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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 21, 2007 / 11 Kislev 5768

The Media Comedy Club

By Barry Rubin


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the dubious rewards of spending too much time reading newspapers on the Middle East are the laughs derived from those wonderful little phrases that seem logical but are so profoundly bizarre. Some indicate media bias but they are more often the result of some reporter or newsmaker who so takes for granted the bizarro, flat-earth version of the Middle East as to be blissfully unaware of the yawning contradiction in what they say.


For example, here's a great sentence in a rather good survey of European attitudes toward intensifying sanctions against Iran on the nuclear issue. It is taken from Jamey Keaten, AP, "Europeans Ponder Sanctions Against Iran," of October 27, 2007:


"Concerns have been rising in some European corners that the United States or Israel might attack to prevent Iran from developing atomic bombs...."


That's fine as far as it goes. But the alert reader will notice the lack of any sentence along these lines:


"Concerns have been rising in some European corners that Iran might be developing atomic bombs."


The word "corners," by the way is rather poorly chosen (circles? governments? capitals?) and should have been caught by the copy editor. But basically, what Keaten shows is that Britain and France are talking more toughly about sanctions but may not do much while European trade and investment in Iran remains at high levels. He also cites both Iranian denials of building such weapons alongside Iran's breaking promises to cooperate with international monitoring groups. (So the reader can conclude: hmm, they must have something to hide.)


Another reasonable article-though in this case with a giant gaff which is the author's fault-is that of Matthew Lee, AP, "Rice Looks to History for Peace Effort," October 28, 2007. It describes how Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is seeking to learn from the past on how to conduct Arab-Israeli negotiations before the Annapolis meeting. (Actually, this is a White House puff piece as one could write a far better article about how Rice has totally failed to heed the past. Indeed, her current strategy and its implementation is perfect for a textbook on, Big Stupid Mistakes of the Past, The Sequel. But never mind that right now.


Here is the payoff sentence, in explaining how Rice has consulted with former president (can one impeach former presidents?) Jimmy Carter. It states:


"Carter has been a vocal critic of the Bush administration's Middle East polices and wrote a recent book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," that some believe is anti-Israeli."


So the raging debate about whether Carter's book full of slander and mistakes about Israel might actually be anti-Israeli? Perhaps the AP meant antisemitic? But while Islamophobia may be used at the drop of a hat apparently no one since the fall of the Berlin bunker can be called antisemitic. Much of the media can't even acknowledge there is a seriously provable claim being made in that regard. (Note: neo-Nazis can be accused of antisemitism but since they are right-wingers anything is permissible against them.)


OK, just one more and then go off to find your own. This is from Sally Buzbee, AP, October 29, 2007, "Egypt to Build Nuclear Plants." This is a reasonably balanced article about how some Arab countries are now talking about building nuclear power plants. (Actually, the same precise story appeared a few months ago and nothing much came of it but the mainstream media seems to have trouble recalling what it already wrote.)


The key laugh line:


'Despite the declarations of peaceful intentions, there are worries the countries could be taking the first steps toward a dangerous proliferation in the volatile Mideast. Such fears intensified when Israel launched a Sept. 6 airstrike against Syria...."


Get it? Now that Israel has attacked Syria's secret nuclear plant-obviously intended for military purposes-we can start worrying about proliferation. I thought Iran might just be raising some concerns in that regard but that must be wrong since this happened prior to the Israeli attack on Syria.


Of course, the reporter could have instead written something like this:


The revelation that Syria was building a secret nuclear plant has stirred worries that countries could be taking the first steps toward a dangerous proliferation in the volatile Mideast.


But that wouldn't make it sound like it was Israel's fault, would it? I don't know about you but I feel less worried about nuclear proliferation after the airstrike.

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Otherwise there's the usual satire. A Philadelphia Inquirer editorial of October 28, 2007, "Middle East Conference: More harm than good?" is basically accurate (no great hopes for the Annapolis conference) though it puts the fault on the Bush administration (why didn't they broker peace earlier?) and none particularly on the Palestinian side. The only fault they have is that-like the U.S. and Israeli governments-the Palestinian regime of Mahmoud Abbas is weak.


True there is this bit of unintentional humor:


"For a regional peace process to have a substantial shot at working, the administration would have had to prepare the diplomatic ground for years to gain the cooperation of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt."


Hello? How about this: for many years the U.S. government prepared the diplomatic ground to gain the cooperation of those three countries. There was a peace process from 1993 to 2000, that's seven years and the United States worked hard. Yet during that period, and certainly in the year 2000, they got no help from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Jordan behaved differently but the reason for that-King Hussein was ruling the country-no longer exists.


Perhaps the problem is that Arab regimes aren't willing to help, no matter how much ground the United States prepares.


There's also this one:


"...Early in his presidency, Bush wanted nothing to do with brokering an end to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict."


You see, when you read stuff like this it is hard not to conclude that the authors are being intentionally dishonest. How about mentioning that President Bill Clinton failed completely to gain peace in 2000 and was made to look like a fool by Palestinian and Syrian rejectionism? In other words, was the Bush administration evil for not jumping into the process from their first day in office or perhaps they had a good reason for doing so?


Or how about this, discussing the Roadmap plan and Quartet group to conduct Middle East negotiations:


"But, as has happened with so many Bush foreign-policy initiatives, there was an initial burst of diplomacy, followed by determined neglect."


Perhaps there was an intifada going on, Palestinian intransigence, Arab unhelpfulness, and then the Hamas takeover, something not mentioned at all in the editorial. You see, though, the problem was "determined neglect," not incompetence or real problems or distracting events. In other words, those people in the White House wanted to wreck peace.


The implication-and it is an intentional one-is that they are the enemy, not Hamas, Iran, Syria, Hizballah, Fatah, radical Islamism, terrorism, or anything else. And if they had only been more energetic the conflict would be over by now. Bad Bush! Bad! Bad!


This is why one can charge that sections of the media-and I'm not talking about the AP here which has both good and bad days but I am talking about the New York Times-are simply scandalously dishonest and biased nowadays. This is not so much because of the conclusions they reach but due to the deliberate hiding of evidence that might point to a different, or at least more nuanced, ones. It is also due to their using arguments which if subjected to five minutes of critical analysis dissolve into toxic mist.


Please don't act as if the United States has full control of events, is the only one involved in action, and thus is at fault if things don't work.


Please don't point only to the factors that make the United States, West, or Israel look bad and that conceal the reasons behind their behavior and motives.


Please don't attribute to the current U.S. government your wacko conspiracy theories that they are warmongering evil imperialist monsters who invaded Iraq to make money and deliberately sabotage Middle East peace.


Finally, please give readers enough information so they understand what's happening and why. Wait a minute! That's a job for newspapers, isn't it?


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JWR contributor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Interdisciplinary Center, and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs. His latest book is "The Truth About Syria".


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© 2007, Barry Rubin