Friday, June 18, 2010

Media, Academia Destroying Themselves Over Israel

PART - II


June 15, 2010 - by Barry Rubin 


There is, of course, one obvious point that proves the group has terrorist links: its open support for Hamas, a terrorist organization, in terms of financing, supplying, strategy (trying to break the blockade against it), and political aims. On virtually any other topic, this would have been sufficient to prove the point.


While governments of Israel, like all governments, have told lies, what is amazing is how good that government’s record is — especially compared to other Western democracies. Israel and its supporters know that their every word will be scrutinized and must be backed up by facts and documentation. Yet theTimes and other mass media often treat Israel as less credible than dictatorships and terrorists whose record for veracity is minimal.
Meanwhile, the International Herald Tribune runs an op-ed by Alistair Crooke, who has also been warmly received by the Times and other media. Crooke is openly a lobbyist for Hamas and Hezbollah.
The Los Angeles Times, whose record is just as bad, ran an op-ed by a UCLA professor and anti-Israel activist named Saree Makdisi entitled: “Don’t single out Helen Thomas.” Makdisi used long-discredited false quotes from Alan Dershowitz and Israeli leaders to claim they are also racist purveyors of hate speech.
Yet while the Los Angeles Times permits the publication of false quotations — as the New York Times did a few months ago with a Rashid Khalidi misquote — such media almost never quote the documented daily incitement and hate preached throughout the Middle East in mosques, government speeches, and mass media.
Media reactions to the latest revelations about Reuters’ use of doctored photographs (removing a knife from a flotilla jihadi’s hand, so it can be argued the Islamists were merely victims) have been a yawn.
When Rosie O’Donnell defended Helen Thomas and argued that the Jews should go back to Germany and Poland because there were no more death camps in those countries, it brought no criticism.
Yet what of all the things we aren’t hearing about? I know from an impeccable source that when a book of mine was discussed at an editorial board meeting of the Harvard University Press, it was rejected after someone said: “We can’t have an Israeli writing about Arab politics.” And Princeton University Press, considered the absolute best for academic publishing on the Middle East, put out a book by a leading British anti-Israel activist — without notable academic argumentation in it — claiming that Zionism is a mental illness.
The reasons why such things happen are complex. They include the identification of Israel as evil and aggressive, which then permits it to be treated as inevitably dishonest and in the wrong. But this is only possible because it is accompanied by the ideological corruption of academia, media, publishing, and intellectual life in general.
Many journalists believe that the highest priority for media is to further their own causes and to tell the public what is “good” for it to hear. If, for example, negative things are reported about Muslims, third-world countries, or enemies of the United States — the reasoning goes — Americans might go into the streets and massacre Muslims or advocate wars.
Thus, censoring out large aspects of the news and distorting others has become virtuous. And there are many other manifestations: Christian groups come to the defense of those who expel Christians and won’t let churches be built; gay groups support those who murder gays; feminist groups endorse those who repress women.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition, Viking-Penguin), the paperback edition of The Truth about Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan), and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).



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