Thursday, May 27, 2021

Under Siege, from Israel's Riviera (#2 of 4)

(Published May 23, 2021) 

Waterbury Republican-American

Media bias pervades Israeli airwaves


I was supposed to play tennis Friday morning, May 14, the day after I had to leave Winter Pond Park in Netanya because the Israeli army was coming to retrieve debris from a Hamas rocket that had landed in the pond. (According to our friends who live near it, the park was open again on May 14, filled with people as if nothing had happened there, but was again closed on Saturday, "because of the security situation.") One of the many things I loved about Waterbury was living just a few blocks from the public tennis courts at Fulton Park. I could walk over to them in about five minutes, and they were free. I have to drive to the courts I use in Netanya, which are about 5 miles away and even closer to Gaza than Winter Pond Park. This made my wife so nervous, she couldn't sleep Thursday night, so to calm her down, I agreed to skip playing and found myself sending a WhatApp to my partner at 4 a.m., telling her I couldn't play. That calmed my wife down, but then I couldn't sleep anymore, and wound up checking email and watching the news.

News is a big thing in Israel. I'm at a disadvantage because I'm not fluent enough to understand the news in Hebrew, whether on television or in newspapers. But we have plenty of news networks in English on cable, including CNN, Fox, BBC, Sky News, France24, MSNBC, DW News (from Germany), Euronews, CGTN (Chinese Global Television Network) and i24 (from Israel). I find all of them heavily biased and often cannot watch any one of them for more than five minutes before switching to another.

One morning the previous week, I stopped switching when I hit CNN and caught an interview of Israeli Knesset (parliament) member Naftali Bennett by Becky Anderson. I've gotten a little jaded, especially regarding the blatant anti-Israel bias pervading so much of the media today, but even I was astounded by Anderson's rudeness and truculence.

I suggest watching the whole interview, which may be found at =YUASDZhUVuU with the transcript at /TRANSCRIPTS/2105/12/ctw.02 .html.

One particularly telling exchange occurs at the 3:20 mark. Here's the official CNN transcript of what Anderson said at that point, although the transcript doesn't refer to her smirk, or the unprofessional nastiness and hostility in her voice: ANDERSON: Sir, the U.N. is (sic) called on Israel to "Respect international humanitarian law," which stipulates airstrikes should only be directed at military objectives. How can any strikes on Gaza which is such a densely populated area be targeted at military sites only? It doesn't suggest that Israel is respecting international law or that perhaps will you admit that these airstrikes have been indiscriminate? Consider that carefully. She's arguing that it's a violation of international law for Israel to do anything to protect its citizens from the thousands of rockets Palestinian terrorists are launching at them! Bennett responded with his own question: "Perhaps you suggest that we just lay back, let them shoot rockets at us not shoot back because they're hiding the rockets behind women and children. Would you do that, Becky?" Anderson quickly changed the subject.

In her defense, she has plenty of company. Justices of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court have blatantly and deliberately misinterpreted international law to misuse it against Israel, as has the United Nations General Assembly and members of the United Nations Security Council. It makes Israelis justifiably feel paranoid.

The good news: Anderson's hostile question can be used to defend Israel when one of those agencies inevitably tries to lynch Israel in another kangaroo court.

More anon.

Alan Stein was a longtime resident of Waterbury, where he taught in the Mathematics Department of the University of Connecticut for 37 years. During that period, he was active in the Jewish community and the general community. After retiring from UConn, he and his wife Marsha began spending the cold months in Israel and the warm months in Massachusetts, where their daughter resides.

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