Why the silence?

I’ve added to the blogroll  a new blog at ForeignPolicy.com by Stephen Walt,  a professor at Harvard and one of America’s premier commentators on foreign policy.   Today,   he_wonders why many of  Israel’s  supporters in the US were silent during the recent IDF rampage in Gaza.  If that lack  of criticism  is due to a belief that Israel’s leaders are “exceptionally smart and thoughtful strategists”  than this is a most  incorrect foundation to base a lack of criticism on: 

Many supporters of Israel will not criticize its behavior, even when it is engaged in brutal and misguided operations like the recent onslaught on Gaza. In addition to their understandable reluctance to say anything that might aid Israel’s enemies, this tendency is based in part on the belief that Israel’s political and military leaders are exceptionally smart and thoughtful strategists who understand their threat environment and have a history of success against their adversaries. If so, then it makes little sense for outsiders to second-guess them.

As Walt outlines, this is a  myth.  So  why then,  do people keep refusing to criticize Israel in the US media? Isn’t it strange when Israel’s own Haaretz  newspaper  is consistently 10x more questioning  of Israel than anyone in America?

7 Responses

  1. i mean criticism by supporters of israel. rashid khalidi is not a supporter of Israel. secondly, publications like Salon are of course going to criticize Israel,

    its the mainstream media which for the most part was completely silent. ok so they throw in a token op-ed here and there but that doesnt count. did you see any questioning of Israel’s attack on Gaza from ABC, NBC or CBS? Did u see an editorial in the NY TIMES or Washiongtin Post which seriously questioned the logic of the attack? Did you hear anyone at the DC think tank circuit pose the slighest criticism? Did you hear a member of Congress ask the slightest question about the purpose/ wisdom of the attack? No they werent interested in that all because they were too busy discussing what color underwear Barrack Obama is going to wear for his inaguartation.

    If you read Israeli Haaretz you will find that it is without question more critical of and asks questions about Israel’s policies than any US media outlet?

  2. Rob, you don’t seem very interested in any opinions which contradict your own.

  3. How is this a matter of opinion? Did you see :

    1) CBS, ABC, CNN or NBC news asking serious questions about the Israeli operation in Gaza?
    2) Did you see any members of Congress asking any questions?
    3) Did you read any serious criticism or questions being raised by the op-ed staff at the NY Times or Washington Post
    4) Did you read serious questions or criticism of the Israeli operation at the DC think-tanks?

    Can you answer yes to these questions? Based on what I saw the answer is no. But if you saw things differently and I missed things, please let me know. What I did see was more criticsm and serious questions being asked throughout the three week period by Israeli Haaretz. Nor is this unusual because the contents of Haaretz almost always question Israel than the 4 above sources.

  4. When you start with the premise that the US media doesn’t criticize Israel, and when any examples are dismissed as token gestures, and when your responses to me are hostile, then there’s nothing I can offer that will come even close to changing your mind. So it’s not worth my effort to try.

    Public opinion in the US is changing (71% of Americans feel the US government shouldn’t take sides in the Israel/Gaza conflict), and it’s going to take a while for the government and media to catch up.

    And of course as Israeli publication is going to focus on this issue more. Is it “mainstream”?

  5. well im sorry if you feel my responses were hostile but they werent meant to be and i dont think they were.

    if you look closely at the tone of coverage in certain Israeli newspapers such as Haaretz and then look at whats being said in the 4 categoires i outlined, then I think you will see what Im talking about.

    its not “focus” per se, but the tone of the coverage. Is it critical, does it ask tough questions? thats the key.

  6. […] is exactly what I meant…. Posted on January 26, 2009 by Rob when I said last week that noone in the US media asks tough questions about Israel.  I can’t ever […]

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