CAMERA Media Analysis
01 April '11
From there the bandits went on to the house of Joshua Ben Arieh, where they stabbed and burned to death Joshua, his wife and one son, and then shot dead his infant son. In the same house three children of Shlomo Leimer, aged 8, 10, and 12, were stabbed and burned to death. Proceeding farther, the Arabs broke into the house of Shimon Mizrahi, where they killed his wife and five children, ranging in ages from 1 to 12 years, and then set fire to the house.... [New York Times, Oct. 4, 1938]
David Remnick once said, with no apparent irony, that "It's one thing to be ignorant, it's another to parade it as sophistication." Too bad he ignores his own advice in his March 21, 2011 New Yorker article, which puts the onus on Israel for the lack of peace in the region, psychoanalyzes Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and – surprise – finds him wanting, all the while portraying Palestinians as peace-seeking, innocent victims of rapacious Israelis.
From Remnick's blinkered perspective a massacre such as the one described above should not have happened before 1967, before the "occupation." But it did happen, in 1938.
Throughout the article, Remnick suggests that the strife in Israel revolves around the year 1967 when, in the defensive Six-Day War, Israel ended Jordan's illegal 19-year occupation of what the Hashemite regime had labeled the West Bank. (The territory was Judea and Samaria to the British Mandate authorities and to Israelis, before Jordan renamed it to cover up their illegal annexation, an annexation recognized only by Britain and Pakistan.)
For years, Israeli and American commentators have been waiting for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to leave behind the right-wing Revisionist ideology of his father…and…end the occupation of the Palestinian territories…The occupation – illegal, inhumane, and inconsistent with Jewish values - has lasted forty-four years…without serious progress toward an agreement, matters will likely deteriorate, perhaps to the point, yet again, of violence.
First of all, the occupation is not illegal – that is, until there is a treaty with some other party allocating the territory and establishing recognized and permanent borders, Israel is under no obligation to withdraw. Israel is thus no more an illegal occupier of the West Bank than the United States or the Soviet Union were illegal occupiers of Germany when their armies fought their way towards Berlin during World War 2.
Furthermore, unlike the situation with the occupation of Germany, Israel has legitimate claims to Judea and Samaria under the terms of the Palestine Mandate, which in Article 6 called for "close settlement by Jews on the Land." Israeli territorial claims, as well as Palestinian and possibly Jordanian ones, all need to be settled by negotiations, as per UN Security Council Resolution 242.
As for Remnick's offensive claim that “commentators have been waiting” for Netanyahu to leave behind the ideology of his father, he neglects to consider that perhaps Netanyahu might actually believe in the ideology independently of his father, and that his beliefs might actually be well-grounded legally, historically and strategically. But to Remnick, apparently, no serious, intelligent person could possibly believe what Benjamin Netanyahu has long espoused in his books and speeches. Of course, Remnick has probably forgotten that the Middle East is not the Upper East Side, and his cultural imperialism blinds him to the fact that what passes for wisdom in one place might be folly in another.
(Read full "David Remnick's issues with Israel (and the facts)")
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