Scapegoating Israel

Dear Honest Reporting Member,

Dear HonestReporting Member,

When the Black Plague hit Europe in 1348, Jews were blamed for poisoning the wells.

Today, as the plague of terrorism struck down thousands in the United States, incredibly, several columnists and analysts were quick to blame Israel. They exhibit the same bias, prejudice and ignorance practiced in the Dark Ages.

HonestReporting members have reported the scapegoating of Israel by columnist Robert Novak, ABC anchor Peter Jennings and others. Here are selected examples:

(1) Time Magazine’s Tony Karon – “Why Didn’t We Know?” (Sept. 14):

“To be sure, the U.S. had plenty of reasons to believe Bin Laden would try and strike at its cities. He’s tried before, for one thing, and the motivation to launch a spectacular attack would have grown exponentially over the past year as anti-American feeling surged on the Arab streets in response U.S. support for Israel…”

Read Karon’s column at:,8599,175025,00.html


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(2) The Washington Post’s Caryle Murphy – “A Hatred Rooted in Failings” (Sept. 16). Murphy served as the Post’s Cairo bureau chief from 1989-94.

“Having spent many years living in the region and learning about Islam, I believe that three major factors have brought it to this point: authoritarian governments that have spawned extremist movements by failing to develop a civil society that permits dissent; the inability of modern interpretations of Islam to prevail over outdated, orthodox versions; and America’s failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… the 50-year-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians rages on.

“Seen through Muslim eyes, it is a conflict prolonged by America’s bias toward Israel. Muslims do not comprehend, for example, how the United States, which gives Israel more than $3 billion annually, could not have stopped Israel from allowing more than 200,000 Jewish settlers — half of them since the 1993 Oslo peace agreement — to move into occupied territory Palestinians had envisioned as their homeland… If we want to avoid creating more terrorists, we must end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict quickly and in a way both sides see as fair…”


Letters to the Editor, The Washington Post 1150 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20071

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(3) ABC News invited a Long Island Moslem leader, Al-Haaj Ghazi Khankan, to conduct an on-line chat “How Could This Happen?” (Sept. 15) ABC News gave Al-Haaj Ghazi the air-time to declare:

“We need to reexamine our foreign policy in the world, especially in the sensitive area of the Palestine question. We know from statistics, for example, we have given the Israeli governments, since 1949, $134 billion and helped them take over the homes of the Palestinian people, and made them refugees. The U.S.-made F-16s and helicopters that shoot rockets are being used by the Israelis to kill more Palestinians. And so the Palestinians think that we are in cahoots with the Israelis against the Palestinians.”


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(4) The New York Times’ John Burns – “America Inspires Both Longing and Loathing in Arab World” (Sept. 16):

“There, bitter political grievances abound, among them: the United States’ support of Israel; its troop presence in the ‘holy land’ of the Arabian peninsula; its military encirclement and economic strangulation of Iraq; and its alliances with governments across the Middle East and Asia that are widely perceived as corrupt.”

Read Burns’ column at:

FAX: (212) 556-3622

Letters to the Editor, The New York Times 229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036


On the plus side, other columnists have rejected the fabrication.

(5) Time Magazine’s Matt Cooper – “Five Ways the Conventional Wisdom May Be Wrong” (Sept. 14):

“To those who claim ‘Israel is what got us into this mess in the first place’… that assumption is, of course, ludicrous. The fundamentalist terror groups hate the West and modernism and would despise us even if there had never been an Israel.”

Read Cooper’s column at:,8599,175034,00.html

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(6) The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman – “Smoking or Non-Smoking?” (Sept. 14):

“…The terrorists who hit the U.S. this week are people who pray to the God of Hate. Their terrorism is not aimed at reversing any specific U.S. policy. Indeed, they made no demands. Their terrorism is driven by pure hatred and nihilism, and its targets are the institutions that undergird America’s way of life, from our markets to our military.”

Read Friedman’s column at:


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

HonestReporting encourages members to use the following talking points to respond to the calumny that American support for Israel led to the Bin Laden attacks.

1. Bin Laden, a former Saudi citizen, declared war on the United States after the posting of American troops on Saudi soil on the eve of the Gulf War. In a 1997 interview with CNN, Bin Laden charged that the ongoing U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia is an “occupation of the land of the holy places.” According to a Washington Post profile, Bin Laden “denounced the ‘occupation’ of the Arab Holy Land by ‘American crusader forces,’ which he described as ‘the latest and greatest aggression’ against the Islamic world since the death of the prophet Muhammad in 632.”

2. The American-led attacks on Iraq during and since the Gulf War, and the imposition of sanctions against Iraq, are the basis for much of the Moslem world’s animosity to the United States. Some investigators suspect Iraq may be behind the terror attacks.

3. Previous attacks linked to Bin Laden took place during the most optimistic periods of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, such as the February 1993 W
orld Trade Center bombing and attacks on American soldiers in Somalia in October 1993, one month after the “White House handshake.”

4. Bin Laden has attacked American and Western interests in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Peninsula, and Africa — all unrelated to Israel.

5. Radical Islamic movements are active in Iran, the Balkans, Algeria, Afghanistan, the Far East, Sudan, Chechnya and in several former Soviet republics in Central Asia — all unrelated to Israel.

HonestReporting wishes a happy and healthy New Year to its Jewish members. May it be a year of peace, fulfilled dreams, and honest reporting.


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