Today in the New York Times, Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren covered Israelis’ views of Ariel Sharon. Her story is summarized by the subhead:
Some Israelis recall a determined leader, while others revile him as the man who removed Jewish settlements in Gaza
Israelis? The story is 18 paragraphs long. Nowhere in there is it mentioned that 20 percent of Israelis are Palestinians. Nowhere are they asked for their views.
You have to get to the 11th paragraph to hear any Palestinian voices at all–
The Palestinian news media reported that people in Gaza burned pictures of Mr. Sharon and distributed sweets in the streets to celebrate the death of a man they called “the butcher.”
And that’s all. Rudoren’s Palestinian voices are in Gaza, outside Israel.
Then she goes back to the praise. And there are two points of view according to her, the rightist and the far-rightist. To her Israelis are Jews. She completely erases 20 percent of the population. Do they not have a word of criticism? Some of the people killed in the second intifada were Palestinian Israelis.
Imagine during Jim Crow that a white supremacist senator in the south died, and the New York Times reporter didn’t ask the black people in the state what they thought about him.
Now let’s go to the last paragraphs of the story. Rudoren closes with food. And this was characteristic of Time magazine under Henry Luce: to humanize a person you discussed what they liked to eat. Luce pioneered that–
Asian strongman Ferdinand Marcos sits down to a breakfast of fish and scrambled eggs.
Rudoren’s anecdote takes one of Sharon’s most disagreeable habits to make him human:
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, remembered preparing Mr. Sharon for his first meeting with President George W. Bush in 2001. True to his well-known appetites, Mr. Sharon had buckets of steak, lamb chops and hot dogs delivered to his Washington hotel room.
“He gets down to the last two hot dogs, and he says, ‘Are you sure you don’t want them?’ Mr. Hoenlein said with a laugh. “He loved everything, but he loved hot dogs in particular.”
Hoenlein’s not an Israeli either. But he’s Jewish, so he counts.