April 09, 2002
Scheer Watch

Robert Scheer is an incandescent beacon of blithering lunacy. His most recent effort is one of the most obnoxious, one-sided hit pieces I've seen yet since the Israelis began their sweep.

Not that anyone asked me, but those are not my tanks careening around the West Bank bringing fear and havoc in their wake. Yet they are marked as Jewish tanks and consequently they and I bear some familial resemblance on my mother's side. I am thus obligated to consider what cruelty is being done in the name of defending my people

Oh, please. This can be translated, loosely, as "I am looking for a pretext to validate my views".

While Jews are hardly monolithic, even in their views of Israel, their large presence in the media contrasts sharply with a near total exclusion of Palestinian Americans.

Wait a minute. "Exclusion" implies a deliberate attempt to limit their participation, which is not something I have *ever* heard before. Lack of participation does not imply sinister exclusionary measures are at work. There are plenty of Palestinians in this country; the fact that the vast majority have chosen a field other than journalism is not proof of a conspiracy.

Scheer is a master of linking false causation to results with which he does not agree; Spinsanity has documented his style on many occasions.

While the family tales of Jewish oppression during the pogroms of czars, the Holocaust and Soviet anti-Semitism have been merged into the dominant American culture, horrific tales of Arab suffering are systematically ignored. But, as when blacks and Latinos were absent from newsrooms and nightly death in the ghetto was not thought to be news, it is difficult to escape the notion that many in the media, Jews and non-Jews alike, lean to the view that Arab life is cheap.

The difference is that the Jews who died in the Holocaust and in Czarist pogroms were not busy encouraging their brothers, sons (and daughters) and neighbors to strap explosives on themselves, walk into a large crowd, and detonate, taking out as many people as they could. No life is cheap, except that which is thrown away willingly, even eagerly. The lives of the murderous bombers have *no* value, because they have jumped at the opportunity to end their lives. This is not a view fed by the news; it is a realistic look at what is going on in Israel right now.

Despite all the attention accorded affirmative action by news organizations on the grounds that diversity is necessary to better news reporting, the exclusion of Arabs has been ignored. It is not appropriate, particularly given the past decades in which Arab-Israeli strife has never left the news and has frequently been a front-page headline—a story covered far differently by the European media, where Arab voices are much more integrated.

See my above. There is no link between the two. The pro-Arabic slant to the news in Europe might be influenced by a) the large number of Arabs who are willing to go on a rampage (France, Belgium, Germany come to mind immediately) and b) a none-too-subtle hatred of Jews.

Europe has a breathtakingly hypocritical stance when it comes to all things Palestinian. They excoriate us for imposing the death penalty, yet ignore the five Palestinians who were sentenced to death last week for alleged collaboration with the Israelis. They scream about "Land for Peace" when they suppress uprisings in Spain and France (the Basques). They attack us for our financial support of Israel, while they funnel money to the Palestinians, and nod approvingly at the funds and weapons the Arab states provide to Arafat's minions. They were the flashpoint for the two most widespread wars in human history, yet they call us (and the Israelis) bloodthirsty and barbaric. They have no credibility whatsoever on this issue.

Sharon himself is a man of barbaric impulse, demonstrated all too clearly in his terrorizing of civilians two decades ago in Lebanon and now on the West Bank. He has been a consistent provocateur, undermining peace efforts no matter their content, and now he is using his tanks to poison the ground for future generations.

No mention of the attacks on Northern Israel from Lebanon, and no mention of the suicide bombers from the West Bank.

Further, although Scheer doesn't directly refer to it in this piece, the "terrorism" he is apparently alluding to in regards to Sharon and Lebanon is the widely discredited assertion that he was responsible for a slaughter in Lebanon. It was Maronite Christians (working loosely with Sharon, but not under his direct control or formally allied) who were responsible for that atrocity. Sharon had no hand in that massacre, yet hard-line Palestinian apologists still try to smear him with that attack.

How does Scheer explain the fact that Sharon was not in the government at the time the Barak administration caved in to almost every Palestinian demand, but Arafat refused to budge? Sharon cannot be blamed for Arafat's intransigence, the very same attitude that brought Sharon to power. If Arafat had been a little less greedy, Sharon would not be running Israel, the Palestinian state would be a reality, and there would be no tanks in Ramallah or Bethlehem. However, Israeli public displeasure with increasing Palestinian violence led to the election of Sharon, who vowed to take a much harder line with the Palestinian Authority. Arafat knew what his actions would precipitate; he counted on sympathetic press to advance his cause. His gamble didn't pay off, as only the European press bought into his lies. The American press has been far less dazzled by his relentless spinning.

Yes, Yasser Arafat also has poisoned the ground under his feet and shares responsibility with Sharon for the breakdown of the peace process. But until recently, Arafat has been unrelentingly reviled by the news media while Sharon, no less monstrous in his behavior, hardly has been criticized.

Sharon has not been criticized? Jesus, what planet are you on? Other than the Wall Street Journal (and maybe the Washington Times), name a single major US daily that has not excoriated the Israelis. There are none, and the European press has been far worse. Arafat has been reviled because of his shameless demagoguery. He says one thing in English for our ears, and then tells his supporters the opposite (in Arabic). Unfortunately for Arafat, there are those who speak both languages who have exposed this dissembling.

Both are killers of the innocent. Both are to be roundly condemned by all, and the failure of prominent moderate Arabs to do their part to restrain Arafat is all too obvious. No less a moral offense is the acquiescence of too many Jews, in Israel and abroad, to the comparable crimes of Sharon.

Buried in amongst the condemnation and deceit is a truthful statement—The Arabic states have done NOTHING to rein in Arafat, and Hussein's $25,000 reward to the families of the murderer/bombers is inexcusable. However, equating Arafat's support of the intifada to Sharon's attempts to restore safety to his country's citizens is reprehensible. Coming from Scheer, it is not unexpected, but it is repulsive all the same.

posted on April 09, 2002 12:17 PM


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