Time Magazine and its Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Karl Vick, are making a habit of defaming Israel. The latest piece (January 11 on the Time Web site) is entitled “Israel’s Lurch to the Right Scares Some Conservatives.” It offers a jaundiced and factually-challenged take on recent issues and events involving Israeli citizenship questions, loyalty oaths, investigation of foreign-funded NGO’s, the death of a Palestinian woman and other matters. Vick parrots far-left attacks on Israel, ignores warranted security concerns, disregards the normalcy of fractious debate in a democracy, reduces complex issues to caricature and indicts the entire public, alleging:
Self-righteous indignation is a staple position for an Israeli public whose default assumption is that Israel is always the injured party.
Vick’s disparagement of the “Israeli public” is indicative of his coverage – heavy on snide editorializing, light on fact. (Contrary to the reporter, of course, Israelis are sharply self-critical and often sympathetic to the plight of their civilian adversaries.) This is the same reporter who depicted Israelis generally as materialistic hedonists indifferent to peace in Time’s notorious September 13 edition, considered anti-Semitic by many with its Star of David emblazoned with the headline: “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.” In December, the reporter blamed Israelis for the hostility directed against them.
Whether the newly proposed investigations by the Knesset are optimally designed to get to the root of the funding question is a fair question. But like all the difficult questions facing Israel in the realm of self-preservation, Karl Vick distorts and ridicules Israel’s actions. He writes:
Just last week, the coalition prompted cries of McCarthyism when it moved to crack down on Israeli human-rights organizations deemed suspicious by a government that increasingly equates dissent with disloyalty.
Taking a page from neighboring authoritarian states, Netanyahu encouraged support for the law, appointing a panel to investigate independent organizations that are critical of government actions. These include Breaking the Silence, a group of former Israeli soldiers that has published a book of testimonies detailing human-rights abuses, which the former soldiers say they witnessed while serving in the West Bank; the rights group B’Tselem, which documents abuses by settlers and security forces in the West Bank; Gisha, which monitors the plight of Palestinians caught between Hamas and Israeli collective punishment in the Gaza Strip; and Physicians for Human Rights Israel, which recently reported in gruesome detail the plight of African economic immigrants, who are commonly referred to “infiltrators.” [sic]
As in much of his reporting, Vick injects sweeping indictment of Israel instead of presenting all relevant facts. Yes, there have been “cries of McCarthyism” from critics of the Knesset proposal and there have also been defenders of the hearings. But Vick offers no sense of the contending arguments.
He blandly calls far-left NGO’s whose methods have been exposed as blatantly partisan and flawed “independent organizations that are critical of government actions.” Such language is journalistically unethical, disguising the aims and extreme political hue of the groups listed. For instance, Breaking the Silence assails the IDF with anonymous accusations. As CAMERA has written :
While their Web Site proclaims that they “demand accountability regarding Israel’s military actions in the Occupied territories perpetrated by us and in our name,” they steadfastly refuse to report the alleged incidents to the proper authorities, and hide behind a cloak of anonymity, withholding their own identities, the identities of other individuals involved, and the specifics that would enable authorities to corroborate their testimonies — this, despite the army’s injunction to report any violation of regulations that results in harm to noncombatants.
Lieberman’s promotion of a loyalty oath is in sync with majority opinion. Israeli Arab leaders have become increasingly vocal in their support for Palestinian irredentism – and Jews want to see them checked.
Last week, after a Palestinian woman died after inhaling tear gas that was fired by Israeli troops, army spokesmen mounted a whisper campaign suggesting that she had died of natural causes. The unlikely, anonymous explanation was played prominently by Israeli newspapers. Those who said otherwise stood accused of trying to delegitimize the Israel Defense Forces.
While there is not enough information to draw any definitive conclusions about how Abu Rahma died, the following oddities stand out. First, there is not one single wire story or article from Palestinian sources dated Dec. 31, the day of the protest, about any injured in Bilin. Moreover, there is not a single photograph of Abu Rahma at the demonstration, either before she was injured or after, when she was being loaded into a Red Crescent ambulance. (Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak told the Jerusalem Post that he saw her taken by ambulance to the hospital.) This, despite the presence of numerous professional photographers at the Bilin protest on Dec. 31, as evidenced by the many photographs of soldiers and protesters available from the AP and Reuters photo services. Given that photographers always aim for the most dramatic shots, and are not known to shy away from photographing Palestinians injured by Israelis, it’s hard to understand how they missed Abu Rahma being overcome by tear gas or being loaded into an ambulance.
Vick ignores the history of bogus Palestinian claims alleging harsh IDF action, chief among them the Muhammad al Durah blood libel spawned by France 2 Television in September 2000. Though the alleged killing was later proven to be a physical impossibility as the line of fire was blocked between Israeli positions and the location of the victim, the false story spread around the globe. Among the indications of fraud was undeniable visual evidence that Palestinians were staging violent protests, false injuries and fake evacuations during the same afternoon at the same place.