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In ‘NYT’ tale of two mothers, the occupation is a human-relations problem

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Rudoren meets with American Jewish Committee group

Rudoren meets with American Jewish Committee group

Jodi Rudoren moved out of her comfort zone today. The New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, who tends to focus on the Jewish and Israeli understanding of the conflict, has a front-page piece titled, “After West Bank Kidnapping, 2 Mothers Embody a Divide,” that features the Jewish mother of an abducted teen and the Palestinian mother of a teen shot dead by Israeli soldiers. It’s a good thing that Aida Abdel Aziz Dudeen and her late son Mohammed are treated as human beings in the New York Times– and all to Rudoren’s credit.

The problem with the article is that its on-the-one-hand/on-the-other composition makes it seem like the conflict is a human relations problem. Rudoren works hard at humanizing, and never deals directly with the central facts of Palestinian life, occupation and the daily denial of human rights. Moving statements from the Jewish woman, Rachel Fraenkel, suggest that her 16-year-old son Naftali was a complete innocent.

“I was praying maybe he did something stupid and irresponsible,” Ms. [Rachel] Fraenkel recalled, “but I know my boy isn’t stupid, and he isn’t irresponsible.”

We believe her. But the youth was hitchhiking inside a military occupation with two settler teens. He is not to blame; but his society surely is. The international community is unequivocal on this score: the occupation and settlements are wholly illegal.

Aware of that sentiment, his mother gets to defend herself from the settlement charge:

She stressed that [her community of] Nof Ayalon, which spills slightly over the 1949 armistice line dividing Israel from the West Bank, is not a settlement.

But why did she send her son to school in an illegal occupation? That fact is seen as more on-the-one-hand/on-the-other:

Most Israelis see the missing teenagers as innocent civilians captured on their way home from school, and the Palestinians who were killed as having provoked soldiers. Palestinians, though, see the very act of attending yeshiva in a West Bank settlement as provocation, and complain that the crackdown is collective punishment against a people under illegal occupation.

That’s the only reference in a long article to occupation. The Palestinians may see it that way, but our reporter evidently doesn’t. There is no description in this piece of Palestinian political attitudes, formed by nearly-50 years of dealing with military checkpoints and dispossession. It’s a good bet that Mohammed Dudeen never got to visit the Mediterranean Sea or Jerusalem, though both are under 30 miles from his home. Hebron, the city that his family lives outside, was locked down for days after the kidnaping, its city center has been taken over by Jewish settlers and soldiers imposing conditions that are “apartheid on steroids,” and the Palestinian villages around Hebron are subject to settler and soldier raids.

Rudoren’s article will leave readers thinking, Why can’t these people just get along? Why can’t the Palestinians teach their children about the Holocaust so they know where the Jews are coming from? Why can’t the Jews learn about the Palestinian food and customs? When the central truth is, occupation.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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39 Responses

  1. just on June 30, 2014, 10:24 am

    Thanks for highlighting this article that Taxi linked to earlier… I’m pasting my comment here:

    ‘“After West Bank Kidnapping”…

    I almost stopped there, but I read the article.

    I was surprised to read: “They had no idea he had never arrived.” How did they not know?

    There is too much to unpack in the article, but the mention of ‘purple’ made my brain go to this:

    ““Every time I conjure up a rock, I throw it.”
    ― Alice Walker, The Color Purple ”

    Thanks Taxi.

    I hope the missing teens do get home. I am sorry that Mohammed won’t be able to.’

    I am struck by the absence of the “Occupation”, that is mostly why I am so unsettled (no pun intended) by Rudoren’s article. There was this bit though:

    “Ms. Dudeen said her family was not affiliated with Hamas — which Israel says is behind the kidnapping — or any other Palestinian faction. “I want my homeland to be liberated from Israeli colonialism,” she said, her grief mixed with a bit of pride. “When the Israeli soldier picked up his rifle against Mohammed, he did not turn his back, he did not fear.””

    for most readers, “colonialism” does not elicit the same emotions that Oppression and Occupation might… but that is it in a nutshell.

    co·lo·ni·al·ism
    kəˈlōnēəˌlizəm,kəˈlōnyəˌlizəm/
    noun
    noun: colonialism

    the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.

  2. Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 30, 2014, 10:28 am

    ”It’s a good thing that Aida Abdel Aziz Dudeen and her late son Mohammed are treated as human beings in the New York Times– and all to Rudoren’s credit.”

    I’m slightly puzzled as to why Rudoren continues to get something of a free pass here. So she ‘humanises’ Palestinians? Are we really setting the bar so low that Palestinians need to be grateful for being seen as ‘human’?

    ”She stressed that [her community of] Nof Ayalon, which spills slightly over the 1949 armistice line dividing Israel from the West Bank, is not a settlement.”

    Who gives a toss what this woman ‘stresses’. If it’s over the Green Line, it is built on stolen land. And btw I think it’s becoming clear why some accounts describe all 3 of the ‘kidnapped boys’ as being settlers, and others say only 1. Maybe only 1 was from what even Rudoren would admit was a ‘settlement’ while the others are only kinda-sorta settlements? Gotcha.

    “but I know my boy isn’t stupid, and he isn’t irresponsible.”

    Maybe not, but you are, since you sent your son to ‘study’ on stolen land.

    ”Palestinians, though, see the very act of attending yeshiva in a West Bank settlement as provocation, and complain that the crackdown is collective punishment against a people under illegal occupation.”

    This whole thing of painting objection to the ILLEGAL settlements as merely subjective Palestinian whining is the oldest trick in the game. Of course, it’s not that the ‘settlements’ are unambigously illegal under international law. It’s not that citizens of the occupying state are not considered protected people under the Geneva Convention. It’s not that collective punishment is a war crime. No, it’s all about what Palestinians ‘think’ it is.

    Like I said, I’m baffled as to why Rudoren continues to get a free pass here.

    • Kay24 on June 30, 2014, 1:14 pm

      “I’m slightly puzzled as to why Rudoren continues to get something of a free pass here. So she ‘humanises’ Palestinians? Are we really setting the bar so low that Palestinians need to be grateful for being seen as ‘human’?

      Excellent question MDM, are we reduced to feeling gratitude, because someone who has always shown a violent occupier as the poor little victim, and those they hold under their control, the aggressor. Okay, so this day Rudoren was in a reasonable mood, perhaps her conscience finally made her realize it was time to give her readers a glimpse of what the other side has to endure, but still not go overboard.
      It is still a sad situation, that there are many like her, who consistently play the same sob story when it comes to Israel, with the intention of misleading them, and
      making sure they do not get the real story. The New York Times seems to have no high standards when it comes to their reporters.

    • eGuard on July 1, 2014, 7:54 am

      why Rudoren continues to get a free pass here – even worse. She gets credits. For doing a minimal part her job. as it should be done. Credited!

      I think she is applauded because people here think that supporting her will help to improve the NYT somehow.

  3. bilal a on June 30, 2014, 10:34 am

    the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.

    that is American history, past and present.

  4. a blah chick on June 30, 2014, 10:42 am

    Don’t you know, “symmetry” is the only way you are allowed to criticize Israel in the official media. I like to think that Jodi-Jodi-Jodi was feeling some heat from her recent
    efforts. I don’t think she’s a bad person just not capable of seeing how her biases effect what she.

  5. peterfeld on June 30, 2014, 11:13 am

    A little subtle, but Rudoren writes, “Her husband, Jihad, has for 10 years been doing construction in Israel…” This isn’t normal sentence construction you’d read in the Times, it’s how Americans in Israel begin to talk when they start translating back from Hebrew.

  6. hungrydave on June 30, 2014, 11:18 am

    i actually didn’t think it was too bad by Rudoren standards, however this bit:

    Asked what she would say to the mothers of the abducted Israelis, Ms. Dudeen started with, “If there was a kidnapping,” reflecting the rampant Palestinian suspicion that Israel staged the whole thing as a pretext for routing Hamas from the West Bank.

    Has there been any evidence that there was a kidnapping yet? Maybe i’ve missed it, but if there still hasn’t been any evidence, then what Ms. Dudeen says is actually accurate rather than Rudoren’s implication that Palestinians are ‘rampantly’ engaging in fictional conspiracies. That’s how i read it anyway.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 30, 2014, 11:33 am

      Plus the word ‘rampant’ is itself highly derogatory. And there are a whole load of options in between accepting the official IDF story – as of course Rudoren does – and believing that the whole thing was ‘staged’. Though both are possibilities.

      It’s just another example of how Palestinian claims are examined with the most intense and critical scrutiny, even with considerable evidence to support them – see the Nakba Day killings – while Israeli claims, even with little or no evidence to support them, are accepted at face value, and those who question them dismissed as ‘conspiracy theorists’ or worse.

  7. seafoid on June 30, 2014, 11:47 am

    The system is never discussed. Israel is always presented as a normal country, as if violence as a staple of daily life and the moral degradation that accompanies it are completely alien to life in the country. Poor Mrs Frankel. Ms Everywoman. Except nobody in the US has the opportunity to put their kids in a religious paramilitary madrasa in an apartheid zone. It’s not my little pony. What did you expect to see from a Torquay hotel bedroom Mrs F?

  8. OlegR on June 30, 2014, 1:30 pm

    They found the bodies of the teens north of Hebron.
    The TV just made official announcement.

    • lysias on June 30, 2014, 2:45 pm

      Also being reported on RT.

      • seafoid on June 30, 2014, 2:58 pm

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.602189

        “9:15 P.M. President Shimon Peres releases a press release, saying, “The entire nation is bowing its head with unbearable sorrow this evening. Over the past 18 days the nation prayed as one that the fate of our wonderful teenagers would be that they are found alive and well. Now that the bitter news has come, the entire Israeli nation mourns the premature death of our finest youth… Alongside deep sorrow, we will remain resolute to punish the atrocious terrorists. Our war on terrorism will only intensify and will not waver so that this murderous terrorism won’t dare to rear its head.”

        9:08 P.M. Deputy Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud): “The despicable kidnapping and murder of the students cannot go by in silence, and the those responsible in Gaza must pay the price. The government of Israel must declare a war to the death on Hamas, which is responsible for the murders, and return to the policy of [targeted] assassination.”

        9:02 P.M. Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) called for an all-out military assault aimed at the total destruction of Hamas. “This tragic ending must also be the ending of Hamas! The nation is strong and ready to absorb [attacks] for the sake of a mortal blow against Hamas. … [W]e have to destroy the homes of Hamas activists, wipe out their arsenals everywhere, and stop the flow of money that directly or indirectly keeps terror alive… make the entire Palestinian leadership pay a heavy price.”

        Economy Minister Naftali Bennett responds to the news, saying, “The murder of children is unforgivable. Our hearts are with the families right now. Now is the time for actions; not talk.” (Barak Ravid)”

        Still trying to reach the future through the past,
        Still trying to carve tomorrow from a tombstone

      • Woody Tanaka on June 30, 2014, 3:06 pm

        They can’t stand to have the Palestinians unified, so the Zionist leadership is dancing in the streets, now that they have their excuse to go and celebrate finding the bodies by murdering more Palestinians. (Do we know if they are really dead? Have we seen any evidence yet? as Michael Oren would say)

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 30, 2014, 3:13 pm

        I’m pretty sure they are dead, though obviously nobody – no doubt also including the ‘investigators’ – has a clue who was responsible. Seems they were also found within ten minutes of where they went missing, which doesn’t say much about the competence of those supposedly looking for them.

        Interestingly, even the Yanks are thus far keeping an open mind on this, and for once not parrotting the Israeli ”it was the Khamas” line:

        ”In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, “We obviously condemn in the strongest possible terms violence that takes the lives of innocent civilians.”

        Unfortunately, card-carrying Friend of Israel David Cameron is again taking on his role as Israeli spokesman:

        ”In a statement issue by his office British prime minister David Cameron said: “I am deeply saddened by the news that the bodies of the three Israeli boys kidnapped on 12 June have been found this evening. This was an appalling and inexcusable act of terror perpetrated against young teenagers. Britain will stand with Israel as it seeks to bring to justice those responsible.”

        BTW The Guardian’s ‘coverage’ of this story has been a disgrace. Peter Beaumont is essentially an IDF stenographer, not a journalist.

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/30/bodies-missing-israeli-teenagers-found-west-bank

      • seafoid on June 30, 2014, 5:54 pm

        They have to destroy the Palestinian nation. They’ll bring Judaism down in the process.

      • lysias on June 30, 2014, 3:19 pm

        “This tragic ending must also be the ending of Hamas! The nation is strong and ready to absorb [attacks] for the sake of a mortal blow against Hamas. … [W]e have to destroy the homes of Hamas activists, wipe out their arsenals everywhere, and stop the flow of money that directly or indirectly keeps terror alive… make the entire Palestinian leadership pay a heavy price.”

        Reminds me of the speech delivered towards the end of the 1984 movie of Nineteen Eight-Four, from which I certainly remember the phrase “We must wipe them out.”

      • lysias on June 30, 2014, 3:35 pm

        Oops, sorry, I misremembered. The movie has stamp them out, not “wipe them out”.

        Brothers and sisters, the endless catalogue of bestial atrocities, which will inevitably ensue from this appalling act, must, can, and will be terminated. The forces of darkness—and treasonable maggots who collaborate with them—must, can, and will be wiped from the face of the earth! We must crush them! We must smash them! We must stamp them out! We, the people of Oceania,—and our traditional allies, the people of Eurasia—will not rest until a final victory has been achieved. Death to the eternal enemy of Oceania. Death! Death!! Death!!

        Otherwise, it’s very similar to that quote, isn’t it?

      • seafoid on June 30, 2014, 3:48 pm

        The term “appropriate Zionist response” is chilling.

      • Woody Tanaka on June 30, 2014, 3:53 pm

        “The term ‘appropriate Zionist response’ is chilling.”

        Yeah, well a truthful boast: “we are going to make their streets flow with their blood and that of their children” is a bit too on the nose, even for Zionists.

      • seafoid on June 30, 2014, 5:09 pm

        It would be so different if the Palestinians loved their children, Woody. There could be a McDonalds in every village.

        “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.” – Ariel Sharon to Winston Churchill III in 1973

      • Hostage on June 30, 2014, 7:48 pm

        It would be so different if the Palestinians loved their children, . . .There could be a McDonalds in every village.

        Oh no. That reminds me of the joke about the 7th Bomb Wing. Its motto was “Death from above”, but the motto of the services squadron that ran its dining halls was allegedly “Death from within”.

    • Woody Tanaka on June 30, 2014, 2:57 pm

      Did they indict the I”D”Fers who murdered the two teens on Nakba day yet, Oleg??

      • Walid on June 30, 2014, 4:01 pm

        Hamas reacted to tonight’s threats in its usual manner by saying if Gaza is attacked, it will open the gates of hell on Israel; this is more dramatic than yesterday’s promise that Hamas would unleash missiles all over Israel. It promises to be a nasty night. Promises flying back and forth.

  9. just on June 30, 2014, 1:39 pm

    I appreciate your (perhaps unintended) homage to “A Tale of Two Cities”.

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

    Dickens would surely stare with horrid fascination at the privation that the Palestinians endure through the macabre and relentless actions of the Israelis.

  10. Walid on June 30, 2014, 2:05 pm

    ,

  11. Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 30, 2014, 2:14 pm

    Seems the bodies of the teens have been found near Al Khalil. That’s obviously a great tragedy for them and their families, but I fear an even greater tragedy is about to begin.

    Zionism has always been an ideology characterised by extreme vindictiveness. The revenge Israel will take – which will of course take the form of brutal collective punishment – will be fierce. I fear many more innocents will die before this whole sorry story ends.

    • Woody Tanaka on June 30, 2014, 3:10 pm

      “I fear many more innocents will die before this whole sorry story ends.”

      Well, few things that the Israeli government does doesn’t involve a gush of innocent Palestinian blood, so why should this be any different?

  12. joemowrey on June 30, 2014, 2:50 pm

    Every time I see it, I will have to comment on it. “…and all to Rudoren’s credit.”

    Nonsense. None of the blatant propaganda Rudoren spews out is to her credit. Saying so is a mistake, strategically, morally, and just plain common sense wise. Her misuse of the press to indoctrinate simple minds and poison rational discussion borders on the criminal. Unless we say so at every turn, and unless we quit giving her “credit” as if she has made some positive contribution to the dialogue, we are working against our own best interests in the struggle for Palestinian rights and social justice.

    It’s a simple concept which seems lost on many otherwise brilliant and heroic writers and journalists.

  13. Hostage on June 30, 2014, 2:57 pm

    She stressed that [her community of] Nof Ayalon, which spills slightly over the 1949 armistice line dividing Israel from the West Bank, is not a settlement.

    Yeah and there’s Yeshivat Sha’alvim within walking distance, less than half a mile away from Nof Ayalon. Do the yeshivas in the Gush Etzion bloc they attended insure them a better spot in heaven? I hope so, for their sakes.

  14. HarryLaw on June 30, 2014, 3:31 pm

    For all the assistance Abbas gave the IDF in the search for the missing Israelis [now dead] it will not save the Palestinians, or Abbas, when Danny Danon heard of the deaths of the youths he threatened that the entire Palestinian leadership will pay a very heavy price, others called for targeted assassinations, 5 days ago economy Minister Bennett called Abbas a ‘Mega Terrorist’, and Foreign Minister Lieberman recently called all those protesting, even peacefully ‘terrorists’. I think the Palestinian leadership should call on the UNSC to protect all Palestinians who are protected persons under International Law, from these vindictive homicidal lunatics. Or for Palestinians to try and protect themselves.

    • Woody Tanaka on June 30, 2014, 3:38 pm

      No, I think that Abbas is about to learn what happens to someone who trusts a jackel.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 30, 2014, 3:47 pm

      Absolutely.

      Which just goes to show: No matter how supine any Palestinian or Arab leader is, no matter how much he sacrifices his own people to Israel, no matter how much he humiliates himself, it will NEVER be enough. Asa’d Abu Khalil said this years ago.

      So why do they even try?

  15. seafoid on June 30, 2014, 5:22 pm

    Security and killing terrorists goes all the way back to 1948
    They never get the peace they say they want because the killing is more important . Just a few more deaths and it’ll be fine. The Zionist danse macabre with the Palestinians.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-misled-u-s-diplomats-during-sabra-and-shatila-massacre-1.465925

    “But Sharon told the Americans that the conquest of West Beirut was justified because there were “2,000 to 3,000 terrorists who remained there.”
    At a meeting on September 17 that included Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Sharon, several Israeli intelligence officials and Draper, Shamir did not mention the slaughter that had occurred in the camps the previous day, according to Anziska.

    A transcript of the meeting reveals that the Americans were browbeaten by Sharon’s false insistence that “terrorists” needed “mopping up,” Anziska writes.
    According to the researcher, Mr. Draper opened the meeting by demanding that the IDF pull out of Beirut right away. Mr. Sharon exploded, “I just don’t understand, what are you looking for? Do you want the terrorists to stay? Are you afraid that somebody will think that you were in collusion with us? Deny it. We denied it.”
    Later on in the meeting Sharon added, “Nothing will happen. Maybe some more terrorists will be killed. That will be to the benefit of all of us.

    After Draper argued that Israel will be blamed for letting the Lebanese kill the Palestinians in the camps, Sharon replied, “So, we’ll kill them. They will not be left there. You are not going to save them. You are not going to save these groups of the international terrorism…If you don’t want the Lebanese to kill them, we will kill them.”

    When Draper reminded Sharon that the United States had helped the PLO leave Beirut so that Israel wouldn’t have to enter the city, Sharon replied, “When it comes to our security, we have never asked. We will never ask. When it comes to existence and security, it is our own responsibility and we will never give it to anybody to decide for us.””

  16. wes on June 30, 2014, 6:15 pm

    In ‘NYT’ tale of two mothers, the occupation is a human-relations problem
    James North and Phil Weiss on June 30, 2014 33

    “human-relations problem”

    the kidnapping by hamas and the shooting of the 2 arab teens was a cold calculated move which has backfired on hamas.the kidnapping was an operational disaster and instead of having 3 hostages as bargaining chips to release prisioners and a reason to justify the kidnapping they are exposed
    the bravery of the israeli teen in making the call that he was being kidnapped changed the outcome.the crimes was exposed for what it is .

    3 companions,7 falling stars,the earth will open,an ancient stream will flow again

    • Woody Tanaka on June 30, 2014, 9:07 pm

      “the kidnapping by hamas”. and what evidence is there to support this claim?

      • Kris on June 30, 2014, 10:42 pm

        In response to #wes:

        Who benefits from this crime? Netanyahu and the rest of the fascists in Israel who want to steal all the rest of the Palestinians’ land, and kill as many Palestinians as possible, and are using this crime as a pretext to carry out plans that were laid long before these Israelis went missing.

      • wes on July 1, 2014, 6:12 pm

        Kris

        the settlement of the west bank (judea and samaria)by israel is being completed.there will be no 2 states.one state for 2 indigenous people.unlike other countries around the world where the indigenous people have not reclaimed there land,jews are doing just that.
        jews are indigenous to israel much like the red indians are indigenous to america,the aboriginals to australia.

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