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Media Analyses





Time Marches On Against Israel


karl_vick2.jpg
Karl Vick
 
Time in 1982 infamously smeared Israel and then Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon (see below). At fault was David Halevy, Time`s Jerusalem correspondent. More recently, the magazine's smearing of Israel has been perpetrated mainly by Karl Vick, until lately the Jerusalem bureau chief.
 
Vick's October 26 screed is a reductionist, biased analysis of the current bloody conflict started by Palestinian Arabs. The latter have embarked on essentially daily random stabbing, shooting or vehicular attacks against Israelis. Vick, characterizing the violence as “spontaneous acts carried out by young people and celebrated on social media,” fails to note that the Palestinian side is continuously incited to hatred and violence against Jews by Palestinian communications media, in mosques and schools. Sometimes it's the Palestinian leadership very publicly doing the inciting. For example, on Sept. 16, 2015, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Palestinian Television, declared, "We won't allow Jews with their filthy feet… to defile our Al-Aqsa mosque… we bless every drop of blood spilled for Jerusalem…" But none of this interests Vick – he marches to a different drummer. Vick knows the “real cause” of the attacks, “My people have to have hope,” Vick quotes Abbas. This is why, as Abbas had explained to Time (according to Vick), “he continued to press for negotiations [for a two-state solution] that for years went nowhere.”
 
A reality check
 
The two-state solution, supposedly impeded by Israeli intransigence as Time would have its readers believe, was rejected by Palestinian leaders in 2000, 2001 and 2008 at Camp David, Taba and after the Annapolis conference, respectively. The same leadership also spurned a resumption of talks with Israel as outlined by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in his 2014 "framework." But Vick omits this basic background information. Neither does he report that resuming negotiations is stalled by Palestinian conditions before peace talks can take place: Israel must accede to the demands that it yield to heretofore unacceptable Palestinian pre-conditions such as refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and the so-called "right of return" of millions of Arabs (nearly all of whom have never lived in Israel) which would result in engulfing Israel with Arabs, effectively destroying it as a Jewish state and Western style democracy. In fact, nearly all Muslim-majority states continue to refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish state. Evidently 22 Arab states, all with Muslim majorities (23 with the addition of "Palestine") is fine but one Jewish state is one too many.
 
In the same vein, Vick erroneously refers to "Israel's 48-year occupation" falsely implying that the West Bank status quo continues from 1967 onward. Vick is either unaware or unwilling to share with readers that in 1995, Israeli troops withdrew from the majority of Palestinian population centers in the West Bank after Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed an interim agreement on Sept. 28, 1995. So the "occupation" starting in 1967 with the end of the Six-Day War, lasted 28 years. This had followed the first intifada's (1987 to 1992) attacks on Israelis. But with the resumption of Palestinian violence against Israelis during the second intifada (2000 to 2005), Israeli troops re-established a major presence in the West Bank. In any case, though the Palestinian Authority has jurisdiction over the daily lives of almost all West Bank Arabs, Israel remains the legal, obligatory military occupational authority as a result of successful self-defense in the 1967 and 1973 wars, pending conclusion of a negotiated agreement on the territories' final status.
 
Likewise, Vick writes, "Chronologically, the surge [in daily mostly random attacks upon Jews] can be traced to [Muslim] tension over the holy compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary [the third-most holiest site to Muslims] and to Jews as the Temple Mount [the holiest site to Jews] and the delicate status quo that physically separates the two faiths." Note: clarifications in brackets added by this writer here as well as elsewhere in this report. The "tension" of Palestinian Muslims resulted from false rumors that Israeli government leaders planned encroachment upon the Al-Aqsa Mosque area of the Temple Mount compound. Vick's inadequate explanation here also leaves readers in the dark about related historical context. In 1967, when Israel took possession of the area of Jerusalem which heretofore had been closed to it after the 1947-1949 War of Independence, Israel magnanimously allowed the Waqf (Islamic religious trust) to take charge of the Temple Mount. Then, yielding to Islamic supersessionism, Israel upheld the "status quo" that prohibited non-Muslims from praying on Temple Mount.
 
Sampling Time’s transgressions against Israel
 
Time smeared Israel in October 1982 when it claimed, though lacking evidence, that the then Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon encouraged the massacre of 460 Palestinians and Lebanese by Christian Phalangists (troops) in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon in June 1982. Israel then had troops stationed in Lebanon. The slaughter was revenge for the murder of Lebanese President-elect Bashir Gemayel, a Christian Arab. In 1984, Sharon went to court in New York with a $50 million libel suit against Time magazine. A six-member jury found that Time's report was not true and had defamed Sharon. However, the jury ruled in effect that the plaintiff failed to prove that the magazine knew in advance that its charges against Mr. Sharon were false which, according to American courts of law, public figures must prove in order to win a libel suit.” But if Time failed to know in advance that its charges against Mr. Sharon were false – this implies gross journalistic malpractice and/or malice aforethought. Technically Sharon lost the case although proving his innocence. Chicago Tribune, commenting in 1987 on the trial, said that “Sharon believed [that] unfair attacks [on him by Time magazine] … stretched back to the 1950s.” But “Justice nonetheless hinged on the gutsy federal judge, Abraham D. Sofaer, who convinced the Israeli government to produce the documents that proved Time was wrong. Sofaer took it upon himself to conduct much crucial cross-examination, including that of David Halevy, Time`s Jerusalem correspondent who had filed the Sharon story … Halevy finally admitted on the stand that he had no source. He had instead determined the ‘truth.'”

• A Dec. 20, 2010 Time story by Jerusalem bureau chief, Karl Vick smeared and misrepresented  Israel including portraying its West Bank defense barrier as a Soviet-style "iron curtain" and referring to West Bank Arabs as "natives," an implicit contrast with outsider Jews who are supposedly foreign to their biblical heartland.

• In Jan. 11, 2011 on Time Web site, Vick defamed Israel's leadership and negatively portrayed the Jewish population.

• In a Time magazine Sept. 13, 2010 cover story, “"Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace," Vick's anti-Israel, antisemitic report stereotyped Jews as obsessed with materialism and the pursuit of pleasure.

Vick's skewed commentary echoes that of unreliable publications in which ideology or political correctness trumps facts and history. Time's publisher and chief editor should be advised that Vick's type of journalistic malpractice will cost Time in terms of reputation and readers. Key contacts at Time are: Meredith Long, publisher (212-522-1431) Meredith.Long@timeinc.com and Nancy Gibbs, chief editor (212-522-1431) Nancy.Gibbs@timeinc.com
 
Correction: In the paragraph above (Sampling Time's transgressions against Israel), the original version of this article contained this misleading sentence: “But the jury ruled the magazine had not acted with malice, which, according to American laws, public figures must prove to win a libel suit.” This erroneously indicates that public figures must prove malice to win a defamation suit. The replacement for the misleading sentence: “However, the jury ruled in effect that the plaintiff failed to prove that the magazine knew in advance that its charges against Mr. Sharon were false which, according to American courts of law, public figures must prove in order to win a libel suit. But if Time failed to know in advance that its charges against Mr. Sharon were false – this implies gross journalistic malpractice and/or malice aforethought.”
 

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