Sunday, February 11, 2007
The "silence" is deafening
Rabbi Michael Lerner published an opinion piece in the San Jose Mercury News last week in which he once again complained about having been labeled (along with Jimmy Carter, of course) as "anti-Semitic" and charged that there has been a "silencing of the debate on Israel policy". He claimed that "voices of dissent on Israeli policy must be given the same national exposure in the media" as those of the Jewish "establishment".
I just did a Google search on Michael Lerner and anti-Semitism; same with Jimmy Carter. The closest I could find to anyone in a major media outlet or in a major Jewish community organization calling either one of them anti-Semitic was Deborah Lipstadt's piece in the Washington Post in which she did state that "Carter has repeatedly fallen back -- possibly unconsciously -- on traditional anti-Semitic canards." Yet we constantly hear from these individuals, and from those such as Jewish Voice for Peace who clearly oppose Israel's existence, that they are being "silenced".
So I did another cursory Google check-- just within the past 2 weeks, Rabbi Lerner has been featured or prominently quoted in the following newspapers: The New York Times, The Baltimore Chronicle, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Forward, The Jewish Journal of Greater LA, and Washington Jewish Week. No doubt this list is incomplete. Of course, Carter has lately been in the news more than at any time since his term as President.
To accuse the media of ignoring critics of Israel is laughable. The media's ongoing misportrayals of the Palestinians are legendary examples of journalistic incompetence: equating suicide terrorists with their victims, portraying them as seeking to "end Israel's occupation" (without specifying that for the terror groups, Tel Aviv is occupied territory no less than Jenin or Nablus), banner headlines about a "massacre" in Jenin that never occurred, being duped by Hezbollah into running news stories about faked casualties during last summer's war, and so on. Readers can go to HonestReporting or CAMERA for details of these journalistic misadventures with the truth.
I'm not saying that either Lerner or Carter are anti-Semitic. I am saying that their claims of being "silenced" have become a deafening roar, and have become a way for them to deflect substantive criticism of their positions.