorical point, the comparison w/ Russia. We’ve mostly accepted as normal that US journalists who report on Middle East either served in IDF (Jeffrey Goldberg, Robert Kaplan) or have kids who served in it (Gradstein, the NYTimes guy). If all these people had this intimacy with say Azerbaijan or Slovakia there would be much to-do about it; the weirdness of it would not go unnoticed.

      • Duscany
        January 3, 2012, 1:12 am

        I for one would like to hear sometime how many mainstream reporters/commentators on the Middle East have served in the US military. We know they often serve in the Israeli military. What about the US marines? It would never happen.

        I read a story years ago about a kid who announced to his synagogue that he was going to go to Israel to serve in the IDF. The congregation jumped to its feet in cheers. If he’d said he was planning to join the US Army, the reaction, I suspect, would have been total silence, punctuated by a few embarrassed coughs.

  13. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes
    January 2, 2012, 3:55 pm

    NPR has been under sustained pressure from the Israel Lobby for years. As Mearsheimer and Walt note in their book (p.172-3):

    The media’s reporting of news events involving Israel is less slanted than their editorial commentary, in part because most reporters strive to be objective, but also because it is difficult to cover events in the Occupied Territories or in southern Lebanon without acknowledging Israel’s actual behavior. But still, to discourage unfavorable reporting on Israel, groups in the lobby organize letter-writing campaigns, demonstrations, and boycotts against news outlets whose content they consider anti-Israel. As the Forward reported in April 2002, “Rooting out perceived anti-Israel bias in the media has become for many American Jews the most direct and emotionial outlet for connecting with the conflict 6,000 miles away.” One CNN executive has said that he sometimes gets six thousand e-mail messages in a single day complaining that a story is anti-Israel …
    One of the lobby’s most energetic media watchdog groups — though not the only one — is the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). It has been especially critical of National Public Radio, whic it sometimes refers to as “National Palestine Radio.” In addition to maintaining a website to publicize alleged examples of media bias, CAMERA organized demonstrations outside National Public Radio stations in thirty-three cities in May 2003, and it tried to convince contributors to withhold support from NPR until its Middle East coverage became more sympathetic to Israel. One of Boston’s public radio stations, WBUR, reportedly lost more than $1 million in contributions as a result of these efforts. In 2006, CAMERA ran expensive full-page advertisements in the New York Times and New York Sun criticizing Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Ads that included the publisher’s phone number and encouraged readers to call and complain.
    Additional pressure on NPR comes from Israel’s friends in Congress. In March 2003, for example, a group of congressmen — whose ranks included staunch defenders of Israel such as California Democrats Tom Lantos, Brad Sherman, and Henry Waxman — wrote a letter to NPR President Kevin Klose, asking for an internal audit of its Middle East coverage.

    Considering that NPR has been deluged from this kind of criticism from groups that claim to speak for the whole Jewish community, I don’t find it ironic that Gradstein would expect when she is giving a talk at an American synagogue that she would assume that any accusations of bias in her reporting for what CAMERA dubs “National Palestinian Radio” is anti-Israel:

    Ironically in response to my query, Gradstein said that when I had used the term “biased” she assumed I was going to complain about her pro-Palestinian bias! (The mere fact that NPR has been, at times, so-charged just demonstrates that any questioning of Israeli policy in the U.S. media is considered slanderous.) Linda Gradstein then claimed that she “really tries to cover both sides fairly.”

    Thank you to Pat Carmeli for giving Gradstein a reality check.

  14. Clif Brown
    Clif Brown
    January 2, 2012, 5:01 pm

    Thanks for the very well done report.

    People operate on feelings. Rational thought can be powerful but feelings prevail. Being a journalist should continually cause one to question one’s own feelings. In this report, the key for me for me was the remark (intended as humor) about being able to be home for dinner – couldn’t Ethan Bronner say the same?

    For myself, I realize living a sheltered life as an American without a single anxiety about my personal security, where I will find the next meal or the next dollar, make me almost certainly incapable of knowing in the smallest degree about the residents of other countries subject to those who move the levers of the American Empire. It is the contrast between my life and that of a Palestinian without rights for the same duration that fascinates me and drives me to do something about it.

    Once I assumed that Walter Cronkite was as close to speaking daily truth as was possible. Now I never watch MSM news and suspect anything I hear from it. NPR I find particularly smug and self-righteous. Just the precise and carefully crafted sound of Robert Siegel’s voice puts my teeth on edge.

    To know anything about anything, you have to do the work to find out. MSM news is really storytelling where the daily report builds a linear puzzle with virtually predictable pieces that confirm what has gone before – rather than a take on a multidimensional puzzle with the next piece of many possible shapes. God forbid viewers should be confused!

    “There’s Always More to Know” should be the motto of every journalist, particularly with daily news when there is such pressure to have a tidy wrap-up to end every story. In the best of all worlds it would be the motto of every citizen.

  15. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    January 2, 2012, 5:52 pm

    If memory serves me right ‘Israel’ was once referred to as ‘ our homeland’ instead of ‘our future state’ due to political complications at that time. Even the Balfour commission knew of all the problems awaiting ahead [I can’t find a link to something I read over a decade ago, one surpassing Hannah A’s prediction by half a century of all the trouble/s we’ve witnessed over the past 6 decades].

  16. chrisrushlau
    January 2, 2012, 6:30 pm

    “If there were no bad people there would be no good lawyers.” Charles Dickens. My idea of a lawyer is asking the tough questions of the guy most likely to explode in your face, but not with the intent of making her explode but rather of relieving her of that built-up anxiety (redundancy). So, in this atmosphere of “surrealism”(my brother told me when I was in Iraq that the atmosphere on the home front was “surreal”–he not realizing how insulting that was to me, who would necessarily be viewing some very surreal things) at the venue Pat describes, you’d want to ask about it. So rather than creep up to a tete-a-tete by confidence building or putting the record on the witness stand, so to speak, like Pat did, it probably would have been better to go at the most insane sounding part of the talk. Like, “What do you mean, you’re part of Israel?” Get her to talk about what Israel means to her. I predict you’d quickly come to fear: she toes a party line, the party line that got her her job at NPR, that she retails, that she raises her children on, and the first article of the party line is that it is not a party line, it is God’s truth, and as such unquestionable. So you might ask her, in short, what she thinks of God.

    • john h
      john h
      January 2, 2012, 11:36 pm

      Anybody, Jew or otherwise, who believes what they say about Israel “is not a party line, it is God’s truth, and as such unquestionable“, should be buttonholed.

      They should be asked to explain why they think that and where their god says that, and be shown what else this god says about such things.

      There’s always a faint chance they might learn something about who they are to him, who he really is, and who and what he cares about.

      They might even get a glimpse of the fact that their party is the golden calf party.

  17. chrisrushlau
    January 2, 2012, 8:57 pm

    And she would say something like, “Well, my God is kind of insane.”

  18. chauncey
    January 3, 2012, 1:40 am

    This is a great illustration of the upside down, absurd, tragic reality. Gradstein, so clueless, making her jokes, “falling into” her “cool job” helping to write the first, phony, draft of history, on which few red marks will appear. So insulated, expecting criticism as pro-Palestine and requiring a police escort from the synagogue!

    I’ve ceased my support for NPR as well. I like pabelmont’s idea: send one dollar with a note.

    The closing mention of “Jews as Victims” reminds me, a few months back I heard an
    episode of “This American Life” called “Notes on Camp” (original airing 1998).
    Included was a 3-minute segment featuring a woman describing her experience as a ten-year-old at a “very left wing, Zionist camp” in Wisconsin. One day a rock was thrown through the dining hall window, with a note attached, saying “We don’t want no Jew camps in Wisconsin.” The camp sprang into action—they held meetings, they posted guards, they painted their faces black so they wouldn’t be seen at night.
    Then one night suddenly someone saw that a large cross was burning on the front lawn, and there were men wearing white sheets with pillowcases over their heads; one was riding a horse. They made everyone go outside, and they shouted that they wanted the lousy Jews out.

    Not too long ago, I probably would have swallowed all of this. But instead I thought, “This is fake!” And sure enough, the woman explained that the whole thing was staged, “it was all a political lesson we were supposed to be learning.” And so, based on my own experience, I add my voice to those on this site who say, this stuff isn’t working so well anymore.

    • ahmed
      January 3, 2012, 8:20 am

      And they say Palestinian children are taught to hate. Imagine the life-long effects of such stupid stunts on young children.

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        January 3, 2012, 10:00 am

        i heard that edition of ‘this american life’. it sounds like child abuse to me. imagine a parent breaking into his/her child’s bedroom through a window in the middle of the night pretending to be a criminal, scaring them shitless to prove a point about the need to be vigilent. insane. reminds me of eli roth’s father’s response to questions about his son’s seeming fascination with sadistic violence: that his son had received a good education about the holocaust in his home. again, insane. here is …. roth below spouting off on ‘inglorious terds’:

        I knew the murder of Adolf Hitler as a fact. I had read the script, been informed by my son Eli that he was going to “shoot Hitler in the face until his head exploded,” discussed the murder with the film’s director Quentin Tarantino, even watched filming in Berlin on the very stages where Nazi minister Josef Goebbels made his monstrous propaganda films.

        What I scarcely expected were the overwhelming feelings that flooded me as I witnessed the scene in the film, “Inglourious Basterds.” I watched my son, as his character of “The Bear Jew,” machine gun the Fuhrer’s face to a bloody pulp. In that moment, I felt that my beloved boychik was carrying out wishes of mine from my Brownsville, Brooklyn childhood, wild longings from a lifetime of agonizing over the Holocaust. I felt a powerful mixture of rescue, revenge, redemption, relief and a strange grief. My son was sacrificing himself for all of us. He was doing what I could not. And I cried.

  19. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    January 3, 2012, 9:13 am

    Back in 2002, the Electronic Intifadah (EI) discovered that Linda Gradstein had taken fees from Hillel for giving a talk to them. This is a violation of NPR’s ethics policy. A reporter who is covering a conflict between two sides is not supposed to be paid by one side.

    Here is the link

    NPR said that Gradstein wouldn’t be taking $ from Hillel in the future.

    EI then asked NPR, “how long has Linda Gradstein been taking money from Hillel?” NPR didn’t investigate this question.

    Linda Gradstein claimed that she tried her best to be fair to both sides? Rubbish. She took a PR handout from the Israeli military, and read it into the NPR microphone. She covered conflicts that occurred 10 miles from her office, but rarely went out to the scene to do her own reporting.

    And I don’t believe for a minute that Gradstein “just fell into” the I/P job. Pure coincidence that NPR hires an American Jew who sees the world through the lens of official Israel? NPR could have hired Norman Finkelstein, but by sheer chance, they didn’t. Yeah, right.

    Pat Carmeli, thanks for a good piece of reporting. You might ask the synagogue whether they paid a speaker fee to Linda Gradstein.

    • Kathleen
      January 3, 2012, 12:15 pm

      Nevada sorry was looking for the same stories. sorry for the duplication

  20. Kathleen
    January 3, 2012, 9:26 am

    Many of us hammered NPR for the years that Gradstein was NPR’s main correspondent from Israel. Her reporting (if you can call it that) was so biased it stunk to high heaven. We think our hammering had an effect.

    Now NPR still has all of its filters blocking hard facts about the conflict from getting through. If any factual reporting about the I/P conflict make it through Guy Raz, Siegel the rest of the filters almost immediately throw a Holocaust story, writer etc to trump the factual I/P story.

    With Fresh Air’s Terri Gross, Scott Simon, etc repeating the unsubstantiated claims about Iran over the years NPR has been part of the team laying the ground work for unnecessary sanctions and eventually for a military strike on Iran. Gross is a serial abuser

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      January 3, 2012, 9:44 am

      NPR reporting is terrible. i only listen to gross and her ilk if an interesting guest in on. although i do like ‘this american life’ alot.

      • Kathleen
        January 3, 2012, 12:25 pm

        Really like “this American Life” Although I do question NPR’s biased and systematic strategy of which shows and who gets radio show spots.

        There was an alleged outside investigation and report about NPR’s “pervasive cronyism” in regard to who gets host, reporters and upper level post that has never been publicly released. I asked Juan Williams about the “pervasive cronyism” claims and suits. He affirmed the claims

  21. Kathleen
    January 3, 2012, 12:14 pm

    Gradsteins reports
    NPR Mideast correspondent
    broke ban on speaker fees

    Originally published in Current, March 11, 2002
    By Mike Janssen

    Partisans on both sides of the conflict in the Middle East see bias in NPR’s coverage, but a recent wave of complaints included a less debatable ethical charge: Israel-based correspondent Linda Gradstein has accepted honoraria from pro-Israeli groups.

    Last month, editors of Electronic Intifada, a website monitoring media coverage of Palestinians, claimed Gradstein had accepted two honoraria from U.S. university groups and was expecting another on Feb. 19, for a speech at the University of Minnesota. Gradstein has toured universities to discuss events in the Middle East and share her journalistic experiences.

    NPR policy bars reporters from accepting money or other benefits from groups with a vested interest in its news coverage.

    The talks in question were sponsored by Hillel, a pro-Israeli Jewish student organization with campus chapters. A Hillel chapter at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., confirmed to Current that it paid Gradstein $2,500 for a talk last April. Most of that money came from Hamagshimim, a group that describes itself on its website as “a dynamic pro-Israel/Zionist movement for young adults.”

    After Gradstein’s appearance, GW Hillel posted an online report on the talk to help chapters planning similar events. It said, “Ms. Gradstein is a Jew and a Zionist, and represents a moderate, yet pro-Israel stance.” Electronic Intifada found this item on the Web and linked to it.

    Special report: NPR’s Linda Gradstein takes cash payments from pro-Israeli groups
    Ali Abunimah and Nigel Parry
    The Electronic Intifada
    18 February 2002

  22. Kathleen
    January 3, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Extra! November/December 2001

    Study of NPR’s Coverage of Deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    A few example of Gradsteins reports at NPR

    Link to many of her reports at NPR

  23. Kathleen
    January 3, 2012, 12:26 pm

    NPR could easily find someone who is not so clearly biased. Clearly they want the biased reporting

    • chrisrushlau
      January 3, 2012, 12:59 pm

      NPR is a yardstick for the Israel lobby’s influence on non-Jews. There is nothing public about NPR. It has no duty to fairness. It either receives money from Congress to talk about what Congress wants to hear about, or it sells air-time to the highest-bidding private donor. But listeners tell themselves that this is public radio so they can believe it. The psychological dynamic here is magical thinking: the talismanic word “public” indemnifies the listener from responsibility. Contrast that with the NY Times or WaPo. We can tell ourselves that money talks and who’s going to shut it up? It’s the pure case of reading the advertisements because someone is paying to say that stuff so it might be worth reading (Jefferson on journalism). But then you might worship money, in which case these organs are authoritative. On the other hand we have Congress. George Mitchell commented last fall that the Israel lobby has never been so strong in Congress as it is right now. Now this is evidently “public”, these people were elected, the courts are independent, though foreign policy is admittedly free territory, and when Congress gives a standing ovation or fifty five to Netanyahu, or gives the President authority to arrest anyone “linked to” (?) the 9-1-1 attackers anywhere anytime by use of the armed forces, we can truly chart the downfall of the republic. But in that case we can crawl under our beds and say, “Who will save us?”
      NPR is the no-load mutual denial fund. It’s rather a shame that the Israel lobby sees value in such a shoddy investment. It tells us the sales resistence of the intended audience.
      Whose fault is Israel? It’s our fault. If we can’t make the case that separation of church and state and equal treatment of the laws, and more generally the rule of law, are best security for both persons and ideas–if we can’t speak truth to power, or to money–then we don’t deserve law.

  24. Kathleen
    January 3, 2012, 2:31 pm

    “The correspondent mentioned how many of the middle-aged and older Palestinians had once been faithful employees of Israelis. “They were good workers and had become fluent in Hebrew and wanted to practice the language with me. Their children didn’t know Hebrew except those who had spent time in Israeli prisons. The better the Hebrew, the longer they’d been in prison.” That got some laughs. ”

    What a fucking racist

    Hiring of laborers in Israel and illegally occupied territories

    • philweiss
      January 3, 2012, 2:32 pm

      ordinarily we block profanity on this site. in this case… i can’t help feeling the same outrage. why is that funny? there are thousands of good people in these prisons, for political crimes

      • Kathleen
        January 3, 2012, 2:35 pm

        sorry..just can not help myself sometimes. Will try to hold back

      • chauncey
        January 3, 2012, 8:50 pm

        your passion is refreshing, Kathleen…reminds me of how much I enjoyed reading your gettin’ after Steve Clemons…

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      January 3, 2012, 3:40 pm

      agreed, kathleen. if that doesn’t sound like southern racists waxing nostalgic over the good ol’ days when ‘negroes’ knew their place, i’m tone deaf.

  25. Kathleen
    January 3, 2012, 2:34 pm

    Some Jewish friends of mine were living in South Africa in the late 60’s and early 70’s they were visiting me in Colorado in the early 70’s. I remember how fucking disgusted I was when they started talking about how cheap the labor was in S Africa. I was so disgusted and let them know so

    Racism is racism is racism

    • Mooser
      January 3, 2012, 3:17 pm

      NPR was pretty good before Reagan, and went downhill fast after that.

      • Kathleen
        January 3, 2012, 3:32 pm

        NPR was born out of a womb controlled by the I lobby. From its inception they have never reported about the I/P conflict honestly if at all

        NPR spawned Pepsi’s (progressive except for Palestine Syria Iran)

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        January 3, 2012, 3:37 pm

        why must you bad mouth reagan? if i had to rank him as a president, i would place him near the top of those who served while suffering senile dementia. in all seriousness, i wouldn’t blame him or credit him personally with much of anything that took place during his presidency. as i understand it, he needed a script just to get through a hand shake with a visiting head of state.

      • Kathleen
        January 3, 2012, 4:29 pm

        busting unions

      • chauncey
        January 3, 2012, 8:56 pm

        funny! I especially like the “in all seriousness”

      • chrisrushlau
        January 3, 2012, 10:32 pm

        I think that the significance of Reagan is that he was the first Israel-lobby-supplied President. I think there is a lot more to unearth following the line of Norman Finkelstein that US Jews first got mobilized for Israel after the six day operation by the IDF in 1967 (I think that’s his historical judgment on that so-called war). Reagan was our first Obama–a President palpably for sale. A soap seller (This is Ronald Reagan for Twenty-Mule-Team Borax). Israel had some part in his October surprise etc. arms dealings with Iran. You have to wonder what he intended by putting the Marines in Lebanon, having the USS Missouri shell Syrian army positions. Cui bono? If the rhetorical strategy, marketing strategy, of the lobby has always been obfuscation (since there is no case to be made for a Jewish state) if Israel must be discussed publicly at all, Reagan was the god-father of blur. I fondly imagine the local law school putting up a statue of Reagan in the yard with a plaque reading, “I paid for this microphone.” My theory of propaganda is that it doesn’t convince or persuade, because people always know when they’re being lied to and only go along if they’re either bribed or threatened. Propaganda is the public announcement, in effect, that discussion is closed on this topic: hence the party line. In ’67 Israel was the blue-eyed Spartacus defeating the hairy, smelly Mediterranean intruder, furnishing a refreshing antidote for bad news in Vietnam. By ’80, that had worn thin and mass involvement by Jews in US politics in behalf of Israel created what you might call the Stephen Spielberg effect: total bullshit (yes, Phil). Translation: Israel is off-limits.
        As a predictable outcome, per John Stuart Mill, the lack of fresh air and circulation caused the errors of the design (just how is the Jewish state supposed to function internally and regionally?) to deepen and ramify, bringing us to this day.
        How long does it take a denizen of a police state to shake off the somnolence, wariness, etc. of living under a party-line apparatus that is (to quote a professor of many interesting subjects at a small Catholic college) “cybernetic” in scope and depth? For one thing, it requires a massive breakdown. Viz. our economy, the stock market being the only part of which is functioning normally, which is a very abnormal event: what is it measuring? From the ridiculous to the sublime, Lebanon is apparently still governed by the deal worked out by the French, so that today the 25% who are Christian (?) have “equality” with the 75% who are ascribed as Muslims (but no census has been done since, what, the ’30’s because the topic is so “delicate”) in terms of Parliamentary representation. (Before the Taif Accord of a decade or so ago, “Christians” were allotted a majority of seats.) Somewhere in the middle of that spectrum you have Afghanistan, in which we all look forward to the successful termination of that war in three years. It’s hard not to laugh and cry at the same time. No wonder most people go around like characters in an old Bob Dylan song: “really shook”.
        So the narcotic effect seems to have worn off; the patient has acquired a tolerance so that any increased dosage would kill her. We’re already so sedated we can hardly walk.
        The choices available now are a general catastrophe and a measured transition to what professionals might soon be calling a reality-based politics.

      • chrisrushlau
        January 3, 2012, 11:02 pm

        I should have said that the professor at the small Catholic college described present or coming social conditions (as of 1982 or so) as “cybernetic”: that being the science of monitoring and coordination, what a German might call Gleichschaltung: synchronization. The Nazis used that term, apparently, for their one-party state, from knitting circles to Lutheran bishops: they had to be Nazi knitting circles and Nazi Lutheran bishops. It’s a fair description of life in the goyish majority here today: synchronized dysfunction.

    • pnkfloid
      January 4, 2012, 11:22 pm

      Say what? Is it really relevant that they were Jewish? Sorry, but this sounds like an antisemitic comment too me.

      • annie
        January 4, 2012, 11:30 pm

        was it relevant to you?

      • chrisrushlau
        January 5, 2012, 2:20 pm

        Good question, “Was it relevant to you?” I remember my friend Jim Kamin, in seventh grade, maybe, saying that an anti-Semitic member of the town council had been leveraged out of his seat in some way that did not address his anti-Semitism (I don’t recall the factual basis, if any, for that characterization) but was some kind of cheap nasty trick. It struck me as sort of a knee-capping: the bastard getting what he deserved albeit outside normal legal channels. This friend: he slapped me in the face once, during high school, because I said to him, “Okay, God, what should I do?” He had a high status in my view, but he didn’t want it that high. I probably never got over that incident in seventh grade, where he’d apparently given me an ultimatum: if you want to be my semi-friend from here on out (counting from first grade or something), you have to accept my right to stand with my people against threats in a way that you will regard as unjust. The premise, therefore, was, we cannot be friends any more. My shame is that I did not immediately challenge this. I didn’t say, not that I can recall, that this town councillor should have been called out on his crimes and convicted, at the ballot box or in court (law school lay in the future for both of us), and that defense of community values could not come at the cost of law. Maybe I envied him his community, but that was the warning that his community was not healthy. Maybe that’s why he told me this thing: he wanted to see if I’d challenge him, and prove I wanted to be his friend. So I flunked his test, and settled for semi-semi-friendship, mixed with envy, contempt, the whole package. We met ten or so years ago, thirty years later, and he remarked I’d had some “serious things” going on in those days, but I think the real last word (inferred from a missive, his last communication to me (so far)) was that I’d previously failed to challenge him. (Even in high school, at the end, he gave me “A Separate Peace” and tried to tell me that I’d been the natural leader whom the envious sidekick had ambushed when I thought the story applied to us the other way around; he was telling me I was supposed to lead him, help him out of something, resist his ambushing, despite his, to facile appearances, having all the badges of leadership, success, etc.) The last missive (letter or postcard, very terse) said that my talking, in a letter or two, about denial made him feel very, very tired. (“I have your postcard mounted by my desk, and looking at it makes me feel very tired.”: pretty much a quote, remembered after these several years.) I guess now that this was his saying, “Thank you for finally being honest and giving me your best aid, as crappy and untidy as it was, some very tendentious and contradiction-riddled theory of psychology suspended in mid-air but it was the start to a line of thought that I know I must pursue and it may take the rest of my life to lift up that burden” or words to that effect, all implicit in the “very, very tired–so no more talk, please” missive. Friends may be able to share burdens or not, but they point out burdens that are concealed by self-deception.

  26. Kathleen
    January 3, 2012, 5:55 pm

    Have always thought it would be interesting for someone getting paid for their time to track down the people who have brought suits against NPR for different discrimination reasons. Anyone who settled is more than likely unable to discuss, but who knows

    The cronyism is mentioned in this article
    “Her action brings to six the number of known discrimination suits filed against NPR in recent years. ”
    “Many minority employees say NPR suffers from a cronyism, in the newsroom at least, that stymies the career progress of minorities.”

    Read in one of the articles about these suits that there was an outside investigation and report into these claims and that report has never been released to the public

  27. cogit8
    January 3, 2012, 11:18 pm

    NPR (or the Jewish Home Companion as I call it) is an interesting look into another mindset. This mindset is hung-up on a past tragedy; is continually pre-occupied with it, and always seeks ingenious ways of educating ‘the other’ who hasn’t been fully brainwashed.

    As an example, listening to a feature called “Why a teen who talks back may have a bright future” I wasn’t expecting the holocaust reference, but there you go:

    “Child psychologist Richard Weissbourd says the findings bolster earlier research that finds that “parents who really respect their kids’ thinking and their kids’ input are much more likely to have kids who end up being independent thinkers and who are able to resist peer groups.”

    Weissbourd points to one dramatic study that analyzed parental relationships of Dutch citizens who ended up protecting Jews during World War II. They were parents who encouraged independent thinking, even if it differed from their own.

    So the next time your teenager huffs and puffs and starts to argue, you might just step back for a minute, take a breath yourself, and try to listen. It may be one of the best lessons you teach your child.”

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