Democracy’s Opponent?

Our last communique (“Transference Syndrome” – May 13) referred to MSNBC’s Michael Moran’s swipe at “pandering [American] politicians” for their support of “one-sided and politically safe pro-Israel” congressional resolutions.

This week, another columnist exhibited distain for democracies. Syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer criticized both U.S. and Israeli elected officials: “In Eyes of World, U.S. Is Responsible for Israeli Policies,” published May 9 by Universal Press Syndicate. Geyer writes:

“Look at the Congress. Apparently they have become so ‘Sovietized’ by their dependence upon the Israeli connection that they can do nothing but pass more and more resolutions praising Ariel Sharon.”

In tones reminiscent of Joe McCarthy, Geyer warns, “Three pro-Israeli groups — the pugnacious neoconservatives, the pro-Sharon Israeli American lobby and the Christian fundamentalists who believe in ‘historic Israel’ — have come together in the last 19 months to dominate U.S. politics and coarsen policy in a manner no one here can remember.”

“The one viewpoint you almost never hear,” Geyer charges, “is the purely American one — in great part because the United States has gotten so tied up in Israeli politics, both there and here, that one searches in vain for a simple exposition of the Middle East problem that is based only in America’s political, military and moral interests.”

Does Geyer claim that only she is the keeper of the true American “interests?” She ignores public opinion polls showing that Americans support Israel by margins of 5 to 1. Congressional support — and President Bush’s — merely represents that sentiment.

Geyer’s distain for democracy matches her ignorance of history. After attacking “Sharon’s Israel” for war crimes in Jenin, bulldozing homes of innocent civilians (“as they were doing when I first went to the Middle East as a correspondent in 1969″), or “torturing” security suspects, the columnist reminisces, “When there is a Golda Meir, a David Ben-Gurion, a Yitzhak Rabin or a Shimon Peres in Israel’s leadership role, this cooperation and support from America are something to be proud of.”

The policies Geyer attacks were all policies originally enacted and enforced by the same Labor Party prime ministers she adulates.

Read Geyer’s column at:
http://www.uexpress.com/georgieannegeyer/viewgg.cfm

Did your local newspaper carry the column? If so, make your voice heard!

===== BROOKINGS INSTITUTION “TINDER BOX” =====

A fascinating view of the press coverage of the current Middle East fighting was presented by a panel of veteran newsmen hosted by Harvard University and the Brookings Institution on April 24. The session, “Tinder Box: How the Press Covers the Middle East,” featured former CBS correspondent Marvin Kalb, Glenn Frankel of the Washington Post, Robin Wright of the Los Angeles Times, David Shipler of The New York Times, and Todd Purdum, the Chief Diplomatic Correspondent of the New York Times.

===== MORE ON HOLGER JENSEN =====

As reported by HonestReporting, Holger Jensen, a virulent critic of American support of Israel, resigned on May 4 as international editor of the Rocky Mountain News. The paper’s publisher, John Temple, told HonestReporting, “Holger resigned to pursue other opportunities.”

The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz, however, suggests that Jensen’s anti-Sharon vituperation got him in trouble. Kurtz wrote:

“For the international editor of the Rocky Mountain News, it was a prime opportunity to beat up on Ariel Sharon. Holger Jensen [recently] quoted the Israeli prime minister as having said in a 1982 interview, when Sharon led the invasion of Lebanon: ‘You can call me anything you like. Call me a monster or a murderer… Better a live Judeo-Nazi than a dead saint… Even if you prove to me that the present war in Lebanon is a dirty immoral war, I don’t care.’”

“Days later, Jensen acknowledged: ‘I made a grievous error in not verifying the authenticity of 20-year-old quotes attributed to Ariel Sharon… As it turns out, they were made not by Sharon but another unnamed Israeli soldier who died 11 years ago… After 33 years in this business, I should know better.’ He resigned a week later.”

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