Bias Against Israel Time and Time Again
By Moshe Phillips - August 11, 2010
On Saturday, August 7, 2010 Time Magazine demonstrated, yet again, that it is one of the most anti-Israel mainstream media outlets in the United States today. The magazine's praise for Israel critic Tony Judt is just further proof of its consistent bias.
A memorial tribute Time published titled "Tony Judt: A Public Intellectual Remembered" by Michael Elliott demonstrated that little has changed since the days when Time began its article about the election of a new Israeli Prime Minister with "His first name means "comforter." Menachem Begin (rhymes with Fagin) has been anything but that to his numerous antagonists. To the British in the 1940s, he was Public Enemy No. 1..." (Monday, May 30, 1977)
Time began its tribute to Judt stating: "Tony Judt, whose death was reported today, was a historian of the very first order, a public intellectual of an old-fashioned kind and — in more ways than one — a very brave man."
A historian of the very first order? Even The Washington Post, which can hardly be considered a bastion of love for Israel, did a better job stating "(Judt) became one of the most controversial public intellectuals of recent [Time] with his critical statements about Israel..." (Sunday, August 8, 2010)
So who was Tony Judt? He was a British Jew who was a part of the world of socialist kibbutz Zionism as a young man. An expert on the history of French socialism, he taught at New York University and authored and edited a dozen or so books. He was a relatively unknown academic until he came out against Israel.
In an article in the October 23, 2003 New York Review of Books, Judt wrote that Israel was fast transforming into a "belligerently intolerant, faith-driven ethno state..."
In the same article Judt claimed that "(t)he very idea of a “Jewish state” -- a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded -- is rooted in another Time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism."
Judt continued to attack Israel and his last major assault came in the aftermath of the Gaza Flotilla episode. In his June 10 essay in The New York Times called "Israel Without Clichés" Judt made many wild and inaccurate claims against Israel. He wrote about Gaza calling it a democracy and then tried to de-legitimize Israel's government. "It is a democracy dominated and often governed by former professional soldiers" and "The expression of strong dissent from official policy is increasingly discouraged" wrote Judt. Lastly, he also stated that Israel has a constitution which it does not. (Remember: "a historian of the very first order.")
Judt's New York Times article in the aftermath of the flotilla and the news of Judt's illness caused some out of proportion attention to be to shown to Judt. Tablet Magazine interviewed Judt where he continued with his false claims. J Street, the controversial Jewish pressure group that was created to lobby for a Palestinian state, received Judt's attention. He stated J Street "is almost always on the defensive.. (and) it has no money." Both of Judt's characterizations of J Street are patently false as prominent Israeli blogger and former director of Media Watch Yisrael Medad pointed out on June 11. (See http://myrightword.blogspot.com/2010/06/have-jolly-laugh-on-judt.html)
Judt aside, Time has a long, documented history of bias against Israel since the "Begin (rhymes with Fagin)" episode.
In the early 1980s Ariel Sharon's attorneys were able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of a Manhattan court that Time Magazine knew that what they published about him in their February 21, 1983 issue was false at the Time they printed it. This should be seen as an even greater violation of journalistic ethics than the minimum U.S. legal standard of libel which is reckless disregard for the truth.
Time also has a history of concentrating attention on Jewish critics of Israel. In a May 31, 1993 article by Priscilla Painton titled "The Politics of What?" Time explored Michael Lerner's influence on the thinking of Hillary Clinton. Lerner is best known as the publisher of the leftist political journal Tikkun since its founding in 1986 and has been a vicious critic of Israel for decades.Its is worth noting that Lerner has high level connections with J Street. J Street's founder and executive director Jeremy Ben Ami was a featured speaker at Tikkun's Network of Spiritual Progressives conference in Washington DC in June.
Normally the death of a person with Tony Judt's lack of notoriety would not cause the editor's at Time Magazine to pause for even a moment – but it is easy to assume that Time's interest in the death of a Jewish critic of Israel has more to with celebrating Jewish criticism of Israel than with anything else.
Of course, Time is not alone. The liberal elite in the media in the U.S. and Europe never miss an opportunity to shower attention and praise on the Jewish critics of Israel.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Eye.
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