The New York Times has always had a double standard on human rights, but they usually aren’t very open about it. They condemn Russian bombing as horrible war crimes, but criticize similar US bombing as mistakes and pretty much ignore Israeli bombing of Gaza. But they don’t come right out and say that killing is good or that it is cruel to be kind and kind to be cruel and Palestinians need to be shot for their own good.
Columnist Shmuel Rosner says essentially this, and the Times published him three days ago: “Israel Needs to Protect Its Borders. By Any Means Necessary.”
I will… declare coldly: Israel had a clear objective when it was shooting, sometimes to kill, well-organized “demonstrators” near the border. Israel was determined to prevent these people — some of whom are believed to have been armed, most apparently encouraged by their radical government — from crossing the fence separating Israel from Gaza. That objective was achieved…
This was not a peaceful act of protest. This was a provocation by an organization known to engage in acts of terrorism. Thus, Israel had no choice but to treat it as an attempt not just to violate its territorial integrity but also to attack it…
The worst is when Rosner justifies the killings as a good thing for Palestinians, and an act of kindness to what Rosner thinks are the enlightened Palestinians.
I believe Israel’s current policy toward Gaza ultimately benefits not only Israel but also the Palestinians.
Of course, it does not benefit the Palestinians who dream about “returning,” or in other words, about eliminating Israel. But it is the only way forward for those who have more realistic expectations. The people of Gaza are miserable. They deserve sympathy and pity. But looking for Israel to remedy their problems will only exacerbate their misery. Expecting Israel to solve their problem will only lead them to delay what they must do for themselves…
[O]nly an Israel that has the ability to feel secure about its borders could engage in any serious talks with the Palestinians..
The Jewish sages had a famous, if not necessarily pleasant, saying that went something like this: Those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind…
Rosner should wear a sheet over his head and burn crosses. You really would have to publish a defense of suicide bombing to balance this.
The stable of Times pro-Israel propagandists probably don’t realize how hateful this kind of argument is. Columnist Bret Stephens and opinion editor Bari Weiss clearly agree with it. David Brooks is bigoted toward Palestinians, though he has enough decency to be ashamed of the shooting. The liberal columnists are chickenshit. Though to her credit, Michelle Goldberg mentioned her borderline anti-Zionism in one piece and described Israel as an apartheid state and expressed sympathy for the Palestinian right of return in another.
There is no excuse for the New York Times that it has nobody to the left of Goldberg or Gail Collins. And meanwhile, Bari Weiss is an apologist for murder and racism.
The other night she told Bill Maher that Hamas had set a “trap” for Israel by rushing the fence on the day of the embassy move. Palestinians don’t really care about the embassy move, she said; Hamas worked the embassy angle, purely in an effort to manipulate international media. (Transcript from the Daily Beast):
“Bill, I love you, but the riots were not caused by the embassy move. They’re not linked. When Hamas attacked Israel in 2008, when Hamas attacked Israel in 2012, when it attacked Israel in 2014, the embassy was in Tel Aviv all of those times… They intentionally moved up the day so that it would coincide with the day of the embassy move so that we would all be disgusted and heartbroken when we saw this horrible split-screen of Ivanka Trump, looking like she was at a country club, next to poor, desperate people dying in Gaza…
“And I’m just saying, let’s not fall for a trap that is being set by a theocratic, authoritarian group that are sending women and children to be human shields.”
Notice the utter lack of humanity in the description of the poor Palestinian pawns in Gaza. Imagine anyone saying anything so crudely dismissive of Black Lives Matter protesters in the U.S., or feminist demonstrators, or a civil rights demonstration.
Declan Walsh, the Cairo bureau chief for the Times who has been reporting from Gaza, obviously thinks the 50 Hamas members argument is silly. He was in the hospital interviewing wounded Palestinians about whether it was worth it; and so he sees them as human beings, not as cardboard terrorist stereotypes. The 50 Hamas members who were killed were all unarmed and many were just supporters, he reports.
But even his story had a bit of spin. Many of the wounded he says think it was worth it but his story focuses on those who are bitter and think the demonstrations were a mistake and blame Hamas. It is not our place as Americans to take sides in an internal Gazan debate about the worth of the demonstrations, but the story emphasized those who were bitter, providing fodder for Times readers to blame Hamas. We wonder if that spin is there deliberately, maybe from an editor. Or maybe it is just how the NYT works: Distract attention from the chief villain.
The problem here is bigger than some racist or cowardly columnists. The fundamental issue is that the Times as an institution doesn’t see the problem with publishing articles that defend the shooting of unarmed Palestinians. They would never publish a piece advocating deliberate killing of Israeli civilians as a way to force Israel to change. This is because, subconsciously or not, they don’t see Palestinians as human beings in quite the same way that Israeli Jews are human.