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LA Times Editor Questions Israel’s Right to Exist

. . . At least according to an opinion piece in today’s Jewish Journal by Persian Community leaders, David Peyman and Sam Yebri.

He then made a startling observation — that whether Israel should continue to exist as a Jewish state or whether Hamas’ grievances are valid and justified … “that’s where the debate is going.”

Shocking?

Having been a reader of the LA Times since we arrived on the West Coast nearly five years ago, I have seen the paper become more and more anti-Israel. Their coverage? Anything that paints Israel in a poor light is front page news.

There is a parade of lies that populate the Letter to the Editor section. It seems any racist that hates Jews and Israel is allowed to vent themselves.

Articles with scathing criticism of Israel clearly outnumber anything remotely negative about the Palestinians – perhaps CAMERA has some stats.

Then the rub – LA times publishing the op-ed piece from Hamas during the Gaza War. No counterpart from the Israeli side. Nada.

The Persian Jewish leaders quoted above had arranged a meeting with the LA Times Opinion Editor because of the perceived bias, and were allowed in the door. They were treated courteously. The meeting was civil. However the banality of the evil expressed in the phrase “whether Israel should continue to exist as a Jewish state” demands that the Jewish community wake-up.

They published a piece in 2007 from Saree Makdisi, a UCLA professor who claimed that the paper was heavily pro-Israel. “In the war of words, The Times is Israel’s ally: The paper consistently adopts Israel’s language, giving credence to an inaccurate, simplistic and dangerous cliche.” The piece went on to question the right of Israel to exist. Honest Reporting took action on this piece and questioned at the time whether the LA Times believed Israel had a right to exist.

CAMERA wrote in 2004 “the LA Times’ reporters and others should report more fairly and fully about Israeli military operations and include context about Palestinian children being callously encouraged by their teachers and leaders to place themselves in the line of fire.

The LA Times is owned by Tribune company, owned by Sam Zell, and their phone number is 888-287-7568. Gary Weitman is Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations and can be reached directly at gweitman@tribune.com.

Eddy W. Hartenstein is the Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Times since August 2008. E-mail: readers.rep@latimes.com, Telephone message line: (877) 554-4000

The LA Times which has been hurting for years – well before the recession – can’t afford to lose many readers. They might react to a mob of letters and phone calls that threaten to cancel their subscriptions and switch to more Israel friendly media.

33 Comments

  1. noam

    4/3/2009 at 3:02 am

    1. Israeli papers publish interviews with Hamas leaders and terrorists on a regular basis. Learning what the other side thinks is important, even if it’s your enemy. Naturally, editorial is a bit different, but I’m not sure one should rush to label the LAT as antisemitic because of that.

    2. I think you have the tendency to mix criticism of Israel being a Jewish state (and controlling the WB at the same time) with calls for the physical destruction of the state, Ahmadinejad-style. You can call for “a state for all its citizens” as part of a democratic debate. Again, it is no antisemitism.

  2. themiddle

    4/3/2009 at 3:08 am

    I also wouldn’t label them anti-Semitic because of this.

    However, there’s no reason to accept their obvious bias against Israel, a bias that has been evident for years.

    Where I think they were very careful, and didn’t cross the line unless you read between the lines, was in their editorial about Chas Freeman, where they were just on the verge of telling Jews to keep out of, you know, American debate about foreign policy, but only hinted at it. I mean, who needs the headache of being accused of accepting Chas Freeman’s disgusting accusation at face value (in a Forward interview, he “regrets” using the phrase “Israel Lobby” but that doesn’t affect the following editorial which never followed up with, “Freeman didn’t quite mean what he said although we based our editorial around his statements.”

    When John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt wrote about “The Israel Lobby” in 2006, many supporters of Israel were outraged. How, they wanted to know, could anyone say that the United States offered “unwavering support” to Israel? Worse yet, how did these two misguided professors dare suggest that there was a cabal of die-hard Zionists in the media, in Congress, in the Pentagon and in neocon think tanks working to ensure that U.S. policy did not deviate from the pro-Israel party line?

    The debate was ferocious; the world (or at least the part that cares about these things) divided along angry partisan lines. Mearsheimer and Walt were shouted down in many quarters as anti-Semites. Needless to say, no resolution was reached, and eventually the furor died down.

    Several weeks ago, however, it re-erupted after President Obama appointed Charles W. Freeman Jr., a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Vehement objections came from several of Israel’s most loyal supporters in Congress, from some journalists and lobbyists known for their strong support of the Jewish state, and from other members of what some would no doubt call, well, the Israel lobby.

    Freeman was not the sort of person they were ever going to like. He once said that “the brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending.” He also said: “American identification with Israel has become total.” Israel, he once said, “excels at war; sadly, it has shown no talent for peace.”

    Those are certainly provocative statements. On the other hand, Freeman was backed by a group of 17 former U.S. ambassadors who described him as a man of integrity who “would never let his personal views shade or distort intelligence assessments,” and defended by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair, who called him “a person of strong views, of an inventive mind in the analytical point of view.”

    But Freeman’s critics kept at him, and on Tuesday, Freeman withdrew from the appointment. Afterward, he was blunt: “The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency” and reflect “an utter disregard for truth.”

    Our opinion is this: Israel is America’s friend and ally. It deserves to exist safely within secure borders. We hope it will continue to prosper as a refuge for Jews and a vibrant democracy in the region (alongside an equally democratic Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza). But we do not believe that Israel should be immune from criticism or that there is room for only one point of view in our government.

    U.S. policy has been extremely supportive of Israel over the years, as have many of our policymakers. That’s fine. But theirs should not be the only voices allowed in the room.

  3. themiddle

    4/3/2009 at 3:23 am

    But Freeman’s critics kept at him, and on Tuesday, Freeman withdrew from the appointment. Afterward, he was blunt: “The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency” and reflect “an utter disregard for truth.”

    Our opinion is this: Israel is America’s friend and ally. It deserves to exist safely within secure borders. We hope it will continue to prosper as a refuge for Jews and a vibrant democracy in the region (alongside an equally democratic Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza). But we do not believe that Israel should be immune from criticism or that there is room for only one point of view in our government.
    U.S. policy has been extremely supportive of Israel over the years, as have many of our policymakers. That’s fine. But theirs should not be the only voices allowed in the room.

    I mean, take a look at that. A hard look. First there’s the straw man where they write that Israel shouldn’t be immune from criticism, when Israel comes under a barrage from all corners including the US government. Second, there isn’t only “one” point of view in the US government as anybody who tracks the State Dept. can tell them. Third, just because Chas Freeman says so, doesn’t mean it is so. You would think hardened reporters, ready to stand truth to power against the ever-powerful Joooooos, would look at his statement a little more critically.

    It’s not that hard to do: http://jewlicious.com/2009/03/more-information-about-chas-freeman/

  4. noam

    4/3/2009 at 3:50 am

    themiddle,

    I think it is just a case of a bad article. as you wrote, they wanted to say something but probably didn’t dare, and ended up saying nothing new.

    But returning the this post’s topic, does any “pro-Israeli” article in the US media gets to be balanced from the Palestinian side as well? I don’t get this whole obsession with balancing. We don’t have to frame everything to a point of view and “the opposite side”.

  5. xisnotx

    4/3/2009 at 4:50 am

    “The LA Times which has been hurting for years – well before the recession – can’t afford to lose many readers. They might react to a mob of letters and phone calls that threaten to cancel their subscriptions and switch to more Israel friendly media.”

    you’re right, tm, no one’s trying to boycott media…

  6. Tori

    4/3/2009 at 4:59 am

    I am with Noam on the balancing. We know they are not balanced, so why bother? Let them come out with the truth that everyone knows already- that they are pro-Palestinian and think Israel must cease to exist, at least as a Jewish state.

  7. Felipe

    4/3/2009 at 7:13 am

    Balance is relative. The “balance” implied here is to weigh equally a vision of Palestine which is illegitimate, immoral, and racist (the current reality of the Jewish-supremacist state that calls itself “Israel”) with alternative visions of possible political structures for the people in that area of land. I see that as no more “balanced” than newsmedia portraying “both sides” of the struggle to to liberate South Africa from apartheid or “both sides” of the struggles of Jewish, gay, and Roma to survive their horrendous oppression by Nazis … or of the struggles of numerous other oppressed peoples against their oppressors. US media is wholly unbalanced regarding Palestine. The zionist lobby has been very effective at quashing all public dissent by labelling it “anti-Semitic”. My fear is that when America realizes it’s been duped, it will take revenge on Jews. In fact, the people most responsible for the continued existence of “Israel” are born – again American Christians. But, if Jews don’t speak out against the state of Israel, they will be unfairly targeted by a redneck backlash.

  8. Hailu

    4/3/2009 at 7:28 am

    Palestinians and Jews will live long side by side. But all especially Palestinians will suffer more because of the extrimism. No one is going to abolish Palestinians or the Jewish. Why many of the Arabs do not want to see Isreal while they do not want even a coin in the Fiscal budget of the Palestinian government.
    They only wanted to see Isreal remove by the death of Palestinian people and families crying all the time, and then they go for protests. My advice is they live by minimizing their attachs and killings because they can not live to see what they wish but they have to think of what they can do.
    I wish GOD/ALLAH Bless them all.

  9. LB

    4/3/2009 at 7:51 am

    noam – It’s not about balance, per se, it’s the point that they published an oped by a Hamas representative, and didn’t bother to find a counterpoint, which leads readers to believe that the Hamas point of view is, at the very least, not preposterous.

    “does any “pro-Israeli” article in the US media gets to be balanced from the Palestinian side as well?”
    Like I said, it’s not about balance – it’s about the truth. And if one believe the pro-Israel side is right, and that the Hamas view is criminal, at best – then one will be enraged when the LA Times publishes an oped by them with no attempt at context.

  10. Dirar Ibrahim

    4/3/2009 at 8:08 am

    This is Funny everyone is saying that Israel has a right to exist as a “Jewish State” in order to do this it must either rule its non Jewish citizens without representation or remove them from its citizenry. Under what circumstances would the world accept this situation from any other government at any other time. They say that if the Arab citizens would be given full voting rights then Israel would cease to exist as a Jewish state… well I ask again why is it so incredibly wrong for any other state to rule the majority with the will of the minority, why is it so wrong for any other state to acquire land through force, why is it so wrong for any other state to expel people of a certain religion… why are all these things wrong for any other state but well accepted practices for Israel? Why do Palestinians have to pay for this double standard with their state their land and even their lives?

  11. LB

    4/3/2009 at 8:13 am

    Dirar Ibrahim – Just for the record, Arab citizens DO have voting rights in Israel, and ARE represented in the Knesset.

  12. KimoAlQuds

    4/3/2009 at 8:14 am

    I cannot believe what I am reading. The LA Times sounds like a mouthpiece for Iran. AS for y’all equating Israel with a terrorist state, please remember how all this came about, starting witrhg the initial Arab rejection to the creation of Israel. Where is the outrage for the hundred plus africian , south asian and asian states from the aftermath of WW2. Gee there wasnt one wsa there. Why is there one for a people who was disenfranchised from their land by the europeans. All that occurred was the people of the book were returned to their home. Until the Jew became comming back to their homeland Araqbs had no interest in the land of Israel. Refer to the writing of a Sameul Clemens from the 1860s or early 1870’s. The Turks wanted them there as they worked and paid taxes. This current cacca about the poor palestinians is such BS. HAd they not made war on Israel for 60 straight years there wold be no issue. When you start wars there are consequenses. You lose your land when you starta war and lose. Where were the ‘palestinians in 48 and 56. Palestinian was a derogetory term the romans used to describe Israel and the Jews. When did that name ever belone to the Arab. It didnt until they took the term once given to the Jew. Egypt, Yemen Syria, Lebannon etc are where the Palestinians are from. Arafat was eqyptian but deciided he was a palestinianns. The only reason they came into being was Nasser organized a terror group as Egypt got their ass kicked twice 48,56 so 3 yrs before the 67 war the PLO under Egyptian and Russian support came into being. So much for that being a national homeland for Arabs. As the only democratic free state in the rgion why the times would call for its des trruction is nothing short of criminal but it shows the media for what it realloy is. Let the billions given annually to the plo be used for economic development instead of weapons . OH wait its better to kill jews than to grow the economies of the Arab peoples who covet the jewish land. The winners of the _PLO cause should rememeber trheir history and why the Arabs of the region are in the pitiful state they are in. Thet listened to their mullahs and other fools and made war on their cousins who kicked their ass. Their plight is of their own doing and until they decide to stop killing their children peace with the Arab will never come and the fault is the arabs. wHY SHOULD lEBANNON EXIST OR ANY OF THE GULF STATES WHY AENT THEY A PART OF iRAQ OR sAUDI aRABIA. sAME ARGUMENT HOLDS THE DIFFERENCE IS THE JEWS MADE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING THROUGH HARD WORK AND STUDY. wHAT HAVE THE ARQABS CONTRIBUTED BUT WHINNING AND THE DEATHS OF INNOCENTS

  13. Voice of reason

    4/3/2009 at 9:21 am

    lets see, actually arabs contributed a lot, like more than a trillion dollars into the US economy

    and one more thing, arabs are HUGELY successful in south america, more arabs in south america than jews in north america, and also arabs dont go around bragging “we killed jesus”,lol,

    KimoAlquds read your torah, god offered moses a choice to kill all the jews and start a new nation from his own offsprings

  14. Jack

    4/3/2009 at 10:30 am

    But, if Jews don’t speak out against the state of Israel, they will be unfairly targeted by a redneck backlash.

    That’s moronic. It is not unlike saying that if Mexicans don’t speak out against Mexico there will be a backlash against them. There is no logic there.

    isnt Lehman brothers,goldman sachs etc jewish founded banks?

    Yo, voice of reason, what relevance is there to who started those institutions. There is none other than a poor attempt by you to stir up the pot with foolish whispers.

    how much money did you jews actually contribute to the US economy, your biggest ally?

    Again, lack of relevance and pointless. If you had real facts you’d use them instead of relying upon silly speculation.

  15. xisnotx

    4/3/2009 at 11:15 am

    “go check out israeli export stats,all you jews are contributing these days are weapons and ponzi schemes while arabs in dubai planned artificial islands on the sea,
    the jews laughed at the arabs when they first mentioned the project, now that its a reality, you guys are quiet”

    o yes dubai is a shining beacon of sensible economic planning

    Laid-Off Foreigners Flee as Dubai Spirals Down
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/world/middleeast/12dubai.html

  16. Voice of reason

    4/3/2009 at 11:39 am

    xisnotx dont worry, the world economy will recover and so will dubai, and even if it doesnt attract business, it will still be bailed out by oil rich abu dhabi,

    but if america tanks, who will bail out israel?

    as for arab contribution to the US, i was responding to Kimoalquds who was questioning arab contribution to the world

    and yes dubai actually is a shining city, compare dubai to oh i dont know singapore and hong kong, dubai still trumps up(no israeli city is even in the same class as dubai,singapore,hong kong in terms of international business,although you do have diamond polishing,thanks to blood diamonds from africa)

    and america borrowing hundreds of billions to fight a war based on lies is real smart planning isnt it

    or madoff and rene rivkins scandals are sensible economic planning isnt it

  17. themiddle

    4/3/2009 at 12:43 pm

    Sorry it took so long to get to your stuff, CTC.

  18. Serene5

    4/3/2009 at 1:07 pm

    The first thing wrong with this article is purely technical.

    The LA Times which has been hurting for years – well before the recession – can’t afford to lose many readers. They might react to a mob of letters and phone calls that threaten to cancel their subscriptions and switch to more Israel friendly media.

    The previously-mentioned article is an editorial. Dictionary.com defines editorial as being ‘ an article in a newspaper or other periodical presenting the opinion of the publisher, editor, or editors.’ Typically, you would not punish a newspaper for teh views of one editorial writer and the entire claim to protest is unfounded and just downright idiotic. Furthermore, the whole act of looking for an Israel-friendly newspaper once again negates the above. An Israel friendly newspaper is null and void, it becomes a collection of editorials that are almost worthless.

    Also, ideologically, I disagree and really do hate the existence of Israel. I think it is a murderous state and I loathe this country’s protection of israel. However, I do think there is no chance to be rid of the state of Israel, so I hope for a two-party state. Not everyone is pro-Israel. Not everyone loves the Jews. Some people just want justice.

  19. xisnotx

    4/3/2009 at 4:43 pm

    CTC:

    “no israeli city is even in the same class as dubai,singapore,hong kong in terms of international business,although you do have diamond polishing,thanks to blood diamonds from africa)”

    do you suppose the extensive diamond trade in dubai is somehow freer of blood diamonds?

  20. froylein

    4/3/2009 at 5:08 pm

    Israel was the first country to ban blood diamonds. The good cutters don’t bother with this stuff; blood diamonds are typically cut for mass-produced jewellery made in Southeast Asia.

  21. themiddle

    4/3/2009 at 5:55 pm

    “Also, ideologically, I disagree and really do hate the existence of Israel. I think it is a murderous state and I loathe this country’s protection of israel. However, I do think there is no chance to be rid of the state of Israel, so I hope for a two-party state. Not everyone is pro-Israel. Not everyone loves the Jews. Some people just want justice.”

    Israel is a “murderous state.” Why do you say that, Serene5? Who is it murdering? Do you think Israelis want to kill Arabs?

  22. xisnotx

    4/3/2009 at 11:28 pm

    Froylein: do you think the Kimberley process of labeling conflict diamonds “blood diamonds” is working?

  23. xisnotx

    4/4/2009 at 8:04 pm

    here, while you’re at it, boycott the NYT as well:

    Israel on Trial
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/04/opinion/04bisharat.html

  24. Rabbi Yonah

    4/5/2009 at 11:47 am

    So happy that I could bring out all the real anti-Semites from under the rocks and from the caves they live in, let them spew their hatred, maybe they will sink back into their dark lairs and suffer from chronic flea infestations.

    Nowhere – repeat – nowhere did I call the paper Anti-Semitic.

    The LA Times leans so far against Israel that it is hard not to notice – the question I asked was what are we going to do about it?

  25. rozi

    4/5/2009 at 1:50 pm

    where did all the trolls come from?

    you hate israel’s existence? too bad, no one cares. israel’s existence is just as justified, if not more, than any arab country.

    and i’m not sure what voiceofidiocy is trying to say with his blood diamonds accusations. israel was the first country to adopt the anti-blood diamond Kimberly Process.

  26. froylein

    4/11/2009 at 10:12 am

    Genetic seclusion has done certain people anything but good it seems.

    Middle, will you take care of this?

  27. paul maleski

    4/11/2009 at 12:12 pm

    Dear Froylein,
    Who is middle?

  28. froylein

    4/11/2009 at 12:16 pm

    Ask your mum.

  29. paul maleski

    4/11/2009 at 12:31 pm

    Froylein, I had one: Did you?

  30. froylein

    4/11/2009 at 4:56 pm

    Nope, I was taken from a test tube.

  31. paul maleski

    4/12/2009 at 9:45 am

    Jewlicious–Froylein forget the blisters. I am the type that believes in freedom of type! Do you?

  32. froylein

    4/12/2009 at 10:54 am

    Freedom is not universal as one’s personal freedom ends where others’ freedom begins. As little as I’ve got the right to walk into anybody’s home and re-arrange their furniture because that is the way I like it and claim it has to be that way, just as little have I got the right to spew bigoted lies. There is no freedom if I try to impose my delusion onto the world and arbitrarily decide my deliberate lies have to constitute as others’ truths. That’s intellectual fascism, nothing more.

  33. themiddle

    4/12/2009 at 11:43 am

    You’ve had your chances to post your crap on our site, Maleski. Now you need to find another site. Don’t feel too bad, over the years we’ve had plenty of debates with scumbags like you. If you want to post comments that are on topic and have nothing to do with your disgusting agenda, no problem .

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