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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 23, 2005 / 18 Menachem-Av, 5765

Trying Times

By Martin Peretz


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The paper of record sneers at the Jewish residents of Gaza


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I am back from some exacting days in Gaza and will write next week in TNR about why my experience there was so searing and what it told me about the future of the West Bank. It was a primary event of contemporary history in one of the most punishing conflicts in the world. But in today's world, the coverage of primary events is itself a primary event; and so before I collect my thoughts and impressions of what I saw in the Gazan sands, I want to take care of some less dramatic but nonetheless important business.


I suppose most habits are bad, and in bed with my laptop I have reverted to one of my worst: not being able to begin the morning, even a late morning, without reading The New York Times. In Cambridge, my home page is actually the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, a not very popular daily that is read mostly by the beautiful souls of the country, but also a bracing wake-up. (You won't find another Israeli paper so smug and so wrong  —  and, like the Times, so indispensable.) Elsewhere, it's the Times that's my home page. A few months ago, I read a very scholarly and immensely devastating book, Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper by Laurel Leff.


A MUST-READ FOR STUDENTS OF HISTORY

Click HERE to purchase it at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.).

Its conclusion: that the Times simply ignored or buried in the back pages what its correspondents, editors, and owners deeply knew and grasped, which was that European Jewry  —  a whole civilization, really  —  was being exterminated by the Germans and their allies in Europe. Well, another book could be written about the complicated and often ugly history of the Times' relationship to Zionism and Israel, a relationship that has frequently been marred by antipathy and anxiety, and sometimes even with prejudice. In any case, why do I bring this up now?


It's one thing to read the Times' news pages (it may even be necessary) or the Sunday book review (which under a new editor is becoming richer and deeper), but it's another matter, mind-numbing and masochistic, to go regularly to its editorials. Take the top "lede" today, Thursday night, as I write. Its subject was the withdrawal from Gaza. I hasten to declare that I support this withdrawal, and I believe that this may be a tragedy for the settlers, but it is emphatically not a tragedy for Israel. Quite the reverse. These settlements were never an appropriate project for Zionism. I always thought they were doomed. Sharon's action is a sign of serious strategic and historical reflection. I would have thought that the Times concurs in these opinions  —  indeed, that these opinions would amount to its editorial position. But not so. The Times editorial board has elected not to tell the whole story, and to draw conclusions that are perverse in their pro-Palestinian emphasis. "Some Gaza settlers pinned orange stars to their chests in a reference to the Holocaust," which, of course, if you were a reader of the Times during the years of the Jewish catastrophe you wouldn't have the slightest inkling ever happened.


Now, I, too, was in Gaza, at four settlements, to be exact, including Neve Dekalim, the largest one. I'm on the alert for details. I saw exactly two such badges. (The wartime Jewish stigmata were actually in yellow. The settlers' orange derives, rather weirdly, from the Ukrainian revolution last year. Details, details.) Probably there were more and certainly in Keren Atzmona which had exactly 150 residents, probably three-fourths of them children. Anyway, the yellow star psycho-drama was, according to Ha'aretz, a production of one family. It was certainly not a phenomenon of the settler resistance. But the Times editorialist was in Times Square, not in Gaza. He or she merely picked the symbolism that suited his or her fancy. It's true that there were, here and there, other weird allusions to the Nazis; but they were so marginal that the most striking reality was the reality of those who so wanted to ridicule the expellees that any grotesquerie would do. (On another note: A Spanish language reporter on a bus into Gaza was calling a settler in one of the really tiny settlements on his cell phone. "Are you being overwhelmed by the number of outside demonstrators, maybe hundreds and hundreds?" he asked. The person at the other end had two seconds, maybe three to answer. And then the journalist answered his own question: "Oh, so you are being overwhelmed by the hundreds of outside demonstrators." This is the careful makings of a news story.)

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There was far more hysteria and hatred vented at the police in Chicago in 1968 (I was there) and at the marches on the Pentagon or the bust at Columbia University than there was in Gaza, and there were many more injured. No question about it. But it did not fit the Times' editorial line to admit the fact that almost no one was really hurt, and no one was killed, in Gaza. (I was not at Kfar Darom, the most extreme settlement, where paint, eggs, oil, and some apparently not-very-dangerous chemical agent were thrown at police and army by demonstrators. A few were injured, apparently none seriously. In any event, this distress occurred long after the Times editorial appeared.) For killings, the Times had to focus on the West Bank, where a "settler grabbed a security guard's gun and opened fire, killing several [there were actually four] Palestinians." The Times went on to say that this was "an act that Prime Minister Sharon rightly denounced as 'Jewish terror.'" (What he, in fact, said was that "it was an exceptionally grave Jewish act of terror.") It is indeed Jewish terror, as the atrocity in Shfaram was "Jewish terror," and the Jews of Israel have notably identified the crime with the extremism in their own political culture.


Once again, the renunciation and the denunciation cut through the entire society. But do the Times editorialists have no shame? Finally, they have shed their reluctance to call an act of terror "terror," but only when they can put the adjective "Jewish" before it. Was the Dolphinarium bombing in Tel Aviv, which merited no Times editorial, not Palestinian terror? And to how many of the dozens and dozens of other helter-skelter murders of Israelis has the Times affixed the term? The Jewish killer, standing in the Petakh Tikvah courtroom, asserted that "I hope someone also kills Sharon." When has a Palestinian terrorist been arrested and brought to a Palestinian court as an accused? Does the Times editorial page ever call the murder of 30, 40 innocent Iraqis a day  —  looking for work or at the market  —  terrorism? Hardly. It is insurgency.


The New York Times is weighty. So it backs up its argument with history, but it's potted history. The history of Gaza, for example. Gaza, the Times tells us, was part of British Mandate Palestine. It was not assigned to the Jews either under the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan or the 1949 Cease Fire Agreements. All true. But the Partition Plan had proposed an Arab state that included the West Bank and Gaza. After Israel's War of Independence, the West Bank was controlled by Jordan and Gaza by Egypt. Why did the Arab state envisioned by the United Nations not come into being? Ask the Palestinians and their Arab friends. Ask the Times. After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the Israelis wanted to disgorge Gaza. But Egypt wouldn't take it (although it took back the Sinai) and the Palestinians weren't talking to anybody. Frankly, the Arab world wanted to eternalize the Palestinian refugee problem, and it did.


"Gaza represents the worst side of Israel's settlement movement." It is actually a very diverse movement, even among the relatively small number of the 8,500 Gaza settlers, perhaps 60-70 percent of whom are children. In fact, most of the Gaza settlers are thoroughly committed to farming the land and have produced fruitfully from it: as much as 15 percent of Israel's agricultural produce. Let's admit it: The Arabs had Gaza for a thousand years. There were no Zionists to blame for its backwardness. Why did they make exactly nothing of Gaza? We will see what they will make of the hundreds of acres of greenhouses the Israelis have left behind. Anyone taking bets?


I saw no Meir Kahane photographs, as I did recently in Hebron. Some of the Gazan Jews that I saw were undeniably vicious, but most, even in this vortex of high tension and expulsion, were sweet; angry, but thoughtful and restrained. Settlers did not carry guns. Some pushed back when they were pushed; others retreated. But the most obstinate did not push anyone around; they withdrew to their synagogues and prayed, some in a trance. There are trance parties in Tel Aviv, and there are trance protests in Gaza.


I always disbelieved in the Gaza venture. Too few Jews, too many Arabs. It was arrogant. But the cute and coarse Times citation of one Israeli official who claimed that Israel always intended to use the Gaza Strip as a bargaining chip is preposterous. Who is that anonymous Israeli official? In any event, the notion that any government would invest millions and millions of dollars and entangle the lives of thousands of its citizens in a venture consigned to be shut down eventually, with high emotional and spiritual resonance, entirely as a bargaining chip  —  this notion defies the imagination. It shows that the Times editorialist is either gullible or very inventive. "The problem," said the Israeli, "is that Israel fell in love with its chips." If it did, why did it give them up? And for exactly nothing, not even a piece of paper? After all, a bargaining chip gets you something.


This Times lede is called "Gaza Reality Check." OK, then, let's check the Times' sense of reality. The editorial admits that "there is plenty of reason to worry about how the new Gaza will be governed"  —  and that single sentence is all it concedes about the future of Gaza. Does Israel need to worry about how Gaza is governed? You bet. And the transparency of what goes in and out of Gaza's port and airport is one of those details of concern? After all, through these points of entry will come heavy arms. Or does the Times think that only computers and blue jeans will enter Gaza? Do the Palestinians need to worry about how Gaza is governed? Absolutely. But, rest assured, the Times will fix on any guarantees that Israel will insist upon to keep Gaza from being infested with advanced weapons as denying "the Palestinians their chance at a better life."


One more point: The Times asserts that "most Gaza families live on less than $2 a day." I remember a wise economist, now dead, telling a class that "statistics can be made to prove anything except the truth." But if this blithe and unsupported assertion by the Times is true, then, at best, the Gaza Palestinians are so far from being a community or an expression of national solidarity that it is hard to imagine them being governed at all. If this is so, there goes their chance at a better life already. And the Jews will not be to blame.

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JWR contributor Martin Peretz is editor-in-chief and chairman of The New Republic. Comment by clicking here.


© 2005, Martin Peretz