Strident pro-Israeli advocacy has always been a trademark of the New
York Times. The 'Week in Review' section of the Sunday edition is like
Disney Land for Zionist pamphleteers. Deborah Sontag's most recent contribution
to this Times supplement (NYT 12/3/200) is part of an ongoing campaign
to shore up Israel's image while allowing the IDF to conduct a relentless
reign of terror and collective punishment against the Palestinians.
In the process of polishing up her little pamphlet, Sontag takes pains
to make brazen claims of neutrality as just one of the many "foreign journalists
who go back and forth between that one truth on the Israeli side and that
one truth on the Palestinian side." She claims transient status and unconvincingly
states "this is not our conflict" I don't know who 'us' is, but I do know
that Sontag is a one-woman float in every Israeli propaganda parade.
If Sontag was not a true blue Israeli partisan, why bother with all the
lopsided emotional appeals for Israeli victims and why display such disdain
for Palestinian victims? Why only report the funeral of an Israeli soldier
and not attend the funeral of a Palestinian child? Why ignore the hundreds
of Palestinians who were needlessly slaughtered by the IDF and report so
heavily on the minority of victims who are Israeli. Her article does not
even mention the lopsided death toll. Sontag wants the reader to know she
has a couple of Palestinian "friends". How liberal of a girl from Brooklyn
Heights. She must think that allows her license to defame the other eight
Sontag begins her latest polemic with the following lines "On the day
that an angry mob lynched two Israeli soldiers in downtown Ramallah, I
watched shortly afterward as Palestinian youths danced there in the fresh-spilled
blood." The next day, she attends the funeral of one of these soldiers
and describes how "his grief-stricken brother crawled through the dirt
toward his coffin". The tone is set for the rest of the article. Sontag,
infamous for her one word obituaries of Palestinians, goes on to report
the next victim who is described as an "Israeli soldier killed at Rachel's
In the very next scene, Sontag's obliging daughter enters the fray "Mama,
did you know we heard a bomb at school today?" Sontag whispers in the reader's
ear "She doesn't ask and doesn't want to know anything more, like the fact
that it killed two Israelis two blocks from her school, during gymnastics
club." What exactly is Sontag cooking up? A sequel to 'Exodus'?
In Sontag's latest chapter, the first you hear of any Israeli violence
against Palestinians is a reference to "nightly Israeli shelling in retaliation
for the routine gunfire from
gunmen who have used their whitwashed
hillside town (Beit Jala) as a base of operations for their attacks on
Israel; they are paying the price." As a true believer, Sontag feels the
Palestinians had it coming.
Sontag sneaks in her digs against the Palestinians with little propaganda
gems like "Our children are not settler children whose school buses are
targets for terrorists or Israelis who will grow up to be soldiers". Its
the kind of language usually reserved for a speech at an AIPAC or Hadassah
fund raising meeting.
The girl from Brooklyn does make a passing reference to how "an Israeli
assassination of a para-military commander accidentally killed two passers-by."
It is standard Sontag pablum justifying the IDF's lethal carnage in the
same sentence she reports it. The nearly three hundred Palestinian fatalities
don't strike a chord with Sontag and they will never matter to the New
The chief concern at the New York Times, the flagship media portal of
Israeli apologists, is Israel's "image". The New York Times does not want
Americans to overreact to the daily scenes of Israeli troops shooting lethal
bullets at unarmed Palestinian demonstrators. They want to assure us that
there is no similarity to Soweto or Tiennamen Square or Czechoslovakia
or the Hungarian uprising.
The brutality inherent in maintaining a 33-year foriegn military occupation
cannot be so easily dismissed. Israeli violence has always been rationalized
as pre-emptive or retaliatory. In fact, it is usually premeditated, punitive
and has the singular objective of terrorizing the Palestinians into submission.
Earlier in the week, Sontag had penned a fluff article on the militant
Jewish settlers who still agitate for additional 'removal' of Palestinians
from their homeland. If Sontag wants to practice advocacy journalism for
the greater glory of Israel, she is free to do so. When it comes to the
Middle East, that is what New York Times is all about. But to masquerade
as a neutral third party observer of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is
incredibly deceptive. Which brings me to that bridge in Brooklyn, or has
Sontag already sold it?