Same Old Tune

Dear Honest Reporting Member,

The world has changed in ways that perhaps only Tom Clancy’s “Executive Orders” could have imagined: Jetliners crashing into U.S. buildings, America leading a war against Islamic fanatics, and fear of biological weapons deployed on U.S. soil. And on another front, live ammo gunning down Palestinian demonstrators and wounding scores more — at the hands of Arafat’s own forces.

Alas, some things stay the same. Journalists continue to blame Israel for Bin Laden’s rage, promoting the immoral notion that Israel — the victim of incessant terrorism — shares responsibility with the Palestinian perpetrators of terrorism.

A Washington Post editorial, “Mr. Arafat’s Decision,” (Oct. 10), calls on Arafat “to break, once and for all, links with Islamic extremist groups that are engaged in terrorism.”

But then the Post blasts Israel’s government for failing to “help” Arafat: “Rather than easing Israeli military pressure on the Palestinians, which would allow Mr. Arafat’s own security forces more room to act against the extremists, Mr. Sharon’s army continues to act provocatively, launching repeated forays into Palestinian territory since Sept. 11 and killing dozens of Palestinians in subsequent battles.”

To respond, write to:

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A similar theme appeared in a New York Times column by Thomas Friedman, “It’s Freedom, Stupid.” Friedman objected to Sharon’s remarks last week warning against appeasement of the Arab states at the expense of Israel, and comparing the situation to Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Israel experienced a horrific week and Sharon’s controversial remarks must be understood within this context: Palestinian terrorists invaded a Jewish community in Gaza and killed two Israelis, a Palestinian suicide bomber struck and killed an Israeli, Palestinian gunmen shot up Jewish holiday visitors in Hebron, a plane full of Israelis crashed in the Black Sea (terrorism was suspected), the U.S. Secretary of Defense visited the Middle East and avoided Israel, and although there were no signs whatsoever of Yasser Arafat complying with his ceasefire pledge, American leaders were conjuring up a vision of a Palestinian State.

Read Friedman’s column at:

To respond, write to:

The most effective method is to write a letter in your own words. Otherwise, cut-and-paste the sample letters below.

Readers are also encouraged to refer to a previous HonestReporting communique, which contained excellent talking points from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

========== SAMPLE LETTER OF COMPLAINT ============

To the Editor of the Washington Post:

The Post’s editorial, “Mr. Arafat’s Decision,” (Oct. 10) correctly puts the onus on Yasir Arafat to break up Islamic fanatics in his midst who conduct terrorism. But then the Post misdirects the blame when it charges the IDF with “provocatively launching forays into Palestinian territory.”

Since the September 11 bombing and Arafat’s declared cease-fire, Israeli civilians have been subjected to suicide bombers, shootings, and sniper fire. Jewish worshippers in Hebron were targeted, and families in a Gaza community were attacked by assault guns and grenades. Israeli “forays” followed these attacks. Who provoked whom?

========== SAMPLE LETTER OF COMPLAINT ============

To the Editor of The New York Times:

Tom Friedman’s column, “It’s Freedom, Stupid,” is a misdirected tirade against Israel and its prime minister.

Friedman mistakenly suggests that Israel has not offered to help its American ally. Despite Friedman’s tirade against what he perceives to be Israeli ingratitude, the record is clear: Israel has helped with its restraint in the face of attacks, with offers of its army rescue units, and with its vaunted and respected intelligence services.

Israel exhibits unbridled and unconcealed support for America’s war effort — from the ministers of government to the man on the street. How many other Middle East countries can say the same?

Further, while Friedman claims that Israeli “forays into Palestinian territory” are driven by biblical vision, the more obvious reason is in response to Palestinian violence, terror, and provocation. Israel, as much as the United States, knows firsthand about the fight for freedom — and the sacrifices necessary. But in Israel’s case, the issue is not just freedom, “It’s Survival, Stupid.”