Extremely distressing. The New York Times– obviously under pressure from Israel lobby groups– has issued a correction to a statement about the illegality of the settlements.
The other day Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren wrote of the settlements:
The United States, along with most of the world, considers these settlements illegal…
Now the Times has stuck this correction on at the end, filled with weaseling language that reflects the surrender of US politicians to rightwing Israelis:
An article on Monday… misstated the United States’ view of such settlements. While much of the rest of the world considers them illegal, as the article noted, the United States has taken no formal position in the last several years on whether they are legal or illegal. (In a statement on Tuesday, the State Department said, “We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.” )
Ali Abunimah got to this before me. His piece on US policy shifts is devastating and precise. Excerpt:
A plain reading of the “correction” is that it is an effort to mislead readers into thinking the United States has never considered Israeli settlements to be illegal. This is obviously untrue.
If the Times wanted to inform readers, instead of serving as a propaganda platform for whitewashing Israeli policies, it could have said something like this: “The United States has in the past stated that Israeli settlements are illegal, and has voted for UN Security Council resolutions affirming this position. In recent years, the United States has, however, refused to re-state its position publicly, opting instead for formulas less likely to put it into conflict with Israel and its US-based lobby.”
I’d add this. I specifically congratulated Jodi Rudoren for describing the settlements as illegal the other day. But the Times obviously came under massive pressure from groups that didn’t like that statement. And who has the Times’s ear? Rudoren has my sympathy. Every statement she makes is vetted by the lobby.
And one more thing: The imbedding of rightwing Israeli interests inside our political culture is why the Israel situation is historically more similar to Algeria than South Africa. I’m going to be writing about this a lot in weeks to come. We’ve created a disaster.