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‘NYT’ calls Shimon Peres ‘outspoken advocate of peace’

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Picture of Pope's farewell from twitter feed of Benjamin Netanyahu (c). Shimon Peres is at right.

Picture of Pope’s farewell from twitter feed of Benjamin Netanyahu (c). President Shimon Peres is at right.

[In the last 24 hours, Jerome Slater has published two posts (1, 2) dealing with The New York Times’ coverage of the Pope’s trip by Jodi Rudoren, Jim Yardley and Isabel Kershner. He gave us permission to publish them; we have combined them. –Ed.]

Two years ago I published in this blog an exchange of correspondence I had with Jodi Rudoren, as she was about to become the chief NY Times correspondent in Israel.

I’ve just sent another email to Rudoren, concerning her lead story in today’s NY Times.  If she responds, I’ll provide an update.  Here’s what I wrote to her:

You may or may not remember that when you began your Israeli stint at the Times we exchanged several emails, which (with your permission) I published on my blog.  Based on those emails I thought there was some reason to hope that the Times would finally face the unmistakable facts and stop obscuring or bowdlerizing the truth about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

To some extent, this has happened–though not nearly sufficiently. You have certainly been an improvement over your egregious predecessor, Ethan Bronner.  But that is small praise.  As many others have noted, many of your stories have been misleading in one way or another, or attempt to strike a “balance”–“Israelis say this, Palestinians say that”–thereby concealing or obscuring objective truths.

I write now to point out a particular offender: your description today of Shimon Peres as “an outspoken advocate of peace.”  True, Peres has made a career out of appearing before unknowing and usually rapturous audiences and lugubriously intoning about his search for peace, but his actual behavior–that is, when he has had real power to do the right thing–is quite the contrary.

As you may know, Yitzhak Rabin detested Peres for his utter hypocrisy.  Many years ago when Rabin was thought to be the hawk and Peres the dove, Rabin’s view was discounted–but of course he was absolutely correct.  Peres’ true role is just what Hanan Ashrawi says, “to give a clean bill of health for public relations.”

True, you did quote her—but since you’ve just written, in your own voice and  as if it was an uncontestable fact, that Peres is an “outspoken advocate for peace,” what she says will surely be discounted by most readers.  After all, what would you expect a mere Palestinian to say?

What you wrote is either knowingly false or deeply ignorant.  I don’t know which is worse, but in either case the NY Times continues to betray its obligation to first ascertain and then write the truth about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Rudoren sent me an email, in response to my yesterday’s email to her:

“There is no doubt that in recent years Peres has been an outspoken advocate for peace. It has, however, been quite a long time since he was in a position to do anything about it — as I wrote.”

I responded:

“How sad.  You seem utterly unaware that when he WAS in a position to do anything about it–not once, but many times–he repeatedly sabotaged genuine opportunities for peace.

Does not your position morally require you to first understand and then reveal the historical realities?    Judging from your response, you don’t even pass the first test.”

She responded this morning:

“I am aware of the history. Also convinced this conversation not constructive, so not going to continue it.”

Given the nature of my attack, I suppose I can scarcely blame her.  On the other hand, I am so thoroughly sick of the NY Times’ unending,  uncomprehending, and unconscionable dishonesty on this issue, and its characteristic failure to ever address serious criticism,  I can’t blame myself either.

Jerome Slater

Jerome Slater is a professor (emeritus) of political science and now a University Research Scholar at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has taught and written about U.S. foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for nearly 50 years, both for professional journals (such as International Security, Security Studies, and Political Science Quarterly) and for many general periodicals. He writes foreign policy columns for the Sunday Viewpoints section of the Buffalo News. And his website it www.jeromeslater.com.

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35 Responses

  1. on May 27, 2014, 10:28 am

    Qana Peres? Not a man of peace??

    (“Oh, those surveillance drones!”)

  2. just on May 27, 2014, 11:04 am

    Thank you Jerome. You nailed it, of course.

    ““I am aware of the history. Also convinced this conversation not constructive, so not going to continue it.””

    And right there, in her own words, is the problem. If she is “aware of the history”, then she is doubly culpable for the propaganda she pens.

    (“True, Peres has made a career out of appearing before unknowing and usually rapturous audiences and lugubriously intoning about his search for peace…” Kudos on your wonderfully evocative composition!)

    • ritzl on May 27, 2014, 6:49 pm

      Bingo, just. Not just a tool, but a witting participant.

      As Inigo Montoya might say: “She keeps saying that word. I do not think that word [aware] means what she thinks it means…”

      • just on May 27, 2014, 7:08 pm

        Thanks, ritzl.

        (I LOVE ‘The Princess Bride’.)

  3. seafoid on May 27, 2014, 11:28 am

    Peres is the guy who every Navroz videoes a message of peace to the Iranian people, telling them that Israel loves peace and hey let’s forget about war.

    In his speeches it is as if he represents a dreamlike parallel universe where the Jewish State invests in kids and diplomacy and spends money on aid for weaker nations.

    But when he’s actually awake he’s a war mongering liar.

  4. hophmi on May 27, 2014, 1:48 pm

    “You seem utterly unaware that when he WAS in a position to do anything about it–not once, but many times–he repeatedly sabotaged genuine opportunities for peace.”

    Sorry Jodi Rudoren is not becoming an activist for the Palestinian cause, Jerome.

    • joemowrey on May 27, 2014, 2:46 pm

      In fact, she is an active propagandist for the Zionist cause.

    • Cliff on May 27, 2014, 3:05 pm

      Yep, because she’s an activist for apartheid like you.

    • Donald on May 27, 2014, 4:08 pm

      “Sorry Jodi Rudoren is not becoming an activist for the Palestinian cause, Jerome.”

      Sarcasm without any substantive content isn’t an interesting response, hophmi.
      I could reply along your lines by saying that she was an activist for the Israeli cause, and with more justice. But an interesting response would be where you demonstrated that you knew what Jerome was referring to and then refuted him. Offhand, I don’t know enough about Peres’s history to say that much–I remember that 1996 he was responsible for killing about 100 civilians at Qana. I know that in 2013 he said that terror and not Israel’s settlement policy was the obstacle to peace. link I suspect Jerome could list some other examples.

      Off topic–what’s up with the latest comment feature on the sidebar? It seems to be stuck with the same contents there for several days now.

      • hophmi on May 27, 2014, 4:15 pm

        “Sarcasm without any substantive content isn’t an interesting response, hophmi. An interesting response would be where you demonstrated that you knew what Jerome was referring to and then refuted him. ”

        I know what Jerome is referring to. I think the argument that Qana somehow wipes out Peres’s very long history of advocating peace in the region through Oslo, during his tenure as Prime Minister, through the work of his NGO, and through a list of public statements supporting negotiation that is a mile long, is ridiculous. Peres called settlement building a threat to the Jewish state. http://www.timesofisrael.com/shimon-peres-warns-settlements-could-end-jewish-state/

        His entire NGO is devoted to bringing peace to the region. http://www.peres-center.org/

        You know enough about Peres to know that the notion that he is
        “repeatedly sabotaged genuine opportunities for peace” is complete nonsense, and not at all serious analysis. It’s just part of the demonize-all-Israelis campaign.

      • Donald on May 27, 2014, 4:40 pm

        From what I know of Peres, he’s been on both sides of the fence regarding a 2SS. On the one hand he says settlements are a problem, but on the other (as in my link) he denies that settlements are the obstacle and blames the lack of peace on “terror”. That’s not serious.

        Qana also matters. But I mentioned it because it’s what has stuck in my head regarding Peres–it’s not necessarily what Jerome is referring to.

      • hophmi on May 27, 2014, 4:52 pm

        “From what I know of Peres, he’s been on both sides of the fence regarding a 2SS.”

        Not in the last 20 years, to my knowledge.

        “On the one hand he says settlements are a problem, but on the other (as in my link) he denies that settlements are the obstacle and blames the lack of peace on “terror”. That’s not serious.”

        What’s not serious is to suggest that everybody who supports peace, including Israeli politicians, must agree with your analysis that settlements are the only obstacle or the primary obstacle to peace. Peres clearly does not think that settlements are not an obstacle if he’s on record as saying that they threaten Israel’s future as a Jewish state.

      • Woody Tanaka on May 27, 2014, 5:45 pm

        Hoppy:

        “What’s not serious is to suggest that everybody who supports peace, including Israeli politicians, must agree with your analysis that settlements are the only obstacle or the primary obstacle to peace.”

        You can claim that gravity won’t affect you, just like Peres can claim that the settlements aren’t a primary obstacle to peace, but you’re still going to go splat if you jump off a building. He’s not serious.

      • Donald on May 27, 2014, 6:00 pm

        “What’s not serious is to suggest that everybody who supports peace, including Israeli politicians, must agree with your analysis that settlements are the only obstacle or the primary obstacle to peace. ”

        Well there’s where we disagree (well, one place anyway). I agree that terrorism ON BOTH SIDES is an obstacle to peace. But there is much less actual killing in recent years compared to many previous periods (not that this couldn’t change). The chief obstacle right now is the settlement policy and it’s always been the leading factor except in periods of actual war. If an Israeli or Israel supporter says he favors peace, and even says the settlements are an obstacle, but then says that Palestinian terror is the chief obstacle, then that person is just making excuses for Israel as the side with most of the power to keep doing what it is doing.

        On Peres, when I said he’s been on both sides, that’s mostly what I meant. (I think he might also have not done enough to slow settlements in the 90’s when he had some actual political power as opposed to the ceremonial position he has now, but am not sure about that.)

      • Woody Tanaka on May 27, 2014, 4:44 pm

        “Peres called settlement building a threat to the Jewish state. link to timesofisrael.com ”

        BFD. If he was this great man of peace, he would have said the truth: settlement building is a threat to the rights of Palestinians. They are the victims, not “the Jewish state.”

      • Citizen on May 27, 2014, 7:07 pm

        Continued Jewish settlement building is simply theft, plunder. Who here defends that? The US government does not even do that; it just finances it and defends any attempt to stop it at the UN. Look at all the time Kerry just spent on ignoring it while running around to pretend to engage in the peace process. US is utterly insane when it comes to insane Israel. Zionist money talks, sanity walks. I blame the 98% of the USA that is non-Jewish.

      • eljay on May 27, 2014, 8:40 pm

        >> Peres called settlement building a threat to the Jewish state.

        It figures that a Zio-supremacist like Peres would caution against settlement building not because it is an overtly unjust and immoral act of colonialism and oppression, but because it threatens Jewish supremacism.

        And it figures that a Zio-supremacist like hophmeee would consider Peres’ comments laudable.

  5. phylliprezzel on May 27, 2014, 2:49 pm

    Nor do I wish her to become an ‘activist for the Palestinian cause.’ I just want her to be an activist for the truth, which, I believe, is the definition of the job of one who aspires to be a journalist.

    • hophmi on May 27, 2014, 4:54 pm

      Good. The truth is that Peres has been an advocate of peace for about two decades, as evidenced by his role in negotiating Oslo, in negotiations after Oslo was signed, in his actions to advance the process when he was Prime Minister, in the work of the Peres Center for Peace, and in his many, many public statements supporting peace in the last 20 years.

      • chinese box on May 27, 2014, 5:33 pm

        I think first you/we need to define exactly what constitutes peace in this situation. Is it a cessation of violence within the Green Line with impoverished bantustans and endlessly expanding settlements in the OT? If so then “peace” may be the wrong goal here.

        As for Oslo, plenty of interested parties promoted it for less than altruistic reasons–Dennis Ross to protect his sinecure, Clinton/Obama/Peres for PR, Abbas to keep the aid money flowing in. Nothing particularly brave or laudable about any of it.

      • Woody Tanaka on May 27, 2014, 5:56 pm

        Baloney. Peres has been looking for a way to lock the box in which the Zionists have got the Palestinians stuffed. He doesn’t want peace — if he did, he’s be pushing the Israelis to accept immediately the Arab Peace Plan.

      • pjdude on May 28, 2014, 1:22 am

        You keep hailing Oslo as thing grand framework for peace but it wasn’t it was just a cover so israel could keep commiting crimes. Maybe if israel followed through on their obligations you’d have a point but saying he negotiated something and than ignored his obligations doesn’t make him an adobo care for peace it just makes you a liar.

  6. chinese box on May 27, 2014, 3:47 pm

    “Sorry Jodi Rudoren is not becoming an activist for the Palestinian cause, Jerome.”

    On the contrary, by whitewashing or ignoring Peres’ past for political reasons Rudoren has already established herself as a “covert activist” of sorts.

  7. Woody Tanaka on May 27, 2014, 4:58 pm

    “I am aware of the history. Also convinced this conversation not constructive, so not going to continue it.”

    LMAO. In other words, “of course you’re right, but I wish to pretend that the fantasy is the truth because if I were to do otherwise, I would be force to do the unthinkable — actually be critical of Israel in a fundamental way — and shed the facade that the Israelis actually desire peace.”

    And, thus, Judi Rudoren notes that “We have always been at war with Eastasia.”

    • hophmi on May 27, 2014, 5:17 pm

      Right, because as we all know, politicians have exactly the same space as political activists to say whatever they want whenever they want.

      Tell someone who cares.

      • Woody Tanaka on May 27, 2014, 6:34 pm

        “Right, because as we all know, politicians have exactly the same space as political activists to say whatever they want whenever they want.”

        She’s not a politician, she’s supposedly a journalist. But given the editorial slant of the NYT (“must always protect Israel no matter what”), perhaps considering her an Israeli politician and treating her as such is a wise course.

        “Tell someone who cares.”

        Oh, we all know you don’t care. About justice, about human rights, about anything, really. (Unless you can see some advantage in it for Israel. Then you push that, morals or legality be damned.)

      • pjdude on May 28, 2014, 1:25 am

        It’s called courage there was a time when we expected our politicians to not be so completely craven

    • chinese box on May 27, 2014, 8:15 pm

      @Woody

      Upon reading hophmi’s many posts I’ve realized that there’s a fundamental disconnect between words and actions in his mind. So just wishing something makes it so. Peres is a man of peace, regardless of his actual behavior, because Rudoren said so. It doesn’t matter that Sodastream is built on stolen land, because it’s owner says he’s a peacenik. Even though Hophmi supports colonialism, he’s “left of center”, because he says so.

  8. seafoid on May 27, 2014, 5:25 pm

    Peres is an outspoken advocate of peace as Liz Taylor was a vociferous advocate for monogamy.
    He lives peace as the Kardashians embody modesty.

  9. W.Jones on May 27, 2014, 5:43 pm

    Peres’s speech on Israel’s Memorial Day acknowledges commitment to the Plan Dalet
    Middle East Monitor
    May 2014

    Referred to briefly as “our neighbours” by Peres, the reported statements as quoted by the Times of Israel focus upon metaphorical conjectures of inherent melancholy and incompletion… Peres referred to a sadness that is “hidden deeply but stares out of our eyes”,

    Dear Jerome Slater,

    Thank you for your correspondence with J.Rudoren. A major underlying issue, that Peres may be referencing above and which many writings on the topic may unknowingly revolve around is the fact of the Nakba, AKA the “solution” to the “demographic problem” of A Land with Another People.

    Previously we corresponded briefly about this important question:
    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2391251408579873127&postID=306904150420002852&isPopup=true

    That is, would it have been possible to have two states without the solution you proposed of what is basically a “compensated” expulsion. In particular, I proposed considering how the United Nations divided the land so that there would be a natural majority of each group in each of the respective “halves”, thus negating the need for transfer. So I would like to encourage you to reconsider whether “compensated” expulsion was really necessary, or at least to write an essay directly on this key question.

  10. Citizen on May 27, 2014, 7:15 pm

    Rudoren grew up in Newton, Massachusetts and spent her summers at Camp Yavne in New Hampshire.

    She earned her BA in History at Yale University in 1992

    On her days at Camp Yavne: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Yavneh

  11. dbroncos on May 28, 2014, 12:59 am

    Thanks for sharing your recent exchange with Rudoren. Bronner, Kirshner and Rudoren all share a deep hostility and bigotry against Palestinians – a prerequisite for the NYT job in Jerusalem. They will be remembered for supporting racist and discriminatory laws, checkpoints, colonial settlement construction, home demolitions, collective punishment, price tag attacks, unlawful arrest and imprisonment, torture, murder, war – and of course Israel’s ultimate goal of snuffing out the Palestinian Nation. Rudoren supports these crimes and disguises them in her writing as part of her duty to the state.

  12. eGuard on May 28, 2014, 3:05 am

    Rudoren: There is no doubt that in recent years Peres has been an outspoken advocate for peace

    That must have started long after he got his Nobel peace prize.

    Reminds me of that story about Kissinger. “Mr. Kissinger, what is your greatest experience in life?”– “Of course, getting the Nobel peace prize for making peace in Vietnam”.
    “Mr. Kissinger, and the worst?” — “That the war in Vietnam ended”.

  13. John Salisbury on May 28, 2014, 5:57 pm

    I changed my mind forever about Peres after reading “The Secret Alliance” by Sasha Polakow-Suransky. Hypocrisy and duplicity on a grand scale.

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