August 28, 2009
Nothing particularly special about August 27th, except that it’s the day I’ve decided on which to focus on the contents of one of the 2 daily English-language newspapers here in Israel.
The Jerusalem Post, formerly The Palestine Post, was established in 1932. It is certainly the more ‘right-wing’ of the 2, the other being Haaretz (‘The Land’). Why do I read this one and not that? Or perhaps both? Well, I don’t have time for 2 newspapers – in fact, don’t read this one fully, nor every day. And I believe the Post is more centrist and open, compared to Haaretz, which I feel too blatantly lets it’s left-wing tendencies muddy its views.
Having written all that, 2 English-language dailies in a small country like Israel ain’t so bad. (And note that I’m totally ignoring the Internet’s influence). In fact, you may be surprised to know that there are also 1 each German and French, 4 Russian, 4 Arab and, of course, 11 Hebrew dailies
So what’s in Thursday’s paper – of interest…
Front page headline is that our PM and the Palestinian PM may meet late next month. (Comment: always good to talk, but until Abbas represents the voice of ALL the Palestinians, what good will this bring. Any ‘agreement’ surely pushes Hamas further away?).
Also front-page, big article, backed up by much more inside, on Sen. Ted Kennedy’s passing. Most agree he was a ‘great friend of Israel’.
While Gilad Schalit (with his dual Israeli/French nationality) ‘celebrates’ his 23rd birthday (his 4th in Hamas’ captivity), his sister is inducted into her 2-year stint in the army. And the ‘Germans are tight-lipped’ on the talks in which they’re involved to try to arrange for his release.
Whichever way that goes, it will be a farce, as Israel will release hundreds for the 1, now possibly including Marwan Barghouti, in prison here with 4 life sentences for his role in so many terrorist attacks. Many scorned Scotland recently for releasing the Lockerbie bomber. How many will scorn us for releasing Barghouti (and our reasons for release are surely more constructive)?
And the final interesting front-page story centres on Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, who is the Palestinian Authority’s chief Islamic judge, who now claims that ‘Jerusalem is an Arab and Islamic city and it always has been so’. This was in answer to the Israeli PM saying that J is not a settlement, and that ‘the Jews built it 3,000 years ago’. Tamimi claims that there has been no proof that Jews had a history or a presence in Jerusalem or that their temple had ever existed. Hmmmm. Enough of that rubbish.
And… without mentioning page numbers (importance), nor the usual features, sport, finance, ads etc. etc…..
A NY lawyer has filed a suit against Sweden’s ‘Aftonbladet’ and its author of the article that accused Israeli soldiers of harvesting the organs of dead Palestinians. This story really got out of hand. A respected ex-politician here, Colette Avital, also writes today criticizing the knee-jerk reaction of many over here.
However, it was pretty bad that the Swedish government actually criticized their own ambassador here for speaking out against the article, quoting ‘the need for free speech’ and all that jazz. In my opinion, the author is a bigot (says later he did not check his sources), the newspaper is a disgrace (and should be sued), the Swedish ambassador played his diplomatic role perfectly, and the Swedish govt. needs some PR advice.
There’s a real political in-fight going on over the ‘dragging of feet’ over the removal of illegal settlement outposts. I’ve already written about this, that the political factors here are far more important than the moral rights or wrongs. So I personally would like Israel ‘to be seen to be removing’ as much as possible. We have to make more sacrifices.
One article warns parents about the need to delouse their kids before they go back to school next week. Yup, we have them, too. (Louse and mouse have their plurals in common).
After Jordan’s Petra won the 2007 competition to find the World’s Natural Wonder, the Dead Sea is on the 14-long short list for this year’s competition. Seems Petra’s tourism increased 3-fold after the win, so here’s hopin’.
10 kayaks filled with N. Israeli school kids spent a days collecting hard-to-reach trash from Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) and its tributaries. Nice. (I made a special bike stop last week to give a little something to 2 hard-working guys clearing the rubbish from the beach road. This is such a thankless job even at the best of times. Under the Israeli mid-day sun it’s tough. And it gave me the ‘feel-good’ feeling).
The ‘foreign news’ pages have 2 main focuses: stories that involve or affect Israel or Jewish life, and those that don’t. There are stories on Iran, Iraq, Aghanistan, Syria, Lebanon and Bosnia.
In the ‘Comments and Features’ section, 1 page illustrates the openness of this particular newspaper. Although it does ‘drift’ to the right, it is the first to appear to be independent, by often featuring articles opposing views. Larry Derfner, a leftist and one who loves to pick fights (today he calls it ‘Rattling the Cage’) writes about the recent call by an Israeli academic, Neve Gordon, to actually boycott his own country over the settlement issue. Derfner may be a lefty, but he worries about those who not only go over but fall off the top in their self-criticism.
In contrast, Michael Freund does the ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ mistake of criticising the overseas press and observers of double-standards. Freund highlights the more blatant Moroccan occupation of the Western Sahara, the hundreds of thousands of Arab refugees there and the almost total silence on the subject (‘All settlers are not equal’). I think they call this debate-shifting…
PA (Palestinian Authority) PM has plans for a viable Palestinian state within 2 years – and again, the first ‘hurdle’ of (they, the Fatah movement) making peace with Hamas is hardly mentioned. Am I missing something?
Btw, it’s all available on line of course, but I still prefer the hard copy, at NIS 11.50 (around $3) and a hot seat at a local coffee place.
Today is Friday. No papers on Saturday, so today’s edition is ‘larger’, containing the weekly magazines, media coverage etc. etc.
Headline above the headline: the Post has run a poll and discovered that only 4% of Israeli Jews think that Obama is pro-Israel.
They didn’t ask me….