Those of us who care about Israel, and those of us who know a thing or two about the New York Times, know that just as the Times was indifferent to the Shoah while it was happening, so they are generally indifferent to Arab attacks on Jewish people today. The major indication of this indifference is the insistence on apologizing for Arab terrorism against Jews in that part of the world.
Those of us who closely follow the conflict from a pro-Jewish / pro-Israel perspective understand that the Times has an anti-Israel bias and thus sees Israel – or, really, Israeli Jews – as the primary culprits in this never-ending bloody drama.
It is as if they have learned nothing from their own institutional history. Surely the Times must have an in-house historian who can point to the parallel between the “Gray Lady’s” disinterest in the Holocaust and its white-washing of Arab persecution of the Jewish people today.
Most westerners, with considerable assistance from the Times, think of Jewish Israelis as the aggressors in a conflict against the “Palestinians” that began in 1948.
This is entirely false.
The conflict is not between Israelis and “Palestinians.” Nor is this a conflict with twentieth-century roots.
On the contrary. This is an ongoing war of the Arab-Muslim majority in the Middle East against the Jewish minority whom the Arabs outnumber by a factor of 60 or 70 to one in the region. Furthermore, this never-ending Koranically-based Arab-Muslim war against the Jews has been an ongoing project since the good-old-days of Muhammad’s head-chopping epiphany on the Arabian Peninsula.
Just the other day, Israeli-American educator and peace activist, Richard Lakin (76), died of multiple wounds incurred when young Arab Jihadis forced their way onto a Jerusalem bus and started shooting and knifing people to death. They were out to kill Jews because they were trained from childhood to despise Jewish people and when the Palestinian leadership started calling for slaughter – for a Stabbing Intifada – they went for it with gusto and continue to do so. They were taught their entire lives by their religious leaders, by their political leaders, and presumably by their parents, that Jews are the enemy not only of Arabs but of Allah, himself.
Thus during this current frenzy of Arab violence and incitement to genocide, Richard Lakin gets shot in the head and knifed for no other reason than he happened to be Jewish on a bus in Jerusalem.
He also fought for the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington D.C. on the day of the famous 1963 I Have a Dream speech.
To its credit, the New York Times did cover the story in a piece by Israel bureau chief Judi Rudoren entitled, For American-Israeli Teacher, Death Came on the No. 78 Bus. My main quibble with Rudoren’s rendition of the story is how blasé the piece is. I considered doing an analysis of her writing on the matter, but the main criticism that I came up with is flatness of style and a failure to emphasize the murder within the larger context of Palestinian incitement to violence and genocide.
She’s a bureau chief for the Times. She cannot, generally speaking, afford to get angry within the pages of the paper.
I, sadly, do not have that problem.
Aside from the loss of Mr. Lakin there are many very sad things about this situation.
One sad thing, of course, is that it is happening at all. Hatred for the Jew is embedded in Arab culture throughout the Middle East and justified by the Koran. The foundation of the conflict has little to do with land and almost everything to do with many centuries of Arab-Muslim race-hate toward the Jewish people. If Israel behaved exactly the same way since its birth, but it was another Muslim state, it would be lauded throughout the world as… a light unto the nations.
Another sad thing is the inability of Israel to really defend itself from internal Arab violence and aggression. Young Arab men run around the country endeavoring to kill Jews and if the Jewish community, via the government of Israel, stands up to defend itself the international community comes down on it like a ton of bricks.
Both westerners and Arabs have been trained over many centuries to conceive of Jewish self-defense as an immoral form of aggression. It is for this reason that Jihadi rocketeers in Gaza could shoot thousands of rockets into southern Israel, forcing parents to snatch children from their beds in the middle of the night to the cries of sirens and giving those same kids post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and outside of Israel nobody much minded. It was only when Israel stood up after taking it on the chin for years that the international community leaped up and demanded that Israel cease its aggression against the “innocent, indigenous Palestinian community.”
Finally, it is a sad but not surprising fact that the Obama administration does not care about this case. Obama has not breathed a public word. Lakin was an American. He was an educator. And he was a peace activist who stood up for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Israeli-Arabs shot him in the head and knifed him in the chest at the age of 76.
One would think that maybe the president of the United States, who comes out of the same ideological movement as did Lakin, might have something to say, if only an expression of regret.
Thus far, however, nothing.
The New York Times and the murder of a Jewish-American peace activist in Jerusalem
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. Recently he joined Vocal International a news magazine out Brussels, Belgium, as an analyst, writer, and a member of the Academic Board of Trustees. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel, Elder of Ziyon, and at his own blog, Israel Thrives.