Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NYT Lies about Israel, MJR Piles On (Part 1)

To those of us who know that major news networks are not run by Jews Israelis Zionists the "lobby," the concept of a newspaper publishing a one-sided anti-Israel article is not exactly a surprise. But to someone who believes his own hype like MJ Rosenberg, the New York Times publishing a one-sided anti-Israel article (and even he admits that's what it is) is like a holiday, prompting him to write another screed full of lies and strawman arguments.

Check out how he contradicts himself while trying to hold his cognitive dissonance. First about the New York Times:
"You just don't expect to find this type of reporting on Israel in the Times which, ever conscious that it is the New York Times, is always cautious about its reportage on Israel. Most of its coverage is either extremely balanced ("the Palestinians say this, the Israeli government says that") or slavishly supportive of the Israeli line. (Columnists Tom Friedman and Nick Kristof both consistently deviate from the line, but they are columnists, influential columnists to be sure, but opinion columnists nonetheless)."
It is true that when you are as completely one-sided as Rosenberg is, anyone who doesn't mirror your views can be described as either "extremely balanced" or "slavishly supportive" of your enemies. I would be curious as to know exactly what articles Rosenberg would describe as "slavishly supportive of the Israeli line." There's that anti-Semitic dog whistle, just in case you were paying attention.

The cognitive dissonance, though, is hilarious. The New York Times isn't anti-Israel, except for these two incredibly popular columnists who are. Oh wait, they don't count because Rosenberg said so. Apparently it's not enough that the Times publishes anti-Israel op-eds, they also have to be just as big liars as he is. But don't take my word for it, ask him. He admits the article in question is one-sided:
"Ehrenreich's piece neither adhered to the Israeli line nor was it balanced. It had a clear point of view: The occupation is a terrible thing that should not continueDoes that make it biased? It would, if there was another side to the argument. But in the case of the occupation there isn't. Imagine Ehrenreich's counterpart on the right explaining that the 45-year occupation is a good thing which should continue forever."
And here we have our first strawman argument. Actually there is another side to the argument, and it happens to be the correct one. But MJ Rosenberg can't actually defeat the other side to the argument, so he pretends that it is something it is not. He admits this himself: that "no one makes that argument." Yeah, no one makes the argument that the Palestinians are Martians either, so why would we need a column explaining that they aren't?

The other side of the argument is not "the 45-year occupation is a good thing which should continue forever." The other side of the argument is "the occupation is a necessary evil that must continue until the Palestinians are ready to make peace, because it keeps Israelis safe." This argument is much harder for Rosenberg to bust, not least because it is about the Palestinians and their intransigence. He will try to prove that they want peace later, contrary to all evidence, but for now let's get back to the article.

Here comes the next set of strawman arguments:
"It hardly needs to be said that endorsing the "two state solution," by definition, means opposing the occupation. After all, there is no place where a Palestinian state could be created other than the West Bank (including east Jerusalem) and Gaza. That is if you favor two states."
It's a classic propaganda trope that anti-Israel people claim to be "anti-occupation." Occupation is one symptom of the conflict. Someone who is pro-two states would be neutral on the occupation, because it doesn't affect the viability of making a Palestinian state. To anti-Israel propagandists, the world revolves around "the occupation," because it's easy to make "the occupation" look like the most evil thing ever. If you spend all your time doing that, you don't have to prove that the Palestinians actually want peace, which is extremely difficult because they don't.

Speaking of which, there is a place where a Palestinian state could be created. It's the place where there is already a Palestinian state: Jordan. Now if you say that this isn't a desirable outcome, let me remind you that MJ Rosenberg didn't say that "the most desirable outcome of a Palestinian state is in the West Bank and Gaza." He said the only place the Palestinians can make a state is there. Which isn't true. What else is new?

Now I'm put in the unenviable position of defending the Netanyahu government. Truly MJR makes monsters out of all of us:
"Of course, neither the Netanyahu government nor the lobby here really want the occupation to end. If they did, they would not, in the case of the Israeli government, keep expanding settlements or, in the case of pro-Israel organizations here, support Israel's right to do so. Nor would they use their influence to prevent any pressure from the United States on Israel to end the occupation. In short, both Israel and its lobby nominally oppose the occupation while actually supporting it."
Let me begin with his logic: he says that the Israeli government doesn't want the "occupation" to end because they receive benefits from it. In this case being able to build settlements.

Of course, by his logic the Palestinian governments also don't want the occupation to end. As long as they continue they will receive free money, attention, the sympathy of millions, columns in the New York Times and the Huffington Post, and the hope that eventually they can defeat Israel. Making peace and ending the occupation would mean giving all that up, so why would they? Notice how this clearly hasn't crossed MJ Rosenberg's mind, because he is even more of a fanatic than the most right-wing AIPAC member. Criticizing the Palestinians just isn't something that he does.

As for the "pro-Israel organizations here," they don't care about the settlements, in my experience. AIPAC had no position on them last year at the policy conference. Not to mention that the settlements are only related to the occupation because Rosenberg said so. If the Arabs stopped being racist and let Jews live in the West Bank, then the settlers could remain and the occupation can still end. Oops! There I go, touching the third rail of the Huffington Post again.

But it's got to be this line that takes the cake: "Nor would they use their influence to prevent any pressure from the United States on Israel to end the occupation." According to Rosenberg, lobbies don't want the occupation to end because then they wouldn't be able to influence the USA into preserving the occupation. He's assuming that the lobby wants the occupation to be preserved simply for its own sake, and that they want to influence the USA just because...it's fun? It's an amazing example of circular logic, the kind we haven't seen in a while. Don't expect Rosenberg to actually make any sense of this though. 

Stay tuned for part two, when he actually starts talking about the issues.

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