Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler
Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Monday, January 28.
1) Meadia Culpa
Last week I cited Walter Russell Mead's critique of the MSM's coverage of last week's Israeli elections. In particular he cited David Remnick's coverage as "shameful." Mead has now apologized to Remnick, writing:
There is no point in recounting the twists and turns of the editorial
process that led to a poorly expressed and unfair post appearing on the
site. As the editor of the site and the Mead in Via Meadia, the
responsibility for what happened is mine and mine alone. I want to
apologize to David Remnick for a mean spirited jab that was unfair to
him, to our readers and fell short of the standards of fairness,
courtesy and accuracy we try to uphold on the site. This was not a
borderline case; it was wrong and in failing to establish a process that
would prevent this kind of error, I have made a grievous mistake. It’s
particularly galling that this mistake was at the expense of a man
whose brilliant editorial leadership at the New Yorker has set the
standard for American journalism for many years.
I'm not sure what Mead was apologizing for. Mead's main point was that
the MSM misunderstands Israel and sees the Palestinian Israeli conflict
as central to defining Israel. This is central to Remnick's article.
Nothing in his article discusses Abbas's statement implying that it
would be better to die than to give up the right of return. Or Morsi's "apes and pigs"
comment. In addition Remnick throws in a gratuitous reference to
"fascism." Towards the end of the article, he quotes Mkhaimar Abusada, a
political science professor from Al Azhar University in Gaza.
“We are going to witness more settlements, a greater encirclement of
East Jerusalem, and more frustration and despair. Which means we’ll have
one of two scenarios: either meaningless negotiations or, if the
stalemate continues, a new round of violence. And, in the end, violence
is not a possibility—it’s almost a certainty.”
It isn't clear that Abusada is affiliated with Hamas, but his past writings
show that he is an apologist for the terror group. Specifically he
writes that there can't be any peace until Hamas is taken into account.
I don't think that the adjective "shameful" was inappropriate at all.
Jonathan Spyer shows a much better grasp of the recent election:
Bottom line: the underlying strength and maturity of Israel’s
democracy was demonstrated this week. With a region in flames all around
them, Israelis pulled off an election with a high turnout (66.6%),
conducted efficiently and transparently, focusing on a substantive
discussion of the key issues facing the country, but largely devoid of
deep division and rancor. The results indicate that a large, sane,
pragmatic center is the core presence in Israeli political life. It is
to be hoped that the government that emerges from the coalition
negotiations will reflect this reality.
2) When bigotry doesn't matter
A few weeks ago comments that President Morsi made in 2010 about Jews being descended from "apes and pigs" were reported by MEMRI. It was a cause of great outrage. An editorial in the New York Times fumed:
The White House called for Mr. Morsi to make clear that he respects
members of all faiths and said the videotaped remarks run counter to the
goal of peace. President Obama should also deliver that message to
President Morsi directly.
The State Department was indignant:
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland would not say if
Washington is demanding that Morsi personally repudiate the remarks, but
she made clear the U.S. needs to see more than the statement from his
office to be convinced he no longer holds to the earlier views.
An attempt to explain himself to a group of visiting U.S. senators made matters worse.
Then Morsy crossed a line and made a comment that made the senators physically recoil in their chairs in shock, Coons said.
"He was attempting to explain himself ... then he said, ‘Well, I think
we all know that the media in the United States has made a big deal of
this and we know the media of the United States is controlled by certain
forces and they don't view me favorably,'" Coons said.
The Cable asked Coons if Morsy specifically named the Jews as the forces
that control the American media. Coons said all the senators believed
the implication was obvious.
But one of those Senators, John McCain, though he was offended, still thinks that unconditional aid to Egypt is a good idea.
McCain said the delegation voiced its disapproval and had a “constructive discussion” with Morsi.
“We leave it to the president to make any further comments on this matter that he may wish,” the Arizona Republican said.
The delegation clearly sought to move beyond the unexpected diplomatic
flap to focus on Egypt’s economy. McCain told reporters the
congressional delegation will push for an additional $480 million in
budget assistance to Egypt.
The comments have become an issue in Senator John Kerry's confirmation hearings. Barry Rubin quotes the exchange between Senator Rand Paul and the nominee and adds his own comments:
Rand Paul: “Do you think it’s wise to send [Egypt] F-16s and Abrams tanks?”
Whatever one thinks of Naftali Bennett, at most he will be a junior
partner in the ruling coalition in Israel. Mohammed Morsi is the
President of Egypt with deeply held beliefs that inform his views that
are hostile to American interests. Yet, to the mainstream media, who
presents a greater threat to peace in the Middle East?
Kerry: “I think those [antisemitic] comments are reprehensible, and
those comments set back the possibilities of working toward issues of
mutual interest. They are degrading comments, unacceptable by anybody’s
standard, and I think they have to appropriately be apologized for….””
Kerry, of course, isn’t answering the question. He is detaching the
remarks from Muslim Brotherhood ideology and from U.S. policy. This is
meaningless rhetoric on his part. It does, however, raise the intriguing
problem of what Kerry would do since President Mursi isn’t going to
apologize. That would have been a good question. Of course, he would do
Rand Paul [cutting Kerry off]: “If we keep sending them weapons, it’s not gonna change their behavior.”
Here is the essential question and the one that Kerry doesn’t want to
answer. What reason is there to believe that the U.S. supply of arms
would change the Brotherhood government’s policies? Rather than moderate
its policy wouldn’t these arms merely enable the regime to follow a
more radical position, and who would these arms be used against?
Kerry: “Let me finish. President Mursi has issued two statements to
clarify those comments, and we had a group of senators who met with him
just the other day who spent a good part of their conversation in a
relatively heated discussion with him about it….”
Yes, Mursi issued two statements but they were not to take back his
prior words but only to double down on them since he asserted that the
statements had been taken out of context by the Zionist-controlled
media. The man isn’t misspeaking. He’s just saying what he believes.
Kerry and Obama refuse to recognize that he believes these things.
Labels: David Remnick, Egyptian anti-Semitism, John Kerry, John McCain, Knesset elections 2013, mainstream media, Mohammed Morsy, Muslim Brotherhood, Rand Paul, Walter Russell Mead