TIME magazine savages Israel -- again
It's not clear why Time magazine has championed anti-Israel zealotry, but it has now established quite a reputation for biased and inflammatory coverage of the Jewish state.
In a September 2010 article, "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace," Time reporter Karl Vick repeated the anti-Semitic trope that Jews only care about money. The article set off a firestorm of criticism and reportedly prompted some Time advertisers to express concern about the magazine's tilt.
In this week's issue, another article by Vick, "Israel's Rightward Lurch Scares Some Conservatives," heaps condemnation on the Jewish state for legislation that would require NGOs to reveal foreign funding (a similar requirement for foreign lobbyists in the U.S.) and employs noxious rhetoric.
This draws a rare rebuke from the Israeli government. An official authorized to speak only without attribution told me in measured tones that he was "surprised that Time would publish such a narrow and superficial piece on an important topic -- one that overlooked the full range and complexity of Israel's democracy. We would have expected Time to hold itself to a higher standard."
Andrea Levin, the head of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), e-mailed me this morning: "Apparently, Time Magazine has decided the way to save a waning magazine is to bash the Jewish state full tilt." She accused Vick of a "jaundiced and factually-challenged view of Israel."
Levin put the discussion of NGO funding in context:
Israel's Knesset voted to establish a parliamentary committee to examine international sources of funding for Israeli organizations that "aid the de-legitimization of Israel through harming IDF soldiers."
As Ronen Shoval, head of the Im Tirtzu organization that has exposed linkages between extremist NGO's and the notorious Goldstone Report, writes in Ha'aretz: "During the past year, the vast majority of the public became convinced that the organizations that call themselves human rights groups actually belong to the extreme left and seek to force their radical values on others through foreign funding." Much of the far left, which supports the extreme NGO's, has risen in fury at the prospect of parliamentary inquiries into funding. Karl Vick's story parrots the indignation of those who have previously dispensed biased, false attacks against Israel with impunity.
A Democratic pro-Israel activist, who is similarly beside himself, e-mails me:
Is Israel less entitled than the US or anyone else to know WHAT FOREIGN FUNDING is flowing into lobbying organizations in Israel? The people screaming are those on the fringes of Israeli society who pretend, but don't really, have the support inside Israel to fund their extremist anti-establishment, anti-Israel propaganda. So where do they get their money? Often from foreign governments. In the U.S., when foreign governments spend money to influence our political system, they and those working for them are required to make that public. Who is afraid of transparency?
The Time piece also takes issue with Israel's Shin Bet security agency. Daniel Gordis, a senior vice president at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem counters: "Time calls the Shin Bet a 'shadowy' organization, as if the work of the CIA or NSA is carried out in broad daylight. Why on earth would a security organization not be shadowy, and why is that a crime? It's a source of suspicion, for Time, only if the country in question is Israel."
The single worst passage of the article may be this:
Ron Pundak, a historian who runs the Peres Center for Peace, sees the current atmosphere of Israeli politics as the ugliest in the nation's history. "It's totally abnormal," he says. "From my point of view, this is reminiscent of the dark ages of different places in the world in the 1930s. Maybe not Germany, but Italy, maybe Argentina later. I fear we are reaching a slippery slope, if we are not already there."
Levin said she is outraged by the fascism accusation: "His nasty rhetoric aside, Mr. Pundak is evidently aghast that many others think it's a move toward getting off the 'slippery slope' and onto solid ground to take a close look at the substance, sources and impact of certain NGO's."
But it is the entire premise of the article -- that the region's only democracy has become a sinister, authoritarian state -- that is the most disturbing. Elliott Abrams, a former deputy national security advisor to George W. Bush and now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign relations, tells me:
Time's accounts of Israel resemble, but are now more extreme, than those in Saudi or Iranian publications. In a week when the police attack demonstrators in Egypt protesting the stolen November election there, and there are anti-government riots in Jordan, Tunisia and Algeria, what does Time do? It attacks Israel, the only democracy in the region, because provisions Time does not like are being debated in Israel's parliament. No doubt Time is scared about what it sees as 'rightward lurches' in lots of places, beginning in the United States in last November's election, but the repeated assaults on Israel have long since crossed into biased and venomous reporting.
It is the lack of balance and perspective that Gordis finds objectionable. He observes, "The article is egregiously unbalanced, as we have sadly come to expect from Time. Examples abound. Israel is accused of lurching to the right for considering stripping citizens of citizenship for espionage, when the U.S. has executed people (Julius and Ethel Rosenberg) for that crime. By that standard, stripping a citizen who betrays his or her own country in the most horrific manner of their citizenship seems mild, not extreme." He adds, "One need not be a supporter of Israel to be disgusted with Time magazine. One need only remember the days when Time's journalism was a serious craft."
Just last month, Israel's ambassador, Michael Oren, told me he was deeply troubled "the insinuation into journalistic discourse of themes that would have been deemed unacceptable or racist only a few years ago." He has reason to be concerned, just as readers of Time have reason to be alarmed by a once respectable journal that has now championed the cause of Israel's most aggressive bashers.
| January 11, 2011; 12:16 PM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Does the New York Times want to be known for Brooks or Krugman?
Next: What to expect with Republican oversight
Posted by: eoniii | January 11, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: kenhe | January 11, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MsJS | January 11, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jckdoors | January 11, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: inspectorbucket | January 11, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: fuzzywzhe | January 11, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: wpost16 | January 11, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: cleancut77 | January 11, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | January 11, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: GaryEMasters | January 11, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: aardunza | January 11, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eoniii | January 11, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: PaulJay | January 11, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | January 11, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: fuzzywzhe | January 11, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: j3hess | January 11, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: hebe1 | January 11, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: PolitiHAL | January 11, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: hairman | January 11, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: wswest | January 11, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eoniii | January 11, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: fuzzywzhe | January 11, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | January 11, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | January 11, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | January 11, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | January 11, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | January 11, 2011 7:53 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Lazarus40 | January 11, 2011 8:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: adam62 | January 11, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: sam_ad | January 11, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | January 11, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: adam62 | January 11, 2011 11:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: 9876543210 | January 13, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: fuzzywzhe | January 17, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse