Way back when, as an undergraduate student, NewYork Times in hand, I'd take the subway into Manhattan to visit a dear uncle of mine. Without fail he would look at me and ask why I bothered reading such an anti-Semitic newspaper? He'd always finish off by saying, the best thing to do with the Times was wrap fish in it. We'd have a good laugh but I remember thinking to myself, what does he know, he never went to college. More on this later.
For people following the never ending saga of the Middle East conflict for the past sixty years or so, it wouldn't take a great effort to prove that the Times editorial and columnists are biased toward the Palestinians in their ceaseless conflict with Israel. This past year has been no exception.
From January 13th to January 31st of this year 22 rockets and 14 mortar rounds were fired into Israel from Gaza during 19 separate incidents.
Following a rocket attack into Israel by terrorists on January 31st, the Times blared the following headline the next day: "Israeli Military Strikes Targets in Gaza." A casual observer scanning the headline would think Israel created the violence rather than responded to it. Within the article scant mention is made of the incessant, indiscriminate firing of rockets into Southern Israel. The gist is centered upon claims of the Hamas-run Health Ministry that a six year old girl was injured by flying glass, and five other Palestinians being wounded.
During February, things calmed down a bit, "only" nine rockets fell upon the South of the Jewish state. However, on the evening of February 14th, Palestinian Militants launched two rockets into Israel. One landed in the Ashkelon coast region, the other in the outskirts of Eshkol. With total disregard to this aggression, an unrelated article appeared the next day entitled: "Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian at Gaza Border." A blurb about a Palestinian being shot tampering with the border fence took precedence over a missile attack into Israel.
The following month things really heated up. March was a very serious month for Jews living in Sderot, Ashkelon, and other towns and cities adjacent to Gaza. Sixty five rocket and mortar attacks were fired during 23 separate incidents. Yet on March 5th the Times Editorial Board chose to run the following editorial: " Israel's Choice."
In immediate concert with remarks, or should I say threats made to Prime Minister Netanyahu by President Obama three days earlier, the editorial makes reference to, "aggressive settlement construction" as an impediment to peace and unfavorable demographics as a threat to Israel if they fail adhering to what has proven to be Obama's farcical peace plan. The editorial unabashedly goes along with the President's thoughts in an interview he gave to Bloomberg View: " Obama to Israel: Time is Running Out."
As if steeped in political successes over the past 5 1/2 years, Obama borrowed a phrase from the Jewish sage Rabbi Hillel, asking the Prime Minister: "If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?" All other options notwithstanding, Obama continued: if Netanyahu "does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach."
Fast forward 4 months and the Israeli government has proven to the President and his editorial voice at the "Gray Lady" there is an alternative approach. It's called war. Throughout recorded history you would be hard pressed to find a conflict where peace could be achieved in the absence of either victory or defeat for one or the other. Like love and marriage, war and peace go together. A conclusive victor or loser has always preceded a true peace between adversaries. Israel up to to this point and possibly going forward has been denied that. Political decisions both domestic and abroad; mainly from the United States, has stymied her response to violations no other sovereign nations would even consider. Yet she is asked by this administration and the do gooders in Europe to show restraint in response. Willingly or not, they fail to realize the extreme element controlling Gaza could never be placated. When they speak of the occupation, they're speaking not just of Gaza or Judea/Samaria, they're speaking of all Israel. A message not being heard by the western democracies other than Canada.
As a result, Palestinian society, not just their leadership has been conditioned to believe if they can just hold out long enough, Israeli retaliation will end, a brief calm will prevail, and a new cycle of violence can then proceed. To the detriment of both societies, as long as this mindset has hope, there will never be peace, it will remain a generational conflict.
Today's events exemplify this, a clone of every war fought between the Arab world, the Palestinians and Israel from 1948 until now. The pattern remains the same. Ceaseless terrorist attacks are aimed against Jews within and outside Israel. Upon becoming untenable, Israel responds and receives worldwide condemnation for its effort to protect their citizens from perpetual assault.
Already, with Hamas still powerful and emboldened, the condemnations are pouring in against Israel and the ceasefire crowd has become more vocal. If allowed to continue, this cycle insuring longterm Palestinian suffering, as well as unrelenting Israeli adversity is about to become complete.
Once again in its irrepressible one sidedness, this past Friday, July 11th edition of the Times has a large picture of Palestinian women ostensively grieving over the death of relatives killed during an airstrike. Just below the picture is an article entitled: " Killing of Palestinian Youth Puts An Israeli Focus on Extremism." The author, Steven Erlanger has no qualms equating right wing extremism in Israel as a root to the violence but fails to equate Hamas in a similar vein. Somehow according to the Times, the word "extremist" just applies to the Jewish state.
Likewise, on the 12th another article appears in the paper: " As Israel Hits Mosque and Clinic, Air Campaign Risks Come Home" Here again a heart rendering picture of a distraught Gaza family and a story depicting the hardships they now suffer as a result of Israeli bombardment. But nowhere in the article is any blame affixed to Hamas for starting this conflict to begin with. There can be no doubt the Times is shilling for world leadership to pressure Israel into another ceasefire enabling Hamas the ability to continue its assailment of Israel at a time of its choosing. Sure enough, the usual cast of characters are quick to take the bait.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Saturday he would discuss with US, German, and French foreign ministers the need for a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians when they meet on Sunday. In an urgent tone and with the same assuredness his predecessors must have had at Munich in 1938, Hague went on to say:
"It is clear that we need urgent, concerted international action to secure a cease-fire, as was the case in 2012." In phone calls to his Israeli counterparts, Avigdor Liberman, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Hague stressed to them the need for an "immediate de-escalation" and a restoration of the November 2012 cease-fire. Most likely the same de-escalation and cease-fire he'd be calling for if London were the target of unremitting attacks from Northern Island. Additionally, when speaking of the 2012 ceasefire, he failed to mention the thousands of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza subsequent to that agreement.
Most interesting is his admonitions to the head of the nascent unity government, the recalcitrant Mahmoud Abbas. He's supposedly not involved with this violence although Hamas is part of his government; it gets confusing. Hague, his sanctimonious European partners, and our quixotic President are so set on de-escalation, they fail to realize the potential long term benefits total destruction of Hamas could mean not only to the citizens of Israel but to world peace itself. However if they insist upon replaying this endless game of aggression and ceasefire, shouldn't they be speaking directly to Hamas, not Abbas? Or are they recognizing Abbas complicity in this latest spate of attacks, thus deeming him an ability to end the violence?
So the question remains, will Israel again accede to the pious exhortations of the International community, or finally take into account the longterm safety of its citizenry and finally finish Hamas off? Only time will tell. The only certainty I have is my uncle was correct, fish do taste better when wrapped in the New York Times.
Jerrold L. Sobel
Jerrold L. Sobel is a published author of over 40 years with articles published in Israpundit, American Thinker, The Jewish Press, and other cyber and hard media in addition to his own weekly blog of 10,000 subscribers.