Time Magazine’s Two Standards on Economic Success

Time Magazine‘s September 13, 2010 cover story by Karl Vick, “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace,” and its October 18, 2010 story by Stacy Perman, “A National Economy – Without the Nation,” reveal Time‘s continuing bias against Israel, most strikingly in the juxtaposition of the two stories.

As we point out in our analysis concerning the Vick story, both the cover and the story itself play upon old anti-Semitic stereotypes — Jews care more about material objects than about anything else, including (or especially) peace. Time focuses on the “good life,” including nice homes and surfing vacations. Photographs showing twenty-somethings relaxing outside on the beach or in a café accompany text focusing on how the few Israelis who were interviewed were more concerned with enjoying life than with worrying about the peace process.

Time received approximately 1000 letters in response to the September 13 issue, most of which objected to the stereotyping of Jews as money-hungry, materialistic and hedonistic, and the false characterization of Israelis as not caring about peace. The edition received nationwide attention. Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal wrote a strong piece, as did Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America and many other journalists. So after all those letters and columns, what did Time do? It ran a puff piece about the Palestinians!

Perman’s story about Palestinian life in Ramallah and Nablus was very different from the one Vick wrote about Jews in Ashdod. Perman wrote a straight-ahead account (albeit not very deep) of a growing economy – fancy gyms, shopping malls, etc. Notably missing is any condemnation of the Palestinian residents for having misplaced values or an assertion that Palestinians don’t want peace; in fact, there is no mention of peace or the peace process at all. Why is it that Palestinian shopping malls, fancy gyms and high tech industry are portrayed as “normal,” while comparable Israeli institutions are seen as catering to hedonistic and non-peace loving Jews?

Furthermore, why does the article not address the dark side of Palestinian life in Ramallah and Nablus? Khaled Abu Toameh, a Palestinian Israeli, has exposed what most of us never hear about: the gross financial corruption within the Palestinian Authority. The misdeeds range from putting thousands of civil servants — who don’t exist or have never reported for work — on the payroll, to a former PA Finance Minister depositing $8 million into his private bank account. And in “PA Tortures Journalists,” he writes about a “systematic campaign of intimidation” that is virtually ignored by human rights groups and advocates of free expression. He goes on to explicate the ways in which journalists considered “unfriendly” by Islamists are targeted and tortured.

Time has a history of anti-Israel journalism, and this pair of articles suggest that the trend continues.

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